eli: one month

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Hi there. Since my last post, I now have two little cardigans and a little bowtie of a boy, all scrunchy and new and sweet. He mostly just sleeps right now, which either makes things easy (ah, only two other kiddos to chase), or hard (him deciding he needs to eat right NOW, just as I was heading out the door). He is a very mellow baby.  I’ve only heard him downright wail twice thus far: once in the car when we drove around looking at leaves (potentially the altitude difference?), and the one time we’ve tried to give him a bottle. No thanks, no sir, nice try.

I both love and am hesitant about new experiences because you just never know how you’re going to feel about things, and when. Having a third child was something that tried to sink in over 9 months, but didn’t fully begin to hit me until I was in labor, and my feelings surprised me. Sure, I had been a pretty steady mix of Anxious and Excited, but I didn’t expect the Calm.  Doing all of it again–timing contractions and feeling the depth of the pain and then finally cuddling that teeny, warm little body–brought out the peace of familiarity in me. I’ve been here before, I know these ropes. 

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When he was born, the nurses and staff left us for an hour for skin-to-skin time, and the magic of a newborn filled that room to the brim. It’s something that soaks into your bones, and I love talking with other moms because all of those little details you shouldn’t be able to remember are as crisp and tactile as they ever were. If that’s not magic, I don’t know what is. So to feel that again, for this final time, gave me a calm and a reminder that I knew what I was doing–or that I could at least muster up enough confidence to assure myself that I would learn what I didn’t yet know.

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Being in the hospital for a couple of days doting on baby with your adorably exhausted husband (glasses, no contacts, cowlicked hair, soft t-shirts and hoodies) is also magical. Reality is waiting at the door, but for the meantime, you’re in sweet seclusion, adjusting to Baby while the world rolls on.

I knew once we stepped foot in our house, I’d be juggling right away. Juggling emotions, juggling three kids now, juggling priorities. The girls have been great–no jealous streaks (yet), but lots and lots of “help.” Well, help AND “help.” I spent the first week keeping Natalie at bay because she was completely in love at first sight, and would be by Eli’s side (i.e. on his face) constantly if I didn’t gently distract her away. Sometimes her feelings would get hurt, which was really sad, but she’s doing much better now (she checks in every 10 minutes now instead of every 2). But this takes energy! I was quickly worn out by that while being thankful she was so excited about it all. Emotionally, I was holding up, but knew a breakdown was on its way at some point, as it always is with hormones and childbearing and changes in general.

 

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My first tears came our first night home, which is also typical–that time in sweet seclusion is vastly different than being in your own home without reinforcements (helpful nurses!). He peed through all of the outifts that fit him; he peeds on himself. He peed on his blankets. I was wrapping him in 6-month sized clothes and crying because I felt like I had let him down by running out of newborn sizes. (Isn’t this funny in retrospect? So not funny at the time!) Nursing also hurt like no other at this point, as did the contractions that happen that first week. It sounds bad–and was hard–but I wouldn’t call it a breakdown.

The third week, I came down with mastitis. Pain, flu-like symptoms, and R going back to work were a trifecta for an explosion. I knew it was coming, but I didn’t expect it to come along with so many other issues! I cried off and on for a couple of days about alllll sorts of random things, and then cried again when I realized how hard it is for me to ask others for help and to let them in when I’m having a hard time.  Change and hard times reveal so much, don’t they? And hormones magnify it all like crazy.

Whew. Four weeks came, the infection cleared, and as soon as I began to feel more like myself, the calm began to come back. I’m still having what I would call shaky days, or sensitive days, but over it all I am beyond happy Eli is here and I can touch my toes again and go upstairs without getting winded. Right now, I’m  having the most trouble getting anywhere on time with three, and sleep is still a major issue we’re accepting, but we’re wondering what life was like without Eli, and we can’t remember.  Natalie is smitten, and so am I.

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Dissonance is what I feel often times, but not negatively per se–I tend to want to carry on as it was before, but it never will be the same, and that’s a good thing.  I never dreamed I’d be a mommy to three cute little crazies, but here I am, and I’m learning all about motherhood, womanhood, and sisterhood as I go. I couldn’t do this without other kind, funny, generous women in my life. So thank you, you. I’m sure other people feel this way, but I always so dearly want things to be as they were, and as I get older, I’m learning to let that mindset go and enjoy the moment, and hope for what’s to come. But it’s incredible how deeply ingrained this desire is in me.

Good things are in store for us when we’re able to accept change and grow in it, see the joy in it. I’ve been thinking a lot about how we are not consumed–God’s mercies are new every morning, and great is His faithfulness (Lam. 3:23). I look forward to sunlight in the bedroom every morning, even through bleary eyes. Especially through bleary eyes! That phrase has stayed with me: I am not consumed. I can handle this today! Or I can at least cry while I’m handling it, right?

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At one month (~5 weeks), Eli is:

– Sleeping, sleeping, and sleeping.

– Pooping, pooping, pooping some more, and peeing (but not on us anymore, we’re wise now!)

– Smiling! This boy smiles a lot, and I don’t think it’s due to gas (said every mom ever).

– Still scrunching his legs up when you change him, or put him on your shoulder. Love.

– Eating every two hours, round the clock. I feel like he has a wonky schedule due to our activities (preschool, MOPS, etc), so I’m slowly figuring out naps and such, but food is consistent. Especially after that mastitis nightmare, ugh.

– A “Babywise” baby. We used this method with the other two (eat, play, sleep to help with nighttime sleep), and I’m loosely doing this with Eli, which has helped me keep my sanity in beginning a schedule of sorts…

– Enjoying bathtime! The boy loves to get his hair washed.

And so far, being a mom of three kids means:

– Coffee. Less than normal due to feeding Eli, but it is still a morning staple and one I look forward to daily. Me.so.tired.

– Being way too tired for creative time (& blogging, sadly), but that doesn’t stop me from dreaming about being crafty. Nursing time usually = Pinterest. Yup, it’s still my favorite social media outlet.

– Constantly coming up with a strategy of how to get all of us out of the house to be wherever on time, praying it works and really trying not to worry if it doesn’t :)

– A leeettle more TV than normal for the older two, as well as having them play outside whenever they can. (Grateful for this beautiful fall weather!)

– Thanking, hugging, and thanking again friends and family who have brought food. THANK YOU. Truly a lifesaver.

– I need to improve my multitasking skills. Bigtime. Right now I’m totally in scatterbrain mode; waiting to upgrade to Awesome Mombot status. I am outnumbered, but hopefully not out-clevered (hi, new word).

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Hmm. They kinda look like they’re plotting something here, don’t they?

 

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A (Circus-y) Jungle

So, long before we knew what we were having, it seemed everyone else knew we were having a boy. Although part of me might have known too–my mother-in-law gave us a cute jungle-motif mobile soon after we found out we were pregnant, and I found myself almost saying, “He’ll love it!” I guess I think boy when I think jungle, although it could be a unisex theme…

Then my friend Jona kindly passed on her crib pads, which happened to be jungle themed. Hmmm. I had always thought I’d go for a robot or outer space theme if I had a boy–this may happen later on–but the jungle seems to have been chosen for us, and I’m happy to roll with it. I found this adooorable fabric at JoAnn’s last week:

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Freshly washed, waiting to be ironed and sewn. Into what… well, the fabric on the left will be curtains. The other two? Who knows; I only bought a yard of each, but I’m envisioning wall art (for the far right fabric) or some sort of cute little crib blanket. I also realized, after buying these, that they are more circus-y than jungle-y…. but not creepily so, so it’s all good. How cute is that bear with the umbrella?

I’m also hoping that by posting this here, I’ll be accountable to show you a finished product, and soon. (Gulp) I’m still working on the cardigan. Yes, I KNOW! See, I started seaming the sleeves, and it looked like it was for Frankenstein… stiff, lumpy, scar-like… But, I did find a great tutorial on how to seam sleeves SO, hopefully that will help un-Frankenstein it. I hope. :)

An Instagram Summer

Summer is in full swing. The girls love to “paint” the house with sidewalk chalk, or help mommy out by filling their Easter baskets with weeds. They run from sprinklers to the pool to the playground, to lining rocks up carefully on the railroad tie in the backyard, to nonchalantly pouring water from a play water bin over each other’s heads when the other isn’t looking. Screaming happens, but laughing usually isn’t far behind (as long as they get even; Liv is learning what “even steven” means).

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The main downside to summertime, according to Natalie, would be moths; despite my reassurance that all they do is fly, she’s very distrustful of them and tattles to whoever will listen about what they are doing, where, and when.  Daddy is often the one retrieved to get rid of them, and with a watchful Natalie eye; I think she wonders why he lets them go outside–squishing would be permanent, right?

In the evening, my girls go to bed fresh from a bath, hair dark, damp and cool, and I love smelling fresh children after hot, grimy afternoons, as fun as it is to get dirty. We tuck them in before it’s fully dark, and they recharge their toddler-batteries for more playtime the next day. I wish I had toddler batteries… Every morning now begins with, “Where are we going today, Mommy?”

(They are disappointed if I say we are staying home, unless Frozen or Tangled are in the lineup of Things to Do.)

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I am loving these days, this season with talkative little girls before the Boy arrives, and I’m also finding myself beginning to teeter on the edge of uncomfortableness… the wonderful and dreadful third trimester, full of waddling and shortness of breath and asking my 4-year-old to retrieve everything I seem to drop these days. “It’s cause you can’t touch your toes, huh Mommy?” she says. “I’ll help you.” Liv has affectionately nicknamed our baby RolyPoly.

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Roly is growing steadily and moving constantly, much more than either of my girls did. He’s our “frog gunslinging cowboy”–another name he earned yesterday, when he kicked his legs simultaneously into my ribs at the same time, one on each side. Made me laugh. If he’s not doing that, he’s going “pew pew pew” with his little gunslinger hands near my hips when I sit. Oh, he’s going to liven up our lives, and I can’t wait to meet him.

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Instagram has been a fun outlet lately; it’s just so easy to share little snippets of life without much explanation… which isn’t my usual style (look at this post, right?), but it’s been a fun medium to play with. I realized I should probably keep up with the blog a little, especially while I still have some free time before baby comes. I believe in photos in blog posts, so thank you, my Instgram feed, for punctuating this one!

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Aside from waddling, I’m also entering that phase in pregnancy where you begin to realize things are changing. And for the better, of course! A new little person to love, what beats that?

But I felt this way before Natalie was born, too–that gentle concern that how things are right now, between the four of us, will never be replicated. I’m excited, and a little sad at the same time.  Yeah, crying has been happening at random times, and I happily blame hormones… but I’m also thankful to process everything and store it away in my heart as we move forward. It will always be there–and, if anything, being pregnant again (and finally) has reopened memories saved before Olivia and Natalie’s birth, little lockets full of treasures, just for me. Tears are a good thing, a deep thing. Being a mother is no easy feat!