In just two and a half months, we’ve had to learn a number of different techniques regarding baby maintenance, many more than I would have expected. I figured I’d be changing diapers and occasionally changing my shirt after some spit up, but otherwise I assumed Leanne would pretty much run on auto-pilot. I’ve already outlined our fun with bath time, so I won’t cover that again.

I had no idea how freaking hard clipping fingernails could be. First off, it’s no less than a two person job. We don’t even bother trying while she’s awake anymore, and if she’s actually asleep at night there’s no way I’m going to risk a chance at a good night’s sleep. So to begin with, there’s only a small window in which we can actually attempt it. On top of that, her nails grow at a downright supernatural rate, so we have to take advantage of those windows when they do present themselves.

Our attempts go something like the following. One of us has the baby asleep on our lap. For any of a number of reasons, we recognize that she needs her nails cut. Those reasons can stem from Leanne randomly having scratches on her face to me having scratches on my face after foolishly muttering the words “Meg, look how cute she is, she’s reaching out grab to daddy’s face.”

The parent who has the baby assumes the responsibility of controlling Leanne’s arm. I’ve mentioned this before, but it warrants mentioning again. I can manipulate the arms of guys larger than me into positions that would break their arms, with them fully knowing what I’m going for. Yet Leanne’s stumpy little arms, complete with fat on her forearms (I have never seen fat accumulate on forearms before) — while asleep I might add — put up one hell of a fight.

The other parent swoops in with the clippers. He or she secures Leanne’s (also fat) little hand. Here’s where the fun starts. Her fingers immediately curl into a iron fist. It’s like a turtle retreating into its shell. I’ve resorted to everything short of flat out biting her to get her to unclench her death grip. If that’s successful, you still have to get the clippers around a 1/32 inch hang nail without catching skin. A nail that, somehow, is razor sharp when applied to a face.

You’d think we won the lottery when we actually managed to clip a single fingernail.

In the past eleven weeks we’ve also had the trials of having to administer medication to a number of different orifices in her body. Let me just clear the air now: one of those orifices is not her little bum. Thus far we’ve only used the pacifier thermometer. I’ve been spit up on. I’ve been sprayed with projectile shit. I’ve bare handedly wiped nose boogies. But I’m still very skeptical about having to take my daughter’s temperature as if she was a Thanksgiving turkey.

Why do I have this website? To let Leanne know later on in life just how much she freaking owes me.

The first medication we had to administer was orally for her reflux. The dose is 1 milliliter. One. To put it in perspective, there are 44 milliliters in a shot of vodka (yes, I looked it up). That’s all we have to give her. That’s it.

Our tool to this end? A syringe. Obviously with no needle, but the idea is that we jam the syringe into her mouth and squirt the medicine down her throat before she realizes what’s going on.

It’s harder than it sounds. I swear the kid knows it’s coming. The syringe has now become a threat when she’s crying. No amount of tantrum cannot be alleviated by simply holding the syringe at close range. She’ll immediately clamp her mouth shut in a death grip (see a trend here? it should be no wonder why I don’t want to have to give her a butt thermometer).

Not only does she know it’s coming, but she’s getting sneaky. She used to just spit it out. Now she waits until Meg says how good a job Leanne did taking her medicine. Once Meg turns away, the kid spits out the medicine like a psychiatric patient would fake taking his meds. Lucky for us, Leanne hasn’t realized that there are two of us, so I usually catch her in the act. Oh ya, I forgot to mention before in my list of gross baby things that I’m not above using my finger as a spoon to scoop up spit out medicine and jam it back into her mouth.

A few nights ago, Leanne woke up screaming. I think she was screaming in an attempt to get air, since she was congested something fierce. After a panicked call to the on call pediatrician, we were told to break out our baby first-aid kit and administer the saline nose drops.

I figured this one would be easy. I’ve used nose sprays before, you simply stick it up your nose, spray, and inhale. There’s just one problem. The baby ones don’t spray, they drop.

“How the hell am I supposed to drip water into my kid’s nose?”
“What’s the problem?”
“Oh, I don’t know, gravity?”
“Have her mom lean her backwards.”
“And what, drown her?”

This sucked more ass than you’re thinking it did. Meg had to hold Leanne’s head still while I tried to muster a small amount of squeezing strength so as to only get one drop (on my first try, I drained like half the bottle, the stupid thing is brutally touch sensitive). It was pretty horrifying to have to hold Leanne down like that. Thankfully, the ends justified the means and, a few over-saturated, dripping nose boogies later, Leanne was breathing clearly.

That was all three days ago. Yesterday, she woke up with her eye crusted over. All day it was tearing up, sometimes with a yellowish liquid. One trip to the pediatrician (again) later, we had a new assignment: eye drops. I’m too lazy to take a picture of the bottle, but I can’t help but feel ripped off at paying $100 for one milliliter of eye drops. At least they could have put it in a bigger bottle. It’s about the size of a quarter. I can hear the bottle laughing at me.

I’ve already chronicled my issues with eye drops, so I wasn’t looking forward to seeing Leanne’s reaction. I held her and leaned her back while Meg did the hard part. Leanne’s eye immediately closed whenever the dropper came near her. We finally resolved to just put the drop on the inside of Leanne’s closed eye.

I was pretty happy; this was actually a very elegant solution. Leanne laid there for a bit with the drop sitting on her eye. Joke’s on her, she lacks the muscle to sit up and wipe the drop away, so at that point it was a sheer test of wills. We won. She eventually opened her eye and blinked the medicine into place.

This has all been in the first eleven weeks. Should be interesting to see what the next eleven weeks will bring.

Oh man, Leanne is so freaking pissed off right now.

Today was her two month doctor appointment. She was just at the doctor last week for her belly, but this is the formal two month visit. And that largely equates to one thing: shots.

I don’t understand how, but the doctor office smells exactly like my pediatrician’s did. Whenever we walk in, I get these really eerie, vivid flashbacks to my pediatrician. I can still picture the stairs to get to his office, the Highlights magazines I would read, and the scary as all hell clown pictures hanging on the walls. It’s bad enough whenever I was there I was sick or getting a shot, but to have to endure the armies of clowns that “decorated” (and I use that term very loosely in this case) the place is borderline psychotic.

We figured it was a good opportunity to ask a bunch of questions we’ve been accumulating over the past few weeks.

“She has cradle cap, is there anything we should do?”
“Does it bother her?”

If you don’t know, cradle cap is dry skin on a baby’s scalp. I really didn’t know how to answer that one; it’s not like she’s looking at herself in the mirror and complaining about a bad hair day.

“I don’t think so.”
“Is it bothering you guys?”
“Other than a mouthful of baby dandruff when I kiss her? No.”
“Don’t worry about it then.”

That became the standard issue answer for most of our questions. We got through a few more on our list and ended up at the “Bath” bullet point.

“She uh… when we…” Meg stammered as she looked over at me for help. I’m not sure why she suddenly choked up at the topic. But I am willing to bet that she immediately regretted that I, with my complete lack of a filter whatsoever, was the only help on this issue.

“We can’t give her a bath in the tub because she shits in it every time.”

Again, not a problem, we can stick with sponge baths for a while, since there’s really not all that much she does to get dirty. Scrub her little butt, pull aside and clean all seven neck fat rolls, and we’re good to go.

They also took some measurements. I wasn’t surprised they weighed her and measured her “length” (I assume it’s not called “height” until you can actually stand on your own). I was a bit taken aback when they measured the circumference of her head. And while the nurse didn’t think anything of it, I was surprised at her report.

“Leanne’s head is in the 90th percentile.”

She kept writing things down, but I was still trying to digest that.

“Um… does that mean her head is bigger than 90% of other babies her age?”
“Yes, but her weight is in the 90th percentile too, so it’s not a big deal.”

Great, I have the fat baby with the huge head. At least it explains that my troubles with getting her into a onesie aren’t due to my poor skills as a father so much as my baby’s bulbous head.

“And her height is in the 50th percentile.”

Ya, well, no surprise there. And no help from mommy’s and daddy’s genes either. Sorry Leanne, but at least you’re gonna kick some fierce ass in math class (assuming you got my genes… if you got mom’s, well, sorry, but you’re pretty much screwed there too).

The physical ranged from the expected to the downright horrifying. He checked her eyes and ears and listened to her chest, just like in any adult physical. He grabbed her head and squeezed as if he was trying to figure out if a grapefruit was ripe or not. He didn’t have anything bad to say, so I’m guessing that means Leanne is ripe. That was followed by squeezing and tapping on her stomach. That was rough to watch, since I think the goal of the test was to see if he could grab her spine while reaching through her stomach.

He opened her diaper to check things out down there and was greeted by a nice mess. I was actually embarrassed at that point and felt the need to tell him we changed her right before we left. You’d think I shit my own pants at the rate at which I stumbled through the explanation.

The last part of the physical is to check her hip joints. As with her first physical, that pissed her off. I spent the next 10 minutes trying to relax her. I finally got her quiet right in time for the nurse to walk in with the battery of shots Leanne was going to receive.

I’m not going to get into it again, but I hate shots. I know most people don’t like shots, but I realized today that I’m especially weak; I even got woozy seeing the shortened shots that were for Leanne.

“Just remember that mommy and daddy love you, and that it’s the evil nurse giving you the shots, not us.” I forgot my own light-headed-ness for a second as I wiped the baby dandruff from my lips.

The nurse was very fast about administering all of the shots in rapid succession. The first shot goes in, and my previously curious and kicking baby immediately stiffens up. She looked like she was straight out of a cartoon, as I could see the redness start at her neck and quickly rise to fill her entire head. I half expected steam to pour out of her ears. Her mouth opened wide and had a little twitch to it. For a second, she didn’t make a sound. It was the proverbial calm before the storm.

I have to admit, I got a little teary-eyed as she started to lose her mind. I know the shots are to make her healthy, but I felt really bad in the pit of my stomach that she was in so much pain. One of the shots drew blood; it was the first time I saw Leanne bleed. That sucked even worse. She was screaming so bad she had actual tears rolling down her face.

Thankfully, she exhausted herself with all the screaming and fell asleep pretty quickly once we got her settled into her car seat. Hopefully, she won’t have any reactions to the shots, since as it is already, I badly need a drink tonight.