Saturday, June 28, 2014

Jesse's Baptism

Along with all the madness and freewheeling inventiveness, Jesse has this little sense of gravitas. Which came into full play when he turned eight and was baptized. One thing I adore about Jesse--and that may have saved his life--is that he always operates from a place of unfailing good will. Despite his many shortcomings, he always tries his best. And this mama loves try.

On the morning of his baptism, he put on his new suit, grabbed his new scripture case, and got stoic.

This photo taken back in the good ol' days, when Mark could walk. :(
 Here are some of the people who came to celebrate Jesse moving along his covenant path. Including his sneaky Grandma, who made a surprise appearance just for fun.
I contemplated organizing a lovely brunch for our visitors. But what Jesse really wanted was a hot dog and smores party. So that's what we did. He and I chose all sorts of exotic smores supplies: coconut marshmallows, Nutella, cinnamon graham crackers, Nilla wafers....

The hands-down favorite of the afternoon was caramel marshmallows with chocolate graham crackers.

Jesse has come a long way since he tantrumed his way through summer 2013. I'm very grateful for all the progress he's made. And always, I'm grateful for the huge privilege of being his mother. Jesse is a rare gem, and I take seriously my responsibility to nurture his fire.

Monday, April 21, 2014

ADHD Update: One year in

It's been almost a year ago now that I first told Jesse's doctor that I thought we should consider medication for ADHD. And it has not been a smooth or easy road. We've tried, I think, four different medications. Several doctor visits. And survived unnumbered tantrums. Long days and nights of uncontrollable screaming rages.

But now, Jesse's fits are few and far between. He reads. His teacher grades him highly. He's only marginally below average academically. He is much more calm. His speech isn't as frantic.
Jesse hearts recycling.
Today I took him for a checkup with the pediatrician who specializes in behavior. It was the first appointment when I wasn't going to say "everything is horrific and you must help me stat."

This gentleman is well into his sixties and I believe has been treating children for decades. But it was clear he has never seen anyone like Jesse. After Jesse explained to him how sucker fish are like suction cups, I asked, "So would you say this type of thinking pattern goes along with ADHD?" He chuckled. No.

Jesse mentioned that he likes to use plungers. "Wait," the doctor asked. "I can't even picture that. What do you use plungers for?" On the topic of behavior management through positive rewards, Jesse mentioned that he bought himself a grappling hook with rewards. "I've never had a patient with their own grappling hook," the doctor said.
His creations grace my mantel.
I walked out feeling so grateful. Grateful that at least for now Jesse is in such a better place. He's learning and he's teachable and he's...okay. And grateful for the privilege of being Jesse's mother. He is truly one in a million. Maybe one in a billion. He delights and surprises and amuses us every day. Watching his creativity bubble is a joy.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Commercials of My Life

I am happily letting life get in the way.

Chase - Great American Novel from Finger Music on Vimeo.

I am completely on board with all these Luvs second kid commercials.

I even love what the moms are wearing in the second kid shots. She's relaxed, she's happy, she's in charge, and she knows it. Love it.

Also this:

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


A few recent gems..

Me: Levi, did you just eat two Big Macs??
Levi: Yes.
Me: You're going to regret that.
Levi: When?

Jesse: Mind your own beeswax!

But, at another moment:
Betsy: Jesse, you can use my markers. Because I love you! Because you are so sweet to me!

Mark: Haley, we really need you to hurry and get ready. Can you hurry?
Haley, stopping in the doorway to examine her nails: Yes.

Jesse: I can spell it if I say it in a British accent.
This is actually kind of genius. Now that I think about it, English words are spelled more intuitively/phonetically when pronounced with a British accent.

Jesse: You know how holidays aren't real? Like there aren't really zombies at Halloween? So we should just go in these 3D boxes. I'm making a Valentine's one. I have an idea for a Halloween one. Paper spider, glue it to a nano bug's back, and tie a rope to it, tie it to the wall. And then you turn it on so it's like buzzing. So it's actually scary. And if you pop out, you're like, 'How do I get out of here?' Because whenever you shut it, it looks like the door is nowhere, and you're like, 'It's actually just a box! How do I get out!' It's actually creepy.
This particular thread went on for about ten minutes. I just typed what I could while he continued blabbing.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Too Many Tabs

I was in the van this afternoon. I had picked up Logan from school, then picked up the Hawthorn carpool. Jess and Haley had finished their homework. Betsy had fallen asleep in the car, then woken up grumpy just before we needed to head out to take Jesse to karate. I was on the phone with my mom. We got Jesse settled at karate, then loaded back up to pick up Levi from soccer. Then we'd go back to retrieve Jesse before heading home, at which point I needed to serve dinner before meeting the Mia Maids for an evening of Zumba and milkshakes. In the meantime, I still need to check Haley's math homework, and there were a couple client emails I hadn't responded to. In fact, how many clients are still pending? And it feels like there are a few more pressing items on my to-do list, which I would remember if I only had a moment.

So I'm driving along in my nice little minivan with my cute little kids wondering why my teeth are a little clenched, why I'm not enjoying tooling around on this nice sunny afternoon.

Later that night, I saw this:

my brain has too many tabs open...

That's it. Too many tabs open.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

I Repent

...of ever dreading Betsy as a three-year-old. Three has always been one of my favorite stages. And look at all this wonderfulness:

One of Betsy's talents is melting the heart of Logan.

Foam curlers on a Saturday night!

She chose this outfit, right down to the striped leggings.

Stories before naptime.

Swathed in cuteness.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Play Group

Right now, there are six little three- and four-year-olds in my playroom. The boys are searching for cars, which we don't have many of anymore--not enough little boys around here for my taste. One boy is unhappy because he feels another won't let him do the Batman elevator. Betsy is a little worried that one of her friends is drawing in her coloring book. Someone is throwing blocks, which we all agree is unsportsmanlike. In  a minute I'm going to break out a page protectors where the kids can practice tracing their names.

Fridays are Betsy's favorite day of the week because Friday is playgroup. She and about six of our little neighborhood friends rotate houses each week. We play, do a snack, maybe a little activity. Social Betsy loves it.

I've done playgroups like this since approximately 1999. Not too many more are in my quiver.
There's nothing more delightful and good in the deepest, fullest senses of the word than clumps of little children playing together. To me the charming thing about toddlers and preschoolers is that their tiny, ridiculous, pudgy bodies contain fully actualized human beings--with infinite personality, and uniqueness, and unknowableness--in shockingly immature form. I mean, what was it like to be a person who could come to tears over the sharing of a coloring book, who felt no compunction in asking a woman to unbutton one's pants, who could unabashedly demand that one's apple slices come without peels?

One part of me is more than ready to say good-bye to a phase of life in which one's houseguests are likely to pee on the back porch. But another big part cannot fathom how a life without things like playgroup and washable markers and Fisher-Price Little People--and the little people who play with them--wouldn't be a flat and empty.