My husband's family has another new birth to celebrate. One of his cousins just had her first baby, a little boy, born Saturday, January 12th.
This week is full of busy-ness for us. We had an appointment yesterday to register Rowan's birth. We had to drive out to Bury St. Edmunds for that. In England, they ask you the typical questions: baby's name, and date and place of birth, parents' names, places of birth, and occupations. Then they ask other questions.
For example, they wanted to know if we were known by any other names. I asked if they wanted my previous married name. They asked if I had children from my first marriage. I told them I did, so the registrar explained that they liked to record the "formerly known as", because it links siblings who have different surnames. I thought that was pretty cool.
They also asked for our date of marriage and how many other children I had. That information is not on the short or long form birth certificate, but taken for statistical reasons. Since we were already in Bury, we grabbed lunch there before going home. It had snowed a bit the night before and started snowing while we ate lunch. We made it home before the snow got heavy and before rush hour started. Now we have a pretty winter wonderland out there.
Anyway, today we didn't have any appointments, but I really needed a few things on base. Also, since the husband is on paternity leave, he wanted to check out the thrift store. So we took care of some pretty boring things: donating things to the thrift store and shopping at the commissary.
Tomorrow is Rowan's 2-week Well Baby appointment. I'm pretty sure she's gained 2 pounds since birth. That's 2 pounds from her birth weight, mind you, not from her discharge weight. Seriously. She's also maxed out, length-wise, as far as her newborn outfits. I think this is the last week she will get any wear out of anything "Newborn" or "NB" sized. Especially as that 3-week growth spurt is looming!
On Thursday, we have an appointment to get her started with all her military dependent requirements - enrolling her in the DEERS system. From there, we can get her all set with her command sponsorship and Tricare.
With her long form birth certificate (we made sure to get 2 certified copies), we need to order her Consular Report of Birth Abroad. Her CRBA is proof that she's a U.S. citizen. Can you believe it costs $100? Yeesh. Her birth certificate only cost us 4 pounds per copy! That's roughly $12 for two copies.
But when we apply for her CRBA, we can submit her applications for her social security card and her tourist passport - another $80 - simultaneously. We won't get her the military No Fee Passport, because my husband's enlistment ends this year. We also won't get her a British visa, because we're leaving soon. This is nice, as it saves us... Oh, I think about $1,000 out of pocket. I'm not entirely sure of the cost of the visa, but it's pretty exorbitant. Mine cost almost $600, but I applied in the U.S. and it's cheaper to do it there. If you do it here, they charge you much more money.
My husband asked if the military will reimburse us the $180 and I said, "No, they don't." He asked why not, since we have to do all of this due to the fact that we live in England. I pointed out that we didn't have to have a baby; the Air Force didn't hand her to us and say, "This is yours now". She's an "acquired dependent", which means they won't pay for any extra expenses we incur for having a child overseas.
So I have to make an appointment at the passport office and make sure I have all of that paperwork ready to go, not to mention I need to stop by the Arts & Crafts Center to get Rowan's passport photos taken.
There is so much running around that goes into getting your newborn in all the British and U.S. government systems. I'll be glad when it's all said and done, because I really hate taking an infant to appointments. Babies don't understand why you have to bundle them into a car seat and drag them out of the house on someone else's schedule.
I don't care for it, because I like living life according to my own schedule. It's different when I can say, "Once she's fed and her diaper is changed, I think I'll take a stroll the library" vs. trying to shoehorn that stuff into someone else's schedule.
OK, on to cute stuff.
As far as Rowan's personality, I've learned that afternoons are best for outings, because she tends to sleep well from about 1 p.m. until 10 p.m. or so. Not continuously, of course! But she'll nap contentedly for a good 2 to 3 hours, wake up to eat and for a diaper change, then nap some more, and so on.
At about 10, she'll wake up and spend 2 hours hanging out with us in the bedroom. Besides that time, her other wide-awake/quiet-alert time is from about 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. She will catnap in the morning, but not sleep deeply.
I see a difference in her today. She focuses on my face and my voice, and really just pays attention to me. Before, she was looking everywhere at everything. Now she's more interested in the person holding her or the person speaking. Tonight, she was very interested in listening to her brother talk on Skype. She was wide awake a bit early this evening, because I gave her a bath. (Note to self: Rowan hates baths; screamed through last week's bath on Monday night. And Friday night. And tonight. Does not care for small, daily washings of hands, face, or neck either.)
I'm figuring her out bit by bit - when she's crying for food, when she's crying for attention, etc. Of course, I respond immediately to her cries. Well, unless I'm in the bathroom. Then she needs to wait until I'm done and have washed my hands. ;)
Her umbilical cord fell off tonight, so I gently washed the area during her bath. No soap - just a bit of water. I guess this means we might do the first tub bath on Friday or Saturday night. We shall see...
I really love that she wakes up at 3 a.m. to eat (after our midnight bedtime), because she sleeps until about 7 a.m. after that. So she sleeps for a good 3 to 3 and a half hours at night on either side of that 3 a.m. feeding. She's done a 4-hour stretch here and there too.
Most of the time, I seem to get plenty of sleep at night. However, if I don't, I just nap with her during the day. I'm not looking forward to next week and the growth spurt. Will she cluster feed? Will her afternoon nap cycle be disrupted? Will these nice 3-hour stretches of night time sleep be disrupted? Will I be able to accomplish anything?
I've decided to anticipate the worst. It seems like the safest thing to do.
Anyway, I'm enjoying watching her development and answering Gavin's questions about her. It's funny to do this a second time, but it's also easier than the first time. After learning all those survival "tricks" with Gavin, like co-sleeping, and becoming confident enough to always do what my instincts tell me, a second baby is much easier than I expected.
Then again, I also have a huge gap between my children as far as ages, so I'm not toting around a toddler and an infant. Some people can do that. I always knew I wasn't the kind of person who would or could do that, though. As a mom, it's just not something I ever wanted. I really am much more the "Why, yes, a gap of 5 or more years between siblings is perfect!" type.
Well, it's time for popcorn and some "Star Trek: Voyager" with the hubby. We're on season 7 and we've been averaging 2-3 episodes a night, instead of just one. I can't wait to see how the series ends...
And I'll miss my Commander Chakotay eye candy!
Copyright (c) 2013 Wendy L. Callahan