life with five

I was nervous about adding a fifth child, worried I'd be overwhelmed, and some days I am. I feel like the more children we've added, the longer it's taken me to adjust. I think this is due to the fact that getting five kids up, fed, ready, and out the door is a task! Add a fussy baby and you've got a recipe for being overwhelmed if you're me.

My approach is to plan ahead, pack the diaper bag the night before, and tell the kids ahead of time where we're going. During the week I keep errands and grocery shopping to the evenings, if possible. I also try to make all of our activities and appointments in the afternoon so it doesn't mess with our school day.

Mercy is a more needy baby than Maren, so it's been a few babies since I've needed to hold a baby through a nap. We've also noticed she's a bit behind in reaching gross motor milestones than everyone else was. She didn't roll over until she was almost 6 months, and is still getting the hang of sitting up at nine months. Her legs are also stiff a lot of the time. I mentioned my concerns to her pediatrician and he recommended some physical therapy, so she has an evaluation coming up. As far as everything else, she seems to be meeting milestones just fine. She's been babbling a lot, saying "mama, dada, baba."

Adding another child is always an adjustment. I had all sorts of, "how am I going to" scenarios in my head. We really didn't have many baby things. That's always a sure way of guaranteeing another baby, getting rid of baby stuff. Figuring out a seating configuration in the minivan took a few months to get right. It's hard to get them all in when you have three in car seats and one in a booster! Our new house is small, and we don't have a separate nursery. For the first five months Mercy slept next to our bed in the arms reach co-sleeper. We bought a new crib at Ikea for her and it just barely fits at the end of our bed with a little space to walk around. I actually haven't had a separate nursery since Milo was a baby, I don't mind though. We do have some trouble with naps because or room is so close to our living areas, and she's a light sleeper. Nana and Papa got her a dohm noise machine for Christmas, and it's helped a bit.

I'd forgotten (not sure why) how exhausting nursing a little baby can be. My pregnancy and birth were okay, postpartum too. It's the all day and all night nursing that's worn me out. I have to remind myself to drink enough water. She nursed very frequently in the early months before we got her tongue and lip tie figured out. After that, it still took several weeks for her to get the hang of it. Even though it's been a hard road, we're still hanging in there. I think she's currently either working on a few new teeth or she's having another growth spurt.

We've already gotten several, "are they all yours?" or "are you Catholic?" when we've been out with all the kids. It's weird to have people comment like that. We're not aliens! I know it's more than most people have, and when I count them I'm always like, "oh, yeah there are five!" but when we're at home, it just feels like our family. It doesn't always feel like a lot, do you know what I mean?

We've just been easing into this season, taking it slower. I took my time this time recovering from her birth. I stayed home for a few weeks, which I think I needed. I've tried not to overwhelm our schedules with too many activities and appointments. We've had to say no sometimes. I'm lucky to have friends that will come to us. 😁 We've taken turns going to Mass on some Sunday mornings. We've had to make new routines. Bedtime, of course, is crazy again. Before we know it we'll be pros at this whole large family thing, but for now, I think we're doing just fine.


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