|The reading produced by this harmless-looking device determines the level of sanity that will prevail in this house on a given day.|
New baby Camille Catherine arrived home yesterday at 11:05 a.m. Between Camille and her eight-and-one-half-month-old Irish twin brother, I'm reasonably sure there hasn't been one solitary second of quiet in this house. As a rule, the medical establishment has concerns about the health of the lungs of premature babies. These two were both significantly (six weeks and eight weeks repectively) premature, but if the ability to make noise any way other than by wheezing is any indication of lung capacity, I'd say both of them are doing just fine in that department.
Camille cries almost anytime she's not eating or sleeping. She doesn't eat or sleep all that much, which leaves an abundance of time for crying. She eats every hour on the hour, or at least someone tries to get food down her on that schedule.
They (her grandmothers, her father, both grandfathers, all the aunts and uncles, and the grand-Godparents) all worry about the amount of milk (mostly the real thing; she's being breastfed, and the supplementary feedings are from stored breast milk) she's consuming, but she must be getting something down, as she's up to 4 lbs. 8 oz., from a birth weight of 3 lbs, 13 oz., and from an all-time low of 3 lbs., 3 oz. Both grandmothers are also concerned about the quality of nutrients in the breast milk, but what they're failing to ackowledge is that she lost the ten ounces on high-octane preemie formula. It wasn't until she started getting some of her mother's milk that she began to regain her lost weight.
The nanny (who holds a master's in nursing science), the mother, and the pediatrician think the baby is doing just great and are only worried [the nanny and the pediatrician; the mother thinks she can do this forever if necesary] about the mother's ability to hold up and to produce milk at the rate of the grand-prize Holstein they're treating her as though she is. The mother has cystic fibrosis and does well to consume enough calories to keep herself from looking like an anemic Eithopian refugee. Beyond that, throughout the pregnancy and for as long as she breastfeeds, she's not taking the very best medications to control her own condition. She's compensating by having increased percussive repiratory therapy and alternate medications. She'll continue as long as the baby has to have breast milk, but the original plan was for the baby to be breastfed only for six weeks.
This morning was the first morning in several days that baby Camille hasn't put on at least one ounce. One would think from the collective response around here that North Korea* had actually produced a weapon of mass destruction that would travel further than its own backyeard and had
already launched it directly at the address of the home we're all currently inhabiting. The pediatrician's trying to put a bit of perspective on it by saying that if everyone gained an ounce every day of his or her life, we're be morbidly obese before we were old enough for preschool.
My job is mostly to keep eight-and-one-half-month-old Andrew happy. It's a relatively easy task. While he's not a quiet child, he is, by nature, happy.
I actually think his sister is happy, too, strangely enough. I think she cries because she has to do something when she's awake and not eating, and there's not much else she can do at this point. As soon as she is unwrapped enough that she can discover her toes or learn to kick the noise-making toys hanging across the lower end of her cradle, she'll do that instead of crying all the time. Her cries for the most part do not sound like cries of distress to me. The nanny agrees with me. I mostly keep my opinions to myself, though, as were I to do otherwise, I would only be told how little I know, and I already know that.