It’s been a busy week or two around here at the Cohen house. I’m working part-time, four days a week, and when I’m not working, I’m frantically trying to cram summer joy into the time I have left in the day. The guilt, oh, the guilt over not being home full time with them this summer… We’ve gone swimming several times, hit the playground and gone out for ice cream, lemonade stands are a regular occurrence. But the XBOX and Netflix are still being used far more than I’d like. I should take a page out of Marc’s book and blithely tell myself that they could have gone to camp, but were adamant that they didn’t want to – so I shouldn’t feel guilty about not providing a non-stop, activity filled fun summer. Maybe I should have forced camp on them. But it would have been ugly, at least for Sam, and Jessie was pretty convinced that she didn’t want to even contemplate it.
Julie is the one that seems to be struggling the most – even though she’s loving spending so much time with my mother (she’s happy to go, blissful when she’s there), but she’s a hot mess when she’s home. Fussy and argumentative with her siblings and her dad, dramatic and sobbing when she’s with me. It’s a big adjustment, moving from being the little one who got tons and tons of one-on-one time alone with me. Maybe it’s good – this way, kindergarten won’t be as much of a shock to her system in the fall. She’ll be used to spending part of her day without me around. This is me, trying to justify turning my little girl into a sobbing mess. It’s vaguely comforting that everyone tells me that she’s happy without me, but when I’m around, more than likely, she’s crying. I know it’s normal, I know it’s just that she’s adjusting to this new routine and new schedule. And I know damn well that she has fun when I’m not around, she’s not inconsolable, she’s content and chatty and proud of herself and her accomplishments, but it’s still hard, on everyone.
We’re managing, day by day, figuring out child care on the fly, relying on a Daddy who kind of makes his own hours, a Mama who is only working five hours a day, a Grammy who is wonderful beyond measure and aunts and cousins and stepsisters who step in and help.
I don’t think I’ve ever looked forward to school starting so much, if only because once school starts, all my childcare agonizing goes away. The reality is that they are still having a pretty good summer, we’ve had Glennys down for a week, Lilli and Sarah have spent several nights here. Julie is learning about gardening and squirrels and baking and shopping with my mother. We’ve had long days running around David and Aviva’s pool, trips to the drive-in, and they get to sleep in and stay up too late at night.
In other news… we’re heading to Maine tomorrow for my step-sister’s wedding and then Monday will be Sammy’s birthday. My baby boy is going to be nine years old. I feel like nine is right on the cusp of adolescence, and it struck me last night that I’m woefully unprepared for having an adolescent boy. Jessie didn’t throw me all that much – I was prepared for her to get bigger. Lilli and Sarah were just a few years ahead, and I had been a pre-teen girl myself. So I knew the signs, I was prepared for the worst and delightfully surprised to find that the tween years were filled with so many new discoveries about my daughter. It might be one of my favorite parts of parenthood- the drama slowed down (note I didn’t say disappeared…), but it got calmer. She settled into being herself, and I love this stage.
But what does a pre-teen boy go thru? What is that whole thing like? No idea. Absolutely none. I think back to my brothers, and draw a blank. I don’t have any friends with older boys. I’m used to little boys. I’m GOOD at little boys. I’m good at Sam, specifically. I know that little guy inside and out – and the idea that he’s not a little guy anymore throws me off. I’m not at all ready for my little boy to grow up, and I am going to pretend, for just a little bit longer, that nine years old isn’t a year away from ten, and half way to eighteen.