Saturday, January 26, 2008

They Were So Little Once, Part II (Helios' First Few Weeks in the World)

At an early age, Helios exhibited one of the worst family traits from both his mother's and father's families: He was late. Not just a little bit late either, mind you. He was born about 10 days late. Ten days overdue is a long time from Mommy's perspective. Mommy was hot, large, and turgid...and relishing the idea of being in an air-conditioned hospital room several pounds lighter of a child. Eventually, the doctor decided that Helios had slumbered enough in comfort so it was time to come out. With a lot of work from Mommy and some medical intervention, Helios was finally born at a whopping 9 lbs. 9 oz. - he clearly didn't need those extra 10 days baking in the oven. (The labor was a little stressful for him and he'd sucked on his index finger in utero, which is why there's a little blood blister showing.)

Other than the predictable comments about how "adorable" Helios was (how many people ever say, "gee, your kid looks like a ogre's hairy left foot!"?), the most common exclamation heard was, "my, he's so alert for a baby!" And that is true for sure. Whereas Mommy had spent the final weeks of pregnancy expecting the first few weeks to nap whenever Helios napped, she was bitterly disappointed. Helios was awake all...the...time (except at night when he started sleeping 6-8 hours at a stretch by the time he was 3-4 weeks old - so there was some relief).

Why was Helios always so alert? Well, it could've been part of the self-perpetuating cycle engendered by Mommy's frequent caffeine consumption. (Baby doesn't nap = Mommy doesn't nap = Mommy is tired = Mommy drinks iced tea to stay awake = milk for baby has caffeine in it = baby doesn't nap = ... = Mommy drinks more caffeine.) But, we think it's more likely that he had an energetic interest in everything.

Soon after coming home, Helios received his first manicure, which he accepted with intrigued silence. In the car, Helios would never sleep (as Grandma Jane and Grandpa Mel predicted he would); instead, he sat awake staring quietly at the fuzzy lights ... except for the other times when he'd scream bloody murder at suffering the indignity of being placed in a car seat.

Even awake during nap attempts, Helios would stay awake to stare at Daddy with a solemn, wide-eyed stare, fascinated by the significantly larger person next to him (who wouldn't nurse him). If Helios had been verbal at just a week or two old, Mommy is pretty sure he would've said or thought in this picture, "who the hell are you, big man?" (with his best Stewie Griffin voice).

Among his favorite interests were sitting with Grandma Jane (shown here emanating the grandmotherly glow that is especially strong when holding the very first grandchild) who cooed at him endlessly, and playing in his kicker/bouncer, which would fascinate him endlessly. Hesperos played in the same kicker but did so disinterestedly. Not so for Helios, who would make the toy bounce with high-impact enthusiasm, skinny legs kicking as adeptly as when Helios was inside Mommy's tummy working on tenderizing the muscle on the inside of her left ribs.

Occasionally, though, Helios would forgo playtime in lieu of helping Mommy get some work done (which she, true to form, tried to do even while on maternity leave). In this picture, Helios is doing his best "Kilroy Was Here" impression.

Things really aren't too different now. Whenever Mommy tries to work, Helios is at her side trying to play with the computer. He still adores Grandma Jane and enjoys riding in the car (generally talking up a storm to himself or Hesperos, his favorite listening companion, and rarely snoozing). But, thankfully, one thing has changed. While he still protests strenuously and begs for "one more minute!" to play, at least he now naps.

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