Exactly a month ago today, my wife and I welcomed our second child into our family. Our baby girl, Emma. It has been a big learning experience for all of us. As we went from a family of three to four. One change I felt the moment Emma came home was that our family was a unit.
I’m not sure if I can exactly put it into words. But before Emma’s arrival, it felt like it was just me, my wife and our boy, Noah. Now with Emma here it feels like an actual family unit. A friend suggested that it could be because we grew up watching shows and movies where the typical family consisted of a mom and dad with a son and daughter. Perhaps. Whatever the reason may be, our family feels fuller.
I’m most proud of my first born, Noah. Out of all of us, I believe he has had to deal with the most change. Overnight he was bumped up from our baby to big brother status, he has had to share his parents with another person and endure changes to the family dynamics.
One of those dynamics being, how to interact with his new baby sister. Not knowing his own strength he’s smacked her a few times and thrown soccer balls at her face. As a result I’ve had to discipline him. It’s strange, because at 20 months, the moment Emma came home, it felt like he was such a big kid. My wife has had to remind me that although he was now Emma’s big brother, he himself was still a baby.
My wife was right. He’s still my baby too. Having a daughter I understood the connection that people speak of when they say daddy’s little girl and I thought I was doing the right thing by protecting her from her big brother. Instead I’m learning to teach him to be gentle towards his sister, to show restraint and love towards her. Although he’s almost three times her size, my heart melts when he reaches up his arms and asks us to put baby down as he wants to be hugged and held.
Even though I myself am the first born in my family, I don’t think I quite understood the weight of the responsibility that comes with the role until now as I see my boy, Noah. I think he’s lived up to the role a lot better than I did already. He’s always willing to push the stroller when we’re out on walks, willing to throw away the baby’s soiled diaper and gives tons of kisses to Emma. I know he will face many unspoken pressures as he grows up. I hope and pray for wisdom as my wife and I guide him through such responsibilities.
As a stay-at-home dad, becoming a family of four has been challenging. When it was just the three of us, and I heard Noah crying as I worked, I could easily just zone him out because I knew my wife was there to care for him. Now as a family of four, whenever my son needs something or is crying, I know my wife isn’t available to be there for him, since she’s with Emma. So I’ve had to step in for my son’s needs.
Although the stop and go from work has been a bit strenuous and at times makes me wonder about going back to a regular job; when I see the smile on my son’s face as he bursts into my room wanting to see what I’m doing or being able to be right there at the moment when my kids interact with each other. These moments make it all worthwhile and immediately I know I’ve made the right decision.
This is currently my favorite picture of the kiddos. Pretty much sums up their personalities at this moment. Emma, screaming her head off and Noah, calmly looking at her seeing if he can help baby stop crying.