Originally posted 2008-06-24 01:07:08.
Following up on the first post about my expectations of becoming a dad for the first time, I would like to continue with the second part of the blog-topic sugguestion- this time on becoming a dad for the second time.
I mentioned we were going to only have 2 kids. Since we already have Caitlin, we therefore very much wanted a boy for the second one, and call it a day, so to speak.
Old wives tales as well as scientifically, I have heard and knew stuff about how
- the male sperms swam faster (due to the fact that male sperms are lighter) but died sooner;
- creating an alkali environment which the males prefer;
- certain dates on the Chinese calendar;
- ascertaining the stages of the cycle based on body temperature, to “meet” the egg with the “Mr Right” before he dies;
We even went as far as to perform an AIH, where basically, I “donated” my sperm for the labs to centrifugally separate Miss Rights and Mr Rights, and then “shoot” the presumably very dizzy Mr Rights into Hot Mummee. Yup, Hot Mummee is so adamant to only have two kids that we had to do this to ensure a boy.
While I went along with this, we both did have some reservations about it. Natural selection means the fastest swimmer wins; which usually also means the healthiest, most capable sperm. This method actually inhibits natural selection- what happens is all the male sperms are scooped up together, healthy as well as defective ones (as they do naturally occur).
Perhaps it was “divine intervention” that the procedure didn’t work. Dr Wong did say after all, that the success rate was only about 70%. Just as well, because I had heard subsequently that there was this family that already had three girls who then opted for this procedure for trying for a boy. They ended up with another girl. Moreover, where the older three girls were slim and tall-ish, this one is rather short and plumb, bearing little resemblance to her older siblings.
After one try, Hot Mummee and I thought better to just go el naturale. It’s also more fun anyway!
And so, we now have the very good looking Caleb! I cannot remember if we took precautions; I think we did monitor Hot Mummee’s temperatures for timing….
As with all precedents, I did fall into the trap of comparing the two kids: On their respective ages of when they started lifting / supporting their heads, when they started smiling, that we should start training Caleb now because the older sister was already able to do this or that; their respective behaviours, weights, “ease” of taking care of them, etc.
Also, I wasn’t as excited about his birth or arrival. When both of them mere infants of only a few weeks old, I honestly did not feel much attachment to them. To me, they were really just “empty” little humans that ate, shit, cry, sleep, basically keeping everyone else occupied in activities that supported these four modes.
I mean, I know they will eventually develop into a human being capable of expressions, speech, emotions, communicative, etc … Eventually.
So, when Caitlin started showing some interactivity, such as responding with smiles, looking me in the eye, general human body language that indicated acknowledgement, that was when I started proactively engaging her. I would talk to her, using the different pitches and tones (that I had read about) to stimulate her, I would sing or hum to her, touch her all the time all over.
Admittedly, I did quite little of these with Caleb. Why? I think it was a matter of novelty, or reduced novelty. While I am not blaming Caitlin, she was also still demanding my attention.
I am not saying that Caitlin was trying to demand more of my attention with the arrival of her little brother. She was already used to a level of attention from me, and so was expecting that of the same even with baby around.
To date I can’t say that she is jealous. There were times when Hot Mummee reckoned she was when she started showing some whiney behaviours. But luckily, I think she is only jealous of the symptoms of having another child demanding our time and attention away from her, rather than being directly jealous of her brother; in which case I think any toddler would then have malicious intent towards the younger. Either she is mature enough to be pissed only at the symptoms, or that she is a rather blur kid… I think you know which I prefer to think!
However, Hot Mummee has actually said that I am biased, that I don’t spend enough time with Caleb, that I am “already happy enough with the daughter”! I guess she may be right in that I am already used to Caitlin, I know Caitlin, and we are already able to communicate with her. Whereas Caleb was just eat-sleep-shit-cry!
Caitlin, however, is still finding it a novelty to have a real life baby around! Caleb’s now over 5 months old. Yet she still finds him fascinating: She likes to hold his tiny little toes, and tells you they are tiny. She repeats Caleb’s mutterings, usually with a mouth-covered giggle; when Caleb’s bored in the car and starts whining, at Daddee’s only-once request Caitlin would sing to him, with whatever she’s learnt from school or with made up lyrics. Those are the moments I gotta capture soon on video…
Going through the second time also meant replaying the same not-looking-forward-to things. Baby poop, to me, would be among the foulest smelling things on earth! In fact, I think breast-fed poop smells worse than baby formula poop. I actually dry-wretched! Absolutely did not look forward to the discovery of them pastey semi-solids and having to clean / wipe their bum cracks and washing!
But there are also pluses. Caleb’s wearing some of the infant clothes that Caitlin outgrew, even if it’s pink! He is using the stroller that Caitlin used very little of; re-using the steriliser and baby monitor; there is a walker waiting for him; I am a little more experienced in handling an infant; Caitlin has had chances to show her parents that she is quite a taking-care-of-little-brother sister, naturally.
To be honest, at 5 months old now, he is already responding to my talking to him. He does already look me in the eye, gets into a giggly fit when I cluck my tongue at him….
I will, of course, still endevour to be his friend too, just likely with a different approach compared to befriending Caitlin. With a boy, and chauvinistically, I am likely to play rougher with him, get dirty with him, take him out on more physical activities.
With Caitlin today, would you believe I comb and tie her hair, buy her stickers with lots of pink, play with her doll with her?
Those who know me might just believe it…!