Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Ghost stories

I just love a good spooky story. Horror/slasher books and movies give me a legit high. No blood needs to be spilled honestly- even a simple, disquieting short film will have me yearning for more.

When I was growing up, my dad would gather us in a dark bedroom and feast us on tales of headless horses (not horsemen!), eerie forests filled with the sounds of moaning spirits and vengeful ghosts. At the end, he would bid us a chirpy goodnight, leaving us slightly stunned in the murky twilight. It was highly unsuitable for our young impressionable minds, but that was half the thrill. Every shadow seemed ominous - dark and waving in the night breeze, ready to sprout some claws if y

ou looked closely. My sister was younger and less aware of paranormal possibilities, so she usually drifted off quicker into that deep, comfortable sleep. I was however still half awake, my heavy eyes still aware of every flickering corner of the bedroom. Both terrified and exhilarated, but vowing to beg for another story the next night.

Growing up, I practically devoured every horror book  I could lay my hands on. A proud lover of fiction, the presence of an alternate, imaginary world filled with all kinds of terrible beasts, fueled my imagination. I eventually progressed to other genres as well, but never strayed too far from the mother ship of fantasy and horror. Birthed from that fountain, grew a love for writing - something, anything that could capture even an iota of the creative web in my head. I wrote for my school publications- short, hurried essays which gradually matured to more nuanced pieces as I grew into my job as editor of my medical school paper. Ideas and emotions connected by gossamer tendrils, I loved to throw my words into the air, and see what kind of catch they yielded. Sometimes my audience was rapt; often times they were indifferent and both were equally instructional to the fledgling writer in me.

Even today, a good 10 years later, I still draw inspiration from this illusive world of fiends and fiction. And every time I feel the urge to write a piece, I can still hear my dad loud whispering those scary tales to us in the dark. His voice, his cadence and his natural flair for letting us fill in the blanks. He's a main part of why I am able to write. Because the best stories my dad told were the ones he let me dream.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Baby steps

Button walked when he was 14 months old. He was this chunky baby, just oozing chub and so we weren't worried when he didn't meet some of his gross motor milestones. He'll walk when he's ready we told ourselves and continued kissing those fat toes.
Well, he needed help to learn to crawl and walk. Physical Therapy was a Godsend and soon he was pulling himself up and cruisin' like a pro. He took his first steps a few days shy of his 15th month, his mouth half open with concentration and trepidation. One, two steps...  little legs pumping up and down until he did that small wobbly almost-run and reached my outstretched arms. We hugged him and cheered, proud faces and relieved glances. 

I remembered every mental inch of that memory this past week when we were encouraging Button to try to walk again. His surgery went well, he came home the same day and basically chilled hard, alternating between couch and bed. We gave him his pain meds, lots of fluids and even more love. When  he looked ready to bear weight, we both held him by each arm, encouraging, goading him to take that first step. He was scared, tired and possibly filled with that undercurrent of masked pain. Walking was the last thing on his mind. His usual rewards didn't interest him and the meds made him all dull and dopey.  As is my wont, I stressed hard about when he would want to walk again. Because he has a high pain tolerance, when he did experience pain, it was downright scary for him. I wanted his first time walking to be relatively plain sailing. But I couldn't figure out how to make that happen - that fine line between keeping him pain free and having him in a semi zombie, unmotivated state. 

Two days post procedure, he woke up looking like himself. Eyes bright and smiley and finally out of that surgery fuzz. Please walk today, I breathed silently. 

And that's what he did. One step, two steps. Mouth half open with exertion - a small grimace of pain not stopping him. Face leaner, legs longer. Unsure of his balance, but certain of his ability he walked towards us.  The same half stumble before he reached my arms. We cried and cheered for him. Prouder than ever before. 

And this is just the beginning.Beautiful, imperfect, gawky steps. Baby steps.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Half breaths and heart beats

We wake up in the darkness of an unreasonably cold Winter morning. I've gotten a couple of hours of fitful sleep at best. A quick shower, some dark coffee and we're ready. Button is woken up, dressed in loose, warm clothing and reassured that he is going to be done and home in a few hours.

He's getting surgery today. It is an outpatient procedure to help correct his toe walking, but because he is small and likely to wiggle- he has to go under general anesthesia. We've prepped him intensively with visuals, a social story and a trip to the surgery center. We tried our best to not overload him with too much information - toeing a fine line between prepping him and scaring the bejesus out of him. He has his brave face on - sleepy but watchful eyes, trusting us to do the right thing by him. He's earning this rad subway train station toy set as a reward for the procedure and that is keeping him reasonably cheerful.

The surgery center and staff are very nice. They are patient with us and even though they do this everyday, they handle us with kid gloves and assuage our fears and concerns. Button obviously refuses his oral sedative (stuff tastes like Satan's butt), so we talk to him and hold him down for a shot. He's obviously in pain, but he's so brave. His eyes well up, but the tears don't fall because he's already drifting off to dreamland.
Even though he's asleep, we whisper our love and kisses to him. We promise to be there when he wakes up and his eyes flutter under his eyelids. God, I hope he heard us.

Now we wait.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Inhala Exhala

You know those days that start off nice and peachy? The weather is just right, the air rich with birdsong. You're on a high from your morning run and the coffee has been brewed oh so perfectly. You can picture your entire day unfolding ahead of you in beautifully sectioned groups of work, family and leisure.
Suddenly the birds stop singing. You don't think much of it. Then you trip over a toy and stub your toe. No biggie. Then your next chore is interrupted by the insurance company doing a random check on whether you still on their umbrella coverage, oh and by the way Ma'am, would you like to upgrade to our platinum-let-us-fondle-your-wallet plan?

Deep breaths. Disconnect the call and move on.
And then a series of seemingly minor things go wrong. The cleaners call in sick. The sink suddenly won't drain. One kid pitches a fit over a sticker. You forgot you left the ice cream greek yogurt out on the counter all night. You have to pee but the other kid is now gnawing your leg, begging for the Ipad right now!

Faster breaths. Faster. Now you're hyperventilating. Great. Just great.

Add to the above scenario a persistent flu and a heavily shrill cough. And that in a nutshell was my day today.

Button has been nursing a cold as well so it was understandable that he was relying heavily on the comfort of his routine. Due to a series of tiny mishaps, his structure was all messed up. So he let me know his displeasure loudly and articulately, using appropriate nouns/tense/sentence structure (Yay for speech therapy). I tried explaining the situation to him calmly and then in a progressively panicky voice; but of course now I've missed my exit (oh did I mention I was driving in rush hour), and I feel like flopping on the ground and screaming! Of course I cannot, so I just put on my fake perky voice and keep driving. "Oh my goodness, did you see that excavator over there?", I point blindly. Button's not convinced, but he thankfully doesn't ignore my efforts and we keep up the all's-good-here-folks charade till we get home. A few hundred tantrums later, the kids are down for the night and I'm sitting down looking like the 'before' picture in an antidepressant commercial.

Days like this, you don't try to win. You don't try to fix things too much. Emotions run high and peace is so fragile. You just hunker down and wait for the storm to pass because tomorrow maybe still sucky, but at least you've clocked some hours of sleep in between. You hug your husband, vent to your sister, make yourself a nice carby meal and switch on your Netflix. Its ok to hate the unpredictability of your days and it can be downright cathartic to have a mini breakdown. My kids are allowed to have lousy days and so am I. I’m human and I cannot pretend to be perfect. They are incredibly perceptive and will see through my hokey act in a second. So I let them see my vulnerabilities and hope they see that it’s ok to be a little crumpled and frayed at the end of a weird kind of day. 

I know Button will wake up tomorrow, excited to start a new day, with nary a shadow of today's upheaval. He's 7, he's resilient. He’ll act silly and I’ll chase him around. We’ll joke around, giggle about trivial things and generally have a perfectly normal day. 

But tonight. Tonight we don’t fight. We sit back and we heal. So that the birds can sing again tomorrow.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Valentine's day

We've been married almost 13 years. We're not the limber, young newlyweds - ready to drop everything to run away on a weekend together. We've aged, we've changed and we've learned so much about ourselves and each other. We've had 2 kids together, changed endless diapers, laughed together at baby toes and toots, bought a house, gotten our siblings successfully married (to each other!) and held down good jobs. We've seen euphoric highs, and we've shared some crushing lows which only made us grow more fiercely protective of each other.
 I used to be impulsive, willful and headstrong. Thought I knew better. Thought I was this larger than life person with intense emotions and eyes full of stars. You know what my husband changed about that? Nothing! He still believes all those wonderful things about me and still looks at me like I'm the most exquisite woman he's ever laid eyes on. He celebrates my passions and holds me safe when life deals me a few bad cards. He believes I can do anything I set my mind to and helps me be the wife and mother I am.
He may not be your Ryan Gosling or your Shah Rukh Khan with snazzy prose ready on his lips. He does not know how to serenade me or make these Oscar worthy fantasy gestures. But he knows all my eccentricities and my vices, my fears and my secrets. He knows how to raise my kids, love them so hard and be the best damn father they could have ever imagined. And he somehow knows how to be everything I could ever look for in a partner.
So dear husband of mine, on this Valentine's day, here's my promise to you:

  1. I promise to always laugh at your hokey jokes, especially the more technical ones. 
  2. I promise to honor your drive and your passion for your chosen field and support you just like you do for me.
  3. I promise to be excited when you talk about topics that may not necessarily pique my interest. I understand how important knowledge is to you and I promise to never make you feel that what you say isn't worthy of a captive audience.
  4. I promise to let you take me for granted once in a while. On difficult days, you need a person on your side who won't expect you to be perfect and I will be that person for you!
  5. I promise to apologize often and quickly, especially if I've been insufferable.
  6. I promise to be angry at your actions, but never at you. Never.
  7. I promise to raise our children in your likeness with a strong work ethic and a sense of ownership to everything they do. 
  8. I promise to cheer for our children when they succeed and cheer extra loudly when they fail. 
  9. I promise to take deep breaths and remember that we're raising children and not prize winning cattle. Its ok that the toys aren't cleaned up every once in a while.
  10. I promise to love you and say it often. Even on hard days. Especially on hard days.
  11. I promise to put life on pause some days and just sit back and watch the ocean with you.
  12. I promise to grow old with you and get matching canes and walkers. Yes, you can have the BMW insignia on yours. 
  13. I promise to never ever give up on our shared dreams, even though they may seem impossible today.
  14. I promise to love you forever. But I also promise to like you!
They say the second ten years of your marriage are even more exciting than the first. I believe that now.
Happy Valentine's day love!

Sunday, February 11, 2018


There comes a stage in your parenthood where your child knows more about something than you do. I pride myself on being pretty smart and knowledgeable about a variety of things kid related. I have been able to successfully explain games/trends/activities to my kids without sneakily checking "rules of scrabble junior" on my smart phone. So of course I had to go ahead and think I knew everything about everything until one of my kids trips me up and watches me flail pitiably in my ignorance.

Example : Button is a total whiz at Video games. He plays all sorts - racing, mine craft, Concept, free roam open world, driving any sort of land/see/air/rail vehicles and of course the angry Birds genre of knocking things over and over again. He's not just good at them- he's brilliant. Give him a few years and he'll be sporting a backwards baseball cap and chugging his sixth four loko, while trying to beat a bunch of sweaty teenagers in a Halo 10 tournament.

So imagine the look of condescension on his face when once, I excitedly grabbed a random construction toy and declared "Bulldozer!"
"Backhoe loader" he countered.
"It is not a bulldozer, it is a backhoe loader" he explained patiently. He was 3.5 years old at the time.

I blushed....Well!!

And then there's Sunshine. She's all about the music. Sing her a tune/song in any language and within an couple of minutes she'll be parroting it back to you. She knows songs in languages I didn't even know existed. She's more than 1/10th my age and she has me beat. The other day I was looking up lyrics to a song I'd forgotten about and I heard this tiny quacky voice reading them along with me with perfect baby diction.

And honestly, this is not me humble bragging. My kids are incredibly smart, but also total bozos in a variety of categories like cleaning up after themselves or remembering to ALWAYS WASH YOUR HANDS AFTER YOU USE THE BATHROOM DAMMNIT! 

But I often find myself wondering - was I this skilled as a kid myself? I honestly don't think so. I have memories of eating a lot of mud as a child and that's a pretty damning blow to my case. But hey, the squirts don't know that!

So I'll be safe for a couple more years..... or at least until one of them catches me in a bald faced lie about some fact. Whichever comes first.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Pursuit of happiness

Sorry about standing you guys up 4 days in a row. My husband generously shared his virus with me so I was coughing and hacking up half my lung.
 I took a turn for the better thanks to modern medicine and am feeling as perky as ever which is in perfect congruence with this post.

After Monday's grump fest ,thankfully today I'll be talking about the things that make my heart smile:

  1. Fellow special needs parents - I've meet so many moms ( and a few dads) who have kids with autism/asperger's/down's/CMD/Etc. Some of them in the flesh and some of them online. Most of these parents share the same philosophies as me, which obviously makes conversations flow  easier and organically. A minority of them heavily disagree with my schools of thought and that's totally acceptable in itself. But every single one of them has this huge aura around them. They have this emanation of fierce love and pride in their child. They're all vulnerable and sensitive and rubbed a little raw from wearing their hearts on their sleeves. They work tirelessly and often without perceivable rewards and can never get enough sleep. You can break them with one cruel word and watch them miraculously build themselves up in front of you, because they don't have the luxury of taking a day off. These parents are my kin and my tribe and inspirational even in all their flaws and failures. 
  2. Children - all kids are goofballs at heart. Even the quiet ones who scurry away when you talk to them and especially those who think they are too cool to share airspace with you. You just have to catch them at that one magical second when they're about to smile or when they let their guard down enough to chuckle at a joke. They love to laugh and make us laugh too. The joy that a silly kid brings you is simply incomparable. And my 2 kids have their own brand of humor that never fails to make me laugh.
  3. Coffee - sometimes I'll be walking past a line of stores and that smell of fresh coffee will hit me and man, I instantly feel my spirits rising. My inner child nudges me with memories of all the tumblers ( indian cups) of coffee my mom brewed me and my subconscious reinforces the coffee = mother's love connection. I walk by the stores feeling happy and rejuvenated even though I haven't had a single sip.
  4. Rain - This is an iffy one. Where I live ( and I suspect in most parts of the world), its common practice to hate rain and wish for endless days of sunshine and blue skies. Well, not me. I grew up in India where we got four beautiful months of cool showers right after a scorching summer. Rain meant new life, a new school year and a fresh start. Cloudy days still make me downright giddy because I can smell the rain in the air and hope for new, better things.
  5. Sisterhood - I love when women stand up for each other. Look out for each other. Fight for each other. Strong, women both vocal and virtual reaffirm my belief in the future - for myself and my daughter and also my son.
  6.  Writing- Writing liberates me to live larger than my person, to come meet each one of you and hopefully connect with you in a way that I possibly couldn't in person. I'm glad I'm finally writing more because this is something that comes from my soul. 
There's many more things that make me happy -like how my parents (both birth and in laws) are so involved and invested in my life. Like the sound of my husband's soothing voice or the way my sister and I converse with our own shorthand of phrases and half expressed thoughts. How my friends text me and understand if don't respond right away. 
There's little bubbles of joy waiting around for us to discover and pop. Simple, boring, everyday joys. Like that cup of coffee with its perfect crown of foam waiting for me. And now I must go. 

Monday, February 5, 2018

Groucho Marx

Today I'm feeling like lists, so here goes.
Things that really annoy me :

  • People who brag about how little sleep they got - we get it! Coworkers, cashiers, random people you run into. Somehow this is meant to convey a sense of superpower : "I slept for just 2 hours and look how functional I am". Well, I got news for you! I see all the surreptitious yawns you think you're hiding and I've seen corpses look fresher, so here's your damn medal. Now shut up about sleep!
  • Not-so-obvious racists : See these jerks are worse than overt racists because you can never spot them coming. You're standing in line at the grocery checkout, and you get this weird vibe coming off Cashier Susan who's quick to smile and greet every white customer. But when it's my turn, Cashier Susan will grunt a non committal sound, lose the chirpy eye contact and rush through the process, before smiling widely at the blonde lady next in line. I've seen Cashier Susan for a few years at my local Supermarket, and I've tried to excuse her behavior, but you can only get snubbed so many times, before you give up in the face of subtle racism.
  • Teenagers who whisper and giggle (and point): God, were we this obnoxious as teenagers? I get that everything is superficial in today's world where Instagram queens are crowned and dethroned everyday and boys are only as cool as their next Snap, but do teenagers really have to be so obvious with their eye rolling? At my favorite bubble tea place, these teens were giggling and whispering, all because an older woman at the counter was trying hard to figure out what toppings she wanted in her milk tea and was obviously mispronouncing everything. Every time she said "boboa" wrong, out came the muffled snickering and the eye rolling. I was glaring away at them, but they were so caught up in their teenage-perfection bubble that they probably didn't even register the random Indian lady giving them the stink eye. I almost said "Now look here young lady" a few times, but then my nerves got the better of me and I shut up.
  • People who cut in line- Hoo boy, this is one of my top peeves. Your fancy sports car does not give you a free pass to whiz into my lane without warning. Because guess what - I'm carrying my little kid in my car and I most definitely DO NOT want to brake suddenly just because your entitled ass couldn't be bothered to turn on the blinkers. 
  • Busybodies - You know the type. They always a quip to offer or advice to give. They're loud, persistent and never helpful. They're the ones who mumble "if that was my child". These nosy parkers are best ignored.  But if you're feeling up to it, put your coffee down, secure your kid and unleash your inner demon. Politeness doesn't always work with them, so feel free to gnaw on their bones, once you're done devouring them. 
  • Weirdly combative people - they love to argue about everything, even if you were only really paying them a compliment. I remember a teacher from my kid's school who is like this. When I share an achievement he's managed to do at home, she retorts "Oh but he never does that at school" Or this nurse from (when I used to) work, who would always bicker about why her meat options were always better than my "rabbit food"( she was obviously so invested in my health).
Deep breath. In and out. In and out. 
And just so that I don't come across as a total grouch, tomorrow I'll be posting about the types of people that make my heart smile and cheer for humanity.

Friday, February 2, 2018


We have these interesting terms in the special needs/autism world. NT (neurotypical aka non autistic), HF (high functioning), mild/moderate/severe as in degrees of autism (as if such a vast spectrum can be so cleanly and conveniently categorized). The use of these descriptions and acronyms is all pervasive. So much so that even someone like me (who is reasonably moored to the non special needs world) starts to think in absolutes.

This was before I had my daughter. Despite my medical training (and well my own experience as a former child), I was quick to assume that all typically developing children were intrinsically programmed to go through their day without too much fuss and fluff. They would eat their meals with angelic smiles and nary a tantrum. Bath times and nap times would be such a breeze and play dates would basically be an excuse for us moms to sit back and sip coffee while the kids just got along so infuriatingly well! Essentially the child would basically raise him/herself and all the parents had to do was show up to recitals and watch their perfect spawn excel at every damn instrument.

So Sunshine, my daughter was born and as she surpassed and exceeded all milestones expected of her, we were so excited! "She's neurotypical!" I breathed in awe to my husband.Well the only thing left to do was to give in to our Desi genes and enroll her in every type of activity/class possible so she could seek early admission to Harvard before her 5th birthday. Well duh!

Children have this absolutely dependable way of pulling the rug from under your feet. If you think their first word will be dada (and not mama, because you know the child you carried and nursed for a gazillion weeks will be damned if she says mama first!), then said child will do a double bluff and bleat out a "baba". That's just how babies roll. Sunshine's first word was Elmo. Her first tantrum was right after that when I refused to let her eat her Elmo doll. Within a year she had blossomed from the sweet little, wide eyed baby to a master negotiator who can scream louder than a banshee when angry. Sometimes she would screech for the fun of it and even take requests like a DJ. She had a strong sense of her self and her independence and she did not hesitate to let us know that. When we did playgroups, I discovered that almost all of her peers could do the same quick shift from Dr.Angel to Mr.OMG-Stop-biting-me-Hyde. Raising her was both euphoric and scary. I was constantly amazed/afraid of how large her personality was and how much more attention she needed than my kindergartner, Button. My whole life as a mom had been reasonably structured to meet the demands and desires of Button and wouldn't you believe it, my supposedly "easier" second child was more of a challenge.

I basically had to deprogram myself from how I perceived both my children. Autism does not mean difficult and neurotypical does not mean perfect. I don't even use the "neurotypical" word anymore.Putting my children into these predetermined categories, does not help them grow into themselves. They need the freedom and the scaffolding to be angry, mad, difficult, irrational before they can eventually find their way back to my arms. Someone needs to be 200% on their side all the time no matter what and who better than me? Sure we have our rocky days when I surreptitiously check their heads for budding horns; but on the whole, we are this bright eyed, slightly disheveled bunch who always finds their way back to easy laughter.

Today I have 2 wildly different kids. Button is now a sensitive and affectionate 7. He's incredibly smart and also a total goofball (with a good measure of a howler monkey when he gets upset). Sunshine, now 3 has graduated to being the matriarch of our household. She is strong willed and really loud, with a flair for drama. But she's also the most perfect little girl who loves to read and give warm baby hugs.

Our child is ours - but only by cause of us creating/birthing them and the love in our hearts. We are not doing our child a favor by raising them -it literally is our one job as parents. And if we're lucky and we do that well, they owe us nothing but love in return. See we don't get to pigeonhole our children's traits. We don't own them and we cannot dictate to them. They are not a catch it all for our insecurities and fears. They are beautiful and free in their imperfections. They're part of their own tribe of learners, so similar and yet so diverse. They're not you and they're not me. And they are certainly not "neurotypical".

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Perks of having a sense of humor

I always thought I would be this perfect mom. I pictured myself lounging in the backyard with my bright eyed little baby, both of us contently playing with finger paints for hours before heading inside for a healthy snack of fruit and Greek yogurt. My child would look at me with wondrous love and I would smile back with an elegant toss of my head as I perused my idea book for our next hands on activity. The late afternoon sun would filter in just so, and my whole life would be lit with that warm sepia glow of a successful motherhood experience.

*Record scratch*

*Freeze frame* 

Voice-over Narrator: “Yeah, that’s definitely not what happened!” 

I had my son, Button,  postpartum anxiety and a world of guilt for not being the mom I thought I would be. I constantly critiqued myself for every choice I made, every parenting crossroads and every time my chunky baby tripped over his chubby wubby feet (mostly because of me). I hated that I was neither elegantly tossing my head nor raising a child who ate only organic fruits (handpicked by virgins at the first break of dawn). I wanted to be close to perfect, damnit, and I was laughably.....well...not. I had this cute-as-a-button child, and I was a hot mess.

Flash forward to April 2012. Button was 20 months old, newly diagnosed with Autism (10 points to Gryffindor if you rightly guessed that I blamed myself for that) and I was staring at a new world of therapy and appointments and special education. I looked at him, still chunky and still beautiful - happily flapping his hands, unaware of that sheer terror in my heart. That’s when I had my first Parenting AHA! moment. This child of mine is not a statistic. He may be Autistic and he may need a ton of help every day, but he is mine to mold. No Autism book will ever completely describe him and no therapist will limit his potential. Only I decide how hard I need to work for him and to be his voice until he finds his own. Only I (and his amazing dad) can determine how to parent him. That knowledge of the power I held in my trembling hands, gave me the courage and the will to start most days, ready to fight.

That’s not to say I’m supermom. I do not wake up all glowy and perfectly adjusted. Most days, I’m a drooling zombie until my coffee has kicked in and I’ve had 10 quiet minutes to myself. But what I possess in spades is a kick ass sense of humor. I swear plentifully and generously and I am not miserly with my snark. Every time I feel that familiar dread settle into my bones, I pull out that trusty funny bone (see what I did there) and the world stops spinning momentarily. There is no situation that a joke cannot diffuse (maybe except Labor and Delivery - that bad boy can really shake you up). And as long as I have that, I’m A-OK!

My boy has thankfully got the same goofiness in him. He learns by being silly, and if tickles were dollars,....gosh he would be the 10th richest kid in the world. He has this infectious giggle that rises from his belly and soon all of us are cackling with him. I’m hoping that as he matures, he never loses this ability to see the humor in everything around him. He laughs at farts and falls, at bumper cars and bubbles popping comically on his nose. And honestly, my heart -it grows a few sizes, every time I see his face about to break into this big, unabashed smile.

The other day, I chatted with this mom of a little girl. Turns out, they had just received a diagnosis of autism and understandably they were terrified and lost. “What does she like to do? Does she like to play with blocks or puzzles? Maybe playdoh?” 

“Oh not really, Pavi. She’s still not into toys. But she loves to bounce on our couch and laugh!”
“Well there you go, then! Bounce next to her and giggle. Hold her hands and spin her around and watch her light up! Use her magical ability to laugh and mold it into a superpower! See how happy it makes the both of you!”

I may not be teaching Button 5 languages or how to perfect his table manners, but that’s OK. I’m not mass producing an ideal child who will please everyone around him. Instead, I raise this silly, bright eyed goofball, who loves to play and find joy within and around himself.

No matter what highs and lows our day brings, one of the perks of having a sense of humor - we always go to sleep with a smile on our faces!