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Aug 11

Different kids, different ages, different needs

I planned on having all of my kids.  Which doesn’t make me better than anyone else, merely points out that the spacing between them was deliberate and well thought out.  And overall, I like the three to four year gap.  It gives each child a chance to really be a baby, by the time the next one was born, the kid was really transitioned well into the preschooler stage.  And the nice thing now is that I have three very different kids, at very different stages in their lives.

Jessica Mary is eight years old, and about to enter third grade.  She’s in the throes of peer pressure, but not in the scary peer mode.  She worries about not having any friends, not about her friends pressuring her to drink or have sex.  Not that it’s not hard, I don’t mean to minimize it, but it’s not scary for me yet.  She’s pulling away from me a little, watching television shows that are a little more grown up, and wouldn’t be caught dead watching Dora.  I think, for Jessica, because she and I are so very close, and so linked in so many ways, the separation between us is challenging.  For both of us, really, but more so for her, I think.   She’s still my little girl in so many ways, still snuggles up to me at night and first thing in the morning, but more and more, I’m seeing her as her own person, dealing with feelings and emotions and challenges that I don’t always understand.  Which is, in and of itself, scary.

Sam is five, and about to start kindergarten.  This is such a huge milestone for any kid, but for Sam, having never attended preschool, I feel like it’s so much more of one.  After September 4 – a big part of his day, five days a week, is going to be spent with people other than me.  And I’ll be honest, I’m sad and wistful and so lonely already.  It’s not any easier to send your second child off than it is to send your first, as much as I wished that it would be.  I can’t imagine him at school – can’t imagine it.  And honestly, can’t write too much more about it without getting teary eyed – he’s been at my side for the past five years, and I can’t fathom what I’ll do without him during the day.

Oh yeah – that’s what I’ll do – Miss Julianna Ruth.  Julie is very much a Mommy’s girl, not that she doesn’t adore her daddy (because she definitely does – she’s much closer to him than either of the other two were at this age), but she’s very, very attached.  She’s my girl – and she’s a part of everything that I do.  Even when I’m not with her, I’m always aware that she’s missing me.  She’s on the brink of so much – almost walking, starting to talk.  Her world, in so many ways, revolves around me.   It’s not that I love her more than the other two, and it’s not that she loves me more than they do.  But right now, she seems to be at the forefront a lot, just by virtue of her age.

Jessie’s world is so much more than just me.  And Sam’s is on the brink of opening up into this huge whole world.  And Julie – so much of Julie is still me.  I’m thinking today about having three very different children, and how each one requires such a different level of parenting.  Jessie is so much more complicated – she doesn’t need to be held and coaxed into eating but what she needs is so much more patience and understanding and reassurance.  Julie’s needs are so much simpler – but easier to meet, she just needs me.  I don’t even have to do all that much, just my presence is enough for her.  Sam is still caught right in the middle – he’s not old enough to be a big kid, but so much bigger than a little kid.

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