Friday, March 31, 2006 | Parentally Incorrect
So, it’s about 5:30 a.m. on March 21 when my pregnant wife wakes me up from a wonderful dream that, incidentally, features no children.
“I’ve been up for an hour,” she says, adding, “I think these contractions are real.”
For weeks, we’ve been kept on the edge by our unborn child, thanks to reoccurring contractions. Now, it looks like our second child has decided to enter the real world at last; about five days past his original due date and two days before the scheduled induction.
The contractions are about five minutes apart so I get up and jump in the shower. My wife is about to undergo one of the most physically arduous experiences imaginable and it’s the least I can do to shampoo my hair beforehand.
We make the necessary calls to relatives, including my sister-in-law, who will be taking care of my first child, Alexandra. Then we get the suitcase, diaper bag and everything else needed for the hospital.
So, it’s time to wake up Alex. We walk into her room and she wakes up quickly and quickly puts two and two together.
“Are you going to the hospital?”
“And I’m going to visit Aunt Tammy?”
She gets up excited and it’s for more than one reason. “I pottied myself,” she says.
It’s the first time she’s done that in months. My wife and I wonder if it’s a psychic prediction that her life is about to change and she’ll never be as young as she is right now.
Considering we’re now at the mercy of our unborn son, we get ready rather quickly and are able to drop off Alex and get to the hospital before 7 a.m.
It’s not a moment too soon. Owen Brian Moye may have been past his due date but when he puts his mind to something, he goes full bore and was officially born around 9:51 a.m. PST.
Before he was born, I figured that watching the birth of the second baby would feel like a “been there, done that” experience. Geez, I was stupid. Every birth is different with its own unique personality.
When Alex was born, it was practically a party. Because she took a while, we became good friends with our nurses; invited a paramedic to watch the whole shebang; and tons of neighbors and friends stopped by to share the experience.
This time, Owen came out so quickly that we just had one nurse, two potential grandparents and a family friend. Much mellower, but no less meaningful. It was like I imagine a wedding for a second marriage to be like: Just as much love but the ceremony is more low-key. Some people might say I cried like a baby during the whole thing but I think babies have fewer tears.
The first time I had a child, my joy at bringing a new life into the world was tempered by the fear of bringing a new life into the world.
This time, I realize that most toddlers are too young to know what they’re missing and, therefore, appreciate what they’re given (at least until kindergarten).
Now I have more confidence in my ability to be a dad. When Alex was born, I was afraid to hold her at first or change her diaper. This time, I’ve held Owen like a bowling ball, a loaf of bread and a machine gun and he doesn’t seem to mind.
My wife and I figured there would be an adjustment but Owen is quieter than Alex was and I’m wondering if it’s because she picked up on our nervousness. After all, the scariest ride of my life wasn’t at an amusement park but the first time we drove Alex home from the hospital.
This time, it’s a relative breeze. Still, to be honest, we drive at least five miles under the posted speed limits on the way home just to make sure the ride is truly safe.
I’m not sure how Alex is reacting to her new brother. For months, we have been telling her about how she will be able to play with Owen, and chase him. Sadly for her, that’s a few months away.
She has wanted to hold him – and we let her – but she is still dealing with the concept that her new little brother isn’t a toy.
Then again, so am I.
David Moye is a La Mesa-based writer who would like to emulate the parenting style of Ward Cleaver but, so far, has only mastered the receding hairline. You can reach him at