Tag Archives: parenting – my way

Beautiful Boy

We went to dinner last night, and then took Nick for a haircut. Great Clips, as you do. He patiently waited for his turn. Then, when it was his turn, he smiled and made small talk with the hair stylist.

He made small talk with the stylist.

For years, the same stylists would try to talk to him and he smiled at them with nothing to say. Or at least, without the ability, confidence, social skills to say anything. There has always been a lot going on inside, it just didn’t have a way out.

The stylist looked at me a couple times during the haircut and said “Does he ever get upset?” and “He is sweet down to his core.” and to him “You are my very favorite client.” and “You have made my whole day. We should all be more like you.”

The stylist next to her poked her head over and said “He smiled the whole time, didn’t he? I have never seen him not smiling.”

Sometimes a simple haircut can make a mom’s day too.

With his sister away with a friend for the weekend, he is enjoying his special time. We had donuts for breakfast and have already made cookies and played foosball.

He asked if I was letting him catch up to me in foosball. The truth? Nope. He loves foosball and is getting better and better every day. He’ll be beating me soon enough, so I’m taking all the wins I can right now. And when he beats me, he’ll know it was because he won, fair and square.

We’re honest with each other like that. At the end of the game, for a split second he might be sad that he lost, but faster than you can even realize it, he’s happy that I won. Because he loves me and he wants me to win everything. He roots for everyone before himself.

As we were making the cookies he started singing “Beautiful Boy” quietly to himself. I didn’t even know he knew that song but I joined right in singing with him. He smiled even bigger.

I asked him where he learned the song. It’s from a movie he likes, so no mom points for introducing him to the greats. We sang it together once and then he started changing the words to be Beautiful Fiona and Beautiful LuLu. He didn’t want to be the center of attention.

But he is the center of my attention. Even when I’m not doing a great job of showing him that. So I grabbed him, and we danced a little, and sang some more.

Me and my Beautiful Boy. 


Queen of best intentions

I have the best intentions of playing that game right after dinner, and kicking the ball in the backyard right after laundry, and reading an extra story when we wake up, and practicing handwriting in a fun way.

I have the best intentions.

“Let me finish this work on the computer and then we can do that.”

“This will only take me ten more minutes and then I can play with you.”

I believe children need a lot of unstructured play. They need to dig in the mud and create secret forts with rules only known to them. They need to figure out how to entertain themselves. They need to create games and use their imaginations.

But they also need to know how valued they are.

Of all the gifts the children received from friends and family for Christmas and Nick’s birthday, the gift they wanted most was time. Our time. Time spent with both of the them and time spent one on one.

I ran across a quote in a post by Vodkamom talking about resolutions with her kindergarten class. They were talking about resolutions as being promises and one child said “I know. It’s like when you go to bed, and someone promises they will play with you in the morning, but then the morning comes and they don’t, it’s like breaking a promise!”


I have the best intentions.

I seem to bump whatever my best intention is because there is no apparent deadline, no thing to cross off my to do list. But their needs are just as important as whatever is on my to-do list. Spending the first part of the morning together, being together, starts us off in the right mindset. Then they can wander off to be children doing their children things while I occupy myself as mom/writer/business owner with a clear mind because the most important thing I needed to do that morning is already done.


After a long hiatus, I never know if I should catch you up on everything I’ve written in my head or just jump in with what’s in my head right now. (My head is a very, very full place.)

My parents have a cartoon on their wall that says “Filers should not marry pilers.” I’ve mentioned this cartoon before. I quote it all the time. What I’m just now realizing is pilers should not give birth to pilers and expect them to be filers.

Did you get that?

I’m having all sorts of drama over school work not coming home, completed homework not being turned in, and general disorganization. The guilty party (besides, well, me) doesn’t care. She has taken a few penalties at school, things that I think bother her, but she finds a way to not let it outwardly bother her.

I even talked to a counselor at school who mentioned one of the most important things:  Lead by example.

My dear piling child and I are screwed.

Is that Navy Pier?

Friday, in a moment of confidence, I changed our travel itinerary. Originally the plan was to get Maggie from school a little early, wait for Nick to get off the bus and high tail it to Indianapolis or however far we wanted to go before stopping at a hotel, spending the night, and getting up early Saturday morning for the rest of the trip.

Then I decided Nick would miss school, Maggie would only go until lunch (which isn’t until 12:50!) and we would drive the whole way starting at 1pm – assuming that if it got crazy, we could always stop at a hotel and go with the original plan.

As we passed downtown Nashville, Nick asked “Is that Navy Pier?”

“Uh, no. We’ve got 8 hours until Navy Pier.”

“How long until Navy Pier?”

“Uh, 7 hours and 45 minutes.”

“How long until Navy Pier?”

Repeat ad nauseam.

Repeat again, just for good measure.

We pass Louisville after an hour-long traffic backup.

“Is that Navy Pier?”


We pass Indianapolis.

“Is that Navy Pier?”


“Is the sun setting?”

“Yes. Go to sleep!”

“Wake me when we get to Navy Pier.”

“Sure!” I said. *no way buddy* I thought.

Aaaaaand they never fell asleep. Either of them. For the whole 9 1/2 hour trip.

When we finally drove past Navy Pier, I said “There’s Navy Pier!” as we discussed the way you get on and off the ferris wheel in ski lift fashion.

Five minutes later “Mom?”


“I think we went past Navy Pier.”

Yeah, at that point it was just funny. Or we were crazy. Or both. We all sang “Celebrate Good Times” as we cruised down Lake Shore Drive.

It was 10:30 at night when we rolled into my parents’ house. And midnight (midnight!!) when we all finally fell asleep.

What time did Nick wake up, you wonder? Well, 6:01am, of course.

We will load up the car in the morning and do the reverse trip, but at least we’ll pass Navy Pier in the first hour.

the wheels on the car

Note to self:

If you’re going to mess with the precious balance of the morning routine by convincing your bus-loving 7YO to ride in the car so you can drive 8 miles before school to the pharmacy (because the same pharmacy that is 2 miles away is staffed by a bunch a jerks) to get preventative ear drops that you forgot to pick up the day before, you might  want to make sure that the pharmacy will be open.

Instead, you can do the above, see the “pharmacy opens at 9” sign, groan, drive said 7YO to school to sit in the havoc of the drop-off line (still 1,000,000 times better than the pick-up line) to go home, wait for 30 minutes, repeat the trip to the pharmacy, go to school, figure out if you’re even allowed to bring a prescription onto school premises, put drops in child’s ear and never know if there was even a reason to need to drops in the first place.


Dr. Mom

First things first – I am not a doctor…

…but I am really good at diagnosing weird things. My family has had more than our share of weird things. I have been right on a handful and wrong on a handful so really, that’s only about a 50/50 history. (At least one of those literally saved a life.) When you figure in the weirdness factor of some of the things, 50/50 is pretty good.


The other day I was braiding Maggie’s hair. We were practicing spelling words as I braided. It was a super-normal morning.  Halfway through the braid, she looked up into the mirror with huge eyes saying “I feel really ill.”

I looked into the mirror and her face had zero color in it. Not just pale, but her lips were white too. It was freaky. I told her to run for the bathroom assuming she was going to throw up any moment. I grabbed a bucket (there is a whole bucket post I promised my friend I would write. It’s coming. Promise.) and followed her into the bathroom.

She sat on the toilet for a few minutes. Still no color. After a few more minutes I asked if she felt any better or worse.

“A little better, but my face feels really hot.”

I touched her cheeks, which were ice cold, and assumed she would spike a fever any minute.

After another 10 minutes of so, I relented and let her lay in her bed with the bucket beside her. She was perking up a tad, and decided she was hungry. (I will cover this in the bucket post, but I never feed a child who (in my mind) may be on the verge of puking.)

I got her some crackers and water and by the time I checked on her again, she was in bed working on her loom making a hot pad. Her lips were back to normal and her color was much better. I said she should rest a bit longer and if “it” indeed had passed, that I would take her to school late.

Suddenly a memory came to me. Last year as I was braiding Maggie’s hair, the same thing happened. She turned sickly pale and, of course, was ordered to sit in the bathroom. She sat that time for 15 minutes before asking to watch a show. I sent her to the TV room with her bucket and within an hour, she was bouncing around the room totally fine. My husband thought I had been suckered into letting her stay home, because she was fine by the time her saw her. But I’m here to tell you, the color of her face is something you can’t fake. Lips just aren’t that color.

So then it dawned on me that both instances were while braiding her hair. And both times she was fine an hour later.

And I got to googling.

I’m pretty sure (remember I’m not a doctor) that it was a vasovagal reaction. They sometimes cause fainting, but are the result of a sudden drop in blood pressure and heart rate which lower oxygen to the brain. Symptoms include

  • Skin paleness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Tunnel vision — your field of vision is constricted so that you see only what’s in front of you
  • Nausea
  • Feeling of warmth
  • A cold, clammy sweat
And, there is an only occasionally-recognized trigger called hair groomers syncope – fainting or near fainting while having one’s hair groomed.
My husband laughed and laughed and laughed at me. He does not endorse my Dr. Google degree.
But I tell you what, Maggie sits when we braid her hair now.

gold coins

I have deadlines coming up for a few different projects, no naturally now is when I decide to take a few minutes to write. Ha.

I posted on Facebook the other day that Maggie’s endocrinologist’s computer says she will likely be 6’1″ tall. About a year ago, it predicted 6′ even, so the prediction is going up. She says she will still listen to me when she is looking down at me. We’ll see.

Another interesting thing happened at this doctor visit. The Dr. (whom I love and adore and appreciate immensely) asked Maggie what the tooth fairy gave her for her missing tooth.

“A gold coin worth 100 cents,” she said.

“A gold dollar coin?” he asked.

“Yes! That’s what she brings every time.”

Turning to me, he says “Where do you get the gold coins?”

Ummmm, I DIDN’T GET THE GOLD COINS. THE TOOTH FAIRY brings the coins. Hello???!!!

“I’m not sure where the TOOTH FAIRY gets them,” I said trying to get the point across.

He seemed to get it and we moved on.

And then a few minutes later he brought the gold coins up again. I answered as quickly as I could and changed the subject politely.

I waited for Maggie to ask about it later, but she hasn’t yet. So she either heard, knows and isn’t willing to risk it, or she didn’t hear. The Dr does have a thick accent, so there is a chance she missed that part of the conversation.

I guess the really ironic part is that I have a stash of gold coins that I got from the ice machine near my in-laws that returns gold coins for change when you buy ice. (which I figured was a bit too long to try to explain to the dr.) I also got a handful of them from their Grandpa Joe. After the first three teeth, I figured I better hide my back-up gold coins a little better so the tooth fairy didn’t get busted.

And now I can’t exactly find them. So for the last tooth, I found one of Maggie’s coins that she has already received from the tooth fairy, and gave it to her again. I know, that’s horrible. She has no idea.

And someday, she will read this. Hopefully not until well after she doesn’t believe in the tooth fairy anymore. (Maggie, I owe you a dollar. Love, Mom)