Matilda and I have thoroughly been enjoying the newest member of our family since his arrival last Wednesday. We were fortunate to have a few days alone with him as his siblings were very excited to spend the weekend with their grandparents in South Carolina. Going from two toddlers back to a single, tiny, sleepy infant has been infinitely more enjoyable than the initial arrival of our first child. So much so that up until today, I was seriously contemplating when Shaw baby #4 would be arriving. And then, we picked up the kids from the grandparents....
The reunion was most definitely the sweetest one we've ever had. Jack is about the best greeter in the entire world. He absolutely lit up when our car pulled into the parking lot and ran over, jumping into my arms, like a perfectly directed movie scene. His Forest Gump wave and suffocating hug were priceless. And when I woke Caroline up from her carseat with a kiss on the nose, she fluttered her eyes, smiled her sweetest toothy grin, and said "Hi, Mommy." There were hugs and snuggles and laughter and let-me-tell-you-abouts all around. It was birds-chirping, rainbow-making wonderful.
And then we had to load up to head home.
Sam decided that was when he wanted to nurse. Caroline decided she both did not want to get out of my lap to make room for Sam nor did she have any interest in getting back into her carseat to ride home. And Jack decided that doing laps around the back of the minivan Jeff Gordon-style with his new bulldozer was the best way to break it in. Not three minutes out of the parking lot and I could barely hear Jack in the way-back singing some marching song ("Hup-two-three-four" repeated seventeen jazillion times) because his siblings were battling to see who could wail louder without passing out. I have never had a panic attack but, in that moment, I probably came as close as I ever have before.
We had to stop for food since Caroline was morphing into a Charlie Sheen-No Snickers-Diva, and Sam started to grow scales Gremlin-style. Let me tell you, if you haven't ever tried to feed a 3 year old, 1 year old, and breast-fed 5 day old in a fast food restaurant during a busy lunch hour then you just aren't living. It was like juggling flaming bags of poop with one hand, which is to say challenging, smelly, sweaty, and very close to a lawsuit on some level.
The ensuing hour long drive after lunch was filled with the Who-can-use-their-loudest-outdoor-voice game, Who-can-say-"Mommy"-more-than-a-million-times game, and the Who-can-bean-the-baby-on-the-nose-with-their-lovey game only to end with all parties, save the parents, falling asleep within 5 miles of home. Waking said parties and convincing them to go inside to nap in their beds was both rejected and disdained.
I won't even begin to describe dinner because, well, I'm trying to forget it as I start to hyperventilate when I remember that it comes every day from here on out. Bathtime....nobody drowned so that was a success. Beaten, deflated, and exhausted, Matilda and I collapsed onto the floor for the 10-15 minutes of playtime before storytime before bedtime and that is when God threw me a rope. Sam woke up and sat happily in his bouncer, contented to watch as Jack and Caroline played around him. Periodically, though, both would go over to him and include him in their game in a much kinder and sweeter way than I ever would have thought they could do. Jack would vroom his bulldozer around the bouncer and then very gently place it in Sam's lap for him to play with while he went to get another toy. Caroline would kiss his nose and state proudly between body-slamming her father and brother, "Baby Sam...mine!" And then, before I realized it, all three of my children were asleep in their beds.
I am still rather terrified of the morning when all three will be recharged and ready for another go at their parents' sanity. But, I can't help but feel overwhelmingly blessed by how pleasantly full (and thankfully momentarily quiet) our little starter home feels now.
From man-on-man to zone...and then there were five - wish us luck.