Thursday, March 31, 2011

Lifelong learning

So what, if anything, did we learn from last week’s medical misadventures, in the most practical sense?

We had been told when we toured the hospital that the maternity ward had free WiFi, and knowing this we brought our trusty little netbook when we embarked Wednesday morning, just in case. Given how the baby-having didn’t happen and instead there was much sitting around and waiting, we were ultimately glad we did. We also learned that the free WiFi, while theoretically extant, was also very spotty and unreliable. So that’s good to know for when Big Announcement Day finally does roll around.

We learned that the little guy does not necessarily break down into a tantrum-y mess if he happens to wake up on a random weekday and be greeted not by mommy or daddy, nor even grandma or pop-pop, but rather one of mommy’s friends whom he kinda-sorta knows but might not recall the name of. This was in fact incredibly gratifying to verify. We had hoped as much, because our contingency plans hinged on it, but still, we worry. Of course, this week we’ve been up to our eyeballs in tantrum-y messes because it’s as if someone flipped a switch in the little guy’s head which illuminated for him the very textbook definition of “Terrible Twos” and that has been a bit of an ordeal (arguably that’s been the one thing mentally dominating me this week, so it’s just as well that I’ve spent every day so far blogging about the Kidney Stones Saga, which is far more pleasant to dwell upon, take that as you will) but one axiom which has made itself manifestly clear is this: the little guy is at his absolute worst when he is alone with his mother or father (or both). He acts out only in very small, manageable ways with his grandparents, and almost never at all with babysitters or the teachers at daycare and so on. And on the one hand, the fact that he saves up all his inappropriate behavior just for us is grueling to deal with (even if in some ways I think it’s all right if it reflects that we’re the people he’s most attached to and feels safe deviating from the script with) BUT the bright side is that we have one less thing to worry about if we bolt for the hospital in the middle of the knight. OK, two less things: nobody else will have the little guy’s adorably ugly side inflicted upon them while doing us a solid, and as long as we’re gone, we won’t have it inflicted on ourselves, either.

Such a pill.
Just getting up and out of the house last week was a good dry run, so on the one hand we learned that we were pretty well-prepared for that and also learned what we could do to be even more ready for the real thing. (One of my favorite examples being that I need to have a couple of soothing, familiar CDs in my car to listen to so that the drive to the hospital isn’t fraught with quiet anxiety. As opposed to the usual collection of CDs in my car which all generally belong to the punk and heavy metal “aggressive screaming” genre which is not recommended for women having contractions.) As soon as my wife got home from the hospital last Thursday we started making a list of things to bring to the hospital and gathering them all together to be packed sooner than later. But on the obverse side of the coin, we learned we really weren’t ready to actually, you know, bring a baby home from the hospital. The list of things that still need to be done around the house, to not only get the nursery ready but get the whole place acceptable to receive well-wishers who’d like to meet our new daughter … yeah that list is significantly longer and immeasurably more intimidating. But apparently we (read: I) needed the wake-up call, and it has been duly registered, and this coming weekend will no doubt be busy. But it’s the golden second-chance kind of busy, so I’m totally OK with it.

The best part is that when the little girl’s birthday does arrive, we’ll apply the lessons learned from the Kidney Stone Saga and then have the joy of discovering an entirely new set of unforeseen head-slappers as we go along anyway. And while we’re still not one hundred percent ready, we seem to have made it to the significant marker of the end of March. As of tomorrow the baby can be born in April like she’s supposed to and somehow we will manage. Nothing really learned in that, just another example of being lucky.

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