Patience is an ocean

On the first day of our vacation, I took Noah to the beach. Just us. Jason was putting out one last work fire. Ezra was...well, he was eating, having already figured out that 1) all the food here was delicious, and 2) he could get into the kitchen via an always-open back door, and that there was ALWAYS someone in there cooking something, and they were ALWAYS happy to give him a taste, like an over-eager puppy begging for scraps.

So Noah and I went to the beach. I might as well have taken him to the dentist, because he did not want to go to the beach, because of the ocean. He did not want to go near the ocean. He did not want to look at the ocean or hear the ocean. NO OCEAN. He stood as far back on the sand as he possibly could, practically climbing up a wall of rocks in his bare feet, adamant about the NO OCEAN part.

The ocean in Jamaica is not like the ocean here, which knocked Noah over two summers ago and he has refused to go near since. (He holds a mean grudge, I've learned.) It's calm, shallow. There's no undertow and the breakers barely come above your knees. But he didn't care. NO OCEAN. I went in the water without him. I waved and cajoled and explained. I tried to talk him into sticking just a toe in, or to just come a little closer where we could build a sandcastle.

NO OCEAN. He said he wanted to go back to the house.

And I felt that familiar feeling. I was frustrated and annoyed, even though technically I understood. Technically. But still. COME ON. It was like the end of every birthday party or disastrous outing, the miserable ultimate conclusion of something that was supposed to be fun. I felt that tired old instinct to throw up my hands and say FINE. WHATEVER. WE'LL LEAVE. To give up.

Most of the time at home, I admit: I just give up.

I sat down next to Noah and tried to think of what else I could say. He was throwing sand, something we're always scolding him about at the crowded Maryland beaches, where there's wind and other people to annoy. He looked at me, waiting for the rebuke. Instead, I picked up a clump of sand and hurled at the water's edge.


Noah looked at me like I'd lost my mind. But he smiled. I did it again.


Another smile, this time with dimple. He picked up some sand and threw it at the ocean, repeating my challenge.

We did this for awhile. Then I crept closer and stomped on a wave as it lapped up the beach. "YOU DON'T SCARE ME, WATER." I kicked at it, sending a spray upward. Noah laughed.

And he came over and kicked the next wave. "YOU DON'T SCARE ME EITHER, WATER," he shouted.

After awhile, I picked him up and took the plunge. We waded in. He clung to my neck and howled. The water touched his feet and he screamed.

I smacked at the water, making another huge splash. "YOU DON'T SCARE ME, WATER."

Noah raised his head from where he'd buried it in my shoulder and watched me splash again. I walked in a little deeper and he hesitantly reached his hand out to hit the water's surface. It splashed back over both of us...and he laughed.


And from that moment on, it didn't. 





Sprite's Keeper

Just awesome. Both of you.


That made me cry. I feel like I fail so often.... Isn't it just so sweet a victory to get it right sometimes. Way to go mom!


That made me cry. Beautiful.


Oh what a great parenting moment.


Well thank you very much for making me cry, miss Amy. GOSH. lol.


What a great story! And what a clever way to get him in the water. Patience is the thing I have to work on most as a parent -- I'll be stealing your methods.


When I have kids, can you be in my head telling me what to do? I'll make it really comfy inside my brain. I'll buy you a tempurpedic.


Oh, this entry made me cry. Absolutely beautiful. What a good mom you are.


Hooray hooray hooray! What a sweet victory. And what a gift you gave your kiddo!

crazy weinerdog lady

You are an AWESOME writer (and Mom) (oh and generally all around cool person) :)

Life of a Doctor's Wife

What a wonderful moment for you both!


I'm crying over here. What a great moment and I am keeping that tucked away in my brain for when I need it.
You're a great mom.


For reasons I don't quite understand, this made me think of Sun Tsu (not that I think you're at war with Noah, but sometimes it seems you and Noah together are fighting a very personal and emotional war). I found a quote - "To fight and conquer in all our battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."

You are getting so, so good at understanding what that wonderful, special boy needs. Hurray for Mom!


Brought tears to my eyes! So great.

Maxine Dangerous

*tsk* Aww! (Followed by tears in the eyes.) (As opposed to tears... uh... elsewhere.) So sweet. :)

Maxine Dangerous

*tsk* Aww! (Followed by tears in the eyes.) (As opposed to tears... uh... elsewhere.) So sweet. :)


That's some good motherin', mutha.

She Likes Purple

I'm crying! At work!

Amy, you're such a fantastic mom. You should hear that all day, every day, you know.


what an awesome mommy you are. seriously. amazing.


Amy, you never cease to amaze me. Congratulations to both you and Noah for conquering that fear.


What an awesome story; nice thinking of the work-around. Yay for Noah!

(And thanks for the tear-up at work - another one to try to explain away.)



And that was some mighty fine mama-in'.


Awesome job, Mom.


Creative solutions to difficult problems. We should all be so creative.


i wish i could remember this when i have a similar moment. here's hoping we all do. "you don't scare me water!"


THAT was inspirational. Thank you. Once again.


Damn, you are AWESOME.


Goosebumps! Tears! Thank you for sharing this.


Amazing. Good job mom!


that is so wonderful! way to trouble shoot, mommy. so happy for you both.


I love reading your blog... and this enter, especially, made me smile. Great job :)

Cheryl S.


I'm so going to steal that and try it with my daughter the next time we're at the beach!

ouiser b

normally I'm in tears because of your cutting sardonic sense of humor but it's your creative parenting I'm loving today.

and that last pic is absolutely precious.




Good job, mom. Good job.


Isn't it weird that sometimes something just clicks into your head and it is different than anything you have tried before and IT WORKS? It is like magic, I think. And, yes, it always happens right when you thought about giving up...but you give it one more go. Hurray!


AWESOME, amy. your instincts just amaze me. what is this amazing mommy power that lets you know exactly what your kid needs? it's like magic, or something.


AWESOME, amy. your instincts just amaze me. what is this amazing mommy power that lets you know exactly what your kid needs? it's like magic, or something.


Fascinating. So simple, yet so complex. This reminds me of the don't scare me, loop. And now it doesn't.


from now on, this is how i'm going to confront all my fears. thanks for that.

also, thanks for making me cry. in a good, thankful sort of way.

a good way to start the week.



This is what makes me hold mommies in such high regard. Creativity. And love. And patience. In such heaping amounts. Right there next to the frustration.

Beautiful work. Inspired. Noah's got the right mom. He just does.

This is also why I know that I'm not in possession of the right skills to be a mommy. I leave that job for those powerful women who are FAR better qualified.

Thanks for the great big smile today. Pat yourself on the back.

Parsing Nonsense

Oh my goodness, you just made me cry a little. GREAT JOB, MAMA!!!


Brilliant! Something anyone with a kid could learn from.

Anna Marie

God Amy, you are a genius and a fabulous mom. I am in awe.

Sonja von Franck

Like everybody else - I cried too! I just made sugar cookies with my son - late Valentines Day treats - and I needed to read something about patience. Little different scenario - he's not afraid of cookies - but sometimes you just have to fight the urge, take a deep breath and come at the problem a different way. Or say you're sorry when you yell. Way to be an awesome, patiently creative Mom!


Now you've got it! Remember we don't always have to take the same path, as long as you get there. Noah is getting there, beautifully.
THIS is the journey I told you about a year ago. Those Aha moments will keep on coming and life will get easier and easier and easier. You are there.
So happy for you and for your precious, brillant, incredible Noah.


lovely post. you're such an awesome mama. AWESOME.


Congratulations! You are such a great mother. Good for you, for not giving up. And good for Noah!!!

PS Tears!


What a smart, awesome way to get him to go into the water!


Aw, man, that made me tear up. Rock on, mama. Remember that one, both of you. That one is full of win.


Now you try it, Amalah: "You don't scare me volcanoes!"


Awesome Momma!


I don't post here, but thought I would share. I am 41. When I was a child, I was TERRIFIED of water, and for no obvious reasons. I was terrified to have my head submerged at all, even to have a bath and wash my hair. FORGET about swimming and the OCEAN, all out panic would set in if anybody tried to get me near the water. I eventually outgrew this, and I am a "normal" woman, who swims on occassion, I will never win any olympic medals but I am not terrified. Your son will be just will see.

Kim C

I skipped about half the comments, so pardon me if this is a repeat- Amy, you are a genius. I am stealing your methods to use on my 3 year old DD.... she...finds it hard to back up sometimes. As in, she said it, and now she will defend it to the END. Like her mother, god help me.


Did not expect to cry first thing this morning! Sheesh.

:-) What a fabulous story. My stepson's challeneges are different, less overwhelming than what Noah sometimes faces, but I recognize and revel in that feeling of getting it right, this time. Congratulations to you for that, Amy. Hold tight to that feeling.

And yay, Noah, for showing the Ocean who's in charge.

Grinning now.


You're a good mama, Amy Storch.


ah...this made me cry...kudos to you for sticking with it though...


Stop it! You're making me cry!

This is beautiful. Good for you. Slowing down on vacation is the hardest and you did a wonderful job.


I love this post. What a great approach to a tackling a fear. Noah and Ezra are so lucky!


Oh I love this so much.

We always tell Michael it is okay to be scared and do it anyway...but I think I'm adopting this technique.

Jen L.

You are an awesome mom. Thanks for writing about this so we can all remember it forever.


Serious parenting WIN!!!

Way to go Amy! That was brilliant.


Way to go!

Mama Bub

Brilliant. As if you didn't already know.


Oh my goodness, my heart! I'm not even a mama yet, and I'm still tearing up. You're such a wonderful mommy. I hope I remember that lesson someday when I have kids of my own.


What a great AHA! parenting moment...thank you for sharing. He is an amazing kid and you are an awesome mom for figuring out what works for/with him.


YEAH MOMMA!!!! Good for you!. Good for NOAH!!


Oh Mama, you are good! Bless you!


That? Was awesome.


Longtime reader, first time commenter: Beautiful, tear-provoking post.

Bachelor Girl

Oh, Amy. What a good example you are.


that is a brilliant idea. I may have to try it with my 5yo who used to love the ocean but last year decided he was scared of it, along with almost everything else in the world.


maybe it's the hormones.. but that made me cry. oh baby..


I am in awe of your mothering. But can you please do a post of some time when you have sucked as a mom - something I can relate to because I'm afraid I suck as a mom.


I'm so happy Noah was able to enjoy the ocean.

My husband does that with tables, etc. when our daughter bumps her head. "Table, don't you hurt my baby!" It distracts her from the bump every time. Sometimes you just gotta show'em whose boss.

Big Gay Sam

awww.. You're such a great mama. You are my hero of the year. Noah couldn't have picked better parents. :)


That was brilliant and beautiful parenting... and I will definitely use it with my 3-year-old. Thanks for the sniffle and the inspiration!


I love this, Amy. Love.


This is a great post. ^_^


If anyone was meant to be an amazing Mama to Noah, it was you. And it's inspiring to watch you tackle parenting in an alternative way. We're smarter for reading you. :)


I live for these moments, when we get it right.

Much love to all of you...


Great Job!


aww! awesome job, mommy!

Mrs. Schmitty

You handled that beautifully!


Wonderful! such a good reminder of how we all need patience and understanding. Reading about your and Noah's challenges and experiences and accomplishments has helped inform me and challenge the way I look at situations. Not too long ago I was shopping and a few aisles away a young boy had a complete melt down...screams and wails that filled the entire store. Instead of joining in the cluck-clucking and tsk-tsking some people were doing, I thought of you and Noah, of the struggles you and he have had to deal with, and have overcome. I didn't automatically assume I knew what was going on, and I felt compassion for the mom and the son. Thanks for sharing. You're making a difference in a lot of lives...especially Noah's.


Beautiful entry describing a beautiful moment. Thank you for sharing.


When you write about Noah, it's like hearing the echoes of my now 4yo. He's not technically on the spectrum for anything, but the fear, the extreme sensitivity to noise, new tactile experiences, changes in routine or deviation from his specific expectations. Meltdowns. It's all so familiar.

I find myself constantly searching for the creativity to approach his fears and "peculiarities" with a sense of fun and hopefulness. And so often failing.

This post brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for sharing Amy.


Thank goodness it was a shark-less day, huh??


Loretta S.

Good work Amy!


do you think that would work with husbands and vaccums?


do you think that will work with husbands and vaccums?




I have a "highly sensitive child". Oh, how I know these challenging moments when that little voice inside wishes for "normal" and "easy". Good for you for quieting that voice and finding a way to connect. It's THE BEST FEELING! Congratulations on a perfect moment. I feel ya.


Someone needs to give you and Noah a trophy because, seriously, you win!


I appreciate how honest you are with us, it's what keeps me coming back. You don't gloss over the fact that sometimes it's really hard to be a good mom. Ad you are such a good mom.


That is wonderful Amy! I bow down to your creativity!

Daily Cup of Jo

Oh, congratulations. Those mom moments, where we take a breath and instead of giving up, we come up with something brilliant THAT ACTUALLY WORKS? Well, they're few and far between, so savor your genius. Great job. Nice pics.


thanks for this. as a mother of a girl with slight autism, I can completely understand this. And this was wonderful. I totally cried.


brilliant! amazing!


Way to go girl! Noah is so lucky to have such a smart, patient, and loving mommy!

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