Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The New Normal

Now that I've (finally) updated that we had the baby, the next logical post is how we are all adjusting. We're 8 weeks in at this point, and while I feel that we all have adjusted well, I can't really say for sure just yet! We've had so much going on since Nathaniel's birth that we still haven't really settled in to the "new normal" yet. We had family staying with us when Nathaniel was 10 days old. Then Josh went back to work when he was 3 weeks old. He planned to take 4 off, but went back early because I felt like I had a good handle on things. So I had a week at home with all three by myself and we stayed pretty busy seeing friends and doing different things. Then Lexi and Tiernan came to visit for a week so I had a lot of help there. Three days after they left, Josh's Dad and stepmom came to visit. So again I had help! Then 4 days after they left, the "big kids" Audrey and JJ left to spend a week at their grandma's in New Jersey! So in all those eight weeks, I think I've had a total of 2.5 weeks alone with the kids. I've been very lucky to have all the help, because I think I would have lost it by now without everyone!
However, in those weeks that I've been alone with the kids, I've learned A LOT:
1. Don't ever take 3 kids under 4 years old to Chuck-e-Cheese by yourself. Everyone will leave in tears.

2. Also the playground. It is a challenge.

3. Frozen meals and places that deliver dinner are a lifesaver (thanks to EVERYONE who made and brought us meals!!).

4. The third baby doesn't really need to be bathed that much. ;)

5. Baby wearing is key to survival with three little ones.

6. Two kids in diapers = changing a diaper every hour, at least.

7. Preparing to go anywhere takes 2 hours.
That's the tough stuff. Audrey is pretty easy, except that I have to get out of the house with her because of her energy level. She can't stay inside all day. This is hard because, as I said above, going fun places with all three of them is really hard. JJ runs in one direction, Audrey in the other, and then the baby starts crying. Always. And then Audrey realizes she has to use the bathroom (a PUBLIC bathroom, while holding JJs hand and wearing the baby on my chest), and then JJ needs a diaper change. OVERWHELMING.
JJ is the hardest one right now of the three. He's at the BEST age - my favorite. But part of this age is that they are so interested in everything and so curious, yet they aren't mature enough to realize danger. They still can't control impulses. Which means when something catches his eye, he pursues it immediately. This is why people put leashes on their kids. Not saying I'm there (YET) but I can see why they do it.
Nathaniel is easy in some ways because he still sleeps a lot. Unfortunately, he doesn't like to sleep in the car seat, which means that our outings are often set to a soundtrack of screaming baby. What was that, Target cashier? I can't hear you just take my credit card its fine. I realize now that the only way to make this better is to start wearing him in the carrier more when we go out. I don't prefer it, but both at home and when we're out, it seems to make the most sense and keep him happy, so that's where we are.
Now for the fun stuff! The big kids LOVE their baby. I knew Audrey would. She liked talking to him in my belly, kissing him, etc. So when he was born and she got over her disappointment that he wasn't a girl (poor thing), she started loving on him right away. "Isn't he so cute? Look at his cute little toesies, and fingers. Hi Baby, I'm your big sister". She is such a little mommy and I love it. She takes to it naturally as though she understands that sometimes babies just cry and need extra love and attention. I was cutting chicken for dinner one night while Audrey and JJ watched TV. Nathaniel started crying and before I could get to him, Audrey came over and popped the pacifier in his mouth and held it there while she rocked him in the swing. She didn't say a word about it, just did what needed to be done. I just stared at her, taking in that moment. She is simply amazing. She also learned how to open the gate to the stairs which I was initially stressed about. But then the other morning when I was cooking breakfast, we heard Nathaniel start fussing in my bed. I tried to finish up what I was doing, but before I could, I heard Audrey open the gate and run upstairs saying, "Ok Nathaniel I'm coming!". When she got up there I heard her on the monitor, "I'm here little buddy. I'm here for you, you're ok". She was rubbing his head and talking so sweet to him when I got up there. She just has the sweetest heart and I love how much she loves her brothers.
I was very surprised at how Joshua Jr has taken to the baby. I was worried about him. I thought, because he is only 18 months, that he wouldn't understand what's going on and would have a hard time with the baby crying, the attention the baby gets, and the overall changes in our home. BUT. From the first moment he met his baby brother, JJ has blown me away with the amount of love he has for Nathaniel. He ran into the hospital room right to the bassinet (how did he know baby was there?) and tried kissing and caressing the baby. It really has been like that ever since. He tries to climb into the baby's seat with him and give him hugs and kisses, he touches his head gently, smiles at Nathaniel, and tries to tickle him. Of course I have to be careful that he doesn't accidentally get too rough, but for the most part he seems to know to be careful. There have been a few times where JJ has gotten angry with me (because I told him no or lack of attention) and he's pulled his arm back as though he is going to hit the baby. He also tries to sit on my lap when I'm nursing, which is tough but I'm trying to make it work. Just have to rearrange some things. :) I will say one of the frustrating things is that JJ doesn't understand that when the baby is sleeping, we need to be quiet and leave him alone. Oh no. JJ still wants to scream loud and see what the baby is doing. He's always bumping into Nathaniel's swing and often wakes him up. I've been starting to put Nathaniel upstairs more for his naps to avoid this altogether.

So that's it! We've been taking each day as it comes, and sometimes that means watching more TV than I would like, but we're still in survival mode. Whatever it takes to get through the day...

You may have noticed that all of these pictures were taken at home. And they are wearing jammies in most. Yeah. That should explain what its like around here!

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