Monday, April 26, 2010

The dude in the middle.

Needless to say, this past week has been rather eventful for us. With much anticipation, we welcomed the newest (and most likely last, consider this foreshadowing to an upcoming vasectomy post) child into this world. After much deliberation, the powers at be decided his name would be Graham Joseph Babcock.

We brought him home on Friday. I walked him around the house to give him a little tour of his new digs. I believe they were satisfactory as he spit up on me and then closed his eyes and went to sleep.

The first couple of days were spent trying to remember what this whole baby thing is all about. It has been nearly four years since we brought Jamison home so standard things like diaper changes and burping took a little remembering.

On Sunday, I took Berlin and Jamison to church so mother and Graham could have some much-needed nap time. The Bishop announced our new arrival. "The Babcock's have had their baby. His name is Graham and he was twelve pounds, seven ounces." A very sudden and audible gasp exploded from virtually every woman in the congregation. To which the Bishop squinted and replied, "I think I read that backwards."

Later that night, we were winding down from the day. Jamison had fallen asleep on the couch next to me. I picked him up to carry him upstairs to his bed. As his sleeping body dangled in my arms from walking up the stairs something hit me like a ton of bricks. His weight and body was in stark contrast to the new little body I had been carrying around for the past three days. And I realized that my little dude's entire role in life had been changed. He was no longer our baby. My heart exploded in hurt for him and I couldn't figure out why. I imagined him feeling less special and I couldn't bare the thought.

I laid him in his bed, fully clothed and pulled his sheets up. He squirmed around until he found a comfortable position. I sat down next to his bed and just stared at his silent face. And then the tears came. I don't know if they were tears because I didn't want him to grow up or if they were tears because I didn't want him to feel any less special or what. I mean, I know that it's rather standard for the mother's emotions to be all over the place after a pregnancy and that roller coasters and no-reason-breakdowns are fully expected. But fathers?

Well, hopefully I'm allowed at least one random emotional breakdown mulligan as a father.

Yesterday, the feeling still lingered inside me. So I took James on a full day of "special time." We went to the gym, then to the park and then to his favorite place for lunch, Buffalo Wild Wings. We ordered fried pickle slices and had "fun drinks" (Sprite). Then we followed it all up with a hefty bug hunt, bagging many worms and an occasional rolly polly that hadn't been washed away from yesterday's rain.

During the day, a few distinct impressions fell upon me. The first was that lil' James would be okay. And that this new little brother would actually help him feel more special than he is now because he has someone to help take care of and to be an example to. He will rise to the opportunity and grow in ways I could not imagine.

The second was that I needed to remember to always discipline with love and kindness. Especially during these tender months. I have found myself from time to time getting frustrated with his typical shortcomings after a stressful day at work and this random emotional breakdown was a great reminder to me about what's really important in this life. So as James poured a bunch of little rocks from the rock pit (our ghetto version of a sandpit) on to the cement patio, something I have asked time and time again for him not to do, instead of getting angry, I smiled and politely asked him to help me clean it up.

He promptly smiled and said, "Okay dad, let's do it!"

As simple as it sounds, it was a really great and profound moment.

Truth is, he's an amazing little kid with a huge personality. He's extremely tender and sensitive. He's still a typical rowdy boy, but he's no stranger to kindness.

He'll be an incredible father someday. And, thanks to Graham, he'll get a little practice on the way.


Blogger ~j. said...

Very nice, Steve.

8:44 AM

Blogger {lizzythebotanist} said...


you're a cute dad. i love that you took him out for a full day by himself.

11:06 AM

Blogger Rachel said...

Awww. I love Jamison so much. You described him so accurately-rowdy, but kind and sensitive at the same time. He is so cute. I love how tender he was toward Kennedy at Disneyland (alas, to no avail). He is one of my favorite little people of all time! He will be all right, for sure. Everybody is in transition mode right now and it was sure tough for us. But we made it through and you guys will too! Wish I was there to help Hailers. We're thinking of you everyday!

1:12 PM

Blogger Grandma Reenie said...

Steve, you have an incredible way hitting the point home! You are a great writer! Jamison will be ok as will all of you!!

4:36 PM

Blogger Hailey Happens said...

Jamie, You will always be my special guy. I had an instant life changing bond with you when you were born. Love you little dude!

8:26 PM

Blogger midnight hysteria said...

well, i don't know you -- i followed a link from who-knows-which-blog and am i glad i did: i loved your thoughts on your new baby boy and your *old* baby boy; how poignant and tender ... you are a great father who will teach these young boys/young men how to father ... thank you for your post; it is awesome ...

3:25 PM


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