Well, we’ve been home from the hospital since Friday afternoon, and as you might expect, things have been a wee bit chaotic around the Flashlight house. However, I think overall things are going pretty well.
For what they’re worth, here are some of my random observations of our first few days of Parenting x2.
* Things have gone pretty smoothly, relatively speaking of course. In the day-to-day chaos of our lives, anticipatory anxiety is mostly a waste of time. The hundred things that do happen are almost completely different than what you worried would happen. That appears to apply here too.
* We suspect that the J-Man thinks that the baby is just visiting and will go away at some point. I also suspect that this evening he started to get this sinking feeling that this is a permanent situation.
* So far, we haven’t seen any real regressive behaviors or any signs of abnormally high stress in the J-Man. Yay! We’ll take that as a huge positive. He was quite clingy this evening and needed some serious Daddy time, which is why I began to suspect that he’s clueing in to the permanence of this. All that said, though, he’s hanging with the routine pretty well and is probably coping as well as anybody.
* Getting to hang out in the recliner with a son on each side should be in the dictionary as one of the definitions of ‘perfect contentment’. You enjoy that minute before your wiggly toddler gets up and runs off as completely as you can while it lasts. It makes you feel like all this is going to turn out fine.
* I feel a lot less like my attention is divided between the two of them (which I feared) and more that I focus on making every minute with each of them count.
* Having the routine and structure of school has been a godsend for him and for us. It’s amazing how much better he handles life when he’s in school.
* When your baby is the least little bit of ‘a sleeper’, life goes a lot, lot easier. It really helps when he is largely uncaring about loud noises when you have the Stimmy Sound Machine running around the house.
* On a related note, you spend a lot of time comparing random things about what your older kid was like as a baby. The J-Man was never a sleeper, so that definitely not-so-random thing is a big topic of conversation. It’s not like Little E is a big night sleeper at this point, but getting sleep at all is still a relative improvement. He slept 4 1/2 hours straight the other night and we worried that he was dead. J-Man didn’t do that for months.
* I forgot about all the billion random, administrative tasks that have to be done when a child is born. I want to be spending time with my kids, not filling out some damn piece of paper again.
* I think most parents plan and obsess way less with their second child. I think those of us who simply don’t have time to plan anything do so even less. I didn’t even bother to relearn hardly any of the normal ‘what to do with a new baby’ instructions. Stuff does come back to you, though you do get this sense of dread when you realize that you should know something but don’t remember how – like swaddling or how to deal with crap exploding out at the speed of sound while you’re changing your baby’s diaper.
* Two things of major consequence have to happen when we have a baby. One must be weather related, the other must be house related, but neither must be related to each other. With the J-Man, it was Hurricane Katrina and an exploded sewer pipe in our yard. With Little E, it was a tornado warning all around us and a dead freezer full of food in our garage.
* When you have an autistic child, you can’t help but at least occasionally watch for signs of it in your baby. It’s way too early but – rational, fair, or not – it’s there in the back of your mind; might as well be honest about it. I think it’s just one way to try to be prepared for the future.
* Love really does expand so you can love two kids just as wholly and completely as you loved one. As a matter of fact, it both expands and multiplies. I accepted this as one of the truths of existence, but I never really got it at anything beyond a cerebral level until now.
* I’m married to the most awesome woman in the world (no offense to anyone in our audience) and I have two wonderful, beautiful, perfect sons. My God, how great is it to be me!