Welcome to “Appa For Two”

The princess is a month old today and doing fine. One of these days, I’ll get the hang of the blogging thing and actually post more than once a millennium, but between a toddler, a newborn, cleaning bottles, work, changing diapers, etc., my calendar has been kind of full lately. The little man and his new-found protective streak regarding his sister are as irrepressible as ever. My wife is recovering well, which is a good thing, considering I’ve gone back to work with my odd hours.

So… Sophie was born. I know, that kind of takes the drama out of it, but like an old professor once told me, it works as both a declarative and descriptive sentence. I’ll spare you the details of insufficient sleep, changing, feeding, and all that, because writers far better than me have tackled that ad infinitum.

What inspired the new blog title, though, was an episode in the hospital. Sophie was all of eight or nine hours old at the time, and they’d just brought my wife over from the recovery room. I’d been splitting time between recovery and the nursery, totally grooving on holding our princess, angry cries and all. The little man had been hanging out with my mother in-law, and she brought Ryan over as my wife was being moved. I held Sophie out to Ryan, who’d bounded into the room as if my wife would immediately jump out of bed and play with him. Like the champ he is, he stopped in mid-stride, walked slowly the last few steps, then said, “Hi, Sophie.” What really made my eyes water, though, was the way he gently rubbed her head, like he knew she was fragile and needed taking care of. For her part, she gave him a wary one-eyed look that virtually screamed, “who are you, why are you touching me, and why aren’t you feeding me?”

This past month hasn’t been without its challenges, like Ryan finally getting it after two weeks, that Sophie was not just a temporary lodger in our house, or of course, Ryan coming to terms with not having 100% of everyone’s attention 100% of the time. The first was almost clever and took a while to digest. When Sophie was about a week old, I was up with the kids on morning duty while my wife got some shuteye after being up virtually all night. Sometime during the daily debate with Ryan over breakfast, he asked me, “Appa, when Sophie go back to hospital?” I know I said something back, but my sleep-deprived brain didn’t register what he really said until maybe a full week later, when it made me say, “whoa!”

He’s gotten clingy, and now is loathe to leave his mother’s side for virtually anything. My poor wife can’t even go to the supermarket without him, which of course also means packing for a quick trip to Key Food – for this, she also has to wait till I’m home from work, because she isn’t about to also introduce Sophie to all those germs just yet. I’m all but banished from his bed at naptime and bedtime, because he can no longer fall asleep without my wife in bed with him. Or, as he put it so chillingly the other day, “You can’t be in my bed. Only Omma can be in my bed.” Oy.

I am so inordinately thankful that we have another child. As an only child myself, I feel like Ryan will have someone else besides his friends with whom he can share the adventure of childhood. I remember on countless occasions being jealous of friends with siblings, because I saw them seeming to have hours-long conversations with a few facial expressions. I missed that kind of closeness, but my kids will have that. And if there were any doubt, yesterday while I was feeding Sophie, Ryan came up to us. Even though I was obviously in his field of view, he didn’t see me, instead focusing on his sister. He touched the sides of her head with each hand, bent down, and kissed her forehead.

That’s my baby girl’s Opa (Korean for big brother).

My little man and my princess

My little man and my princess

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