motherhood · slice of life · speech

Facebook Memories #SOL20

Most mornings, I begin my day by looking through my Facebook memories from past years. This morning, a memory from eight years ago popped up. On my lap was an almost-two-year-old Isabelle. The caption read:
Today I’m thankful Isabelle’s ear tube surgery went well. She’s just tired & a bit groggy now. (Though she’s happy watching Maccabeats videos in the recovery room.) It is my hope her speech will develop over the next few weeks.

Every year, on this date, I look at this photo and remember how Marc and I clung to each other (and bawled) when Isabelle was wheeled into surgery. By the time we composed ourselves, the surgeon met us in the waiting room with news that everything went well. (Ah, first-time parents!)

In the post-op recovery room with Isabelle who we used to call Izzy. Speaking of “Izzy,” by the time she was 3.5 years old, her speech was good enough to declare, in a complete sentence, “Call me Isabelle, not Izzy!” As you can imagine, we ceased using her nickname immediately.

There’s something else I remember. I’ll be honest, thinking about it makes my blood boil — just a bit. And while I probably shouldn’t write about it, I am going to write about with the hope that it will help someone else — either someone whose child is struggling with speech or someone who knows someone whose child is struggling with speech — who is going through something similar.

I remember how nearly every other parent I knew — whose kid had gone through ear tube surgery — had told us that their child was speaking within days, sometimes hours, of waking up from the surgery. As you can see from the caption I wrote in November 2013, I wrote that I hoped Isabelle’s speech would develop over the next few weeks. The only reason my expectation was tempered was because Isabelle’s wise speech therapist, at the time, had already suspected Childhood Apraxia of Speech. She warned me, ahead of time, not to view a double myringotomy as a silver bullet. Thank G-d she did because I would’ve been crushed if she hadn’t given me some warning about how quickly the surgery might help after months of Isabelle’s tubes being filled with fluid.

I know the parents of kids whose children’s speech was helped by ear tubes were trying to provide me with reassurance. Really, it was false hope. And while I don’t begrudge anyone, I share this because promising someone that their kid will be speaking quickly after ear tube surgery feels only slightly less frustrating to me now as the folks who insisted, “Einstein didn’t talk until he was three,” when Isabelle wasn’t speaking after turning two.

People say and do things they feel are helpful. However, as the mother of a child who was luckily diagnosed with Childhood Apraxia of Speech at 27 months old (before most kids can reliably be diagnosed due to their lack of cooperation with the tester), I know how heartbreaking it was to watch Isabelle get frustrated at a young age when she didn’t have expressive language skills. Unless your child was diagnosed with a speech-related disorder, reassurances do little for a parent who is the thick of things with their child who is having trouble communicating. Rather than offering platitudes or advice, if you know someone whose child is a late talker, just listen. The other enduring present you can give to a parent whose child is struggling to communicate is wait time. I grew closer with moms who took the time to understand Isabelle long before she was easily understandable. They’re the moms who knelt down, leaned in, and did their best to understand my child. Those are the women whose friendships I will always treasure since they showed me that my daughter, and what she had to say, mattered.

CONVERSATIONS · motherhood

Showing Up for a First Talk About Racism

I talked with Isabelle about bias and discrimination for the first time when the Trump Administration announced the first Muslim Ban. Isabelle was in Kindergarten back then. Marc and I decided to break from our traditional stance on no live news. We allowed Isabelle to watch as throngs of New Yorkers flooded Kennedy Airport to protest.

When increased talk of the border wall and undocumented people rose, we talked again. Isabelle had friends from Mexico and couldn’t imagine someone not wanting them to be in the United States because of their caramel skin.

Tonight, after learning that my husband let Isabelle and Ari watch the SpaceX Launch on the news while I picked up dinner, I asked Isabelle, “Did you see what’s been happening in Minneapolis?”

She had no idea, but BEGGED me to tell her. (Despite being close to the end of third grade, we still don’t allow her to watch the news.) I asked her to give me a few minutes while I composed my thoughts. I couldn’t tell her about the protests without telling her what people were protesting. I couldn’t tell her about the murder of George Floyd without telling her about who pinned him to the ground as he gasped for air for eight minutes. I couldn’t tell her why Floyd was on the ground for an alleged counterfeit bill being used without talking about Floyd’s skin color. I couldn’t talk about any of it before starting out with the r-word: RACISM.

Discriminating against someone because of the color of their skin doesn’t make sense to Isabelle. She has friends and classmates with black and brown skin. Does she notice their darker skin? Yes. But that difference meant little to her since we’ve never taught her to hate.

Now Isabelle knows that some of her friends will be treated differently because of their black and brown skin. She found it hard to imagine that some of the boys in her class could face trouble for no other reason than because their skin is black.

She understood that it wasn’t fair. So, I told her what she could do. First, I told her if she ever sees a friend being treated unfairly because of the color of their skin, then she needs to speak up immediately. (She knows she can tell us or a teacher something.) Second, I told her that she can take action, like Darnella Frazier, the 17-year-old who shot the video of Floyd on the ground, did. Of course, she doesn’t have a cell phone now, but I wanted her to understand that we only knew about what happened to Floyd because of the video.

And then I stopped. I allowed her to have the space to ask questions. She had a couple. I know she’ll ask more in the days and weeks to come.

I never expected to have a conversation with my third grader about racism tonight. (I haven’t even spoken with her about anti-Semitism yet!) However, sheltering Isabelle from what’s happening in America isn’t right. If I want to raise her to be an anti-racist person, then she has to understand why it matters — in developmentally appropriate ways — now.

motherhood · poetry · slice of life

Awaiting Our Forever Home

I wrote a post for SOL Tuesday. I was in the midst of revising and editing it when I attempted to save the post, I was met with this:

A screenshot of the post I attempted to post today.

Then I tried to publish. I could go back and fix it up after it went live. That didn’t work.

So here I am. I’m frustrated. So I’m pushing myself to write something new, as opposed to retyping.

How many more days will it be
Once the siding and shake are up?
My daughter is impatient because she is
Eager to move in so we can start the rest of our lives.

motherhood · slice of life

Because of… A Slice of Life Told in Images (Well, mostly with images.)

Because of the email I got from Central Penn Parent, I decided to untether the two of us from our afternoon routine so we could get milkshakes at the Capitol.

If you’ve never had a Farm Show Milkshake, then you won’t understand how awesome it is to find a place where you can have them outside of the eight days that the Annual Farm Show takes place each January. I would’ve happily paid for one, but seeing as they were free it was an even sweeter deal!

Because the event was held in the City of Harrisburg, it took me a LONG time to find parking. After two attempts at parallel parking, I found an easy spot, parked, paid the muni meter, put Ari in the stroller, was on our way.

Because of Ari being in a stroller, it was virtually impossible to find an easy way up to the Senate side of the State Capitol. I tried to find a ramp, but every ramp I found still required me to climb a few stairs, which I didn’t think was wise since I saw ⬇️THIS⬇️ from the street.

This was a small part of the milkshake line. Had I known the line would be SO long, I would never have attempted to go.

Because of my growling stomach (It was 12:25 p.m.) and my $3 investment in a parking spot, I decided to take Ari out to lunch.

My text message exchange with my husband. Once he read the second clue, he realized we were at Home 231.

Because Ari didn’t like the combination of Swiss cheese and cheddar cheese on the grilled cheese I ordered him, we asked to have it remade with cheddar-only.

Because Ari was hungry, he decided to gobble up my soup.

Tomato Basil Soup — hold the bread!

Soup Thief

Because the new grilled cheese took awhile to arrive, my parking meter almost ran out. Apparently, I waited too long to reply and my parking meter expired!

I freaked out when I didn’t get a confirmation about the meter time extension!

Because I didn’t want to get a parking ticket, I asked the waiter to give me a box for Ari’s new grilled cheese. I asked for the check, signed it, and jetted out of the restaurant. I hustled out of the restaurant. A guy noticed me running and cheered me on, encouraging me to “beat the meter.”

I was elated to find a ticket-free window!

Because I had rushed out of the restaurant when my meter didn’t renew via text message I accidentally left my credit card at the restaurant. Thankfully, the restaurant had already put it aside. Whew!

Because of the way today went, I’ve come to realize there’s no such thing as a free milkshake.

motherhood · slice of life

Burpy Bib (Object Slice #1)

Somewhere amidst tonight’s lullabies and the repetitive white noise sound app, I got an idea for a series of slices.

I’ll call it an object slice.

{Did I mention I’m terrible with titles?}

What is an object slice, you might ask? I think it will be the combination of an old strategy (i.e., look at an object and write about it) and a slice of life story (i.e., something that sheds light on an ordinary person’s life). Let’s be honest, I’m not really sure what it is, but I’m about to try it.


Every night, Ari rips off his bib once he’s finished drinking his bottle. In the past, I’ve hung the bib over the arm of his glider as I rock him to sleep. But tonight I had an idea. I’d find another use for the bib. From here on out I’d use it as… an arm protector!

Every night, during “nugga-nugga” time (aka: snuggle time), my left arm gets soaked from baby drool since that’s where Ari rests his head. But not anymore. My left forearm is now protected by the largest milk bib I could find: the Burpy Bib!

Tonight my arm will be dry. Tonight I will go to bed in the same pajamas I rocked my baby to sleep in. Tonight I will celebrate the absorbent power of the Burpy Bib.

slice of life_individual
Head over to on Tuesdays for more slice of life stories.

board books · consulting · food · motherhood · slice of life · weather · writing

Yesterday and Today

Yesterday was cold.

Today is snowy.

Yesterday I was busy: driving on back-country roads and working with teachers.

Today I am moving slowly: staying at home and playing with Ari.

Yesterday I ate in a hurry: turkey sandwich, yellow peppers, Sumo orange, and trail mix.

Today I had a leisurely meal: breakfast tacos made with spinach, eggs, queso fresco, and hot sauce.

Yesterday I debriefed classroom visits and talked about minilessons.

Today I’m reading board books again and again and again.

Yesterday was good.

Today is good.