Monday, March 15, 2010

Some Unabashedly Good News

The New Niece is here!

She was born on Friday, and she's healthy and beautiful. 7 pounds, 7 ounces, all of it attitude; the doctor said that she practically walked off the delivery table.

This being 2010, she's already on Facebook. (No link, obviously, to preserve pseudonymity.) There's something about seeing newborn scrunchyface that brings it all back.

The Original Niece (I'll need to work on new names for them) is adjusting nicely. New Niece presented her with a present, which makes more difference than you'd expect. (The Girl did the same thing for The Boy.) Both grandmas have already made the trek across many states to be there, both to coo over New Niece and to pitch in with the insanity that comes with adding a baby to a family. I'll even get a chance to visit in a couple of weeks, camera at the ready.

She doesn't know it yet, but the kid already has an interstate cheering section. She'll figure it out.

The Boy and The Girl were excited to hear about their new cousin; The Girl immediately broke into a celebratory dance in the kitchen. My brother and I agreed that the adjustment in going from one kid to two is much less than going from none to one. Going from 'non-parent' to 'parent' is a fundamental life change; going from 'parent of one' to 'parent of two' is an adjustment, but you already know some of the drill. I remember the abject terror of the first day home with The Boy; we put him in the bassinet, he shrieked at a level that could break glass, and we didn't know why. (Eventually, we figured out he just didn't like the bassinet.) With the second one, you've been through it before, and recently enough to remember. You know a little more of what to expect, and you've already said goodbye to certain aspects of pre-parental life. You're already broken in, which can make for a smoother ride for the second kid. You know how to install a car seat, which diapers leak (we had awful luck with Pampers), and how to function on minimal sleep.

In a way, you're a little freer to enjoy the gift of seeing the world again through the eyes of a Little One. If you've decided that the new one is the last one, there's something bittersweet in that.

With The Boy, each new milestone brought that distinctive parental mix of joy and mourning, but we had the consolation of knowing that we'd see it again with The Girl. When The Girl clears a milestone, it's gone. We're a little less stressed going into each one, since we've seen The Boy progress with unaccountable grace. So we worry a little less, and savor a little more. Whether coincidentally or not, you can see the difference in their temperaments.

To celebrate the news, TG and I went to Dunkin' Donuts to bring back some donuts with which to toast The New Niece's arrival. (Toasting with donuts is not something the pre-parental me would have thought of.) As we got in the car to bring them home, TG announced "when I'm a grownup, but before I get married and have kids, I'm gonna go to Dunkin' Donuts and eat all the donuts I want!" I laughed out loud, fairly bursting with pride at the idea that my five-year-old girl knows that there's a moment in adulthood before marriage and kids, and at the idea that she looks forward to that freedom. And at the innocence with which her idea of freedom is comprised of eating donuts. With TB, at that age, I might have felt a need to mention something about nutrition, making it into a Dutiful Teaching Moment. With TG, I just let it go. Let her have her fantasy of jelly-filled goodness as far as the eye can see.

Welcome to the world, New Niece. You've got a pair of wonderful, loving, experienced parents who moved heaven and earth for you, and an older sister who has already broken them in for you. You've got cousins who can't wait to meet you, and family across many states who are already making plans to visit. May your days have all the jelly-filled goodness you can imagine.