Joey went to the pediatrician on Wednesday, and although I had convinced myself that he was probably yellow as mustard and I was just blind to it, he is in fact perfectly healthy, almost up to his birth weight, and generally delightsome. He’s got a goopy eye (massaging the tear duct gently) and some dandruff (trying scalp massage with apricot kernel oil), but is eating, peeing, and pooping like a creature possessed. He loves the water. We’ve done a little bit of tummy time on the last few days, and he fights to lift himself for a few minutes and then starts to howl. I’m not sure what kind of strength is normal for a baby, but he seems strong to me: he has been rolling (apparently on purpose) onto his side since he was about a week old, and if you lie on your back and set him facedown onto your stomach, he will pull himself up your body until his head is jammed into your neck. My mother has started talking about how my sister Tammy was crawling at three months, which is unlikely to be repeated in Joey but still mildly terrifying.
Speaking of my mother, she is here! That is mostly great—she is reorganizing our closets!—but there are some bits of it that have been less great. She spent a few days trying to talk us into using a pacifier, for example; I would also like to give Joey some diaper-free time (his bum isn’t rashy but is a bit red), just crank up the heat in one room, lay down a couple of towels, and let him rock out for an hour or two—but I’m pretty sure that she would be a little freaked out. She’s also got me thinking about what makes an easy baby. I’ve been thinking of Joey as easy (at least so far), but I realized that a pretty fair part of that depends on the way I want to parent; he wants to be held while he is awake, and wants to go to sleep touching someone, for example, which would mean a lot of crying with a less touchy-feely mom. Me, I’m happy to wear him around town and cuddle him at home—wanting to be held makes a lot of sense to me, and I am getting better at typing one-handed. But my mother had us sleeping separately and spending time in a playpen, which would I think make Joey just scream and scream. He also wants to nurse pretty frequently, often just for comfort (thus my mom’s pacifier recommendation); I so far think that if I can nurse him, I’m happy to, so why not let him find comfort in his current favorite thing? I totally whipped out a breast in Starbucks without thinking about it yesterday (meeting with a social worker), so that particular barrier apparently won’t be a problem. I no longer have any shame. Of course, he still has time to get colicky, which would put him firmly in the “high needs” category, but for now . . . he’s easy for me. Not that I’m pleased to be awake for a few hours in the middle of the night—but it feels so good to hold him.
One thing I’d like to note just for the electronic baby book: I regularly end up bicycling Joey’s legs, to help with gas and also just because he seems to find it relaxing sometimes. For whatever reason, from the first time I tried it in the hospital, I’ve narrated to him a story about Joey bicycling through Alberta while I do so. We’ve gone on little missions, usually to find something: first, uncreatively a moose, and later things like “a sweet shop that sells candied yams” or “someone who might appreciate a jar of cashew butter.” I just natter to him about what he’s seeing, and what we’re looking for, as he pedals through the forest primeval on an old-fashioned bike with one huge wheel in front and one tiny one behind.