thoughts on the birth of my son Salvatore

So Salvatore was born on May 14th. This weekend it will be a whole month already. I can’t believe it. The strange thing about this time around is that Kacey and I have pretty much decided that we’re not going to have more children, so there’s a bittersweet quality to everything. The things that are happening for the first time for him are also happening for the last time for us.

As we were driving home from the hospital, for example, I was happy to be taking him home, but I couldn’t help thinking that I would never again drive home with a newborn again. I wanted to make sure to fix the memory in my head, but even as I had that thought I knew that you don’t really get to pick the things that stick. That’s what writing is for, I guess. It’s the best mechanism we have for pinning down something as ephemeral as human experience.

So what do I remember right now that I won’t later? Right now everything for the past couple weeks has seemed like a hazy blur. It’s kind of unfair that such a special time in my life has to be spent so sleep-deprived. When Enzo was born we could just stare at him all day and take naps when he did. But now that Enzo is a toddler, we have much less time to just sit and stare at Sal. Kacey is guaranteed time with him when she nurses him, at least. I’m sure from her perspective at times she feels tied to him, but I’m still a little jealous of that time. I am back at work now, and between that and playing with Enzo and doing household chores and stuff, there is much less time to spend Daddy-Sal time. I guess it’s another example of the kind of that that you have to let go of.

You usually have to lose something to get something else in life, so this time I get to see the joy of a baby through Enzo’s eyes. Everyone always asks how he’s doing with Sal, and you hear so much about sibling rivalry and kids turning into little monsters when their siblings arrive, but that hasn’t happened to him. It’s hard to know what he *really* thinks in his heart, but one of the things I want to write down to remember is the first thing he said when we brought him home from the hospital: “Oh, he’s…so…cute!” He said it in a tiny little awed voice, like he was taken by surprise that the baby we had talked so much about would turn out that way. I took it as a good sign. For the most part, I was right about his reaction. Sometimes you can tell that he’s feeling a little neglected and competes for attention, and yes, sometimes he does things he shouldn’t just to get mommy or daddy to talk to him. But as long as we make an effort to do things with him and give him fun things to do and have special time just for him with each of us sometimes, he’s fine. He just wants to help.

For example, I want to remember is how fascinated he was with Sal’s poops. As you may or may not know, newborns’ poop changes color as their digestive system flushes out all the amniotic fluid they may have swallowed in utero, and starts digesting breastmilk. At first they excrete this horrible black tarry slime that honestly looks like the stuff that holds asphalt together. That slowly gives way to green liquid, and then finally it turns into yellow glop the exact color and consistency of mustard. So once Enzo heard us talking about this process while we were changing him, Sal’s diaper change became his favorite time of the day.

I still can’t believe that Sal’s finally here, after so much anticipation, and I still can’t say the phrase “my boys” without a big smile on my face. So here’s to the boys!

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