Thursday, July 26, 2012

the new normal

tomorrow marks the end of the 3rd week since we became a temporary family of 5, and i have to say, it's going far more smoothly than i expected. it's most certainly an adjustment, having 3 little ones in the house, but thanks to our particular kids having a lot of flexibility, even that has been easier than i thought it would be.

kaiya is a sweet girl whose care is a bit high maintenance because of a difficult list of food allergies. but thanks to her uber-laid-back nature and lack of pickiness about what she eats, she is blending right in. first of all, she LOVES daycare. she's happy to go in the morning and happy to see me when i pick her up at night. she's fallen into our routines without effort, and has already come to understand what to expect when. she reaches for her crib at night, and plays happily while waiting to be picked up in the morning when she wakes up. her skin seems under control, and we've been crazy careful about not letting her come into contact with any of her allergens. she's now having one bath a day, one application of a tiny amount of steroid cream per day, and lotion head to toe every time her diaper is changed. it seems to be working. she is happy and giggly and a little demanding--her biggest adjustment has come from not being the only kid in town, but she's getting used to it.

finn has noticed that there's more competition in the house and has responded with a handful of the most insane tantrums you have ever seen, which we ignored. they stopped pretty quickly once he realized they weren't going to get him anything but left howling in the middle of the floor where the dog is almost certainly going to come lick him in the face. he's changed tactics, and has become the loviest little boy on the planet. i admit, that's working better for him--i can't resist me some baby hugs. mostly he's happy to show off for kaiya and make her laugh, and he likes being the only one to get to ride in the stroller in and out of daycare.

kieran has probably had the roughest adjustment of all three kids. i think it's because he's the oldest, and just gets the reality more than the babies do. he feels just a little left out sometimes, being the biggest and the best able to fend for himself. he's found some confort in more stuffed animal time--he's been bringing one to daycare with him lately, which he stopped doing many months ago--and in some extra time with mama. he and i have started watching one episode of avatar at night after the babies are in bed, and it's helping A LOT. he loves kaiya--he thinks she's cooler than finn because she's less likely to wreck his stuff. but at the same time, he goes--mama, you are taking TOO LONG to get kaiya ready for bed! and i just tell him--it's takes as long as it takes--you must be patient. he's actually torn: on one hand, he's proud of himself for his independence, and on the other, he's resentful of having to BE a little more independent for the new dynamics to work. he, too, is adjusting.

and as for me and the hippie--well--we're adjusting, too. we're tag-teaming a little more. we're both learing to manage baths and bedtime on our own. we're learning how to fit time for each other in around time for the kiddos. we're learning to manage the exhaustion that comes with caring for an extra one. we're finding the little wells of extra patience that we need to make it all work.

i have streamlined my daycare drop-off and pick-up process so that i can now get through it in less than 15 minutes--i think that's pretty good. i have learned to make a couple of big things that kaiya can pack for lunches ahead of the week's start. i have learned to plan ahead for her snacks and foods she can feed herself if we want to go anywhere. i have read every label at whole foods and walmart and target and at least 2 grocery stores. i am finding new recipes to make for her. thank goodness i am a person who already cooks a lot and who likes to cook--i don't know how you would deal with the allergies otherwise!

we are working hard this week on backing the whole schedule up so that we get out of the house a little earlier in the morning--i have managed to get through the daycare door before 9am two days in a row. my goal is to get that closer to 8:30, but i'll take anything before 9am and call it success. we are also working on cutting down on TV time and increasing togetherness at family meals. we're eating breakfast and dinner together at the table with no TV and only one toy each, and no TV or iPad till after we're all done. aftermath of a good dinner looks like this:

post-dinner playtime

the hippie left today for a week. it's going to be interesting to see how well i fare on my own without him--prayers and good thoughts appreciated!

anyway--bottom line--for the most part, we are a happy family of 5.

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