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I Know a Girl


Written by – Miss Meza  (Miss Meza Profile/Bio:

I know a girl… she puts colors inside my world…

IK1This column is a lot of things. It’s a long time coming and yet hot off the presses. It’s both painful and cathartic, anxiety inducing and stress releasing. It makes my throat swell up and my heart as well.

Most of you will read the following words and not be shocked at all, a few of you may even have assumed. Trust me when I tell you that nothing I will say is “news” to us… but yet every word of it is fresh.

Candi was blessed with many treasures in life, I mean come on – we all want that hair!!  She also has fabulous olive skin, adorable freckles and dimples, a brain that almost literally absorbs anything, and a heart straight from heaven!

What she wasn’t blessed with was a sense of calm, a center, an inner quiet.

She wasn’t graced with balance or coordination, or any other outward skill. Mostly – Candi wasn’t granted the social abilities that make life more doable for some.

Candi was given some other gifts instead. They aren’t always perceived that way, and in truth many days I have a hard time wondering why one child would be granted so much. Many times her gifts overwhelm me, and not positively.

Her gifts come with fancy labels: ADHD, SPD, Dyspraxia, Irlens, and Autism.

They aren’t exactly what you wish for from Santa or for your birthday, but they are the gifts she has been given and we will now, as we always have, make the most of them.

It may seem silly to write this and leave it here. We have come to a point that the struggles are hard to bear alone, and it is easier to be open than to hide. We aren’t asking for sympathy or a medal or any type of kudos, honestly our egos don’t matter.

All we need is grace and understanding for this girl who would completely give someone the shirt off her back… except she doesn’t know how to understand what they need.

Her world is black and white, and truthfully – her outward impression is that she is very self-focused.

IK2She is. She doesn’t fully know how to be any other way. She wants friends, but has difficulty connecting, conversation is hard, interpreting social cues is nearly impossible, and understanding the nuances that drive friendships is unimaginable.

This is difficult to share, but Candi has approved it. She wants people to know that she just doesn’t know. We are working on that, but she (and we) hopes that this knowledge may help foster a little more patience and grace in others who are trying – or those who were frustrated in their attempts to try – to be her friend.

If you have questions or would like to know more about Candi’s gifts, I would be happy to elaborate, please ask.

You may even ask her, as she is now gaining a basic understanding of what each of these mean for her.


(Miss Meza ARCHIVES:        

Family Math


Written by – Miss Meza  (Miss Meza Profile/Bio:

What do you get when you add 5+1+800?

FM1A hell of a road trip, that’s what. 5 people, 1 car, 800 miles (each way).  Let me paint this picture for you. A toddler who will always have to potty the minute you leave a rest stop, a tween who will proclaim her boredom at least once per mile marker, and three adults who just want to get where they are intending to go.

So we start out just after breakfast and get straight to business. The first 400 or so miles are full of small towns hanging on to the glory day “State champion 1998” and “Best small town USA 1985.” Wowza folks, we aren’t even in the same century anymore. Makes me think of Hank Hill and his crew always talking about their championship and why that makes hometown the place to be..still…20 years later.

These hours passed relatively well, a few potty and snack stops and soon we were closer to vacation than to home. Easy peasy right?

Yeah, when the sun goes down so does the tolerance of being in a car, shoulder to shoulder, mile by mile. The battle cries quickly arise “She’s touching me!” “I’m bored/hungry/sleepy”, along with the chorus of discontented sighs and groans.

At the moment when I almost can’t stand it and am tempted to pull a “Don’t make me turn this car around” dinner appears on the horizon. You know the place country store and restaurant, home-style cooking, and most importantly a relief from being in the car.

But alas dinner can’t last all night, and soon we must resume cramped positions and ready our defenses for the next 300 miles. There are by far longer than the first 500.

… and darker, and grumpier, and lonelier, and sleepier, and since we chose a GPS-lead back-roads tour: creepier!

At some point the occupants begin to succumb to the dark desolation and grow quiet – eventually replacing whines with snores.

Let me tell you the gentle rattle does nothing to raise alertness through rhythmic rolling hills and foggy valleys. Just another hour, one more hour and we can celebrate the end of the journey. Except the driver in now bleary eyed 12 hours in, and decides to stop for a pick me up can filled with caffeine.

And then she will speed past a waiting cop, get pulled over and luckily be handed a nice warning and a request to slow down. And off we go.

The end is so close, and only one and half hours behind schedule. Finally we arrive. No bed has ever felt so nice.

FM2So the answer to the problem is this:

5 people + 1 car + 800 miles = a family happy and thankful to make their destination safely. And even more thankful for a host who is willing to drag out of bed in the middle of the night to let us in. And finally, most importantly: a week spent together adding in more family to the mix.

And for you advanced family mathematicians: we do this all over again tomorrow.

(5+1+800)2 = Mom must be effing crazy!


(Miss Meza ARCHIVES:        

Time Marches On…


Written by – Miss Meza  (Miss Meza Profile/Bio:

Not so long ago I started writing this column celebrating and lamenting life as a wife and mother to a tween and a toddler. “Easy” I thought. By my accounts I could never run out of material, I mean after all these girls keep me on my toes. Never a dull moment, for better or worse. It is kinda like a marriage.

The problem with kids is that they grow up. Candi graduated to the great big world of junior high school, and while still a tween, the time until she crosses into official teen land is becoming thinner. Every day she toes that line a bit more, and while I am excited to see the young lady she will become, I am sad to see the little girl being left behind.

TM1But the bigger reality check comes from her younger sister. Alice, my toddler will soon be leaving the terrible two’s behind and crossing the threshold into the preschool years.

And boy is she letting that be known.

Her new battle cry has become “I DO IT!!!!!” declared with all the ferocity of a war admiral. She tells stories and speaks in full sentences. She calls daddy “coconut” just because she can and it makes everyone laugh.

She picks her own clothes and even knows her left and right. Alice leads the charge in her two year old class and her toddler ballet class. She even holds her own in a class meant for four year olds at the local theater.

It was hard to see my baby become a toddler, but I fear that watching her become a preschooler will be my downfall.

Alice is the baby, and forever will be. In all honesty, I am not ready to not have a baby anymore. So all those things I rejoiced the first time around make me sad now. Potty training, big kid beds, putting away the sippy cups, and tucking her in then walking out of the room.

Those milestones were cause for celebration years ago, somewhat because no step forward came easy for Candi, but mostly because I knew I would get to do them again.

But now, the reality is that once the crib rails came down, it was the last time we will need them. When the highchair went to the garage, it was never coming back. And every time we outgrow something, there is no reason to store it for the future.

That’s a hella pill to swallow.

And as her third birthday approaches it seems to become more bittersweet. Don’t get me wrong, I relish in all she is doing, and how people are astonished when they hear she is “just two” (because I will ride this toddler train until the very last stop).

My girls are amazing! I would like to think I had a hand in their awesomeness but I have to share full credit with Daddy. I just wish we could get on the same page about creating more greatness.

TM2That’s not gonna happen and while the emotional Mommy in me has a hard time with that concept, the rational adult knows that our family is the right size for what we can provide at the level we want to provide it.

Still, it hurts…

Our Mommy Moments will be ever-evolving, and someday soon this might be the only place I get called Mommy as my littlest one grows up and refuses to use cutesy names for us. Mommy, Daddy, and Sissy will likely give way to Mom, Dad, and Sis.

And that’s ok. At least that’s what I’ll tell myself, every hour of every day.

Time marches on and I either have to step with the beat or step aside and watch it go. So as much as I want them to be my babies forever, I will have to force myself to let them grow up.


(Miss Meza ARCHIVES:        

The Other Half


Written by – Miss Meza  (Miss Meza Profile/Bio:

I am sitting here, watching DVR reality tv, trying to think about what to write. Then I remembered a friend posing a question on Facebook.

Do people with kids ever find themselves jealous of people without kids?

OH1Oh, I had so much to say, but before I did, I read the myriad of comments that preceded me. There were some “yes” some more emphatic “EVERY DAMN DAY” and even the occasional “HELL YES!!!” But really, what caught my attention was not those lamenting over the stress and worry, or the cost of parenting.

No, it was those who denied it!


Now look, I’ve only played this parent game for a bit over a decade, but I’ll be damned if you could ever convince me that you never for a second had a spark of jealousy over the how the other half lives.

I cannot for a second buy into a thought that you can spend the better part of two decades with another human being so heavily dependent on you, and you NEVER wished to live a moment in the seemingly carefree stilettos that your friends are parading around town in.

No ma’am. I’m gonna’ tell the truth.

At some point past the first 3-months of life, hell maybe even six, you come to the point that you would trade your liver for one single night sleep. Don’t lie. No parent has survived the newborn transition into infancy and not commented on how nice it would be to have 6-hours of glorious, uninterrupted slumber.

Shortly thereafter you will long for the bliss of waking after dawn. Yes, the sunrise is beautiful, yes the birds sing a lovely song, but damn, it seems like a waste to keep washing sheets that you spend so little time in.

Once you adjust to the sleep issues, and no longer stare at your well rested childless friends with a dagger-filled angst, you will realize how complicated a trip to grocery store is. You no longer prance in, grab whatever you choose, spend hours browsing the specialty foods, and read any label you want.

Uh-uh. You time trips to fall in the 23.8-minutes between feeding and diaper changes and naps. In those precious few minutes, you grab anything that looks remotely edible because you are also reminded that you no longer have time to prepare those “Pin”-worthy meals.

Despite your best planning, baby bunting will shed its contentment and begin wailing with an urgency that can only mean you are pushing their limits of tolerance for your shenanigans. You will grab food you pray they will not blow all over the kitchen in protest of your poor choice. “I mean really CARROTS?!

OH2Look, this is just the start, in the following years you will lay your head down at night (or bang it on the counter) anguishing over babysitters, lack of quality spouse time, homework struggles, illnesses, and carpools.

That’s not all; I mean that is sometimes the easy stuff. There are all the slammed doors, “I hate you’s”, puberty, drivers’ tests, college prep, and prom.

And while you laugh and me and tell me you can handle it, rest assured, I have no doubt you can, I can, and even our childless friends could in our position. But I still don’t for a second accept that anyone could endure the unrelenting stress of parenting and stand firm in denial of ever for a moment being jealous of their untied peers.

There are times after too many teacher phone calls, or a room cleaning power struggle, even a bath strike, that I would give my baby toe to just pick up my keys and head out the door for a girls night, or even a mani-pedi.

Let’s clear this up. I think people deny jealousy for fear of being accused of being unhappy, unfulfilled, or not loving their little offspring.

Not for a second do I feel like jealousy equals regret.

I wouldn’t give up slobbery kisses, “MOOOOOOOOM”, fridge doors full of handprint artwork, midnight cuddles, boo-boo fixing true and unadulterated love that these kiddos have for me and that I have for them.

While I may lament and throw the occasional penny in the fountain on a whim of wishing for a less sassy tween, I could never for a moment imagine not having these gifts in my life.

So yes, on the occasion of a cancelled sitter, an overnight emergency room visit, or a principal call, I do let the green-eyed monster roll up and I ponder how nice it would be to live carefree for just a few hours.

But then again, I look at these sources of stress and strife, and realize quickly that this works both ways.

My friends, I am sure, have their moments of wishing they had a good reason to watch Saturday morning cartoons and buy Lucky Charms. I can’t help but believe that they momentarily wish for the delighted squeals on Christmas morning, and the messy hands in the kitchen “helping” to cook.

OH3Friends, jealousy doesn’t equal unhappiness. It is just a recognition that there are nice aspects to the other side of life. It is allowing yourself to feel a want for something you don’t have.

It doesn’t need to be bad.

If you use it well, then lamenting what you don’t have brings you back around to what you do. As long as the green-eyed monster is only a subletting roommate… and not the overbearing landlord.

Enjoy your life, appreciate others; and most of all – don’t feel the need to be perfect, because you’re not. And neither am I.


(Miss Meza ARCHIVES:         

Walk of Shame


Written by – Miss Meza  (Miss Meza Profile/Bio:

9:35 am.

There’s a proverbial walk of shame that you do as a parent anytime you look at the caller id and see it is your child’s school. Within two rings, or just a few notes of that ring tone, you play out no less than fifteen scenarios.

MM1They range from “your child has just solved world hunger” to “you sweet pea has single handedly created a mutant strain of the next health pandemic.”

Let’s be honest, it’s never the first of those thoughts. NEVER. Really the only time you get a happy call is sometime after you have been beat down by 432 “are you kidding me” conversations.

So when I am busy working, the last thing I enjoy seeing on my phone screen is the name of either of my girls’ schools. And in reality, I have grown partially immune to calls pertaining to the older girl, not to say my heart doesn’t skip a beat with dread, but I certainly am rarely surprised anymore.

This time it was the school of the toddler that brought the parent heart attack. But I wasn’t prepared for what I would hear.

Miss Meza, Alice has vomited…all…over…the…classroom

/no words/

Miss Meza? Alice NEEDS to be picked up. NOW

Oh.My.God. My child has done it. She has managed to single handedly spread a virus to an entire classroom within 30-minutes of being at school.

I promise this was a happy, HEALTHY toddler just an hour ago. She ate breakfast and played. She smiled and laughed all the way into class, kissed me and ran off to play. And now, she has gone all ‘exorcist’ and took nine other kids with her.

Yes, she projectile vomited on toys, nap mats, and kids. KIDS!

I truly have no words. My head is hung in shame as I walk into the office and am greeted with the smile that says… “WHAT THE HELL?” without saying a word. My apologies fall on feigned retorts of “it’s ok” and “it happens” but it is clear that they are not amused and my humility clearly will not disinfect those 250-square feet and their contents.

My dear sweet Alice greets me with whimpers of “my tummy sad” and doesn’t even remotely resemble the kid I brought in nary an hour ago. I usher her away, into the car, and off to the doctor with a self-assuredness that it would be the last molar causing havoc. An ear infection for sure.

Alice has a highly contagious stomach virus, and the likeliness is that anyone who has been in close contact with her in the past 24-hours will also become sick.”

MM2Doctor said WHAT?! We have no clue where it came from, but she found it. AND SHARED!

So now, not only am I the mom that sent her kid to school sick, I am the one that caused the next great epidemic in the preschool. Rest assured, I did my due diligence and called the school director and told them the bad news; I mean really, what did I have to lose at that point?

Well from the call that came at 9:35 am until sometime around 4:00 pm, you would have thought that the kid was nearing critical illness, then a switch flipped and by bedtime she was all giggles and grins, begging for a substantial meal and dancing around with her sister.

Virus be damned, not one of us ever got sick. Should have kept my mouth shut.

From now on, when the school calls at 9:35 am, I will promptly push it to voicemail and let them call grandma. Let her do the walk of shame.


(Miss Meza ARCHIVES:         

Not Quite Holland


Written by – Miss Meza  (Miss Meza Profile/Bio:

So, there is a really great story called Welcome to Holland that is an analogy to special needs parenting.

NH1It is easy to find on the great interwebs, and whether you have a child with disabilities or not, it is totally worth the read. Without giving too much away, the premise is that you have always dreamed of going to Italy, but somehow you wind up in Holland, totally unprepared.

As a former teacher and a parent, I can totally relate.

It actually made me sit and empathize with parents coming into our special education systems for the first time, even before I had experienced the system from their seat for myself.  But now, after years of feeling like I had gotten pretty good at living in Holland, I feel like I don’t belong there, or in Italy for that matter.

We are stuck at some in-between juncture. It’s a pretty well populated, yet totally lonely place to be. Candi had enough “needs” that she stands out from kids who function without special considerations. She has coordination issues, social issues, organizational and attention issues.

Many things common to you and I are unreasonably difficult for her. Tying her shoes, styling her hair, and putting earrings in are all in a realm of hard-to-impossible for her. Yet some things just make sense. Girl can hula-hoop like a machine, and though many of her peers have struggled with lockers, she nailed the whole combination lock obstacle with a suspicious ease.

So here we have a child who has some diagnoses that are sound and undisputable. They interrupt her life enough that she will never be able to play competitive sports in school, suffers from an unreasonable lack of flexibility for someone who has danced for nine years, and still has to talk herself through every pen stroke involved in writing her name.

All of this for a girl who just wants to be good at something in school. All of this and still she doesn’t qualify for the programs run for those with special needs. Nor do many people believe there is even a problem.

It is a difficult place to be. We have maps for Italy, maps for Holland, but nothing to help us here.

We are stuck in a holding pattern, and unfortunately the only way out is for her to give up the desire to be a part of something.  In Italy they tell us she isn’t trying hard enough, and in Holland they say she is too advanced.

… My girl just wants to belong.

Now, let’s be honest. Not everyone gets to be “on the team”, but most of us that never made it, knew we came up short – she doesn’t. Her perception is askew and it truly never clicks that she is not skilled.

NH2And by the by, it makes me no mind whether or not she ever makes the mark, I just want her to be happy… to have “a thing”.

So now, as we drift somewhere between worlds, I feel lonely.

I feel left behind by not one set of people, but two. Not normal, not special. We speak a little Dutch and a little Italian, but not enough to belong either place.

Our maps of both countries are incomplete, and the tour books are out of date. No matter which way we go, it seems that “tourist” is what we are classified. One day hopefully we will find our way; it will all fall into place.

Maybe we will learn to live in Italy, with a Dutch accent.


(Miss Meza ARCHIVES:

A Whole New World


Written by – Miss Meza  (Miss Meza Profile/Bio:

So, Candi is in Jr. High now – and the first week has already seen her locker jammed to epic proportions and a locker room run-in with another girl.

NW1The kid may be doomed.

Additionally this school has some insane policies. For example: the student planner (effectively a fancy spiral) is also the hall pass. This means no office, nurse, library, or even bathroom trips without it. Ok, look I can stand behind most of that, but the bathroom…really? Holy unsanitary. The school says they provide a safe and clean area for the planners while the student accesses the facilities.

It’s a shelf.

Clean maybe… but safe? What is to stop an accidental, or since it is Jr. High, purposeful, disappearance by a fellow student? And if the planner does disappear or get lost, the student has to pay $5 to replace it.

Well, for a second lets assumes that all 11-13 year olds respect each other’s belongings, regardless of social preferences. We still have an issue of how many are actually washing their hands effectively or at all. Then you grab that planner and drag it ALL OVER THE SCHOOL.

I was shocked at this. Candi says most of the girls don’t want to go to the bathroom because of it, and the boys touch people with their planners.

Well, this is going well. I see kidney infections on the horizon.

Then she has an advisory period about 1.5 hours after school starts. She can read, or study, but MAY NOT do homework. Because after all, homework is for home, not that 30-minutes the school can’t figure out what to do with you.

They can work on makeup or late work that has been so marked by a teacher, but heaven forbid you don’t have any, don’t you dare try to get anything else done. Pft.

And then there is P.E. Boy howdy, this one is a killer.

NW2The kids are required to have athletic shoes daily (ok, good point) but MAY NOT bring them from their school locker. HUH? They either wear them all day every day, OR just bring a spare pair to keep in their gym locker.

So, if they can have a pair in the gym locker, why can’t they just bring a pair on days they need them? Because they risk “forgetting”.

Well let me tell you, if you expect my kid to have a spiral notebook, an I.D. lanyard, a novel, and her homework on a daily basis, I totally understand how a pair of shoes can just throw that over the edge. (sarcasm much?)

I tell you, this is a learning process, more for me than her. I just can’t decipher some of these ideas and policies. This is a whole new world, and I’m not sure I like it.

Hope she finds her way, because Mommy is lost!


(Miss Meza ARCHIVES:         

A New Normal

Written by – Miss Meza  (Miss Meza Profile/Bio:

So along with a new school year, I am also ushering in a new career.

NN1This is scary on so many levels. I have been a teacher for as long as I have existed, and now I am moving into mid-management. While I have the solace of maintaining a foot in education with the agency I now clock in for, I lose a lot.

I have lost my future summer and holiday breaks; I have lost the time and financial investments in my licensing.  I have lost my footing.

To be fair, there are gains as well. I can now be super flexible with my schedule, I can build a new social circle, and I can now officially say someone trusts me to ensure that shit gets done!

This has been 10-months in the making. They haven’t been easy, but they haven’t all been hard either. And while I admittedly never got the hang of being a stay-home mom, I truly though I would lament leaving my girls to return to the working life.

Honestly, I pulled out of the driveway and never looked back. I surprised even myself. I didn’t call or text to check in, I didn’t obsess and panic, and truth be told, I didn’t think too much about them.

Instead I met new coworkers, picked an available cubicle, and settled in for the first 8-hours of online training modules regarding the legalities of my new job. Yes, THE FIRST 8-HOURS, as in the whole program is about 40-hours of staring at a computer and occasionally clicking on a poor excuse for an interactive quiz.

So now what?

This new life will be an adjustment for us. My girls have always had me home for their breaks; they are used to my classroom stories and teacher discounts. They don’t know me not to bring home teacher lounge freebies and the occasional extra copy of a worksheet or activity.

Although I am sure they won’t miss the last one, really, what kid looks forward to their parent bringing extra schoolwork…just because?

NN2The upside is that now I can help Candi in her new found venture of being girly (ugh) and make sure she is primped and preteen perfect before school, I can arrange my schedule many ways to meet my time requirements and if done properly, will rarely work a full Friday, and who can’t say that doesn’t sound good?

Oh, and now we may actually vacation when the rate and crowds are lower, because it is easier for the kids to miss a few days than the teacher!

So all in all, we as a family are finding a new normal. It will be no less hectic, no less stressful, and hopefully no less blissful. We are heading into a year of dance and drama (classes and behavior) for BOTH girls. I am excited to become the do it all working Super Mom again, because like I said, stay at home never really worked for me.

Yep, here we go!


(Miss Meza ARCHIVES:         

Back to Life


Written by – Miss Meza  (Profile/Bio:

Just a few seemingly short weeks ago I wrote about our summer plans, which roughly accounted to almost nothing. Well, believe it or not, in just another 10-days school will be back in session, and all the after school activities will soon follow.


Yes, I love summer, but it gets long and monotonous after a while. Increasingly so when body and nature combine forces to make outside play almost impossible.

Truly…what fate layer decided that a kid born to reside on the Gulf coast should be: a. highly mosquito sensitive, b. quickly subject to heat exhaustion, and c. so fair that Snow White looks aboriginal.

Yes folks, lessons learned this summer included doozies like all outdoor time must happen before 9-am or after 8-pm, you know at time that the sun is not directly overhead and the temperature hasn’t exceeded 85°. Let’s not forget avoiding outdoors 48-hours after rain to minimize mosquito buffet status, oh yeah, it rains roughly every other day.

Honestly it has been a long summer indoors, not exactly the plan I had going.

The swing set and Power Wheels sit abandoned and unloved, growing weary of their place. Instead we have slayed mountains of coloring books, boxes of crayons, and even the occasional finger painting or p-Play-Doh session.

Too much TV and an excess of console-based dance gaming replaced park visits and pool days.

But alas, in just a few short days all will be well again. Balance will be restored and I will once again go all ironically Zen in our hurried lives. Even better is that the toddler will start to mark her place on the family to do list. She gets to start dance this fall and couldn’t be happier.

I couldn’t be happier; this has been the longest, most agonizing summer in the history of summers around here.

Yes I welcome the return to always having somewhere to go, something to do, and someone to shuttle. It feels good. I can work, chauffeur, and feed my family without stressing. But I kid you not, leave me home all day with no plan and I can’t even manage to think about dinner.

Chaos behooves me. It comforts and soothes my soul.

BL2I am so excited that I have already color coded our schedule and started working out logistics of overlapping schedule for the girls. Yes, I have a plan, a plan b, and an alternate plan. This shit makes me happy. (Call me crazy, whatever, some people like a spotless house I like a smooth schedule)

One positive: my girls have really bonded.

Yes they fuss at each other, but they also depend on each other. Only the toddler can wake her big sister up and not get grumbled at, and only the tween can get the toddler to wash her hands without it sounding like a torture chamber.

They communicate, play, bicker, and goof off– all without my help. The only goal accomplished all summer.

So, yeah other than that, summer can suck it. Next year I will be banking on a long road trip, and lots of day camps. Besides planning and coordinating is what I do, who was I to think I could go all summer without it.


(Miss Meza ARCHIVES:

The ABC’s Continued…

And so as not to leave you hanging I bring you The ABC’s continued…chapter N-Z!


AB1N- NO. The single most meaningless word in the parent language. It truthfully has zero comprehendible meaning. Appropriate replies include: but but but, WHYYYYYYY, aw c’mon, I hate you, you hate me, and any combination of stomping, crying, door slamming, pouting, and tantrum-ing.

O- Obstinate. See also toddler, tween. I may just die if they do something I ask at any point in the first five requests. Techniques vary but results are similar: Mom getting red in the face and child still not picking up wet towel.

P- Precious. Yes despite your best efforts to stay mad, they are so fricken’ endearing that it doesn’t take long before you totally melt and gush into a pile of mush.

Q- Quiet. Something is wrong. I AM NOT JOKING, this is not a drill. If your house is quiet it is legitimately time to panic. Children who are not making noise are into something they shouldn’t be. The bright side: it will most likely make a hilarious Facebook post so make sure you have phone in hand to snap a picture before you go stark raving mad over the mess.

R- Run. Into traffic, away from Mom, under clothing racks, around shelves, and down the block. Toddlers love their freedom and always pick the wrong time to express it!

S- Savor it all. Every moment, they are fleeting. It sounds cliché, and it is, but it is also true. Before you realize it, you will be looking at a tween remembering their first steps and how they so cutely mispronounced their words. And soon you will be at a graduation thinking about these days of emerging fashion and braces and learning to balance being a kid and not being a kid.

T- Tears. Oh the tears. Bumps, bruises, busted egos, broken hearts. Yours and theirs, there will be tons of tears. Some will be happy, some sad, some even of pain. No matter the source you will need each other to make it better, so grab some tissues and an icepack if needed and settle in.

U- Umpteen. As in I have told you to brush your teeth umpteen million times already, for the love of god, go brush your teeth! Umpteen is an exaggerated number that expressively demonstrates how angry you are.

V- Velociraptor. Not the dinosaur, but the description of the tone and pitch used by a toddler who feels wronged, ignored, or is declaring war on your migraine.

W- Worry. Also known as being a parent. At times it will seem like it is all you do. Common subjects include growth, friends, academics, behavior, finances, and irrational things such as if a “Sharknado” will happen during their first beach trip with friends. Tip: it’s ok to worry but if you let it consume you, neither you –or your children –will have a good time!

X- Xray. How old was your kiddo for their first? Both of mine had them within days of birth; one for her chest/lungs, the other for her clavicle. Astonishingly, the oldest made it to 9 before needing another set, which thankfully revealed her status as drama queen.

AB2Y- Years. 18 sounds like a lot but consider the breakdown: baby = 1, toddler = 2, preschooler = 2, child = 3, big kid = 2, preteen = 3, teen = 5. Don’t wish them away.

Z- Zeal. Parent with it. Whatever you do, do big and proud. Give it your all; allow it to wear you out, because if you do, you will be all in.

In the end, parenting is a journey of laughs, tears, joys, and woes. If you don’t have one, the other loses its meaning. The best thing you can do is sit down, strap in, and grab the wheel.


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