Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Levi’s arrival

On the morning of my 34th birthday we headed to the hospital for our labor induction appointment. Our previous two delivery arrivals had been punctuated by contractions and preoccupied with timing intervals. This time all was peaceful. My parents were in town, our kids were safely in their care and I half wondered if this was some sort of rare date with my husband. Without two kiddos to corral, there was plenty of time to appreciate the mild November morning that beckoned for a stroll, a few last leaves still green on the trees, even the traffic seemed quiet and harmonious. They quickly assigned us to a delivery room but it wasn’t until the afternoon that they started the induction. In those strange waiting hours, my eyes were always drawn to the empty bassinet, knowing that before they let me leave this room, I’d have to produce a baby in it. An impossibly brazen exit requirement! But I was certainly ready to meet our sweet babe, and what a euphoric introduction it was at 6:48 that evening. When the midwife placed Levi on my chest he opened his inky blue eyes and gazed, not inquisitively but with a serene warmth as if we’d known each other a long time already. It melted away the intensity of the moments freshly past. Could he be thanking me?

Soothing my concerns with his sweet calm for almost an hour, then eating well and falling into a peaceful sleep. Our little Levi, an angel babe for sure.

Levi means "joined in harmony". We named him praying that he will be joined harmoniously to the close friendship of his siblings, to us his parents, and to the Lord. His middle name (also Erik’s middle name), Gregory, means "watchful and alert" which suits his alert gaze and our great God’s watchful care over his arrival. The most precious birthday bundle.

This peaceful soul was unfazed by the giddy big sibling excitement when we brought him home too. Luke the proud big brother,

And Eleanor the marveling big sis.

Levi you have our hearts, precious boy!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Waiting for Levi: A party, 4 books & a poem

Let’s backtrack to just before Levi was born to remember that eager season of awaiting his arrival. We’d already wonderingly anticipated our first child, then waited for our first girl with hearts and bows, and now we got to see our kids marvel at an addition to our family. During the pregnancy, Luke often informed us of his plans to teach the little one all sorts of things, from Legos to making mud balls. Eleanor loved shopping for the babe and playing with her dolls became a favorite activity.

Two of my friends were expecting babies within a week of me, and also each had a little girl Eleanor’s age. So to build up the big sibs in their special new role, I hosted a Baby Party about a month before the real babies arrived. Everyone brought a baby doll and I prepared a bag of baby supplies for each big sib. We practiced diapering, feeding, and swaddling the dolls.

We read books about babies and invited the kids to talk about their new siblings. Then we put the dolls down for a nap and painted pictures for the babies’ nurseries.

The little ergo-style baby doll carriers sewn out of fabric and ribbons would be a terrific craft for a baby party but my kids didn’t seem interested in those… and amidst my late-pregnancy discomforts I wasn’t looking for any unwelcome projects! But a special lunch to celebrate the big sibs and build confidence and excitement for all the changes a baby brings was a worthwhile endeavor. A baby shower for the big sibs!

It was harder than I expected to find good books on a new baby sibling. We read a bunch of them and the majority focused on a big sister or brother’s frustration with the changes a baby brings. I don’t mind a couple well-done books with that plot line (such as the humorous Julius the Baby of the World by Kevin Henkes for elementary age kids) but I think it’s important that kids who are unsure about a new baby aren’t inundated with the idea that babies ruin their lives! Here are two we did like, though there must be many more good ones out there.

How to be a Baby by Me, the Big Sister by Sally Lloyd-Jones : This made my kids laugh and communicated in a fun way that they were in charge of how they respond to the baby.

What Sisters Do Best / What Brothers Do Best by Laura Numeroff : Perfect when there’s an older sister and brother, the two-books-in-one layout appealed to my kids and I think they liked how it focused on the big sibs, not the babies. A kid pick though, not a literary one.

I also like having a few informative books about new babies. Five-year-old Luke preferred What to Expect when the New Baby Comes Home (by Heidi Murkoff) with its baby diagram and Q and A format. Three-year-old Eleanor was more interested in What Baby Needs (by William Sears). I liked the way it rang true to life with a baby but it was quite dogmatic on attachment parenting, which isn’t for everyone.

The kids also liked my poem for our baby-waiting season. We would laugh about how Levi kept us guessing about his arrival!!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Hello, blog! + spring pics

Well it certainly has been a while since this blog has seen some updates! I’ll just jump back in with some favorite spring pics, taken under the riotous blooms of the crabapple tree that sold me on this house three years ago. We have sibling love,

A silly princess,

A thoughtful knight,

AND…. the newest angel-babe! It’s Levi, now six months old and much overdue for an official introduction of his own. Here he is at four months, climbing trees and picking flowers for mom. Such a cuddle bug!

In addition to more timely family updates, I’d love to write here with reports on our home schooling adventures. We just finished Luke’s kindergarten year and have been trying out a number of approaches for learning together. One focus has been poetry, so here’s a poem from our porch chalkboard. My ode to the pink tree that ushers in spring at Wild Oak!

spring poem