Tag Archives: Children

The Write Way.

10 Apr

I worry that there is this disconnect between what Bear learns in kindergarten and what is reemphasized at home. Aside from emails sent by his teachers or papers I see once a week in his folders I don’t really know what they’re learning beyond a Kindergartner’s recollection of the day. I know that he is doing well. I know that he is a kind, rule abiding boy. But, I’m not there anymore to volunteer on Mondays. I’m not there to prod it out of him after school. So, I do my best to make sure he is learning something outside of school and fingers crossed it’s the same as what he’s learning at school.

Because I am here and he is there we have a special notebook. He writes me every day for a week and when I come home for the weekend I take the notebook back and write him everyday. We switch every time we see each other. Sometimes he’s practicing writing and sometimes he’s practicing reading and I know I’m practicing penmanship so he can actually read what I’m saying.


I love it. I love the three sentences he writes me that are often the same, but every time I see his kindergarten “I love you” or “I miss you” I fill with hope and ever enduring love.

Beyond writing to each other we rely on other things to help educate and yet often entertain because the H simply cannot do it all. No man or woman truly can, we all just do the best that we can. And yes, the kids watch TV (almost exclusively Mickey Mouse Clubhouse because Bear is too accommodating and Bella too stubborn). And no, that doesn’t make us bad parents, it means we’re doing the absolute best we can.

I have raved about various Leapfrog products before because I can’t get over how they are educational and entertaining. Can all things be that way? Why am I not usually being educated when I read buzzfeed, but just entertained? And why am I often bored when trying to read a particularly laboriousness article on the New York Times?

Bear got the Mr. Pencil: The Lost Colors of Doodleburg ultra e-book and I have to say that I love how it emphasizes the reading and writing skills that he learns in Kindergarten with what we’re trying to do with our special notebook. There are three different reading levels that change as your child progresses to have longer sentences and words. The same is true for the writing levels. In the reading portion, you have the ability to choose a word and have it defined or sounded out which adds so much depth and breadth to the content. You can also be at different levels within writing and reading if you’re stronger in one.

We’ve never had an ultra e-book before, but I really like them and I think that I will definitely get more. Especially for Bella because I think adding the story line adds to the game play because you feel more connected and engaged with what you’re trying to achieve in each of the mini games. Bear loved the mini  games, of course, especially trying to swim away from “the scary fish in Finding Nemo”.

It gives me some semblance of comfort to feel like I’m still a part of his day and his educational development with our notebook and also knowing that he has his Leapfrog games to give him more chances to learn outside of school.


All opinions and grammatical errors are entirely my own. I was provided with the Mr. Pencil: The Lost Colors of Doodleburg ultra e-book by Leapfrog for the purposes of this review. But honestly, I love Leapfrog and have now been converted to ultra e-books! 


8 Apr

I can’t write, for words feel like emptiness in the air. I barely breathe in fear of the sigh that may escape. I’m held on an edge, screaming in an echoless cavern.

That is what four months and counting living without my family feels like. That is what every question of how I’m doing, how they are doing, when will they come here feel like. Like fingernails in my palms, tearless cries and fake cheer. I am fine. He is fine. The children are fine. We are in a perpetual state of “fine”. Of please don’t ask us. Of we don’t know. Of everything is fine.

I did not know the depth of my love until it was challenged. I did not know the capacity of my strength until it was tested. I did not know what I could endure for the love of my children until I had to.

Emptiness is the corners of my heart without you there. It is hands without a partner. Quiet. For the cries are unheard and the tears remain unwiped. They are there and I am here and when this all comes together it will be great. We will be great.

But until then we are simply just fine.



Linked with Just Write.

To My Son on His Sixth Birthday.

7 Mar

Dear Bear,

I love you so much it hurts. I never knew before that love could hurt when you were still in it. Sure when it was over, but when it was alive and well? It was a surprise to me.


The cliche of “I love you more every day” is true. In fact I love you more on your 6th birthday than I did your 5th or your 4th. And I will love you more next year on your 7th, on your golden birthday.

5th Birthday

I am so proud of you — I need you to know that. To know that I’m proud of how well you’re learning to read and write. How well you do in school and what positive things all your teachers have to say. While it puzzles me, I love how you love science. How you have no time for children’s books, but would rather have an encyclopedia on spiders or animals. I love that you like things like LOTR and Harry Potter. I love that you will grow up to be just the kind of man I like. The kind that will watch Big Bang with me and laugh. I love that you love googling. It’s an activity for you. A treat. You ask me if you can google dragons or spiders like other kids would ask for an ice cream cone. (You ask for those too.)


I love how sensitive and caring you are because when I see you do it, it reminds me of myself. Timid and shy at first, but outgoing with all your friends. When I get to volunteer in your class I can see that everyone likes you because you are friendly to everybody. When I see you model that behavior it makes me feel like maybe I am doing something right. Please don’t lose that. The world is mean and cruel and people will exit your life leaving you whiplashed, but don’t give up. Don’t stop loving and laughing and being kind to everyone you meet.


I always remember two years ago (at least) when you came home from daycare one day and it was the summer. You told me how kids were being mean to the grasshoppers. How they were killing them. And your eyes welled up with tears. And you asked me why they would do that. And I didn’t know how to tell you. I think of you, my little grasshopper, so full of love and compassion and I don’t know how to tell you what you will inevitably learn about the world. I want you to remain pure and loving for as long as you can. I want you to think about that grasshopper when ever you see injustice. I want you to be brave for that grasshopper. To stand up for him when he can’t stand up for himself. Because to be an advocate is the greatest thing you can do for someone. I will always be an advocate for you. I will always protect you. I will always be here for you.


You teach me to be brave and strong. You make me want to be a better person. I am so grateful to you for that.


I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always,
As long as I’m living
my baby you’ll be.*


Happy Birthday!


Bear’s letters: four and five
Bella’s letters: one and two

* From Love You Forever by Robert Munsch

While You Were There.

4 Mar

There is this invisible thread entwining me. At first I barely noticed it as if passing through a cobweb. But everyday, every weekend, it becomes tighter and more restrictive. I miss them. I miss my children with every blood cell in my body, with every hair alert in anticipation awaiting their touch. While I am here and they are there.

I watched Bear’s face crumple over Skype on Wednesday when Bella’s babysitter fell through and they couldn’t use the screening tickets I had for Jack the Giant Slayer. And I wasn’t home. I couldn’t take him, I couldn’t stay with her. He missed it because I wasn’t there.

Bella Skype

I watch them through this layer of glass. Unable to reach out and comfort. Unable to feel, but just watch. I am so grateful that technology allows me at least that amenity. More than just a voice, but a face. Yet, the lack of touch leaves me bitterly lonely. Filled with pent up need that I apologize to those who will listen for my neediness. I miss my kids with a ferocity I didn’t know I possessed.

And when I came home on Friday, delayed 90 minutes. Another delay, more time away. Bear was asleep in the car and Bella at first shy and uncertain when I came into the car awakens in excitement upon arriving at home. She clung to me like breath away was an insurmountable task. She wouldn’t let me go nor I her. We held onto each other willing away all time.

But Bear he is the grumpiest when awoken. Muttering about being sleepy and why are the lights on, why is the dog jumping up and down, why is it cold. He goes into his bed still wearing his clothes not noticing or acknowledging me and it stings and stabs to the gut. And I know in my head that he is just grumpy when he’s woken, that he is just sleepy. But my heart, it trembles nonetheless. He, my little grasshopper, my sensitive boy, this hurts him more than he would acknowledge, but I see it. I know it. I am his mother after all.

And as Bella climbs all over me on Friday night, hours past her bedtime, the H comments on how this is the happiest she’s been all week. She should always be this happy. My girl of joy who lights up every room, she who tried to climb into my suitcase so I could take her with should always know joy.

Bella Suitcase

I did not know. Could not know love like this before becoming a parent. Could not know a longing that chokes in the night. Could not know that this thread that has entangled me stretches 334 miles from Chicago to St Paul. I could never have known how hard this would be until I lived it.

I could have never known what it meant that I was here while you were there.

Linked with Just Write and Wordful Wednesday

Less Than Ten and 1/2.

21 Jan

It’s getting harder to be away from my family. The tears come to the forefront the moment I’m asked about them. I push them back and put on my brave face. Push the optimism out. It helps that I am optimistic. That I am sunshine and rainbows. Or at least that I can be.

Another weekend past, too fast, much too fast. From when I landed to when I was dropped back off at the airport forty-four hours passed. Thirty-three and a half of those hours were spent asleep or away. The sum of the time with them less than ten and a half hours. But better than nothing, so much better than just a voice and a face on a screen.  A body to hold and squeeze.

We spent most of our time cuddling in bed (or doing laundry unfortunately). Bella and I painted our nails. It was her first time and I painted them a bright pink. She was so excited holding her hand on the table, still, fingers spread as if she had been having her nails painted all along. She carefully blew on them waiting for them to dry.

Bear and I found sometime to read his new Leapfrog Tag book “Leap and the Lost Dinosaur.” I can’t even iterate how impressed I’m with his reading. Then the pangs of guilt for not reading with him more, for being away and not knowing. He would read me the words he knew and those he didn’t he would press with his Tag and the word would be spoken out loud. His favorite was the card game at the end. The dinosaurs battle against each other as you point out similarities and differences between them. Two herbivores remain friends, but a carnivore and an herbivore battle. Battles and dinosaurs and cards are exactly what an almost 6 year old loves.

Leapfrog Tag photo 2

I got too few pictures again. Much too few. I was to photograph my nails and Bella’s. Her first manicure, but I ran out time and forgot. We were so rarely home with my own personal appointments, a cousin’s birthday party, brunch with family, shopping with friends. Time is so precious that I need to manage it better. Take a second to snap a photo of a first manicure or Bella in her pretty dress at the birthday party. Bear’s wonderful bed head that I know adults spend time styling to be able to get his perfect slightly spiked haphazard look. I need to give less focus to the other, to the drama that I don’t need in my life or welcome. When what’s important is a silly boy with a love of dinosaurs and spiders and a beautiful girl full of pink and princess.

So today I will hold the memories from the weekend in my head and my heart even if not on a screen in my hand.

As a Leapfrog parent I was provided with the Tag and “Leap and the Lost Dinosaur” book to review. All opinions and grammatical errors are entirely my own. I however truly do love all Leapfrog products.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,022 other followers