Counting Lucky Stars

This week, my little wrecking crew of a three-year-old closed me into the kitchen as I made lunches.
“Shhhhhh,” he said. “I just really need some quiet.”


My shoulders dropped several inches and I breathed the air of joy and silence and adrenaline-dissipation. Peace was mine for at least 30 seconds, and it was sweet.

Later in the week, my little bundle of raw nerves, almost-eight-year-old took a deep breath and started to chill the heck out.
“I just need some space,” he calmly told his shrieking little brother. “I might be allergic to you.”

Again, I measured my relief in decreased tension and increased oxygen intake. I had space to breathe twice in a week? Genuinely, seriously unheard of.

And then, today, two of the boys slated for our impending birthday sleepover party told their moms that they’d really rather attend just the waking hours of the party. I had offered to each family the opportunity to sleep here, or to stay right up until teeth brushing, go home, and return for the morning breakfast and egg hunt.

Having two children opt out of the giggling, silly, late-night horse pucky that is trying to get elementary-school children to sleep? I swear to all that I hold dear…this is a Pope verifiable miracle. This represents three deep breaths in a week, and I am so grateful that I’m going on a tear of charity donations, random acts of kindness, and willful support of those who normally irk me.

I’m almost to the point of skipping, dear readers. Seriously. Life is good, kind, and glorious.

And now that I think of it, it all started when Jimmy Fallon hit some incredible notes on The Tonight Show.

Maybe my unbounded joy, immeasurable good fortune, and serendipitous droplets of magical fairy nectar this week are because of the history of rap.

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Anything amazing happen to you this week?

Was it better than quiet and calm in the midst of two feuding brothers?
Was it better than this?

One-armed activities

Well, I’ll say one thing for breaking your arm on a school field trip…it brings out the creative side of your mama. Coming up with things for a seven year old with a broken arm sounds easy enough, doesn’t it? I mean, just because you temporarily can’t bike, skateboard, climb, write, draw, sew, do origami or carpentry, I’m sure there are enough activities in the world to keep you busy for all of June.

So without further ado, here is a list of things that a seven year old child can do, even with a broken arm. Dominant side, naturally. Because when first graders do something, they do it all the way. As close to the end of school as they can manage.

Bean bag toss. Honey, I said toss. Toss means lightly. Gently. Toss, sweetie. Okay, moving on…
Marbles. So if you flick the marble at the other…um, flick. Like this. Not tossing. That was the last game, peanut. Honey, don’t throw the marbles. Okay, let’s try something else.
Puzzles. I know. I’m bored, too. Wanna try tossing the pieces into a bucket?
Board games. Now you’re talking. Let’s play all our games dozens of times. Yay! Okay. One day down…
Blanket fort for reading. Pretty dark in here, eh? Try reading with a flashlight. Oh, right. One hand. Next plan…
Word find and word jumbles. You’re right, honey. Butter does start with butt, and yes, you can circle both words.
Stomp rocket. That was fun. Now let’s go on the roof and get them. Oh, no; not you. You might break your arm.
Soccer. I know you didn’t mean to, but you still get a red card for concussing the defender with plaster.
Bug habitat. Sure, I’ll carry this terrarium around while you look for bugs. No, I’m not napping. I’m looking really closely at this ant hill.
Sidewalk chalk. Wow, your spelling is getting better from those word jumbles. That *is* exactly how you spell butt.
Dictate stories Wow. That was a lot of inventions the character put on his vehicle. Where did he get the volcanic dynamite laser protoplasm? Oh. Right. Of course he grows it himself.
Photography. Take all the photos you want and we’ll make a book from them. Sure, we can take the camera outside.
Berry picking.
Berry eating.

Good luck with your summer plans. Ours just got a lot more outdoorsy.


I am proud to announce that I am now mother to a seven-year-old and a three-year-old.

Feels weird. The youngest is no longer a toddling disaster waiting to happen, though he is about as fully Three as a young human can be. If you don’t know what a scathing epithet “Three” can be, please search the interwebs and ask your friends. Three is so adorably horrible it…ah, what the heck. I have all year to tell you. And an archive full of 2009’s Three-based rants to tide you over.

In addition to morphing of young Mr. Needs Attention All the Time into Mr. Needs Attention Most of the Time, 2013 has brought to our home a full-fledged seven-year-old person with all manner of ideas and stories to tell. And mischief to orchestrate. He’s delightful. When he’s not surly. Or ignoring simply requests. Or antagonizing his brother and parents.So I might be able to spend five minutes a day actually focused on this young man, now that his brother is less hazard than attitude problem.

But several moms this week have told me that nine is really he beginning of puberty and its signature mood swings, detestable behaviors, and frequent parenting moments.

So I have two years to enjoy the delightful creature whom I’ve basically ignored for two years while his brother has been tearing around like a Tasmanian devil. I have to make the most of every single moment, for after those two years, the creature formerly called Peanut will become hormonally-altered, and I will be shut out forever.

(Have I mentioned I’m a huge fan of hyperbole? Probably not, and since it’s potentially not obvious from my hysterical rantings, I’ll mention it here. Hyperbole is the best thing ever!)

And I have two years to guide the little tea kettle of irrational lunges toward independence before he blossoms into a lovely, individual creature who will privilege his peers’ opinions over mine and relish his long hours at school without me. As we now know, most five-year-olds fall in with the wrong crowd and ignore their parents for the rest of their young lives.

A crossroads. One is in the middle of his best four childhood years. And the other is in the middle of his toughest childhood years. In 730 days they will transition into the initial phases of teenager and the initial phases of elementary schooler.

730 days. That’s all I have. After that it’s…well, it’s…it’s another 1460 days before things get really dicey, with a teen and a tween. And then only 1095 more days until one is driving and both are shaving. And then only 730 days before one leaves for college.


My baby is going to college in 4,198 days! I have to go make sure we have enough soap and shampoo and extra-long twin sheets to get him there!

Hang on. How many leap years between now and 2024? I have to go do some research. I’ll get back to you soon with how long I actually have before I start sobbing and taking on new hobbies and…wait. The other one will still be here. I won’t be alone and depressed and needing seven new hobbies until at least 2028.

Just when I was thinking four years was a crummy spread because one is always in a challenging phase and so consuming my maternal energy I miss the other’s delightful age…

No problem. 2028.

I can hold off panicking until then.


Now I have time to panic about getting through Three.

And Seven.