Vincent is one week old today.
I am amazed at the way that life before a baby is actually born seems to cease to exist so entirely once that baby arrives. It’s almost as if Vincent has always been here. Of course, in my brain, I know that is not true. He’s only a week old. But his presence brings such peace to our lives.
And by peace, I don’t mean that things are not hectic.
Or that we’re all sleeping the required amounts at night.
Or that Vincent never cries.
Or that the kids never fight and everyone is completely adjusted.
But even though Vincent is up every 3 hours at night to eat and get a diaper change; even though I have a two-and-a-half-year-old who misses being the main attraction;
and my baby girl (Helen) is acting out more often than usual; and Dani has thrown some unusual tantrums and back-talked a little more; and Sarah is trying to be more of a help than she ought at times and running her mouth saying some less becoming sorts of things…it just feels like this is how life is supposed to be.
It is time for Dominic to start playing the part of a “big” boy and potty-training and picking up toys in the toy room and ending his fascination with a “sippy” cup. It is time, once again, for Helen to become just a little bit “bigger” and a little bit more independent and allow me to take a little of “her” time and offer it to Vincent. I have begun to expect more out of Dani this summer from her behavior to her responsibilities around the house and those growing pains have been, naturally, kind of painful. And while I expect Sarah to help, what I really need from her is her help on things I set out for her to accomplish and not what SHE thinks she needs to help me with.
Through all these changes, everyone is making space in their hearts and lives for their baby brother. While Dominic isn’t all that interested in Vincent (he’s kind of boring since he sleeps all the time) he will ask “Where’s Bin-Sent?” when Vincent is sleeping in his crib. So, I know he already cares about his baby brother, boring or not. The girls clamor to hold or feed Vincent all the time. If I need a new onesie to replace the one he just peed on, they are willing to run and get one. They want to feed him. They want to put a binky in his mouth if he’s crying in his carseat. He’s already a very important part of the family.
The changes are not just with the children either. My husband has been a tremendous help in the first week. I haven’t had to prepare meals for the family because he’s taken care of it. He’s taken the older kids to the pool. He’s ensured everyone is bathed and he’s gotten all of them in bed every night.
Every time we go through these early newborn weeks, I am so grateful I married my husband. He is truly the most helpful man I know and he gives of himself so completely and so freely. I never feel like he thinks he is “missing out” on anything by having to be here and take care of us. He has a beautiful disposition – cheerfully cleaning, changing diapers, feeding children, telling me to go take a nap — he’d take care of everyone.
I love seeing what adding a new family member actually does for everyone else. Yes, it’s work. Yes, life might have been easier without having to take time out for pregnancy and newborn weeks. Yes, we might suffer a little bit less if we didn’t go through this. But the growth that happens because we are going through it is a million times better in the long run. With five kids, there’s no room for anyone to make everything “all about them.” Yes, we all have our days or special occasions, but for the most part, it’s all about US.
ALL OF US.
It’s about growing and loving each other – day after day.
It’s about expanding our hearts to their full capacity and then stretching even more.
It’s about using the Grace that God bestowed on us in our family to glorify Him and lifting each other up and pointing us all toward heaven.
And for some reason, that hazy, jumbled, sleepy first week of a baby’s life puts that all in perspective for me.