Two Wonderful Girls. One Day At A Time…

Archive for October, 2005

Category 4 Baby

So we have now made it through our first two weeks as parents. It’s real and it’s official. She ain’t going nowhere. We’re stuck with her and she’s stuck with us. Actually, most times, that’s a pretty good deal. But the last couple of nights were a bear. She was NOT a happy camper. The thing is that she is physically strong. I mean really strong.  When she’s not happy, Iris kicks diaper and takes names. How can something that cute be that strong? I told Cherise she is a combination of Pebbles and Bam Bam from "The Flintstones". I guess that makes sense. I think I’m Fred, but I haven’t figured out if Cherise is Wilma or Betty. Wow, I can’t wait to start watching cartoons with Iris and engage in philosophical discussions like this…

We’re settling into normal. Of course, that’s like saying New Orleans is getting back to normal–it’ll NEVER be back to normal. Yes, Iris is our Category 4 baby. I have gone back to work and Cherise’s mom heads back to California this weekend (she’ll be back–Iris proved she was worth the wait). That’ll mean it’s just the three of us and Cherise will be flying solo with the little squirt for most of the day. I have the combination of envy and pity for Cherise. Fortunately for both of us, I get to stay home in December and bond . For those of you who aren’t parents, bonding with an infant really means "change diapers and swaddle". I have been named the "SwaddleMaster" as I have been known to turn my child into a big burrito. Actually, I suppose there is more to the kiddo thing than just diapers and swaddles. In fact, playing with her feels a little like "The Miracle Worker", the story of the worker that connected with Helen Keller. I read every expression or reaction very carefully and try to figure out her communications. I’m starting to recognize facial expressions (for the record, you do NOT want to see the constipated face). Meanwhile, I always assumed parenting was really all about the poop. Well, I have my first poop story. Mere hours after bragging to Cherise and her mom about how Iris has yet to poop directly on me (she keeps nailing both of them), I was rocking her to sleep when I heard what I thought was gas. I kept rocking and eventually was about to lay her down when Cherise noticed the large spot on the swaddle blanket. When I pulled her away from me, Cherise saw the huge stain on my shirt. Apparently, this poop went through the diaper, through the onesie, through the swaddle blanket, and onto me. I think I still hear Cherise laughing hysterically. I suppose I should’ve been upset, but I felt initiated. I now know the joy of poop stories. Yep.  I am really a dad and I got the stains to prove it…

Introducting The Khaunds: Tony Soprano, Doris The Lunch Lady, and The Squeaky Toy

Yep, we’re officially a family. Contrary to our friend Britt’s suggestion that it might be a plastic doll under there, I assure you all the Iris Mary Khaund is very real. The long labor (~50 hours) took its toll on both Cherise and me and it’s still amazing to look back on it. My brother mentioned that he was interested in seeing the blog entry on that one. Forget entry–I could write a book. That said, I really want to see the experience in perspective and will definitely write about it someday in the future and I told Cherise she should as well. I can’t think of a more challenging experience to go through–for me or Cherise. I once told Cherise she would learn more about herself in labor than any other experience. Little did I know that the same went for me…

As for the first days of being a parent, it’s been fascinating. To pick up the story from birth, Iris came in at 6:21am. First off, I’d like to be clear–I achieved a new level of clairvoyancy by correctly predicting the doctor that would perform the delivery. For those who read my August 7th entry, I mentioned "Doctor Night" and meeting the prospectives docs that might be on call. I suggested the Stanford grad triathlete seemed to be well-suited for Cherise. Well, one in seven and I nailed it. Along with knowing Cherise was pregnant before she did and knowing it was a girl, I practically predicted the whole pregnancy. Well, all except for the 12-hour labor I predicted. Oops. Anyway, Dr. Kimmelman was our doc and she was great as was our nurse Christine. Getting especially high marks was Shari, our doula . She was everything we hoped and more. To think that she does that for a living is amazing. She will be forever in our hearts as she made life easier on all of us and seriously saved the day in so many ways.

After they carted us off to the post-partum unit, I needed a nap as did Cherise. Neither of us had really slept more than four hours in the previous two days. I was wiped out, but Cherise was still running high on adrenaline and ignored sleep in favor of some serious mother-daughter bonding. Good thing because that baby was a handful. There was lotsa crying that I slept right through (I could’ve slept through Katrina at that point). By the time I woke up , there was my beautiful bundle of joy, squirming, occasionally crying, but mostly squeaking. Cherise and I have come to calling her our "Squeaky Toy" (one of the many nicknames you will surely hear about) We keep joking that the secret to parenting is getting some WD-40. We just spent the day basking into her eyes and being totally amazed by everything we saw. We’ve also established our roles: Cherise has been breastfeeding while I’ve been in charge of burping and diapers (not so bad–yet!). At some point, Iris has started to realize that I am the designated burper and gets a little nervous when I pick her up. I’ve turned into Tony Soprano ([in a Jersey accent]"One of yous guys is gonna get whacked!") while Cherise gets to be Doris the Lunch Lady. We’re quite the family.

Through it all, Iris seems to be making strides each day. She’s now on Day 4 and is going from a novelty to a part of our lives. We just got home from the hospital yesterday afternoon and now have Cherise’s mom to help us out (I LOVE in-laws!). Iris gets more behaved, eats more consistently, and sleeps more frequently (sleep is good). As she gets more behaved, she even more fun to stare at and she even has my propensity to drool (whatta great trait to hand down). She has definitely been a nightime challenge and we’re still sleep deprived, but fortunately, I am taking another week off, Cherise’s mom has been cool enough to stay for an extended time to help out, and I will also be home for all of December (thank you Microsoft!). Stay tuned for as many updates as we are capable of blogging about (time-wise, it’d be wise to set your expectations low) and we’ll keep the pictures coming. And for those of you who complained about the lack of close-ups, hopefully the pics are getting better. Just so you know, it’s been unanimous that the baby looks a lot like me. In fact, when I first saw the baby crying, I thought she looked exactly like my mom, so I guess that makes sense. As Cherise’s mom suggested, let’s hope Iris takes after Cherise in infant behavior because I was a pain in the butt (and still am). I guess only time will tell. Stay tuned…

Letter to the Future Father

Usually, I’d start this post off with some quote from Tom Petty about how "the waiting is the hardest part". But since Cherise would beg to differ on what exactly is the hardest part of pregnancy and since I care for my marriage too much, I will refrain. Still, we are anxiously close to the big day. It’s gotten me thinking…

There are several key days in a person’s life where things drastically change. Leave home for school and no longer have mom and dad around. Graduate from college and have to face a 9 to 5 job (yikes!). Get married and no more women. In each case, I’ve gotten the same advice "Enjoy it now! It’s all over once that happens!" I think when I was younger, stuff like that used to make me nervous. I’d leave home and remember it as utopia (no, it was Jersey). When I left college, I sorely missed the parties and bar-hopping. But by the time the whole marriage thing rolled around, I wised up to the "the end is near" fallacy. Fact is, I had grown bored of East Windsor by the time I left for school. In college, I tired of studying for exams and my mounting education debt and there was only so much I could do to my liver anyway. And let’s face it–I stunk at being single. I worked for a high-tech company that was 85% male in a city where I knew no one but male co-workers. Yeah sure, that was much better than being married. So, as I embark on the latest life-changing event, I thought I’d do myself a favor. I wrote a letter to myself, from "Sandy the childless man" to "Sandy, the proud father of Iris Khaund". I figure I can read this during one of my wistful weekends of poop-stained shirts and colic-driven dementia

Dear Father Sandy,

Hey, that’s funny. That makes you sound like a priest. Hmm, you’re right–not so funny. Anyway, how’s it going? I’m here to tell you that you’ve got it great. You & Cherise have been talking about kids since before you were married. Iris is half you and the other half is the most amazing person you’ve ever met. You’ve done the gene pool a favor. Cherise provided the smarts, sense of humor, social skills, heart of gold while you provided skin pigmentation so she doesn’t burn–that’s like an indestructible combination. I know what you’re thinking. You are a little tired (OK, a lot tired) and might even wish you rethought that idea of adopting the 7-year old just to get the diapers and potty-training out of the way. Look it’s not so bad. And the time you spend changing diapers wasn’t gonna be spent doing anything else more productive. To help you out, let me snuff out some myths for you:

  • Quit whining about not watching as much TV. There isn’t much left on TV worth watching since "Ed" went off the air. "West Wing" misses Sorkin, "ER" misses Clooney, and "Joey" misses everybody.
  • No, you won’t catch as many Orioles games on the internet. But who are you fooling? They haven’t had a winning season in eight years! Iris may be in college by the time they get back to the World Series–then you’ll have plenty of time to watch them.
  • Who else will listen to your singing and not complain? Here’s a tip: you have a terrible voice! But Iris will likely keep wiggling and cooing and smiling. To her, you’re Bono. Sure it might be gas, but take what you can get.
  • You can now watch Pixar movies and say "oh, uh, I didn’t want to go, but Iris really wanted to see it." She’s a great excuse for everything, including those trips to Toys R Us you’ve been wanting to make but felt awkward without a kid. And, I don’t want to jinx it, but if she turns out to be a geek….DADDY-DAUGHTER DAYS AT FRY’S!!!
  • Try as you might, you’ll never produce anything as wonderful as that kid. That yelling, screaming kid. Deal with it.

So keep having fun with Iris. Oh, and don’t let her listen to the Barney stuff. I have a theory that leads to N Sync, Britney and bare midriffs at age 10. You don’t want to chaperone Britney Spears concerts, do you? You are an old man–you don’t need that stress. Make sure she gets the good music like REM, U2, and the Dave Matthews Band (and sneak in a little Nirvana when Cherise isn’t looking). And make sure you cherish every moment with Iris–they only come once in a lifetime.


Meeting Baby Ian

Well, Iris has decided to not make her arrival just yet, so in the meantime we thought we’d go visit one of her future buddies, baby Ian Stuver Matthieu.  Our good friends Tricia and Ray welcomed Ian into the world last Thursday, and my mom and I went over to visit them yesterday. 
It was truly inspirational to see the look on Trisha’s face as she comforted Ian and talked about what it was like to meet him for the first time.  She’s a real mom!  That "mother’s love" was visible in her eyes.  Even with the lack of sleep, she looked radiant, and Ian is sooo incredibly adorable with his big eyes and teeny toes.  He was born at just 6lb 2oz, which I’m hoping will be about the size of Iris. 
I got to hold Ian for a bit, and found that it’s really easy to hold a baby when you’re pregnant!  I could just rest him in my arms on my belly – so my arms didn’t get tired at all.  I think Iris gave him a little kick at one point though… oops, sorry Ian!
When I do go  through the pain and challenge of childbirth sometime in the next few weeks, I know that thinking about Ian will really help me to stay focused on the outcome and reward – we’re finally going to get to meet Iris!!  We just can’t wait to see what she looks like, what her personality is, and how she will grow and learn each day.
We’re as ready as we’ll ever be – so Iris, come on out and see the world!

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