Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Beautiful Juggle



I came home from hospital with baby bear Elke on Sunday- she was 5 days old and I was 5 days the mother of three. As I walked from my hospital room out into the blustery world I took a deep breath in preparation for what was to come.

I confessed to Dave that I wasn't quite ready. In his over confident way he assured me that 'yes, yes I was' before raising his hand for a high five. As our hands made that familiar slapping sound, I believed him.

We drove home with our newest bundle in tow. She didn't make a peep.

It was around 11am when we pulled into our white picketed drive. Dave unpacked my hospital bag, endless bunches of flowers and many gifts from the car while I carefully unstrapped Elke from her seat.

 We gave her the grand tour of her new home before collecting the 'big kids' from the neighbours place. They greeted their baby sister with joyous fanfare and much excitement. She indulged us as we all took turns of holding her miniature frame and kissing her fluffy head.

For about 15 minutes things were blissfully calm. They were a beautiful 15 minutes.

But toddlers and pre-schoolers seldom stay still for long. Their excitement at having their mother back at home along with the many emotions that come with sudden and immense change were tangible and right there began The Beautiful Juggle.

Everybody talking at once, everybody needing something at the same time, everybody needing everything immediately. Myself included (i've gotta wee, take pain relief, breastfeed somebody, listen to somebody, sleep, eat, wipe away toddlers tears and eat again).

It became evident that if were were going to get this family of 5 thing right- we needed to start now and we needed to start well. Stripping everything back, simplifying as much as possible. Making time, touch and love our priority.

Then and there I decided, with great ferocity, that we were to bunker down as a family. Just the 5 of us getting to know each other and figuring out how things should work. There's been an awful lot of boundary pushing from the young ones - an obvious request for affirmation that they are still loved, despite our divided attention.

Dave and I are making a conscious effort to provide them with the words they lack when melt downs and temper tantrums occur (i'll be honest, it's a stretch at times). There is an abundance of change and an ocean of newness to comprehend for all of us.

After a caesar (or any birth, I should imagine), so much rest is required and what little energy the body has is spent on feeding and settling a new born treasure. Just as it should be. But when there are two larger, less new treasures that also need to be emotionally nourished, things can be tricky.

We are spending all of our energy focusing on the kids.

Each morning Dave takes them into the garden for planting and weeding and feeding while Elke and I sleep on. Once she and I are up we spend time in the kitchen or at the table, colouring, cooking or reading stories. Of course, each day is punctuated with with the usual and expected kid bickering, negotiating and disciplining but on the whole - we're getting the hang of this family of 5.

Our days have been as slow as is possible, which is not that slow. They have been as quiet as possible, which is pretty loud. But what they lack in peace and quiet they make up for in crazy and in my book, crazy is awesome.

50 comments:

  1. welcome to the crazy, dear lady. I watched my littlest reach up and take her biggest brother's hand at a school thing today. Crazy punctuated by the briefest, most tiny perfection. You will get used to trying not to blink ;) Sarah

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    1. Never again will i moisten my eyes with a blink!

      xxxxxxx

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  2. Oh Em... love it!! It IS such a juggle.. its hard and precious and overwhelming and wonderful all at the same time! I love that you have made the precious time with just the 5 of you.. so very vital. Enjoy this fleeting time and savour every moment. Blessings.. xx

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  3. this is so beautifully written, em. welcome to family of 5 life! x

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  4. Good on you guys sounds like your doing all the right things. Congrats again.

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  5. Oh I live this!!

    We brought all our new babes on a walking tour of our house when we brought them home from hospital too!! Very emotional and empowering...

    I remember coming home with our third, Mike put together a picnic afternoon tea and we sat in the shade of our lovely jacaranda. The two big ones ate, then asked to jump on the trampoline. I handed the newborn to daddy and went inside and made risotto.


    The brandnewness and the familiar blended into one. It was amazing and beautiful.

    Thanks for the chance to relive this moment (I kinda needed that, yesterday was a bit rough for me).

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  6. Five definitely is a juggle. Our three are soon to be 7, 5 and 3, and looking back, that initial period was constant. Being at everyone's beck and call can grind you down, so if you're not a regular break taker, you might want to start now. And always, always take care of yourself as well as you would anyone else in the family. I only say this, not to tell you how to suck eggs, but because this is what I'd go back and tell myself. x

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    1. Oh yeah! Me too. I need to constantly remind myself of this.

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  7. You are such a beautiful Mum! - Congratulations -

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  8. I love this so much Em. Such a gorgeous gorgeous post.
    I think it's such a beautiful idea to "bunker down" as the 5 of you get used to your new roles within the family. Enjoy this precious time. xxx

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  9. Magic times lovely lady! Soak it all in. Wish I could pop in with a cake and something bubbling and delcious. Rest that wee belly of yours :) xx

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  10. gorgeous and honest, high fiving you as well! enjoy and count blessings in the tough bits, it keeps you positive when crazy starts to swamp! love you xxxxx

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  11. Be kind to yourself. It is a sharp learning curve for all, but a worthwhile and so needed one. One you will come out the other side of...stronger and happier!

    On a funny note, I returned to work in theclassroom after 7 years at home with 3 boys, and today I channelled my inner beetleshack, yepo...
    Motivated and inspired by you...
    I did fimo... gorgeous pastel bead making Fimo with year 4s.
    Mothers day fimo bead making necklaces...
    Thinking of you today mother of 3, but mother to many more out here!
    You go gal!
    Remember who you are, and hold your bundles close if you forget!

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    1. Can I just say, if my child came home with Beetleshack-esque Fimo bead anything, my heart would explode. How awesome are you, Ms-I've-been-at-home-for-7-years?

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    2. I suspect you may know that you have just made my day with this little insight! Ohhhh THE CLASSROOM!!! that old place!

      I'm SO happy for you that after 7 years you are back there and i'm SO happy that FIMO could be apart of it ;) I can only assume that you are now their favourite teacher EVER!!!

      xxx

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    3. It is all thanks to you o great one!
      Yepo, have to say even the smell of the fimo had other teachers clambering for a piece of the action..
      I reference you, we felt connected, we shed tears for our babies who now have their own opinions, and tears for some of the ...umm... interesting colour combos they had chosen! Rock on inspiring lady! We are all mum, but yet more!

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  12. You make me want to pop out two more!
    I have no doubt that you will enjoy juggling...if you are anything like me there will be days when all the balls fall but then there will be days when they are all flying high.

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  13. Sending you some peace within your days as you juggle your lovely family of 5! Remember to be kind to yourself too Em and drink in your blessings :)

    Sophie xo

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  14. Oh Em, you just gave me a glimpse into my not very distant future. Let me say, I'm terrified and I hope I cope half as well as you seem to be. Im x

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    1. don;t be terrified.... i think..... gosh I'm 8 days in and it's surprisingly okay..... while dave is on holidays and I can sleep till 9 each morning and request cups of tea and hot lunches. He's doing all the bottom wiping too.

      We will be okay Im... WE WILL ;)

      xxx

      you're growing a baby it's going to be fuzzy and soft and pink and kissable. Oh, the JOY!

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  15. Oh the look on Zeph's face is to die for.
    Happy bunkering. Sounds perfect xx

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  16. Oh Em, that is the sweetest photo!
    I remember the first morning Rick was out after Edward and I had come home - it was a total disaster! In fact, it was so chaotic that I didn't know whether to cry or laugh, was it was so hilarious. We've been getting the hang of it since then... I think working out that rhythm is all part of the fun. Exhausting fun, for sure, but fun nonetheless. :)
    Don't you just love newborns!? I'm willing Edward bear to not grow up too quickly...
    Ronnie xo

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  17. Oh that is so lovely Em. You sound like you're rocking the 3 child thing already. I love that idea of it just being the 5 of you sorting it all out as you go. Get some semblance of routine first and then maybe spread your wings a little further. The idea of recuperating after a caesar and dealing with 2 big kids has me running scared, I admire you for being right there in that moment, right now xoxo

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  18. lead the way, oh wise one.

    (although i'm starting to think i shall remain the heavily pregnant mother of 2 forever more)

    rachel xo

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  19. Embrace the crazy. After two years of being a family of five, I still don't think I've figured it out. I'm a bit more settled, but will/can never get too comfortable because things shift and change all too soon. IT IS a juggle, but also the greatest blessing. Enjoy the lie ins, the tea, the hot lunches, and those quiet moments getting to know Elke, whose name is just beautiful by the way.
    xo

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  20. This is truly lovely! Isn't that what life's about, accepting the craziness and pulling strength from it as much as we can! xxx

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  21. Crazy is perfect, really anything less is just boring x

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  22. It sounds like you're doing an amazing job already! I love hearing this as I only have one right now (but with another on the way) and I can't even imagine what it will be like to juggle two. Thank you for sharing your experience with us (and you write so beautifully about it!)

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  23. Beautiful little family, and beautifully expressed truths. x

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  24. Such a gorgeous photograph, beautiful children x

    Harri

    at-rubik.blogspot.com

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  25. So beautiful! This was our story, almost 2 years ago. It gets easier. I just had a flashback to those crazy first days and weeks, and they were beautiful. Chaotic, but beautiful. Enjoy soaking up the time together as 5. Fi xoxo

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  26. Wow reading that makes all excited and nervous at the same time. August will see us say hello to number three after my third c-section. I'm not sure things are going to be as calm with a husband who has to return to work within days of me being home. I'll be popping in and re-reading this post for inspiration on "those" days with a four and two year old and a newborn.

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  27. Gorgeous words for a gorgeous time.

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  28. Beautiful ❤ we are 12 weeks off becoming 5 & I'm starting to freak out a little at how to cope! This makes me feel better, thank you xx

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  29. Em, I have no doubt you're doing an amazing job. Look at your babies up there. Is there a more glorious sight? Ohhh, how I'd love a squeeze with beautiful Elke :) xxx

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  30. You. Are. Amazing.

    How you've managed to write such a beautiful blog post on top of all of the excitement, I will never know.

    Looking forward to following the adventures with you, and feeling inspired to have more of my own!! xx

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  31. Nothing better than a little crazy! What a lovely blog post, how you got the time to sit down and write it I'll never know!

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  32. Well written, honest post. Enjoy these first few days and weeks together as a family of 5. I grew up in a family of 5 and I couldn't imagine it any other way :)

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  33. Well you have described life as a family of 5 and little toddlers, bread feeding bubs. It's exhausting and having routines, boundaries and being consistent is going to help but when you are tired, toddlers screaming sometimes this seems like an impossible task. Enjoy it all and soak up the bedlam. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane, Australia

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  34. Ohh what a beautiful post and so gorgeously written Em (as always). I love the honesty and integrity you reflect in every post. I never leave your blog not feeling inspired and no matter how exhausted you are I know you would be doing an amazing job of mum to three. Hope the recuperation is not too difficult xxx

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  35. I love your wisdom Em, I could not articulate the beautiful juggle with my number three.... my mind was incomprehensible. I perhaps might be able to with number four - albeit of a different womb.

    I am so happy for you - and very thankful to you for sharing this precious journey.

    Rach x

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  36. So so happy for you, dear Em.

    I look forward to these days for Sam & I, & all the beautiful juggling to come!

    Sar xx

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  37. Oh, Em, I cannot even BEGIN to imagine! But I'll bet you are being truly superb. Kellie xx

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  38. You two make such beautiful children. I am sure you will soon work out a new rhythm to life.

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  39. I remember sitting on the couch breast feeding my very new fourth while the two 3 year olds and the one year old ran in an endless circle along the two couches, around me and back, over and over. I seriously wondered what I had done. It is one of my sweetest memories.

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  40. I'm not a parent (but I'm 2nd child of 3 kids) - so feel free to take what I'm going to say with a grain of salt - but here's what I think: you won't always be able to meet everyone's needs (including your own and Dave's) all the time, but what counts is that you try and that you love. That's what the kids of busy parents always remember (trust me on that one). xx

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  41. i'm pregnant with my second baby and the first one is nearly two... i still don't know how to manage that things, when i'll be back from the hospital with a little new sister... but i know i'll do my best and i know that my daughters will know that! exactly what you are doing! congratulations for the beautiful family!!

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  42. Loved, loooooooved, LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVed this post. And I'm the mum of ONLY one (one meaning a studly 14 year old tornado) and I still relate. 14 years ago two became three and change was not always a holiday but it was till the best vacation I've ever taken - and am still enjoying. Crazy, Sexy, Awesome, Scary Change. Ride the wave beautiful lady. Ride the wave.
    (And a heartfelt thank you for letting us spectate)
    (I often marvel at how the youth of today have all these pioneering bloggers to help shed light on life's crazy stuff... I mean imagine life before blogs .... she draws a sharp intake of breath and her eyes widen)

    ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

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Thanks so much for your words of encouragement, advice and solidarity.

xo em