I’m asked a lot lately how I’m doing. I feel like that’s a pretty broad question, and it’s hard to know how to answer! But I’ll try.
How is Theodore? He’s adorable, happy, cuddly, and healthy. He’s sleeping great and he is SO very loved by his siblings. He’s a typical baby, in that he needs to eat a lot and he prefers mama to anyone else. How are the older kids? They love their baby brother. They don’t seem jealous at all. Jude is learning how to be gentle!How am I physically? I bounced back quickly after the birth, and I haven’t had any issues with breastfeeding. I am getting good rest at night. I feel like I have most of my energy back, but by the end of the day, I’m worn out. I dare you to find someone who wouldn’t be after taking care of these busy littles all day!
So overall, we’re doing well. I feel like I can’t complain, especially considering what some of my friends have gone through or are currently going through (colic, nursing troubles, etc.). This is a time of adjustment, to be sure, but we’re getting a handle on our new normal.
In all honesty, parenting four kids five and under is challenging! I’m tending to Theodore’s needs (and he has a lot, I mean, he is a baby!), taking care of Jude (since there’s still quite a lot he can’t do for himself), making sure Cordelia doesn’t get lost in the middle (or smear lotion on the couch while I’m not watching), and carrying on lots of intellectually stimulating conversations with Vera (if anyone would like to temporarily take over this job for me, I’m accepting applications). Even though all four of them are close in age, their needs from me vary widely. And because our house does not have an open floor plan, I feel quite divided physically as well as emotionally while I try and care for all of them.
Right now meal times are challenging, since Tad is working through lunch every day as well as several dinners during the week. It’s tricky to figure out how to nurse Theodore while making peanut butter sandwiches with one hand and keeping Jude from crying and keeping the girls out of Tad’s home office. I sometimes don’t eat lunch until the kids are all down for naps! But there’s another blessing… all four of them take naps at the same time (hallelujah amen). So thankful for that!
Our “witching hour” is between 5PM (when I start making dinner) and 7PM (when Tad gets off work). We eat dinner without Tad, but I still have to keep everyone alive until he gets off at 7PM. Around 6:40PM you may find me locked in the bathroom nursing Theodore while the older three try to knock down the door with the intensity of a battering ram. C’est la vie.
But to end on a positive note, some of my favorite moments are:
-when the girls want to hold or help take care of Theodore (they think he is the most precious real-life baby doll they’ve ever seen)
-when Jude asks where the baby is every single morning as soon as he wakes up (we call it “roll call” and it never gets old!)
-when Vera helps entertain Jude (building him a train track or reading him a book)
-when Cordelia and Vera help cheerfully with chores around the house (they thinking cleaning toilets is fun…yes!)
-when I get to snuggle Theodore (I would happily do this all day every day)
As I’m writing this post, the tears are welling up, partly because I feel so, so blessed by my wonderful family, and partly because it’s almost the weekend and I need a nap (or a cup of coffee). That’s the reality of my life right now, and I wouldn’t have it any other way! (Well, maybe I would like to have a full-time housekeeper!)