Field notes

* In one of our first days home from the hospital, when Neve was getting a little fussy, I placed her on my chest, and she stopped crying for a minute or two, her eyes wide open. I wondered if she was hearing my heartbeat, and if, to her, that sound was home – the only place she’d known before this. There was a look of longing on her face as she blinked, and all I could think to say was, “I know it’s a big change, baby girl. But I think you’ll get to like it out here.”

* While I’m sure part of it has to do with having past experience going for us – and while I’m also sure some challenging times lie ahead – I must admit that so far, this home-with-a-new-baby experience has been about a billion times easier the second time around.

Now more than 2 weeks old, Neve is thus far a sleepy, laid back baby. She sleeps well and quickly between nighttime feedings, which are reasonably spaced out, and she has never yet fussed inconsolably for longer than a few minutes. (Swaddling, feeding her, or finishing the diaper change seem to be the answer in every situation presented so far.)

And despite my paranoia – or maybe partly because we did everything we could to prepare Lily for the change a sibling would bring – Lily is generally handling the whole thing like a champ. She’s maintained her routine, going to pre-school on weekdays; she loves holding Neve and giving her kisses; and while I’m repeatedly having to admonish her to GENTLY hug Neve, and GENTLY rock her in the swing, and GENTLY play with her fingers and toes – I’m struggling to bodily protect Neve while not completely dousing Lily’s enthusiasm about her – I’m thrilled that Lily’s so tuned in to her new sister, and seems not at all threatened at the start. Again, I’m sure there will be more challenging times ahead – but it’s sure nice to have a smooth, dare-I-say “easy” transition after a bat-crazy delivery. Continue reading

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Transitioning from one kiddo to two (or, “I still love ya, baby!”)

So in the latter months of this pregnancy, I’ve been freaking out a little about how Lily will adapt to suddenly having an attention-hogging new baby in the house. After all, she has enjoyed the loving, undivided attention of two parents her whole life, and knows nothing different from that.

And while my yammering about this issue one night caused Joe to lie awake in the middle of the night, worrying about it, too, overall, I’ve been obsessing about this much more (shocking, I know). Mainly, this is because Lily’s very mommy-centric – 9 times out of 10, I’m the one she wants to do, well, any given thing – and because Joe won’t be producing milk anytime soon, the baby, by necessity, will be overwhelmingly mommy-centric, too.

So unless the opportunity to clone myself arises between now and July 10, I figure I’m screwed.

It’s funny. Joe, and many other people, point out all the time that everyone who has a sibling has survived the transition just fine, and rationally, I know this is true. Plus, it seems ludicrous to drive yourself crazy because you know your kid is going to be unhappy for a while. That’s just an inevitable part of life. But right from the get-go, your child’s happiness is what you want more than anything. That’s why we parents spend so much weekend time at the zoo, the park, at kids’ birthday parties, etc. You love to see your kid smiley and sing-songy and joyful, and you’ll bend over backwards to make that happen.

But when a undeniable limitation, like a new baby, enters the picture, there are inevitably going to be bumps in the road for your little one. Continue reading

Field notes and follow-ups

* Joe and I took Lily to see “Tangled” this past weekend at the nearby, second-run theater, and the basic premise, of course, involves a witch stealing Rapunzel as a baby from her parents (who are the land’s king and queen). In the movie version, the beloved king and queen, as well as their subjects, release glowing lanterns that float up into the sky each year on the girl’s birthday, in hopes that she will return. By Rapunzel’s 18th birthday, after being shut up in a high tower her whole life, she ventures out to see this ceremony in person; and simultaneously, we see the king and queen briefly behind-the-scenes, just before they step outside to release a lantern once again.

It’s probably about 30 seconds of film, and involves the father looking inconsolably sad, while the mother touches his cheek in comfort. And at this point, I completely fell apart, quietly crying while Lily sat attentively on my lap.

This throwaway little scene that would have passed me right by a few years ago. But the difference, I’m sure, is that while I would have empathy for these characters before, and would have vaguely imagined what the loss of a child might feel like, Lily makes these kind of scenes powerfully concrete rather than merely abstract. There’s not a blank, faceless child in my mind; it’s Lily’s face, and cry, and laugh, and smile, and voice. The thought of her, and the very specifics that make her who she is, being suddenly taken away is too devastating to even imagine. 

Hence my turning into a weepy mom during a Disney movie – despite the fact that in the past, I established a reputation for being pretty stony while watching movies and plays. (The phrase “dead inside” has surfaced more than once.) But apparently, my falling head over heels in love with this little girl has endowed me with a new Achille’s heel. Continue reading