Right-sizing

We are downsizing. There. I said it. It feels like a confession. While many people our age are movin’ on up, we’re waving at them as they pass by … from the down escalator. If feels crazy. We live on a lovely two-acre lot with two distinct ecosystems: mossy, lichen-filled woods and a stream in back; sunny landscaped yard in front. We have great neighbors. We have lovely sunsets. We have peace … Continue reading Right-sizing

Summer’s end

All too aware that the last week of summer vacation was slipping through our fingers, my son and I hurried about with almost manic energy. We played croquet and Legos, picked tomatoes and beans, and took the dog for walks along a nearby lake. When my son napped, I did laundry, pulled weeds and made lists preparing for the start of school. Then yesterday, for no apparent reason, we came from opposite ends of … Continue reading Summer’s end

The forgotten art of rough-housing

When we brought our son home from India at age 3, he was all about the physical world. He wanted to touch everything, his hands darting out every which way to grab objects he saw not just in front of him but in his peripheral vision too. He also wanted to eat everything — even my ultimate challenge: a beet-swiss chard salad sprinkled with feta and topped with balsamic dressing. He devoured … Continue reading The forgotten art of rough-housing

Rethinking perfect

Parents with a difficult child should work toward “appropriate and successful behavior patterns 80 percent of the time … ,” writes Ronald Federici in Help for the Hopeless Child. “Sometimes families expect perfection, which is a totally unrealistic expectation.” I had just stumbled onto this blurb on Amazon, but it stopped me cold. I wondered, had I been putting unrealistic expectations on our son? I have always had … Continue reading Rethinking perfect

Where spring throws off her shirt

I’ve called the Pacific Northwest home for nearly a decade, and yet its version of springtime still shocks me. I come from Minnesota, where spring follows sepia-toned winters, gray skies and brown landscapes that give way to white skies and white landscapes. Now and then these scenes are punctuated by periods of pure yellow sunshine that emanate from heavens of brilliant blue, turning ice-encrusted trees and snowdrifts into piles of diamonds. Western Washington winters … Continue reading Where spring throws off her shirt

School off the grid

Abandoning the local primary school was not part of our plan. But after watching our son spend a school year buffeted between his home room and various pullouts intended to bolster his speech, fine motor, reading, math and social skills, we — and he — had had enough. To be clear, our public school team was well-meaning, but the more supports they arranged for our son, the more fragmented his days and his learning became. This for … Continue reading School off the grid