Russell Loren Parsons

Born 21 December 1999, 12:45 PM
Height: 21.25 inches
Weight: 8 pounds 13 ounces

Russell's chief biographers (aka doting parents) have finally updated his little web page ["his little" is the official grammatical possessive pronoun for the baby] to show his first two months. If you nag them mercilessly they may be better about adding things to it more quickly in the future, now that they actually get to go to sleep while it's dark. (Oh, all right, I'm exaggerating a little -- but not much!)

Note added August 4: OK, so we haven't really updated the web page since March, but we've added a few photos taken in late May through early August.


Summary, with pictures

Russell was born on the winter equinox, with a palindromic birthday like his mom's. Oddly (for Portland in December), it was a bright and sunny day. We were very happy for his sake that he didn't have a Christmas birthday. I (Julie) was getting pretty tired of being pregnant, too.

He popped out (and was caught by David!) 8 hours and 15 minutes after the first real contraction, and was very healthy right from the start (APGAR scores of 9 and 9, if that means anything to you). He surprised the nurses by swallowing normally on the first day (apparently they normally take a bit longer to get the hang of it) and could lift his head off the shoulder of the person holding him from his second day on (strong neck!). He could also roll onto his side within his first week, but eventually got used to sleeping on his back, so he doesn't do that much any more.

He spent his first two days in the hospital with his parents. Mostly he slept, ate, lay swaddled in a blanket, and got fussed over by us and his grandparents (David's parents, Metta and Roger).

His other grandmother (Julie's mother Janet) came to visit and take care of us all on Christmas, and stayed for a couple of weeks, doing us a lot of HUGE favors while we adjusted to new family life. In between doing a gazillion dishes she did occasionally get to visit her second grandson. Here's her report on what she (and we) did during her winter vacation (if you can call it a vacation!).

And what has The Talented Mr. Baby been doing since then? At first, he mostly slept, which of course he is still doing, but mostly in the dark now, which doesn't make such great pictures. He does a lot of sitting and lying around, including when his demented parents pose him with his stuffed squid. He visits with his grandparents, listens to stories, talks to us a lot, plays with his toys, ignores the cats and is ignored by them, and various other exciting activities. Oh, and he cries on occasion. Well, he IS just a little baby.

Physical development

As you can see from the pictures from the last section, Russell is certainly growing! At his two-month checkup, he weighed 13 pounds 7 ounces (four pounds ten ounces more than when he was born), and was 24 inches long. The doctor said he's been in about the 75th percentile of baby size the whole time. According to a growth chart I found on the web, at two months he was about the size of the average three-month-old.

He eats a lot; it varies how often, but at two months, he feeds for 20-minute stretches about every 1.5-2 hours during the day, and every 3-5 hours at night. As for sleeping, at first he was surprisingly easy, sleeping from about 11 pm to 4 am, feeding, then sleeping from about 5 am to 10 am; however, he started resisting going to sleep (at least, that's what it seemed like), and ended up only allowing himself to be put to bed at 4 am when he was too exhausted to wake up and scream. That unpleasant period lasted a few weeks, but for week 10 of his life, we suddenly all worked out a system for which he ends up sleeping from about 11 pm to 4 am, 4:30 am to 6 am, and 6:30 am to 9 am... MAJOR improvement. In his third month, during the day he generally sleeps very little (sometimes only a few 15-minute catnaps).

He is a strong little baby! He loves to stand up, and if we are holding him in a sitting position he will push himself up with his legs so he is standing (supported by us of course). He's very good at lifting his head, but can't turn over (either way) yet. He just figured out how to suck his hand, which pleases him greatly. He is getting better every day at grabbing things, and can almost grab the little plastic things on his rattles. (He's been able to grab our fingers quite firmly the whole time.) He can't quite manage it perfectly, though, so after a period of loud grunting as he concentrates fiercely, he gets frustrated and starts to cry, at which point we drag him away to do something else fun.

His appearance has changed mostly from his getting bigger and stronger, but in a few other ways too. He never had that much hair, but it was originally the color of Julie's (as an adult) and evenly dispersed over his head. Now, he's lost a lot of that (except from the top and back), and some finer hair is growing in (mostly lighter, either blond or reddish, but some still brown). Mostly he looks bald, though! He was born with two red marks, one an "angel kiss" on his eyelid and the other a large "stork bite" at the back of his neck and head; those have been fading and probably won't be permanent birth marks.

Mental and social development

Russell is lots of fun to play with! (much more than I was expecting!). By two months, he recognizes his parents and probably Metta and Roger too. He smiles winningly (and gummily) at us on a regular basis, but when he does we are generally too busy smiling back to go grab the camera. He has long conversations with us during which he goos (I didn't know babies REALLY said "goo"!), says other vowel sounds, and makes funny squeaky noises (not quite laughs, though). These conversations are my personal favorite thing about being a mom so far (well, that and snuggling him).

When he is not smiling and "talking," he is generally either grunting as he works at something (like his toy bar on his bouncer) or, most often, looking placid (the expression you can see in a lot of the pictures). He doesn't cry particularly often, and usually it's because he's hungry or needs a diaper change (he doesn't give us much lead time on either of those, and often launches straight from smile to bellow of outrage).

Besides talking and smiling, being cuddled and hauled about by us, playing with his toys, and baths, he particularly likes being sung to and being practically naked and waving his arms and legs around.

Frequently asked questions (or so I anticipate)

Q: Are Russell's eyes really a glowing red like burning coals?

A: No, that is just because all indoor pictures taken in Portland in winter require a flash. His eye color could change to brown or hazel or green later (since Metta's eyes are brown and David's are too in most lights), but so far they are basically the same greyish blue as Julie's. (His other three grandparents have blue eyes too.)

Q: Does your baby have any eyebrows?

A: Yes, but they're practically invisible, sort of like Dick Gephardt's only much cuter.

Q: Are all the givers of gifts listed in the picture captions?

A: Definitely not (for one thing, lots of his gifts didn't make it into pictures yet). In particular, lots of the outfits he's wearing in the pictures (and a ton of our other baby stuff) came from Julie's sister Anna and her family. We are really enjoying having Tyler's hand-me-downs for Russell!! And his wonderful stroller from his Great-Gram isn't in the pictures because we don't take the digital camera outside much. Maybe now that it's not raining all the time...!

Q: What weirdo gave the baby a stuffed squid?

A: David bought it at the Museum of Natural History in New York. Every baby needs a squid!

Q: Have you guys been dressing him in the grey firemouse outfit and the yellow Pooh hat every day?

A: Well, not quite, though it was tempting. Actually, we just took lots of pictures most times he was in the firemouse outfit because we thought it was so darn cute, and knew he would outgrow it quickly (which he has now, sniff). The Pooh hat and outfit are from Brittany and Becky, who work at the Rose and Raindrop where Julie plays Scrabble every week. Wasn't that nice?

Q: What the heck is he sleeping in?

A: It's called a co-sleeper, and it's sort of a bassinet that hooks to the bed. We like it very much, since it lets us be near him without making the bed more crowded than it already is with two adults and two cats.

Q: Would you say Russell is the cutest baby in the whole world?

A: Why yes, how did you guess?