Stephen was really excited to buy his mom some stuff with me. My wife and I only exchanged stockings, so Stephen and I had to set out to find some good small stuff. Here is Jaime trying on the sunglasses Stephen picked out for her.
When the calendar flipped to December, my parents were still here on Official Baby Watch 2013 duties. We were convinced Charlotte was going to come early, but she didn’t. She held out until December 9th, her planned c-section date. Jaime’s parents arrived on the 7th and my parents went to a hotel for three days because they were not going home without seeing the baby.
Our new guests arrived with a sick one in tow and left with about three sick ones in tow. Honestly December can best be summed up as “Oh, I’m so sick I can barely walk. Can I hold the baby?” We had germy visitors in the hospital and for our first two days home. Then my parents came by after Christmas and my mother was so sick she hadn’t eaten in 2 days. And what’s the first thing all these people want to do? Hold the baby, of course. (But really, who can blame them?)
Charlotte’s birth experience was the best one yet in my opinion. There was no labor, only a calm, on-time, scheduled c-section. We were in the hospital for two nights instead of four. My wife and daughter were mostly assigned nice and competent nurses, and my wife was walking the day after her surgery. We had a room on the other side of the birthing center this time and we had a nice view of the snow in the courtyard. They had a new system at the hospital so the baby doesn’t have its own nurse anymore. This is good because the nurses that were assigned strictly to the babies were usually just condescending baby snatchers. They would come into the room, act like you were not taking good care of the baby, and take the baby away for hours at a time. This time Charlotte stayed in our room with us almost the entire time for recovery. The only thing we missed out on was our hospital tradition of watching a movie from the birthing center’s VHS library. We didn’t stay long enough to get the three-day boredom itch, I guess.
Charlotte sleeps pretty well; we had her in her own room by the time December was over. She hardly ever spits up and generally seems to be reasonable for a baby. My wife planned to take 12 weeks of maternity leave and our plan was that she was going to take care of the newborn girl and I was going to take care of the boys. We have stuck to that. This means that Jaime’s bedtime is largely unpredictable/nonexistant and I am getting up at 6:30am sharp every day.
Stephen had his preschool Christmas “musical” on the 21st and it was pretty cute. They put him front and center and I soon found out why – he knew all the songs! Most kids just stood there swaying their hips and staring into the spotlights.
We had Christmas as a family with no visitors in town. It was a new thing for us, but it was nice. We started some new traditions this year. We made fire-roasted hot dogs and s’mores for dinner on Christmas Eve and watched the half-hour cartoon version of How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Since then my wife has become a marshmallow roasting master. She has a stainless steel marshmallow poker and everything. Henry didn’t care about his presents, but we just tried to let him play iPod and have a fun day. Stephen was cute and had a ton of fun. Charlotte cooperated and let us open presents which is all you can ask of a 2 week old.
It’s been pretty boring around here. Going anywhere takes about 30 minutes of planning and 45 minutes of getting ready. I barely stayed up until midnight on New Years and I was the only one in the house who was awake.
One week before Christmas, my friend Steve passed away suddenly. The memorial was held a month later on January 18th. This news certainly impacted our Christmas and the Christmas of many people we know. Mixed feelings throughout Christmas this year.