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Surviving Those Exciting Months

October 05, 1998|David Olmos | David Olmos is the Health editor

"Something tells me you're having a girl," said Melissa, the obstetrical nurse, on that memorable morning in late January. My wife, Deborah, and I exchanged an excited glance: "Wow, really!?"

We had decided that the gender of our first child should be a surprise. So the nurse's comment was the first hint of what might be coming. But how did Melissa know? The baby wouldn't arrive until about an hour later.

We had already agreed on a girl's name. But we were stuck on the boy's name, unable to choose among four or five finalists.

That small problem was solved when Olivia arrived at 5:24 a.m. Melissa--perhaps a clairvoyant or perhaps an experienced interpreter of the bedside monitor--had been right.

In the eight months since Olivia entered this world, we have learned much about sleep remedies, spit-up, strollers, safe toys, teething and first foods. We're still working on the sleep remedy part. Olivia had a craving for a late-night snack and a little playtime at 2 a.m. this morning.

Today's special section, Baby's First Year, offers information and advice for bleary-eyed parents who are trying to get baby on a schedule and are wondering if their newborn is babbling, creeping and crawling appropriately. Section editor Elena Nelson Howe has put together this package of stories and graphics to help guide parents through those incredibly exciting--and often, incredibly frustrating--first 12 months.

Our coverage of Baby's First Year won't stop with this issue: There'll be more stories throughout October.

I've learned a lot reading these stories, and I think you will too.

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