My sister Karen wrote a blog entry about her experience taking care of Henry while I was in labor:
New Baby in the House (But not my baby, and not my house...)
Monday morning at five AM, I received a phone call from my brother-in-law. "Something is definitely happening," he said.
That was all I needed to hear. I ate breakfast, got myself ready, and packed a bag of activities for the day. At the last minute I went to the closet where we keep my nearly-grown-up kids' childhood games and grabbed the board game, Mouse Trap, to take along with me.
I arrived at my (much younger) sister's house at 6:30 where she was hard at work laboring to bring a new life into this world. Two midwives and an assistant had already arrived and were giving her their full attention. A home birth had been planned and I was in charge of keeping my five-year-old nephew occupied while this was happening.
Henry and I went upstairs to his room, hunkering down for what I feared could be a long, long time. Luckily, Henry showed a great interest in Mouse Trap, and since his aunt is a complete putz it took some time to figure out how the Rube Goldberg type contraption fit together. We did it though, me reading the directions and him actually figuring out how it all worked. He is one bright little boy.
I have to admit that I had my concerns about combining a five-year-old and a home birth, but Henry was well prepared and very content to hang out with me upstairs. His dad came up periodically to keep us updated, which was nice.
Henry was happy I was playing with him, because generally I have a "no playing" policy. When my own kids were little I would read to them, bake with them, take them places, push them on the swings, etc and so on, but I found it excruciating to pretend and build things, so I just didn't. I have three kids so it was never a big issue. They played games with each other and with their dad. But Henry's mom is way nicer than me and they do it differently at their house. Knowing my policy, Henry often tries to trick me into playing with him. It's become a contest of wills with us, and I hate to admit it, but sometimes the five-year-old will fool me and I'll find myself talking to a plastic figure or putting together LEGOs. Not for long though, because he can't resist gleefully saying, "Aunt Karen, you're playing," which is my cue to be outraged and stop.
For this special occasion, I'd overturned the no-playing policy. We played Mouse Trap and then moved on to a discussion of super powers. Henry asked what super power I would want given a choice, and I said I was torn between flying and being invisible. When I asked what he'd pick, he said, "I'd want to heal people," and I got an immediate flush of shame. Bested by the selflessness of a little kid.
At about 8:30 AM, while we were reading a book by Shel Silverstein, Henry's dad came up to ask if we'd like to come down to see his new brother. "No," Henry said, keeping his eyes on the book. Wisely, his dad didn't push the issue.
Unlike a lot of kids, Henry knows that being an only child is a good deal and he wasn't so sure he wanted to give that up. Not that he had a choice.
Ten minutes later, I told Henry he could stay up in his room if he wanted, but that I was going to go see the baby. Before I could get to the door, he'd already beat me down the stairs.
My new nephew, Silas James, is absolutely adorable. Eight pounds and twenty-one inches long. Mother and baby are doing fine.
We have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving Day.
To everyone who celebrates the holiday--Happy Thanksgiving! To everyone else, have a wonderful day.