Viewing entries in

Paging Super Mom


Paging Super Mom

These days my life is filled with moments of content, peace and continuous excitement. My thoughts are many, but flowing with ease.  Balance is a word no longer foreign in meaning. I am living in the skin I was born with and it feels comfortable and form fitting. In short, its quite nice.

Many days I hear myself saying “I have arrived.” Quiet whispers of joy and gratitude- filled with dreams I know are coming to life. I wait for birds to sing me a Welcome Home lullaby…But instead as I sit quietly in my moment of bliss, I hear “Mommmmm! Mommmm!” shouting from the other room.


Why? Why? I am now yelling in my head.

And then I hear “Whattt!??” in a tone coming out of my mouth I recognize as frustration and irritability. Ewww…I am really no better than them.

More shouting “I was on my Ipod (for the past 2 hours and you didn’t notice) minding my own business and she just walked by and kicked me!”

“I did not!” She screeches. Then tears, then more yelling, then – silence.  Okay, the silence was mine. Maybe if I ignore them and act like I don’t hear them they will go away.

But they don’t go away. Now I hear heavy footsteps- heavy because they are pounding on the floor as they develop their 2 person frantic search party to see who can get to me first to tell their side of the story the loudest and most visibly upset.

My choice catch phrases start pouring out…”You need to figure this out, preferably in a way that doesn’t involve fists and feet. Don’t hit your brother. Don’t hit your sister. How does it feel when you spit those angry words out of your mouth? You might want to find another way to communicate how you are feeling. This isn’t working.”

Yet they continue their whiny rants.

The counselor in me searches for meaning, understanding, reason and peaceful resolution. The angry human in me wants to scream “Shut the hell up and go away!” and the mother in me is feeling guilt that I can’t fix their problems quickly enough to make sure no one is feeling pain. Especially me. Its so painful- and annoying-and maddening.

So as I stare at them- wondering who will come out of me, I page Super Mom, the combo of the three. Super Mom, the voice that shows respect, but the words that come out sensible and loving. She exudes wisdom and insight they can not deny or debate.  She speaks in matter of fact tones and does not raise her voice, but lowers it to show the seriousness and validity of the words. And when they attempt to interrupt, she quiets them in her, “No, you are here to listen and accept the help you’ve asked for” tone. Damn, that Super Mom is good.

And then I hear her clear her throat to begin…

“Seriously, how many times do I have to tell you to keep your hands and feet to yourself? I am NOT your referee. Figure it out. Until then, go to your rooms and leave me alone!!” she barks.

Hmmm…Super Mom? Sorry, she’s not available. She lost her patience at “Mommmm”. Please leave a message at the beep.

In reality, I am here to be their referee, their cheerleader and coach. I am here to be their counselor and their emotional punching bag, often at the same time. I am also here to tell them exactly what doesn’t work for them and offer suggestions for what does- even when they don’t ask for it.

If the expectation is to be Jack of All Trades- and it is- I will do it to the best of my ability, but they may not always like my ability, my humanness, my limits, but that is what I am able to offer. I am Super Mom, in her truest form.

Even when all else is flowing beautifully in my life, my role of mother keeps me grounded and rooted in reality. The reality that life is awesome, but there are moments of frustration and anger, of sadness and worry and setbacks. Lots of setbacks. But even within those setbacks comes opportunity to regroup and rebuild and understand the various parts of myself.  The calm, the loving and the imperfect.

And that Super Mom, is where it’s at.


The Learning Curve Child


The Learning Curve Child

Is it me, or is there always one child who introduces a steeper learning curve than the others?

The other day, I realized as I was swapping kid stories with the town librarian, I have a lot of stories. I mean, we all do, but most of mine are with one kid in particular.  Twenty minutes prior, I was talking about the same kid to my naturopath.  (Yes, I’m one of those people…I love options) And even a couple hours before that was a very different story about the same kid with a colleague at work.  This one child supplies COUNTLESS stories filled with fear, intense frustration and ridiculous amounts of laughter.

If you are familiar with my writing, or have ever met us, you know exactly who I am referring to.  My 5 year old son, aka the J Man, the Beast and the Happiest Boy Who Ever Lived.  Both my children are fully aware that if the J Man was born first, there would only be the J Man, so we are very thankful he came after the easy peasy girl child.  My daughter has always excelled in school, been a good friend, almost never gets sick and is a HUGE help to me around the house.  A parent’s dream.

As for the boy child, while in utero, he gave me migraines weekly for the first four months and I couldn’t even think about food without nausea taking over…and I love food, a lot. That should have been my first sign.  At birth, the J Man failed his hearing test twice and the specialist told me he’d be deaf in one ear, but he’d learn how to speak. Upon further testing, they determined his hearing was actually fine. I think he faked us out.  A year later, he had to have tear duct surgery in both eyes. But one didn’t take, so he had to do it again.  I think he liked the post op popsicles and stuffed animals so he made his duct close back up.  Or how he crawled out of his crib repeatedly at 14 months like 007, so stealth like that no one could hear him and know what he was getting into. He maneuvered around every child proofing method like a magician and found danger in places no one could proactively discover.

And then there was the time he poured hot wax into his mouth from a burning candle.  I mean really, who does that? Or the time he locked himself in a car in the driveway on a hot day with 35 people around watching and not noticing for at least 30 minutes. Or the time he nearly electrocuted himself on one of the outlets in his bedroom and flames shot out it leaving smoke lines up his arm and all the lights in the house flickered.  Or when he wandered off during my daughter’s soccer practice and was sitting in a stranger’s car.  And all the while, I SWEAR I was WATCHING him!  Little dude was fast. If I had a nickel for every time someone has commented, “Wow, he has a lot of energy!” I’d have enough to pay off his first two bail bonds.

Recently, I was organizing our files and noticed that in five years, the boy’s file is eight times the size as the girl’s, who is three years older.  Between the asthma, the major allergies, the significant speech delay where he tested below the first percentile and they looked at me like he would be lucky if we ever understood him, I have acquired a lot of paperwork.

Believe me, I am not complaining. It could be so much harder, I know that.  I am just pointing out that it seems like one child may be A LOT more work than some of the others.  I’ve seen it with some of my friends and hear it from many parents, so it can’t just be me…I hope.

My best friend used to say that God only gives us what we can handle and she, for one, could not handle the J Man, so I was the mother chosen to raise him because I had just enough patience.  I think she was nicely trying to say, “Sorry sucker, better luck next time,” but I can’t be sure.

And because he has required so much attention, I wonder if my easy peasy girl child is getting enough.  So helpful, considerate and independent, she needs less redirection and support, but equally the amount of attention and love. Sometimes more perhaps. to show her that her effort doesn’t go unnoticed and her role in our family is cherished and appreciated.  But because she tries hard, and makes it seem effortless, it’s easy to expect the best and wonder what has gone wrong when she is off…like she’s just a normal kid or something.

We learn so much about ourselves through parenting our children.   Each child comes with their challenges and we learn how to navigate down the path with uneven terrain, finding out a little bit more about who we are and what we are capable of each time. Through their triumphs we feel pride and satisfaction and through their hardships, we search for our strengths, while helping them find their own.  We learn the joy of sharing our best traits and understanding what the purest of love feels like.  At the same time, we learn the power and challenge of maintaining our patience and the insecurity of not being in control of something we invest in so freely.  One minute we are patting ourselves on the back and the next, we are questioning what we are doing wrong. It is truly an education and experience like no other.

And as previously mentioned, it’s a lot of work. No joke.

On a positive note, our hard work is beginning to pay off and maturity is starting to change up the boy’s stories.  Now that we can understand him perfectly, we have found, he is one funny little guy, as well as kind and considerate with some great potential to be a stand up human being.

In fact, as I just reminded the boy of his previous stories, he commented, “You’re right mom, who doose that?” Exactly.  The kid who can skillfully charm us over and quietly torture us at the same time. That’s who doose.


My Sibling, My Friend…sometimes


My Sibling, My Friend…sometimes

Prior to having our first child, my husband wanted a basketball team size family.  Lots of kids. Lots.  I don’t know if it was the moody pregnant wife or the sleepless nights and loads of extra responsibility that came with the first child, but his tune changed quickly after we had our daughter.  He was okay with having one.  She was beautiful, healthy, funny, smart, every parent’s dream child…and again, a lot of responsibility.  Why risk it?

A little over two years later, that question was answered when we announced I was pregnant.  My daughter was thrilled with the idea of having a sibling. She told us he would be a boy well before we had the confirming ultrasound and she was the one who broke the ongoing debate of his name.  She after all, ruled our house with her charm, and she was the big sister.  Once he was born, she fell instantly in love with him.  She wanted to always be around him and take care of him. We were so proud of her and so happy that we had decided to give our family this beautiful gift.  He was an angel baby and an amazing lesson of responsibility and love for his sister.

My son’s love for his sister was also unrivaled.  He used to stare at her in adoration, her name was even his first word.  He constantly wanted her attention and approval.  She was his idol.

Fast forward to now.  My children argue or make snide comments to each other at least 325 times a day. At least.  They both have strong personalities, loud and opinionated and the competition to express them is fierce.  They are competitive, argumentative and at times aggressive when it comes to their siblingship.  (Sometimes made up words fit best) They can be mean, hurtful, sarcastic, demeaning and rude towards each other and most of the time, I turn into the angry referee who is constantly questioning, “is it ok to talk to your brother/sister like that?” To which they reply “no” and then go at it five seconds later as if I just hopped in Wonder Woman’s invisible jet.  Actually, that would be nice, wouldn’t it? I usually send them to their room to work it out. Did I mention they share a bedroom?!! They then quickly come to a formal agreement so they don’t have to spend another minute together to prolong the torture.

But here’s the other reality.  When they are separated for an afternoon out and are given a balloon or sticker or something fun from somewhere, they almost always ask for another one for their sibling.  When my daughter plays soccer, my son is her biggest fan, or at least the loudest.  My daughter reads my son bedtime stories and they snuggle on his bed until he knocks out. When they play games together, they giggle like crazy, enjoying each others’ company, right up until the point that someone is accused of cheating and it ends abruptly.

Siblings may not be immediate friends or the closest friends, but they have a unique relationship that can’t be matched. Sometimes it’s hard for them to see it, but the more we are able to show them the importance of preserving this relationship and what they have to gain from it, the better off we all are.  They are each others first experience of learning how to share time, attention, responsibility, and space. When they are confronted with disagreements, they must learn how to work it through in order to keep peace in the home.  They learn how to argue and discover what works and doesn’t work. It’s not always easy, but its reality. The more they learn in the safety of their home, the more they can practice and be prepared when confronted with those they don’t have as many chances with.

Although they drive each other nuts and at times their greatest personal accomplishments are getting the other one in trouble, I have no doubt that if the big, bad bully showed up on the bus, both my kids would defend the other in a heartbeat. They share genes, parents, life experiences, memories, values and a genuine respect for each other that they will never share with anyone else.  And at a level they may not recognize, I believe they know and acknowledge this.

The days of constant adoration may be over, but the lifetime of learning from each other’s experiences, respecting each other’s differences, and supporting each other in the ups and downs of life, is just beginning.  I am comforted by the fact that I know, no matter what, they have each other. They may not always agree or even want to be in each others presence for more than five minutes, but when it counts, they will be there.  For this, I am very thankful, even when I am riding in Wonder Woman’s invisible jet. Man, she was lucky…


Q&A My Perspective: Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones, But Words…


Q&A My Perspective: Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones, But Words…


My daughter is in 4th grade and it is already clear that young girls can be very cruel to each other.  I don’t see that with boys.  Why is that?


Since this is a general question, I’m going to give a general response, while acknowledging that every situation and child is different.  However, our general societal norms and stereotypes remain the same.

I actually don’t believe that girls are any more cruel to each other than boys are, they just express themselves differently and are socially driven to do so.

From birth on, gender differences are made clear.  Girl babies are described as pretty, sweet, angelic, and dainty.  Boy babies are described as handsome, strong, tough and solid.  Before they even understand the words, they are being taught their social place in the world. As they grow, we often reinforce these roles encouraging our girls to stay sweet and kind and our boys to be rugged and tough and use words and actions to tell them so.

As infants and toddlers they cry when they are angry, or throw temper tantrums or have those really exaggerated pouts.  These expressions are okay with us because they are young and they don’t know how to express themselves in a more mature fashion to get what they want.  At some point, and the cut off varies for every child, we expect a different response from them and tell them so. When a little girl cries from anger, we will ask her what’s wrong and try to reason it out.  When a little boy cries from anger, we are more likely to want him to just suck it up and may respond with a consequence if he doesn’t do so.

Boys like to be physical and so do girls, but we often view girls as physically weaker so we don’t support it as much. When boys wrestle and fight, we say “boys will be boys” and view it as a normal form of expression.  If girls wrestle and fight, we hold our breath hoping that they won’t get hurt or tell them to use their words to work it out because we are not comfortable with this physical form of expression.

In both kid and grown up world, when we’re angry at someone, our immediate reaction is to want them to feel the same, if not more, pain than we do. Since it’s not “lady like” to raise a fist, girls are encouraged to use their words more to express their anger and work it out.  Girls are more likely taught to communicate using words and identify their feelings and how to work through them.  Boys are more often taught to push down their frustrations and deal with them independently, because it’s not viewed as “strong” to talk about your feelings. They may be feeling the same frustrations, but will express it differently.  Because of this girls will more likely use words to hurt those that upset them which can often be cruel.  Whereas boys are more likely to get into a physical altercation to create the pain they want to inflict. In both cases, it’s the way they’ve been socialized to respond.  But let’s be honest, boys can use their words to be cruel too, especially towards girls because they’ve also likely been taught to “never hit girls.” It creates the desired pain and you get in less trouble for doing it.

As a side note, with the new bullying laws in place, this form of aggression will have stronger consequences, so teaching our children how to express their anger and jealousy in non threatening and hurtful ways will become increasingly more important (even though it should be already).

As parents, it’s our job to acknowledge and teach our children that words can hurt and need to be carefully chosen.  They have a lasting impact that wounds us for much longer than a bruise on the arm.  As their role models, we need to show them that it’s okay to be angry, but to use behaviors and tactics that help you calm yourself down and get what you want in a constructive and non threatening way. And damn, sometimes that’s ridiculously hard!  But if you think of it in terms of all the therapy you’ll save them, totally worth it!


Rain, Rain Go Away (Or Put on Your Boots and Go Out and Play)


Rain, Rain Go Away (Or Put on Your Boots and Go Out and Play)

Once upon a time, on a seasonably warm and rainy Sunday afternoon, I sat in my living room reading my latest book club book feeling incredibly proud that I might actually have something to contribute to the next discussion.  It had been months, maybe a year actually, since I had read a book to completion for book club.  As I read, I listened to my children reluctantly doing their household chores, becoming distracted every time a new thought entered their minds.  From my lazy perch, I kept reminding them to stay on task.

And then I heard it, the creak of the door to the mudroom and then the slam of the door leading to the garage. My son had escaped.  I sent my daughter to go find him, as it was pouring rain outside.  As she opened the door I heard her yell my son’s name in her usual annoyed tone.  Then silence for a while and giggling laughter passing beneath the window I sat near.  Ugh! Now I would have to get up and question what on earth they were doing in the rain.  Didn’t they care that I just wanted to sit and relax?

I searched and found them hanging out in the little clubhouse of their swing set. I imagined how wet they were and was annoyed with having to go through the lecture of knowing better than to be outside in the rain.  To my surprise, they came running with full rain gear on and umbrella in use. Not wet at all.  They excitedly began sharing tales of the big puddles they found in the yard that went up to their waists and then laughing at their own exaggerations.  I looked at them knowing it was now my duty to tell them to get inside, dry themselves off and get back to work.  And then the question came…why? Why couldn’t they play outside in the rain, get dirty, jump in puddles, go on an adventure in their own yard?  I had no good reason.

It wasn’t like they had never played in the rain before either. It had just typically been during a time I didn’t have earmarked for getting their chores done and not being allowed to have any fun until that happened.  Unlike Cinderella, there was no fancy ball to look forward to, maybe dessert after lunch if they were lucky.  It was just my own expectations, getting in their way.

When I told them they could continue their adventures, you would have thought they were about to go to the ball!  They ran inside to pack a backpack full of snacks and supplies they would need as they headed out into the wild.  I even held my breath when I heard them planning on choosing one stuffed animal each for the journey.  Wet stuffed animals…great.  But really, why did I care?  It was their adventure to take, their stuffed animal to share it with, their time to just be kids.  It was my job to allow them the opportunity and provide the towels at the end. I relished in the moments of their planning session as they happily sang out what they would need in the “big storm” and smiled as my daughter announced that I was the “best mommy ever.”  I am always the “best mommy ever” when I allow them to do or eat the things they know I don’t support.  If only they knew how hard of job it is to be the mediocre and sometimes mean mom that they are used to.

I sat and listened to them with the back door open, laughing and giving advice to each other of how to survive the storm.  Their giggles were musical and infectious.  And when they came to the door, knocked politely and asked in their adorable little voices, “Mommy, why don’t you get off your lazy tushie and join us.” Lazy tushie?! It was true.  So I put down my book and lame excuses and joined them.  That’s right, I then rose to the “Coolest Mommy Ever”. 

Had I held on to my expectations of them so fiercely, which is not uncommon, we would have had a very different experience.  They would have spent the day cleaning their playroom, putting away laundry and helping with all the household chores and I would have been happy with the accomplishments. Yet, they would have missed out on the opportunity to pack together for the big storm and spend six hours (yes, six hours!) outside playing in the rain and enjoying their own company.  The house will get cleaned later…maybe. And that’s okay.

So often we have a plan in mind that must get done, we must keep ourselves and our children on track and we do it for the good of our family.  As we should! We would drive ourselves nuts if we were to let it all go.  But when the expectations don’t fit the mold of the day or the week or even the shape of our child, it may be time to reevaluate why it’s so important to us.

If we let the rain become our obstacle, or our own unwavering expectations, we may miss out on the experiences that highlight the joy in our lives and the opportunity to appreciate what is staring us in the face, or asking us ever so nicely to “come play with me.”   And the bonus, I now have one more perfectly crafted picture to add to my mental scrapbook and I just had to wear rain boots to get it.


All Children Are Not Created Equal


All Children Are Not Created Equal

“Before I got married I had six theories about bringing up children; now I have six children, and no theories.” ~John Wilmot

All children are not created equal. We recognize this when we have more than one pregnancy, when our friend’s child starts to walk and talk quicker than our own and when we see grades on report cards that allow for improvement. And yet, we so often feel compelled to treat our children equally when it comes to parenting.

If there was one style of parenting that worked, there would not be 3 million parenting books to help teach you the way that works for you and your child. Like the acquisition of most life skills, effective parenting is trial and error and the learning curve is often huge!

When most moms get together and talk about their kids, they spend the majority of their conversation swapping stories of how different their children are of each other and their friends. And then they will talk about what discipline or praise works for them. It is often quite different, just as different as our children. And yet, experts still write books which we read on how to do it the “right” way. Really?

My daughter is a gem. Sensitive, kind, insightful, super smart and well mannered, she brings us great pride. She is also incredibly manipulative and dramatic and uses her intellect to outsmart friends and her little brother to get what she wants, sometimes in deceptive ways. Confident and hopeful, she tries to work over her parents. Doesn’t she know these skills are genetic?

My daughter is also a perfectionist and has anxious tendencies. I know when I talk to her, I have to be sensitive to how she responds to criticism. She works hard to be the best and when she realizes she isn’t all the time, she struggles with this knowledge. My parenting style with her is direct and firm, but with a lot of reinforcement and praise for her positive behaviors to make sure she recognizes her strengths.

My son is a love. I have frequently labeled him “the happiest boy alive.” Charming, witty and always laughing, he truly seems to embrace every moment of life’s joys. I have also labeled him “the beast.” Impulsive and contrary, with an inability to sit still anywhere, he is tough to monitor in public without fearing arrest.

My son is not a perfectionist, with exception to his perfect ability to accept that he will not do everything well. He is quick to give up when he is frustrated and moves on quickly to the next task at hand, comfortable with his level of success. My parenting style with him is also direct and firm, but with more encouragement to keep trying until he does what he sets out to accomplish. He needs continuous redirection and a push to plod forward no matter how tiring or frustrating the task.

As their personalities develop and their behaviors change, I am more aware of how differently I have to treat them, but yet not let them in on the secret, because anyone who has more than one child knows, they are constantly watching for favoritism and discrepancies between how they are being treated. Gender differences and age can also impact how we parent them, but eventually we realize, it’s because they are simply different people, regardless of maturity or gender. By the way, I do think gender makes a big difference in how we parent at times, but that is a different discussion.

So how do you know the right style of parenting for your child? Start with knowing your child and seeing them for who they are. Then take the advice, your own or someone else’s that you have been given and try it out. I really am a firm believer that effective parenting comes from trial and error, which can be time consuming and frustrating, but once you find what works, you are blissfully happy…right up until you and your child change again! And know yourself. If you are given a suggestion that doesn’t jive with your personality, it’s not going to work for you because you won’t be comfortable and it won’t work for your child because they will see it doesn’t fit you. For example, if someone suggested I monitor my son’s every move and redirect his behaviors whenever I see them become negative, it would not work. I believe in fostering independence and learning from your own mistakes. If I were to monitor to his every move, I would get annoyed and he would become dependent on me to know when he was doing something right or wrong and it wouldn’t create the desired result.

So just as much as children are not created equally, neither are their parents! How much trial and error got you to where you are today? My guess is plenty. Sometimes scrapes and bruises help remind us to jump over the rock the next time we see it in our path. And sometimes the scars we endure help define who we are. Error is okay if we learn from it. Embrace what you learn and regroup when it’s not working, with the confidence of knowing we all are in this big learning curve together and with enough patience and effort, it can all work out.


“You Get What You Get and You Don’t Get Upset”


“You Get What You Get and You Don’t Get Upset”

“You get what you get and you don’t get upset.”

I don’t actually know where this originated from, but for my children, it was their Auntie Tara, my best friend, who coined the phrase which became our mantra last summer, for the grandiose act of selecting a popsicle. If you pulled out a green, you get a green. If you pull out a red, you get a red. That’s just the way it is. You’re lucky you’re getting a popsicle.

And then it moved onto snack choices or the type of juice that came in the coveted drink box. My children would chant this phrase often to each other when one of them would snub an option that seemed lesser than what they were willing to accept. They were teaching each other the power of acceptance in times of disappointment, an invaluable lesson in the realities of life. You do get what you get and you don’t get upset. Actually, you can and often do get upset, but it’s not going to get you anywhere, another irritatingly valuable lesson.

With childrearing, this lesson is the same, yet can be quite challenging to accept. We begin with expectations for the pregnancy, what the symptoms are and sensations and then compare with everyone we know who is or has been pregnant. After birth, we watch for their steady progression in development and inadvertently start comparing each of their stages to every child we encounter and every chart our pediatrician has. If and when the next child comes, we are constantly comparing their development to the first and how one is so different than the other and how miraculous it is that they share the same genes. We are constantly comparing and contrasting our children to every child and “norm” around them, trying to feel out what characteristics, types of intelligences, and skills we want for them versus what we don’t want. At some point, we either acknowledge that they are who they are and we are okay with that or that they are not what we expected nor how we want them to be and we are hell bent on re-sculpting them. After all we did make them and we should be able to reshape them into our own works of art. If only the stork knew to deliver us clay instead of talking, thinking beings, we’d be all set.

In my professional experience as a counselor, the most frustration I hear from parents occurs when their children are not meeting the expectations they have for them. In my personal experience, the most frustration I feel occurs when my children are not meeting the expectations I have for them. Coincidence?

Let’s face it, when we don’t get what we want and expect, it’s annoying. If you were holding out for the red popsicle, but orange was the only color left, you’d be disappointed, but you really wanted a popsicle, so you take it. It’s still refreshing and gives you the gratification you were looking for, it’s just a different flavor than you originally requested.

When you opted to have a child, you asked for the star running back for the football team, you ended up with the president of the drama club, both with great leadership potential, but different. What makes one better than the other? How we choose to view it.

Maybe you asked for the salutatorian, because really the valedictorian has way too much pressure, so you lowered your expectations just for your child, after all you don’t want to ask too much. And then you ended up with the child who thought community college was a better match for them to strive for and they wanted to save you $120,000 in college tuition. Your child doesn’t want to ask for too much either.

I asked for a respectable member of the community who uses good manners and has excellent social skills. I ended up with a child who runs through the grocery store like a wild beast and touches every item on the shelves 35 seconds after promising he would choose good behaviors. But when he asks if he can have a treat for being such a good boy, he always says “please.”

I believe it can be advantageous to ask where our expectations come from. Are they social norms and standards we are striving for them to meet? Or are they dreams and goals we created for them that they don’t seem to share? Either way, they are still ours and not theirs. That doesn’t mean we should change them, it just means we can acknowledge where they came from and assess their merit and the level of effort needed to teach them if they are indeed worth it.

If you wanted your child to play soccer because you were a soccer player, but your child would rather sit on the side lines and draw, fine. Let them try soccer for a couple of seasons (sometimes they don’t realize what a great sport it is until 3 years later), and let all your relatives know that drawing pads and colored pencils are the greatest gift they could give. And when your child “accidentally” pops their soccer ball with a kitchen knife and they just can’t go to practice without it, call it a day and consider letting it go. You both gave it a shot. Feed your expectation, but don’t starve your child when they don’t want to pick out the same item on the menu that you want.

Speaking of food, I am super conscientious about what I buy and serve my children, but I must admit, my kids turned me on to popsicles last summer…even sometimes the ones with high fructose corn syrup…shhhh. Because of their insistence, I truly do not care which flavor I get. I do still have my preferences, but I am learning to adapt to all flavors and brands. And I am slowly discovering, that no matter what, popsicles are great and I’m lucky to get one at all.