Thursday, August 16, 2012


Noah starts Pre-K in three short weeks. He’s going to be at the Big Kid School just down the street for two and a half hours every morning. Just like a Big Kid. I spent some time on the phone this afternoon with his new teacher, Ms. C, and shot off handfuls of questions about the classroom, experiences, abilities, schedules, etc. Everything lined up with our expectations until she said one word: blended. Blended as in students on the standard track and students with Individual Education Plans (IEPs, formerly known as Special Education) learning in the same classroom.

If I’m honest, my first reaction was not one of acceptance and pleasure. I’m ashamed of that first reaction. I immediately went to a place of worry that MY kid would be held back, MY kid wouldn’t get individual attention because he doesn’t need an IEP. How horrible of me. That’s not the reaction I want my son to have when he walks into that classroom on Day One and meets sixteen new friends, five of whom might have some special educational needs. I’m deeply ashamed of myself.

Once I shut off those (highly) irrational fears I heard the enthusiasm in his teacher’s voice as she described a joyful classroom full of energy and liveliness. How the kids sit together at circle time and they talk about people being different and about acceptance and friendship and oh, is that not EVERYTHING you want your child to understand about the world? That there are millions of people who are different and special and amazing in their own ways. Of course it is. She described the silly dance parties they have and the group time for those who need some more advanced lessons. She told me the joy she feels when she sees a “regular track” kid befriending a kid with special needs and the two families setting up play dates.

Her excitement was contagious and I found myself nodding my head in agreement. How wonderful indeed. Noah’s little community has been rather homogenous thus far and the fact that we get this spectacular opportunity to diversify that community is pretty special. My initial negative reaction was quickly replaced by happy anticipation. Noah will get the benefit of knowing children from all backgrounds and abilities and it is my deepest hope that he carries these early experiences with him forever. Yes, Noah is very special and deserves only the best. And the best is exactly what he’ll get in Blended Pre-K Room 106. We’re so very excited.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


And just like that, he turned four.

Noah, you're a big boy now. You tell me every morning when you wake up that Today I Am Four! Except you've been four for two weeks now but I don't tell you that. I let you tell me that you are newly four and newly big because, in truth, I don't want you to be big. I want to keep you small for always. But I know time is unkind and I won't get my way.

You accomplished so much this past year. One day last October you tossed aside those silly diapers and declared yourself ready for the potty. This past April you handed me your beloved DeDe (taggie blanket) and told me you were a big boy and didn't need it anymore. Then you promptly broke into tears when I actually took it and put it away for good. But you knew you didn't need it. You loved that DeDe with every cell in your small body but you also knew it was time to let it go. You did it with a grace and maturity unexpected of a three year old. You also stopped sucking your finger which was cause for much jubilation. You earned that visit to the toy store one hundred and ten percent.

Do you want to know your biggest and most important accomplishment? You learned how to read. Oh, Noah, that night you pointed out words to me and sounded them out and READ them, my heart leapt into my throat and my mouth smiled as wide as it could go. I couldn't have been more proud of you than I was in that moment. I swear I walked around with a goofy smile for days, wearing my pride on my face. I also learned how to read when I was three and to see you loving it as much as I did brings me such joy. Your father was pretty impressed too (understatement). Reading and books have been a shining light in my life and I want to share that with you. I will never, ever tell you to turn off the light if you're reading and learning and growing that brain of yours.

The doctor proclaimed you perfect at today's exam, but we already knew that. You're my best boy, my four year old buddy, and the sweetest big brother a little girl could ever have.

We love you to the moon and back, sweet boy. Happy Fourth Birthday.

Monday, August 6, 2012


I’ve been thinking quite a lot lately about how to build in time for the things I like to do outside of my family and work responsibilities. Let me back up. The notion that mothers have hobbies is not new. Take a look around your FB feed or LinkedIn or even Twitter and note that many women, who also happen to be mothers, make time for their interests. One of my friends is a community theater actress when she’s not working at her day job and mothering her two boys. She just finished the lead role in a show and although the rehearsals and shows took her away from her family more than she might have liked, she made the time to do it because it’s her “thing”. (And I wish I had made the time to go see her perform. Bad friend.)

Other women I know run marathons, are active photographers, write novels, volunteer at their children’s schools with regularity, make beautiful clothing and accessories for their children with their hands (and a trusty sewing machine). Most of these women also have full-time jobs. And husbands, and kids, and homes to manage. I want to know how they do it. They don’t have more time than I do; last time I checked there are still only 24 hours in a day. They don’t necessarily have more help than I have available to me. I think what they do have is a true, deep, and meaningful passion for their hobbies, for their “things”. Am I missing that passion? Is there really nothing in my life that I find important enough to make time for? I refuse to believe that to be true.

I wake up at 5:45 in the morning, get the kids up, get myself dressed and presentable, get to work, work all day, go home, get dinner together, feed the people, bathe the people, read to the people, tuck in the people, and then collapse on the couch from exhaustion. You may have noticed but I haven’t written anything of substance here in months. MONTHS. This blog used to be one of my favorite spaces. It was an outlet for me to tell you my stories, post pictures of the precious babes, and spill the contents of my brain when they threatened to take over. At some point it became just another thing to cross off the list…I had lost my passion for writing. But is it possible that passion can be resurrected?

Twitter and Facebook and blogs sometimes feel like they move too fast for me. Like all the people behind them are living these spectacular lives with opportunities to be even more amazing (and if you didn’t just hear Electrolux Kelly Ripa in your head a little we can’t be friends). They have these wonderful hobbies and are doing pretty cool things in their little corners of the world while I sit prone on my couch with the iPad on my lap and toothpicks propping up my eyelids. Yes, I could be writing away at that non-fiction book I’ve been considering every evening but I’m also exhausted from thinking all day. Yes, I could be practicing yoga at a studio in my neighborhood but the thought of leaving the house after my shoes are off and the kids are in bed…that requires a store of energy I don’t have.

I begin to wonder if it’s just the fact that I have small children. If you were unaware, small children suck the energy out of you, molecule by small molecule (darling as they are). But then I look at these women I previously mentioned and guess what? They also have small children. They just have a better understanding of themselves (perhaps deeper pockets, too?) to make their hobbies a reality on a regular basis.

If I had to name my passion it would be writing; it’s putting words to paper (screen), exploring ideas and wandering the far reaches of my mind. I find comfort in the written word, as much reading it as writing it. I admire people who can weave a good story or communicate with clarity and truth through their words. In the course of writing this post, I began to feel the stirrings of excitement. This…energy (how novel! how foreign!) stemming from the possibility of a new discovery. Can I make time for writing? Is there room for me in the community? Can THIS be my passion?

Why not.