This morning for the first time I thought, "I don't know how I'm going to do this".
It was in the middle of my attempt at helping Diego make a pricing sign for their farmers' market stand. (Diego and Truen are teaming up this year and have made $12 selling to household visitors, mostly their Gramma and Great-Aunts. The rural version of the proverbial neighborhood lemonade stand!)
Not surprisingly, Jamie tired of his coloring after a few minutes and was running amok. The baby, who had been asleep in the swing, woke up and started crabbing (very unusual). Truen was immersed in hole-punching a piece of paper but wasn't letting Jamie use the other two or three hole-punchers. Diego was getting frustrated over his mistake of using a blue crayon to color his scallion instead of the intended green.
And that is when I thought it. How am I going to do this, with this spread of ages? I was definitely thinking about homeschooling, yes -- but it was a more base thought than that. Even a smidgeon of directed focus towards the oldest child in this family seems to be impossible. It seems like I can't do anything that involves more attention than a passing conversation, inquiry, or direction. Unless Jamie is asleep.
And that is it. One of the major disruption forces working against household peace: the two year old. It is hard for me to do much of anything with the older two, again, unless he's asleep, because one of three things is happening: 1) everything is blissfully quiet, but he's off destroying something, 2) he's talking or hollering over whatever I'm trying to do or say, or 3) he's attempting to rip the game pieces or book right out of our hands.
Add a baby to the mix and it is a recipe for complete chaos. Of course, unless I am actively interacting and directing and attending to the littlest ones. But then I don't even feel like I'm able to pay attention to them either. It isn't just Jamie. Someone is always fighting or crying or hollering or asking a question or playing loudly or needing a snack.
I know I'll be fine and things will eventually iron out, but wow. How is it done?
Six weeks postpartum and I have yet to post my birth story. Or even start the post. Dah.
I'm honestly almost to the point of not caring. Which kind of makes me sad, but it can't be helped. 'Tis the season. Of year and life. It's summer-time. The garden is putting out and I have four boys that keep me hopping. The little "down-time" I do have (oh the irony) dissipates elsewhere.
But I'm happy. Very happy.
One of my goals this summer is to take the boys swimming once a week.
We've gone to the kiddie pool once and the lake twice.
Two out of the three times, Jamie took a nap on his own volition.
Once in the stroller, once on the blanket under a towel.
So wonderful, because he's actually cheerful at the end of the day.
The nice thing about this lake is the waves on a windy day --
Almost as good as the seashore.
They had so much fun jumping the waves.
They were also battling the waves (of course).
I had Jamie in a little floaty-thing because
the waves were so strong it was knocking him over.
Thank goodness I brought it (a dumpster-diving treasure, btw).
I just love this picture of Peg-Leg Dieg --
It gives such a great view of his changing teeth,
not to mention how adorable and happy he is in the water.
And here's what me and the Little Mister were doing on the beach.
He was snoozing and I was soaking in the maternal bliss.
No one was fighting, everyone was entertained and happy --
It was beautiful, warm, pleasant, relaxing.
It was so bloody satisfying.
Life carries on in other ways too. Like newborns turning into plump little babies. Eliah is six weeks old now. Un-un-un-un. I can hardly remember life without him. It seems like he's always been here.
He loves being held upright, looking over my right shoulder. He's starting to make little baby noises more and more, still so softly, like he's just trying them out. We snuggle together all night long, which feels so. good. I still don't mind waking up to nurse him throughout the night. The only bugger is when I can't get a burp out, but then I just prop him up across my chest while laying down, pat his back and doze.
He started smiling on Saturday morning.
I could tell it was coming soon --
I saw one side of his mouth turn up on Friday night.
He's a big hit with his new skill and it makes everyone laugh and feel happy.
(The picture is blurry from me gggggwa-ing to get him to grin.)
But I still love seeing that serious little face --
He was ooooooo-ing in this picture.
The composition in this picture pleases me.
Not to mention the little feller, gettin' plump.
It's hard getting work done with a little one though. Very hard. Especially now that there are three older brudders who still need me. It is inevitable that someone needs something at pretty much all times. I've kept on track with maintaining an hour of Quiet Time for the older boys during Jamie's nap, but Eliah's long nap isn't always reliable in coinciding in conjunction with this designated down-time.
There are piles everywhere. Many tasks are on the back-burner, waiting to be done. Paperwork and my very important task of recording life ("special notebooks", calendars, picture emails, blog, etc.) is piling up. All the boys' winter clothes is sitting in a big stack downstairs. Not to mention trying to keep a good supply of food in regular rotation. Not so easy when you cook from scratch and have only a smidgen of time.
Blaine and I are working as a team on food preservation, and he is spending a lot of time doing inside work I usually have covered in addition to his outside work, which is so wonderful . . . but the weekends just aren't enough. There is just too much to get at. We are working in survival-mode only.
Cilantro ("herbcicles" frozen in ice cube trays)
Peas and beans
(blanched and dehydrated)
I have been brainstorming solutions for the past couple of weeks and realized what I need: HELP. I need help. Hilarious and overly obvious, but dude. I need help.
Then I remembered a conversation I had with the 18 year old daughter of my friend (the one who wants to be a doula and came to observe Eliah's birth). It was on the way to a prenatal appointment; she said that she loves children and would be more than happy to help if I needed it (she also loves babies).
At the time I didn't need any assistance, so I thanked her and said I would keep that in mind. But two months later . . . I remembered. Yo. That hit the spot. Help. I need help.
So she'll be coming for a couple hours once a week to help out. All I need her to do is hold the baby or play with the boys while I do a blitz on what-have-you. I already made a list and it is mighty-long, believe me. We are bartering her help for garden produce. I am so pleased.I've been literally daydreaming of all the potential.
And we're still all loving to snuggle with our newest little guy.
This was taken after his first bath a couple weeks ago.
Awwwwww . . . the dimple.
Truen still regularly asks to hold him,
which inevitably triggers Jamie to hold him next.
This was taken Saturday morning. Look how much fatter he looks in this picture!
It is a beautiful summer day. "A ten," as Blaine's mom would say. Gorgeous.
We have 15 acres to explore. We have ducks, geese, chickens; a sandbox, swing set, kiddie pool; the perfect climbing tree; butterfly nets, their "tipi house" fort in the trees, lots of space to run, and a little baby kitten that showed up to live with us last week.
And I just had to tell them to go outside and play. That they wouldn't be coming back inside until lunch. That there was no choice, they would absolutely be going outside. For a good, long time. Un-un-un-un.
Though I will say . . .
Right in the middle of writing this, the baby kitten came into the house while they had the back door open, finally giving us an enclosed space to get a hold of it. I held it in a towel and caressed its head until it relaxed and then we all petted it quietly until it started purring.
Now they are parading around the yard with their new little kitten friend. Formerly known as Benjamin Sparkle, newly renamed Polly Sparkle.
Eliah's blissful long afternoon nap coordinating with Jamie's nap dissipated at the end of last week. Up in a puff of smoke. It was nice, really nice, while it lasted. He hasn't quite settled into a solid routine yet, so I'm working on staying flexible and taking what I can get.
We moved the swing back down into the kitchen and I put him down to rock for a couple of naps each day or if I need to work quickly in the kitchen. Otherwise, he usually takes at least one morning nap and an evening nap in the sling. I like keeping him with me unless I need to bust a move and get some serious work done.
And . . . knock on wood . . . he's sleeping, by himself, in the bed, during Jamie's nap while the older boys are upstairs for QT. The sweet bliss of solitude. May it last the entire hour.
Just look at this big and little brudder --
taken yesterday on the 4th of July.
Eliah is 5 weeks old today.
Givin' the old boy a smooch.
Isn't Jamie's hair pretty??
I put his bangs in a clip yesterday to keep it out of his eyes.
Now that the weather has warmed up,
I really need to give that boy his first haircut.
Awwwww . . .
This big brudder is so proud.
And check out that cleft chin.
A quick story about Jamie:
Last week we went to the pool and park for the day. It was the third or fourth time I've ventured out since the baby was born. We stay home a lot. On top of that, due to living so far "out here", when I go somewhere, I make sure it counts. We left at 9:15 AM and didn't get home until 8:30 PM. I know. Insane.
Chiropractic appointment, strawberry patch (no picking, I just bought a flat), fireworks stand, lunch with friends, pool, playground, pool again, out for dinner, home. It was wild. It went really well; I usually consider our van "home" for the day and make sure to pack everything, especially a lot of water and food and cloth wipes with a tea tree oil solution for our hands.
Anyway. Jamie. When we got home at the end of the day, he walked into the sunroom, looked around, and stammered, "Our house . . . our house . . . our house . . . our house beautiful." (He was extra-cheerful because he had slept in the stroller at the park between the swimming sessions.)
I love that. Getting a peak into his little mind and seeing that home is a place of happiness and security for him. Sometimes it takes being away from home for a stretch of time to appreciate it fully. The sweetness of it all.
And now for another set of big and little brudders --
♥ ♥ ♥
Far away, so close.
I wonder if there will be a time when these memories blur?
I remember taking each of these pictures so well.
Their little faces . . . awwww . . . My tender mother's heart . . . it hurts a little.