I have found this baby to be one of my easiest adjustments, and there is surely some truth in the train of thought that says "...after four or five what's one more?"
So many of the difficulties in practical daily living are worked out by the time one reaches that number which fills one handful of fingers.
There may be other milestone numbers for those with ten or more. I'd be interested to hear from that camp. It's a humbling process of learning, growing, making mistakes, and enjoying successes no matter what number of children reside in our homes!
One of the things I noticed this time around is how capable my oldest children are in making the household run smoothly in my absence (absences include catching needed Z's, nursing, or having hands full with other necessary things)
For instance, both boys are able to help Carolina (age two) into her booster chair for meals. They can each wash her up and get her down afterward. Those two things alone are a tremendous help!
Zachary is now making breakfast for all the children most days. He is my early bird, and I am a bit slow to rise in the morning. He is always asking what's for breakfast before I crack my eyelids, so a couple months ago I took the time to help him learn to make oatmeal.
About four days a week he cooks oatmeal, serves it, gets Carolina into her chair, prays over breakfast, clears the table, and gets the empty oatmeal pot soaking in water - often before I greet the day!
I am a bit paranoid about messes in the kitchen, but I finally decided that my children's capabilities are endless if I will only allow them to learn and even make some mistakes in the process. Just having breakfast taken care of allows me to immediately prepare for the day's work in school, errands, or getting a load of laundry started.
The job of teaching Zack to make breakfast was a process.
We had to get a system of steps honed in for him to follow.
- Step 1: get out pot.
- Step 2: scoop X amount of oats into it.
- Step 3: add X cups of water... and so on.
After he got the oatmeal making process down, we had to work on the follow up steps of table clearing, and making sure the bowls were emptied of scraps and filled with water (so the oats would come off later for the dishwasher-loader!).
After that it took some days to help him remember to put away ingredients and utensils, and get that pot soaking too.
There are loose ends still. I need to help my number two son learn follow through with his share. The table isn't usually wiped, nor the floor swept.
Unfortunately THOSE are the things I notice when I scrutinize, but I am learning to relax a little, and especially to LOOK FOR the many successes. The little victories- and there are new ones every day, even if the progress isn't as fast as I'd like it to be!
Zachary has since taught himself to make pancakes (which are already stacked on a plate when I get up on Saturday morning), and has a favorite banana bread recipe too.
It will soon be time for me to stretch his repertoire and add to his skills, but besides wanting to praise his accomplishments, I wish to encourage you.
The season has finally shifted for me: Big helpers finally!
What a blessing:-)
If you are weary, be steadfast friend.
Your time is coming!