I grew up in what used to be known as a ‘broken home.’ My mom was a single mom, not a divorced mom who co-parented and received copious amounts of child support, but an actual single mom. My dad was nowhere around, and when he was, I mostly wished he’d go away again. I am the oldest of four children, and my mom had four sisters and a brother. We were, I thought, a really close, loving extended family. I loved my family. All of them. My cousins were all adorable and sweet and I was the babysitter extraordinaire. I was the favorite niece, the bestest granddaughter and the daughter that my mother counted on. And I loved it. I loved my family.

My aunt just reported my husband to the Department of Homeland Security for threatening to … well, it’s a long story. I still love my mother, a bunch of my cousins, most of my aunts, but mostly… I’m good without them. I’m hurt and angry and feel ashamed and betrayed.

I don’t know why I loved them all so much for so long, if it was all for… this. If my aunt can do this – can accuse my husband and the father of my children of being a TERRORIST and everyone just thinks it’s funny, then I’ve wasted a lot of time and effort into trying to push them all into this picture of a loving close family that I guess I needed to believe that they were. There’s no loyalty. This is just being portrayed as one lunatic aunt and my own specific problem. Everyone is going to stay out of it – and I find myself more and more wanting to opt out of the whole mess. Pull everything in, talk to my mother and my sister and one of my cousins, and the rest of them can all go to hell.

I’m really so unbelievably angry, and I don’t see it changing. I don’t think I need to get past it, or I need to forgive and forget. I feel like if you want to have me and my children in your life, than there has to be a level of loyalty. This is not acceptable behavior on her part. And I’ll be damned if I’m going to sit back and allow it to continue. As of right now, she’s out of my family. Actually, as of about three months ago, she was out – but I was willing to let it just be me. Not anymore – you want to have her at family functions, then I, and my children, will not be attending. It’s just that simple. And if that means that I only talk to two or three members of what I always thought was such a loving, close extended family – then so be it.

Not technically, as Jess doesn’t start school until next Tuesday or Wednesday (should probably figure that out) but next Monday is Labor Day – so this is my last official Monday of the summer (defining summer as the three months that the kids are out of school). It’s been a GREAT summer. We’ve been unbelieveably broke, but it’s still been wicked fun. We did lots of outdoor stuff, Jessie got to go to swimming lessons and camp, and Sammy started talking all the time. We started doing Shabbos a lot more seriously this summer, with formal dinners and no television and computer. Jessie grew up a lot this summer, she’s reading. Slowly and not very much, but I can officially say that she was reading before she started kindergarten. Her hair is growing a lot longer and it feels as though her face is maturing as well. She just looks like a big girl now, not my tiny little Jess… Sam also matured a lot this summer. Not just with the talking, but also in his ability to fit in and play with the other kids. He’s not the baby anymore. I don’t have a baby anymore – I’ve got two kids. Which is wonderful and scary – I miss having a baby in my arms, and can see the end of it with Sam. He’s still nursing, but not for too much longer, I hope. I really want him to stop on his own, but am pushing him as fast as I can without making it horribly hard on both of us.

All in all, I have to say that this may well have been one of the best summers ever. I got to really focus on my cherubs, spent lots of time running around the park and playing with them. Marc really got to enjoy Sam as a boy this year, playing ball and wrestling. It’s been really nice.

And now I have to get ready to send my girl off to kindergarten… the first step. First kindergarten, then middle school, then college… it’s all right there, in front of me, and I feel like I’m preparing to push her out of the nest. She’ll be on her own at school, no hiding behind my legs or running to me for comfort. She’ll develop her own personality, her own relationships, her own life, independent of me. Can you tell that I’m not ready?

End of the summer – and there’s just not that much going on… we’re counting down the days until Jessie starts kindergarten, and trying to work out transportation and Hebrew School issues. Marc is tired, of course, and overworked and under exercised. I’m happy and content as could be… Sam is getting bigger and bigger, becoming more and more of a huge presence in the family…

Much going on in my little world of child raising… we’ve been trying (unsuccessfully) to get Jess to stay dry at night – to the point where the poor kid was trying so hard and waking up soggy every morning. I’ve been getting up in the middle of the night to bring her to the potty, saying no drinks anytime after four o’clock… it was getting crazy… and nothing was working. So I called the pediatrician and spoke with a nurse there – I LOVE my pediatrician. The whole office is so wonderful, so helpful and supportive, and the nurse I spoke with told me that it was perfectly normal, not only is it totally okay that she’s still wetting the bed – BUT THAT NOT LETTING HER DRINK AND HAULING HER POOR SCRAWNY BODY TO THE POTTY WON’T WORK AT ALL. I feel so much better. So Jess and I had a long talk, and we’re not going back to pull ups, we’re going to use “big girl pull ups,” not the baby ones she was using and let her body grow up on her own.

Sam has fallen a little bit in love with Swiper. Seriously. (speaking of seriously – Jess has started saying it all the time – it’s like living with Meredith Grey). And he screams “Oh Man” all the time now – it’s so cute 🙂

And am I lame because I have? I made myself a hot dog last night (PMS – I was eating everything that wasn’t nailed down). And with nothing else to do for a few minutes, kids and husband all asleep, I stood there and watched the pot of water. It’s magical, really it is. It’s so cool… it happens really gradually and there’s nothing in it, just the heat below making the bubbles start to form and then they start to rise to the top and it happens faster, faster, until all of a sudden, you’ve got this water that’s steaming and bubbling and making all kinds of noise. It was great ;-).

Still struggling with bedwetting… today, I’m going to try no drinks after 4:00. I’m going to make sure she gets enough to drink the rest of the day, I’m afraid she’ll get dehydrated 😉

Jessica Mary, my precious little love, slammed her fist into a window yesterday and broke it… she was having a temper tantrum, I had put her in my room to calm down and she responded by pounding on the door. As luck would have it, half of the door is glass, and it broke. No injuries, thank God, but I was livid. I made sure she wasn’t broken or cut and then sat her on my lap and yelled at her for a while.

Talked with Marc in the car on the way to our Marriage Check Up, figured out what we’d do (three days, no computer, no television, and she’d have to help repair the window – plus a chart where she can earn a reward for going so long without losing her freaking mind in a screaming fit). I told Marc yesterday that I’d been dealing with her tantrums for almost five years, and had yet to hit on a cure all technique for solving them. I’ve done time out in a chair, time out in her bedroom, my bedroom, time in – holding her and waiting until it passes, ignoring it, feeding into it by yelling back at her (this actually never works and manages to make me nuts as well), rewarding it by picking her up and cuddling her and reading to her once she calms down, punishing it by taking away the computer or the television… everything works some of the time, and some of the time, nothing works.

The broken glass immediately made me think of the number of times that Scott or Mandi would freak out in the car and slam their heads or fists into the windshield. I HAVE to get this under control asap.

The thing is – she’s such a wonderful, smart, funny, nice kid. She’s exceptionally well behaved with others, and when she’s not a screaming mimi, she’s awesome. She’s just got a tendency to let herself get so emotionally caught up in her temper, it’s like she chooses not to control it and just lets it go, as loud and as extreme as she can. It sucks for her, because I’ve had temper tantrums myself, and once they get bad, it’s really hard to get it under control, you can tell that she’s not enjoying it – and it sucks hard for everyone around her.

My marriage check up went really well too – it’s a great program. We signed up for a study at Clark University and basically we fill out questionaires and every six months or so, we go in for a check up to make sure that the marriage is still healthy. Last night, we got the results of our first session – and it’s all good. Really, there’s no down side, she tells us how fabulous we are and how much we love each other and then gives us a check. The therapist says that we have a strong, loving marriage and that there are very few problem areas – one of them being, of course, lack of individual time together. I don’t think it helped that I explained that our idea of a date was having only one child who was asleep in the back of the car. She actually suggested that we go to the thing in Providence that Becky and Greg went to – which sounded lovely – now I just need to find someone who wants to take on two cherubs. Jessie probably won’t break any windows at someone else’s house – and Sam didn’t cry at all last night when I left (in the interest of full disclosure – he cried until he puked on Saturday when Jess and I went out with Mom).

Just got back from the bank, and then a long walk to the grocery store with my little cherub who says “no, walk” every time I try to put him in the carriage. And the walking takes a long time – because there’s a TON of cool stuff out there. Like grass. He LOVES grass, likes to walk in it, name little patches of it, and touch it. And God help me if there’s an ant. We have to stop and watch his progress for a while. And there’s lots of rocks – they need to be touched, pushed around, and if they’re extra pretty – he needs to pick them up and present them to me.

I bought 96 meatballs, tons of sauce, cheese, pasta and a bunch of cute little rolls for meatball sandwiches for tonight’s game. I also bought some sugar because I was out and sugar for coffee is as critical as diapers for me. One of those things we MUST have in the house at all times. I also bought Hershey’s kisses – as part of my new technique for rewarding time without a tantrum. If she goes all morning, she gets a kiss. All afternoon, a kiss. I’m not thrilled with this – rewarding with food – doesn’t seem like the best idea… but on the same hand, it’s a couple of kisses a day and it’s not like I give her a lot of junk food.

It’s just my favorite day of the week. I mean, sure, I like Monday, because it’s back to the routine, and I love my routine. And Wednesday is nice, because it’s the middle of the week, the night that Marc is almost always home, and the day before the Office is on. Thursday, because that’s the day I get paid, and the aforementioned Office is on. Friday is lovely, because I make challah and a big dinner and I really enjoy Shabbat. Saturday, now that we do no computer/television is this really odd, magical sort of day that lasts forever, so I really like that as well. And Sunday is generally the day I catch up on all the crap I missed on Shabbat, so that’s kind of exciting as well. But Tuesday – that’s my day.

Jessie is off to camp this morning, my big grown up girl. She’s been a bit of an emotional wreck lately, but I’m hoping that the worst of it was yesterday and my normal sunshiney angel girl will be back. She was friendly this morning…

I’m adding a chore to her list. Cleaning off the table after dinner. I use plastic plates and cups so she can’t break them, and I want her to have responsibilities around the house. Once Sam gets a little bigger, they can alternate nights. And on the weekends, Lilli can do one night and Sarah can do the other.

(In no particular order)

– He always stops if there’s a car on the side of the road… flat tire needs to be changed, car accident, people pulling over for a rest, doesn’t matter, he stops to make sure that everyone is okay. Even when we’re running late, and have a carful of children, and I’d much rather just keep going, he stops to make sure everyone is okay.

– He thinks football is a panacea. Doesn’t matter what the problem is, if he could just get the game on, he’s sure that it would make everything all better. This innocent faith is at times infuriating, but mostly, I’m impressed at the sincerity and purity of his love for the game.

– He cleans the bathroom.

– He’s really tall – not that this is something he has any control over, but I really like it 🙂

– He calls me his beautiful wife. All the time. I don’t think he calls me by name all that often, mostly it’s “my beautiful wife.”

– He tells Jessica long, involved stories at bedtime. He’s developed rituals and routines that she’ll remember and hopefully, repeat with her own kids.

– He thinks my hair is prettiest when it’s down, wild and out of control. He tells Jessie that she’s beautiful when her hair is down. He loves us best when we’re most ourselves.

– He wants me to be happy. That’s all, and whatever it takes, that’s his overall goal. If that means giving up his D&D; game so I can go off for the day, or going out in the rain to get me ice cream, he’ll do it. He’ll actually want to do it, because he wants my happiness.

– He’ll sit and play with Sam for as long as Sam wants to play. Throwing the ball, playing ‘run, run, jump’, throwing him up in the air, he’ll do it. He’ll read stories to him, and talk about trucks and guys and whatever else my little two year old wants to discuss, for as long as Sam can handle it.

– He’s unfailingly honest. No matter what. I might not want to hear it, but I know that there’s no game playing, he’s telling me exactly what he means.

– He thinks. He doesn’t know who he’s voting for, and is willing to discuss and debate and analyze with me until we figure it out. He’s always reading something – and is always happy to read books that I recommend to him.

– I can announce that we’re having a thousand people over for the weekend, and he’d be thrilled. I never have to say the phrase “Marc won’t let me.” It’s not something that would ever occur to him.

– He loves and respects and trusts me as much as I do him. He’s on my side before anyone else it. He’s my first call, the one I most want to be with and talk to.

– He lets me fight for him. When we are arguing, and he isn’t saying what I want, he’ll let me talk for him and then say “you said exactly what I mean.” And mean it. Because the end goal is the two of us together and happy, and if I have to explain what I want to hear, he wants me to say it, because that’s how the fight gets resolved quickest and happiest.

– His hands. Just…. his hands. He’s got great hands 🙂