What I’ve learnt, one month in as a family of five

"I'm going to need a bigger chair" - adjusting to life with three

Baby J is now one month old, which feels both quick and extraordinarily slow, considering I have been awake for almost all of that time.

Adjusting to life as a family of five has been an eye opener. You have to think through the logistics of the entire day ahead and who will be picking up which child when (T & B are at different schools), and meal times. Endless, endless meal times.

My whole life now seems to revolve around food. Either expressing every single feed for the baby (the Supplementary Nursing System didn’t work for us), or cleaning up the delightful by-products of said feeding, or washing up the ludicrous number of breast pump parts, or my own extraordinary hunger, or my surprising inability to give any thought to feeding anyone other than the baby. C might ask me what I feel like for supper, and I can only stare at him blankly. Luckily C’s mum is staying with us at the moment, and has quietly taken over the family’s mealtimes so no one will starve.

We’ve also learnt just how rapidly things can snowball out of control now there are three small children on the loose. The other afternoon, J was cluster-feeding which made the girls’ supper time late, so they started a whirlwind game loosely based on Sheriff Callie and her trusty donkey, Sparky. As the baby’s screeches for more milk escalated, so did their game, despite our warnings that it would end in tears (a phrase from my own childhood).

At the precise moment that B tripped and split her chin, J decided to dial up the drama and vomit milk straight up in the air, which then cascaded back on his own face. It went everywhere. I literally had to tilt his head to pour milk out of his ears.

We were both so drenched in hot, sticky milk, I decided the easiest thing was to get straight in a bath together. Trouble is, you cannot secretly run a bath in this household, so both girls rushed in screaming with excitement, stripped, and clambered in too. So J’s first proper bath was with all four of us, the girls intregued by his naked body, B nursing a bleeding chin. It was quite an experience.

This week’s Highs & Lows:

Highs:

  • My parents flew out last week to meet their new grandson. Hadn’t seen them since Christmas, it was so exciting. So all the grandparents are here; it’s brilliant to be part of an extended family again. It’s something I’ve really missed as an expat
  • Getting back in touch with a lot more friends from home, now that I’m on Facebook Messenger throughout the night. I’ve embraced social media a lot more with this baby, and am addicted to The Archers (snarling about Rotten Rob Titchener) and the MumsNet ‘Am I Being Unreasonable?’ message board. Marvellous stuff
  • Replacing my English politeness with the New York no-nonsense attitude. I’m now far more demanding; if a shop doesn’t have something I need, I get them to order it and deliver it to my apartment that same day… for free. Downtown Pharmacy on William and Beekman Street is particularly great at this.  Thank you for being so nice to me.
  • Hearing B whisper privately to her brother, “Baby J, I am your big sister B. I will protect you.”

Lows:

  • Being so tired the other night, I suddenly got a fright that I hadn’t felt the baby kick for ages. It took a few beats for me to remember that I wasn’t pregnant any more
  • Another night, slept walked into the kitchen and started filling the washing up bowl. I plunged my hands in the soapy water and was confused to find it empty – all the bottles and breast pump parts already washed up and long dry on the side, and baby J fast asleep. Ridiculous
  • On the same day our kitchen sink started leaking, a can got too cold at the back of the fridge and exploded frozen shards of coke zero over everything. I had to empty the fridge to get it all out, and made the happy discovery of two large tubs of chocolate icing that had been sitting there since B’s birthday in March. I have been eating them with a teaspoon during night feeds… and when I wash up breast pump parts, or make a cup of tea, or pass the kitchen in general… Actually, this may be a High, not a Low

 

Author: Alex

Hello. Toddling Round New York is my own little blog of our family’s experience of moving young kids from London to New York… And of having a baby out here. They are my own baby steps of exploring this incredible city. I lived in five countries in four continents growing up, so you’d think I’d be good at this by now.

Here you’ll find stories and photographs of our adventures, the highs and the lows of expat parenthood, and some ideas I hope you’ll find useful if you’re in New York with young kids.

12 thoughts on “What I’ve learnt, one month in as a family of five”

  1. Those early days! I remember going through a lot of the same when Mini EE was born just a few weeks after we had relocated to Malaysia. You are right it all seems to pass so slowly and yet so quickly. Enjoy as much as you can and for the difficult times remember that they will pass! Your family look beautiful.

    1. Hi Ersatz Expat, I can only imagine how tough it must have been to move overseas (or even down the street) whilst heavily pregnant, and then the birth and newborn stage. Hope you had plenty of help!
      Take care,
      Alex

  2. I can’t imagine getting through those hectic early newborn days with other kids to take care of as well – I think you’ve done well to just survive these four weeks! Well done with adopting the New York attitude – as a native New Yorker who lives in the UK, I have to remind myself that to get in touch with that attitude sometimes when I’m tempted to be overly polite. #MyExpatFamily

    1. Thanks Squirmy Popple, I’m still very much finding my way, supper-bath-bed still quite a handful!!

  3. Alex Im sorry but I really laughed reading this, I can totally picture two little girls running round crazy and their volume getting louder and louder as the baby gets louder…..situations like this you can see the tears coming a mile away!!! Love that you all got into the bath together thats really cute, and although a little crazy at the time i’m sure it will be a wonderful memory for you guys!
    B whispering to her baby brother is possibly the most adorable thing ever!
    Finding the chocolate icing in your fridge is such unbelievable karma for having to clean out frozen coke zero, hope youve kept that stashed somewhere so only you can find it, a totally perfect night feed treat!!
    I can relate to those ridiculous insomniac moments of just doing crazy things, in a way its kinda nice that to find that the washing up had been done (even if it was you who had done it earlier!) hope you managed to get back off to sleep quickly!!!

    Things certainly sound busy for you but lots of fun too!!
    Thanks for giving us an update on your lovely family for #myexpatfamily

    1. Hi Seychellesmama, so glad you enjoyed this post. That chocolate icing didn’t last long, but I now have friends snapping photographs of the stuff to tease me when they see it in the shops!!
      Take care,
      Alex

  4. Wow. Amazing blog. Glad I’ve discovered it. I’m the opposite – moved from US to UK, been here for 17 years now. Takes ages to adjust. Still adjusting sometimes! LOVE how you’ve done your photos. Good luck with it all. Food – that is one thing I miss about America. #MyExpatFamily

  5. Great post! I remember forgetting I wasn’t pregnant anymore a couple of times too :O Are they as rude in NYC as people say they are? I’d love to bring S there on holiday. Lies! I’d love to come there on my own first, take it all in and then bring him another time 😉 #myexpatfamily

    1. Hi, actually I find New Yorkers are totally fine with the sole exception of the post office (who once reduced me to tears). I’ve found the trick is to get straight to the point, no flanelling around.
      You should definitely come and explore New York, with or without the kids as there’s limitless amounts of fun things to do.
      Take care
      Alex

  6. Absolutely brilliant blog! Love reading it, look forward to each new one!! Xxx

    1. Thanks Amy! It’s always lovely to hear people enjoy reading it and I’m not just wittering to myself x

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