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May 19

Many, many children

There’s a zone you get in, when you’re caretaker to a lot of children.  It’s less about spending quality time with any one child, and more about crowd control.  If that makes sense.  With Arie and her three staying here, plus the two I sit for on a regular basis, and the neighbors and stepchildren swinging in periodically – I’ve really had to dig deep to pull out patience and grace.  And of course, all of the kids are somewhere different, developmentally, and require completely different levels of care and attention and discipline.

Jessica is, above all, the easiest and happiest of all.  She’s calm and relaxed, going to bed with no problems, doing her homework, bouncing off to school.  She scoops crying babies, helps Kolbe with his schoolwork, entertains Sam – she’s my wonder child.  I can’t brag enough about how well she’s handling this, I’m so enormously proud and impressed by her.

Kolbe is adjusting well to kindergarten.  I’m looking at him as a model for Sam, and a flashback to the first year I sent Jess off to school.  He started out great, but today, was not at all happy about going.  I’m watching Arie go thru the stress and trauma of shipping a kid off to school when he wants nothing more than to stay home and I know how tough it is.  Not only do I know how tough it was for me, I also keep thinking in the back of my mind of how tough it will be in September when Sam starts school.

Sam is struggling to get used to having everyone here.  I feel so bad for him, because I think it’s hardest on him.  He’s such a good, sweet boy – and he really feels all confused and bewildered by having everyone here all the time.  He and Kolbe are either getting along well or absolutely awful.   He really loves Aria, unless she’s bugging him, in which case, he can’t stand her.  He’s the kind of kid who thrives on alone time at home – and that’s in short supply these days.

Aria – at two, is hands down the most challenging.  She’s also the cutest – I flat out adore two year olds.  Almost all the time.  She’s all about testing limits, doing her best to help out and failing miserably most of the time.  She loves cleaning up, and will often intentionally dump out a cup just to have the thrill of wiping it up.  I’m relearning about how to discipline a two year old, with time outs, positive reinforcement, consistency, etc. It’s just a different world, with a two year old.

Miss Julianna Ruth – hold the phone – is actually, sort of, almost standing alone.  On her own two feet.  She’s done it twice now, of course, only when I can’t see her, when she’s alone with Marc.  But yesterday, I was sitting on the floor with her, and she stood up totally supporting herself, balancing with just her hand laid on my shoulder.  It was awesome – and terrifying.  I’m used to her not walking.  But I’m not that far away from having my own toddler soon.  Can you imagine?

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