Somehow it has already been two whole weeks since Lincoln arrived on the scene and turned us into a family of five. In recent days I’ve heard both Ben and I myself tell friends that it feels like we’ve always had three kids, which I guess is a sign that life, in general, is pretty good and things are going well. And it is – they are.
Lincoln’s nursing like a champ (five ounces above birth weight already!) and sleeping pretty well, too (3-4 hours at night, most nights). And because Ben and I are both still home, we’re dividing and conquering as best we can even though our man-to-man parenting moments only come now if some little one is gone to an activity or napping.
Because of all the dividing and conquering, though, I feel like the last two weeks have been a bit of a blur. Somedays I feel like I’ve hardly seen Harrison or held Raegan and then I get all overloaded and weepy on postnatal hormones which is fun. And as much as I’m trying to make time in each day for each of my kids, I’m also trying to take care of myself which means not always getting up with them in the morning or not running around the backyard with them in the afternoon. I mean, seriously. Mama’s gotta rest! I don’t know why I expected to be feeling better by now, but I am still in the exhausted newborn fog. I guess I thought life would be quiet in the weeks after Lincoln’s birth but really?! We have three small children (and they have lots of noisy toys). Life is far from quiet! So I’m tired, and still emotional to the extremes, both high (fit to burst with pride and love for my family!) and low (pulling my hair out because no one ever listens!). But I think at two weeks as a family of five, this is probably pretty normal.
I must also take into consideration the fact that I was full of crap when I said I could let all the house stuff go after Baby came. You know, not worry about the laundry or the dishes, etc. or leave it up to someone else. Well, Ben’s busy chasing the older two and I’m busy nursing the newest one and we’re both caught up in trying to get through the I-think-our-white-board-exploded list of “things” going on in our world each day, so unless House Elves really exist and someone can hook me up (I promise, I’ll give them socks and let them come and go as they please), the laundry and the dishes still exist. And since no one else is doing them, they remain my responsibility. Trust me, this is no soapbox. If you could see my living room right now, you would not exactly equate the word “clean” with my house, but I am tending to the basics because that’s what needs to be done. Much as I might like to, I can’t nap all day or sit 24/7 in the rocker with Lincoln in my arms; he’s vital to this family but so is everyone else. Their laundry and their dishes and all the other little needs matter. My attention to their care, and my own, matters, and slowly, as we wade through this transition, we are learning what it is like to be five Welschies strong. It takes all of us.
Take this morning, when LT wanted to nurse just after 6 and RL was waking up at the same time (she slept until 7 on Monday; every day since has been 6. Boo!), I had Ben get both older kids and bring them into our room while I sat in the corner rocking chair with Lincoln. Ben and HD read together while RL sat on our bed with a board book on her lap, flipping pages. When Lincoln finished nursing, I handed him off to Ben and all five of us cozied up on the bed to read and sing “Snuggle Puppy” by Sandra Boynton (with Ben’s arms blocking the baby from being smothered in love from Big Brother and Big Sister, of course). It was perfect, even if it lasted for just a few minutes.
Now I have those few minutes stored away in my memory so I can return to them when I start to lose my cool because someone’s yogurt goes flying across the table, or because three musical toys are playing at once, or because I’m so, so tired and there’s no time during the day to catch a nap. Because those minutes warm my heart. They also tell me that in two weeks we’ve made some big strides in figuring out life as five, and even through the mess and white board chaos, we’re definitely doing something right.