Thursday, May 3, 2012

Lilly and Ben

I don't know what I thought I'd get with this new little person that would join our family.  Part of me imagined a 2 or 3 year old demanding little child; part of me hoped for a repeat of sweet Lilly; but I don't think I pictured a precious little newborn boy like little Ben.

I shouldn't compare kids, but there's no right or wrong with my two little ones; there's no good or bad.  It's definitely interesting to see how "the same" they are, and how different, and how the experiences are completely different.  And we're only two weeks into this adventure.

We have realized what an easy baby Miss Lillian Grace Sherman was.  She didn't cry much, she was happy and content to eat, sleep and have her diapers changed.  She easily went with the flow, drank her bottles well and on the schedule we assigned to her, and slept through the night from about a month on (and we had to wake her every 4 hours before that).  Definitely easy.

Ben is the opposite, although he's still an easy baby.  But he is demanding: if his tummy is hungry, he screams.  If his diaper is being changed, most likely he's not happy.  Baths come with a scream like we're trying to murder him instead of just gently clean his little body.  He does sleep well, but wakes up every 3-4 hours to eat and needs his food right when he wants it.  But the majority of the time he is just a precious little baby, with big eyes that watch his new world closely, cautiously.  I think he doesn't quite trust us yet, but so far we're doing a good job for him.  He melts into our arms when he sleeps, and at night is very content in his own room in his crib.  As I told him two nights ago around 2 am as he was sweetly drinking his late night bottle, "Thank you God for Baby Ben."

But as easy a baby as Lilly was, and how probably more "typical" Ben is with the crying and demands, Lilly had other stuff going on that made it "hard."  Like, most newborns don't stay in the hospital special care nursery for two weeks, and come home with a nasal canula and an O2 monitor and oxygen tanks spread throughout the house.  Oddly, and maybe because Lilly was our first, that didn't bother us or even seem strange - it was our normalcy.  And the extra doctor's appointments to check our her heart, meet with a geneticist, and - of course - switch pediatricians, in addition to a developmental pediatrician and occupational, speech and physical therapist evaluations at the early age of 3 weeks!

Lilly's been in the hospital maybe 5 times in her life for overnight stays - most of the time, we are just trying to get her healthy so we can get home as quick as possible.  So when Ben was born on a Monday at 8:05 in the morning (and we arrive at the hospital only 4 hours earlier), my mom instinct was to try to escape as soon as possible.  I stayed the first night, by myself with the baby (Jon was home with Lilly, who we hadn't seen because of her 10 days in Atlanta), and decided the next morning that I didn't want to stay another night.  We were shocked when the ob and pediatrician said fine, we could leave that night.  After Ben had his circumcision at lunch time, we waited a few hours and were on our way to freedom (home).  And total opposite of Lilly's medical appointments: Ben has had two pediatrician appointments, and our wonderful doctor comes to the house for the new baby and 2 week visits, so that was super easy.  I kept waiting for someone - at the hospital, or the pediatrician - to tell us of a big medical problem, or something to watch our for, but little Ben has nothing to worry about, at this point. 

Lilly and Ben love each other, no matter how similar or different they are.  It's interesting because, in the Down syndrome community, I hear people talk about how their child with Down syndrome may affect their other children.  But Lilly is our first, and to be honest I never worry about the way she will affect anything in life ever - she is perfect to me, as is Ben.  But to see her be such a great big sister - worrying about her brother, taking care of him... Who knows what the future holds, but I see Lilly as being so self-sufficient and independent - and I see her looking out for her brother as they grow up, the way big sisters always do, and I'm sure there will also be times when he returns the favor.  She has no jealousy towards this new person in our family, if anything, her only concern is getting him to be happy and comfortable.  She gives him bottles, burps him, holds him, kisses him, tells him to "shhh" when he's crying, blesses him and says nighttime prayers with him, and just loves him with her pure heart.  And he always pays extra attention when she is nearby, he loves hearing her voice.

So those are my kids, and I love them both so much.  Now, while the big one is at school and the little one is sleeping for a few minutes, I'm going to take a much needed shower!