Well, my valiant effort to post once a week has failed abysmally. Jack does not have the web site coverage that Arina had at nearly four months as a Fisk. I’m so very sorry, my poor darling boy. And I can’t say it’s because he’s a difficult baby. He certainly has his melt-downs, but, on the whole, we really couldn’t ask for a better baby. He slept through the night a few times at 6 weeks old (before getting RSV and getting off schedule), and he sleeps through most nights now. So, my excuse for not posting? Scott and I are just busy with life, which includes hectic jobs, two kids, and two very high-maintenance dogs.
An example of what our day is like: Scott wakes up at 5:00am to be at work at 6:00am; I wake up between 6:00am and 6:30am to feed and change Jack; I get Arina ready for school, load both kids in the car, and drop off Arina at Brennen Elementary by 7:30am; at home, I shower, bathe Jack, and get both of us packed up for our respective “schools”; I drop Jack off at nursery school and go to my office at USC; I pick up Jack at either 12:30 or 1:00, and bring him home to feed and change him; Jack and I pick up Arina at 2:40; Scott gets home at 3:30; I either go back to the office or work from home until dinnertime; then dinner, bath for Arina, and bed for all (unless I still have work stuff to finish).
I’m exhausted just thinking about it.
Still, we’ve had a wonderful time as a family of four. Arina adores being a big sister, and Jack thinks his big sister is as entertaining as we do. Nana captured a sweet brother/sister moment during Jack’s first spend-the-night in McBee:
At nearly four months old, Jack coos and laughs and wants to see everything — although he’s been an alert baby from the very beginning. Scott was holding him in the hospital when he heard my voice and turned his head around to look at me. And, we figured out soon that sometimes he cries not because he’s hungry or needs changing, but because he wants to be held up so that he can see. Nana calls that spoiled, but Scott thinks that he just gets bored.
So, how do I begin to chronicle the first four months of Jack’s life and still manage to get to bed before 12:00am? I’ve decided to list five memorable moments, starting with labor and delivery. I hate that I’ve waited so long to tell this story, because I find that some of the memories have already started to fade. But, here it goes:
5) I longed for the adoption experience throughout much of my pregnancy, because I felt alone. Scott and I were very much a team in Kazakhstan, but we couldn’t share pregnancy in the same way. However, I felt like we were very much a team in the labor and delivery room. I couldn’t have asked for a stronger, encouraging, and more protective partner. I have to say that I was very proud of how I handled labor and delivery — at one point, I overheard the nurse tell my doctor that I had “the most amazing control” (patting myself on the back now, thank you very much) — but Scott said that I looked at him for help two times. One of those was during the transition phase of labor when I was being beleaguered by a nurse and the second was immediately after labor when another nurse found it necessary to pummel my uterus. Scott spoke up for me both times, when I couldn’t do it myself. Our wonderful doula, Judy, told my parents that she could tell how much Scott and I love each other, which I thought was sweet.
Oh, Scott thought it was funny that the nurses and my doctor bragged about my “control,” because he thinks they meant that I’m “controlling.” He swears that I completely ignored a contraction that he was watching on a monitor, because I was so “into” telling my mother, who I was talking to on the phone, where to find my Harry Potter books-on-cd. In my naivete, I thought that it would be “fun” to listen to a Harry Potter novel during labor. So, Mom brought one to the hospital for me. Needless to say, I lost interest in that quickly.
4) Another favorite moment was the doula telling Mom, Dad and Arina about how “tough” I was during labor, and Arina telling the doula that she’s “tough like my Mommy.” For the record, I had a completely drug-free labor (patting myself on the back again). I asked for drugs at one point, during the transition phase, but my wonderful nurse Cindy told me that I could do it and offered to turn off my pitocin drip. From what I had read about pitocin and the unnaturally strong contractions that come along with it, I imagined that having the pitocin drip turned off was like receiving a dose of pain medication. I don’t know how big of a difference it made in the pain since I was on such a low dose, but placebo effect or not, I felt like I could do it at that point. As a 19th-century Brit lit specialist, I feel good about having experienced childbirth the way the women writers I read experienced it.
3) There were a couple of scary moments. My oxygen level dropped during the transition phase of labor, so I had to be administered oxygen. Also, the cord was wrapped around Jack’s neck and his heartbeat rate was dropping, so I had to have an episiotomy to hurry things along. Ouch — but totally worth it. And, once I got home, I fainted (*or nearly so) a couple of times in the shower. Scott literally had to help me off the floor. I had a low hemoglobin level, which I’m assuming was the cause, and got on iron supplements. *By nearly so, I mean that things started fading to black, so I slid to the floor.
2) Jack ate well, and, as I mentioned earlier, was alert from the start. And I felt AMAZING after the delivery, other than the low hemoglobin level. I feasted on chicken tenders and curly fries as soon as I got back to the labor and delivery room and showered first thing the next morning. When we came home on Sunday, I had more energy than I had throughout my entire pregnancy. I cleaned the house. I taught my Harry Potter class on Tuesday. And I laughed, and laughed, and laughed. It must have been the “happy hormones” that your body produces to get you through labor, but I have to admit that I was sad when they wore off, because I’ve never laughed so hard in my life.
1) So, what’s the favorite Jack moment so far? The first time he cooed. I was nursing him in the middle of the night when he was only a few weeks old, and he looked at me with wide eyes, pursed his lips, and said, “Ooohhh.” He looked so pleased with himself, like he had been practicing and was waiting for the perfect moment to impress his mother. It took my breath away.
And, now, photos. Here’s the most recent photo of the little man. There are many more in the photo gallery!
And, now, here’s one of Arina, along with a more Rina-centered update and some Arina-isms:
Arina still averages a note home a week from school. Most of the time she’s being reprimanded for talking too much, although she’s been known to spit in the face of anyone who “bothers” her. In that respect, she and I couldn’t be more different. I cried whenever anyone bothered me, whereas Arina turns around and spits in faces. Mom says that she prefers Arina’s way, but that’s a doting grandmother for you.
I’ve decided that Arina is like Catherine Earnshaw, at least the way she’s described as a child in my favorite novel, Wuthering Heights:
“Certainly she had ways with her such as I never saw a child take up before; and she put all of us past our patience fifty times and oftener in a day: from the hour she came down-stairs till the hour she went to bed, we had not a minute’s security that she wouldn’t be in mischief. Her spirits were always at high-water mark, her tongue always going – singing, laughing, and plaguing everybody who would not do the same. A wild, wicked slip she was – but she had the bonniest eye, the sweetest smile, and lightest foot in the parish.”
She’s a “wild, wicked slip” of a girl indeed, but we love her to pieces.
Here are some past and present Arina-isms:
1) For the first week of Baby Jack’s life, Arina believed that our baby sound monitor was her personal two-way communication system with her brother. Before she left for school, she would pat the monitor and said “Bye, bye Buddy.”
2) Arina’s response to breastfeeding: “Eww! I don’t want to have babies! I’ll adopt mine!”
3) After listening to Les Miserables, Arina composed and sang the following: “My name is Cosette. My mother sold her locket. And her hair. And then she died.”
4) One of Arina’s bedtime prayers: “Dear God, thank you for bathrooms, so that I can go potty. And thank you for boogers, so that I can blow them out.”
5) Arina gave Scott a pencil. Scott asked, “Why are you giving me this?” to which Arina replied, “I just knew I was going to draw on the table with it and didn’t want to get in trouble.”
6) I suggested that Arina make a classmate, on whom she spat, a necklace as a gesture of apology and goodwill. Arina said that she didn’t know how big the girl’s neck was, though she guessed “10 pounds.” Nevertheless, she made a necklace for the girl, because I told her that being kind would make her feel warm on the inside. When I picked her up from school the following day, she said that she was “hot” from “all that loving.”
7) The toothfairy forgot to visit Arina one night. Thankfully, Arina didn’t think the toothfairy forgot her. She said that we shouldn’t have put the tooth in a tiny ziplock bag, because clearly fairies can’t open ziplock bags.
I’ve decided that Arina takes after her father, because I have a couple of Scott-isms to record as well:
1) During those last few days of pregnancy, I was trying to clean the house from top to bottom and was trying to talk Scott into helping me finish one night. My rationale: “What if I go into labor tonight and it’s almost but not quite finished?” His response: “If you go into labor tonight, Sweetheart, you won’t give a damn.”
2) After Jack’s birth, Scott was bemoaning the fact that he seems to have the same dark circles that Scott has under his eyes. He then said, “Let’s hope he doesn’t also have your bags.” I told Scott that I didn’t know I had bags under my eyes (dark circles, yes, but bags?), to which he replied “oops.”
Like father, like daughter.