New Year’s First Week


If you’re a mom and fighting a cold, you might just close your eyes while sitting on the couch in the middle of the afternoon.

And if you close your eyes after a long week of work and the end of the first-week-back-to-school, you might just fall asleep.

And if the single mom falls asleep as it gets closer to five o’clock, the resourceful unsupervised boys might just make their own dinner.

And if two young boys decide to make their own dinner, they might just pour out a wrappersbowl of cereal and head upstairs with a large number of Hershey Kisses piled on top.

And if the boys are wise enough to know that they’ve taken far too many “treats” they might just try to hide the wrappers in their bathroom.

And if the boys mention getting some more treats as they walk past the couch, they might just wake up their mother who then decides to explore the little house and see what the boys have been up to during her absence.

And if the mom finds evidence of all this unhealthy eating, she might just send the little squirts off to their room for a break so that she can sit down on the couch.

New Year’s Resolution number whatever – beware the first week of January. It will knock you hard. Respect it. Respect the disruption it holds on your life. Respect the toll of exhaustion on little bodies as they try to “align” themselves with the routine again. Respect the stress on your own life as you readjust to work and wade through all that has piled up in your absence. Be more patient with those little creatures and with yourself. Rest more. Forgive more. Remember that it’s okay to say no to good things.

Do you know why parents have to talk to each other so much? They have to float ideas out there to make sure they’re not crazy. “Seems to me that a 7:00 pm practice is a bit late for a 6-year-old….” “Oh, yes.” “I know, right? It just throws off our whole evening!” “Uh, hmmm.” Check, yep, I’m right. We’re going to have to start skipping those late evening basketball practices and get a bit more sleep.

I think Mr. Ornery hit yellow on his behavior chart the second day back to school because he’s not back in the rhythm yet.” “Oh, yes. I’ve had to wake my kid up every day.” “I know, right? I guess I shouldn’t be too hard on him for having a rough time at school.

New Year’s Resolution next in number – support one another through those crazy stressful times. Encourage each other and take naps as often as you can!




Sacrifices of the Second Sibling (or third or fourth or fifth)

Mr. Ornery dances around the kitchen floor. “I love my teacher. I love Miss P,” bubbles out over and over again. I sigh inside, knowing that the week, the season, of Miss P is coming to an end. Sometimes I let him dance. Sometimes I remind him that he’ll be leaving Miss P’s class and his friends. Sometimes I let him sit in the sadness of “I don’t want to leave Miss P” as he falls asleep at night.

Four months ago he left the day care center where he went almost every single weekday of the year since he was 6 months old. He entered a new school – new “authority figures,” new friends, new routines, new expectations. And believe me – it took him a LONG time to adjust. But he did. Because he’s strong, he’s bubbly, he’s the class clown, and he’s just so darn cute! – the girls swoon already, he asks “if you’re in love do you kiss a girl?,” and the little fairies gather around him when he enters a room.

But four weeks ago, I was asked to “transition” my eldest, Super Tall Guy, out of the school. He didn’t “fit,” they didn’t want to work with him anymore, they had a symphony “orchestra” to coordinate, he was an electric guitar. Mr. Ornery is the bystander. The one who gets uprooted almost before he has his feet under him. Just as he’s coming into his glory. Just as he’s figuring out who he is and who he’s becoming.

Star Student of the Week

Star Student of the Week

I mean, when you are 5 – what is huge in your life?  Your family – though he often says he needs to find a new one (you know, one that won’t ask him to pick up his clothes or put his dishes away). And his school. That’s it – that’s where life is when you’re five. And his world is about to be completely and totally changed….on behalf of the needs of a sibling.

So part of me hurts on behalf of Mr. Ornery, knowing that he is happy where he is and I have to make the decision to move him. In the larger scheme of life, I know there are many times a parent has to make decisions that dramatically alter their children’s lives – moves to new cities/houses/schools, arrival of new siblings (Super Tall Guy is still not too thrilled that boy #3 arrived and stayed), addition of a pet or loss of a pet. The list goes on. There are also more dramatic times of when the needs and happiness of siblings are affected by other sibling needs, especially if one sibling has chronic health problems. We had a small window of that when Super Tall Guy had to return to the hospital after his tonsillectomy and I thought about how unsettling it was for the younger boys to watch us rush out of the house late at night and not be home the next day. I am so thankful that our kids are generally healthy, yet having multiple kids does lead to multiple unpredictable situations.

The good thing is that the boys are young and they’re resilient. And they’re resilient because they are loved and they know they are loved and they still have a great support group around them. They have family, they have friends, they have neighbors, and a new church family. They are also resilient because they have had prior experiences of shifts in schedules and environments and have made it through them. They will likely handle this transition to a new school better than I am going through it.

Super Tall Guy’s teacher told me that she talked to him on his last day of school and explained that finding the right school was like trying on shoes. Sometimes you have to try on a few pairs before you find the right one. Well, we’ve tried four of them already – Montessori, daycare center kindergarten, cyber school kindergarten, and private

Frustrated second grader

Frustrated second grader

Christian school. We’re moving into the public school system – the one school that will not say, “I’m sorry, your child doesn’t fit here,” but that says, “All children fit here.” That’s where the boys need to be – where they will “fit” and thrive and grow.

It will be a big change for both boys, but hopefully it will be their last big change — at least for a few months 🙂 and I have high hopes for them that this New Year will bring some great new joys and friendships and happiness.






Handling transitions

Story Teller. The award for Story Teller went to Micah at his Kindergarten graduation ceremony. I was pretty sure (after seeing the first graders’ awards) that he would Story teller2win for “Energizer Bunny” – ie, the inability to sit still. He came in a close second for that one said his teacher. Despite my initial surprise, “story teller” does fit Micah. He’s told his class that he ran the marathon with me, that he has a pet tiger in a cage behind the house, and that he’s planning to go to Pluto in a rocket next year. It can be “good or bad” this story telling ability!

I wasn’t quite ready for Micah’s current transition, however. It sort of snuck up on me that he was finishing kindergarten. I keep realizing that I had “intended” to be a little more sentimental about it. Have great plans about the end of this year. Even now as I sit here, I think to myself “oh, I meant to have his teachers sign a book for him.” I meant to get more thoughtful gifts for them rather than a quick stop at the store right before graduation (though I did get Micah to sign their cards – bonus points!). I realized I never really got to know the parents of his classmates even though we often crossed paths in dropping off or picking up the kids (and should I have asked for contact info from them? – they seemed like nice people as we sat chatting before the graduation song began). I just wasn’t quite ready to close that chapter of his (probably particularly because I don’t know in which school his next chapter will open).

Just as I’m thinking about Micah’s transition, the director of the day care center called two days ago to ask about transitioning Seth (she forgot to say right off the bat, “this is xx from xx daycare and they boys are fine” so of course I spent 2 very long seconds after called ID ID’d her, wondering who fell and broke their arm and which emergency room they were going to). Seth is two now and they’re ready to move a group of toddlers over to the next room.  On the other end of the line (at work), I said “sure, I think he’s ready. He’s tiny but he has a huge personality.” She laughed and agreed. But now I realize he’s moving out of “babyhood” and into the “big boy” class….and even if he’s ready, am I?  (Well, I am ready to stop changing diapers, I am ready to understand more than 50% of his words and stop some of the melt-down tantrums, I am ready for him to understand the word “no” in all the many nuances of the word…though I acknowledge that it’s likely he never will….)

The one transition she also mentioned is the one I’m really not ready for — Noah moving over to the “pre-k” room. Yes, I’m ready for him to finish day care and go to kindergarten to save me some moolah….but, I absolutely love his preschool classroom teachers and I’m not sure I’m ready to change that relationship yet. His teacher helped me so much when I was struggling with Micah’s behavior a few years ago. She has a great relationship with Noah now and every morning he wants to take in something to show her. And she won “teacher of the year” award last year (beats “Story Teller” I’m pretty sure). But more than all that, she understands my insanity. She lets me stand and chat for a few minutes in daycare drop-off and makes me feel like she cares. And she knows that on the occasional morning when I carry Noah in under one arm and his shoes in the other hand that she doesn’t even need to ask – just take the kid and the shoes and say “have a good day, Lynne.”  We’ve got it down.

So I’m not really ready for all this change. I say things like “I can’t wait until they’re older” and yet I don’t really want to experience the changes that go with aging. It’s a bit unsettling, especially as each kid is transitioning at the same time. Instead of dealing with it head-on like any good problem solver – I run – to the beach!