Little Elijah has now been a part of the family for one week. The most difficult twelve hours were last Saturday night when I got a flu shot in one arm and a Dtap in the other (to keep me from catching flu and whooping cough and passing them on to Elijah), Elijah began waking up to the world and making demands, and a virus that had been incubating for a few days surfaced that gave me horrific body aches and chills. I found myself alone in a quiet hospital room (Matt had gone home to help my mom put the other kids to bed), with a fussy baby who refused to be placed in that cold plastic crib, and feeling more achy and exhausted than I'd felt in years. Those were the longest 12 hours that night. Matt had been planning to take the kids to church in the morning and pick me up from the hospital that afternoon, but I called him at 7:30am and pleaded for him to rescue me earlier, which he did.
Thankfully, things have looked much brighter since I arrived at home. Elijah seemed to settle immediately once he was back in a house full of children's voices and the continual sounds of dishes and toys and slamming doors. He's never so relaxed as when I hold him close and start yelling at the girls to clean up their toys. Ahhhhh! Home sweet home.
Elijah has certainly been our easiest baby so far. I have been saying that with every baby since Naomi, and they just keep getting easier. I'm not sure if that is God's gracious way of giving us only what we can handle, or if the babies only seem easier because I am more experienced, or if they actually are calmer babies because I am a calmer mommy. Maybe some of all three, but whatever the reasons, it is a winning combination. By this point in my mothering career I can nurse, and diaper change, and swaddle, and soothe babies in my sleep (and I often do), which leaves all my waking energy to just enjoy those adorable baby faces, and tiny baby sounds, and sweet baby smells. I have never spent so much time just staring at a baby before, nor have I ever enjoyed it so much.
I have to insert here a pat on the back to my Mom who made all those staring hours possible. She stayed with me until yesterday taking care of all the household chores so that I could rest and enjoy the little guy. If she hadn't, I probably wouldn't be quite so energized and upbeat right now.
The kids have really taken to the baby. There haven't been any outright signs of jealousy, although Toby has seemed a little lost as to how to act around his brother. He has been oscillating between his "time to show off for company" mode and his "time to whine and be clingy because I'm insecure" mode all week. This is to be expected, and he is gradually growing more comfortable with Elijah. Toby knows that he can "read" books to Elijah, sing him songs, and gently rock the bouncy seat. He has also generously shared his kiki with Elijah and loves to be told that he is a good big brother. He says over and over, "Isn't baby Elijah so cute?!" Today when I got dressed he looked at my shirt and said, "Oh! That is a beautiful shirt! You look so beautiful!" One week postpartum and in my sweatpants, that was just what I needed to hear.
Hannah has been my number one helper with Elijah. She loves to sit beside him and read him books. She lets him hold her finger and says that he has caught her in his "sister trap." She knows how to start his swing and put his pacifier in his mouth, and she too loves to share her special Piglet blankie with the baby. This morning she came to snuggle beside me in bed and just stare at Elijah while he slept.
Naomi has been slightly slower to warm up to Elijah, but is quickly becoming a great help as well. She has spent the majority of the week reading Hardy Boys books one after another (at least one per day!), but when she does surface to interact with the rest of the world she loves to dote on her baby brother and advise Hannah when Hannah isn't properly caring for him.
Today the kids each got out a baby doll and began practicing diapering and swaddling their babies. They took their babies inside a fort they had built, then Hannah yelled, "Quick, everybody inside! There's a tornado coming!"
"Yeah, hurry!" Toby hollered, "There's a big tomato coming!"
Even Emma was giggling as we all held our babies tightly to guard them from the big tomato. Killer tomato aside, it has been just about a perfect week--one that makes me look forward to the next one.