Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The World Has Changed Once Again

Two days before Halloween, the world changed again. I had my second son. He was a big fellow, too, at 9 pounds, 10 ounces. It was a relief to finally have him in my arms and not in my abdomen.

I had been convinced that I was ready to have that baby "any day" for at least two weeks before he came. From what we learned during delivery, he was probably delayed by an oversupply of amniotic fluid. Basically, he kept floating in the fluid instead of dropping down and being pushed down the birth canal. Although he felt late to me, he was actually born the day after the due date.

My last couple of posts were in October. Now it's the night before Thanksgiving. My side of the family were altruistic this year and told us to stay home instead of trying to fulfill the family tradition. That has turned out well, since we are all at different stages of a cold right now. The silence from the last posts don't convey the activity we have been trying to cram into our lives.

We have replaced our broken flowered sofa with a new queen size futon. We had a rat die in the vent tube of our above stove hood, resulting in a very unpleasant dismantling operation and eventually a new hood (the old one was due for replacing anyway). We have our pest control service alerted to the rodent issue and are in the process of trying to make sure that unfortunate event does not get repeated. We had a bedroom doorknob fail (with no way to dismantle it from outside the room) so we had to break down a door, and then fix the resulting door frame. We had our pomegranate harvest to seed (waiting in the freezer for a convenient time to make jelly). We made a emperor penguin costume for our oldest child for Halloween (the other kids got hand-me down costumes). We started up schoolwork again on a half day schedule out of self defense. It turns out that our kids behave better when they aren't left to their own devices all day. I started out breastfeeding the baby and by the end of the first week I was almost exclusively using a breast pump. By the end of the second week I was doing half breast milk and half formula. By the end of the third week, he was completely on formula.

It has been nearly four years since we last had a new baby to take care of. Some of the time, we are easy-going and calm veterans. Some of the time, we are playing the "Oh yeah, I completely forgot about that" game. Our other kids love him and want to play with his toys. They like to pet his head and occasionally hold him. Thankfully, he can sleep through the pandemonium of a typical day. And like most babies, he has problems sleeping enough of the night to let his parents feel rested. Tim and I have arranged a schedule so that we take turns doing various feedings so that each of us get the bare minimum sleep that we need. That fact and the fact that our baby seems fairly good-natured is probably the only reason we are still somewhat sane and able to function.

I find myself being very philosophical about some of the difficult parts of being the parent of a new baby. Yes, it's exhausting and difficult. However, it is also temporary. In another month or two we'll all be sleeping better. In another month or two, he'll be more fun to play with. In a few months more he'll be trying solid food. We'll only be doing formula for a year. His wardrobe will only last a few months at a time at first. Someday, Tim and I will have our bedroom to ourselves again. Someday, I'll be able to give away my maternity clothes. Someday, I won't need to keep baby clothes. Our family finally feels finished to me. I also can't picture myself going through another pregnancy. It really does get more difficult as you age. On the other hand, these precious moments with a tiny baby go so fast when you are an older parent. I sometimes wish I had the leisure to enjoy each moment more with each of our kids. The reality is that with four kids, you take what time you can with each one as the moment is upon you. There is not any time for the ideal, so you spend the time you have.

I do picture a difficult few months ahead, especially with the schooling. But thankfully we can be flexible. It will take us a while to learn the next new set of parenting skills we need for new family dynamic. Our lives are still in constant change.