Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Practice Makes Perfect

I'll be the first to admit that the first few entries to this site have leaned a little on the sappy side. So, for this time, I thought I'd post something a little less serious. A couple of weeks ago Becca and I got our first opportunity to babysit since we found out that we'll be having a baby of our own. When you're not pregnant they say that watching an infant is good birth control, but since we're way beyond that point I'd call this a practice run.

Our friends, Jordan and Laura, had plans to go to a concert and asked us if we would want to watch their 3 month old baby, Ella. We agreed and so a few nights later the two stopped by to drop off Ella on their way out. As we all sat around discussing all the various details that have to be mentioned when entrusting your baby in the care of someone else, Ella lay peacefully on the floor playing with her mobile. All the instructions were handed over and after their last goodbyes Laura and Jordan walked out the door. Literally the instant the door shut behind them Ella began to cry. So we jumped into action doing everything we knew to try to pacify her including holding her, rocker her, checking her diaper, laying her back down, and even making funny noises to try to entertain her. Nothing seemed to work, so after about fifteen minutes of an upset baby we decided to try and feed her despite the fact that the schedule we were given showed that she wasn't supposed to eat for another twenty minutes. I heated up the bottle, handed it to Becca, and the instant the bottle touched Ella's lips the crying subsided and she acted as if nothing had ever been wrong.

Ella downed the bottle pretty quickly and afterword was back to being a perfectly content baby. For the remainder of the night things were pretty uneventful with just a few more outbursts that we were able to remedy relatively quickly. That is until it came time to change the diaper. At this point I was standing in the living room playing a game when Becca noticed that Ella's diaper probably needed to be changed. She laid Ella's changing pad on the couch and removed the dirty diaper. Suddenly, I hear Becca from behind me shout out a frightened "Oh No!" as she scoots back on the couch. I turn around to find out that Ella was apparently not finished with making a mess of her diaper, except the diaper was no longer on and she had pee'd on the changing pad. Worse than that is the fact that a changing pad doesn't work real well on a soft, uneven surface like a couch, and so we now had baby pee that had runn off the pad on our couch. Worse still is that the clean diaper Becca had laid out for changing was in the path of the small river of urine and therefore had to be tossed out with the dirty one. Becca did manage to get a diaper on and I had the privledge of cleaning the whole mess up. They always say practice makes perfect and I think we learned to only attempt changing on a flat, firm surface.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Thump thump

Several weeks ago I heard a story on the radio discussing the various onomatopoeias used across the world to describe a heartbeat. For those of you, like me, who don't remember much of high school english, an onomatopoeia is a word that imitates the sound it is describing. So some common examples would be "bzzzz" for the sound a bee makes, "crash" for the sound of something breaking, and "ruff ruff" for the sound of a dog. In English we generally use the word "thump thump" for the sound of a beating heart, but strangely enough this isn't how all cultures think a heart sounds. In Spain and Germany they hear "bum bum." If you're in Russia you hear "tuk tuk" and in Denmark you hear "boenk boenk." Or if you speak Arabic you say "bom bom." The idea that such a common thread throughout the world could be perceived so differently I think speaks a lot about the uniqueness of humans. We all, more or less, share a common structure in the heart. The functionality is the same regardless of race, religion, gender, or socio-economic standing. But because of the individuality of our cultures and ourselves everyone sees the same organ a little bit differently.

Now fast forward to last week when Becca and I got to go in for our second doctor's appointment and for the first time we got to hear the baby's heartbeat. To me, the sound came across as more of a "whish whoosh" than a "thump thum," "tuk tuk" or however else you want to say it. But regardless to how I perceived the 155 beats per minute it was something unique to this world. It's mind-boggling to think that some day that little whish whoosh will have its own outlook on things that will be different than anything I have ever considered. It will see the world through its own eyes, live its own experiences, and probably have its own version of what a heart sounds like.