Spelling Test rebound

A mark of a 4 indicates Mastery. A mark of a 3 indicates Proficient. Since Maly has started the First Grade, she has had spelling tests on Fridays. Her teacher sends home a list 16 words on Monday and we are given the next 4 days to review said words and practice for Friday’s spelling test.

Every week Maly has come home with a 4+ grade on her spelling tests. Until last week. She came home with a mark of a 3. I was disappointed. These were words that we had practiced spelling many times throughout the week. She missed two words: trip and trap. During her test, she heard the “tr” sound as a “ch” sound, and thusly spelled “chrip” and “chrap.”

I told Maly that we were going to have to work extra hard on her spelling words this week. And we did. Any words that she had difficulty with, we focused on those words while not ignoring the others. I told her that it is very important that she tries hard, concentrates and performs well on tests. I also told her that I wanted her to earn a 4 on her spelling tests. I confirmed that she also wanted to earn 4’s on her spelling tests as well. And then I allowed her to get out of the ice bath and told her she could spit out the ball of aluminum foil.

When she stepped off the bus this afternoon, I greeted her and we hugged and kissed as usual. Elise, Maly, Mara and I all walked toward the house. Casually I asked, “Maly, how’d you do on your spelling test today?” She turned around, ran toward me and yelled, “I got a 4!!!!”

I smiled, ran my fingers through the hair on top of her head and praised, “I’m very proud of you, Sug!” Elise and I both reminded her of the value and importance in hard work, dedication and persistence. Maly said she understood, and was proud of herself for the high mark.

And after she’d received her graded test, she made it a point to write me a note. I still hope and pray, every day, that we’re doing this parenting thing right.

Monthly Mara Letter: Month six

Dear Mara,

You turned six-months-old today. It’s hard to believe that half a year has gone by when it feels like we brought you home from the hospital just last week. I think the time has flown by so quickly because you’ve been such a happy and easy baby.

One of the most memorable moments of this past month is when your mom dropped your on your head a few nights ago. People laugh and joke about this kind of thing, but apparently it happens and your mom actually dropped you on your head. You see, you and your mom were walking across the street to feed the neighbors’ dog and your mom lost her footing while taking the curb and you both hit the pavement. Your mom absorbed most of the blow with her knee and elbow, but she said she saw your head hit the ground. I think this might be a bit of an exaggeration.

Your mom came running back into the house crying with you, crying as well, in her arms. She yelled my name and told me that you both had taken a tumble and that you’d hit your head. In a panic, I jumped up from the couch and met you and your mom somewhere near the kitchen where I immediately took you and dialed Child Protective Services and the Maury Povich show. I slowly walked you to the lamp in the living room and told you that it was going to be okay while I looked at and felt every square inch of your head.

I don’t think you hit your head. Your head might have made gentle contact with the street, but your mom took the hit for you. Your mom will always take the hit for you.

We were both scared. We’re your parents. It’s our job to be scared for you, and to do any and everything to protect you.

This month you’ve made strides in your mobility and balance. You’re not quite crawling yet, but you can spin and inch yourself around the living room rug on your belly. You’re also sitting up on your own pretty well. You’re still a bit wobbly, and I always like to put a pillow or something equally fluffy behind you when we prop you up in case you take a backwards spill. But you’ll just sit there and smile at us, and then slap the carpet or clap your hands together.

You’ve also started eating more solid foods this month. So far you’ve had various cereals, bananas, avocados and prunes. Your mom is still mad at me for giving you your first non-cereal solid food in her absence. She was on a photo shoot one day and it was just you and me. You were hungry, your milk supply was away, and we had bananas. I took one of said bananas, smushed it up with a fork and fed it to you. You loved it and we just had a grand old time, you and me, there in the kitchen eating a banana and singing the happy songs of the banana people.

You’ve become much more vocal this month. Your brain is trying to get your mouth to put words together. You’ve said, “dada dada” a few times, but it hasn’t necessarily been directed toward me. You’ve also said, “mama,” and that was once directed toward the cat, and another time toward a laptop’s power cord. And then there are times when you’re just in your own world, happy as a clam and you indulge in little squeals. You have such an adorable and girly voice.

You’ve been nothing short of amazing and a source of smiles for us all. I take a lesson from you daily and realize that there’s not a lot in this big world that’s not worthy of a smile or a giggle.

Keep on smiling, Sugar.

I love you,


The dying child within

Last night I had the worst nightmare I think I’ve ever had. For whatever reasons, Elise, Maly, possibly Mara (I can’t remember) and I were walking westbound on FM 1094. Elise and I were walking in the right lane, with traffic. Maly was walking in the left lane, against traffic. Although, there was no traffic. I yelled across the highway to Maly to get on the same side of the road as us. I don’t know where we were going or why we were walking on a farm market road.

Maly was pushing something. It was a nondescript toy of some such — maybe a wagon, a stroller or a cart or buggy. Out of nowhere and in the bat of any eye, an 18-wheeler came barreling down the highway at breakneck speed. One second it was calm and quiet and the only sound was me, yelling to my daughter to come get on the right side of the road with me. And then there was the sound of an 18-wheeler breaking the local sound barrier.

And just like that, Maly was gone. There was no sound beyond the roaring engine, the wind and the energy transferring from 18 wheels to the asphalt. There was no impact.

She was completely gone. It’s like she’d never existed. She was swept away in that same bat of an eye. No closure. No proof that an accident had happened. She just ceased to exist.

It took me a moment or two in my dream for my brain to process what I’d just witnessed. And at that point, I was alone. Elise was still there in the periphery, but she wasn’t present in the surreal fatality I’d just endured.

I was absolutely alone. I started screaming, “OH GOD! OH GOD! OH GOD!” over and over and over again.

I was completely alone. It was just me and absolutely nothing.

I forced myself to wake up. My head was drenched in sweat. It was somewhere around 3 a.m. I think I closed my eyes again because I was afraid to face the notion that my dream might’ve been real and I’d remember that my daughter didn’t exist in the physical world.

Reality quickly came over me, and my conscious comforted me in acknowledging that everything was, in fact, okay. Maly was okay and sleeping silently in her bedroom.

I got up and stood at the foot of Elise’s and my bed. I let my mind tell me again that everything was okay.

I went back to bed. I didn’t go check on Maly. I don’t know why I didn’t go check on Maly. I think my heart knew and told me that everything was okay, and won over my conscious that wanted me to worry.

Later this afternoon, I decided to see if it meant anything to have a dream about a child dying. Most of what I found indicates that it could be related to a serious quarrel or difference with the spouse or partner, because the child is a reflection of the both. Presently, that didn’t hold true for me. Another suggested that the dream might be indicative of one’s inner child dying. This might be true of me now.

I think it’s a calling to save him. My inner child.

I called Elise’s cell phone this evening. Before answering, Elise gave the phone to Maly. I can’t remember the last time I spoke to Maly on the phone. I’d venture to guess a year’s gone by already. I had an actual, coherent conversation with her tonight on the phone. She sounds so much older now. She’s growing up.

Anyway, last night’s dream was the absolute worst. Literally a parent’s worst nightmare. It’s a reminder to continuously strengthen the bond with my child, and with my child within.