Wax Museum, Malala Y., and Cookies

The teachers at our local elementary school do this very cool thing. (Well, MOST teachers at elementary schools do very cool things. It’s part of their job requirement). BUT.

Our third graders do a wax museum. They choose a person to research, read a biography, and sort through the most interesting personal facts. Then the children dress up as their person and stay frozen. Parents get to come through and press a button to make the wax figure start his or her brief speech. It is beyond adorable. These kids have worked so hard, you can see it in the posters, the costumes, and especially when they give their speeches.

Evie decided to be Madame Curie and we looked through the book together. Did you know that she won two Nobel prizes? One in chemistry and one in physics. Did you know that the second year (1911) she won the Nobel prize she was also turned down for membership to the French Academy of Sciences because she was a woman? Did you know that she and her daughter Irene took their x-ray machines, attached them to vehicles’ batteries,  and drove these mobile x-ray units to the front lines of World War I and saved countless lives?

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My other daughter, Sylvia, decided to be Malala Yousafzai, the young woman from Pakistan who wrote a blog for BBC Urdu about what was happening in the Swat Valley. The young woman who was shot by the Taliban because she wanted to go to school. The young woman who cannot return home because of more death threats.

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Click to hear her own words: Malala’s speech

Sylvia was so inspired by this wax museum project that she asked me if we could do a bake sale to raise money to send a girl to school. I wasn’t sure. I mean, I’ve baked cookies before, but how would this work? Who would buy the cookies? How would we package them for sale?

The girls and I decided to do it. We offered chocolate chip cookies, peppermint cookies, hash mark peanut butter cookies, and peanut butter cookies with Hershey kisses in them. Our goal was to to raise $65, the approximate cost to sponsor a girl through http://www.malala.org.

We took pre-orders, enlisted my husband, baked all day Saturday, and Voila!

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We’ve just about reached $100. I know it won’t change the world, but it’s the flapping of a butterfly’s wings moving from person to person. Both Madame Curie and Malala, women who fought so hard for what they believed in. The 3rd grade teachers in our elementary school. My daughters, willing to act on their feelings. And, hopefully, a young woman out there who will be able to attend school — knowing that strangers believed in her and her right to an education.

We wish you the best this holiday season! Take care of each other and let others take care of you!

Love,

Sherri

 

Attempting to Critique Group My Teens

Happy Halloween!

Today means two things: 1) You should go and buy your copy of Pantheon Magazine, Hestia Issue right now so img_2942you can read some scary stories. My story “1416 DeForested Lane” is included and I’m honored to be in this issue.  Here’s the link: Amazon  And, if you enjoy it, please post a review. It helps the writers to get noticed by other readers and spreads the love.

AND…….

2) I now officially have two teenagers. Count them. One. Two. And they are nuts. Absolutely crazy, but they are also the same. And that took some getting used to. My daughter is in high school, but I didn’t realize it until August when I drove her to the sports tryouts and the parents lined up court side and then the coach came and ushered us all out and thanked us, very nicely, for coming, and said she’d see us when tryouts were over. Then she shut the door to the gym. That’s when I took a deep breath and looked around and realized that zooming toward me were driving lessons and formal dances and college and BIG decisions. Like, the kind of decisions that were going to affect my daughter’s LIFE. It seemed a good time to go and get myself a coffee. And maybe ice cream.

She went to Homecoming with friends. I thought I had until Junior year? Nope.

She went to Homecoming with friends. I thought I had until Junior year? Nope.

Today is my son’s birthday. Yup, he’s a Halloween baby.

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He turned thirteen. In some cultures he would be considered a man. I was telling my friend who also has a son about how I was having a conversation with my son, just talking about whatever, and he reached over and lifted me up. WHILE I WAS TALKING. He set me down like nothing had happened. My friend goes, “What? My son did that to me the other day, too.” So, maybe it’s a thing? Like, how adults are always like, “You’ve grown so much, you’ve gotten so big, blah blah.” Maybe teenagers are like, “I’m going to randomly pick you up and set you down again because now I can.” Maybe it was the trend that predated that throwing-a-bottle-in-the-air-and-landing-it-thing that is now happening EVERYWHERE.

Anyway, I’m no parenting expert, but I figured I’d take what I’ve learned in my writing critique group and see if there’s a parallel.

  1. In Critique Group it’s less about “fixing” someone’s writing than asking questions so they can see their way to the answer. Same with teens (although so much harder). I no longer get to be in control. I have to step back, offer guidance, and also listen while my child gets to a right answer. Sometimes it won’t be the answer I was thinking. Sometimes it will be worse because NO COMMON SENSE, but sometimes it will be BETTER and then I get to be proud.
  2. Have food. And beverages. In critique group we all stop and get our treats before we start working. With teens, this is beyond important. You will seriously not even believe how much my son eats. I double recipes for NORMAL around here. These articles are like “just double and put the extra in the freezer for a day when you’re rushed.” SHUT UP, non-teenager parent person. THERE ARE NO LEFTOVERS. And, if food is not available, there will be tantrums or tears or both. I promise.
  3. Realize that we will have off days. My critique partners and I have given apologies, accepted apologies, and are the stronger for it. This is how I need to be with my teens. My teens are hormonal. I don’t always communicate what’s in my head. There are going to be bruised feelings, but we will get through it with as much grace as we can.
  4. Commitment. Our critique group has met once a month for two years. We show up for our work and we show up for each other. Even when we know what we’ve submitted isn’t the best. Or it’s two pages instead of ten. We show up. That’s what family is. That’s what relationships are. That’s the work. I’m going to show up for my teens.

 

That’s all I’ve got for now. Except a HUGE shout out to middle school teachers. You guys are amaze-balls.

Love,

Sherri

 

The summer of lightning strikes, car accidents, and angry yogis.

You guys…I just can’t even. This summer was, well it was like you’ve got a barbell across your shoulders and you felt pretty good that morning so you put a decent amount of weight on there, but you didn’t fully load it because you wanted some margin. Some “what if” because you don’t know what the instructor has planned and if there are those crazy pulses or some such you don’t want to be panting by the end of the set. You don’t want an injury, you’re just trying to get healthy. And then life starts putting more weight on without your asking for it. A little bit at a time, and you try to smile, even laugh, but you’re struggling to hold your form and more of those stupid round weights keep coming and you can’t breathe and you’re shaking and your joints are bulging like a cartoon and that isn’t healthy. At this point, you’re not even listening to the class, you’re completely focused on getting out from under this weight and you’re able to nudge some of the little ones off, but it isn’t enough and you allow the bar to fall to the mat, even as you feel that you’ve tweaked your back and your heart might explode and this isn’t the good “burn” after a class, this is the clanging of metal plates rolling away from you.

Yeah, that’s what this summer was like. I won’t go into too much detail because that’s boring, but I want to list here so I don’t forget. I also want to explain to anyone who wonders where we’ve been or why I’ve been “flaky” about returning emails or phone calls.

On the last day of school my husband broke his arm playing ice hockey. The puck flew at him and hit above the wrist right where the protective glove ends. Cracked the ulna right through. For three weeks he suffered through the pain with his cast on. At the next doctor’s visit, the x-ray showed the bone was way out of alignment. Because it wasn’t healing correctly, he’d have to have surgery so they could re-break it and put him in a new cast. The surgery was days before our family vacation.

Last month our house was struck by lightning. Yes, our surge protection was consistent with the code in our county. However, lightning is a powerful thing and it wanted to travel along our gas lines and frazzle whatever it wanted. So it did.

img_2807 <——  This did not happen to anyone in our household, but when the lightning struck blue sparks flew out of an appliance on the wall, there was a sound like glass hitting a counter, and the hair on my arms stood on end. Immediately we knew there was a gas leak — we could smell it. If nothing else, we’ve learned that we should have gotten out of the house immediately instead of waiting for the service person. He came in, smelled the gas, and walked right back out. For a month we’ve been working with contractors because, in all, there were six gas leaks. Drywall was ripped from three rooms to follow the pipes, another manifold was put in, etc.

Our babysitter had an accident in our truck with my four kids in the car. She was fine, the kids were fine, the truck was fine. The other guy’s car. Well. Everyone likes a new bumper, right?

While this was going on, my husband and I had a trip to France planned. Our friend was getting married and we’d booked the hotel nine months before. Until the very last minute we weren’t sure if we’d be able to leave — we couldn’t leave the country and our kids in the house if the plumber couldn’t find the last gas leak!

As soon as we got to the hotel I connected to wifi and had a bunch of angry emails from my yogis — the substitute had gone to the wrong place and they wanted their yoga class! Not much I could do from Avignon except apologize.

In France we traveled on the high speed train between Paris and Avignon. We flew over the ocean. We even rode with our friend Stein as driver and that might have been the most dangerous of all! Through all of this we had no problem. Then, during the morning commute after we arrived home, my husband was rear-ended. He was hit so hard that the water in his cup flew up and hit his windshield and he was pushed into the car ahead of him. Our car looked like an accordion. Insurance has equations and such they use to figure out what to do, so the car is going to be fixed. Even though I’m not sure how many original parts it will have. We will have to call it the Franken-car.

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Last week everything was double or triple booked. Here’s a picture of our family calendar. Please note this is ONLY children’s activities. It was my week to drive for cross-country, football practice, soccer practice. Both my husband and I gave blood for the American Red cross drive and we both worked. This does not include last week’s visit from the plumber, the electrician to reground the manifold, and the visit from the county inspector to check all the work. Drum roll, please. WE PASSED. On Friday of last week he inspected everything and it was over.

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My husband went to the orthopedic surgeon — his arm looks great! He’s allowed to now remove his cast for periods of time and resume a light workout.

We got a message that our car is on track to be finished by the beginning of October.

Now that we’ve had the home inspection, we can have a team come in to repair the drywall and then paint it.

I’ve been struggling with the yoga class schedule because I’m down a teacher, but Wednesday I’m interviewing someone new who might be perfect.

So I was feeling good on Friday. It had been rough, but we were going to make it. The end was in sight. And then as our babysitter was driving my son to his football game, a buck jumped out and hit the truck. They are fine. Our truck? Not so much. And, I wanted to hit my head against a wall. Here we go again.

We’re switching seasons, summer melting into autumn. I hope this was the last thing. I wish I could make this funnier or include some of the good things (because there were some wonderful parts of our summer), but I’m tired. I’m tired of being double and triple booked. In yoga we say to limit our commitments so we can enjoy life, not just rush from one thing to the next. But, I can’t say no to lightning. I can’t say no to car accidents.

What I can do, is realize that any of these things could have been so much worse. Our house did not catch on fire despite the gas leaks. Three car accidents this summer, and everyone involved was able to walk away. Even the stupid buck. My husband and I are trying to model for our children what it means to keep putting one foot in front of the other. And who knows? Maybe I’ll get a story out of this lightning strike.

Love,

Sherri

 

Walk for Wishes

On Sunday my family and I will be participating in the Walk for Wishes. We’ll get to the Baltimore zoo around 8 or so and after the walk we’ll check out the animals. Evie especially wants to see the penguins. The older kids are excited to miss church, but sometimes church isn’t in church, you know? Sometimes church is about serving others and that’s what the Make-A-Wish foundation is all about: granting wishes for kids who have a life-threatening illness or condition.

Our story is personal. Evelyn was diagnosed with leukemia when she was 2 1/2 years old.  After the initial “emergency” status of the situation descended to “high alert”, the social worker at the hospital helped us fill out the paperwork for a wish. The Wish ambassadors came to our house to meet Evelyn and the family. When asked, Evelyn went with the age appropriate response and said she wanted to meet the Disney princesses. The Wish people were ready to get us packed, but my husband and I were too tired to think about going anywhere. There was the logistics of traveling with a family of 6, Evie was right in the middle of treatment and had a complicated chemo and surgery schedule. She had to have regular surgery to inject chemo directly into the spinal fluid. And, there was the ever present danger of her compromised immune system. She could spike a fever and we’d be too far from our hospital where everyone knew what size needle to access her port-a-cath and how to take care of a pediatric oncology patient. How to take care of our precious daughter.

The Wish people told us firmly that we needed to use the Wish. That we needed a break. That everything was set — we would spent Evelyn’s fourth birthday in Disney. The Wish people didn’t forget Evie’s twin sister either. Evelyn was always the special guest, but Sylvia was taken care of too. We all were. And, the Wish people were right. That week away as a family showed us how run down we’d gotten, how grim and plodding. We returned to Maryland refreshed, full of energy, and ready to fight again. We also had a ton of pictures and an invaluable family experience with all six of us.

We went from this:

Evie after port replacement (due to infection)

Evie after port replacement (due to infection)

To this:

DSC03026And this: DSC03157And this:DSC02926

 

I hate fundraising — asking friends and neighbors and strangers for money — but this is important. Make-A-Wish isn’t about going on an imaginably fun trip, it’s about being taken care of by a network of volunteers who understand that each moment counts. We were fortunate enough to be taken care of and we’d like to pass that along to other families, the ones coming behind us who are just now finding out about their own health crisis, about their own beloved child.

Please consider donating $5 or $10. The walk is this Saturday. If you care to donate, here’s the link:

Woosley

Love,

Sherri

Too much stimulation

Today is the first day of spring break and I’m already going nuts.

Despite the fact that every school day I’m dragging kids out of bed, threatening everything that can be threatened if they miss the bus, today they are up. One child has gotten into the cookies and is eating them as she reads in bed. (a no-no in our house. CRUMBS, PEOPLE). The radio is blaring from a bedroom with no one in it. The twins are on my bed, jumping on me because they want their iPads. One twin is okay with waiting until later in the day, but the other has a meltdown complete with kicking legs and screaming and I look at the clock and just wonder why. The puppy wags his tail. He’s ready for his morning walk.

The computer is on downstairs and I yell, “No technology until after breakfast, please.” The answer: “We’re reading on the computer.”

Breakfast. Somehow I started the tradition of every snow day and first day of any break we have blueberry pancakes, and eggs or sausage or something else that requires actual cooking. So, I could bust these out by myself pretty quickly, but no. Supposed to be a teachable moment so I let her do the measuring and the stirring and I bite my lip when there is mix all over the counter and floor and she over-stirred the blueberries so that the mix is purple and little deflated blueberry balloon skins are all that’s left.

The oldest girl comes down and flops on the couch, turning on tv. And, now I’m annoyed because I can’t leave the kitchen, but I can’t seem to win against technology. And, I want my kids to go outside and like build a tree fort or something, but without my needing to supervise and without them using their father’s tools and messing anything up. Can’t they learn a foreign language or how to type? But, that would require my finding the program on the computer. And so I don’t say anything except to call the youngest when it’s time to flip the pancakes.

The laundry is going today too because, despite being spring break, there are buckets of dirty clothes. And I ask, is everything REALLY dirty? Even this shirt that I see is still folded? Did you really wear it? Yes, Mom. Three cherubic smiles. (The boy is still in bed. I don’t ask if his clothes are dirty. They are.)

And I start the dishwasher too, but have to stack the breakfast dishes in the sink, syrupy and sticky because there is too much. Too much of everything.

I dump the egg shells in the flower pots outside, tiny bit of composting, and later I see the puppy eating them. Mental note: Take the dog for another walk because who knows what that will do to his tummy.

My agent has sent me notes about the synopsis I need to get done. The kids want to know if they can watch a movie. I suggest they ride bikes. They want to know if they can play DS. I tell them they need to take the puppy for another walk. He’s going nuts because he normally has daily playdates with our neighbor’s dogs. They are all besties. The three of them run and jump over each other and do ridiculous acrobatics and then puppy comes back in and sleeps. But, the humans are on vacation and I texted the dogsitter to find out when the dogs would come outside, but don’t have a time yet.

This is him watching for his friends.

Gabe looking for Gracie

And then the doorbell rings and I realize I’m still in my pjs and my older daughter brings in a package from Fed ex or whatever. I go upstairs to get dressed. And I’m trying to decide if I can make it to critique group tonight. I haven’t been in so long, but I haven’t worked on the story I wanted to work on and I have something else, but it’s handwritten and I’d have to type it up. On the other hand, the babysitter is arranged and I don’t want to cancel on her and my husband won’t be home until late anyway and the coach is picking up the boy for lacrosse practice…and I’m thinking all these things when I hear a man’s voice. In my house.

And one of my kids wanders into my bathroom where I’m half-dressed and I say, “Is there someone here?” Which is stupid, BECAUSE I CAN HEAR THAT SOMEONE IS HERE. And the kid says, “Yeah. The bug guy is spraying.”

Which I kind of hate anyway because I don’t like chemicals all around, and I hate strangers showing up at my door. Especially when I’m not dressed. I throw on the rest of my clothes and hurry outside, but the bug guy is gone. So, the one place we need sprayed is the door in the basement because we get these huge black spiders that lurk in doorways and the bug guy didn’t spray the one spot we needed. And I’m pissed and rushed and the kids tell me that they are done playing Polly Pockets and want to know if it’s time for lunch.

And I tell them no and run to the internet to type these words so I can get my head on straight and figure out what is going on. Not just with the day because nothing really terrible has happened, but I’m frazzled and feel karate chopped.

And, here it is. Too much stimulation. I’m an introvert. I like calm and even silence. I like to drift in my thoughts thinking of story lines or images. And now I feel defensive, attacked. Crazy to make all these demands STOP.

And, I’m tired of feeling guilty. Like every break or holiday from school is supposed to be an opportunity for Pinterest. Why do I have to defend my need and my desire to work on my dream (the synopsis for my novel and a story for tonight’s meeting)? But, I do. My kids work me constantly. The boy literally spent thirty minutes last night quizzing me on his favorite things to show that I don’t spend enough time with him.

Example:

Him: You don’t even know my favorite color.

Me: Orange.

Him: MY OTHER FAVORITE COLOR.

Me: Dark Blue.

Him: (huffy breath) Well, you don’t even know my favorite….

The girls are manipulative.

Me: Go play something real with your Monster High girls or your shopkins. Make up a story and act it out with the characters.

Them: Why DON’T you WANT to play WITH us?

Me: I do. But I have to work.

Them: So you don’t love us. We understand. (Slumped shoulders and eyes that slide away)

Me: We just made breakfast together.

Twin 1: No, you just did that with Twin 2.

Me: Okay, you can help me make lunch.

Twin 1: You always want me to work!

 

And now it’s lunch time. Hope you’re enjoying your spring break!

Sherri

Fostering Gabe

So, let me acknowledge that it’s crazy. That my life with four kids and a husband who travels for work is full. Let me add in that I recently, after years of work, signed on with an amazing literary agent for my novels and there is a lot of revision in my future. I volunteer at church and at the elementary school. I’m FULL.

Gabe's glamour shot. He's 11 weeks and 11 pounds.

Gabe’s glamour shot. He’s 11 weeks and 11 pounds.

But, I wanted a puppy. Well, a dog. But we got a puppy and now I can’t imagine not wanting a puppy. For about two years now I’ve had this hankering for a canine companion. Every time I brought it up with my husband he would, in a very rational and analytical way, point out that we’ve just gotten to the point where our kids are all in school, they can all read, swim, bicycle. We still have to watch them…but we don’t have to hover anymore. We can go places on the weekends. Everything he said made sense and I would fold away my dog dream. A few days later it would unfold itself and I would want again. I looked at pictures on the internet and read their stories.

I filled out an application at a local rescue, was approved, and picked out the bundle of sweetness that I wanted. I e-mailed my husband every step of the way…because he was in Singapore for business. By the time he came home, she was adopted. I was heartbroken. I’d already pictured us romping through the fields together. She was beautiful and I wish the little pup well with whatever family adopted her. But, now I was on a mission.

My husband asked if my wanting a dog was code for wanting a baby. No. NO. I want a snuggley pet. I grew up with dogs. I like them walking around the house doing their thing. I like when dogs are happy to see you when you walk in the door. I like when they put their paw on your leg and give you THAT look. I wanted my own dog.

Oldest with Gabe. She waited 8 years for a dog in this house.

Oldest with Gabe. She waited 8 years for a dog in this house.

My kids wanted a dog. The oldest girl has been asking for a dog since she was 5. She’s now 13. The twins race up to strangers and ask if they can pet the dogs at all the soccer practices. My boy dreams of a dog like a Jack London book. Them against the world (and all his sisters).

My husband agreed we could compromise. We’d foster. I filled out an application with Big Fluffy Dogs. I’d come across the organization while looking at pictures of Great Pyrs. In the novel I’m about to revise, one of the characters is a white half-wolf (Dido) and I wanted to see photos.

I got an e-mail Thursday afternoon and the phone call Thursday night — there was an 11-week old puppy who needed a foster home. Of course Mike was in New York. I tried to call him. Got voicemail. Had to make a decision. I said yes. My coordinator is Nan. She’s tricky — she LISTENED during the interview and then picked a pup that EXACTLY matched our family needs. She was the first to mention the term “foster fail.” That’s when you realize your heart is not going to let your puppy go. Then, to discuss transport, I spoke to Cookie. I’ve never met Cookie, but I already like someone who would choose this name. I picture a woman wearing a nurse’s coat with chocolate chip cookies with arms and legs and big smiley faces. In the background of her phone I could hear her dogs (she had a puppy that was very happy she was home) and in the background of my phone my twins girls, wrapped in towels and dripping water, were repeatedly asking, “Is that the dog lady?”

Transport. The dogs are sent out from Tennessee and then stop at certain pre-planned sites. For me, in northeast Maryland, I had two options. Both were 2 hours away. I was worried about how to fit in 4 hours of driving on Saturday. The twins had soccer from 9-10:30, we had a neighborhood party at 2:30, my older daughter’s soccer at 4:30, and my son’s travel football game at 8. I can’t remember if Cookie laughed, but she did tell me that the pick up wasn’t going to interfere…..I was to pick up GABE at 2 AM in the empty parking lot of a Toys’R’us.

An emergency trip to Petsmart on Friday after school. I kinda wish I had a picture. The five of us, 4 kids and me, testing out the squeaky toys, voting on the dog bowl, discussing the merits of any and all puppy accessories. One of the twins tried out the cushion for the crate to make sure it was soft enough. Friday night Mike arrives home and sees the dog food dish, the food, the crate. “Is there something you need to tell me, Sherri?”

A few hours later, at 11:45 PM, my oldest daughter and I head out, armed with blankets and water and a dish, etc. Big Fluffy Dogs gives all the information and tells what to do and I read the instructions like a million times. I drank some tea, but my daughter was supposed to talk to me on the drive, keep me awake. Yeah right. She was asleep, sprawled on the backseat snoring, before we turned out of our development.

The men doing the transport were there, the whole process was only a few minutes. I made sure to drive my minivan up to the transport van in a very clandestine manner so that the drivers windows faces each other. I learned that from THE WIRE. “You Sherri?”  “Yeah. You got GABE?” “Yeah.” “Come around to the back of the van.” “Alright, I will.”

No, that wasn’t how it went, but I was so sleep-fogged that I can’t remember the exact dialogue. I do remember commenting on how awake the men seemed and they advised energy drinks and heavy metal music. My daughter woke up. We cuddled little Gabe, she took him, and we headed home.

In the morning, the other three kids couldn’t believe it was real. WE HAD A PUPPY. Look at my son’s face.

We're really doing this? Does Dad know?

We’re really doing this? Does Dad know?

Gabe is hilarious, and he’s definitely family friendly. He’s been inside, outside, slept in a hammock, gone to the park (not a dog park because he doesn’t have his last shots), watched his first soccer practice from the warmth of the car, and tested out everyone’s bed. He does have a crate that he uses during the night and when I go to work.

twins

But, everyone is still so excited, that we have to use a timer at bedtime. He sleeps with each child for 12 minutes and then I have to move him to the next child for snuggles.

I’m not sure how fostering works out — we’re still getting into the routine — but I can’t STAND the thought that this little guy might have been in a shelter, one among many, kept in a crate because there aren’t enough resources to care for all the animals.

HURRAY FOR FOSTERS!

I’ve got to go. Lots to do today.

Love,

Sherri

It’s Not You. It’s Them (Sherri version)

It’s a little awkward, being funny at the end of class when you are supposed to be in savasana, but yesterday I read this to my yoga classes from Glennon’s Momastery rant.

Here’s my version.

Children #3 and #4 were shocked at the bus stop on Tuesday. A little neighbor girl told them, confirmed by the girl’s mother, that when I said they could “skip school” on Monday, it was a joke. Everyone was off for Labor Day. Child #3 gave me big eyes and said she was disappointed in me. Child #4 ran down the driveway and sat down in the backyard, demanding a new day off from school.

I tried to reason with her. Reminding her that on Monday Daddy hadn’t been at work, we’d seen school friends at the pool, and she’d even invited the neighbor girl over to play. I thought she’d figured it out. Child #3 wasn’t budging on the fact that she’d been robbed of a day off school. I thought about suggesting this Monday, when schools are closed again, but wisely refrained. The bus came up the street. Bodily threats were involved. Got her on the bus.

Child #3 stared at me from the bus window and shook her head with disapproval.

The older kids aren’t easier, though.

My daughter, Child #1, got her very first check in the mail for doing a job at our church. She was so excited. Until I took it away. She’d moved chairs — setting up for service and then restacking — and maybe broken a sweat. However, this summer she also lost 2 library books. We searched everywhere. Haven’t seen them in weeks. I had to pay for them yesterday. And the price?  Well, she got back $1 from her first paycheck. She’s angry at me.

Not to be left out, Child #2 felt betrayed when I wouldn’t help him steal a book from Child #1’s room. Here’s the thing. Not only do we go to the library every 3 weeks, not only do each of the children check out books from their school library, but our house has books in every room. We love books. But, Child #1 decided to read the Artemis Fowl series. Each of the books was on her bookshelf. Suddenly, Child #2 wanted to read the series, but he’s read several times before, so he read more quickly. Despite promising that he wouldn’t hound her the day before, by Tuesday he was ready for the second book and she was in the middle. He worked out a complicated scheme of my calling Child #1 out of her room, him sneaking in, taking the book, sticking it inside another book, and retreating to a different part of the house to read it. Then, sneaking it back into her room before he left for football practice.

“No,” I said. But I did check out books 2 and 3 from the library (where I went to pay for the lost books) and brought them home the next day. They were unacceptable because they had different cover art and he wanted me to switch library book 2 for our copy book 2. If I could just call Child #1 out of her room then he would….

IT’S NOT ME, IT’S THEM. They are strange, whirling planets of selfish desire and unreasonable requests. Constant requests. You get through one and there’s another waiting behind it.

Glennon says to wait it out. I’ve got nothing better to advise.

Love,

Sherri