I said it before and I will say it again: 4 kids is really, really kicking my butt.
After we had Lucy I was pretty sure it was only going to get easier to add kids to the fold because, well, she was a really good baby and the transition just wasn't that hard. However, instead of pinning the easy transition on her being an easy baby, I told myself it was because I didn't have anything new to learn and had this parenting thing down. Ha!
Ha. Ha. Ha.
I scoffed at first-time-mom-Ana who freaked out over not sleeping at night and who got angry at a screaming infant Naomi because she wouldn't! stop! screaming! It was pretty easy to scoff at that Ana while I had an infant Lucy, because infant Lucy never screamed, in fact she barely cried at all unless she was hungry and she slept great her whole baby life. (So to my first-time-mom self- I am sorry for scoffing at you, just know that you are just as clueless now as you were then)
I sit here with my cup of black coffee, too tired to get some creamer and not wanting to move more muscles than my fingers for fear that I will disturb a slumbering Moby-wrapped Joseph and then have to bob around and walk him down from yet another screaming fit.
I am utterly shocked at how baby #4 has made me feel back at square one as a mother. Shouldn't I know what is wrong with him while he screams bloody murder? Shouldn't I have a better plan to get him to sleep through the night? Or shouldn't I just be so used to this sleep deprivation thing that it just doesn't phase me anymore?
No, no, and no.
I am learning slowly but surely that each baby is their own person from day one and does their own thing. Babies are not predictable, and each of my babies has had new, fun things to teach me about myself. I am starting to think that I am just scratching the surface of all there is too know about motherhood. Sure, I can change a diaper in 10 seconds flat and I have figured out some pretty creative ways to hold Joseph to sooth his incessant gassiness. But when it comes to patience and perseverance in the day to day and growth in virtue after virtue, I am feeling very much at square one, or pretty close to it.
It never gets old, this life-giving thing, and it always serves to bring me out of my selfish, lazy self and does some much needed rooting up the "old self", so to speak.
It's pretty hard to be super complacent or to get too comfortable with things while having newborns, just by virtue of how much they need. I get nice and comfortable as my babies turn into toddlers and fall into some sort of routine. I can be sure of various down times throughout the day- time to sit and write, to workout, to read and pray- and things start to feel doable and normal. Then the newborn comes and BOOM- no routine, no down time, no sitting, no free arms, no normal. There is just a constant call to service for this little person who cannot do even one thing for himself.
In the end having newborns around is the best thing for comfort seeking
and loving Ana, who loves the normal, the predictable, the easy a little
too much. The call is the same: holiness. The person is completely different: Naomi, Bernadette, Lucy, Joseph. All I can try to do is respond with generosity, and that is the tricky part and the part I am just begging for the grace to be able to do.