Wednesday, June 24, 2009


I get a lot of approval of Robert's name from a certain generation: it seems that anybody over sixty or so is just thrilled to see 'Robert' still in use. "How lovely, my husband's/ father's name is Robert"-- we hear this a lot from older women. My dad, who I suppose falls into this category, was very pleased to hear our choice, as was the pediatrician who finally released Robert from the hospital (although he was young)-- but he was a Robert, himself*. This is balanced by the reaction we get from pretty much anyone under sixty, which is subtle dismay. "You're not going to call him Robert, are you? Such an old name for a newborn. Does he have a nickname yet-- Rob? Bobby?" To be honest, I felt that way myself, a little, and it took me several days to get used to calling him Robert. Part of that, probably, is that it isn't a name I would have chosen were it not for the circumstances. It wasn't even on the list, being verboten as the name of such a close relative**. But when I think Robert, I think of Robert Louis Stevenson, Robert Frost. It's a good, strong, simple name. Incidentally, Bob Dylan and Bob Marley were both Roberts.

Robert is four weeks old, today. I'm waiting for my medal for keeping him alive for one whole moon, but it doesn't seem to be forthcoming. His one-month doctor visit is on Monday, and I am interested in finding out his official weight/height. He just seems so big to me. Speaking of which, how do they measure length in the hospital? Newborns are so balled-up... does it take two nurses, one to unroll the infant to full length, the other to hold the tape measure?

He seems to be going through a growth spurt or something. He's been on a pretty regular, every-three-hours-or-so eating schedule since coming home from the hospital... until about forty-eight hours ago, when he decided that he was going to be hungry all the time. I didn't even realize it, because it didn't occur to me that he might be hungry before Feeding Time. Poor guy. I finally tried a bottle (ahead of schedule) and he gulped it down, burped richly, and fell asleep. He's eaten a lot since then, and slept a lot. So I think he's either growing suddenly, or entering a new phase, or something. Who knows?

Robert is not just big, he seems to be pretty physically advanced for his age. His neck strength and control astounded me in the hour after he was born, and now he can hold his head up purposefully, for quite some time. The way he uses his hands, and his arms and legs, seems like the movements of an older baby, and I think he's going to be an early roller. This morning, when Don was giving him a bottle, Robert actually grabbed the bottle and held it in both hands as he ate. Don and I joke about having an athlete on our hands, wonder what we'll do if he turns out to be a football player or something. I just can't handle having a dumb jock, Don says. I assure him that neither is likely in what is, for now, the scion of my family. We don't tend towards either the dumb or the athletic. Besides, who says it has to be football? He could play rugby, lacrosse, soccer. Ballet, if he falls off the growth chart a little. Anything, or nothing at all. This age is so much fun, when everything is conjecture.

He still likes being swaddled. It calms him down when he's upset and helps him sleep, but I don't like seeing him all wrapped up. I understand why babies like it, why it helps, but it seems so confining to me-- I think I'm projecting my own mild claustrophobia onto him. I got the shivers thinking of him in utero in those last weeks, too, all cramped up and unable to move around.

He likes the movement of the stroller, and the car. I wish the air conditioning in my car worked, so that I could take him out more; right now being in the car after about ten in the morning, is unbearable. Don wants to get me a new car. With what money, I ask? Can we afford a monthly payment? No. Can we afford to pay cash and wipe out our savings? No. So stop dreaming about a four-door sedan that we could get the car seat into and out of without resorting to acrobatics, that has working a/c and possibly cruise control. Trading vehicles with Don isn't an option, as he drives a pick-up truck. I am not installing the car seat into the passenger side of the truck, it's just wrong.

Stupid new-mommy mistake: I didn't realize that our Diflucan prescriptions would be under our individual names: mine under my name and Robert's under his own. I guess I thought they'd be in the same bag or something. Don went to the pharmacy and returned with just mine... It's like Robert is a whole real person or something, with his own insurance card and prescriptions in his own name. Awww.

I pump at my computer desk. Since it takes at least one hand, I can't actually type while pumping, so I play solitaire, or FreeCell. Five or six "daytime" pumping sessions times at least fifteen minutes each-- usually more like half an hour-- and I've gotten really good at FreeCell. I don't think it's possible to get good at Solitaire, it's much more of a luck-based game.


*Dr. Rob. He declared our Robert to be the picture of health, said he looked "like a little surfer dude" due to the spiky blond hair, and that we could take him home any time. I think I loved Dr. Rob at that moment.

**Jewish tradition, at least the part of Jewish tradition that I descend from, forbids the naming of babies for living relatives, for spiritual reasons. Children tend to be named in honor of deceased relatives instead, although at least here in America, this is often reflected by a common initial rather than the whole name. (I'm not sure but I'm willing to guess that the original names were just too "old country" and recent immigrants wanted to compromise by giving their kids American-sounding names that still payed homage to great-grandma. I would do this, personally, because Robert is one thing, but to name a baby girl Bertha for my beloved grandmother would just be cruel.) If you look at my family tree, you'll see Milton, Michael, Michelle, and Mara all named for the same much-loved, M- ancestor. My newest cousin, born in March, is named Gabrielle in honor of my Aunt Gail, her grandmother. (I was trying to find a G-name too, in case we had a girl, for the same reason.) Because of this, you never get Juniors, or So-and-So the II, III, and IV in Jewish families; every kid gets his or her own name, which I like. So Robert wasn't even a possibility until March, when Don's father passed away, and it suddenly became not just possible but definite.


ayla said...

Robert is my ex-boyfriend's name, and as such is completely stricken from any and all name lists. I'm not Jewish, but I also made the no-living-relative rule for names.

Length is measured by laying the baby on a piece of paper, and marking the head, then stretching the baby's leg out and measuring the foot. For newborns, the nurse places the tape measure at the crown of the head, then smooths it against the baby's body until the foot. At some point, the babies do stretch out, though, so that's possible, too.

Growth spurt/cluster feeding is right on time. :D

Steph said...

Our second son is William. Everyone asks us if he's "Liam" or "Will" or "Billy". Nope. William. We didn't really plan it that way and it was a big name for a tiny baby but giving him a nickname at a week old didn't seem necessary.

When he was old enough to meet people on his own (~preschool), they'd ask him if he'd like to be called "Will" or whatever and he flatly refused. He corrects anyone that calls him anything other then his full name, so I guess William it is!