Honestly, every time I approach the birth of a new family member I feel frail and anxious. Always excited, but nervous as to what the future holds and what this "new" family will look like.
Every time a new little one makes their appearance screaming and breathing air fresh for the first time, I know that my life will never look the way it did before they arrived. Our family will automatically embrace this new life and we will all fall madly in love with this tiny person.
Several of my friends told me that they have a daily quiet time for all their kids. I'm not sure why I was so surprised. I guess I thought that quiet time was equivalent to a time out. I didn't want any of my kids to feel isolated or pushed aside. My 3 year old was just starting to phase out naps and yet, by the end of the day he was so tired that even he was saying, "I'm ezausted." My seven year old loves to spend time with people and during the school year we would spend nap time doing all the things that were harder to do with the littler people awake. Being that it was approaching summertime though, I thought maybe I could give this a try.
Enter baby number four! Just having had a baby and wanting to enjoy her and also rest up from delivery I initiated a quiet time. I told the kids they didn't have to sleep, they could do whatever they wanted as long as it was quiet. I gave them 5 minutes to pick out the things they wanted to take with them and then they each went into a room and shut the door. Truth be told my two year old sleeps. My three year old sleeps about half the time, but on the days he doesn't nap I can hear him playing with cars and trucks or super heroes zooming and booming away. During the summer when my seven year old was taking quiet times he would draw, read, play with toys, or think up inventions or cartoon characters. There is a non-screen rule in place and therefore everything that they do is imagination required.
For the first couple weeks after having our newest little one I spent quite a lot of time gazing at her while she looked back at me and we were able to have special one on one time that doesn't happen as often with the fourth baby. I'm not going to claim that the productivity in the house sky rocketed during this time. Rather, everyone got some much needed R&R.
School has now been in session for a couple of months now. However, our quiet times with the middle kids has continued. They're not typically excited to go to their rooms, but I've noticed a big difference in how they handle the rest of the day - even if a nap doesn't happen during the time they're spending in their room. Sometimes my oldest even requests quiet time once he's finished with school. Going and going all day can be taxing for little ones. After all, they're so much smaller and they're constantly learning and growing. They need time to themselves to play quietly or to just lay down and rest.
The time that I had this summer to recuperate from having a baby and to acclimate to the changes and the dynamics surrounding it all was invaluable. I loved being able to spend special time with our newest blessing, and likewise seeing the creativity that was explored by the older kids made it all that much more worth it. I think we all benefit from a little downtime.
"But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed." Luke 5:16