Wednesday, June 6, 2007

A Pile of Blessings

So, as you might recall, every so often I might say something slightly negative about my kids. And by "every so often" I mean at least twice in each post, and by "slightly negative" I mean really, really negative. Just so we're clear on the history of our family.

Ryan and I were apprehensive about adding another kid to our family. Most of the time I feel like I'm hanging on to sanity by my fingernails, which, granted, are pretty strong as my brothers could attest, but still, a tenuous hold on life and order. The last couple of months things seem like they are shifting, though, as the boys get older and we can do things like go out to eat without me having to stand outside with one or more crying children. Noah has been a little more mellow, or maybe he's crazy a little less often. We've kind of gotten the eating-timing thing under control, for the most part. Brad and Zack are both aiming for more independence than they can really handle at this point, but we're working on a compromise there too. So things have been looking up.

Enter Child #4. What was that going to do to the delicate balance of the Simmons family ecosystem? Was she going to enter our lives like Hurricane Darcey and destroy our below-sea-level city? Were we going to behave like ineffective government officials, trying to corral our children into the Superdome of Poor Parenting? Was this going to be the straw that broke the levee's back?

Turns out, no. This new child has been like a soothing tropical breeze, which does little more than stir the umbrella stuck in your exotic coconut-cup drink. She has been a very easy baby so far. She cries only when there's a problem. She sleeps for 3 hours at a time sometimes, occasionally even more. (Not at night, though, which is unsurprising.) I could spend hours just looking at her, which I've done quite a bit of over the last few days. When she wakes up, she cries, but sometimes when I pick her up, being held is enough to put her back to sleep, so I can hold her and cuddle her and smell her Johnson's Baby Wash skin.

And the boys, they love her too. All three of them ask to hold her, and at Day 6, the fact that they still are interested is a feat. Last night we gave Darcey her first bath (mostly to refresh the Johnson's smell) and she cried when I got her out of the tub. Zacky was standing there with an absolutely horrified look on his face, and he said, "Mommy! Darcey's crying! Can I hold her?" There was such genuine concern in his voice, and his eyes were wide open, as if to say, There's a real problem here! I need to fix this!

The best part, though, is that so far the impact on the ecosystem of our family has been minimal. If anything, it's been improved. The boys have been playing with each other as if they actually like each other. Like they are friends or something. Today it rained all day, so they all stayed inside most of the time, and far from killing each other, they made up games and horsed around and had a good time for hours on end.

Is life perfect now? Of course not. It was incredibly loud, there was still occasional whining, an argument over watching Caillou, and Zack's pants are currently in the freezer in hopes that Noah's gum can come out of them. (It came out of the carpet, fortunately.) I'm really, really tired, which I recognize is nothing new, but still pretty painful, and I'm glad that I am down to about zero responsibilities, because I don't feel capable of handling much. And I'm intimidated by the idea of taking 4 kids anywhere - we've been outnumbered since Zack was born, but this is the first time I felt like the Rebel Alliance could overthrow the Empire. Seriously, if they decided to work together to gang up on us, we're in trouble! (Ryan says that it's not until they are adults and we are senior citizens that we need to worry - until then, we outweigh them and can out-think them.)

Also, my brain isn't fully functional yet. I'd give you proof of that, but the two incidents I had today that made me say "Boy, my brain is still a wreck!" have already been forgotten. I handle life pretty well during the day, but by around 4 p.m. the tiredness hits and I go downhill fast, so that by the time Ryan gets home I'm ready to either cry or bite his head off. I think getting out of the house a little would help - last night I drove Brad to a friend's house for a late night and afterwards stopped at a kid's clothing consignment store, where I, for the first time ever, bought clothes for my baby girl. Oh my gosh, it was so much fun and there was so much to choose from that I had to stop myself at just 4 or 5 outfits. Which I only bought because she's so (comparatively) tiny that none of the clothes I've been given fit her, and even the 0-3 month sizes I bought yesterday are way too big.

But all in all, I feel like we've been blessed with a (so far) easy child, and that our other kids are being abnormally easy right now too. I think the Lord probably knew I couldn't handle a real challenge at this point - not that it won't come, or that she (and they) will stay easy, but I know enough to count my blessings, and right now I could name you four.

A Bonus! As a reward for reading through this whole entry, you get to see some new pictures of Darcey!

These are two I took during naps, where she was striking particularly cute poses.

And here was her first bath, yesterday. I am not putting the picture where there is actual proof that she is a girl and not a boy, you'll just have to take my word for it.

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