These first three weeks of being a mother of six have been wonderful. They’ve been challenging, but great. I’ve been asked often how I’m doing, and I have to say, it’s not having a new baby that’s challenging for me, it’s dealing with the emotions of 5 other children as they adjust to having a new baby that’s a challenge. They adore Baby Cheeks, but it’s a big adjustment nonetheless.
Pumpkin loves the baby but gets stressed out by his crying. Doodles and E are testing the boundaries since I’m often stuck on the couch. E is struggling with the transition from toddler to little kid, so he’s struggling the most with the added changes. He is beginning to potty train, he needs less naps, and he’s trying to figuring out how independent he can be as he nears his third birthday. But it isn’t so much about the baby as it is about almost being three.
Miss Lady and Peanut are suffering a bit from a parenting complex. They are both so helpful and loving, but they sometimes overstep their role as helper to Mom and Dad and act a little too much like they are Mom and Dad. The kids all absolutely adore their baby. They love him a little too much at times. And I haven’t had any requests to “put him back” yet, so that’s good. But their excitement over the new baby is admittedly a bit much for me at times.
Baby Cheeks is now three weeks old and doing very well. He’s started to sleep better at night, which means I’m functioning a little better. I was lagging last week because he had a couple of nights where he woke up every hour, six hours in a row at night. That was really rough. But I caught a couple of naps since then and now he’s sleeping 3-4 hour stretches at night.
He was supposed to have a 2 week check-up last week, but we had to reschedule it for this week instead. Two of our vehicles were snowed/iced in and Scott had to take the van to work which left me stranded. At Baby Cheeks’ appointment yesterday, he weighed in at 11 lbs. 8.5 oz. and measured at 22.5 inches! He’s put on well over a pound since birth, and grown .5 inches.
Despite the struggles of adjusting to a new baby for the kids, overall, I’ve got to say that I’m really impressed and pleased with them. They’re mostly staying on top of their basic chores and school work without too much input from me. When they do start to slack and I have to remind them to do a job completely or to do it well, they usually have a pretty good attitude towards my corrections. For the most part, they’ve gone out of their way to help me out.
The house has stayed in decent shape these past few weeks, though we’ve had a few rough days. Monday was a little overwhelming. The laundry had begun piling up and so had the dishes, and the kids were slacking a bit on their chores. Plus, with the spring weather, they were dragging in mud and decaying leaves, making dirty floors and dirty clothes. We’re slowly getting caught up this week, and I’m doing my best to catch the kids at the door with their dirty clothes and shoes so they aren’t dragging their messes all over the house.
Honestly though, we’d be struggling to keep up right now if we weren’t using disposable dishes for the time being or if we hadn’t had so many people bring us meals. I had about a weeks worth of pre-made meals put up in our freezer that I had prepared, but we’ve had so many people bring us food that I haven’t had to worry about cooking for over 3 weeks. I cannot tell you what a blessing that is right now! We’ve got a few more days of meals stored up right now, and then I’ll start turning back to the pantry to make easy-ish meals. Once we run out of the disposables, we’ll go back to using regular dishes for everything again.
So far, the hardest thing for me about having six kids is taking them all out without the help of another adult. One hungry baby and a distracted momma means that there are 5 kids who are equally distracted. E dawdles behind as something interesting catches his eye, Doodles wants to play games of hide-and-seek, and the older kids all have something they want to buy (with their own money) or look at, and somebody is always inevitably “starving.” Even if you ate right before you left.
Aside from taking the kids shopping, it’s not too bad. It’s louder and a little bit more chaotic, but I suspect that a good deal of that should pass as the older kids settle into the changes. I mean, I know it will still be loud and chaotic some of the time, just like it was prior to Baby Cheeks’ birth, but with one more human adding to the noises.
And yes, Dad is doing well, too. He’s getting more sleep than I am, but for as much as I do around here, he still has more responsibilities and things to worry about than I do. He worries about all of the things I do, plus there are his responsibilities at work as well. But he likes spending time with his new little buddy and the other kids, and we’re going to do as much as we can this year to make his responsibilities around here easier to manage.
By the way, a huge thanks to everybody who has brought us meals or given us gifts! I’ve written up thank you cards for everybody, but now they need to get addressed and mailed out. We are so appreciative of your help, kindness, and generosity!
How many kids do you have, and what is (or was) the most difficult thing about raising that number of children for you?