And things are a little different now, but not too much. We had all the kids here on Saturday and by that, I mean that I had my three, plus my stepdaughters, Lilli and Sarah. Then our friend Arlen and his daughter Jordyn stopped by - I've been watching Jordyn since she was ten weeks old and she's one of Sam's best buddies. We had my friend Annie's daughter Glennys here as well, and Harrison and Julia came over last night. Busy, busy, busy. But the kids had a wonderful day, they played outside for the longest time, and then came in and played Wii and barbies and superheros. It occured to me that they really do have a pretty great childhood, and will no doubt have wonderful memories of hanging out at our house on long, lazy Saturday afternoons.
I went to bed last night with my girls - Julianna nursed to sleep in bed, and Jessie came and crawled up against me while I nursed it. It was wonderful - and I loved having them both there with me. Every now and again, I still look at Julie and say a silent thank you that she's outside of my body and not in it. As much as I loved the idea of being pregnant, the reality really wasn't that much fun. I like it so much more now ;-).
Nursing is going a LOT better. It still hurts like someone is stabbing needles into my nipples (how's that for an analogy?), but I've learned coping mechanisms (lamaze breathing, and I count too) and usually before I reach thirty or forty, the pain has lessened enough so that I'm not ready to kill myself. I still dread latching her on the left side, but it's getting better, and the right side is perfectly normal. And I always remember how terrible it was just two weeks ago, when I didn't think she'd ever nurse, and then when I was afraid I'd have to use the nipple shield forever. We're so much better now than we were, as a nursing team, so I can only assume that we'll continue to improve.
Marc is over at his parents right now, moving furniture - and without being asked, he took Sam with him. Which is such an enormous help for me. He's been wonderful all weekend, doing the dishes and cooking and really staying on top of the kids. I forgot how much sheer work a newborn is - just in terms of time spent nursing and burping and changing - having him home makes such an incredible difference. Plus he just lights up around the kids - I've never seen a man who LOVES his children the way that Marc does. He's happiest when all five are on top of him. I love that about him - not just for my sake, because it's wonderful to have someone love your kids as much as you do, but also for their sake. Growing up without a dad makes me appreciate having him so much more. I wonder if I had had an involved father, if I had grown up expecting it for my kids, if I'd be as grateful for it. But I grew up with a single mom, so I'm constantly blown away by how MUCH of a difference having a dad makes for the kids. And for me to have a partner, someone who's so completely on my team and shares my goals - it's truly so much more than I ever expected.