With excitement and a bit of trepidation, we left the hospital with Oskar and headed home on our own.
Our first task was introducing him to his brother, who had waited all week back in Trout Lake with Grandma Donna. Anders has been really excited to have a brother. He has always loved little babies and has a nurturing personality. After the initial introduction - which didn't take long, given how little Oskar has to contribute to the interaction at this point - Anders immediately went into helper mode. He helped setup Oskar's bed (the pack-n-play we had for Anders), retrieved burp cloths, and anything else we asked. "Mom, can I get you anything?" "Mom, what do you need?" "I can do that." This was a good start!
Corinne summed up the first overnight at home pretty accurately: "That was challenging." Oskar didn't sleep for more than about an hour at a time that first night. It turns out that he had day/night reversal, which is just what it sounds like. He slept great during the day but restlessly and intermittently at night. This seemed to correlate with his activity in the womb; some of his most active times were just as we were getting into bed at night. The experts indicate that this usually resolves itself "in 2-3 weeks", but thankfully he seemed to settle in to an average of 2-2.5 hour blocks by about the third night. We won't be fooled this time around, though; we know that there will be many sleeping regressions in our future.
On the morning after that first challenging night, we all went to a parade! Another one of the differences between having the first and second child is that when you have your first, you can just drop everything and focus on the newborn. But the second time, you have another child that still has things he wants to do! That weekend was the Trout Lake Fair, and Anders wanted to ride his bike in the parade. So we hauled all of us out for a hometown parade.
Anders decorated his bike and brought some candy to toss along the route. But he didn't have a chance to practice his tossing technique: on his first toss attempt (which happened to be to us), the candy only landed about one foot from his bike and he almost crashed. Anders reports that his tossing improved by the end of the parade.
When it came time for the emergency vehicles, I covered Oskar's ears to mute the loud noises. He didn't seem to care one way or the other.
The Trout Lake Fair is a local fair, put on by and for the locals. For such a small community, there sure is a lot of creativity. This "float" was our favorite this year.
After the parade, Anders and I stayed for the rest of the fair while the rest of the crew went home to relax since Corinne is on restricted duty for 6-weeks, to recover from the surgery. Just getting everyone to the parade was a major accomplishment!
For the entire first week home, Grandma Donna stayed with us, helping with whatever needed to be done (lots of laundry and dishes). Thanks!
About halfway through that first week, Grandma Lee (my mom) arrived on a short visit before her National Parks tour. She made the plans a year ago but added on a short visit at the beginning of the trip "just in case" there was a new baby to see. She got lucky. We'll see her again for a few more days at the end of her trip.
At this point, newborns spend 95% of their time eating and sleeping. They are most expressive while sleeping (and dreaming) as they move the muscles that will be used to create their voluntary facial expressions in the near future.
Here are a few things we have learned in our first week home as a family of four:
- Changing a diaper and getting a bath are tantamount to torture, but peeing on your own face isn't worth even noticing.
- Saving those bins-and-bins of baby clothes, toys, and gadgets was useful after all. It is much easier to pull out something you already have than to spend an hour researching which one to buy.
- Anders really does enjoy being a big brother. Sometime in the first few days home, he gave Corinne a spontaneous hug and said "Thanks for giving us Oskar."
- We really can do this. No matter how many times we thought "yes, we really do want another child", there's always another voice saying "You're too old and set in your ways!" "Two kids is much harder than one!" "It'll ruin everything!" So far, so good. :)
All in all, a successful first week!
- Mike, Corinne, Anders, and Oskar