We are closing in on the two month mark now since Samuel joined the family. Since I’ve walked down this road of adding a new baby to the family a couple times before, I knew that it would take some time and adjustment until we found our new normal. Well, Samuel has gotten most of what I’ve termed the “newborn junk” out of his system, and the girls have settled down from their initial excitement over their baby brother, and I think we may have pretty much settled into our new normal. (Keep in mind that the “normal” changes every few months as the baby grows and develops, and our new normal hopefully is on the verge of changing drastically very soon in the near future as we see how Clay’s new job possibility plays out–but we’ve got our new normal for now.) So does that mean that our house is calm and orderly and quiet? I’m laughing right now at how far that is from the truth. Does that mean that every day is the same and we just follow our little routines? Still laughing. So what does our new normal look like? I’ll give you a few snippets.
Our new normal includes:
* Lots of time spent sitting on the couch feeding Samuel and hoping the house doesn’t fall down around me before I’m finished.
* Lots of bottom-cleaning.
* Lots of interruptions anytime I’m talking to someone else.
* Getting up way earlier than I feel ready to.
* Feeling like a firefighter–I go from kid to kid and crisis to crisis putting out little fires all day long.
* Lots of tears and tantrums.
* Cleaning up lots of messes, whether that is messy bottoms, dumped out spices, endless laundry piles, spilled sunflower seeds, or squeezed out lotion courtesy of Elisabeth.
* Lots more bottom-cleaning.
* Conversations that appear to be with my children, but apparently are really with people such as Rachel, Seraphina, Mrs. Carrington, John, Billy, or Ariel.
* Hearing most all of one child’s misbehavior being blamed on Billy, and eventually banishing Billy from the house until he can behave himself better.
* The knowledge that Elisabeth needs to be buckled and restrained as soon as possible when she’s placed into a high chair, stroller, or shopping cart.
* The realization that Elisabeth can wiggle out of almost any buckle or restraint.
* Even more bottom-cleaning.
* Approaching necessary outings with fear and trepidation.
* Finally realizing that when I’m by myself and we need to leave the house at 5:40 with everyone dressed, combed, and fed, I need to start supper at 3:00.
* Never leaving Samuel unattended or at least unrestrained in a seat until after Elisabeth is in bed.
* Saying things like, “Eat your food.” “Sit right in your chair.” “Hurry up.” “Go use the potty.” “Go to sleep.” “Don’t jump up and down while Mommy’s combing your hair.”–all things that one would think could go without saying.
* The realization that it will be years and years before I get to sleep late again.
* And still more bottom-cleaning.
But, our new normal also includes lots of other kinds of moments. Moments like:
* Lots of hugs, snuggles, kisses, and cuddles.
* Getting to have really cool conversations with a daughter who’s finally getting old enough to talk intelligently with.
* Hearing my three-year-old say on a semi-regular basis, “You’re a very nice Mommy.”
* A very intricately-developed system of knowing who is “right” and who is silly on which day of the week. (Long story.)
* Listening to the sometimes-entertaining, always sweet prayers of little children who have nothing but complete faith in the God to whom they pray.
* Being reminded to take joy in simple pleasures like balloons and puddles and lollipops.
* Learning things I already knew through the eyes of a child as I homeschool her.
* Curling up with my five-year-old as she now reads the stories to me.
* Watching them light up as they start to apply Scripture to real life, and learning from them.
* Using every trip across a parking lot or through a grocery store as an excuse to hold a tiny little hand.
* Being able once more to snuggle a miniature little person close every three hours by the clock.
* Knowing again that there is one person in the world who pretty much depends completely on me, and the way my heart swells at that knowledge.
* The renewed assurance that I am doing exactly what I was put on this earth to do, and that in the midst of all the chaos and noise, I am fulfilling my purpose for this season in life and this new normal is exactly where God wants me to be.
Yes, we are chaotic and loud. Yes, there are some who probably could not take very much time in the midst of us. Yes, there are days when we don’t get dressed and don’t leave the house. Yes, my house is quite cluttered. Yes, I get very tired and sometimes very discouraged. Yes, there are days when I dream the day away, imagining myself on a beach while my children are far far away. Yes, this is my new normal.
No, I absolutely wouldn’t trade it for any other “normal” in this world. Thank you, God, for my normal. It is beautifully ordinary, and I love it.