Bonding the Second Time Around

We’ve been home almost six weeks and it’s hard not to compare our current bonding experience with Sarah to our first one with Ethan. Some of the differences are no doubt related to the differences between Ethan and Sarah, but beyond that, they’re just different experiences.

With Ethan, he was pretty much our sole focus (except that both of us were completing dissertations during our first two months together).

With Sarah, it’s a different experience for a couple reasons. First, we’ve been through this before (with Ethan). There was a lot of excitement and uncertainty simply because it was the first time. There’s still excitement and uncertainty this time, too, of course, but it’s, well, different (and, obviously, a bit hard to describe).

Then there’s Ethan, who is a major part of the bonding experience with Sarah. It’s one thing for Joleen and I to adjust and bond with Sarah (in many ways, that’s the easy part), but it’s a whole new experience for Ethan to bond with Sarah and to transition from only child to big brother (this is the slow, more challenging, part). But he’s processing it. A couple of his common phrases these days are, “I’m growing up,” or “I’m getting bigger.”

While the jury is still out on how Ethan feels about all this, we get mixed messages. Actually, I’ve always said Ethan seems fine with Sarah (for the most part), it’s Mommy and Daddy’s relationship with Sarah that he’s not so sure about. (I’m still planning to write more about Ethan’s transition, but, frankly, we’re not ready to write that post yet!)

Ethan, who is virtually never down or sad, woke up one morning early on seemingly depressed. He said he was sad. This afternoon, he woke up from a nap crying, which is very unusual. He finally said at one point, “I’m so sad,” but I couldn’t find out why. Perhaps it was a bad dream. As I said, those times are rare, and they don’t last long.

Still, though, Ethan has always seemed interested in Sarah. He gets up a couple hours before Sarah and often asks, “Is Sarah awake?” Sometimes he says, “Let me check on Sarah,” or even “Sarah’s awake,” whether she is or not.

And Sarah has always closely watched Ethan. She likes to get into his stuff, which he doesn’t always appreciate. Yesterday, I got her out of her crib when she woke up. When she heard Ethan coming, she nearly attacked me, turning around to see Ethan. This morning, Ethan was right behind me, so I waited to get her out of the crib until Ethan arrived. Again, when she heard Ethan, she responded immediately and excitedly.

But it’s hard to compare the two bonding experiences because this one is still very much in the early days. Sometimes we think back to (or look at photos of) our first days/weeks with Ethan and are amazed at how at-home we were together.

I suspect we’ll look back on these first days/weeks with Sarah with similar thoughts and feelings. The story will be different (as it should be), but we trust that we’ll be just as amazed … and grateful!

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