Well, except for the excruiating sinus infection. But once the drugs kicked in (azithromycin plus sudafed), I was much, much better. Saturday, we had Lilli, Sarah, Glennys, plus my two for the day. Marc took the three older girls to Hebrew School and I kept the other two home here. Then we had all five of them in the afternoon, and it was delightful. We went down the street to Cricket Park (which is really Elm Park Community School, with a big football field outback, lots of asphalt for drawing with chalk and riding bikes) and spent a couple of hours just hanging out. The girls colored this elaborate art museum, with paths thru the pictures that you could walk along and admire their drawings. Marc and Sam made up a new game (there’s nothing better than naming an activity – my kids play Chicken Feet (standing up on Daddy while he’s lying in bed and then tumbling off) and Sudafed (I’m not entirely sure what this is – I think it’s just jumping on Sam’s bed into each other and screaming “SUDAFED” as loud as they can). The new game is called “Super Cool Kick” and basically just involved Sam and Marc running and kicking a soccer ball up and down the field.

Saturday night, I had Marc drop the girls off early at home, and then Annie watched Jess and Sam while we went out to dinner and then we rode the Ferris Wheel at the carnival down at the Greendale Mall. Ferris Wheels terrify me, and I adore them. Since normally when we go to a carnival or amusement park, we’ve got lots of kids with us, I always have to go with cherubs and pretend not to be terrified so they, in turn, don’t panic and try to jump out. With no children there, I was free to be as girly as I wanted to be and cuddled up next to him and hid my face when we got too high. It was perfect.

Today – what did we do??? Oh yeah, big Cohen family party for Marc’s aunt at the Tower Hill Botanical Gardens. It was very nice, although I was chagrined to realize again that I have the most antisocial children in the place. At one point, Sam literally pushed his nose against mine and just held it there to make sure that people would stop trying to make eye contact with him. Jessie made Marc hold her and refused to talk to anyone who spoke to her. After the first hour or so, they loosened up, Jessie got her face painted and Sam started running all over the place. I got some great pictures of all four kids. They normally break up into two groups, and we, of course, named them. Jessie and Lilli have formed Team Pretty Pretty Princesses, and Sam and Sarah are Team Bum Bum. For some reason, Sam’s fascinated with the phrase “bum bum”, don’t know why, but I’ve stopped fighting it.

Then Sarah went home with her mom, and Marc and I took the three other kids down to my mother’s house for the afternoon. The kids played outside all afternoon, my brother came over with his three kids and my sister’s daughter, and it was just a great day. Weather was perfect, Sam napped on the couch and it was just one of those afternoons when it’s perfect to hang out on the porch and talk.

Marc and Sam are in the living room, watching Animal Planet, or something like that. Marc has turned off the light and I’m avoiding going in there, in the hopes that Sam will fall asleep on his lap.

I’ve got a sinus infection and an ear infection. And I’ve got my period. Which is notable only because I was five days late. And I, of course, assumed I was pregnant. I’m aware of the fact that I think I’m pregnant every month, but this time, I was really convinced of it. Marc brought home a pregnancy test last night, and I woke up at four o’clock this morning… and it was negative. And even though I had been panicking – even though I really, really, really want for my cousin Becky to get pregnant first and was horrified at the thought of telling her that I was having a baby right after her miscarriage, even though I was freaking about Sam still nursing and how would I deal with that – even though, even though, even though – I was still disappointed to have the test be negative.

My face and head hurt so much right now, I’d cry, but that would only make it hurt more. I’m missing the Relay for Life in Maynard and feel guilty about that as well (adding guilt to in pain, hormonal, and crampy, in case any one was keeping track of crappy moods I’m dealing with here), but really couldn’t face the thought of sleeping out in the rain with a screaming Sam. My mother in law took Jess out to the movies and for dinner, and Sam’s happily watching Backyardigans.

I wish today was over and it was tomorrow, and the antibiotics had kicked in and I felt like me again.

Why this didn’t occur to me, I don’t know. But Sam very quickly caught on that I’d only nurse when he’s ready for a nap, so he now claims to be tired. All the time. And he’s stepped up the night nursing as well – although that might have something to do with the cold that we’re both fighting. I’ve actually given up fighting it, I’ve just got it. I can’t remember the last time I had something that just hung on for this long – never bad enough for me to really be miserable, just enough so that I’ve felt slightly sick for about two weeks.

I really feel somewhat stuck with the nursing. I refuse as much as I can, but there are times when he just wants to nurse so badly that I can’t say no. To flat out shut him off cold turkey would defeat the purpose of nursing on demand for the past three years. I’ll just keep hoping that he’ll wean himself, I guess. But I’d like to get pregnant sometime soon, and really hate the thought of tandem nursing. More than that, I hate the thought of having Sam try to adjust to sharing nursing with a new sibling. I think that’d be really difficult for him.

Quiet, rainy afternoon here, and I’m just puttering about. Jess is at dance class and Sam’s got a bunch of plastic spoons, a ton of my utensils from the kitchen and my big spagetti pot and is very busy making pretend soup. I have dishes to do, and laundry to fold, and Jessie’s bedroom to clean (I let the kids play in there earlier and have to clean it up before she gets home or deal with the wrath) but have little to no enthusiasm. I might just spend the rest of the afternoon loafing on the computer instead :-).

We had a fantabulous weekend. I had my niece here since Friday afternoon, and it’s been delightful. She’s eight, and fits in perfectly with my three girls and Sam’s so used to having a crowd of adoring females around him, he gets along with her as well. Friday night, I babysat for Harrison and Julia, plus had my two, and Alyssa. Saturday morning, we picked up my stepdaughters and kept them until Sunday night. And we just had one of those perfect weekends, where everything gelled and everyone was fun and cheery and got along well. The kids spent the entire time outside, running around and playing like lunatics – requiring a hard core scrub down each night.

I like having a lot of kids around. I just do – I like the chaos of it, I like the energy and the enthusiasm, I like the way my children are growing up as part of a bigger whole. I like feeling like I’m the matriarch of this huge group. We took them all down to the park on Saturday and Sunday, we hit the GreenHill Park and the Ecotarium. This is what I always wanted. A husband I loved, we worked together perfectly all weekend, and the kids are all beautiful, brilliant and healthy. I really am so incredibly blessed to be living this life.

When I first got pregnant with Jess, I knew that I’d breastfeed. Of course, I’d breastfeed. Are you kidding? Fix it so that my baby would have to be fed by me and only me? Absolutely… I mean, sure, there’s all the health benefits, but after almost 29 years of loving little babies that weren’t mine, not being the mommy but being the favorite sitter, the best aunt… but not the mommy – I wasn’t going to miss out on a second of what I thought was the epitome of motherhood. Jess was a nursing champ from the beginning – no trouble latching on, and it was really, really easy. Don’t get me wrong – it hurt like hell in the beginning, and she never took a bottle, so all my pumped breastmilk went to waste (I used it for cereal when she started on solids), but it was a great experience. And she weaned on her own, with no stress or trauma – just gradually dropped a feeding or two after she was on solids, until she was done. At eight months.

I was disappointed, I wanted to go the full first year, but really felt like I had to honor her choice. I wasn’t going to coax her back or fight her on it, she was just done, and had done it so gradually that my milk dried up quickly once she was finished. She still loved her ‘fier’ (pacifier) and continued to use that until she was four or five (I really can’t remember now when she gave it up for good).

When Sam was born, I was of course going to nurse. And this time, I really, really wanted to get the full first year in. Like Jess, he latched on immediately and was great from the beginning. Sam had colic – which is just horrible, crying and crying and crying for no real reason, and the only thing that helped was nursing. He was also diagnosed with reflux, and again, the only thing that made that easier for him was nursing. He derived so much comfort from breastfeeding, much more than Jess did. A year came and went, with no sign of him stopping. Like Jess, he never took a bottle, but transitioned to solids no problem. He just never transitioned off nursing. He LOVES it. Really. I’ve never seen a kid love to nurse as much as he does. He’s got a personal relationship with my breasts, sees them as separate and distinct from me. And now he’s two and a half, two and three quarters, really, and I’m so ready for it to be done.

There’s a lot of pressure to wean. My family thinks I’m out of my mind crazy, spoiling him, keeping him a baby, etc. I think even Marc thinks I’m slightly insane. But it’s been so easy, such a quick easy cure for anything – if he’s sick, hurt, unhappy – he falls asleep so easily nursing. I don’t regret nursing as long as I have – but I am ready for it to stop. I would like another baby at some point, and the thought of tandem nursing freaks me out. I think I’d lose my mind with two babies on me – or worse, one tiny baby and one big boy. I’m in no rush to get pregnant, but I do feel as though I’d like a little time off between nursing and being pregnant.

So my new plan (implemented yesterday) is nursing ONLY for sleep. And we’ve already fought about it, he wanted to nurse last night before stories, and I refused. Kept repeating “only for sleep time, you aren’t going to sleep, no nursing” and again this morning. I nursed a little bit, before either of us were awake, but once I woke all the way up, I refused. And he cried, we fought about it for about five minutes, but he adjusted easier than I would have predicted. Nursing is only for sleep. He’s getting closer to giving up that afternoon nap, he’s pretty much dropped it on the weekends already, so soon I’ll be down to just nursing before bed and once he wakes up. And once we move… he’ll have his own bedroom, and I’m hopeful that he’ll be sleeping in there all night, and we’ll be able to drop the morning session as well – and then gradually eliminate the night one.

As it turns out – I actually have nice clothes. Like many stay at home moms, I imagine, my wardrobe has dwindled down to my husband’s old t-shirts and leggings. I’m not sure why this is – but I’m hazarding a guess that it’s a combination of not wanting to ruin your own nice clothes with spit up and chocolate and the realization that as long as your kids are dressed nicely, nobody really looks at what you’re wearing anyway. And I’m consistently frustrated, when I actually want to put on real clothes, because I can’t ever find any. I had one nice outfit, casual, cute, and figured that was all I had. But I went thru my dresser, filled up a trash bag full of clothes that either don’t fit any more or had too many holes to be even remotely acceptable. And lo and behold, I actually found stuff. Real clothes. Nice clothes. They’ve been hiding underneath all the crap.

I’m off to take a nice hot shower, and get myself dressed. Of course, I’m probably still going to wear Marc’s t-shirts, because I’m spending the day with Sam and honestly, now that I’ve found the nice clothes, I want to save them. So they’ll stay that way ;-).

One of my best friends in the whole wide world just found out she’s miscarrying. And I’m so sad for her. I’ve been frantic ever since she told me that she was spotting two days ago.

I miscarried a twin pregnancy before Jess. At precisely the same time that she’s miscarrying now. And there’s never been anything in my world that hurt that badly. There are still times, almost seven years after the fact, when I still tear up listening to a certain song, or thinking about what my twins would have been like. I remember just the overwhelming sorrow and weight of grief… it changed the way I look at the world, the way I look at everything. I felt so vulnerable, so lost. I had bonded so immediately to that pregnancy, that was my baby, and I wanted it more than anything. And losing it… I still don’t have words to describe what that was. I lost a big part of who I was, the way I looked at the universe and my place in it, I lost my belief in a benevolent God, I lost my sense of control over my life.

I have two gorgeous children, and they’re smart and funny and tender and kind and I love them more than I can possibly express. I have a husband I love and cherish, and if we hadn’t gone thru that loss together, I don’t know that we would have lasted. We probably would have, but I can’t say for sure. He lost my babies with me, and I’ve never forgotten how much I needed his strength and consistency at that time. I have a whole life that would have been different – and I love where I am, I love being a mom to these children I have, I love dreaming about the children I have yet to have. But I still mourn for my babies. I mourn for the girl I used to be, the mother I would have been, before I learned how fragile everything was, before I learned how little I can control the world around me. And today, I mourn for the niece or nephew that would have been, and for how one of my favorite people in the world is learning the lessons I wished I hadn’t.

They’re both getting so big so fast – it feels like all of a sudden, they’ve both morphed into these new creatures.

Sam’s a kid now, he’s not a toddler anymore, and he’s definitely not a baby. He’s got this distinct personality that’s unlike everyone in the house. He can be just as dramatic as his sister, but gets over things a lot faster. He still loves all things related to superheros (frequently, out of nowhere, I’ll hear him whisper to himself “Super Sammy to the rescue!”) and athletics, baseball, hockey (?? don’t even know where he heard of hockey) and football are favorite topics. He’s definitely still Mommy-centric in a lot of ways, but when Marc is here, he’s 100% focused on him. Sitting on Daddy’s lap, playing on the computer is a favorite activity. He loves to cook, both real and pretend. He’s very resilient, physically, little injuries rarely make an impact. He’s walking around with skinned knees from the other day, I didn’t even realize that he had fallen until we got home from the park. He hasn’t outgrown his bath phobia, and is still, hands down, the grubbiest little kid I’ve ever met. He’s affectionate, loves to snuggle up with me. If he’s sitting down, watching television, he always asks if I can sit with him, or if he sees me sitting, will climb up, just to hang out with me. Has no interest at all in potty training or in weaning, so he’s obviously not all grown up yet 🙂

Jess is growing up SO fast. She’s still my drama girl, loves nothing more than explaining how horrible her day is going, still makes stories up so I’m never sure if what she’s telling me is the truth or utter fantasy (I’m not sure if she knows). But she’s becoming so adult in a lot of ways, doing the dishes, or cleaning up after the kids. She still snuggles into me to fall asleep every night, is reading more and more on her own. She’s trying to decide between cutting her hair short or growing it long, but still wants me to pick out her clothes in the morning. She’s very affectionate with me, and to a lesser extent, with Marc, but you have to almost pay her to get her to hug anyone else. She and Lilli have grown closer over the past couple of months, and have taken to just disappearing into Jessie’s room when the girls are over and playing for hours, just the two of them. She’s afraid of her bike, still, but I’m hoping to get her up and on it this weekend. She’s become a lot more mature lately, more of a help around the house, more of a grown up girl – don’t get me wrong, she can still tantrum with the best, but I’m sensing a little mental growth spurt. To go along with the physical one – she’s all arms and legs – SKINNY arms and legs.

I feel FABULOUS. I just slept for about an hour, and it was wonderful. I’m sunshiney happy, I’m full of energy and think this might be the ticket to a brand new me. I took Sam to the library earlier, after dealing with a variety of crisises (convict trying to ditch parole next door, sheriff’s banging on my door, Relay for Life drama all over the place, etc), and had a wonderful time with the two kids (Sam and Jordyn). Wandered back home, let them play for a bit, then put them both down for a nap. Did a little cleaning, a little lunching, and then dozed off.

Life is really pretty good for me these days.

Jessie got sick, she puked all over the back seat yesterday. And without complaint, without discussion, Marc assumed total and utter responsibility for clean up. He crossed Rte. 9, on a Saturday night, begged papertowels and clean up supplies from strangers, cleaned the entire mess to the point where the backseat is actually far cleaner now than it was before she threw up. I sat in the front seat, with a naked, shivering girl, who was also burning up with a fever and whimpering, cuddled up on my lap. And when it was all done, he gave her his t-shirt to curl into and drove home half naked. (She’s much better this morning, thank goodness). I have never loved him more than I did last night.

Fully participating in the parenting, that’s my husband 🙂

Happy Mother’s Day!