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The Weekend Conversation That Made My Brain Tired

Since I can’t take a picture of a conversation, here is a picture of the girl’s haunted house model we made over the weekend. Also, thanks to the hot glue gun I have blisters instead of fingerprints.

I’ve notice that when kids get older, their questions and issues become more complex. It’s actually a form of balance when you think about it: sure, they’re letting you sleep more but now they’re frying your brain during the day so you often feel as if you still can’t get enough sleep.

Kids, man. (Read: affectionate sarcasm)

The six year old and I attended the high school musical “Oklahoma” this weekend, which I had forgotten was actually full of content that is probably a little much for a six year old (flirting, dating, abuse, fighting, relationship drama of all kinds, etc.). So I probably should be grateful that the conversations from the weekend weren’t actually any worse than this one.

It started at the musical. The six year old was happily chatting away with my dear friend, and explaining to my dear friend’s mother that the “dad” she was referring to at home was actually her step dad.

Sometimes, when she gets on a roll in conversations, my little linguist can get a bit carried away. I should have seen it coming. She has a certain look on her face and an added dramatic flair when she is about to say something that will surely elicit a shock factor from her audience. But I didn’t catch the shift in time to get my hand over her mouth before she belted out that the reason he was her step dad was, in fact, because her mom “got divorced and HUMILIATED herself!” (Except she pronounces it “di-versed” because she is six and does not know as much as she thinks she does. Shocking.)

I laughed and jokingly (seriously) told her that the topic was now closed while I tried to regain my composure and resisted the urge to crawl under the auditorium chairs.

The next day at lunch, the opportunity to reopen the conversation presented itself.

 

Me: Do you remember what you said yesterday at the musical when you were talking about your dad and me getting divorced?

Her: About you humiliating yourself?

Me: Yes. Do you know what that word means?

Her: Um…. Not really.

Me: Okay… well, it’s not a good idea to use words if you don’t know what they mean. You should be careful about what you say and you can’t do that if you’re using words you don’t know.

Her: Okay.

Me: So, what it is that you were trying to say when you said I humiliated myself?

Her: I guess just that you, like, embarrassed yourself because some people think that divorce is embarrassing.

Me: (what is that candy bar that you cram in your mouth when you need a few minutes to think before responding? Twix?)

Me: Hmm. Okay, well I think the first think that I need to tell you is that I don’t feel embarrassed about getting divorced.

Her: You don’t?

Me: Nope. You dad and I thought very carefully about what the right thing to do before we got divorced was. In the end, we decided that it was the best decision for us as a family, and for us as parents. As your mom, I wanted to make sure that I was being the best mom I could be to you. That meant setting an example for you. If I was ever going to expect you to be kind to others and to expect others to treat you with kindness, then I needed to model that behavior. And for your dad and I, it was much easier to be kind to each other after we got divorced.

There are other people who feel that getting divorced is embarrassing. They feel that, if you get married, you should stay married forever. And it’s okay that different people believe different things. I don’t like divorce, because it is a very hard thing to go through. It is better to stay married if you can. But I also believe that sometimes it isn’t that simple, and that you have to make the best choice that you can for your own family.

So that is what your dad and I did. I’m not embarrassed because I still think that we made a good choice. Your dad and I are much better parents to you now, and we are much nicer to each other. And, now you have even more people who love you and help take care of you. Our family has grown.

And lastly, I know I’m talking a lot about this so I will give you a chance to talk after I say this. But I need you to hear one more thing: It’s not up to you to decide what is “humiliating” or embarrassing for someone else. You get to decide what your own feelings are about things, but you don’t get to decide what someone else’s feelings are. So when you talk about big things like divorce, you need to be thoughtful about how you talk about someone else’s decision. It’s not up to you to decide what is embarrassing for someone else. Do you understand what I’m saying?

Her: I understand. I’m sorry I said that. Can I have a snack now?

Me: We are literally still at the lunch table.

 

And then I reminded myself of all the reasons why it wouldn’t be in my best interests to drink wine out of a straw in the middle of the day.

Ug, you guys. These complicated conversations with kids are so hard and I almost always feel like I never get it right. But that seems to be the trend in parenting for me.The thing is I’m also pretty sure this was small potatoes compared to the complex conversations that await us in the future.

But that doesn’t make my brain hurt any less.

How You Look

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The six year old is on a kick where she prefers to pick her own outfit and do her own hair.

For the most part, I’m fine with this. Let’s face it–I’m no fashionista myself. And five weeks into parenting a newborn I’m just happy when everyone is wearing clothes.

That’s why the six year old rocks–she can dress herself.  As you can see from the photo, she enjoys “matching” stripes with stripes, as well as following several other fashion”rules” that aren’t necessarily the same rules I have come to understand. She also appreciates pairing cowboy boots with capri pants and wearing tall socks on the outside of pants on occasion.

In addition to dressing herself, she has just recently started experimenting with doing her own hair. Because this is still a new adventure, ponytails and other hairstyles often err on the side of chaos.

To be honest, the instinct to step in and modify her outfit or fix her hair is almost always there. For better or worse, I can’t help but be conscious as a parent when my child shows up to school in head-to-toe chevron and fluffy snow boots with her hair looking like it was styled with a blender.

But here’s the thing–every time she comes down the stairs and makes her entrance for the day, she is beaming with so much pride at her own independence, her sweet brown eyes looking to me for approval.

And suddenly her outfit and hair don’t matter so much. Because nothing is worth squashing this hesitant pride.

So I tell her that she’s beautiful. And that I’m so incredibly proud of her independence. Because she is. And I am. And those messages matter so much more than matching outfits and perfect ponytails.

Obviously, as an imperfect parent, I don’t always execute this support as well as I wish I did. Just this morning she appeared in capris and snow boots and way too many stripes and color combinations and I cringed on the inside a little.

“Hmm,” I said. “I’m not sure those shoes will work today.” (I’ve learned to pick one battle at a time.)

To which she promptly responded, “IT’S NOT HOW YOU LOOK, IT’S HOW YOU LEARN, MOM.”

Touche.

After I finished laughing, I hugged her and told her I loved her and that she was exactly right. Except that it was a P.E. day and she probably needed to wear tennis shoes.

She attempted to convince me with a display of how tight her boots were that they would be fine for P.E. but after I reminded her that it was also about the gym floor, she conceded and switched to tennis shoes.

It’s not always easy to find the line between celebrating her independence and intervening to teach her “rules” about P.E. shoes and stripes.

But the truth is, there will probably be all too many days where other people’s “rules” and opinions dictate what she wears and how she does her hair. For now she is still blissfully free to wear whatever her heart desires without fear of the negative opinions of others.

So for now, rather than being one of those negative opinions, I’m choosing to celebrate this freedom right alongside her.

 

All 100%

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Actually cooking lunch (that the toddler won’t eat anyway).

Today was my first day on my own all day with the two littles AND picking up the oldest from school. I’ve been incredibly lucky to have my husband and mom around to help for the first three weeks. And now it’s sink or swim time. And sinking isn’t an option.

Since I’m in the newborn-google-everything phase (see previous post), I did some reading about tips for handling a toddler and an infant. This time, google delivered.

First, one mom wrote about how she wished she had paid more attention to the toddler during this phase. The baby can tend to be more demanding of attention (needing diaper changes and feedings more frequently), but ultimately the toddler is the one who will remember the attention (or sudden lack thereof). This tip made me prioritize giving attention to both kids. The housework can wait.

Also, letting me off the hook in terms of stressing over household chores wasn’t even the best part of this revelation. It turns out that, when I made it my goal to focus on my kids and being intentional about giving them attention, I stopped feeling like they were demanding my attention. My attention became something I was giving them rather than something they were taking from me. It may seem like a small shift, but it made a huge difference in the day’s stress level.screen-shot-2016-10-10-at-8-35-42-pm

Another google mom wrote about how she staggers the kids’ nap times so that she can get more one-on-one time with each kid. This was a mini revelation for me. In my mind the goal had always been to get them to nap at the same time so that I could catch a break. And while I would still be thrilled if that happened, I realized two things. First, when you have two littles at home all day, one of them being asleep already feels like a break. And two, when I try to get both of them to nap at the same time, I get stressed when it doesn’t happen. (And three weeks in I’m telling you: it usually doesn’t happen.) But when I let go of that being a goal, I’m not stressed when it doesn’t happen. Instead, I appreciate the time to focus on one at a time. Again, a small shift in the goals for the day made a huge difference in stress level.

To be honest, I felt like I was giving all I had when it was just the toddler. I didn’t know how it was going to work to add a newborn into the mix. But here’s what I didn’t realize: I can’t give any more than 100%. I was doing the best I could when it was just the toddler. And now I’m doing the best I can with a toddler and a newborn. And on the days and evenings when the oldest isn’t in school, I’ll do the best I can with all three of them.

screen-shot-2016-10-10-at-8-36-02-pmGiving 100% looks a little different in each situation. Sometimes 100% is as simple as snuggling a sleeping baby. Sometimes it is reading Little House on the Prairie on the porch with the oldest. Sometimes it is a tickle fight with a toddler. Sometimes it’s even doing what I need to in order to recharge my own batteries.

And sometimes it’s answering a thousand six year old questions while holding a toddler and changing a newborn diaper and heating a bottle and answering the doorbell.

And that’s okay. Because even on the days that feel like a steady stream of chaos, I love that I get to be here with these little people every day. I can’t think of anything I’d rather give my 100% to.

Life With Three (Alternate Title: I Have No Clue What I’m Doing)

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We are three weeks in to life with three littles. Update: I have no clue what I’m doing.

Truth be told, I didn’t even before the third one came along. (How is there still no manual for this parenting thing??)

Anyway. If I didn’t know what I was doing before, it is even more obvious now. Juggling this many humans is HARD. Sure, I have moments in which I feel like I’m almost nailing it. The other day I got lunch ready for the toddler and fed her while wearing the baby in the carrier. (Listen. This may seem like a ridiculously small win, but I assure you, it is big.) One night the baby only got up once between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. (Have i mentioned how much I love my bed?) Today, we even tackled the pumpkin patch with minimal stress (definitely a win).

And don’t get me wrong, these wins are great. But there are still a lot of moments in between. I’m not kidding you guys, I literally googled, “Can my toddler’s temper tantrums traumatize my newborn?” this week. Because the toddler lost her s#%&t for thirty plus minutes the other day. While I was trying to feed the baby. And of course, I just got done reading somewhere (who can remember where) that hostility in tones of voices can impact a newborns brain development. (Maybe it was in my peaceful parenting audio book? I can work on being peaceful but who is going to get the memo to my toddler?!)

For the record, google was not that helpful. Nor was it particularly helpful in answering how to stop the toddler from screaming her bloody head off or why my baby gets restless at night only AFTER my husband goes to bed. I didn’t bother asking it my sleep deprivation questions. (How did people parent before google??)

I know this is normal (at least I assume it is).  So much of parenting (and adulting?) is just making it up as you go. Maybe there will come a time where I’m more confident in my ability to spontaneously handle everything parenthood throws at me.

But for now, I feel like I’m hanging on to a spinning merry-go-round, balancing somewhere between an exhilarating adrenaline rush and debilitating fear.

I have no idea how to handle the toddler’s temper tantrums. I don’t remember this stage with my oldest (though I have vague memories of worrying that the neighbors would think I was beating her because of how loud she would scream so we must have gone through this). I have no idea how to load and unload an infant AND a toddler from the car by myself. I have no idea how to begin to piece together a manageable bedtime routine. Or meal time routine. Or morning routine. I have no idea how to chase a toddler around a park with a newborn in tow. I have no idea how to go about feeling like I’ve given each of them the attention they deserve. I’m barely pulling off the “shower daily” thing, and quite frankly I’m sucking pretty bad at the “sleep” and “eat healthy” things.

But maybe figuring out all the answers is overrated.

Because even if I did, it would only last a moment before everything changed and I’d have to figure it out all over again.

Maybe the best thing we can do is just be clueless and keep showing up anyway.

 

 

Bring Your Own Hula Hoop

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My grandparents celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary this weekend. It was a beautiful evening at a beautiful winery with live music and good food and family.

Ironically, my favorite part of the whole evening was a woman I never even met.

When the live music kicked in, a pile of brightly decorated hula hoops appeared near the stage, as did a middle-aged woman in a colorful skirt. She gracefully began hula hooping to the music.

To be honest? At first I thought it was a little weird. It’s not very often you see a grown woman hula hooping in the middle of a dance floor in a winery. (Although I haven’t spent much time in wineries in the last 9 months so what do I know.)

But it didn’t take long before my six year old picked up on the invitation and joined her, hula hooping to the music. Pretty soon their was a mini hula hooping party on the dance floor. The crowd cheered and my six year old beamed. It was pretty fun to watch.

My daughter hula hooped for the rest of the evening. We had to tear her away to have dinner and cake, which she scarfed down in order to return to her spinning. At one point she had four (or maybe even five) hula hoops going. She was in heaven, oblivious to everything else (except maybe the crowd who applauded her and the band 😉 ).

As it turns out, the woman in the skirt decorates hula hoops and brings them with her. And then gives them away.

Maybe it’s my hormones or maybe it’s watching the sheer joy on my child’s face, but either way, I think that’s the most beautiful thing in the world.

It’s such a simple thing. And yet, it moved our evening from being beautiful to being magical.

We don’t have to make grand gestures or sweeping influences to change the world. We just have to find what we love and share it. 

When it was time to go, we had one exhausted little hula hooper. I reclined her chair in the van just a little so she could rest on the way home (which was the second most magical part of her evening 🙂 ), and watched in the rearview mirror as she moved her new hula hoop up so she could rest a hand on it as we drove.

“Will there be more days like this?” she asked.

Yes, baby. I hope you have a lifetime full of days like this.

The Tooth Fairy

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Yesterday I picked up the girl from school and she had lost her first tooth. It’s been loose for a while. She would wiggle it but not pull on it. It made her nervous. I don’t blame her. I was never a fan of things like that.

So right away I asked her how it happened.

“I pulled it!” she said.

“Seriously? That’s awesome! Good for you!”

“Yep,” she replied. “Caleb (the boy who sits next to her in class) pulled his out to show me it didn’t hurt, so I just copied him!”

LOL. If that’s not a good first tooth story I don’t know what is.

Fast forward to bedtime. She was exhausted. Surviving the second day of school, the excitement of losing a tooth, and an impromptu trip to the water park after school to squeeze in one last visit for the season left her pretty much drained. Which is when handling feelings becomes difficult.

She didn’t want the tooth fairy to take her tooth. She wanted to keep it. She was scared the tooth fairy wouldn’t come. What if the tooth fairy is mean? Tears and sadness and getting up for drinks and bathroom breaks. But after a lot of reassurance (and patience), eventually she fell sound asleep.

The tooth fairy brought a two dollar bill rolled up and tied with a gold piece of ribbon. And a lot of glitter. And left the tooth. She was thrilled.

“I can’t believe I lost a tooth!” (Said no less than twenty times before school this morning.)

I love her enthusiasm. Her joy. Her innocent wonder. Her bravery.

I love getting to see these moments in her life. Moments that are so big right now but someday will feel small. Moments that are magic, all thanks to a little ribbon and glitter and a little girl believing in fairies.

I love being her mom.

I Bribe My Kids With Technology and I’m Not Sorry

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Screen time. One of the big debates of our parenting generation. How much is too much? Should kids even have it at all? How do we set reasonable limits?

As a general rule, my impression is that screen time is frowned upon. Every time I hand over the iPad to get a few minutes to myself or to avoid a temper tantrum in the grocery store, I feel a little twinge of guilt in the pit of my stomach. I can only assume this comes from an unspoken judgement in our society that I am taking the “easy” way out and letting technology parent my kids instead of teaching them to behave appropriately without it.

I’ve given this some thought and I’ve come to the following conclusion:

That is crap.

Let’s use my toddler as an example. Anyone who has every had a toddler knows they are completely unreasonable. Literally. They cannot comprehend logical reasoning.

So when she decides to scream bloody hell all through the grocery store, or chooses to launch every piece of food within a four foot radius of her high chair in a restaurant, my choices are somewhat limited. I can let her scream through the store in hopes that she will figure out that it won’t accomplish anything. I can correct her behavior and, if need be, take her out of the restaurant (and miss my entire meal and abandon my other children in the process). Or I can distract her.

That’s really the key to toddler-whispering, isn’t it? Distraction. I have to give her something that is more interesting than her temper tantrum. Sure, books work for a little while, and toys work sometimes, too. You know what else works? My cell phone.

The best way I know how to teach her to act appropriately in a restaurant or a store or any other public place is to make sure she actually behaves appropriately. I look around at children climbing under tables and over the backs of booths, or running through the grocery store knocking things off the shelves, and I can’t believe that letting them misbehave is a better option than bribing them to be good. Should technology be the only tool I use to teach my children appropriate behavior? Of course not. But if giving my child an iPad means she sits politely at the table for a little while when she needs to, then that’s what I’m doing.

Also, I’m not sure if you have noticed, but parenting is hard. Obviously there are going to be many occasions in which I have to bunker down and ride out the storm when it comes to my children’s discipline. But there’s something to be said for picking your battles. Is this the mountain I want to die on, right here in the Cheesecake Factory? No. No it is not.

I don’t know if screen time is terrible or not. At home we try our best to technology with play and creativity and learning. But I’m human we don’t always succeed. There are days where the only thing that gets us to five o’clock is My Little Pony on Netflix.

And to be completely honest, I’m not sure that it’s even possible to find the perfect balance in parenting these days. Screen time may not be good for kids, but neither is anything else. Diapers have terrible chemicals in them and they are ruining the environment. Johnson and Johnson products cause cancer. Frozen chicken nuggets are toxic, laundry soap is dangerous, and so are all cleaning supplies. Even giving them baths every day isn’t good for them. And if you’re not watching your kids 24/7 then you’re being neglectful (but if you are you’re “helicopter parenting”). It seems like our only choices sometimes are choosing the lesser evil.

In other words, being a parent is hard. In some ways, I think it’s harder than ever before. It’s as if the more we know about the world today, the less we know about how to best raise our little humans in it.

So what are our options? For me, I’m just doing the best I can. Even if that means sometimes using technology to make parenting a little easier.

 

The Truth About What I Do All Day

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On the rare occasion that I get to use the bathroom, I usually have someone unrolling the toilet paper and requesting the roll.

It’s not an uncommon question for a stay-at-home mom to encounter. “What do you do all day?” I won’t lie, before I actually experienced stay-at-home mommyhood, I wondered the same thing.

Well prepare to be enlightened, my friends. I’m about to solve the mystery for you.

The answer at this stage in the game is: I keep the children alive.

Yep, I know you’re probably blown away by my ambition. Some days I am too.

The more detailed truth is: it depends.

If you had asked me last fall, I probably would have had a more well-rounded answer. I got the kids up and fed and dressed. Dropped the oldest at school. Took the baby for a walk. Played and read books. Nursed. Laid the baby down for a nap. Picked up the house or did dishes or laundry or read a book or wrote. Made lunch. Played with baby. Picked up the girl from school. You get the idea. I even had a day each week where I cleaned the house!

Now, in the dog days of summer, in the third trimester of my third pregnancy, things are a little different. If you want to know what I DO all day, my answer will revolve entirely around children. Make breakfast, change diapers, play games, read books, make lunch, take walks, pull the toddler off the furniture, scan for choking hazards, comfort the toddler who fell off the furniture, and so on.

If you want to know what I actually ACCOMPLISH each day? The answer is basically nothing. If there are dishes in the sink when my husband leaves for work in the morning, there is a 90% chance they will be there when he gets home, and then some. The same goes for laundry in the dryer, dog hair on the floor, and toys…well.. everywhere. Cleaning during the day is a thing of the past. Actually, almost anything that falls under household or self-care is a thing of the past. There are days where I don’t drink nearly enough water because the act of leaving the play room to go refill my cup in the kitchen is nearly impossible. And besides, it’s not like I have time to use the bathroom anyway.

The toddler is in full-blown “high maintenance” phase, which means short naps and demanding my undivided attention in one way or another whenever she isn’t asleep. And whenever she isn’t getting my attention the other one needs it. (And to be completely honest, the one that isn’t even born yet is already making her own demands on my energy level, so she is not to be counted out either.)

I love my kids, and even on the hardest of days I wouldn’t trade being here with them for the world. This phase will pass and someday my to do list will include more than just playing referee and distributing snacks.

But for now, most days just keeping kids happy, fed, and dry is a full-time job.

4 Ways I’m a “Mean” Mom at Bedtime

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My kids have had a consistent bedtime routine from the time they are two months old. As babies and toddlers it is pretty straightforward and gives them the security of a little predictability. Both of my children so far have thrived on this kind of schedule.

As they grow into more independent beings capable of communicating and reasoning, a certain amount of flexibility enters the bedtime arena. However, there are a few areas that are not open to compromise.

  1. Bedtime is non-negotiable.

I don’t care if it is summer and it is still light out. I don’t care if you’re “not tired”.

I’ve read the research and I’ve learned from my own experience. The later they stay up, the harder it is for them to fall asleep and the worse they sleep. If my oldest is in bed by 8, she sleeps peacefully. If she goes down between 8:30-9:15 we usually have at least two bad dreams and one bathroom break. After 9:15, forget it. She ends up screaming in her sleep every couple hours all night. The less they sleep, the less sleep I get, and the harder the days are. And the harder the next evening’s bedtime is.

No matter how intelligent and rational a child is, they cannot make good choices when they are over tired. It’s a vicious cycle. Obviously every now and then, if it is a special event and we have nothing going on the next day, we might break our own rule. Contrary to popular belief, I’m not a bedtime meanie just because it is fun. It’s because it’s what our children need to actually have real fun. When they get to stay up late, often end-of-the-day exhaustion puts a damper on the “special occasion” anyway, and the price we pay the next day just isn’t worth it.

  1. Bedtime routine is non-negotiable.

If you wait until you have brushed your teeth and are tucked in bed to ask for a snack, you are not getting a snack.

This may sound mean, but I know my child is capable of understanding when the appropriate time to ask for something is. The first few times it happened, I caved and gave her a snack but I clearly communicated that it wouldn’t always work that way. I also know she is capable of using requests as a way to delay and postpone bedtime. Any parent who’s seen this routine in action knows how frustrating it can be. I don’t want the last few minutes of her day to be me being frustrated with her. So the rules are simple and clear. She knows if she wants a snack she has to ask before her teeth are brushed.

  1. Cuddles and conversation are not unlimited.

This may sound like the cruelest one of all, but trust me. I set boundaries because I love them. As a mom of all girls, I’m all too familiar with how many feelings girls have. Especially if they are tired. So bedtime is prime time for us to need a lot of emotional attention. We miss everyone who isn’t in bed with us at that moment. We miss pets that died when we were two. We miss relatives we’ve never even met. We miss our old car. We miss the birthday balloons that ran out of helium and withered six months ago. These are all real examples. I could not make this up.

So I cuddle her and I hug her and kiss her and tell her it will be all right. But there are some nights where the more snuggles I give her the more snuggles she needs. She will work herself up to a full blown crying mess unless I draw the line. There have been many evenings I’ve had to kiss her and hug her and walk out of the room to the sound of her whimpering because it’s the only way she will calm down and go to sleep. It sucks every time. I camp out outside her door to make sure she winds down and falls asleep. But I don’t know any other way. It doesn’t do any of us any good for her to stay up crying when I know that the waterfall of feelings is only happening because she’s exhausted and needs to sleep.

  1. Their sleep is for their benefit and for mine.

I’m always happy to explain to my child why bedtime is so important for her health and her brain and her ability to manage her feelings, etc. Our routine exists so that she gets what she needs and can be her best self. But I’m also not afraid to remind her that bedtime isn’t just about her. The few hours mommy gets in the evening to herself are necessary in order for me to be a good mommy during the day. She is old enough to understand that we don’t take things that don’t belong to us, and my me time in the evening is mine. She isn’t allowed to take what isn’t hers. Obviously if I know she needs me and I know that I can help, I will choose her. But if it’s one of those evenings where she just wants me to stand next to her bed all night so that she doesn’t have to miss me, then sorry, but no. Sacrificing my sanity, especially if it’s not actually benefitting her, is a waste of both our time.

 

Every parent has a different approach to bedtime and that is great. Because every parent knows their children best. Some kids can stay up late and they will sleep in and be fine. Some kids, if they stay up late, get up even earlier and turn into maniacal little animals who then refuse to nap or sleep for the next 72 hours. Lucky for me, that’s how our dice landed. So for us, loving our children and keeping our family sanity means being “mean” at bedtime. And I’m ok with that.

No, Calendar. Just No.  

  
We are to the point in the summer where today and the first day of school fit on the same calendar. 

I don’t like it. 

This summer hasn’t been the easiest one ever. Trying to juggle swimming lessons and camps and a very active six year old with a toddler nap schedule while pregnant in the heat is kind of a recipe for “muddling through” rather than “savoring the moments”. 

But the truth is, even though it hasn’t been easy it’s been pretty great. And we have gotten used to having each other around. The toddler wakes up every morning asking, “Sis? Sis?” until sister finally makes her appearance. I’m not the only one who will miss her when school starts. 

And it’s not just a matter of missing her. I can’t help but be a little nervous. There are some great things about school but there are also things I’m not convinced about. The focus on testing. The limitation on recess. Kids are resilient but school in this day and age isn’t exactly a place designed for wildly curious and energetic children like mine to thrive. 

I don’t want her to think that if she doesn’t succeed at standardized testing then she has failed. I don’t want her to think that because it is hard for her to sit still that life will be hard for her. I don’t want her to think that a report card is a measure of who she is as a person. 

I don’t want to see her spirit crushed. 

It’s a hard adjustment to go from the free spiritedness of summer to the structure of the classroom. Summer feels like childhood and school feels like growing up. As a mama I can’t help but feel the bittersweetness of it all. I can’t help but feel a tiny loss when another carefree summer draws to an end. 

So I’m nervous. I know it will all turn out ok and that she will learn so much and have a blast with her friends. I know she will be amazing and I can’t wait to see her grow a little more this year. 

But for just a moment today, when I pass by the refrigerator, I will flip off the calendar. For reminding me that these precious, lazy, sun-filled days won’t last forever.