Life with Roozle Wed, 07 Jun 2017 14:20:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Life with Roozle 32 32 Mornings Are Hard Wed, 07 Jun 2017 14:20:21 +0000 Mornings Are Hard
Mornings are hard for grownups. Mornings are hard for kids. Mornings are the worst, really. And I need the smallest person in the house to brush her teeth and get herself dressed and omg why do I have to say these things over and over and over every morning. SOS.

“How many times do I have to tell you…”

“Ooooh Apa you hate it when people say that to youuuuu.”

Mornings with a kid were making me into the person I don’t want to be. So I started leaving her notes.

Everyone loves notes.

The notes were great. The notes worked. But then I had to write notes every morning. Because if I didn’t, the kid would be reading for an hour and not dressed and would never ever eat a single morning thing.

The notes got an upgrade to something more permanent. Because mornings are always the worst, but we don’t have to ALSO be fighting about the regular stuff in between.

I might need to make myself a fancy list. Maybe then I’d eat something more than a gallon of coffee. Maybe.

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There’s No Such Thing As “What a boy looks like,” Lessons From My 8-year-old On Gender Identity Mon, 05 Jun 2017 13:21:31 +0000 There's No Such Thing As

“Can you always tell when someone is queer?” She hesitated, and nearly not finishing the question. We sat at a window seat for dinner overlooking the busy street. Provincetown on Memorial Day is what queer looks like, I wanted to reply, as we were surrounded by drag queens and rainbows and poodles in tutus. It was her first time there, and she was starting to understand. And along with that understanding, she was beginning to piece together the stereotypes that go with all of it, and the problematic erasure that comes along for the ride.

“Sometimes you can tell,” I cautiously began. But she interrupted, “Yeah, like with you. People always know you’re queer. That’s why they sometimes look at you like that.”

“Yeah, I’m visibly queer, that’s right.”

“Maybe they’re trying to tell if you’re a boy or a girl? And that’s funny because they’re always wrong.”

“Yeah, that is kind of funny.”

“Except when they’re mean.”

“Right. Except when they’re mean. We hate it when they’re mean.”

We went on to talk about femme invisibility, transphobia, and the gender binary over lobster rolls, as one does with their kid in Provincetown, I suppose. At least with this kid. She does a lot of talking.

She grew up knowing that trucks and dolls are for all kids. There’s no such thing as toys or colors for boys or girls. And even though I identify as nonbinary transgender and use they/them pronouns, my kid was the one who taught me to tear down the binary, and very much not the other way around.

Because there’s no real way to teach a kid what “queer looks like” without supporting all the stereotypes and perpetuating all kinds of invisibility, it never came up. She learned that people are people first, that all gender identity is up to individuals. She learned to never assume that anyone is a certain gender because of how they’re dressed. But as an adult, I often apply that No Assumptions rule only to the one with the beard wearing a dress, or the person on the bike with the short hair wearing a chest binder under their shirt. I forget that it also applies to the person in line at Whole Foods, wearing a long braid and a dress, while nursing their new baby in line. To my kid? No Assumptions always applies. Even if you’re a nursing parent with a toddler nearby calling you Mommy. She will still ask you your pronouns. And she’s right.

Because to her, there’s no standard masculine and feminine. Boys can (and should! dresses are great! because #RoozleStyle!) wear dresses or pants and just because they’re wearing a tie one day doesn’t mean they will shop from that section tomorrow. To my kid, everyone gets a lot of room for their gender identity. And not just that baby boy pushing his doll in the stroller. Big kids and grown ups and teenagers and teachers and parents all need that room, too. Now more than ever. And these kids are our leaders when it comes to seeing gender through a wider lens.


So I try harder. I use they/them pronouns for everyone until I know the pronouns the person wants me to use. I don’t gender anyone until I get to know them and have a chance to ask how they want me to refer to them in conversations. And when I assume someone’s gender, I let my kid correct me. Because she’s right. This binary system often feels like a trap. If you don’t fit in it just right, you’re always on the outside. Not man enough. Not pretty enough. Not strong enough. Too effeminate. Too masculine. Never enough or too much. We don’t need more of that, especially not from each other. We need to give each other a lot more room.

*Identifying as nonbinary transgender means I don’t identify within the binary gender system, “male or female.” I identify as just a person, a partner, and a parent.


This post is sponsored by AMAZE where parents are empowered to start and continue hard conversations with their kids about sexuality, gender, consent, and all the good stuff. Follow AMAZE on Facebook for more of their videos and curated content about kid’s health and sexuality. All content and opinions expressed here are my own. And Roozle’s. She has a lot of opinions.

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I’m not going to tell my kid this time Wed, 24 May 2017 01:17:28 +0000 I’m not going to tell my kid about the bombing, this time. And yes it’s the privilege of being unaffected enough to not have to, I know. After the Boston Marathon bombings here, I know the other side of that, too. 

I know all the reasons to tell her. I’ve written some of them here before, but this time feels different. Too close to her childhood, maybe. Too close to her understanding that those were kids just like her. Too close to why is everything so terrifying. 

I’m scared a lot of the time. She will be too, soon enough, I imagine. But she doesn’t need to be yet. 

I don’t want to tell her. And if she finds out and asks more? This time, I’m keeping it simple. Vague even. Maybe for her. Maybe for me. This time is too many times. This time is too much. This time shouldn’t be again

I’ve turned off the radio. I bought a subway pass for the week and left the car at home. I don’t want to hear about it. Let’s go to the playground. Let’s take the way too old dog for a way too long walk. Because being a part of something bigger sometimes starts in the neighborhood. 

This time, I don’t need to know every detail. I’m not going to solve the world’s problems by scrolling through Twitter. I don’t need to process or wonder or hear any of it to know that this, again, is devastating. I don’t need to tell my kid and I don’t need anyone to tell me. Not this time. I can’t do it this time. This time is just too many times. There’s nothing left to say. 

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On Starting Slow and (Not) Obsessing Mon, 06 Mar 2017 13:41:46 +0000 This post is sponsored by WeeSchool, the all in one parenting app from birth to age 3. All opinions and stories are mine, though. Because Roozle. Download the WeeSchool App here by June 1, and you can register for free, lifetime access to all premium WeeSchool content and features.

“How old is she?”
“Almost one!”
“Oh! Is she walking yet?”

It’s all anyone ever wanted to know. And that wouldn’t be an issue, except that she wasn’t. And no, I didn’t want to hear about your nephew and how he walked late “and turned out just fine!” because my kid? She wasn’t crawling either. In fact, she didn’t roll over when she was supposed to. She didn’t pull up to stand. She didn’t scoot or crawl or wiggle or any other way of moving from one point to another that you’ve all told me about in the aisle of the grocery store and walking to get coffee and waiting in line for ice cream. It felt like the whole city had told me all their stories of every little “late-blooming” kid who walked a month late. We were well beyond that and I had become obsessed. Maybe it was everyone else’s obsession with walking or crawling that got me started. Maybe it was watching all the other babies in her weekly playgroup zoom past her when she still needed help sitting up. Maybe it was just that I was a first time parent and didn’t want to screw up my kid. It was my only job. Just don’t mess her up. She’s a person.

And it felt like I was messing her up.

Except that, she was a super happy kid. She was perfectly content. Everything seemed to work okay, she was just falling behind on milestones. Everyone, and I mean everyone, told me not to worry. And I worried anyway.

Now, she’s much older. She cartwheels instead of walking most of the time. Yes, even in the grocery stores, she will sneak a few in. She decided to catch up at 15 months. After never crawling, scooting, standing, or cruising, she pulled herself up to stand for the first time on a Thursday night. At bedtime, of course. That was a fun one. I was like, “OMG YAY STANDING” and also “OMG CAN YOU GO TO SLEEP NOW.” The following Saturday morning, she ran across the room.

Maybe that’s just who my kid is. Maybe she just waits until she’s ready, then she goes all in. Maybe I did something right. Maybe all those hours of walking around holding my hands (and destroying my back) strengthened her legs enough to get her going. I won’t ever know.

“Might be something. Might be nothing,” was pretty much the diagnosis from Early Intervention. They worked with her twice a week at daycare. For the initial visit, I tried to remember everything… When did she first roll? Did she do it again after that? What about that time she scooted, does that count?

It was too much to remember. Because in the middle of all of it, I was also parenting. I had gone back to work when she was only 2 weeks old, leaving her with a friend a few days a week and working from home whenever I could. Then she went off to daycare and I left the office at lunch to go nurse her, because on top of all of this, she of course refused to take a bottle. Of course she did. Because Roozle.

If only I could go back in time, because WeeSchool puts is all together in one place. WeeSchool keeps a log of milestones for parents both to capture and celebrate those met and keep a record of any missed so parents can focus on the parenting. I was so busy worrying about what milestones my kid had missed and how to keep track of all of it for doctors and caregivers, I now realize I often didn’t celebrate and share the milestones she met. And this kid? She gives me a lot to celebrate. Like wanting to freeze dance while I play ukulele.

WeeSchool won’t let that happen. With 117 key milestones, WeeSchool provides research-based insights and play prompts for each so milestones are more than research and tracking, they’re part of supporting and celebrating your baby’s natural development. Check it all out here, with a free lifetime premium upgrade if you download and register before June 1. Though I don’t think Ukulele Freeze Dance is an official milestone just yet. BUT IT SHOULD BE.

And it’s not just about milestones, even though the early months of parenting can feel like it is. Parenting with the WeeSchool app helps parents figure out the hard stuff while they get to know their growing child. All in one place, parents can play songs, find the age appropriate expert recommended toys and books to buy, and even set a bath and bedtime routine.

The best part? It’s totally free. If you download before June 1st, you’ll become a free lifetime member with fully free access to all of WeeSchool. You had me at all all-in-one, but I’ll always go with free too.

Download the WeeSchool App here by June 1 and you can register for free, lifetime access to all Premium WeeSchool content and features.

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My Body, My Rules Fri, 16 Dec 2016 19:18:53 +0000 She doesn’t stop for a picture as much as she used to. She rolls her eyes more when I start a conversation on purpose to teach her some kind of lesson. She argues. She responds to all things with, “My body, my rules.” This is 7 and a half. This is second grade. This is new, as all childhood phases are. Because this is growing up. And sometimes, this is a challenge. Mostly for me. My parenting tricks don’t work anymore. Especially the ones for bedtime. Sometimes nothing works except independence. Except letting her sort it out. Except showing up to check in, setting super clear limits and expectations, and always following through with all of it. Parenting is still a lot of work. Parenting is still this imperfect game of having a strategy and also figuring it out as we go.

I’m so glad I get to figure it out with this kid.

Our talks around alcohol responsibility have changed, too. It’s more about checking in than starting something new. Today we took the city bus to school because I’m off to a holiday party tonight. Because I plan on drinking and am leaving my car at home. Two years ago, I wouldn’t have told her that part. I don’t know that she had ever heard about drinking laws. Now part of teaching my kid about responsible drinking includes showing her when I have a plan for it. That I choose to make good choices ahead of time AND in the moment. Maybe I won’t drink at all tonight, but if I do, I’m prepared to be safe.

I told her that I don’t ever drink and drive. I told her that it’s against the law even if you feel okay. I told her about my plan and she went with me to put more money on my subway card for later.
Then we got a donut together and rode the bus to school. Our commute was slower and OMG colder and I had time to help her out of her winter clothes in her classroom. She benefited greatly from my responsibility.

Two years ago, I started working with because I believe in what they do. Because talking to kids early and often about the hard stuff is important. I had no idea how it would impact us. And here we are, at the end of my work with them and not too much has changed. We talk a lot. We talk about big things, we talk about small things. And the conversation we started two years ago has been woven in and out of our time together. That won’t end with the end of this work. That won’t ever end.

As she gets older, it’s a lot more of “my body, my rules” and hopefully I’ve started the important work now that will help her be responsible in her own choices for that growing body. And if nothing else, we’ll keep talking. We’re great at that.

This post is sponsored by This is my last post as a #TalkEarly blogger to help them “Empower parents to be confident about their own decisions regarding alcohol, model healthy, balanced behaviors, and create a foundation for starting conversations with their kids from an early age.” The conversation doesn’t end here, we’re just getting started.

Sometimes A Little Is A Lot (especially when it’s a BABY GOAT OMG) Thu, 08 Dec 2016 22:14:58 +0000

I don’t have a lot to give her, but I still teach her to give. I teach her that when you don’t have money, you can give time. I teach her to donate the things she’s grown out of. She thinks about the things she doesn’t need and how others might need and want them. She considers the things she likes and puts that stuff in the bags too, because if she likes it, someone else will like it too. She fills the bag on her own and we go together to drop it off.

When I didn’t have the money to give to my church, she watched me teach classes in children’s church. She went with me. She watched me plan the lesson and helped me hand out markers. When I didn’t know what to do this Thanksgiving, my first without her, I signed up to help cook for a community dinner and told her all about how fun it was to peel millions of carrots. Even though I missed her. Now, she wants to go with me next year to help. She’s a pro carrot peeler.

And yet, I always think I’m not doing enough.


Even though she earns the things she gets through doing chores. Even though she’s working so hard on being grateful with her words. Even though I am honest with her about my finances and my mortgage and my debt and our privilege and our struggles. Even though I try so hard to weave giving into conversations…

I always think I’m not doing enough.

Because how can you possibly do enough? I’ve stood among the poorest of the poor in India. I spent time handing out stickers and food and listening to stories at 18. I came home and felt so helpless. There’s too much to do. How can you do enough?

It all feels like too much.

And I guess that’s how you do enough. You keep the conversation going. You talk about all of it. All the time. You give with your time and your money and you read diverse biographies from the library and you teach about systemic oppression that creates so many of these problems and makes it all so impossible to get out of. You make giving a project and a story and you remember that sometimes a little IS a lot. You remind her to say thank you until you don’t have to remind her anymore.

And then sometimes you take selfies with a goat. #goatsquadgoals


Because giving can be fun, too. It doesn’t always have to be overwhelming and all too much. You can talk about all the super exciting things we can all do to help. When I told her that Heifer International gives goats to families who need help, her vegetarian alarm went off. But then we talked about how they use the goats to start farms and to get milk and make cheese. We talked about how the goat program helps families learn how to farm and how to teach others how to farm. That the first female baby goat born is passed along to another family to pass on the gift. And now? Heifer goats are #RoozleApproved. Also, BABY GOATS OMG.

I’m teaching my kid that she can change the world, a little at a time, because that’s all we have right now. I’m teaching her that a little is enough, and I’m working on believing that myself. When you give what you have, when you do what you can, it’s always enough. But now she wants a goat, so I’m not quite sure what we’re going to do about that in our 900 square foot Boston apartment.

This post is sponsored by Heifer International, but all opinions are mine, and Roozle’s. She has so many goat opinions. We won’t be able to get a goat for our apartment any time soon, but this goat on a stick will likely be around for a while. If you’d like you print one out for your kids as a great conversation starter and selfie prop, you can do so here

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I Can’t Give Her Everything She Wants, But I Can Teach Her To Be Okay With That Thu, 17 Nov 2016 02:18:37 +0000 Do kids like it when parents say no to them?

No. Because they really want to do the thing.

Why else?

Because they really want to say, do, go, and be how they want. And get what they want.

Do kids like it better when parents say yes if they ask for something?

Yes. Because they get to do the thing that they want to do.img_6327

What happens when you ask for something and I say no?

I say “okay!”

Did you always respond like that?

No. I would get mad because I really wanted the thing and I wanted to do or go somewhere and I felt like you didn’t hear me and that I wasn’t getting respected or getting to do what I wanted to do.

So that made you feel mad and frustrated?


What is different now?

I get tickets whenever I say, “Okay.” I get mad inside, but I know that I want to get a ticket because each ticket is a dollar and I can buy something that I want.

So what do you do with your body and your words to get the ticket?

I be nice and I say “okay” because I don’t want to be mean.

Is it okay to ask for things?

Yes and you shouldn’t do it THAT much.

After a shopping trip full of Can I have that? Why? Why? Can I have this? Why? Please? Please? Why! I pulled over on the way home to google “How to get your kid to cooperate in a grocery store.” It wasn’t helpful. We went home and I made the kid cover our back window in things she’s thankful for because OMG WHY. It was a hard day. As a single parent, I have to say no more than ever. My budget is tight. And a kid who goes back and forth between two homes asks for a lot. Without the consistency of a single home, it all sometimes rises up into TOO MUCH. We got there a few weeks ago. How am I raising a kid who can’t hear the word no? Is this normal? Did I do this? And how on earth can I fix it? At some point in my stumbling through the internet for a solution, I came across the idea that it’s good for kids to ask for stuff. It’s good for all of us to learn how to ask for help, ask for what we want, ask for what we need. The problem isn’t with the asking. It’s with the reaction to hearing no. And with that, I found the solution.

New rule: ask for anything you want. You can only ask once, because once I’ve answered, I’ll just repeat that I’ve already answered. If the answer is no, you have a choice to react or respond. A response is to accept the no as what it is. To trust that I have a reason for it. To drop it. To react is to FREAK OUT IN PUBLIC. I’ve been there too many times. I can’t anymore.

When you respond, you earn half a ticket. When you react, I take a ticket away. Tickets may be saved up and turned in like earning an allowance for chores (she also earns tickets for chores, so these tickets just get added in).

And with that? Everything changed. She still asks for everything. I still try to say yes when I can. When it’s reasonable. When it’s safe. When it’s appropriate. And I still say no. A lot. Because there are lots of asks. And there are limits. But now? There are tickets not freak outs. There are responses, not reactions. And I now have a 7 year old who reminds me to respond instead of react, too. Thanks, Roozle.

What about if you asked for something, like having a sip of my beer?

I would think about it and I would change my mind because beer is alcohol and I don’t want to go crazy.

If you were really curious about it, how could we respect your curiosity while taking good care of your body?

I would use the 5 senses!

What’s that?

The 5 senses are: smell, hear, touch, taste, and see.

Oh good idea! Just like we do with trying a new food! We could do that with a drink you might be interested in so you could be curious about it, and we could just skip the tasting part!

No, because we taste it.

But you can’t taste alcohol. So we’d skip that.

Yeah, skip it.

Do you think that the work we do about me saying no to you about stuff helps with the times I have to say no to keep you safe?

Yes because I want to be safe and maybe because I’m used to hearing no now and yeah.

Good. I’m glad. I don’t like to say no to you, I’d rather say lots of yes’s to you, but sometimes I have to say no as a parent to keep you safe and because sometimes we all hear no. It’s good for all of us to practice responding instead of reacting, even grown ups. Have you noticed that I’ve been working on that?

Can I type now?


(typed by Riley) Yes.

Do you think I’ve been doing better responding to you instead of reacting?

(typed by Riley) Definitely because I have heard you say, “Okay.”

This post is sponsored by I am working with them as a #TalkEarly blogger this year to help them “Empower parents to be confident about their own decisions regarding alcohol, model healthy, balanced behaviors, and create a foundation for starting conversations with their kids from an early age.” Let’s all do that. Because that totally rules.


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Her Style Is All Her Own, Her Style is #RoozleApproved Tue, 25 Oct 2016 03:07:48 +0000 img_6617

This kid knows her style. From the first time I put her in baby overalls and she cried and pouted all day, she’s had a lot to communicate about style. This is a kid with fashion opinions. A kid who takes what you give her, once she has approved the choices, of course, and makes it all her own.


So when Crazy 8 asked if she wanted to try out some of their clothes, I took one look at their site and replied YES PLEASE. Because this? This is Roozle Approved. LEOPARD TIGHTS OMG.


When the boxes arrived, she ran inside, changed, and posed. Because Roozle. So fancy. And this is way better than the uniform she has to wear at school.



I wish you could’ve heard her gasp at the sight of this. Those snowflakes ARE GLITTER. She stopped BREATHING.

Crazy 8 is Roozle Approved

Yes, my love, you can dance on the table. Maybe just this once. You need a stage. This is serious. Now please take a breath. It’s okay. The glitter can handle it.

#Roozlestyle is all in for Crazy 8

And a few days later, it was the big moment she has been waiting her whole life for… A WEDDING. She had dreamed of this moment since she knew how to have fashion dreams and here it was, the fanciest wedding I’ve ever been to, her first, in New York City on a Friday night. How can you get fancier than that? So she took all her fancy new clothes and jewelry (The Crazy 8 necklaces have those kid clasps so she could do it herself and she was SO PROUD) and made it all her own, with #Roozlestyle. Because that’s what she does.

Thank you, Crazy 8 for making Fancy Roozle’s dreams come true. All of Roozle’s clothes and shoes and jewelry shown above were provided by Crazy 8, Roozle’s style is all her own, all opinions of Roozle’s style are mine. She’s my favorite. It’s an honor to get to parent a kid who knows her way so well. Ironing board photobomb courtesy of The Metropolitan Club, NYC. Maybe next time we get real fancy, we’ll pick up a bit before our hotel room selfie. Wedding courtesy of Lizzie and Howard. May all their fancy dreams come true. Crazy 8 is officially Roozle Approved for all your fancy kid fancy needs. 

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38 Things For My 38th Birthday Fri, 16 Sep 2016 10:30:32 +0000
  • It’s my birthday
  • Every year for my birthday, I write some big list with the number of years old I am that year.
  • It was an excellent way to have something to write on my birthday when I was blogging every day
  • But I don’t blog every day anymore
  • Because life got complicated as life tends to dobirthday-2
  • And having it all on the internet felt like a bad choice
  • Pro tip side note, don’t put it all on the internet, that’s always a bad choice
  • So this year I didn’t write very much
  • And I miss it. A lot.
  • But don’t know where to start where to stop what can I say when I can’t say all the things, I can’t say all the things
  • So this year ended up being censored in a lot of ways
  • This year ended up being quiet in a lot of ways
  • I wrote haiku
  • I fell in lovebirthday-1
  • I learned more about myself and the way my brain works
  • I learned more about myself as a parent
  • I played less music
  • I laughed more
  • I learned how to drink tequila
  • I thought all the thoughts about gender
  • I thought all the thoughts about life
  • I think a lot
  • Everything mattered and then nothing mattered at all
  • I figured out what I want in a church, in a friend, in a partner, in a school for my kid
  • I got it all
  • I have it all
  • Things come together, things fall apart, things come back together again
  • My kid calls me Apa, but decided that Mommy is my parent middle name. Because all this stuff moves, we can’t get stuck. I don’t want to get stuck.
  • I started reading Harry Potter then stopped. I’m bad at popular things.
  • I rode public transportation for two months then ditched it for my bike
  • I love my bikebirthday-3
  • Tomorrow I’m riding it 68 miles to raise money for Fenway Health
  • They helped me make that kid of mine, so it’s the least I could do really.
  • I like that kid so much.
  • So today is my birthday and I’m a year older and I know exactly where the year went and don’t know why people say that time flies or whatever that doesn’t even make sense
  • This 37th year had a lot of questions, as my years tend to do
  • And also a lot of Bieber. Thank goodness.
  • At least 38 rhymes with great and I always forget how old I am anyway so it doesn’t really matter. Let’s have cake!

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    Double Jeopardy Applies Even When You’re 7 Thu, 18 Aug 2016 01:23:06 +0000 Double Jeopardy Applies Even When You're 7

    Me: Remember, you can say anything to your doctor. You won’t get in trouble. This is like a free pass for saying stuff.

    Riley: Stupid stupid stupid. Can I put up my middle finger? Like Beyonce?

    Me: Um, no. Not like that. I mean, you can say whatever but I meant that she’s going to ask you questions and I want you to be honest. And whatever you tell her, I won’t like make a big deal out of or whatever.

    Riley: Okay but you said I could say whatever I want. So. STUPID. STUPID. STUPID.

    Me: Fine. But will you answer her questions?

    Riley: Yes.

    Doctor comes in…

    Doctor: Hi Riley! You’ve grown up so much! How’s your summer?

    Riley: Good.

    Doctor: Are you going to camp?

    Riley: Yes.

    Doctor: What do you do there?

    Riley: I don’t know.

    Off to a great start! But the pediatrician was ready. She reworded her question to add today. And Riley answered. And cooperated for the whole visit. She didn’t tell her anything that would change the world and overall, it was a pretty boring visit. But that’s fine with me.

    Sometimes this kid tells me all the things. Especially when she’s watching a YouTube kids video about Barbie making cupcakes and I’m trying to make dinner. She’s always all in for that.

    And sometimes? It’s all I don’t know. And yes, no, no, no. Even when the question wasn’t some kind of multiple choice. A long time ago, we started sharing one happy thing, one sad thing at dinner. It has helped. A lot. But at 7? She doesn’t want to talk over dinner. She wants to tell us stuff or ask to play Barbie UNO while we eat (the answer is always yes), or getting real serious about (phonetic) Bananagrams. Dinner isn’t the time for big deep vulnerable conversations. We do still share a Happy/Sad Thing, but these days I try to move around when I ask for it. Sometimes in the morning. Sometimes when I’m tucking her in. Sometimes on the train ride to camp. Sometimes when we’re hanging on the couch together or biking or walking somewhere. By moving it around, I seem to hear the most about how the boys were being too rough or one of the girls felt left out and how she swam so hard and was frustrated that they didn’t have enough free time.

    Double Jeopardy Applies Even When You're 7

    But in this house, there’s still one rule about talking: Double Jeopardy. You saw that movie? Okay it was a little different than what applies to a first grader, but around here, you can never ever get in trouble at home for anything you got in trouble for at school. It’s our favorite. Because of our rule, she tells me when she’s corrected for talking too much. She tells me when the kids got in trouble on the bus for not listening and lost swimming time. She tells me that she wasn’t listening either, but then started listening after the warning so she didn’t lose swimming.

    By knowing she won’t get in trouble with me, it shows her that I trust the other people taking care of her. I trust her other parent, her camp counselors, her teachers. And yes, I do occasionally check in with them about some of the things she tells me (hello camp counselors playing Pokemon Go on a field trip), but she isn’t in trouble for any of it. She learns that making mistakes is part of building your story and I’m teaching her to tell it. She learns that getting in trouble doesn’t affect how you are loved and cared for. She knows that kids are learning, and adults are too. We’re all figuring it out as we go and it’s way better when we keep talking. Even when it’s hard and annoying and omg stop asking me questions.

    I thought this would all get harder as she grows up, but so far, we’ve worked hard on building a foundation of communication that has actually made it easier. For now, it’s about who wasn’t listening, but eventually it will be about who was swearing, and then who was drinking or talking about hurting themselves or someone else. We can’t do that without this. We can’t be ready for the big kid hard stuff if we don’t start early with the little kid hard stuff. And oh boy is it sometimes hard. Age 7 is no joke. But we’re here for it always. For the happy things and the sad things. For the everything in between. For mixing it up and listening and laughing and doing the work of growing together. I’m all in for that. Always.

    This post is sponsored by I am working with them as a #TalkEarly blogger this year to help them “Empower parents to be confident about their own decisions regarding alcohol, model healthy, balanced behaviors, and create a foundation for starting conversations with their kids from an early age.” Let’s all do that. Because that totally rules.

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