How It’s Done Blog

Patience, and Wagon Rides

I am slowly but surely becoming a better person, and will no doubt achieve that flawless maternal perfection epitomized by, say, Dooce in time to work it on my great-great-grandchildren. I recently managed to go from being late all the time to at least much better (and wrote about it for Parenting–look, that glam mom in the accompanying picture is me! Really!). This month (season? year? decade?) the project is: Patience. The expert coach for the moment is Rory. Because […]

The Mother You Get (and also, a little background)

When I think about it, all of my kids have had a totally different mother. They all had certain traits in common–overwhelmed, low on patience, mildly irritable–but in terms of permissiveness, we–the four mothers I have been–have run the gamut. When I was Sam’s mother, and only Sam’s mother, I made all of his baby food. I can tell you precisely when he had his first lollipop (Easter 2002–thanks mom!). Salty snacks were limited, and fell into the faux-good-for-you category. […]

Just a Good Day

Today’s activities included a chanterelle hunt, an activity that required a high tolerance for mud, bugs and failure, as we certainly didn’t find enough for dinner. The kids petered out early when one required the bathroom, but the dog and I soldiered on, finding…zilch. Our only stroke of luck came early, and each child was able to pick one mushroom. Dinner, though, was mushroom free–it just didn’t seem worth the bother, although in retrospect I could have served the one […]

I No Like You!

Rory told me she “no like you” for the first time today. It was totally ok, because at that moment, I didn’t like her much, either. She’d thrown a massive, all out temper tantrum at the swimming pool–the kind people date from–remember that time the naked kid screamed in the grass for 20 minutes? Oh, yeah, that was the day they had adult swim… Ah, adult swim. I mocked it at first–who wants to haul their kids out of the […]

Do you Snuggle Post Time-Out?

Ok, so I sent Rory to her room today–probably for a slightly lame reason, but there it is–sometimes I give one or the other the “go to your room” line and then I think, well, that wasn’t really a big deal–but once I’ve said it, there we are. They’re used to it; they march. Rory has marched, but today she didn’t…I had to deliver her. I went up to release her pretty quickly. The point is, unless there’s some dramatic […]

I May Be Worried About the Wrong Control Freak

I was trying to work through Rory’s tantrums last night–well, not the tantrums, but the way I react to them. And I was getting all fancy about her need for control, and how maybe I could understand that, as she’d had no control over being abandoned, and adopted, and yadda, and so I shoudl be more tolerant of her need to choose, say, which of the three potties in the pool bathroom she uses, every single time, and maybe if […]


This may be an exaggeration. It may be wishful thinking. It may be putting too much weight on one good day… But I think we’ve crossed some kind of line. Yesterday was a pretty good day. The parts that weren’t good were mostly in…my head. Today was a totally good day, and I’m looking at Rory with fresh–and more loving–eyes. I’m hearing her differently. Every hug isn’t an attempt to steal my attention away. Her little family recitation–that my Nini, […]

One Angry Cowboy-hatted Dude

No consideration, he shouts, nodding to his friends. A little quiet, please, kids. Quiet! Thye don’t even apologize. His gaze fixes on me. Aren’t you even going to apologize? You’re not going to say you’re sorry? I’d really only just tuned in to him. He was sitting at a table at the Boloco we’d just eaten at, with three other moms and 5 other kids, outside, looking at the little town square our kids had been tearing round. I recognized […]

Still Not There.

I’m still waiting for the day when life just feels normal. Last night I dreamed that one of our neighbors covered the slopes of their yard with snow somehow, and I walked down the road with Rory, Wy, Lily and Sam and we just happened to stumble across it. It would be Rory’s first time playing in the snow, and I wanted to see her reaction, but she’d wandered off, and somehow we were surrounded by hundreds of families, all […]

Consequences, baby.

I totally love Rory now–no hesitation–which makes it ok for me to say this: sometimes I like being mean to her. In a totally virtuous way, of course. I just reviewed the dvd of Olivia for DoubleX, and in one episode, Olivia refuses to wear her soccer shirt–she doesn’t like dressing like everyone else-and she’s rewarded, in the end, by getting to play goalie and saving the game, and I just wanted to slap that pig upside the ears. Sometimes […]

Updates and the Tattle Brigade

Inspired by Guo Ji Mama, who updated her blog header the day her last daughter came home, I have FINALLY updated mine. Call it what you will. Maybe I wasn’t ready. Maybe I’d just forgotten how to use Cyberduck to upload the file to my theme, or more importantly to resize the picture. Maybe I’m just lazy, and the kind of hostess who leaves the giant bottle of nature’s miracle (used to remove the scent of doggie “accidents”) on the […]