Author: Melanie Dunn

Helping My Daughter to Avoid Following in My (Failed) Footsteps

Kindergarten these days is REALLY different from the one I attended in 1985.  The most obvious difference is the full day.  Does half-day kindergarten even exist in any school district anymore?  With the push for early childhood education, more and more children are starting their formal education even earlier, at the age of three or four.  So full-day kindergarten just seems like a given. But it doesn’t stop there.  My kindergartener and I recently finished reading Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary.  Remember reading that as a kid in the ‘80s?  Oh, did you read it even earlier than that?  You might have, if you’re a bit older than me – that book was published in 1968.  But even as a kid in the late ‘80s, nothing about Ramona’s kindergarten class seemed odd to me in the same way it does now.  Half-day, yes; only mothers were involved in any activity related to school, yes; naptime during kindergarten – even though it’s ONLY a half day, what?! – yes! What is really striking about Ramona’s kindergarten, however, is the academic component, or perhaps the lack thereof, compared to the more rigorous literacy-focused curriculum my kid is getting in her magnet school program.  And while her particular magnet school happens to be focused on early literacy, I do believe that any kindergarten class today has got to be more serious...

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Spring Break

I have been “working from home” all week because my kids have been out of school for April vacation.  I am managing to get some things done, but the hardest part is not having complete control over my day.  You just can’t plan for and schedule around temper tantrums, unexplained crying jags, whining and clinginess.  And the kids make it tough as well. I jest, but for real, it’s best to table really important projects during an extended period at home with small ones underfoot. If you are prone to distraction even without child grunts and yells in the background, then you are better off simply acknowledging the harsh reality that even basic life tasks must be left unfulfilled for the time being.  That is not hyperbole.  You can hold it while your three-year-old insists on jumping up and down on your full bladder as you try in vain to remove her long enough to race to the bathroom.  I strongly recommend keeping a box of Depends on hand when a day of no school is anticipated. You might try going to the park, to let the kids run around and release some energy so they will sleep soundly later that night.  You might think you can bring along some work to do while they are preoccupied on the playscape.  Sadly, the playscape will hold their interest just long...

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Top Three Reasons I Am Winning at Parenting and In Life Today.

Sometimes you wake up, start your day, and just feel like everything suddenly clicks.  This happens almost never for me.  But it happened to me today.  If I could, I would bottle up and sell the magic that allowed my morning to unfold nearly seamlessly for once.  Let me explain: (1)  I managed to wake up on time, get myself dressed in work-appropriate attire, and shuttle the kids to school on time! Seriously.  Look, here’s a ridiculous selfie that proves I am winning at not looking like shit in the morning: The fact that I managed to leave the house...

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Failing Kindergarten!

This has been a great school year for my older daughter, who turned five last summer and was super excited to start kindergarten at the magnet school where she has attended preschool for the past two years. She has made new friends, learned to read, and become more confident socially. She gets pulled out of class for a special reading group with first graders, because she’s somewhat ahead of her grade level in terms of her reading ability. She has her off moments, especially in the mornings when she would rather stay in her cozy bed than get up and get dressed for school. But my kid is basically rocking kindergarten. I’m not writing all this to send my fellow moms into a sleep deprivation fueled rage. Notice the title to this post? The one who’s failing kindergarten this year is ME. First, I apologize for that bit of clickbait if you sat down to read this because your child is not doing well in kindergarten and you need someone who can relate. Due to my work with parents of children with learning disabilities, ADHD, anxiety and other challenges that can make life difficult in kindergarten and beyond, I do happen to know of people and resources to help if this is your personal struggle. Please drop me a comment below if that’s the case, and I will surely...

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Weird Dreams About My Ex-Boyfriend

I get a weird pit in my stomach when certain songs pop up on Pandora, or when I watch an episode of an anime series that really resonates with me.  And while I do happen to have some sort of stomach bug at the moment, I don’t think that’s what it is. I am going to admit right here that the dreams actually started before my husband ran into him in town the other day.  “Oh cool, did you get his updated contact info?”  “Uh, no.”  If you think it’s weird that I would expect my husband to ask my ex for his phone number, so we can call him and make plans, it’s not.  You need to understand our shared history and the high school environment we grew up in.  Maybe it was just our culture or the way things were back then, but in that circle, it was pretty normal to get involved with someone, drift for a while, be friends again later, date other people in that same circle, etc.  Even the relationships/trysts that ended really, really badly eventually became somewhat normal and serene again, with time.  If you ended up never talking to the other person again, it was more likely due to normal drifting apart, rather than an extremely bad falling out.  So I would have totally expected my husband to be all like,...

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