Monday, September 12, 2005

New parents, plus ten

Ten years ago...

After 29 hours of labor and two days of recovery, I brought my wife home with our first born child. At 8 lbs 9 oz, and with a head the size of a small watermelon, he was quite the difficult little tyke to extract - and the huge crescent shaped scab on his cheek, a souvenier from the OB's forceps, was a testament to that.

So as we arrived home at about 10pm, and sat on the couch alone for the first time in three days, without the hustle and comotion of the neonatal ward swirling around us, we stared at the little pile of swaddled flesh in the basket on the floor and thought... "Oh my God - what do we do now?!"

It's a new parent's first nightmare (of which there will be many more) and realization that this new fraternity that everyone in the world seemed happy to push you into has all of the sudden become a party for two. Parenting 101 did not prepare us for this. One day we're not parents, the next day we are. It all sounded so easy in the hospital with so many professionals there to help and tell us amateurs what to do. Damn... we should have paid attention in class. Yet here we are, just us, and... him.

What do we do with him? What do we do with him while we make dinner? Clean the house? Mow the lawn? Sleep? How will we know the cries versus the Cry? How will we know what to do? They say we will "just know." But right now, there's nothing that feels further from comprehension... we "know" nothing.

Fast forward ten years.

Recently our son turned ten. His birthday was celebrated by his seven year old sister and his three year old brother. Wow, ten years. We didn't kill him. Amazing.

My wife and I are both college educated, and yet with him we felt so utterly clueless. But because of him, we were more experienced parents when his two siblings came along. Heck, by number three, it almost seemed easy. Well, maybe not... But we have become much more relaxed parents because, well, we already had one. Once you get the hang of riding upright without training wheels, it's hard to remember that you ever needed them in the first place.

At ten years old, our son is still forging ahead and breaking new ground that we are still at times clueless about. Every "new" stage for him, is a new stage of parenting for us - some easier than others of course.

Ten years... and three pretty good kids. It seems so long ago when we sat on that couch, frightened by a little 21 inch long alien, petrified as to what we were to do next. At the time all we had were fears and questions, and no one to answer them.

Looking now at the boy with the crescent scar on his cheek, we know that along the way, we must have guessed right at least a few times.


Post a Comment

<< Home