Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Adjusting

Well, we're slowly adjusting to our life as a family of five.

It's been a pretty big adjustment for me. I'm finding that it's true what many moms have told me, that the third child really puts you over the top. Suddenly, all I can do is try my best to meet the needs of my children and everything else takes a back seat. I'm having a hard time even keeping up with the housework. I used to think that once I quit working as a photographer, my life would be much easier and my house much cleaner. Ha!

Here's the typical state of my kitchen since baby Mackay came home:

Note, to the right, how the dishes are stacked up to the faucet. Boxes and unpacked groceries take up much of the already too small kitchen. I work on it a little each day, but it's never enough to make much of a dent. I think I've cleaned out the sink once or twice, but that's it.

Aside from feeling like I never get anything done (except for checking Facebook several times a day; it's bordering on addiction) the biggest challenge is balancing a newborn and a two-year-old. Amelia demands a lot of attention. She can often be heard saying "I want you" or "I want snuggle on couch". She's slowly learning to share.

She's fairly patient during the daytime in understanding when I have to help Mack, but at night she's ready to send him out into the snow and have her Mama to herself.

She hasn't slept through the night a single time since Mack came home. At least once a night while I'm up nursing Mackay, Amelia wakes up crying and comes into the living room. Once she sees that I can't hold her all by herself, she throws herself on the floor kicking and screaming. It's super fun!

The adjustment has been a little easier for Dan, although he says our house suddenly got very small. When Amelia was born, it was a lot easier than when we had Lily, I think because we were experienced and we didn't freak out about everything. But it was kind of a shock to go back to the needy newborn stage. This time around, Dan says it just feels like more of the same. We're essentially used to getting up at night and having a really high maintenence child. And to be honest, Mack seems like a piece of cake compared to Amelia right now!

For the most part, Lily has been a huge help and a great big sister. The only problem is that the girls have been fighting a lot more since Mack arrived. Amelia's at that age where she only wants something if someone else has it, so there's always arguments about who has what toy or who's sitting in what chair. And Lily tends to pester (think Bill Cosby "Will you stop touching me!") Amelia which really ticks her off. There's been a lot of screaming from Amelia and a lot of "She always gets what she wants" from Lily. The fighting has begun to taper off in the last few days, though.

I vacillate between being glad when Lily's gone at school because there's no fighting and being glad when she gets home because she's a huge help with the baby. Both Dan and I have been amazed at how she can sit and hold Mackay for long periods of time (especially if there's a movie on). Usually she's the kid that can't stay still for two seconds.

Lily and Mackay, 4 days old, at Grammie's house.

Lily and Mackay, 5 days old, on his first day home in Cokeville.

His chin and cheeks were still chapped from learning to nurse.

Amelia saw all the pictures being taken of Lily and Mackay and she was like, "See me?!" She kept stepping in front of the camera and cheesing in her princess crown.

Amelia and Mackay, 9 days old. She is liking Mackay more and more everyday. At first she would hold him once or twice a day for less than a minute and then basically pay no attention to him at all for the rest of the day. She's progressed from "I hold it" to "I hold him" and when I took this picture she said, "I Sissy!" She likes to pet his head, is very vigilant about making sure his binky is always near, and she says "My baby" all the time.

When Mack was nine days old I realized that the poor kid should probably get a bath. I was going to wash him in the kitchen sink, but it was full of dirty dishes so I decided to just put him in with the girls. He loved the warm water and was totally content (please try to ignore the fact that he's searching for his next meal). Lily thought it was so cool to hold him in the bath and Amelia was amused by being in charge of the washcloth.

Ahh, fresh...

Dan has been really great about making sure that the girls get some personal attention and fun activities while I am staying out of the cold with the baby. He built a snow cave for Lily in our front yard last week.

And who can resist a good ol' sled pull down the country road?

Three kids is an adjustment, but we'll be in a good groove soon. And there are still times when the stars align and everyone gets along.

10 comments:

Lori Gerten said...

I totally understand. I don't have three but Gracie has now become an attention whore. Anyway she can get attention she tries. Even at gymnastics (where she has always been a saint) she is being naughty and not listening to the teacher. It's really disheartening because she's always been a pretty good girl.

She's started kicking and hitting. EVERYONE. Me, Dan, the baby. It's really hard to help her to understand that she is still a top dog in our home.

I try to do something with her everyday but alas I'm a loser and don't do it everyday. She really wants me to play Barbies with her all the time and so I try and do that. It seems like that isn't enough. I don't think they ever recover from being usurped in their place. I think their whole life they talk about how they got dethroned.

It's hard, Susan. No one told me how hard it would be. I totally understand and get what you are going through. The only positive thing is that you will get through it and there are some times where everyone is all just getting along like the cute family that you are supposed to be.

LOVE YOU!

PS I go back to work tomorrow so we'll see what hurdles come up now!

Anderson Zoo Keepers said...

I remember there being a time where I wasn't sure my house was EVER going be clean and I was pretty sure that my dishes weren't ever getting done either. Now - my house isn't perfect these days either but that's more my fault and less something I can blame on being overwhelmed. My point is that at some point, the dishes do get done and then at some point in the future the kids start walking around and quit pestering you so much. This too shall pass. And believe me, the dishes will wait (so does the floor by the way). Just do what you can and put the guilt aside. The girls will do just fine with a little less attention - it will teach them patience. I've already noticed that my youngest is the most demanding of getting something NOW and the least able to handle the words, "JUST A MINUTE" - my two older kids are really good about waiting their turns. So see, you are teaching good life lessons.

Hang in there. I promise the day comes when you sleep through the night.

Lois Ann said...

Man, where is that Kitchen Fairy when you need her?? I guess today she was your sister Becky. Rock on, and thanks, Beck.

Love, Your Mom

Sue said...

An attention whore, Lori? I love it! I'm sorry I didn't warn you or prepare you better. Honestly, it didn't seem as bad when Amelia was a newborn, probably because we were living with my Mom and she could give Lily a lot of attention. But if Shar could do it with #2 and #3 only 14 months apart, I guess we'll survive and things will shortly get better!

Spymommy said...

I can remember when we moved here to VA and 3 weeks later left my parents house, moved into a friends house to house sit, a week later had Soren, and then spent the next month renovating our house to move in. I thought I was going to have a mental/physical/emotional breakdown and any and every given moment. I didn't have any friends for my kids, my parents were 40 minutes away, and dangit I was tired. I would send my kids down into the basement to "play with the spiders" just to have piece of mind and nurse my new one.

For me, at about 4 months, the haze and fog finally lifted and I felt a little bit like my old self. I realized that normal was starting to come back - a new normal, but a good normal.

You'll survive this phase - and your kids will too. They are darling and I want to steal that beautiful boy from you he is so, so precious. You, by the way, look fantastic! Nurse away my friend.

The Queen Vee said...

If I was there I would clean your whole house, play with Amelia and hold that cute baby boy.

Fortunately the chaos of your life will eventually become more manageable, so hang in there.

The middle child always seems to need more attention. Matt's Olivia is the same way.

Anderson Zoo Keepers said...

13 months apart. It's a badge of honor now. :-) For a month I had 3 kids under 3, then six months later the husband deployed. And see - I'm still basically sane.

But like I said, my floor is still less than perfect and everyone seems to be doing okay despite it.

Feel free to vent at any time - it's your motherly right.

Becky in Wyo said...

Oh, boy! Oh, Lori, you are so funny! "Attention whore", indeed! Also, the oldest child forever miffed about getting "dethroned". Bwa-ha-ha-ha!! I wonder if I ever felt that way... I don't know, seeing how I was #3 of 4, it probably didn't make that much of a difference to me when Sue got here. Although we did argue when we were older. Boy howdy!

I don't know if I have a very good take on the challenges of kid #3, because there is an 8-year difference between Dani and Connor, which has been really fun. The first two are old enough to be a big help, and frankly, they were more than ready for a new sibling, because they prayed for a new baby brother or sister for two or three years before Connor finally got here. We'll see if there are some "secondary stage kid #3" dynamics if Zen and I have one more in the next few years. Hmmm...

I loved that video you took of Amelia in her "Relli" dress with the wild mood swings. Ha, ha, ha!!! That was so funny! You'll have to post that one. She's high drama now, but she'll be spunky and lots of fun when she's older, and probably confidant and assertive, too, which are some good skills to have. They can be put to some very good use.

The Donnells said...

Sisters are fantastic but couldn't you atleast hang the tiger blanket right side up. That would drive me nuts. Hope all is going well in Cokeville.

Sue said...

Chris, my mom asked me why the blanket was upside down and my reply was, "because a man was in charge." Dan's too broke to pay attention, apparently.