We went and did it. We had another kid! Calvin Dán was born healthy and hale in April 2011. Hoang did great throughout the process it went much quicker than Damian – despite Calvin being almost a pound and a half bigger. I sat here a while wondering for a while what I’d write about regarding this new baby. After all, Damian’s Smith-Magenis Syndrome is so fascinating (for lack of a better term) and our experience with him has been such a unique rollercoaster, we don’t know what it’s like to have a typical (these days, we don’t say “normal”) kid. We only know Damian.
Oh! our little Damian.
Calvin is only 11 days old as I write this, so who knows what lurks ahead with him and us. With one special needs kid, it’s impossible not to wonder if Calvin has some unknown issue at this point. But so far, he’s doing great. He’s strong (Damian had hypotonia) and has a voracious appetite. He holds his head up (Damian didn’t) and sleeps quietly (Damian didn’t.) With Damian, we thought what we had was perfectly normal. Now we know better – and now we’re learning how other newborns are.
Calvin’s middle name, Dán, is not from my college roommate Dan. Lots of thought goes into these things from my father-in-law and Dán, pronounced in a way I can’t replicate on this page (or with my mouth) has an important meaning. It’s not a super-typical Vietnamese name (it has an accent on the D that I can’t replicate in WordPress without installing a bunch of Vietnamese code, but it basically tells the speaker the D is said like you’d pretty much normally say it), and I’ve come to really love it after initially thinking it was too… too white. After all, it IS just Dan when we usually write it. And let’s face it, “Dan” is probably a weird middle name to most people.
As he did with Damian (Vinh), my father-in-law wrote us a very nice, very heartfelt letter. He wrote, among other things, “… And Dan means the beginning or ‘first appearance.’ Therefore, the name has a symbolic meaning of ‘dawn’ which brings hope and better things in the future.” Initially, I admit I was sort of hurt by this – that is, I was wondering if he was comparing Calvin’s future with Damian’s and hoping it would be “better.” But now, upon reflection, I don’t feel that way. My in-laws love Damian silly and despite cultural differences, a language barrier and a decided lack of genetics experience, they’re great with him and have done their best to understand his syndrome.
So here we are… Beginning a new journey with a new beautiful son. My dreams of hiking and camping with my boy have been renewed. The hopes and dreams all new parents have for their children are now squarely on the furry little shoulders of Calvin. We certainly have plenty of hopes and dreams for Damian, and I sure will go hiking and camping with him, but those starry-eyed daydreams we once had for Damian five years ago have been altered out of necessity. We have a whole new set of expectations and maybe this time we’ll actually chart Calvin’s milestones. (With Damian, we stored those books away before he was a year old.) We are hoping for a whole new experience; not a better experience, but a new and different one.
I have no idea how these Calvin pages will evolve over time or the tone they’ll take – and that’s the beauty of being a parent, isn’t it?