Go back to any post on this blog in 2013 and it’s easy to see my kid is my world. So what happens when a new baby comes along? Well, I’m supposed to say my world has evolved And it has. But…
Of course I love the new baby. Don’t be silly. But it’s like I’ve entered this strange new place where it’s now baby world and kid world. We have jibber jabbering and baby talk in one room and a boy whose whole life has changed way too much in one year in the other.
I mean, not only does my kid (and everyone) have this Covid thing endure, with school shutting down last spring and now this hybrid stuff without friends. Toss in a baby and the new dynamics of our family and well, we're off to a rocky start.
Again, I don’t claim this problem as ours alone. It’s not original. But I don't write about everyone's experiences, I write about my own. And this is new to me and it’s no easy adjustment.My son loves his new sister. He’s great with her. They play and he’s already deemed her a “princess warrior.”
But, well, babies cry. And they need lots of attention. Again, nothing new here but we’re talking about a seven year-old who’s emotional state isn’t always solid ground as he’s trying to navigate the world’s many problems.
And so sometimes, when the baby is crying and it’s getting harder and harder to control our son’s downtime from technology our lives now depend on, as we work to figure out when it’s okay to play games or do schoolwork or otherwise zone out and just look at pictures he’s taken on his digital camera, it can get dicey to say the least. And I’m working from home in a laundry room, trying to work a day job, write sometimes, sell books at others while my wife is exhausted from going back to school and breastfeeding and being the bad guy who gets on our son about school work to the point I almost seems like my son and my wife’s relationship is just one more casualty of this stupid year in Covid...
It can be exhausting, you know?
So uhh… How do you fix this?
You don’t, that’s how. You realize you’re with the people you love most in the world and it’s best if you just look at the bright side because otherwise you’re not doing anyone any favors here, especially a new born baby.
So here we are, in this new, bizarre, hybrid, online, work-from-home environment. We have a baby. We have a kid who only goes to school a couple of times a week. We are so far removed from our lives only just one year ago that it’s hard to fathom.
The other night, my son and I were at the dinner table. He was moving pasta around on his plate and we were playing chess (hey, don’t knock the dinner habits, at this point it’s survival). I had the baby sitting on the table with us and he was making faces at her, trying to get her to laugh. At four months, she’ll giggle and smile occasionally, try to tell us something in baby speak.
She started laughing. Like, real, belly laughs. Simon kept on with the faces and she was hiccupping and giggling up a storm, just filling up the house with the healing power of baby.
After all the fights we’d had lately, all the family arguments and the adjustments to having this new life form in our house, it was a moment I’ll never forget.
Seriously, these little moments are what it takes to keep me going. We have our health, our house, each other. I can complain about everything else but what does it matter?
For a few moments I was filled with enough joy to keep plugging along. To remember what is important. Christmas was small this year, a few yard visits with grandparents, a few neighborly hellos and a house full of warmth and cookies. Just a few of everything...
But that laugh. Simon’s face. Things may have fell off some from where we were but it’s proof we can get it all back. We can be happy together.
We can make it.