Tuesday, April 20, 2010

And baby makes four

Baby Jake came screaming into the world on March 10, 8:24 a.m., weighing a whopping 9 lbs 11 oz. "What? A boy?!" I shouted from the delivery table because I had been convinced that this was my little girl baby. Then I saw him, in his scrawny-legged, red-faced, screeching splendor, and the waterworks started. He looked just like Hayden, but a bit smaller. (In fact, that was my second statement: "He's so tiny!" which got a lot of laughs when the nurse informed us of his actual size. It's all relative, since Hayden weight 10.5 lbs at birth.)

When Chris handed me my second son to hold for the first time -- having learned from my first c-section, this time I'd asked before my surgery if they'd unstrap my arms so I could hold my baby immediately -- I cried and laughed and cried and laughed and as he gazed into my face the crying stopped and we studied each other and fell in love. It was instantaneous this time, the falling in love. I recall it taking a couple weeks with Hayden, probably because I was so terrified at the prospect of having to keep a tiny, helpless person alive. But this time with Jake, instant.

Since that birth morning, six weeks have gone by in a blur of snuggles and diapers and 3 a.m. feedings and smiles and cries and more snuggles. Our little foursome is adjusting nicely, remarkably well, really, and all the new baby issues I'd feared seem to be nonexistent -- or at least smaller and more manageable. We've had our moments of tension, but this time around has been so much more relaxed. Our baby is more relaxed, too, not the screamer I remember his brother being, and I wonder which came first: Are we relaxed because he is, or vice versa?

Hayden is an amazing big brother. He has his bouts of jealousy, as is natural, but for the most part he is just as enamored of Jake as his parents are. He wants to be near him at all times, "helping" with whatever he can. He's very proud of his little brother, too. The first morning I took Jake to preschool with me to pick up Hayden gives a good snapshot: As I walked down the hall, Hayden popped his head out of the classroom, saw me schlepping Jake's carrier and yelled "The baby's here! My baby! Come see him!" Then he led a swarm of 4- and 5-year-olds out to the hallway, each of them wide-eyed and marveling, and directed them, one at a time, to approach Jake to say hello. He was protective and direct, like the publicist for a Hollywood starlet, giving each child a moment to peek, but allowing no touching or dawdling.

Jake has giant gray-blue eyes and a head full of dark hair; I'm sure both of these will change in time, most likely to the hazel and blond of his brother. The more time I spend with him, the more I think he may be an old soul, one who's been here before and therefore wiser than the rest of us. He stares at us, unblinkingly, through long stretches of time, taking in this great big wacky world, digesting it, soaking it up. And as you've noticed from my lack of posts these last weeks, I spend a lot of time simply staring at him, too, smelling his head, petting his paper-soft skin, feeling his warm breath on my chest. I'm trying to memorize every moment because I'm not sure if I'll ever have this wonder again. And wonder is the only word for it, really.
(By the way, I'm thinking I should rename this blog "Tall Girl's Adventures in Boy Land." It's giggle-inducing to think that I am now the mother of boys. Plural. I say things like "My boys" and "It'll just be me and the boys" as often as possible just to get this reality to sink in to my own head.)

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