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And Baby Makes ... Six

By Charlene O'Hanlon

I never thought I'd be a parent to four kids. It really was never in my mind to have a brood. I thought one child would be my limit. And it was, for a while. Then I met my (now) husband, who came with two children, and suddenly one became three.

I won't sugar-coat the experience and say every day was rose petals and hugs. My husband and I had different parenting styles and often we clashed over responsibilities (the children's and ours), discipline, what was acceptable entertainment and various other things. We had some difficult arguments, that was for sure.

Then I discovered I was pregnant. It was a shock for both of us, but we were happy. Ecstatic, in fact. And when we broke the news to the older three, they were thrilled at the prospect of having a younger brother or sister.

Fast forward nine months, and our little man entered the world and changed our lives. He has quite literally grounded my husband and me, enabling each of us to see the better aspects of the other's parenting methods and giving each other the room to be the best parent we can be. I see my husband now taking on a more serious tone in his parenting, while I've relaxed a bit. We both now understand that there are different ways to achieve the same end result. I'm no longer a nut about toys strewn all over the house, and he no longer offers up Terminator movies as family entertainment.

A baby changes the relationship between the parents. Whether the change is for the better or not is really up to the parents. I see our little man as the glue that has bonded this family together, giving us the strength to grow beyond ourselves to accept things not in our control and enjoy the ride, even if it means taking the long way around. And I wouldn't change one second of it.

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