Little one is 3! Months, of course, but he has really grown up a lot since we first met him.
Rajiv was born on May 17th in Torino, Ospedale Mauriziano, at 2:29 AM. The first thing that S. told me after he was born was that he had his ears, as I had hoped. That made me quite happy. I only saw little one properly when he was brought back to us in his little baby bed wearing the red baby suit we had given. He had his eyes wide open and looked very aware and a bit intimidating. Of course he wasn't aware at all and he couldn't see a thing, but the impression was there anyway. He was also very cute, I didn't expect him to be so cute just after birth.
We were separated almost immediately and we met again at around 5:00, when the babies are usually brought back to the moms after the night. Giving birth is very disorienting and seeing your baby on a schedule doesn't make things easier at all, so I was looking forward to going home soon, so that we could get to know each other. Unfortunately Rajiv had high levels of bilirubin and had to stay in the hospital for a few days for phototherapy. It just means that the baby spends many hours exposed to a lamp, but it was quite unpleasant for me and S. because it meant that we could see our baby even less and we were getting very frustrated. So we were very happy and relieved when on the sixth day we were allowed to take him home.
The first day at home was marked by fruitless attempts to quench the thirst of the little monster, I mean, the little bundle of joy. I didn't have milk yet, so we were alternating attempts of feeding at the breast and larger and larger quantities of formula. Rajiv only slept for a few hours when we took him to see his grandparents and especially his aunt Francesca, who had not met him yet. She was surprised to see how small he was and showed him to Nero, Piccolina and Peppino, the cat formerly known as Kichu. When we returned home the little one resumed his expressions of discontent and cried until 3:00 AM. During this time his dad's favorite phrases where "He can't possibly still be hungry" and "I don't like this greedy side of his personality". But eventually it was over and we all slept until morning - one of only two times so far that I was able to sleep for five consecutive hours.
During the next days we practiced feeding at the breast, which proved to be harder than I had expected. Little one seemed to think the milk was going to come out from my elbow and it took every sort of tricks to get him to face the right direction. Still, within a few days we managed to stop giving formula supplements. At that point little one was eating every two or three hours at most, and usually more frequently during the night, but we got used to it and soon S. stopped waking up during the night so that he could be more rested and help during the day. In particular since the beginning he took over burping duties, which is a great help because our son needs to be burped almost constantly (Maybe beacuse he eats constantly? Uhm...). S. takes great pride in his burping skills, and likes to be known around the house as the Burper Supremo...
For the whole first month of his life little Rajiv couldn't bear to be put down to sleep on his own, so somebody had to hold him while he slept. At night I could only sleep if I managed to put him to sleep on my chest. When he wasn't sleeping he was usually eating or trying to eat or crying, at least until he started enjoying playing a little. The two things that saved our lives were a CD with womb-like (or factory-like, as you prefer to call it) sounds and the baby carrier. The CD would calm down Rajiv within seconds. Unfortunately the sounds are a little less pleasant for an adult ear, but fortunately we could reach a compromise playing the Rain On The Roof track of the CD, which is tolerable. However, for a really cranky baby there is no compromise and only factory sounds will work.
And the baby carrier. We tried it when Rajiv was about ten days old and he fell asleep in it instantaneously. Thanks to this wonderful discovery we were able to handle all the excess of bureaucracy that usually surrounds our lives. We could stay in line day after day at the passport office, at the health care office, at the visa office, the passport office again, and so on. We even went for half a day to Milano for the Indian Visa and Rajiv was amazingly well behaved.
(This is one of the pictures I took while trying to get a decent shot - mouth closed and eyes open - for Rajiv'e passport. The background is one of S.'s shirts spread on the bed.)
When he was two weeks old he started getting a bit more interested in small toys and we could put him down to look at toys hanging over him for a few minutes. He especially liked looking at a small mirror that is attached to his playmat and moving the mirror around. He also enjoyed his "tummy time" and was able to lift his head for a second very early. It seems that we have an athletic kid...
When Rajiv was almost one month old we moved to India. My mother came with us for the first couple of weeks to help while we were getting started with things. While she was here we also traveled to Calicut to spend some time with S.'s family and so Rajiv took his first long train trip. I kept him to sleep between me and the wall during the night, all wrapped up to fight the air-conditioning and it was not as bad an experience as I had expected - although the woman that was sharing the compartment with us must have thought it was pretty bad...
After this I started writing the blog, so you already know a bit of how little one's life developed until now. He is much bigger and taller of course, he lost part of the black hair he was born with, but some thinner brown hair is growing underneath. The jaundice has subsided and he has been generally healthy all this time, in spite of all the germs that his parents have spread around him. He doesn't try to eat from my elbow anymore: we have every sort of other small feeding problems, but he does know where the milk is now, because a few times he has attempted to lift my shirt when he was hungry. He smiles in the most charming way and seems to recognize us. The baby smile clearly carries a great evolutionary advantage, because it makes it impossible for the parents to donate the baby to the neighbours, as otherwise they might sometimes be tempted to do.