Thursday, July 9, 2015

Dear Henry: Month One

Dear Sweetest Henry, 

Today we celebrate your first month of life. It’s amazing to me that in just one short month, you have made it impossible to imagine life without you.

I’ll be honest. I was worried about how life would change once you arrived. We spent five years settling into a life as a family of four. We knew each other — what made us tick, what ticked us off, what brought joy to each of us. We had a routine, a system of functioning. And I wasn’t sure what life would look like once we became five.

Boy, did you shake things up. Our nights, of course, are unpredictable and exhausting and sometimes frustrating. Our days are, well, actually much of the same. 

But I know now that I had no need to worry. Despite the exhaustion and the new responsibilities to juggle and the naps to work around and the extra laundry and 50 bazillion diapers — all I see when I look at you is love. Pure, unconditional, unwavering love.

You could have been up all night screaming and all I can see is how blue your perfect little eyes are and how your bottom lip tucks under your top lip and how your hair sticks up in the back after a nap and those kissable little cheeks. 

And when your eyes meet mine and you hold my gaze? Melts me every single time. 

Your sisters feel the same way. They just can’t resist you (to use their words). Always wanting to hold you, touch you, soothe you. And knowing how much their lives have changed — from being the center of our universe to sharing the universe with someone who trumps their needs 95% of the time — I think it’s really telling that they don’t resent you even a little bit. They’re always right there to love on their “cutey little brother.”

As for your Dad? He’s just as in love as the rest of us. You have spent several naps curled up on his chest watching the Royals and episodes of the West Wing. If you grow up to love baseball and politics, we’ll know it’s because of the early exposure to these things — well, that and because your Dad is your Dad.

And your village of love doesn’t end there. You have four grandparents, one great grandparent, seven aunts and uncles, three cousins, one Australian shepherd and several family friends who have showered you with affection.

Later in life, if you ever feel alone or down, I hope you remember that you entered this world and within your first month, had won over nearly every single person you met. 

You’re an amazing little guy, Henry. Don’t ever forget it. 

Love you more than words can describe, 

Your Mama 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Life. Interrupted.

I don’t even know where to begin. 

I’ll start here, I guess. Currently, I have baby Henry sleeping in his wrap, which is attached to me. I’m sitting right next to the dining room window, with my computer on a TV tray, watching the girls outside in the kiddie pool as I try to get at least a few of these thoughts out of my head. Oh yeah, and dinner is cooking in the kitchen. 

That’s life with three. At least for the next five minutes. It will inevitably be interrupted by someone … I didn’t even get that sentence written before Grace came screeching inside, dripping wet needing to “GO POTTY!! I HAVE TO GO POTTY!!” 


Life — interrupted. That’s a good way to put the current state of affairs now that we are a family of five. So, back to the beginning. 

It’s nearly impossible to believe it’s been a month since Henry was born. It has been a total blur of sleepless nights and crying and somehow keeping the rest of the house/family/work afloat in between. 

And the whole time I’ve been writing blogs in my head because finding a moment to sit down at the computer was truly impossible. Now is where I take a moment to bow down to all you parents with multiple kids. Having a newborn to care for AND other kids? That’s flippin’ hard. 

Henry agrees.

He doesn’t sleep at night. They do. They don’t sleep during the day. He does. I’m no mathematician, but that equals a whole lot of NO sleep for us. But it’s getting better. Last night, he slept for six hours. It may not happen again, and it likely won’t happen on a regular basis, but I’ll take that shot of adrenaline and use it to keep trucking through the day. 

The first week was really hard. We hadn’t figured him out yet and he was doing a whole heckuva lot of crying. We Googled like it was our job (which, side note, is a little ironic) to find out what could be wrong. After we brought the girls home, we had to wake them every three hours to eat. And then they just fell back asleep. I remember asking my mom if we should be worried that they slept so much. She just laughed. Henry has taken a touch more effort. Turns out he really does like to sleep — and he cries when he isn’t sleeping — he’s just not very good at getting there himself. So, for now, it’s a lot of walking, patting, shushing until you find the sweet spot and he dozes off. 

At least for now. I’m sure he’ll be different tomorrow and then I’ll be back in the “I have no idea what to do” camp. 

The girls just adore him. Today Claire said “Mom, I just can’t resist him. He’s SO cute!” And the day after he was born and Grace saw him for the first time she said, “Mom, I’m so proud of you. He’s sooooo cute.” 

And other than being a touch ignored that first week, I feel like we’re getting back on track with them, too. Since about week two, we’ve been venturing out of the house each day for a big girl adventure and so far we’ve hit the mall, Sonic play place, bouncy house place, splash park, the zoo, walks in the neighborhood and swim lessons. It’s not perfect by any means. There are still days they watch too much TV and days my fuse is too short, but it’s getting better. And for now “better” is my measure of success. 

As for me, I feel much more relaxed this time around. I don’t feel quite as panicky when I hear him cry. I don’t feel quite so tense when I step away for a nap. But there are other feelings. When I look at him and his tiny fingers and his chubby cheeks and his rubber band wrists and the way he fits so perfectly on my chest, I think about how fast time goes. How it doesn’t seem that long ago that the girls were that tiny. How the first month of their lives seem to stretch on and on, but the first month of his has flown by. How these are the last tiny fingers and chubby cheeks and rubber band wrists that will nestle under my chin — at least the last one of my own. 

He’s the caboose to our train and in between moments of overwhelming love so strong it feels like my chest is going to burst, I feel a twinge of sadness. To quote a sappy country song, “You're gonna miss this. You're gonna want this back. You're gonna wish these days hadn't gone by so fast.”