About Me


I am a single mom of three amazing boys!  All three of my sons entered my family through adoption.  All three of my boys have developmental disabilities. My oldest son, Matthew has been diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Bipolar Disorder. David, my middle son, has a genetic condition, he has a duplication on his 15th chromosome which leads to autism like symptoms, seizures and learning challenges. My youngest son, Jacob has learning disabilities. Each of my children bring unique challengs to our family and also bring their own personality and joys to our everyday life!

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

To Matt on the day after his 17 birthday

Even as Matthew turns 17 the reality that  I am his mom still amazes me.  I still feel 25 and so vividly remember the phone call that there was a little boy who needed a mom.and that while there were still a few hoops to jump through, it was likely that if said yes he would be my son.

I had been working with an adoption agency for almost 4 years when I received that call, so some would say "my time had come", but in so many ways I still was not quite ready.  I had my ovaries removed due to ovarian cysts slowly from the time that I was 13 until I was 21.  Every few months a cyst would form and the cyst would be huge and sometimes strangle a portion of my ovary, or simply would burst and cause such pain that a portion of my ovary was removed.  I had worked in child care from the age of 12,  I knew that all I ever really wanted to be was a mom, so to have my ovaries removed slowly with so many surgeries seemed like the cruelest joke possible.

Given my dream to become a mom, I had the final part of my ovary removed at 21 and soon after I registered with an adoption agency. While I wasn't ready to be a mom at 21, I also knew that the process was a long, drawn out process and I wanted to have a child in my life, so I figured I would start the process early.

At 25 I still had not received even one call from the first agency, and so I signed up with another agency, Adoption Star, which was out of Buffalo and was at that time a new agency.  I connected with the owner of Adoption Star upon one of our first phone calls.  As an adoptive parent who was out of the Buffalo area by the agencies requirements I had to be open to a biracial or African American child, and my biggest concern at the time was whether it was fair to adopt a child of a different race as a single person and then raise that child in the Jewish faith.  The owner of the agency shared her story with me of her African American son who she was raising Jewish  and shared that while it wasn't always easy, he was thriving and she encouraged me to be open minded.  As I was surrounded by a strong community I registered with Adoption Star and soon after I received the call that Matthew had been born and needed a family. 

I was just finishing up my first Friday at summer camp when the call came in.  I remember leaving work quickly and driving to my parents house, I came in the front door and quickly started crying, "I'm too young to be a mom.  I'm not ready".  (odd sentiments from someone who had actively pursued parenthood for over 4 years at that time).  My mom and dad and I talked through the realities, the challenges and then went shopping for all that was needed should Matthew be placed with me.  On Saturday morning my dad and I then drove to Buffalo to meet with someone from Adoption Star to sign the paperwork.  As long as all went well, we were then to drive to New Jersey on Sunday to meet Matthew.

My grandmother and great Aunt were coming to town that Saturday, but my dad and I had to drive to Buffalo.  We ended up meeting them and my mom at a restaurant for dinner after our drive.  I will never forget, my Great Aunt Sarah gave me a gift of awesome baby overalls and we talked and shared my excitement over dinner.  I was amazed even then that my grandma and my aunt barely batted an eye as I shared that Matthew was African American and we did not yet know his HIV status.  To these two women who were over 80 years old they had to be just shocked that this was happening, however to me all they shared was excitement and eagerness to meet my son.

As 80 year old women they had been adults at a different time in our country.  I am certain that my grandmother was very worried about the struggles I would face having Matthew join our family as an African American child.  However, while she shared some worries, from the minute she met Matthew he was her great grandson.  She supported him and loved him from the start and welcomed his as a Bloom.  To me this was always one of the biggest gifts my grandmother gave me.  So many would have questioned my sanity.  They would have wondered aloud what in the world was going on- I was single, working in child care and only 25 years old.  She would have had every right to express her shock at my life choices, but instead Matthew was immediately her great grandson and as her granddaughter I was supported and loved!

As Matthew grew and his struggles became more apparent my grandma's love for Matthew continued to grow.  She worried as he was a 10-12 year old who was really struggling but shared in every joy as he became a young teenager.  When she learned that Matthew was mainstreaming in school she called me with such pride in her voice.  To me he had succeeded in mainstreaming for art, but I wanted more.  To her it was as if he was mainstreaming and thriving in calculus!  She was so proud at how far he had come. 

When in the past few years he got a job and started mowing lawns she continued to beam. Every single step in life that he made forward allowed her to brag on him more and more.  She was so proud of the young, caring, kind man he was becoming.  She always questioned what his future would look like and how he would grow to live independently but took such pride in every step forward he made.

Yesterday, on his 17th birthday, I stopped to think about how proud she would be of him.  He is working as a maintenance person at a Jewish summer camp and truly thriving.  He gets on the bus each day with happiness and comes home each night to tell me of the lawn he mowed, or the window he helped fix.  He is learning skills and feeling pride at all that he is accomplishing.  He is surrounded by the Jewish singing of the campers, and is working hard to play drums in the shabbat band at camp, he has found a place where he feels such pride and accomplishment.
My grandparents owned a day camp which is now owned by my Aunt and Uncle.  To have my son working at a day camp fills my heart with pride.  The maintenance staff at my grandparents camp was a very important job.  It was a role that was depended on and the caretakers were treated like family.  They worked at camp before the counselors each year to get camp ready and they ended the summer closing up the camp after the staff left.  This was a role that was seen as vital because the maintenance staff work, while behind the scenes, allowed camp to function smoothly for the staff and campers.  

In so many ways Matthew has brought our family full circle.  He combines my love of Judaism and Jewish education with our family commitment to the camp experience for children.  The Directors at his camp have allowed him to be a part of the camp community by seeing Matthew's strengths and allowing him to be an important part of the camp family by doing what he does best. 

As you turn 17 Matthew I want you to continue to remember:
1.  You bring joy to everyone you meet!  You smile, and greet people with such passion, you truly make people smile.

2.  You know who you are and what you love to do. Continue on being you!  

3.  You not only made your great grandmother proud, you make me proud to be your mom!

Happy Birthday Matthew!  I love you! Thank you for making me a mom!

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Being a social person in a solo world

If you meet Matthew you immediately know that socialization is important to him.  He loves people; loves to talk to people, share stories, and simply be surrounded by people.  For Matthew this is one of his biggest challenges. He has no friends.  As a social person, he constantly feels lonely and isolated. 

He watches to see how much traffic there is out and about each night and is then heartbroken when there is a lot of traffic.  He is sure that everyone else is out with friends and he is lonely and at home.  When the roads are quiet it is slightly easier for him to be home, but even then only for short bits of time. 

He loves to drum and can typically shoot hoops for a while by himself, but recently he has become unhappy even doing these 2 things.  He simply wants to be busy with people all of the time.  Unfortunately, this is a need I cannot meet for Matthew.  I cannot make other 16 year olds reach out to him.  I cannot create a group of kids for him to be with.  I cannot make up for him missing having a peer group.

Up until recently being with family seemed to be good enough. Now however, as he sees kids his age out and driving and sees that they have a new level of independence it seems that he is living life at a new level of isolation and frustration.

I am allowing him more independence on his bike, but even then I worry that he is alone and at risk.  However, I realize that I cannot keep him safe or teach him independence skills if I never let him try being alone.  That said, I fear that the risk for him is a large risk.  He cannot explain what he is thinking often, and especially not in a high stress situation.  He often cannot share things that happen in a chronological order that make much sense.

In my dreams we have a group of 16-18 year olds who suddenly move to our neighborhood and accept Matthew for where he is on a daily basis.  In reality all I can do is try to provide him with opportunities for socialization and hope that as he gets older he finds social opportunities that meet his needs.

For now, all I know is that he is lonely, and I can't make it better, even though i want to. 

Monday, May 21, 2018

Time out rooms and restraint

If anyone had told me that I would be dealing with all 3 of my children being placed in time out rooms at school and restrained by their teachers I would have told you that you were crazy.  Who even knew that places like time out rooms existed in our public schools?  Who knew that teachers were participating in a training to learn about restraining young children?  Who could have predicted that my boys would be in situations where this was the outcome for them?

How am I to sit silently while this is happening?  Do you know that there are children involved in these situations in your public school?  Do you agree with it?  Would it be ok for your child? 

I understand that when my child is seen as a threat that the teachers need to have a response to ensure that everyone is safe.  I truly do understand that.  What I don't understand is why are there not responses that are taken sooner to ensure that things don't escalate to the point where young children with disabilities are being restrained by adults?  Where children with disabilities are being closed in official "time out room " spaces that are equipped with padded walls.

What I really don't understand is why as their mother I don't have the right to say don't do this to my child again.  Don't close them in rooms.  Don't hold them down with multiple adults.  It doesn't work.  It creates rage on their part.  It makes them fight you harder because they are scared.  It triggers a fight or flight response.  They become irrational as they fight you to get off of them.

I want this stopped.  It scares me.  I don't want to think of my child scared at school.  I don't want to think of my child needing me and me not being to help them.  I don't want my child restrained or placed in a room where they are alone and look like criminals.

If you look at the research Black children are restrained, placed in time out rooms and suspended more frequently than white students.  Based on my experience and the experience of my boys, this appears to be true.  That is hard to read.....and easy for me to write when we look at the hard facts.  Unfortunately Black children are seen as more threatening often and so the adults feel a need to ensure that they have control of the situation and as such they use the time out space or restraint to ensure that all are safe.

If you know my children, you know that my boys are all amazing.  If you know my family you know we have had and continue to have our struggles.  I am honest about that.  However, you also know that I have parented them always as a single mom.  I can tell you that I have never sent my boys to their rooms as a consequence for behavior struggles.  Why?  Because being separated from our family creates a challenge for all 3 of my boys and it doesn't change behavior for the better.

Now, we can certainly pick this apart- is it because they are adopted and fear separation?  Is it because they worry about being alone?  Is it because they have each spent time in the time out room at school and they are scarred from these experiences?  I don't know and it really doesn't matter.  All 3 of their educational teams have been told that being in a time out space scares them and does not improve their behavior.  All of my child care providers know this as well, so instead we use other options.  We often take a break together, or they take a break outside- bouncing a basketball, going for a bike ride or finding some other way to get their energy out.

Given that their educational teams are aware that being placed in a time out room or in some other space alone doesn't work for my boys, why is this the response of the educational team?  All of my boys can be talked through their challenges but it takes time.  It is not easy and when as the adult I am struggling it can be really hard.

However, the perk at school, that is different than home, is that each of my boys are in classes with multiple adults.  When I teach educators the tricks of working with children, one of the most important tricks is to "tap out when you are frustrated".  The adults working with my boys need to tap out.  They need to tap out BEFORE things get out of hand.  They need to tap out and ask for help so that things don't get too big!!  They need to tap out so that they do not feel a need to have my boys spend time in a time out room with the door closed or holding my boys in a restraint.

Once my boys are over the top angry they are at a point where they cannot hear.  I have seen them at this point and it can be scary.  However, upon looking back at the situations where I have seen my boys like this, it happens because as the parent I didn't read their responses correctly. 

For David, it is a cry for help.  We see these behaviors before he has a seizure.  These behaviors are his cry for help. It can happen  minutes before a seizure or hours before a seizure, but it has happened since he was in preschool.  He would tear about the classroom and then he would have a seizure.  If an adult was with him as we saw this behavior we could often stop the destruction once he knew he was safe.  However, if we misread his cue and used discipline rather than offering him comfort things would get worse.  He has few words and cant describe what he is feeling so it is up to the adult to offer him comfort and to stay nearby until the seizure happens.  Once it occurs he quickly picks up the room and is back to David and rests for a time.   His Doctor calls this a "davidism" as it is uncommon behavior for before a seizure, but when things happen over and over and over again at some point we have to accept that David is trying to tell us something and we have to help him rather than place him in a time out space.  He has torn the drop ceiling from the time out room this year because he was scared.  At some point we have to accept that what is happening to him at school isnt working and we have to try another method.  David needs an adult nearby, not to be alone.  Imagine knowing a seizure is coming and trying to communicate that and being placed alone in a space?  Imagine being David's mom and knowing that one day while you are at work this is happening to your child? 

 For Matthew and Jacob, it is almost the same.  While they don't have seizures their brains are unable to continue processing information and so when they are angry they need an adult to calm the situation.  They need an adult to step back, and give them space.  Matthew does well if he is allowed to sleep.  Jacob does best if he is allowed time to snuggle or to do some sort of physical exercise.  Neither do well when they are placed in a time out space.  Both truly explode when they are held down.

Matthew thankfully has grown out of this stage and has become truly an incredible young man.  Given the growth in Matthew I know that Jacob will follow and he will thrive, but how many times will school traumatize him before he grows?  What will be the long term implications of him being held down at school?  Placed in a time out room?

What would it feel like to you as a child to be held down by adults?  To be placed in a time out room?  What would it feel like to you as the mom?

We have had experiences in  5 schools with time out rooms.  Experiences in 3 schools with one of my boys being restrained.  This is happening at your child's school.  It is happening to their friend, to their acquaintance, to their peer. 

According to State Education use of restraint and the time out space is to be the "last resort".  I can tell you that our schools are getting to the usage of "last resort" more frequently than you know.  Considerably more frequently for non-caucasian students.  I can tell you that I am scared. 

Sending your child to school should not come with fear, but today it does. 

This was a hard blog to write, but my guess is that you didn't know how frequently restraint and time out spaces are being used in your school.  And the only way to advocate for change is to share our story.  Please do not judge my boys.  They are truly no different than your children.  Sure, they get mad.  Don't your kids?  For the most part they are awesome, sweet, very kind hearted boys.  They get angry, and need help, but as an educator, I know all kids get mad sometimes. It is how we as the adults help when kids are mad, and to me this is what needs to change.  We need to support all children so that they learn to manage their mad without fear of being placed in a time out space or being restrained.


Teaching unpredictable kids

Jacob and Matthew have both been diagnosed at this time with drug/alcohol usage from their birth parents while they were in utero.  What this does it is essentially creates "swiss cheese brain".  In many situations life clicks and the boys do great.  They can understand all that is being said, respond to it appropriately and things are great.  However there are other times when life just doesn't go as planned and they are confused and it is up to the adults in the situation to monitor and make changes so that life remains calm and the situation is once again under control.

Yesterday was a perfect example of Jacob dealing with "swiss cheese brain".  Jacob and a friend were hanging out and they had a truly awesome time.  Between games of basketball, some time on the xbox and just being 11 year old boys all was fabulous.  However, Jacob and I had been to the grocery store earlier in the day and Jacob had decided he wanted pizza and chicken wings for dinner.  We bought these items and since my plan was to be home most of the day, this seemed to be an easy plan for dinner.

However, life happened and at 6:00 the boys and I were happily at the park playing basketball with Jacob's friend.  He was happy and all was going great until it was time to leave.  Jacob then became frustrated..  Leaving his friend was tough however, once we got into the car he was also clear that he was angry because now it was 6:30, we had to go pick up Matt from a friends house and it was getting to be too late for me to cook chicken wings.  To Jacob, THIS was the part of the day which became unmanageable to cope with.  I had promised chicken wings, we had bought chicken wings and we were having chicken wings for dinner, in his mind, no matter what!

This is when it became important for me to figure things out as the mom.  I now had a few choices:

  1. Go head to head with jacob and tell him that chicken wings were not even close to an option
  2. try to figure out a way to make chicken wings
  3. talk Jacob through our choices and allow him to help me make a decision.

Yesterday I had time, patience and energy on my side and I decided that I would go with option 3.  Jacob and I talked and I told him that after we picked up Matthew I would go home, see how long it would take to make the chicken wings, but while they were cooking he had to shower and get ready for bed as we would be eating later than usual and I would need him ready for bed so we could transition quickly after we ate.

Yesterday this plan worked.  We talked about all of the fun he had with his friend all day and that if I had been home cooking chicken wings he would have missed out on the fun.

Yesterday his swiss cheese brain allowed for Jacob to hear me and respond and together we worked out a reasonable solution.

Yesterday the day ended perfectly.  Yesterday we won the swiss cheese brain battle!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Off to the Children's Museum- Day 2

If you are ever in Indianapolis the Children's museum is a place that is not to be missed.  While I have heard from some family members that they have gone without children, I am not sure I would say it is THAT incredible, but it is definitely one of the best Children's museums I have ever seen!

 

Before we even started in the actual museum we checked out their new sports museum section.  For Matthew and Jacob this meant over an hour of basketball statistics, basketball shooting, and seeing some incredible basketball paraphernalia.  For David and me it meant looking at the nascar and Indy 500 cars and checking out all of the other cool sports information that had been gathered and was on display in this section of the museum.

One of the best parts of this section was that they had a place where you could try your hand at being on the "pit crew" for a race car.  While we had a blast taking off the tires, filling the gas and putting the tires back on, and trying to race the clock, my favorite part was truly watching dads and their preschoolers trying to do this together.  The clock showed the best time of the day- under 10 seconds......however, this does not show that these tasks were done RIGHT in 10 seconds, or done WELL in 10 seconds, it just shows that they were done in 10 seconds.  It was awesome to watch a group of dads get their testosterone in a bother as they tried to help their little one beat the 10 second top time of the day.  (spoiler alert.....it wasn't possible!)

After our time in the sports section we were off to check out the dinosaur exhibit.  This was an incredibly well done exhibit. They mixed dinosaur models with hands on dinosaur digs, and scientists who were there to meet and talk to the kids.  We met a museum staff member who was from East Greenbush, NY who was cleaning an actual dinosaur bone.
I am not sure who was more intrigued by this, Jacob or me!  Truly he and I stood there for over a half an hour and must have asked 6 times whether it was a REAL dinosaur bone or just a fake one!  The scientist pretended each time not to be annoyed by our question, but after we asked 6 times I got the hint that it was time to keep on moving!

After the dinosaurs, it was off to check out the second floor of the museum!  I could not believe it was past 12:30 and we only had 4 hours to finish 3 more floors of the museum~!!!

One of my favorite parts of the museum was they had a section that was devoted to children who made changes in the world.  The section included Anne Frank, Ruby Bridges and one of my favorite children heroes ever, Ryan White.  You might remember that Ryan White was a young teenager with Hemophelia who was diagnosed with HIV in the late 80's. 

His story always touched my heart and so to see his story in this museum was very  powerful to me.  The boys went off to check out the race car exhibit which was next door while I took a some time reading through Ryan White's story, seeing the items of his that are showcased in the museum and just going back to that time in our history when a teenager having HIV was the major news.  In some ways that seems like such a powerful contrast to our teenagers today.  Today, teens are so accepting of bisexual, transgendered and openly gay peers at least in the North East, and yet there are still school shootings which are occurring on an almost daily basis across the US.  We have come so far, and yet we have so far to go.

We finished the museum on the 4th floor where Matthew fell in love with the exhibit on China!

David found his favorite spot also on the 4th floor, the water table.  There is something simply peaceful and relaxing about playing in a humongous table of water.  As you build the barrier, then open it and the water rushes down.....it was such an incredibly peaceful way to play.  After a busy day at a museum, for David the water table was the perfect ending!

As the museum was closing, we headed back one more time to see the sports exhibit.  I decided I had to try my hand at a basketball shoot out with the boys.  I am pretty sure I made the day of one of the dad's when I beat Jacob by 6 points and hooted and hollered with excitement.  (winning with grace is a skill I am still working on).

We ended our day back at the hotel once again hanging out and enjoying some pool time.  Matthew decided he was "too cool for the pool" and instead hung out in the lobby.  Only Matthew could make friends with a guy who lived at the hotel.  He of course got the entire story of this man's life.....the man was living at the hotel for 2 years while he was working in town.  Matthew has decided that this sounds like the perfect life....in all honesty, it sounds pretty ok to me too. This hotel included a hot breakfast daily, AND a free cocktail hour each night.....AND someone else cleaned the room each day.  ( remind me why we came home again???????)

Jacob convinced me that we had to carry on our nightly tradition of Steak and Shake milkshakes so in the pouring rain I went out for milkshakes for the boys.  It became a fabulous way to end our nights, hitting the pool, milkshakes all around and then falling asleep excited for the adventure of the next day!




  

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Indianapolis......for vacation?

This past week was spring break and our family was headed to Indianapolis.  We had plane tickets that had to be used, and so I gave the boys the chance to pick a place that they wanted to go and then started looking for a flight to get us there that didn't cost any more than the plane tickets.  Jacob was born in Indiana and felt strongly that he needed to go back to see Indiana.  It sounded like a perfect adventure, tickets were purchased and we were off!

On our itinerary were the State Museum, Children's Museum, NCAA museum, The Indy 500 track and Museum and the Zoo.  As we were flying into Indiana and we were asking for advice for other places to see or things to do, all people kept saying was "you came to Indiana?  For vacation????"  The more people said this, the more nervous I got, but I have to tell you, they couldn't be more wrong!  We had a phenomenal 5 days!

Our first day started a little rocky.  In my mind vacation is about resting and relaxing, so we didn't get moving until 10:30.  We headed out of the hotel and hit up the State Museum.  Based on the website, I assumed this would be a full day trip, but figured, in case it wasn't we would hit up the zoo or the NCAA museum if we finished early.  Unfortunately, life in Indiana is a little slower paced than in upstate NY.  While we loved the State Museum, it only took us 3.5 hours to get through and so we headed out looking for an option for our afternoon.

The NCAA museum is closed on Mondays.... the zoo closed at 4:00 and it was already 2:30......what had been a great start to day 1 was quickly becoming rounds of "this is supposed to be fun mom", " now what are we going to do mom?" and so I had to find a quick solution......new city......my idea.....let's go for a drive and see where life takes us!

Thankfully, in downtown Indianapolis there are tons of major sports teams.  We drove by the Colts stadium,  the Packers Arena and stopped in to see the Indianapolis Indians stadium.  I am not a major sports fan, but seeing a stadium is a pretty cool deal!  I think I was likely way more excited than the boys!

As we then wandered through Downtown Indy, we realized life closes there around 4:30.  While looking for the State house, we accidentally wandered into the court house ( one is located at 200 WEST Washington Stand the other is located at 200 EAST Washington St.  I am certain I cannot be the only one to make THAT error!

In talking to one of the security guards I realized that during Jacob's adoption proceedings the judge had been on the phone with me from the very building we were now standing in.  In Indiana the adoptive family does not have to come back to Indiana to finalize the adoption.  Given the challenges of bringing 3 young children to Indianapolis for a 10 minute court proceeding, at the time I had decided to simply attend by phone.  Now, suddenly 11 years later to find myself in the court house where Jacob had become a permanent part of my family brought up a lump in my throat. After taking in a moment to breathe in the complex emotions I was feeling, we wandered back outside and headed for 200 West Washington Street to try to get a tour of the State house.  Of course, that had now closed as well, but on our walk we stumbled upon the Observatory which is located inside the Soldiers and Sailors Monument.  While the observatory was closed, the boys loved climbing around on the monument with a group of kids and I was able to mentally add the State house and the Observatory to our list of "to do" activities for the week,  and take a moment enjoying downtown Indianapolis!

We also walked through some pretty cool shops, a comic book store with an awesome salesman with self proclaimed ADHD who kept the boys busy for almost an hour, and a store called Soda Fizz which was awesome to see!

Finally, we decided no first day in Indianapolis was done without a milkshake from Steaks and Shakes, so with amazing milkshakes in hand, we headed back to our hotel calling Day 1 a success!  The boys finished the day with a swim in the pool (or for David the hot tub), I used the chance to check out the hotel workout room, and then we took some time planning out day 2 in Indianapolis!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Passion

I can likely best be described as a passionate person.  This has served me well- I work with passion for the children in my program.  I parent my boys with passion, and I passionately stand behind those who work with me as teachers in my program and who are my friends.  Unfortunately, this is also the personality trait that also works so strongly against me much of the time.  I am passionate when I am trying to get the special education department to understand a need that I see as important for  of my boys.  I am passionate about helping the children who are in my school and I am passionate about ensuring that my boys are the best they can be.

This morning is a snow day and my plan was to wake up and enjoy a calm day filled with board games and 1:1 time with each of my boys.  Unfortunately there was also a pile of laundry that needed to be put away, Matthew decided he needed to make pancakes and David decided that he should eat yogurt ALL OVER THE COUCH!!!!  What started as a slow, easy going morning became a morning of chaos and craziness.

I asked the boys to please put away laundry and I asked Jacob to please throw away the garbage in his room.  This was quickly met with grumbles, complaints and overall anger on his part.  While I ignored and ignored and ignored, there is a point in time where one simply cannot ignore a child's grumbling and I responded with passion!  Not a passion I am proud of but more a passion that made it clear that he needed to stop complaining and start working.  Unfortunately my passionate request that he stop complaining and start working was quickly met with his own passionate desire to create a stand off.  I have never in my life seen a child "work" for an hour and accomplish SO little!  I swear I could still not even enter his room after an hour, and the grocery bag he was using for garbage was less than half full.

As I walked downstairs, hoping to give Jacob some time to restart, I saw a couch covered in yogurt.I am ready for a new couch but buying a new couch is pointless.  David starts every morning with a buffet all over my couch- yogurt, cereal, bagels, frozen waffles.....all over the couch!  I can set him up with a bowl of cereal and milk in the kitchen and he will bring it into the family room and eat it and spill it ALL OVER MY COUCH!  I know what you will say, watch him, supervise him...but honestly as a single mom I can get up at 5 AM and those days he will sleep until 7, or I can get up at 7 and those days he is up at 5 AM. He is silent as he sneaks downstairs and starts his buffet all over my couch.

What he wants is a tv set in the kitchen, but that is just something I am unwilling to give into.  I have added the SPECTRUM cable app to his ipad so he has access to all of his tv shows and can watch them in the kitchen but apparently that is not enough for him.  I dont know what else to do to solve this problem, short of putting a tv in the kitchen and that is simply something I am unwilling to do.

As for Matthew, he cooked pancakes this morning.  This is something he is very good at, but unfortunately also is not great at cleaning up from.  Apparently an egg cracked on the kitchen floor and I walked through it, and the griddle is covered in egg and pancake residue and while he is now recleaning it.....well, just yuck.

I kind of want a snow day redo, and I do totally know that these problems too will pass, and I will become less passionate or this passion will serve the boys and I well as they recognize that they have to be responsible for cleaning and putting things away and caring for themselves, but today the passion seems a little over the top and bonkers as I try to teach 3 boys how to be their best selves.