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four years old.

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My #5 turns 4 years old today.  Lordy.  How did that happen?  I re-read a few blog posts pre-5 children (that’s how I remember moments in my life – pre-1, pre-2, pre-3, pre-4, pre-5…).  #5 definitely threw me for a loop.  It took me awhile to wrap my head around having a fifth child and then we found out #5 was a boy.   Then I re-read a post I had written 2 days before he was born about my headspace at that time.  And finally, I read a post I had written shortly after he was born about being overwhelmed.  I remember it all so clearly.  When he was born, I had about 2 days rest and went right back into our routine.  The kids were in school still and I remember making 3 drop-offs and 2 pick-ups a day dragging a newborn and a 2 year old in and out of the van.

Here is an excerpt from a post I had written during those early months as we acclimatized ourselves to having 5 kids:

I sigh with relief.  The kids are more than ok.  I have raised them in a way that they are prepared for times like this.  Then I remind myself to just keep going.  I tell myself to hold on to those tender and raw snippets of our family life.  Just ride out this emotional and hormonal roller coaster.  Then I realize that one day, as their bedroom doors shut and their social lives take centre stage, I will long for days like today – a sleeping baby in one arm, a toddler snuggled under the other, a 4 year old needing me to tie on a princess dress, and then later, a 6 year old wanting to read to me, and an 11 year old excited to tell me how her project went at school.

So as #5 turns 4 today, I feel it.  I feel that longing that I knew I’d feel back then.  I predicted its arrival and it’s here.  A deep longing for the past when my littles could all fit into our bed together.  I long for the days when a child lived in a wrap next to my body everywhere we went.  I long for the days when the sound of a newborn’s cry filled our home every few years.  I long for the afternoons and early mornings when they napped with me under the crook of my arm.  I long for that smile right before the teeth pop through the gums for the first time.  I long for the firsts of the first year that I will never get to witness again.  I long for the easy conversations when I made up why the sky was blue and why the birds sing so pretty.  I long for the time I could stick my pinky into the tiny palm of their hand so they could squeeze it.  I long for the days when it was a rarity that all 7 of us weren’t together at home.  I long for when the days moved slower.  A deep longing for when they all needed me all the time.

My youngest is now 4 – school aged.  He is a little person with likes and dislikes.  He loves to draw and make things out of paper, tape, and plasticine.

While I am doing lessons, he is always off somewhere by himself making things…

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…like this knight made out of magazine scraps…

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…or the backdrop for his puppet show with plasticine puppets he made…

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He loves slaying things including dragons and sisters.

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He likes being a little bro:

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He loves lego.  He loves sticks.  He loves playing forts and castles.  He loves baseball.  He loves hearing my animal stories that I make up on the fly to distract him.  He loves cuddling with dad (and I’m slowly becoming ok with that).  He loves superheroes and Greek gods. He loves going on adventures in the forest.  He loves copying his sisters including when they practice on their recorder.  He takes out his and plays “Hot, hot, food.” (Aka “Hot cross buns.”)  He loves salmon sashimi and dips it in his miso soup.  He loves his grandparents.  He loves it when I sing our “Morning has come” verse to help him wake up. He loves watching sports. He loves to bath and hates to shower:

Me: “It’s time to bath!”

#5: “Is that the up one or the down one?”

Me: “The down one.”

#5: “Ok! Can I shave?”

He doesn’t like wearing a jacket.  He doesn’t like it when his sisters (or his mother) ask him too many questions.  He doesn’t like his big-boy bed.  He doesn’t like leaving the house but once he’s out, he’s ok.  He doesn’t like pants.  He doesn’t like socks. He doesn’t like green smoothies.  He’d rather eat a whole bowl of kale salad.  He doesn’t like too much attention.  He doesn’t like board games or card games where he has to be on “someone’s team.”  He doesn’t like it when Dad cuts his hair.  He doesn’t like going to bed without both mama and dada.

The 5 kids have finally reached a point where they can all play together. Even the oldest.  I’ve noticed that when he needed help with something, he used to ask me for help and I’d say, “Ask a sister.” Now he turns them automatically for help, to show them something, to ask them to play with him.  And here they all are this morning, the four big sisters helping the birthday boy assemble his Lego present:

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I will keep this picture in my head.  I will envision this morning at the breakfast table as all 7 of us celebrated his birthday morning with chocolate chip/banana pancakes laughing and sharing #5 stories.  I will remember his little birthday outing with his friends this morning at a park, the friends that knew him even before he was born.

Today I will remind myself that 5 years from now, I will long for moments just like these.

Happy Birthday #5 – the final piece to our family puzzle.

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