I figured it's about time to post an update on Grace for those of you who read for family news. It's been fun to have a baby here. When we announced I was pregnant we got only congratulations, in contrast to the snarky comments we got further north when we announced #3. A predominantly Catholic culture is different in many ways from what I'm used to, but one of the great positives is the appreciation for life that seems more pervasive here. The community seems to treasure children, and wherever we go, people (guys and girls, all ages) start what Billy calls Cajun grandma talk. "Awww, cher bebe!" Apparently that's the rough equivalent of "sweet baby," which is what I call all of mine. Even the guys have to kiss and love on her.
We were overwhelmed with meals and good wishes after her birth. In fact, I still have a couple meals in the freezer. I've only cooked 3 or 4 times since she was born. I'm very blessed and spoiled!
Grace is thriving on all the love. She had gained a whole pound 5 days after we came home from the hospital, and now at almost 3 weeks, she is already past that initial new-newborn stage. She's filled out and smooth, and we've had to adjust the car seat straps to accommodate her growth.
She is a good sleeper, as my babies go. As long as she isn't gassy and stays warm, I get a good 2 hours between feedings. She had a bad night or two, but I tried cutting dairy out of my diet and it's done wonders. (I've learned a lot over the course of having a few children--I wish I had known to try that the first time around. Would have saved Baby some pain and us some sleepless nights, I think.) She really is a sweet, easygoing little one. She doesn't cry much and when she does, it's usually easy to stop. She especially loves to lay on her tummy across anyone's lap.
She loves her daddy already, and unless she's hungry he can soothe her pretty well as easily as I can. I love to see them together--she looks so tiny in his arms.
The kids are in love too. Elizabeth is already such a help. Her favorite assignment is to hold Grace while I do some little task nearby. She can usually get her to stop crying just by talking to her. The other day she read her the funny papers from cover to cover. As much as Silas wanted a brother, he is crazy about his new sister. He grins from ear to ear when he gets to hold her, and he is the one who always wants to give her hugs and kisses. There are big problems at our house if he misses her good night kiss! This morning he sang her the ABC songs and all the Sunday School songs he knows. Sarah has made the transition to big sister pretty easily. I try to make sure I snuggle her often, since she is such a cuddly girl. She loves Grace too. She likes to hold her, but only briefly. She mostly loves to pet her fuzzy head. She was a bit disappointed that she doesn't get to feed the baby, but she got over it quickly. The other day she announced proudly to her favorite nursery worker at church, "My baby doesn't have a bottle! My baby gets Mommy milk!"
I had a lot of fears that I was "due" for a hard baby since Sarah was so easy, but the transition from 3 to 4 has been surprisingly easy. Of course there's always lack of sleep, more laundry, time spent in baby care (many hours daily), and just the logistical adjustments of adding another person to the mix, but overall I couldn't be more happy. Grace is so easy, and my older kids are big enough to take on extra responsibilities, so I know it won't be long till we are in a new routine that works. I think part of it is that I am just more relaxed this time, and I know a little more what I'm doing than I have before. (A side note, this is my first baby since I started taking Armour thyroid for hypothyroidism, and that's done wonders for my mental and emotional state. I'm handling everything better this time, from pregnancy onward.) I know this newborn phase will only last a few weeks and then we will be back to something like normal, so I'm enjoying the long hours of snuggling and trying not to worry too much about all that's not getting done. People have told me over and over that after #3 it's all the same, whether it's your 4th or your 14th. (Don't worry anybody, we aren't having 14!) They've said that it really does get easier. If Grace is any indication, that's true. Although I didn't know during the pregnancy how it would all turn out, I'm crazy in love too. What a little joy!
Since I can't even get my dishes done, much less blog, here are links to people who are clearly more organized and less newly postpartum than myself.
Jen of Et Tu? (Diary of a Former Atheist) is interviewed at The Cynical Christian. The topic? Approaching Atheists: What Can Christians Do? Good stuff. I don't often run into avowed atheists, but in a region that's 80% Catholic , I do frequently encounter people who are greatly disenchanted with organized religion. Ironically, Jen is Catholic, but her faith is clearly real to her. I appreciated her thoughts.
Anna's older children have all found their life's work and become good at it at very young ages. I recently asked her how she and her husband accomplished this, and she kindly answered me with this post.
Shannon posted ideas of Pottery Barn Kids wall hangings that would be so easy to copy. I had the same thought when I got the recent PBK catalog. I especially love the ladybug art pictured above. Go check out this super cute stuff. When I'm less newly postpartum, I MUST give these a try! The possibilities are endless. In addition to wall hangings, you could make cards and who knows what else.
This show and tell is more practical than artistic. This is the new Arm's Reach Co-sleeper we got for our sweet new baby, Grace. I am loving it! I've tried just about every newborn sleeping arrangement from bassinet to pack and play to crib to full co-sleeping and none of it worked for me. This was recommended by a pediatric nurse friend, and it's perfect. Grace is right next to me, so I can keep a close eye on her, pick her up easily (without getting out of bed), and during nursing times I don't have to worry about dozing off and dropping her. That's always been a big fear. The sleeper actually straps to the bed between the matress and box springs for a nice tight fit.
She loves to sleep in my arms, but she also does really well in the co-sleeper with her foam wedges and a good swaddle. The nurses at the hospital showed me how they wrap the babies, and while I haven't perfected their burrito swaddle, I can get her snug enough that she feels secure and sleeps well. This is my first success with getting baby to sleep on her back. I think the swaddle has something to do with it.
In any case, I wholeheartedly recommend the co-sleeper. It's kinda pricey and at first I thought we had just bought a really expensive pack and play...It's a lot more than that, though. Works for us!
The opposite of consumption is production. It takes far more time and energy to create something than to consume something. It takes a novelist a year to write a book that someone can read in a few days. A cast and crew of thousands spend years to create a film that will be viewed in two hours. Often our only recreational activities are actions of consumption. What an alternative it is, then, to rediscover the wonder and delight of creativity.~Albert Hsu