I think that Owain was young enough to have an instinct that we were having a baby. One of the signs that Ariel would be joining us soon, was Owain's sudden need for extra attention. The week before she was born, he started crawling up to me and wanting to cuddle on the couch and take a nap. He would just wrap his legs around the baby belly and fall asleep. I think that some how he knew that he wouldn't be the youngest baby of the family any more.
He doesn't seem to be phased at all by Ariel. He is curious and will come and try to play with her, but he really does not seem to be put out by her. He just goes about his business as if today is just another day, and now we have another baby living with us. It does seem like he is putting an extra effort into being super cute though! I don't see any hurt feelings, anger or frustration in him the way that I did with my oldest when I brought home a new sibling. When he does get my attention for an extended period of time, he pulls out all of his cutest faces, moves and babbles non-stop. He is very patient for a 15 month old, much more so than my 3 year old.
I think my 3 year old was concerned that when Ariel was born that she would need surgery like Owain and that we would be spending our days in the PICU. The other day, I was changing Ariel and he looked at her chest and said "Look, Ariel is not not broken, her Heart is fixed". He was almost 2 when Owain was born, but he remembers everything we went through to 'fix' Owain's Heart. He wasn't old enough to understand everything that was going on, so we told him that Owain had a broken Heart and that the Doctors had to fix it.
I have mentioned before how the month before Owain's first birthday, along with his birthday, the anniversary of his surgery, the entire month of May, and the Heart Center picnic were hard on me emotionally. Every time I turned around something brought back memories and before I knew it I was walking round the house, store or where ever crying. Ariel's birth has brought another whole set of memories...along with lack of memories. Like the day I realized that Ariel was 9 days old, I lost it when I thought about the fact that at 9 days old Owain had Open Heart surgery. When she was discharged and we where leaving the hospital to go home I looked down at her and thought about how when Owain left the same hospital he was transported in the NETS Van and I didn't see him again for almost 12 hours after that. As I crawl across my bed to get to her bassinet for middle of the night feedings it occurs to me that I never had to do this for Owain because he was almost a month old when he came home and pretty much slept through the night.
There are all sorts of little things that I do with Ariel that I suddenly realize I never had the chance to do with Owain and I have found myself mourning for the loss of things I missed out on with him. This is yet another thing that has caught me off guard and I was not expecting. I look at him now, and it is so hard to believe everything that he went through. It is hard to believe that he almost didn't make it. He is so amazingly healthy right now. No, he will never be completely 'healthy', he will never be able to play any high impact sports, he will never be able to do many things that could get his heart rate too high and put too much stress on his heart, but he has so many other options in life. He is strong, happy and is here to be loved by is big brothers and little sister. He is an amazing little boy and is one of my biggest inspirations. I find myself feeling a little silly to be crying over the fact that I didn't get to be both irritated by those exhausting middle of the night feedings that never end and blessed by those precious moments spent alone for those magical middle of the night feedings that pass by so quickly.
I am not sure how many more things will pop up unexpectedly and trigger those emotions and experiences that I thought I got over almost a year ago. I don't know for sure that there will be any more moments where I find myself driving down the road crying because of a smell, a song or something one of my older children say. I know that today Owain is happy and healthy, that he loves bananas, carrots and taking apart his brothers Thomas the Tank Engine train tracks, he is learning to walk, cutting his back teeth and he loves to dance, play in the sink and flood my kitchen when he takes a bath, he is gentle with Ariel when he rubs her head, and smacks her when he wants to play and she just lays there(not hard enough to hurt her though!!), he can tackle his 5 year old brother and is so strong that diaper changes have become wrestling matches, his favorite word is Mama and giggles with glee when we play, he sleeps through the night, wants to go to bed every night by 8 and almost always finishes his food. He might have had a rough start, scarred us silly and is one of the reasons for our current financial difficulties, but everything that he has gone through in the past 15 months has made him what he is today, and that to me is perfect.