What the 4th baby taught me….

What the 4th baby taught me……adapted and inspired from an article in Welcome Home Magazine.

Every child teaches you something new. My first baby taught me patience and delight, confusion and coordination. My second taught me perseverance. My third taught me that every baby is unique, that not everything comes painted in black and white, that lovely shades of gray exist in between. My fourth taught me that life is fragile, God is huge and can do great things if you trust in Him! 

With two children, it is easy to label them “easy” vs. “difficult” and “creative” vs. “academic.” The third and fourth babies peel away the labels, because opposites only have two sides, and suddenly there are four to cover, all with very unique qualities and traits.

The 3rd baby, my strong-willed one, taught me that even if I could strive to raise my children “perfectly,” they would still fall short and make mistakes. The 3rd baby taught me I could do everything “right,” even by my own standards, and still not have a perfect child. My third baby taught me how to re-parent all over again, with her ornery ways and temper tantrums.

 Avery 7 months

The 4th baby taught me to treasure baby things and baby ways. With children two and three, babyhood fled rapidly, scooted along for convenience’s sake.  17 month apart babies, and big sis in school, tend to create a survival of the fittest mentality.

I want the babyhood of my 4th to last forever. I want to cherish his sweet breath on my neck when I snuggle him, every sigh of contentment as I feed him, every face he makes when he is nursing that no one else will ever see, every grin and giggle, the joy I feel in my heart, when he turns at the sound of my voice, and the feeling I get, when only I can stop his incessant crying because I am mommy, and for now, I am his EVERYTHING.

But I know babyhood cannot last forever, I know that I will love each and every stage more than the last. I also know this fourth baby, is my final baby. I know there will be a day when my heart longs to hold another newborn in my arms. I know that I will have to deal with sadness, the first time he crawls away from me and discovers a whole new world out there. I know the Lord will have to help me be content with 4 in Heaven and 4 on earth, because that is His plan for me. And, if the 4th baby has taught me anything so far, its to slow down, to enjoy each moment, and to live in the present; for the moments in the present quickly move into the past with the last baby.

The third and fourth babies taught me that babies don’t need lots of toys and baby gear. Those babies have all the hand-me-down baby toys any child could imagine and still prefers his big brother and sisters to any toy.

The fourth baby taught me to let go of the little things that make me crazy, based on my own high standards for myself. The fourth baby taught me to come up with creative solutions instead of striving for perfection. Who has time to maintain a perfect home when you have 3 kids ages 3 and under?

The fourth baby taught me that fair doesn’t mean equal. When the fourth baby came, I realized fair means that each one gets what he needs, in turn if necessary, not just what they want.

The fourth baby taught me, that once again, love does not divide, it multiplies.

The fourth baby taught me that children aren’t meant to be raised one at a time. That a family works best as a group, not as individual members.

The fourth baby taught me that nothing is so inspiring as seeing kids give each other hugs, a big sister reading to “her” baby, a little brother grinning up at big brother, the third baby racing up to the 4th to give hugs after a nap, as if they are long-lost friends.

The fourth baby taught me that there’s always room for one more, no matter my time line, God’s ways are the perfect ways, and I could never have scripted such a life for myself. It is perfect for me, and a gift from the Creator Himself.

What has been precious about the fourth baby though, has been what the fourth baby has taught me, and what he taught the first three through the miracle of his birth:  To trust in God even when all seems lost, to accept your circumstances, and to allow God to use them to make you stronger, individually and as a family unit.
Baby 4 has 2 big sisters and a big brother that will help him discover and grow. He will learn that any of us will pick him up when he falls, read to him when he asks, play with him when he’s lonely, and show him the wonders of the world. He will also learn that he doesn’t always get what he wants, that he can’t hit siblings (even when they make him mad) or throw balls in the house.  That he must talk nicely to others if he wants them to talk nicely to him, and that Mommy gives out snacks, four at a time, so everyone can have one.
For me, the fourth baby has taught me to relax, enjoy everything those little monkey’s throw my way. They have taught me to just stop, and enjoy those little moments that mean the most!  I once heard that people stop having children too soon. It’s true. The first baby interrupts a life made for two. With the second, you realize raising two children is hard work! What no one tells you, is that those first two give you practice. By the third and fourth babies, experience tells you that nothing is impossible, that problems have solutions, that children will grow past many things–and that each new baby will teach you something you’ve never thought of before.

Making the decision to have a child–its momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.

Your life will never be the same, and you know what…….

You wouldn’t want it to be!

 Seek the Lord about HIS plan for your life.  Ask HIM if He desires for you to continue to grow your family.  His plans are far better than our own, plans to give us hope and a future. {Jeremiah 29:11}

~T

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