Well, last night wasn't too bad. The baby went to sleep at 11, woke up at 2 am (conveniently timed with one of the little girls needing to be covered up), went back to sleep until 5 am, and slept through my alarm going off. (That would be the baby sleeping through it, not me.) I'll probably make it through the day.
On Sunday we all drove up to church camp and dropped off D., our sole camper this week. B. and A. are counselors this year, but they had gone up the day before. I have discovered that even one person being gone changes the family dynamics a bit, and three being gone changes them a whole lot. It is always interesting to see the new combinations of interaction that happen which are often very different from when everyone is home.
So the people at home this week are M., P., TM, H., K., G., and L., plus the two temporary little ones. Not much has changed for H. and the three littles. They often all play together and that has continued, adding in the little three year old. It is watching M., P., and TM that I have found interesting. (There's a link on my sidebar to a 'cast of characters' for everyone who is muttering under their breath that they can't keep my whole initial system straight.)
M. has been buried in her room for a couple of weeks under piles of cardboard, wire, and hot glue furiously making very large dinosaur puppets. This is for the same theater that put on a stage version of Jurassic Park last year. They are remounting it at the end of the month and M. was invited back to create the dinosaurs. Well, dress rehearsals are very quickly approaching and there are more and bigger and better (a truly major jump forward in construction) dinosaurs this year, so M. is starting to feel the crunch. Even to the extent of letting her siblings help her out. Something they have been begging to do for a while, so they were more than happy to spend an hour or two painting giant dinosaurs with their base layer of black paint. (Some of the dinosaurs are done, but the director has forbidden anyone to post pictures of them until the show opens. You have no idea how difficult this has been for me. First, they are very cool and second, it would be such an easy blog post.) And, P. and TM painted together very good-naturedly for the whole time. Since M. then had a big chunk of work being done it freed her up to do more construction, which in turn gave her time to head to the beach for a while. Which she did with P. and TM accompanying her. I love those positive interactions. Love, love, love.
The other thing about having people gone, particularly older ones, is that it creates a vacuum into which the younger ones step. P. in particular has risen to the challenge of being one of the few oldest around here in pretty significant ways. Yesterday, after the new children arrived, P. really took the three year old under her wing and really became his special person. This was so wonderful to witness. Normally A. is the first to leap into the mothering role, probably would have done this, but without A. here, it allowed P. to play that role. And she did it wonderfully. P. also is great with babies and helped give the baby the rest of her bottle at one point when I needed to do something else. TM also did his stint with holding the baby and it nearly made me cry to see him so calm and nurturing to that little being.
And for you mothers out there with trauma-affected children, I have left the best story for last. TM had been calm all day. This was not something I was expecting or prepared for because I was sure that the addition of two children and their obvious distress at having to say good-by to their mother at the end of the day would trigger... something. Instead, there was calm helpfulness. But the best was at the end of the day, after having watched a movie with M. and P., he comes to me, says, "I'm going to bed now," and then throws his arms around me to hug me. A hug that he initiated. A hug that did not involve him turning so his back was pressing against me instead of his front. I almost looked around for the Pod People to see what they had done with my son. Who knows what today will bring, but boy, am I going to cherish yesterday and remember it when the roller coaster is on a particularly hilly bit.
And a little bit of bloggy advertising for a young friend. The homeschooled daughter of a good friend of mine, and a former member of our history co-op, has started a blog about books and reading and literature. She has done such a good job with it that I wanted to share it with you. So, go check out Ravens and Writing Desks... and support this talented high school writer.