Escape From Starkiller Yellow House
Chocolate-y Cheeses

Sunrise, Sunset, Try Not to F$%& it Up

What a week. With all the dog eyeball drama, cats jumping out of second-story windows and babies graduating from preschool, it's all been A Little Much. 


Make that way too much.

Ike's preschool did a whole proper graduation ceremony, with hats and Pomp & Circumstance and songs (that Ike did not sing, choosing instead to cover his ears in protest) and awards and enough mini-cupcakes to send the entire graduating class into a final sugar-fueled frenzy. Ike won an award for being "kind and huggable" and hammed it up during his teacher's little speech about him, making a series of smug little faces similar to the one pictured above. 

I'm not sure it's fully hit me that not only is Ike done with preschool, we as a family are done with preschool. No more tuition checks, no more separate drop-offs and pick-ups, no more half days, no more days when the highest expectation is mostly to have fun and not bite anyone. Maybe fingerpaint a bit.

This fall, all three of my babies will get on the same bus and go to the same pressure-cooker of an elementary school. For all of one year, before Noah moves up to sixth grade and middle school. Middle school. The actual fuck. 

I've read and heard a lot of people say how much easier they find parenting once the baby/toddler stage is behind them, once they get to enjoy their children as actual people. And while I certainly enjoy the many, many benefits that come with having older, slightly more self-sufficient children, other days I miss the simplicity of them as babies. I GOT babies. I was GOOD with babies. Babies were my JAM. 

Now I have three incredibly complicated little people who are all so different from me and so different from each other that parenting feels more acrobatic now, a constant juggling act where I start out pretty okay but end up dropping at least one ball by the end of the day. I can already see a trail of parenting mistakes forming behind me, a series of fuck-ups I can't take back, or erase from my children's future assessment of what kind of mother I was. I remember when a bad diaper rash or suspicious poop were my biggest causes of worry and have to laugh, because man, you have NO IDEA the number of things that are going to keep you up at night in a few years. 

Is Ike really ready for kindergarten? I honestly don't know! He is super-duper smart but emotionally immature! Is Noah going to fail math this year? Most likely! Fucking Common Core, man! What's going on with Ezra's hearing? Still no definitive answers, but I did discover weeks' worth of ADD medication in his pants pockets in the hamper, because it turns out he is super-duper scared of swallowing pills and has been tonguing it THIS WHOLE TIME, and never successfully swallowed a single dose! So that's...oh my lands, child, NO.

Yikes, this post took a dark-yet-honest turn. Sorry about that. 


After I picked Ike up from his very last day of preschool, we went out for burgers and milkshakes and I taught him how to play Plants vs. Zombies. He made me smile and laugh like he always does; he's grown into such a funny little person who tells the best stories. It was the perfect lunch date. He probably won't remember it, but I will, a quiet moment in between.



"Now I have three incredibly complicated little people who are all so different from me and so different from each other that parenting feels more acrobatic now, a constant juggling act where I start out pretty okay but end up dropping at least one ball by the end of the day."

YES. Babies are easy compared to the people they turn into. I am about to have an 8th grader and a 3rd grader. Wha.


My oldest is just turning 3 and my little one is 8 months, so they are still little. But! I've been reading your blog for what feels like just a year or so, but somehow your babies grew up like 5 years in that time. So, I'm scared. Its going by so fast.

Steph B

Re: Meds. My son had a terrible time with pills. What saved us was Pill Glide. It's a flavored spray, a couple of spritzes in the mouth, the pill pops in and goes down. This saved us after YEARS of tears over pills. I found it at Walgreens, it's the best.


Pills, we practiced with grains of rice and moved up to corn kernels.
and bribery.


My elder daughter (who lives with her dad) graduates middle school this year and will be starting high school at the tender age of 14 in September. My younger one will start 7th grade. It really was all so much easier when they were little... Facebook blew me over the other day with a "memory" from 5 years ago... It struck me so hard just how much they've grown up...


My daughter (2 weeks younger than Ezra) recently started on ADHD medication, as well (Vyvanse). When I asked her doctor about something to practice with, he suggested Tic Tacs and M&Ms :)

He also told us that, even with the extended-release capsules, it's ok to open them and dump the medicine into a food or drink. Applesauce is the classic, but she's not a big fan. We tried peanut butter until she left a spoonful lying around and the dog stole it. (Cue a $65 call to Animal Poison Control. tl/dr He was fine.)

Then we switched to just dumping it in her morning milk, which generally has a splash of either hot chocolate or my morning mocha in it to cover the taste, and she sucks that right down.


Oh my gosh, IT ME. Like, in the biggest BIGGEST way. I question whether I am seriously fucking this up OFTEN, and I think back to my confidence and oxytocin-fueled joy in their babyhoods with wonder. My kids are 8, 7, and 4 now, so we've got one more year of preschool for our family but WOW, I hear you on this so much.


My oldest is going to be a senior in August, the middle kid will be a junior, and my youngest is going into 3rd grade. Don't blink, dude.


Aww, he's got a little Prince Valiant thing going on in that photo!

Mindful of Ike's haircut mishap when my daughter decided yesterday that she was ready for her first haircut (after 18 months the self haircut was long enough to get blended in with the rest) I took her to my stylist of 8 years whom I trust absolutely. She was awesome and only charged me $5! (of course I tipped $10 same as when she does my hair).

Moral of the story is that maybe we should all check and see if our own stylist does kids hair for a price comparable to those kiddie places. Also, said salon is in Columbia so if you want her info you can e-mail me :) .


I agree with you....I think babies are easy. Maybe that is just because Michael was an easy baby. But now, 11 is rough. There are tears and talking back and questions about sex and drugs and middle school next year. And so much yelling. I feel like a terrible mom, all the time.


Daytrana? I think that's the patch-based ADHD meds. Didn't go that route for mine because Autism and stimulant meds is very, very baaaad here, and younger son started with Concerta and it worked like a charm.

Yes, the younger years are SO much easier, but there are things that you will enjoy about having all school-aged boys. :)

Cheryl S.

I learned to swallow pills (a million years ago) using tic tacs. Poor kiddo.

I can't believe Ike will be in kindergarten! My daughter starts middle school in the fall. I'm terrified! (She's very excited)


When I was a kid, I swallowed pills by my mom tucking them in applesauce. Not breaking them up, just putting the whole pill in a spoonful of applesauce. If j was lucky, it was ice cream. 😊


Oh, Amy, I <3 you. So much. Because I got Adderall XR capsules for my kiddo and last week...I lost them. LOST them. in my house, they never went anywhere, but it's been over a week and a thorough cleaning and -nothing. No highly controlled, highly abusable stimulants to be found. Did they fall into the trash? Get knocked down there by the cat? Did the kiddo decide she hates them and hide them somewhere weird? I do not know and AM IRRESPONSIBLE AND IN SO MUCH TROUBLE.
My kids will do pills, but the kiddo insists on chewing her tiny blue anti-depressant. The XR capsules were a firm nope, so I was dumping that in to one of those little yogurt smoothies that I picked up at Costco.
And shut the front door, Baby Ike in kindergarten? No way.


This is a wonderful, beautifully honest post.

My boys are finishing second grade and preschool. I'm looking forward to next year, when they're at the same school. My older son struggles in school (anxiety and maybe other issues), and my younger guy is a fast learner who only does what he wants to do. I imagine these next few years are going to be much harder than babyhood.

Good luck, mama. You're amazing with amazing kids.


"He probably won't remember it, but I will."

My oldest is Ike's age, and I recall with terror realizing that my son was getting to an age where he might remember things I do--and I have absolutely no control over what sticks and what doesn't. Gah.

But on a lighter note, I left the baby home with Daddy and took my older one on a solo trip last weekend, and that was a special, wonderful blast, and I sure hope he remembers a little of it, even just the hotel pool.


pills...f'ing pills! UGH! My son gets motion sick on long trips (and roller coasters), as do I. He has developed this aversion to pill swallowing (and the taste of crushed dramamine) that has cause so much angst and anguish and stress in my family for years. Chewable dramamine tastes like ass, btw, I verified it. And there's no such thing as liquid dramamine. I did find a liquid version on Amazon from Canada for almost $20 a bottle which I refused to buy just on principle.

Our last big vacation was to DC in the spring and we did give this program a try

Unfortunately, he still wasn't getting it after over a week of practice. The aversion is strong with this one. It's worth a shot though, maybe it will work for Ezra. I finally caved, accepted that I'd lost that battle and ordered the damn Canadian liquid dramamine. Surely, he'll learn to swallow a pill eventually, maybe when there's not so much pressure on baggage along with it.


Our screwups are more lasting for us than the kids...really. When I look back at my childhood, I DO have a few not so great memories, but for the most part - it's all a squishy, lovely mess of nostalgia and that time I made the cheerleading team, or first learned to do a cartwheel...

And I KNOW my mom screwed up. She was a single parent of 4 kids. She HAD to screw up, no way around it. But woven into every fiber was the complete love she had for her children. She tried so hard, and I know it.

When your kids are old enough to reminisce, they'll be old enough to find humor in those situations, or complete understanding because their OWN KIDS, MAN! WOW!

And they'll read this site, and they'll have a hard time containing their emotions, because your love for them OOZES from every word. Even the "bad" ones.

I wanted to tell you not to be hard on yourself...but that's actually part of what makes you a great mom.

And you are.


My son is finishing up 6th grade, and I just wanted to comment to anyone worried about middle school. IT IS AWESOME!! My son, the school hater, even agrees with that statement. Having multiple teachers, different kids in each class, and a little more freedom are all good things. We had such a bad 5th grade year (problem children in the class that got everyone in trouble), and this year has been such a breath of fresh air. Don't worry about middle school.


for the meds. my daughter opens them and pours it in her mouth then takes a drink of water. the important part of this is not to "chew" the little balls. it will ruin the time release. or you can open it and pour it on a spoon of applesauce.


"I can already see a trail of parenting mistakes forming behind me, a series of fuck-ups I can't take back, or erase from my children's future assessment of what kind of mother I was."

I am not a mom, but my own mother says she still thinks these things as she worries about her children and what kind of job she did/does. And we are all in our forties, lol!

I am not a mom but I'll tell you this. I talk with my friends about my mom and their moms and the kinds of childhoods we had -- all quite different -- and of course none of us think our mothers (or fathers) were perfect. But that's not a judgment, because we are also well aware of our own failings as children, and all people's general failings to some degree in all relationships in life.

The one thing we all agree on is that loving parents fuck up sometimes just like everyone else, but kids who are genuinely loved know it and feel it, and in the final assessment that is actually the most important thing.

Your kids are awesome and so are you. All of you, imperfectly awesome in perfectly wonderful ways. They'll remember all of it, the good and the bad. The bad just because they'll use it to tease you later in life about all their hardships as kids ;)


For pills: My sister has Down's and started taking birth control pills as a teen to control her crazy cycle. For years my mom put it in a little floof of whipped cream on a spoon and after a few years of that she just started swallowing the pill. I hope you find something that works!


I have a son who is just a little younger than Ezra, and he can't swallow pills yet. Is there an alternative? I also still supervise his taking medicine, or else he wouldn't voluntarily do it.


My kids learned to swallow their pills in a spoonful of jelly and eventually they no longer needed the jelly to swallow them.

Rachel A.

As a full grown adult the only way I can (still) swallow pills is by chewing up a little bite of some starchy substance (cracker, bread, whatever), and then tucking the pill in the middle of it and swallowing it all together. I struggled with it terribly as a child (it must be related to my claustrophobia because I feel like I am suffocating if I even attempt to swallow a pill like a normal person and there is gagging and clawing for air because I'm fun like that), and when I was 12 or 13 I finally saw someone give their dog a pill inside a treat. I thought I would give it a shot, and miraculously it worked! so MY 10 year old didn't want to swallow her Vyvanse so after years of applesauce and her growing to hate the sight of the stuff I tried to teach her my method and there was gagging and spitting and crying. Turns out she can swallow pills with water just fine. *sigh*


To the Dramamine person- try Benadryl. It may make your child sleepy, but comes in liquid and quick dissolve.

Amy- I'm not sure if this is at all relevant, but my Aspie son has a T.A. help him with some of the math writing. It has to be his words, but he gives much more detailed answers and labels all pictures since he doesn't have to do all of the actual writing. He is also working on typing and voice to text for everything ELA related that is over three sentences.


Please, please, please don't tell me it gets harder. My almost-4 year old and 20 month old are about to be the end of me, and I tell people everywhere--if it gets harder than this, I don't want to know. But maybe at least there won't be as many butts to wipe? Or as many cheerio boxes spilled on the floor the second you're getting ready to walk out the door (this morning)??!!


Allison -

I've been told by my MIL that it doesn't get harder...the challenges are just different. Instead of a baby waking you up, you can't sleep because your teenager isn't home yet, etc.

I will say that I personally have found it easier to parent a 10 and a 12 year-old, because while they will fight and disparage and throw nasty comments at each other, they know what's right and wrong, and they can communicate...and there's a TON less crying. ;o) So, all that to say everyone is different. You're welcome! LOL


Thanks for a sweet and simple post that completely explains how I feel about losing my babies to elementary school. I never knew I was a baby person until I had babies, and now I have no idea what to do with these dangly-legged boys who are making me crazy!

Sarah Lynn

A friend of mine had boys spaced somewhat like yours, and she always said bringing them up was like trying to hold three corks underwater simultaneously with only two hands. As soon as you got one settled down, another popped up.


My baby boy got married this weekend. I still remember the quiet moments in between.


We used a patch for ADD meds for a while. You can pop it on as you wake him in the morning. It might be a problem if he has sensitive skin. My daughter has a sensitive stomach so getting meds through her skin was helpful.


HAHAHAHA You think you know but you have no idea. But I don't want to spoil the fun. Suffice it to say - having a 19, 28 and 32 year old myself - that these ARE the good ole days. ENJOY. I would love to go back to the elementary school days. My kids are is a doctor and one is married with 2 little girls and one is still in college...yet it seems like actually YESTERDAY that they were preschool age. Sniff...

Sue W.

There is too much cute in Little Boy Ike!


That was one of your best posts ever!!! Love ❤️


Pills! Practice with some kind of candy about the same size/shape of his medicine, and experiment with different drinks, putting it in a spoonful of yogurt, etc.

I honest to goodness didn't swallow a pill until I was FIFTEEN years old, and I STILL (as an honest to goodness grownup) have a hard time sometimes. My Dad finally sat me down on at the dining room table, and we practiced with M&Ms (because they were the same size/shape as the allergy pills I desperately needed to be takin)g. We learned that I couldn't swallow pills with water or even milk. I required juice or cold (with no ice) tea. To this day, if I have to take a big pill or one with a weird texture/taste, I have to put it in a spoonful of yogurt.


My daughter just turned 10, and I do not miss the baby/toddler years at all. I loved them (mostly) while they were happening, but having a hormonal, sometimes angsty tween is way more fun for me (mostly). I am a middle school teacher, though. Adolescents are my people.


This past year was my first year of everyone at the same school and I LOVED it. I am not down with the oldest moving onto Junior High in the fall. But Babies and Toddlers were HARD for me. I love them, but the need suck! But the problem now is in reference to the saying "The Days are Long but the Years Are Short"? Days seem to go in hyper motion too :( Everyone is busy and wants to be doing their things. I'll be over here working on the StopGrow.

Amy A

And then they turn 19 and 29 - WTF! - and you feel nostalgic reading this post and attempt to bring down the box of photos in the closet that dislodges the box of old videos that hits you smack in the nose that causes a swollen nose and two black eyes...
Mice and cookies, man


No, I'm sorry but there is clearly a mistake in the years and the numbers and it's probably common core but there is no way Ike is going to Kindergarten. No way.

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