The Second Month

The Hardest Decision

Choosing a name for your baby is a huge responsibility. There are so many ways you could go with it. You could go traditional, like William or Peter. You could go weird, like Jaylon, Legend or Franco. Or trendy, like Hunter or Lucas.

They all have their benefits and drawbacks. Traditional names are usually strong, solid and familiar, and so you know your kid will have an easy ride. Weird names are cool and interesting, and kids always grow into their names so they don’t stay weird for long, but then they’ll always be spelling their names over the phone (even I have to do this – I’m Sam now when I order takeaways). And trendy names are, well, trendy, but they’ll probably have three other kids in the class with the same name.

From the outset, we didn’t want to be in the trendy camp. This is mainly because Liv knows what its like to have one of the most popular names and to have to share it with heaps of other kids at school. We also aren’t really into weird names, although early in her pregnancy Liv dreamt that we named our baby Rocket, and so that’s what we called him as a fetus. Also, Pharrell Williams has a son called Rocket, so it was within the realm of possibility! But really, we’re into traditional-but-not-very-common names.

The options

The first name we loved for a boy was Henry. It’s a strong, familiar name, but it also sounds nice and it runs nicely with the last name Allison. However, it’s also relatively popular. It was number 26 on the top 100 boys names in New Zealand in 2016, next to Jackson, Jacob and Elijah.

So Henry was a top pick but maybe a bit too popular for us. Jasper was our only other option. We actually had the name Jasper on our list months before he was even conceived! This was January 2016 – we knew we were going to start trying soon so names were in discussion. Liv was really into really old names, like popular names from the 18th century. She sent me an email one day with a list of names she liked (she tells me she doesn’t like most of them now). Jasper was one of them. Looking back at that exchange, thankfully I had said Jasper was the one I liked!

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So we had two names to choose from. How hard can that be?! Liv liked Jasper slightly more, while I tended towards Henry. About two or three months into the pregnancy, we’d pretty much settled on Jasper. But then towards the end of the pregnancy, about the last eight weeks, we gravitated more towards Henry.

We hadn’t mentioned our name options to anybody. Not a soul. That’s what made it super weird when one day, I get a text from mum saying she had a dream that we named our baby Henry. I couldn’t believe it. I rushed to tell Liv, who was in equal disbelief. How could she possibly know?!

After that, I really wanted to call him Henry because I thought it was a neat coincidence that mum had had that dream. Like, it was meant to be, or something. By 36 weeks we’d pretty much decided on Henry, and Liv kept saying things to me like, “In my head he’s Henry”.

It was hard because Henry was really the name I liked more, while Liv tended towards Jasper, and I worried that she was giving in to my preference. I was glad that she liked Henry, but the closer we got to the birth, the greater my reservations became about Henry. I worried about its popularity, and thought maybe it was too traditional.

By the end we were openly discussing the name options with people. There was a clear trend: people older than 50-ish liked Henry, while younger people liked Jasper. Still, we couldn’t quite decide.

Making the final decision

As soon as Jasper was born, I looked at him and said, “Henry”. Liv was still unsure. I said maybe I just see Henry because that’s what we’d been thinking for a while now. We decided to leave it for a bit and decide after a good night’s sleep.

All throughout that first day we went back and forth between Henry and Jasper. Eventually, obviously, Jasper won out. We loved how it sounded, its meaning, and especially how it went with his middle name.

One day after he was born we decided. He was Jasper Jay.

The significance

So why is the name Jasper Jay significant? For many reasons, it turns out. What started out as a name we just liked, has actually grown to have a lot of things attached to it.

First, there’s the Toronto Blue Jays. My baseball team. My winter obsession. How I connect with my Canadian heritage.

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One of the greatest home runs you’ll ever see

Everyone always asks me if we deliberately named him after the Blue Jays, and the answer is yes and no. I like that Jasper has the Jay in his name because I really love this team. But we also just liked the way Jasper and Jay run together. And we like that he can be JJ, or just J, if he wants.

Jasper is also the name of a national park in Alberta, Canada, so there’s another Canadian link there.

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There’s a Simpsons link, too (another one of my favourite things). There’s an episode where Homer realises he has no idea what the J in his middle initial stands for, so he goes on this quest to his childhood home to find that his middle name is Jay. Great episode.

 

 

 

One of the Three Wise Men was also called Jasper (well, that’s the anglicised version). He brought the myrrh, which unfortunately is the most useless of all the gifts. What even is it?!

Also, I quite like whiskey and Jack Daniels’ actual first name was Jasper.

So there you go. The story behind Jasper’s name.


Watching: Ozark

Reading: A Darkness More Than Night by Michael Connelly

Listening to: Hug of Thunder by Broken Social Scene

The Second Month

Five Things I Love About Jasper

I’ve been a bit down lately, as you may have guessed from some of my previous posts. I haven’t enjoyed having a baby as much as I thought I would, and I’ve been feeling extremely tired and pretty frustrated at times. Liv wonders if I’m depressed, but I think it’s too early for that. I’m probably just tired. That’s the most logical cause of my troubles. However, I have made a doctors appointment for a couple of weeks from now, just in case things don’t improve.

And I think it’s also the shock of caring for a newborn baby has thrown everything out of whack and I’m struggling to deal with it. That, coupled with sleep deprivation, isn’t a recipe for happiness. Some of it is my personality: I just do what I want to do, and I don’t do things that annoy me. But now I don’t have a choice – I have a kid now, and he deserves to have the best dad possible.

I had a great sleep last night and feel better today, so I think getting sleep may help. I also need to exercise more, and make time to do things I enjoy. So I’m going to focus on these things and see if my mood improves. Some of it is also an attitude shift: I need to put everything into Jasper because these early weeks are when we’re forming our bond which we’ll have for the rest of our lives. His little brain is just starting to respond to us, and I want him to know that I’m his Dad and I love him. I know I’ve complained a lot about him and our life but I do love him to bits, and I am so proud that I get to call myself his dad, and tell everyone he is my son. Here are my favourite five things I love about Jasper so far.

When he falls asleep on me

This is the best! He doesn’t do it often, but if you catch him in the right mood, usually after a feed, and you rock him just right with his head on your shoulder, he’ll fall asleep. And then he’ll fall into this really deep baby sleep where his face goes all red and you just know he’s completely out to it. And then he curls up onto you and his arms sit on you like he is giving you a cuddle. He also makes cute little baby noises and it’s the greatest feeling.  DSCF8734

That he’s so alert

I love watching him look around. He’s been a pretty alert baby from the start but now he’s really noticing what’s going on. Above his change table in his room is some small pom poms on the wall. He is mesmerised by them. Even if he’s crying, put him on the table and when he notices them he calms right down. It’s weird!

He notices other patterns too. His favourite things are the set of six picture frames we have hanging above our couch in the lounge. And he actually loves looking at my records, which are quite low down on a shelf next to his play mat. So when he’s lying there he’ll turn his head and look at the records. I guess it’s the range of colours he’s interested in (hopefully some day I can get him interested in the music, too!).

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That he looks a bit like me

Some people say he looks a lot like me, but I’m not sure. I do know he has my weird ears, though – they don’t fold over at the top. So I know he’s mine! But I thought it was just so cool that even when he was a few days old, I recognised myself in him. I know this is an evolutionary thing – dads are supposed to see themselves in their kids so they know they’re theirs and they don’t run off. But sometimes I really do feel like I’m looking back at a mini version of me. So is it like, really narcissistic to say I also think he’s ridiculously good looking?

How much he enjoys bath time

I’m so glad he’s gotten to like his baths. He hated his first few. But with each one he’s grown to like them. Now, he just lies there, looking back at me. It’s so sweet. No crying or anything, just a few kicks. I love holding him in my arm and gently splashing the warm water over his belly. He can’t tell me much right now, but I know from the way he looks up at me – and the lack of crying – that he loves it.

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Our feedings times

While Liv has had her battles with feeding, such as not having as much milk as she’d like, it has given Jasper and I an opportunity to bond over the bottle. It’s quite nice that we can have these little moments where I feed him. If he’s cranky because he’s hungry, I love watching his face change immediately as I give him the bottle. He just starts sucking and then looks straight into my eyes with those beautiful blues. His little hands move a little bit, fingers flexing, as he enjoys his meal. I know it’s the baby equivalent of me digging into a huge plate of Buffalo wings (i.e. heaven). It’s such a lovely little time for us.

I know as he changes so rapidly I will find new things I enjoy about him every day. And Jasper, if you ever read this, just in case there was any doubt, Dad loves you so much. I promise I always will.


Listening to: A Ghost is Born by Wilco

The Second Month

Four Thoughts After One Month With Jasper

It’s been four weeks now – nearly a month – since Jasper arrived in our world. In that time we’ve got to know each other pretty well. Or as well as you can know a tiny human who really just feeds and sleeps. He doesn’t even poo that much! That’s one thing that’s surprised me. I’m changing many more wet nappies than dirty ones. Anyway, here’s four things that I’ve taken away from this crazy month.

(I originally titled this post ‘Five Thoughts…’, but I got to four and realised I was actually out of thoughts. So take what you can get, I guess).

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Cuddles with both my boys

You can’t die from tiredness, right?

Seriously, I’m struggling to get through the day sometimes. And I don’t know if I’m being dramatic, or if this is totally normal and everyone goes through it, but all I know is that if I was dead I’d get some decent sleep at least. Ok that’s pretty dark, and I’m very much happy to be alive, but dear Lord I’m tired.

The plan was for Liv to do the nighttime feeds and let me sleep, seeing as I’m the one who has to go to work all day. But actually, Liv has to work, too. Taking care of a newborn is full on, and Liv’s working just as hard as I am. So that idea went out the window pretty quickly.

I’m doing one or two feeds a night with the bottle. I hate doing them and I can’t believe what a shitty husband I’ve become. Like, when we first brought him home I was all superdad, leaping out of bed at all hours to rescue my tired wife and take care of our hungry boy. Now it’s like, when he cries, I stay put for a while and Liv and I lie there wondering to ourselves who’ll do this one. I still do at least one a night, but it’s taking its toll. It’s taking its toll on Liv as well, though, so I shouldn’t complain too much. Jasper still wakes every two hours at least, but hopefully that passes soon.

Going out isn’t the ordeal I had imagined

We’re trying really hard to get out and about and live our lives. I totally understand why you’d just stay home – because it’s easier. Or maybe because you’re nervous. I don’t know. But from the time he was a week old we’ve been getting out of the house with him.

It’s not so bad. All we need is his pram, which is in the boot of the car anyway, and his changing bag, which is full of all sorts of goodies like clean nappies, changes of clothes and these little plastic bags to put the dirty nappies in which are really doggie bags but they’re an actual thing for babies now. Mum said, “when you were little we just put the nappies in the bin!” Well, yeah mum, but we have bags now, so…

Once he’s in the car seat, which actually is the worst part because he’s still all weird to move and stuff (kind of like a doll whose limbs just won’t quite do what you want them to), we’re off and he’s happy. Loves the car. Sleeps for ages. Even if he’s not sleeping he’s enjoying looking at stuff, so I hope he’s just a good car baby.

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Trying to settle him while we wait for our burgers. 

When we get to wherever we’re going, we just plonk him into the pram, strap him in and away we go. Haven’t had a screaming fit or anything yet. So far we’ve mainly taken him to a cafe, or mum and dads, or the supermarket. We spent the morning at Sylvia Park shopping mall the other day and he was a bit unsettled, but not unmanageable. I think it was probably a bit overstimulating for him.

Liv is getting great at feeding him wherever we are. She’s not very self conscious and seems to feel comfortable breastfeeding in public. I haven’t had to do a public nappy change yet but I’m sure that day is coming.

I’m slowly adjusting

Maybe it’s the exhaustion, but I’m not feeling that overwhelming feeling of love yet. I’m actually wondering if maybe I’m just not that kind of person. I’m certainly not overly emotional with other people, but I expected I would be with my son. He’s kind of annoying sometimes, to be honest. I think I’m still adjusting to a life where I can’t just do whatever I want whenever I want to. But I definitely am enjoying him more as time goes on and as he starts to respond to us more.

He’s far more interesting now than he was just two weeks ago. He’s alert and aware, always looking around when he’s awake, noticing things. I love laying him down on his playmat with a mobile above it and watching him stare at the objects with rapt attention. These changes are happening quickly and I’m loving watching his little brain develop.

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Reading a black and white book to J. He loves the contrasts. 

Booties: whyyyyyyy?

Honestly. Who invented these confounded devil shoes? Surely satan himself wouldn’t even inflict these on new parents. They’re hard to get on; they have annoying little laces that just don’t tie quite right; they fall off with the slightest bit of movement; they’re just generally impractical! And on that, why do they make shoes for newborns? Where are they walking to?!

Clothing I do love: Bonds Wondersuits. These things are incredible. Our next child will be exclusively clothed in Wondersuits until it’s one. They’re onesies with feet (ALWAYS get onesies with feet to avoid the booties problem. You can use socks, but they’re one small step away from booties, and harder to find when they do inevitably fall off). Wondersuits also have zips at the top and the bottom to make for easy nappy changing, especially at night. Onesies with domes or buttons are OK for outings, or when you want to show off your baby and his cute outfit, but not really for general purposes.


Listening to: Epoch by Tycho.

Watching: The West Wing (for the third time).

Reading: The Woman Who Stole My Life by Marian Keyes (I know, I know, but I always give Liv a hard time for all the chick lit she reads that I decided I should actually read one myself. It’s actually quite good, you know).