Julie’s been a hot mess lately. She’s clingy and sad, squabbling with her siblings all the time. She pushes back every time I ask her to do anything (especially getting ready for bed) and I find myself getting more and more impatient with the tears and general whining and misery.
I’m not entirely sure why. Probably a combination of no school and increased exposure to older siblings that she’s not quite old enough to keep up with. But I think the biggest contributor is the lack of Marc.
Marc started a new job almost two weeks ago, and there’s an intense six week training period. He leaves the house every morning before she gets up, and on the one or two nights a week he gets home before she goes to bed, he’s inundated with homework.
Of all of the kids, Julie is the one closest to her dad. In terms of straight up one-on-one time, Julie has always gravitated towards him. He plays cards with her, so many cards, and reads with her at night. She’s a Daddy’s girl, much more so than Jessie was at this age.
The schedule is brutal for him (although from my perspective, it’s actually so much easier home, because he’s so much less stressed and unhappy. He likes what he’s doing – and that makes an enormous difference). But even with the craptastic schedule, the older two kids still see him a lot more than she does. Jessie crawls into bed with us every night for a half hour or more, to hang out and talk. Sam sleeps in our bed occasionally when he’s feeling a little disconnected, and is often up later when he’s home or up early before he leaves.
And it’s also important for me to remember that seven is a tough year for my girls. Really, five through ten were hellish for Jessie, and it looks like Julie is going down that road too. They’re so much alike (which you would think would lead to a greater sense of empathy on Jessie’s part – but sadly, not so much….). There was a reason I called Jessie “Misery” for years as a nickname.
We’ve only got another four weeks to go – and then Marc’s schedule should get much, much better. I’m trying to incorporate more play dates – to give her exposure to kids her own age, and let her get out of the shadow of always being the little one. I’m going to work with the older two as well, try and get them to be a little more empathetic, a little more loving. We all need a little more grace in our lives, a little more effort put forth to make our lives a little better.
And if the payoff is a happier, more content Julianna – we all win