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Home Alone 3: My first week home with three kids under 5

home aloneYou know you have a newborn in the house when it’s 3:30 in the morning and instead of being excited about the fact that you still have a few hours left to sleep, you are counting down the minutes until you can stop pretending to sleep and just get up for the day already.

Each morning this week, I’ve felt like doing the trademark Home Alone Macaulay Culkin move: slapping my palms to my cheeks and screaming in the mirror. And so in celebration of having a newborn, 2 and 4 year-old in the house, I thought I’d record some of the highs and lows in our first week home alone. I’m so outnumbered at this point, that if I don’t look for the fun in the little moments, I might actually lose my mind.

Plus, November is all about reflecting and being grateful…and despite the insanity in my house right now, I really couldn’t feel more blessed. This baby is incredibly loved. And so, until Grandma or Daddy come to our rescue, here are some facts I have to accept:

1. Nobody is sleeping.

People say “You look tired.” Look tired? Tired is when you stayed up a little too late watching a movie and can’t wait to get a full night of sleep. What I have goes beyond tired. And I can’t just blame the baby. Last night, our sleep schedule went like this: baby up at 1am, 2-year-old up at 2am, 4-year-old up at 3am, newborn up again at 4am and 5am. Throw in the towel and get up for the day when husband’s alarm goes off at 5:30am.

The upside: How do I deal? I tell my husband I need new fall boots so that we can all pile into the car and let the kids fall asleep. This is the picture he sent me while I was in the store…ahhhhhh, peace at last.

Sleeping all day, but up all night.

Sleeping all day, but up all night.

2. Nobody is eating.

It was fun timing a first week home with Halloween. My kids don’t eat that well anyway, but now all they want to eat is candy. Since I’m not really cooking so much as re-heating food from THE BEST friends and neighbors (seriously – food is the best gift you can give a new mom. Kudos if it’s healthy. Triple quadruple kudos if it includes a bottle of wine) our selection has been a little limited.

I’m also realizing that trying to feed 2 sugar-charged kids requires getting them to actually sit in one spot. And I’m trying to nurse. So by the time I get everyone fed, we’re on to the next activity. Yesterday morning, all I had time to eat myself was the leftover soggy gorilla mush in my daughter’s cereal bowl and a few swigs of decaf coffee (how did we run out of regular the week I cam home with a newborn?) before running out the door to preschool and gymnastics. While nursing my baby at dinner the other night, my husband asked, “Is there anything I can do? Do you want me to feed you? Chew your food for you?” I actually considered it for a minute.

The upside: I haven’t had to cook or grocery shop! Plus, people have brought some awesome desserts…including a cake made totally of chocolate mousse.

3. Laundry is everywhere.

Laundry is a constant in my life already, but now it’s really taking over. I keep throwing stuff in the machine, but don’t have time to put it away. So there is a pile outside the dryer with all 5 of our clothes mixed in. Good luck finding anything in there.

The upside: My husband is actually doing some of the laundry too! I never thought I’d see the day. Babies really do change people.

4. There is (almost) no point in cleaning.

The second…no the millisecond…after I clean up, it is a mess again. Clean the floors? My potty-training son just changed himself in the kitchen and dropped his dirty diaper on the floor. Put the blocks away? I turn around and the pieces of 5 puzzles are scattered all over the family room. Put away the food from breakfast? It’s time to take it all out again for lunch. I’m afraid of what the house would look like if I did nothing at all to try and keep it organized. But trust me, that’s exactly what it looks like: that I’m doing nothing to protect our home from ransacking toddlers.

The upside: Learning to let go. It’s more important for people to be happy and having fun than for the house to be clean at this point.

5. I need to get out of the house.

People look at me cross-eyed when I’m out with my three kids. “That’s a real baby in there? It looks like you’re carrying a doll!” Yes, my baby is shy of 2 weeks. Yes, I’m out anyway. Have you seen the state of my house?

The upside: Enjoying the fall weather! We are so lucky to have these last warm days in the sunshine with beautiful colors of the trees all around.

6. I’ve got everything I need…

Which is exactly why food is such a good gift. But my kids really do appreciate the people that give them presents too. And even though I momentarily dread the thought of where to put more stuff, I appreciate it too, when everyone gets to feel special. Plus, it’s nice to have new things for the baby so she’s not wearing all stained and washed out clothes.

On a deeper level, I really do feel like we’ve got everything we need. We are scraping by in a lot of ways this week, but things will get more and more normal as the days pass. Meanwhile, the chaos is part of the fun. It’s so amazing to watch my older kids step up to their new roles and try to help with the baby. And of course, we’d be nowhere without the love and support of family, friends, and neighbors stopping by. So thank you, everyone! Happy November!

How did you adjust when adding another baby to your family?

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