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Exorcist Baby

Ronan is ravenous. I don’t know if this because his milk supply has gone back to work, so he wants what he can’t have, or if because he’s growing by leaps and bounds. He’s a month old and twelve pounds, so he’s a pound ahead of schedule. And he hasn’t eaten formula in five weeks, only breast milk. So it’s healthy weight. We have been lucky to be able to breastfeed. And by we, I mean Terry, since my participation is limited. I pull on Ronan’s chin.

I’m putting the date May 14, 2007, into the blog, because that is the first day that I took care of Ronan. In a few years he will go to preschool or Kindergarten and I will be able to conclude the chapter that started Monday.

Now that Terry has gone back to work I get to learn how to bottlefeed. Terry expresses the breast milk and we store it in the refrigerator for the next day. Ronan ate all the breast milk on hand two hours before Terry got home from her first day. If we run out he goes back to formula. Hopefully he will prefer the breast, even though it’s harder for him to extract milk than a bottle. That’s why babies often end up looking like this. Their cheeks puff up because they develop muscles sucking. Bottle fed babies don’t get those puffy cheeks. Ronan is working on his cheek muscles. This is called “nipple confusion” which also describes my suave approach to girls in high school.

Bottlefeeding is less desirable because of the extra air that gets introduced into the baby’s stomach. (Oh, and formula isn’t as nutritious as breast milk.) This means that the ratio of spit-up incidents, Terry vs. me, is about one to five. Usually its just a little bit, enough so that I don’t realize it happened sometimes until I wake up the next day and realize I’ve been sleeping in baby spit up. But when Ronan pukes on me, he PUKES on me. The first time it happened, it was a little scary. Ronan was very calm, and then he opened his mouth as if to yawn, and then he Technicolor yawned. And kept Technicolor yawning all over me, the chair, the floor, himself, me again, the chair again, the floor again, me a third time, and then he stopped. I reacted calmly, mostly by yelling “Whoa” and then “Oh MY God!” and then “Okay! Enough!!” and then “Terry!!” which is how these incidents almost always end. Thankfully they are rare. Yesterday was the exception.

We got “safe” plastic bottles that somehow are certified not to expel hormones when you heat them, and I started using them yesterday. I was heating the bottle under the tap, but Ronan was so upset about getting food, he didn’t care that the breast milk was cold. He really went crazy eating, and I tried to slow him up by pulling the bottle out of his mouth from time to time, which didn’t work too well. Try taking food away from a non-sentient being; he just ate faster (arguably non-sentient, I’m not here to debate the point.)

So, (I’m detecting a pattern,) Ronan got quiet and then yawned. Then he began spitting up all over me, the chair, the floor, the futon next to the chair, the spit up cloth, himself, and then everything once again to make sure we were all covered in slightly used breast milk. It’s a fun moment for son and father. My first immediate thought was that I had an excuse to clean the living room and skip the Park Slope Parents’ picnic, when I didn’t have energy for either activity. Then I cleaned the mess up anyway, because you can only tiptoe around vomit on the floor for so long. Then I was too tired to go anywhere after cleaning everything, changing Ronan and myself (my clothes only, his clothes and diapers.)

Terry, who I expected to check in hourly at least, only called once or twice (and I may have called her.) In sympathy, she apologized repeatedly. Really, it’s no one’s fault.

For those of you reading who do not yet have children, this is normal. There’s nothing wrong with exorcist baby, it’s part of the parent/child experience. My brother, who I can write about because he refuses to read any blogs, (including mine!) projectile vomited until he was six. I desperately wished he had his own car (he would get very carsick) but he grew out of it. It’s entirely possible that Ronan won’t remember exorcist moments, and I will grow to look back fondly on these moments in a vomit-induced haze.


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 15, 2007 6:31 PM.

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