Monday, April 28, 2014

And what does dinnertime look like at your house?

Sarah: Do you think we will ever have a pleasant family supper?
Brian: Yes. When they've left for college. 

I have these memories of lovely family meals. Meals in which people minded their manners and there was laughter instead of sobbing. My parents are probably reading this and rolling their eyes. But I have this vision, this vision of a pleasant family meal, and I really don't want to give up on it.

I felt pretty good about supper tonight. It was healthy, I threw it together with food on hand, and I knew I had incorporated ingredients my children will eat. But it was a nightmare. At one point, Brian and I walked out of the house, practically pushed out by the screams that followed us and were most certainly audible to those walking past our house, home to their quiet, well-behaved children.

Why the screaming? Well, our two-year-old decided the cucumbers were the only edible part of his meal. And when no more cucumbers were available, he began to scream. At the recommendation of his new speech therapist, we are trying not to jump-to the minute the ear-piercing begins but calmly ask him to communicate in a clearer manner, signs at least. But no amount of, "Are you done? Sign all done. Do you want down? Sign down," elicited anything more than a vehement shake of the head and more screaming from the mule-child.

And our five-year-old? Well, thoughtful girl that she is, she doesn't like anyone to have to scream alone. We had actually gotten her to successfully ingest the minimum three bites (beyond the cucumber), but then, then, she spilled a drop of water on her shirt. And her life collapsed around her ears.

That's when Brian and I left. We stood on the porch for a minute, collected ourselves, and without even consulting each other walked back in with the same plan in mind. I took hold of Maggie and headed to her room. Brian took hold of Leo's hands, signed all done with them, and removed him from his seat. We read them bedtime books, tucked them in, and said goodnight. It was 6:00.

We do occasionally have a lovely meal. But more often than not, it resembles this one. Most of the time, I can tell myself that this is normal, but some nights, I'm just exhausted. I stayed up too late last night, it's raining and will be for days, I have pressing deadlines and and piles of laundry to do, and a night like this just did me in. And all the beer was warm. Is it too much to ask for a cold beer at a moment like this?

So, tell me, if you're reading this, what does dinnertime look like at your house? Does everyone say please and thank you and eat the food served gratefully? Or (oh, please, oh, please) does it look like ours? Do you sometimes just want to run from the house? Or stay and show them what screaming really looks like? I could, you know.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

TToT23: The Dude

Brian's (the Dude) birthday was Thursday so wouldn't it be appropriate for me to name ten traits of his for which I am thankful? Yes, I think so...

1. He pays the bills. I hate paying bills. I can't balance a checkbook (truly, it comes out wrong every time). I'm pretty sure I'm striking a blow against any kind of feminist steps I've taken, but I'd rather be given a budget than have to deal with the bank account and the bills. Don't judge; I think I have a math phobia.

2. Poor Dude. He's dealt with some tough times in the last few years, personally and professionally. He knows when to seek out extra help. And he does it.

3. When he takes off his socks, he turns them right-side-out before putting them in the laundry basket. Do you do all the laundry at your house? Then you know what a big deal this is.

4. When I worked part time, I used to drop by his classroom to watch him teach. I am not exaggerating when I say his day to day teacher-student interactions are inspiring. I'd watch him now, but you know, we've got kids.

5. I laugh these days when he's turns them on me, but he's built up some mad interpersonal skillz through his admin training. I call it his therapist talk, but it is working. He's doing his job and doing it well.

6. In spite of being a SAHM, I don't really love playing with children. I can clothe them, feed them, teach them appropriate behavior and independence, and love them to pieces, but playing on a floor for hours is not my thing. It is the Dude's thing. He loves to play with children, and he'll sometimes disappear with them for hours. Blessed silence.

7. Sometimes the Dude gets anxious, and I remain calm. That's mostly when he's driving, and he doesn't know the directions. At almost all other times, it's the other way around. When I reach a breaking point, he often senses this and somehow begins to exude calm. It wafts from him.

8. He mows the lawn. He takes out the trash, recycling, and compost. 'Nuff said about those.

9. He has proven, more than once, that he can make a seemingly impossible decision in favor of his family.

10. How can you not love a man who dresses like this? And, when called by a truant teenager a "Stuart Little-looking motherf%&ker" actually becomes even more proud of his fashion sense?



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Saturday, April 19, 2014

TToT22:A Break

I have hardly even opened Blogger this week. And for that I am grateful. I'm not saying I'm tired of blogging; I'm saying it's good to know when to take a break and to be able to take one. I think my last posts took a lot out of me. :)

My huge, giant, enormous thankful this week is for all of you, all the people who commented so supportively on my last few posts. Truly, I felt so validated, in spite of the fact that no one said, "Ah, but Sarah, I believe you." Nearly every comment was in support of my right and need to tell my story, and in validation of that as a path towards healing. Some were as sweet and comforting as a real in-person hug, and I love those people for understanding that sometimes you just need somebody to understand and say how much your life sucked for awhile. Though the phrase is trite and cliche, I will still write that all of your comments meant so much to me.

I have one more post (at least) in me on the subject, but as I wrote above, I've been a little removed from  the blogging world of late. Nevertheless, the whole series of events on my mind, I was thinking this morning of how wonderful job security is, and how easy it is to take for granted. I know for sure there are some TToT readers who do not take this for granted, and they know how it is impossible to understand the value of job security until it is missing. There was period of time in the summer of 2012 in which neither of us was employed and neither entirely certain if we would become so. Two children and no jobs is a frightening situation.

In the same theme, it is truly wonderful to work in a job that you enjoy in which you are appreciated. After that terrible year, the Dude has had two years in a education job in which he works with intelligent, talented people whom he admires and who admire him. I have seldom known a more collegial group of employees than those in his particular position. Ego does not seem to play a role, and they all go to each other freely for advice and improvement. These men and women are totally committed to improving public education. 

And in those two years, I have become a stay at home mother. We now know it will end sooner rather than later, but it has been a wonderful experience for me, and I certainly hope, for my children. I think I have been able to provide an much-needed sense of stability after great upheaval, and I hope that foundation will last after I enter the work force once more.

This week has been Spring Break. Last Saturday, I suggested we brainstorm a list of things we'd like to do for Spring Break, and though we have only accomplished a fraction from our list, it was so much fun to brainstorm. Mt. Vernon, puzzles, breakfast, and wearing pajamas in the car made the list along with all the parks in our general vicinity. 

One highlight from the week was the Baltimore Children's Museum, which is fantastic. But we also managed to coordinate schedules (a truly amazing feat) with two families we haven't seen in awhile to ride the National Mall Carousel and to dye eggs.

And how can I end without naming that fabulous video created by Lizzi. Truly, my green hat is so much better than Pharrell's Arby one. I am disappointed to say the video is no longer available, it seems. I was going to impress the Seven Guard Virgins!

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Friday, April 11, 2014

TToT21: Light and Dark

What!A!Week!

To start on the lighter side of things, the weather has been Capital-G-Gorgeous. Perfect spring weather. And, as always, when that first extended period of spring weather appears, I go out and get dirty.

Exhibit A:
Pure brawn, folks.
That garden bed was overgrown in hostas and daisies and some sort of volunteer tree. I have nothing against hostas or daisies, and I have respect for nearly all trees, but what I want there is vegetables. So out all that went. And I even got help.

Can you honestly say she's not the cutest thing you've ever seen?
And then I worked my way around the side of the house, digging up weeds and the monkey grass that I do not appreciate, and moving hostas into the shade. (Former owners were real hosta lovers.)

Not done yet, but my kids have been great. I've managed to convince my son of the stay within my sight or we have to go back in the house rule after just two follow-throughs, and our outdoor toys, garden tools, and the "slimy, yet satisfying" worms (anyone else watch a lot of Lion King clips?) keep them entertained.

Theeeeeeen, I wrote a Really Important Post. Actually, I wrote two. There's a post here at this blog and one at Lefty Pop. They go together. I knew I would write some version of these posts since I started this blog 13 months ago. And after I did, I was nervous. I exposed a lot more of my private life than I am used to doing. But I felt some lightness, some relief, and I thought, "This is a good thing."

And then I got some really positive feedback from people I knew two years ago and people I know now through blogging. And people like good friends and family who support me no matter what. And I felt really good. I felt vindicated. I thought, "Finally! I got to tell the truth and people are hearing me and believing me! Finally I got to set the record straight!" Even when I got negative feedback in one comment, I responded thoughtfully and professionally (I think) and reinforced my own feeling that I had done the Right Thing by posting my story.

And then, last night, another comment showed up. It seems to have been written in anger: it's incoherent at times and unedited, and for me, it is 2011-2012 all over again. I deleted it. Most of what she wrote is untrue, and I don't think it's a productive sort of comment, and perhaps most importantly, if it is written by the person I think wrote it, it could be in violation of a legal agreement. And I just don't want to go there.

Then I found it at Lefty Pop (read it if you like). And, all of a sudden, I was back at the dining room table once again. Back with my laptop and the notebooks and the fear and the anger. Oh, how my fingers itched to pull out the notebooks! I wanted to write a scathing rebuttal (and, let me tell you, I can scathe). I wanted to disprove every one of her accusations. (Except the one about me confronting people with my baby in an Ergo (he was napping). I mean, her description of my behavior is exaggerated, but yes, I confronted people. I don't regret or deny it; I was just saving that story for another post.) And the part about the email I sent a year ago? That just has me squirming inside. Did she make that up? Did someone hack my email address? Did someone write an email and sign my name? Any of those three options is horrifying.

And then the comment showed up on my blog again. Twice (in response to two posts). I deleted them again. And they showed up again. I deleted. Again. The author and I did this back and forth for two or three hours before I finally remembered I could disable Anonymous comments (duh).

I'm fairly sure I know who wrote it. It's posted under the assumed name of 'Ericka Kane' on Lefty Pop, but if I had to place money, I'd say it was written by the woman who once yelled at my husband that she hoped he'd have a nervous breakdown. (Interestingly, I was told this morning that Erica Kane is a famous soap opera character played by Susan Lucci. I know who Susan Lucci is, but I've never watched All My Children. Wikipedia reports that TV Guide named Erica Kane One of the Nastiest Villains of All Time. Interesting pseudonym choice.)

I went to bed feeling dirty. I felt violated by her accusations of me and harrassed by her insistent intrusion on my blog, but the critic in my head said, "Well, you write a public blog, don't you? You can't stop people from commenting! You brought this on yourself by writing that story." And so I started to question whether I should have written it. I started to think about all the page views and so few comments, and I started to think, "People have read this post and not commented because they don't believe me. They think my husband did something egregious that I am covering up. They think, like Ericka Kane, that it's hard to fire a teacher.'"

Fortunately, I slept really well.

And today, I thought on it some more. I thought through speech therapy and my garden work and meal preparation. And, all of sudden, it hit me: I can't convince everyone that my husband is innocent. If Oprah had been there, she would have said Aha! I think there might have been a veritable lightbulb. That is the hump I needed to get over. People will believe what they want to believe. But I know the truth. And 99% of the people he knows know the truth. Shoot, even Ericka Kane must actually know it somewhere deep down inside.

Don't think I've entered some kind of enlightened state, though. I want everyone who reads that nasty comment to say, "Ah, Sarah, but I believe you." But it's an unmistakable breakthrough. Which occurred because I wrote that story. Even because of that hateful comment. (Well, maybe that's going too far.) Hey, I wasn't blowing smoke when I wrote to the other commenter that speaking truthfully and openly is healing. It is!

So, again this week, I end without a true tally of ten. But that last one counts as more than one, doesn't it?


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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Fear

I once read somewhere that bloggers become bloggers because they have a story to tell. And in my case, that is true. While I've been frittering away my blog with posts on crafting and cooking, my story has been fizzing in the background of my brain, reminding me of its presence. Reminding me of its right to be told.

So today I'm telling my story at Lefty Pop, the story I hinted at in my last TToT post. It's the story of one of the most formative experiences of my life. Even 50 years from now, I am sure the memories of the 2011-2012 school year will make me wince.

It is inevitably a political story. It's a series of events grown out of a political situation. But it's worth reading even if you're politically averse, and even if you don't live in the US. It's worth knowing that this happens. Today. To good people.

If you take the time to read my story (thank you), come back here afterwards and read the rest of this post. There just wasn't room to include the emotional side over at Lefty Pop.

******************

When I think of the 2011-2012 school year, three images come to mind:

The sight of these makes me tense and anxious. 

1. The view from our dining room table. My laptop lived on the table as well as the notebook, then notebooks, of memos, rebuttals, and evidence that we collected from August 2011 to April 2012. I worked part-time at a paying job, and full time as Head Anxiety Manager and Ultimate Control Freak of our household. I put my daughter down for a nap after lunch and sat at my computer writing throughout her naptime. I defended my husband against every charge laid at his feet. I exposed lies and exaggerations and absurdities. On rare occasions, I helped him find the words to admit he had made a mistake. I worked through my daughter's dinner time while my husband stayed late at work, keeping up with the ever-increasing demands on his time. After I put my daughter to bed, I continued to write. My husband would come home from work, and we would collaborate. I could see him at his computer from my seat at the dining room table. We would shout to each other when we'd updated or added a document to Dropbox. The other would review it and shout back. At times, we had to laugh. The situation was too unbelievable. Or maybe his principal had made another amusing error, exposing that she, too, was in over her head.
I fed my anxiety through written defense in that seat at the dining room table nearly every single day for eight months. I worked as my uterus expanded and cut off the circulation to my legs. I worked as  my back pain intensified. As the year wore on, I began to understand the futility of it. The truth would never make a difference, but if I didn't work, if I didn't keep writing, I would have collapsed. Writing was the only sense of control I had.


2. Lying in a hospital bed with my infant son in my arms and my husband asleep in the chair next to me. I gave birth to both my children at home by choice. My daughter was born with no complications, but after my son was born, the midwives were unable to stop my bleeding. A neighbor and his infant son came over to sleep on our couch so my daughter would not be alone in the house while my husband, the midwives, and I relocated to the hospital sometime around 2:30 am on March 6, 2012. But my husband had a meeting with his assistant principal that morning. We knew he would receive another of the dreaded Personnel memoranda if he did not attend that meeting. I know that is hard to believe, but no grace was ever given. The hospital would not allow me to be the caretaker of my infant since I was a patient in the hospital, and my mother would not arrive in town until late morning. I didn't sleep that night. At 6:30 am I began calling friends on repeat, leaving a message, Please call me back. I have an emergency, and I need your help.

Later in the morning, I found a few brief moments to rejoice in the birth of my baby boy while I sat with one friend and then another who put aside their lives to help with mine. The first friend to arrive was late to work for my sake. Fortunately, her (our, we were coworkers) boss was everything my husband's was not: generous, understanding, and compassionate. I cried as I told my friends the reason my husband was unable to stay with me and the story of our year, a story we'd kept mostly to ourselves out of fear of repercussion.

When I was discharged late that afternoon, I went straight to my computer at the dining room table and took up my work again.

3. Sitting on our couch nursing our one-month-old infant and seeing a car park at the end of our driveway, effectively blocking it, and a man I didn't recognize walking towards our door with a letter. He worked at Central Office in my husband's school district, and he was delivering the letter of suspension. It was Spring Break. We were hoping it would be a break, but the school district would never allow it. I cursed him through tears. He had a dirty job to do, and I'm not sure he was particularly enthusiastic. He was calm in response to my emotion and invited me (possibly sincerely?) to speak to him about the situation in his office when "it's all over." I never took him up on it. I couldn't believe in anyone's sincerity from that side of the battle, and soon I was banned from all district property.

I believe one of the primary purposes of the actions of the school district against my husband that year was humiliation. They wanted to bring him low, and they wanted it to be public. The strongest example of this was his suspension in April. It was a blow to his students and their families. We heard of misbehavior pacts among students (in hopes of getting their teacher back), and another student who cried herself to sleep every night. As one parent put it, if he had done something so vile as to be a danger to students, then parents should have been informed. If he had not, then there was no reason to remove him from the classroom before the year ended. As it was, parents were only told the teacher would not be returning. Parents wrote letters, and students left mementoes. We treasure all to this day.

He was a confident man, and he was proud of his accomplishments as an advocate. But by June, he had to choose between providing for his family and exposing the school district employees for the crooks they were (are). He chose his family, and as a result, he chose silence. He agreed to keep the school district's dirty secrets in order to take care of us, his wife and children. And so I promise to spread them.

You may think this post sounds angry, morally indignant, or bitter. That's how I feel. I was pleased and satisfied to hear one year later that the superintendent involved in this story left his position before fulfilling his contract (clearly a trend in the district). But I write this story with the hope of exorcising these feelings and moving past this trauma of two years ago. And I write it to educate. 

Readers, this happens. This is real. There are members of management who are insecure and morally corrupt. There are workers who are outspoken and silenced. Please remember this next time you hear someone talk about a too powerful union.

Friday, April 4, 2014

TToT20: My Story

I have a lot I can write about with gratitude this week. Kristi. The weather and how we and our neighbors are emerging from our winter cocoons and interacting again. The possibility of new friends and how I found a new lighted, magnifying mirror for a non-ridiculous price. But I'm not gonna write about any of that.

I attended public school from 1981 to 1994 and college from 1994 to 1998. From 1998 to 2012, I taught and attended graduate school. I married a teacher. Even now, when I no longer teach, my daughter is in school, and my husband still works for a school system. We measure time in school years. And since 2012, in April, we remember. And we try to heal.

2011-2012 was a terrible school year. A formative year. A year we will always remember with horror. There is no understanding what it is like to live in constant fear. Not fear for our lives, but fear for our livelihoods, our reputations, and the home we'd carved out for ourselves in a community we loved. In April 2012, after eight months of plugging the dike with everything we could find to block the water, those began to fall away. All three were gone within the next few months.

I have another post due to Lefty Pop on Tuesday. I'm struggling. I want to tell this story, and I am limited to 800 words. It's impossible to do it justice. But I'd appreciate you hopping over to give it a read on Wednesday. Don't worry; I'll remind you.

But today, I am thankful. Because today we met up with several of the students (and their parents) my husband taught from August 2011 to April 2012. And it was glorious. One of the parents alerted us that the fifth grade classes, their teachers, and the school principal were visiting DC and would be at the Air and Space Museum this morning.

I'm not sure how to fully express how well my husband connects with his students. He has a gift for teaching like nothing I have ever seen. It has been nearly two years since he has seen most of these students, and he didn't even teach them for a full year, but when they saw them, they ran to him. They hugged him, they shouted, they climbed on him.

Most of the parents who came on this trip went to bat for us. To say these people are part of the reason we could get up again after our fall in 2012 is an understatement. These parents helped us, and they don't even know how much.

Our only concern was the principal. Not the mastermind (far too complimentary a term) of 2011-2012, but the whip. A woman whose morals did not allow her to question or hesitate when it came to exacting relentless punishment without merit. On the way, we discussed how we would respond if she dared to speak to either of us. We received a text from the mother who contacted my husband that the principal had asked that my husband not come to the museum. We responded that her days of dictating his behavior were over. And fortunately, my husband never even saw her.

I did. At one time, when a crowd of children were exclaiming and circling around my husband, I heard her call out grumpily, "We're here to see the museum, not Mr. ________!" I contented myself with a roll of the eyes.

And as we left, having seen nearly every student and parent we came to see, my husband said, "My heart is full. How wonderful to leave happy instead of angry! I'm glad I didn't see Mrs. _______."

This evening, my husband received a text from the parent who originally contacted him. She said she and her daughter were talking of my husband, and the daughter said she hoped to grow up to be a person like Mr. ________, the kind of person who makes a positive difference in the world.

These students just spent three days in DC. They saw wonders. But for many, the highlight will have been to see Mr. ________. And seeing them was his highlight, too.

Surely there were ten in there somewhere, right?


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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Present Progress: March (I know it's April)


Good readers, I have called Poison Control not once, but twice, in the last week. The first time they took my name and some other information and told me, actually, latex paint is not considered a poison (can't imagine it's real healthy, though, even if he probably didn't swallow any).

I was relieved that I wasn't asked for any personal information when I called this morning (I prefer to remain ashamed and anonymous, thankyouverymuch (she write on her public blog)). This morning I discovered that is very possible for a two-year-old to remove the safety cap from a bottle of children's Tylenol. And that if he guzzles nearly a third of the bottle before you get to him, that's OK by Poison Control's standards.

So do I win any prizes for being present?

It seems I am still adjusting to having a typically in.to.everything. toddler on my hands. My daughter did not prepare me for this! And why, why does the children's consignment store have a bookshelf of parenting books right next to the check-out area? I can't imagine I have the only child who considers it his mission to unload that bookshelf while his mother's hands are busy paying for the "new" clothes.

Fortunately, that time I saw this book.
And I thought, "Hey, don't I want to read that book? Hasn't it been recommended by several people? It's only $3!" And I tossed it into our pile.

It's a good buy, friends. It's a bit out of date in style, but the content is still very relevant. And I say this two chapters in. Really, it's the first chapter that got me. If you only read the first chapter, I think it's still worth your time and money.

Adele and Elaine offer parenting techniques and workbook-like exercises all while remaining non-judgemental about all those times you really didn't do it very well. They practice the empathy they preach. What I love about the first chapter is it's all about helping your child deal with his feelings. Yes, please, I do have an overemotional preschooler. The ladies condense it down to four steps or options (pick and choose one or more, given the emotional event/tantrum):

1. Listen quietly and attentively.
2. Acknowledge the feelings with a word (oh, hmmm, I see)
3. Give the feeling a name (That sounds frustrating!)
4. Give the child his wishes in fantasy (I wish I could make the banana ripe right now!)

Don't solve the problem for your child, don't dismiss the feelings as unimportant. (Do put limits on behavior, as necessary.) What Adele and Elaine discovered is that when they were empathetic with their own children, they not only got more information about the situation, but the children often solved their own problems!

So, I thought, let me give it a shot.

Maggie: These jeans don't feel right! I don't want to wear these jeans!
Mama (feeling awkward): Hmmmm... 
pause
Maggie: These jeans don't feel right! 
(Get over it!)
Mama: Those jeans feel uncomfortable, huh?
Maggie: Yeah, these jeans feel uncomferble.

An early byproduct of this technique was increased vocabulary. Uncomfortable, irritated, confused, frustrated. Good to know those words, but even better--sometimes all she really needed was someone to give her feeling a name, and then she was satisfied. It was sort of amazing.

But, other times, that was not enough.

Maggie: I want toast with butter!
Mama: I know you like toast with butter with your breakfast.
Maggie: I want toast with butter!
(I want you to be quiet, but neither of us is getting her wish.)
Mama: Well, you know it takes time. I will get it to you as soon as I can.
Maggie (whining): Mama, where is my toast with butter?
(I'm gonna eat your toast with butter for you if you don't quit complaining.)
Mama: I wish I could give you your toast right now, but it is in the toaster.
Maggie: Mama, I want toast with butter!
(I want to scream!)
Mama (out loud): You may not yell at me. If you're going to yell, go wait in your room.

So sometimes, in spite of my efforts, we got nowhere. You can argue I didn't follow the guidelines all that well in that conversation, but here's my conclusion anyhow: some kids need a little push towards the problem-solving department.

Maggie: I can't make this piece fit in my puzzle!
Mama: How frustrating for you!
Maggie: Mama, it's not working!
Mama: I wish I could come help you, but I'm cooking supper.
Maggie: Mama, I can't make it fit!
Mama: Hmmm, I wonder what you can do?

The children in the book always seemed to arrive at a solution unaided, but even after a few weeks of trying the techniques, I found my child did not. So I added in that last line when our conversation seemed to be going nowhere. And it works more often than not. Sometimes the problem sorts itself out, sometimes that line prompts her to start thinking solution instead of complaint. It almost always kickstarts us out of a conversational rut. We had this conversation yesterday, and I felt like a star:

Maggie (after getting a few drops from a puddle on her pants at the park): My pants are wet!
Mama: I'm so sorry; I know how uncomfortable you feel when your pants get wet.
Maggie: I don't like the way they feel!
Mama: I wish I had a dry pair of pants for you in my pocket!
Maggie: We can get a dry pair out of my pink dresser.
Mama: You're right, we could go home and get you a dry pair. Is that what you would like?
Maggie: I don't want to leave the park!
Mama: Well, I guess you have a choice to make.

She opted to stay and play. We were definitely not done talking about her mildly damp pants, but it was easy enough to run through that conversation again as needed.

I know this is a departure from the suggested technique, and I hope Adele and Elaine would not frown upon me. But I'm a special education teacher at heart, and I've taught long enough that scaffolding is an instinct. My daughter needs help learning the process and building her repertoire of solutions before she can start solving her own problems. And then we can start to break down those scaffolds and let her stand on her own.

Even with that adjustment, I still highly recommend Chapter One of How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk. Hey, and once I finish the book, I may have even more to share!