AT least intellectually, I do. Emotionally, I’m convinced my entire family is conspiring to make my life miserable. Sammy starts every morning crying. Every damn morning. And it’s sucky. Then Jessie jumps in, and then Marc starts off on one of his tirades about homeopathy… I’m just sick of everyone. They’re all crappy to me in the mornings. I just like a little coffee, a little friendliness, and why is that so damn hard?????

I’m so stressed about this stupid wedding – I’ve got all kinds of committments and obligations and I’m afraid that Sam is going to cry himself sick while I’m off being the maid of honor. I wish so much that Becky would let me bring my boy – it would make my life a thousand times easier. And as much as I know and accept that she’s the bride and we do it her way – man, it sucks.

Just not having a damn good day. And it’s barely nine o’clock.

Okay – let’s pull it together. So your kids wake up crying… it doesn’t last long, and their overall temperment is lovely. It’s five minutes or so of crabbing. Could be worse, right? He could be still in the grips of colic – I handled that with grace. I can handle morning grouchiness. And Marc is an intellectual snob, he’s also somewhat dead of wonder. There’s nothing surprising or beyond his comprehension – he’s so smart, it’s okay that he believes that he knows everything. He knows almost everything, so I’ll forgive him for being such a jerk. Rescue Remedy works – and if it helps my boy, then that’s good for me. Marc doesn’t have to agree, Sam’s crying isn’t going to hurt him nearly as much as it’s going to hurt me, so his opinion doesn’t matter as much.
(Jessie just started crying, so trying to talk myself into a cheery mood is getting a little more difficult).

I’m a bright woman, I have a lovely husband, who might be an intellectual snob and kind of a jerk about it sometimes, but is still a lovely man. I have two gorgeous children, who might be a bit emotional and dramatic at times, but they are both healthy, and a weekend without me won’t do any physical harm to them. I’ll get thru it.

One of my pet peeves are stacked dirty dishes. If you’re going to touch them to stack them – freaking wash them! I had every single cup dirty. EVERY SINGLE CUP. I have a legendary amount of cups, seriously, and they were all in my sink. Worse, they were in a ginormous soup pot that was so big I couldn’t actually do any dishes without taking everything out of the sink, washing the pot, putting everything back in and then washing the rest of them.

Plus my house looks like a bomb hit it. That’s right, I was out all weekend again. When I’m not here, the whole system falls apart. It saddens me to admit it, I can’t help but think it’s a failure on my part to not instill basic ‘pick up after your damn selves’ into my husband and children – but every room in my house is trashed. Every single room. I’m horrified…

Threw the phone today and broke it into three different pieces. But all in all, I felt it was a better alternative to throwing my daughter, which was what I actually wanted to do. My tiny angel girl screamed like a lunatic the entire way home from Price Chopper. That’s a really long way to be pushing a double stroller with twenty five pounds of Sammy (happy as can be – how can he ignore that screaming?) and forty five pounds of fury filled Jessica Mary. I bought them bottle pops, and then had the supreme stupidity to show them that there was powdered candy inside the bottle, which inevitably spilled… hence, tears. Tears I can deal with, I’m an emotional girl, it was the fact that she whipped the tears into a fury laced hysteria that actually had people slowing down to glare at me as they drove past.

She did eventually calm down, after I got her inside, made her apologize to Sam and I for ruining our walk, went thru Temper Tantrum II, which only concluded when I threw the phone across the room, stormed into the living room, grabbed her ankles, which she was pounding on the floor, and hauled her upside down. I told her if she didn’t knock it off, I was going to cut her feet off. Then I ordered into her room and left her there for a half hour. She actually calmed herself down and played quietly for a while. I peeked in there, hoping that she’d fallen asleep, but she was on the floor playing with her doll house.

Everyone is irritating me, and I’m beginning to wonder if it’s actually me. Possibly – it could be PMS. But I have a strong suspicion that it’s everyone else. For example, my husband who’s religious ferver is making me nuts, or my mother who’s just crabby, or my daughter who’s the aforementioned emotional lunatic. I’m perfectly happy, if everyone would just stop bugging me. I like Sam. He’s a chipper guy – grubby as hell, but cheerful about it. Nothing bothers him – for example right now, he’s covered in dirt and grime and probably got a messy diaper, but he’s cool as a cucumber, smiling and content. He’s my boy. Now if everyone would just follow his lead….

Which baffled and confused me. It’s a cast, isn’t it supposed to stay on? I called the orthopedic surgeon and had Marc take her over immediately and now she’s got a nice neon pink one welded to her wrist. She’s actually adjusted really well to only having one hand – I’m surprised at how quickly she’s adapted. I caught her yesterday trying to peel a banana with her mouth, holding the banana in one hand and tugging down the skin with her teeth. But that’s Jessie, she’s relatively self-sufficient. She rarely asks for help if there’s a way she can do it on her own.

Many, many children today – I had Harrison, Julia, Jordyn and my two. And by the time everyone else left, I was pretty harried and stressed out. I packed them both into the double stroller and pushed them down to Elm Park. Granted Jessie was having a screaming temper tantrum – she screamed literally until we were a block away, which earned me several glares, a couple of sympathetic glances, and one guy who just looked scared. He was standing on his porch, holding an infant. And I told him to enjoy this time with his baby as I pushed my kids past, but can’t say for sure if he heard me over the screams…

I bought the kids burgers. There, I’ve said it. I confess… Marc is really pushing us to keep kosher for Passover and it’s bugging me. But I’m doing it, at least where the kids are concerned, but they don’t like Passover food, and didn’t eat any of the matzobrie that I made. So I got them burgers, and fed the buns to the fish and the turtle. Sam ate his bun, but it wasn’t my intent, I gave it to him to toss into the water, but he’s not stupid, he shoved it in his mouth :-). I would still celebrate Passover, and cook lots of matzoh oriented dinners, but I’d relax the rules, if I was the boss. Or if I was the only boss, I guess, because it’s not that Marc is the one who makes all of the decisions, but I know this is important to him, so I’m really trying.

They’re both asleep on the couch, and I’m reluctant to move them. Marc is off at the gym, and I’m sleepy and wishing that I could have showered.

And still in the midst of Passover – Marc really wanted to keep kosher for Passover this year, and I’m doing my best, at least where the kids are concerned. Presenting a united front and all… but I admit that I’m frustrated by it. The kids don’t really like matzoh, and I’m flat out shocked by how dependent I obviously am on dry cereal. It’s my standard snack, and the kids munch on it off and on all day. Without that, I’m left with fruit (which they will eat, but not with the same consistent enthusiasm) as a snack. I’m about to make bubbled up eggs for Jess, so at least she’ll get something in her belly this morning. Passover is my favorite Jewish holiday, but ironically, the one with the worst food…

Just got back from taking the kids out for a walk – and it was not good. Three toddlers is one too many when you’ve only got a double stroller. I had one of them in the little harness, Sam for the first half of the walk and Harrison for the second. Sam fell several times, as did Harrison. Sammy actually skinned his little knees for the first time ever 🙁

I think we’ll be sticking with inside for a while – they just aren’t steady enough on their feet for a serious walk…

Having a lovely morning, over all. After the fiasco on Monday, Jessie, I think, learned her lesson and danced off to preschool pretty cheerfully. Monday – she threw an absolute fit, screaming, yelling and crying – she didn’t want to go. Marc was livid, not only was she making him late for work, but he didn’t want her to think that going to school was a choice she could make, it’s a requirement. Not an option – you go. Not negotiable – however, when she’s screaming and yelling, it did seem as though she was going to win. We couldn’t drag her to school and leave her there frantic (although I’m pretty sure Marc wanted to). She ended up sitting on the living room couch for two and a half hours, no television and little to no interaction.

I’m queasy this morning – and was last night as well. Every time I’m a little queasy, I immediately assume I’m pregnant and then extrapolate out, figure out the due date, etc. Remind me again that the IUD has a 99% success rate, plus I’m still nursing, and it’s way too early for me to be even feeling morning sickness… I recognize the craziness of it, but still do it anyway 🙂 I’m starting to think I’m ready for another baby – not really, not yet, but I can feel the stirrings of the desire. I still think Sam is too young, I’d rather wait another year and then start trying – but I’m starting to crave having a tiny baby of mine in my arms. Sam’s babyhood was so rough – I’d like to do it again, partly because I’ve blocked out most of the first couple of months of Sammy. I just remember constant crying – today, Skip was talking about the scar on Jessie’s forehead, and I remembered taking her in for stitches, and Sam was just screaming and crying… Purim last year, he was screaming and screaming. The Jewish holidays at Nan’s – just having him cry and fuss the whole time… he’s such an angel boy now, it’s hard to reconcile the images of the lunatic crying machine with my earnest, happy-go-lucky little cherub 🙂

Not too much going on today – many babies here today, so I’m stuck inside, mostly. I could take them out and play in the yard, or in the driveway, but can’t reasonably take three toddlers to the park without another adult here to help. As grown up as my girl is – she’s still only five, and doesn’t really count as another chaperone 😉

Speaking of grown up – JESSIE HAS HER FIRST OFFICIAL LOOSE TOOTH! Very excited about that, but nowhere near as thrilled as my girl is. She’s been waiting for this for months, pretending that it was loose long before it actually was. But she had me check earlier, and it actually is loose. Can you believe it? When did she get that big?

Haven’t posted in a while, it’s been kind of busy lately. Let’s see… Friday, I went up to my aunt’s house, my cousin, his wife and their daughter came over. My cousin just got out of the air force and it was the first time I’d seen them in about a year. The kids were so cute together, and I’m always happy to see my cousin and his wife. Plus my aunt – I’ve opted out of a lot of family drama lately with my siblings, so it was extra good to spend time with people that I still really liked :-).

Friday night, we usually try to do Shabbat dinner, but since I had been gone all day, all we had time for was beans/hot dogs. Which is, of course, Jessie’s favorite meal anyway, but I bought a loaf of challah and we lit candles and did the blessings anyway. Then I didn’t do any clean up, but hung out with my husband and kids, we all slept in the same bed and it was lovely. I really love Friday nights.

Saturday, we brought the girl to dance class, then I went to my mother in laws to bake. I had put Sammy down for a nap before I left, but it didn’t last long, and he woke up hysterical. Screaming and crying, Marc called me twice, asking when I was coming home. The poor boy is just so used to Mommy 24/7 that when I’m not around, he’s lost. Once I got home, we took all four kids down to Elm Park. It was gorgeous outside, and we had the best time. Until right before we left, when Lilli starting whining and Sarah started crying… then we came home, Marc made dinner and I sat outside with Sam, letting him pretend to drive the van (his very favorite). My father in law came over for dinner, and we had cake for Lilli’s birthday.

Sunday – we went to McDonald’s for breakfast and then to Target to shop for Lilli’s gift. Then we went to the YMCA, where I discovered that I hadn’t packed Jessie’s suit, so we left (sadly, I was so disappointed about not swimming) and went grocery shopping instead. Then Marc took Jess to Snip It’s for Lilli’s friend party, and Sam took a three and a half hour nap while I cleaned. Then we all went back to the Y and went swimming. Then to the Chinese Buffet and back home for bed.

I really love our weekends.

I don’t know if anyone reads this other than Marc – but I’m trying to get Marc to start his own little blog for an online local paper, and these were his sample entries – I thought they were fabulous!

Mom and Dad are NOT the same…

Part of our morning ritual in our house is watching what the kids refer to as “the weather”, but anyone else would recognize as “Good Morning America”. Last week they had a human interest story about more families getting their children involved in mixed martial arts. For those unfamiliar with the term, mixed martial arts is a combination of boxing, kickboxing, wrestling, and jiu jutsu. Participants learn and practice various techniques, hit the punching bag, practice wrestling techniques on each other, etc. Eventually, they spar – and sparring can be rough. People put on headgear and gloves, put in cups and mouthpieces, and have at it. They punch, kick, perform take-downs, put each other in arm locks and choke holds.

My wife and I were sitting next to each other, drinking our coffee, watching the same story at the same time, and my wife spit out,

“I hope Sammy never gets involved with anything like that.”

My head spun around at her in shock.

I am a fairly sophisticated fellow. I graduated from a top University. I work for a successful e-commerce company. I read the economics papers for personal enjoyment.

But I also have ALWAYS enjoyed rough sport. I trained and competed in martial arts for 10 years, from age 13 to 23. I would have LOVED to participate in something like mixed martial arts as a young man, but it simply wasn’t available then. As it was, I DID train in it for a couple of years in my early 30’s. But now I’m my LATE 30’s, married, with a career and hordes of children, and I don’t have sufficient time to commit to it. Still, I do manage to make it to the YMCA one or two nights per week to box. But if I had a buddy to go with, a member of the family, so that we could combine family time and training time; somebody like my son Samuel, now 21 months old…

I told her, “I can’t WAIT for Sammy to get old enough to do that.”

“But he might get hurt!”

I mentally went down the list of injuries I sustained in martial arts: severed Achilles tendon, torn medial collateral ligament, dislocated hip, pulled groin muscle, broken ribs, dislocated shoulder, broken wrist (twice), chipped teeth, and COUNTLESS forearm bruises, shin bruises, and black eyes. I bounced back from each injury with no lasting impact. And they never really HURT, either. I always LIKED it when someone threw an attack, I blocked it, and there was an audible “crack” sound as our shins and forearms collided. If you prepare and train hard, you can shrug that stuff off.

“Yep,” I replied, “almost certainly. So what? He can get hurt playing football or hockey, too.”

“I don’t want him to do any of that, either.”

What? No FOOTBALL? He ALREADY plays tackle football with me, with that new Nerf football we got him. He loves to climb, and jump, and swing – and he is FEARLESS about it, too. Already most days he sports a bump on his forehead from his most recent daring exploit. I look at those bruises with pride, proof that my little guy is tough. She looks at them with utter incomprehension. If he fell the first time he tried it, why on Earth would he try it again?

So we sat there, looking at each other with shocked expressions on our faces. We just weren’t going to communicate on this one.

The “organization” man

I love my wife. It’s too bad that she’s crazy.

You have probably heard the oft quoted phrase “the definition of insanity is repeating the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result”. Now, I am not a lawyer, but my understanding is that the definition of insanity is the inability to understand the criminal nature of your actions; that’s beside the point. My wife has a hard time keeping track of things – things that she needs, like her car keys, or wallet, or (most recently) fingernail clippers.

She is still breastfeeding our son, who is currently almost 21 months old. But she complains that his nails are getting too long, and he is “scratching” her.

“Just clip his nails,” I say.

“But I can’t find the clippers!”

We literally own 10 pairs of nail clippers. I am incredulous. Every time she needs nail clippers, she looks for them, can’t find them, then goes to the store and gets another pair. I can understand losing one pair of clippers. I can even understand losing TWO pairs. But TEN? How is it possible? How are we not stepping on them on the way to the bathroom? I don’t know if I could INTENTIONALLY hide 10 sets of nail clippers in our apartment, and successfully KEEP them hidden for any length of time. Certainly, after a day or two, one of the kids would find something, right? I mean, we can’t hide the darn HALLOWEEN CANDY from them for any length of time, right?

I am far from perfect, as my wife will confirm. But I RARELY lose anything important. It’s not that I never lose anything; it’s that I mentally assign an importance level to everything in my universe. And because this is ME we are talking about, there are only two categories: Vitally Necessary, and Who Cares. Anything in the Vitally Necessary category ends up with a very specific Place Where it is Supposed to Be. And very few things get assigned to this category, so that I can fully keep track of them. My wife will ask me, “Honey, where are your car keys?” and I’ll reply “In the left side front pocket of the pair of pants hanging from the bed post of our bed closest to our bedroom door.” It’s like I have a GPS on them. On the other hand, my wife will ask me, “Honey, where are those new diapers you bought for Sammy?” , and I’ll reply “I have no idea.” And that’s absolutely true. I have no clue in the world where they are. In fact, it’s possible that I even have no recollection of buying them in the first place. That’s just me, All or Nothing.

Two days ago, my wife bought another pair of nail clippers. She’s already lost them.

Actually, I guess it’s not really a dilemma. We enrolled Jess into Worcester Public Schools and signed her up for the lottery to get into the “good schools.” Worcester has a really convuluted system, you have to sign up for your neighborhood school, but you can apply to get into a better neighborhood school or even enroll in a lottery to see if you can attend one of the magnet schools. Our neighborhood school was crappy (I love that word), so we had her enrolled in two of the lotteries and on the list for the top neighborhood school in our district.

Then the more I thought about it, I got nervous that we might not get into one of the better schools. So we went for a tour of New Jewish Academy and I fell in love with it. Tiny class sizes, serious academics, great faculty, etc. But it’s well over thirteen thousand a year, and we’re… well, we’re broke. Not really, but certainly not wealthy enough to even consider it. But consider it we did, and filled out the application and the financial aid paperwork and then prayed for a month. Hoped, prayed, hell, I even considered doing a ‘scholarship dance’, similiar to a rain dance. And it all worked, we got a big scholarship, and the actual tuition we end up paying will be a little more than what we pay for preschool. Granted, the next three months will suck, because we’re actually paying for preschool and private school at the same time, but we can swing the tuition after that without a problem, and we’ll be done paying for the year in November (just in time to save up for next year).

Yesterday and today, I got two letters in the mail – Jess was accepted into both of the magnet schools. I’m having a tiny bit of buyer’s remorse, that’s what Marc calls it. I know that NJA is far superior to any public school, but a part of me is still hesitant to send her to a religious school. I just always thought it was a little over the top – religion and spirituality should be taught in the home, not at school. But I guess Hebrew is something I can’t teach her at home. And it’s okay if she learns religion at school – I’m still in charge of her spirituality. Actually, what I want is for her to be in charge of her spirituality – and I can still encourage that. And Judiasm is not Catholicism. She won’t be criticized for asking too many questions. And she’ll learn and grow – it’s such a nurturing environment. I feel a lot better about her going to kindergarten now.

Poor Sam – Jess is gone all day today – her first full day since two Fridays ago, and he’s going thru some serious withdrawal. He’s dressed in a pretty denim skirt (because Jess put on a dress this morning, and he cried until I gave him one) and every time one of our neighbors comes up the stairs, he drops everything and goes running towards the door, yelling “DESSI, DESSI.” He’s literally carrying around framed pictures of her that he demanded I take off the wall…

I worried that three and a half years would be too much, that they wouldn’t be as close growing up. Happy to report that it’s not an issue. He adores her – she’s the center of his little universe. Me, he needs like he needs air, it’s not something he thinks about. And he’s pretty fond of Daddy too, but it’s nothing compared to the all consuming devotion to Dessi. And as long as we’re out of the house, she’s the doting older sister. Don’t get me wrong, she spent most of yesterday trying to kill him, but if we’re at a party, or over a friend’s house, she’s very protective and loving.

There’s little that makes me happier as a parent than seeing the bond grow between my two children 🙂