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It Will All Be OK: Assurances to My Infant Son

Nicholas-June-8-2016

It’s shortly after 8:00 pm, and my six-month-old, Nicholas, is inconsolable.

He’s been changed, fed and burped. He’s been read to in a soothing, upbeat tone in comedic contrast to his panicky, bloody-murder shrieks. He is up on my shoulder, snug in his sleep sack, wailing away as I gently pat his back.

My voice drops to a half-notch above a whisper as I nuzzle my mouth next to Nicholas’ ear.

“It’s all gonna be OK,” I promise, unconvincingly.

It will all be OK. This, like all moments big and small, shall pass. You’ll settle down, do your adorable little stretch-yawn, and sleep. And when you wake up, you’ll have the benefit, exclusive to infancy, of having remembered none of this trauma.

It will all be OK. Considering the desperate or downtrodden environments into which you could have been born, you lucked out. You have two married parents, each of whom has good jobs. You

Why You Are Not My Favorite Child

Fried-Parents-with-their-Top-Ten-Children

Our children insist we have a favorite child. I’ve explained countless times that there is no such thing. I’ve tried sharing that I, too, used to think my parents had a favorite, but now that I’m a parent… yada yada yada (they stop listening).

My husband’s favorite line is to tell one of our kids that they are “Top Ten.”

We have ten kids.

Now our lovely children enjoy debating who is in the Top Five. Sometimes one will call out a sibling saying, “You definitely made the Top Five today!” Others deem that they will remain bottom five always. It goes on and on. Honestly, it’s getting old.

So I have decided to tell my children how I really feel.

Dear Children,I’ve come to realize that none of you are my favorite and here’s why:

I’ve come to realize that none of you are my favorite and here’s why:

The reason why it takes me so

Picking Carrots

picking-carrotts-eating-small

How Reading to My Kids Changed Our Relationship

Reading to children

 

I love spending quality time with my kids, but the hectic pace of life gets in the way. From their school activities to my work, it’s rare that we get to do more than just pass each other on the way to our respective engagements.

But I’ve discovered one thing that lets me to carve out time with my children, and it doesn’t take (much) time or money: Reading a book together.

Reading a bedtime story every night has actually changed my relationship with my kids.

When my wife and I were first starting out, money was tight. I was in graduate school full time and also working full time when our oldest son was just three years old. I knew the time I was putting into school and my job would create a better life for him, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was missing out on some

Found Heart

A heart made of rocks by a creek.

Puke: A Love Story

Photo: Bob McGrath

It was mysterious and somewhat surreal: our two year old vomited at least three times in his crib during nap time without making any kind of retching sound, without crying, without any indication whatsoever.

The monitor was on and we didn’t hear a thing. I happened to be home early from work and our babysitter, Emily, was still here. We went in after his nap and were shocked to see him COVERED in puke. From his hair to his socks. His fingers, his face. The sheets, the crib, the wall, the floor. It was was truly everywhere.

He wasn’t upset, until he saw the mess… and saw us react. (Actually, I think we kept it very cool, considering the volume and scope of the situation.) Emily whisked him to a bath and I started to clean up his room. He has been lucky so far; he hasn’t been sick like this.

And, by

These Are the Days

photo copyright of Freckled Cat Photography, http://www.freckledcatphoto.com/

My favorite days at home with my girls–ages 5 and 8-months–are the days when we go slowly. The days we lie on the floor of our kitchen and try to teach Annie to crawl by crawling around ourselves. The days I sit in the rocking chair in Annie’s sunlit room, with both girls on my

Queen Esther Wins Purim

Queen-Esther-Wins-Purim-Do-Try-This-at-Home

The Best Gift I Gave My Daughter Was Her Little Brother

little brother gift

I am an only, adopted child. I knew one day I’d have children, but if pressed, I wasn’t sure when. If you asked my parents, they would’ve said, “Michelle just isn’t going down that road.”

I thought we’d have one child, maybe two? I didn’t know if I could even bear the thought of two.

I knew nothing about having siblings. How do you handle fights or the competition? I wasn’t sure how many souls would fill our family.

But the best gift I ever gave my daughter was her little brother.

Riley was born exactly two and a half years after Avery. His name was supposed to be Nalu, but he didn’t look like a Hawaiian wave. We hemmed and hawed and finally decided on Riley. It was the moment when we left the hospital that I turned to my husband and said, “It’s a unisex name just like Avery, and ends in

A Mother in Medical Land

photo by Josh, Flickr creative commons

For a long time I didn’t want to have kids. I felt I was too selfish.

My husband and I loved exploring together. We lived for ourselves, best friends taking on the world. Then we thought it was “time” to have a baby.

When I saw the two lines indicating I was pregnant, I sat on the floor, tears streaming down my face, thinking “What have I done?” Our lives changed forever in many ways.

I anticipated what a baby would bring to our lives.

Preparing the baby’s room, picking colors. How would I carry the baby, in a carrier or a pram? What sort of car seat, what mothers’ group or play dates? I thought of watching my child meet milestones, learn to sit up, crawl and eat.

I didn’t anticipate being alone in the first weeks after my baby was born. I told myself it would be okay, that it’s not as bad as

My Favorite Things

brown paper packages

When I was little, a “lonely only” (just my mama and me for a long time), I think I realized we didn’t have a lot of money. But, boy, we were rich in all the ways that mattered.

I still have the giant stocking she sewed for me when I was a baby and filled to the brim each year by scrimping and saving all year and hiding things in her closet. If my house were burning down and everyone was safe, it’d be one of the first things I’d grab to save. My birthday and Christmas gifts were few and usually not expensive, but they were thoughtful and wrapped more prettily than any department store could ever manage.

Tonight I wrapped Christmas Eve PJs for my tinies–something my mom did for me every single year even after I went to college. They are in brown paper packages tied up with string,

Christmas Star

Christmas Star

Tree Trimming

tree trimming

A Babysitter’s Guide to My Son

photo by Thomas, https://www.flickr.com/photos/_-o-_/8564516029/

Babysitters Guide: Version 9 ½ weeks,

Install date: February 1, 2002           Standard Operating Procedures

Dear Babysitter:

My son’s a touchy feely tactile infant. Therefore do not put him down alone for longer than 15 minutes at a time. That means anywhere: his bed, his parent’s bed, in the car seat, the hammock, the bouncy chair, the living room sofa, etc.

Because just when you think he’s asleep, ha!, he’ll open one big blue eye and start the whole symphony again.

The one exception may be the swing, but make sure he’s wearing trousers so his legs can fit through the holes in the seat.

If you gently touch his scalp then lower your hand to his third eye he croons.

If you gently touch his earlobes then the side of his neck he’ll give you the biggest Cheshire cat smile you’ve ever seen.

He’s extremely emotive and expressive and

Gotcha Day

photo by pixydust8605

Gotcha Day honors the day when a child (or children) is united with her adoptive family.

For our family, this is the day when my husband, our biological daughter, and I welcomed three siblings into our home and hearts forever. Overnight we grew from a family of only one daughter to a family with one son and three daughters, ages 5-3. Adoption answered my prayers of being a mother to four children despite suffering infertility.

On Gotcha Day, we celebrate our adopted children staying together as siblings and having a permanent home, no longer being wards of the state, but being members of a loving family.

While Gotcha Day is huge, we keep our celebrations simple. This year, I set out a butcher paper tablecloth and the kids decorated it while I cooked a special breakfast of chocolate chip pancakes. As with any special occasion, the girls wanted to wear fancy dresses and our

More Like the Sun Than the Sun That Day

More Liek the Sun Than the Sun That Day

It was a perfect day with a bright sun and a cool breeze. My one year old in the stroller was pointing and yelling “Ba!” at each bird, squirrel, dog, butterfly, and live creature he saw along the way.

My three and four year olds raced down the sidewalk smelling every flower they could find. “Smell

Balloon on a Rainy Day

Balloon on a Rainy Day

Check out more on June’s blog, Coffee Under the Umbrella.

Rainy Day = Bugs!

A little girls goes bug hunting in a raincoat on a rainy day.

All the Moments I Can Give

grandparents

I don’t know how old I was when I started bossing my mother around like I was smarter than she was.

Definitely when I became a mother myself:

“Why are you holding him like that? He doesn’t like that.”

“Please keep your eye on him.”

“Swaddle him like this.”

I’m not sure why I thought that I was God’s gift to mothering and she didn’t have any idea what she was doing.  I WAS HER BABY.  And–I think–I turned out OK.  Aside from the bossy part.

We were in Florida last year, visiting my parents, and my mother and I took a drive to run some errands. I was, once again, telling her what to do and how to do it, and suddenly I stopped.  I put my hand on hers as she drove and I said, “Why do I do that?”

“Do what?” she asked.

“Tell you what to do like you’re a child,” I

Happy Fourth of July

Happy Fourth of July