(I’ll try to spare bad puns like “Number 2” or “Part doo-doo”)
As magical as those first few days were with our new baby my parents visiting from Indiana, they didn’t go as smoothly as we would have liked either. Despite attending the breast-feeding class, she still couldn’t get him to latch on properly. I guess there is no way to teach an infant, but I couldn’t help thinking, “How could it be this difficult, isn’t that the most natural thing a baby can do? In fact, it is basically the ONLY thing a baby has to do!” He never did get the hang of it, so poor Pooneh ended up pumping her breast milk and then feeding it to him with a bottle for the next six months.
For the ride home, I brought out our overnight bags and flowers to the car, then brought Kaveh and fastened him into his new car seat. On the way home, Pooneh reached back and noticed that the car seat was too loose. She started freaking out and made me pull over to fix it. “This was the one thing I asked you to do and you couldn’t even figure out how to put in a car seat correctly! How could you be so careless with our baby’s life?!” She went on to say that I should have taken it to a police inspection site so they could certify that it was installed correctly. Guess where I spent the next morning?
The next several days were pretty brutal, and days stretched into months before I finally caught up on my sleep. I’ve been through internship and residency, so I am used to getting woken up at all hours of the night, but at least I would get a couple days of rest between overnight shifts. I did my best, but after a week or so of this, my body began to rebel. I could hear him crying, but I incorporated his cries into my dreams. One time I swore that I actually got out of bed, picked him up, cradled him endearingly in my arms, and placed the bottle to his hungry lips. But then I suddenly heard her gasp and jump out of bed in frustration, “Can’t you offer to get up and feed him at some point during the night to give me a break?” I honestly and sincerely replied, “At least I dreamed I got up to feed him. That must count for something!” Any humor buried within that comment was lost on her.
I was very good about playing with him almost every waking minute that I was home from work. I would move his arms and legs up and down for exercise, caress his cheeks, put him on my shoulders and let him eat and pull my hair, practice sitting up with him, taking him for walks in the stroller, and on and on. But on one unfortunate evening, I couldn’t get him to stop crying despite my best efforts. I made sure his diaper was cleaned, held him and rocked him and fed him his bottle, walked up and down the hallway, tried getting him to laugh with my weird sound effects and exaggerated expressions—nothing worked. Pooneh was busy making dinner so I didn’t want to bother her. Then a light bulb went off in my head when I remembered how much he loves to sit on my shoulders. Surely that would work, so up he went! I tried doing whatever I could to distract him like singing loudly and walking in circles around the room and clapping his hands. It wasn’t working so I trotted toward his colorful bedroom when I suddenly heard a loud thud. I wasn’t paying attention and whacked his poor forehead on the top of the doorway! He went silent for a second, but then started whaling at the top of his lungs like never before. Pooneh yelled from downstairs, “Oh my God, what is going on up there, what was that sound?!” My head exploded with a deranged sense of fear and dread. I hoped to God that she didn’t think I intentionally hurt him because I got fed up with his crying. I explained what happened and basically told her that I wasn’t fit to have kids because I was such a complete idiot. She calmly took him into her arms and after a few tender lullabies, he finally calmed down and fell asleep. It turned out that he just wanted his mommy after all.
Waking up in the morning next to Kaveh in his basinet was the cutest thing you could possibly imagine. We couldn’t see his body from our bed and couldn’t hear him because he was generally such a tranquil baby, but we knew he was awake because his legs and feet would stick straight up in the air. He would just hold them up there and occasionally give them a little wiggle. Once in a while he would let out a cute little squeak or coo, but that was about it. After about two months of this morning entertainment he began to outgrow his basinet, so we felt it was time that he moved out of our room and into his crib. On weekends that Pooneh had to work, she didn’t want him left alone in his room, so she would bring him in to sleep next to me on our bed in the morning. I remember staring at his little face and watched him jiggle for a while until I fell asleep again. Somehow I don’t think that was what Pooneh had in mind. When I rolled over, I must have unknowingly tugged the blanket from under him and spun him off the bed because I heard a thud as he hit the floor and began crying his eyes out! Thankfully he landed on a carpeted floor and calmed down pretty quickly after I picked him up and consoled him. I figured I hadn’t caused any brain damage or anything, but if babies could speak, his first words would be “What the F#&K, Dad!”
Please stay tuned for my next post: A birthday, A wedding, and a heart attack!