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Narratives of Grace

    Eisley Avalon (two months)

    Growing // At six weeks of age, Eisley was 12 pounds, 3 oz. She is pretty huge, but not quite as big as Z at this age. I can’t keep track of her other measurements (third child problems), but I know she is off-the-charts tall and around 95th percentile for weight and head circumference.
    Eating // Unless my memory is just hazy with the other two, Eisley is my fussiest eater… lots of pulling on and off while nursing, milk spraying everywhere, and some crying in the mix. She also decided a few weeks ago that she hates the bottle. I have not been consistent about giving her a bottle very often, since I’m home for the summer, but when we were moving the past two weeks, both grandmas came into town to help us. Eisley tried to refuse the bottle completely at first, but now we can get her take one “under extreme protest” as my mom described it the other day.

    Wearing // Eisley is comfortably wearing six month clothing. We are in that sweet, short window where they are not too big and not getting too small.
    Doing //Eisley nurses every 2-2 1/2 hours by day and is consistently sleeping about seven hours at night (10ish-5ish). Her naps are super inconsistent, mostly the horrible 20-40 minute kind with the occasional 2-hour “conk out” in the mix. She survived our move and is still sleeping in the Pack ‘N’ Play in our room. I would like to get her out of our room and into the crib, but we are still figuring out sleeping arrangements at our new place. Talitha is still in the crib, but might graduate to a bunk bed or a trundle/daybed with her big sis soon. During the move, we got out the play mat, and Eisley loves looking at the mirror, the hanging animals, and the ceiling fan nearby. She still loves going for walk in the Solly and is now big enough to go in the Ergo too. She smiles and coos now, which is super fun, and I’m hoping she starts giggling in the next month or so.

    Loving // Baths, being swaddled, taking naps in fuzzy blankets on the couch, being held, having her butt patted, hearing the word “hi” in a high pitched voice, her play mat

    Tolerating// The car seat (slightly more than last month)

    Loathing // The bottle

    Mishaps // We walked to a nearby park in our new neighborhood the other day. It’s been in the mid-80s here, which is pretty hot for our coastal area, and Eisley got a sunburn! Her right cheek, a tiny patch on her neck, and the top of her right shoulder got slightly red where they were peeking out of the Solly Wrap. I didn’t realize the new park had very little shade, and I didn’t even think to apply sunscreen to her sensitive baby skin. Lesson learned!

    Milestones // Slept until 6:15 one morning (although 5:15 wake-ups are still the norm), went to a baby shower, tried out the stroller and the Ergo, moved to a new house, met some of mommy’s best friends (Sar-Bear and Stace-Face)

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    Tired

     

    The exhaustion is like nothing I’ve known…

    I’m convinced you have a special kind of adrenaline with your first baby, a magic chemical mixed in with your swirling hormones that makes waking up in the dead of night feasible. With Zianne, I would power through 3am wake-ups, intent on a “full feeding on both sides” just like all the books advised. I remember ordering a shirt on my phone in the middle of the night because I was alert and in the mood for some online shopping. I was adamantly against co-sleeping, so I would never dare doze off with the baby in our bed. Instead, I remember walking around the room with determination, patting Zianne to sleep before slipping her back into her crib. I was so energetic, it was as if I  was sneaking in a workout before my six-week visit with my OB.

    Talitha had the wonderful trait of being the best sleeper of any baby I’ve known. She started sleeping 4 hour stretches at night our first week home from the hospital. Had she been my first, I would have diligently set my alarm to wake and feed her every three hours, but I was tired and she was gaining weight. Her four hour stretches grew to five and then six hours in just a few weeks. There were a few times we would both fall asleep in my bed mid-nursing session, because my tiredness overcame my caution about co-sleeping, but for the most part Talitha was a dream of a sleeper. I felt more rested than a mom of a newborn should.

    And then you came along, my sweet third daughter, and I am tired. Oh so tired. I have no adrenaline for middle of the night feedings. None at all. I fall asleep with you in my arms or hanging off my breast every night. You are a more typical newborn, waking up every 2 to 3 hours to fill your growing little belly. And I stumble around the room in the semi-darkness, trying to feed you and change you and settle you with my eyes half open. I pray every night that you will sleep for three or more hours at a time, because I am desperate for rest.

    During the day, my eyes ache with lack of sleep. I sit on the couch holding you, as I watch your older sisters play and fight and toss their toys around the living room. My body grows even more weary as I consider disciplining them or cleaning yet another mess.

    You lie on my chest, breathing steadily, your whole body rising and falling to the motion of your baby lungs. You give me a half-smile as you sleep. They say it isn’t a real smile until you are six weeks old, but I’m convinced there must be something genuine about it. You must sense that I don’t sleep at all on your behalf. Your eyelids flutter and your lips break into a small grin as if to say, “thanks mom.”

    And in that moment, with my tired, stinging eyes, my aching back, and my exhausted mind, I can only piece together one thought…

    “I get to be your mother.”

    The privilege overwhelms me.

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    Three Poops

    There is was again. The tiny, squirting sound of newborn poop. The third time in five minutes. I kid you not.

    Another diaper filled with yellow, liquid breastmilk poop. I wanted to laugh and cry at the same time.

    (I realize this is the grossest introduction to a blog post ever. I’m sure in a year I’ll look back and be completed revolted, but when you are in the thick of it with newborn fluids and sounds, you lose a bit of your decency for a few months.)

    This little girl poops with the best of them, but three times in five minutes was a new record.

    It was almost as if I had wished it upon myself.

    Micah had taken the girls on a bike ride to give me some “alone time” on a Sunday afternoon, but instead of being grateful, I was a postpartum, bitter mess. He said he would take them much earlier in the morning, but he got distracted by an NBA playoff game. The girls were destroying the house. I had served breakfast, cleaned breakfast, and got the girls dressed, huffing and puffing my way through Eisley’s solid morning nap instead of doing anything remotely restful. By the time they left, I was irate. “Now the baby is going to wake up and I’m going to spend my ALONE hour nursing,” I hissed at Micah as he walked out the door.

    And it was true. I nursed the whole hour, I dealt with a record-setting number of poopy diapers, and I was just patting Eisley back to sleep when the older girls walked into the house after their hour-long bike ride.

    But somewhere beneath the exhaustion, the resentment, and the tornado of postpartum hormones, I mustered a half-smile. I signed up for this. When I became a mother, I entered into a covenant with my children. I promised them, “I will lay down my life for you like Jesus laid down his life for me.” Maybe I never said those words out loud, but I agreed to them in my heart.

    So even when my husband gets distracted by the NBA playoffs. Even when my preschooler uses a sassy tone for the tenth time that day. Even when my toddler is throwing a tantrum. Even when I’m hungry and tired and just want ten minutes alone…

    None of it really matters. Sure, it would be nice if my older children didn’t fight over who gets the pink water bottle and if my husband were a little more sensitive to my fragile, postpartum state, but it doesn’t change my role. It doesn’t change the truth that I must live out the Gospel every day for my children.

    Three poops or ten poops… I will change your diaper.

    Second tantrum or fifth… I will discipline you with all the wisdom and grace and patience I can muster.

    Bumped head or skinned knee caused by slightly erratic behavior as you learn to adjust to a new sibling… I will give you a hug and a band-aid too.

    Just like my Savior, I lay my life down. I may give up my alone time with tears. I  may struggle against my flesh as I seek to serve my children with a smile and a gentle tone. I will surrender my body to breastfeeding a baby while a toddler climbs on my back, even when I long for no one to touch me.

    Jesus surrendered his body on a cross for me. That truth will get me through the next tantrum, the next nursing session, the next poopy diaper. I count it all joy to die to myself as I worship the One who died for me.

    “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

    Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”

    || John 15:12-13 ||

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