Monday, July 31, 2006

Amazon diapers

[posted by bkmarcus]
The title does not refer to BIG diapers, or to diapers for ancient female warriors, but to the fact that you can now buy diapers from

If we run down to our just-down-the-road CVS to buy diapers (as we so often do), they cost about $10 for a box of 40 diapers -- about 25¢ per diaper.

At Amazon, you buy a box of 216 for $37.87 -- which is 17½¢ each. That adds up. It's like getting the $10 CVS box for $7.

Of course, shipping costs could eat up the difference, but we're happy members of Amazon Prime (sign up here) so shipping is included. It's a program we recommend -- especially if you buy lots of books (and DVDs and CDs) for yourself and as gifts for others.

- papa

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

3 weeks

[posted by Nat]
My dear little Benjamin,

You are already 3 weeks old. It's strange, on the one hand you seem so new to me; on the other, I feel like you've been around quite a while. I guess that's what happens when you feed a baby at least 8 times a day.

I meant to blog about your second week of life last week, but never got around to it. During your second week you met your Mamie (Maman's maman) who flew in from Kentucky and had eyes only for you at the airport. She came to meet you, but she spent A LOT of time cooking, cleaning, and gardening so that your parents could dote on you -- and your papa could get some work done. You also met your Grandma (Papa's maman) who came down from NJ to meet her first grandchild (and feed his parents -- there is a theme here, thank you moms!!). Both were delighted with you, each one counting fingers and toes (incidentally, your parents didn't do that when you were born, but that's probably because the week 20 ultrasound technician did it, so they weren't worried). Many many pictures were taken.

You also had your first bath, which you seemed to really relax in. If you are crying after tummy time (even after that incredible tummy time when you actually managed to turn yourself over!!), the bath soothes you. You seem to like sitting in the warm water and looking around (though we aren't quite sure what you are looking at).

Having your first bath means that your umbilical cord had fallen out (or, at least, so we thought until I noticed a tiny, tiny crust deep in the folds of your belly button a couple of days later, which meant no baths for a few days). We knew this was going to happen soon, the pediatrician had told us that very day, but we hadn't expected it to happen that night. I found it when I was changing your diaper and for a moment I was a little sad: this was the last sign of the cord that connected us for nearly nine months. It was a brief sadness because, frankly, you are so obviously your own little person now that it's hard to imagine you were almost part of me for all that time.

Your parents are still working on deciphering what your cries mean. Several times I've thought that you couldn't possible be hungry and then, after half an hour, I've fed you and discovered that your were in fact hungry. I'm not sure you were hungry when you started to cry and it may be that all that wailing, fist waving, and kicking gave you an appetite. We are also trying to figure out how to limit the spitting up because we are beginning to think you suffer from acid reflux (like many babies) because sometimes you get really, really upset after spitting up (and, interestingly enough, seem to want to feed very soon afterwards).

We've also introduced pacifiers into your life which usually sooth you immediately, but we aren't really pleased with the kinds we have. I really like the soothie because it keeps your mouth open the way you need to latch on the breast, but it falls out as soon as you stop sucking. Your other pacifier (and I'm not sure what brand it is, probably something from CVS [papa notes: from Target, actually]) stays in your mouth better, but I think it teaches you that you can suck with your lips close together which just doesn't work for breastfeeding! Of course, there is also the question of how pacifiers influence breastfeeding -- and, like almost anything on childhood development, sources don't really seem to agree about when it is alright to introduce a pacifier (I've seen anywhere from 4 days of breastfeeding to a month).

You also seem to be becoming more aware of the world around you. Most of the time you have been staring past your parents, instead of at them, but in the last few days I've noticed a change and you sometimes look right into my eyes. You are also getting better at grasping things -- yesterday it was my hair while you cried in my arms.

Your parents continue to sneak into your room at night and put a hand on your chest or touch your hand or gently poke your foot to make sure you are still alive. We feel a bit insane about this, but sometimes we have an overwhelming need to know you are ok -- my understanding is that most new parents have gone down this path, terrified by what seems to be the randomness of SIDS (though if you look at what the American Academy of Pediatricians suggests to prevent SIDS, perhaps it isn't all that random). Obviously, we all have some growing to do.

You continue to charm us, even when you are screaming. I love your little turtle-coming-out-of-his-shell movement when you wake and stretch and find your frenetic, fish-like gaping when you try to go on the breast by yourself really cute, even though it often means multiple tries to get you on right!

It's taken me several days to write this and I can't believe you are just a week short of being 1 month old!
-ta maman

Sunday, July 23, 2006


[posted by bkmarcus]

Saturday, July 22, 2006

sunnyside up

[posted by bkmarcus]
The Textbook baby... reaches all the milestones right on schedule -- sleeps through the night by three months, rolls over by five, sits up by six....

During tummytime tonight, at 17 days old, Benjamin turned himself over.

Benjamin's grandma (papa's mama) captured the moment on camera.

No, he doesn't look happy. That's what inspired him to change his situation. First he turned his head over, then he turned the rest of him over. We'll see if he does it again between now and 5 months old.

- proud papa

Monday, July 17, 2006

first bath

[posted by bkmarcus]
Benjamin's umbilical cord did not fall off all at once. First the doctor took off about 60% of it during his first checkup and told us the rest would come off a bit at a time. Most of what was remaining came off the next day. [Maman corrects me: the doc showed us that most of the stump was about to fall off, but he didn't take it off; he put silver nitrate -- a "chemical cauterizer" -- in Benjamin's belly button, and that first bit actually fell off at his next at-home changing; then most of the rest came off the next day...]

We've seen our boy's bellybutton for days now, but it looked a bit ... scabby ... and so we continued to give him "sponge baths" which he hated (although he's always loved the shampoo portion of the ritual).
Tonight, after subjecting him to the despised rub-down with wet washcloths, I decided to see if I could get the rest of the vestigial junk out of his navel with an alcohol-soaked cotton swab. Out it came, and so to celebrate, we gave him another bath, this one in comfy warm water.

Benjamin loves the real bath. This will be a pleasant part of the evening routine. In attendance for this ablutionary event were maman and mamie (maman's maman) who is here this week to create order out of chaos.
- papa


[posted by bkmarcus]

This first image has nothing to do with tummytime. I just love the positions he gets into when he's waking up. This one reminds me of a certain photo of his mother from several years back.

Neither Bones nor Benjamin understands what this new tummytime thing is.

Benjamin doing is first official tummytime above. He rolled his head back and forth and kicked his legs in slow motion, like he was trying to swim across the blanket, and he managed to move forward about 6 inches!
- papa

Sunday, July 16, 2006


[posted by bkmarcus]
Most of the pictures I've taken of Benjamin have been taken with my mediocre camera-phone. I'm glad I also used our real digital camera that first day, so we can have some higher-resolution shots of our brand new newborn. Here's one of the few pictures that I think really looks like him:

Rotated and in close-up:
And here's the original.
- papa

Saturday, July 15, 2006

take your son to work day

[posted by bkmarcus]

- papa

Thursday, July 13, 2006

first checkup

[posted by bkmarcus]

Benjamin at 1 week

Asleep on the exam table

Home from doc's.

Today Benjamin is 7 pounds 12 ounces, and the doctor is very pleased with his weight gain, which means nursing is going well and we're allowed to let him sleep until he's hungry. (More rest for maman!)

7-12 puts him 2 ounces shy of his birth weight. On Sunday, the nurse weighed him at 7 pounds 7 ounces, so that's 5 ounces gained in 4 days -- or possibly only 1 ounce per day since he peed 3 times (!) while we were in the exam room and easily gave up an ounce.

Fortunately, maman was smart enough to have packed plenty of diapers. Papa would probably have brought only 1. Maman loves the diaper bag we got at Babies R Us with a gift certificate from little George's mom and dad.

The kind of mundane detail that I now get excited about is that we're allowed to use a pacifier. I'd already been resorting to one when Benjamin would be otherwise inconsolable, but maman was concerned about nipple confusion and the general warning not to use pacifiers until nursing is going well. Nursing is apparently going quite well, so we may pacify without worry. For now.

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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

A week after the flood

[posted by Nat]
My sweet boy,

It's hard to believe that a week ago today I was standing in the kitchen and suddenly had a weird sensation that made me rush to the bathroom. My water had broken and you, little Benjamin, had announced that you were ready to make your debut. And our lives were about to completely change -- not that we hadn't been expecting the change for 9 months, but it was quite a shock when things actually started to happen.

It's a week later now, and we've had many many feedings (and many many attempts at proper latching -- we're getting better at it), lots of diapers of various colors, not to mention an Independence Day evening spent in a lovely delivery room (a beautiful view of a huge, old tree and the top ridge of the very southern porch of the hospital, wooden floors, wood furniture, a peaceful mural of a bench by a creek that Maman stared at intently while trying not to think about the contractions and just breathe) during which we either didn't hear or didn't notice the fireworks going on a mile away. (Meanwhile, the doctor went to sit under the fireworks while waiting for you to make your way down the birth canal). Maman has even gotten a bit of a grip on her fear that something could happen to you if no one is beside you 24/7 and both your parents now sleep in their own bed instead of one of them being stationed on the floor of your room (and that was mostly poor Papa...).

And we love to sneak into your room and admire you while you sleep, not quite believing that you are ours, our beautiful little boy.
ta maman

Sunday, July 09, 2006

bencat redux

[posted by bkmarcus]

April 30th

July 8th

giving the people what they want

[posted by bkmarcus]

Saturday, July 08, 2006


[posted by bkmarcus]
In the Marcus family division of labor, it turns out that maman is responsible for input and papa is responsible for output.

- papa

guard duty

[posted by bkmarcus]
It's about 3 in the morning and I'm on guard duty in the nursery.

Benjamin is perfectly healthy; there's no reason to worry; we're just acting out our roles as new first-time parents, starting at every sound or lack of sound, needing to see him fidget in his sleep to reassure ourselves that all is well with our beautiful baby boy.

The nightwatch takes me back 19 years to the several months I lived on a kibbutz (Zionist commune) in Israel. As the kibbutzim move away from their socialist roots, family arrangements are becoming more "traditional" -- meaning the bourgeois nuclear family in shared quarters -- but in Kibbutz Givat Oz in 1987, all the kibbutznik babies were housed communally in the beit tinokot (literally, the "house of babies").

I had a surreal semi-date in the beit tinokot with a petite chemist, who, having done the standard mandatory military service, looked completely comfortable with her hand-held radio monitor to one side of her and her Uzi submachine gun to the other. When I expressed surprise that she was so well armed in the house of babies, she looked at me like I was crazy. This is guard duty, she said. These babies are our most valued treasures.

I'm not armed at the moment, and my surroundings would be better represented in marine-themed naïve art than in socialist realism, but guard duty has me more in touch with that most-valued-treasures mandate than I possibly could have been any time earlier.

Here's what my little treasure looks like from where I'm stationed:

- papa

due date

[posted by bkmarcus]
Benjamin's first car ride
It has been 72 hours since Benjamin came into the world.

Today is his due date.

We are now home. I'm feeling very happy to have the hospital stay behind us. The facilities were great and the maternity floor staff was really amazing, but it's so much better to have my boy sleeping in his own bed, in his own room, with his mother finally getting some very-much-needed catch-up sleep in our own bed.

Here's Benjamin's first test run of the crib:

- papa

Thursday, July 06, 2006

big ben

[posted by bkmarcus]

Apparently, in all the rush, I forgot to post his particulars. Sorry about that.

He was born at 7 pounds 14 ounces at 2:38 AM yesterday.

(He's already lost 3 or 4 ounces in the transition from umbilical cord to nursing.)

He measures just under 22 inches long!

He has long fingers and humongous feet.

His head is 13½ inches around. His chest is 13 inches, too.

During his two or three visits to the nursery, he seems to be the biggest, longest baby in the place -- with the fullest head of hair. Doesn't quite look like a brand new baby to me. And I can't believe he came out of his mother so recently.

But while he was sharp and bright-eyed much of yesterday, studying his new world, he is now doing that deep, deep after-birth sleep. Lots to recover from.

- papa

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


[posted by bkmarcus]

Above, Benjamin only minutes old.

Sound asleep at about 12 hours old.

Long, dark, and handsome ... and finally bathed at about 16 hours old.

il est arrivé

[posted by bkmarcus]
Benjamin was born at 2:40am, Wednesday, July 5th.

He is bright-eyed and beautiful.

His mother did an amazing job.

benmaman, benpapa, and benben are all doing well (and may again be out of touch for a while)

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

independence day

[posted by bkmarcus]
Benjamin has declared his Independence this July 4th by breaking his mother's bag of waters.

(We may be out of touch for a while.)

Monday, July 03, 2006

Svan Chair

[posted by bkmarcus]
Thanks to a maternal aunt and a couple of cousins, Benjamin will be eating in style once he starts on solids.

And thanks to Swedish engineering, he can use it throughout his life (with a few modifications, of course).

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Post 101

[posted by Nat]
Papa's post yesterday was the 100th for our baby blog!

Yesterday also marked 9 months of pregnancy and the beginning of week 40... meaning that Benjamin's due date is a week away!

To mark how momentous this weekend is, iVillage's daily pregnancy calendar gets to the point quickly with its weekly size update:

Size Huge. Development Fully formed.

No more comparisons with lentils, avocados, beef roasts, lobster tails, or soccer balls. This baby is baby-sized now and we all "know" how big that is.

I must say, though, that I don't feel huge. Yes, when I look at my profile in the mirror I am a little awed by how far out my belly juts, but overall I don't feel the weight of it that much (just when turning over in bed). The only time I physically feel huge is when attempting to put on clothes. My wardrobe has been very limited in the last few weeks. My favorites clothes are now regular, draw string pajamas and big cotton t-shirts. My beloved pregnancy pants no longer fit, nor do my blouses -- though I'll be wearing them again soon since it takes a while to get back to your regular size after having a baby.

Now we are just counting the days...

Saturday, July 01, 2006

I think I'm insulted...

[posted by bkmarcus]
I'll try not to take it too personally, but here's what BabyCenter is advising my wife this week. (Note the final few words.)
Only 5 percent of babies are born on their expected due date, so yours could arrive any day now — or she could make you wait a bit. (She can't make you wait indefinitely though. If you don't go into labor on your own, you'll probably be induced one to two weeks after your due date.) In the meantime, carve out some time with your partner or other children...
- papa