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Eliot first month
 
 
(Click on the images for a larger version.)
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When we got home and everyone was rested, there was a feeling that we should do something with our new child.

As freshly-minted parents, we weren't sure what we could do with our cute new creature besides feed him and change his diaper
 
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so we decided to show him the toys people bought him and let him try on clothes people gave him (like this outfit with a crazy hat from my sister).
 
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Looking back with 9 months of hindsight as I write this album, I understand why only the first kid in a family gets swamped with attention.
 
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At this point in his life, Eliot wanted only to eat, sleep, suck on things, and be warm.
 
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Rather than place random toys in front of him, operating under the delusion that he might reach out and play with them, I should have been trying to eat, sleep, and be warm.
 
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But despite all of the advice that flows like a tsunami from everyone that has ever been a parent,
 
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you really have to just take the advice you like the best, experience things as they come,
 
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and chart your own path.
 
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My path was trying to get Eliot to
 
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play with one of his toys.
 
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The first day at home together, Eliot and I even kegged a batch of beer I made shortly before Eliot was born.
 
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In the mail we received a fantastic edible wreath from Ben, Elissa, and Ansel.
 
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Everything was going great.
 
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Eventually reality started to sink in.

Our son wanted to eat a lot, and he had an extreme obsession with sucking on things.
 
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Thanks to Ilaria's determination and some helpful advice from her doula, Sandra, the feeding was going better than I expected. However, Eliot would go absolutely crazy wanting to suck on things, becoming extremely nervous, especially between 8PM and 3AM. To help with the breastfeeding, we decided to have zero bottles or pacifiers for 2 weeks. However, Eliot needed a pacifier badly.
 
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The only thing that seemed to soothe him between 8PM and 3AM (besides eating with his mom) was for me to do a sort of tip-toe, swinging, hip-hop dance thing while singing a walking bass line or a drum beat. If I stopped for more than 10 seconds he'd get nervous again.

Ilaria was contributing far more time, effort, and ability into Eliot than I was, so I felt the best contribution I could make was to keep doing this dance from 8PM to 3AM to try and let Ilaria sleep.

The first 30-60 minutes of my late-nite dance with Eliot were enjoyable -- I felt like I was helping the family. After that, the mix of physical exhaustion from dancing combined with a general lack of sleep really made for some rather unpleasant times where I was just wishing time away.
 
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There were some great moments. I felt really proud the first time I went to the store by myself with Eliot.
 
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It was fun to have all-together family time.
 
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Given my scientific research, I even found diaper changes to be tolerable if not fun.
 
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But there was a growing sense in our house
 
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that our lives (i.e. that of Ilaria and I) had somehow been
 
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snatched away from us
 
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with the arrival of these four little kilograms of humanity.
 
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After completing the first day with Eliot, we realized we hadn't done a single thing except take care of the little guy.
 
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And there was growing a sense of urgency that we had to find
 
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time to at least clean, shop, and eat
 
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if we planned to survive the next few days before my parents arrived.
 
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How we would ever find enough time to go back to work was unimaginable.
 
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Soon my parents arrived.
 
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A few days later, Ilaria's parents arrived.
 
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And our parents met for the first time over lunch before my folks drove back to Louisiana.
 
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It was nice to finally be able to try on all of the little clothes that had been sitting around while we waited for Eliot to come out (like this sweater made by Sabrina's mom).
 
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And my study of Eliot's belly button continued
 
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until his belly button fell off completely on his 12th day of life.
 
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The part that fell off was extremely hard. I saved it...
 
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Eliot got to see his first snow, even though it was starting to be spring.

Little by little we were learning details about Eliot. One of the first things we learned was that
 
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he hated taking a bath. He showed me this at the hospital, and repeated his show of fear/anger/disgust many times
 
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to reinforce that we should not clean him anymore.
 
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His mom tried many times to keep his hands warm with socks, but he didn't like things on his hands and he'd always be sleeping with socks on his face.
 
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Eventually he at least looked like
 
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he might be interested in his toy if only he knew how to control his arm.
 
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But for the most part,
 
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the first month was spent holding him
 
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or sleeping next him.
 
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We took Eliot and Ilaria's parents to see all of the big St. Louis sites
 
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like the arch,
 
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the arch,
 
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and the arch.
 
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Things certainly got easier after we had some parents around to help out. However, I still think the first month was one of the months of my life I'd least like to live a second time. I was very happy that everyone was healthy and doing well but 1) I felt I'd never have any free time to pursue any of my hobbies, travel with Ilaria, or work enough to get anything useful done. 2) there was almost zero positive feedback from him; sure I didn't expect any thank you, but he wasn't even going to be able to smile for a long time and the only feedback we'd get was negative. It's pretty tough to put all of the time and effort you have in a day into something that seems to be only discontented by your efforts.
 
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If it weren't for his cuteness, I'm not sure how I would have survived.
 
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Before long, Matteo arrived and we had Ilaria's entire nuclear family in the US together for the first time.
 
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Matteo and Eliot really liked each other.
 
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After Ilaria's folks left, Matteo and I went to see a
 
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Cardinals game. Matteo originally wanted to see a Blues hockey game, but by some odd streak of luck the Blues had their last game of the year with the potential to go to the playoffs and the game was sold-out (they lost anyways).
 
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Ilaria and Eliot came along too
 
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to take a walk
 
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around the arch before the
 
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game started.
 
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Like all games I go to with Matteo, it was a slug feast. The Cardinals blew out the other team. Albert Pujols hit a grand slam and a 3-run homerun! I've got to go to more baseball games with Matteo.
 
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At the end of the first month, Ilaria and I were alone with Eliot again.
 
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Eliot still didn't like his bath. But we were all surviving together.