On Sunday Elliot was one month old. It seems like he has been a part of the family for a long time, yet it’s only been a little over four weeks. (Of course, some of that feeling probably comes from the fact that I’m not sleeping more than three hours at a time…) We’ve been asked over and over how we’re adjusting to being a family of four (rather well, if you’re curious), and I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how little stress I feel compared to when Caleb was a baby. At least, I don’t have nearly as much of the “am I doing it right?” stress. I’m learning that having a second baby brings different kinds of stresses and joys than the first baby.
- Less Sleep
Common sense tells me that I’m going to sleep less now that there’s another child in the house, but for some reason I was surprised by how tired I’ve been. It actually took a week or two for me to realize that I’m more tired because I nap less with Elliot than I did when Caleb was a baby. Little sleep heightens my emotions, so it’s been a little bit of a roller coaster ride.
- The Big Brother
I wasn’t sure how Caleb would adjust to being a big brother, but he is doing great and is a big help. For example, when we were at church this morning for Bible study, some of the other kids were trying to rock Elliot in his carseat and Caleb got upset – trying to push the other kids away, saying “he’s my baby”. While I don’t want him to be too possessive of Elliot or get jealous because the other kids are trying to help, I love that he has started to bond with his little brother.It’s definitely been different juggling caring for a baby with caring for a preschooler, and sometimes I feel guilty because I think I’m not interacting with Elliot enough, but then I see Caleb run up and sing Elliot a song because he is crying. That’s been a reminder that Elliot doesn’t just have Hans and I – he has a big brother, too!
- New Parent Stress
Like I said above, this time around I have felt much less of the “am I doing it right?” stress since a lot of the actions of caring for a new baby seemed to come back naturally – I have just enjoyed taking care of the baby instead of worrying about doing it “right”. But Elliot has been a gassy baby from day one, and has had a lot of pain (and therefore, lots of crying). The stressful part is trying to figure out what to do to help him feel better. He was put on medicine to help with reflux, but the medicine seems to make it worse, so we’ll see what the doctor says.
I could keep coming up with differences, but it doesn’t matter. Elliot is a different child than Caleb and I am enjoying having him in our family. It will be fun to see how he is like his big brother and how he is different as the days and weeks progress. And it will be fun to continue to see Caleb and Elliot’s relationship grow, too!
Elliot Andrés (Andrew in Spanish) was born on Thursday, March 19, at 3:36 pm, after 15 hours of labor. We had an exciting trip to the hospital in the middle of the night, since the Portage Lake lift bridge was closed for maintenance when we needed to cross. I never expected to need to call 911 on the way to the hospital to ensure that we could cross the bridge, but that’s what we had to do, and a police squad car came to let us on the bridge.
But other than that, Elliot’s delivery was pretty normal (at least, that’s what I was told – I don’t exactly have anything to compare it to!) and we now have another healthy little boy in our house! I am enjoying all of the snuggles that he gives, and it has been really fun to see how excited Caleb is to help us with Elliot. He is very observant of how we take care of Elliot and has started doing things on his own to help. (For example, he will come pat Elliot on the back when he is fussy. It is really quite precious.)
But that’s enough info… I know you really just want to see pictures!
Life has been moving ahead at full steam, especially due to the large amounts of home improvements we’ve been working on the past few weeks. Hans spent almost all of last Thursday (his day off) sanding the drywall of the last bedroom. A few students came to help Hans prime the two remaining rooms on Saturday, and then Hans and I painted one room yesterday (Sunday). We finished up the crazy weekend of house work by painting Caleb’s room this morning – with his help. (Who knew our three-year-old is such a good painter?! He worked with us for an hour and actually was helpful without making any extra messes!)
With the baby due in less than two weeks, we were pushing pretty hard to finish and are in a pretty good spot. All we really need to do now is mop and set up furniture – it will be nice to have three finished bedrooms for the first time ever in this house!
It’s been nice having Hans’ flexible schedule (we moved his day off to Monday this week since his supervisor is visiting on Thursday) to be able to get more done. We’re all looking forward to having truly restful days off now that the pressing work is finished.
For some reason we only took pictures of one of the rooms when we were painting. Eventually we may get photos up of the completed rooms!
When we first heard that our co-worker with InterVarsity was going to be on sabbatical this semester, and that Hans was going to be working with both the undergraduate (American) chapter and with the international group, we knew that this semester was going to be a little crazy. (Especially with a baby due in the middle of the semester!) Adding in normal family and church activities, plus trying our best to get our two unfinished bedrooms finished before baby comes, has made life rather chaotic.
But in spite of the crazy and somewhat chaotic pace of life these days, it feels like we have more of a routine than I can remember since we started with InterVarsity almost three years ago. I’m not sure if I’ve simply adjusted (finally) to the random and non-traditional schedule that we lead working with a campus ministry, or if we’ve figured out how to make that schedule work for our family. In reality, it’s probably a little of both.
I do know that I’ve enjoyed having more of an active campus staff role with leading the apprenticeship (discipleship) group each Saturday morning. It’s been encouraging to see students really engaging in the material and growing as a result. It’s been a bit more to juggle than just cooking for the group, but we’ve had help from people at church who have cooked the large amounts of food needed to feed 25 hungry college students for breakfast some weeks. That has been a huge help, especially as I’m getting more tired in the last weeks of pregnancy, and has definitely kept life a little calmer while I am leading! (Next week is my last week leading my group, and then they merge with Hans’ group and he’ll take over – just in time before baby comes!)
As the days are getting longer and sunnier (though not much warmer…), we’re starting to think of summer. Thinking ahead makes me think that life is going to be crazy and chaotic then, too, just in different ways. We want to have a garden again this summer and the thought of balancing that with a new baby, ministry, and just enjoying summer seems crazy, too. I guess we’ll see what happens, and continue to enjoy the path God has set us on. He’s definitely working around us and in us this semester and keeping us going in spite of the craziness of the semester. Somehow, it doesn’t really seem crazy!