Everyone always asks about sleep first, so I'll start with that. Some days she naps for an hour or two and I'm able to get a lot done. Other days she only wants to sleep in my arms, and I'm wise enough now to be okay with that, and not worry about all of the stuff I'm not getting done. In the evenings she likes to be walked around; Ryan and I have made countless laps around the living room while watching primetime TV and Seinfeld reruns (because it's impossible to read or do anything else while pacing around like that!). At some point she may or may not fall asleep, but once I shower and get into bed with her she tends to fall asleep then. She sleeps next to me all night, she and I usually wake up in puddles of sweat! But she wakes, I latch her on, and we both fall back asleep together. Most nights are peaceful and she wakes 3-4 times, and she wakes up between 6:30-7:30, ready for a diaper change and to get out of bed for awhile. So we get up and she lays on her changing pad for 20 minutes or so, because she's always very happy there! It leaves me enough time to dress and get breakfast started. She is ready to go back asleep within an hour though, and on a good day she will go down for at least an hour or maybe longer. Then it's sort of up and down all day, it just sort of depends on how the day is going for everyone.
Beth, Luke, and Jack still love her! Ryan and I don't think anyone is "acting out" from feeling left out, which is another common question we are getting. I give all the credit to Ryan for that though, he is such an amazing father. When he gets home from work, he plays with the older three kids and gives them each the attention they crave from their Daddy. He plays silly games with them, lets them jump all over him, and teaches them what it means to be selfless by being so giving. I am so proud of him and so blessed to have him as the father of our children.
I do think Jack might be missing me a little, he does seem to be getting into a little more trouble these days... But I am working on trying to give each of them some undivided attention every day. Hopefully it will get a little easier on everyone, but as of now, both Ryan and I realize we are in the phase of parenthood where we're just trying to keep everyone alive and happy for awhile. "Survival mode."
They do adore their little sister. Jack is constantly kissing her, Luke spends a lot of special time looking at her and talking to her when I lay her on the floor, and Beth likes to hold her as often as I'll let her. Beth has become very... I can't quite find the word... Insistent on constantly helping and being a part of everything I'm doing. It's helpful but it's also smothering me a little bit. It's hard to be so giving when my body is being consumed by Caeli all day, and then everyone else wants a piece of me. It's overwhelming and demanding, but it's part of this stage in life. I've done it before, and in some ways this time it's easier because Jack is 3.5. Luke was only 20 months when Jack was born, and Beth was still a baby too. Now, they're all such big helpers, can get themselves mostly ready when we have to leave the house, and keep each other entertained when they play nicely together. But, whether they'll admit it or not (they won't!), they're all still my babies and all still need their mama's hugs and kisses.
We are starting to get some smiles out of Caeli. She will be one month old tomorrow, it seems a little early for smiles (I can't remember!) but she is definitely smiling at us!
I don't know if it's my age, my experience, or my placenta pills, but I feel like I've been more easy-going and casual this time. It's probably a combination of everything! I am totally NOT worrying about Caeli's "sleep schedule" or trying to predict when or how she'll fall asleep. I'm NOT worrying about a clean house or what or when we will eat (it always manages to happen). I am NOT worrying about the shape of my body because I know that I can't do much about it right now. And I am definitely NOT worrying about holding her too much or sniffing her sweet head too much! I just canNOT get enough of this girl, I have bonded so well with her and I am so thankful to actually be feeling this way!
So, for now, we are back to life as usual. I drove everyone to co-op last week, school is back in session, the visitors have stopped coming by, and clubs and activities have picked up. In fact, Luke and Beth start soccer next week! I hope to start some sort of a consistent exercise routine soon and maybe get a spring garden planted one weekend. This is good. I'm ready for life to be back to normal again... With the addition of one cute additional family member!