When I called my mum to tell her that Percy had arrived I could hear Poet whining in the background: "Humph, I'm wanted a girl baby!" In the weeks that followed she regularly rubbed my still swollen belly and asked: "When is the girl baby coming out?"
In retrospect, her disappointment was to be expected and I'm relieved she felt comfortable enough to express it, then and there, and get it out of the way. Because now? It's complete and utter adoration (especially when she is given the time and space to pull the fluff out from between his fingers and toes). Just this morning she really, truly embraced the mummy role and spat on her finger before wiping milk off his face.
A new baby brings with it unsurmountable joy and complete and utter overwhelm. Those first few weeks are emotionally charged and once the bliss wears off (give it a few days) the reality really starts to hit home. Everyone is in a state of limbo as they attempt to adjust and meltdowns are the norm. But you know what was most confronting about this shift? It was surprisingly difficult for me to mother Che and Poet. Yes, they were more demanding of my attention (understandable) but I was so deep in the post-birth haze that my ability to console them, let alone answer questions and deal with difficult behaviour, was beyond me. Is this common? I've never heard anyone else mention it, let alone be privy to a discussion between other mums. Perhaps it's the almighty power of motherly instinct, to place all your energy into nurturing and protecting the newborn. Or perhaps it's just a simple case of physical discomfort, hormones and exhaustion; dealing with tantrums and engaging in conversations about Harry Potter required far too much brain power.
Alas, I made it through and now I am quite adept at a conversation about the antics at Hogwarts.
At almost four months in, we are all starting to settle, really feel comfortable, in our new roles. There's a definite sense of clarity that returns at three-months-postpartum and I can now see how Che and Poet have adjusted. Che (almost 8) has been phenomenal; he gets himself in and out of the shower, makes a snack, ties Poet's shoelaces, brings the wood in, asks me if I would like a glass of water...and yet I feel like he's been the last to receive my attention because he is so independent. Poet is naturally demanding and incredibly affectionate and all she wants to do is be close to Percy (basically on top of him) so as you can imagine, I really do have to have eyes in the back of my head. But you know what I have noticed? As brother and sister they have become closer; they've forged ahead together and have a new-found bond that sparks as many beautiful moments (like above) as it does raging arguments.
Over the past few weeks, as I've had more space, I've been making a concerted effort to spend dedicated one-on-one time with Che and Poet. Of course, the timing has to be perfect so we aren't interrupted by Percy but even if it's five minutes, it makes all the difference. And if we are interrupted? Well, that's the way it is for now, and we all need to be a little more patient. There is five of us, after all.
When your new baby came along, how did you help your children adjust?