Jun is now two months, twelve hours and twelve minutes old. He’s been fun to take care of so far. About the sleep deprivation that’s scaring off most young people when they start thinking about kids, I have to say I pretty much got used to it.
A few days ago I’ve met Alex, a good old friend from school times who came over from Ireland to visit friends and family. Her husband, David, asked what’d the biggest difference between being having a baby and having none be. Beside the aforementioned point, it’s something you usually don’t read about in books about parenting. Never in my life I had to put up with so much excrement. All a baby does is sleeping, eating (actually drinking) and filling diapers while growing so fast you can almost feel the difference from one day to the other. In the first weeks, you change diapers seven to eight times a day, now it’s about five to six times, tendency dropping. But then, like with the sleep deprivation, you get used to it fairly quickly. Back to the difference having or not having a baby. Before, we had comparatively lots of time, even more than was good for us since we’re both students. Looking back I wonder how ineffective I spend my days since now the center of our lives is this little baby, asking for 100% attention, love and breast-milk – but we still manage to get everything done. About social life being limited by parental duties, I’d have to say if you’re focusing on your family and your family alone, you can do that, but nobody pressures you to do so. If we were visiting friends before more often, now we invite them over, and it works just as well.
The little guy grows for about two and a half centimeters per month and gains between 150-200 grams a week. In Germany, you have regular check-ups for babies, six of them in the first year. We had three so far and now he’s at 58 centimeters and almost 6 kilograms. Some of the clothes he wore at the beginning are too small now – luckily we almost didn’t buy anything but got most of his stuff by friends and family (1001 thx to everybody!). In a recent discussion with an American living in Germany for quite a while now, I mentioned some of the benefits parents recieve for their first kid and how medical care is still free for children. He was surprised, a good social net is quite welcome when it’s needed and recieved by the right persons – but it also needs to be upheld by the whole society. Germany is going to change much more compared to the incremental reforms we witnessed in the last decade, I really hope the new social structure is not going to be a plain “everybody fights for himself”.
Back to Jun: He started to respond to sounds and answers when being addressed to. It’s not more than single vowels (and “aguu”), but we’re slowly getting there. I also was surprised when he joined in waving goodbye towards the white paper sea-gull above our bed. How does he percieve the sea-gull, does he understand why we wave? Self-perception is another point I’m dying to find out about. We’re sometimes holding him towards a huge mirror. Usually he’s only aware of mine or Heejoo’s presence, he’s started to look at himself as well. His reactions so far were: surprise, laughter, amazement and startled in no particular order. Can’t wait until he understands that who he sees there is really him and not some other surprised, laughing, amazed or startled baby.
We haven’t been much outside with him as the weather was bad as usual for this time of the year, but when we did, I prefer the baby sling over the baby car anytime. Carrying him is easier than cruise around with his car, it feels great to have him close and it’s even healthy for his development, the hip angle can be improved by carrying him in the sling, if neccessary. There’s another difference when walking around with him – people often look or smile and are friendlier and by far more helpful, whereas when we’re walking down the street alone, I noticed that there’s a tendency to not look and just walk by as if there were nobody. I’m used to look my counterpart into the eyes out of curiosity, a habit I had to regain after coming back from Japan. Returning to Germany, all those people who
stared when talking to me were a vexing, but temporary experience…
Jun just woke up, more about him later.