Monday, November 9, 2009

Some updates

Things have been wild and wooly around here now that we're a family of 5! There has been a lot going on, so many things I've thought, "Oh, I should post about that on my blog" and then the moment is gone, eaten up by a baby needing to be nursed or four year old twins needing attention or dinner needing to be made...

But I have a quick minute now, everyone is napping at the same time unbelievably, so here are a few choice updates:

The girls have been slowly adjusting to life with a new baby in the house. The adjustment has been harder than I thought it would be. I see the merit to having kids very close in age. Although more physically demanding, the emotional/behavioral toll is probably much less intense. The girls are old enough and smart enough to realize just how badly their world has been rocked by Sam's arrival. Hannah's reaction has been to be extra whiny and cry a lot, whereas Isabelle's has been more of defiant/angry behavior. Neither is a whole lot of fun and both have really taxed our parenting strategies. Not to mention trying to work through these behaviors while I'm sleep deprived! I think things are getting better, but it has not been easy. Some comments the girls have made really shed light on what's going on in their minds as they process things:

  • "Is that ANOTHER package for Sam?" as I pick up the mail and in it is, yes, another baby gift for Sam. The only redeeming thing has been that their birthday was not long after he was born, so they had a pretty steady stream of gifts coming in right around the same time as well. But it didn't seem to matter much. Each gift that came for him was noted with a great deal of scrutiny and I'm sure I paid for it later in some kind of bad behavior or another.
  • "I want to be a baby again." This one needs no explanation.
  • "Mommy, please put Sam down. He doesn't need to eat again."
  • "It's really nice to have special time JUST with Mommy. NOT with Isabelle, and NOT with Sam. JUST Mommy and Hannah."
That last comment refers to the fact that we're trying to set aside special time with each of the girls. I recently started to pump so that B or someone else can give Sam a bottle and I can get out without him. Those times when it's just the girls and I are so special and I think they have made a big difference for all of us. And it seems so EASY! I forget what it was like, before I got pregnant. And I do miss those days. It's definitely MUCH harder to get out and about and do things with all 3 of them. In fact, I really don't do much, just me and the 3 kids by ourselves. I haven't figured out all of the logistics and it's just too much effort. There are a few small outings that we can manage, but otherwise we hang around the house or do things in smaller groups. Thankfully the girls are in school 3 mornings a week so that gets them out of the house!

Having Sam has definitely brought up some more grief around Hannah's CP. I find myself thinking, fairly often, how easy it would be if only she were more independently mobile. It's been awhile since I've spun the "what if" wheel and it's really a useless exercise because it only serves to make me sad. But at certain times, when it's so clear that life is that much harder because Hannah has CP, I find myself going down that path again.

I also watch Sam like a hawk, to see if he is developing typically. I see him moving his little arms and legs around, flexing his feet, wiggling his toes, and I think, "Is that all normal? Is there any high tone there?" Earlier on, I was worried he wasn't really making eye contact and had concerns about his vision. But even though I am more worried than I might be if we didn't have the experience we did with the girls, I also feel more relaxed in general about Sam's caretaking. I'm not sure which came first: his mellow attitude or mine. He is definitely a pretty easy baby in temperament but I am also most certainly more relaxed than I ever was with the girls. I don't feel like I need to spend every spare minute stimulating him, positioning him properly, worrying about how much he ate, trying to get him to sleep, etc. It's really nice to be freed from those obsessions.

So things in our family are different, in new and challenging ways. They're also fun. It's really nice to have a mellow baby to snuggle up with and I cherish those quiet times with Sam, when I can really be in baby mode. It's also fun to see how the girls are interacting with him. Despite all of their acting out toward me, they still remain interested in playing with and helping to take care of Sam. And I think as we all continue to adjust to this new life, we'll feel like it was always this way.

1 comment:

Heather said...

Adding the third child in the mix really shook things up at our house too. One of the hardest things was not being able to pick up and go. Talk about cabin fever. I was dying to get out but dragging three kids around even if it was for a "fun" activity, wasn't so fun. I use to think I was fairly patient but man, I admit it, I'm a grouch.

We're expecting baby 4 in March (oops!) and I'm a bit nervous...I think with good reason. But I appreciate your comment about not going down the "how much easier it would be if CP wasn't in our life" road. That's a point I need to remember as I anticipate this new babe. It really doesn't help; life is what it is. Anyway, good luck.