Lessons on Being A Dad the 2nd Time Around
A lot people say that the happiest day in their life is when they became a parent, but as I’ve just discovered having my second child wasn’t necessarily the second happiest day of my life. To be clear, my wife and I are thrilled about the birth of Chloe, a beautiful little girl who we will love with all our hearts. But honestly, the hospital experience wasn’t the Fourth of July moment that it was last time (kind of felt more like a Labor Day). And even now as we’ve moved Chloe back home, I’m finding things to be oddly … normal.
For starters, I’m not jumping up every five minutes to check if she’s still breathing (just every hour or so). I’m a lot more relaxed about holding her, a lot less nervous about things like exposure to fresh air, and a lot more confident about my abilities to procure a burp after feedings. But I’m also having a hard time focusing on our latest addition. Our two and half year old daughter Rachel has boundless energy and spunk not to mention a smile that puts Shirley Temple to shame. I’ll just come out and say it: she’s full-on stealing the show from her little sister, who still has that yucky umbilical cord thing hanging off her belly button.
And I’m not the only one showing less enthusiasm this time around. Sure, my immediate family and closest friends all congratulated me, but it’s not the same. There aren’t flowers being delivered or big long conversations about how my life has changed forever, or tips from old timers about getting enough sleep. As my mother told me, you’re a vet now so you don’t need any advice. It’s nice to feel people value your skill sets as a parent, but there’s still a little part of me that wants there to be more of a big deal made about this. Being a third child myself, I’m just now realizing how little fanfare there must have been at my own arrival. Bummer.
There is one person however who has been rightfully going bananas over this event and that’s Rachel. She’s had a huge grin on her face all week long. It’s as if we brought home the best toy ever. I may not be a new dad, but Rachel is a new big sister. And with that she gets to be a teacher, role model and official lead breaker-inner of Mom and Dad. I know how much I valued my own siblings growing up and I’m excited that how Rachel and Chloe will grow to be companions (and/or co-conspirators as the case may be). For now though Chloe is still a newborn, and Rachel will have to wait a few years (I hope) until she can fully realize her plans for total household domination. I guess this is why my parents laughed when I told how things seemed to be going almost a little too easy right now. Just you wait they said.