Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Casper, Month 5

Happy 5 month birthday Doodle!
This month you have desires. When these desires are not met you have complaints. In the past, your complaining was all encompassing, the world as a whole disappointed you, and there was no way to fix it. You were so sad. Now your parents disappoint you. When you want to be walked around (always) and we insist on sitting the cries are no longer forlorn, but angry. You make an awful grunting noise and then the whimpering starts. You want to stand. You want to grab my nose with your drool covered fingers. You want to lie on the changing table and kick as hard as your little legs can. You want to baby rape my face with french kisses that send your tongue deep into my nostrils. You do not want to take a nap. You do not want to put on clothes. You do not want to sit in the car seat. You do not want to cuddle on the couch.
For all of this you are, generally, our happy little guy. You’re an easy audience for silly noises, tickles and bounces. Your open mouth toothless smiles turn me to mush over and over again. You are a sucker for your daddy -- he is, perhaps, as much your goofball as you are his. We ask you, “How did you get so cute?” No answers yet.
When you were a newborn my favorite Casper face was your pursed lip “oh” face -- your little mouth puckered into a tight “O” as if you would start to yodel at any moment. Inspired by you I’d sing, “ooooo” to you at different pitches. Now your face is a ball of grins, smirks, pouts and scowls. My new favorite Casper face is your "surveying" face. Your lips pursed in a tight line, your little nose held up in the air and your eyes scanning your empire (mostly finding it wanting).
I’ve thought you were on the cusp of rolling from back to belly for weeks but you seem forever stuck with only your bottom half flipped over, your torso twisted and your face a combination of confusion and frustration. Your legs have mastered the kick and your hips the twist but your arms and head won’t get with the program, so you lie there stuck half way between up and down.
At the end of a day when your parents had failed to meet your expectations over and over again your dad held you seated on the edge of the dinner table and said, “This is my Casper impression, ‘WAH WAH WAH!’” Your little face shook in shock and your lips started to quiver. For perhaps the first time ever, you were scared! I grabbed you and hugged you close and surprisingly the crying ebbed. I have whispered, "Mama's got you, you're ok," countless times over the past 5 months but suddenly it felt like the words had sunk in. I had you and so you were ok. This was the first time that I felt I had comforted you and that love was coming from you to me (instead of only in the other direction). I am a new kind of mom. No longer just your own personal cow I have just started to become your sanctuary.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Casper, Month 4

Dear Casper,

You are our little Goofball; our little Disaster; our Doodler. The Grossest Baby in the World.

Even though you are only 4 months old I can no longer remember having a newborn. At Mommy/Baby Yoga I marvel at the 7 and 8 weeks olds and then I marvel at how I could forget so quickly. But surely you were never so tiny! You are solid. You have lost all of your newborn floppiness. We are no longer afraid of breaking you. We joke about how fat you are but despite your copious rolls you’re still well below the 50th percentile for weight. You’re above the 50th percentile for height so we’re hoping some Wundrow genes snuck into our baby and someday you’ll tower over mom and dad.

When dad and I left the hospital with you we were given a pamphlet on all the ways not to shake your baby and we had followed the rules up until this month. Shake the baby is suddenly a fun game. I hogtie your ankles and wrists in my hands and roll your body back and forth. I grab you by your hips and shake your little bum. Dad rolls you up in a towel and lets you fight your way out. You love being roughhoused. Your dry skin defies all “baby soft” cliches so in the evening your dad and I strip you down to lather you up with coconut oil and Aquaphor. We call this “the four hand massage” and we like to joke about the day in preschool when we get a call about your propositioning 2 other kids for the same treatment. (“First I get naked and then Sally puts the oil on my balls!”). Afterwards we let you squirm around naked on our bed. Nothing makes you happier. You’re twisting your hips and pushing your butt up off of the bed and will soon be rolling over from back to belly. For now you make do with mom and dad forcefully flipping you over which you find hilarious.

You’re so active that it seems even when asleep or nursing you can’t quite calm down. My chest is covered with tiny baby scratches from your hands grabbing, kneading and clawing me during all meals. At night I hear you across the room beating your legs against the mattress. We’ve been waking up to your flailing arms escaped from the swaddle, and fear the day we can no longer lock you down for the night as our little Casperito. You’re a master grabber with a singular goal: put this in my mouth. My fingers, burp clothes, your entire fist, my nursing pads and all of your toys seem equally delicious.

You have lots to say. You’ve discovered babbling and screaming. In the morning, after a 10 hour rest, you’re in your best mood. You wake us to the happy coos of you chatting with your baby friend (aka the mirror in your crib). When I walk over to your crib, I get a big smile followed by my own verbal update on your night. After I free you from your swaddle you use both of your hands to grab my cheeks and begin making out with my face. Your little tongue vigorously spelling out “FEED ME!” over and over on my skin. I try to get the boob in your mouth before you decide you’re starving to death and the screams begin. After a couple of minutes of panicked nursing you pull off with the biggest grin, ready for our morning conversation. You goo and gaa, oooh and aww, squeal and squeak. It goes on and on punctuated by quick sucks. It’s endlessly adorable but I feel like a bit of fool sitting there with my bare boob hanging out in the morning air getting cold.

I am a less sappy mama this month as you and I do more playing and less gazing at one another. You are becoming the fun, silly baby I was looking forward to while pregnant and though I am sad to have said goodbye to the newborn you I am thrilled with our new games. With less time to contemplate the magnitude of motherhood and more time spent giggling I am left with no pithy yet touching ending for this post. We are laughing too hard to be poignant.

Friday, March 07, 2014

Lil' Data

This is a different kind of post about Casper’s first three months. Less lovey-dovey. More facts and figures. Less cuddly, but easier to hold.

Since shortly after his birth I’ve been tracking Casper’s eating and excreting via the Baby Connect App for iOS. In the hospital we were asked to record this information on a piece of paper (like cavemen!) which the nurses would check periodically. We could not abide such prosaic data collection. Luckily I had researched baby tracking apps before my water broke (‘natch). When we were discharged we were asked to continue to record this information for a week primarily because Casper had lost almost 10% of his body weight since birth. And then… I kept tracking him. I have a hard time stopping data collection once it has begun. 

Data is often useful and fun!  (Yes, I said, "fun." #coolkid). I use Casper's data to gauge things like which boob he ate from last, just how bad the coming poop is likely to be and to extrapolate how much sleep I might get tonight. I've managed to extract a few fun facts that are great for shock value over brunch and which will most certainly be hurled at 13 year old Casper during one of our coming parent/son battles. Watch this space.

So.... On to the data! 

But first! Data caveats: I stopped my excel import on Feb 17 since I had to cut off at some point or keep reimporting forever -- this gave me exactly 3 months of data. I have not, however, stopped using the app (who could stop?) so the graphs from the app itself represent more data (most pictures were taken on the morning of Feb 24 when Casper was 14 weeks and 2 days old). I’ve also used the app data for some figures when adding up the numbers in the app proved easier than parsing the csv export.

So yes, data is fun. And I find all that follows to be fun but... data is also scary, especially in aggregate.

New parents, avert your eyes! I’m about to reveal the total number of diapers changed in just over 14 weeks of Casper’s life.

Total Diapers Changed: 785. (roughly 8 per day).
The fact that I see this number and think “huh, not too bad.” is evidence of the kind of crazy thinking inspired by postpartum hormones.

As you can see Casper has recently decided that pooping is super uncool. Sadly, every few days he's forced to debase himself (and the entire family) with a huge poo. This leads to much groaning by mom and dad. For each diaper Baby Connect gives you the option of recording quantity, color, "open air accident" and diaper leakage. We rarely used these features until February when we needed them for passive aggressive data collection purposes. ("Young man, this disgusting mess is going on your permanent record!").
Total poopy diapers awful enough for mom or dad to manually apply a “large” label: 22 (18 of which resulted in diaper leaks.)
I would have very much liked to include a mommy/daddy diaper off here but sadly my husband is much less of a data nerd than I. When he changes diapers (which he does a lot of including all of the 5am diaper changes) I’m left to do most of the recording on my own. Thus the “caretaker” log is riddled with data errors. Alas. Perhaps this is for the best lest we start comparing our diapering score and end up divorced. For what it’s worth all of the nursing has been done by me.

(click through for full size image)

Total time nursing: 224 hours 45min otherwise known as 9.36 DAYS of my life!

This stat shocked me much more than the diapers. To think that I have sat on the couch or the bed, boob in baby’s maw for almost a week and a half is amazing. Thank god for my iPhone. I have no idea what moms did while nursing before the invention of the smart phone. I know that the “right” answer here is “just gazed lovingly down at their baby.” But I suspect the REAL answer is “watched TV and tried not to die of boredom."

The app also makes it easy to remember which boob was offered to baby last so we consistently alternate to try for evenness, the baby could still show a preference for one boob over the other by eating longer on the favorite boob. Casper, however, shows no favorite loving both righty and lefty equally.

Longest amount of nursing in one day: 11/18 -- 338min (5 hours 38 mins).

I’m tempted to call this log user error -- certainly Casper could not have nursed as frequently as recorded here, especially since the data shows that he basically nursed from 8am until 6 pm with almost no pauses. And yet.... the more I stare at the excel the more I'm convinced that there is no error and my baby was just super into eating. For all his effort he likely didn't get much reward. My milk almost for sure had not come in yet so much of this was just time Casper was spending telling my body to hurry up and FEED ME!!!!!. A more average day in the first few weeks of Casper’s life involved 3 hours on the boob.
We never bothered to record Casper’s sleep. Considering how worried I was before he was born about never sleeping again this is, in retrospect, a bit strange. Perhaps I was too afraid to stare this data in the face. You can, however, use the data I have to extrapolate night time sleep blocks since upon waking Casper is always immediately changed then fed and (thank you to the baby gods) goes right back to sleep. This is how I know that we are regularly getting 7 hours sleep stretches in the past few weeks. This is also reflected in our eating intervals which show consistent growth over time. This data is especially encouraging when you consider that during the day Casper still eats every 90-120 minutes so almost all of the interval growth is due to extended nighttime sleeping.
One wonders what might influence the up and down nature of a baby's eating. Sure, doctors claim this is mostly due to "growth spurts" but shouldn't other possibilities be considered? Like, for example, is Casper influenced but the full moon (is he, in fact, a werewolf?!?!?) ?
Guess not.

After this exercise in data analysis I'm sure all readers are wondering exactly what the point of all this is. I’ll admit to a slight case of paranoia that someone might challenge me on my parenting skills and I’ll respond with data to back up the case. Look! I am, in fact, a good mom who totally feeds her child (this is never going to happen, and if it did a punch in the face would be a more valid response than, “But look at this excel graph I have!”). Mostly my data obsession is nonsensical. 
When my brother laughed out loud as I recorded information on my son's poops I could offer no clear reason to explain exactly why I am doing this (blog fodder?). Data collection has become religious. Data is comforting. It makes tangible what might otherwise be amorphous. The recording of facts its own sacrament. Like church, data offers comfort, direction, sometimes misdirection and often, indifference. Despite how important collecting data on Casper has felt I know that so much of what I have gathered here does not matter. And yet, I can't stop. The weight of existing data that isn’t being recorded often feels needlessly heavy. It implies importance for things that might actually be inconsequential.

Of course, nothing feels inconsequential when you have a baby. I know that Casper's every new discovery has already been discovered by every human baby to proceed him and yet a celebration still seems in order. This data shows what it's like to have a newborn. He poops. He eats. He pees. He sleeps. Nothing new. And yet his mom is mesmerized

Monday, February 17, 2014

Casper, Month 3

Dear Casper -- Happy 3 month birthday!

This month you have fallen in love with the world. You have met so many new animate and inanimate friends! We turned on the light-up mobile on your bassinet which you greeted with wide eyed amazement. Your shocked little eyes saying, “Guys! Why have you never showed me this before!?!?!” You also started showing interest in toys, particularly a stuffed bug with black and white patterns on his wings who we call,  “Butterfly Friend” and who is singlehandedly responsible for you learning to track objects. You are generous with your smiles and just starting to giggle. You love to kick on the changing table. You love to be naked. You love baby fireworks shows (despite my performance in the video below you have your dad to thank for inventing and documenting).

Baby Fireworks Show from Geoff G on Vimeo.

We call you Chunker, Lil’ Fatty, Boob Monster, Mama’s Baby. We still call you all of your 1 month and 2 month nicknames as well… we almost never call you Casper.

You and I took our first plane trip out to California to meet family, friends, temperatures above freezing and huge mountains (though not the mountain of your middle namesake -- soon!). I had been wound up about the prospect of flying alone with a 10 week old for weeks, but -- as so many other moms predicted -- it was pretty easy. I carried you in the Moby wrap and you slept for most of the flight. The only turbulence (literal and figurative) occurred while we were in the bathroom, you half naked on my lap with your butt covered in poo. You were a bit more of a handful on the flight home when you refused the wrap, insisting that I hold you while you clung very tenuously to sleep. I spent the flight listening to podcasts and staring down at your little face. Much of that time staring specifically at your inner ear which I noticed was caked with scaly earwax and your nose where a huge booger was dancing its way out onto your face. I wanted nothing more than to reach down and clean your ear and pick that booger but knew that doing so would wake you. This is what mama torture feels like.

Your grandparents were, of course, thrilled to see you again. Your Uncle Kurt turned out to be much more of a baby lover (and helper) than I knew. Your cousins, Dalanie (8) and Zayden (4.99), we so excited to hold you, coo at you, shake your butterfly toy at you and generally get up in your grill.

One of your first interactions was this conversation:

Zayden: Can he say your name?
Me: No, He can’t say any words yet.
Dalanie: But what about in his head? Does he think about words?
Me: Great question! No one knows exactly what babies think about because you can’t ask them but I think he probably thinks about pictures more than words.

Dalanie noted that you looked a bit like me because we had similar marks on our faces. She was referring to your baby acne and my acne scars. (Thankfully, she didn’t get around to comparing our chubby thighs). As if this wasn’t enough of an unintentional slap in the face she also chose to stay home and babysit you (with Grandma’s help) rather than go out and about with me. I sighed that I wasn’t her favorite any longer and she replied, “You’re still my favorite grown up.” I suppose if I have to lose favorite status to someone, I’m happy it’s you.

Zayden refused to help with your bath because, “it might be disgusting,” and he had a point -- you only get grosser by the month. While the subsequent bath was clean enough those that fear bodily fluids should steer clear of 3 month old babies (obviously). You have developed a soaking drool habit. Every couple of weeks a huge white whale of a booger peeks out of your nose, moving in and out of your nostril with your breaths. Early in the month you spit up ON MY FACE. Later you spit up on your own hand and stuck it in my mouth. We have to make a special point to regularly pry your various rolls apart and clean inside of them lest you start a baby cheese factory in your neck and thighs. And then there is the poop situation. Because I am a cliche mom who cannot stop discussing my baby’s bowel movements the entire following paragraph is about poop. Zayden and others who fear disgusting babies should skip ahead.

While on our trip you went on a sudden poop boycott. Up until that Wednesday every diaper was graced with the Casper special of “pee and a smear” with the occasional upset of a slightly larger poop. And then for 3 days just pees over and over again. I said many prayers that the coming poop (which I assumed would be massive) would not arrive mid flight home. Thankfully, my wishes were granted and I brought home to Brooklyn a baby who only dirtied his diapers with pee. After reuniting with dad and ordering some dinner I jumped in the shower. I can only act as secondhand reporter for what occurred while I was getting clean. According to your dad you were lying on his chest getting some cuddles when he heard a rumbling from below. When he glanced down at the back of your onesie he saw an orange spot begin to radiate up your back. Dad took you in for the change to discover poop all the way up to your neck and a lake of it filling your diaper. He was half done wiping you down when the doorbell rang -- dinner was here! So he slapped a new diaper on your still poop-flecked body and answered the door, grabbing our food from the delivery guy just as you unleashed a rain of spitup down his back. At this point he opened the bathroom door to tell me that I had picked a great time to shower. He was right. I had.

This month was wonderful, but there was one really awful part. Things are going to get scary and real in the next couple of paragraphs. I’m going to shed some tears writing them and not the normal schmoopy mommy kind either. I’ll just spoiler alert right here that everything turns out fine in the end but we had a bad day on the 21st of January.

It has been a very cold and snowy winter in NYC. There is this weather thing called The Polar Vortex that has turned the city into a walk in freezer. I’m no longer fazed by temperatures in the teens and consider the high 20s an excuse to get outside. But we’ve seen more teens than 20s and as a result mom and baby have seen very little of the outside world. We were headed into another string of sub-freezing days so your dad and I thought we’d take advantage of the balmy 20+ degree weather on January 21st and take a walk in the pretty falling snow.

It is only three blocks from our place to the new Whole Foods, where we’d planned on grocery shopping and lunch. (We dream big around here with our fancy plans to have lunch at a grocery store…). We put you in the wrap and I pushed your head down against my chest to keep you warm. You hate this. When in the wrap you want to stretch your head back away from me to take in the world from your favorite star gazing position. You greeted my forced cheek to chest cuddling with screams. You were so mad at your stupid mom’s attempts to keep you warm. The scream continued for the whole walk. But when we arrived at the store they suddenly stopped and were replaced with a strange whiney grunt. We pulled you out of the wrap and watched as your lips and face lost their color and began to turn blue. Casper, I was so scared. I held it together and asked another customer to call 911 and then I put you over my shoulder and hit your back until you let out one loud cry before returning to you whiny grunting. Your face was no longer blue but it wasn’t your normal rosey pink either. At least the awful noise let us know that you were breathing, even if you were listless and pale.

You continued to grunt and loll in and out of sleep for half an hour. You wouldn’t nurse. You wouldn’t suck on your pacifier. As I sat there staring at your yellow face, my hand glued to your chest to verify that your continued to breathe I thought, “If he dies, I’ll just die too.” I’m sure that isn’t really true but right then I felt it with all of my self.
Around 15 minutes after the 911 call the paramedics arrived, verified that you were breathing, and advised us to go to your pediatrician rather than the ER. After a hour of observation the doctor decided that in your temper tantrum you probably breathed in a bit of your own drool and aspirated. As long as you returned to your normal hungry, perky, rosy-cheeked self in a few hours there was almost for sure no harm done.

After a long nap, my baby was back. In fact, that night was the first time you showed interest in toys and started really tracking objects. You are just fine. I, however, might never again be the same carefree mommy. I lie in bed at night listening for your grunts in the crib across the room. When you’re sleeping in the carrier I stop every few blocks to hold my breath and feel for your chest rising against mine. If you nap for too long I sometimes poke at you, risking an angry wide awake baby, to verify that you’re still alive. 

We took you to the cardiologist 2 weeks after your breathing incident to confirm that there were no heart issues. By the time this appointment rolled around your dad and I were unconcerned. We're not as resilient as you but after 2 weeks of your coos, laughs and bright eyes and we were mostly back to being parents of a normal healthy baby boy. (It also helped that you were breathing every single time I checked). We got to see your perfect little heart beating away on the ultrasound and the doctor officially pronounced you healthy and unlikely to have any other incidents. He also looked at your fleshy rolls lying on his examination table naked and said with a smile, “He’s clearly a good eater.” You know your baby is chunking up when even the doctor feels compelled to comment. You are a great eater, and a lover of just hanging out on the boob. While you can go over 7 hours at night without eating (while asleep!) during the daylight hours you’d prefer to nosh every 90 minutes or so. You’re putting on ounces every day and even though people on the street still marvel at how little you are to your dad and I you are a giant. I imagine this is how it will always feel as we three go always forward never backwards, as you grow and grow, always bigger, never smaller. The constant shock of it will never wane.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Casper, Month 2

Dear Casper,

In December, when we met with the pediatrician for your 1 month appointment she assured us that over the next few weeks we would meet a new baby and that prediction has come to pass. You are no longer a newborn. Instead, you are coming into prime baby-ness. All of your stretching has finally unsprung your body from the fetal position; you are long if not lean (The chub! Oh, the adorable chub). Not content to spend your days curled up in a sleepy little ball the world is now yours to stare down, to punch, to claw, to kick, to yell at. You are suddenly wide awake to all of it. Attacking the world with gusto is tiring and you’ve just started occasionally giving your parents 5-6 straight hours of sleep at night (And we thank you. Why not go for 7? You can do it!).
This month you are Caperoo, Caperini, Caspernacus, Carperito with Cheese (when you got your swaddle on), Doodle, Gross-y, Gross-er Puke-y, and King Baby. Every song we sing is about you (Dad does an version of On Top of Old Casper that, if not sensical, is at least catchy).  I made up a metal ballad called “Throw the Paci on the Floor” to sing when you are very angry. Sadly, I do not have the GarageBand skills to produce a recording.
To my surprise (and terror) when I put you down on your stomach at just over 4 weeks, hoping you’d take to tummy time, you immediately rolled over onto your back. I am hesitant to even mention this to too many other people out of fear that I sound like one of those crazy parents who are constantly insisting that their child is super advanced. I managed to catch you on video a week later so I have proof that I am not delusions/making things up. As impressed as I am with everything you do I’m sure this early rolling foreshadows not genius but just a higher likelihood that you’ll end up rolling off of some perch, land on your head and leave me to worry about brain damage for years to come. Thank god you cannot yet roll from back to front.


I like to ask you to tell me what’s wrong when I know you’re hungry just so I can be amused with your vigorous rooting on my cheeks. You have your mouth open and ready way before the boob is out and often lose patience with my lackadaisical pace when it is clear that you are starving to death. The screams are very angry and very loud. You’ve also occasionally been putting on a hilarious play during feeding called, Suck, Suck, Scream. I understand. Sometimes when you are eating it’s hard not to think about a time in the future when you might not be eating. I try to remind you that everything is ok, and the boob is in your mouth *RIGHT NOW* and you tend to calm down.
You rang in 2014 but peeing all over your mom during a diaper change but quickly made up for it by smiling at us for the first time on New Years Day. You’ve been generally charming us with little baby grins every since but life is not all joy -- you are plagued by a few baby demons. The most evil thing in your world is gas. The number of times I’ve stressed over what could be wrong with my screaming baby only to have a big fart turn you into a smiler again are too numerous to count. The second most awful thing ever is pulling your own pacifier out of your mouth. When you need to be calmed down you like to be walked around the apartment to survey your domain -- mostly to greet your subjects, “recessed lights” and “black frames against white walls.”
All this info about my boobs and your farts might be TMI but who am I kidding? These posts are not really for Future Casper they are for Future Mom and nothing is too much information for that old broad.
For all the sweetness in this post our day to day lives are quite silly. When you’re mad we ask you to please register your complaints by mail and someone will contact you in 7-10 business days. We go over all of the things you hate (the bassinet, being held wrong, putting on clothes) and how you have the worst parents ever. We tell you how disgusting you are with all of the poop and spit up.
Casper, you are so much fun. Before you were born your dad and I had prepared ourselves for a baby who might (temporarily at least) ruin our lives. We had been told so many times that babies were hard, that they make people fight and cry and can ruin relationships. We took these warnings seriously. We were scared. The reality has been a pleasant surprise. Sure, I’d like more sleep and less time telling you that I have no idea what is wrong. But it’s not awful and it’s not hard…. yet (?). (That said, I encourage everyone to believe that babies are a disaster. I understand that many babies ARE, and if you get lucky, like we have, being pleasantly surprised is great).
You continue to grow too quickly and like all moms I bemoan this fast forwarding, but the baby I have today is as lovable as my newborn. Would I trade big smiles for a tinier, cuddlier bundle? How could one choose between those apples and oranges? I cannot imagine that I ever loved you any more than I do right now or that I ever will love you any less. You are a recipe for being in the moment. Bring on the sitting up, the teething, the babbling, the walking and the learning to give mama a foot massage.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Mother's Milk -- A Restaurant Review by Casper

I'll state off the bat that I have mixed feelings about this place. On one hand the food is AMAZING and you cannot beat the price on the all you can eat special. Additionally they offer (off menu) "free refills" to regulars if you ask (I usually just scream really loudly after I finish my first course). Unfortunately I feel that something has to be said about the service. At times it can take five whole minutes to get a table and after that you'll often wait up to 30 seconds for your meal to arrive. A baby could starve to death in that amount of time! I myself have almost wasted away to nothing on many occasions. I have spoken at length to the proprietor about these issues and she never seems to take my concerns seriously. I'd stop going there all together but the place is so convenient (open 24 hours!) and honestly the ambiance cannot be beat (I think you dudes know what I'm talking about *nudgenudge* *winkwink*).

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Casper, Month 1

Hey Casper -- You’re 1 month old! 

My thoughts on our first month together are a bit jumbled and unformed and I suspect you won’t allow me enough writing time to mold them into a cohesive essay so enjoy this mishmash of unorganized mama babble.

I cannot believe that all of that time when I was pregnant it was you who was inside of me. Some moms say they know their babies before they are born but I had no idea and now I’m consumed with getting to know you and it is so much fun. That said, I know that no matter how new and special you seem to your mom and dad you are probably very much like every other 1 month old baby and so this blog entry might be very boring to everyone who is not me. C'est la vie.

I am, so far, lucky to have such a happy sleepy baby but when the world gets to be too much and you scream and scream your dad discovered a little baby hypnotizing tool: the white noise of the bathroom vent. You love the bathroom vent so much that I’m a bit worried that you think it might be your mother. Jealousy aside, having such a reliable baby charming device right in our home is both a godsend and a hilarious party trick. Stepping over the threshold into “Casper’s Calm Down Room” (as your dad calls it) takes you from inconsolable screamer to passed out drunk almost immediately. Unfortunately the powers of the vent are contained to the bathroom and leaving, even when you seem completely zonked, often returns the maddest baby in the world to my arms. This has resulted in many nights spent hanging out perched on the toilet considering if moving your bassinet into the bathroom would make me a bad parent.

You were born with long sharp nails and since we’ve been told to put off cutting them until you’re one month old this has been a month of scratches and what we have come to call “hand jail.” I used to see onesies with little attached mittens and think they were made to keep baby fingers warm, I now know that the little cuffs are meant to keep baby and mom from being stabbed to death.

Your dad and I have so many nicknames for you: Stretcherson, Mr. Grumpenstein, Big Pooper, etc -- a name for ever one of your faces. Your granddad is trying hard to make you a Cas and one of dad’s friends is pushing to call you Whit. It’s all in love, everyone wants to have a special name just for you, we’ll see if any of them stick.

When you’re in a good mood and looking around the room you want very badly to hold your head up. For a one month old you’re doing a pretty good job of picking up your huge noggin, we wonder if your womb position helped you build a little extra neck muscle.

Both sets of grandparents are in love with you. “Of course they are!” says everyone - but your dad and I expected a more laid back performance. Our brothers already have kids so you’re not the first grandchild and all of our parents don’t really seem that into babies. Throughout my pregnancy everyone was very calm and unimpressed with having a new grand baby… but after you were born everything changed. Grandmom Gruetzmacher can hardly hold back from grabbing you out of my arms. Grandpa Horst has already promised you a pony (you have proof in writing here so if no pony shows up feel free to cite this blog post). We receive constant complaints that we’re not uploading enough pictures to the CasperVision photostream.

Your cousins are smitten with you too. Dalanie and Zayden have visited you on FaceTime at least once a week. Zayden, especially seems to be in love -- he’s only 4 so he shows his love by yelling at you through the phone, singing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and mooning you.

I remain sad that you’ll be growing up even though I know 3 months and 6 months and 1 year will bring so many exciting new things. I can’t help feeling like you’re perfect right now and I want to keep you like this forever (yes, even with the 4am feedings, the occasional inconsolable hours and the poopy diapers). When I was little I found it so annoying when adults would talk about how fast time was moving when it seemed like the wait for the end of the school day or Christmas or summer vacation was taking eons but parenthood has made time fly for me too. How has it been a whole month since you were born? How can we slow down time so we can spend endless days cooing at each other on the couch while watching the snow fall?