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First Things First

Sometimes we’ve just got to stop everything.  All of it.  And regroup. We’ve got to shove the history lesson aside and make time for the four year old who hasn’t stood still long enough to be in focus.


After my son ricocheted off the same wall for the ninth time in as many seconds, I said, “pick out a game–any game–and we’ll play.”

Which was when he looked over his shoulder at me and slid Hangman off the shelf.  The game with an abundance of letters…and zero strategy, since the preschooler I’m playing can’t spell yet.

I’m not sure what it is yet about Hangman that my son loves.  Maybe all of it.  The letters he gets to fiddle with. The sense of being in charge of something…

The ability to choose the winning “word.”


Only I know it’s deeper than that.

I know my son wants my attention; he wants my time.  He wants my affirmation for the pictures he draws and the destruction he does with scissors.  He wants to know how loved he is.

Which was when we started a workbook together–something simple–only his whole being changed.


while my daughter, who’s hair is dangling haphazardly over her face and is making me want to wipe my own hair out of my eyes, though it isn’t in my eyes, got back on track with Gilgamesh and the rest of the ancient world,

my son scribbled at his own pace.  He traced letters in unique fashion, colored everything in red, and…for the first focused time,

held a pencil the correct way.

It’s the small things.  They count today.


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