It’s been a week since Sprout packed up, checked out of the womb and relocated to the outside. One surreal week that Jules and I have spent the greater part of staring at each other with slack-jawed wonder saying, “We have kids. Plural!” Most days, I’m amazed that I’m actually in charge of not one, but two human beings.
Sprout is beginning to puff up and get cuter. Let’s face it, all newborns look like E.T. When the Bean was born, Jules and I were grateful that our son wasn’t one of those alien babies that everyone else had. Boy, were we wrong. Upon further review of the early photos of the Bean, we realized that we were like a drunk frat boy at closing time talking to an ugly chick. That is, we were wearing our parental beer goggles. But with Sprout, the goggles are off. Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally taken with her, but I think it’s safe to say that after careful observation during her first few days on this planet, we clearly see her for what she is—a wrinkly, squishy-faced newborn baby who, because of the dark patches of hair above her ears and the bags under her eyes, looks like an old man. It’s okay though, because now that she’s putting on weight and is opening her eyes for more than 34 seconds a day, she’s getting a lot cuter.
So far, being a parent the second time around is a bit easier than I expected. Reality is that newborns do exactly three things in the first few weeks—eat, sleep and expel waste. If she starts crying, I’ve got slightly more than a 33% chance of figuring out the problem. New parents spend a lot of energy anxiously worrying about every detail. But we’ve been through this whole ordeal once before and despite our mishaps the Bean came out unscathed. So we are calm and cool in the face of a wailing baby. At this point I feel that the only thing that’s going to get me are the stupefying effects of sleep deprivation, which tend to slowly creep up on you. If you’ve ever been drinking and suddenly realize that you’re drunk, but can’t quite tell which drink it was that pushed you over the edge…being stupid tired feels something like that. It’s only a matter of time before I’m going to have to start mainlining coffee in order to speak in coherent sentences.
I’ve taken some time from work to help us adjust with re-entry into Babyland. This means I’ve spent the greater portion of my time unshaven, unkempt and wearing the same pair of shorts for days on end. I’ve also spent the majority of my time this week with the Bean, since Jules is busy providing milk on tap for Sprout.
Thankfully, the Bean has been supportive of this whole endeavor and genuinely seems to like having a sister. He constantly talks to her and wants to share his food with her. He offers her one of his smushies whenever she cries. He will even correct anybody who doesn’t pronounce her name property. It’s heartbreakingly cute. Though he has no interest in holding her, we know that he’s really taken with his sister. The Bean’s pre-school teacher tells us that he talks about his new sister constantly.
If only he were that good with us. The terrible twos have arrived with fierce intensity. The answer to every question is a resounding “NO!” And not just one “no” but a staccato string of “no’s” that build in intensity, just incase we weren’t able to understand the first half dozen times he said it. Today, for the first time but certainly not last, he tried to play mommy against daddy. I asked him not to touch something and he paused, looked at me and said, “Mommy said I could.” How do all kids know to try that?
But the worst part about this week has been being trapped in the house. Normally, I get stir crazy if I spend just a day cooped up, let alone many. But summer is here and it’s crazy hot outside (thank you global warming). I mean skin bubbling hot. It’s way too hot for the park and way too crowded at the mall. Of course, the Bean continues to flat out reject swimming or anything having to do with a pool. So more often than not, we’re hanging around the house playing trucks. Of course, the kid doesn’t really know how to play with others yet so playing trucks really means he plays while we sit close by and watch. I’ve volunteered to run errands, just to give me an excuse to take the Bean outside, but for the moment, everything that needs to be done is done.
It's easy to complain, but I do love having a daughter. I'm already feeling protective of her, which should any potential future boyfriends really happy. (And believe me, since she's the only girl amongst the kids of our close circle of friends, we've gotten plenty of offers.)
So I march confidently, but groggily into the weeks ahead. Considering that everything in our lives has changed, it oddly enough doesn’t feel that different. Or maybe I’m just more stupid tired than I realize.