Two feet of Talvin

September 16, 2006

Talvin turned four months old a little while ago, and at his pediatrician’s appointment he measured 24 inches. The fact that we can now measure him in terms of feet and months as opposed to inches and weeks (and at one point days) is just another sign that he is getting older quickly. Even though he is still far from even half a year old, he shows the sign of advanced age. In addition to his vitals (he weighed in at almost 15lbs), he is developing and changing according to schedule. He roles over from his back to his stomach as soon as you turn around. This previously took him about three or four minutes to be fully on his stomach when he first was figuring out how to turn over. Now it’s as normal to him as sucking on his fingers, which is he constantly doing. Constantly. In fact anything he can get his hands on ends up in his mouth. He sticks my knuckles in his mouth, his mom’s chin, the phone, toys, and even his own toes. He inspires me to learn yoga so I too can stick my toes in my mouth. Looking at Talvin, you have to assume that toes are delicious.

It is somewhat eerie to think that he is this old and hasn’t got sick once despite having flown twice, been handed around like a bag of groceries at Shalini’s wedding, and shifted seasons from the pitch of summer to the beginning of fall. It’s eerie b/c I know that sooner or later he has to get a cold or something, and I know it has to happen sooner than later. But in the mean time it’s great to watch him engage with his surroundings. He laughs a lot, especially when you talk to him in high pitched tones. He is eating and sleeping very well. He is on a sleep schedule, which has been a bit of a challenge to get him on. We realized that he wasn’t sleeping as much as he probably should, or at least wasn’t learning to sleep on his own which at this age is something he can learn. He now sleeps pretty regularly with three naps during the day and is out for the night around 8pm. He falls asleep pretty fast during the day but fights it at night. Getting him to go to sleep has involved letting him cry for a bit at a time, which is a strain on him and us. But he has been a quick learner and we don’t let him cry for too long before we try to comfort him.

One last note is that he is now going to a daycare person for about 6hrs/day. The first day was Monday (today is Friday). I took him there, took him out of the carseat and gave him to her. He looked at her and after a minute his eyes widened, got watery, his bottom lip went under his top lip, and then he started to cry. It was like watching a train wreck in slow motion. You could tell it was coming but it seemed to take forever to happen, but still too quick to stop it. I took him back and he stopped after half a minute. I later gave him back to her and the trains wrecked again. She fed him and he calmed down and has been fine since. Apparently he doesn’t trust strangers unless they give him food. Can’t blame him.

Pawan

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His Mosi’s Wedding

August 7, 2006

Talvin is just over three months old and already has experienced one the most significant events of his family’s life, the wedding of his mosi, Charu’s sister – Shalini. Shalini married Jim on July 30 in Minneapolis. The wedding was outdoors in 100 degree temperature, after spending a week in a home without air conditioning. The only person not to complain was Talvin, who handled it with style. He entertained every one of Charu’s aunts and her grandmother who was there. There were 4 generations present, and that may have been the most significant element of the event.

Pictures are at www.oberlin.edu/faculty/pdhingra. The pictures are nani and Talvin; the grandkids (which is a picture of my parents and all of their grandkids, who came for the wedding); and grandmothers, which is self explanatory (and very cute).

As one can imagine, going through a wedding and it’s multiple events while staying in a home with 8 people (plus Talvin), in 100 degree heat with no air conditioning can be a bit stressful. Everyone commented that upon seeing Talvin, you couldn’t help but release any tension and soak up his warm glow. He was cared for at every turn. He also met Dave Kennedy-Logan, Jennifer, and their daughter Beatrice. Seeing such great friends and having them see Talvin felt like closing a missing link in the experience of having a son, since such a good friend for over 15 years with his own kid witnessed Talvin.

The flight to and from was only with Charu; I came and went separately. She says he was a calm passenger. She fed him on takeoff and landing, and managed the numerous bags without a problem. Other developments that one may find interesting is that the little man can now turn over to his stomach from his back. He is making lots of noises, smiling constantly, and is much more alert than before. Of course, many of these things are only interesting for the parents.

Pawan

Updates on Talvin

July 19, 2006

It has been a long time since the last post, and a lot has happened. Charu is back to work part time, and in reality it is more like full time lately. So, we are both really busy as we balance work and home. Not too busy to watch the occasional episode of Deadwood, but busy enough. Talvin is doing extremely well. It’s like he’s raising us as parents. He is over 2 1/2 months. He is bigger, heavier, taller, etc. He smiles a lot and even laughs. It’s great to watch. There is a video of it on the website: www.oberlin.edu/faculty/pdhingra (called talvin smiles). He continues to eat well and often. I read that 2 month old babies should go 3-4 hrs between feeds. He doesn’t, at least not regularly. Sometimes it’s every 2 hrs, or even every hour. Luckily he’s taken to both the bottle and the breast, so anyone can feed him. He has turned a very important corner (which we thought would never happen): he sleeps for up to 6hrs at night. Typically he crashes between 9pm and midnight, wakes up once in the night, and then wakes up for the day around 7:30 or 8am. We can get about 7hrs of sleep, interrupted once. Can’t complain about that. Lately he also likes looking at himself in the mirror, which is very effective in helping him stop crying. I spend at least two full days with him while Charu is at work, as well as evenings/weekends. He is not on a schedule, but it is getting easier to know when he’ll take a nap, when he’ll get hungry, when he’ll have more energy, etc.

 In addition to the longer night sleeps, he has also developed in other notable ways. When lying on his back, he can push himself backwards. This means he can’t sleep in the bassinet (the small crib of sorts) since he pushes his head up against its wall. He now sleeps in the real crib, in the nursery. It doesn’t feel like he’s in ‘his own room,’ but it’s a step in that direction. He can also roll to his side from his back. Seeing him do those things for the first time is jaw dropping. You get used to this person who can only do so much, and then out of nowhere he’s showing you a new skill. I wonder if in his mind he’s been practicing it for days and realizes he’s mastered it. Another change has been forced on him: we are using cloth diapers and wipes when at home (except for at night – a disposable diaper so he and we can sleep longer). It’s a great feeling – less waste, better for his body, and hopefully money saving in the long run. Nothing brings more joy to a father than saving money on his kid.

 Given that Charu and I are both working, we have had the occasional assistance in taking care of Talvin. A local person, Mrs. Wilkins, has come by three times for a few hours each time to take care of him. I work upstairs and Charu is gone to the office. She’s great – calm, talkative, and clearly invested in Talvin. Also, my mom came for 9 days. That was wonderful. She gave advice, took care of Talvin in the day, and helped out immensely around the house. Charu and I even left the house w/out Talvin twice. Of course we end up talking with others about kids, so it’s not a real escape, but we’ll take it. Mostly though, it has been Charu and me with Talvin while we juggle our work schedules. It’s tiring but doable.

 The other major event since the last post has been Talvin’s first road trip, night in a motel, visit to another state, and most importantly time to see his cousin Anya, and her parents Mukta, Amlin, as well as Niti (Mukta’s sister/my cousin). It is a crazy long trip to Madison, WI thanks to Chicago traffic (which we proudly hit at 5pm on the Friday of July4th weekend). Once we got there, thought, it was a blast. We all went to a winery, to a park, went hiking, ate out, and bummed around their condo. Seeing Anya at age 13 months was a treat, and there is a picture posted on the website of the kids. Luckily Talvin and Anya are different sexes, so we don’t have to get into a competition over who is the cutest “girl” or “boy.”

 I often refer to Talvin as “baby boy” or “little man” or “small guy.” Each term frames him as a little version of something bigger. But none of those are really appropriate. He’s a baby, separate from something he’ll later become. It’s not just a semantic difference. For a little while I kept expecting him to do things that he couldn’t, like crawl or say a word, since I considered him almost as a “kid.” Instead, he’s a baby who is doing baby things (and mighty well). Considering him as a baby makes me appreciate what he can do, rather than wait for things that he currently can’t do. I still call him “little man” and related terms, but have actively started calling him “baby.” So, baby Talvin is doing great. Soon he leaves for Minneapolis with his mom, as we get ready for Shalini’s wedding. One more thing to add to his list of experiences.

Pawan

By popular demand

June 24, 2006

Hi Everyone,

 The public is demanding more pictures of Talvin. They are at www.oberlin.edu/faculty/pdhingra There are more recent pictures of him and the family, including vistors. There are also a couple of movies. (NOTE – ignore files that end in .wav) We hope you enjoy them and see him in person soon if you haven’t already.

Pawan

Talvin would write his own post this time, but he's too distraught from the Mavericks losing the NBA finals that he rather be alone. Right now he is in the 'pack and play' downstairs sleeping. It's just after 9pm. I have spent the whole day (and previous night) solo with him, which I do twice a week, since Charu has gone back to work part time. Daddy daycare is going well. It is great to have this time together. He is notably longer and heavier each week. He kicks his legs and moves his arms around all the time when awake.

Once fully awake, his day is a combination of sleeping for an hour, waking up screaming in hunger, having a diaper changed, eating vociferously on the bottle with his eyes squarely on either it or me (making sure I make no sudden movements), and then wanting to be played with before eating or sleeping again. Playing involves talking and singing to him, showing him things to look at (including himself in the mirror), putting him on his back or stomach, and dancing around to music.

The night times are not as exciting. We had heard from friends that by 2 months old, their kids had turned the corner and slept longer at night. We thought Talvin had done so a few days ago. For two nights in a row he slept for 5hrs straight at night. If he had turned a corner, he went in reverse recently and is back to his 2 – 3 hr stretches of sleep before waking up demanding to be fed. He downs his milk at 2:30am and then expects to be held, for he is wide awake for about 1/2 an hour. Luckily he is very cute, otherwise someone could get upset at such a situation.

Talvin is also experiencing cloth diapers for much of the day. We started on a trial basis yesterday and it's been a success. It should feel better on his skin than paper/disposable ones, as well as other advantages that make the extra work to put them on and clean worth it. The unintended consequence of using puffy cloth fabric underneath a vynal cover is that his ass is now huge under his clothes! Needless to day, baby's got back. Another less attractive development has been a case of baby acne a couple of weeks ago. No big deal (luckily baby prom isn't for a while). Despite his appearance, he has the self esteem to be seen in public. We have taken him into Cleveland a couple of times, to dinner a few times, to friends' houses, and around town.

Finally, for father's day I received a most excellent gift followed by brunch at a local restaurant. Talvin and his mother made a huge father's day card out of posterboard. On the front are pictures of me with him in various activities (feeding, changing, playing…), and the inside has lots of printouts of emails that friends (including some of you) wrote to me and vice versa regarding the announcement of Talvin's birth. The printouts are in different font sizes and styles, and Happy Father's Day is colored on the cover and inside as well. It's a keeper and great to revisit.

So, all is well is Talvinland. Hope all is well in yours.

Pawan

Charu here. It's taken me a long time to post again since being too tired all the time has been the norm. But now I'm more awake more often, like Talvin is too, and we're both discovering the wonders of being alive.

Talvin had a few milestones this week: He started smiling (not for long — just for a few minutes, and usually before a long wail telling us that he’s hungry);  he’s feedings have gone down from 20-40 minutes to 7-10 minutes (Hallelujah!). But he’s squirming just as much trying to make poop. His mouth scrunches up, his body tightens, he rolls his legs up, then straightens them out, then his whole body curls into an S-position, his hands craning to the left, his legs to the right, his eyes are snapped shut, and he strains and utters some guttural sighs, gulps and grunts with an occasional cry out loud. Then the poop comes. Sometimes we hear it gush out, sometimes it comes in a series of short explosions, and then all is quiet.

How is it that I love this beautiful child called Talvin? He has no personality. He hasn’t been here very long. He doesn’t make us need him in a sustenance kind of way. He doesn’t make us laugh, except for his cooing and burping and agonizing poops. Before April 25, he didn’t exist. Just the idea of him existed. But now that he’s here, what is it that I really feel? Is it really love? And if so, what kind of love is this that it happens immediately and intensely?

He’s definitely one of the more alert babies I’ve seen. When he’s awake that is, and I suppose that’s ironic J He stares intently at objects and landscapes; he even looks up at me, perhaps trying to tell me something, or just keeping a watchful eye on his food. It’s so funny sometimes the way he eats, or the way he looks just after he eats: it’s as though he’s trying to figure out where his next meal is going to come from. It’s hilarious, especially when he does this look while sitting in my lap, because his food is just a few epidermal layers away…

On Friday, we took him to the Tremont Art Walk, with Warren and Mayumi. It was crowded, and he was cranky. I even stopped at one gallery, and sat under a large blue and orange canvas to feed him. He was still cranky afterwards. So Pawan took him out of the stroller and walked with him. That seemed to quiet him down. I think Talvin likes focusing on Pawan’s goatee, and Pawan’s other natural charms as well, of course. As we walked through one gallery, one woman walked up and said, "What a beautiful baby. Congratulations. Enjoy him." Several other women came up to exclaim, “It’s a brand new baby!” He is almost 7 weeks (on June 13) and that does make him still brand new doesn’t it? I keep thinking he’s so much older than he is. I don’t know why, is it because he looks like an old man? Or because he looks like a little chickadee birdie who will grow up fast. Or because he seems like he has an old soul. Sometimes when he cries, I find myself thinking: Little Talvin, you should know better by now. Just tell me what you want. But that’s going to take a while.

The Sportsman

June 9, 2006

Talvin is very excited about the start of the NBA finals and the World Cup. He is just over 6 weeks old this week and his athletic skills are in high gear. He is awake much of the day, with a clear preference for being held than lying in a bassinet. He can be sleeping in your arms but will wake up five minutes after being put down, arms and legs waving as if he's ready to suit up and play point guard for the Mavericks. When awake in your arms, he's very squirmy and attentive. He lies on his stomach and shows the beginning of crawling as he kicks his legs out and lifts his head. When I lie on my back and his stomach on mine, he is able to push off my bended knee and move up towards my head. That sounds relatively boring but it feels like a sign that he could join the American soccer team and take on the Czech Republic.

Talvin got some good coaching the past weekend from his mosi and soon-to-be mosaji, Shalini and Jim. They met him for the first time and within a day and a half became a natural with Talvin. They gave a couple of nice stuffed toys for him, including one with his name stitched into it.

Otherwise things progress well and regularly with him here. He is getting some nice strolls with the beautiful weather and has been enjoying playing outside as well. He also had a shower with me (and didn't pee!!), which was a great way to give him a bath. Besides a case of baby acne, he looks great.

Pawan

Pawan