M. Giant's
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Monday, December 27, 2004  

Baby’s First Christmas

M. Tiny’s got a new skill!

No, it’s not "trying to step in the poopy diaper during changes." M. Tiny mastered "stepping in the poopy diaper during changes" pretty early, and Trash and I quickly learned what we need to do to put the "trying" into that particular game. He tries a little harder every day, of course.

No, the skill he’s working on now is one that the book says he’s about ready for: using a rattle.

I’m still reading the baby book. Specifically, the chapter about the Month Three (which is where he is now, in case you’re not keeping track) talks about rattles. So I figured we’d give it a try. While Trash had him on the changing table the other night, I dug in one of the bins given to us by my sisters DeBitch the Elder and DeBitch the Younger, and found a rattle (thank you to whomever gave that to us, by the way, because we certainly haven’t bought any).

I stuck the rattle in his right hand and he took to it right away. He held onto it firmly, wielding it like a scepter of power and looking at us quite seriously. He would have been pretty intimidating if he hadn’t also been a) trying to step in his poopy diaper, and b) waving a scepter of power that was pink and glittery. "You go, girl," I told him, until Trash made me find a different one.

So now the rattle (a starfish-shaped rattle, as opposed to his previous favorite toy, a pink foot with poo on it) is to him what Half-Life 2 would be to me if I had the time to install it on my computer. He holds it, he waves it, he looks at it. And I now see why they make those things so flimsy, because he also clubs himself in the face with it occasionally and if it weighed ten pounds he’d probably be a lot less cute after a couple of hours.

As M. Tiny grows and learns, I sometimes think about his former neighbors in the NICU .There was the serious-looking boy across the hall, who was born earlier than M. Tiny and had fought off a smorgasbord of life-threatening infections in his brief existence. His mom talked to us in the break room about the ins and outs of the ward; which nurses were the best and how to switch to a room with a window when one becomes available. That woman was there all day, every day, keeping a positive attitude and a sense of humor in the face of futile feeding attempts and 72-hour crying jags (the baby’s). She was sort of our hero. When her son was released at 75 days of age (M. Tiny’s age as of yesterday, by the way), she had the look of someone who’s so thrilled to have been sprung from prison that she’s not entirely sure what she’ s going to do now that she’s out. I still don’t know why we didn’t snatch up her windowed room when she left.

There was the little girl a couple of rooms away, who seemed as healthy as M. Tiny does now. And also bigger. We couldn’t see anything wrong with her. The nurses would frequently put her in her baby chair and set her in the doorway to her room, facing out into the hallway so she could observe all of the comings and goings. Everyone said hi to her by name when they went by. We never saw anyone in her room with her but nurses and volunteers who would hold her and read to her. Then one day Trash overheard part of a conversation between one of the nurses and someone who appeared to be this girl’s mother. A mother who didn’t seem ready to bring her daughter home just yet, for whatever reason. We didn’t know anything about the baby girl’s past, or what kind of trauma she and her mother had been through before we arrived, so we didn’t judge. We just knew that the baby spent part of every day peacefully watching over the hallway like a little, bald Buddha. Sometimes we’d speculate on her future; as other babies came and went, she’d stick around in the NICU indefinitely, learn to walk, talk, and eventually draw blood samples as the nurses home-schooled her right there in the ward. At age eight she’d be a fully-licensed RN, a nurse-practitioner by ten, and one of the world’s leading neonatalogists before her bat-mitzvah. And why shouldn’t she stick around? She had a room with a window, after all. When Trash called the ward last month to get some nurses’ last names so we could send them thank-you cards, I was disappointed that she didn’t ask if that little girl was still there, and whether she’d learned to read an EKG yet.

We didn’t really know anything about any of the other patients. The NICU is really nice, with private rooms featuring sliding glass doors and opaque curtains. And most patients were in and out over a few days, which wasn’t enough time to make an impression on us as we walked by their rooms, other than the glow of an occasional bili-light. And of course I have no idea what might have been going on in the other corners of the ward.

All I know is that as M. Tiny’s 75th day on Earth passed with him safe in our home, I realized how lucky we were to have him home for Christmas. We couldn’t have asked for anything better under the tree. Especially because he loves to stare up at the lights through the branches.

He’s been there a while, though. Now that I think of it, I probably shouldn’t have included the rattle in the package I wrapped him up in. Less incentive to bust his way out, you know.

Today’s best search phrase: "Good crazy giant with plenty of plot." If you want plot you came to the wrong place.

posted by M. Giant 11:31 PM 4 comments


My husband's daughter was born at 27 weeks, back in the dark ages of October 1986. He still cries when he talks of the miracle of her birth and survival - weighing in at a whopping 2.5 lbs and on the ventilator for 3 weeks. She was 2 months old before she was sent home in loving papa's arms. Wendy's an 18-year-old college freshman with more smarts than what's good for her (though our household budget REALLY appreciates all the scholarships she earned) who is resigned to the fact that every Christmas her daddy will retell the story of her birth and how Daddy prayed that if his daughter came home he never ever needed another Christmas gift again...Love to you and your family from me & mine - happy holidays and a brand new baby-story filled year.

By Blogger Michelle, at December 28, 2004 at 6:19 AM  

No pictures???

I was sooo hoping to see pictures!!!

Please, please, please...post pictures!

By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 28, 2004 at 7:38 AM  

One of the only things (other than the kitty) that held the 18 month old's interest during Christmas was the package that had a rattly thing as part of the bow.
Make of that what you will.

By Blogger parcequilfaut, at December 28, 2004 at 11:36 PM  

The day we got to bring our oldest son home from the NICU still rates as Best. Day. Ever. I swear my face hurt the next day from smiling so much. (Co-Best Day Ever goes to when we brought son #2 home, but he didn't have to stay in the NICU.)

PS: Just wait until M Tiny learns the flip-and-crawl-away-as-fast-as-possible move during diaper changes. My 9 month old can crawl almost as fast as the speed of light and will practically be in another room before I can catch him. Fun times.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 31, 2004 at 10:00 AM  

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