Life with kids was never going to be easy, but when I discovered I was pregnant with my fourth child I went through a mixture of emotions, the overriding one being FEAR!
Luca had only recently turned one and I felt like I had finally made it over the hazy fog filled hump, that it was going to be relatively plain sailing from then on in. He had just started sleeping through the night and I had finally started having (a bit) of a life again.
The nearer it got to my due date I would lay awake at night worrying about how I was going to manage two young children. It was already difficult to get out of the house in the mornings, do the school drop off, then leave Luca to creche and get to work on time (well mostly on time).
The evenings were also hard going as it was a battle to get Eve to do her schoolwork with Luca at my ankles looking for attention. Cooking the dinner was stressful – trying to keep a fast moving tot out of the kitchen was nearly impossible.
Bedtime was pretty nightmarish, I had to stay next to Luca to get him off to sleep, then do the dishes, tidy up and tuck the girls into bed before I got to my own.
I felt like I was just keeping my head above water most of the time.
The thought of doing it all over again so soon with another child made me rigid with fear.
I worried if I could ever possibly love this baby as much as I loved my other kids. I seriously had so much anxiety about this I cannot explain.
However, I am now so glad to say that Max is so very welcome in our family and is every bit as loved as all my other children (phew!)
Lives Changed Forever
From the moment my kids came into the hospital to visit Max for the first time, a wave of protectiveness towards my new baby surfaced.
As Luca came blustering through the door he seemed like a big, clumsy giant compared to my teeny, fragile newborn and he needed watching at all times to ensure my baby’s safety. When he reached out to touch the baby I got this very unsettling sick feeling in the pit of my tummy. I didn’t want him too near the baby as he was just so rough! It was really confusing as before I had Max, Luca was s my tiny little boy, but that had all changed.
Little Luca was only 18 months old and didn’t understand why all of a sudden his momma who he had always had full reign over was suddenly preoccupied, with someone else.
Eve found it hard to adjust too, she knew my time with her was going to be even shorter still and she was only getting used to not being the baby when Luca came along. We try to have little special time together now, just us.
First Few Weeks
The first few days were bittersweet. I was in a love bubble with the new baby, yet feeling guilty that I couldn’t give Luca the attention that he was used to and so clearly craved. Everytime Luca saw me with the baby he cried, a high pitched banshee like wail, like his little heart was breaking in two.
Each time he looked at me with the baby in my arms, he snuggled in closer to his dad, the beginning of what is now a very close bond between them both – one that he and I used to share.
Home Alone With My Two Sons
The first few weeks were alright as there were always plenty of visitors calling in and new midwives every few days, which was a nice distraction. But when his dad went back to work I was quickly dropped in at the deep end. The girls were at school, so my daytimes were spent with my boys.
I remember that first morning, I was secretly so so afraid. It felt like all my months of worry was finally being realised. That first morning I was like a woman on a mission, getting Eve her breakfast, getting Luca dressed and mercifully baby Max slept until it was nearly time to go. Then off we went.
I won’t lie I found it really tough (and the school is no more than a few miles away!) but in that short time Max woke up screaming his head off and then Luca began to cry and we were sitting in a queue of traffic and then there was nowhere to park, then I was faced with the dilemma of how to get all of us into the school.
Needless to say by the time I got it all sorted we were late and everyone was really upset. I was in tears by the time I got home. Then I had to sort the boys out, both had soiled their nappies and getting that sorted was a task in itself.
Luca was like glue to me, when I had to hold or feed Max (practically all the time as the little milk monster didn’t like to be put down) he would scream that ear piercing scream. He took up a guard dog like stance beside the chair I did all but sleep in for those first few months, he wouldn’t sit, insisting on standing instead.
Making lunch was again incredibly difficult, as Max wouldn’t sleep so he had to be held or he would scream. I soon learnt how useful a baby sling can be!
Getting to the toilet was hard. Luca could not be trusted to be left alone with Max for even a few seconds – proven by the multitude of tiny toys that I found in the Moses basket that Luca constantly flung into it – in the hope of hitting Max! To get a quick toilet visit I had to leave Max screaming his lungs out, while Luca and I raced to the toilet – at least if he was with me he couldn’t be getting up to any mischief!
Literally nothing got done around the house for the first three months. Every breathing second was spent holding one of the boys (or both) in my arms.
Survival With Support
We lived for three o’clock when my very kind and dear friend brought Eve home from school for me, despite the fact that she has three of her own kids to look after and had to go out of her way everyday to do so! Another lovely friend left Eve to school numerous times for me too.
I am forever in their debt. Just having their support was and will forever be priceless and I will never forget their kindness. This was also my only adult company some days and I really, really longed for it so much! They will never understand how much their help meant to an exhausted, sleep deprived me.
Also my own mum’s daily phonecalls and visits on her days off from work were another saving grace. She would come and bring food and do my dishes. Just knowing she was there was such a comfort, someone much more responsible than me to listen to me moan or let me sleep or get a shower was amazing!
My partner helped when he could, but due to his work some weeks when I had all the kids by myself. I really struggled, trying to juggle making the dinners, do the home-works and then bedtimes, sometimes I could manage and other days seemed like a crazy, endless nightmare.
Just A Little Jealous
For the first four months I despaired of Luca’s jealousy. One part of me felt so so sorry for him, he couldn’t understand why I wasn’t there for him like I used to, why I couldn’t carry him around, why I could no longer spend the night beside him in bed snuggling in like we used to always do. It was so hard.
So when he threw the first few toys at Max I understood – sort of. Of course I sat him down explained to him what he was doing was wrong as calmly and gently as possible. The day he threw his hard plastic chair onto little Max as he was sitting out in his bouncer chair was another matter, that day the protective mamma bear in me came out in full force and I shouted angrily at him.
Undeterred Luca has countless times continued to sit on top of Max when he is on my lap, trying to nudge poor little Max off with his bum! A few time he has fired his very hard toy chain saw right at Max’s head, or hugs Max, then secretly nips him!
As Max nears five months I feel Luca has finally began to accept him as part of the family. Now however, it is his daddy who Luca gets upset with, when I hand Max over to him when I need a break, the unmerciful scream of ‘nooooo’ that comes from Luca’s lips is hard for his dad to listen to.
But those early days of just me and my boys at home helped to cement and reconcile Luca and my relationship. We are nearly back to our old closeness. But he has over time got much more independent and now is more interested in going outside to play with his friends – under our close supervision of course.
Best Friends Forever
There is definitely light at the end of the tunnel. Little Max is growing fast and is much more interesting and fun. He already absolutely adores his big brother – verging on hero worship.
The look that shines from little Max’s eyes when he sees his big brother is full of love, and mischief!
Luca now refers to him as”my Maxy” and hugs and kisses him several times a day and always last thing before going to bed at night!
Another thing in Max’s favour is that he can now pull Luca’s hair, so he is more able to stand up for himself.
Well not all the time….