I sat at the kitchen table this morning with a cup of tea, typing out this post and feeling somewhat rested. River has had his days and nights mixed up and he prefers to sleep all day and stay awake all night. But the past 2 nights: they've been better. He wakes every 2 hours to nurse and then lets me rock him right back to sleep. This has offered us some much needed rest, regardless of the fact that I am waking up constantly to feed our growing boy. Staying up all night with a wide awake babe is tough and I'm thankful for these 2 hour spurts of sleep this week.
Our days are flowing and moving to a brand new rhythm. I get up with Isabelle in the morning and get her ready for school and on the school bus. I usually head back to bed with the baby and steal an extra hour of sleep before Brees comes down the stairs and loudly proclaims "I woke up!! And I'm hungry!!". The mornings are an intricately choreographed dance between Shawn, Brees, the baby, and I as we make breakfast, nurse again, change diapers, drink tea, clean up spills, begin chores, abandon them as someone begins crying, etc. Shawn and I weave in and out of one another, handing off cups and wipes and little people. I am so thankful to have him home with us.
Brees is beginning to love her little brother more and more. It has been difficult for her to learn the fine art of patience, to understand that Mommy can't always give her what she wants RIGHT NOW, to share her time and space and needs. We've been giving her little jobs and tasks that are all her own, praising her for being such a "big helper" and she really enjoys the responsibility. She gets really loud sometimes and has thrown some pretty epic temper tantrums but we are working hard at teaching her the difference between negative attention and good attention. We are giving lots of positive reinforcements and encouraging her that this growing family thing is actually GOOD. Last night, as we all said our prayers before bed, she leaned in and gave the baby a gentle kiss on his head and said, "Night night, River. I'm your big sissy!". And then I just melted.
Isabelle is a busy bee these days: fourth grade is hard work! Between homework and dance class, piano lessons and 4-H club, this girl has a full calendar. She keeps us busy in a whole other way from her little brother and sister, her multitude of activities and assignments and interests requiring a calendar all her own. She loves to hold her little brother and can rock him to sleep like a pro. Our after school routine of snacks and homework at the kitchen table now includes a baby in my Mommy's lap or on the boob but Isabelle doesn't blink an eye. She keeps Brees entertained with barbies and tea parties and the two of them are closer than ever. I am grateful for her love and devotion to family.
River got his first real bath this weekend, an event that involved the entire family squeezing into the upstairs bathroom with cameras and cheers. I had to bribe Brees with candy not to jump into the tub with him, bless her heart. She is my new official bath time helper, overzealous at times but a big help nonetheless. Shawn and I were both soaked by the time we bathed the baby and then Brees but it was one of those Norman Rockwell moments that you just cling to.
I still can't believe that all of this is happening, that I am somehow deserving of all this love, that I have been given three beautiful and healthy children. The days are busy and tiring and chaotic at times but they are good. And though we are definitely in an adjustment period right now, I know that we'll get better and better at performing the complicated dance that is raising little kids, our movements more synchronized and filled with grace. We'll perfect our routine and it will evolve into an art form that fulfills each of us, the five of us weaving in and out, creating something beautiful.