Rush-That-Speaks (rushthatspeaks) wrote,

a Fox update

Fox is eight weeks old, or will be in about seven hours.

We are still pursuing co-lactation; for those of you who might be interested in trying it, a useful key phrase for both doctors and Google is "the Newman-Goldfarb protocol". A more detailed entry on this whole saga eventually.

I'm trying to switch pronoun usage for Fox to they because I realized that using he does make a difference in my thought patterns, and it's a difference I don't want. I am sure they'll tell me a pronoun preference eventually, but until then, I think, neutral. Everybody else can use whatever feels reasonable.

Fox continues to be in the ninetieth percentile in weight, length, and head circumference, and it continues to be healthy weight with good muscle tone and no excess fat or blood sugar issues. At the one-month checkup they were heading for twelve pounds, and I suspect that by now they are pushing fourteen. This means they have passed our smaller cat, and are about equal to our larger cat.*

Possibly due to their size, they still sleep for longer quantities of time than expected for their age. They are also way, way, way more tied to light for their sleep cycle than I would have thought relevant for a long time yet. And they're very good at soothing themself back to sleep, a habit picked up during their initial week in the NICU. What this means is that they usually sleep at least six hours consecutively, and as they get larger it is turning into more like seven or eight. As I write this I am expecting them to wake anytime, as they've been down since six-thirty pm. When they do wake, the problem will be keeping them awake long enough to get the food down them.

On the other hand, they will be up at six am sharp, and then awake a lot of the day. We know this is tied to light because they sleep later the later the sun comes up, so after the solstice it'll start getting earlier again, sigh.

They began to take visible interest in an object at about two weeks old-- our cousin L. bought them a mobile (for 0-5 months, with several degrees of Appropriate Visual Stimulation to swap in), which is hung over the crib, and they are absolutely enthralled by it and have been since it was hung. They kick their legs when they want it to move, which actually works because they can get enough vibration going in the air to make it shiver, and putting them down under it can break them directly from purple-in-the-face angry-crying to smiling fascination. They're also fascinated by all light sources, anything hung from a ceiling, and anything in black-and-white or strong colors with strong lines and defined shapes-- I have a dress that's a Mondrian, and they very clearly look at it.

They smile at the mobile, and have been smiling at people for about three weeks now. They began with smiling at Ruth and now also smile at me. It is definitely a real expression, because if you return it they will smile wider, and if you don't they will stop smiling. It turned up earlier than I thought likely, but honestly every physical thing about them has been on a faster time table than I expected, so I don't even know anymore. I mean, at this point, though they can't stop their head from tipping to either side, they can keep it from tipping forward or backward when they're sitting up basically indefinitely, which seems fast to me.

It is apparently a law of nature that when it comes time to sing to a baby, every remotely appropriate song drops out of one's head, leaving only early Velvet Underground, mid-period Nine Inch Nails, and the complete oeuvre of X-Ray Spex. The songs of my own childhood do not help much, as my father's taste in music is eccentric and encompassed such sadly-never-to-be-forgotten things as Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Billie Jay and the Americans**, and the Michael Jackson Heal the World album. I spent a while falling back on Leonard Cohen, but that's a touch depressing of late, so now it's ballads and the hope that I can remember some of the less murder-y ones by the time Fox develops language comprehension skills. All of the ones I actually had memorized are just murder-y as anything.

Ruth and I are both tired, of course, but [personal profile] rax is around a fair bit, and both R's mother and [personal profile] nineweaving come by once a week and do some grandmothering. The cats have gone from hating the entire situation to-- so, there's this phase of child development that Ruth has been using as a joke about the cats for years now, which is 'uses adults as furniture'. Rafe has basically always assumed we are furniture, and has now gone back to using us as such, although he does appear to have got it through his head that he is not to walk on the baby. Lucien has gone from the belief that we acquired the baby specifically and solely to persecute him to being willing to head-butt the baby gently and sit within a couple of inches of them, and I appreciate this, as it was an obvious condescension in the direction of compromise on the part of the cat. You could see him deigning to condescend, it was very impressive.

So, still an easy baby. Doesn't cry or even fuss all that much. Is doing horrid things to my back unintentionally because of all the lifting. Is nowhere near as appalling to be around as other people's babies can be.

I will be very grateful when the next check-up goes by, as at that one they will be old enough to have their shots.

* Lucien, our larger cat, spent most of his life somewhere in the sixteen-to-eighteen pound range, and then due to serious medical issues early in 2016 dropped to seven pounds, which was terrifying for everybody; according to his most recent check-up, though, he is about fourteen pounds at the moment, a little skinny for him but nowhere near the previous starving-to-death. If he and Fox both keep gaining weight they may stay in sync for some while.

The smaller cat has never been under twelve pounds, and I guess now we are those people with the giant cats and the giant baby?? It was not intentional...

** If you don't know Billie Jay and the Americans, good for you; their biggest hit was a cover of 'Tonight' from West Side Story, if that tells you anything, and they also did the worst 'Some Enchanted Evening' I've ever heard, all the while, for some reason, insisting on calling themselves a rock group. They make Olivia Newton John look like Pantera.

Yes, my father also plays Olivia Newton John.

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You almost make me wish I hadn't skipped motherhood. Thank you for sharing them with us.
Fox is a joy! I love their little ecstasies of mobile-worship, kicking and babbling and smiling, in a bunting like a mermaid's tail. Their downy hair sticks straight up like a cockatoo's, and is a soft autumnal red.

As for songs, let's see: I've done "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off" and "The William Tell Overture" and recitations from Shakespeare, and I'm thinking of trying out "Oh By Jingo."

My mother used to sing us the clean parts of "Barnacle Bill the Sailor." It was...short.

My parents sang us a lot of drinking songs -- "Show Me the Way to Go Home," the Whiffenpoof song, and something about "Glorious, glorious, one keg of beer for the four of us, glory be to God that there are no more of us, for the four of us can drink it all alone." Not to mention bits of "If you have a daughter, bounce her on your knee," which I cannot see being a favorite these days despite catchiness. (Even then, my brother thought he ought to be bounced on the knee too, and I thought I ought to be allowed to climb the rigging too. I didn't hear the full context on "Never trust a sailor an inch above the knee" until some decades after.)
Ohgod - my grandmother used to do that! Just "Who's that knocking at my door ... cried the fair young maiden" "Home again, home again, hippity-hop cried Barnacle Bill the Sailor." When I googled it a couple of years ago, I was fairly startled!

(Gramma was born in '24 and my grandfather spent a decade in the Navy, and sailed for pleasure afterwards. I'm curious if there's cultural overlap with your mother?)



3 years ago


3 years ago

I was raised by wild Baby Boomers, so the things I think of to sing to babies start with war protest songs. This may not be less upsetting than Leonard Cohen at the moment but also is probably not more so.
I had the entire Peter, Paul and Mary oevre, most especially the protest stuff, so right with you there.
Pretty sure I sang Tom Lehrer to mine.
Fox sounds like a wonderful baby. Oh, the delight of seeing the subtle changes from day to day, the awarenesses and reactions, the strength building! And those ARE real smiles. We heard a lot of b.s. back in the day, including how babies had no emotions or ways of expressing them until (way late age), all total b.s.
Thanks for the update!
Yay! Thanks for the update!

We mostly sang They Might be Giants, Weird Al, and Jonathan Coulton songs to Five initially. Now, though, he very much likes "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" and "If you're happy and you know it." So those have become the defaults. Although "Still Alive" still creeps in pretty regularly.

Has Fox encountered a ceiling fan yet? Those are the BEST.
Ceiling fans are amazing. Every baby is different, except ceiling fans are a universal.

I have some memories of the period before language comprehension when I could sing the Rational Baby's Drinking Song verse after verse to sublimate the frustration of trying to feed mine.

Thank you for the report! Fox is clearly an excellent baby.
Our older cat STILL has not got it through his head that TBD is not to be walked on at night.
Glad to hear that the child is doing well and proving easy to care for!

I am a voice in support of your singing whatever songs you know as lullabies. Murder ballads with non-child-appropriate content are fantastic for lulling children, and if they keep the adults entertained/laughing at the clash of ideas, all the better. My parents went right on singing "Maddy Groves" and "Lord Thomas and Fair Ellender" over baby me until I was well old enough to understand what was going on in them, and I don't think that did me any harm. (Unbiased observers may differ.) I did grow up a ballad obsessive, of course, and I think that helped.

For the record, I've been told that "Down by the Greenwood Sidey," aka "The Cruel Mother," works well to induce sleep in small children, but I haven't tested this on children old enough to understand that it's about infanticide.