Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Settling In

The honeymoon phase of having new children is slowly fading away. Don't be alarmed. All is well. Very well in fact. Spring has sprung and everyone is enjoying being outside, and the special happy feeling that accompanies the blooming of spring flowers and greening of the trees, and of course the warm sun on your skin. However, we would not be painting a complete picture if we failed to mention some of the harder parts of being a larger family.

For instance, there is never a time someone does not need to be somewhere else. From play practice, to early morning music programs, to science club, and of course doctors appointments. Every family faces this challenge to some degree, but I think we have reached the point of critical mass, where it is sometimes not physically possible to have everyone where they need to be all of the time. At the end of some days, Stacey and I can only shake our head at how chaotic those 18 waking hours can be.

Another challenge: Krem is the personification of sustainable nuclear fusion. From 7 AM to 8 PM his tank is full, and we are on his heals trying to keep up all of the time. From riding his bike around the driveway for hours, to playing in the pool, to organizing doll house toys in the kitchen, there is never a moment of pause or rest. We are pretty anti-television in our house, but in the interest of initiating some down-time we are being a little more flexible. I don't know if we are the first to do so, but we have a good half-hour of "Spongebob family therapy" a few nights a week, the only time where all of the kids are in the same room doing the same thing. Stacey generally defers on this activity - not being so fond of the genius of Spongebob Squarepants, but the rest of us get some good laughs in. Krem also relishes story time before bed, the only other activity for which he willingly sits still. I use this time to foster language association with everyday things. Just this week he seems to be taking more interest in making the language transition. Despite his energy, it is positive and focused, like the rays of the sun. It spawns happiness. He drives us crazy trying to keep up with him, but as the same time spawns joy, and he has focus on whatever activity he is doing. Getting used to the energy level is an adjustment for us, not him.

Another challenge for Stacey has been her back. Hirut is a "Healthy" baby (aka Babyzilla) and it is taking a toll on Stacey's spine. She's coping as best she can, but it is obviously a frustration and distraction to deal with.

On the other end of the spectrum, here are some challenges we expected that never materialized...

We are getting way more sleep than we hoped for. Hirut can easily sleep from 7:30 PM until 7:30 AM, and she takes a long afternoon nap as well. Krem goes down between 8 and 9, and his sleeping habits have recently stabilized. He was waking up a few nights a week whimpering now and then. This seems to have stopped, perhaps now that he realizes we are just around the corner and available. I was thrilled when I heard him wake up the other day whispering "Folest" (Forest with Krems R to L pronunciation). A few minutes later I heard "Mommy....Daddy". Like Edgar Alen Poes telltale heart, it grew louder and louder until I went to check on him.

Meal time is much easier than it should be as well. There are some foods that Krem does not like, but Stacey puts everything on his plate that the rest of us eat, and he will generally try it all with a little coercion. Hirut (aka Babyzilla), on the other hand, devours her dinner. Here mouth is open, ready for a bite, while the spoon is en-route. She is eating cereal and pieces of vegetables and fruit. She has no trouble picking up anything that is even remotely edible and guiding it to her mouth. Oddly, however, she did not try to eat the sand at the beach.

Finally, the kids are all adjusting well, and have embraced the addition of two new children. Knock on wood! It's still early, and of course there are moments when they need some alone time or a break from Krem's energy. But they all love having Krem and Hirut as siblings. Stephanny plays with Hirut every morning before we go in to say goodmorning. Forest loves having someone who constantly likes to bike and be outside, and River seems to be enjoying being a big brother, which is great considering he is at that age where ipods are THE thing and high school is just around the corner.