I feel like I’m supposed to stick a stake a ground and speak about this great and mighty tectonic shift in our realities..this move from two kids to three. Because yes, there has been this monumental shift in our lives- in our home- we’ve added another child, and are now officially outnumbered. Although, my mom may argue we still have a spare arm bwtn mike and myself. But in truth,and at the risk of sounding clichéd,its as if we are as it was always meant to be ….as if she’s always been here.
Maybe it’s all in my head that this is how it’s supposed to be,maybe it’s because of how calm she is that has made this transition almost seamless. Maybe it’s the newborn induced love drunk state or maybe it’s because of all this anticipation and talk of a life with her in it,in the everyday for nine months, has made it so normal.
Even though right now, nothing is normal. . And I mean nothing. Absolutely nothing .That newborn blur is real,yo. And let’s not even play, Those breastfeeding tears are real and taxing on your very fibre, and the entire household. MAN, It’ll eat your soul if you let it.
But, as stated before, at the same time I’m also trying my best to take it all in. To slow the time down and just drink all of her in..by the way,for the record, since I’m an imagery person, you must know that in my head, I’m drinking her all in, like straight from the bottle. And yet, this time thing is a battle I’m just never gonna win. Only 20 days in (I wrote this then and have been trying to post it ever since) and I’m already fretting over where did the time fly,I only just gave birth to her, right? (Time is a concept Im still trying to get to grips with, so I looked baffled everytime my hubby informs me that my orientation of what day of the week is out by at least 2 days.)
I mean, Yuriko-Mae’s froggy leg’s are still perfectly folded with her feet under her bum, as if still in my belly, her milk breath and baby neck with a thousand glorious skin folds still mesmerize me. Tufty hair and curious floating eyes that make my heart skip a beat when she lands them on me and rewards me with a smile. And let’s not forget her drunk on boob naps,and gassy smiles. They’re all still there but slowly disappearing, and transforming. And I know how sneaky that transformation is in the time lapse stakes.
So, yes, 20 days in and as with every new baby, you realize and learn a few new things.
I’ve realised as much as you explain things to six year olds, and as mature as they seem to be, sometimes the reality is harder for them to deal with, no matter how well you try to explain things. And in real life when you’re exhausted, shit can hit the fan, and you don’t always have the patience. And more love needs to be poured into that cup than anticipated.
I’ve also learnt that love is resilient and my big girl can teach me alot about forgiveness…And also remind me of how pivotal our reactions to them as adults, as their parents, have an effect on their self-perceptions and self esteem. There’s alot of wisdom in that little one of ours. Although,hot damn, does she still need time to get a hang of that how to “use your #$&* ears” thing!! I’m praying to the patience gods for an extra dose this month.
I’ve also learnt that sometimes the middle child will surprise you, and can actually be the most patient and understanding of the lot. (Thats inclusive of Mikey and me)And that she in fact can teach me alot about motherhood with her candor and views on what MOTHERS are supposed to do n act like when she observes you in your engulfed state of motherhood. (Like, “MOM! Thats not what a real mommy would do!”…geecee-em, talk about being shut down!) She’s pretty direct with her words and always listening and always so bloody right! (I mean for someone with the shorted fuse herself,she sure understood alot about the better path to choose)
The fact that she also verbalises what a joy and blessing Yuriko-Mae is to this family so beautifully, astounds me and reminds me of the wisdom little three year olds still possess. And makes me so bloody happy too!! She really has suprised us with just how wonderfully she is adapting to this.
I’ve also learnt that whilst sleep deprivation is expected, there’s just no escaping the sand paper on brain effect it still can have on you. Especially at 4 in the morning when your hands feel like they’re gonna fall off from all the burping. Also, winding? That crazy dance gets old real quick. Add in the fact that I have an oversupply of milk and my milk gushes out too fast and almost always chokes my babies and, thus ensures that ALL my babies will suffer from winds and cramps? Well, let’s just say, it can be soul destroying trying to win that battle of cramps for my littles.
I’ve also learnt that trying to do all the fun things right now with all my kids gets a bit tricky. Now is the time to keep it slow. And that there will be time and energy for all of that and more…I mean we are yet to leave the house with all three in tow… Sad? Not really…we’ve had no need yet.
Although,I still can’t help myself sometimes…
I’ve also learnt that when you can’t deliver on cookie making with your girls, it’s still a win when grandma steps in and takes that over. It’s better in fact,cause they get extra grandma time. I get to watch them enjoy each other and I get to just be by their side…and hell’s,man,grandma is the original cookie master Baker,so we all win in this scenario. Can you say, “Peanut butter cookies all day, err day!!!”?!
But in these 20 days, that as hard as they can be,I realise and remember I love these early days..its so precious and fleeting. I love cradling this tiny being.
With its sweet little thistle head that’s just far too big for its frame. Her small round bum, that sticks out from the end of the adorable curve of her tiny little back.
Her moaning and grunting noises she makes as she tries to find her sweet spot on my chest. I know this is not going to be here for long and I know how suprised I was with the last two, to discover as to just how quickly that stage passed. So ive learnt a deeper acceptance about this sacred time with a fresh new little being, that cannot be wasted in trying to get it all perfect and right.
Newborns have a profound ability to make you live in the moment. In the present. And doing only what is needed of me at this very instant. Thankfully I have a hubby who can shoulder all the responsibility to allow me to focus like this.
Sometimes I do get other things squeezed in. (Like this here post,hello!) But also sometimes I get frustrated cause I cannot get anything else done. But then mybabyreminds me,really what else needs to be done??? What else is more important? I’ll tell you: nothing. And this time, I’m learning to let go and just be all that I need to be for this little girl and my other other girls…work in progress but it’s so much more relaxed t
I’ve also learnt that whilst having three kids makes date nights tricky and a thought far from a posibility, sometimes you can squeeze in spontaneous dates. Case in point, last weekMike and I went off to the chemist whilst my mom had the other two. But with Yuriko fast asleep in her baby wrap on, we decided to stop off and have a coffee and waffle. We were chilled, relaxed, catching up on all the chats of life and silly humour – uninterupted for almost two hours! Absolute bliss! Madam only woke up in her carseat when we got home. Bless you child! our parent tanks were topped up again, and ready for another week of this crazy juggle.
SO..how is it? Going from two to three. Like I said, some days so natural and normal, like we’ve been doing this all the time, even if it’s a bit crazy and loud at times. It’s just as had pictured, bustling, energetic, happy.
And other days, when we’re both so freakin exhausted, and dont understand what the hell has made us so tired, we’re both like, “oh, yes, right…three kids.” There’s a new dynamic that we need to acclimatize to, and I think we’re getting there. I have no doubt we’ll get there. But I also know that it wil remain in flux, as the kids grow, and as we all change and grow up in this life, the dynamics will shift again. And we’ll have to shift again, and learn how to do it all over again. Exciting, isnt it?
I think so!(ALthough, Mike will tell you he has other words to describe it.) 🙂
But yes, lets not gloss over completely that everyone has to still be willing to make this work, lest we want to descend into pure dark chaos. So what has helped keep us ticking over?
Aside from my incredible mother who stayed with us for the initial first 4 days and then for another 4 days the following week, and was in those trenches with us, rushing her cups of tea right along with me. She raced through her breakfast to come help with finger feeds and/or hold baby while I got my pumping in. Fed us, entertained the kids, took care of story time and generally kept our sanity in Check through it all. She was amazing, and really what kept it all going while Mike and I dealt with things.
BUT, aside from having superwoman at your side,what worked for us was:
Use your words. Aka openly validate your other kids. Each kid needs to be made to feel important. Yes, sure the baby needs you and depends on you for pure survivial right now. Less so with the otherkids, but thats not how they seeit. They need to be made to feel like the love has not lessened, and that thier importance has not dwindled with the coming of the new little one. hence, validate them. Let them know how much spending time with them is fun. say the words to let them know. When baby cries, say out loud to baby, “just hold on baby, Im coming, Im justbusy with Morgan-Lee. You’ll have to wait a bit.” Even if it’s only a minute or 30 seconds, letting theother kid know that sometimes they take priority, andnot just one little beasty in the house, does help them.
Choose one or two rooms to keep in check.
My mom shared this with me. I was fretting so about my WHOLE house and how it was just upside down, and that with a baby and no actual domestic help, Im losing a battle against dust and dirt. ANd also worried about having guests over to meet Yuriko, and being embarrassed about the state of our home.
Mike takes care of the kitchen and the , I take care of our bedroom, and we kind of split the lounge – whoever gets the chance/who’s hands are the most free. And so far, thats working for us.
Be ok with a certain level of mess: I know,not everyone’s comfy levels agree with this.but our sanity was important. It’s ok that our home wont be featured in some.magazine right now…or ever.
Keep the lines of communcaton flowing. it’s easy to be swept up in this hard and fast current of new baby. Especially the first few weeks. it’s easy to get caught up in the how hard and how exhausting this all is. It’s easy for the one at home to have resentment for other, thinking they’re stuck whilst the other gets an “out”. Its easy for the one away at work to find an out, or to find distraction in it, or even better energy in something/someone else at work, instead of at home. But it’s important to focus on the good, speak of the gratitude that you both know you have in your hearts and verbally validate out loud how well you’re both doing. Focus on whats important to both of you, not just for the family, but as a couple. And above all, be soft on each other. It’s so easy to get caught up in that age old fight over who’s doing more and who’s doing less- even if that wasn’t even what you started off debating in the first place.
Touch – don’t forget we’re beings of love and need each other’s touch. “How was day?” vs “how was your day, sweetheart?” while caressing your partners shoulder or waist is vastly different. Adding the love touch, reenforces the connection youre trying to maintain. It slows the moment down, and says, Im actually really interested in the answer, and WANT to know how you are. Not just being polite and following social norms.
Eye contact over eyes on phone screen is of course also a major win. PUT THE PHONE DOWN. Im definitely thinking of reinstating the phones in a box/drawer once normal routine is back in the house.
Just get the wrap. Baby wearing: I’m talking baby wearing like slings,wraps,carriers,whatever. Just wear baby. You won’t be sorry. Especially when you have other older siblings to tend to. A 6 and 3 year old still need mama to get down on her knees and play with them. Swim like mermaids in the lounge, paint epic masterpieces and build mighty towers that can later be used as swords. Also, if you have a particularly clingy baby, this frees you up, gives you your two hands back to make a sandwich for you and your other kids, and to move around without feelng stuck. It’s always a win
Take time to marvel: Take the time to marvel at the gifts that you’ve been blessed with. Take delight in your children, in their noise, in their joy. In their enjoyment of each other. In their curiosity. Just stop and stare. Take congnisance of it all. How small they are, how much they enjoy each other, and how those beautiful ties that bind are slowly taking hold. It truly is marvelous.
And thats it. I know things will change up again soon, and we’ll be scratchin our heads again as to how to make it work. And thats ok, all part of it. I think the main thread though, that really makes all of it work is love. Love makes you WANT to make it work. Love makes youpush through times. Love makes you see it as joy’s work and not as a schlep or pain. Love makes you want to fix it. No matter how many times it comes undone. Man, I say, just do all things in love, and no matter how nuts it gets, you just cant go wrong…