Very often, the only way to get a quality in reality is to start behaving as if you had it already. That is why children's games are so important. They are always pretending to be grown-ups - playing soldiers, playing shop. But all the time, they are hardening their muscles and sharpening their wits so that the pretence of being grown-up helps them to grow up in earnest.

~C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Thursday, July 19, 2012

A (Very) Belated Happy Birthday - Part 2

March 15 was an unusual early spring day – the high temperature was somewhere around 70 degrees, and it was sunny and beautiful.  Oliver and I didn’t have any plans for the day, which surprisingly, didn't happen very often.  (Somehow I thought that when I quite work we would have a lot of days without plans, but it turns out they filled up fast with errands and play dates.)  We had a lazy morning, taking time to play before and after breakfast and watch Sesame Street.  At about 11:00, we ambled out the door to go to the library and the park.  It didn’t matter that it was so close to lunchtime because we packed a picnic lunch.  After the park, Oliver had his rest time, I did I-don’t-know-what for a little while, and then we just played together again after his nap.

After dinner, Seth and I were washing dishes and I said that I didn’t think the baby would be coming yet for a little while, despite the doctor’s prediction that Monday that she didn’t think I would last until Saturday (It was Thursday, and the baby wasn’t due until April 1.)  Then, at about 7:00, I felt the first real contraction.  It turned out I had just had my last day to hang out with just Oliver.

Later that evening, we headed off to the hospital, and at 11:14 a.m. on March 16, we welcomed Jonathan Henry into our lives.  

A few minutes old
1 day old

Our first impressions were that he was different from Oliver. For one thing, he took a laid back, 16-hour approach to entering the world, while Oliver rushed into the world in just five hours. Jonathan was born with blond hair, light eyes, and pale skin that looked red most of the time. Oliver had dark hair, dark eyes, and olive-colored skin. Jonathan’s newborn cry sounded like eh-huh, eh-huh, eh-huh, while Oliver’s had sounded like uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh.

Ready to go home

Oliver spent the weekend with friends - enjoying his first sleepover without parents and going hiking. But he also made an important stop at the hospital to meet his baby brother - he was so proud. He was also a little overwhelmed by the whole business, so he had lunch (including ice cream) in the hospital cafeteria with Daddy.


While we were in the hospital, and for days after we got home, we kept looking at Jonathan and saying to him, “Who are you going to be? What will you really be like?”

One week old

We are still wondering that, and now that he is four months old, we know that he has been a more challenging baby than Oliver was, and yet, we are more comfortable as parents and more relaxed about life with an infant now than when Oliver was born. We also discovered similarities and differences between the boys. Both boys needed the pacifier to fall asleep, but they both needed to be taught to use it. Both boys like to be rocked to sleep for a nap, but Oliver needed to be swaddled and Jonathan did not. We also realized that even though there are some obvious differences in the boys’ looks, they definitely look like brothers when you start comparing pictures.

Oliver (top), Jonathan (bottom) - about 3.5 weeks
Jonathan (top), Oliver (bottom) - about 3 months

And, even amid the craziness that is parenting one very active 3-year-old and a very demanding 4-month-old, I'm wondering who these two boys will really be, how they will be similar, and how they will be different. I'm wondering how they will impact each other, how they will change their parents, and how they will change others that they come in touch with during their lives.

So, happy birthday, boys!