Symptomatology

Reflection--Photographer unknown

He over-eats because he’s nervous.

She over-sleeps because she’s sad.

He hits because he doesn’t know another way to show he doesn’t understand.

Her stomach hurts when there’s a test

His when a certain uncle comes.

She ‘checks out’ when her parents fight

or students raise a hand.

He cries with every little scratch.

She’s stoic with a shattered arm.

Their eyes glaze over at the sight of checkered shirts

Or painted nails

A hairdo

A certain aftershave

Or lip balm.

He can’t sit still.

She won’t stop day dreaming.

He mopes. She cries. He pouts. She flies

Off the handle

If someone meets her eyes.

He wets the bed.

She carves red lines into her thigh.

He fights because he’s scared.

She spits because she’s feeling trapped

and

flirts because it is the only way she knows

to interact.

They’re judged

For all

Of the above

When in fact

Their behaviors speak a loud broadcast

Of unabated stress

And lives

That turned

Hard

To survive.

 

 

 

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Minimal

black-dot

 

“What is that?” I asked about the dot the four-year-old had just purposed onto the page.

We’d been talking about living and non-living things, sorting pictures and ideas.

He looked up at me. “It a minimal.” His tone stated this was obvious.

“A what?”

He raised a small eyebrow, slowed his speech to meet my apparently plummeting intellect. “A Mini-Mal. A very teeny teeny animal.”

 

 

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What You Call a Thing

name

 

What you call a thing, may well become it.

What you name a person, may weave itself into their cells.

What you title, leads a story.

What you tag, may stick around.

Definitions matter. Meanings become truth implied, rehearsed, accepted; whether it is hidden from a awareness or intensely shown.

Words create reality and shape semantics.

What we say becomes a part of who we are and what we stand for. What we give or take away in voice is woven through the tapestry of those around us: how we see them, how they are intended to be seen by themselves and others.

How we label people, places, power, actions … What we tell to whom and how. All these not only make us, but format the very being of our children. Our labels inscribe children’s spirits and knit into the fibers of every connection made, be it bathed in kindness or in less than kind.

May we be aware, and tender what we mean and how we use it.

Words matters. Every time.

 

 

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Biggest in his eyes!

Giraffe

“My daddy is more bigger,” he announced after examining a photo on my wall of my niece and her (rather tall) husband. His curls bounced in certitude and his tone spanned the space from pity to challenge.

“Is he?” I noted, winking at the boy’s mom.

I know the father. Objectively this little guy’s dad isn’t particularly tall, but this wasn’t about being objective … To his son, the father may as well be the giant of all giants.

“Yea,” the preschooler nodded emphatically. “My daddy is even more bigger than …” he scanned the room for inspiration, “… a whole Empire State Building house or even more bigger than …” he narrowed his eyes in concentration, opened them wide, “a giraffe!”

 

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For The Record

dressup

 

For the record, she is fierce, even if she is in fluffy skirts and fleecy socks and every color of barrette holding on to dear life in her hair.

For the record, she is loving, even if she screams at her baby brother, narrows her eyes to daggers when she doesn’t get her way, and pushes every one of her mother’s buttons till something gives and tantrums fly.

For the record, she is smart, even if she cannot quite “do numbers” the way some of her classmates can and even if her words tend to come out upside down and sideways and in the wrong order and all too often not quite on the topic.

For the record, she has lots to say, even if she shrugs an “I don’t know” or grunts a precocious “whatever” because explaining feels too hard and some words hide and narrative does not form the way she senses that it ought to.

For the record, she is funny, even if she may not laugh at some jokes other people say, because she doesn’t get the puns and is still out to lunch on idioms and doesn’t quite see humor in confusing riddles.

For the record, she is thoughtful, even if she often acts before she seems to think (because she cannot always get the thought in time to matter), and reacts as if she doesn’t care (when she if fact cares more than many).

For the record, she is brave, and utterly indomitable. She works harder than most realize and deals with more frustration than is reasonable. And yet, she does still try. She may do so in frowns and pouts and at times even in ways that appear less than fully loveable. But she has no bone in her that isn’t kind. Just all too many that are over-tender.

For the record, she is a handful and a heart-full. She is bubbling with spirit and wriggling with life. She’d keep you on your toes, but oh boy would you earn a good dance for it! For a little body, she packs some serious soul punch.  She is fabulous personified. A guaranteed-to-wake-you-up-in-the-morning child.

 

 

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Mini Picasso

 

“This is a big big big mountain and it have a train and it go ‘choo-CHOOOO!’ round and round and also flowers but you see them fast because it a train and rainbow and my name.” (J.N, age 3:4)

 

mini picasso

 

 

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English: Tough Enough?

Bel Air Library Baltimore

 

English …

The impossible nuance of words that do not follow through

And rules that leave one without clue

Enough to grow a frown on many brow

As they doggedly attempt to plough

A minefield of delivery so rough

It leaves them justifiably gruff …

 

This video never fails to make me … laugh!

 

Butterflies

butterflies-photographer unknown

 

She had butterflies in her tummy. Her heart was in her throat. Jitters like little worry critters jumbled through her thoughts. She felt apprehensive, anxious, wary, shaky. Her feet felt twitchy, her hands clammy. She was timorous and nervy.

Not quite frightened. Not quite sorry. Hyper with a smidge of happy and a sprinkling of uneasy.

She was both hungry and queasy. She kept fretting. She felt trembly.

Recital day in all its glory.

 

 

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How Will I Know?

girlchem

“How will I know?” the girl hung spectacled green eyes on me. Teeth aglitter with pastel-colored braces bit her lower lip. “What if I wait till it’s too late?”

It was decision time for Summer Camp and she was fretting.

Should she go to the same camp she’d gone to twice already, the camp her cousin goes to, and where several of her classmates will be? She loved it there. It was familiar. It was only three hours away from home. There was a lake and zip-lines and horseback riding. She was going to choose her best friend from last summer as a bunk-mate. It felt like another home.

Or … should she go to the other camp … the one she’d heard of last year but by then already had no openings? The science camp sounded like everything she’d ever want … but now the choice – and possible consequences – became real. That camp was half-way across the continent. It was on a campus, not in a forest. There’d be no one there she knows.

“My friends say I’m crazy because who wants school when there’s finally no school,” she sighed. Her finger twirled the edge of an auburn lock. Twist, hold, release; twist, hold, release. I thought of how the movement mirrored her dilemma … To hold on or to let go, to keep close or to let loose.

A difficult concept at any age, let alone at eleven.

“Hmm …” I noted. It wasn’t my input this child needed, just my ear.

“It’s not like school!” she stressed, a bit defensively. “It’s interesting! Also, they have summer camp activities. A pool, and trips, even arts and crafts. … Well, the crafts are more like, robotics and such, but that’s still crafting stuff, isn’t it?”

I nodded.

She took a deeper breath. “And I like science … They have a whole week about space. We’ll even get to visit a real observatory!” Her eyes shone as if they were already reflecting several constellations, and she sat straighter. Then she sagged. “But I don’t know anyone.”

“Not yet,” I noted. “I gather this won’t last.”

The auburn curl twirled, corked, released. “Yeah … There were a lot of kids I didn’t know in the other camp, especially the first time. But …” the big green eyes widened as the core of doubt unmasked. “What if everyone there is, you know, dorks and nerds and such?”

My eyebrows rose, amused. “And if they are? …”

She frowned but then a pastel-braces grin appeared. “Well … then I’ll fit right in…”

womenscientist1

 

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In Plain Sight

 

His face gave him away.

Guilt wrote itself into every centimeter of his little visage. It colored his cheeks cherry and turned his lips downwards and his eyes up and away. He pressed his lips together to prevent admission. Tucked his hands deep into his pockets, one fist bulging in a telltale sign of something hidden.

Or not so well hidden.

I raised an eyebrow, more amusement than ire.

“I didn’t take anything,” he blurted.

My eyebrow climbed along with a corner of my mouth.

The four-year-old’s eyes darted down his arm, eyes magnetized by a conflicted conscience. “I don’t have anything in my hand …”

“I see …” I noted.

His looked up at me in alarm and the cherries on his cheeks bloomed beet.

“But …?” he examined the opaque fabric of his pants before exclaiming in half-question, half-fact: “Oh, you have magic eyes!?”

His little chest sighed and he pulled his hand out, candy clutched in guilty fingers. “I … I didn’t take it. … Uh … I only did … um … can I have one?”

 

dish-of-candy

 

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