Friday, November 17, 2006

Now and Then

I decided to compare Gideon's newborn pictures to his month-old pictures. While it's only been about 5 weeks and a few more inches and pounds later (no not me, Gideon), it's easy to see that many things have changed.

He moves his head, smiles and focuses on things. He is also becoming a little spoiled.....just a bit. This is how I can tell.

He has those cries where you know that he has either pooped or peed in his diaper or is really, really hungry. Those cries are unique whereby in between breaths there is silence, though he still has the crying face. It's almost like lightning and thunder. In a thunder storm, once you see lightning strike, you know that loud thunder will soon follow. You just don't know when. Similarly, once Gideon has collected air in his lungs, he then bursts out in song.

Then there are those cries where he squints his eyes and peeks at you to see if you are looking. That's right, he peeks! In moments like this I say, usually in my loud voice, "aha, I gotcha!"

Then he really cries. But that isn't the point.

The point is that he knows that if he cries, he'll get picked up and rocked gently. He also knows he'll hear either Mommy or Daddy sing, whisper or repeatedly say in a soft voice, "it's ok. it's ok."

The characteristics of those sneaky cries are also unique. These cries have no pause and sounds more like a whine rather than a cry. I know a whine when I hear one. Isn't that right hunnie? (Hunnie = Alexa)

So, I tried teaching him a lesson during one of his sneaky crying sessions and did not rock him (He was already in my arms). While it broke my heart, I noticed that after phases of crying and multiple moments of silence, he just stopped. Once I made eye contact, I noticed him staring at me with the biggest, most adorable brown eyes I've ever seen. A second later, he started crying .... cough cough whining cough cough.... again.

Lo and behold, I started rocking him rhythmically and told him that "every little thing was going to be all right" ala Bob Marley style.

He then opened his eyes ever so slightly to see if I was still looking.

The moral of the story?

Gideon 1 / Alex 0.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Cuteness Galore!
Gideon discovers himself in the Gymini mirror!

The three stages of Gideon's full blown laugh. I mean, really. Too cute, right?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Happy One Month, Baby Gideon!
These are all photos of a 4 week old Gideon. As you can see, he has already learned to focus his eyes. Alex enjoys having staring contests with him, although Alex usually wins since Gideon forfeits by falling asleep. He is most precious when he is smiling, although I do think he is precious all the time. We have taken trips to the library, church, Bed, Bath and Beyond, Lord & Taylor Cafe, and Paramus Park Mall. He has been asleep for most of these trips. The stroller lulls him to sleep. He does draw admiring glances and comments from strangers. I cannot believe that Alex and I managed to make such an adorable little baby. God must have have used a higher dose of super adorable juice when he was making him.
We are doing really well with the breastfeeding, although I don't think I am producing as much milk as I should have. My mom has been feeding me "milk producing" foods. She is in constant contact with my aunts and grandmothers in Costa Rica, getting advice on the different things she should force me to drink. She bought me a case of this malt beverage that comes in individual bottles. It is called "malta" in spanish, and it looks like this:

I wish I could describe the taste, but I know I am not a fan of it. Unfortunately, I now have 50 bottles of it in my kitchen, and I kind of feel obligated to drink them. I have heard though, that it makes you gain weight, so I am leery of it. However, I am willing to do anything for my baby boy, and if this makes it easier for him to eat and gain weight, then I will drink the malta. I will drink the malta. I will...drink...the...malta. Sigh. But overall, he is feeding well. It has, however, started to hurt like you would not believe. I have made the comment already that breastfeeding is actually more painful than my labor. Crazy huh? IT HURTS! I start lamaze breathing exercises when he latches on. Ouchee.
We have his doctor's appointment on Tuesday, so we shall see how much weight he has gained, and his overall health. He has developed some baby acne on his adorable chubby cheek, and I hope it goes away. I am actually mad at those little red spots, and I want them to stop marring his sweet little face. Ok, so it is time for torture time, aka feeding Gideon. I hope to hear from you all soon. Feel free to call me whenever, since I am usually sitting home watching 'What Not to Wear'. Love you.

Shalom in the Soto Home.

Some of you may be wondering about Miggy and how's he's doing. The picture above says it all. In the past, Miggy would jump on top of Alexa and position himself exactly where Gideon is in the picture. Let's be clear, Miggy still lays on Alexa, but seems to know that Gideon is first. At this point, he'll take any comfortable spot he can find.

Miggy has definitely grown to accept Gideon. Now that Gideon is a month old, we are still very careful with him. I haven't seen it yet, but Alexa says that Gideon kicks Miggy by mistake when they are laying down like this. What does Miggy do? Nothing really. He opens his eyes a bit then goes back to sleep. He may be a moody (and sometimes menacing) cat, but he is also a sleepy one who just wants to be loved, feel warm, and in a comfortable setting. Isn't that what we all want in our lives?

Shalom in the home. Even in the midst of Gideon's uncontrollable crying sprees, there is peace. When Gideon is in the middle of getting his diaper changed and decides that he is not done, even if Alexa or I are well within his range, serenity now. Peace be onto you all.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Gideon's First Outing to the Library

Within minutes of Gideon's arrival to the library, his huge fan base of female librarians who have only seen him in pictures surrounded him.

It never ceases to amaze me how much power a baby has. Gideon's mere presence almost put everything at a stand still. He makes a noise, and the cumulative reaction of "awwwww" reaches the heavens.

Then comes, "he's so cute.... aren’t you just the cutest ever" comments. His eyes open and an overwhelming joy overtakes Alexa's co-workers as some (mainly Shin Nae) cheerfully jump in a celebratory fashion.

I remember the power of babies in the workplace early in my career. My career started in Public Relations, an occupation dominated primarily by women. When babies arrived at the office, all work stopped. The phones rang; fax machines overflowed with paper, and computers crashed. I never understood all the attention. They would call me and say, "Did you see the baby?" I would be like, "no, but I've seen babies before. What's different about this one?"

Now that I am a dad, I guess I understand it now. Gideon’s movements and non-movements alike hypnotize me. I find myself just staring at him in silence hoping that he notices me.

At the library today, all the women wanted to see a show, even if the performance was Gideon sleeping and making goo-goo noises. I noticed John, Alexa's co-worker, looking from a distance and I recalled the reaction of my teenage cousin, Joel, and of my older nephew, Luis, who is I believe 7 years old. When I asked them if they saw the baby. They both walked towards Gideon carefully and peeked in his direction about 5 feet away as if looking over a private, high-security, barbed-wire fence.

I also remembered my early days in Public Relations. It was at that very moment when I realized that a baby's presence brings to light the differences between men and women. To the manly men, like me, reading this blog, it may be hard to understand why women make such a huge hubbub about a baby in the workplace, but it's ok to join in. Don't be afraid. Get closer. Take a stand and make cute little baby noises -- "goo goo, gaga" and stuff like that.

Men, free yourselves from the bondage of manly reservation and speak baby language with fluency and less bass in your voice!

Of course, don't expect me to join in. I only speak to Gideon in a cute, slightly high-pitched voice when no one is looking.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Baby at Work.

For those of you who don't know, I work from home. I consider it a blessing, but it can be a curse sometimes. There are days when I work non-stop, with limited breaks, in order to get work done for all my clients. Sometimes 16 hours a day. I try to bunch up my hours early in the week so that I can have my Saturdays free.

Here's a sad twist to all this. I recently discovered that the contract for my biggest client (I only have 2 clients and do freelance work on the side) was not going to renew my contract for next year. So I may be forced to seek a full-time job which will disallow me to be a stay-at-home dad. Naturally, I'm a little sad about it. So, when I woke up yesterday, I told Alexa that I wanted to take Gideon to work, which is located across the dining room in a sectioned space in the living room. I requested this for two reasons: my chance to spend as much time as I can with Gideon may be gone soon and I felt the work day was going to be very long.

I was right about the long work day. It was jam-packed with activities and then I received new "rush" projects. Somehow I was able to spend more time than ever with Gideon. Who can resist the face (not mine) in the picture above? Not me. As I held Gideon at work with my right arm, I discovered that I am quite talented typing with one hand, while singing to him following the music playing from my iTunes, and at one point simultaneously petting our cat Miggy.

I made lots of typos.

Ok, so I am not Super Dad.

But, this experience has reinforced my dedication to the dream of staying home with Gideon. I haven't ruled full-time employment entirely, but I'm confident that it will all work out where I can still be the primary caretaker for Gideon come January 07. I've prayed about it, thought about, and talked about it with friends and family. Your thoughts and prayers wouldn't hurt.

Oh, by the way, Gideon is 3 weeks old today! Time truly goes by fast.