Right as I returned from getting my son, the service truck pulled in the driveway behind me. The repairman showed up -- 45 minutes early. Friends, it was time to call it: There would be no shower.
With so much discussion and debate going on about how to improve our nation's schools, we must also be thinking of smart, proven ways to invest in children's development that are more than just corrective steps.
I just want our secret language. I want to hold onto it for all its quirky, silly nuances that only she and I know about. It's selfish, I know.
From first kiss to first break up, college application to job interview, we parents tend to plan for every situation, every conversation we'll have with our kids -- except for one.
Each time I think I've got a handle on this evolution of parenting, this transition in my role within my children's lives, and my new place in the world, I find another stumbling block; I catch myself swatting at imaginary boogie monsters.
Parent brawls, coaches who belittle athletes and the kids who are suffering from injuries, eating disorders or stress and exhaustion. It can leave a parent wondering: why is it valuable for my child to play youth sports?
Yesterday, my last (sixth!) child dragged out my firstborn's "stuffed so full it's tied shut with a ribbon" keepsake book to compare with her own minuscule 1/8 inch thin "baby pamphlet" as evidence of my crime. She's lucky to have gotten any handwritten documentation out of me at all.
2-year-olds: It doesn't matter if shoes don't match or if they're different sizes. Just put them on. Shoes are shoes are shoes. Stop trying to match them and put them on the right feet, parents.
What happened to the tiny little thing that was completely dependent on mom and dad just a few short months ago?
As a divorced mother who shares custody, I've had to examine my own assumptions about parenting gender roles and expectations. I continue to own my self-imposed guilt and attempt to dismantle it like a boss.
Nyasia shouldn't have to wish for warm, fuzzy boots. But she does. And every day I am reminded that there are thousands of other kids in foster care and group homes around our country that are just like her. Their wishes are so simple it can break your heart.
There are a few universal truths about tiny, baby humans. They cry. They poop a lot. They need a lot of love and attention (but not actually a whole lot else). They have delicious-smelling heads. But there was one thing I got wrong about those little, love-and-attention-needing babies.
In Patti Digh's book Creative is a Verb, she describes a time when her husband asked a doctor who had worked with children for 50 years what was his biggest lesson learned about kids. The doctor replied quickly: "Never, never interrupt a child when a child is speaking to you."
Offended people can choose to avert their attention to the drunken uncle or the pouting teenager, or the Rod Stewart impersonator in the band. The public nursing only lasts a few minutes and the alternative is to hear a screaming baby and witness a swollen mother in pain.
I hope that I am wrinkled and stooped and able to meet my grandchildren. I hope to tell them about their father, my now baby boy and my then-grown son. I hope to tell them about how brave he has always been.
My kid came home from school and asked me if "The Leprechaun" was going to come to our house and bring him chocolate coins. Really? That's a thing now?