Exactly one year ago I wrote this post, which mostly describes some pretty big parenting fails on our part last summer, but the reason I’m linking to it is to provide a little backstory on why this —

— This right here, that happened earlier today —



Was kind of a big deal.

Ditto the happy river swimming, the raucous fireworks joy (with no ear-covering or fretting about noises), and on and on it goes.

Screen shot 2012-07-07 at 7.02.00 PM

I wish I could go back and tell myself, don’t worry. Don’t be so hard on him. Don’t be so hard on yourself, either. He just needs a little time.


42 Responses to “A little time”

  1. Erin on July 7th, 2012 7:15 pm

    Congrats, Mama. Awesome. Go Riley!

  2. Katie B on July 7th, 2012 7:29 pm

    I remember reading that post last summer and feeling your pain. We are still struggling through ours on some issues (like: Mom, you have to stand NEXT to me on the tball field or I will cry, cry, cry) but some are getting better. So glad Riley is working through things-yeah! It reminds me to relax about it a little and remember it will work itself out. Thanks!

  3. Kristin C on July 7th, 2012 7:47 pm

    What a great relief to see this come full circle…as a parent it’s always nice when this kind of stuff is shared because it makes you realize that the hard parts now are just temporary. That you’ll get through and so will your kid. Thank you!

  4. NancyJ on July 7th, 2012 8:32 pm

    I saw the picture of the slip n slide and knew exactly what you were talking about!
    We ALL have our moments – don’t let anyone try and tell you they don’t. I hope this is a shining example to you of why you (we all, even when our kids are turning 22!) just have to take a deep breath and say “this too shall pass”.
    It reminds me of the scene in Parenthood (the movie) when Steve Martin is talking to the grandmother and he’s picturing himself on the roller coaster and how everything goes up and down and it’s scary but everyone survives.

  5. Nikki on July 7th, 2012 8:35 pm

    Thank you! I am taking that advice right now and stop giving myself such a hard time about how super freaked out my child is by ANY bug… (last years she loved them). Anyway, point taken and this post came at a perfect time for me :-)

  6. emilywk on July 7th, 2012 8:58 pm

    Does it help, even a little, to know that I have a littler boy and that the difference between last year and this makes me feel like I can understand more? I can do this?

    Because it does.

  7. sooboo on July 7th, 2012 9:47 pm

    Beautiful! I wise person once told me: only look back to learn. Guilt is useless.

  8. JB on July 8th, 2012 1:00 am

    Thanks, Linda. I am where you were at a year ago. It was good to read your posts and also backpacking dad’s comment. Perspective is so hard to find in the heat of the moment.

  9. Redbecca on July 8th, 2012 6:20 am

    He is growing up, isn’t he? This is so great to see (and a reminder for the rest of us.)!

  10. A little time | deborahtox on July 8th, 2012 6:46 am
  11. Olivia on July 8th, 2012 8:11 am

    I’m trying to remember this since swim lessons with my 3 yr old are not going well. I’d love for her to learn now, but I know if it doesn’t happen this summer it won’t be the end of the world.

  12. Eric's Mommy on July 8th, 2012 10:35 am

    GO RILEY!!

  13. Jennifer on July 8th, 2012 12:07 pm

    I love the smile on Riley’s face in the 2nd photo, plus his enthusiastic cousin in the background with the fist-pump.

  14. shriek house on July 8th, 2012 2:21 pm

    Yay Riley! LOVE this!

  15. Jesabes on July 8th, 2012 5:37 pm

    I got chills when I read “So this year he hates the Slip N’ Slide. Next year he’ll probably love it.”

  16. Victoria on July 8th, 2012 6:01 pm


  17. H on July 8th, 2012 6:53 pm

    I can’t tell you how many times I was desperate for a Parenting Crystal Ball. I made mistakes, no doubt about it, but I think the best advice is to do the best you can with what you have and what you know. Then try like hell to celebrate when you made the right choice and don’t beat yourself up if you didn’t. I’m so happy for you and Riley.

  18. Kami on July 8th, 2012 8:56 pm

    YAY Riley! ;-)

    I have a 22, 19, and 6 year old and believe me when I say do not sweat the small stuff. When you get to the bigger stuff you’ll wish you could go back to the slip and slide problem. Trust.

  19. Jen on July 8th, 2012 9:26 pm

    I loved this. Love your writing. So wonderful to read.

  20. JennyA on July 9th, 2012 6:04 am


  21. Alex on July 9th, 2012 7:08 am

    So you take that message to yourself and you go forward with it. HIndsight seems so clear, and that seems so unfair, until we realize we can take the underlying lesson…here, to trust it will all be fine in just a little while…and use it to shield ourselves from similar worries up ahead.

    I so enjoy following along on your journey. xo

  22. adequatemom on July 9th, 2012 7:55 am

    I so needed to read this. Hooray for all of you! I’m going to try really hard to take the advice you offer to your past self.

  23. dorrie on July 9th, 2012 11:02 am

    Aw, I am totally welling. Good lessons on all fronts. It is wonderful how happy you all are in Eugene! Enjoy!

  24. sharon on July 9th, 2012 12:51 pm

    The saying This too shall pass.. is so true. It took me until the second child to learn this.

  25. Ashleas on July 9th, 2012 4:32 pm

    So I read about how your neighbors have given you use of the pool till the house is rented. YOU KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS.

    A PROPER LEISURE DIVE PHOTO SERIES OF JB AND THE BOYS (throw the cat in too for good measure).

  26. Jennifer on July 9th, 2012 5:05 pm

    I don’t have a twitter account, but I noticed you talking about this yesterday.

    I think you can tell when it’s worthy of interventions and when it’s not. I have one who was anxious and noise-sensitive to the point that we didn’t even dream of seeing fireworks… and she would try school events and then ask her teacher to excuse her to the office when it was simply too loud. That was last year. And she too has grown out of it this year. Didn’t hyperventilate at the loud music at her ballet recital. No clear earplugs required. She might even walk into the ice cream social this year!

    Then we have a younger one with very strong sensory aversions and it was clear that hers was interfering with her development… not just with her fun. That’s the line for me. Give it time if their strong fears/sensory stuff means they’re missing out on some fun and stuff you think should be an integral part of childhood memories. That stuff will usually come with time and exposure and erosion of their iron will. And then those things will be ok and maybe even fun and awesome.

    If it’s more than that, you do know it. And that’s when you seek out some professional opinions.

    And all that said, evaluations through early intervention and/or school districts are freeeeeeeeee and fun for the kid. So if there are any doubts, an eval will at worst be a waste of time and at best either a huge sigh or relief or an important first step to helping your kid conquer the world like some braveheart meme image or something.

  27. Alyce on July 9th, 2012 6:34 pm

    Yay for a year’s passing.

  28. Amy N on July 9th, 2012 9:19 pm

    Thanks for the reminder!

  29. yaya on July 9th, 2012 11:50 pm

    Loving this post, story of my life right now. My Dude has come leaps & bounds from last year but I still find myself thinking “oh my gawd will he ever…” and yes, yes he will do all those things I fret over & he’ll be big & live his own life and be away from me ‘mom’ and I just need to chill out & have my future self tell my current self “CHILL and enjoy, it moves way too fast” :-)

    Awesome post.

  30. sharon on July 10th, 2012 8:15 am

    Linda, I remember back about a year ago, you were reading a book about sensitive children, and talking about how it was describing your child, exactly…and I thought at the time that I should write down that book title! Alas, I can’t find it and I can’t find your blog entry that discussed it. Was it “The Highly Sensitive Child” or “Raising Your Spirited Child” or something like that? I have both of these on hold at the library now, but would love some advice on a book to read that could maybe help me figure out how to better help my amazing, bright, mercurial, explosive, empathic, tender, energetic, precocious, sad, scared, loving, obsessive, brave, creative daughter.

  31. Linda on July 10th, 2012 9:16 am

    Hi Sharon — I feel like I’ve seen LOTS of recommendations for those two books. I haven’t read them, but the one I thought was pretty helpful is “Freeing Your Child from Anxiety” http://www.amazon.com/Freeing-Your-Child-Anxiety-Practical/dp/0767914929

    There was a particular metaphor in that one that really worked for Riley (imagining your worrying brain as a dog that’s barking at a friendly mailman, or something like that).

  32. Jennifer on July 10th, 2012 10:02 am
  33. sharon on July 10th, 2012 2:19 pm

    Thanks so much for the advice! You have no idea how much I appreciate it. Or, maybe you do. :)

  34. Wanda on July 14th, 2012 11:01 am

    That is great! So glad to see Riley enjoying all the fun without the stress. It’s amazing how much they change as they get bigger.

  35. Eclecta on July 15th, 2012 10:47 am

    Linda, I don’t even know you (or have any kids of my own), but I am so freaking PROUD of you!!!!!!!! Your honesty helped so many people a year ago feel not so alone, maybe also helped them see beyond their own frustrations to choose more mature and loving responses, and now you’re providing a little bit of hope to those who might be going through their own July ‘ll situations. You ROCK, lady! :->

  36. Julia on July 16th, 2012 4:58 pm

    Remember that even when it’s scary because you (collective you) just know your in heart you are a terrible mother that you aren’t. Kids are the sum of all days, and they know how much they are loved. Wow that was preachy…. Congrats, you guys should all be proud of yourselves.

  37. Willyn on July 17th, 2012 2:06 am

    So nice, worth it enough to remember:)

  38. Mary Clare on July 17th, 2012 9:24 am

    Hurray! It’s so reassuring to read this post and to know that kids can grow out of the over-the-top worrying and adversity to some seemingly small things. I have found myself in the same position as you in the original post – trying to parent an anxious, screaming kid, who’s having a public meltdown about some inane thing… Oy! It frustrates me to no end that my daughter won’t listen to my reassurances or calm down. Lately, there’s been this fear about taking baths and being afraid of the drain. Oh, and a fear of loud automatic flushing toilets. I am learning to give her space and not force her to do things when she’s anxious. However, that doesn’t mean that things always go smoothly or that I don’t lose my shit about her freak out. Thanks for sharing your stories!

  39. Jenna on July 17th, 2012 12:28 pm

    Thank you so much for showing me that there’s light at the end of the tunnel. :)

  40. Heather M. on July 18th, 2012 6:28 pm

    I’ve had more experiences with Zac like the ones you mention with Riley than I can count. I still have them. Last year’s post and this update both sound like they could have been penned by me at any point in these last 14 yrs. Your closing in this post is so dead-on. It is REALLY hard for me to give Zac grace, to let him come into his own, in his timing, especially when other people are watching and (I’m too quick to assume) judging. I am still learning that I don’t need to care what anyone thinks, who’s watching, what they might think of me…it just matters what my hubby and feel like we are called to do for him and everyone else doesn’t get a say in my head. Man, that’s hard for me. It was so hard when he was smaller and there is SO much I would do differently if I had a do-over.

    Then one day you casually realize it’s been ages since that old issue that used to plague what seemed like every freaking event…just went away. And he’s telling you not to tuck him in at night anymore and he doesn’t need your help with his bloody nose, etc. Sigh…

  41. Ashley on July 19th, 2012 1:18 pm

    You are right where you are supposed to be, I love that so much.

  42. Kelly on July 23rd, 2012 7:55 pm

    I can’t ever decide who does more growing- me or my own Riley-aged kid. It is a win, either way. Your recent posts have got me so EMO, Linda! You Sharps are KILLING IT, and I’m very happy for you all.

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