Even though Nora fits into our family perfectly, it's not all easy peasy lemon squeezy adjusting to life with three kids.
Like when I'm trying to put Nora down to sleep and a little blond head pops in whispering, Mom, can I have a snack? or Mom, can I watch tv? or Mom, can I play outside? I furrow my brow and wave vigerously as I want to scream, No. Nonono. No! Go away. Because if Nora sees a sister or hears a sister or even senses a sister is near by she is going to be ready to find out what kind of fun her sister is doing and how she can be a part of it too.
No matter how many times I remind the older girls that unless it is an emergency -- Is someone in trouble? Is someone hurt? -- then whatever it is they want to ask can wait. This is not a free-for-all "yes" to any question, it is a you-can-wait-the-few-minutes-it-takes-to-get-your-baby-sister-down-to-bed-to-ask thing. I try to emphasize that it takes at least twice as long to get Nora settled in if our routine gets interrupted, which means twice as long until I will answer their question, but it's a hard lesson to grasp.
We've also had a little realization that babies require a lot of attention, which means that if you're an older sister you get less attention, and if you're the oldest you seem to get the least amount of attention. This was part of a conversation I overheard the girls share in bed awhile ago. It's hard for their minds to understand the needs that babies have. We aren't giving them less attention, but I'm sure it feels like it because we have to provide all of Nora's needs. Plus, it's difficult when you're a seven-year-old and your two younger sisters are home with mommy getting more one-on-one time while you're at school all day.
Also, now that Nora is completely mobile they are starting to grasp that she can get into their toys. Mom? Can you grab Nora? We're trying to play here. I understand how frustrating it can be, to have a baby demolishing the elaborate set-up they made to play, and sometimes I will keep Nora away. But there are other times that if they want Nora kept out of their toys, then they are required to move their play into their bedroom. Sometimes they like to play with their baby sister, but lately there have been quite a few, Nora! Stop it!s drifting in from wherever they're playing.
Still, it is worth it all.
The way they rush to Nora's side when they hear her wake from a nap. The way Nora smiles when she sees one of her sisters walk into the room. The way Hope wants to feed Nora at dinner time. The way the older sisters giggle and copy the silly faces Nora makes. The way they fight over who gets to sit next to her, push her in the swing, give her more hugs, try to make her laugh. The way she looks at them, like they hang the moon, which as her big sisters, they do. They are her world. And she is theirs.
And the three of them, they are mine. I will take it all. The easy, the hard, the good, the bad. I will take it all because it is all where I am. It is all where I want to be.