I Was Wrong


Mazzen was taking a break from playing with blocks in the living room to have a snack. I came back into the living room, and she followed. Paby also came in, and crossed in front of the chair in which I sat, and I heard a loud sound. I looked down, startled, and saw Paby scooping up the blocks that -I assumed- he’d knocked over.

Mazzen told him anxiously, “Paby, I wasn’t done! I want to finish playing when I’m done eating.”

He didn’t respond, grabbed the last block, and began walking away.

I felt frustration rising; he often ignores his siblings, and it is something that irks me. I breathed deeply, and called him back.

“Paby, Mazzen was talking to you.”

“I knooow. I’m putting the blocks up.”

“I want you to put them back.”

He walked away again, not responding.

I became angry. I was tired. Rogue had been cranky since getting home from his granny’s, and was attached to my lap. That always makes me feel more irritable, because I feel less able to physically get up and do what needs to be done when addressing situations.

And so I yelled. I lost my temper, and yelled “Paby, I told you to put the blocks back, and I expect you do do it. Now!”

He came back in with anger on his face.

“I AM!”

“No, you’re carrying them away! Put them back where they were, next to your sister on the floor!!”

“They WEREN’T by her! They were in the kitchen!! I was trying to put them back!”

Realization dawned on me then. When I went to the kitchen to get her snack, Mazzen must have brought an armful of blocks with her and set them down to receive her food. Paby found them, and not realizing she was using them, picked them up to put them away. As he passed my chair, he dropped some, which had drawn my attention and Mazzen’s.

He was helping; being responsible. Then, when asked to put them back, he was returning them to the place he found them.

And I was yelling at him for it.

I hung my head in shame.

“Paby…I’m sorry. I didn’t understand, and I jumped to conclusions. Thank you for helping. I was wrong for getting upset; for yelling. “

“…okay.”

Not “it’s okay,” because the way I reacted wasn’t okay. But “okay.” Okay, I accept your apology. Okay, we can move past this.

I looked up at my firstborn, an understanding smile on his face, and saw a look of forgiveness in his eyes. A look of empathy. He’s no stranger to letting frustration control one’s words and actions. And he was choosing grade for me.

Something I should have chosen for him from the beginning.

Always choose grace. Always choose understanding. And when you don’t, when you choose anger and admonishment, always, always choose “I’m sorry.”

Big and pretty awesome, and a little bit scary.


A scary slip last year had made Rogue wary of our 30″ deep pop-up pool, but a few weeks after setting it up this year, he’d decided it wasn’t so bad. Still, he is too fearful to go under water, and he has not learned to swim or float, as his older siblings all did their first summers.

I was working in the garden when he asked to go in the pool. It was the first time he’d wanted to play in it without me or his oldest brother, who “saved” him last year when he fell under, and I thought it would be a good chance to let him get more comfortable with the water, sans-splashing siblings.

So I helped him in, and sat a few feet away, in the shade, to watch him play.

He walked around, splashed a little bit, set sail a toy boat, and tried to force a playground ball under the water. It, of course, resisted, so he pushed again. Wow! How fascinating! He called to me in amazement.

“Hey, Mama! Watss dis! Whoaa-“

My world froze as his sped up.
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Bedtime sillies


For the past few weeks, I’ve begun asking my kids (and answering for myself as well) three questions:

1.) What was your favorite thing about today?

2.) What is something someone else did today that you thought was really good, or made you feel thankful or proud? (And though you can repeat what someone else has said to add to the encouragement, it doesn’t count as your answer unless you are thanking/congratulating a different person.)

3.) What is something you are going to try to do better tomorrow than you did today?
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Patience


My patience was waning fast as I stepped outside for a moment of peace after a morning of demands, whining, and disarray.

I breathed deep, then began to wander around the yard. I peeked at my vegetable garden, peered into the inflatable pool, checked the mailbox that I knew would still be empty at this time of day.

I turned to go back inside, holding my breath for the chaos that awaited me; the cereal on the floor that I hadn’t cleaned up yet, the six loads of laundry needing my attention, the sink full of breakfast (okay, let’s be honest, last night’s dinner dishes, too.) I could already hear the boys voices as they debated heatedly. Something flickered in the corner of my eye; a cardinal? my favorite bird! I turned my head to get a better look, and saw a tiny pair of red boxer briefs disappear down the hill. Fantanstic. Sighing, I followed, calling “Rogue! I’m going back inside now. Come on!”

His blonde head popped up above a patch of weeds and he yelled back, “I’m just looking at my flowers!”

Ah, yes; Rogue’s “flowers.” Our yard full of stubborn dandelions = his garden full of flowers, of which he is very proud.

“Yes, they’re beautiful. Now let’s go.”

I grabbed his wrist, and he swiped at the dandelions as we left, snagging three and pouting “me no done yet.”

“I am, and you weren’t supposed to be out here anyway.” I thought grumpily.

When I stepped into the kitchen, I found my four year old, Mazzen, perched on top of the sink, with three of my collected glass bottles in hand, holding them under the running faucet.

“What are you DOING?!” I gasped.

Rogue stepped around me and offered Mazzen the weeds.

“I got them!” He hollered excitedly. “I got them a’prise for Mama!”

Mazzen glanced at my irritated face, but accepted the stems and placed one delicately into each bottle.

“We wanted to make it pretty so you can feel happier,” she said, her eyes searching my face with uncertainty.

I felt shame crawl up my face, heating my neck and cheeks. I went forward and embraced Mazzen, carrying her off the counter, then knelt down to gather Rogue into the hug.

“Thank you.” I whispered. “It is beautiful, and I do feel happier. And I’m sorry that I’ve been so impatient this morning.”

Rogue kissed my cheek as Mazzen hugged my neck. They hopped up, running off to play.

I turn back to turn off the water and gaze at the bottles in the windowsill. I suddenly see them the way I couldn’t while impatience clouded my vision. Beautiful, happy flowers.

“Patience and wisdom walk hand in hand, like two one-armed lovers.”
–Jarod Kintz, $3.33

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Severe Malfunction: Please Reset Unit


Warning: Thought-Processing limit has been exceeded. Use caution and low volume levels when interacting with MAMA unit to avoid eye twitching, exasperation, and possible complete nervous breakdown.

Troubleshooting tips: offer chocolate, backrubs, and plenty of quiet. If problems persist, going to bed early may help reset MAMA unit’s sanity module.

If none of these tips correct the problem, please contact local DADDY for assistance.

Headaches, insomnia, nausea, oh my!


We’re at the hospital today, hoping to get some answers for the symptoms Logan has been experiencing since his surgery a year and a half ago. Prayers, thoughts, and good vibes are welcome! So far, there’s been a little hesitation, a lot of hands-holding, and several requests to “go home first.” But no tears yet!

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Tough Love


“Tough love,” says the mother as she forces her child to the busy street corner with a sign declaring his sins to the world.

“Tough love,” nods the father as he blasts his daughter’s laptop into pieces and posts the video online.

“Tough love,” applauds the Internet commenters, when a photo of a note goes viral, a note that says “You came home past your curfew, so you can sleep on the porch. You’re lucky I gave you a pillow this time.”

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End Paddling of Children in Our Public Schools


Saruskabeth:

This is so important. Please take the time to read this, watch the video, and sign the petition. Ending violence starts with us, it starts with how we treat and allow children to be treated. Hitting is not discipline. It is not okay. Violence against children must stop.

Originally posted on StopSpanking.org:

Special thanks to the creative efforts of Jared Abrams, filmmaker and father who produced “The Board of Education,” an educational and disturbing look at sanctioned violence against children in our schools.

Sign the Petition

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Sadie

When I enrolled my daughter, Sadie, in Kindergarten, I was feeling what most mothers feel when she imagines sending her child to school for the first time – NERVOUS!  It is a leap of faith to trust the school will care for her.  I was hoping she would get the best Kindergarten teacher who would be kind and love kids, and that my daughter would make friends.  I wanted her first experience of school to be wonderful!

Bully Hotline

I’m busy signing the admissions paperwork, and am pleased to find the school has an anti-bully policy.  They even have a bully hotline.  I’m relieved to know they take bullying seriously. Im busy signing forms and reading about what to expect in…

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Heart Song


I have had a long, long month. Emotionally, mentally and physically overwhelming. Today, everything sort of came to a head. Shortly after my husband left for work, I felt bitterness begin to clamor up my spine. Anger built as I cleaned up an entire container of salt from the floor. Frustration growled as I sopped up half of a bottle of my brand new body wash off the hall carpet, and despair snickered in my ear as I began trying (failing) to erase permanent marker from the bathroom door. When Rogue, my two-year old, stepped on my toe (which I’ve just had the toenail removed from) for the third time within an hour, I realized I’d hit my breaking point. I put up the baby gate and told my kids I was going to have some alone time.

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Not Loud, but Proud!


I heard the familiar clattering of plastic cases being thrown to the floor in our living room, and breathed a deep sigh. The CD tower has become one of two-year old Rogue’s favorite “toys.” He knows it is off limits, but it is so hard to resist! I closed my eyes, and repeated my Yell-Free mantra out loud.

“He is not making trouble, he is having trouble. He is not making trouble, he is having trouble.”

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