Second, Birdie is so social compared to Smootch. Smootch spent a lot of time asleep, or looking lethargic, or, you know, just being withdrawn and sick. Birdie lives for someone to sing to him, or talk to him in babiese, or bicycle his legs for him. I can list a dozen or more things that Birdie likes or doesn't when I'm playing with him - Smootch only liked her bath. She didn't like needles or getting her blood pressure. That's all the social behavior she exhibited. I think she was just busy trying to pump her busted little heart and didn't have a lot of energy to begin to develop particular tastes. She would make eye contact, but she'd rarely smile. Mostly it was just to give a heavy browed frown.
Another thing about the sick baby versus healthy baby is that the parents act very, very differently. Oh, the constant survelliance of Smootch as a baby. It was terrible. We never had a baby monitor because there was no need - we were never far enough away. I remember not being able to sleep unless The Man was awake and watching her or she was hooked up to beeping machines that would sound an alarm if her heart beat slowed. Whether or not Smootch had to go back to the hospital was based upon tiny degrees of wellness, whether or not The Man and I could 'sense' that she was just not as well as she should be. The closest she ever came to death was with her renal failure, and we had to convince the hospital that she was sicker than she should be based upon a few vague symptoms: extra sweaty, spitting up more, etc. When we took her in they still weren't sure until they started running tests. A few hours later we were being forced to leave our two month old baby in intensive care while they sedate her to put in an IV into a main vein in her groin because she was too dehydrated to find a lesser vein (that was when they shaved half her head to try to find a vein there - and the nurses were scared to tell me because they thought I'd be upset about the hair. And I just thought, screw the hair, SAVE MY BABY!)
Anyway. My point is that we practically had to watch Smootch's every breath to keep her alive. It was necessary, but not exactly a great way to develop a healthy parenting style. So with this guy, I'm able to relax quite a bit and sort of - I hope this doesn't sound too dumb - come into my own as a mama. I've always believed I'd be one of the relaxed moms. More bohemian and earthy than uptown. Able to have fun with the kids and not be hysterical over every sniffle or bump or try to control their every move. But hyper-viligence with Smootch was at first vital, but has become a bit of a habit. It's not too bad these days, but I still struggle with balancing my (and her) needs for safety and health with letting her struggle and figure it out herself.
Along comes mr big healthy baby and things seem a whole lot more relaxed this time. Maybe with happy little guy I can let go a bit further and enjoy the whole mama trip even more. I know Smootch benefits when I'm more relaxed and I'm definitely better off when I can be awed by how she is growing and learning and not freaking out about how she could hurt herself by falling down the stairs/off the monkeybars/tripping when running.
Because she really is the very picture of health and vitality now. She has more than enough personality for three kids. She's amazing. And I can stop holding my breath watching her breath.