three weeks.

And then the hospital bills came. And they were plentiful.

Rory is three weeks old and every day with him has been stellar. While his schedule is not built around our preferences, obviously, it’s still a schedule and we are adapting to it. The best advice we’ve received is to just go with Rory’s flow, feed him when he wants to be fed, interact with him when he’s alert, change his diaper when it’s dirty, burp him when he’s gassy, and forget about trying to regulate his activity until he’s at least two months old. We are tired, but we are happy and so is Rory.

Of course, my favorite time of the day is when Rory is alert. Usually he’s wide-eyed and playful for an hour or so in the late morning and again in the early evening. At three weeks old he is pretty limited in terms of activity. Right now we have two games:

1) I wave the activity elephant in front of his face for a while and wait for him to make this face:

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Then I move the activity elephant, squeak its little squeaky ear, and see if Rory follows the sound. We had about a 5% success rate with this game at two weeks old; now we’re getting closer to 33%.

2) I place him on his tummy and let him practice lifting up and moving his head from side to side. Rory is way ahead of the curve on this skill: at his two week doctor’s appointment, he managed to roll himself over from his belly to his back twice! The doctor was amazed and advised us to never leave him unattended lest he hurl himself off whatever furniture he’s on. He’s rolled over several times in the past week, at least once per tummy time session. Tummy time usually ends when Rory gets frustrated by his inability to crawl and breaks down into tears. Poor little guy.

Most of our time is spent in the endless cycle of eat, sleep, poop. I’m aware that this reality is a lot tougher for Lauren, at least until we initiate bottle feeding. I try to make up for it by doing the lion’s share of the housework and helping Lauren find opportunities to nap during the day. I’ve been impressed with how positive she’s remained despite having every reason to be burnt out. I suppose it helps that Rory is super adorable.

I’ve checked my work email just a few times since my paternity leave began. I’m not proud of that, but in each case it was for a specific reason and I didn’t linger for long. I am very grateful for the eight weeks paid leave, but I’m already feeling like it’s not going to be enough. I’ll be headed back to work right when the baby will begin truly recognizing my face and learning how to play and communicate in more sophisticated ways. Every hour away from Rory will feel like a missed opportunity.

I’m grateful though: for the eight weeks of leave that I do have, and for our ability to cover those aforementioned hospital bills without too much stress. Without an excess of additional things to worry about, we are able to focus most of our time on this guy: