Tag Archives: Montessori

Different difficulties.

I know. You thought it was going to be all fun and games and enemas around here, but I’ve been thinking about things.

There are a lot of things that are difficult about having a child with special needs, and some of them are probably more obvious than others. I expect some things that are difficult for me are not necessarily difficult for other parents with children with special needs and vice versa. If there’s one fact I know about all of this, it’s there is no formula, no handbook, and no template to tell you how you are going to feel about the various challenges confronting your child and family. 

After writing about Big Boy’s school, it occurred to me that I may have painted a harsh portrait of the place and the parents there. No desserts! Red late passes! Mothers that are lawyers! People that like kale! 

I imagine you understand that his school is sometimes those things, but it is others as well. It offers a rich and stimulating education to my oldest child, a child that is often frightening in his brightness and sometimes exhausting in his incessant curiosity about how the work works. Big Boy LOVES this school. 99% of any issues I have with it are about me.

And, if I’m being honest, they are about me, in part, as James’ mom.


In life, in emotion, in love, and in loyalty, I like to go all out. Go big or go home. Be all in. “Clear eyes, full hearts. . . ,” you know the rest.

I can’t be all in with this school. James can never go to this school. It’s no one’s fault, it is simply the way things are, but I can’t help but feel a distance from the other families that bring their two, three, and sometimes four children to the carpool line. Many of the other parents choose to spend a great deal of time volunteering or socializing with the other parents, and I know this is a case of you get out what you put in. But I just can’t put anything else in.

It is taking all the courage I have just to put on the first available clothes and shoes in the morning and drive my brilliant, gorgeous, precocious son to a school filled with brilliant, gorgeous, precocious children. That is all I can put in right now. I know it is the right thing for him to be there. I love that he loves being there. But I don’t love being there. Not being able to have all my children happily ensconced in the same preschool is not the biggest difficulty or greatest sadness in our life, but it is difficult, for me.

Ironically, and perhaps unfairly to Big Boy, I’ve given my heart to another school. A school where James can go and develop to his fullest potential, whatever that may be. Big Boy and Baby Girl can’t go to this school. James has only been going to school for about a month. But somehow, it feels like the heart of our family is already inextricably knitted into the fabric of this school and its community.  We are going on this journey with them and our entire family is invited, and I can’t express what that means to me. 

Clear eyes, full hearts, Frankie Lemmon. 



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The Monday List: 2 parts college walk of shame + 2 parts high school nerd = one awesome mom

Big Boy goes to a Montessori school. A kind of judge-y, crunchy, no cake on your birthday kind of school. I’ve told you about this. We put him there for some compelling reasons (I’m sure there were some but can’t remember them at this moment) but have always kind of felt that our family was a square peg there.

There are generally two kinds of moms. There are the crunchy moms always trying to out-kale each other, and the lawyer moms in suits.

I used to be a lawyer, but I really, really, really hate suits. Every time I wear a suit, a little piece of me dies. It’s kind of like if you say you don’t believe in fairies, one falls down dead? (Per Peter Pan, at least.) I’m not sure what the sartorial equivalent is of raising the fairy by saying you believe in fairies a whole bunch, but maybe it is every time I wear a fur vest or something shiny and gold a little piece of my soul grows back?

These days I wear suits a lot less, and I’m not really one of those lawyer moms anymore. And kale has never entered my house. I own nothing hemp. I adore real leather and fur. I buy my baked goods. So I sort of struggle with what kind of mom I am supposed to be to fit in there.

Drop-off for Big Boy in the morning can be stressful because it happens between 8:10 and 8:30. This is early for me, and Husband is usually at work by then. In the past, Nanny (yes, we have a nanny. We are very, very lucky to have her. More on this later.) has taken him because I was usually going to work.

Now that James is in school as well, however, the plan is for me to take Big Boy and Nanny to take James to school so I can go to work earlier. This is a great plan. But we all know what they say about plans.

Thus, I give you your Monday list.

Things I was wearing when I walked Big Boy into school on Thursday:

  • My glasses. (Still rocking a pair purchased circa 1998 when I was still on my parents’ vision plan. They are especially attractive as my left eye is twice as weak as the right and so the cute frames I hoped were all Lisa Loeb-looking have one giant lens that hangs out of them.)
  • White men’s UNC T-Shirt, Size Xtra-Large. (This is the official T-shirt spelling of “Extra.” Don’t hate.)
  • Pink flannel Barbie doll boxer shorts, purchased at FAO Schwartz in New York on a Model United Nations trip in 1996.  (On this same trip, which occurred in April, my mother insisted I bring long underwear to wear under my suits. Yes, I’m Southern. And maybe this is why I hate suits so much. Because I started wearing them in high school, not because of the Southern thing.)
  • Gold platform high-heeled wedge sandals.

Notice I said “Things I was wearing when I walked Big Boy into school.” Yes. I walked my son into school in an outfit that was 2-parts high school nerdy me and 2-parts college walk of shame* me.

I walked him inside because if you are late at this school, you have to sign in. After you sign in, they give you (you being the three-year-old child that is late) a giant, red laminated card that you have to give your teacher. I like to think of it as punctuality by shaming. The parents get their shame by having to fill in a form that explains why you are late. Generally, my answer is “I am a terrible person.”

Happy Monday to all. I missed you last week.

*If you don’t know what the walk of shame is, aren’t you precious.


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