Tuesday, May 31, 2011

This Too Shall Pass

Every tiny new member added to our family has brought with him or her each a different adjustment period, a new "normal" that we have to adapt to as a family unit.  With our first born, we struggled with all the things brand new parents find so challenging: diaper changes and midnight feedings and hours of colicky crying in the late evenings.  When our first son came along, things went much more smoothly; he was an easy, almost effortless fit into our family and life quickly settled back onto an even keel after his arrival.

This time, however, it's Mama who is having all the adjustment trouble.  Or rather, Mama's sleeping habits.  Postpartum insomnia isn't something I ever really considered when I thought of all of the possible "after effects" of labor, birth, and settling in with a new baby, but for the past two weeks I've struggled to get more than four hours of interrupted sleep a night.  Most nights I'm awake by two a.m.  If I'm lucky, I get to "sleep in" until around four if I can hold my bedtime off until eleven.  All this while baby is snoozing peacefully beside me in the bed.

It is definitely a struggle getting through the days with a preschooler, a toddler and a newborn when I've had so little sleep!  But on those days when the kids seem that much more rambunctious and determined to disobey and my patience is worn paper thin because I don't have a restful reserve of sleep to back up my day, I just have to remember:

This too shall pass.

I won't be struggling to sleep forever (hopefully!).  The kids won't be trying my patience forever.  My natural optimism will return with good rest.  It's only a matter of time.

Until then, I'm doing my part to encourage my body back into a healthy sleep rhythm: taking valerian at night before bed, taking my placenta capsules three times a day to keep my moods from swinging, cutting out caffeine as much as possible, and eating healthier whole foods.  Slowly but surely, my body will get back to normal and before I know it I'll be enjoying seven to eight hours of restful sleep.  (Or, as much restful sleep as one busy mama can expect with a nursing newborn!)  

And until then, I just have to keep in mind that this rough patch will not last forever.  Just like the good things, all bad things must also come to an end.  So instead of whining and feeling sorry for myself because I'd love another couple of hours of sleep, I'm choosing to look at the bright side.  To do what I can with the energy I have instead of being miserable about what I'm not getting done.  To spend the sleepy days cuddling with my kids (when they let me), and treasuring all of these quiet midnight times with the new little one.  To remember, as always, that This Too Shall Pass, and it will pass before I know it.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Our Home Birth in Photographs

Crowning, still in the caul.

Punching his little fist through the water bag.

Checking to make sure he was really a boy.  :)

So tiring, but SO worth it!

My Sweet Boy

Five days old, and I sometimes still find myself surprised that he's here!  Life with a newborn is always so different, so full of transition, but at the same time so seemingly effortless.  Like this little man was always meant to be part of our family.  

I'm working on writing up his amazing birth story, and I can't wait to share it with the world!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Quiet Moments

For two days in a row, I have been awake to witness the sunrise in the wee hours of the morning.  Beside me in the bed, our newest bundle of joy is making all of those adorable noises that newborns make while the dawn creeps quietly over the foggy lawn.

Since the birth of Logan, a mere three and a half days ago, I've been plagued with incessant insomnia.  It makes for difficult days, even when there's nothing more pressing on the agenda than nursing and cuddling with the wee one.  But I can't deny - this quiet time, just me and my very youngest, is so precious.  

There will be time for naps as the day wears on....for now I'm content to enjoy this quiet stillness and curl up next to my sweet-smelling baby while his eyelids quiver from precious baby dreams.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

A Clutter-Free Home, One Room at a Time

Yesterday, my mom and my grandmother were kind enough to descend upon my house armed with energy and goodwill, determined to help me whip my full-of-C.H.A.O.S. home into shape.  You see, this baby I'm lugging around is due practically any day now, and it's difficult for me to do a lot of housework, especially heavy-duty housework, for any length of time.  I was starting to panic that nothing was going to get done in time, so I am immensely thankful they stepped in to lend a hand.  

And oh boy did they help!  By tackling the two most cluttered rooms in the house, the kids' rooms, they single-handedly knocked out two of my biggest sources of stress.  Before yesterday, I couldn't see my kids' floors.  Toys, trash and laundry littered every surface, and the kids could barely walk to their beds without falling over and tripping over the clutter.  Embarrassing? Absolutely. It's always bothered me that my kids' spaces were in such deplorable condition, when they should have had nice, clean, peaceful places to play. But, there never seemed to be enough time, or motivation, or help for me to tackle what I'd started to see as an insurmountable problem. 

I wish I had taken "Before" photos, even though I'm not sure I would have had the guts to post them.   

In the end, we removed seven (SEVEN!!) bags of trash and old toys from the two rooms, and the difference in space was unbelievable!  It was hard work for my mom and grandma, and all of their hard work definitely showed at the end of the day.  Now, my kids' toys actually fit in their toyboxes - the first time this has ever happened in our family!  And the kids were so happy and proud of their "new" rooms; they've been picking up their toys frequently (and voluntarily!) to keep their new spaces looking nice.  

I did learn something valuable about decluttering a child's room: it is definitely easiest to do when the child in question isn't home.  Then, there's no whining over which toys are going in the "toss" pile, and which are going in the trash. Plus, when the child returns home, the "missing" items are never really missed and instead they are forgotten about almost immediately.  What might have been a four day job had my children been home interfering with the purging process only took about six hours.  And what a difference six hours has made!

I'm looking forward to continuing the purging and decluttering process through the rest of the house, and keeping the kids' room clean and clutter-free.  We've instituted mandatory Toy Pick Up Time three times during the day: before lunch, before dinner, and before bed.  So far the kids are eager and willing to keep to the new rules.  I'm sure that'll change a bit as the newness wears off, but I'm confident we can keep control of the clutter now.  

Have you had a major success cleaning out a child's room or toys?  Do you have any tips or tricks to help others along?  I'd love to hear about them!