Incredibly, it's already been a month since Jackson was born. I guess we're going to keep him since I think the return policy only lasts three weeks.
It's hard to believe that it's been a whole month. The time has gone by really really fast - yet on the other hand it already feels like we've had him forever. One month in, here are the things that I have learned:
It's weird to start using your baby's name. A lot of this is probably due to the fact that I don't call anyone by their real name - ever - but it's just weird to start saying Jackson's name out loud after all those long months of keeping it a secret and calling him EJ. I've actually accidentally slipped and called him EJ a few times since he was born - but it's funny that the number one name that both Kate and I use for our son is "monkey". Some people think it's offensive - but those people are racist. Come on, babies are 100% like monkeys. They hang on you a lot of the day, grip your fingers with their hands - try to grip things with their toes (even though they can't), and are basically furry little animals. I sometimes feel like I'm yelling at him, or he's in trouble, if I use his actual name. So for now, it's a lot conversations about monkeys in our house.
"How's the monkey doing?"
"How long has the monkey been sleeping?"
"What did the monkey poop on today?"
I feel like these are probably the same conversations that zookeepers have on a daily basis. The only tricking thing about using the nickname of monkey is that I have to keep reminding myself to never ever shake the monkey, even though Dave Matthews has a song about it.
The exercise ball is the most valuable piece of furniture in the house. About two weeks after having Jackson, I discovered the one sure-fire way to get him to stop crying. It involved picking him up and bouncing him up and down - which results in him immediately stopping crying and getting this panicked / confused look on his face. He looks around with big eyes, his jaw drops open, and moves his arms up and down - perfectly quiet. I'd like to think that he's having fun when I do this -but in reality he's most likely afraid for his life.
The problem with this method is that after about two minutes of doing it, my arms feel like they are going to fall off. Turns out that I probably should have been doing some arm exercises at the gym once in a while over the past five years instead of just always using the elliptical machines - but that's where all the cute girls work out, so I stand by my decision.
Enter the exercise ball. I can sit on this ball, hold the monkey, and bounce up and down - and it has almost the same effect. I can always tell how things are going when I pull into the driveway and look in our window. If I see Kate's head bobbing up and down, I know that Jackson is being fussy. If I don't see that, I know that he's behaving himself. It's a good system - plus we're really strengthening our cores!
If you grab Jackson's arms and pull them above his head, he will instinctively stretch out his legs to do a big full-body stretch. This, along with being able to instantly make him stop crying by bouncing him make up the only party tricks he knows at this point. Not a very big repertoire, but he's only a month old, so cut him some slack.
Getting a good picture of a baby is hard work. The wife talked me into getting professional baby pictures taken (I wasn't going to suffer through three years of complaining like I did when I talked her out of getting engagement pictures) - and I'm glad we did because getting a good picture of a baby requires an army of people, a high speed camera lens, and usually results in taking like 35 bad pictures first. In our attempt to take his official "one month" pictures on our own, we fired off about 20 pictures on the regular camera, another 30 on my iPhone, and took an HD video to try and extract out a single good frame. The result? We'll be trying to take this picture again today (one month and one day - but don't tell anyone) because they all sucked.
Jackson loves TV. I suppose it should come as no surprise that Jackson loves the TV - he is my son, after all. But it's crazy how he's only one month old but will instinctively turn his head towards the TV and watch it, with a wide eyed, mouth agape gaze. But the good news is that he doesn't only like TV - he will also instinctively look out the windows of the house during the day as well, so there's a slight chance that he just likes the light, and isn't already hooked on the Today Show, Ellen, and Cosby Show reruns (the top three things the wife watches during the day while feeding him). But I'm sure it's only a matter of time before he starts learning valuable life lessons from TV just like his dad.
Kate loves the iPad. I don't know what women did before iPads existed. How did they watch episodes of How I Met Your Mother to entertain themselves during middle of the night feedings? Were they forced to go to a room with an actual TV in it and use DVR? How barbaric! I'm glad we don't live in such pre-historic times.
Jackson's first visit to a public place (non-family and doctor-related category) was to BWs. Although technically a bar (which might make us "bad parents"), it was lunch-time, we ate food -and clearly BWs wants you to bring babies there because they brought this sling thing to our table to let us put his car seat in it and give him a better view of the March Madness games on TV. It's fitting that his first visit into the outside world was to the establishment where I spent most of my time during college - narrowly beating out the library by about 10 hours a week. Wings. Beer. Sports. Babies. All the essentials.
Jackson loves Boob Whiskey. What is Boob Whiskey, you ask? It's just milk (and no, Kate isn't drinking whiskey. That would be irresponsible. She's more of a gin and tonic girl), but whenever Jackson drinks it, he is like a drunken sailor afterwards. Boob whiskey all over his mouth, eyes rolling back in his head, passing out drunk (and sometimes peeing himself) - just like his daddy after a long night of drinking regular whiskey. So that's become another phrase that has entered our lexicon.
"How's the monkey?"
"Drunk on Boob Whiskey"
"Good for him"
Now there's a conversation you probably wouldn't overhear at the zoo.
Jackson loves sleep. At some point, I'm sure Jackson is going to turn into a terror (because all kids are rotten at some point in their lives - in my case it was ages 18-34), but knock on wood - this kid has been an angel 90% of the time. He's sleeping in 5-6 hour chunks (which means we're also sleeping in 5-6 hour chunks - booyah, that's like a full night of sleep for me pre-baby!), eating like a champ (gained a pound and a half in a little under two weeks), and is generally a pretty mellow monkey.
The other 10% of the time? That's when he's doing things like peeing on me (three times), pooping so much that we have to change his clothes, or screaming his head off before I relent and get up off the couch to move to the exercise ball. The good news is, I know that I'm a parent now - not because I've been peed on, but because the third time he peed on me, I waited like two hours before washing my hands or changing my pee shirt.
That's right. Parenting = cleanliness going out the window. Although I guess in some ways, based on the condition of my former apartment, I guess I was always a parent...
So there you have it! One month under our belts, already old pros. Assuming Jackson never starts to crawl, talk, or want to eat anything besides Boob Whiskey, I think this parenting this is going to be super easy!