I probably shouldn't begin writing my first ever blogpost when I'm craving a nap but on the other hand it seems fairly apropos. Much of my time lately is spent between two extremes: desperately craving sleep on the one hand, and trying to wrap my head around everything there is to get done in short time bursts on the other. Our two month old is starting to oblige me by sleeping wonderfully at night, and occasionally doing great stretches during nap time, but it can't disguise the fact that my sleep deficit is in serious overdraft, with no protection! Our two month old is also child #7, hence the need to actively plan everything there is to get done.
You may think that with this being child Number Seven I know it all by now, and yet what gets me with each child is that there is something new to learn with each one. Each one has been a "first" for something. The First One was obviously the big one - the first introduction to sleepless nights, unending diaper changes, the shift in my gut as I realized how my perspective on everything from chewing gum to chopsticks had changed! But I thought that I had learned a lot with the advent of parenthood in my life.
Then along came Number Two to disillusion me! She was our first girl. The "first" there being obvious. But this was the first time I realized how little I had learned with child Number One! Number Two had a completely different personality, a different set of needs and demands, boy the demands! She was vocal from early on. She was our first "climber", our first one to toilet train easily, our first one to be picky about clothes - from babyhood, and our first child to be home schooled.
Number Three taught me that babies could sleep...nicely...and be happy to do so. I learned to acknowledge the fact that family life is not a democracy. When you're outnumbered, you still need to maintain authority. This was the point where we learned to really juggle for the first time as we were outnumbered and could not nicely handle one each. This is the point where, as my husband would say, you switch to "zone defence". (I admit to not knowing what that meant at first, and to be honest I'm still hazy.). This is also the one who taught me later on that nobody can push somebody's buttons like a sibling!
With the impending arrival of Number Four I learned that I was "brave". At least this was what everyone told me as I awaited the expansion of our family beyond the conventional limit. I generally smiled and nodded with the knowledge in my heart that if we had more (as we secretly hoped to) I would cross from "brave" to "crazy" in the eyes of many. I also learned how many women of an older generation wished that they themselves had not stopped at the conventional limit. As I grew to be obviously expecting a child with three young ones in tow, it astounded me how many women of my parents' generation came up to me in public and confessed that they wished they had done what I was doing.
As an only child I didn't grow up with any boys in the house. However I can testify to the fact that boys are definitely different from girls from firsthand experience. And Number Five is a prime example of a very "boy" boy! He has taught me just how hard the human skull can be and how to make it even harder if you want to! He is our most rambunctious one so far. Pregnancy with Number Five was also the first time I experienced a placental abruption, and the first time I had to be hospitalized during a pregnancy other than for delivery. Here I learned something about giving up control!
Our Sixth child was the first one that gave us some experience of a hospital neonatal unit, as he came five weeks early. Luckily, I don't make small babies generally, so he didn't need to be there more than a few hours. I also learned with his delivery that a community is indispensable when raising a family and that God can arrange things much better than I could ever hope to.
Which brings me to Number Seven, our newest, who is sleeping peacefully in her swing as I type this. She was my first stitch-free delivery. With her I have learned how to manage a baby with a tongue-tie release and still establish breast-feeding well. And she is the one who brings us up to the number that apparently qualifies us to be called a "mega-family"!
So my first ever blog comes to an end. Hopefully this will signify the beginning of something which also brings it's own share of firsts in my life, and can somehow reach out to others and let them recognize their own firsts, and have the courage to take on new ones.