It Is Hard to Hold the Line


Every afternoon we have “room time”. The baby sleeps and the two big kids separate and play alone for a little while. Sometimes Monkey falls asleep on Chicken’s bed, since she’s in our room and he has the room to himself. Sometimes I let the big kids get back together after a little time apart.

But one of my kids has a bad habit of coming out during room time, even though I have said not to. I specify that they may not come get me unless it is an emergency- “you are bleeding or something is on fire”. They both have books and stuff to color and cds to listen to. But one in particular still comes to ask me how much longer room time is, or to show me a picture, or to ask about a book.

Today I told the big kids they would get a piece of Easter candy after a good room time. I told them what I expected of them. Don’t come out, unless it is an emergency. This is quiet time for me, and for all of us.

Ten minutes passed- maybe less- and this one child wanted to show me something on the etch-a-sketch. I didn’t look at it. I said, sadly, that this means no candy today. I said we’d have to try again later.

Tears. We are now approaching 45 minutes of tears.

So much for quiet time.

And- oh well. This is what I have earned for myself by letting it go the first time, the second time, and the following upteen times this child has come out “just for a second” during room time. This is a mutual collaboration of (my child) testing out my word and (me) showing my child I don’t really mean what I say.

55 minutes. And counting. This is a painful lesson for both of us.


The other day I told my husband I had just checked out “Unbroken” because our friend Carolyn recommended it to me.

His response: “Yeah. You’ll like it. Remember? I told you that a year ago, when I read it?… I would tell you parts of the story and told you that I thought you’d like it?…”.

Me: “Uh. Yeah. Oops. Now that you mention it…that sort of rings a bell”.

Which reminded me of another similar conversation we’ve had more than once.

Me: I had counseling today and my counselor told me blah blah blah [insert private counseling information here] and it was SO INTERESTING and it might change the way I see myself in relationships FOREVER.

Him: Yeah. I told you that same thing three months ago.

Me: Oh. Yeah. Now that you mention it…

On Gardening


In colder weather. So glad those days are gone.

Gardening is something I wish I liked but I do not. Not much, anyway. No sooner do I pull all those damn weeds out, then new ones come up.

low back pain
wearing the wrong clothes and showing my backside while leaning over the same flower bed for the third hour

My favorite form of gardening is laying down sheets of weed blocker and covering it with mulch. Neat and tidy, and I don’t have to deal with it again for a while.

In spite of that, I just put gladiolus bulbs in the ground (thanks Steph!) and three little plants from Southern States. My neighbor (hi James!) got them for me last weekend when I was sort of staring at this patch in the corner of the yard. So I put those in the ground, too. And then went back to Southern States today with my little plastic yard-markers and asked for three more of each of those same plants my neighbor got me.

The saleslady asked if I wanted anything else- annuals, periannuals, ground cover?- and I gave her the old “bite my lip, shrug, and look inept” look. She helped me load my little pallet o’ plants in the front of the jeep while I loaded the kids in the backseat.

*Here’s something to know: you can get major mom points for gardening with your kids in Charlottesville! A woman at Southern States practically awarded my two oldest college scholarships for coming along and “helping” me. (To which I say: ha. They played tag in the nursery and didn’t come when I told them it was time to go.) Various passers-by gave us the “isn’t that sweet?” smile when walking by today, as the baby wielded his own little hand spade and the Monkey wore orange gardening gloves. Chicken showed our neighbor her five worms, which is simultaneously gross and endearing. We’re the picture of urban gardening bliss.*

I hope my plants don’t die. My butterfly bush in the backyard appears dry and fit for kindling, but I am dutifully mulching and hoping it shocks me and comes back for another round this summer.

I have one more strip of yard that I want to magically become colorful with flowers, and also weed-free. Which brings me back to the weedblocker/mulch idea. I pretty much want to put planters down on top of a bed of mulch. Weed-blocker means less time hunched over a flower bed this summer, and containers seem about as simple as it can get. However, I looked at the pinterest and the google and was unable to find any gardens that show this level of laziness.

Planters of flowers, on top of a perfectly good bed of mulch: Is this a thing, or does it just look like I haven’t gotten around to planting things in the ground yet? If it is in any way acceptable, I’m doing it.