Flurry of Doctor’s Visits

It seems that we live at the doctor’s office these days.  Nothing serious, just a lot of visits that basically come down to making sure Griffin is getting enough to eat.

Griffin was nine pounds at birth, but quickly lost almost a full pound.  Since this is more than 10% of his body-weight, the doctors get a bit nervous and want to check on things regularly.  Between lots of lactation lessons and supplementing with formula (via a tiny tube from a syringe) we have been trying to get his weight back up.

We were taught this technique, called finger feeding, as a way to reduce nipple confusion and to encourage a good latch during breastfeeding.
We were taught this technique, called "finger feeding", as a way to reduce nipple confusion and to encourage a good latch during breastfeeding.

Continue reading Flurry of Doctor’s Visits

Birth Story

I am sitting here on the now constantly used couch in beautiful sunshine thinking about how three weeks ago today, at nearly this hour, Griffin came into our world. Three weeks is such a small amount of time, but it feels as though he has been a part of our lives for much longer. He is wrapped to my chest as he sleeps, squeaking and cooing (and sometimes sounding like a dinosaur) and I can think of no better feeling than this.

Andrew has set up a blog for our family and we’ve been wanting to start writing entries for…well…three weeks now. I only recently have felt like I have the energy to sit and type up some of my thoughts about his birth. The actual labor feels like a distant memory already, so I thought I should get it down sooner rather than later.

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Two Month Checkup

Griffin got a bunch of nasty shots today, which has him feeling pretty low.  But the doc confirmed what we already suspected: he’s doing great.  Here are the numbers (with percentiles in parentheses):

  • Weight: 11 lb 9 oz (53%)
  • Height: 22 3/4 in (50%)
  • Head Circumference: 15.98 in (70%)

[Update: at our 4 month visit the doctor thought that maybe they screwed up his head measurements during this visit.  Or maybe his head is growing in fits and starts.]

Origin of Griffin’s name

Many people have asked us about the origin of Griffin’s name.  The simple answer is that we both love the name.  We hope he will too.

I have had dozens, if not hundreds, of conversations about baby names in my life. It’s one of those topics that comes up frequently, often in the context of making fun of an unusual name, or wondering “What were they thinking when they came up with that name???” People often list all the silly names they’ve heard over the years, and then provide their Philosophy of Naming as if it were self-evident wisdom that all good parents share. So there’s some pressure around the naming of a child.

Considering this, Sarah and I had a surprisingly good time coming up with possible names. We began keeping a list by the bed early in the pregnancy and would add to it whenever inspiration struck. Occasionally we would go over them together, crossing off anything that didn’t work for either of us. In the process we shared the (sometimes odd) associations we had with various names, and discussed our own evolving ideas about what type of name to choose. Did we want to go with a family name? A traditional name? A wild and wacky name? We realized that for a first name we simply wanted a name that we both loved. If it had no family connections, we would use the middle name for that.

Sarah had always had good associations with the name Griffin since she had childhood friends named Gwynne, Griffin, and Gillian (what a cool set of names!) Although this particular Griffin was a girl, Sarah suggested it as a boy’s name. My first thought when Sarah mentioned it was, “No way… that’s way too D&D!” (We might as well go whole-hog and name him Frodo, right?) But I didn’t cross it off the list because I also had good associations with the name, mostly from Nick Bantock’s fabulous book, Griffin & Sabine.  (If you haven’t read it, it is a collection of letters between the two characters, and it is gloriously creative and romantic — go read it now.)

Sarah, Gwynne and Gillian
Sarah, Gwynne and Gillian in Shorewood, Wisconsin

Gwynne and Sarah, fall of '81
Gwynne and Sarah, watching Griffin play soccer

Griffin and Sabine
Griffin & Sabine by Nick Bantock

I also have a soft spot for the mythological creature: part lion, king of the beasts, and part eagle, king of the birds.  Like a dragon, it was often used in medieval heraldry.  More importantly, griffins are less tainted than dragons with pop-cultural and cheesy fantasy role-playing game associations.

Griffin“This is called a GRIFFIN because it is a winged quadruped. This kind of wild animal is born in Hyperborean parts, or in mountains. All its bodily members are like a lion’s, but its wings and mask are like an eagle’s. It is vehemently hostile to horses. But it will also tear to pieces any human beings which it happens to come across.”

— White, T. H., trans. The Book of Beasts: Being a Translation from a Latin Bestiary of the Twelfth Century

But we do not live in the middle ages, so we did a bit of additional research.  How popular is the name these days?  Is it wildly popular — a “fad” name?  Or is it so rare that it will just be weird… like naming your child “Echidna” (another mythological creature).  Thanks to the internet, we answered these questions in a jiffy.

The following graph, based on social security registrations, shows how the name “Griffin” started gaining popularity in the 90s, peaking at just over 200 (where “1” would be the most popular name that year).  It has been fairly steady since then, ranking somewhere between 200 and 250.  This seemed good to us… not too popular, and not too exotic.

Griffin Name Popularity Graph

As the weeks and months passed, Sarah and I tried out many different names, but we kept coming back to Griffin.  It felt simple and fun.  It reminded me of my niece’s name, Raven, which I have always loved.  It felt right.  By the time he was born, there was no doubt: he was Griffin.

First Laugh!

Sarah and Noemi were at the dinner table.  I was in the comfy chair.  Griffin was hovering somewhere above the comfy chair as we played the superman (superbaby?) game.  He was smiling, which he does a lot these days, but then his grin expanded and he let out a loud, robust giggle.  Noemi and Sarah both recognized it, without seeing his face.  (Which is new… in the past we’ve seen him kinda-laugh, but if you weren’t looking at him you couldn’t tell if it was a laugh or some sort of squeak or maybe even the beginning of a cry.)  So, for the record: Griffin’s first laugh, Monday, June 8, 2009 after dinner.

First Flight!

We took the red eye from SFO to Minneapolis early this morning and Griffin was a champ.  He fell asleep at the airport in SF and basically slept through the flight and the two hour drive to St. Peter where he woke up in time to be cute for breakfast with the Stoccos.  On the flight, however, he did something that I will never forget.

Sarah was sleeping with Griffin wrapped up on her lap next to me.   I turned out my light for a bit, trying to sleep.  After about fifteen minutes, I gave up, turned the light back on and pulled my book out of the seat pocket.  I glanced over at Griffin, and saw his eyes open, squinting up into the light.  “Uh oh!” I thought, “I blew it… he’s going to scream for the rest of the flight!”  He looked around sleepily for a moment, anxiety melting away as he saw Sarah’s face above him, then my face glowing in the darkness.  His eyes fell shut and he smiled the biggest, happiest smile as he sank back into sleep.

First Canoe!

Captain Griffin!
Captain Griffin!

The wind and rain let up enough today for us to get out on the lake.  Griffin wore his brand new life vest.  (I thought I would get laughed at, or reported to CPS, when I asked the sports store people if they had infant life vests… but they totally did!) He was a trooper for the first part of the trip, but definitely got fussy while we explored the eastern end of the lake.  We didn’t want to push it, so we headed back to the dock after 20-30 minutes and left him with Grandpa Jeff.

Griffin and his mother, ready for the water.
Griffin and his mother, ready for the water.
Alli starting a feeding to forestall any grumpiness.
Alli starting a feeding to forestall any grumpiness.
Sarah and Griffin getting comfortable in their berth.
Sarah and Griffin getting comfortable in their berth.

First Tooth!

Griffin’s first tooth emerged today!  We still can’t quite believe it.  (Sarah was convinced that his increased drool and fussiness was due to teething, but it seemed to be too soon.)  His left lower central incisor pushed through his gum and it’s companion (to its right) looks to be not far behind.

The latest news from Sarah and Andrew.