Sunday, December 28, 2014

For Unto Us a Child Is Born

Baby, All I Want for Christmas Is You

Earlier in December we were on our way to my Mom's to celebrate an early Christmas gathering.  We drove by a church that had a Nativity scene set-up outside.  Here is the conversation that was struck up by Isla, our oldest daughter, when she realized that the baby in the manager was missing from the set.

Isla - "Where is Baby Jesus?"
Jess - "He hasn't come yet.  He will come on Christmas Day."
Brief silence while her four year old brain processed this.
Isla - "Maybe we should name our baby Jesus."

The sincerity of her suggestion obviously gave us a good chuckle at the time.  We hadn't decided on a name, or really even narrowed it down to a few front-runners, but we were pretty certain we would not be giving our child the same name as Jesus Christ Superstar himself.  Seems like a big namesake to live up to.  It wasn't until after that weekend that I actually stopped to think about Isla's comment.  What if she knows something we don't?  Could she be foreshadowing that her brother will be born on Christmas Day?  She doesn't even know what foreshadowing means.  If he is born on Christmas Day, are we kind of obligated to name him Jesus?  The plot line was thick with suspense.

Well, lo and behold what she "may have" predicted would come to pass (figured I should keep the lingo biblical as much as possible for this one).  At 3:00am on Christmas morn, in a lowly (sterile) stable (hospital delivery room), my wife gave birth to our first born son, Guthrie Rasmus Bruns.  He was wrapped in swaddling clothes (that part is actually true) and laid in a manager (a portable bassinet with some heating lights).  He weighed in at 8lbs, 9 oz, and was 17.5 inches long.  No angels, shepherds or cattle lowing.  Just the wonderful staff at the St. Cloud Hospital to oversee a pretty, thankfully, uneventful delivery.  Best present ever.      

We seem to have a knack for landing kid's birthdays on days that are already occupied with other festivities - our first shares a birthday with my wife, and now our youngest shares a birthday with the Son of Man.  When we found out our projected due date was January 1, we figured the odds of him being born on an already observed day were pretty high; between the Christmas and New Year Holidays, our wedding anniversary on January 2nd, and our second daughter's birthday on December 30th.  Poor Havi, along with now being the middle child, she'll be the only one with a birthday on a relatively regular day.  I'm sure that will be good shrink discussion material in her mid-40s.

All things considered, the timing of the birth seemed to work out well logistically.  We were hosting my wife's side of the family starting on Christmas Eve, so there were ample people around to watch after the girls as we dashed to the hospital - in a one horse open sleigh of course.  It was probably the commotion and emotion of having a dozen extra people in our house that set my wife into labor.  Interesting to note though, the actual day of Christ's birth is relatively unknown, and December 25th seemed to be picked somewhat arbitrarily.  The secular notion of Santa Claus coming on Christmas Eve wasn't conjectured until the mid 19th century.  One of the students I used to work with had a Christmas birthday, and while she said it was kind of a drag growing up, it was nice to always be able to spend your birthday with family.  I'm hopeful he'll have a similar mindset someday.

Now that we're home from the hospital, we're getting abruptly reacquainted to what life is like with a newborn - exhaustively amazing.  Newborns can be a relatively fickle group to entertain.  This was one of the most eye-opening things I learned after our first child was born.  Newborns sleep a lot, I figured, and I'll have all of this free time to be productive.  Wrong.  Newborns take a crapload of uninterrupted time being held (in insanely uncomfortable positions), snuggled, rocked, driven around in the car, etc.  The other night, I was playing a fun game with Gus (as we've taken to calling him when we're lazy) while we were trying to put him down for the night.  After wrapping him up like the mandated baby burrito and putting him in his cradle, I would shut off the lights and get into bed.  I'd then count the number of seconds I could lay there before he would start crying again and need to be picked up, only to subsequently fall fast asleep in my arms.  The highest I got was 300, which I actually thought wasn't too bad.    

Luckily our girls have been pretty enamored with him.  Isla is a mini-mom, always wanting to hold him, read books to him and sing her made up songs to him.  The fact that Havi has held him a couple of times and hasn't attempted to scratch his eyes out has been deemed a success.  We're also very fortunate to have Jess' mom, who is essentially on her way to canonization, staying with us for a few days to pamper us with gourmet meals and warm company.  Still, newborns are tiring.  Whether it is your first or your third.  With two other young children at home in need of your time, energy and resources, it creates a whole new dynamic - stay tuned for later post on that.  In the meantime, you'll have to forgive me if the updates don't come as frequently as previous ones.                

Hopefully your Holidays have been as Happy as ours.  Hopefully they've been a little more restful.

I will only sleep if you hold me or watch me.
Try to put me down and turn your back, and I'm crying.

Baby Brother Gus!


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