The Dance of Innocence

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Last Friday, I went on my first date with another man: my son. Several weeks ago, I learned of a local mother-son dance, and I couldn’t pass on the opportunity to watch my toddler thrash to fun music.

Well, at least this is how I envisioned our night would look. Continue reading “The Dance of Innocence”

To Potty Train A Parent

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It is NEVER a good idea to offer unsolicited potty training advice, especially when your audience is a mother strung out from a long night with a breastmilk addict.

One “sage advice” drive-by at our local grocery store comes to mind. I was staring off into space in the dairy aisle when an older gentleman made his presence known. At least the encounter began friendly.

“How old is your son?”

With these kinds of questions, the response goes one of two ways…

“Nine months.”

I remember readying myself for his next move. Senior citizens love touching babies.

“Wow, nine months! That was the age that I potty trained my son!”

[Insert polite head nods and a weak smile here.]

I remember parting amicably after he began to discuss that same son’s “issues” in adulthood.

Continue reading “To Potty Train A Parent”

Time: The Missing Ingredient

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Sometimes the muffins don’t rise, and sometimes it’s your own fault.

If there is one thing to be said of college students, it is this: they stay hungry. During my undergraduate years, I remember, with a weak stomach, subsisting off a diet of highly processed foods. I believe rock bottom was the morning I ate microwaveable mac and cheese at 7:30 a.m. before a final exam.

Of course, I see this same struggle in my students, which inspires me to bake a homemade treat for each of my classes during the semester.  Two weeks ago, I gathered the necessary supplies for double chocolate chip muffins and committed myself to the task, which happened to be at 10 p.m.

After nearly an hour of preparation and baking, I peered into the oven with the kind of devastation that always finds teachers who try too hard. The muffins were dense and flat, and I immediately recalled my missing ingredient: baking soda.

I went to bed that night with a heavy heart and a full trash can.

Continue reading “Time: The Missing Ingredient”

Paradise Lost

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Chipotle is where modern parenting goes to die a deliciously painful death.

Four hours into a 10-hour car ride with our toddler and infant, we stopped for dinner – in hopes that somehow, some way a full belly would translate into sanity. I am convinced that Chipotle preys upon our demographic:

Do you want to eat “healthy”? Absolutely.

Do you want to eat around others who value their own health and, well, social snobbery? Yes, I guess.

Do you want to fight with another equally exhausted mother over a high chair? Okay, I see where this is going…

All of the inconveniences, of course, are forgiven (or at least forgotten) until your child has a messy diaper and you remember that there are no changing tables.

Continue reading “Paradise Lost”

The Kind of Hope That Floats

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It is a myth that parents enjoy every single moment that they are afforded with their children. Personally, my breaking point each day is bath time.

Piles of stories have been read.                                                                                                             Balanced meals have been eaten and, mostly, not thrown at Mom.                                               And, somehow, I have been able to hold it together.

Just when I feel like a victor, my husband runs the bathwater.

Do you hear that?

Yes, it is my soul…crying from fatigue.

Continue reading “The Kind of Hope That Floats”

A Raisin in the Son

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They were the words all mothers hope they never have to hear: “I stick a raisin up my nose!”

And so began my first week back in the saddle of employment.

I would be lying if I said my return to the working world was smooth, rested, and joyous. To be honest, most things have an edge of sour when you are not sleeping well. For as excited as I was to teach young people again, I could easily recognize the compounding stress of a full-time job lurking in the shadows.

My toddler son’s triumphant announcement echoed in my ears until the great raisin extraction ensued three hours later.

Expect the unexpected, they say.

Continue reading “A Raisin in the Son”

The Bus That Leads Home

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When I shared with my father that I, a 20-year-old graduate student, would be volunteering in Nicaragua during spring break 2007, his response was, in a word, strong. I explained that I would be working with orphans. No give. I emphasized the poverty that the children faced. No give. I told him that I was ready to see the world. No give.

I couldn’t see it then, but his anger and painful disapproval originated from a place of love.

Continue reading “The Bus That Leads Home”

If You Take a Child to a Christmas Party

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It was one of those moments that makes you question your ability to parent your own child. My son, clearly in distress, was scratching his tongue. Our family was enjoying the festivities of our first holiday party of the season, and I had practiced great care in preparing my son a plate of hors d’oeuvres.

I’ll admit that I was a little more than excited when I saw something green. My son loves bell peppers, and the stove offered up a dish of stuffed pepper slices. I grabbed two. What better way to balance a toddler meal of mostly corn chips and crackers?

Continue reading “If You Take a Child to a Christmas Party”