So the waiting is finally over! My wife gave birth to our beautiful daughter a couple of weeks ago. E is a tiny little peanut and the whole birthing experience from labor to leaving was totally different (maybe more on that another time) from three years ago.
And now we’re home. We decided that we didn’t want to stay at the hospital for too long if possible. Assuming everything was fine, the plan was to spend a day at the hospital and then go back home. The idea was that being at home would mean an easier recovery and we’d be able to spend the time with our son J. Subconsciously though, I think that he was definitely the primary reason for us to come home.
J is a wonderful, and rather demanding toddler. On top of normal toddler quirks and behaviors, he also has sensory input processing issues which, when we aren’t able to help him work through it, can often spiral him out of control. Change of routine is VERY rough for J. A major change like his first time waking up without Mommy (or Daddy) in the house was going to be a tough one.
Plus, you know, factor in the introduction of his new baby sister.
So, my big goal was to help him return to normalcy as quickly as possible. But how could we really, effectively, do that, when normal just did a major change? Mommy and Daddy CAN’T both be attentive non-stop. J is NOT the only kid in the house anymore (okay, if you count our dog as toddler #2, he never was, but that’s beside the point…)
When we were driving home from the hospital, I realized it was Friday and that gave me a hint of an idea. Fortunately, J loves Shabbat. Or, at least, he loves eating challah (playing peek-a-boo with the challah cover), covering his eyes for the candles, and saying “L’Chaim” and clinking glasses. To him, that’s Shabbat, and he really loves it.
So we got home and did our Shabbat routine. I took him out to the grocery store to get challah and grape juice, and then we went back and Skyped with Nana and Saba (my parents). They read him two stories (to J, Skyping Nana and Saba = Reading two stories via computer), and then we got ready for Shabbat. And just as we were about to light the candles, a squeak came out of E’s bassinet. She wanted to be in on it, too.
And that’s how our weekly Shabbat ritual for three seamlessly became a Shabbat ritual for four. We lit the candles, covered our eyes, said the blessings (including blessing our daughter for the first time), ate some challah, and then had a little dinner. The rest of the night wasn’t easy, but I definitely felt like J got a bit relaxed and felt a bit more okay with his baby sister when Shabbat was still able to happen without a hitch.
Frankly, that’s what our Shabbat is all about.