Sunday, May 24, 2009

Let the Adjustment Period Begin

Let's begin with the Good News: Austin, Macy, and Paige absolutely adore their new brothers!!!

They love to hold them, and they are constantly stroking their little heads and cheeks. They even helped feed them their bottles a few times. Paige's favorite thing is to "help" with the burping. At times, she gets a little too energetic in her affection (an aggressive rub on their heads or a way-too-tight hug), but overall they have loved having them home. Just last night, Macy had to kiss Kade about seven times before bed (he was awake so I was carrying him around with me during the bedtime routine). Before bed every night, without being asked, Austin seeks out both of the boys and lovingly pats them and gives them sweet little kisses on the tops of their heads. It really is so touching and tender to watch. It makes my heart feel so good to see my children expressing love toward each other instead of the usual arguing and screaming.

Now for the Not-So-Good News: Austin, Macy, and Paige are taking out their adjustment issues on me, and it is making me crazy!!!

I have endless patience for these two little babes. The initial getting out of bed in the middle of the night is hard for me, but once I'm up, it really doesn't bother me to feed them and take care of them in the peace and quiet of the dark of the night. However, I think my tiredness is definitely taking a toll on my patience reserve because I seem to have very little left over for the three older children.

Austin has reverted back into that annoying thing he does where he simply disregards anything that we (or any other authority figure) asks of him. He doesn't put up an argument, he just acts as if he hasn't heard you. He is constantly at odds with Macy. He deliberately finds ways to torture her. It's as if he wakes up every morning and tries to out-do himself. ("Let's see," he says while climbing out of bed, "I made Macy scream at the top of her lungs 20 times yesterday. Today, I think I'll try to make it 25.") He is also being more aggressive at school. He got in a food fight with Seth earlier this week (he told me that Seth threw a banana at him - and showed me the marks on his shirt to prove it - so he threw his broccoli at Seth), and kicked Ethan while standing in line that exact same day.

Macy seems to have completely forgotten that she has been taught manners and overall general kindness. She demands everyone around as if she is the Queen of Sheba (I don't know who that is, but it was very big with my parents when I was young), and has completely eliminated the following phrases from her vocabulary: please, thank you, excuse me, may I, I'm sorry, etc. She has also acted very much like a two-year-old instead of a five-year-old. The other day she dumped out an entire box of cereal and another box of animal crackers on Jen's trampoline. I was completely shocked to find out that it was Macy and not Paige. She deliberately says mean things to me and then gets in the most sour mood imaginable when she is disciplined.

Paige has become even more fiercely independent (I know, I didn't think it was possible either). This is not necessarily a bad thing, except that it takes her a good 20 minutes to get dressed because she insists on doing it herself or the fact that she insists on emptying her porta-potty all by herself which means that there is urine on our bathroom floor several times a day. In addition to this, apparently whenever I am around (other people inform me that she saves the following behavior just for me), she reaches her arms up to me, whines, and when I can't pick her up (I just had surgery), she throws herself to the floor and proceeds with a very impressive tantrum. She will destroy anything in her path during these tantrums, and so thoughtfully picks herself up and follows me if I walk away and then proceeds with the tantrum when she catches up to me. I try to explain that I can sit on a chair and hold her, but that is not good enough.

I know this is a huge adjustment for these three, and I guess I just need to keep praying for enough patience to spread evenly among five children. My mom told me once that it took her seven years. She prayed every single day that she would not yell once throughout the day, and after seven years, she did it. (Funny...I don't remember her yelling all that much.) Let's see, Austin will be nearly 15 at that time, and Macy will be 12. That sounds like a pretty good time for patience to kick in.


Elizabeth said...

Huge Adjustment! But, so happy for you! I love the picture of Austin holding Spencer and Kade. He looks so proud.

Marianne said...

I'm glad the babies are doing well. And hope that it gets easier with the other kids. They'll come around...hopefully. I showed your blog to my mom so she could see the babies. She says hi and that you've got your hands full. But wishes you well. Can't wait to see you and the babies. Let us know when is a good time to come up.

Kristy said...

Ha! Seven years. There's no hope for me! The pictures of the older ones with the babies are beyond sweet. I was constantly snarling at my older kids when Kate was born, and she was just a singular baby. It seems my kids made it through just fine. Even if it's hard for them now, don't worry, they'll forget about it later when things calm down. Kids really are resilient. Meanwhile, I know it's hard on you to have them act out that way. I'm praying for you Em. You are awesome.
Really, who was the Queen of Sheba anyway and why did she get such a bad rap?

Alexie said...

I LOVE the picture of Austin with "the brothers!" maybe the kids just need to get back into routines- it seems like any change make kids go crazy. It's like having a substitute at school. Well, their teacher's back and s are the rules.