Though you hear plenty about the trials and tribulations of new parenthood, there is always more to the story…. especially when baby makes 5!
I’m the first to declare that 90 percent (okay maybe 75 percent) of our days are pretty great. We play, we snuggle little pip, we craft, and draw, and run around like horses…. and we indulge in a bit of extra tv for the girls and nap/snuggle time for me and pip…. and there’s always ice cream in there somewhere.
But in between all of that fun, I find myself in the position of psychologist in chief. The adjustment period is proving to be a great disturbance in the force for my girls, and managing their emotional well-being has been a greater challenge than the much publicized physical ones of nursing every 2 hours and scant sleep.
For example, earlier this week, on fairy princess day (you know, when you dress up like fairy princesses, make art collages out of flower petals and grass clippings, eat tiny fairy food, and design a fairy house), Big Sis collapsed at my feet while I nursed pip. Through tears and sobs, she wailed, “you just don’t love me the same now, do you.” I struggled to figure out what brought on this breakdown. A moment earlier she had said something slightly snotty (which I have no tolerance for, unfortunately) and I had told her not to talk to me like that. She took that to mean that she can’t talk to her mom anymore. Seriously! It took half an hour of tears and another half hour of hugs to clear up this little breakdown.
Then yesterday, our ironic snow day (when the heat index read 118 degrees), just after we finished cleaning up the frosting from a rather crooked sugar cube igloo, Little Miss went wildly existential on me. “I don’t want to die,” she declared, with big tears rolling down her cheeks. Though she still says “guy” in her 3 year old way, instead of “die.” “I don’t want to get old…. I don’t want (she named a whole list of friends) to get old and…GUY…. We’re all going to GUY one hundred days from now (which is her way of saying a long time from now)” She went on and on.
What in the world was I supposed to say? Going on no sleep, I have rather limited creativity stores at the moment. I tried the zen “live in the moment, now is what’s important” speech…. I offered up the idea of heaven…. We read The Next Place, which helped Big Sis through this same concern a few years back. I told her that it will happen so long from now maybe doctors will be able to keep us all alive for hundreds of years…. at which point she freaked out that she needed to get a shot!
And so the days go for us. I nurse pip and read while the girls play well together. I engineer creative games and theme days to pass the time during these summer days that are too hot for a three-week-old. I make up stories to entertain them….. and when I’m not doing those things, I’m calming their little, frazzled nerves and reassuring overwhelmed emotions.
These early days as a family of five are intense!