Huelan is eight weeks old today, and is doing great. To celebrate, this weekend she got a visit from some out-of-towners: Joy, Karen, Ruben and Joaquin.
We also did an unofficial weigh in yesterday at Grandma & Papa's, and with clothes on she tipped the scales at a whopping 10lbs, 6oz. Liz and I can tell that she's definitely longer and she's plumping up, but we were suprised she passed 10lbs for some reason. I guess it's parental nature to be taken off guard at how quickly their kids have grown, even as infants.
We were suprised at another thing she learned this week- she's just about able to support her own head! Check out the pic above & vid below.
Tomorrow we take her to her doctor for a scheduled exam and we'll get an official weight. Along with some shots, which I hear suck. Supposedly the baby forgets almost immediately, but I am more concerned about Liz and I being scarred forever.
With a new baby, one of the sweetest things is all of her "firsts." We try to celebrate and record every milestone with her, and that's a lot of fun in itself. There is a slightly bitter side, though- that a first only happens once. I know all parents dote on their babies, and now I know why. I'll paraphrase my friend Omar- you've got to try to soak up every one of those moments because they're finite; you've got to be greedy with every little smile and coo. That's exactly how I feel.
This week, we had a couple of especially fun firsts- Valentine's day and the Lunar New Year. People always ask me about Vietnamese new year (called Tet) and Chinese new year. They are the same holiday, based on the lunar calendar, and many of the traditions are the same. Principally, eating a ton.
Along with Nicole's first Tet, she got her first jewelery- a necklace and charm with her Chinese zodiac sign on it (year of the Ox), and a little jade heart charm. And of course she got her first red envelopes, which she'll learn to look forward to every year for the next couple of decades.
Some other fun recent firsts: - Keeping her head up upright by herself - Loud giggles - Liz's first sushi in over a year- our pre-Val dinner at Kirala - Grandma and Papa's first time watching Nicole while we went out - Nicole's first time meeting Zachary (thanks for the lasagna!)
Also, a notable second- Ba Noi's second visit to spend time with Huelan. She is having a blast, just like the first time.
It might just be that you've never owned anyone quite like you did when you were an infant and you owned your parents. Your boss can't make you change his diapers 12 times a day. The bank that owns your mortgage can't make you get up every few hours around the clock. And as she gets older, we'll expect her to fend for herself to some degree. But now, she has us right where she wants us- wrapped around her tiny finger. Liz and I just had a laughing fit wondering out loud when we'll ever get to sleep through an entire night again (we muffled ourselves, careful not to wake her).
Don't get me wrong- it's a joy. It's just totally without reprieve.
But it is getting a little easier. We've gotten through most of our N.A.D. issues and Nicole Huelan is six weeks old now. She's increasingly awake & alert, and those are the fun times. Just in the last day or two, Liz and I think that she's beginning to make social smiles. She's more interactive now, and seems to be very curious about us, even recognizing our voices from across the room. She loves following us with her eyes, but then again she also does that with her mobiles, so I am not sure she knows the difference.
Another benefit of this age is that she is beginning to have a schedule. We can usually count on her to take a long morning nap and another two or three in the afternoon. At night, we've been giving her a big "dose" of milk around 10pm in hopes that it'll tide her over for 3.5 - 4 hours. Four uninterupted, blissful hours of sleep. Yes, she owns us.
This past weekend was actually a milestone. During her morning nap, we took her out of the house for the first time (excluding the Sunset and the doctor's). We played it safe on Saturday, taking her to our Pho spot. Pho is served quickly and we can scarf it in case a quick getaway was necessary. But she slept the whole time and we were able to eat leisurely.
Sunday, we got the idea to hit up Aunt Mary's for brunch. This is a longer service and a louder spot, but she did equally well. She woke up for a while, which had us ready to spring into parental action, but she soothed herself and fell back asleep in her carseat. The pic above is us outside Aunt Mary's- notice how happy we are to have some sun on us.
This brings up another question. When the hostess asks how many, what do we say? a table for two is usually not big enough if we have the carseat, and defintely too small if we have the stroller. But if you say three, they usually sit you at a four-top, which would annoy a waiter during a busy brunch. So maybe two and a half is the right answer? Hmmm... we need more experience.
Nicole needs to be soothed pretty regularly. It sounds weird, but the experts say that sometimes babies get over-tired and just don't know how to get themselves to sleep, which leads to frustration and crying. We've definitely seen this with Nicole, and we usually intervene by letter her pacify herself for a few minutes on one of our fingers. When she's tired, it's like magic- she can be fully asleep in less than a minute. But we have to be careful, because if we pull the pinky out too early, she'll root around for it and have little convulsions (funnier than it sounds).
But really, self-sooting is the goal. Nicole found her fingers pretty early, but the trouble is she doesn't quite know how to keep them in her mouth, as you can see in the vid clip.