kaden's first blog. our first kid. it's an entreprenurial adventure.

Wednesday, March 30

A model baby

Last night he seemed to hit a point where he now has enough weight to sleep a little longer than the on-the-dot two hours mark he was pacing at previously. Seriously, he was so accurate you could bake a rhubarb pie to it.

Anyway, Megan should be weighing him today at her newborn group to find what weight class he just entered that allowed for this newfound sleep ability. But, even without that data I should be able to properly model his growth at this point, right?

Using the forecasting that would be typical for any other start-up, you can figure that based on his weight trends he could be. But what trend do you model against? All of the below could be plausible based on his last few weigh-ins:

- 9 lbs 12oz (avg. of 1 lbs per weeks) aka organic growth
- 9 lbs 8oz (avg if staying 25% percentile in growth) aka competitive analysis
- 10 lbs (avg. body mass increase of 11.1% per week) aka "hockey puck"

Click below for how these extrapolations would play out over a year.

Using this same logic.. I will now infer from the behavior of the last few days that a brilliant night of sleep (See: In search of sleep) leads to a stuffy nose, which in turn leads to two miserable evenings of virtually no sleep as Kaden tries to scream the boogers out of his nose. I will staunchly and stubbornly maintain this belief until Kaden is able to manage two nights of sleep in a row.

Monday, March 28

In search of sleep

(new favorite anti-fussy device, the bouncy seat David R. gave us, thx!)

Every Friday I give Megan a break and she gets to sleep in our bed, while Kaden and I sleep in his room. Usually I still get enough sleep to function, and it's an important break for Megan. Friday before last was a breeze, he slept next to me in his car seat, bottle-fed easily, and we had a great evening. Megan was refreshed in the morning and it made for great start to the weekend.

This last Friday, however, was a nightmare.

Kaden would have none of his chivalrous father getting away with a little sleep on the job. I still don't understand how this kid, who according to most books is supposed to be sleeping sixteen hours a day, can stay awake for so many hours straight. I think he slept a total of an hour the entire evening, and they were in such small bursts I had no chance to actually fall asleep with him.

By Saturday afternoon I was a bleary-eyed mess determined to solve this once and for all. I've been pushed far enough. I read the passages on sleep in every book we have, read online articles, and finally watched the Happiest Baby on the Block DVD that we've had sitting on our table for a couple months.

And you know what? It worked. Everyone that tells you to just be a "natural parent" and respond to your child is full of it. Despite the incredibly cheesy nature of the Happiest Baby DVD (and the social pressure implied in the title) it was actually helpful. Mostly it just reinforced our thoughts on "re-creating the womb," which made us much more confident and persistent in the things we thought might be right.

He slept for two hours straight last night without a peep. That's his longest stretch since he's been born. And he had three other great one hour stretches. Enough said. I feel like a million dollars today.

Saturday, March 26

If there was any question about how myopically kid-focused your life becomes in the "fourth trimester" (ie first three months) - it leads to almost conversations like below. Thankfully Megan picked up the phone because when she recounted it to me I reacted something like this.

Unfamiliar caller: "Hello. You have a turkey."

Nabeel: "I have a what!"

Unfamiliar caller: "You have a turkey."

Nabeel: "I resent that derogatory comment, our child is doing a great job. Did you see how much he grew last week?"

Unfamiliar caller: "What?"

Nabeel: "What?"

Unfamiliar caller: "This is from Poultry Farms, you have a turkey."


Nabeel: "Oh. Um, it would seem you have the wrong number."

Poultry Farms delivers? Who knew.

Kaden's language, circa week 5

It is easy to forget what his noises might mean in the midst of the hazy fog of early parenting, so it's worthwhile to record what he means when he talks to us. Since Kaden is not quite to smiling age, all of his language is basically expressing dissatisfaction. It is certainly a little grinding that his only communication is negative, but on the flip side any time he is not making noise feels like a triumph. Also, any such noise can be temporarily halted by swaying him up and down or jiggling him.

Whining - this is kind of a "pre-cry" sound, signaling an impending cry if the situation is not remedied. This situation is:
  • I have gas (you have 2-4 mins to fix this before escalation)
  • I am hungry (you have 15-30 seconds)
  • I am unhappy with the suction in my nose, or being flooded with saline drops
Grunting - just popped up recently, Grunting is usually employed when he is unhappy with something other than gas or being very hungry. While Whining sounds more like a need, Grunting comes off more like a demand. Such demands include:
  • I can't breathe. (AKA stuffy nose, see above suction & saline for requisite next step)
  • You are moving me, and I was comfortable
  • I can't kick my legs. (Usually due to him pulling his legs out of the feet on a onesie and trapping them in his crotch. Because of this foot issue we now favor "gowns," which I would prefer to be called "manly robes.")
  • You did a pre-mature swaddle maneuver while I was still too awake to be mummified.
  • Hold my hands.
  • I'm feeling unloved and need to be held.
  • I'm feeling unloved and bored, so I need to be carried around and entertained.
  • I am bored again with whatever was previously entertaining me (walking, mobile, geometric patterns, etc).
  • Stop/Start singing
  • Lastly, the super-bonus grunt he started this week is that Kaden grunts loudly a couple of times right before he is done nursing. (Note to precocious newborn readers: grunting into your mother's breast is not the way to endear yourself to your mother)
Screaming - compared to the news in other Dad boot camps, Kaden cries relatively little. Perhaps a couple times a day does he gets into a full roar. These are generally caused by gas, or if his internal feeding timer has gone past about 90 seconds from his first squeak or grunt. Other things Kaden says by screaming:
  • I am naked.
  • I am naked and wet.
  • I am naked, wet, have soap on me, and people keep moving all my parts in different directions.
Interesting thing missing from this list are diapers being wet. He can pee all over his face, in his pants, leaking onto his outfit until he has a huge stain that probably resembles the Elvis or the Virgin Mary and he seems perfectly comfortable to sit in it until we finally get up enough energy to change him.

Thursday, March 24

About a pound a week

Kaden turned one month old yesterday, and he has gained - get this - 2lbs in the last two weeks! This is weight gain that would actually cause a full grown college girl some concern. For comparison, a typical baby gains 5-7 ounces a week, and he's been gaining 16 ounces a week for the last two weeks straight. His growth is fast enough it has actually moved him up from the 10th percentile in weight up to the 25th percentile.

I'm actually not sure how abnormal a growth spurt like this is. But I will assume good news, and the only action taken will be Megan keeping an eye on his bullying tendencies around the other newborns now that he's bulking up. I don't think he's actually noticed there are other babies yet, but it could happen when you least suspect it.

(click to zoom)

And yes, I do think that parents who overly evaluate their children's every achievement (including involuntary one's like newborn weight gain) are silly and should be beat about the head with a measuring stick. But
a) I'm having fun, and
b) charting and modeling is my brains' way of making sense of any new startup, even if not used for grading.

So the charting will indeed continue, but much like horoscopes, for entertainment purposes only.

Monday, March 21

Kaden loves grunting. I'm convinced it is because he is a little self conscious of being a slightly smaller, premature baby and he thinks it makes him sound manly. He squeezes his face together and does a constipated Grrrr. Still not entirely sure what it means.

His signals are changing rapidly enough that it's hard to establish a pattern of exactly what he is trying to say. First, he was kind of squeaking when he needed people, then he moved on to to these grunts right about the same time he had a stuffy nose. Based on the timing we assumed it meant "Hey, I have a stuffy nose. And since I'm an obligate nose breather this grunt is trying to tell you I feel like I'm suffocating."

But, now the stuffy nose has subsided, and the grunting continues, largely replacing the squeaking. So apparently what he meant was, "I just figured out a whole new noise that I am fond of using to tell you I need something."

An example of how this rapidly changing communication method can be confusing is how we understand he is hungry. At first, there was the aforementioned "squeaking," as well as smacking his lips and beating himself about the head (trying to get his hand in his mouth I presume). That's your pre-warning that in 60-90 seconds he will cry if we do not present milk.

This weekend, however, the "cue" period unceremoniously went away. On Saturday Kaden was fast asleep on my shoulder, not a peep, when he just suddenly up and started wailing in my ear. Not so much an "I'm hungry" wail, but more of an "remove me from this boiling oil" wail. Impossible to figure out if this was because he was sick (no temp), clogged nose (nothing in the aspirator), or just impatient (yup).

This poses a problem to my natural way of dealing with a new start-up. I am compelled to understand this new adventure by establishing my own set of methodologies, practices, and beliefs that surround properly managing a baby. However, every time I seem to have been able to conduct the proper double-blind study to ensure that my method is correct, he up and grows out of it.


Projectile poop

Despite our best efforts to cover his little pee-machine with a towel when he is being changed, Kaden finds ways to time it so he can hit both his parents faces and his own with regularity.

But that is so typical for babies, and our Kaden is clearly setting a higher standard. Bored with urine sports, he actually managed to projectile poop onto my pants about a foot away from the changing table. I had naively placed the diaper only underneath his body while I was cleaning, believing oh so falsely that poop obeyed the laws of gravity.

He looked very triumphant.

Saturday, March 19

kaden is due!

Kaden's due date was Friday, so it seems fitting to post a little slideshow of what Kaden has been up to in his three week head start.

Thursday, March 17

quick update. I don't care how many times you do it, shooting drops of saline up a baby's nose until he seems like he is choking and drowning is not natural. But, as directed, it worked. After what seemed like pouring a liter or two of saline to clear his nostrils over the course of a day, Kaden's nose started clearing up. And once we found out about this amazing gas-killing juice (thanks Gen!), Kaden slept very well last night. I'm pretty sure he was just as exhausted as we were from not sleeping for two nights (& days) straight.

The positive of all that being sick was that he seemed to have finally gotten desperate enough to use the pacifier again. Although, he does now know the difference and clearly eschews the little faux nipple for the real thing when he's actually hungry.

Rocking out with the kid

I must admit one of my fears of fatherhood is the oncoming dearth of being able to listen to music I actually enjoy. Just because I had a kid three weeks ago does not mean I'd like to stop listening to Radiohead, Iron & Wine, or Thievery Corporation.

I know They Might Be Giants made a kids CD which seems to me exactly as immature as any of their other CDs. Thing is I was never really fond of them (that hasn't stopped them from planning a second kids CD).

But today in the Washington Post (via Daddy Types) I read about an awesome local show in Washington DC called Pancake Mountain. All you DC friends and family must check it out, it's apparently on channel 6 or 10 or something. It's a kids show, but features the likes of The Scissor Sisters, Thievery Corporation, and Arcade Fire performing (at the 9:30 club no less!). Checking out the clips on their website it looks incredibly interesting for both parent and child.

It will be some time before Kaden will be enjoying this type of fare, but anything I can find should help. If anyone else has cool music or video suggestions for all ages, toss them in!

Tuesday, March 15

Brief history of the pacifier

fill me!

Megan and I started out trying to not use a pacifier with Kaden. Visions of Kaden crying when his first grade teacher tried to take out his pacifier out made us shy away from using one. I admit, chances are slim this would occur, but we just figured no pacifier - no problem.

That lasted about a week before we caved. Second only to his desire to be still in the womb was his desire to suck 24 hours a day. So we used the pacifier, but tried to sparingly. It was wonderful.

Then, somewhere late last week his quickly evolving brain decided it knew the difference between a pacfier and a nipple, and clearly had a favorite. Pacifier is out. And now he hasn't slept in two nights because he's got a stuffy nose, and all I can do is try and coax him into please taking the pacifier and going to sleep.

So, a brief review:
1) nah, we'd rather not use it
2) okay okay... I guess a little can't hurt
3) more more more

I have a feeling a lot of things are going to exhibit this pattern.

Saturday, March 12

For those not yet with children, let me briefly sum up every single book and DVD on how to soothe a newborn and make him happy.

1) Recreate the womb.

Yup, that's it. Kaden spent 36.5 weeks in the womb, and has 2 weeks outside (roughly 5.5%). My guess is that for at least his first nine months he will be enthralled with anything that reminds him of what it was like in the wonderful beginnings. Case in point, does Kaden look uncomfortable in this strange sling below? Well he isn't, he actually falls asleep in approximately three seconds every time I put him in it becuase it curls him up (like the womb), he can hear my speaking through my chest (like the womb), and it holds him tight to my body movements (like.. well, you get it).

Kaden's feeding schedule - first two weeks

My cousin Maha put it well when she emailed me lately and said, "don't even think about sleeping until the baby is 13 pounds."

(click to zoom)

To get a sense of it, take a look at 3am.

Thursday, March 10

Fear of the unknown

It's so obvious who is in charge of our daily schedules that we've taken to calling Kaden, "our little dictator." The most obvious effect is of course on our sleeping habits.

I don't care how many times you are told about this, it's always going to be surprising. This is absolutely not the same as college test all-nighters, precisely because in those cases you had both a predictability about how long you were going to be awake and control over when you would finally sleep.

The agony with the sleep schedules is similar to the problem with child birth. It was not the intensity but the unknown duration that kills you. It's the utter lack of control over what is going to happen next. Like running a marathon where you have no idea how long it is going to be, we have no idea how long he'll be awake, or how long he will sleep. To his credit, he doesn't know much about his schedule either, and he seems to manage it pretty well. I can't imagine what it must be like with a difficult child, because up to now he's been incredibly well mannered and easy.

Megan was breastfeeding the other day and had closed her eyes in a vain attempt to rest for a few minutes while he did the work. When you're basically spending 40% of your waking hours breastfeeding, it can get a little tiresome. Kaden must have also dosed off and had a bad dream or something because he reared back and let out a huge yelp. This of course had the immediate effect of startling the bejeezus out of Megan, and also cause an immediate wave of guilt that perhaps she has somehow drowned him in her milk, smothered him, or some such equally unlikely event.

Anyway, I'm not sure when we will adjust to this newfound "uncertainty" about life that was brought on by the little one. But my guess is somewhere around retirement we'll say we've finally adjusted.

Sunday, March 6

bill kung and kaden get to know each other

teta's first cuddle with her grandson

Grandpa Hyatt has a first visit.

Kaden starts his second week and he's already a dancing machine. Can I get a pursed lips, woop woop!

All this excitement has both boys wanting a good nap.

Kaden has his first visit with grandma Leesie.

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