Saturday, October 27, 2012


The following is a poem written by Alex in October of 2012 for his third grade class and I really love it.


to be brave
is to stand
up for something
that no one else
wants to do
like to fight
a bear

Friday, October 19, 2012

Radio Silence

Oh Alex, I know I promised to share the good, the bad and the ugly and I know that probably I should just have a "this too shall pass" attitude toward this moment in time, but instead I find myself wanting to protect you from this anxious, stress-ridden version of yourself.

You are my child, you are driven by a need to be perfect, to be better than everyone else, a better student, a better athlete, a better friend, a better musician, to be the best at everything from the moment you try.  This autumn, there has been so much more and so much new all at once between four days a week of football, two days a week of Hebrew school, more homework in more subjects, more pressure to be seen as "cool", to play kickball well during recess, to have more play-dates, to be a part of everything.  It is indeed overwhelming.

The result has been some crying (on your part and on my part), some frustration and some insomnia (last night I awoke at 230 am to you and Avery playing with Lego in your room).  You are suffering from an unnecessary lack of self-confidence.  And your dad and I are doing everything we can to show you success. We also want you to know that you are not alone and that other kids that you know are going through the same kind of growing pains.

Perhaps there is a reason that I do not have clear memories of third grade.  Your grandma does not remember my experiencing the same kind of feeling, but this is a chance that I hid it better than you do.

I wanted to share a quote that I read when doing some research on children and the need to be perfect.  I kind of love this and I hope that you will learn to always live by this credo:

"The Torah's view is that you have to be the best that you can be. It is not a competition. You are who you are, and you deal with what you have, and you become what you can become, and you don't have to compete with anyone. Sure, there are people to learn from, but there is no one to compete with."  Rabbi Zecharya Greenwald

My heart aches for you to be happy at all times because I love you so much,

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Fall 2012

These are my eight year old Alex and four year old Avery.  May they always be this close and this happy.

Another Example of "The Days are Long, but the Years are Short"

Dear Alex,

You are sleeping right now, which is the reason that I am typing this letter to you and no longer yelling and screaming.

You are eight and a half years old and in third grade right now.  You are learning about boundaries and lying and telling the truth and doing the right thing.  (You are also learning reading comprehension, math, science and social studies.)

Tonight you did something perhaps accidental and no doubt an incredibly stupid and expensive mistake.  You were taking a shower in our bathroom which has a stall shower.  Your sat down and covered the drain with your body to see just how high you could get the water to go.  Stall showers are not made to do this and so you caused a flood.  A flood not just in my bathroom, but also into my bedroom, also through the floor and ceiling below and into the hallway and coat closet.

It was raining in my hallway downstairs.

I am furious.  Intellectually, I know that eventually I will calm down, eventually I will just laugh ("remember the time you made it rain") and I know that I will be sad that you are no longer my little boy.  But just for today, I am truly feeling like the days are very long indeed and I am working very hard to find the strength to forgive you for being eight and a half years old and for needing to learn about boundaries and doing the right thing.

Even in anger, I love you,

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The truth, the WHOLE truth, and NOTHING but the truth

Dear Alex,

You will watch many movies and TV shows in your life in which you get to watch someone testify in court. (Testify means to tell the truth)  Whenever someone goes up on the witness stand in these movies and shows, the lawyer will always ask first, "Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?"

I couldn't help but think of this phrase today after you complained that Jenny would not let you do your homework in your room yesterday.  

We had told you that if you were having trouble concentrating with your sister running around and making noise that we were perfectly comfortable with you sitting at your desk in your room by yourself.

You told us that Jenny told you "no" when you asked.  I really couldn't believe that Jenny would say that to you, so I challenged you, "You know I'm going to ask her about it" and you challenged me right back, "Go ahead, she did say 'no'!"

When Jenny arrived this morning, I let her know that we were okay with you doing homework in your room to make sure that it was quiet enough to concentrate.  Jenny agreed, but also shared that when no one else is in the house (both Avery and David were not home) that it should be plenty quiet at the kitchen table.

Alex, what you did was tell the truth and nothing but the truth.  You did not, however, tell the WHOLE truth.  Perhaps with this skill of yours, you could one day be a great spin doctor.  This is someone in politics who shares information with the media in a controlled a specific way - usually the truth and nothing but the truth, but perhaps not the WHOLE truth.

I think you are a great kid (and thanks for trying broccoli today at the HealthBarn assembly)