Life with Four

Things I don't want to forget:

The fourth kid does not guarantee calm and cool parents. I fought against the inner fears but they still hung around the first few weeks. I worried about his eyes not focusing (based off an offhand comment from the pediatrician at the hospital... she didn't mean to worry me, I'm sure, but I heard it and it stuck in my head) and about bumps I felt on his head (lymph nodes, I later learned). I constantly watched to see if he preferred one side when turning his head. Of course, I also worried that he wasn't eating enough. He cluster fed like crazy the first two days before my milk came in and his latch wasn't quite right yet so I ended up with a blister. Thankfully, I was able to get a shield to protect it and let it heal and he had no problem latching with that. After two weeks of using it, his latch was perfect and I was healed with no pain during nursing sessions. With Amelia, it took up to six weeks before I realized it never hurt, so this was wonderful.

I can't remember how to get him to sleep at night. I've successfully got three babies to sleep at night, laying them down awake but sleepy, not nursing them to sleep. Yet this time, I find myself wondering, "how do I do this again?"

The girls have all reacted and adjusted differently. Josie is surprisingly motherly. She's been my go to girl when he starts fussing and I'm in the middle of something. She gently puts his pacifier back in, will sing to him (It works! It's amazing!) and does some pretty crazy stunts to distract him. Audrey will happily give him a hug or kiss if prompted and has held him a few times (the sweetest!) but she generally acts indifferent to him. She will, however, push his stroller every chance she gets. I'll give her that. Amelia is a fan. She was excited in anticipation of his birth and it didn't go away after he was born like I feared it would. She demands to hold him (that lasts about seconds before she says that she's done) and sometimes sings "Dennett Dennett you otay" to him in the car when he cries. It's the sweetest thing! She insisted on calling him Dennett or Be-dennett the first month or so even after she figured out that it wasn't right. It didn't help that we all laughed every time she said it. She randomly tells him that she loves him and I melt each time. It's adorable of course.

We've had some pretty chaotic days. Consecutive days, where we thought we were all going crazy. Bennett prefers to eat when we are all ready to eat, so many meals have been spent with everyone eating except me, only to find me wandering around looking for something to eat after they are all in bed. I've been known to lovingly shove the kids outside for large chunks of the day which helps a lot. Thankfully, Amelia has been much better about playing with her big sisters out there without me right by her side. It was worth the practice rounds we did while I was still pregnant. Hubby has stepped up his game and can get all three girls fed and ready for whatever activity is next leaving me to just take care of Bennett and myself. It's not perfect but we manage and it's getting easier every time.

On that note, though, there has been a shift in attitudes. Amelia is no longer the baby sister. She's become one of the big kids and they treat her as such. They don't willingly help her unless asked and she doesn't even want to be helped because, well, she's two. She pushes their buttons with incredible purpose and she's good at it. She knows it's not worth it to pull Josie's hair because she'll just laugh, but Audrey will lose her mind over it every time. She knows to take out bookmarks or move around toys that Josie perfectly arranged and that sets Jo over the edge. Audrey, on the other hand, doesn't seem to be bothered by that. She also walks around bopping on the heads (reminds me of the song Little Bunny Foo Foo) just for fun. I'd say she's definitely scrappy. Both of the older two take turns being her best friend which then leaves one of them out. It's a learning process.

We took the kids to Bismarck for a wedding when Bennett was a mere two weeks old. He did amazing. It was a great trip. He slept the whole way there and back, the kids danced and played at the wedding with minimal whining and mischief, and we got to enjoy time with family we don't see often enough.

He doesn't love the carseat when in the car. He screams about 50% of the time because his pacifier falls out and nobody can help or reach him. Not ideal. I cannot wait until he can put that thing in himself. He's so great when he has it, and I do think it's worth it but he has no idea how to hold it in his mouth himself. Gahh! Also, he just loves movement. He sleeps great in the little swing we pulled out of the shed (the one that none of the girls liked and we almost gave away) and will sleep fairly well when being pushed around in the stroller, but he wakes up almost immediately when stopped. It's not my favorite.

Part two coming some day...

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