Tuesday, June 23, 2015
One of those clear memories that I can call up at anytime is when I was lying with Kate at her naptime. She reached her fat little hand over to my cheek and said, "Yer perfeck." It is a phrase I use often, along with "I love you." and "You're my favorite." I tell my children they are perfect. It's both hyperbole and the truth. They are not perfectly behaved, but they are perfectly suited for our family. These are the things I do not need to say because all I want is for my kids to hear how loved and valued they are regardless of the parent-child power struggle of the moment.
Today was a day where most things out of my control were yucky, but it was a great day. It was great because our kids were helpful. It was great because I managed to be patient. It was great because we all found ways to encourage one another. I awoke feeling the anxiety that only productivity can abate. I longed to rush about doing laundry, fixing myself up, and getting Mae ready. I knew it was the only way I would be able to take my coffee to a quiet corner and be still with the Lord. Of course, it wasn't God's plan for my morning, and lo, Scott felt yucky and Mae's rash looked scary, and Becket needed to cluster feed.
By the grace of God I was able to meet needs and even express my anxiety calmly to Scott. Being heard was enough to get me through the early part of the morning. Molly awoke to the bad news that her sleeping in had led to the great responsibility of emptying the dishwasher. Normally, Molly would feed the dog and Charlotte would empty the dishwasher, but the dog was hungry and C was awake. Molly felt crumby and weepy, and I folded on the dishwasher chore, but when I went into the kitchen it was emptied by Molly, who explained she felt compelled to "do the right thing to help our family."
Our doctor appointment was midday, and I found Charlotte to be eager to help at every turn. Whether she was chasing Mae or holding Becket, she was ready to serve without being asked. She was alert and engaged and never interrupted with selfish questions. We discovered Mae has a viral infection and a staph infection, so I had a lot of questions and concerns which were addressed with no interruptions thanks to Charlotte. On the way home she did not ask to get lunch at the drive through though she was hungry. What a gem!
Kate also awoke feeling crumby. That coupled with the adolescence that has poked its head into our lives, I did not know what the day would bring from her. What it brought was a request to do laundry so she could "relax". It brought the desire to make her own dinner. It brought a desire to care for Becket when he was squirmy from being full, but wanting to nurse for comfort. Never mind the hail outside, life was great indoors.
Today when I was asked if we planned more children, I found myself thinking, "Have you met these wonderful people?!" I'm 3 weeks from delivery and each of these beautiful kids have made life better in every imaginable way. Life can be hard, but my young children remind me daily that we can make it better for one another. Life can be overwhelming, but my young children show that we can bear the burdens of one another. Life can be exhausting, but my young children can be an example of how to persevere. I will never take credit for these beautiful souls, but I am grateful to be a witness. They are, indeed, perfect*.
*Paul is visiting family, and Mae napped well, thus contributing to this perfection, God love them.
Friday, June 12, 2015
It is 0517. I am writing on my iPad, where there is no spell check, so God help this. Becket woke up at 0356, I have no idea when he ate last. The last two nights I have gone to bed at 9 ish and Scott has fed B a pumped bottle. It has been glorious. I wish all new mothers this amount of sleep. I have not cried for a sillly reason in like 5 days. I think my hormones like sleep. After he ate and went back to bed, I pumped a full 3oz, which makes me feel like a nursing rock star and also makes me nervous that I am going to get mastiitis from over production. This is because I just had a baby and all good things are tempered with irrational worry. However, because he is number 6, I do not spend too much time on the worry and kinda laugh about it to myself because it is a bit tedious to be your own Debbie Downer.
I wrote Becket's birth story down, but decided not to publish it. No one but Becket and I care, let us be honest about that. I mean, I got it out of my system with my family and close friends, so that should be enough until my daughters and their friends start having babies. That is when I get to whip out 6 full birth stories like every other post-menopausal woman at a baby shower is compelled to do. I get to talk about head size and labor length and false labor and DRAMA. I am so looking forward to it! I am also glad I wrote all of them down. My future daughters-in-law are going to love me as I regale them with tales of woe. Except Becket has been a really beautiful newborn, and I wish his personality for all my kids' kids.
A strange calm has come with not being pregnant anymore. So far, since his birth, the life drama has been amped up. One kid has a broken toe, or rather, we think she does because we are now those parents who take their kid to the athletic trainer next door rather than the hospital and breath a sigh of relief when he says to splint it and give it a week before we worry. (So far so good, definitely not the foot that is broken.) Another kid was truly nearly run down at Target until I smacked the back of the car and screamed for the woman to stop. Luckily, she was a human being who was freaked out instead of angry and we hugged because neither one of us really cared who was at fault as long as no one was hurt or killed. That same kid has a wicked ear infection from our negligence after swimming. Oops. Even with all of that, the thing that bothered me the most this week was the dog getting out and pooping on a neighbor's yard. That was the worst because I like my neighbors, and though I like my dog, I am infuriated by her need to roam.
Part of my serenity is from nursing Becket. He is such a beautiful specimen to gaze upon while he eats. He has the perfect head, the perfect amount of fuzz on his head, perfectly shaped ears, and he has dimples that are visible while he eats. He also has that look of intesity that prompts everyone to call him an "old soul". He gazes right back with a look of Secret Knowledge and it just sucks the anxiety right out of the room.
The big kids are amazing too. There really is nothing like having another baby to bring out how wonderful the siblings are. They love him, and they want to care for him. I have been asked to pump more so that they can feed him, and when I explain that it is good for him to nurse, they accept it well because they want what is best for him. They have made their own breakfast and lunch every day since Scott has gone back to work. Kate made the salad for dinner last night. They pick up their rooms after breakfast every single day without complaint, and even offer to put Mae on the potty when I am nursing and she has gotten up from her nap. I am bribing them, yes, but they are receptive to the bribes, and that isn't always the case.
I am also caught up on laundry. My mother-in-law made this happen while she was here, and I have kept it going. It is one of those things that takes a total of maybe 20 full minutes a day, but is so worth doing every. single. day. Now, I do have some help if we get backed up by a Mariana accident. She is potty training, and she is weird about poop now, so that can get messy. Kate, Charlotte and Molly will help fold clothes because they are good kids, and if they are not, I use folding clothes instead of time outs. Hey, if you are getting difficult you do not get a break, you get an assignment.
So this is life with Becket so far. There will be ups and downs coming, I am sure. Getting Mae to an independent place with the bathroom is weighing on me a little thanks to the school deadline, but I need to place that in God's hands. I am practicing detachment on that front. Her speech has really taken off, and she understands that Becket is the baby that was in my belly, which is far more important than her ability to pull her pants up and down on her own. We have a lot scheduled this summer, which I am praying is a positive thing that keeps us moving through the tough days, rather than an overwhelming thing that makes me want to hunker down and eat ice cream. Then again, there are worse things than ice cream....