1 week in...

Manhattan Jane, 1 week old.

Last night, lying in bed, I watched for a time my sweet husbands quiet profile back-lit by the streetlight streaming through the window behind him. His impossibly long eyelashes, the line of his nose, the soft scruff surrounding still lips...and I fell in love. Hard.

I resisted the urge to attach myself to his side, to breathe him in and twist his shirt into my claws. He was so peaceful, and sleep was scarce these days, what with a newborn and all. So instead, I quietly reached for his hand.

Immediately, my man was awake, looking at me in earnest, asking if I was alright.

I felt bad - waking him for no reason other than my selfish inability to NOT touch him. But, of course, I loved him all over again for his concern.

Today, Hattie is 1 week old. Which also meant that today was to be the first day Bill had to go back to work. The first day I'd be on my own as a mother of 4. And I'd been riding that crazy-eyed hormone-er-coaster for the past two days; happily carrying on as usual, stabbing straws through juice boxes or folding impossibly tiny pink onesies, then suddenly BAM! Uncontrollable tears. Sourceless guilt. Wretched thoughts about how the world is out to get my 4 amazing kids...and what if one of them DROPS their ICE CREAM CONE?! (sob!)

So it was no wonder Bill was on alert status for Stepper freak-outs. I was nervous about being on my own (what if I had to go to the bathroom??) ((Okay, embarrassingly enough, Bill had to help me work out a plan for this scenario because I was really, really concerned)). But my awesome and ever-supportive superhero mother was going to take my 3 older kids to the local carnival for a few hours. So I knew I'd get some downtime, during which I could bond with Hattie, do the dishes, get some sleep...BLOG...etc. etc.

The truth is, aside from the healing and the hormone swings and the multitudes of baby-related *things* that now tend to overrun my little house, transitioning to a family of 6 has been fairly seamless. I live in a dual existence where I'm both marveling at this tiny, perfect human so incredible and beautiful and unbelievably mine, and feeling like Hattie has been a part of things all along.

I don't know, yet, if she'll stay dark or go blonde. I do know she's hilarious. I don't know if she'll stay this mellow, but I do know that she has a tender heart. I don't know, yet, what her favorite color is, but I do know she knows the sound of her daddy's voice, and that she looks for him whenever she hears it.

And, guys, I know for a total fact that she's got that Dad of hers wrapped around her tiny, perfect, pink little finger.

Just where things should be.

But I think she may also have her oldest brother wrapped around that finger. He will sit and hold her for hours. Just sitting. Holding. Studying her tiny features while getting lost in thoughts of his own.

How many six-year-olds do you know that will sit still for that long, let alone happily and protectively hold a fragile little pink thing without anything else to entertain him?

Daphne has made her all sorts of promises. She's already tried to give her most of her toys, until I explained that Hattie is still too small to be able to play with toys, and perhaps it would be best if Daphne kept her toys, and was just willing to share when Hattie got old enough so that she could show Hattie how to play with a kitchen, or ponies, or Legos.

Henry only recently wanted to hold her. He didn't resent her for displacing him as the youngest the way many warned me he might (back-handed brow wipe, fling!). He was just too busy being Henry to give her much thought - except for running into our room at unforgivably early hours, loudly demanding, "WHERE'S THE BABY?!"

My two oldest obligingly keep track of my body transitions. When I first came home, it was determined that I still looked very much pregnant. Now, to discerning young eyes, I look a little bit less pregnant, but not much. I try to share my enthusiasm over my lack of swollen ankles, but to them, this whole thing has always been about getting to the watermelon size of things. So, naturally, the transition "back to normal" must be about the regression of the watermelon. They are finding that—as it was with the growing of the bump—it is hard to be patient.

Honestly, I can't even remember what I'm supposed to look like not pregnant.

For me, the joy of not being pregnant anymore lies in flopping onto the bed stomach first. Bending all the way over to retrieve the load of laundry from the washer, then straightening easy as you please to lift the load into the dryer above. Being able to slide into my shoes without using extreme force (or feeling extreme pain!). Recognizing Hattie's movements as things I felt her do in the womb.

And then there's this child. This infant who, in her purity and perfection, was willing to come to this scary, scary world and trust herself to the protection of my arms. This child who can't yet see much beyond shapes and contrasting colors, but who absolutely and without a doubt knows me.

And so, I ride the rollercoaster of hormones. I heal. My body slowly adjusts. I fall in love over and over again with my sweet husband who stands ever at the ready to swoop in with encouragements and tissues. My children marvel at their newest sibling. And I...I just can't stop thanking God for this.

All of this.