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When Books are the Enemy

With my firstborn letters, words and sentences came easily. He would pass time in the back seat of our Nissan on long road trips his little legs crossed, paging through picture books. But with little one, every word is a battle. It breaks my heart to hear him yell the words “I HATE READING!”


We knew that it would be likely that our kids might struggle since my husband and I both have forms of dyslexia. As an adult he’s learned to cope with it by consuming audio books- reading more than I ever could because he pops in his headphones and listens while he does dishes, or during his commute to work. I learned to cope with it by having a job where I deal with words instead of numbers.


I can’t imagine books being the enemy. When I grew up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan I passed the time during long, snowy winters with my friends Judy Blume, Beverly Cleary, imagined myself living in the metropolitan museum of art in the Mixed up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, and flipped through Archie comics, always rooting for Betty but admiring Veronica’s posh wardrobe and flashy convertibles. Reading is a sensory experience to me that an e-reader just can’t capture no matter how convenient it is to have 1, 247 books downloaded and waiting to be read. I like the feel of a book- a real book with pages, and a cover, that I can put the nearest scrap of paper in for a bookmark. Books make feel safe- knowing I can escape into the pages whenever I desire.

But as I’m working through each painstaking page with my little one, I’m trying to remember what it feels like to hit a brick wall of failure and insecurity with every new page, though for me it was every new math problem. I read a friend’s blog recently about making her home a safe learning space for her daughters who have dyslexia. Because they have to work so hard to conform to neuro-typical learning standards at school, their mom Laura tries to make home a place that fits their learning style.


Thankfully there are other people who have been down this road & her post inspired me to think about how Ozzy is able to learn & what he enjoys. In our basement, Dave mounted swings and a hammock from the ceiling- the boys love to go down there to play, especially now that it’s cold. So I devised a game where my boy could move his body while he learned. I held his list of sight words so he could read them while swaying back and forth on the swing. For every word he read I threw a mini-marshmallow into his mouth, which became a hilarious game. After a few days he was asking me to come downstairs to read with him and play the marshmallow game! It’s become more difficult with books, but I still hold them so he can read them while he is on the swing.

Over the next few months he’s getting tested for “letters” as my husband calls them- the same letters I had as a kid- ADD, LD, and perhaps dyslexia. It’s painful to watch him go through this- to see the smart, hilarious and determined kid he is and know there are just some things that aren’t going to be easy for him. To know that he’ll probably struggle with being labeled with letters. I know it will be a fight for him his whole life, just like it was a fight for me. But dammit if Kelly Clarkson, Nietzsche and Kanye aren’t right- what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

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Five Minute Friday: Whisper

In a hushed voice he says “moooom, I got a secret to tell you!” With his little face pressed against my ear he whispers the piece of information that he wants to share with me- sometimes about marbles, his favorite toy, sometimes it’s a nonsensical knock-knock joke which has become increasingly a favorite in our …

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Surprised by Small

“Less is more” architect Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe once stated when he described his minimalist yet profoundly beautiful design style.  His Barcelona chair remains an icon in the world of design though it debuted in 1929.  And a coveted item amongst those of us who wish we had the thousands of dollars to plunk …

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This is My Life

A couple years ago someone made the comment about a fashion blogger they read regularly- “why does she post about her kids? If I wanted to know about toddlers I’d read mom blogs, which I’m totally not interested in. I just want to know how to tie a scarf 27 ways or what flats are …

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When a man loves a woman- he will be an advocate

In the immortal words of singer Percy Sledge “when a man loves a woman….he’d change the world for the good thing he’s found.” My friend Rob from California loves women- and is changing the world because of it. He loves women so much that he has dedicated a significant part of his life and leadership …

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Blog roundup

I’ve been loving some of the posts I’ve been reading lately from brave and thoughtful folks- check out some of their goodness that involves gaping wounds, hot wives, and scandalous women. The one that made me thankful for men who love on their wives publicly: From Adam Jeske: Don’t Stop Bragging about Your Smokin Hot Wife….but …

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Care, Questions, & Creativity- sharing Jesus after college

Jesus tells us to go into the world to make disciples (Matthew 28:19), but some days it feels like a lot just to make dinner. Now that you’re navigating traffic on your morning commute, toting young kids to soccer practice, or traveling 20 days a month for work,how do you talk to neighbors, friends, and …

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MOMcon 2013- Amazing happens here

This past month I flew to Kansas City to attend MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) MOMcon. Yes, I know what you’re thinking, or at least picturing….something like this…. Frumpy Mom- who has gone un-showered, forgotten that she is a woman and is still wearing her clothes from high school because, well, her kids wipe their ranch dressing …

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Marriage is Just Too Loud for Me

I could hear him throwing up in the bathroom though I was at the end of the hallway, at least 30 feet from the disgusting retching sounds.  Dave had food poisoning from a late night Denny’s run with some friends at a weekend retreat. We were there with his parents  a few months before he …

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This is not the child I signed up for.

She pointed to the small scar, right between her daughter’s eyes before we watched her run off to climb up a slide on the playground.  I shrugged to my sister “she’s pretty unafraid of things.”  “Uh, yeah, almost too unafraid” she said, rolling her eyes.  “Like the time that she charged up to a group …

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the double-blessing: Life as a working mom

While there are many challenges to being a working mom, there are a lot of great things that come with the territory.  Research such as Sally Heglesen’s book The Female Advantage cites that moms learn to have an integrated approach to work life and home life in being forced to be more resourceful with their …

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what gets in the way of your happiness?

When I was in college, my roommate Marla stressed about finding a major exclaimed in frustration; “I wish we were back in the old days of women just having to choose if they wanted to be a nurse or a teacher! There are just too many options!”  At the time, I chided her for not …

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I guess I can’t see the harm in working and being a mama

This is one of the lyrics I love in Brittney’s song “you want a piece of me?” partly because as a working mom, I feel like everyone wants a piece of me, yet I enjoy working and being a mom! Any other mama’s feel like this?  It’s a complex choice that is simultaneously rewarding and …