I have been so touched by all of the responses to my situation with J. and all of the encouragement about our educational experiences. Sometimes I think just being at home is an education for children. To learn how a home is run, to learn about parental relationships and marital relationships, and to learn how to care for siblings has got to be more than you can learn from a home-ec book. Reagan is sometimes so much a little parent to his sister that I have to remind him that I'm her mother and quite capable of looking after her.
I definitely agree with what my Observer said about studies. You do have to look at who puts out which studies. For example: The crib manufacturers paid to have a study done on children dying in their sleep while not in a crib. Amazingly enough the study showed a great danger to children. What the report didn't discuss was how many of these children had been put to sleep on water beds, with siblings, with inebriated parents, and in other dangerous situations. When you put basic safety rules in place (as they do when they make cribs) it greatly decreases the risk of your child being harmed, and puts the rates at about the same as you'd find in a crib. But the crib makers don't want you to know that! They want you to buy their product! So, I completely agree with Observer about disproving your own theory. It makes for a much stronger and more logical argument when you've finished.
We went to our playgroup this morning and had a wonderful time. The kids took a giant stuffed Barney toy and put it on the kids slide at the coffee shop we go to. Reagan is quite the little organizer. When I asked him to remove poor Barney, he yells "alright, kids, lets do this" and began positioning the other children in pulling and pushing positions to unwedge the toy and get it down. It's reassuring to see leadership qualities at such an early age. I hope I can find ways to cultivate that.
Despite my (I thought) pretty clear spelling out of what I expected from J. I received another e-mail from him this evening asking me what I wanted from him. I really at this point just had to laugh. What I've expected has never changed. So I spelled it out again. Who knew that this was the problem all along? He just didn't KNOW that I wanted him to pay child support, be consistent in contact with his son, and keep us up-to-date on home and work address and phone number! So, you see, it's really my fault for not having made that clear.
Like I said, I just had to laugh. Oh, and still no update on his personal info. I requested it yet again.
Still, all of this seems so ridiculous and stupid. My best friend's baby is very sick. If she manages to carry to term, her daughter will not live. Here we are all healthy and doing well. I don't feel that I have much right to complain or feel depressed when we have so much.
May each of us count our blessings. May we embrace our children and let them know every day how loved and special they are. And may God's peace follow all of us, even in times of trial.