A little known fact is that Sarah and I started arguing over names pretty much right after we started going out together. It’s a good thing the discussions started early, as there was a lot of ground to cover. Since she got pregnant, it’s been a battle against time to narrow down the potential names to a manageable short-list.
Things were compounded by the fact that Sarah and I have different nationalities and come from superficially similar, yet very distinct cultures. Roll in the extra complication that we chose not to be told whether we were having a boy or a girl until the moment of truth, and you might be able to understand the scope of the issue and sympathise a little better with our plight.
In the end, events overtook us and we really did run out of time, although we had at least come up with a few serious contenders for either a boy or a girl. Using that list, we’ve been involved in an iterative process over the last couple of days and have finally arrived at a name with which we are both very happy.
Our little progeny will cease to carry the pre-launch project monicker of Franbert and will henceforth be known as Eloïse Amalia Liesbeth Hermione. I don’t really have an opinion on the surname, but Sarah prefers Macdonald over the double-barrelled McKenna-Macdonald, so that’s what we’re giving her.
For those of you curious how to pronounce her name, we’ve recorded the correct pronunciation for you.
Incidentally, at the moment Sarah and I said, “OK, this is your new name”, Eloïse farted and let out a gigantic dump into her nappy. Hopefully, that wasn’t an expression of distaste for her new name.
Sarah has finally found a breastfeeding technique that works well for her. My step-sister, Fenella, pointed us in the direction of Baby-Led Feeding, which offers an alternative way of producing a good latch from the baby onto the boob. Since this discovery, breastfeeding is progressing a lot more easily for Sarah. I no longer have to help her latch the baby on, suckling causes less pain and the baby gets her food more quickly.
Of course, what goes in must come out and Eloïse’s poop is now in the transitional stage. The thick tar-like meconium has almost completely passed through her and is now making way for lighter, curry-coloured poop. It doesn’t even smell bad, I must admit. I’m doing most of the nappy-changing around here, which is fine. It’s the least I can do after what Sarah has done for me, which is to provide me with the most precious thing I’ve ever possessed. It also allows me to feel paternally involved, which helps me bond with her.
Eloïse is now a full three days old. The time is passing so quickly. Before I know it, she’ll be bringing boys home and I’ll be wanting to break their unworthy little legs.
Tomorrow is Monday, but I don’t have to go to work. I know it’s a bit drastic to have a baby to get a few weeks off work, but I’ve always been a bit on the radical side. Google gives me a full seven weeks off for my paternity leave, which is incredibly good; much better than I’d get back in The Netherlands and one of the few benefits that is given more generously in the US (although it has more to do with the generosity of the state of California and my particular employer than it does with the federal government).
We also get to declare $500 in food expenses over the next four weeks, as it’s recognised that it’s hard to cook when you’re rushing around after a newborn baby.
Tomorrow, we’ll be making the trip to the paediatrician. That will be Eloïse’s first time out in the car. I’m going to be driving a little more slowly tomorrow than I usually do. There, she’ll be checked out to make sure that she’s not losing weight and everything else is progressing as nature intended.
Sabina is a holistic paediatrician, one of the very few. She, like us, believes that most of the immunisations that are commonly given to babies are either useless or downright dangerous. We’ve therefore elected to skip all of them for the first couple of years of Eloïse’s life. After that, her immune system will be better developed and we will give her the injections as needed. We believe this approach will lead to fewer allergies later in life, as well as less exposure to potentially harmful side-effects. Most of the common immunisations (such as hepatitis), we’ll be skipping entirely, however, as we believe they serve no useful purpose.
Sleeping with Eloïse in between us is a lot of fun. It’s so nice to wake up and see her lying there peacefully next to me. She’s so well-behaved and cries very infrequently, even when she’s mostly naked and having her nappy changed. I don’t know who she inherited her stoic personality from, but both Sarah and I are really enjoying it.
Don’t forget to check out the latest batch of photos.