Friday, May 27, 2011


For the untrained eye this picture might look like a weird yawn or a cry, but no. This is a picture that I captured from a video where she gave a HUGE smile. She smiled at me for the first time on Mother's day (the best gift she could have given me!) and now these huge open-mouthed smiles are showered on us every morning and often when she wakes from naps! Babies learn facial expressions from their parents, so if you want a happy baby, just act happy around them as much as possible. Even if you don't *feel* happy, smile a lot at your baby and the little (or big) smiles you get back will make your day. :}
Every morning (and a few times throughout the day when Grace is awake from her naps) Renna asks, "Can I hode her? Can I can I PweeeeeaSthe?" and while she holds her, she will often say over and over again, "I like my sister."

I've been thinking for a few weeks now (she is 5 weeks old) how amazing it is that I've forgotten so much of the birth. THAT is why I write it down so soon after each baby is born! Very quickly after each birth, all the memories of how intense it all was and stuff pretty much go out the window. With my first baby there was one short point where the labor was so hard that I very seriously thought that I'd never have another.. I had NO idea why anyone would go through all that and actually choose to have another baby! I really get it now though.. it doesn't take long to be so in love with your new baby that anything you went through to bring her (or him as the case my be) into the world is worth it.
It's very easy to forget all that when I get to look at this sweet little sleeping face and snuggle her as much as I want to. I do try to lay her down for naps so she won't be too used to being held all the time (so that she doesn't *need* it to stay asleep), but I think there's a good balance too, and it's nice to be able to hold her while she sleeps. To enjoy the peace and snuggles... Babies stay this little for such a short time it's important to enjoy it as much as possible while it lasts. :}

Grace had the hardest time learning to nurse of any of them though.. the first few weeks were pretty painful and I understood why many women give up on nursing. The problem for us was just that she wouldn't open her mouth wide enough (still doesn't) which made latching difficult and I had to nurse through a few sores. I got an infection as well since she wasn't nursing enough to empty the ducts (I had a bit too much milk and a breast pump became invaluable to fix lots of issues.) So, the first few weeks were hard and I couldn't sleep while nursing because it was just too painful and I had to pay really close attention to how she latched on to get her to do it right. It IS worth it though!!! Really, by three weeks I was able to nurse her on my side while sleeping. You can't do that with a bottle. Also, because I could feed her right when she started to move at night she never woke up enough to cry and learned to stay asleep. She's been consistently sleeping for a good four hour stretch at night and then a few two hour stretches more with nursing in between. The daddy very rarely wakes up to a crying baby and the mommy get's to sleep more each night with this plan. I love the bassinet that attaches to our bed because I don't even need to get up to get her from her bed or put her back after she's eaten. We've been going through the Star trek "Voyager" series from the library during the times of resting and nursing. Lily loves the star treks with the "lady captain" better than any others and made a little star ship all on her own by cutting a green straw and pushing it onto the ends of a plastic leaf that was an attachment to a Strawberry shortcake toy.

I was thinking yesterday what our family life looks like just after one month with the newest member. It takes a little ingenuity on my part to manage all three, just as it took some getting used to with two. In some ways it's been easier to go from two to three than from one to two. I think it's because I'd already come up with some systems to balance more than one. For instance, going grocery shopping yesterday (when I took them all by myself and was out for two hours with no major issues!) looked like this. We drive the 5 minutes to the store and Grace is acting hungry. Before trying to get the girls out, I get Grace and give her a quick nursing in the front seat of the car (probably 7 minutes or something).. not a big deal.. my girls chat with me (note, I brought snacks for the older ones and went in the morning when I knew they'd be the easiest to deal with.) After feeding Grace, I wear her in the Maya Wrap that I have and let her suck on her binky. I don't really like wearing her in the wrap because it's a bit hard on my back, but when I get it adjusted just right it's not too bad and it's SO nice in the store to have her right there and quiet and falling asleep (instead of a giant heavy carseat that I'd have to juggle along with trying to juggle the other two) Since I have Grace with me, I can put Renna in the cart and Lily is old enough to walk beside me (if I ever have both older girls walking they tend to get a little crazy.. so.. having one contained is quite helpful.) Doing things that way makes it almost like how it was when I was pregnant. We go through the store to get all our stuff and the girls ask questions about the fruits and talk about the colors of things and they always want to see the princess cakes and so forth. It turns into quite the event for them! And Grace is happy because she's right next to me being held the whole time and listening to me talk to the girls. Works great!This is a picture of Lily and Renna having a sword fight with rolled up place mat settings. I was laughing the other day because I realized how nice it was to have three kids because if two are fighting there's one that is NOT fighting! Youssef didn't quite understand why that made me feel better, but it did! It's called "mommy math" .. you see, now when Lily and Renna fight (for real, not for fun like this picture shows) it's no longer 100% of the children fighting! It's only 75%.. for some reason that makes me feel better. ;]

So, I got to thinking yesterday about how Grace has fit into our family. It's different of course, and in some ways a bit harder to manage three. I like to think of it more in terms of needing extra creativity on my part to figure out how to manage things rather than just looking at it as a "problem" or harder or something. Really, keeping things flowing well in the house and family takes a lot of ingenuity and constant re-balancing. Sometimes it's getting rid of stuff or re-organizing or looking at a problem (like laundry or books or toys on the floor) and buying something (like a bookshelf or laundry basket) to make things flow well and with less work. Having kids is a lot of work and I often feel like I can't make it, but the ingenuity is worth the work when those shopping trips turn out well and the family dynamics mesh well together. The biggest thing that I'm constantly reminding myself in everything that I try to do, is that I am really not enough. I'm not strong enough or patient enough to make it through each day, but God's strength is made perfect in our weakness. My newest baby's name reminds me of the grace that I need every day. She has added so much to our lives just be showing up... like a gift that you didn't know how much you needed.

(First family portrait.) ;]


jeremy and lenore diviney said...

that's a great post lynne. a gift you didn't know how badly you it! still can't believe what a "sleiman" she is. =) talk about strong family resemblance. soooooo sweet and pretty. give her kisses for me. it's hard not getting to meet her but thank heavens for facebook/blogs!
love you

Anna "Lizy" said...

AWE!! This is all so wonderful! I love it!! I want another one sooo bad! Bella told me today "Mommy, make me a baby! I want a baby please!!!" I was very taken aback, and it made me feel very loved, and at the same time I thought "Wait, WHAT?! How did she know that Mommy makes the babies? Hmmm... Oh that's right! My twin is pregnant, and she's seen her belly!" So, all in all, I want another one, but I will wait and see if it's what God wants for me. It'd be nice, but I have other struggles I'm going through. Like my son right now. But it's like you said Lynne'. God is our strength where we are weak. ^_^ Thank you Lynne'!!