That’s what I do know.

I juggle.  Not well, and I never really know exactly how many balls are up in the air at any one time.  One thing I am certain of is that balls gets dropped all the time.  Sometimes I don’t even notice that I’ve dropped one, until I get a letter from the pediatrician wondering why I blew off my twelve year’s old physical.  The one I’ve rescheduled twice so far.   I call, I apologize, and I reschedule.  Again.  Only to realize that I scheduled it for the same time frame where she’ll be climbing Mt. Wachusett with the rest of her school on Friday.

Work is going well, kids are all relatively healthy.  Marc is doing wonderfully well at work, although staggeringly busy.  Staggeringly.  He’s just not home anymore.  Monday-Thursday – the guy is not here.  It’s not at all unusual for him to leave before the kids get up and not get home until after they get home.  The upside is that he’s mostly home from Friday afternoon thru Sunday – but not all the time.

So there’s just me, frantically running from place to place.  Trying to get the dishes done and the laundry folded, and feeling guilty because the kitchen floor needs to be swept and the living room needs to be vacuumed.  Meanwhile, Julianna can write all of her letters, but can’t identify seven or eight of them.

Sam’s got some health issues, his stomach is bothering him more and more.  Or is it just that we’re paying more attention to it now, so he thinks about it and focuses on it – so it’s becoming more of an issue.  He’s missing a lot of school – and Tuesday was a horrific hot mess getting him to school.  Horrible… but he went.  And, of course, was angelic and delightful all day long – I know his teacher thinks I’m a moron because she sees this blissful, content kid who, at his worst, talks too much and doesn’t always pay attention – and I’m saying, “no, no, this is a huge problem, he’s miserable and desperate to stay home.”  We’re going to the gastroenterologist tomorrow, his pediatrician thinks that it’s either Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or perhaps he’s only partially digesting lactose or fructose.  Or maybe it’s anxiety.  Nobody knows… all I know is that getting that kid to go to school is getting harder and harder.  Sometimes.  Most of the time, he’s an angel boy – wakes up early and happy, gets dressed and bops off to school like he owns the place.  Unless he’s not going – in which case, it’s hours of screaming and crying and fighting.  And there’s no rhyme or reason to it – no idea why sometimes he’s sick and throwing up with diarrhea, and sometimes he’s not.  Sometimes he’s all anxious and tense, and sometimes he’s blithe and unconcerned about everything.

Julie – my poor Julie.  Last week, her poor teacher told me that she was very quiet, and not engaged with the other kids – she won’t go play on the playground.  Today, she told me that she doesn’t think it’s anything really – Julie’s just not really in the mood to interact with her peers some days.  Perfectly happy to wander around with the teacher and chat as things occur to her, or just as happy to sit on the bench and watch everyone.  She’s just Julie, and Mrs. Gravel doesn’t think it’s any deep seated issue – it’s just a matter of what’s she’s in the mood for at the time.

Jessie is moving along – slowly – at her bat mitzvah.  The cantor told me that she’s really in a good place now – she’s just polishing at this point.  Which is such a relief – I’m so very tired of worrying about her bat mitzvah.  Now at least, I can move from worrying about her performance and into worrying about planning the damn party.

The laundry awaits – and Julie still isn’t in her jammies.  I suspect that Sam took his homework into his room, put it on his desk, and put on his audiobook.


That’s when I write now.  In stolen moments, when I should be doing the dishes.  Or the laundry, or figuring out where I stuffed all the bat mitzvah stuff from last October.  But all of that can wait, at least for a bit, while I write for a just a bit.

Yesterday, we had a family party – my cousin Shane and his fiance had their housewarming party.  I sent Sam’s to Harrison’s house and took the girls with Marc and I.  When asked, I explained that I only make him go to every second or third party – which is just a good policy for my introverted little boy.  He had a blast, didn’t come home until after nine, and the girls had fun too.   When Becky and I were little, we were always together at family parties, and I looked at Becky yesterday and told her that ten years from now, Julie and Abby were going to be going for long walks during the family parties, Becky and I used to wander away from the Bog House (where all the family parties were held when I was a kid) and talk, talk, talk.   Now, instead of being one of the grumpy teenagers trying to escape all the drama, I’m one of the grown ups – I sit at the tables and talk, deal with my own grumpy teenager and my daughter spends the entire party talking to nobody except for her favorite cousin.

In other news – this is such an incredibly busy time for us.  I feel like I’m overwhelmed and constantly trying to catch up – everywhere.  I never have enough time at work, and have even less at home.  I’m never caught up on laundry or dishes, and on the days when I can’t be home after school pick up – I pay for it later.  All it takes is one afternoon of Julie playing in the dining room and not cleaning up – or one day of not doing the dishes after dinner, one day of actually folding the laundry and depositing it in the kids room – and the entire house looks like a bomb went off.   I’ve always got shopping to do – there’s this rotating list of things I need to buy for the kids (boots for the girls, hats/mittens for the kids…) and as soon as I manage to click something off, three more things get added.

Sam’s been struggling with some (relatively minor, thank goodness) health issues.  He’s always had some stomach issues – he had colic and reflux when he was little and we thought he had mostly outgrown it.  But more and more, I’m noticing that his stomach is a problem.  He throws up usually once or twice a month, and has diarrhea probably three or four times a month.  He complains about his stomach – a lot.   It’s tough to tease out if it’s just the anxiety or something else.   But his doctor put him on prilosec and thinks he’s got GERD.  I did a little Web-MD-ing (because I’ve now made that a verb), and I think he might also have IBS.  They tend to go hand in hand, anxiety, GERD and IBS – and it would explain all the symptoms.   He’s not hard core sick, which is part of why I haven’t really perused it – but I’m going to bring him in to the doctor’s this week for a follow up appointment, after starting him on the prilosec and see if I can get more definitive answers (because web md-ing isn’t really a good way to diagnose, long term).

But despite the lack of time, it’s a happy and focused time too.  Marc had what we’re terming his “soft opening” of his new office.  It’s still a mess, but he’s got a desk, a computer, and keys to the door and bathrooms.   He’s still got to get a conference room table, a little fridge and coffee pot, a filing cabinet and pictures on the wall – but he’s got his own office, and I couldn’t be prouder of him.   Also couldn’t be happier, because not having that hour long commute is going to make such a difference.  He’s still working between fifty and sixty hours a week, but now it’ll all be local.

So all is well.  Stressed and busy and overwhelmed – but happy.  Jessie is so in love with Model UN, and growing up so fast.  She’s so much fun – and one of my favorite things about Jessie is that she’s legitimately one of my best friends.  I know that I’m not supposed to say that – I’m the parent, and she needs me to be her mother and not her buddy.  All that being said – she’s still smart, and funny, and sarcastic and has a perspective on things that I value more and more.  The mother/daughter relationship is one of my favorites (both as a daughter and as a mother), and I’m so grateful for her.  My Sammy is nine – and within striking distance to becoming a tween instead of a kid.  Raising a son is constantly a surprise to me, and the older I get, the rarer those snuggles are.   He’s still a little boy sometimes, but more often he’s a big, bold kid.  Lost in computer games (and so freaking smart that it throws me off – he intuitively understands things that baffle me), and still my happy-go-lucky-unless-he’s-not-in-which-case-all-hell-is-going-to-break-loose boy.  Julie is my little cuddle bug (I’m typing now, with her leaning against my arm).  She’s learning all her letters and starting to sound things out – she’s taken to writing out things for us with random letters, convinced that she’s writing words that make sense.

Everyone is growing, everything is moving forward – and even though I’m frantic and stressed more than half the time, there’s also quiet moments of peace and contentment.  I’m gradually getting used to this stage in life, when the kids are all still little enough to need a lot of attention, but big enough to all go to the bathroom, some of them do their own homework, and everyone can dress themselves and put themselves to bed (kind of).   The stage where I have no time.  Ever.  But somehow things still get done, half-assed and haphazardly, but functional.  For the most part.  Marc and I still need to find some time alone, but that always seems to fall to the bottom of the list.   Formal date nights, at least.  He’s my first call, all the time, my favorite person to talk to, and the one who’s opinion I value the most.  We manage to carve out connections, talking off and on throughout the day, spending ten or fifteen minutes alone each morning, drinking coffee and watching the news.

But now the laundry beckons, and the sunlight is streaming in on the barbies and library books and discarded empty lunchboxes on the dining room table.  I’ve got three hours before I have to be anywhere, two kids to shower/bathe, three more loads of laundry, and innumerable dishes.  Grocery shopping, and OMG – I just remembered I have to get Halloween costumes this weekend.



I hate that working gets in the way of writing.

I love my job, I do.  I love the flexibility (when Sam wakes up puking, I can work from home).  I love the location (because being surrounded by books lowers my stress level – I smile just walking in the door).  I love the hours (being able to drop off and pick up at school, having the afternoons home with my kids is a gift I never take for granted), and the job itself is awesome.  But I miss writing.  I miss sitting down and just pouring everything out.  I have to make more time for this.

But in light of the fact that I can’t go back and write the blog posts that I’ve missed, all I can do is vow to do better going forward.   That being said, here’s a brief paragraph on the blog posts that I should have written, if I could have found the time…

– I still think about having another baby.  A lot.  I’m probably not going to do it – for a whole bunch of reasons.  I’m 41, and Julie’s pregnancy was horrible.   My blood pressure was getting really high towards the end, and I itched – oh, how I itched.  I threw up, I was contracting for over a month – it was a mess physically.   I can’t do it again.  But I still think about it, and miss the weight of a newborn in my arms.  I dream about being pregnant, and I envy new moms.

– At the same time, I’m so wicked way busy and bordering on overwhelmed all the livelong day.  Working with three kids, and a husband who works four twelve-thirteen hours a day every week presents it’s own challenges, and I’m usually trying to keep my head above water.  And failing.  Not all the time, but there’s stuff that doesn’t get done, and things that get forgotten or just dismissed because there are only so many balls you can juggle at a time.

– Marc’s schedule, while challenging, is still so much better than it was in the past.   We’ve got a three day weekend coming up, four because the kids have Friday off from school – and Marc will be home with them on Friday and then we’ve got all weekend together.   He’s not home during the week anymore, not really.  Most days, he leaves the house soon after I do, and comes home just before (or after bedtime).  But he’s here every Friday for school pick up, makes Shabbat dinner for everyone and is there (with the occasional meeting scattered in there occasionally) all weekend long with us.

– Julie has a speech issue.  Her teacher approached me yesterday and said that she wanted to refer her for speech therapy because she’s “fronting.”   Thank goodness for google, because I had no idea what that meant – but apparently, fronting is when a back sound is produced in the front of the mouth.  So the sounds for K, and G, when Julie says them, comes out as T or D.   I knew it was an issue, and we had talked to the pediatrician about it – but she thought said it was in the range of normal and not to worry.  So I didn’t (plus, it’s so damn cute when she explains that she needs Titty (i.e. “kitty”) to sleep with at night).  But apparently it isn’t normal, and so Girlfriend will get speech therapy in school.

– Sam has struggled more with anxiety this year than the past couple, but has now moved past the anxiety into being a bit of a pain.  He’s getting into trouble (not hard core, just enough to have to write apology letters) for talking in line, he called one of his friends an alien, and is being increasingly chatty in class.  While I’m not delighted that he’s becoming a discipline issue – it’s a hell of a lot better than seeing him terrified and panicking – so I’m not complaining.

– Jessie is moving ahead with bat mitzvah.  It’s been a long, uphill struggle to get her engaged in this process.  She’s so used to doing well that having to really work at something, and not immediately seeing results, has been disheartening.  She’s like me – if she doesn’t do it well, she’d rather not do it.   But she does want to have the bat mitzvah – not just the party, she wants the ceremony as well.   So she’s working harder now, and seems to be doing better.  She’s at least starting to see the translation between working hard, and doing well in the lessons – so getting her to practice isn’t as difficult as it has been.