It's been one week since little Clark joined our family. I absolutely love the first week of a baby's life. We definitely have our share of sleepless nights, moody four-year-olds, roller coaster hormones, and breastfeeding issues. BUT STILL . . . with each of my children, it has been a cherished time. And with Clark, it has been no different. These minutes and hours are sacred and special to me.
Having four children (four! it's really true!) means that my time will soon be very divided. So I have used this week to get to know Clark. I have held him almost constantly . . . not because he needs it or demands it (although sometimes he does . . . ) but because I need it. I need to kiss his soft cheeks and breathe in his sweet baby smell. I need to stroke his silky hair and gaze into his perceptive eyes. I need to feel the gentle weight of his head on my arm and nestle him on my chest.
evidence of the dimple
Last night I had a sudden realization that with each child, the first week is probably getting more and more difficult for Mike while for me, because I am so adamant about lots of time with the baby, they've stayed relatively the same. The laundry piles up more quickly and the dishes multiply in seconds. There are more older siblings clamoring for attention and more toys to be constantly picking up.
When I mentioned this observation to him, he said, "No, not at all. It actually feels easier this time." That man is a saint. His mother taught him well, and I will always be grateful he knows how important this first week is for me.
I've tried really hard to share the baby with him. He likes little Clark, too.
Speaking of people who like little Clark, those three older brothers are pretty smitten with him. They are constantly squirting on the hand sanitizer or running to the sink to wash their hands so they can hold him again. When they've each had a turn, they're ready to begin the cycle again. Aaron will often hold him for thirty minutes at a time, especially if it's evening and I'm reading to him and Maxwell.
In the mornings, they love running into our room and getting their first look of the day at Clark. A couple days ago, Aaron said to me, "I had no idea our baby would be this cute." He's a little biased to be sure. They love his little yawns, his wrinkly forehead, his unwieldy arms that he whacks himself in the face with or pulls up into a Frankenstein-like pose. Just like me, they find rubbing his head to be extremely addictive. And they are all convinced that each one of them is Clark's favorite because "he was looking at me!"
Last night, I was reminiscing about the last week (can you reminisce if it's only been a week?) and telling Mike how sad I was that the first week was almost over. I told him it went by much too quickly, and he said, "What are you talking about? It feels like it's been much longer than a week! I feel like I haven't been to work in a month!"
If anything, it seems like our perceptions of time should be reversed. I spent the whole week prior living in the future: "In a week, I'll be holding a baby right now." "Next Sunday, I won't go to church because I'll be at home with a baby." "Next week, I'll also be up at 3am, but not because of pregnancy discomfort, but because I'll be feeding a baby." Now that the week is almost past, I'm starting to relive it: "A week ago, I was checking in at the hospital." "Now I was saying I couldn't handle any more contractions." "Now I was holding him for the first time."
But in between the future and the past, there was the present. Seven days. And they were glorious.