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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Time for Every Event: A Time to Be a Baby

Despite mommy never skipping a beat
with her coffee intake, Lucas manages to sleep

He like to chill
Perhaps I was a bit misleading in a previous entry, two posts ago, when I made Lucas sound like a Tolkien monster while I strummed a harp like a little angel bringing peace and harmony to mankind. These tiny and comatose newborns make bigger babies such as myself us look monstrous in comparison, both in weight and behavior.

The truth is that while Lucas acts like a newborn baby some of the time with his mysterious shrieks and duck call honk, he also acts very much like an infant in other ways. For instance, watching paint dry is a fascinating and riveting activity for him. Conversely, I am not satisfied with anything that does not provide loud bells and whistles, garish colors and sundry interactive buttons that may hold my attention for about 10 seconds. Maximum.

I suppose that for beleaguered parents the lethargic one is a welcomed break from my hyper-hyperness, my current phase of life. As you know, the Book of Ecclesiastes says there is a time for this and a time for that. For our purposes we will focus on a time to cry and a time to laugh, a time to tear down and a time to build up, a time to throw (stones) and a time to gather (stones), a time to be silent and a time to speak. While Lucas is displaying some of the baby times, I am profoundly working on the others. For instance, throwing. I don't throw stones, but I do toss anything that comes into my hands. At the moment, I'm not so keen on building up either, but I am an expert at tearing down. Lucas and I are both working on the "time to cry," and actually, we are both simultaneously as well working on a "time to laugh."

Here is an example of my laugh. I worked very hard on it as part of my school day at Shalva. I think I scored an A+, don't you?

Mommy and abba are wondering when the destructive phase of my life will be balanced with a constructive phase. I am adept at knocking down, dismantling and throwing. Building and returning things to their rightful place is still not in my motor-skill vocabulary. But this is a right of passage for all babies. We are expected to be destructive for what may seem like centuries but really is only just a few months (to years). This video illustrates the contrast of baby behavior from one month to one year and five months.

Lucas is is in a pre-destructive phase and so my parents can enjoy this time while grappling with mine. I suppose you could say that for all parents there is a time for this and that as well which directly corresponds to baby times:

A time to savor and a time to sigh in defeat.

A time to proudly take photos and a time to maniacally pull hair out.

A time to laugh. And, for them too, a time to cry!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Baby Talk

Modeling my poncho bib

Lucas passes his time in the swing
I finally found someone in this house besides Lucas who speaks my language! Have you ever heard of Tom the Cat of iPad, iPhone application fame? Yes, Tom the Cat speaks my language. Not even Lucie knows baby language. But Tom and I have had a few conversations as you will see in this video:

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Ancient Mysteries of Babies (still not) Revealed!

I am the only one who can interpret what Lucas is saying.
But I haven't spilled his secrets yet!
My little brother is a baby enigma. Of course that is redundant since babies are, by definition, mysterious.

But now, with Lucas, mommy and abba have to learn a whole new set of baby tricks and treats. No sooner had they learned (or so they thought) how to handle moi, they now have to figure out an entirely different baby language. The language of Lucas.

While I prefer to present the "big picture" challenges, Lucas likes to take on smaller but daily challenges.

As an infant, I was a pleasant and well-behaved baby on a daily basis. I maintained a wonderful eating and sleeping schedule. I rarely cried. I adeptly fit into my parents' schedule and was portable, able to stay out late, and I did not create scenes in public spaces (although that has become a thing of the past). Admittedly I may have posed some rather large, big-picture problems instead, such as day-long clinics; two to three weekly therapy sessions; rotating check ups on my heart, hearing and other things; then open heart surgery; and culminating recently with a virus that landed me in the hospital for two weeks.

On the contrary, Lucas has been determined to be free of any worrisome medical conditions. He has no scary appointments looming over our heads. There are no therapists clamoring for his attention. He is not scheduled for any major surgery and my parents weren't sent home from the hospital with a checklist of certain petrifying symptoms for which to be on the look out.

However, on a daily basis he presents a more complex challenge: He cries.

Nay, he shrieks. Lucas has a set of lungs that he enjoys putting to good use. And his screams can put any baby to shame. In fact, quite eerily, he sometimes sounds like he is auditioning for the part of the Nazgul in the Lord of the Rings movies with their bone-chilling shriek. (You can listen to it here. Brace yourself!)

So close, yet so different already!

Lucas, thus far, is much more challenging than I was on a daily basis. While I tackled the long-term projects such as being sure to meet every doctor in the pediatric ward of Hadassah hospital, he presents the short-term crises of being high maintenance. For example, he likes to cat nap. He is sensitive to sound, light, touch and anything that would prevent him from sleeping. He needs a new setting every half hour or so otherwise he exhibits his "I'm bored" cry. He spits up a few times a day. Basically, while I spoiled my parents by being such an angel baby they now have been presented with a normal baby. 

Hey Luc, smile for the camera!

Lucas will be whoever Lucas is meant to be. We are simply waiting for our parents to get with the program (especially before his cry escalates to Nazgul level). And since they and all adults have yet to learn baby language, they are still playing catch up with their 1 month old and trying to deduce each "situation" as it comes along. 

Good luck with that!

This is getting serious. Maybe I'll grab my foot as I wait
for the awkward moment to pass.

Sometimes even I don't understand Lucas 

Okay, enough. I'm getting outta here!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Merry Christmas!! (??)

Lucas' first 12 Days of Christmas

How we spent the last three weeks...
GongGong and Mimi's Christmas present: one grandchild each

Twas the night before Christmas 
And all through the abode,
Babies were stirring continually
And "Silent Night" was no longer en vogue.
by Daniel Jansezian

If it seems strange to you that the title of my latest post is "Merry Christmas," then you are neither an Armenian from Jerusalem nor have you read mommy's article (disclaimer on the awkward headline - she said it is not hers). And chances are good that you are neither since this is rather random.

But this tricky bit of information has benefitted me greatly. Since I spent the first Christmas - December 25 - in the hospital, and Lucas was still in a newborn coma having been born just 36 hours before Christmas, at least we get to celebrate as Armenians on January 19 (the 18th is Christmas Eve). In fact, we celebrated the 12 days of Christmas in a disrupted cycle from the day we got back from the hospital until now, acknowledging various aspects of Christmas on various days, replete with TWO days of me opening presents, chestnuts roasted in a stove, wassail and lots of Christmas music.

Timed with the beginning and end of the Christmas season was GongGong's arrival and then departure. He arrived on December 25, just in time to see me off to sleep on Christmas night at the hospital and then he left on the eve of Armenian Christmas Eve. We had many good times together and yet today he morphed back into the computer and became an avatar yet again, someone I see only on the computer sadly.

Mimi was being clever - she bought me my very own
"cell phone." Fear not, I was not deceived.

Neither was I deceived by my very own remote control

Look what Santa left under the tree!

Where's my remote? I need to lower the volume on this one

Mimi and GongGong got me very cool gifts

So did Nanni and many others.
Thank you everyone!

But the best present of all ... :)

My swirl decided to pose for the
family photo

Although it was Armenian Christmas Eve, it was a regular day and I went to school as usual. I guess the celebrating had to come to an end some time. An entire month of Christmas would be just divine - no pun intended - but after missing that amount of time at school due to viruses and such, I suppose I had to stop partying and get back to the daily grind.

Actually, that also worked in my favor. As you can see, I missed my friends anyway and, although GongGong is gone gone, hugs are certainly not in short supply around here!

Ephraim and I are trying out for the basketball team 

...Or the band. Hm, decisions!

I missed Meir too. And Suri obviously fainted
with her head on the drum when she saw me.

Talia, unabashed, with her two boyfriends

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Calling the Plays at Night

Caption up for grabs: "Go Giants!" or the literal translation: "Giants suck!"?

As you can see from my chuchung (pacifier), the team of choice in our household this weekend is the New York Giants. We had another choice too, but that team already lost. Boohoo.

As per the many time zones between us and the USA, the football games are aired at ungodly hours in Israel. That's where I come in to help, now with my assistant, Lucas. We make sure to give abba wake-up calls at alarming hours such as 3 a.m., 4 a.m. or even 5 a.m. when we are feeling generous. While it is most disruptive in terms of sleep, it helps abba to get up and shuffle his way to the living room to turn on the TV and find out the scores.

For instance, the Broncos game (or Patriots game depending on your perspective) began at around 3 a.m. our time. I made sure abba caught up with the game during half time and Lucas ensured that abba got to see the end of the game. What a relay team of little champions we are!

Tonight the Giants play. The game will begin at 11:30, a much more reasonable start time. However, its ending time will be abysmal. That is where the Jansezian brothers come to the rescue. Abba can rest assured (literally) that between the two of us he won't sleep through the ending of this one!  Mommy has yet to benefit from these hours.

And if that doesn't work, and the Giants are losing, our back-up team will probably harass abba out of his sleep. That would be his football arch nemesis and Jets fan, Uncle Richie. Uncle Richie has endured ongoing harassment from abba since the two New Jersey teams met up for a game a few weeks ago and the Jets lost. Although the harassment has abated somewhat when threatened with withholding of NY Yankees baseball tickets. Note to readers - any Giants paraphernalia you see in our photos was all inadvertently courtesy of Uncle Richie's own family: Aunt Beanie and Cristine.

Enjoy the games today everyone! We will probably be watching today as well (or at least reminding abba to do so).

The following is a photo shoot of Lucas that I've generously allowed to be posted on my blog. These photos were taken about two weeks ago, which is two-thirds of Lucas' life so far. He's already changed so much!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Homecoming King

I'm back and in action!

It had been awhile, a month in fact. So when I returned to Shalva after my hospital stay, my new brother's arrival and our ongoing Christmas holidays, it was replete with a red carpet welcome and, naturally, thousands - nay, millions - of kisses.

Just like a homecoming king at a high school reunion, I made my school debut (or re-debut) in style. No more hospitals, no more oxygen tether, no more boring days at home (sorry, mommy!). Instead of being at home with just a few people to pay attention to me, at school there are hundreds of people filtering through my day from the time I get on the bus and say good morning to Bentzi, my chauffeur, all the way to my teachers, the teachers of the other classes, therapists, the directors and of course my esteemed colleagues (classmates). I have a non-stop audience. And, as we know from the hospital days, I thrive on crowd reaction. 

And here I am back in action like I never skipped a beat. I continue to eat and drink with my very own hands at school while continuing to deny any knowledge thereof at home. I hold onto objects (very well as you will see in the next video) at school, but at home I continue to reflexively and instantly throw anything that sneaks into my hands. At school, I have many girls to charm, while at home, the audience is smaller and not as fluid as the multitudes who tromp through Shalva on a daily basis. 

Ephraim has also been back and was awaiting my return. While in the hospital we conspired about how we would rule the classroom when we returned. We are nine days apart and similar in many ways, viruses notwithstanding. For one, we jockey for the attention of our therapists and teachers. In fact, we are co-boyfriends of our speech therapist, Talia, even though she is engaged to another boy altogether. Sometimes we may display a bit of jealous angst, but in the end it all evens out. 

See, we can share! 

We're like BFFs! (best friends forever)

An award-winning combination
Nevertheless, there was a bit of work involved in my long-awaited return. Lirit, my fine motor skills coach, snatched me up within minutes of my initial return for a session on self-feeding. Despite weeks of deceiving mommy, abba and mimi, I almost immediately took food from Lirit, self-fed myself with a spoon and drank from a cup, mostly unassisted. The proof is in the pictures.

The first few bites were with assistance

Multitasking: Here I am flirting with a
girl passing by while eating

No hands! I mean, hands, but no
one else's hands!

I can drink from a cup too. At school.
At school, there is plenty of time to perform for a crowd and get lots of attention. The only thing troublesome is waiting for the other kids to get their turn at being the center of attention.

Here I am trying to be patient as Ephraim is up first

Despite it being someone else's turn,
I noticed the camera was trained on me

Multitasking 2: Working on my chuchung
(pacifier) and scoring a basket

Monday, January 9, 2012

Baby in Slow Motion

Lucas is redefining my definition of "baby"

He simply chills while I need constant entertainment 

It seems that the new tenant just may be permanent, but I'm not 100 percent sure. This mysterious baby makes a few appearances during the day and then disappears for a couple hours at a time. I am still uncertain what he does in the meantime, whether he goes for a walk, enjoys a nice latte at a cafe or just sleeps. But then after about three hours, almost without fail, he returns with a resounding cry.

And when I say resounding, I am being polite. Banshee wail is more like it. Mommy and abba told me that as a newborn I had a cute cry that wasn't nearly as forceful as this one. Believe me, when Lucas cries, it sets everyone into action.

When he does appear, crying or not, I usually clap with glee at his arrival, and then promptly return to my toys. I'm not really sure what he does with his time, but if he weren't so sleepy, as I suppose newborns are, he'd be fun to play with.

Big yawn!

If he's not eating, he's either sleeping or about to go to sleep

"Silent Night (Mommy Wishes)." No, not these days.

All of this has served to redefine the word "baby." As I am a baby, and this is the "baby blogs" there is some confusion now as to what really comprises a baby, a creature that is already an enigma to adults globally. Who is the real baby here? Is it the sleepy one who awakes simply to enjoy a latte and then drifts off again to dreamland? Or is it the rowdy one who is starting to show strong signs of a tantrum and chatters without ceasing?

This baby has the ethereally soft newborn skin, but he also has baby acne from breastfeeding. I was smart - I waited eight weeks to nurse so I avoided the dangers of baby acne and maintained my porcelain complexion. However, now when my skin is compared to Lucas' people say it is not "as soft" or that I am losing that "baby skin." How dare they!

At least I have gained in another department. While Lucas' face is still unfolding from his womb time and his face still proportionately small compared to mine, I have recently developed some ample cheeks. Therefore I get kissed way more than he does. I have some generous peck pads now that extend to my chin and neck. And believe me, many have already taken advantage of that fact.

Is he laughing or crying? I'm laughing

Also, while my swirl is continuing to twirl into a pile on my head, this hairy little boy is already losing some of that mohawk with which he was born and is sporting a receding hairline. Simply put, he no longer has black hair on his forehead stretching from his eyebrows to his scalp.

Lucas also has those slow motion baby moves. When he is on his back he moves his hands through the air as if he is still swimming around in amniotic fluid.

Having been born a pound and a half heavier and two inches longer than I, Lucas is now speeding through his newborn clothes and is wearing a few of my hand-me-downs that I didn't wear till I was 3 months old or more! But having said that, with our different complexions he doesn't look as good in my clothes as I did. Whew.

Lucas is also a spitter upper! While I spoiled mommy and abba by not spitting up except on rare occasions, Pucas spits up after every meal. Yes, I called him Pucas. Someone has to prepare him for his schooldays when mean kids will torture him for his name. As a big brother, I feel it is my duty to do so.

So this makes Lucas a one-hit wonder with his outfits. One outfit a day and then it goes into the laundry. He is much harder to keep up with than I was, being a veritable angel baby, as defined by the Baby Whisperer and confirmed by my parents. No, I'm not writing out of jealousy, I'm simply noting the differences in as much of an objective way as I can.

Regardless, now we have even more and varying definitions of baby in this small apartment. I daresay this next chapter of the baby blogs is going to bring more revelation and even more confusion to adults worldwide as babies grow up alongside each other and continue to confound and perplex the learned.

Our living room has become a changing station for diapers.

As big brother, I took Lucas out to his first cafe!
I vow to show him the ropes of the important things. 

Lucas' first cafe experience - 10 days old.
Its never too soon for a baby to learn about cafes.

Although he's already a latte expert. Just ask mommy!