Parenthood: A Series of Un-Winnable Battles

It’s happening more and more often these days. I find myself frustrated with something my kids are doing (or not doing), saying (or not saying), and I think: Did we act like this when I was a kid? How did my parents deal with this? There are long stretches of life when you sort of…

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A Manifesto on Parenting

When I was newly married, I spent one year substitute teaching in the local schools. That was a very educational experience. There was the elementary school that was universally viewed as the worst in the district (it has since been closed and reopened as a Title One/gifted/Early Childhood location), which started requesting me after I…

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How We Taught Our Kids To Be Good Eaters

My kids are really good eaters. I’m kind of surprised at this, frankly, because I am and always have been a pretty picky eater. And the thing is, we approach food all “wrong,” according to all the parenting advice I ever read. We’ve almost always forced our children to finish what they’re given—unless it’s starch,…

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The Gift I Have To Give Is Me

We just came through parent-teacher conference season again, and what we learned in Julianna’s home visit was that although she can read a page that looks like this: her comprehension is stuck on pages that look like this: For anything more complicated than Corduroy, I have to sit with her, read with her, and stop…

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The Minor Frustrations Involved In Raising My Chromosomally-Gifted Girl

When the phone rang during my oh-so-precious work time the other day, I almost decided to ignore it without even checking the caller ID. But there’s always the chance it’s somebody’s school. Which in this case, it was–Julianna’s. It turned out there had been a minor altercation on the bus. Julianna kept touching a boy’s backpack, even…

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Kate’s Universal Laws Of Parenting

Ear infections always and only come up after the doctor’s office has closed for the night. Or during a 20-inch snow storm. The child who gets chronic ear infections is inevitably the one who’s also allergic to penicillin. Paperwork is evil. Where children, there noise. If no noise, beware. Just because they don’t react doesn’t…

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A Message for Young Moms From Someone with A Little More Experience

The day school let out for Christmas, I walked seven kids, ages 5 to 11, about a mile from school to the mall, across nine lanes of traffic on one of the busiest roads in town, so we could ring the Salvation Army bell at JCPenney. And I wasn’t nervous about it. I knew it…

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How To Make A Snow Day, According to Kindergarten and Second Grade

“Mrs. Basi!” yells Kindergarten Carpool child, upon leaping into the van after school. “Do you want to have a SNOW DAY tomorrow???!!!!” “No, I do not,” I reply. Undeterred, he shouts, “You have to put an ICE CUBE in the TOILET and let it melt! And then you flush it!” “Uh….okay.” Nicholas leaps into the…

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The Problem Of Teaching A Child The Faith

It’s got to be tough to be the kid who has two musical parents who are extremely involved in their church. He has a set of gifts that are his birthright—a great ear, the ability to pick out tunes in multiple keys and sometimes even harmonize them, plus a blossoming skill on the piano and…

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In Which The Letter “L” is a Bittersweet Milestone

When I think about my kids, I often have to chuckle at God’s sense of humor. I always claimed that I would accept any child given to me, that health or disability wouldn’t matter. But I didn’t mean it. And I knew I didn’t mean it, although I never admitted it, even to myself. I…

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