With my head deeply in the sand, foot plunged so deeply into my mouth, words eaten ten times over, I have opted not to write for several (almost three?) months following my last post. Three days cannot change anything. Maeve, after that last nap, screamed herself hoarse for an hour for six days straight. Her nighttime sleep got worse. I abandoned the program. I now nurse her to sleep for every nap, which ranges from 30-60 minutes. Greg tends to her in the night. We will ride this train for as long as we can. Why do I ever think I know anything about anything?

Our family is happy. We have four very, very happy children. I am so grateful for this. They are all helpful at times, joyful most of the time, and it makes my heart sing when the four of them race off to play at something, all of them together. They have each other, all the time, and there is literally never a dull moment. I don't think I have ever once heard anybody say they are bored. It simply isn't possible to be bored when there are always so many options.

This being said, there is also an incredible amount to organize. It is a lot of work to have four children. I feel isolated in my parenting because I don't know very many people who even have three children. Almost everyone I know has two children. I realize that every single family fills every minute of every day with tasks and responsibilities. My friends with two children do not have untold amounts of leisure time. My friends with one child do not consider themselves liberated from the clutches of motherhood. But during the April school vacation, when Greg was home, I could have been a rich woman for every person who told me I was so lucky Greg was home. Finally I just wanted to snap, shouting, "For what! So we can finally reduce our ratio to 2:1, which is what you have anyway?" Four children take a lot of work. It is work I am so grateful to be able to do. But I feel sometimes like I need a space to shout it out: when you have more children, there is simply more going on. I have lived with one, two, three children. Four is more. If there exists a reader with four children, chime in. You agree.

And, not only this, but there is the fifth. That child whose birthday looms. Ten years ago I was on the cusp of motherhood, only six days from my due date. Everything was ready. She kicked and rolled. I glowed. I had no idea. This child is not here, but it is work to parent her. Sometimes, in fact, I wonder if I have ever worked as hard parenting a child as I have to parent her. The work of missing somebody is tremendous. So there is, of course, the fifth.