The part of Madelyn being brought into this world that didn't have a clear line drawn for us was her meeting Patrick and their relationship from that day forward. Like any parent of a second child, it is the most important thing in the world for us that Patrick understands, as much as he is able, that we love him completely and without condition, even when that condition is a new sibling. And so, we were both curious and admittedly a little worried about what their introduction would turn out to be and how Patrick would react to sharing the spotlight with a new person Mommy and Daddy loved just as much as they love him.
Angie being a planner and me hating the feeling of not knowing what to expect (we've found those are two different things as much as they sound similar), we did what we usually do in situations we're unsure of: asked the advice and opinion of everyone we know, read whatever materials we could find and talked to each other, a lot, about what we wanted for our two kids. In our minds, the first hurdle to jump was the two of them meeting each other. The all-crucial first introduction.
On Monday, the day after Madelyn was born and the day Patrick turned 19-months-old, I left the hospital to get Patrick and bring him back to meet his new baby sister. On the drive to the hospital with just the two of us left to chat, I continued the conversation Angie and I have been having with him over the last several months of preparing for Madelyn's arrival. We talked about Madelyn being a baby, that babies need lots of love, that we need to be gentle with them, that babies sleep a lot and that sometimes babies cry and that's OK. It's also OK if she accidentally grabs his face or doesn't look at him when he's doing something really neat. Then we had a little man-to-man talk about how he'll always be my first and we'll love him no matter what in which I cried a little and he tried to tell me about the big trucks that were driving next to us.
Then we got to the hospital, and things couldn't have gone better. Patrick was so excited to see his little sister. It was like he already knew her and had just been missing her, waiting for her to come back. He wanted to touch her, hold her, hug her, kiss her and make sure everyone in the room knew how wonderful she was all at once. And Madelyn endured the onslaught of enthusiastic and clumsy affection with only a minimal amount of squirming and fear for her life.
Our time at home hasn't been any different. Patrick has woken up the past two mornings and excitedly asked us where Madelyn is and wants to know what she's been doing. He sits and reads books to her, shows her his toys and wants to help us with her any way he can. Yesterday I mentioned to Angie that she probably needed a diaper change and when I turned around, Patrick was putting a changing pad on the floor and had a diaper in his hand.
And we can't say thank you enough to our parents for taking care of Patrick while we were at the hospital. This transition for him wouldn't have gone nearly as well if he wasn't with people he adores during his time away from us.
Angie and I are so excited to see what's next. We can't wait for them to grow up together and enjoy life's experiences at the same time and in their own ways. Even knowing there will be plenty of fights, arguments and all the other turbulence that comes with siblings, we know it's worth it, from our own lives.
Here are a few more pictures from the last couple days at home...