On Monday, I checked my fourth grader’s homework assignment notebook. His Wednesday column was marked by a single word, “CHILL.”

“Why did you write CHILL here?” I asked.

He looked at it, “I don’t know. I didn’t write that.”

“It’s in your handwriting.” His very sloppy handwriting is quite identifiable.

“But I didn’t write it.”

The school had standardized testing Thursday and Friday, so I thought that maybe “CHILL” meant they had no homework for the rest of the week. Makes sense, right?

“No other tests this week?” I asked just to be sure.


On Wednesday, he climbed into the car clearly mad at me. “It didn’t say CHILL. It said, chapter 11. I had a math test today on chapter 11! If you hadn’t said…”


Not “CHILL”.

A lesson on why good handwriting is important.

One Mother to Another

“Are we there yet?” my three guys ask twenty minutes into any trip. So I think I am entitled to ask “are we there yet?” after five months of cold weather and snow.

Mother Nature, could you get a move on with spring?

You might think I am just tired of the cold, but give me some credit. I was tired of winter four months and 29 days ago, and I did not bother you then or during the many bitter days between. As a mother, I know how busy you are.

My appeal is about savings and recycling – things you care deeply about.

You see, my boys are starting to look a little silly in long pants that have grown too short. And the middle one just got a hole in the knees of his jeans. That’s against dress code. It means I need to use more water to wash the dwindling number of available pants, and I cannot recycle them in three years for the youngest.

Plus, depending on the kid, they are either still too skinny for the next size up or will grow out of the next pair before seasons change again. You don’t want me to waste valuable resources, do you?

I appeal to you as a fellow mother, who wants to save her children (from social extinction?) because we both know it’s the right thing to do. “We are there! It is Spring!”

Mother Nature, hit us with a heat wave, turn up the sun….

…so my boys can wear shorts.

Domestic Guilt

I brought our broken vacuum cleaner into a small, dark shop after making a challenging left across traffic on my least favorite street.

“I think the belt is broken,” I said.

The elderly gentleman sniffed as he examined it. “This certainly needs servicing.”

Even the guy working in the vacuum cleaner repair shop has the power to make me feel guilty!

“And it desperately needs to be cleaned.”


“You realize you should bring your vacuum cleaner in at least every five years to be serviced?”

“Then it is about that time,” I chirped. Why so snotty?

“When a belt is broken, it is not just the belt. But this is a good vacuum cleaner,” hinting, it seemed, that I do not deserve such a thing given its poor state. “It is worthwhile to fix it.”

The vacuum cleaner and I are salvageable!

“I will call you in a few days to let you know what I think.”

Or not?

Mom Has Spies Everywhere

At 1:15 yesterday, my six year old performed as Tigger in Winnie the Pooh. He did a great job. Said his lines clearly and with a smile. Looked at the audience with confidence. Knew all the words to the songs. He only beat his twin Tigger with his tail in-between songs.

I left after big cheers and hugs and photos at 2:00, but he apparently had a hard time releasing his Tigger-self.

By 3:00, word had made it through the fourth and fifth grades to his two brothers – Tigger had detention.

That’s one of the many things I like about a small school. One misstep and mom hears about it before carpool.

“So and so in the other class saw the principal talking to…” announced the fourth grader with a grin.

Then, “guess what so and so said happened today in kindergarten…” said the fifth grader, also quite gleeful.

In one hour, kids across three grades of the Lower School had heard. And by the time the errant kindergartner showed up, I was ready. His eyes grew to twice their normal size. “How does mom know everything?!”

“What in the world did you do that the art teacher had to call the principal?”

“I was silly.”

Unusually silly.”

“Yep.” Poor Tigger.

“And what did you do when the principal came?”

“I was really, really polite.”

“ …which you should be all the time.”

“Ok,” he sighed, snagged by mom’s spies once again.

The Great Mystery

Another deep dinner conversation launched by a ten year old munching on a taco. “What do you think the biggest mystery in life is?”

“How we got here,” said Mom.

“What happened to the dinosaurs?” asked the six year old.

“Gravity,” added Dad.

“Why the universe keeps going and going,” said the eleven year old.

“Or does it end and where?” asked Dad.

“I think the earth was a big ball of fire for a long time, and then all these asteroids kept hitting us and soon there was water and other stuff,” the six year old likes the asteroid theory of disappearing dinosaurs too.

And then from the guy who started it, “which came first, the chicken or the egg?”

“That’s easy,” said Dad. “It’s always the egg.”

Creation at Six and Eleven

“I know how we were made,” said the six year old at 5:45 a.m. on a Sunday.

We were having a sleepover in “Mom’s room”, so four kids and a dog started off the night in sleeping bags on the floor. At about 5:00 a.m., two kids climbed into my bed. A third started sniffling.

“First we were in the shape of food, but then our ghosts came in and turned the shapes into people. And there we were!”

“Wow,” I said, eyes still closed hoping to prolong the night, “that is a really cool way to think about it.”

But my eleven year old is too literal for that. “Mom, if you keep saying things like that, you are not going to bring up a very smart kid.”

He turned to his little brother, “It was the umbilical chord. I knew that when I was six. So should you. But the real stuff comes next year in science.”