No longer a neonate!

Alina and I completed our progression photos on her due date, March 26. Happy one month, Alina!  You managed to stay healthy through the end of “respiratory season,” spring has finally arrived, you seem to have mastered the art of breastfeeding, and you gained 2 pounds, 5 oz over your birth weight.  Today’s stats: 9 lbs, 4 oz = 50 percentile; 21.75 in long = 78 percentile; 37.25 cm head circumference = 72 percentile.  And with that, it’s official: Alina has grown out of newborn clothes and into 0-3 months.  It took Peter 5 months to achieve that milestone.  Alina may end up being brainy like Peter, but I don’t think she is going to be short like Peter. Alina’s lovely brown locks have received a lot of positive attention from friends and neighbors, but her skin currently leaves much to be desired, unfortunately.  Peter never had any birth marks or neonatal skin issues, but poor Alina now has a pretty bad case of baby acne in addition to the Mongolian spots on her back.  The only consolation is that the milia she had at birth finally cleared up around the time the acne started erupting.  I’m blaming the Makena I took during pregnancy for the milia and acne (while acknowledging that temporary superficial skin lesions are certainly preferable to any amount of time in the NICU).  The acne on her forehead seems to be getting better now (and has given way to acne on her cheeks), but the pediatrician predicted that it will take another 3 weeks for the acne to clear.  Hopefully, her 2-month photos will be cuter than her 1-month photos.  In retrospect, I think Peter looked a bit awkward at 1 month adjusted even without baby acne.  This seems to be the “awkward phase” of infancy. DSC00671 (2)

The good news is that red filters and Photoshop can hide many sins. DSC00671

Alina’s sleep habits have been inconsistent, but I do think we have sorted out daytime from nighttime.  She stays awake for periods of a couple hours during the day, and she is usually only awake for an hour in the middle of the night if she stays awake after feedings at all.  She gets fussy when she has gas or is overtired.  She does well with her tummy time, looking around for 5-15 minutes before deciding that she’s had enough and wants to be scooped up.  When I prop up her torso on a pillow for tummy time, she can roll herself over.  I can tell that her vision is improving; she enjoys looking at faces, lights, and high-contrast images the way Peter did a couple weeks before he started smiling socially.  Alina nurses expeditiously and enjoys bottles equally well.  I have been slightly overproducing, saving at least 4 oz of breastmilk daily.  The upside is that my freezer stash is growing at a good rate, but the downside is that a lot of milk ends up on my clothes, on Alina’s clothes, even squirting out a few inches when I have a let-down and Alina pulls off the breast for fear of drowning.  I didn’t have a use for breast pads when I pumped for Peter, but now I’m glad that I kept the breast pads that I got right after he was born. Alina has travelled as far as Billerica, and I’m hoping that she enjoyed the drive because it will become a daily routine in 4 weeks.  I have travelled as far as Hartford without Alina, and she and Son survived without me.  I therefore have to believe that she will do just fine with her day care provider when I return to work.  I have been taking Alina on walks when the weather is warm.  We hit 70 degrees for the first time yesterday, and I walked the Rail Trail with Alina.  Parts of it were still treacherously icy, but overall, it was just a relief to feel like spring is finally here.  I noticed the flower bulbs popping up last weekend, and the buds on the trees are almost ready to burst open.  Worcester’s season snowfall total is now 119.7 inches, just 0.4 inches shy of the previous record.  I really thought that we were going to set a new record, but I think it’s time to call quits now: we’ve had enough snow for one year!  Actually, we’ve had enough snow for two years; the average annual snowfall is only 62.9 inches.

DSC00661

Peter seems to be enjoying big brotherhood.  He takes it upon himself to shove Alina’s pacifier back in her mouth when it falls out.  (Alina seems grateful that he does this in an expeditious manner.)  He finally decided that sleeping in his own bed is not such a bad thing.  (No one can start crying in your ear in the middle of the night if you have a bed to yourself.)  He is absolutely fascinated by my breast pump.  (Once again demonstrating his proclivity for mechanical engineering.)  He likes to give Alina sandwich hugs with me.  (He then invites Son to take a bite out of our sandwich.)  And even though Alina is still a boring, immobile, unsocial baby, he is happy to share his toys and blanket with her as well as read books and sing songs to her.  Some of our new rules are hard to swallow (e.g., don’t drop toys near your sister’s head; don’t jump on the bed when your sister is lying on it; wash your hands after digging in the dirt and before touching your sister), but I guess this is just good preparation for kindergarten, where rules and directions are non-negotiable. DSC00658

I alluded to Son’s job interviews in my last two posts.  Now it’s official: Son was fortunate to receive two job offers but is taking a position at Johnson Matthey in Devens with the generic pharmaceuticals chemistry team.  I’m as excited about the new job as he is; it was a long-awaited career move that will hopefully provide more job security and upward mobility in the future.  And happily, both of us managed to keep our jobs away from the expensive housing and aggravating traffic of the Boston area.

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