Not only have three out of five "only children" become older siblings and had their world at home turned upside down, but we have taken in a little one year old of our own.
That is a lot of change for a little person to comprehend.
As our four year olds moved on and out of daycare and into the preschool world, I shuffled things around to reflect the changes which on the cusp of happening.
And now that time has come.
Our new little one year old is transitioning into her world with us and had her first lunch here yesterday. The high chair that I moved downstairs a few weeks ago is back. Everyone else shuffled their way down the line to independence. From the high chair to the booster chair. From beside me to across the table from me. From the booster chair to the bench behind the table.
So far, so good.
Our nap time transition has been a little tougher so I am glad I started early.
My "star napper" has been moved out a room of his own, into a room which is shared by at least one more. I have strategically placed the daycare cots into cozy little nooks so no one can see the other guy. But they can hear them.
This week, "a cold" has infiltrated our home. So the breathing is loud and heavy. As I sat in our new shared napping accommodations, listening for the sounds of kids settling into a deep restful state of slumber, all I could hear was the sound of light sleeping as the breathing never quietened down to that state where you know everyone is down for the long haul.
Today, we will have a house full. My newest little guy is going to stay home to celebrate his second birthday with his parents. My newest little girl is going to come and stay for lunch. My two pre-school girls will be spending the day (or a part thereof) with us. My little guy who became a big brother a few months ago is spending an extra day with us today.
Then there is my one "constant", my two-and-a-half year old girl who comes every single day, who misses her four year old friends dearly but adapts to whoever is here and plays with them at their level.
She has quietly adapted to the minor little changes around here and takes every little move as sign of becoming one of the "big kids".
She was thrilled to be moved out of a room of her own and into our shared napping quarters with her two older friends. She actually started sleeping better when she was in a room that was not her own.
She was so happy to be "moved to the kitchen bench", just like her older friends.
In her mind's eye, I think she believes she is just as old as them. Yet she plays with everyone else at their level. Just as long as her older friends are not around. When they are, she loses herself because she so much wants to be "them".
She is one of the few who doesn't have to contend with the idea of having a brand new baby move into her life. And it shows.
As much as she wants to be like her older friends at daycare, her life as she knows it has remained unchanged.
This is actually saying a lot because about a year ago, her parents split up and she is the only one of our little family who has had to deal with that changing dynamic. There may have been a few transitional behaviours I noticed but (I think) because her parents put her first and kept her world just as solid as it could be, she rolled right through that change like a champ.
I talked a little bit with her grandma and her grandma commented on how everyone pulled together to help raise this little girl. Grandparents on both sides and parents who kept her world as solid as it could be and changed as little as possible during a time of great transition for them, helped this little girl during her own personal time of transition. A transition no one really talked about at daycare (unlike how everyone seems to be talking about these new babies).
The more things change, the more we look to that which stays the same.
We all shuffle things around within our lives to make room for the new, allow for new growth and every now and again we have to say "good bye" to a part of our past.
As our "good byes" at daycare have been, it is nice to keep a foot in the door to honor that which we have adopted as a part of our lives.
New babies come, but life at daycare remains (pretty much) the same and our older siblings have continued to be a part of our daycare world. Those who graduated into pre-school are still coming to daycare sporadically to nurture the friendships which have grown within these four walls.
It makes me smile, as three of our daycare family have recently celebrated their birthdays and each one of them has invited their daycare family into their homes and birthday parties.
This is the world I had hoped to build for my borrowed children.
I am seventeen years into this daycare gig and I still have families telling me that their child or grandchild still speaks so fondly of their days at daycare. It isn't me they are talking about. It is the friends they made as they navigated their way through their pre-school and (eventually) school years.
Life is full of transitions and we are very fortunate when we can keep one foot on solid ground as the world around us changes. I am so glad I can be a part of something "solid" within this changing world.