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Mommas and Poppas, Nanas and Popis, these are strange times. This morning, I was wishing I had a story to read my little guy. He’s 5 and doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about. We don’t want to overburden our children, but we can’t keep them in the dark, either. So, I just wrote something myself.

I made a little video, “Taming the Stress Monster.” Play it for your darlings, or mute the sound and read aloud. Enjoy, and please share. You are loved.

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“You should open a dessert stand! You’re the best cooker.”

My two daughters sat devouring their berry crisp, their short hair a mess, their ever-longer legs dangling from the bench seat at the kitchen table. A blueberry/strawberry/crumbly mess gathered at the edges of their stuffed mouths. Was this thrown-together dessert really that good? To them, it was. It was just sweet enough, warm, and made on a whim. A little, I suppose, like the way I mother.

As a mother of three, I’ve just now begun to take stock of the way in which I’m raising my children. I no longer pore over pages of parenting books and while I still read parenting blogs and turn to others for advice, I’m standing pretty firm on my own two exhausted legs. For the most part, I’ve got this …

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If hearing voices makes me crazy, so be it. After all, I’m in good company.

Sometimes, internal voices happen outside my mind. Words are spoken, and received by my ears, rather than merely bubbling up in my brain. Who do these words belong to? Me. But not me. Both a better version…and a worse one. The proverbial devil and angel. The cartoon characters dressed in red and white perched atop opposing shoulders.

It’s simple, really. The devil with the red dress on is selfish, easily agitated and aloof. The ethereal one speaks softly, reacts slowly and remains engaged at all times. To be honest, sometimes she annoys me. Sometimes I just want to hang out and wallow in self satisfaction with the one in stilettos. But I can’t trust her. She doesn’t have my best interest …

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Was that really a piece of dog hair embedded in dried snot on my child’s face? Yes. Yes it was. Unfazed, I reached up and pulled it off, and then thought I’d better clean that snot off, too. Gross. Only, not gross. Just normal. It’s weird how normal gross things are when you have kids. I’m nearly immune to the smell, texture and sound of bodily fluid as it drips, squirts and flies out of my children. Motherhood. Is this all?

I can still remember when my first-born nephew was around 18 months old (that would have made me 6 and a half). He was eating a cupcake (or something white, I can’t really recall). He had a smudge on his face, and my sister casually reached over, wiped it off with one finger, and licked …

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I tell her she’s really fast on her bike. She’s not. But what am I, some kind of jerk?!

In our typical rush to get out the door in the morning, I got everyone ready before myself. (Which is a huge mistake, if you know the whole “air mask on a plane” theory. With both girls dressed, hair brushed, and teeth sanitized, I finally took off my own PJ’s. I threw open my closet door. No. Too dressy. I opened up my “pajama/workout clothes” drawer. Perfect. My “bigger” running shorts and matching lavender tank top. I quickly assembled my outfit and glanced at the full-length mirror on the back of the closet door.

Oh. My. Gosh. My stomach. At only 7 weeks pregnant, it’s already popping over the elastic on my shorts like a busted can …

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My auburn-haired sweetie.

The smell of a dying fire swirled through the air as the sound of crickets filled the dark silent space. My left hip bone dug into the hard ground, it’s own layer of fat and the thick sleeping bag underneath providing a slim layer of comfort. Our first family camping experience would prove to be memorable, even if uncomfortable.

While my heart beat contentedly in my non-sleeping chest, full of love and gratitude, my body ached. My neck rested at an odd angle, perched atop a caramel-colored teddy bear named Frances. Pressed against my back was my sleeping preschooler, and tucked under my left arm was my sleeping toddler. Her auburn hair, badly in need of a trim, was pasted to her forehead and neck, and her hot breath hit my face with …

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