Healthy Baby. Now What?

Hate to bust out one of my favorite redneck-isms on you, but there’s no other way to say it — it’s been hotter’n dammit lately. And whenever it’s hotter’n dammit, our upstairs gets a bit toasty. And the triplets had a tough time falling asleep last night thanks to all that toastiness. And, perhaps, to a bit of sassiness as well. Which meant that Caroline and I made countless trips up the stairs to tend to them on the very night that, as misfortune would have it, we finally crashed from the adrenaline high that Grand Finale’s arrival had temporarily provided us.

The extra-taxing witching hour was only compounded by the fact that Caroline and I would be up virtually all night taking care of our littlest one, a fact we both pondered as we sat across the room from one another exchanging blank stares, our bundle of joy sleeping in between us on the ottoman. After a couple of minutes, Caroline broke our exhausted silence.

“We spent all that time waiting for GoDot to arrive, and it turns out that this is what we’ve been waiting for,” she said with a general sweep of her arm.

This?” I asked, making a sweeping gesture of my own.

“Yes. This. Overheated toddler trainwrecks, a nine-year-old holed up in our room because hers is too hot, and you and I staring at each other in total silence wondering what to do. This.”

It reminded me of an exchange I had earlier in the day with a friend of mine who was asking me the typical questions one might ask of a new father. “So you survived, huh?”

“Yep, I sure did.”

“And everyone’s doing okay?”

“Everyone’s doing great,” I responded politely thinking that would be the end of it.

“How ’bout the triplets?”

“They’re doing just fine.”

“Are they used to Grand Finale?”

Are they used to Grand Finale?

I didn’t know how to answer that one. I mean, I’m not even used to Grand Finale yet. So how can anyone expect three pint-sized toddlers who actually think his God-given name is Baby Osborne to be used to him by now? No. No. They’re totally not used to him. I mean, sometimes they’re used to him, I suppose. The times that they’re great with him. But other times they’re not, as evidenced by the garden-variety regression they’ve exhibited — regression that I’m quite certain can be found in the very first chapter of every single Psyche 101 book ever written.

I politely explained to my friend that while the birth was an event, the acclimation is a process. For all of us. After all, our family may have been changing its mentality for nine long months, but in the mere blink of an eye this past Thursday, we changed our number, our very appearance. And in so doing, our dynamic. And our roles. So to a certain extent, we’re going back to the drawing board and tweaking the formula that had been working so well for us in hopes of finding a new one that will work better for who we’re becoming.

Which means we’re trying. In fact, we’re more than trying. We’ve made some great strides in these first few days as we’ve begun to try on our new roles.

But no matter how comfy we may look in those roles…

we’re not there yet. None of us. Least of all, the tiny trio, a fact which likely exacerbated our witching-hour difficulties.

Human beings tend to think in such binary terms. It’s either black or it’s white. Things are going well or they’re not. Are you winning or losing? My friend’s questions sprang from such binary thinking. And so did Caroline’s “this is what we’ve been waiting for?” comment.

Things are seldom that cut and dried, especially things like this. Because this isn’t what we’ve been waiting for. This isn’t it. Not by a long shot. It never stops to be categorized as thisIt continues to become. This is only the beginning of our new life as a family of seven. And while that beginning may have seemed particularly daunting last night, Caroline and I still have faith that all will be a-okay in the long run. So, as tempting as it might be, no need to get all worked up, I suppose.

Besides, Grand Finale doesn’t seem to be all that worried about it.

So we probably shouldn’t be either. Even if we can’t answer all of life’s little questions with a simple yes or no.

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About john cave osborne

John Cave Osborne is a writer whose work has appeared on such sites as DisneyBaby, Babble, YahooShine, TLC and the Huffington Post. He was also referenced by Jezebel one time, but he’s pretty sure they were making fun of him. He and his wife, Caroline, live with their five children and spastic dog in Knoxville, TN. Nothing annoys him more than joke-heavy bios written in the third person, with the possible exception of Corey Feldman.

  • Juli Westgate

    Two words, my friend: Central Air.

    • John Cave Osborne

      no doubt! but here’s the thing: we DO have central heat and air! in fact, the upstairs has it’s own unit. but it gets SO freakin’ hot. i need to call the guy to see if there’s a way to increase the airflow up there. the previous owners had ceiling fans in every room upstairs, but we took them out. we’re starting to question that call!

  • Debbie

    Good luck to you all, and Luke is such a cutie!!!!

    • John Cave Osborne

      debbie — we’ll be fine (but you should still totally come by and help)! i love that you stop by and read and even take the time to comment from time to time. thank you! and thanks on Luke, too. we think he’s cute, too.

  • SarahB

    Jon, I really enjoyed this post and the last one and have sent them to my husband as we contemplate what “after” is going to be like.   And here’s to cooler weather for all of us!

    • John Cave Osborne

      sarah, i was thinking about you after the last comment you left, trying to remember when and where, exactly, our paths first crossed. and i’m pretty sure it was over at Babble. regardless of when and where, i’m very glad they did. you always have thoughtful things to say, and i’m thankful that you occasionally take the time to do just that. it’s cool that we’ve “shared” some of our pregnancy together, and cooler, still, that these last couple of posts have appealed to you. i’m so glad that you sent these to your husband. i wish you both the very best as you get ready for your arrival! (when are you due? i wanna say that you’re close, no?)

      • SarahB

        John, thanks for the kind words. :^)

        By “full-term,” I was referring to 37 weeks probably, more as in the “safe to come out” as opposed to “ready to go” full-term.  I still have a little over a week to go until our due date.  I’ll let you know when he arrives!

        As for where our paths crossed…let’s see…I think first read one of your posts  via one of Katie Granju’s posts awhile back, in some combination of Babble and personal blogs.   

        • John Cave Osborne

          okay, a little over a week now means a little under a week. consider yourself officially under “receiving continued good vibes from the Osbornes.” and please do let me know when he gets here. VERY excited for you!

    • John Cave Osborne

      wait, you were full term last week. so you maybe already had your baby. yes? no? let me know if you get a chance. i’ll be thinking about y’all…

  • Karen

    I love the picture of the 5 of them together.  So cute.  And the triplets will come around.  It has been what, a week?  It might take  awhile but they will get used to the changes.  Last thing, for about $300, you can get a portable room a/c unit which vents to the outside.  (not a window unit)  At night, we put both of my guys in the same bedroom & turn on the unit.  Works great & they love having a sleepover.    

    • John Cave Osborne

      karen — yes. it’s only been a week. not even. we know they’ll come around, too. and for the most part, they’re okay, but they sure do have their moments. (don’t we all?) and YES. i may be in the market for one of those portable room units. b/c it’s a joke right now up there. i meant to call our a/c guy today, but totally zoned out, but i’m gonna get on that tomorrow for sure. if he can’t come through, i’m gonna track down that deal you’re talking about. thanks for the comment, my friend.

  • bethlowe

    I found you via mamapundit and have been following you for the last few weeks.  I admit it….I love babies probably more so since my “babies” are 21( in college) and 13 (8th grade) . I love how babies look so wise and  Luke is no exception and that’s probably because he knows  in a few months it will seem like there’s been 7 of you forever!  BTW, we used to have the same problem with our upstairs AC until we put in a separate unit for our bonus room over the garage.  HUGE difference!   Love your writing.

  • bethlowe

    Oh, and my 13 yr old, Sam, came over and sat beside me when I was reading your post entitled Nipple Stimulation and was all ” Mom, WHAT are you reading?”  Interesting conversation!

    • John Cave Osborne

      @bethLowe — sorry for the delay. something about babies and toddlers, etc… first off, LOVE the name Sam. second, the nipple stimulation / sam coinciding at same time same place is classic. (i bet you handled it like a pro…)

  • Anonymous

    May I say that your five children, especially in that photo, are adorable! This will turn into that and you guys will make it work. You’re right, it’s not black or white, it’s life. Life can be such a roller coaster ride, but it is a thrill. I wish I lived close enough where I could come over and help. Alright, I just want to hold Grand Finale. I  think maybe we should take a hint from him and not get so worked up about things. He is such a cutie!

    • John Cave Osborne

      you may, indeed, say that my five children are adorable. may i thank you for that compliment? b/c it’s a really nice thing to say, my friend. and we’ve got a bunch of frequent flier miles, so we could zip you down here real quick. you know, to “hold Grand Finale.” (translated, exploit you in the role of care provider for all these little ones…)