To The Most Underrated Person In My Child’s Life…

A letter to my second First Teacher (a starring role with little fanfare.)

Last Day Of School

Dear Mrs. P,

Avery is my first child, yet I didn’t cry on her first day of kindergarten. Now it’s her last, and I have all of the feels.

There are many things you did for my daughter (other than miraculously teach her math and reading) that are completely underrated. Where do I even begin…

  1. You kept her safe.
  2. You got her acclimated to a daily routine for the first time in her life.
  3. You built up her self-confidence.
  4. You were there to help her, not criticize her, when she made mistakes.

I met my kindergarten teacher when I was four years old. His name was Richard. He was gentle, patient, sympathetic, and played “This Land Is Your Land” on guitar while we sang, “from the Redwood forest…” which was fitting because it was Northern California and explains why we called our teachers by their first names. At the end of the year, the parents came to the classroom and he recognized each of us individually. When it was my turn he said, “Emily is conscientious, cheerful, and funny. She has very good jokes inside of her.” With time for only a few words, he chose those to define me. The fact that I remember it is the reason I know Avery will carry you with her for the rest of her life.

I didn’t yet know you when I wrote this post after dropping off Avery on her first day, but I’ve gotten to know you through a collection of little moments:

The time we were walking past you in the parking lot and you said, “See you tomorrow!” and Avery said, “I’ll miss you.”  Without missing a beat you said, “I’ll miss you more.”

The time I was working lunch duty and you pulled me aside to talk about something I wrote about parenting that resonated with you;  I was honored that you took the time to mention it.

While you were helping Avery transition from preschool days into her future professional academic life, you were helping me transition into the mom I need to be to support her:

  1. You kept my child safe for me without fail.
  2. You helped me get acclimated to a daily routine for the first time in my mom life. Did I get an email from the principal because I brought her to school after the bell so many times? Why, yes. I did. Did you ever mention it? No, you did not. You sent gentle reminders. You were patient and sympathetic.
  3. Throughout my learning curve of becoming a mother of a kindergartner you were always on my side. When I came to class to be the mystery reader, you told me I sounded like a pro. You built up my self-confidence.
  4. When I forgot to bring snacks on snack day and didn’t realize it until school was over, you didn’t even mention it. You just handled it. You were there to help me, not criticize me, when I made mistakes.

So even though I met you 27 years after Richard, throughout my missteps you still made me feel like a conscientious, cheerful, funny mom with good jokes. I will carry your graciousness with me, just as I have carried his.

Thank you for being my second First Teacher. Thank you for everything that you do.

Sincerely,

Avery’s mom, but still Emily

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Addendum:

Me: “Avery, what’s your favorite thing about Mrs. P?”

Avery: “That she’s always nice to me and she tells me I’m her favorite.”

Me *skeptical*: “She said that?”

Avery: “Well I can just hear it in her brain.”

Me: “You’re definitely my child.”

Avery: “I know.”

 

Actual Things: More Sh*t My Kids Say

Today I had to take Savvy(3) to the doctor with me to get my blood drawn. She watched curiously and asked lots of questions of the nurse. As we were walking to the car:

Savvy: “Mommy, is that nurse going to keep your blood?”

Me: “No, she’ll send it to a lab.”

Savvy *knowingly*: “Oh. Which one?”

Me: “…I have no idea…”

Savvy: “George?”

*This is George: the lab. He is NOT a licensed medical professional. Please do not let him convince you otherwise.

George

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*Me getting Avery(5) dressed in her school uniform while she is in bed refusing to get up*
Avery: “This is undignified.”

-later that day-
*Savvy lying on the couch, home from school because she had a fever yesterday. We are watching cartoons in silence*
Savvy (in the most pitiful voice you can imagine): “Momma… I just can’t even eat Mango Shrimp. Because I’m just too sick.”

I’ve literally never even heard of mango shrimp, let alone offered it to her today.

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*Riding in the car*
Avery: “Will you please turn off the child lock so I can roll down my window?”
Me: “Sure.”
*she rolls down her window at an intersection next to a lumber truck.*
Avery: “Mm, smells like wood and victory.”

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Savvy: “I need a blankie.”
Avery: “Say no more.” *gets blanket and begins putting it on her little sister.*
Savvy: “No more.”
Avery *pausing*: “No. I said say no more.”
Savvy: “No more!”
Avery: ugh
Savvy: “…Sorry?”

 

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Avery: My teacher says you need to feed me more for breakfast.

Me: Excuse me?

Avery: Yeah I told her I only got two apple slices this morning and she said that’s not enough.

Me: What?? Did you also tell her you refused to get up for school in time to eat the oatmeal I made you?

Avery: No.

Me: Yeah, please don’t tell your school we don’t feed you. They’re going to think I’m a bad mommy!

– two days later –

Me: You better hurry up and eat all of that waffle. I don’t want your teachers talking about how I’m STARVING you to death.

Avery: Mom I said that like A HUNDRED YEARS AGO!

Me: IT WAS TUESDAY!

Avery: UGH.

 

 

KC Live: Modern Mommy Essentials (Pills, Boobs, Booze + More)

The greatest thing happened to me today. Right before we went live, I was asked to “say something” for the mic check and I got to utter the epic words, “The arsonist has oddly shaped feet…what is your name, Lanolin?” in a real life TV studio.

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Here’s my girl-talk with the amazing Michelle Davidson. Everytime I see her I love her more and today was no exception:

 

Here are the innovative modern mommy essentials from the segment and where to find them:

The Innovation award-nominated Mifold is 10x smaller than a regular booster seat but just as safe. It’s literally small enough to fit in your purse and therefore perfect for travel and ideal for times when you need to fit three booster seats across!

mi fold Booster Seat

Order the Mifold Booster Seat HERE

Nanobébé Breastmilk Bottle. Launching in the US now and also up for an Innovation Award, this is the first bottle specifically designed to protect breastmilk nutrients and allow the baby to start self-feeding at an earlier age. This bottle cools breastmilk 7x faster than standard bottles, preserving more nutrients. It also warms 2-3 times faster so you can quickly feed your crying baby without destroying any of the good stuff you worked so hard to pump!

nano bebe breastmilk bottle

Order the Nanobebe HERE

Vitasome’s Curcumin-C & Glutasome have energy-boosting turmeric which is a natural anti-inflammatory and promote healthy skin, diminishing the signs of aging (YES!) What’s so different about these supplements is the patented liposomal delivery system. Liposomes surround the nutrients until they penetrate your cells where they’ll have the most benefit so the nutrients are never mistaken for waste.

 

 

Order Vitasome HERE

The Nugeni Steva + is an all in one, easily interchangeable handheld vacuum (cordless and upright), steam mop and a mobile steam cleaner. You can even use it to steam clothes! The steam kills 99% of bacteria so you don’t need to use any harsh chemicals.

Nugeni Steva Accessories

Order the Nugeni Steva + HERE

 

Actual Things: Good God, Doreen.

The other day my bestie sent our group this text and I have been randomly laughing about it ever since:

Doreen Convo

Cut to today, as I’m on my way home from preschool drop-off I come to a car at a stoplight and see this little gray-haired couple sitting together in the back seat. I was imagining them holding hands and bickering over the best route as their daughter drove them to a doctors appointment…

Doreen 1

Then I realized it’s a freaking POODLE!

Doreen 2.jpg

And through my hysterical laughter all I can think is, “Good God, Doreen, your perm looks awful!”

Woof!

Kansas City Live: Autism Awareness Month

Approximately 24 hours before I was supposed to go on live television for a segment, I woke up with a horrendous sinus infection and no voice…not even a sultry  Scarlett Johansson voice, just little raspy squeaks between hacking coughs. But the show must go on (as we “in the biz” say) so I pumped myself full of a dangerous amount of cold medicine, drank a vat of tea, and painted up my face like a french streetwalker. Because I’m a professional, dangit.

Joel

Kansas City Live host Joel Nichols

I was in the large news studio today rather than the morning show set so there was no live audience.  I had an overwhelming urge to sit at the anchor desk and say things like, “How now brown cow. Unique New York. What is your name, Lanolin?” I resisted.

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Dress Up Day with KC Designer Whitney Manney

I’ve been a fan of clothing designer Whitney Manney  since I saw her runway show at a Fashion For A Cause event several years ago. Her models walked to the song “You’re All I Need To Get By” by Aretha Franklin, which is one of my favorite songs of all time. (I have a grand romantic fantasy that someday I will get a surprise party and when I walk in there will be a gospel choir singing this song for me.) I immediately felt like a kindred spirit. The second thing I loved about her show is that the models wore trucker hats with crowns and the combo was completely over the top and right up my alley; her whole vibe just made me happy. I started following her on social media and we exchanged comments here and there. Recently I went to meet her in her eclectic Studio in Westport. For as bold as her designs are, her mannerisms are reserved. In her presence, it was painfully obvious to me that I’m much more of a babbling, 30-something JoCo mommy than an aloof fashion industry insider, but she has a quiet confidence that I respect and I left an even bigger fan of her creativity.

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KC Live: Money Basics for Kids

KC Live Money Segment

Today I had the privilege of being a guest on Kansas City Live talking about some great toys to help parents teach kids about the basics of dollars and cents. Here are the products I featured on air and where to get them. You can also go to LearningResources.com where all the Money themed toys are 20% off!

Pretend & Play Calculator and Cash Register available at Target

Pretend and Play Cash Register

Learning Resources Smart Market available at Amazon

The Smart Market

Pretend and Play ATM Machine available at Amazon

Pretend and Play ATM

Learning Resources Money Activity Set available at Amazon

Learning Resources Money Activity Set

Pretend and Play Play Money available at Amazon

Pretend and Play Money

A big thank you to Learning Resources for the fantastic toys!

 

Under The Sea Exhibit at Crown Center

We were recently invited to the grand opening of the new FREE exhibit for kids at Crown Center. This season’s theme is “Under The Sea” so the whole area has been painted like an interactive ocean floor for kids to explore and will be open until May 7th. Unfortunately we couldn’t attend the grand opening, so I took the girls on a windy day and we started with a visit to Kuhlguy’s office. The exhibit is completely enclosed so once I took a lap through it, I felt totally comfortable sitting at the front and letting them run free. When we left we walked across the hall to the fabulous candy store to pick out one treat. Avery (5) said it was the “best day ever” and Savvy (3) is already asking when we can go back. Check out our fun day at Crown Center:

About the exhibit: Plunge into a fun, creative environment in this free exhibit that will delight kids who love to explore the deep blue sea. Little ones will discover buried treasure in a sunken pirate ship, ride a dolphin and seahorses, paddle their way to the mermaid’s house, climb inside the mouth of a whale, explore in the submarine and more in this aquatic adventure. 
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Also cash me on Kansas City Live on KSHB tomorrow morning to see some fun toys to help teach kids about managing money.
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Let’s Be Alone Together.

Overall, it’s been a good week. But I detected the fumes of Mommy burnout yesterday.  I’m tired.  I’m tired of riding the waves of feeling suffocated and having the craziest biggest love wash over me when I see my girls’ little teeth as they giggle at something I say. Avery has already lost so many of her baby teeth and each one feels like a kick in the gut. Like all those nights we spent together walking around the living room in the glow of the TV because she was teething and only wanted to be rocked have come full circle. I felt so desperate and alone just doing whatever I could to coax her to sleep.

The first week we brought her home from the hospital I laid awake in terror picturing this giant digital clock counting down the 18 years until she leaves us. I still find myself exasperated with each little sign of my kids growing up. All of a sudden their legs are so long. Their oh-so-kissable cheek meat is disappearing. I’m so grateful that I get to watch them grow, but I have this gnawing feeling that it’s all going too fast. Like I’m one of those Russian nesting dolls and the smallest one is constantly in the middle of a crazy desperate meltdown, but the dolls in between us are chill and keep the little panic-stricken one mostly medicated, er,  insulated so my outer self can function.

Sometimes little voices calling “Mom!” sound like nails on a chalkboard. Sometimes I get tired of carrying around all of the dandelions they pick for me. And I feel so guilty. I know that time is flying by and I will long to hear their tiny voices, have them fall asleep on top of me, and I’ll look at dandelions and wish someone cared enough about me to pick them for me. A friend recently sent me an article that said “we’re not meant to parent for this many hours a day,” and some days it feels so true. It’s so much pressure being the person they love and hate the most. The one they treat the best and the worst.

Years ago I attended a Junior League luncheon where Hoda Kotbe told a story about when she had just been diagnosed with cancer and didn’t want anyone to know, and someone said to her, “Don’t hog your journey. It’s not just for you.” It resonated. We all have different challenges in parenting and different degrees of tragedy we have to endure, but each of our journeys are valuable to one-another and should be shared, considered and appreciated.

Now it’s Friday night. I bathed my kids, picked up toys and dog poop in the playroom, sprayed some cleaner on the carpet, then sprayed some self tanner on my ghostly white skin. Here I sit in bed, typing around the sleeping child draped across me. The glow of Octonauts on TV and the computer screen are the only light in the room. Avery is off in her dreams and I am off in my thoughts, but we are alone together.

Avery and Mommy