It's been a fun week:
- Tuesday saw the merciful end of Super Soccer Stars; Bela clearly likes kids, but his voice sounds like Ricky Ricardo swallowed a bugle, so I'm well rid of it.
- On Wednesday, the temperature cracked 60 and our sitter took Robert to a birthday party, so my wife and I had a picnic date and a hot lunch.
- Thursday took Robert and me to Park Slope and a playdate with Alice and Henry, who will spend his life wobbling people's knees with those steel-blue eyes of his.
- On Friday, Robert got his first baseball mitt, which he prefers to wear on his throwing hand because "I can't squeeze very well right now."
And yesterday, we christened the final month of Waiting For Two-BertTM by attending a seminar on what to expect when your darling, faultless first child has to learn to share the spotlight.
We've already read Siblings Without Rivalry, which is mostly transcripts of therapy sessions with multiple-child parents. It's been something of a mainstay for around 20 years, and it does offer some helpful insights. But it also imparts such pearls of wisdom as: "Don't say 'Why can't you be more like your brother?' and 'She's your sister, you have to love her.'" I think we knew that.
The seminar was at RealBirth, a tiny remnant of the much-mourned Elizabeth Seton Childbirth Center. Most of the discussion was for the kids, who sat raptly as our instructor explained--in intimate, visual detail--how babies are born. This was punctuated by a 15-minute film of actual babies and actual afterbirth flopping out of actual women who actually allowed the footage to be distributed commercially. (Robert was fascinated: "Can we see more of those, please?")
Then came some role-playing, when the kids were asked to cradle baby dolls in their arms. Robert was very gentle with his, but it was suggested that we have one on hand for when he needs to vent some inevitable pent-up aggression. Other bits of advice included:
- When Two-Bert arrives, we might get a 2-week grace period before Robert starts acting out and demanding that the new baby be re-stuffed from whence it came. This is expected to continue for around six months. (Great. We're basically screwed until Halloween.)
- When people arrive to meet Two-Bert, we should ask them to seek Robert out and ask him to introduce his new sibling. So he doesn't feel completely bypassed.
- If Robert wants to regress and be treated like a little baby, we should indulge it and make is as boring as possible. "You want to be an infant? Fine. Go sit motionless in your bed for five hours."
In sum, we're in for a shitload of work this summer. I know parents have managed it before, and I know we'll joke about it when the kids are grown and fighting like dogs over my prodigious estate. Still, all advice is appreciated.
Tomorrow I return to work, and I will have the meeting that determines whether I'll stay at this job next year. I can't decide if watching all those flopping fetuses has strengthened my ardor for negotiation, or weakened it.