The Hootie Diaries: A #MomFail

My daughter’s preschool periodically sends home the class owl named “Hootie.” He comes with a notebook and instructions to please add photos and a journal entry about all of the fun he has with your family. Since my daughter is 4 and cannot read, write, or pick up pictures from Walgreens, Hootie, while a fun concept, is largely just a homework assignment for me and pressure to look like we are “having fun” and “doing things.”

The first time Savannah brought Hootie home, we lost him. For like a week. I eventually found him hidden under the couch with several dog toys. I was just grateful that he still had eyes. Most of Hootie’s journal entries are lovingly crafted recaps of family leisure time with pictures of smiling children taking Hootie to church or posing with a fishing pole at their grandpa’s pond. ‘Here we are sharing an organic banana milkshake after a long day of helping the homeless!’

Savannah ended up with this:

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KC Live: The Show Goes On

So you know when you have that feeling like there’s something looming in the back of your brain you keep meaning to follow up on but you don’t? And it turns out to be that you’re supposed to be on live television in less than 24 hours? That was my Tuesday afternoon.

For one thing, I had no segment prepared. For another thing, not to get into details, but  I’d spent the past 48 hours depression-eating chinese food and chocolate ice cream and I wasn’t in the ol’ razzle-dazzle frame of mind. To say I was disheveled and bloated is a given, but it was so bad that after I put on my Spanx in the morning, my 4 year old poked my stomach and said “Why do you have a baby in your tummy?” And I sweetly told her it was just an IUD in a bunch of Hyvee Chinese and Haagen-Dazs, then I stuffed her Elsa lunchbox full of loose kale and black jelly beans and sent her off to Preschool.

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KC Live: #EasterBasket Top Picks & Where To Get Them. (And When I’ll Be On TV Tomorrow To Tell You Why You Should Get Them.)

I’m headed to KC Live tomorrow to talk about why I love all of these non-sugary Easter Basket ideas for kids of all ages. I hope you tune in between 10am-11am on KSHB 41. It might be snowing in the Midwest but I’m planning to bring you all of the Spring vibes I can cram into a five minute segment…and we all know the hosts are going to have to politely hint that it’s time for me to stop talking several times before I pick up on it…just like all of my off-camera interactions.

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Sunshine and Gray Skies: How I Explained Anxiety To My Kid

Anxiety Starter Pack

Congratulations, you’ve been born with a predisposition to Anxiety!

I’m not an expert at anything except my life, which is what I write about here. (This is a disclaimer.)

I’ve long been diagnosed with Anxiety disorder and was diagnosed with ADHD about two years ago. As my mother likes to say, I come by it naturally, which just means a ton of my family has their own beautiful shade of “the crazies.”

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Actual Things: Sunday Morning

I didn’t sleep well last night. When I finally dozed off it was around 3am and I woke up at 6. After reading the entire internet, I gazed lovingly at my sleeping children and determined that I could absolutely not be in this house with them any longer. Luckily church is at 9am so I did what any good mother does on a Sunday morning; for half an hour, I nagged, threatened, and berated them until they were bathed, brushed, and appropriately dressed. And then again for another fifteen minutes while they found their shoes. And we were only like ten minutes late. Win.

I forgot to feed them though. It’s always something.

As we listened to the service, both daughters so lethargic they were draped across me, Savvy whispered, “Mommy, I’m so thirsty. I’m so, so thirsty. I feel like I’m in a desert.” And Avery added, “I’m literally starving.” (The irony was not lost on me.)

Fearing mutiny, I whispered back, “I know, I’m really sorry. Just tough it out and we’ll get donuts after this. You know why?…Because they’re holy.”

And Avery-my-stone-faced-six-year-old blinked once and calmly whispered, “Mommy, maybe you want to save your jokes for a more appropriate time.”

Fine.

Sunday Donuts

When Will There Be Cupcakes Again?

When I was in grade school I read Number The Stars by Lois Lowry about little girls living in Denmark during the Holocaust. Since the Nazi occupation, resources are scarce but the little sister, Kirsti, longs for a “big yellow cupcake, with pink frosting.” For some reason, I have never forgotten this detail.

My daughters both have summer birthdays so they miss out on the fanfare of having a school day birthday. Instead, we celebrate their half-birthdays. Today we celebrated my sweet Savannah sunshine’s four and a half birthday. I sat in a tiny purple chair and read a few of her favorite books to a bunch of wide-eyed, pink frosting-covered, grinning little faces.

Milestones always make me sentimental, even arbitrary ones, like a fifteen-minute preschool half-birthday party, but I genuinely believe in celebrating as much as we can, while we can.

When I was in first grade, I remember the exact moment I heard my teacher say the word “war” as it related to the Gulf War. As a Senior in high school, I remember silently watching Mrs. Goldberg scrawl the name “Osama Bin Laden” across the chalk board on September 11th. My own first grade daughter overhears words in the media like “protest” and “gender inequality” and “racism.” Though I grew up hearing about military conflicts, my own children are growing up amidst wars between all kinds of people, and it’s nearly impossible to tell if anyone is winning.

But my little four and a half year old is still blissfully unaware of such topics. She thinks the President’s name is Donald Trumpet and once asked me to help her fill out a postcard to send to the White House because she overheard concerns of people losing their rights, but she heard “writes” and surmised he was stealing crayons and various other items. For real, we actually sent a postcard we tore out of a Highlights magazine to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue asking the President to please stop taking things from people and also give Savannah her fictitious stuff back. She doesn’t worry that someday someone could come into her school with intention to hurt people for no reason. She thinks skin tones come in colors called “brown” and “blonde.” She doesn’t live in fear of friends or family being deported. She doesn’t worry that she’ll be denied an education because she’s female.

And she loves cupcakes.

So as silly as it may sound, I made these symbolic cupcakes to mark an arbitrary milestone with a bunch of preschoolers today. Because I can.

And that’s something to celebrate.

Cupcake

“Mama, is there anything to eat?”  Annemarie asked, hoping to take her mother’s mind away from the soldiers.
“Take some bread.  And give a piece to your sister.”
“With butter?” Kirsti asked hopefully.
“No butter,” her mother replied.  “You know that.”
Kirsti sighed as Annemarie went to the breadbox in the kitchen.  “I wish I could have a cupcake,” she said.  “A big yellow cupcake, with pink frosting.”
Her mother laughed.  “For a little girl, you have a long memory,” she told Kirsti.  “There hasn’t been any butter, or sugar for cupcakes, for a long time.  A year, at least.”
“When will there be cupcakes again?”
“When the war ends,” Mrs. Johansen said. 
She glanced through the window, down to the street corner where the soldiers stood, their faces impassive beneath the metal helmets.  “When the soldiers leave.”

-Lois Lowry, Number The Stars