Four is a lot of kids.
And when you introduce the level of change that a new baby will bring to a household, the flaws in everyone’s personalities are given a chance to put their best foot forward.
Darling daughter is extra needy and bossy and being extra miserable to her three year old brother. This compounds because she’s smart enough and kind enough to know that she’s being a little horror, and feels bad about it, so her behaviour gets even worse and she becomes not only bossy and miserable but becomes quite a soppy sook as well. Super fun stuff.
Adam is very enamoured with the baby most of the time, and we let him help with the baby and hold him (supervised) a lot. He’s on an emotional roller coaster ride most of the time, so enter newborn baby and changes in arrangements including the fact he’s no longer allowed to sneak down and make himself at home in mom and dad’s bed at 3:00am, and you’ve got a recipe for a fairly angst ridden toddler on your hands.
Daniel has probably risen to the challenges of the newest family member with the most style. He’s been great at encouraging Adam and telling him what a good job he’s been doing. He’s been patient with his parents, and kind to his siblings. The only real problem is the already limited amount of supervision our oldest child tends to get has decreased even further. It is school holidays, so we’ve relied on him to keep his personal hygiene regime in check, and every morning tell him to hop in the shower and brush his teeth, assuming it was happening. It wasn’t. And We sent him off to a playdate smelling like a homeless man last week. Sigh. I’m not going to feel too bad though, as you only get to be a 9 year old boy once, and I am sure that being able to wallow in your own filth probably plays some useful part in the successful navigation of this stage in a man’s life. Or at least that is what I am telling myself.
And then. There’s the baby.
He wears the same onsie ALL DAY, and on the days that we’re home he might even just stay in his nappy and a blanket. I breast feed. Not because I feel I have to, or the breast-feeding brigade has changed my opinion about it in any way, but because I’ve done this enough times to know that it can be really hard to start out with, but a much easier option in the long run for me. It also means I can double up on the calories I take in. So the fact it is good for baby is a lovely bonus, but I breastfeed because I am lazy, plain and simple. And I have to take a moment to vehemently defend any woman’s right to make that decision for herself. Formula or boob, it is simply none of my business. I do what I do and what works for me, and there are some wonderful mother’s out there doing their thing their way, and probably quite differently. Power to them.
We also co-sleep. That would be to the horror of many people, but it’s easier, and that’s how we roll. He has a naturesway hammock and I try desperately to settle him in it, but he’s happier between his father and I and it means he’s right there, and not even at arms length for night feeds which his father tends to sleep through. If we are extra tired or have had a drink (even one with dinner) he sleeps in his own bed, otherwise, he’s in with us. Easier.
So today, my mother has taken the older children to clip and climb for the morning, so I have some time to sit down and reflect on how things are going and share it in my blog.
I’m still in my towel with James snuggled in hand-me-down blankets beside me and Food Television playing in the background.
I have no idea what I am doing or how I will manage to do any of the many things I have committed to doing in the next days, weeks and months. I still freak out a bit every time we go out as I feel so much safer cocooned in the comfort of my own familiar room.
But venture out I do. I embrace the fear and keep on moving.
The biggest differences between the first time I did this and the fourth are as follows:
1) First time we read all the books and thought we were fairly well prepared and had this parenting thing in the bag… After four very different pregnancies and exceedingly unique babies, we have no idea what to expect or how we’re going to deal with anything until it happens, and that’s actually perfectly fine.
2) First time, I gave a toss what people thought. I wanted to hear that I was doing a good job as a mum. This time, I’d have to put in a great deal of effort to care any less what other people think about how I am managing. I’m too busy switching from survival mode to extreme exhaustion or hormone soaked confusion and daydreams… But we’re good. We’re a family, we’re all being pushed to our limits, but we’re good. And we Love each other.
So I’ll leave it there.
I need to get out of the house soon or I may never leave and I’ve arranged to meet some friends tonight and go to the MTV Veejay party in town for an hour or two, and then swing by a friend’s birthday on the way home, which means I get to slap on a dress and some heels and feel human for a brief space in time. I’ll take that opportunity! I’ll take it with both hands thank you very much! So Grumpy gets a bundle of sweet baby James and I get to feel like an actual grown up human for a little while.
I’ll let you know how it goes.
Have a great weekend everyone.