The last two days have been emotionally tough. Not for me with the baby, but for me with the big boys. This guy especially is having a hard time with daddy gone this time. I'm not sure if it's because Josh was home three weeks this time, or if it's because my attention is even further divided now that there are four kids... but it seems that every emotion he has is on steroids. Happy is HAPPY and sad is SAD. It's been a challenging week of parenting him. And his brothers, really.
Thankfully our adjustment back to school and life without dad has been pretty seamless. Josh's mom (we're living with his parents currently) has stepped in big time to help me with meals and laundry and care for the boys and I am healing up from surgery well. Both those things together have made for a good, routine week following Josh's departure.
But I can feel that each of our boys is on edge emotionally and it hurts my heart for them. To help, I am trying to keep my expectations clear, my empathy high and my parenting consistent. It's tough, but I know we'll get through this.
In more joyful news, sister is gaining weight! From last week's breastfeeding class to this week's breastfeeding class, she had gained ten ounces! So she's weighing in at 8lbs. 11oz. I'm no longer pumping at all or supplementing the pumped breast milk, and she is completely off the nipple shield as well. So things with Carly & nursing are on the up & up.
More good news-- she's sleeping! She goes down around 10 at night and sleeps until 2. Wakes up and eats and gets changed, then goes back to sleep from 3 to 6am. It's such a beautiful thing and I am so so grateful.
She's a great sleeper, but when she's awake, she is so alert! Everyone comments on it, and I find it's true. She'll just loooook all around and take it all in. It's adorable.
Sidenote: I still love dressing her. Every day. Even her pajamas get me excited. I do wonder if it will ever get old... I figure maybe after seven years of dressing a girl I'll get tired of it, since I had only boys to dress for seven years. ;)
Speaking of the twins, they took me out to donuts on Monday with their allowance. It was completely their idea and it made me feel so loved. Despite their own emotions about Josh being gone, they've been very aware of my feelings and checking on me to make sure I'm not feeling sad. It makes me feel like I must be doing something right to be raising such empathetic souls.
And they aren't only good to me. They are the best brothers to Carly. They hold her and rock her and talk to her. They turn the music on her bouncer or tell me when they think she needs to be changed or held or fed. I am so grateful for them. Especially since Josh left-- having their hands to help me out is priceless.
|(She likes to keep an eye on me. hehe)|
Aside from Carly growing & sleeping, what's currently making me happy is holding her. This is how I spend my evenings. I nurse her, then hold her on my chest while she cat naps before bed. There is truly nothing like holding a sleeping baby. It's the cure all for bad moods, sadness or anxiety. She's such a sweet, sweet bundle; and I can't imagine life without her.
Another happy moment from this week? Josh got me a new phone!!! He was supposed to get himself a new phone and send me his old one... but instead he surprised me and when I opened the box, instead of finding his old cell phone, I found about ten Bath & Body Works items (lotion, body spray, bubble bath...) and a brand spanking new iPhone6 in rose gold. All for me. Cause he loves me. He got me the one with all.the.memory, so I immediately downloaded all my music and every app I ever wanted. I am overjoyed!!! And feeling quite spoiled!
I rearranged our room this week and put the Tiffany lamp Josh sent from Alaska on my bedside table. It makes me so happy to hang out in our cozy room now, which is good, cause I spend a lot of time in here feeding Miss Carly & tending to her needs!
It's been a busy, emotional week adjusting, but I have to say, I just feel like every suffering we've gone through has been worth it because of her. Living without Josh is not what I want for myself or our boys (or Carly) but if we had to do it for this school year in order to get Carly here safely, then I say every tear we've shed has been worth it. She's so perfect and we're all so happy to have her in our lives. Each of the boys has independently thanked God during bedtime prayers for giving them a sister and getting her here safely. They may not understand now what their sacrifice is for, but someday they will, and I believe they, too, will say it was worth it.
As I said, we're back into school and it's going really well. I am thankful we had such a steady schedule established early on in the year because it has made getting back into the swing of things really manageable. I sit at the head of the table with the Boppy & Carly, pretty much nursing the entire time. I am able to multi task and give lessons while keeping sister fed & happy. I have to be honest, I was scared about homeschooling with a newborn, but it has been beautiful and so easy.
As easy as homeschool is, hands down my favorite part of the day is bedtime. Dinner is done and it's a time when we can really unwind. The boys get cozy in their pajamas and we all take turns holding Carly and reading bedtime stories. The twins have really stepped up their read aloud game and read the stories most nights. Often I spend all of bedtime in the rocking chair nursing the baby, but they know the routine and expectations so well, that I'm able to just sit back while they make bedtime happen.
Their favorite part of the bedtime routine is bedtime prayers. That's when Carly and I visit each brother's bed and they get to hold her while they pray, then give her snuggles. They all just melt when I put her on their pillows next to them.
(The night I took these pictures, Wyatt had shared his favorite bubba with Carly...)
(It reminded me of this picture of Wyatt with Jack's bubba when he was a newborn. So sweet!)
Carly was making the sweetest noises the other night when Wyatt woke up with a headache and when he heard her, he said, "I love those cute noises she makes." I just love navigating my kids through the love of a new sibling. There's nothing else quite like it.
I love how involved they want to be in her care (like today when I bathed her and the boys took pictures for me) and the questions they have. Wyatt asked three days ago when I am going to paint Carly's toenails. I thought it was the cutest question. And it made me feel like he totally gets why I was excited to have a daughter.
All in all, I'd say this first week solo-parenting four kids without Josh went swimmingly. Sure, there's room for improvement, but I'm pretty darn happy with how it went & am thanking the stars above for such a smooth transition.