Saturday, February 22, 2014

Feral French Fry Children of the Pacific Northwest and Other Tales of Travel Woe

Brian tends to travel in spurts for work. Sometimes he travels a lot. Sometimes just a little. Sometimes he knows about the trips weeks in advance. Sometimes he doesn't.

When he tells me about trips I feel the panic start to rise in my throat. My neck veins get bulgy. I say bad words in my head. Sometimes I sit at home and ugly cry while the kids tear the house apart. Sometimes I can be proactive and plan as many activities as possible into the days I have to fill. This will also result in ugly crying, BUT, I will be tired, and so will the kids, so with any luck they will fall asleep faster which means I will have more time to watch Grey's Anatomy and each chocolate and ugly cry without an audience.

Some of the activities I allow my children to participate in might make you ugly cry. They might make you shake your head and think, "oh dear what is she thinking?" I'm thinking my husband travels/works a lot and I need a small amount of sanity.

Don't let yourself be shamed by the "parenting police." Go right on with your bad self and fear not the judgement of others.

Successful steps to solo parenting.

Step 1: 
Go to McDonalds. Before you get all high and mighty on me chill out. They have a free play area, PLUS the germs are free too. You can go when its raining and gross outside but your kids are all crazy and whiny and weird and need to run with a pack of feral children. Also they have free wi fi. Kids get their ya yas out and you can play candy crush without using any data.Win. Win.

Also strangely their coffee isn't too bad. Buy a cup and let the kids loose.

Step 2: 
Proceed to your local library. Allow your children who are now hopped up on french fries and buzzing with plastic slide electric static to peruse the children's section. While you are at it try and find a self help book for coping with feral children addicted to french fries. Note to self, write book about feral french fry children of the Pacific Northwest. 

If possible go to a library that you don't normally go to.  My kids know when I tell them we are going to the library with fish that I'm bringing out the big guns. The library with the fish tank is slighter bigger than our local one, PLUS it has fish. Never underestimate the power of three beta fish in a fish tank. Aquatic creatures + children= 30 seconds of uninterrupted silence. Mesmerizing I tell ya.

Let the kids check out some new books or maybe even a DVD to extend your sanity hours. Our library also has an evening story hour which we checked out once and it was nice. I should say it would have been nice if Wes didn't keep going up and trying to play with the story time ladies props.

 I mean, to be fair, she had puppets. Puppets, in full view of children.

Evidently the allure of puppets is entirely too much for my children. Wes heard their siren song and couldn't resist a good puppet romp. Story time puppet lady wasn't game. Lesson learned.

We are currently seeking a puppet free story time if you have any leads. Also we might be blacklisted. Note to self, research blacklist status for story time. 

Step 3: 
Go to a pet store. We go to Pet Smart a lot. We don't have any pets. I haven't even bought anything there, which up until now I hadn't felt overly guilty about, but I'm sort of starting to the more I think about it. I shamelessly bring my children into Pet Smart to view the animals. We check out the birds, cats, lizards, ferrets, rabbits, guinea pigs and then when we have had our fill of scales and fur we leave.

Every once in awhile Jack brings up the idea of a pet and I quickly remind him that Daddy is allergic to all animals. It makes things easier. Mostly I'm lying, but its a protective lie so it doesn't count. I'm protecting my floors, my lawn, and my sanity.

Maybe next time we are there we will buy some tennis ball dog toys for me to throw to the kids at the park and I won't feel so bad.

Step 4: 
Put children to bed. Engage in nonsensical yet seemingly necessary bed time rituals that border on OCD so that your children will go to sleep.

Everyone have their special blanket? Check.

Jack do you have 97 stuffed animals in your bed arranged in order of number of legs? Check.

Wes do you have 56 toy cars that will leave marks on your face while you try and sleep in your crib of hard metal wheels? Check.

Night lights on? Check.

Damn starry night turtle have batteries and on AND changed so that it projects ONLY blue stars? Check.

Everyone had the appropriate amount of kisses, hugs, pats? Check.

Everyone have water for all that aerobic sleep you intend on having? Check.

Go to bed. So simple it only took me three hours.

Step 5: 
Do not watch scary TV or movies. Maybe don't even watch TV. Maybe just knit or read a book or go to bed.

I know you won't listen to me and I know you will watch them anyway. Then like me you will awaken in the middle of the night and think you see a small person attempting to burglarize your home. You will reach for the nearest weapon which in this case happens to be the TV remote.

Why is it that this is the only time I can find the damn thing?

Armed with your remote, you decide you are too scared to do anything right away so you hide under your covers and make a mental note that you don't really have anything horrifically expensive. I mean it was a smallish person so they can't carry too much stuff right? Isn't this why we have renters insurance? Suddenly you feel pretty righteous for having made those payments on time each month. You are so smart.

When you can no longer breathe in any more hot blanket air, you ever so slowly peek out of the covers. The smallish person is still crouching in corner except now their head is bobbing around. Dear God, I have a drunken smallish person attempting to rob me.

Remote in hand, you ninja roll out of your bed and discover that the quite small person attempting to rob you is actually the vacuum and a small helium balloon the children have discarded.

 I don't know how to explain to you how terrifying it is to awaken to a smallish person with a bobbing head lurking in the corner of your room is, but its alarming enough to wish that your remote had a taser feature. Note to self, invent remote with a taser feature. Become a millionaire. Buy an island. The end. 

When Brian comes home we are all so happy and relieved to see him.  While I watch the kids clamber over him to give over due kisses and hugs, I feel a sense of peace and calm start to wash over me. With renewed spirits I look around and see shrunken helium balloons, dishes in the sink, stray french fries and children with no pants. "It's best to not ask any questions, OK?" He nods and just like that balance is restored to our universe.

Phew! We made it!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

2013- a year in review

As 2013 came to a close I found myself, like others, oddly pensive about personal habits and urges to commit to changing them in 2014.

I think instead of reviewing the year and the subsequent thoughts that generally are of a self loathing nature one should reflect back on the wins.

There should be an award ceremony. Congrats you survived another year! You have succeeded!

In the Kelley family I would like to nominate several members for a rather stunning array of awards.

Most ER visits in one year-This award goes to Wes hands down. You nailed it kid. If there was a punch card yours would be full and we would have our 10th visit free. That's right kid you stuff all the purple latex gloves you want into those little pockets of yours because this visit is free. F-R-E-E. Take a couple of tongue depressors for the road.

Thankfully you have been healthier this winter than in previous years but we have our arsenal of steroids ready for you just in case you start to look sniffly and croaky.

Coming soon to  theater near you; its a bird, its a plane, no its a twenty five pound child on steroids! Able to climb the fridge in one leap, run laps around the neighborhood for seven hours, and survive on no stinkin' sleep! You have been warned!

Most likely to put a hole into anything-Jack takes this award by yet another clear landslide. The child has an uncanny ability to put a hole in a sock, pant leg, piece of paper, truly anything. You name it this kid can wear it out faster than you can scream shoot.

I put a patch on his jeans the other day and even went to the extra trouble of putting another patch on the inner part of the leg. I had double patches. Nothing could stop me. Jack wore the pants for 5 hours and had ripped a hole in the leg. Two patches down. Call for back up. I might start making him wear knee pads at all times.

Wes on the other hand can almost still fit in his newborn clothes and they are all in perfect condition. Evidently when you are a 25 pound 3 year old you can't destroy your clothing as effectively. You could do nothing but scoot around on your knees for days and have not even a thread displaced. This leads me to the next award.....

Most economical person in the family-I was going to announce I had taken this category as I do the household budget, pay the bills, sock away some for savings, pay down debts, and clip coupons, but I think Wes is giving me a run for my money.

 The child can wear things for multiple seasons. Each summer when I pull out the shorts and t shirts I rarely have to even check that they fit because they always do. The child has been wearing the same 12 month shorts for going on three years. True, they are starting to become a bit short but on the plus side he isn't running around with his shorts around his ankles on a regular basis.

So if you see Wes at the park this summer in his daisy dukes, judge not, for he is more than likely on steroids and can outrun you without his shorts falling off.

Most likely to launder something other than clothing-I win this category without competition. In the last year I have laundered:

a yellow balloon (no inflated)
a bullet
three metal cars
a pacifier
a handcuff key
867 tissues
3 grocery lists
approximately $2.32 in loose change
2 rubber bands
6 nerf darts

As a master laundress of items not intended for washing machines I can confidently tell you that I am thoroughly impressed at the durability of these items when put in the spin cycle. With the exception of the tissues and paper lists everything came through both the wash and the dryer unscathed. The lettering was still on the balloon and when I went to blow it up it worked like a charm. I might start accidentally washing more junk. Look out Martha Stewart, here I come.

Most likely to binge watch depressing Netflix documentaries- I win this one again. I can't help it. If there is a documentary about North Korea I cannot avert my eyes. Brian will come home from a business trip to find me bleary eyed on the couch and with a concerned look he asks me how many documentaries I have binge watched. I will tell him while ugly crying about deaf Auschwitz survivors and Korean death camp escapees who don't know what love is. He doesn't understand why I care to do this to myself but its reflexive for me. I can't NOT know about the blind and mute dolphins of the south sea and how they are being raped and pillaged by the local fishing community. Animals living in the remains of the Chernobyl disaster? Seen it. I CAN'T NOT KNOW! I saw a preview for next years upcoming Frontlines and they have devoted an entire episode to North Korea. Never before seen footage. This is like crack to a documentary addict. I might have been heard shouting, "Christmas has come early!"

Most likely to be wearing shoes at all times- Brian. Brian would wear his sneakers to bed if I let him. The man is always in shoes.When the rest of this family is lounging around in our pajamas well past 10 am on the weekend Brian is dressed as of 7 am and ready for action.  He claims that is is due to his collapsed arches and need to be prepared at all times. I claim its because he might be smarter than the rest of us.

When I step on a toy car land mine and writhe around on the carpet in pain, he just shouts, "this is why we should always wear shoes!" To me the incessant need to wear shoes appears as if he can never fully relax but I am assured that is not the case.

Whatever the case may be the man is literally unflappable so maybe the whole shoe O.C.D thing is working for him.

"Hey Bri, alligators have set the house on fire and have formed some sort of wild mob outside the house."

"Ok cool, no problem I'll just get the hose and ask them to politely leave."


 Me? Well I've seen one too many documentaries so I know how these things end.

May 2014 bring you health, happiness, and may it be void of alligator pyromaniacs, ER visits, clean yellow balloons, and holes. Now go get your shoes on.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas comes early

Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas in the Kelley household. In a lot of ways Christmas has come early this year with Wes learning new words every day and Mimi and Pa (Brian's parents) coming for an early Christmas visit. The kids (and us!) were all very excited and were spoiled with rides in the big rental van complete with dvd player, diners out, and lots of quality time to hang out.

I think Wes would have been content to spend the entire visit in the van watching Cars on a constant loop and using the automatic door opener button feature. We could have easily just tossed in some french fries and cheerios twice a day and he would have been happy as a clam.

Because of the extra help I got to run and shower without accompaniment. Despite concerns, it turns out I don't actually need a spotter at all times. I mean don't get me wrong, I tend to do awful and slightly dangerous things when left alone, like watch documentaries about Korean death camps and ugly cry into my arm while eating bulk bags of popcorn, but still I think I can handle some solo time.

So we have been busy bees picking out and cutting down our tree, baking and decorating cookies, wrapping presents, and discussing the protocol for Advent calendar chocolate consumption. Jack was pretty adamant that it was just fine to open the 24th door and eat the contents. It was an OCD sufferers worst nightmare. Don't worry I flipped the living room lights on and off exactly 24 times in the hopes that his transgression would be forgiven.  It still bothers me when I look at it.

Last Friday we went to get our Christmas tree at our favorite local Christmas tree farm. Because we went on a Friday we avoided the crowds and still got to enjoy the experience. You pretty much can't go wrong with a fire pit, marshmallows the size of your head, gifts from Santa, tractor rides, and a surprise gator ride!

Always a highlight of the Christmas tree farm-marshmallows
as big as your head and an outdoor fire pit! 
Getting our Christmas tree! Kids baled free! :) 

A a line of Kelley men carrying the tree through the farm

The boys were lucky enough to get to ride the "Gator"
 and go over bumps. They loved it! 

An awful picture of our decorated tree 

The kids wanted a tree this year so we set up a mini one in their room. They insist on keeping it lit while they sleep so their room has started to resemble the Vegas strip.

We are short two days away from winter break which means no more rushing in the morning, no more twice weekly speech therapy, and lots of quality time to drive each other equally bananas. My children excel in the driving me bananas department but here's hoping that some new toys and a break from routine serve as a novelty and we can coast on that until the new year. 

Merry Christmas Y'all!

They will always remain my greatest blessings and gifts! 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

I don't want Chinese band aids for Christmas.

Its that time of year where the Christmas lights are out in full force, glowing tinsel snowmen bedeck the aisles of every store, and Christmas carols are blasted from convenience to grocery store.

The Christmas creep is in full effect. I suspect that by the time my children are grown Christmas trees will be put up in August and black Friday will be before Thanksgiving.

We came home two days before Thanksgiving to find a bag full of gifts from our thoughtful landlord. The kids were so excited. They delightedly ripped into the first one only to discover it contained a six pack of Chinese band aids. Jack's face fell and his brow furrowed. "I don't want these French band aids for Christmas." I laughed for exactly 11 minutes and collapsed on the kitchen floor because it was just all too much. Christmas presents before Thanksgiving! Band aids for Christmas! It was all so perfect.

After I wiped away my laugh tears we had a nice chat about being thankful for what people give us. They remained skeptical.  Despite their looming skepticism they remained and remain true fans of all that the holiday season has to offer.

It doesn't matter what store we are in we have to carefully inspect and view every single Christmas decoration. Every. Single. One.

This can make routine trips to Target epic in length. Sometimes we are there so long I feel like it would be reasonable and kind if Target set up watering stations like they do at marathons. Shopping has become an endurance sport.

Never mind that my children insist on picking the biggest carts. The kind where there is a normal grocery cart bolted onto a separate cart that has children's seats.  Seats that my children sit in for 3 minutes and then bail out of scattering in different directions.

I don't have a license to drive the behemoth cart and always end up taking out a display of some sort. The aisles and displays are not made for Cadillac sized carts with a turning radius of a barge. I like to imagine I'm burning extra calories pushing it.

Evidently not riding in the cart and viewing every Christmas ornament and decoration ever invented since the beginning of time burns calories too because at this point in our trip the children need snacks. Clearly they need to refuel. Its been exactly 15 minutes since their last snack.

If I'm smart I have packed Wes's backpack before leaving the house. I leave the house in much the same way I would if I were going on a long distance hike. Multiple snacks, enough water for a camel, blankets, flash light, band aids-Chinese of course, a change of clothes, GPS locating beacon. You know the bare essentials.

 Truth be told its all good because its free entertainment. Thanks Target I owe ya. On second thought since I can never leave your store and spend less than $50 I think you owe me. Hmmm well I guess I did plow my cart into that entire display of Christmas outfits for dogs so lets call it even.

 P.S if you are in the market for doggy sweaters and formal wear Target can hook you up.

Because Jack has announced that Christmas is a short twenty pounds away, we have begun preparations by making our Christmas lists, deciding what cookies to bake, and talking about plans for the Christmas tree.

But what does one get a child who likes to watch videos of people playing Angry birds on you tube in Russian? How does one even begin to determine what he would find interesting? Poorly lit black market Russian cartoons? We know he doesn't want band aids so I'm stumped. Worse than that I am Russian stumped.

And what about Wes who has limited speech? Never fear! They have both completed a Christmas list with the help of our neighborhood toy store that offered a promotion last weekend where if you filled out a wish list in their store you would receive a $5 gift card.

I had visions of the children taking their time in the store, looking at all the fun toys, and writing large lists with wild abandon. They had other plans. Jack asked for Angry Birds seasons......I should probably add that we already have Angry Birds seasons........and its not available for obvious reasons at the local toy store.

After explaining this to Jack, he earnestly searched the store in search of something he really wanted. He ended up choosing a small white rabbit puppet. Ohhhhhhh kay! I mean lets not go nuts or anything! He then announced he was done. Finito. Needed nothing more.

 Don't we try and instill this exact thing in our children? Don't we strive to make sure they understand the reason for the season? Don't we go to great lengths to make sure our children understand the holiday spirit has less to do with receiving than giving? Then why did it feel like a let down?

Wes followed suit and picked out two small hot wheels type cars and then proceeded to be quite upset that we weren't leaving the store with them that moment. I explained we were putting them on his list for Santa. Wes then repeatedly tried to place the cars on top of the actual list, concrete little fellow that he is.

So this morning when I came downstairs I wasn't surprised when I saw the boys watching a clip of Despicable Me 2 in Russian, and I wasn't surprised when Jack then asked me how to say "hilarious" in Russian, instead I had a light bulb moment. Along with the impossibly modest white rabbit puppet I will hope that Santa has the smarts to include a Russian to English dictionary .

Watching someone in Russia play Angry Birds. Playing the game is so last year. 

The kids are content little beings which in the end makes me feel so content and I can't wait to celebrate the joy of the entire season with them instead of just the one day. The light of the season comes not only from feeling the love but seeing that twinkle in their eyes and watching as it makes everything brighter. 

They are so excited for their felt advent calendar, for sugar cookies and our cinnamon roll baking marathon. They love seeing the lights on large Christmas trees, decorating our own house, watching me wrap presents, getting big boxes in the mail, drinking hot cocoa, and snuggling on the couch while we watch Elf four hundred Russian.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


As the Thanksgiving holiday quickly approaches I have been trying to have more conversations with the kids about gratitude. I get the distinct sense that this subject matter is a little deep for them.

"So what are some things you are happy that are in your life? Things you're thankful for?"


"Anything else?"

"Nope, not really.......Wait! Crayons! I'm happy I have crayons, and Christmas, yeah, Christmas is good."

And perhaps Wes is thinking big grateful thoughts in that little mind of his and just can't get the words out.

"Wes? Are you thankful for things?" I say this with complete assurance that he will just nod his little head.




This is Wes's new word. No. I think he is quite concerned that since he is about to turn three and hasn't until this point been able to use the word "no" that he is in danger of not being allowed to get older.

He has started a vigorous cross training program aimed at building up his stamina in the no department. He's excelling. I don't want to brag but he's no-ing on a pretty advanced level.

"Wes is your favorite word no?"


See? See what he just did there? We all know the answer is in fact YES but he is slipping in an extra no just for dramatic flair. Advanced I tell you.

While I too am thankful for Christmas and crayons my list includes being thankful for the "no's" and the perspective that life is a journey and not a race.

I am so thankful that I can be privy to watching my children learn and grow and that they have the support they need to do so in a positive and consistent manner.

I am beyond thankful that we seem to have found a medication regimen that is working pretty effectively for Wes's digestive issues and that we might just might be seeing the light at the end if the tunnel.

As I sort through the last year of photos I see that the boys have a deep appreciation and love of many things.

They are thankful for Legos
I am thankful they are old enough to clean them up 

I am thankful for naps
even if it means having a sweaty neck

and peaceful faces
I am thankful for sweet eyelashes

Jack is thankful for the vacuum
I am thankful he likes to vacuum

Wes is thankful he can get away with................ 
wearing no pants!

Wes is thankful for bread

really really thankful for bread

I am thankful for little hands who hold mine while they sleep telling me without words that I need to slow down

We are all so thankful for Daddy

I am thankful for these little heads

I am wishing you and your entire family a very happy Thanksgiving! 

Friday, November 22, 2013

The day Jack came home from kindergarten Chinese

Jack came home from Kindergarten Monday and announced he was Chinese.

After a brief and intensely confusing conversation about why he was not in fact Chinese he showed me his latest school assignment.

We sat down together and read the information and Jack informed me we would be making flags together. Hence the Asian confusion from earlier.

 This month his class is celebrating their shared heritage and the teacher wants each student to note theirs and draw the corresponding flag for each country they hail from. Attached was a short survey about cultural customs, dress, meals, and holidays that we observe.

So after lunch Jack and I got down to business and we started discussing the various countries both sides of our families are from. Surprisingly enough none of these countries or lands of origin are Asian in nature. Jack remained steadfastly confused. I don't blame the child.

The first flag we drew was the Spanish flag and he wanted to know why we didn't speak Spanish if we were from "the Spanish," as he calls it. I told him I didn't really know why but that we could both learn it. He remained unimpressed.

Then, when we moved on to Ireland and he wanted to know what language they spoke and I told him mostly English, his confusion deepened. We topped this all off with the grand old English flag and his confusion reached an entirely new depth not yet achieved by the Spanish and Irish flags.

Jack: "What do they speak in English?"
Me: "You mean England? English."
Jack: "Can you speak English?"
Me: "Yes and you can too. We are talking in English right now."
Jack: "How are we talking in English?"
Me: " We just are........"

Thankfully he stopped his line of questioning. So we stood back to reflect on Jack's flags and he was quite proud of his handy work.

We then got cracking on the survey that accompanied the flag project. It wanted to know what plants grew in his countries of origin.....oh dear....Then we got to what cultural customs do we practice in the home.....ohhhhhh dear. And we ended with a nice what holidays or traditions do you observe from your native land......ohhhhhh crap.

 I wrote palm tree for plants because lets get real what the heck else can I put? I don't think Ireland or England have any super awesome flora or fauna we don't have here and well palm tree seemed cool, maybe even exotic. Spain is our only shot at a non W.A.S.P heritage here.

Big money no whammies SPAIN! I'm putting all our culturally cool eggs in one basket and that basket is named Spain. Never mind that the closest Jack has ever gotten to eating Spanish food was trying a tortilla once, he can say Adios and that has to count for something. Right? RIGHT? Si? SI? I'm speaking in Spanish now for added authenticity.

When Brian came home from work that night and Jack started showing him the flags he had drawn he proudly announced that tomorrow we were going to draw the Chinese flag.

Oh well. Maybe I will embrace the new Asian side of the Kelleys and fire up the wok. I can understand his level of confusion. Jack's kindergarten class is one of the more ethnically diverse groups of children I have seen and its a delight.

There are families hailing from the Philippines, Japan, China, Columbia, Vietnam and India. Its diversity at its very best. His best friends name is Sevin. He sits at a table with a boy named Pi and a girl named Chmoi. I'm told, by Jack, that I pronounce her name incorrectly. I'm pretty sure everyone that tries to say that name is not saying it correctly. I guess that's the risk you run when you name your kid Chmoi. Pi's parents had the right idea.

Because of Jack's level of confusion about his heritage, I felt the need to send a quick email to his teacher giving her a heads up about his muddled beliefs about his cultural ethnicity.

Dear Mrs. V,

I just wanted to write you a quick email to let you know that Jack has expressed some confusion regarding his cultural heritage and the flag project. He remains insistent that he is Chinese. You may or may not have realized that we are not of Asian descent. Jack remains unconvinced. We are rather, of a more European descent, and hail from Spain, England, Ireland and various other European countries. We just wanted you to be adequately prepared for his level of confusion regarding his country of origin. I will be sure to work with him in the days leading up to his presentation but thus far he remains at best distinctly confused.

Jack's non Asian mom Lily

I'm a bit concerned for his presentation to his class this Friday. He cannot remember which country belongs to which flag or what countries he is supposed to belong to for that matter. He believes Spanish is a country and is still completely covered in marker but he quite enjoyed himself which I think should be the point of a lot of school work for his age group.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Lesson #12: Content with the uh ohs

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Children are wonderful at being in the moment. They are naturals at mindfulness. When they play they are fully engaged and they let the real world slip away preferring instead to become intent observers of make believe. They aren't worried about running that errand, paying that bill, doing that assignment, or making that appointment on time because for that precious increment of time their priority is focusing on that singular moment and nothing else. I'm not sure when this slips away from us and when we simply decide that being present is no longer a worthwhile endeavor but its something I have personally struggled with for some time. I tend, like others, to project out and think ahead. I like to map things out and predict what the next task to complete is. While this can be a beneficial trait it can also be the undoing of quiet moments I should be enjoying. How do I learn to enjoy this moment instead of worrying about the next? Why do I shatter the calm of this moment in the hopes that I can change the outcome of the next? Why do I become so disenchanted with the newest accomplishments or successes and press on for more and more?

We find ourselves in a society where we should be constantly evolving. Ideally we are all learning, advancing, absorbing, expanding. We can get sort of obsessed with that notion. You should be smarter by now, you should be achieving more. This ever constant buzz that hums about your ears has a consistent message. "Don't be content with what you have." This is such a dangerous mentality and one I have been far too guilty of listening to. If you are also a parent you know all to well that this desire to better ourselves can all too easily translate into pushing our kids to learn more and more. You find yourself trying to teach your kid how to count in different languages, or do fractions before they are ready, not because they are interested in it, but because they should be doing it. I certainly don't mean to suggest that we shouldn't be teaching our children, of course we should, I just mean that as a parent there is this insane pressure to make sure our children know enough, are exposed enough, are cultured enough, are polite enough etc. They should be pushing for more. So we push, we struggle, and we strike on. But what would happen if we all just gave each other permission to tread water? What if we just sat back for a moment and breathed into those moments of success? What would be different about your life, my life, if we just lived in the most successful parts of our day? I would probably be a lot less cranky.

 This topic has been spinning around my head for awhile. Wes, who will be three in January has and is struggling with a significant speech delay. It took a year of weekly speech therapy for us to get to the point where he could say, "pa, ma, ha, ah" back to back. We aren't even at the point in therapy of speaking actual words. A year of hard fought syllables. For months he struggled to switch from one consonant sound to the next and for many sessions we just had to work on the letter we started with. For instance if we started out by asking him to say, "Ha," he could only successfully say syllables with the H sound. We have just now rounded the bend of being able to switch, with some ease, in between consonant sounds and we are noticing a definitive increase in his ability to spontaneously use words without us having to prompt him. He can now say, "wa," for water, ""Mmmm" for milk, "ca" for car and "bye" for goodbye,  and his favorite and perhaps most used, "uh-oh" for pretty much everything else that goes wrong.

But as good as those words are, there are so many more that he needs to convey the complex things he is thinking and feeling. I can't help but feel he is locked in a room with no way to get out. I want nothing more than to hear I love you, to hear what he wants from Santa, or to hear about his good and bad dreams. I want to hear him babble, I want him to tell me what he wants, what he's scared of, what he needs, what angers him or makes him laugh. I want these things so much it hurts. But perhaps the real problem is that I want those things for him so much that I am in danger of missing the special moments that are now. What I would have given last year to hear him utter anything let alone use signs and now I take these things for granted and push on wanting more and more. What if I gave the Uh ohs space in our life and gave them the celebration they deserve. What if, just for today, I decided to be content with the speech Wes does have and set the worries aside for another day. I want to tell you all to do it because miraculous things might start happening. For instance a little boy might grab your face while loading him into the car and point at the moon. You then might say, "yes thats the moon! Mooooooooonnnnnn. Can you say Mmmmmooooo?" The little boy might then make the sign for eat and point emphatically at the moon. "You want to eat the moon?" you might respond. The same little boy might shake his head and then point at the moon, make the sign for eat, and then the sign for toast. "The moon is hungry and wants to eat toast?!" That same little boy will shake his head vigorously up and down and "Mhhmm." as you get him buckled in. He will then grab your face softly with both of his little hands and make the sign for thank you. He's not thanking you for buckling him in, but for understanding him and what he is saying. You might then let a little tear slip down your face as you slowly back out of the driveway and give thanks for the little uh ohs you have previously been so dismissive to.