Monday, December 15, 2008

December with Rohan

This week's installment is being written by guest author Nana Gage.
The last two weeks have sped by too quickly, and I fear the last week will be as brief.
Rohan has been on this earth such a short time but already has enriched our lives immeasurably. He provides smiles, squeals, and laughter endlessly. His most recent goal involves turning from a supine to prone position. He exerts a tremendous amount of energy and concentration in his attempts. I fear he will become very frustrated when he accomplishes his goal, only to discover that he has inflicted "tummy time" on himself.
He greets each day with a smile, knowing he is loved and cherished by those who surround him. Every day brings the promise of experiencing a new and wonderous adventure.
He has mastered grasping the rings on his activity mat, has licked them (see picture), and found them much to his liking.
On last Saturday, Chandreyee's friend Kay visited, and we all trekked to downtown Boston. Rohan enjoyed strolling through Boston Commons, where we were treated to beautifully decorated trees, and ice skaters enjoying the outdoor rink. From there we ventured to Chinatown where we enjoyed a delicious dinner. Rohan sat placidly in his stroller entertaining us, fellow diners, and wait staff alike.
We have had such fun during these short days, but I know there will be much more to come......

Saturday, December 6, 2008

An open-air market of Moons


Over the river and through the woods we drove last weekend, to Wellsboro, Pennsylvania, where Rohan met his cousins Madeline and Olivia for the first time. Though attacked by Madeline's zealous displays of affection (see video at end) and baby Olivia's pokes of curiosity, Rohan parried only with smiles and squeals.

Rohan's Dadan (my father) described this picture as "jeno chander hat boshechhe." Literally, "as if there's an open-air market of Moons."

In Bengali, children, as pure as moonlight, are often referred to as "chand" (Moons). Certainly, Rohan's beaming face, Olivia's round eyed stare, and Madeline's impish grins haunt me daily with their moon-like simplicity.

In one short day at Uncle Nathan/Aunt Susan's house, we even managed to go sledding, which Rohan loved, despite having to wear Olivia's dunce-cap snowsuit.


After 9 months of pregnancy, childbirth, and newborn-baby-boot-camp, I hadn't been ready to think about a brother or sister for Rohan baby, but after Thanksgiving with the Wellsboro Gage cousins, I can't imagine a greater gift for our son.


video

Friday, November 21, 2008

The next two weeks..

...were as good if not better than the first week. I felt more confident and was able to make Rohan happy most of the time. Although I still can't differentiate his cries. Chandreyee claims he has a tired cry, a hungry cry, and an I'm wet or stinky cry. To me they all sound like "Whaaaaah!", but I just go through my checklist: check diapers, stick a bottle in his mouth, carry him around in the baby bjorn until he gets in a better mood. But most of the time he is a real joy: laughing at daddy's funny faces or noises, looking with rapt attention at the latest book from the library, or just licking his fist. That is one developmental area that I was worried about. He never really sucked fingers or his thumb except for a few times after he was first born. What he does for comfort is ball up his fist (usually his right, right-handed?) and then lick it like it was an ice cream cone. I guess he is unique in at least one respect. I also discovered that he absolutely loves Sesame Street. While we were playing on the ground, and after I was done watching our daily 30 minutes of Sports Center which Rohan also likes and decided to switch to PBS. His eyes were glued to the set as Elmo and Robert De Niro were talking about imagination. He was kicking his legs furiously and waving his arms as he laughed and giggled. He slept through today's episode, so he'll have to wait until next week to see another one. Next week is my last week alone with him and I will miss our time together. But I am happy that his nana will be up here after Thanksgiving weekend to take care of him until Christmas break.

Thanks for listening...

Mike

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Dad's first week home alone with Rohan


I was a bit nervous, truth be told, to have the responsibility of watching Rohan by myself. I think he either knew this or wanted to make sure that I had a good 1st week. He treated me with smiles, laughs, and coos even if I really didn't do anything to deserve them. He only cried when he needed something and slept for several hours each day so I could do some little projects around the house. He even laughed as I was cooking. Not an entirely unexpected reaction, but I would have thought that for someone on such a limited diet as his, he would have been more forgiving.

I think that I am slowing improving in my ability to read aloud to him, especially the hard books like Dr. Seuss. I never really appreciated as a child, how hard it is to read with expression while holding the book so someone else can look at the pictures. Fortunately, he seems to have a good attention span while we are reading books and we get through the long ones and he is still thirsty for more, as long as he isn't thirsty for milk. I guess at this point though, he really has no choice and can't go anywhere, but he is smiling and cooing and focuses on the weird pictures of elephant-cats and the other denizens of Dr. Seuss' imagination.

I can only hope that all of his days are so happy. I'll keep doing my best to make him happy while I'm home. I hope the weather for this next week is a bit better so we can go outside. The window guys are finishing up this week and they have done an excellent job. Sometimes Rohan likes to watch them work, but when he is sleeping, Rohan doesn't like all the hammering and sawing.

My only regret this weekend was that I didn't watch the Penn State game with my good luck charm. He was sleeping and so couldn't help them beat Iowa.

I'll update you on my progress learning how to be a good parent at the end of next week. I had a short, but good week this week as the changer of diapers, feeder of bottles, and reader of stories.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween in Arlington, MA


I was inspired by the $3.99/lb live lobsters in our grocery store, one of the occasional things that strike me as being major perks of living in New England. A few pieces of felt, packaging scraps, and a Goodwill store later, Rohan the Lobster was born.

Mike took the (beautiful, warm) day off, so we joined troops of Arlington babies, toddlers and parents in a "parade" down Massachusetts avenue. Rohan got almost as many comments as did Mike, who wore his outrageous pirate captain's costume. Though rather different comments than the ones he used to get on Castro Street in San Francisco.

Back at home, we removed a much spat-upon (spit-upped on?) lobster outfit, and a rather unthreatening pirate and I passed out candy to Arlington's youth. Highlights of the evening included:

1. Two little Roman centurions. Mike identified them, upon which their mother remarked, "Wow, there are a lot of educated people around here!"
2. The Spanish Inquisition. "No one EVER expects the Spanish Inquisition."
3. A little boy who said to Mike, "I know you're a pirate because of your ripped pants and your bare feet. And your eye patch, which you Aren't Wearing." Noted.
4. Speed Racer. "Do they still show it on TV?" I asked. "There's a movie," said young Speed Racer, who looked about 8 or 9. "You can see it on Comcast On-Demand or FiOS On-Demand."
4. The sweet politeness of children in general. One pair of boys asked, "How many are we allowed to take?" "As many as you want," we said. "I love these houses!" (grabbing fistfuls.) "Thanks for letting us load up!"

I like our town. Next year I'm bringing my harmonica to the parade.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Smiles we can believe in.


The countdown to election day has begun (the same day as my last day of maternity leave, which do I dread more?). If you still haven't decided who should be our next commander-in-chief, you should write in a vote for Rohan The Baby.

Here a couple shots of our third-party dark HORSE candidate, stumping on the campaign trail.

His platform promises billions in smile bailouts (sorry, rescues), and lowering the giggle tax for those making less than 200,000 laughs per year. After all, we should "spread the love around."

Rohan ("The Other One") has been visiting potential day cares, hosting a baby shower for a new friend arriving in December, and visiting his mother's old colleagues at Dana Farber Cancer Institute. All this to secure the crucial baby vote and scientist vote, both known to be key battlegrounds for the presidency.

Join him today!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Happy Durga Puja!

Durga Puja
Rohan helped us celebrate Durga Puja in our home this weekend. Our friends Shoumita and Jason and their two kids Sonali and Nalini came over to visit and celebrate the holiday. Chandreyee's sister, Jayatri, and her husband Steve were also in town for a fun weekend. Rohan's Kurta was a bit too big for him, like a lot of his clothes. But he is still growing and is learning new tricks. This past week, he smiled for the first time for mommy and has quickly learned when he should as Uncle Steve put it "Roll out the cute." After a long and sleepless night, he smiled and giggled and almost made Chandreyee forget the long night she had. We had a wonderful visit and even though Jayatri couldn't get a good still shot of Rohan smiling, she was able to take the short video of him happy and smiling in his vibrating chair. We can't wait for the holiday season to visit more with all of the relatives.
video

Penn State
Rohan has helped daddy cheer on the Penn State Nittany Lions this season and often sleeps next to or on daddy during the games. With a cute fan like this, Penn State may not lose a game this season. Here Rohan is watching Penn State beat the Wisconsin Badgers 48-7.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Wake me up when September ends

I have no idea what the Green Day song is actually about, but Rohan listened to it calmly, 20 times in a row yesterday. Mike is afraid baby will acquire my love of listening to music on endless repeat (can you say Beck, Saint-Saens, Dire Straits, or ABBA?)

Lately, Rohan has been sleeping better at night -- 3 to 3.5 hours at a time -- so much so that Mike's coworkers often remark, "You look very well-rested for being a new dad!"

Well, this is because Mike is a VERY sound sleeper and is oblivious to the Grunting Pig that is in the bassinet next to our bed. The Pig himself is equally sound asleep. I, on the other hand, although not worried by the pig noises, can not get a minute of sleep during the ruckus. My mother says that I made the same noises when I was a baby, and she actually tape recorded them and took it to the pediatrician.

I'm not that paranoid, but I thought I'd post a representative video here. You can play it next to your bed tonight and see if YOU can fall asleep! If you can, happy parenting to you.

video

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Wide-eyed


Already, little Rohan has become famous for his big eyes that are of a probably ephemeral blue-black color. In his short life to date, a few things have made his eyes get Even Bigger. The picture at left is representative of this look. What does it mean? Awe? Interest? Confusion? Terror? He is a bundle of mystery.

Every time we can unravel a little of the mystery, we feel a great sense of accomplishment. Today we walked around our town fair, and Rohan screamed in the middle of it. I remembered a recently forwarded email from Krishna mashi in Riverside -- "8 reasons your baby is crying" -- and one of them was "I'm too hot." I immediately felt Rohan sweating under his layers of clothes, and he stopped crying after we took them off. Parenting mistake fixed!

It isn't easy to predict what things will make those big eyes even bigger. Last night we watched fireworks, yet he ate peacefully throughout the ruckus. Perhaps his fireworks experiences in utero (Wellesley, Boston...) prepared him well.

I wrote to a friend recently that every time Rohan experiences something new, I feel like it is my first time too. How exhausting to be born, for a baby, and re-born, for its parents.
Here is a short list of first-time "Big-eye" events. Can you find a pattern?

1. Going on a trail through the copses by Mystic Lake
2. Hearing fierce winds and thunder, the night that the residues of Hurricane Ike came through town.
3. Riding a cobblestone path behind the public library.
4. Meeting Nana (Grandma Gage) for the 1st time (photo above.:)

Ok, this has not been the best post. Hope to do better next time, need sleep.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Sleeping diva


This is what Rohan looks like almost every day, when we go out for a walk in the stroller that Dimoni and craigslist got him. Not very exciting, right?

That's what I thought, until I found out firsthand what an amazing center of attention even a boring, sleeping baby can be.

Yesterday, we walked to Fabric Corner at the corner of Mill st. and Mass Ave, where Dimoni was going to buy some supplies to make Rohan's kantha (quilt that grandmothers make for a new grandchild out of a soft, old sari.) It turned out that Thursday was Senior Citizens Day at the little basement shop -- no use to my mother, who is a perky 60 -- but it meant plenty of other doting grandmas who couldn't get enough of Rohan's tiny face.

At 13 days, he's the 2nd youngest visitor to Fabric Corner. And he slept through his 15 minutes of fame.

In other news his 2-week pediatrician visit went fine -- he's up to 6 lbs 1.5 oz, and still eating nonstop, rarely sleeping EXCEPT when taking walks and being admired. As my colleague F. said last night, "If one more person tells me to 'just sleep when the baby sleeps, I'll kill them!!" After the doctor, Mike, Rohan and I had our first family date -- to Dunkin Donuts. Sad, I know -- but it was vicariously exciting to see a baby's eyes open wide at the sight of a chocolate-glazed -- guess he's definitely a Boston baby now.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Home at last



After four long days at the hospital being poked, prodded, and stuck, we are all finally home (As of Tuesday night). Rohan is still learning to tell time and hopefully soon he will give up his vampire hours. Chandreyee and I are doing well and it was nice to take Rohan for a walk around the neighborhood and Spy Pond after his doctor's visit. He eats pretty well and has all the normal body functions. Thanks to a good friend of ours, Yushan, we now have a way of determining which one of us has to do the dirty work (picture at left). One of the times I got out of the duty was when I was holding him and talking to my mom on the phone at the same time. As you can see in the picture I was quite surprised to be suddenly all wet. Now I make sure the diapers are tight. :) We all love him dearly and look forward to new things he can do. Today he gave daddy a smile that made up for yesterday's waterworks.

Thanks again to everyone who writes us and calls and visits. It really helps us.

Mike

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Babies bring out the best in us.

As long as I've known Mike, one of the cardinal rules has been that when he hasn't had enough sleep, he is a "Grumpy Gus," as his grandmother would say. Yes, the sweet, mild, funny man everyone knows turns into a 4-letter-word-spewing Mr. Hyde. So you can see I was scared by the prospect of sharing a small hospital room getting about an hour of sleep every day for 4 days.

The second night was the first time Rohan spent the night in our room with us. I wanted not to wake up Mike unnecessarily, but of course that didn't last long. I was in pain and it was the first night without morphine, and Rohan really hated wearing the hospital hat that he had to wear because he couldn't control his temperature yet.

Mike got up immediately upon Rohan's second round of screaming, and instantly calmed him down by 1. Removing the HATED HAT, 2. holding him on his chest and 3. looking into his eyes.

In the softest, sweetest of tones, even the sleep-deprived Mike spoke to his new son with patience, love and awe --
"All this over just a little hat."

So, actually I have been the more grouchy of the two of us these past few days, but when I'm feeling particularly despairing or impatient, I hear Mike again speaking to Rohan and to me, and we both feel much much better.

Getting ready to go home



We are finally getting ready to leave the hospital and go home. Chandreyee is feeling better but will still be sore and recovering for a while. She is a wonderful new mom and everyone is happy and healthy. We are very lucky to have Chandreyee's mom visiting us to help us out. Rohan loves his Dimoni (maternal grandmother). And he also apparently likes to wear his dad's pj's. Thanks to everyone that came to visit us in the hospital. We enjoyed it and so did little Rohan. Now we just have to adjust to going home and taking care of everything ourselves. It has been fun so far, and I can't wait for all the years to come.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Rohan Alexander is here


The little guy while very cute, did his best to make things difficult for his parents. After about 5 or 6 hours of painful labor, the doctors decided to go with a caesarian section. Before Mike could even be gowned up, the baby was delivered Friday August 29th at 10:29pm. He weighed in as a flyweight (6 lbs 0 oz.) and was 19 inches long. We both love him so much and are very happy he is here and that everyone is all right (albeit more tired than usual).

All the people at Beth Israel have been wonderful and it has been truly great having all of our friends come to visit us. We really are blessed to know so many good people.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

nothing soon. Go away. :)

Just kidding.
But the doctor said today that nothing has changed in the last 3 weeks. Next appointment: Wednesday.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

We are excitedly awaiting the arrival of ***** ********* Gage and have most things ready to go. People thought we were weird in planning to bring travel Boggle to the delivery room. In case you didn't know Chandreyee and I love to play games and this may be the one chance that I have of beating her at this game. :)