A family friend told us how she smoothed out any hurt feelings or jealousy with her older child, when her second was born. This friend told her older child that her baby sister had a present to thank her for being her older sister. Older sister went gaga, especially when faced with the prospect of a present, and the gift cemented the sisters’ relationship.
My wife and I thought, well, that’s flat-out brilliant! We put that to Ryan and he was all for it, except for one thing. He kept asking me, more than his mother (probably because he already knows I’m the bigger pushover), what the present was. Trying to stay in the spirit of things, I told him that even I didn’t know, only his baby sister knows for sure. From the look he gave me, you’d think I just tried to sell him an oceanfront house in Phoenix. To paraphrase a wonderfully passive military term, “in the absence of guidance,” Ryan volunteered what the gifts should be. Note that we’re now talking of presents plural, no longer present singular.
Lately, if you ask him what his little sister will bring for him when she comes out of Omma’s belly, he’ll rattle off from memory: a police car, a truck, a train, and a fire truck. He’ll say that quickly and breathlessly, as if even uttering those sacred words will make his wishes come true that much sooner. Thankfully, my mother has been providing her precious grandson all manner of automotive paperweights/battery drainers/little things with little flashing lights that make big noises since he was born. In other words, the kinds of mind-numbing toys that toddler boys love. It’s a car! No, it turns into an airplane! It’s Chuggington! No, it’s that weird Thomas thingie that none of the other trains on Sodor likes. It’s… a meal delayer and nap preventer.
We’ve got three out of the four, and only had to buy one because he still has so many toys he wasn’t allowed to play with until he turned 3. It said so on the box. When it comes time to meet his sister, we hope to have everything wrapped and ready to go, like this loud crying infant would have the wherewithal to do so for her Opa [Korean for older brother]. We hope he likes the presents, and reacts to them and to his sister the way our friend’s daughter did. We also hope to hit the Mega Millions jackpot, and I secretly think our chances at the lottery are better.
Our little man won’t be so little anymore, and our precious time as a three-person family will be over. This isn’t to say that we’ll never have father-son time away from the women of our house, far from it; but both my attention and my wife’s will by necessity be more diffused for a while as we concentrate on whats-her-name. I’ll really miss, but also really cherish, the last three years when it was just the three of us. My son has taught me that I am capable of the kind of love I rarely saw from my own father, and seeing Ryan beam when I come home from work has become its own reward. I hope my daughter feels the same way, at least until she becomes a teenager and decides she hates my very soul.
And finally, I’ll need to change the name of this blog. I can’t rightly call it just “Ryan’s Appa” when there will be more to it than him. Let me know, I welcome suggestions, but can’t promise anything to the winning submission. In the meantime, we have a busy week ahead. Catch you on the flip side.