I've figured out two more reasons I'm struggling a bit this week.
1. I miss Ruby something awful.
I love watching Ruby and her new sisters bond, and have fun together, and be sisters. Ruby defends her new sisters to others and even pleads Saffron's case when she's in trouble with me. This is what I wanted for her--a life with sisters, like I have. I'm really happy for her. On the other hand, though, Ruby has been my little buddy for years. She was home while Jasper was at school, and with Charles' death there was no new baby to change the dynamic. Ruby was always the kind of kid who loved to be with her mom. I could take her anywhere, and did. Our relationship was very one-on-one, and very close. Now we can't have the same thing. It's what I wanted for her and it's a wonderful thing--it's just a hard adjustment for me. With four Kids it's simply impossible for me to have the one-on-one relationship with any child that I had with both Jasper and Ruby before. I purposely had Jasper, Ruby and Charles further apart because I wanted time to be close to each one individually. Now I've undone that. As I said, it's good. It's just different. This loss of individual closeness is definitely, for me anyway, the hardest part of going from two kids to four. Besides the laundry. Why do girls have to change their clothes so often?
2. Jasper's new sisters don't get him yet.
I don't blame them--they've only known him for 2 1/2 months, and he's done his best to irritate them, as would any big brother worth his salt. But they leave him out a lot. And they complain to me about him--a lot. Ruby still knows that Jasper makes up more creative games than anybody, and that he'll go through Hell or high water for you, and she still shows it. But now she walks home with Saffron instead of Jasper. And she's no longer his old pal on slow afternoons, because she's with her sisters. He's usually fine, but sometimes says he feels he lost out in this deal. And when Saffron comes running to me yelling about how mean he is, it's hard for me to be really sympathetic even though I know he's being a pain. Those of you who know Jasper know he has been through Hell and back with us--moves, job losses, a death, and now this big change--and he's the kind of kid who is too aware for his age. Jasper is my Reliance Wheeler. I hope the girls soon learn that they won't win points with me by making him the enemy. If they give him a chance, he won't let them down. He just needs someone to move over and make room for him. He's picking at the girls because he's trying to find his place among them.
He's also no dummy, and is taking me for all he can while I'm feeling bad for him. I know. I'm no dummy, either.