Don’t Forget the Other Kid
If you have other kids, a major challenge when having an heart baby is being as much of an all-inclusive parent as possible. In our case, the twins were both in the NICU and our oldest was with a variety of friends and family early on. What made things crazy was after a few days, Bekah was discharged from the hospital, but obviously our twins were going to stay there. This made things really difficult because we wanted to be at the hospital, and now we’d have to drive 30+ minutes to be there.
It was my wife’s awesome idea to go do something fun with Hudson since we had both been M.I.A. for the whole week. At first I was so-so about the idea since I didn’t want to miss anything with the twins while they were in the NICU, but I didn’t want Hudson to feel left out. As the older brother, he had a big job to do, but he definitely needed some attention too. So the plan was for Bekah to head down to the NICU for the day and I would do some fun stuff with Hudson before going to the NICU later in the day. That sounded like a good plan to me, but I couldn’t decide where to take Hudson. I did some scouring on the interwebz and found the NC Transportation Museum, which is about an hour from us and featured a lot of trains, which is one of Hudson’s obsessions. Even better, I found out you can ride one of the trains with a visit from Santa! So I ordered tickets for the both of us and the next day woke Hudson up and told him I was taking him somewhere special, but that it was a surprise. As most 2 year olds would be, he was super-excited.
We hit the road with enough time to get there for our scheduled train ride. The whole way Hudson kept asking where we were going and I kept telling him it was a surprise, which kept exciting him. I have to tell you, it was a welcome distraction from everything that had been going on and I was really happy to spend time with Hudson. As we got closer to the museum, we got off the exit and went over a few train tracks before pulling into the museum grounds. Hudson was happy about all the train tracks and then said, “Daddy, I wish I could see a train.” I parked the car, turned around in my seat and said, “Well guess what buddy…you’re going to ride on a train!” And his reaction was PRICELESS. He gasped loudly and had this HUGE smile on his face. I’ll never forget it. Then I told him “Oh yeah, and you’ll be riding a train with Santa!” and he went NUTS.
We got out and picked up our tickets and looked at some of the trains on the grounds before our train arrived. Hudson was about to explode:
The conductor helped us aboard and we found a seat before our tickets were punched. As the train started, Hudson was the happiest I’ve ever seen him.
Finally they announced Santa was on his way, and he arrived to the train in this old-school police car. Hudson got a candy cane from Santa’s elves and got to meet Mrs. Claus before the big man himself showed up.
He asked Hudson what he wanted for Christmas…Hudson, being Hudson, clammed up and said nothing lol. I started to talk to Santa and Mrs. Claus about Hudson’s new brothers, and finally Hudson opened up and chatted a bit. Santa gave Hudson an orange, which is apparently a tradition from the depression era: kids would see Santa on a train and he would give them a candy cane and an orange. We spent the next few minutes riding the train and then exploring the museum. Then we went to Steak n Shake for a yummy lunch before heading back on our way. While I was there, I got some good news: Grant was going to be going home! So instead of heading back to the house, I was headed to the hospital so Hudson can meet one of his brothers for the FIRST time!
I gotta tell you, it was an awesome day. Hudson’s joy brought me joy and it was good to get into the Christmas spirit…especially since the thought of Christmas barely crossed my mind that week. And to be honest with you, I think I got more out of that little trip than Hudson did. It was refreshing and I just really needed it. It’s always going to be a challenge to balance the needs of a heart baby with those of your other kids. The only advice you can offer is just try your best. You’re going to be exhausted, you’re going to be emotional, you’re going to be frustrated. But never forget the other kids: take time out to do special things with them and make them feel special too.
Posted on October 29, 2013, in family and tagged babies, CHD, congenital heart defect, HLHS, hypoplastic left heart syndrome, NC Transportation Museum, NICU, other kids, trains. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.