Jess and I went out to the library last night. We purposely split the kids up, Marc stayed home for quality time with the boy and I took my girl to the library. So we’re driving along and Jessie told me that she doesn’t like to call me Mommy or Mama any more. “That’s just for babies, I’m going to call you Mom. That’s what the big kids do.” And I literally had to catch my breath for a minute – and my eyes got a little misty, and I took a big breath and told her that I understood, but sometimes, could she just call me Mama once in a while, just so I could remember what it was like before she got to be such a big kid… I’m getting a little teary-eyed just remembering it – it all happens so damn fast. You get this perfect angel and then they start outgrowing you – way before you are ready for it.

I like Mondays. It’s such a good day now, one of my days off, now that Harrison is going to preschool, and after the hectic weekends, it’s nice to have one day when it’s calm and quiet and relaxing. Sam and I hang out, we talk, go for long walks, take naps, clean a lot, watch television :-). Marc goes to the gym mostly on Monday nights, so after Jess comes home, I have the kids play for a while, and they are missing each other because they’d been together all weekend, so they actually play together and not try to kill each other, and I make an easy dinner, let them have a picnic in the living room instead of a formal sit at the table dinner. Now, it’s six o’clock, I have minimal dishes to do, Jessie’s lunch is packed for tomorrow, her clothes laid out already. Jess is taking a “play bath” which is, as she explained to me earlier, different from a “hose you down bath.” Sam is still hating all things aquatic, and is happy watching Dora and playing with his Batman figurine. And I’m… happy. Content, peaceful, relaxed.

Had a scare earlier, Mom went in to get a couple of spots checked on her skin. I didn’t think too much about it, for the simple reason that the the thought of her getting seriously ill, even deathly ill, and possibly dying scares me too much – I can’t think about it. She’s fine, had a full body scan, and not a spot of anything that might remotely resemble skin cancer. When my grandmother died, almost twenty five years ago, my mother promised me that she’d never die. And while logically, I get that it isn’t true, I have to confess that I’ve always found enormous comfort in that promise. And the nice thing is that if she ever does, she won’t be around for me to scream at for breaking a promise. Win/win for her, she gets to make me happy and not have to face the consequences. And I figure that in that eventuality, I’m going to be such a mess that I’d give anything to have her back to yell at her about it, so I won’t waste my time being angry at her. I plan on promising Jess and Sam the same thing, if it ever comes up.

Maybe I’m not cut out to have a million children. Because all the yelling and the screaming and the fighting and the stress in a tiny apartment makes me crazy. I know I have more patience with my two, because they are mine, I’m sort of biologically prone to not wanting to kill them, but having all four tearing around here, yelling louder and louder each time they pass by me… in an itty bitty apartment with neighbors under us – I’m losing my mind. I’ve hollered at them effectively enough that they are all afraid to speak in anything louder than conversational tone – but this never lasts more than five or ten minutes… soon I’ll have to scream at them again.

Not really the best lead in for what’s supposed to be the most peaceful time of my week.

I’m trying to really embrace Shabbos – to make a big dinner, to spend my time relaxing and really enjoying my time with my husband, with my kids, not to stress out over money (huge stress around that these days), but to be grateful for what I have. My beautiful girl, she’s so smart and so big, kindergarten has already started to change her. She’s learning new songs, and new attitudes and she’s becoming more confident and aware of who she is. My gorgeous baby, who’s not a baby any more… he’s growing into this little boy and I’m so lucky to be able to watch it every day, to be right there for all of it. And Marc – God, what I would have given to know that he was out there ten years ago – to have found someone so smart, so kind, so loving and to be able to just relax into what he and I are together – to know that he loves me as much as I love him, to trust that he’s going to love me this much ten years from now… and my two step daughters – the blessings I got without asking for them… it’s more complicated there, and I struggle sometimes with it. There are so many limits on what I can feel for them, it feels like. I’m very aware not stepping on Lisa’s toes, of not being their mother – but they’re mine too. And Lilli is growing up so fast, and I feel like as she gets older, she may want to have someone in her life who isn’t her mother and isn’t her father – I can be the one she turns to when she hates them :-). Sarah is so very smart, and so eager to learn and read and shine in her own right – and I think I provide that role for her as well – I see myself in her and in Lilli – and am looking forward to watching the women they become.

I’m calm now… The four kids are set up on the couch, playing some sort of intricate game – and really, that, in and of itself, is pretty cool. That four kids, ages spanning from two to nine, can all be together and involved and happy is lovely. My chicken is cooking, my veggies are ready to be microwaved, I’ve got a little more to do to get ready, but at least I’m in the right frame of mind now 😉

Finally heard from Jessie’s teacher. I say finally because my husband finally got around to giving her the note I so painstakingly wrote three days ago – and she says that Jessica Mary is adjusting beautifully, participating in class, following directions, and completing assignments. I feel so much better – so much more relaxed about her going off every day with strangers.

She’s been going to school for a grand total of five full days and already – she’s had enough. She’s done… yesterday I dropped her off (usually Marc does it) and she was clingy and weepy when it was time to go inside. Today, she was flat out hysterical before I even got her out the door, crying that she never gets a day off, she just wanted to stay home today, etc. She was crying and crying… it was bad. I held it together until I got back inside and then called my mother and started sobbing into the phone about what a horrible mother I was to ship my poor baby girl off to school when she really doesn’t want to go.

I could homeschool. I totally could… I’ve got the time, the academic inclination, there’s no reason not to do it, except… everyone in my family who already thinks I’m a lunatic crazy parent for holding them all the time and nursing a 26 month old would yell at me. I also wanted her to be “normal” and go off to school and have friends and playdates and birthday parties. She really wanted to go to ‘big girl school’ and it just seemed to be so many reasons to send her that I conceded and shipped her off. But now that she’s miserable… I am rethinking everything.

Marc’s working today. On a Saturday. And I’m a little bitter, I miss him, my kids miss him, it feels as though we are being gipped (gypped??) in a major way. Especially (and I don’t mean to get all religious on you) because it’s Shabbos and that’s gradually become the highlight of my week. Friday, I make four loaves of challah, a big dinner, and we have this elaborate meal, sometimes with guests, sometimes not, then Marc and I put the kids to bed together and Saturday we just… are. We don’t watch television, we don’t type, we don’t do anything other than just hang out and spend time together. But last night, by the time dinner was ready, I was tired and worn out, and ended up letting the kids eat on the floor having a picnic and then put them to bed by watching CNN. It was still a lovely night, but it’s not Shabbos. And this morning, all is perfectly well – the kids are getting along well, and it’s a nice rainy day – but it’s not Shabbos.

Jess seems to be adjusting to kindergarten perfectly. She’s got a little group of friends, a friendship club, she calls it, and is dashing off happily each morning. She’s so grown up, all of a sudden. It’s amazing to watch, and just a tiny bit scary, because I feel like so much of her life is “hers” now, instead of mine. Normal, natural, the absolutely right way it’s supposed to be moving, but it happened so fast. I miss having her with me all the time, being intimately aware of her moods and thoughts and feelings. I’m so lucky that I can be home with her after school, and so glad that we had the past two years together full time.

And I’ve still got my Sammy – who’s so amazingly funny all the time. He’s a little chatter box, and so earnest. He’s realized that he can make people laugh, especially Harrison, and has developed several little routines he’ll do just to incite the laughter. He pretends to fall, which cracks Harrison up every time. He’ll also eat stuff, like pretend to eat the couch or the matchbox car… I guess you have to be here, but it’s really sweet and cute. And I love the hand gestures, when he’s really mad, he uses his hands to communicate – it’s wonderful to watch. I feel so blessed to have him. I know it sounds corny, but really – when I think about how many people struggle to get pregnant and how many people aren’t able to have kids – and as goofy as this sounds, the people who are stuck with kids who aren’t mine… I know every mom thinks this, but mine really are just the most amazing, funny, sweet, loving creatures.

I know they aren’t perfect, Sam likes to throw things around and still thinks whacking people is fun, Jessie is still prone to heart stopping screaming at the top of her lungs, and has developed an increasingly sarcastic little attitude (comes by it naturally). They don’t always share, sometimes they’re really rude and careless – but I do think that they are both exceptional human beings. My job is just to make sure they stay that way :-). Teach them kindness and self discipline and respect. I love my kids. I really, really do.

I know it’s not a popular thing to say – and I know that I’m happily married, with two healthy children and that I should count my blessings. But dammit, I’m just flat out lonely. I don’t have anyone to TALK to – not about converting to Judaism, not about this whole new weird conservative voting outlook that I’m adopting, not about anything. And it’s making me sad and depressed. Somehow I managed to alienate everyone that I used to consider a friend, leaving me with people who love me a lot, and people who like me, but nobody that I can just say anything to. I’ve got Marc, thank God, and he’s wonderful, but he’s sick of listening to me.

Maybe I’m just having a sucky night. Jessie started school two days ago, and it’s been hard on everyone. She’s loving it, and seems to be fine about going – but I’m still having trouble adjusting to not KNOWING what’s going on in her world. Who she’s talking to, what she’s doing, what her day is like. Maybe I’m just a weird overprotective mother, but this doesn’t seem at all normal to me to ship your child, a five year old child, off to spend the majority of her day with strangers. I get little bits and pieces of her day, when she remembers to tell me, but she’s only five, and just doesn’t have the ability to sum up everything she’s done in a neat little synopsis for me. Maybe there’s a kindergarten mom support group somewhere??

Jess and Sam are not adjusting well to being without each other, they are alternately madly in love with each other and playing perfectly well or screaming at the top of their lungs at each other. And whirling from one to the other in rapid succession and I can’t keep up.

It’s a really crappy night.

Onward and upward, I guess. They’re eating and vegging out in front of the television (I finally put it on when I couldn’t get them to stop yelling at each other) and I’m going to shoot for a very early bedtime tonight. Maybe if everyone got more sleep, we’d be happier.