Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Now I get it...

He is growing up so fast!

I'm sure we've all heard the phrase, "They grow up so fast!" And surely, we all think we know what it means, but after watching a baby grow for the first three and a half weeks I would submit that it's full meaning isn't completely grasped until you watch your own child (or daily care for a child at least). It's hard to truly explain...

A friend of mine recently asked me, "Don't you find yourself realizing that you are learning new things about how to be a dad all the time?" And I really kind of had to say isn't that I'm not learning new things all the time, but I certainly am not realizing it. As I explained to him, it's not so much that I sit and think "Wow, this is what I learned today!" Instead, new things just kind of come up...we've never given a baby a bath before, we've never changed and managed cloth diapers, we've never taken a baby to Mass...and we just kinda figure it out as we go along. Each day is slightly different and new, and before you know it almost a month is gone!

And I think that's kind of what happens with kids growing up so see them every day, and you are just kind of on this escalator towards your own child reaching a month, two months, a year, 18 years...and you have no control over the speed at which it moves. You see them every day, and each day they are slightly different, but before you know it you look back down at the bottom of the stairs and see how far they've come! You look at a child and realize that he is strikingly different from when you started! Just take a look:

Day 3:

Day 26:

And if you've been able to see him and play with him in person, you'd be even more surprised! He is so aware, much more interactive, and has even smiled a few times! One of these days we'll capture it on camera, but until then you'll have to take my word for it...

Just as a parting and somewhat unrelated note: John' Paul's Current Favorites:

  • Mommy
  • Window Blinds
  • Our CDs on the bookshelf next to where he has floor time
  • Alternating light and dark (based on the two above, we figure this is pretty true
  • Patterns, particularly the one on our couch...many times we think he is looking at us but he's really staring behind our faces at the couch!
  • FACES! Recently he actually has started looking right at us, pensive facial expression ready to go
  • Bath time!!! It was shocking to me, but John-Paul Padraig had his last bath without ANY crying, and he actually seemed to enjoy it! This was reinforced by the fact that he started to cry as soon as we took him out to dry him off...what a big guy!

Okay that's all folks...I've gotta go start picking out a used car for his 16th birthday...heaven knows it'll be here before we know it!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

"Welcome to Baby-Land!"

...first off, ten points to anyone who can tell me the source of the above quote...No google-cheating!!!

Well, it's been about two weeks, and already its become clear that it's hard to imagine our lives any other way. Its truly hard to imagine John-Paul not being here, or even to think about the fact that Ali was pregnant just two short weeks ago. It seems like so long ago already!

And it's starting to show! Already the pictures are being compared, and our dear son does not look quite the same as he did when he was born! He is...gulp...growing up! Literally! After we spent the first two weeks worrying about whether our not he was eating enough and feeling guilty when our little guy slept for five hours during the night, we found out at our appointment on Thursday that our little Padraig had gained 13 ounces in just 9 days! He now weighs in at 8 pounds and 8 ounces, and surpassed his birth weight by about half a pound! What a big boy:-)

Speaking of doctor's appointments, we are truly BLESSED when it comes to our pediatrician, Dr. William Hogan. He is a devout Catholic, great proponent of NFP, and single member of Opus Dei. It was such an awesome blessing when we found him listed on under the Pro-Life Physician directory. He is a great, patient physician and it is wonderful to know that he is always open to questions/concerns and will be a partner with us in raising our little guy to serve Christ and the Church. Plus, his office is only a mile away from our apartment! We literally walked out our apartment door ten minutes before our appointment and made it on time to the office!

Indeed our little guy is growing up. His umbilical cord is LONG gone, and that meant the beginning of every baby's favorite hobby: bathtime! John-Paul's first bath was quite the event, and not one to be forgotten anytime soon. Ali and I placed him in his tub chair/apparatus/thing, and soon after I asked for a washcloth to cover him up and protect us from any projectile baby urine. No sooner had the washcloth been put on him did John-Paul express his displeasure with the bath by practicing his micturition. We found the tinkling sound and his look of relief quite amusing. However, he was far from done as just seconds later he tooted (as he always does), soiling his bath chair....silly boy!

In the end, we got him washed, cleaned, and comforted after being wrapped in is cute little baby hoodie-towl and dried off. This of course meant it was time for the obligatory end-of-first-bath picture! Ali held John-Paul, I framed the shot and said "Ready, smile! 1, 2, 3!" What we expected was the following picture (which was our second take, by the way).

What we got instead was the following...

That shock you see on Ali's face is totally legitimate and not at all staged. As I said "Ready 1...2..." Just before the 3 and click of the camera John-Paul tooted/pooped in his little towel right under where Ali's hand was supporting his little bottom. Fortunately the towel was in between, but the result was something we'll never forget! Amazing....

And I think that about sums it all up in one experience...John-Paul gave us something that surprised us, shocked us, surely wasn't planned, made us do a little extra work, but made us smile and surely gave us an experience we wouldn't ever change for a million dollars. "Welcome to Baby-Land!"

Friday, June 4, 2010

John-Paul the Babe!

So I knew it would happen...I'd start a blog and I'd never get around to actually doing anything with it. But now I have the best reason in the world to keep it up-to-date...

...and his name is John-Paul Padraig Neumann. He was born on May 28, 2010, weighing in at a rugged 8 pounds 11 ounces, measuring a towering 20.75 inches, and instantaneously stealing hearts and becoming the son of the proudest papa in the world and THE proudest member of the Fightin' Texas Aggie Class of 2032! Whoop!

No, he's not named after the silly Beatles, and no, his brother's name will NOT be George Ringo...

He's named after Blessed John Paul II, soon to be Saint John Paul the Great. And if you thought that Padraig was just added because I liked the name and wouldn't shut up about it...well, you're kinda right, but it also very nicely gives our wonderful son the initials JPP, or JP2. And we honestly did not know his name long ago, deciding to keep it secret from the world for months on end...his name only came up for the first time about 2 weeks before his birth, and only hours before he was born did we decide that we would be blessed with such a wonderful name for our firstborn.

The entire process was INCREDIBLE. Ali was amazing, offering up more pain and striving to draw closer to Christ in His Passion than I am sure I could have. And then God blessed us with the decision to get an epidural, which I truly believe brought our son safely into the world. The tension with each contraction was so great that I think any dilation was becoming impeded, and once the medication too effect at about 4 PM Ali became so relaxed that John-Paul was born within 90 minutes. Had that not taken place, I'm fairly sure the dilation would have halted and we would have had a C-section on our hands. What a blessing and proof that God has a plan for everything.

And why should Ali and I have ever had any reason to think otherwise? When Ali and I began preparing for marriage, we knew that God had called us to take Natural Family Planning (NFP) classes so that we could trust HIM with His plan for our family. Little did we know that when we did so, we would have a teacher who would suggest that in addition to the method we were learning, Ali should take her basal body temperature (BBT) each morning. Further, we were blessed later with the need to visit an endocrinologist before our wedding because of some things we discovered using NFP.

Well, fast forward to September of last year, when Ali's BBT was up for about two weeks straight. Three pregnancy tests later, we were calling an OB to schedule an appointment, who told us not to worry for the first two months and to call back then. Maternally inspired, Ali simply called our endocrinologist just to see if he had any suggestions. Sure enough, he brought us in, ran some tests, and noticed that Ali's progesterone was FAR too low. He put her on these awful tasting progesterone lozenges, which Ali needed to prevent losing the baby. So had God not called us to NFP, we never would have known we needed to take our temperature each morning, we never would have gone to see an endocrinologist who ended up truly being our first amazing obstetrician, we never would have been given those awful lozenges, and....

...this amazing little guy might never have brought such joy and peace to our world.:-)