I am covered in bug bites. Anna is covered in bug bites. We have them on our arms, legs, feet. Anna has one on her derriere, not really sure how that happened. I cannot go outside for five minutes without getting eaten alive. I bought some fancy bug bite cream that’s supposed to “zap!” the itch and ouch but it’s about as effective as a wet paper towel. That is to say, completely useless. It’s just brutal.
Silvia, Kurt and Jack have not ONE SINGLE BITE. Apparently Anna and I are just special. It must be a brunette thing.
Silvia started at her new preschool this morning. It’s a great school, on recommendation from a local friend (thanks, Jenny!). The drop-off was hard, though. She went into frozen lock-down, where she just kind of huddles in on herself, head tucked in and feet planted. I had to lead her to the cubby for her things, lead her to the sink to wash her hands and then lead her to the teacher. I kissed her, gave her a big hug and then put that small, clenched hand into that of a stranger and walked away. She did not cry, though, and I’m proud to say that (mostly) neither did I. I know she’ll settle in a few days, love it and giggle every morning when it’s time to go, but damn. I hate the first day.
We have officially reached the land of after-school playdates and I’ve gotta say it’s not my favorite place. The problem isn’t so much that the kids start to beg and whine to go play the moment they get home (which they do) or that other kid’s parents think it’s fine to feed my kids cookies, juice and candy right before dinner (which they have done) or even that apparently we are also expected to provide nourishment to their kids (which we are though I would never tank up someone else’s kid on a bunch of crap and certainly not without the parent’s permission).
No, the hard part is the way the older kids treat Silvia like a puppy: they send her off to fetch water and snacks for them, make her go get the balls when they play and often leave her following them around from a short distance behind, eager but mildly forgotten. It’s standard operating child dynamics; in odd numbered groups, the youngest is usually left out (like a couple of 6 year old’s with a 4 year old shadow). There’s no real benefit to intervening or trying to force the older kids to be more thoughtful— kids are kids. As long as no one is being deliberately hurtful, then you just gotta let it be.
But there are moments it still bugs me and I have put my foot down a time or two. Like when Silvia had been sent running back into the house five times in a row to ask questions and beg for treats. The last time, she said “they” wanted her to ask for popsicles. I gave her one and told her to pass along that if “they” wanted something from me they could very well get up and ask themselves. So there.
Transcribing my notebooks hit a bump a week or so ago when I found a section from 2008. 2008 was not so good. While of course I was there and do have a general sense and memory of what went on, the buffer of time, medication and post-breakdown amnesia has taken more than a little edge off those memories. Sort of like post-birth amnesia. You wouldn’t be a very functional person if you walked around constantly fraught with a vivid recollection of labor and delivery, your muscles cramping up reflexively throughout the day. Time has to take the edge off or you’d be regularly ordering an epidural with your lunch.
So re-reading those entries, those notes and scribbles, was heart-breaking. I hated myself SO MUCH. I was so sure that everyone else hated me even more than that. After a page or two of painful reminiscence, I started crying, set the book aside and snuggled into my ever-loving husband’s arms for a bit. It was just… a shock, like getting hit upside the head with a dusty old frying pan you didn’t remember you still had.
It’s been hard to pick the project back up, but I have. They’re just memories, after all. That’s not me anymore. If anything, there’s a certain sense of triumph in that.
On a lighter note, I am going to kill and dismember (but not necessarily in that order) anyone who points out to me ONE MORE TIME that Christmas is three months away. Or counts off the actual number of days. Or goes on and on about how they’re almost done with their shopping or started their shopping in January or is hand-crafting each gift individually this year.
You get the idea. SHUT IT. I have not even processed Halloween.
Speaking of which… Halloween. Ugh. I have to come up with costumes and candy and try not to EAT all the candy myself and then three days later my sugar-blinded children will become even more hyper-i-fied (it could be a word. It could!) when Anna turns seven and has cake and then the fights over any and all of her presents will ensue.
Because Anna will be seven. My baby is going to be seven. Oh, shit.
And that’s pretty much where we’re at right now.