On Saturday, April 22, at 12:46am, Eli Michael Perkins made his entrance into the world. By doing so he made my brother and sister-in-law parents, my parents grandparents, and myself an aunt.
The second I heard that Erin was in labor (the beginning of more than 26 hours!), I made the drive from Charlotte to Atlanta and joined the whole family at the hospital. With Royce by her side, Erin remained strong, patient, and calm, delivering her first baby like a champ.
After a few hours of sleep, we were all back at the hospital to treasure time with Eli and his proud parents. Eli seems to be the perfect baby, crying only when he wants to eat and is otherwise very content.
Eli, we passed you from person to person, taking turns staring into your eyes and being memorized by how incredibly in love we were with you in just a short few hours.
Watching my brother become a Dad has been nothing short of incredible. A week ago, Royce was notorious for telling everyone things like "it's just a baby", "lots of people have babies", "it's not a big deal." Immediately after delivery it was apparent that Eli has his Dad wrapped tightly around his finger.
Three generations of Perkins boys - Dad, Son, and Grandpa. I have huge expectations for lots of adventures and memories between these three guys!
Watching your face provides entertainment for hours at a time. In your sleep you sound like a little bird, squeaking and chirping and making hundreds of different faces. While your first social smile won't occur for a few more weeks, you have us convinced you're a very happy baby with expressions like the one below.
Hey Royce, I thought you said you weren't going to ever change any diapers? In this picture he was telling us he was an expert diaper changer.
Day one of life wore this little one out!
When Royce and Erin came home from the hospital, I was fortunate to spend some quality time with Eli. While his Daddy worked and Mommy recovered, I spent hours rocking, staring into his face, and simply living in the moment. Even Kahlua snuck into the nursery for a chance to meet her brother.
Day three of life brought another morning of cuddles and rocking, lots of diaper changes, playing dress up with one of so many adorable onesies, reading Dr. Seuss books, and a visit to the pediatrician. They confirmed that you're absolutely perfect.
Mommy and Daddy gave you a warm bath after you managed to pee all over yourself. There's nothing cuter than a newborn, fresh and clean from their bath, with a spiked up hair style.
You and your Daddy look nearly identical when we compare your baby pictures.
Daddy says you look like you're ready for an E*Trade commercial in these pictures.
This Skratch Labs onesie was one of my first purchases when I learned that you were growing inside your Mommy's belly. Fortunately, you're feeding like a champ be sure to let Mom know when you're ready to eat.
On day six, you took your first big trip out of the house and over to Grandma and Grandpa's house. Bailey was very curious about you, most especially all of the noises you make. You were perfectly behaved and slept while we all ate dinner.
We ate, watched basketball, snuggled with you, and then packed you up nice and warm in your blanket for the short drive back home. Hopefully soon you'll figure out the difference between night and day so that Mommy and Daddy can get some sleep at night.
You spend much of the day sleeping, but Mommy captured this fantastic picture of you one morning when you really opened those blue eyes widely. How is it possible that you're one week old already?
After a week of being home, I sadly had to say good-bye and make the trip back to Charlotte, but made sure to spend a couple hours with you first. Your first mohawk was courtesy of Kona, who gave you a big slobbery kiss across the head.
Since your Aunt is going to be a pediatric orthopedist, I had to give you a good orthopaedic exam. You humored me and didn't seem to mind a bit. Your little arms, legs, hips, and spine look perfect!
I can't even begin to put into words how amazing you are, Eli. Your Mommy and Daddy are fabulous parents and I can't wait to see what a wonderful boy they raise. Grandpa and Grandma have fallen head over heels in love with you and will certainly spoil their first grandchild. You are an incredible gift and treasure and I love you more than you'll ever know. This week I've spent more time than ever before sitting still, ignoring everything else in the world, and just simply enjoying the moment. Being an Aunt is better than I ever imagined!
You're an incredible boy, Eli Michael, and I'm so proud to call you my nephew.
In the words of Dr. Seuss:
"Wherever you fly you'll be the best. Wherever you go you will top all the rest."