Monday, August 19, 2013

Four Plus One Does Not Just Equal Five

So...apparently people want to see/hear about how things are going. Sitting down at the computer is ridiculously difficult right now and, frankly, has to be sort of low on the priority list. But! I am here now, I estimate I have about 10 minutes before Archer realizes he is sleeping in his crib and not my arms and vocalizes his discontent about that! So, some quick updates.

We are, all four of us, pretty smitten with our new little guy. There are a hundred different things I didn't remember about having a newborn in the house and it's been a steep re-learning curve in some respects. He's so different from my other babies in many ways. He is the first to come out of the womb knowing exactly what to do from a breastfeeding standpoint so for now, he is nursing exclusively (I confess I feel sort of proud of this even though I didn't do much but follow his lead). He is the first to be soothed in any real way by a pacifier (mixed blessing there). His little cheeks are covered in baby acne right now, which we haven't experienced firsthand before. And there is the small matter of the sheer size of him at birth (a pound and four ounces heavier than B was).

In other ways it's all very familiar. He's been strong from Day 1 like my other two, working on lifting his head up from his second week of life. He's up several times in the night, although this doesn't feel (so far) like the long, dark, dread-filled nights I remember from B's babyhood. I'm sleeping in the nursery (we have a bed in there, something I find very convenient) and it's been a pretty smooth wake-feed-back-to-sleep cycle and feels mostly manageable. It helped that he gave me a couple of nights of sleeping 4-5 hours at a stretch to put a little money in the sleep bank.

I'm doing pretty good. Part of the reason I waited so long to come and write here was that I wanted to get through the first few weeks of crazy rollercoaster hormones before spilling weirdo stuff all over the place. Post-partum hormones are truly insane. I feel leveled off now, and it is amazing how differently I am experiencing A's infancy without the added stress of anxiety/depression. The best thing that has come of sharing that struggle has been the number of people gently checking in on me this time around. I've been able to discuss PPD with friends who had similar experiences and it's a real bonding point. My husband has been very vigilant and questioned me closely during those early crying jags that occur for no reason whatsoever.

I definitely find it a daily challenge to accept that I can't do it all during this time period, that the house is going to be messier than usual and that the big kids just have to be ok with a slower pace of summer. I am so used to daily adventures and spending a large portion of our time out of the house; it's taken some getting used to spending so much time at home. I am trying to do just a little extra every day to beat back the chaos, but I am also taking time to nap with my baby while he's still so small and snuggly and spend a little time each day just staring and marveling at him.

Big Brother Pacey
This kid has taken a new baby in stride, just like we thought he would. Both kids adored having their grandparents here and they did just fine without me here. The first week I was home was a little rough...the kids were overtired and there were some pretty astonishing meltdowns from both. But we moved through it and Pacey is just so amazingly tender and loving towards Archer. He runs to try to help comfort him whenever he is crying and croons to him, "Come here baby, it's ok, it's ok." Although sometimes he just addresses me: "What's wrong with your baby?" He notices and points out what he perceives to be big brothers wherever we go now; it validates my hunch that he would feel much more like a BIG brother to Archer than he does to Brighton.

Big Sister Brighton
Oh, my former baby-for-four-years. She definitely had to do some adjusting to having had her position usurped. She is still quite attached to me and the realization that the baby was going to take up a LOT of time and attention on an ongoing basis hit her hard. She had some pretty spectacular tantrums in the first couple of weeks but it has evened out and she tells me every day how much she loves our baby. She is incredibly helpful and loves to hold Archer. She calls him "Cutie Cuters Baby."

Daddy v3.0
Chris has really stepped up to help out with the big kids and make sure he bonds with this baby sooner than he did the last one (it helps that Archer doesn't scream bloody murder for 20 of every 24 hours). We are working out division of labor much better than we have done in the past and in general our lives feel like they have been less disrupted. I know people joke about how the youngest child always gets the laziest, least attentive parents but I think it's the opposite for Archer. We have hit our stride as parents and are much calmer with him and each other.


Ok, it's now five days later and I'm finally getting back to this post. I'm going to have to create some sort of shorthand if I'm ever going to get back to posting regularly. I'm going to throw some photos on here and just get it up. I am taking primarily phone pictures right now so these are older ones from my camera...I have to locate a cord to download from my phone and that...isn't likely to happen right now! More updated pics to come (maybe not from this week though....poor baby has a bad case of baby acne and his hairline is receding).

The most pregnant I'll ever be again

Fresh out of the oven

Meeting his big brother and sister

The only time he consented to lay in his plastic box

Loved the bonding time we had in the hospital

Going Home outfit

With my BFF's son, K, exactly four months older than A

With my mom and her dad, the kids' great-grandfather who came to visit

Nana and the three Harris beasts