Monthly Archives: September 2009

one month old

it's been an exhausting month

it's been an exhausting month

so in about 20 minutes of when i’m typing this, it will officially be one month since our lives have been altered forever.  for in that 20 minutes, it will conclude the first month of nathaniel thomas bell’s life.  now that he’s starting to do more than eat and sleep, he’s turning into quite the little person.

the other night, apparently nathaniel decided to teach himself a new trick (to go along with his abilities to do donuts in parking lots and to handicap pro football games).  in the past few days, he’s been getting very proficient at pulling his pacifier out of his mouth and screaming about it.  every time he took it out, we put it back in.  he’d calm down for about 20 seconds and then take it out again.

after he calmed down for a few minutes, he started up again with the blood curdling screams.  then, before julia and i could get over to him to tr to calm him down, he stopped on his own.  when i got over to him, he had the pacifier in his mouth.  i thought he had lost it, which is why he was shouting, which confused me greatly.  after a brief conversation with julia about how we were pretty sure he took it out and were wondering if it was just sleep deprivation that was making us see things.

mom, i don't think i like bath time.

mom, i don't think i like bath time.

we made the decision to keep an eye on nathaniel and see what was up.  that’s when we discovered that he is advancing well beyond our expectations.  he was sitting calmly in his little papasan looking around.  when he thought neither of us were looking, he pulls the pacifier out and starts back into the screaming.  julia and i asked him what he wanted us to do about it hoping that out of nowhere he became a master at the english language.  apparently not, but what he did next surprised us.  he slipped the pacifier back into his mouth and calmed down.

after thinking it was just a freak occurrence, we kept watching.  about three or four more times in the next few minutes he repeated the feat, leading us to believe that it was not just a random happening.  then nathaniel decided to up the ante a bit.  after pulling out the pacifier for the millionth time that day, he sort of threw it.  it landed next to his arm on the side of the chair.  after about 15 seconds of the expected screams, he picked up the pacifier and again, put it in his mouth.

i’m thinking since he’s doing things we’d never have expected, i’m going to start teaching him to drive a standard.  not sure his little legs can reach the clutch, but it’s worth a shot.


Rockband: Nathaniel

what?  just us boys taking a nap.

what? just us boys taking a nap.

once again life got in the way of posting updates here, so here’s what will probably turn into a longer post covering the last week.

so now that i’m back to my regular work schedule i get to spend a lot less time with nathaniel as i would like.  the first couple weeks of his life when i got to hang out with him all day when he slept and i stared at him were a lot of fun.  now that he is awake for a larger part of the day, and that he makes some pretty funny expressions as his head is flopping around, i wish now is when i was able to hang out at home more.

on tuesday julia decided it was time to give nathaniel his first actual bath.  i guess it went as well as it could have gone.  nathaniel didn’t seem to like being in the water too much, but he didn’t give too many problems.  a little fussing, but nothing more than a typical diaper change i’d say.

wednesday night julia and i took a quick experiment – our first time leaving the baby with someone.  we had a wake to attend, which obviously is no place for a newborn (even though a few people i work with were surprised we weren’t bringing him – which is another example of the decline of polite society), so julia’s parents said they would take care of nathaniel for us while we were out.  the only issue we thought may arise is that julia is breast feeding, and if nathaniel was hungry we were pretty much screwed.  out comes the breast pump.  apparently, something we didn’t know, was that the first few times you pump you aren’t going to get an awful lot.  much like how breast feeding takes a little time to get used to, so goes the pumping.  we wish we knew this about a week earlier so we could have prepared better, but live and learn.

this doesn't feel right ...

this doesn't feel right ...

we didn’t plan on being out all that long, so as a backup plan, julia fed nathaniel for a while leading up to her parents getting to our house.  julia’s dad told us that if the baby started crying, his strategy for dealing with it was going out to run his errands and let julia’s mother handle it.  i laughed, since that sounds like something i’d say.

we were only gone for maybe an hour and a half, and nathaniel and pickles both behaved the entire time we were out.  as best as i can tell, pickles slept curled up on the couch with one of my in-laws and nathaniel either slept in the pack ‘n play or on one of them as well.  as julia and i were driving home we toyed with the idea of going out for something to eat, but figured why push our luck.  we hadn’t gotten a phone call with a hungry screaming baby yet, we’ll wait another week or two before we try to have a nice meal again.

friday night was another first for the baby, the first time we were taking him out of the house in a non-walk situation.  it was rosh hashanah and our family was gathering at my uncles house for dinner.  after this experience, julia and i are ready to take him to many more  family functions.  we walked through the door and everyone swarmed the baby (as is to be expected).  my father took the baby out of the carrier and walked him around introducing him to everyone.  when it was time for the meal, we brought the pack ‘n play out near-ish to the table so we could keep an eye on nathaniel as we ate.  he started to stir a little bit, i went to get up to check and check on him and my uncle told me to sit, he’d take care of it.  there were only two times when someone didn’t help us out – when nathaniel was hungry (shortly after we sat down for our meal, of course) and when he needed to be changed.  julia and i were loving this, because instead of the two of us being the only ones around to take care of our son, we had a house full of people who kept telling us to eat and they’d help out.

basically what i’m saying is, who wants to come live with us, pay some rent, and take care of our baby without getting paid for it?  i know, it’s a pretty sweet deal, right?

learning what to do for the national anthem during today's football games.

learning what to do for the national anthem during today's football games.

opening day

ready for our FOOTBALL!

ready for our FOOTBALL!

so it’s been a little while since i updated this site, don’t get angry, i’ve been very busy lately.  after my return to work this past week, i was also a groomsman in my cousins wedding, so i was driving back and forth from home to rye for things.  i’ll start with the return to work.

so the day i’ve been dreading since nathaniel was born, was the day i would have to go back and actually do my job again.  as bored as julia and i were the few weeks she was on bed rest, i still was enjoying my time at home with my wife before we had our little baby.  when he was finally born, i didn’t want to go back because i was enjoying spending time with my new son, and did not want to miss anything.  as anyone who has been around a newborn knows, every day brings something new, from picking up his head to rolling over to figuring out he can move his arms to push things away.  julia has been dreading my first day back because it would be the first time she’d be fully responsible for the baby.

so after the monday holiday, i went back to work on tuesday.  work is not what i want to focus on, so i’m done writing about my day.  it didn’t go nearly as bad at home as we both feared.  julia was texting me a bit in the morning, but nothing was really going on.  around noon i gave a call home to check in, pretty much julia and nathaniel were just up and feeding from a morning nap.  the day was going pretty good.  around 3:15 julia gave me a call that she was going to take nathaniel and pickles for a walk.  we had been going for walks for about a week at that point, but it was always one of us pushing the stroller and the other in control of the dog.  after wishing julia good luck, i hung up the phone to finish up at work.  she just did a quick walk, maybe 20 minutes, but everything went very well for her.  it’s the little things like that, which instill confidence in her that she can do more.  by today, she’s going on much longer walks with them, which is also helping her feel more and more like her old self.

i don't think i like the way you are looking at me ...

i don't think i like the way you are looking at me ...

wednesday i had the day off, so i was at home with the family again.  i’m enjoying being home now slightly more than the first week or so, because nathaniel is awake for more of the day.  during his awake time i’m able to play with him a little.  by play with him, i lay him down on his belly and try to keep the dog away from licking his diaper (yes, he’s a strange dog.  like i said – homeless man) while nathaniel picks his head up, looks around and then rolls over.  it’s also nice, because nathaniel is starting to focus on things now instead of sort of blindly looking around.

what did i end up doing wednesday?  it’s sort of a blur.  oh, that’s why.  9-9-09 = beatles day!  i spent much of the day either playing rock band: the beatles or listening to the newly remastered albums.  the stereo mixes sound terrific, anyone have the mono one?  i’d love to give a listen to those as well.  anyways, back to the baby.

thursday and friday i was working again, and julia continued getting used to being home with nathaniel and pickles.  i’m assuming she’s starting to settle into a routine because i have not been getting phone calls every 15 minutes about crisis after crisis.  truth be told, i’m pretty sure about 80% of the day is spent feeding the little bugger.  his normal feeding pattern seems to be as follows:

cry->eat->cry->get changed->cry->eat->eat->cry->eat->eat->eat->sleep for two hours->repeat

at least he mostly sleeps through the night, so it isn’t all terrible.

friday night i was in rye for the rehersal and rehersal dinner for my cousin’s wedding.  because of the baby, julia was not able to attend with me.  to help her out, and also so she didn’t have to stay home all day and all night, my mother went over and spent the night at my place with them.  saturday, when i was at the wedding, three of julia’s cousins came by to keep her company.  on sunday, i was finally able to spend a little time with my family again, teaching nathaniel the rules of football.  i’m not quite sure she understood them all, but my hope is by the end of the year he can fully grasp that if an offensive holding penalty is called in the endzone it results in a safety, not a loss of a down.  i think he’ll get there.

anyone want a raisin?

my boy becoming a man

my boy becoming a man

so two days ago as nathaniel is getting one of his many, many diaper changes, we notice his umbilical chord is looking a bit loose.  not quite sure what to do about it, we decide to just pretty much ignore it.

all day yesterday when he is getting changed it is looking more and more like it’s getting ready to drop off, but at the same time, there is a little bit of (for lack of a better term) goop coming out of his (soon to be) belly button.  then late last night the funny happened.

around midnight i’m in bed and julia goes to change and feed nathaniel.  out of nowhere i hear her shouting ‘ew! ew! ew!’ of course, i figure the worst and that mid diaper change nathaniel decided to pee all over the place (as he sometimes enjoys doing).  i get out of bed to see what’s going on, and to offer any help i can.  as it turns out, the umbilical chord is now hanging on by a thread and whatever was behind the dried up little piece is sort of goopy (again, lack of a better word).

that goop didn’t sit well with julia and caused her minor freak out.  ‘do we pull it off?’ she asked as she averted her eyes.  ‘nah, if it wants to come off, it’ll come off’ i replied as i turned around and went back to bed.  she finished the change, fed him for a bit and put him back to bed; all of which i missed because i was happily asleep in the other room.  once again, i sort of feel bad i get to sleep way more than julia, but at the same time apparently nature wants it this way.

when i woke up for good this morning julia was finishing up another feeding and it was time for another diaper change.  when the onesie came off, along with it came this tiny little raisin.  i tried to convince julia she should eat it, but apparently she knows what a dried umbilical chord looks like and refused.  well, i guess she didn’t refuse so much as she punched me in the arm and told me i was disgusting.

so with this, another tiny milestone is eclipsed in the life of nathaniel bell.  next up on the list – mario kart wii.

so we’re confused

it's a tough life sleeping all the time.

it's a tough life sleeping all the time.

so as any new (paranoid) parents will tell you, you spend a lot of time reading about babies.  during the pregnancy, you acquire many books that cover many different stages of the babies growth and development.  i’ll write up another post about what books we’ve found to be helpful, but now to get to my point.

there is a basic developmental pattern that your baby will follow.  of course it varies from child to child, but for the most part, each newborn will fit into the averages.  this covers everything from holding up their head to walking to beating his first final fantasy game.  the other day, julia and i noticed something that nathaniel was doing and decided to see where it fit on all of the charts.

every day, we’ve been giving nathaniel some tummy time, which is exactly what it sounds like.  we put him down on his stomach because he spends most of his time on his back (babies now sleep on their backs, although the recommendations seem to change every generation or two) so that he can start to work the other muscles in his body.  it was during this time that nathaniel did his new trick.

he rolled from his stomach to his back.

at first, we thought it was a fluke, so we put him back on his tummy, but no less than 30 seconds later he rolled himself back over.  since nathaniel is 14 days old, we thought we’d do a little research.  this is from one of our many, many texts on the subject –

“Your baby may be able to kick himself over, from his tummy to his back, as early as age 2 to 3 months.”

2 to 3 months!  so this brings us to our dilema, is nathaniel actually developing ahead of schedule or is this pure coincidence.

"the real reason he flips is because i push him!"

"the real reason he flips is because i push him!"

we of course had to try it out again (about 50 or so more times).  each time we put nathaniel on his little jungle mat play thing, he would roll himself from his front to his back.  sometimes he’d hold his head up and semi-look around for a little bit, sometimes he’d go right for the roll over.

this could be a real good sign for us, because i’m hoping the early roll overs will also mean early toilet training.  i think i’m going to start trying to teach him to use the toilet at about 3 months old and see how it goes.

this also could be a real bad sign for us because we’re going to have to worry about him dating when he’s in pre-school and voting when he’s in 5th grade.  as we all know, you just can’t trust those 5th grade voters.

oh, i also now know how my mother could never call me or my sister by our actual names, instead referring to us as each other for years.  i discovered this after i caught myself calling nathaniel ‘pickles’ for the fourth time yesterday.  at least i’ve heard julia do it too, so i don’t feel so bad.

in 30 minutes nathaniel will be on his 14th day

what?  i claim this baby as mine!

what? i claim this baby as mine!

if you would have told me a two weeks ago that nathaniel would be 14 days old tomorrow, i’d probably have agreed since i can do simple math.  if you told me that same thing 15 days ago (well, 16 days) i would have laughed in your face and then told julia and we both would have laughed until we remembered she had high blood pressure, was on bed rest, and we were both utterly bored and miserable (her more than me).  over the last two weeks, i have learned an awful lot about an awful lot of different things.

in no particular order –

→ nathaniel hates being on the changing table.  that, or he hates the feeling of a wet diaper.  either way, he can go from 0-to-scream in .5 seconds.

→there is no way to estimate how many diaper changes will be made in a day (let alone 5 minutes).  i swear this kid knows we’re about to change him and waits until the new diaper is on to finish going.

→no matter how recently he has eaten, nathaniel will always wait until the exact second julia sits down to eat her own food to decide he wants to eat more.

→i am able to sleep through him crying on the baby monitor.

→i am not able to sleep through julia telling me to wake up through the baby monitor.

→you never realize that your entire life turns into one big conversation about poop until you have a newborn (and also a dog i suppose).  for some reason, every diaper change gets its own commentary and report afterward.

→pickles will sleep all day long, but as soon as i pick up the baby and sit down, he will bring me a toy so i can play with him.

→during the day, some of the worst, best movies from my childhood are on tv so i can watch them.  ‘second sight’ and ‘if looks could kill’ being the two most recent.

i’m tired so i’m going to stop here for the night, but i’ll post some more tomorrow.

the first week home



so today marked the end of our first week home with nathaniel.  it pretty much went exactly how julia and i expected it to go, free meals from family dropping by and lots of naps.  everyone we spoke to told us that every time the baby fell asleep, we should go to sleep ourselves.  this would have been more possibly if our home wasn’t full of guests every day, but we managed to do alright for ourselves in the rest department.

the first night home was the worst for us.  we no longer had a nursing staff just a buzzer away and we were both a little nervous.  after putting nathaniel into his crib around 10 or 11 and after julia and i stood staring at him for a good 30-40 minutes we went to sleep.  around 1am the crying began.

we shot out of bed to go see what was wrong before we realized that we have no idea how to tell what his crying would mean.  after determining that his diaper was clean my usefulness ended and julia sat down to feed him.  as all of this is going on, pickles is flipping out in our bed room, because he, like us, is new to this whole baby crying thing.  as julia fed i sat with her and when nathaniel decided to pee, i was lucky enough to change the diaper.  after that, we went back to sleep.  around 4am the crying began.

the next time nathaniel woke up was because he had made decent use of his diaper.  i took the helm of the change, and when i finished, passed him along to julia for another snack.  this time, instead of sitting with her, i went back to bed to calm the puppy down.  the only way i can describe his behavior is sort of like a completely insane person walking down a sidewalk in NYC mumbling to himself and occasionally yelling and waving his arms about.  when pickles gets upset, yes, he is a homeless man.  julia then came back to bed.  around 7am the crying began.

"i think i want to ... poop"

"i think i want to ... poop"

this time julia must have taken care of whatever needed taking care of, because i don’t remember any of it.  i do remember semi-waking up sitting on the floor of the baby’s room talking to julia as she was feeding, so at least i know i was there.  more or less, the first night was as successful as it could have been.  since we are not only new to the baby thing, but also the diaper thing and the not getting sleep thing, there were really minimal complications.

pretty much every night this week has followed the same pattern.  nathaniel wakes up around 1 and 4 before finally waking up for the day around 7.  of course, i am mostly useless at this point since i am unable to produce milk from my breasts, so i am getting slightly better sleep than julia.  the funny thing about nathaniel, though, is that he is more content so stay asleep with a diaper full of poop, but if there is one tiny little sprinkle of urine he sounds like he’s being electrocuted while also being stabbed.  the cry is almost painful to listen to (i can’t wait until he starts teething).

we took nathaniel to the doctor for the first time on monday, where he performed his right of passage by peeing all of the table/scale.  for some reason, i had it in my head that the doctors appointment was at 3:45, so at about 2:30 i took pickles for a walk.  as i round the corner back to our house, julia is standing outside to inform me that the appointment is actually at 3 and we are now running late.  i gave a call to let them know we’d be a few minutes late as julia is getting nathaniel ready.  we grab the baby, the keys and the diaper bag and head on our way.  as we enter the doctors office and they ask us for the insurance card we realize that julia, in the rush, left her purse at home.  apparently it’s no big deal.  then they ask for the paperwork from the hospital which we have also decided to conveniently leave at home.  apparently it’s no big deal too.  the rest of the visit was fine (sans peeing) and our baby has continued his terrific bill of health.

after i drove back to the office the next morning to get them copies of the paperwork and insurance card julia and i decided to take nathaniel on his first walk.  this was also the first time we got to use our stroller, and we love it.  nathaniel was good, he basically just slept (we were afraid he’d wake up and need to be changed at the farthest point from our home) and a few of our neighbors saw him for the first time as we came back up our street.  they all agree with us that this is a pretty cute baby.

that pretty much fills out the first week home.  lots of visitors.  lots of people bringing us take out for dinner (julia is now in love with bobby flay’s burger place in the bergen town center).  lots of us trying to sneak 45 minutes of sleep between feedings and changings.  julia and i have become a lot more comfortable with everything too.  julia is now a whiz at breast feeding and i’ve gotten pretty good at changing diapers half asleep and then going back to bed as julia stays up feeding.  in a few more weeks i guess i’ll be able to help feed him too, but for now, i’m going to have to keep stealing as much sleep as i can.

i will now leave you with a picture of a hungry nathaniel failing at getting milk from my nose.

he's also attempted this on my ear, chin and lip.

he's also attempted this on my ear, chin and lip.