Monday, July 26, 2010

Dose of Reality--First Day Alone with Four

Okay, I didn't want to post an update without pictures, but we still have the raw photo thing going on, and uploading photos/changing their formatting isn't exactly top on the list of priorities here at Casa de Cowart (especially since only one of us knows how to do this, and he's been pretty busy providing for and taking care of his family lately. Any grievances may be taken up with him :).

So, these photos are from July 4th. Some pics are better than none, right?

The girls and I survived our first day completely on our own today. Survival was my intent, and I must say it went much better than expected. We even got a few things done.

Mom left on Friday, after over two weeks helping us, and in that time where my duties pretty much consisted of feeding and caring for Ian and enjoying the girls, I regained perspective. For some possibly hormone-related reason, I have spent the last few weeks feeling guilty about many things, most related to my children and life in general--how quickly they grow, how fleeting it is--I really wondered how I'd do once Mom left and my job became more demanding again, since for me, this kind of guilt piles on the more I have to do.

So, today I decided my priority would be to enjoy the children and keep perspective. I would not have a list--mental or otherwise--of things I needed to get done for the day. My "one" goal would be to stay patient, keep a gentle tone of voice and use kind words. It may be hard for some moms to relate to me in this, but I like being real, and patience is a real struggle of mine--always has been (ask my mom :). This already being a struggle, combined with the life situation I'm in (Casey and I noticed last week that it isn't the number of children, or the ages or stages, or even who the children are, but the combination of these things that makes parenting quite challenging at the moment) and there's a good chance I'll be losing it at some point in the day.

But, today, by God's grace, we made it and had a GREAT day. It was truly wonderful. Even got some laundry, dishes, school and weeding done--all with the help of my 3 girls. Time will tell if my impression is a true one, but I do believe that four may be an easier adjustment than 3 was--at least when Haley first joined us. There are so many things that were harder having three three and under than they are with four five and under. I can see how people can handle more children spaced farther apart. That being said, I'm not exactly volunteering for such things :).

I had my first outing with all four by myself on Saturday, and it was also refreshingly stress-free. Granted, we went to McDonald's, not the grocery store, but even so, it was delightfully simple. So much of this has to do with Claire's maturing beyond the fit-throwing self she's been for the last couple years. She still has her moments, but most of them are at home now--hardly ever in public--and they are much (much, much) shorter lived.

Haley's right at Claire's heels in the challenging department, and she's giving us a run for our money. Bossy hardly describes it. Sass, perhaps, but that's still an understatement. Yesterday, Case and I had to not look at each other just so we could keep from bursting into laughter at the absurdity of this 26 month old taking such tones with us. (Last week at church, a loud guffaw escaped from one of the attendees upon witnessing one of these moments. My raised eyebrows must have communicated something other than the, "Can you believe this?" I was trying to communicate, because he immediately looked apologetic and embarrassed for having laughed--I had to apologize later.) She'll often shake her finger and be very stern, multiplying words and ending with, "K?!" (as in, okay? as in, do you understand me?). Now that Claire is doing better, the bulk of our training attention needs to focus on this pint-sized dictator.

Ian. Well I guess I'll finish the post with a little about our 3-week-old little man. He's a fabulous baby. Sure, he cries, but he stops pretty quickly when he senses his needs will be met soon. He's a hungry one. His one long stretch is about 3-4 hours between feedings, but he is otherwise very content and super sweet, so I don't mind how often he's hungry. And even though he prefers to be near me at night, he does not require being attached to me every moment of the night, as his next-older sister did at this age, so though it isn't the most comfortable sleep I've had, it beats what it could be. Currently, the evenings are spent marathon-nursing him until he's finally satisfied to go those 3-4 hours between feedings. After that last feeding, he's O-U-T. That's when I try to get my good sleep--when he's in his bed and I have all sleep positions available to me.

All that nursing is doing something--he was 11 pounds last Monday. I didn't think I could keep his weight-gain going as aggressively as it apparently was in utero, but it seems he's getting what he needs.

Ruby cracked me up today. She'd put on a CD of children's songs while we putzed around this morning. A few hours later, she came to me asking what that song meant about "pooping the ark." "What?!?" I was truly at a loss. She started singing to the tune of "Who built the ark?" (No-ah, No-ah), but instead of hearing "Who built the ark," she'd heard "poo-ping the ark" (No-ah, No-ah). . . I'm still wondering how she got that. They don't sound similar to me.

So far, so good. I'm really enjoying my four blessings. Determined to continue enjoying them, even if it means the house is so-so and meals are nothing to write home about. How I treat my blessings is more important than what I do with them, what I feed them, or what I "accomplish" for the day. Today, a simple, sweet, easy-going day was accomplished. I'll take that any day.


ann said...

Great post, Sarah!

Glad to hear things are going as well as can be expected. And you are enjoying your children. It's so hard to do sometimes, I have to remember to "enjoy" these days.

I heard someone say once (think it may have been the Duggars) that the hardest times were when there were just 3 or 4, when the oldest wasn't really old enough to be of any help. I really, really think Ellie will be my big helper this time around. (or hoping, anyway)

I'm also holding to that it depends on the baby. Andrew was not an easy baby, so I'm due for an easy one, that's how it works, right? :)

How funny about Haley. I know that type of personality is exhausting at times. From about 16 months to 3 years, there were days with Ellie that she exhausted me to no end. Although she has matured greatly, the other day she used Steven's full name. "Do you understand me, Dad Barber?" she was dead serious.

I will say a prayer for you today.

Rachel Garcia said...

Way to go momma!! Im with ya on the having older kids making it easier, part. I think it's because the older ones are more independent. It really does make it so much easier. Still a lot to adjust too, but easier. and im with you on trying to do things while patient. I recently read another moms blog and she said, "if you can't do a task without yelling/snapping at your children.. stop the task." Another way of saying what my mom has said for years: the task is the interruption to your job, not the children. The children ARE your job. that is so NOT what my "to do list" yells at me all day long.

have fun as you adjust to life with four and a family of SIX!!

Karin said...

SRS, I'm so happy to hear about your day! I can relate to struggling with feeling of guilt, especially regarding the kids. For some reason having Andre come along has made me quite pensive about my role as a mom and my relationship with both Alan and Andre. This is usually followed up with some tears when I think of how quickly Alan is growing up. I wonder, when my children become adults if I'll look back and feel anything but an ache for when they were tiny and innocent, and when I still had their whole youth ahead of me to spend with them and build a relationship. I guess I'd have to ask a mom who's already reached that stage.

Not to leave this comment on a downer note - I'm so glad you did so well yesterday, and I will be praying for more of the same for you today.


Anonymous said...

Hooray, Sarah! So glad you had a good day enjoying the children! I know it's a struggle of moms to want to do everything right, but so little is necessary to create memories with little ones. Jon sent a note recently about his memory of reading as a family and how much he appreciated it. What a little thing, but so memorable. They won't remember your gourmet meals or perfect house. They will remember their loving parents. I think you and Casey do a very good job at that (at least in my presence :) !)
Give them all my love! I miss them more this time than I ever have. What a blessing to be there for so long this time.
Mom (Nana)

Jess said...

Hi there,

I found your blog through googling "prodromal labor" as I am experiencing some of it.

This post was such a blessing to me esp. how you share about your desire to be patient and "how you treat your blessings". That really resonates with me. My 21 month old is at a challenging patience trying stage and I needed to be reminded of what's most important!

Thanks! I am enjoying your blog. Enjoy your newest he sounds precious!

Debo said...

Oh Haley's (or should I say Miss Bossy Pants') haircut is darling. And yay for Claire, she really is maturing and becoming a woman (Haha, yikes!) It's so true about the kids being the number one job. The phrase is stay at home mom and not stay at home wife, is it not? Not that staying at home as a wife is to be looked down on, but the only time you can be a stay at home wife is before children arrive and after they move out. Although as we have talked about the main things that get noticed by spouses are the tangible tasks, laundry, tidying, etc (or should I say, the lack of them being done gets noticed:)). Not many spouses seem to ask, "so, did you get to play with the kids a lot today, and did you guys enjoy one another's company and were you able to be gentle and patient with them and did you get to teach them 'X and Y?' It's too bad these are such foreign questions. Can't wait to see you guys very soon!

Lindy Reinke said...

Your words of being a mother and facing challenges are very famiiar to me (although I only have two girls). I like your real and open way of expressing what you are dealing with and yet you acknowledge that though we are human, the Lord helps us physically, emotionall and spiritually. Love you,