Feb 29, 2008

What a day

If I could impart one message to the Realtors of the world, it would be this: please have compassion for young mothers trying to sell their homes!

Today was the second day in a row that an agent stood us up for an appointment. In both cases the agents expected to be a little late, but said they'd call when they were almost at our house. I know that the agents believe they are doing me a favor with these "courtesy calls," but I really think they have no clue how difficult it is to keep a house show-ready while children are in it! It is so much more practical to leave once the house is spotless, but it is so tiring to be gone...just your basic catch-22. Yesterday we did afternoon errands for hours, and today we did errands, lunch, and recreation while waiting for the special call that never came. Yesterday the agent knew hours before arriving at my house that she wasn't going to make it; her client's car broke down and their trip was cut short. Today a different client had a surprise court appointment and couldn't come see the house.

How long does it take to make one little phone call to the sick mama hauling three kids around the city? "Sorry, ma'am, we won't make it today. Feel free to go home, turn on the TV for your children, and get in bed where you belong." Instead, at 3:30 today when I called the agent who was supposed to show my house at 11:30, this is what she said: "Oh, honey, I'm so sorry. Mr. So-and-so found out at 11:00 that he couldn't come, so he'll just have to see your home during the open house tomorrow. You go lie down now, y'hear? Take care!"

Ahem. That's enough venting for today. I feels good to type it all out since I can't really speak. My voice would be quite hilarious if it didn't hurt so much.

Our out-of-houseness took us to Oregon Gymnastics Academy today. It really was the perfect venue: low-key for me and a blast for the boys. Gavin was sweet as pie. His cute face and the fancy wrap I carried him in turned out to be quite the conversation pieces.

Tonight I snapped a photo of Gavin to document the fact that he's three months old today. Well, actually tomorrow, but there's no February 30, so I opted for the 29th rather than the 1st. Sometimes I wish I was a baby so that double chins and chubby thighs were something to smile about.

After Garry got home he helped Zachary and Tyler build some fun marble runs in the kitchen. Gavin seemed to enjoy the noise, and the big boys sure had fun. I was glad for a happy ending to this long, long, long, long day.

Lights out

It's 7:50 p.m. and all three boys are asleep in their beds. Ahh...

Feb 28, 2008

Cough, cough, sneeze, sneeze

If you could hear me right now, you'd stop wondering about this week's scarcity of posts. I've been laid up with the flu, the achy-to-your-bones, racking cough, searing throat, scratchy voice sort of flu that has stricken half the ward and most of the elementary school in the last month. Probably thanks to my flu shot, I've had a much milder version of the bug that afflicted Garry last week, but I've still been plenty miserable. Fever and chills have recently given way to a nasty head/chest cold. Although I'm grateful for that, I feel like the house is a petrie dish. Do you think Tom Hanks will bring me daisies today?

Zachary missed school Tuesday with his own variety of illness, and although he was just so-so yesterday, he sprang out of bed this morning and I shuttled him off to school. Yesterday we cracked windows and pressed our faces to the screens just to get some fresh air. It's not fair to have beautiful winter days in Oregon when we're house bound. Hopefully today will be better. The sun is shining, and by golly I want to soak it up.

Feb 26, 2008

Guess the baby

This is a pretty easy quiz: which three-month-old is which?

Hope you enjoyed this stroll down memory lane!

Feb 23, 2008

Weekend Update

I'm still hanging onto the habit of compiling lists of things to report on at the end of each week as though I was still publishing our Sunday newsletter. Since all these things are rattling around in my head, I might as well spit them out into cyberspace, right?

For starters, we had seven house showings this week. We continue to get excellent reviews on the house, but a few lookers this week thought the price was too high. And, of course, the yard is too small, which is why no one wants to give us an offer. (Maybe if we had a dumpy house on a small lot people would think the two went together...) Our agent thinks it's time to reduce the price.

Only one group came to our three-hour open house today. One. ONE!!!! I cannot adequately express my frustrations on this issue (it's kind of a don't-get-me-started subject). This process is such an emotional rollercoaster, not to mention so physically and mentally taxing. I've done plenty of venting and crying today. Now that my little tantrum has passed, I am trying to get a grip on my perspective. A year ago I was freaking out about not being pregnant and now my sweet Gavin melts my heart. Maybe something wonderful is around the corner.

Speaking of Gavin, he continues to grow like a weed. His big brothers weren't nearly so large at this stage, so we are having seasonal clothing issues (nearly all of the clothes I have for his size are summer styles). I have found some bargains on warm clothes for Gavin in size 6-9 months! He is also growing out of his size 2 shoes. Gavin likes to gnaw on his fist now and even sucks his thumb on occasion. He is generally so happy and sweet and responsive to others. That's a thrill for the big boys. My big thrill for the week is that he slept 7.5 consecutive hours last night. I could get used to that!

Tyler said some memorable things this week:
  • [While listening to an arrangement of The Spirit of God, an LDS hymn]: "Is God's spirit really burning? Is He on fire?"
  • [After being charged with choosing a dinner vegetable]: "Can we have something with this wonderful, delicious thing (a cucumber)?"
  • [Noting Gavin's out-of-control hair]: "Gavin has a chicken feather!" (He meant a 'rooster tail.")
  • [At the dinner table]: "Please pass the Ernie chicken." (He meant Sesame chicken.)
I have noticed that Tyler is much more interested in Gavin than he used to be. Tyler wants turns holding Gavin now, and he enjoys keeping Gavin entertained when he's on the floor or in his chair. Tyler is the first one to offer to fetch a diaper/burp cloth/pacifier when I need one, and he's always on alert when Gavin gets fussy. It's sweet to see this brotherly bond emerge.

Another random Tyler tidbit: He has not asked about going back to preschool one time since we pulled him out. Not once! I'm not sure how I should feel about that.

For one of his homework assignments, Zachary had to make a card and give it to someone. I was delighted to be the recipient. Given my difficult week and my ongoing challenges with Zach, I especially appreciated the message: "To Mom. I love you Mommy so much. Frum Zach." So sweet. Zach also drew, colored, and cut out "I love you" hearts and hid them all over the house where family members would find them. I found one in my shoe, my drawer, and Gavin's drawer. Zach really can be thoughtful.

Garry has been super sick for four days. He came home from work early Wednesday with a fever, chills, and a terrible cough. He had to sit in the car for an hour because the house was being shown, but he was so cold that he turned the heater on full blast (it was beautifully warm and sunny outside!). At 6:00 he went straight to bed and basically didn't come out until late Friday afternoon. Poor guy. He's doing better, but only with DayQuil in his system.

We debuted a new parenting/discipline strategy in our house this week. Someone recommended "1-2-3 Magic" and, in our desperation, we opted to try it. I'm happy to have a new way to deal with recurring issues, and so far life is a little smoother. Let's hope the pattern holds.

Feb 20, 2008

MAXimum entertainment

These silly photos, snapped with my cell phone rather than an actual camera, are some of the best ones I've ever taken. The quality is poor, but the memories are so great!

I hadn't planned on this outing today, but during our Smart Cookies field trip to Kohl's (a search for clothing patterns...very fun) and the park lunch afterward (also great, except for the part where Zach pushed Alexander off an eight-foot rock), I got two calls from real estate agents who wanted to show the house. How could I decline? So even though we'd already been away from home all morning, we decided to keep playing.

The adventure? Another from our Oregon List: riding the MAX into Hillsboro. Woohoo!

Zach led the way into the front car, which has ground-level ramps for strollers.

Tyler was excited about riding on the upper deck
while I stood below.

We went to Let's Play, an incredible toy store where the kids can actually play with lots of toys.

The boys loved the train set, hockey table, marble chutes,
plasma car, push toys, Frisbees, books, play food, kitchen, and other games.

I took the opportunity to relax, feed Gavin, and enjoy a few games myself. We bought some marbles for Ty's new marble run, but that's it.

At Hillsboro Pharmacy & Fountain (just three doors down the street), we enjoyed ice cream cones. We each got a different flavor and passed the cones around.

Eventually we were free to go home, so we did. The ten-minute MAX ride was the perfect end to our outing, and it stopped just a half-mile from home.

It was pretty uncharacteristic of me to be so laid-back and patient and non-task-oriented for hours on end. We took our time, enjoyed each other, and just had fun. Why can't I be that kind of mom all the time?

Feb 18, 2008

A bright sunshiny day

It's another day for song lyrics. Today's inspiration is from Jimmy Cliff:
I can see clearly now the rain is gone,
I can see all obstacles in my way,
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind.
It's gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright) sunshiny day.
It's gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright) sunshiny day.

Out of nowhere, dark and dreary Beaverton was blessed with a gorgeously warm, wonderfully bright, beautiful, dry, sunny day. Thanks to good old Presidents Day, our best buddy Isabel was home from school today so we picked her up and spent three glorious hours at Rood Bridge Park together (another item on our Oregon List!). We had an absolutely fabulous time.

We took this documentary photo for our Oregon scrapbook.

The kids' first stop (after eating their Happy Meals) was one of the huge hills. They ran races up and down, rolled down the hill, and enjoyed general merriment for a while.

Next they hit the playground. Monkey bars, slides, rock walls...they enjoyed it all.

Zachary loved the swings. He did a mighty leap off of one and Heidi had visions of an ER visit, but he 's tough. No broken arms today.

Gavin chilled in the stroller except when he had some lunch and wiggle time on a blanket while the kids played Frisbee.

Then we unloaded bikes from the van
and toured the park's many paths.

We stopped by a pond for a water break
and, of course, to skip rocks.

Later the kids discovered the delights of the "screamin' streamin' rocket launcher" Tyler got for his birthday.
(It's a major hit, Angie -- thanks!)

None of us quite wanted the outing to end, but I had to get home for piano lessons (drat responsibility!). What a fun time we had. I'm so happy to have these memories, and I'm sure the kids are, too.

Feb 17, 2008

All is well

We received an offer to buy our house today. Before you jump out of your chair or give a whoop of excitement on our behalf, let us stop you; doing so would be a bit premature. Read on for the whole story.

Our Realtor informed us late Saturday afternoon that the offer was coming, so we spent the next 24 hours full of happy anticipation. This morning before church we combed the real estate listings our Colorado Springs agent had sent us. We plotted the homes on a map, printed out school report cards, and looked up LDS meetinghouses. We alerted our parents to the news and started making plans for a house-hunting trip later this week. After church, as we still waited for the offer, I made a celebratory dinner and Texas sheet cake (Garry's favorite). When the cake turned out weird and lumpy, we should have been forewarned.

The offer finally arrived...and it was terribly disappointing. It was the mother of all low-ball offers, so low that we weren't even tempted to swing. We quickly decided on a firm counter offer, kind of a take-it-or-leave-it offer that we fully expect the person will leave.

All in all, it was kind of a sad situation.

In the wake of this news, Garry headed out to Stake Priesthood Meeting. I knew it was important for him to attend the meeting, but I really wanted him to stay and hash out our real estate drama. Garry dutifully went to his meeting, and I followed through with dinner, scriptures, and bedtime with the kids.

All was calm and quiet when Garry returned around 8:30. He was unusually serious and wanted to talk. He then shared a beautiful spiritual experience he had during the closing hymn, which was "Come, Come Ye Saints." The hymn was written in 1846 by William Clayton as he traveled West with the Mormon pioneers. Its lyrics are as follows:

Come, Come ye Saints, no toil nor labor fear;
But with joy wend your way.
Though hard to you this journey may appear,
Grace shall be as your day.
'Tis better far for us to strive
Our useless cares from us to drive;
Do this, and joy your hearts will swell--
All is well! All is well!

Why should we mourn or think our lot is hard?
'Tis not so; all is right.
Why should we think to earn a great reward
If we now shun the fight?
Gird up your loins; fresh courage take.
Our God will never us forsake;
And soon we'll have this tale to tell--
All is well! All is well!

We'll find the place which God for us prepared,
Far away in the West,
Where none shall come to hurt or make afraid;
There the Saints will be blessed.
We'll make the air with music ring,
Shout praises to our God and King;
Above the rest these words we'll tell--
All is well! All is well!

And should we die before our journey's through,
Happy day! All is well.
We then are free from toil and sorrow, too;
With the just we shall dwell!
But if our lives are spared again
To see the Saints their rest obtain,
Oh, how we'll make this chorus swell--
All is well! All is well!

"Come, Come Ye Saints" has always symbolized to me the journey the pioneers took and the sacrifices they made. Tonight, however, the hymn became a very personal, poignant promise that the Lord is mindful of our little family as we struggle to follow His plan for us. As Garry sang this hymn with a congregation full of his priesthood brethren, he had the overwhelming assurance that we don't need to worry about what the future holds; we need to find joy in this journey. God will not forsake us. He has literally prepared a place for us in Colorado Springs and He will help us find it when the time is right. Soon we will shout His praises and say, "all is well."

So tonight we are grateful that Garry was obedient and attended his meeting. We are grateful for a learning experience that has already taught us important lessons. We are grateful for the simple ways that the Lord communicates through the Holy Ghost when we are willing to listen. And we are grateful for the knowledge that God is watching over us, directing our paths, and keeping us safe.

Please enjoy the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing "Come, Come Ye Saints," a wonderful hymn about hope, joy, and peace.

Feb 15, 2008

Various & Sundry Items

This post will be a random re-cap of our week.

To sum up: having a house on the market is SUPER stressful, and it seems the entire universe revolves around cleaning and showing the home. Notice that the universe does not revolve around living in the home; actual living gets in the way of the greater objective. The good news is that we've had several showings this week (two with absolutely zero notice, and one where the Realtor came early and found us at home). The bad news is that while everyone who sees the house loves the house, everyone who sees the house thinks the yard is too small and the neighborhood is too ghetto.

Which brings me to various and sundry item #1: graffiti clean-up. Yes, we ghetto dwellers have graffiti on the brick wall at the end of the culdesac, so after the HOA president basically said he'll get to it when he gets to it, I went to Home Depot to get some supplies. Graffiti spray cleaner wasn't super effective, but the combination of a spray cleaner and a pressure washer seems to be the best treatment. Garry also discovered that pressure washing the back fence turns it from a sad shade of gray to the original and beautiful amber color. We extended our four-hour rental to a full day so he can do both sides of the fence. We can't make the yard bigger, but we can make the fence prettier.

Item #2: Tyler turned four and went to the doctor for a check-up. His physical stats checked out fine. He's 42.5 inches tall and weighs 41.5 pounds. Gross and fine motor skills, speech, and other developmental cues are right on target. Tyler was even super brave about the four immunizations he had to get. (A Jamba Juice bribe helped with that.) Dr. Nash was concerned about Tyler's recent history of behavioral problems but didn't have much advice to offer.

Item #3: Valentine's Day happened. I say that it just happened because that's exactly how it was. Zachary enjoyed the day the most, since his class had a big party and Valentine exchange. He has been working on addressing his Valentines at home for weeks but we didn't attach and candy to the cards, so until he went to school he had no idea that Valentine's Day was a big sugar holiday. That was quite a bonus in his book. He also covered a cereal box with paper and interesting drawings; this became his Valentine mailbox. He was very proud of it. I stashed it somewhere when cleaning up for a showing, so when I find it I'll post a picture.

Item #4: The boys had fun at Smart Cookies on Wednesday while Gavin and I took a nap. Afterward we had a fun lunch together (moms included). Lisa's oven was unexpectedly being repaired, so we relocated to Natalie's for pizza and treats and lovely grown-up conversation.

Item #5: We noted with our friends, the Carrolls, the one-year anniversary of their sweet baby's death this week. We helped them set up a blog in order to post the videos and some other things that celebrate little Candace's life.

Item #6: Garry worked late almost every night this week. We really missed him in the evenings, particularly because dinner and bedtime aren't nearly as fun when only Grumpy Mommy is in charge. But we survived, and were overjoyed when Dad came home at 2:30 today.

Item #7: Gavin has discovered his voice and loves to squeal. It's so much fun to hear his high-pitched (and loud) screeches of happiness. He is also regularly sleeping around six hours straight at night. He likes to go down for good around eight and typically wakes up between two and three, nurses briefly, and goes right back to sleep. It's a heavenly routine!

Item #8: The sun poked out enough this week that the big boys enjoyed some nice outdoor play time. Zach has been itching to ride his bike, and Tyler had a blast with the rocket launchers and bubble maker he got for his birthday.

Item #9: We have sufficiently inundated the blogosphere with Bartle family least for now.

Feb 14, 2008

This one goes out to the one(s) I love

I’m blessed beyond measure to have such a wonderful family.

So in honor of Valentine’s Day, I’d like to list some things I love about each of my beloved boys.


Generous nature

Optimistic, positive personality

Patience with all facets of life

Exercises priesthood honorably

Loves me with all my imperfections


Love for all things physically active

Bright mind

Tender spot for Gavin

Affectionate streak

Love for the gospel


Way with words

Ability to putter

Sense of humor

Love for books and learning

Inquisitive nature


Two-dimpled grins

Belly laughs

Crazy hair

Calm, content personality

Sleeps on my shoulder

Happy Valentine's Day, boys! Love ya!

Feb 13, 2008

Interview with a four-year-old

Heidi: So, Tyler, what do you think about being four?
Tyler: Well, the first thing I like is growing up.
Heidi: What did you do to celebrate today?
Tyler: Got presents. Then Mom mixed my ice creams together.
Heidi: What are your favorite things to eat?
Tyler: Chocolate chips, donuts, cake, pumpkin pie, ice cream pie...every treat there is.
Heidi: What do you like to do at home now that you don't go to school?
Tyler: Nothing.
Heidi: Who are your friends?
Tyler: Isaac, Alex, Abbie, Isabel. And me.
Heidi: What's your favorite show on TV?
Tyler: I don't know. All my TV shows are my favorites, actually.
Heidi: What do you like about being a big brother?
Tyler: Helping Baby.
Heidi: What do you plan to do in your life before you are five?
Tyler: Go to Pump it Up. Have fun at home. Hm....I keep thinking. Go to Grandma Bartle's house. What do you keep writing down, Mom?
Heidi: Is there anything else you'd like to say?
Tyler: Yes, if we have surf boards, I want to go surfing at Seaside. The end.

Happy birthday, buddy.

Feb 12, 2008

I've been tagged

So this is my first tag. (I feel honored.)

1. Pick up the nearest book (one of at least 123 pages).

2. Open the page to 123.

3. Find the 5th sentence.

4. Post the next 3 sentences.

5. Tag 5 people.

Here's my response:

Too bad my office is devoid of books besides those whose covers are aesthetically pleasing. At least this one was closer than New College Spanish and English Dictionary.

Dog Stories by Richard Olsenius [a photography book]

"Dog shows run by the kennel clubs have helped standardize breed characteristics, and in many cases rescued breeds sliding toward extinction. Bulldogs almost vanished after bull-baiting was banned in England in the 1830s. The Dalmation, which was bred as a carriage dog and used in the 1800s by fire departments to control the horses pulling the engines, faced a similar fate. The Irish wolfhound (right), used by Celts to hunt wolves, almost vanished in the mid-1800s before it was revitalized in the second half of the 1900s."

{If you know me at all, you'll be dying with laughter that I just posted on the history of dogs.}

I tag: Red Hot Eyebrows, Yellow Watermelon, Real Redhead, angieinpink, Clodhopper

Feb 11, 2008

Happy Monday, folks

Newsflash: Gavin can smile and laugh. It's all good in the 'hood!

Feb 10, 2008

The list

When we decided to move, we sat down as a family and made a list of places we want to see and things we want to do before we leave Oregon. The items on our list hold lots of happy memories for our family, so eventually I hope to make a scrapbook of our last Oregon adventures.

Yesterday we enjoyed the first activity: visiting the Hillsboro Public Library and its "big backyard." We haven't been to the library since Gavin was born, so choosing a new collection of books was pretty fun. Zach stuck to the usual non-fiction section, but Tyler branched out and got some fun stories and a chapter book. Garry and I had things on hold, so it was a successful outing for all.

We were especially happy that Saturday was a beautiful day. Zachary and Tyler were SO excited about running around the park behind the library. They raced and chased along the paths and played running games with Garry while I fed Gavin on a bench. We stopped to take pictures in their favorite tree, which they discovered in the fall of 2006 when we did a photo shoot amongst the autumn leaves. What a fun family outing.

Other items on our Oregon to-do/see list:
  • Rood Bridge Park
  • Noble Woods Park
  • Portland Oregon Temple
  • Tillamook Cheese Factory
  • Seaside Beach
  • Mt. Hood
  • Pump-it-up Play Land
  • OMSI
  • Oregon Zoo
  • The MAX
Stay tuned as we cross more items off the list!

Feb 9, 2008

Super Space Celebration

Tyler's fourth birthday party was one rockin' event.

It featured a giant rocket ship...

...throwing foam rockets deep into a black hole...

...doing the "moon walk" and dodging "asteroids"....

...attacking a rocket-shaped pinata...

...collecting the spoils...

...posing for a photo op...

...singing to the birthday boy...

...and devouring dessert.

Not pictured: opening presents (technical difficulties).

Not forgotten: the fun and fabulous time had by all!

Feb 8, 2008

Zach's corner of the world

This was a "Monday week" for Zachary at school and we were all glad for it. Although he complains every morning about going, he's always happy after a day of kindergarten. This week Zach came home with fun stories about gym activities, story time, and recess. He even came home one day with marker lines all over his face. He insisted that drawing all over himself with a black marker was an accident. Is that really possible for a six-year-old???

At home Zach spent lots of time working on Valentines for his classmates. He received the assignment to address all his Valentines several weeks ago since his teacher wisely assumed the task would require several sittings to complete. The Valentines we bought this year fold into little baseball or football games, and Zach figured out how to fold them all just right before addressing them. He also enjoyed covering and decorating a cereal box to use as his Valentine mailbox at school.

Grandma Bartle sent the boys an awesome package this week that they have enjoyed. It arrived just before Zach got home on Thursday, and he was thrilled to put up his feet, watch his new Charlotte's Web DVD, and eat some fun treats that afternoon. Thanks, Grandma!!

We've been working on some positive-reinforcement and incentives with Zachary to help him work through his tendency to lose control of his emotions. Talking about tantrum alternatives sometimes helps, but the behavior is so engrained that Zach can't quite imagine reacting differently in some situations. Before allowing him going to Casey's house this afternoon, I made him promise that he wouldn't throw a big fit when it was time to come home. Zach really had to think about it; he wasn't sure it was possible to be happy when the time came to leave. He asked, "Can I whine a little?" When I told him that wasn't OK, he started to cry just thinking about it. Oh, boy. As it turned out, Zach did cry when he had to leave Casey's house, but he didn't totally lose it, so we considered that progress.

Zach is super excited about Tyler's birthday part tomorrow. Between the rocket in the garage, the party favor bags on the counter, and the cake we decorated this evening, waiting until 10:00 tomorrow morning is almost more than the boys can bear. Tomorrow will be an exciting day for everyone.

Feb 7, 2008

Dinner conversation

Tonight at dinner, Garry mentioned that being settled in Colorado was on his mind today. He said how much he wishes we could just be there and have all this upheaval and uncertainty behind us. I wholeheartedly concurred. I wish I didn't have to go through all the hard stuff between now and the time that we are eventually settled in our new home and town. I want to skip that and get to when life will be "normal" again. The most difficult part, I continued, is that there is a huge hurdle (meaning the sale of our home) between now and when we can start muddling through the hard stuff -- and getting over that hurdle is 100% out of our control.

Zach piped up from across the table: "What's a hurdle?"

Before we could respond, Tyler said (with a very grown-up vocal inflection, a shrug in his shoulders, and his palms turned up), "That's just how life goes. It doesn't go very fast. Life is just work. You just can't do things faster than you can. So, it's just this way. Life can't go faster. Nobody can make it faster. That's all I know in my life."

We all paused to digest his sage comments (and I grabbed a pencil to write them down).

Then Tyler added, "And I want to be at Colorado, too."

From the mouths of babes come the greatest gems.

Feb 6, 2008

I really needed this laugh today

Many thanks to my friend, Krista, who sent me this hilarious video. The featured comedian does a masterful job describing the fundamental differences between male and female brains. The sketch is truly delightful in all its accuracy.

On Tyler's terms

When I started the blog in lieu of our traditional newsletter, I vowed to continue individual updates on the kids and to post pictures of each of them at least weekly. It seems fitting to post a Tyler story today since he has the biggest news: I withdrew him from preschool. Oh, the turns life takes! I never imagined I would do such a thing -- or that Tyler would want it.

In early November, Tyler started being naughty at school. He was being mean to the other kids, not obeying the teacher, and being a general disruption to the class. I got negative reports from his teacher after every class for weeks, right up until Christmas break. I attributed the behavior to Gavin's birth, although it was obvious that Tyler didn't understand the connection. I expected that a break from school would do him some good, but when January came he started complaining about going to school every day. This behavior escalated to the point of major tantrums in the car and even a huge one on the last day of school before our Arizona trip two weeks ago. He just didn't want to go to school.

Yesterday was the worst day yet. Tyler hadn't been awake for ten minutes before the whining started. As we drove to school he started to cry, and that turned into yelling at me. Apparently I was a "mean mom" for making him go to school. I tried reasoning with him, tried talking to him about what was really bothering him, tried encouraging him that school was so much more fun than time at home. That just made things worse. I'm not usually one to back down or to let tantrums intimidate me, but I already felt so defeated as a parent that I started getting emotional myself. I had to physically drag Tyler into class. He was kicking and screaming at the top of his lungs. I was crying, too, and we made quite a spectacle. In the midst of such drama, it occurred to me that I ought to just eliminate this fight in my life.

I called Garry for reinforcement. He listened patiently as I blubbered through my description of our morning. We wondered aloud what had happened to our happy little boy. And then we decided to let Tyler choose whether to continue at preschool. I really hoped he wanted to quit.

But he didn't.

When I talked to Tyler (who, by the way, stopped crying about 30 seconds after I dropped him off and had a wonderful, marvelous, exciting, happy day) about quitting preschool, he said, "But Mom, I won't learn anything if I don't go to school!" He wanted to stay, and he agreed to be happy about going. Begrudgingly, I went along with his plan.

Today, however, Tyler started in on an early tirade about going to school tomorrow. I stopped what I was doing to have another heartfelt conversation. Together we agreed that Tyler is going to take a break from preschool for now. He will start again when Zach starts first grade in Colorado. And in the mean time, he'll get to play at home on Tuesday and Thursday mornings.

A few months ago, I would have viewed this situation in terms of how having Tyler at preschool or not impacted my free time. I know I will miss those hours twice a week when I am alone with Gavin, but right now I am so relieved to know that tomorrow morning at least one of my children will be happy! He'd better not change his mind...

pass it on!

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