Nephews and birthdays

Happy birthday to my little sis Karen. She left LA and went to Chicago just before I headed to LA from NYC, and now she's making the move to NYC. I suspect she's avoiding me. The other possibility is that the country isn't big enough for all of us Wei kids so we're constantly whirling around the country in a geographic pas de trois.

I flew out to DC this past weekend to visit my nephew Connor. My timing was good as my flights out and in were sandwiched around an air-traffic-crippling computer outage at LAX.

Connor was just over 3 weeks old when I met him. He's a tiny thing, between 7 and 8 pounds. My iPhone is taller than his head right now.

His mode of communication is binary at this point. He's either crying or he isn't, and our goal at all times was to get simple: if he was crying, we did everything in our power to get him to a state of non-crying, and if he wasn't crying, we tried to keep him in that state. He likes to be patted on the back all the time. If I so much as stopped doing so for a few seconds, usually because I'd fallen asleep, he'd let me know with an ear-splitting wail.

Until his belly button is healed up, he can't be immersed in water, so for now he has wipedowns instead of baths, like army baby-wipe showers. He's really not a fan. He's highly sensitive to how he's being held. Sometimes he wants to bee lying facedown on your chest. At other times, he prefers to on his back, cradled in your arms. At other times he wants to be held against your shoulder and walked around. Finding which position was preferred at any point in time was a matter of trial and error. He'd let us know when we were off.

After eating, he loves to crane his head back and throw his arms up in a cat stretch. In general, he loves to tilt his head back or to the side as far as possible. Mike is worried he'll develop some strange reverse hunchback posture; I think it's adorable.

When he was well-fed, I'd try and burp him, and then I'd sit on the sofa and rest him on my chest. It's the greatest. His little arms flail around, his motor skills being fairly limited for now. He has that fresh new baby smell, which ranks above new car smell on the list of magical, transitory scents. His little body is a furnace, and feeling his body heat against your chest is pure magic. When awake and excited, he pants or breathes heavily, and he strains to swing his head from side to side as if in search of something. Holding him is like cradling a hummingbird.

He can't quite seem to focus his eyes on anything yet, but I think we made momentary eye contact a handful of times over the weekend. And while his facial expressions are still a cipher when he's not crying, I remember three times when it appeared he was smiling. Joannie thinks he just had gas, but I like to imagine that he thought of something funny, like "boy are you in for a surprise the next time you change my diaper."

It's a good thing newborns are so cute, because they're so helpless. Or maybe they're cute because they're so helpless? I'm exhausted from just the short visit--I have no idea how Joannie or new mothers deal with sleeping a few hours at a time--but I'd trade sleep for some quality time with Connor anytime.

I shot a bit of video of Connor and will post a short clip as soon as I have a moment to digitize and transcode.

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