Thursday, May 26, 2011

Last weekend's family column

The web person at the Patriot Ledger was on vacation last week, and my column was never published online (harrumph!) Here it is. For the record, the bad dreams seem to have passed for a while.


As a parent, I’m used to the pitter-patter of little feet. Said pittering and pattering is a normal, expected and welcomed part of the soundscape of our home. The exception is when the pits and pats come down the stairs between midnight and 5:00 a.m., as they’ve been doing a lot lately.

My nine-year-old never has gotten out of her bed at night in her life. (The exception: two bouts of sleepwalking, a creepy behavior which disappeared as soon as her tonsils were removed, which was, in a way, even creepier.) My six-year-old has been a very good sleeper, aside from a couple of bouts of nocturnal illness. My little guy, however, has gotten out of bed more in his five years than the fifteen years of the other two combined.

The boys’ bedroom is directly over my husband’s and mine. I’ve learned I have about 45 seconds from the initial thump of the feet hitting the floor to the apparition at my bedside. The ensuing exchange typically goes like this:


“Yes, honey?” (Maybe if I close my eyes again he’ll disappear.)

“I had a bad dream.”

“You did?”

“Yeah.” Quivering voice and the start of sniffling are detected.

(Hoisting myself onto one elbow.) “Aw, buddy, I’m sorry. It was just a dream, though. Why don’t you use the bathroom and then we’ll tuck you back in.”

Off he goes to the bathroom. Now, for the most delicate phase of the operation: how to ensure that it’s my husband who gets out of bed, goes all the way upstairs with the little lad and tucks him in again, leaving me snug and cozy where I am. The trick is to appear to be mostly willing to make the arduous journey, but just slightly too tired and befuddled. Husbandly gallantry will prevail, if I can manage not to overplay my hand.

The first step is a slightly audible sigh. Sometimes a little moan can help.

Gallant Husband: “Is he okay?”

Me: “Yeah. The poor kid had another bad dream.” (Rolling over, slowly, facing husband. Direction is key; keep him engaged while simultaneously showing I’m too tired to get out of bed, myself.)

GH: “Man.”

Me: “Mmmm-hmmm…” (trailing off a bit.)

GH: “Do you want me to go up with him?”

Me: “Mmmmm.” (What a guy.)

Off he goes. If it’s almost 5:00, my husband will just stay up, leaving me to battle the alarm clock. If it’s much earlier than that, I’m usually in dreamland by the time he comes back down the stairs, no doubt smiling a little in my sleep.

Someday, my little dreamer will learn to shake off a nightmare and value sleep over parental comforting. In the meantime, my gallant husband will (hopefully) continue to answer the call of the pitter-pattering feet, and my heart, half-asleep, will go pitter-pat, too.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


Remember that calm feeling I had earlier this week? It's gone. All of it. Or at least it was this afternoon, as I pondered how to catch Brian's Little League game, copy the programs for tomorrow's recitals and make three deadlines, all before we were to have a dinner guest.

But: I went to the game for a little while, got the copies made, and met two of the deadlines and got an extension on the third. Dinner guest and dinner were fine. Things are okay again.

I also managed to do something for myself today -- a long walk with a friend, something we're trying to make into a weekly thing. I did more than four miles and burned off about half of my pancake-extravaganza breakfast. Oh well; better than if I hadn't walked!

Tomorrow I have two masses to sing, and then the recitals, and then more dinner guests. I think I'll think about that tomorrow.

Oh, by the way, here's a link to today's Milton Musings. It is so, so beautiful here at this time of year. Enjoy.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Busy week break

The week of my annual studio recital is always interesting. On the one hand, Sunday afternoon will be a whirlwind, with a voice recital rehearsal, followed by my voice students' recital, and then my piano students' recital. An all-afternoon affair, plus there are some extra things I need to do this week to get ready, like create and copy the programs, check with the hall, etc. I also need to get all my writing work done early as I won't have that Sunday afternoon time to catch up.

On the flip side, however, most of my piano students are really just concentrating on their recital pieces this week, so lessons are moving quickly, leaving me with a little extra time here and there within my teaching schedule. It's nice to have a breather.
As busy a time of year as May is, things are starting to wind down. My classroom teaching only goes on for five more weeks; my studio teaching the same (until the summer schedule kicks in.) My church choir is quite busy for the next month but then will be done for the summer. Writing chugs along, but some of the school-based reporting I do will also be going on summer vacation.

I'm not panicked about the summer at all this year, really. My three kids are all registered for their enrichment programs (at least I believe they are...haven't received confirmation yet.) Our vacation plans are loosely set. I need to create my summer teaching schedule (after this weekend's recital) and then I'll have things more or less scheduled out until school starts again. I like the feeling of having things organized, and even though there are details to take care of, I'm feeling quite calm.

We'll see how long it lasts!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Cross-phylum motherhood

Read about my experiment in raising creatures that aren't my own, in today's Just a Minute.

Friday, May 6, 2011

My Little Leaguer

Here's Brian, before his first Little League game last Saturday.

Go, Braves!

Thursday, May 5, 2011


Zip, zoom, whoosh...the weeks are flying by. Yesterday I realized I only had six weeks left of school, which made me feel happy and panicked at the same time. So many events to fit in before the end of the school year -- 15 for my church choir, alone (including rehearsals, but those are still events, in my mind.) Next weekend is my studio recital, my school concert is June 14, and the writing assignments just keep coming. All of this is good. A lot of good.

I was feeling scattered today and told a colleague that I'm usually much more organized, and that I'm just doing too much. He was kind and understanding, and I really do believe I'm doing too much, but I still get irritated with myself. It's not like me.

School will end and things will settle down a bit. Tomorrow I'll get through my mammogram, funeral to sing, dentist appointment, phone interview and dealing with the refrigerator repairman (see what I mean?) I'll also do some writing, tackle the mountain of laundry waiting to be folded in my bedroom and make dinner. I will make time for fun this weekend (meeting a friend for a walk on Saturday) and then slog my way through another teaching week. Hopefully I'll get over this latest cold or allergy attack or whatever it is, too.

Next week we should have Abby's IEP finished for the coming school year. That will be good to be able to check off the list.

The sun goes down, the sun comes up, and one day at a time, I'll do what must be done. Come June 16, however, I think I may make myself the biggest pitcher of sangria, ever.

Monday, May 2, 2011

FAVA makes a difference

I profiled Janet Gilmore and Karen Hainline, two Milton sisters and art teachers who teach visual arts through Friends and Advocates for the Visual Arts. Read about why they do it and their upcoming summer camp in today's Milton Makes a Difference.