Thursday, July 5, 2007

Flying to New Jersey

If you want to know how a second kid impacts your family life style, the best way to know is to fly out somewhere. The longer is the flight duration, the better the experience about it.

We had to fly to NJ because my wife wanted to spend 2 months of her FMLA with her parents and I thought it was good idea. Partly because my in-laws have not seen the baby and this would be a good opportunity for them to spend time with the baby and also for wife to wind down little bit by getting some help from her family. Partly because I am really running out of my energy by taking care of the baby in the night. I can imagine how the day is spent for my wife, by taking care of the baby and also the older one. It's one tough job. This makes me feel that being stay-at-home-mom is not a cushy job. But then that discussion can spawn into a different blog entry.

Anyway, we decided to fly in a day flight. The main reason for choosing a day flight is not to disturb the fellow passengers. Passengers in a red-eye flight would sleep through out the flight. This being the first trip for my baby, I didn't know how he would react in the flight and also how would I restrain my non-stop runner 3 year old one. So a day flight would be a good option. Our flight schedule consists departure from San Jose at 9 AM with a layover of 1 hour in Phoenix before heading to New Jersey.

Surprisingly, my wife always manages to push the limit on the check-in baggage weight. I don't know where she manages to get so many clothes and other things to pack, but she always does go almost neat 50lb on each bag. We had 3 seats reserved, hence we could take 6 bags checked-in. My wife managed to make 5 bags with two of them bordering at 48lb. Plus 2 car seats and one sit-n-stand stroller.

While driving the SUV, I had this strange feeling as if I am moving from California to NJ. May be that's how the future is going to be and I am slowly getting used to it. After reaching the airport, the check-in etc. went smooth and we were near the gate by 7:30AM. The flight took of on time and the time has come to test the patience of the kids.

As much as afraid I was about the kids being cranky in the plane, I was surprised that everything was going extremely smooth. The Phoenix flight was short and we landed at 10:52 am at the Phoenix airport. This is tough part to take the transit flight. Two babies, a stroller, diaper bag, my daughter's back pack, laptop and add to that the "Murphy's Law"! The Murphy's Law suggests that if you have one hour to take a transit plane and you are not very efficiently mobile, then you would be assigned the farthest gate for your transit. And that's what happened in our case. We were assigned get A29 which was on the farthest in terminal A. We were literally running because we had to reach there earlier enough to do the following: change diaper of my baby and get some food to eat. We did it thought we got some funny looks from the people who were walking past us. But that's life when you have two kids and I bet everybody behaves the same way the way we behaved.

It was not a bad affair at Phoenix airport either. To be honest, I never felt that I was traveling with two babies besides the point that my right arm was aching because of carrying my little baby on my shoulder. But that's acceptable.

By the time we landed in NJ, we were not cranky or tired, neither were the kids and nor were the passengers. Everybody had a smooth sailing. Another thing I noticed during the flight that there were many kids that were of same age either to my daughter or my baby. But none of them were fussy either. Does that mean this new generation of kids are already plane-savvy? If so, then we are all saved. If so, then gone are those days when we used to get deaf by the crying and screaming of the kids when the planes used to take off and land. If so, then hereafter we would always have peaceful plane journey even on red-eye flights!

The bottom line is as much as I dreaded about the travel with my kids, at the end I realized that it never affected anything during the flight. It was as if I had only one kid to fly with. But then the part I am dreading now is the return to CA after 3 days and travel back again in August to pick my family back. I hope my ear drums would stay intact!

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The smile that can win you all the way!

My son is not yet 2 months old. He is 6 days away from that. But he already started smiling. A smile that takes all your stress away. With that smile, the cooing is very very intoxicating. From the day he started smiling, I have been always looking at him to see the smile back again.

On the other hand, my daughter is reducing to a baby. Now there is constant crying, fussing from her. She has started to drink liquid from sippy-cup or baby bottles. That God, she is not going back to those 4 ounce bottles. That would be a definite disaster.

But my son likes to play with my daughter, even though my daughter makes it a point to irritate him whenever possible. If he is sleeping, then she would talk loud or scream loud so that the baby would wake up. If he is just laying silently, then she would go and kiss him or do something to him until he starts fussing. Yet, he still loves to play with her and watched her constantly. That's how siblings make things work!

Friday, June 1, 2007

Sleepless nights.. but better than previous

The sleepless night continues with the baby being 1 month old. It's because the baby feeds less and feeds every two hours. Though the baby is on formula, yet he needs to be fed every 2 hours.

However, compare to my daughter, we are having a much more easier time. With my daughter, feeding was ok, but she would never go to sleep when we put her down in the bed or crib. So the whole night I had to carry her on my shoulder or in my arms and she would fall asleep like that. And night after night, doing the same thing made us like zombie and we got cranky too. Somehow we were controlling our time. It was so bad that, when we thought of having a second baby, we were hesitant because of the night experience.

But this time its' much better. He feeds frequently, but he sleeps well. He sleeps in the bed, bouncer, swing, crib, shoulder, arms; everywhere. It does not matter to him. So this time, we can lay down and close our eyes for some time when he falls asleep. However, because of the regular interruption, we don't feel like we are getting enough sleep.

So we came up with one idea. We split up the night into two shifts. One would take care of the baby until 3AM and then from 3AM the second person would take care of the baby until morning. And the next day, the shift would rotate. Now we are getting enough sleep and we don't feel that tired. Hopefully, this would work out fine on long run.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The acne face

It never happens with the girl baby. But it happens to 40% of baby boys. It's the acne. It happens because of the residual maternal hormone inside the baby. It happens during the 2nd week after birth and might continue for a month or up to 6 months.

We were taking the baby for weekly check up because the baby had lost some weight when we left the hospital. When the doctor noticed the blemishes on the face, he told us that it's the acne and it would go away. Nothing much should be done to those blemishes.

But over the week days, we saw those things growing and spreading all over the face and into the head and on the forehead I could see pus formation. But we had no clue about acne and we thought that's how the behavior of acne is.

When we went back to the doctor for the next weekly visit, he got worried about the whole acne thing. It was not acne at all. It might be Seborrhea(Seborrheic Dermatitis) or otherwise know as Cradle Cap. Doctor also didn't rule out some type of bacterial infection.

He took some pus for culturing the bacteria to know more about it and immediately prescribed an anti-bacterial cream and hydrocortizine cream to put on the baby alternatively. If it's an bacterial infection than the anti-bacterial cream would take care of it and if it is Seborrhea, the hydrocortizine cream would take care of it. And he told us that in 2-3 days he would call us to tell us about the bacteria culture result.

On applying both the creams, the infection started going away. But it made his cheek skin rough. We could not put any lotion on the cheeks to make it soft. In three days every thing vanished and the skin got back its baby glow. We were very worried at the beginning about the marks staying back. But thankfully, it didn't. But we still didn't know whether it was because of the bacteria or Seborrhea.

Finally, the doctor called and told us that it was a bacterial infection and continue to apply the anti-bacterial cream; discontinue using the hydrocortizine cream.

Now we are still wondering what type of bacterial infection could have happened and how? We have no clue about it still now!

Feeling left out

Though my daughter has been excited enough to have a new baby in the family, over the period of days she could see that everything revolves around the baby. The baby always gets the first preference. There are certain rules and regulations to follow around the baby: wash the hands before touching the baby; don't make noise when the baby is sleeping. If baby is crying for food, then everything is dropped and his feeding is taken care of. This is what happens when a baby is around. But for a 3 year old girl, taking all the attention away from her is not something she can digest easily.

Not that she feels any jealousy towards the baby, but she definitely feels that she is getting neglected and being left out. Looking into her eyes, I can tell that. I try explaining her why it is happening. But still it's not something she can understand now. Her behavior started changing. Even in the school, the teachers also noticed it and informed me.

That's when I took a decision that one of us have to spend time with the daughter while the other is attending the baby. We can switch roles every 2 hours or so, but the daughter should not be left out. If we didn't take care of it now, the feelings inside her would start growing and it might transform into something against the baby!

My daughter's reaction

My daughter is 3 years and 5 months old when the baby boy came into the world. She knew we were having a baby and she was involved in every step while the baby was growing inside my wife's tummy. We wanted our daughter to be excited and feel as if she is the most important person in this whole process. She was enjoying it very much and she was out spokes person to the world when it comes to the new baby. She told everybody that we were having a baby before ever we were ready to announce to the world about the new baby. Wherever we went, she was not keeping her mouth shut.

She enjoyed the sibling class we took her to learn the responsibility of being the big sister. She had watched The Big Sister episode of Dora umpteen number of times and may be that's what made her mentally ready. After coming back from the sibling class, she expressed her desire to take care of the baby by feeding and giving bath. Though we were excited, we kind of started getting anxious.

On the day when baby was born, my daughter was sound asleep in her room at our home. That morning I went back home and got her to hospital to see the baby. All through out the driving, she was elated and very much excited.

On entering the room, when I showed her the baby, she suddenly went silent and calm. She never saw such a little living being in her life. Her expressions were complex. Excited and yet calm. She smiled and I could see the big sister feeling coming up inside her. Whether she felt it's a good living toy, that's something I would know in later days!

She was impatient to leave the baby in the hospital and wanted to take the baby home at that instant. We had a hard time explaining her why the baby needed to be in the hospital. On the way back home at the end of visiting hour, she was sad and crying for not having the baby with her. But it was just the matter of another day before she could have the baby at home.

I was feeling pretty good that our daughter is very ready for the baby and we would have a smooth sailing when it comes to the sibling care. Was I right or was I wrong?

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April 19th: The Day

It was the day when he came into this world. It was 2 weeks early. But it was a pleasant and easy arrival. That afternoon my wife was complaining about the contraction. In case of the first baby, she never even felt the contraction. We went into the hospital at around 4PM and the hospital did confirm the contractions. However, they were not ready to admit her because she was not dilated enough and there might a long time before she could give birth to baby.

It’s kind of interesting that with every addition of new baby, the fear and the anxiety about the birth of the baby diminishes. Whether it diminishes linearly or exponentially that depends from person to person. We were not that anxious when the hospital told us that we should go back home and wait for the contractions to come in faster and more severe. I think the hospital didn’t keep us because we were only 15 minutes away from the hospital. But when the delivery time is nearer, that 15 minutes would feel like 15 hours!

We came back home and at around 11pm my wife could not bear the contractions anymore and we rushed back to the hospital. This time hospital admitted her and ran the epidural tube as fast as they could. My wife always opted for the epidural and her doctor always recommended it. The myth about epidural bringing bad back pain in the later stage of life has been already proven wrong. But still many women prefer to go through the pain of delivering the baby. May be it’s something they want to experience or they have high tolerance for the pain. But let me tell you one thing: pain or not, you would still love your baby equal.

After the administration of epidural, my wife went to sleep blissfully while the monitors around her kept on doing soft beeps and other noises to make you feel that you are in some futuristic world. I started reading a fiction and before I knew I was fast asleep in that sofa-bed. At around night 1:30AM I felt some commotion in the room and half-opened my eyes to see my wife’s doctor checking my wife’s condition. Not fearing anything, I went back to sleep. I remember in case of the first baby, I could hardly sleep. At around 3:30AM, lot of noise woke me up and I saw my wife already in the stage of pushing out the baby and there are all the required hospital staffs assisting her. Though I felt a little embarrassed, but still I woke up and went near my wife to hold her hand and give her moral and verbal support to push the baby out. My wife was not feeling any contractions because of the epidural and baby was ready to come out. With the help of the doctor and around 5-6 push, the little baby came out to this world around 3:45AM.

It was the most effortless and easy baby delivery I experienced. I mean the first one was easy too, but this one was easier than that.

I was feeling very different. Before the baby was born, I always told my wife that somehow I was not mentally ready on how to divide the love equally between my two kids. But strangely when the second one came into the light, I immediately felt that I didn’t have to divide the love in equal. Instead my love became twice to provide both the kid enough. Parenting is such a strange phenomenon. Holding the baby in my arms and next to my chest brought me such a beautiful feeling that I am completely assured about providing a lots of love to both the kids.

And at that point I realized my family has become a two kids family!