Saturday, August 30, 2014

Forced to Resurface

One of the great things about having a baby is you have a really good reason/excuse to check out of life for a while.  Not like a drug-induced-coma-check-out, but like you have no responsibilities or obligations to anyone.  Don't feel up to going somewhere?  Don't go!  You're kind of a crazy person if you do jump right back into life.  Aren't you supposed to be home resting, keeping your baby away from crowds and germs?  Your clothes don't fit?  Just keep wearing your maternity clothes and pajamas-- after all, you just gave birth.  You don't feel like cooking?  Don't-- have your husband pick up some take-out on his way home from work.  You need to rest and recover.  Your baby was up four times during the night?  Just sleep when he sleeps during the day.

Isn't this pretty much what those dreadful pregnancy/parenting magazines tout?  And I'll tell you what, it is great advice for the first week home or longer for a first time mom with no other children at home.  When you have six other children ages 4-15, that is just not going to work.  Let me address the problems with such a postpartum plan of attack.

----"Don't feel like going somewhere?  Don't go!"-- for the first week this is a very reasonable approach.  For the first week you can camp out in your room, banishing everyone, refusing phone calls or visits.  But just because your world-- mentally and physically-- has been turned upside down does not mean your children's lives have ceased.  You decided to have another baby and believe me, the children have sacrificed for the family quite a bit already-- they lived with you for nine months of pregnancy (not pretty).  The children do not want to hibernate for a month.  They still have activities they need rides to.  It is best if your husband still has a job when you resurface, so he most likely is not available to taxi the teenagers around.  So, everybody, load up in the van, it's time to go.

----"Don't have any clothes that fit?  Wear your pajamas."  Once again, all bets are off for the first week, but after that you really must get dressed.  Teenagers prefer that their mother wear clothes when going to the store and when their friends come over.  If it calls for a quick trip into Kohl's to find some shirts that fit, so be it.  I am a big proponent of nursing, but I can understand that on some level it might be embarrassing for a 15 year old boy to witness his mother nursing a baby for hours a day.  Blame society.  Nevertheless, let's not exacerbate the embarrassment with ill fitting black stretchy pants.  And perhaps comb your hair and throw on a little makeup for good measure.

----"Don't feel like cooking?  Call for take-out."  If you are so blessed to live by many good people who will kindly feed you and your army for a week, then graciously accept their generosity and enjoy the feasts.  It is, however, unreasonable to hope that it will continue long term.  Take-out  is yummy, but pricey for a family of 8.  A Little Caesar's pizza here and there can help out in a pinch, but good, quality, sit-down family dinner is the grease that makes the family roll.  You can't go more than a couple of weeks without cooking real food before things start to deteriorate fast.  And you can't (or at least we can't) eat out for long before it really pinches that pocket book.  So, you can have older kids help out with food for little ones for a little while, and every man for himself works for a little while, but if you want happy children-- FEED THEM.
----"Your baby was up four times during the night?  Sleep when he sleeps".  This is fantastic advice for a first time mother.  But it's really not that great for even the first week with every subsequent child.  A house with six children is loud.  Not necessarily loud with fighting, just loud with doors opening and closing, toilets flushing, cupboards and dishes, children playing, movies, video games.  And mother nerves are seriously frayed with a new baby and sleep can be elusive in the best conditions.  Yeah, you're probably not going to sleep during the day unless everyone goes to friends' homes.  Not a bad a idea I might add.  However, farming 6 kids out is considerably harder than farming a couple here or there.  No, I think praying for sleep at night is the best bet.

The good news is also the bad news.  Eventually the baby will sleep through the night and the sleep deprivation will end.  But then you won't get to snuggle that soft, warm little bundle in the quiet of the night.  Eventually, they will settle into a more reasonable pattern of nursing, but then you won't have the reason to just sit and stare at them for hours on end.  Eventually you won't change 15 diapers a day, but you won't get to kiss his little feet and rub his little froggy legs.  Eventually the hormonal surges will calm down, but then you won't be so easily overcome and moved to tears just thinking about the blessing from heaven you are beholding.  

Lagoon 2014

Abe took the kids to his work's Lagoon Day the Saturday after Peter's birth.


You know I love and enjoy my peeps as much or more than the next mom, but I was happy for some quiet time to snuggle my baby and catch up on some sleep.
I'm posting pics for family history's sake, but since I wasn't there I don't have a lot of commentary to share.
My loves.
George wanted to be brave and go on the haunted house ride with his daddy.
In the morning they split up and went on their own age appropriate rides, but they did some all together in the afternoon.
Mmm... overpriced amusement park ice cream.  Dad is so much nicer than mom.
 And someone has that Dad wrapped around her little finger.  I recently told him he is spoiling Faith.  Do you know how he responded?
"Yeah, I know."
You know you are getting older when the train ride is the best attraction in the whole park.

Our good friends, the Glenns were also at Lagoon on Saturday, so our kiddos had fun going on rides with friends and siblings.

At this point Abe was my hero-- taking all the kids to Lagoon, leaving me alone for a whole day with my baby.  Then on Sunday he took them all really early to Stake Conference so they could get seats because Elder Bednar was there.  And as if that wasn't enough--- he took them all away on Monday for several hours to Seven Peaks Water Park (he had gotten free tickets).

There are no words.  That is real love.  Love for his children and love for me.  Someone should write a song about that kind of love.
They came home exhausted and I felt that they had had sufficient fun to last for the next few weeks, since I will not be overseeing any fun for a while.
Best friend brothers.
And Clark, Bethany, and Elinor, you three can tease and torment one another all you want... I can see that you quite like each other as well!  No use arguing otherwise:)

Peter at Home

And we left the hospital.
This is a particularly happy moment for me.  It's not that I don't like the hospital-- in fact, I do-- people at my beck and call, bringing me food and drink and constantly asking if they can get me anything.  I like that part, but leaving the hospital with a healthy baby is not something I take for granted.
That being said, I knew full well what awaited me at home and what those first couple of weeks would be like.  The heavenly feeling of holding a newborn babe for hours on end.  The hormonal roller coaster and aching body of recovery.  Changing tiny baby diapers and staring into their perfect faces.  The sleepless nights and messy house.  The best of times, the worst of times.   I think there is far more good than bad about those first few weeks and they are so worth it, but it is challenging nonetheless.
The rest of them are adorable too.  Some of them are actually really quite helpful.  Some of them, namely George, try so very hard to be helpful.  And we try so very hard to have him feel that he is helpful, lest he turn against the baby and us.  Most of his helpfulness involves touching Peter A LOT!  It is an exercise in patience for me.
But like I said, some of them are exceedingly helpful.  Bethany got home from girls' camp the day after we got home from the hospital.  She was anxious to snuggle her newest little brother.
Having a baby with older children has it's challenges (I'll discuss that later), but WOW! it has its advantages as well.  For example, when I need to shower, I just turn him over to Bethany or Elinor and shower in peace.  That might not seem like much unless you have experience the terror of showering while a newborn lays in a bouncy chair at the mercy of an older toddler sibling who is supposed to be watching PBS kids.  That is real fear.
I have lots of sweetheart sleeping pictures of Peter. 
He sleeps a bit.  He is awake for a bit.  And he nurses (half asleep, half awake) A LOT! 
But when he is awake he has the brightest, big eyes.  They make me happy.  They remind me a bit of Clark's big eyes when he was a baby.
To be honest, I've had a hard time taking a picture of him when he is awake where he doesn't look a little crazy. 
But to me he is the most perfect, beautiful creature ever.  I am his mother, after all.
I am so grateful he is here.  There are lots of adjustments to make postpartum, but for me, it beats the last trimester of pregnancy in the summer hands-down.  Peter is a  VERY snuggly baby.  He reminds me a lot of Bethany as a baby--he sleeps best right next to me and he is instantly calmed by being held close.
Peter's first neighborhood walk-about.  I needed a bit of fresh air and we had to test out his new wheels.  He liked it, and the kids all took turns strolling him about.
I'll end this post with a picture of Peter and my biggest "helper".  George loves Peter.  He loves to be by him, hold him, touch him, lay his head on Peter's head, smell Peter, talk to him, sing to him.  I feared that with George being 4 he might be old enough to harbor some resentment.  Before we went to the hospital to have Peter, George told us, "Peter is a baby and I'm a baby.  There will be two babies!"  You can see why I had some concerns.
Shortly after Peter came home, George said to me, "I don't want you to call me a baby anymore.  You can call me Big Boy George."
Oh, good.  That whole two-baby-thing could have gotten ugly.  George is Peter's biggest fan. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Peter Meets Peter

Grandpa Peter Cannon (Betsy's father) came to visit his grandson Peter last evening.  I had to leave to run some kids to different activities, but he stayed and chatted with Betsy for quite some time.  Long Live the Peters!!
While running older kids around town last evening, I brought the 2 younger boys by for a quick visit.  Cannon, George & Peter -- the very first pic of these 3 guys together with many, many more to come!!
Last night, Cannon was on a comedic-run (maybe channeling the spirit of Robin Williams), hilariously deciding to Teach a class of "Classical Science For Babies" as he termed it.  But what he did next was simply the FUNNIEST THING EVER!!!
Cannon hopped up on Betsy's bed and then proceeded with his own impersonation of child birth (sounds and all).  It was ABSOLUTELY HYSTERICAL!!!!
Here is our Beloved Naomi, who has been watching our 6 other Foxlings for the last 2 1/2 days.  THANK YOU, Naomi!!  You are a Godsend!!
Peter -- We Love You!!
I was up in the middle of the night, just holding my newest little boy!
Peter has been sleepy this morning again, while Betsy and I start our preparations for leaving the Hospital today.  It has been absolutely wonderful...the Hospital, the Doctors, the Nurses.....but most especially just spending a lot of wonderfully quiet moments with this wonderfully perfect new little person.  We feel VERY BLESSED!!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

More Pics of Peter

Betsy you have done it again!!!  Absolute Adorable-Ness!!
Just Chillin'.....
I love this kid's name......Peter, that's my boy!!
He has been sleeping a TON I'm pretty sure I know how tonight is going to go.
Sorry, no open-eye shots today, I suppose.
"Dad".......otherwise known as........BEST JOB IN THE WORLD!!!!

The Family Meets Pete are now an older brother!!
Cannon was LOVING holding Peter!!
The Queen of the younger family.....meets her latest subject!
Elinor + Peter = PURE HAPPINESS
This was Bethany's first and only time with Peter, for a while, because this morning she is off to a week of Girl's Camp.  We'll miss you Beth!!!
The oldest holding the youngest.  The reason for his dubious look is because of the turmoil over the naming of this baby.  You see, Clark still wants to call him August.....and that is the name that we originally, for a time, planned on using, but then a little later during the pregnancy Betsy felt very strongly that Peter was to be the name and here we are.  Just chalk it up to normal teenage angst!
All of the earthly members of our, feeling-very-blessed, eternal family.

Presenting Peter Jesse Fox

Peter Jesse Fox arrived at 6:48pm, Monday evening, August 11th,2014!!
The labor & delivery was quite smooth and uneventful.  We didn't get going with the induction as early as we would have liked due to an emergency c-section underway for someone else.
Well, he was worth the wait!!
All 22 inches and 8lbs 12 oz of him!!
(This post is being written by the Proud Papa, Abe.....BTW)
Betsy and I just enjoying the day together while waiting for our new arrival (Modern Medicine is a Miracle)!!
Going for a walk early Monday afternoon.
Brand New Baby!!
Holding Peter for the first time!
Beautiful Mama, Beautiful Baby......her 8th!!!  Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Betsy for bringing these precious souls into our eternal family!!!
Betsy's Dad & youngest brother are Peters and my just younger brother is Jesse.
I had just changed his diaper.
Welcome to the World, Peter!!!