Life, parenting

Finding Balance in the Every Day

Well, somehow, we made it to November 30th – my last day of blogging for the month. I missed only two days, not too bad!

And I didn’t stress Mr. KK out too much either, so that’s a win in this house.

I usually use this post to do some sort of wrap up of the blog month, or of the year that is so quickly coming to an end, or my perspective on the year ahead. One year I wrote what could be the first chapter of my novel. Sometimes we celebrate my cancer-versary.

This year, I just wanted to share that I’m having trouble finding balance: balance of my work, mom, wife, and “me” lives.

One hypothesis is that we are fully back to “normal” and life is busy again and the juggling is even harder. Another thought is that I’m a year older and it’s just harder, if that’s possible. Or, I’m prioritizing different things and that is tugging at my psyche.

You should know that I really like my job. I work for a surrogacy and egg donation agency as a Marketing Director, and I manage our company’s brand, website, and oversee all of our paid and organic marketing, social media, marketing materials, you name it. I have such passion for what we do: enabling those who cannot be parents on their own to have the child(ren) they’ve dreamed of. It’s pretty powerful, especially compared to my last job at a marketing agency where I was selling M&M’S.

The thing about work is that it just never ends. I am hella busy, and it’s hard finding a stopping point each day. There’s always one more web page I could create, or another email I could answer. But if I don’t stick to a schedule, my work life will start to creep into my home life, when I must turn the switch from Boss to Mom. It’s bad enough that Little Mister is home a solid hour plus before my work day even ends, it’s like moving mountains to get him to do homework while someone isn’t sitting next to him, all while trying to keep him off of every electronic device within 30 miles.

If I stop working at 5pm (which honestly feels like the middle of the day since emails continue to roll in until 8pm or 9pm) then it’s immediate Mom mode. We need to get homework done, maybe play with Little Mister, get dinner together, eat and clean up, Little Mister watches a show, then the bedtime routine with 20 minutes of reading under the covers. And that’s if we don’t have an activity after school, like Scouts or Basketball. Even a haircut could throw a wrench in the mix. Once Little Mister is tucked away in bed, I usually hop on the computer again to address any urgent needs, or finish the project I left hanging a few hours ago. If it’s November, it’s also time to write a blog post, unless I did that early in the morning before work, which means I did that instead of going kickboxing. But there are mornings that I can’t kickbox AND shower before work (not enough time!) so I have to choose between them. This time of year I’m trying to get holiday shopping done online (who has time to go to a store??), and before bed is the time to do it, especially if I need Mr. KK’s input. Sometimes we’ll watch 10 minutes of a show before I fall asleep (and many nights, we are re-watching the same 10 minutes 3 days in a row because I just can’t keep my eyes open).

Let’s not forget there are things that I like to do, even if I don’t do them that often. Like getting a manicure, or mindlessly wandering the aisles of Target, or reading. Or vacation planning. Or party planning. Or changing my closet for the seasons. Or folding the basket of clothes that’s been staring at me for a week. (Am I the only one who eventually wears enough clothes out of the clean basket until it’s a manageable size to put away?)

That’s a long-winded way of saying: there’s just not enough hours in the day for all the things I want to do!

Since we didn’t win the billion dollar lottery, and Mr. KK tells me I have about 137 more years of working until I can retire, how can I find balance.

As I said, I love my job, but good lord I would retire TOMORROW if I could. I think about my parents and in-laws who are all retired and have every day to themselves to do things and it makes me sad (for me) and jealous (of them). They can go to lunch whenever they want! They can organize a closet on a Tuesday afternoon! Get a manicure on a Thursday morning. Hit the gym at noon on Friday. If I have to wait until I’m of retirement age (probably in my 90s according to Mr. KK), I won’t have the energy to do anything!

I want to be retired now while I have interests and hobbies, and the strength and mobility to DO things. I don’t want to be bent over and frail when I finally have all the time in the world to enjoy life. I will have missed everything I’m looking forward to!

I even have a short list of retirement jobs that I think I’d be great at:

  • Personal grocery shopper
  • Audio book narrator
  • Vacation planner
  • Food/shopping/travel blogger
  • Novelist (finally!)

I know I’m not alone. How does everyone find balance to the point that they feel they are giving the appropriate % of themselves to everyone and everything in their lives? So that no one feels slighted, even yourself? That you feel like you’re contributing well to work and enriching your child’s life? That you’re present even when you can’t be present?

That’s what I’m carrying into 2023 with me: how to find better balance. Finding the time to work out, be a good mom (whatever that means), be a superstar at work, be a great wife, all while squeezing in time for myself so I can stay sane.

I wish you all luck finding your balance in 2023! Until next year!

Little Mister, parenting

Let’s Talk About Sports, Ba-by!

Typically, we are not a sporting household. We don’t watch sports, we don’t attend sporting events and there is little to no sports talk going on.

Me, I don’t do sports. I never played a sport growing up (is sarcasm a sport?) The closest I came was one season of softball, and I played one Powder Puff football game as a high school senior the night before Thanksgiving! Instead, I danced for 13 years. I understand the importance of them, but I’m not an avid sports fan. No one has mistaken me for Sporty Spice. I’ll go to a Sox game every once in a while, but that’s about it. The closest you’ll find me watching sports on TV is the movie Dodgeball. Also, it should be known that I don’t watch sports movies. And – before you even ask me – no, I have not seen Field of Dreams.

Mr. KK, however, IS a sports person. He played baseball his whole life and was a really great – if not humble – pitcher. He used to ski. He’s a phenomenal golfer. He’s the type of person who can watch a sport for a bit, and then attempt to play for the first time and be decent.

So where does that leave Little Mister? Unfortunately, not super sporty. He likes to be outside and to run around and play, but organized sports are not his favorite thing on earth. He didn’t grow up around sports; he’s an only child so never had an older sibling play any sports; we don’t have a “neighborhood” so he’s not around kids on the block who play sports or put together a game of kickball in the street. Perhaps we have failed our child?

We are lucky enough today to live during a time when there are sports everywhere. Not to mention, all sorts of sports – a literal sport for every body. Soccer, football, rugby, water polo, archery, running, diving…you name it, it’s available to kids these days.

Personally, I don’t care if Little Mister plays a sport or not. They are great exercise and provide a sense of team, but they are not the end all, be all for kids. They can take over your life if you let them and become a full time job. When I see stories about kids and the parents talk about how they practice every day for 5 hours, all year long, etc etc, I can’t help but think, “Don’t you guys do anything else? Go to the aquarium? Have movie day on the couch?” I mean…good lord.

I don’t think I have the personality to be a sports parent, but you never know.

We always want to give Little Mister as many experiences as we can to see what he might like, so we have signed him up for various sports in his short life. We have tried soccer, golf and basketball. We have taken swim lessons (this was more for survival than for sport). We’re trying out a bunch of things to see what – if anything – sticks.

Here are his assessments of sports so far:


We’ve played for two seasons, one spring and one fall. For the Spring, we had 2 friends on our team. For the Fall, we had zero friends on our team. For both seasons, we had the same coach.

Little Mister’s review: “It’s ok I guess. You do a lot of running for the entire time. It’s tiring.”
When asked if he would play again: Maybe. Is there less running?


We tried golf last spring/summer. After being told there was “too much running” in soccer, we went the complete opposite side of the spectrum: no running whatsoever. In fact, when you have a cart, you barely have to walk.

Little Mister’s review: “BORING.”
When asked if he would play again: Hard no.
When he heard that I was taking golf lessons: “Why are YOU taking golf lessons? It’s so boring.”


We just started basketball and have had one practice. Little Mister is a pretty tall kid (tallest on the team) so I’m sure when coaches and other players see him they’re like, “Oh great, here comes Michael Jordan!” When in reality, with all the jumping and “jiving”dancing” he’s doing on the court, it’s more like Michael Jackson. We need to learn the fundamentals (dribbling, not the pick up the ball and just RUN) but I’m quietly optimistic that he will enjoy the season. Plus, the coaches are patient and great! (BONUS!)

Little Mister’s review: “I loved it!”
When asked if he would play again: Yes!
When asked if he would like to get a basketball hoop for the driveway: “Nah, why do we need that?”


Again, this one was more for learning not to sink vs joining a swim team. Little Mister made huge progress last summer with his swimming skills. He had some private lessons, plus some lessons at camp. By the end of the summer, he could swim the length of the pool, which was amazingly awesome! There is a possibility we try a swim team in the spring, but we’ll see!

Little Mister’s review: “I love swimming! I’m an awesome swimmer!”
When asked if he would swim again: “Of course! It’s the only sport I like.”

As I said, I don’t care about sports. If he doesn’t end up playing a sport, I’m ok with that. HOWEVER, I do want to expose him to group activities like sports so he could learn how to be part of a team, how to participate, what it means when people count on you, and to expand his social circle a bit.

In short, I would like for him to do something outside of school. And that can be anything! We are having fun doing some after school classes run by the PTA, like running club, basketball clinic and sports of all sorts.

The more we can expose Little Mister to, the better. And if he falls in love with a sport – great! I’ll get my Mom Sport Gear (portable chair, insulated cup, team shirt) ready! And if he finds something else, I’ll be just as excited about that (bonus points for cute paraphernalia). Because ultimately I’m on Team Little Mister, and whatever he decides to do.

Just not football. #sorrynotsorry

parenting, Vaccine

The Flu Shot Fiasco

Admittedly, I don’t remember a tremendous amount from my childhood. Not for any reason other than that I think I have a horrible memory. If I look at photos I will sort of remember things – like a trip to Disney, swimming in our pool or our weeks at a beach house down the shore.

But I definitely do not remember getting vaccines. I know I got them, and I’m sure I was not happy, but that’s about it. And I’m hoping it’s the same for Little Mister, who is apparently traumatized by vaccines.

Case in point: this year’s flu shot.

This was our 7th year getting the flu shot, FYI. This was not our first flu shot rodeo.

Our pediatrician happened to hold a flu clinic on Columbus Day Weekend, and Mr. KK and I were away overnight visiting family. Little Mister’s Grandmother was gracious enough to agree to bring him to his appointment.

We are not big “we’ll just surprise him!” parents, so we talked with Grandma about sharing what they were doing on Sunday, and have a plan of attack for the day. Something like, “We’re going to go, you’re going to be brave, we’ll hold hands, you’ll get your shot, and then we’ll go for donuts!”

About 20 minutes after Little Mister’s scheduled appointment – just as we were packing up the car to drive home from New York – we get a FaceTime call from Grandma.

And Grandma was all business when we answered: “It is NOT going well.”

Apparently, Little Mister had worked himself up so much, that he was very nervous and scared it was going to hurt. He was past the point of reasoning. They were in the room with the nurse for about 15 minutes. No shot. 

Knowing it was a lost cause, we told them to just go home. Do not pass go, do not get any donuts.

From the backseat, our Little Mister pipes up in a perfectly voice to tells m: “Mom, I didn’t the shot.”

Two weeks later, we’re back at the clinic. This time, it’s just me and Little Mister.

We stand in line. 

We’re brought back into an exam room.

The nice nurse looks at our chart, then looks at Little Mister and says: “I remember you! You were here with your Grandma!” 

“That’s right!” I told her. “But this time, we’re not leaving without the vaccine.”

During the next 35 minutes the Little Mister:

  • refused to take his arm out of his fleece
  • cried
  • tried to reason with me
  • tried to negotiate with me
  • cried some more
  • wailed like I was shoving toothpicks under his fingernails
  • told me I was being unfair
  • told me he wasn’t happy with me
  • explained that he was scared
  • cried
  • shared that he wouldn’t go near the flu so he didn’t need the shot
  • asked if they gave donuts to kids who cried
  • and cried some more (at this point it could have been tears about the donuts)

When we finally got his arm out of his fleece, the nurse acted quickly. She rubbed the alcohol pad on his arm, I hugged him from behind and she stuck the needle in. We were like two CDC superheroes working together to keep kids healthy.

Little Mister was crying through all of our heroics, and after the needle went in and the nurse said, “We’re done!”, he looked at her and screamed, “THAT DIDN’T HURT AT ALL!”

Which only made him cry harder.

COVID-19 vaccine…here we come.


My Parenting Style? Afghan*.

*The blanket, not the country.

Part of being a parent is constantly questioning every single choice you make regarding your child; everything from how much TV they watch, to how you enforce house rules, to wondering if you’re raising a good human.

Because at the end of the day, we want our child to be a decent person.

In my early morning social news gathering, an article in my feed described four parenting styles. However, I think my parenting style is the 5th, not listed style: Afghan parenting.

Haven’t heard of it? that’s because I made it up. However, it works. Stick with me!

My grandmother – my mother’s mother – crocheted afghans. Big, colorful blankets that would grace our sofas and the ends of our beds. One of my most vivid memories of my grandmother was the time she spent crocheting. I can still see her sitting in her chair, legs covered with what she had finished thus far, knitting needles lightly tap-tap-tapping against each other, lips silently moving as she counted out her stitches.

When I was young, my grandmother would crotchet for me afghans for my bed, a new one each time I redecorated my room. I got one to match the hot pink comforter I bought for my freshman dorm for college. And I received a crisp, white one for my wedding shower. Afghans were how my grandmother showed her love. In addition to blankets for humans, she would also crochet little blankets for my dolls, to keep them warm in their cradles. When everyone in the family had at least 3 afghans, she began knitting lap blankets for the elderly who were long-term inpatients at a medical facility near her house in California. There was my 80-something grandmother knitting lap blankets “for the old people” as she used to say. 

Here are all the reasons I equate my parenting style to an afghan blanket:

  • Afghans – like parenting – are a labor of love
  • Afghans keep you warm and safe. (This is your number one job as a parent!) 
  • Afghans have holes in them so that while they keep you warm, your body can also breathe. This built in ventilation is very important in parenting: you should cover them when they need it, but also allow them a little freedom. Or, you can do the ‘one leg in and one leg out’ method, which is what I predict the teenage years will be like.      
  • Afghans are soft but a little scratchy too. You should be soft as a parent, but you need some hard edges, too.
  • Afghans are reliable. 
  • Afghans are familiar. 
  • Afghans are sentimental. You don’t buy an afghan, you inherit one or someone knits one for you specifically. 
  • Afghans can be a little smothering. They can be heavy and hot, and you may find yourself trying to push it off of you when it’s too much. Admittedly my parenting style is something like that. I want to keep Little Mister close to me, and hold on to him for dear life. Of course, I can see how this might be considered sMOTHERing.
  • Afghans can go to college with you, but you them away from your roommates (too embarrassing) and only take them out when you’re alone and you are missing home. 

And, like an afghan, I will eventually not be used for warmth or security, but I will sit untouched at the end of the bed. And possibly put into a trunk. Or the attic, Or the basement.

And even if I’m not being used or needed everyday, Little Mister will know I’m still there, miraculously holding my shape, possibly smelling slightly of moth balls, waiting for him when he needs me. 

COVID, Kids will be kids, Life, Little Mister, NaBloPoMo, Pandemic, parenting

Should Kids 5-11 Get the COVID 19 Vaccine?

Last month, we were all invited for dinner at the house of Little Mister’s bestest friend. It was October and still warm, so the plan was to eat outside. However, Mother Nature was like, “Oh no, you’re not!” and it proceeded to be rainy and cold. The soirée became an inside party.

Little Mister asked me before we getting ready to leave, “Do I have to wear my mask inside?”

I hesitated for only a second. We knew the family, and I know how conscientious they are. And I make my family practically live in a bubble, so…

“Not tonight,” I replied.

Little Mister’s face lit up like a Christmas tree. “I DON’T??? Hooray! This is the best day ever!”

And my heart broke a little bit.

Never did I imagine that my child’s “best day ever” would be not having to wear a mask at a playdate.

Now that we are back in school in person full time, he is wearing a mask all day long. And guess what? It doesn’t bother him. When we venture out of the house, he puts his mask on while we are still in the car, driving to our destination. At his annual pediatrician’s appointment, she wanted to look in his mouth and asked him to remove his mask quickly. “Will I get the virus if I do?” he asked sincerely.

With the news that the COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for use on children 5-11 years old, you’d think we’d all be running to get in line. But, I’m not running. Or even fast walking. I’m meandering at a leisurely pace…using the time it takes me to get there gather up as much information as I can.

I should be thrilled! A vaccine! To help prevent COVID! So why am I hesitating? For starters, I am 100% fine doing something to myself, however, when it comes to my child, that’s a different story. What if he has an adverse reaction? Why wasn’t the test group larger? Do they know enough about the effects of the vaccine on the Littles?

Also – but not as important – is Little Mister’s fear of needles and the self-induced anxiety he gives himself whenever he thinks he needs a shot. Someday I’ll tell you about getting the flu shot this year…

A mom friend to whom I was telling about my hesitation, shared this article with me, which is basically the 5-11 COVID-19 Vaccine Guide for Dummies. And I appreciate this non-scientific explanation of what is going on with the vaccine and the young test groups.

Giving the COVID-19 Vaccine to young children is such a personal decision. I’m not sure what the availability of the vaccine will do for the mask mandate in school – will it be removed? Because if the answer is yes, that would definitely sway my decision. Because as much as I want to believe first graders are awesome about mask wearing – and they are pretty good – I know little kids can’t help but be on top of each other…and the few times I’ve been in the school I’ve seen mediocre mask wearing at best by lots of the kids.

I have booked Little Mister an appointment for his first vaccine. We have a few weeks to think it over and make a final decision. If we do it, he’ll be fully vaccinated by Christmas. And a COVID-free holiday sounds amazing!

Life, Pandemic, parenting, sleep, Type A

I Don’t Come with an “Off” Button

My social feeds are filled with blog posts and articles about how totally over everything Moms are. And I’m a sucker and I read every one of them, finding myself nodding along and whispering “Ohmygod yes!” I prefer the articles that do not Dad/Partner bash. In our house Mr. KK and I share most of the duties, however, I’m still exhausted; not because he’s not doing his share, but because he is not even aware of the running to-do list in my head. Because for all the wonderful things Mr. KK is, a mind reader he is not.

This exhaustion is both mental and emotional. I’m tired of being prepared. I’m tired of mentally trying to predict our family’s needs before they even have them. I’m fatigued from trying to “get ahead” for busy days and holidays.

Momming is hard.

I don’t want this to be taken that it’s just “Moms” who are like this because that’s sexist and leaves out too many modern-day households. It’s a personality trait, that this Mom (unfortunately) happens to have.

It’s not you, it’s 100% me.

What It’s Like Having Your Brain “On” All the Time

A typical day for me looks like this:

5:00am: Naturally wake up, no matter how many hours of sleep I’ve gotten.
5:01am: Start my morning routine: Check all 4 email accounts, delete junk, flag ones to address later; Scroll through social feeds to see what “news” broke overnight, see what dogs need a home (not that we’re looking) and vicariously live through friends who had an exciting night out. Check calendar of meetings for the day.
5:15am: Launch VRBO and Airbnb apps to continue the search for our family vacation house next summer. Find discouragement in how many houses are already fully booked for 2022.
5:45am: Support the economy! At any given time I have carts filled at at least 4 retailers. So-and-so has an upcoming birthday and we need a gift. Little Mister is outgrowing everything he owns. Didn’t Mr. KK say he needed socks? We’re running low on cleaning products.
6:00am: Good morning, Google! I use this time to “research” stuff for our lives, which can include: finding a place for a date night with Mr. KK; thinking ahead to Thanksgiving, I’d really like to change up what’s on the menu; where can we go to look at peak fall foliage this weekend; what was that book someone mentioned at work that I need to read? What gifts are new for boys this Christmas?
6:30am: FINALLY I can wake Mr. KK up for the day! I have SO MUCH to talk to him about from my morning activities!

And so it goes, every day. By the time I get out of bed, I’m mentally drained. Should I use that time to exercise? Probably. But if I get up then the dogs will wake up and get up and then Mr. KK has to get up and it’s a vicious cycle of tired, cranky beings who are up way earlier than they need to be. Plus, that vacation house isn’t going to book itself.

Why Can’t I Just Stop Thinking About Stuff?

Because it’s not how I’m wired. My brain just doesn’t shut off; there is ALWAYS something to be thinking about. This morning, I read this article about a mom doing nothing, and even in that nothingness, she did a bunch of things. But those things are second nature, so they don’t feel like chores or an item on a to-do list.

Even when I take some time to head out on my own – hit up TJ Maxx or Homegoods, or even the grocery store – I’m still thinking about everything else in my life except what I’m going. Mr. KK will get random texts from me while I’m shopping about an event a few months away, or a reminder to ask me about an item I read about in bed that morning.

Were You Able to Relax a Little During 2020?

Sort of.

I had more time to think about things (not sure if that’s a good thing, or a bad thing?) because we were doing less. Our weekends weren’t filled with playdates and soccer games or gatherings with friends. I had more time to be my crazy, Type A, controlling self. That’s good, right?

I liken my exhaustion to after a year of having more time to do things, that precious time was taken away. So now I’m back to doing the same amount of thinking/planning/researching/living in fewer available hours. We’re back to scheduling activities for Little Mister on weekends so he doesn’t turn into a hermit who only gets to play with and see his parents. Because as fun as I think I am, this kid needs to be with other kids, outside of our house, playing with friends his own age.

We’re back to going to the grocery store. Which – silly as it sounds – can sometimes be hard to fit into the weekend. While I loved the ease of online shopping and delivery, I want to squeeze my own avocados and ensure I get the correct food times when I’m unpacking the bags.

We’re in First Grade! In school, with daily drop off and pick up (at super inconvenient times!) and homework, which requires a good half hour a day to discuss said homework, complain about doing the homework, then completing the homework in 5 minutes.

We’re trying soccer! So we’re on the hook for one practice a week (on a Monday night…seriously, who has their shit together on a Monday for this?) and a game on Saturday.

Mr. KK and I are both super busy at work. So I find myself juggling schedules, finding time to be present with Little Mister in the few hours we have together, carving out work time when I can (sorry for the 10pm work emails, people!) and, oh yeah, doing all the other house stuff that needs to get done.

I’ve taken on the role of the Vice President of the PTA this year, and I’m Little Mister’s Room Captain. I know I don’t need to do this, but I want to do this – I want to be present in Little Mister’s school and community. So I carve out time for event planning and goody-bag making as well.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Hopefully to the couch, to take a nap. (But who am I kidding? I can’t even relax enough to take a nap!)

I will take it one day at a time. I will do what I can without sacrificing what’s important each day. Some days, Little Mister is emotional and needs more one-on-one time, other days he’s happy to take his iPad in the other room for a bit and chill by himself.

I will leave dishes in the sink if I can’t get to them.

I will leave laundry undone as long as we have underwear.

I will order take out if I’m too tired to cook.

I will say “no” to a 5pm meeting at work if I just can’t make it work with everything going on at home.

I will try and find time each day to get some type of exercise (even walking the dog!) because it makes me happy.

I will TRY and sleep until 5:30am each day. (But make no promises)

Kids will be kids, Little Mister, memories, NaBloPoMo, parenting

That Time We Needed to Make the Bed Like a Pet Store (for Two Months)

With our Little Mister, once if forever. We played Pet Store one day where we set up all of his one million stuffed animals like a store, and I was the customer and he was the owner, and I had to pick out an animal to take home as a pet. He loved it so much, that or the next TWO MONTHS we had to make his bed every morning will all of the animals lined up as the “pet store” for the customers.

Did I mention we had to do this every day? The same animals? In the same order? Did I also mention we likely had to change leaked on sheets a few times a week so we had to strip the entire bed and I had to memorize where the animals went?

Our Little Mister takes after Mr. KK: type A and very particular about everything. One time we were all in the bathroom brushing Little Mister’s teeth and he had little animals positioned around the toothpaste. Well, I knocked the toothpaste over and stood it up, and the Little Mister had to stop brushing his teeth to turn the toothpaste 1/4 millimeter to the right so that it was in the exact right place. I looked at Mr. KK like, “Can you believe this kid?” when he said to me, “I mean, I didn’t want to say anything but you did put the toothpaste in the wrong spot.”

There are two of them!

Back to the stuffed animal toy store.

For two months, the daily making of Little Mister’s bed looked something like this:

There was a method to the madness:

  1. Put on fitted sheet
  2. Line up animals in a very specific order NO CHANGES
  3. Put on flat sheet
  4. Put on comforter
  5. Fold over sheet and comforter on each side to reveal animals

And once everything is in place, the toy store could open its doors and I could go in and buy a new pet for the day!

I will remember this silly game fondly, as it was the beginning of April and we were all home together for what would be a very long time (unbeknownst to us!). But it was new and fun and something we would never have done otherwise.

food, Kids will be kids, NaBloPoMo, parenting

We Are Raising a Carb-a-holic

When our Little Mister was younger, he would eat so many different foods. Then, slowly, he started to have an opinion (the nerve!) and decide what he did and didn’t like. Gone were the days he would happily mash salmon and potatoes in his mouth, or ask to try our shrimp or eat puréed beef stew. Now, foods he ate just two days earlier were no longer in his repertoire.

One day, he quit chicken nuggets cold turkey. What 5 year old does that? Chicken nuggets is a food group for kids under 10.

But what does the Little Mister love? CARBS. If my child could eat only white food for the rest of his life, he’d be happy. (I mean, I get it – I wish I could exist on cheese and bread, too. But there are things called balanced diets and BMI that we have to worry about).

At our recent 6 year old check up, the doctor asked Little Mister if he was eating fruits and vegetables. “Yes,” he nodded solemnly. Liar! Besides broccoli, we are anti-vegetable (tomatoes are a fruit! and corn is not a vegetable!).

Dinnertime is becoming harder and harder. Though I think I’m more bothered with Little Mister eating the same thing every night than he is. Honestly, he’d the same thing for breakfast, lunch and dinner if I let him. (Why am I not letting him? Why am I driving myself crazy???)

Part of the reason it bugs me that my child won’t eat (or try) anything is that I actually cook dinners each night. Mr. KK and I eat a pretty good meal each night, the likes of which are wasted on our child. So each night, I cook 2 meals; or, rather, I cook one meal and one additional carbohydrate.

What is on the 6 Year Old Menu

Here is what Little Mister has deemed worthy of eating:

• Grilled cheese
• Pizza (he used to ask for spinach on his pizza, or bacon and olive, now it’s just plain cheese)
• Pasta (plain, no butter or cheese. sometimes he’ll concede to sauce if he’s feeling daring)
• Pancakes (shaped like snowmen or dogs; a good go-to when we’ve gone through the usual dinner rotation)
• Broccoli (I’m proud to type this, he has not yet tired of broccoli, even though it’s the only vegetable he’ll eat so I give it to him every. single. night.)
• Strawberries
• Apples
• Any type of chip (potato, Dorito, Cheeto, you name it, my kid will house it)
• Dessert (he is an equal opportunity dessert eater)

Little Mister is a bonafide snacker. Five minutes after he finishes a meal, he wants a snack. And after his snack, he needs another snack. His snacks have snacks! We are trying to teach him how to balance his snacks. He knows enough by this time, to ask specifically, “Do I have have to have a snack that’s a fruit now?” Yes, yes you do! Though he tries to be sneaky with, “Fruits snacks are fruit. It’s in the name.” Nice try, kiddo.

I don’t imagine the days of me making 2 meals each night will end soon, because I’m pretty sure I’m not going to start eating pancakes and dry pasta for dinner. And even Little Mister’s doctor said, “You need to determine what’s too much? It is worth stressing over now, knowing he’s likely not going to go to college only eating 10 things?” And no, it’s not. He’s healthy and growing (like a week!) so he’d getting nutrition. And honestly, there are other places in my life that I can stress over rather than having to make a grilled cheese sandwich 3 times a week.

Kids will be kids, Life, Mornings, NaBloPoMo, parenting

What I Do “Right”, According to My 6 Year Old

Today was my morning to bring the Little Mister to school at Grandma’s House of Remote Learning. We backed out of the garage and waved at Mr. KK in the window. After a few waves I put the car in drive, turned the wheel, and off we went down our long driveway.

“MO-O-O-OM!” Little Mister whined (loudly) from the backseat.

“What is it?” I asked. We literally just left the house, what could be wrong already?

“I didn’t get to say goodbye to Lance,” Little Mister huffed at me. Lance is our neighbor’s dog, a gigantic white horse that barks incessantly at all hours of the day and night. There is no love lost for Lance.

“We didn’t get to say goodbye and it’s ALL YOUR FAULT!” Little Mister yelled, crossing his arms across his chest and scowling out his window.

Ah, yes. Of course it was my fault. You see – we have reached the stage in childhood where everything is my fault. My child literally blames me for every bad and horrific thing that happens. Here are some examples of what has recently been my fault:

  1. Little Mister stubs his toe on the kitchen chair, while I’m 15 feet away at the stove.
  2. The wifi blips and the movie we’re watching cuts out. Totally my fault.
  3. Little Mister is building a tower of animals that is not structurally sound to begin with and the entire thing topples over. MY FAULT.
  4. Little Mister tells me he doesn’t want a cookie, so I put the cookies away. Little Mister then has a tantrum because I put the cookies away without giving him one. Mom’s fault!
  5. Little Mister runs and jumps on a bean bag pile, misses, and bangs his knee on the hardwood floor. Even though I’m in a completely different room, you guessed it: my fault!

So today, when I drove away from our house on our way to school without letting Max say goodbye to the dog who was not even outside, and was told it was my fault, I couldn’t let it go.

“So you not saying goodbye to Lance is my fault?” I ask. Not because I need clarity, but because the accusation is so ridiculous.

“Yep,” he says. “Just like everything else.”


“Let me ask you,” I say, as if I’m talking to a thirty year old, and not my 6 year old who apparently thinks I’m responsible for all of the horrible things in his life. “Is there anything you think I do right?”

Little Mister thinks about this for a minute.

“You cook right,” he says.

Cooking! Ok, I’ll take it.

“Anything else?” I ask.

“Hugging. You hug perfectly right.”

Awww. Now we’re talking.

“What else does Mommy do right?”

“You play with me right,” he says. “And you watch movies the right way.” I’m not quite sure what the right way is to watch movies. Maybe, staying awake? Lying on the couch? Singing all the songs?

“Wow, thank you!” I tell Little Mister. “It makes me feel good to hear all those things that I do right and that not everything is my fault.”

Little Mister sighs, obviously growing tired of our conversation. “You don’t do everything wrong. But it is your fault I didn’t say goodbye to Lance.”

Who was not even outside! I want to scream. But I keep my mouth shut, another thing I do right. Sometimes.

Only Child Pandemic
NaBloPoMo, Pandemic, parenting

Parenting an Only Child During a Pandemic

The pandemic has been hard on everyone. But there is one group of people who are challenged each and every day, drowning in guilt and desperately needing a break. Their heroic efforts must be recognized.

Please, a moment of acknowledgment for: the parents of only children.

No one experienced a quarantine with a child quite like the parents of those children with no siblings. No built in playmates or distractors.

The KK household is unique in that three only children live here. And each of us had a different reaction to being home with each other 24/7 for months on end:

Mr. KK: “This is great! I love all this family time!”
Me: ((thinking to self: where in this house can I hide to be alone?))
Little Mister: “Can you play with me? I’m bored.”

Starting in March, the Little Mister left his daycare one day and just never returned. All of a sudden he went from spending every day with other kids, playing and learning, to spending all day with two (boring) parents who were trying to work full time, simultaneously feeling guilty for not playing with their child. Super fun times.

On top of being stuck at home, we don’t live in a “neighborhood”. Our house is on a main road, and while we live down a very long driveway with a secluded yard, our neighbors consist of (also boring) married 50 somethings, not exactly exciting for a 5 year old. So the Little Mister’s playmates because Mom and Dad by default. So while working all day long, Mr. KK and I were juggling entertaining the Little Mister while keeping our sanity (and our jobs).

At first, we tried to keep Little Mister on a schedule, because – after all – one day he’d be going back to daycare and would need that routine. After a few days of pulling a kid out of bed against his will (I was finding it hard to answer the question, “Why do I have to get up? Where are we going?”) we made the decision to let him sleep as late as he wanted to. I know for some kids that would mean 6am – maybe 6:30am – wake ups. But our kid was a sleeper, so some days we wouldn’t see his little bed head emerge until 9 or 10am. This little plan accomplished two polar opposite things: 1. Mr. KK and I had quiet time in the morning to get a jump start on work, so we felt less guilty about needed to break or an hour in the day to play with Little Mister and 2. It was near impossible to get Little Mister to be at a decent hour because he was getting up late and not exerting enough energy in the day to be tired. (Hilariously, Mr. KK and I were exhausted by 8pm every day, so there were night when we all went to bed at the same time, and 99% of the time I was the first one asleep in the house).

Playing with neighbor kids wasn’t an option, and neither was playing with friends. I had us on lockdown, and I knew exactly where we were going (nowhere) and doing (nothing). I didn’t have those same details for friends of ours. So with no other choice, we found ourselves with fluid work schedules (and understanding employers): squeeze as much work in as possible while also playing Octonauts and Paw Patrol.

And while there were some days that we were both so busy at work that it had to be a “movie day”, the last thing we wanted was for that to become the norm. It was time to get creative, and give Little Mister things to look forward to.

Indoor camping. We moved the furniture, blew up the air mattress, popped in a movie and made deconstructed s’mores (a ramekin parfait of crumbled graham crackers, a spoonful of Fluff and a drizzle of hot fudge, topped with more crumbled graham crackers). Mr. KK was a trooper and slept on the air mattress with Little Mister. The first camping night I slept on the couch. Subsequent camping nights I snuck off to my bed.

indoor camping
I hope I never have to sleep on an air mattress again in my life.

Outdoor movies. The patio that Mr. KK built last year was our refuge this year. We’d set up comfy seating, pop some popcorn and wait until the sun went down to turn on our favorite movies. Disney+ was a godsend during these crazy times.

Scavenger hunts. Little Mister loved these! Hand drawn pictures (because we couldn’t read yet!) made it easy to explore the yard and find everything.

Can a girl get some props for her visual scavenger hunt?

Swimming. Thank goodness it was summer and that both sets of parents have pools. This was going to be the year we hired a private swim teacher, but, oh well. There’s always next year. (The 2020 Mantra)

Drawing and stickers. Being a lefty, Little Mister wasn’t a super confident colorer or drawer. That changed this summer. I would draw a “scene” for him and he’d decorate it with stickers and then spend hours using his imagination playing with them. Or, I’d draw characters from his favorite show and we’d color them and cut them out and play with them. I’m waiting to be recruited by Disney for my mad drawings of Simba and Mufasa to illustrate the next Lion King sequel.

I mean, just look at that Rafiki!

Being home with an only child the last 8 months has been hard. I unrealistically thought I could be an amazing employee and an amazing mother; however, I quickly found out that on most days I felt like I was half-assing both jobs.

I learned that I can’t be everything to everyone, all the time. I learned that it’s ok to be human. I learned that kids (well, my kid) remembers staying in and baking cookies with me more than he remembers family outings. I learned that sometimes it’s going to be a movie marathon day, and that’s ok. I learned that I am horrible at playing Batman, but I’m a really great at making up stories and imagination games.

I learned that even when I felt I was failing, I was succeeding in Little Mister’s eyes. And most of all, I learned that I needed to give myself a break.