Category Archives: motherhood

500 Words, Physical Science, & Brain Mush


You wouldn’t think five hundred words a day would be difficult. You might be wrong. I have missed a few days during the 500 Words a day challenge. As much I would like to challenge myself each day to sit and write five hundred words, some days it just is not going to happen.

I can not choose to sit and write for thirty minutes to an hour when my son needs me to study with him. And let me tell you, after I have quizzed him for half an hour on physical science all my brain wants to do is shut down. At least helping him study for history is interesting, but physical science turns my brain to absolute mush even if I do find it somewhat interesting. My brain waves do not flow as easily where science is concerned. My mind is so tired when I finish helping him all I want to do is sleep. But he needs this time and he has finally realized he needs it. He is seeing the results of studying a little every night.

You see, with him, the realizing it for himself has always been the key.

He is….how shall I phrase this….strong minded. Even as a baby he had a will of his own, but once he realized something was better or needed he was good. I have fought a lot of battles in this thing called parenthood. Oh I know people say choose your battles. Believe me. I do. For instance, he refuses to wear a jacket unless he will be outside for very long and prefers to wear short sleeves all year round. I really do not think he gets that cold. So I do not argue with him when he gets out of the van with no jacket on a forty degree day. When he gets cold enough he is smart enough to put on a jacket. I think it is more about not wanting to keep up with a jacket at school than not wanting to wear one. He does have a tendency to put things down and forget about them. But last week when we awoke to temperatures in the single digits and teens I fought the battle. He wore a jacket to school.

I have also finally realized we have more adjusting and catching up on study skills and forming the habit before he can study on his own as I always assumed he would at this age. Perhaps I am beginning to rest in this instead of resisting it.

He climbs in the van this afternoon and just as I do every afternoon I ask him how his day was. “Awful,” he replies.

Three semesters in at his new school and this is only the second time he has replied with “awful” instead of “good.”

“What happened?” I ask.

“We have so much homework,” he complains. I stifle a little giggle knowing this is a good thing. Even with study hall he was not able to get all his homework done.

He leans the seat back on the commute home to catch a thirty minute nap. We arrive home and I tell him he can take a short break before he gets started on his homework and studying.

“No. I’ll just go ahead and get it done.”

I tried not to fall out on the floor in a mixture of shock and happiness and pride.

I check on his progress and tell him how proud I am of his neat handwriting. Between his hurry and being an artist, his penmanship is not always the easiest to read.

He finishes his assignments and we sit down to study. I make him open his science book so he can search for the answers as I quiz him.

An hour and a half later we finish and I have had a nice refresher course on Native Americans, the Homesteading Act, static electricity and batteries.

If anyone needs me you can find my brain in a pile of mush. Who knew physical science would be so much harder twenty-four years later.

And as I type past seven words maybe five hundred words a day aren’t so difficult after all…..well….maybe.

Piano Practice

Five afternoons a week I sit down with Squirt to help him with his piano and guitar practice. We have lessons one afternoon for an hour each week and we take one day a week off usually. As tough as it is some days it is one of my favorite parts of the day. That and listening to him sing while he gets a bath each night.

It’s not always his favorite part of the day. He doesn’t understand why I push him with the music. I know one day he will so I gently push. I don’t pressure him to do anything else, but I digress. I have another blog post started with all God is teaching me through that, but we’ll leave that for another day.

He doesn’t like it when I video him. Says it makes him nervous and he messes up, but today I insisted. I need a freakin’ psychology degree to understand this child of mine most days.

So this is mainly for the grandparents and an aunt and other family members. And if those family members could do me a favor and NOT mention to the Squirt that you’ve seen this? (In other words, Pop, do not tell him you saw this video.) That’d be great. It would save me some drama and hopefully a few less gray hairs on this 37 year old head of mine. Thanks.

The Moments You Know You Are Doing Something Right as a Parent

Let's face it. Parenting is a roller coaster.  And there are moments where you are just tired of the up and down motion of it all. Come on. Admit it. Parenting is exhausting. But then that feeling, that affirmation that it is all worth it, hits you.

Children don't come with a handbook. That first year is amazing. The sweet baby smell, precious coos and smiles and laughs and snuggles. The chubby cheeks and giggles. Precious.

Then something happens and you wonder what happened to your sweet precious baby whose only issue was not sleeping through the night. They start walking and  talking and not just talking, but asserting their will and independence.

As a parent you have to find that balance of enjoying their amazing personalities and discoveries while disciplining them and training them. It's not always an easy balance.

And let's face it. It's the disciplining that takes all the fun out of it. Now if you are a parent who has an easy going, always follows the rules child then my hat's off to you. I myself do not have this child.

My son is amazing, talented, intelligent, talkative and a lot of times the most downright stubborn thing on the planet. Can anyone identify? He's either going to become a talented architect or one of the best lawyers you'll ever meet. The kid can argue for hours on end.

And guiding all that is a challenge. Don't get me wrong. I wouldn't trade it for anything, but there are times when the shear mental game of it all is about more than I can handle. I know some of you can relate.

But then there are days when something happens and you realize that all your effort, all your mental exhaustion, is paying off. 

Yesterday was one of those days.

As I walked out of school after substituting all day with Squirt by my side I asked how his day was. "Fine" he tells me. "But something happened that I'm really upset about."

"What happened?" I asked.

"Joe (name has been changed) had told us he would be checking out. When the office called for him to check out most of the class yelled 'Yay!' "  My Squirt was so upset that most of his classmates had cheered when this child was being checked out.

Sad, right? It certainly doesn't surprise me that children can treat each other that way. We've all done something like that at one time or another. But it is disheartening for the child who gets hurt.

At the beginning of the school year Squirt had a hard time adjusting to Joe. He calls him a friend, but will admit that there are times when he finds it difficult to deal with Joe's behavior. Joe is a unique child. He's smart and sometimes funny, but he has some special needs and sometimes the other children have a difficult time dealing with his behavior.

As he relaying the story a few tears fell from Squirt's eyes.

"Squirt I know you feel bad for Joe."

"Mama I don't just feel bad for him. I can't describe how I feel for him," he told me trying to hold back the tears.

"And you know Mama, tomorrow Joe will probably come back in with a big smile on his face."

I asked Squirt what that said about Joe's character? That if he could come back in smiling what did that say about his personality; did he think that being able to come back in not worrying what someone did to him was a good characteristic to have? Would that be something to admire in Joe?

He said it was, but he also voiced his worry that Joe might just stuff it back down inside him. Sometimes his insight astounds me. Remember this post?  I told him I prayed that Joe didn't "stuff it back down inside."

I HATE, HATE, HATE that Joe was treated this way. I wish the incident had never occured.  My heart hurt for Joe too.

But it was one of those conversations that made me think, "Okay. We must be doing something right."  I'm a proud mama for how his heart hurt for his friend.  I hope he carries that on into his teenage years. That ability to hurt for those who aren't always the easiest to love.

I don't want this post to come across in a prideful way. I am certainly no where near the perfect parent, but there are days when you struggle and struggle with this whole thing called parenting and you wonder if anything is getting through to their little minds and souls.

It was definitely an affirmation I needed. I just wish it hadn't come in the circumstances it did.

Have you had any of those affirming parent moments lately? Do you sometimes wonder if anything you are doing is getting through? If you do don't give up. When you least expect it you'll get a glimpse into their little soul and realize that everything you do is getting through after all.