I always thought it was cute how my oldest two kids referred to our smaller family unit as the “Five Family” (as opposed to the extended family of grandparents, etc.) Now that we’re a Six Family, life is busy, full, fun, hectic, and messy. Who am I kidding. It’s hardly changed at all!
The big boys and I took Zachary for his one-month checkup. His doctor looked at his measurements and said, “Well, I guess I don’t have to ask how he’s eating.” The little piglet has grown almost three inches since his birth, and has gained three pounds since his one-week checkup. He’s up to 11 pounds, 8 1/2 ounces, and is 23 1/4 inches long. Not quite as huge as his older brother was at this stage, but still a pretty big one-month-old baby. By Christmas (about 6 1/2 weeks old), I was switching him into 3 to 6 month clothes. It was hard to put away those teeny tiny little man clothes, especially since it’ll probably be the last time. Sniff, sniff!
Christmas with four kids was memorable. Trying to find time to wrap presents, do Christmas cooking, and address Christmas cards was a major challenge. Taking the Christmas picture with four squirming munchkins was a nightmare, as expected, but we got plenty of amusing shots of the kids along with one that was finally deemed “good enough” to send to friends and family far and wide. I must admit, my favorite picture had Max holding (and almost dropping) baby Zachary, Gracie with her leg in the air, tongue out, and eyes crossed, and Jack with his finger up his nose. Super classy.
I went for my six-week check up just before the new year. Everything’s back where it’s supposed to be, and I’m doing well. I took Zachary with me for the appointment, and he enjoyed plenty of extra attention from everyone at the doctor’s office. I had to have a two-hour blood sugar test to make sure the gestational diabetes has resolved, but I’m not too concerned. My weight is back to where it was before I got pregnant, which is a plus considering my other risk factors for developing diabetes later in life. And before you decide you hate me and want to punch me about the weight thing (which is how I’d feel at this point after any of my other three pregnancies!), remember that I was following that restrictive, low-carb gestational diabetes diet for the whole pregnancy, so I didn’t gain much to begin with. It took me almost a year to lose the weight from Jack, so I’m just as shocked as everyone else that I’m back in my regular jeans. If it makes you feel better, there’s still a muffin top from the stretched out skin. Just because my weight’s down doesn’t mean I’m back in shape!
Other random tidbits of the month: I’m breastfeeding Zachary, but I usually pump a few bottles a week for church and other outings. At church last week, I made him suck down his bottle before we had to go up front for Praise Team. I sing, the hubby does guitar, so Zach comes up with us because I’m still too germaphobic to let other people touch him. Anyway, the whole church was quiet, and we were halfway up the aisle when Zach let out a huge man-belch that shook the rafters, and the whole congregation got a case of the giggles. I tried to make a connection between a baby making us all laugh and the joy of Baby Jesus at Christmas, but I think it was a bit of a stretch!
Apparently, my “baby brain” didn’t go away when the little guy was born. I thought I was being a responsible bill-payer by paying off our larger-than-usual (thanks to Christmas and finishing the basement) credit card bill. Too bad I thought my husband’s payday was a week earlier than it really was. The fact that several little old ladies offered to buy milk for my hubby when his debit card was denied at the grocery store helped restore my faith in humanity, but I had to do some beat-the-clock scrambling to get money transferred and in place before the bank closed for business that day. Sometimes I think I can handle this whole having four kids thing, but it’s obvious that my time and attention are sometimes stretched a little thin. I’m just thankful we needed milk that day so we were tipped off to the problem and I avoided fees and bounced checks. Needless to say, I’m being much more careful now, and paydays are marked in red on the calendar!
I continue to drown in the sea of laundry and dishes my family creates, and my husband has been busy working on finishing the basement, so he hasn’t had as much time as usual to help me keep up with those things. But at some point after Christmas, I got caught up enough with the regular stuff to tackle the extreme task of organizing the kids’ toys and trying to find homes for the new ones. Our house usually looks like Geoffery the Giraffe from Toys R Us was our interior decorator, but the influx of new toys at Christmas made it even worse. So one afternoon while Zachary napped, I assembled the new shelf and toy-sorting bins we had received as a gift. Three bins for cars, one for dinosaurs, two for fake food for the play kitchen, one for baby toys. I made a lot of progress, and was able to clear out the corner of my living room a little bit. Then we hosted a New Year’s Eve party for our friends, including thirteen children under age six. Halfway through the evening, two-year-old Jack decided he and all his friends needed party hats, so he dumped every single one of those bins onto the floor of his closet, and passed out the “helmets” to his friends. It was one of those moments where you have to laugh so you don’t cry. They all had a fabulous time in their helmets, and the pile of toys is still in the closet. I’ll attack it after tomorrow’s playdate, and hopefully train the boys not to dump them again. Have I mentioned that I can’t WAIT till the basement’s done and we move most of the toys down there?
2010 ended with its highs and lows, but the highest of the highs has been the precious new addition to our family, watching him grow, and watching his siblings start developing relationships with him. They are so proud that their baby brother can smile, coo, and make eye contact with them. It seems like he’s starting to recognize their voices and faces, and he reacts to Gracie, Max, and Jack almost as much as his daddy and me. As our Six Family heads into a new year, it’s exciting to think about what the future holds: more growing and changing, new rooms in the basement, camping and boating with four kids, and other adventures. Here’s hoping 2011 is a great one for our family and yours!