Somewhere between the midnight feedings, endless dirty diapers, and toddler tantrums, parenthood instills an appreciation for perspective.
Posts tagged ‘parenthood’
Long summer days, the short northern nights made shorter still by interrupted sleep. The days run together, exhaustion and enjoyment converge, and the calendar grows increasingly more meaningless with each passing (or perhaps passed over) sleep cycle. Vacation at its best? Parenthood at its most painful?
“Oh no, Tigey! The big bad wolf is coming to eat us!” Munchkin squealed with delight, clutching his stuffed tiger as he cowered behind a couple of throw pillows on the couch. When D growled to be let into his makeshift house, Munchkin squealed even louder, giggling all the while. “Not by the hair of my chinny-chinny-chinny,” he exclaimed defiantly from under a pillow before making a beeline out of the room and screaming, “Run away! Run away! Run away!” A few minutes later, Munchkin donned his wolf costume, Halloween having come a few months early in our household, and the roles were reversed, with D cowering on the couch while Munchkin pretended to eat him.
Our worry that Munchkin might react negatively to the arrival of his baby sister stemmed partly from S’s late-night Internet trawling and partly from experience. S was four when her younger sister was born and, in lieu of exhibiting concern for her hungry cries, S urged her mother not to feed the newborn who had intruded into her heretofore-perfect family life. And when Munchkin was born, our pup Emmie wore her melancholy on her face, arching her eyebrows in a show of exaggerated sadness at seeing her playtime and share of our attention significantly reduced.
By the time Munchkin was discharged from the hospital, he was a week old, and we literally had taken thousands of photos of the little man. Sorting and editing them all – and the many more that followed – was a labor of love, but a painstaking labor nonetheless. We’ve tried to be a bit more judicious with our camera use the second time around, spending more time snuggling and interacting with Junebug than photographing her.
Having a newborn is a bit like entering the Twilight Zone. It’s not that one’s nights are completely sleepless, although that happens too. It’s more that sleep, when one is able to snatch some, is constantly interrupted, frequently during the deepest, most restorative portions. The accumulation of lost sleep wreaks havoc on one’s cognitive functions, which lends a surreal tinge to what is already an emotionally charged experience. The absence of variation in newborns’ eat-sleep-poop-cry routine completes the cognitive deconstruction. It only takes a couple of days to completely lose track of time, develop a tenuous, contentious relationship with one’s memory, and become so involved with the needs of one’s young child as to completely lose track of one’s own.
So here’s the game plan: We’ll tell Munchkin that he can come visit S in the hospital and we’ll take the baby out of the room. Then, after he is comfortable, we’ll bring Junebug in and introduce the siblings. We’ll also give Munchkin a small present and tell him that baby sister brought it. This way he won’t resent her for stealing S’s love and attention. The more plans S makes to frame events over which we have little control, the more apt the expression “Man makes plans and God laughs” grows. When Munchkin burst into the room for his first visit, S was breastfeeding while D snoozed in the corner, wholly unprepared to intercept the little man as he made a beeline for the bed.