Last weekend Ruth turned 4 months old, and again I am faced with the reality that “oh, my sweet, tiny baby will only be so little for so long.” She truly is such a sweetheart, and I’m trying to cherish this time as much as I can.
Ruth is a happy baby. If you need someone to lift your spirits look no further than this darling. Her smile is one of pure delight, and her cute little giggles immediately brighten our day. Lúthien loves to talk and sing to her, and Rainer calls her “Ruthie Ruth.” [He calls his stuffed dog and blanket that he sleeps with his “doggy dog” and “blankey blankey,” so it’s only fitting that his little sister gets a cute Rainer-ized nickname too.]
Life as a family of 5 has definitely been an adjustment in a zillion different ways (as I expected). I had some small idea of what to expect from observing my sister-in-law and friends with 3-4 kids, and now that I am a mother of 3 under 3.5 years, so much of what they have told me about their lives makes so much more sense. For instance, the most difficult part of mothering right now is not taking care of the baby, it’s keeping up with the big kids.
I’ll count my blessings and say that the during the first two months, Rainer and Lúthien adjusted beautifully to the family dynamic change. Plus, we were spared during flu season unlike our rockstar friends who seemingly all caught it. March and April have been a whirlwind as a family though for multiple reasons. Ross has been busier with work lately, so there have been even more nights where I go solo (difficult for the both of us, not just me). And we just got over our very first sick family epidemic (to be melodramatic).
Honestly it could have been worse, this wasn’t the flu or any of the icky viruses like hand, foot, and mouth. I have no idea what it was though, and it started off with a fever, then nausea, then a nasty cold. In total, we were all sick for two weeks. Lúthien ended up developing an ear infection from it, Rainer took awhile to get better, I was weakened quite a bit and it affected my milk supply, and even little Ruth caught it but praise the Lord, she didn’t throw up or refuse to nurse or anything. And again, praise the Lord, while Ross was affected by the virus, he did not get as sick as the rest of us and he’s the one with an autoimmune disease.
But yes, about the big kids, dearest Lúthien and Rainer. They love each other a lot. When the other wakes up from a long nap, they greet each other like they’ve been separated for two days (unless they’re super groggy). But goodness do they know how to drive each other (and me) crazy. We’re also running into a lot of behavioral issues lately, and I’m sure a lot of it has been because of the craziness lately.
I have a feeling that we will be on the other size of “survival mode” soon, however. I’m beginning to sleep train Ruth, which has actually been relatively painless and tearfree this time around (knock on wood). Once she can sleep better on her own, there will be more of an ordered sense to our days. She is also beginning to “play” more, and the big kids take so much delight in cheering her on through the next milestone.
Parenthood is this exhausting balance of giving of constantly giving of yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I wouldn’t change a thing though. The joy always surpasses the sacrifice. Sure, it’s hard, but I am so grateful for this gift of motherhood. I pray for the grace to help form my kids, but goodness, they are definitely helping to form me too.