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Just the Garden Variety Sh*tstorm We've Come to Expect

I knew Theo and I had a meeting with the school principal after school today that would require the kids to go to the school's after care program. I knew for 3 days and I didn't prep them for the change in routine. I kinda kept forgetting but I also just didn't want to face the fallout ahead of time. 90% of the time I tell them about hard stuff before it happens. I'm really good about that because I know it's so critical in establishing trust. I know future disruptions will be easier of I do the current one correctly. I embrace the up-front chaos as a painful, but short-term, necessary evil for long-term pay off. But today I didn't. A tiny part of me was curious. After all these months of stability, how much fall-out would there be?Well, this afternoon I found out. Kate was sad. She cried over miniscule injustices every 15 minutes like clockwork. Each event sent her into my arms, saying, "I want you, mama." Inbetween each of these events she followed…
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I Dunno

I think this is our fourth week of school for the littles. It could be the third or fifth, I've lost all perspective. There were four different school start dates in our family and I can't keep track of anything anymore. It's a good thing we're coming off a shut down, and many schools still aren't open in person, so I'm still super grateful my kids even get to go to school or else I'd be a little exasperated with the whole go-to-school thing. The germ factory already sent one cold through the family and I think the second wave may be starting. James has a meltdown every morning and now needs a bribe to go to school (I bought a pile of 99 cent boxes of crayons and we're in cahoots with his teacher to convince him it's vitally important he deliver a new box every day. He's the all important Speedy Delivery Man upon whom the society of Kindergarten depends. It's working...sorta. It gets him in the door but not without some tears.)Jane is yo-yo…

Angry Squirrel

An incident just happened. Brief summary: yesterday Theo and I were talking. Jane brought us a game piece that was broken. I told her we were busy and to take it back downstairs. This morning the piece was missing. Jane adamantly and repeatedly denied she had anything to do with the piece. Wouldn't even acknowledge she'd touched it yesterday. For about half an hour I said she had to look for it and couldn't play with other toys till she found it. She whined and moped and didn't really look. Eventually life moved on.This afternoon, while James and Kate were playing with the game, Jane got the piece from where she'd hidden it and made them happy by supplying the missing piece. Later I came in, saw it there, and began trying to unravel what happened. At first Jane got panicky and started to try to lie (she's a terrible liar. She looks off into space for ages and says uhm, uhm, a dozen times while she's trying to think of a lie--which is always preposterous.) …

Kids Coping--Beginning of School and Please Please Please Not the End Already

First week--all three were fine. Remarkably, no tears at all. (I guess this is what 5 months of isolation gets you. They were positively desperate for anything outside the house.)Monday morning of the second week hit James hard. All of a sudden, just about to walk out the door, he realized he'd rather stay home. He was crying buckets, wailing, "But I like this house! I want to stay in this house!"  We were both flummoxed, and desperate to quiet him before he threw the girls into a tailspin. Theo got them out the door and I stayed to cope with James. Nothing was working. Then, Theo came back to pick up some extra things to take in to school that morning. He was struggling with the door and James said,  "I can help!" We enthused. Our praise switched his mood and carried him all the way out the door--Theo letting him open the gate and car door. Turns out this is his job at school. As the Caboose of the Line (or "picoose" as he told me the first day) he&…

End of the First Week of School

It's Friday after five full days--after six months of nothing much--and wow, I have three exhausted little people. They haven't protested a bedtime one night this week. Here's the rundown on what I observed. At pick-up the second day Kate jumped in my arms exclaiming, "Mama!" She was relieved I was there to pick her up, still a bit unsure of her new schedule and when she'd see me. Once in my arms she got a bit weepy and whispered in my ear that she'd been looking for me alllll day long. I sat down and cuddled her on my lap and assured her that I loved her and would always come back. Very poignant moment. James also ran to me, hugged me, and said how happy he was to see me. He held it together in school but in the car he used a lot of big facial expressions and sad words to tell me about all the hard times in his day. At one point his voice got very sad and he said his teacher was, "not nice to me" because she wouldn't let him look at the di…

Jealousy and Trauma

The real bitch of raising kids with childhood trauma is that it's always there. We're in the midst of a bunch of transitions due to back to school and of course major life transitions are always hard but then there's this underlying everything. I was gone for three days to take Seth to college = abandonment trigger. Seth is mysteriously gone and he isn't coming back = trigger. Kids go to meet their new teacher in their new classroom = trigger. It's just so damn exhausting. Today I'm moving James into Seth's old room (because it gives some breathing room for Gus who has had to share a room with his baby brother for years and also because James is the easiest to move back in with Gus when Seth returns on break). I have not bought one new thing for James. His same old stuff is moving over or I'm getting a few items from the garage (e.g. an old carpet remnant). The girls come into the room because James is in there and I'm trying to make this happy and…

Thoughts on Taking my Son to College

Just got home from a three-day road trip to take Seth to college for his freshman year. Theo, Gus and I all went out to take him. My mom stayed home with the three littles. These are my thoughts about the experience of sending my very first child out into the world for the very first time. I kept having this almost deja vu kind of feeling. Haven't I sorta done this before? Isn't this familiar, vaguely? Finally realized what I was reliving: childbirth. Childbirth happens after nine month. Kids move into their dorms several months after making their commitment to the school. There's a long, long time to build up excitement about the big event. Even though you've been preparing, you don't really know what to expect. This is such a novel experience! What will it really be like?!? How will I feel? How will I react?Everyone around you is excited and happy and you feel obligated to match that. The college staff are decked out in their gear and bling and have super-duper-…