Tag Archives: The Monday List

The Monday List: Things that fell out of my purse at a fancy boutique

This happens every day.Greetings, Fly folk. It’s a new school year, but not a new me, apparently.

I love shopping, and I love shopping in fancy shops. It is a gift curse that I am able to pick out the most expensive item in any store without looking at the tag.

Last week, I was in a super fancy boutique. It attracts a curious mix of injected-face matrons and impossibly thin and glamorous 20-something-looking women who inexplicably always have at least three or four children. The salesgirls moonlight as yoga, pilates, and barre teachers. It’s that kind of place.

When I go in there, I always, always feel disheveled, poorly groomed, and afraid that I might get something sticky on one of the outfits. But I keep going back, because I want to shop for the life I wish I had rather than the life I do have. (And if the bizzarely glam 20-somethings can have 3 children and look like that, so can I! Right?)

Anyway, I found some jeans that were a good upgrade from my mom-ish jeans I’d been wearing for a while, and I was feeling very glamorous and sophisticated for buying designer jeans in such a chic shop. That’s what it means to be a grown-up, right? To be able to stare the scary salesgirl in the eye and buy something with your own money?

I was feeling great until, as I was searching for the credit card that is never in my wallet, my purse fell onto the floor. And the purse’s contents spilled everywhere. This would not be a problem if you were a reasonably organized person, but my purse is a terrifying vortex of sticky disorganization. Here are some of the items that scattered over the floor of the shop:

  • Two sizes of diapers, for James and Baby Girl
  • A half-eaten granola bar
  • Multiple airline frequent flyer cards that I continue to carry around even though I fly so rarely that I’ve become that person that needs a “talking to” from the TSA agent because I forget to remove my shoes
  • One juice box
  • One lipstick that’s been smashed beyond recognition from Baby Girl using it on herself, and then using it like a crayon everywhere else
  • Keys to a safe deposit box that I’ve had to have re-keyed twice because I keep losing them (This is not a cheap or easy process, I assure you)
  • “Princess Baby Night-Night,” a glittery, painful-to-read book that Baby Girl insists on reading at least once a day
  • My wallet, which is empty of credit cards and any other normal wallet contents, but is somehow full of yogurt raisins
  • One necklace, beaded by Big Boy, necklace making being his activity of choice instead of doing something “sweaty” in the gym at church
  • Stamps (with Christmas designs)
  • A bottle of water, that leaked into my purse and immediately begins to leak onto the shop’s floor
  • Approximately 1,000 receipts. For what, who can say, because they are all crumpled. And wet.

So much for chic and sophisticated. Points for trying, though, right?

And yeah yeah, this is God or the universe teaching me a lesson about not trying to feel better about myself through shopping, or trying to get an identity through “stuff.” I get it. I still like shopping.  Even when it ends badly.





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New Life: Why Easter is my favorite holiday.

Peonies in our back yard. Peonies die to the ground in the winter, and two weeks ago these were only a cluster of fingers peering out of the dirt.

Peonies in our back yard. Peonies die to the ground in the winter, and two weeks ago these were only a cluster of fingers reaching out of the dirt.

Is it weird that as an adult, Easter has become my favorite holiday? Those prone to opine about such things as favorite holidays always seem to focus on Christmas, or maybe Halloween if they are a little more of a dramatic-type. Mr. Fly’s favorite holidays are Fourth of July and New Year’s because “neither requires gift giving or obligatory time with family.” But to me, Easter is the day.

Easter combines less pressured and overwhelming gift giving than Christmas, less candy (and better candy, Reese’s Eggs, anyone? And I’ll see you one Reese’s Egg and raise you a Reester Bunny!) than Halloween, better weather than any other holiday, and one of my favorite church services of the year. At our church on Easter, the congregation sings the Alleluia Chorus from the Messiah at the end of the service, and Mr. Fly and I belt it out like no one’s listening (or everyone’s listening. Mr. Fly loves an audience. We also have our own personal Messiah scores. Don’t judge, you know you’re jealous.)

And the clothes! Easter calls for church goers, at least in the South, to trot out the best-of-the-Sunday-best, especially for the children. I cannot resist a baby boy in a smocked bubble, a little girl in a bonnet and gloves, or a little boy in a seersucker suit.  Bow ties and suede bucks come out of their boxes for the day and we are all a more colorful, reborn version of our sad winter selves.

These seemingly superficial trappings of gifts and beautiful clothes allow me to show the gratitude and joy that I feel inside, as we spend this day worshipping with family and friends. I give gifts to my children because I want them to feel the importance of the holiday and my gratitude that Jesus died for me and for them. I want my entire family to be wearing color-coordinated, absurdly fancy outfits because this is not just any day of the year, this is EASTER, and it is spring, and Jesus is reborn, we are reborn, and the world around us is reborn.

In my over-excitement about the holiday during breakfast yesterday, as we ate cinnamon rolls and the kids emptied their baskets, I tried to explain the story of the resurrection to Big Boy. There’s got to be a primer for this somewhere (his children’s Bible does not even include the Easter story), but lacking one, my version ended up with “And then God brought Jesus back to life again with his magic.” I doubt this will win me any theology awards, but that’s what it feels like we are celebrating on Easter. God’s magic, and His power to bring hope and joy to the bleakest and darkest of times.

Somehow my house still stands even after the explosion of candy, Easter grass, love, children’s laughter, and joy it held yesterday. Today I feel both exhausted and exhilarated, and my voice is hoarse from belting out hymns, songs of praise, and sharing food and fellowship with friends. I am trying to get back into my normal routine, but everything outside calls me to continue to celebrate spring and the new world God has made for us.

In this new world it is spring, and the world is on the cusp of new life and we are in the middle of it. All this seems like a miracle, an absurdly generous reprieve from this winter and the life we’ve been living over the past six months.

I am grateful that yesterday was a raucous celebration of joy and beauty and life.  I hope I can hold fast to the spirit of this celebration until it is time once again next year to fill the baskets, plan the outfits, buy the Peeps, make the cakes, and sing until our voices are merely whispers, to shrug off the darkness and doubt that I know will come. For now, however, I will enjoy God’s magic in the sunshine.


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The Monday List: “Words” I Didn’t Understand Until I Had a Child with Special Needs

Did you think this post was going to be super profound, like “I didn’t understand what love meant until I had a child with special needs?”  Okay, that’s a good post too and maybe true, but I’m being more prosaic here.

I really mean actual words that I did not understand. As in, the neurologist or the pediatrician would say something to me and I had no. idea. what they were talking about.

If you are fortunate, you’ll never need to know what any of this stuff is either. But in the event that you are curious, or you have a friend with a child with special needs, or you work with a child that has special needs, or you end up raising such a child, it might be helpful to be more informed than I was.

With this post, I’m going to do our Monday List, but I’m also kicking off a new, regular feature where I explain stuff about raising a child with special needs that I wish someone had explained to me. I haven’t picked a name for this yet but am open to suggestions. The pithier the better!

The Monday List: “Words” I didn’t understand until I had a child with special needs. I say “words,” because I’ve chosen mostly acronyms for this list.

  • PT, OT, DT, and Speech: These are the four primary types of therapy that a child with developmental delays or other challenges might have.
  • PT is physical therapy. Physical therapy focuses on gross motor skills, like sitting, crawling, walking, climbing stairs etc.  Not to be confused with PE. I’m pretty sure there isn’t any dodge ball involved in PT. And they don’t check you for scoliosis in the locker room.
  • OT is occupational therapy. Before James was born, I thought that occupational therapists were job counselors. Seriously. (Oh, the bliss of ignorance.) OT focuses on fine motor skills, like eating with a pincer grasp, drawing with crayons, using a spoon, etc.
  • DT is developmental therapy. This is a form of play therapy that used to be offered for free to children under three in North Carolina with developmental delays. We worked with an adorable girl who basically played with James for an hour each week. Was this helpful? I can’t say, because North Carolina took away funding for this program, and it isn’t something that is covered by insurance. The idea, however, is that developmental therapy integrates the other kinds of therapy into one session.
  • Speech. Okay, this one is fairly obvious. But what the therapist actually does in these sessions may not be what you think. Ironically, most of what James works on in speech right now really isn’t actual speaking. Because his condition affects the neurological path between the brain and body, it is just as difficult for him to form sounds with his mouth as it is for him to walk. So for James and for many other children that aren’t (yet?) verbal, a lot of time is spent in speech on signing. Sign language is typically easier for children with developmental delays to master than actual speech, and it is a way to teach the children language, which is a huge step in development.

Whew! Are we tired yet? For the past two years or so, James has done speech, PT, and OT each once a week. His schedule is busier than most anyone else’s in the house! This year, he gets all of his therapies at school now that he is 3. (so much more on school later.)

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The Monday List: Things this blog is “about”

Some of you may be new here. And if so, you may be wondering what, exactly, this blog is about. And heck–even if you aren’t new here, you may be wondering the same thing! Is this a Barbie and Willie Nelson fan blog or what?

According to the tag word cloud on the blog, here are the topics I’ve written about, in order of most use:

  • Parenting
  • Special Needs
  • Motherhood
  • Cleanliness
  • Housekeeping
  • Health
  • Doctors
  • Montessori
  • High School
  • Frankie Lemmon School
  • Barbie
  • Model United Nations
  • Working Mother
  • Work
  • Messiness
  • Seizures
  • Willie Nelson

So yeah. It’s eclectic, with a heavy dose of special needs “stuff.” But then, so is our life. Or at least the one I live in my mind (see this post on that).

One of the things I struggled with when James first started having seizures was wondering whether our lives were only going to be about that. And then when I got used to the idea that epilepsy was going to be with us, we got his diagnosis, which left me wondering if having a disabled or developmentally challenged child was going to be the label for our family. Were we now the “family with the child with special needs?”

People may describe us that way, and that’s okay. That is one category that applies to us. But as you see from the list above, there isn’t just one category. I am a mother of a child with special needs. But I am also a mother, and a working mother, and a wife, and a terrible housekeeper, and a music lover, and a Barbie lover, and a lot of other things that haven’t gotten into the blog yet.

Sometimes it feels like this one thing–James’ condition–is the category that will swallow everything else. But I refuse to let it become THE story of our family. It will always be a story of our family, and probably a big one, but I owe it to Husband, Big Boy, Baby Girl, James, and myself not to let it be the only story. So here’s to an even crazier, longer and more eclectic list of topics in this place.


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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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The Monday List: Things our new house cleaners said the first time they saw our house.

You are aware that my housekeeping skills can gently be construed as “sub-par.”  We did not have anyone helping us clean the house after we moved, because there didn’t seem much point when the house was so terrifyingly hoarders-esque and we were trying to save money.

A couple of weeks ago, Husband finally reached a breaking point and decided he needed to bring in the big guns. I found two women that clean houses for some other families in our neighborhood and they agreed to take on our house. Yes, I realize we are very fortunate to be able to have help in this way.

The kind ladies agreed to clean our house before seeing it, which was clearly a genius move on my part, as this was the only way to convince someone to take the job.

When they walked in to clean for the first time, here are a few of the things they were overheard saying:

“Lordy, Jesus.”

“Dear Sweet Lord.”

“Lord have mercy.”

“You really want us to clean in there?”

“Are you sure you want us to clean in there?”

“Don’t you have a broom?” [Well, we had one. It was hot pink. But you know what happened to that.]

“Good luck, honey.”


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Things I found taped to Big Boy’s box pirate ship when I moved it for the first time in three months

When I say I worry about our family going feral, there is a reason for this. Moving five weeks after Baby Girl was born was, in a word, challenging. We desperately needed more space, as Husband put it, since there was literally a human being sleeping in every room in our old house.  So we moved into a much bigger house, and this meant that Big Boy had a new degree of freedom. My parenting style over the summer was, to put it mildly, laissez faire. 

So, per the photo below, Big Boy made the house his own. This included a large cardboard box that he turned into a pirate ship. (A ship for pirate hoarders? You decide.)

I’m kicking off a new regular feature called The Monday List.  Today, we have Things I found taped to Big Boy’s box pirate ship when I moved it for the first time in three months:

One month-old Starbucks cup full of water (desert water)

One tube of glitter (for the disco pirates?)

One long wooden block (the plank, duh)

An entire roll of green decorative tape

A paper flag with a “D”

A paper flag with a “J”

A spool of green and white ribbon, unspooled

An eight foot long plastic PVC pipe (the mast?)

A paper palm tree (on the end of the PVC pipe)

20 pieces of foreign currency (treasure)

An unrolled ace bandage

Four tongue depressors (perhaps the pirate ship has some kind of medical mission? Pirates-without-Borders?)

I think there’s one seriously happy little boy hiding in there too.


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