Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Gimme Kiss

Toddlers are notorious for stalling when it comes to bedtime.  You never saw such a desperation for one more book, one more drink of water, or one more trip to the bathroom as when mom or dad say it's time to get into bed and turn off the light.  You'd think that with Asher being our third child, we'd know all the tricks and tow a hard line against them.

Ah but we have given in, shamelessly and repeatedly.  For Asher's trick is to plead with the cutest voice, over and over again: "gimme kiss," "gimme hug," "gimme kiss," and "gimme 'nother kiss."  It's as if his life depends on extracting all of this affection before he turns in for the night.  Who are we to turn down such a sweet request.  We are suckers, aren't we?

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

A Cherished Forever Memory

Ironically, given how many photos of my kids that I take and post, some of my most cherished images of them are ones I hold only in my heart.  I've written before about "the video I didn't take," and can still close my eyes and picture Jada running down Forbidden Drive into her mother's arms.  Let me now describe a recent memory of Asher that I am similarly committing to memory.

It had been a long day.  Asher was difficult at breakfast and difficult at school, and it was weighing heavily on me.  I was having trouble keeping track of small and big things in Aaron's and Jada's lives, so those things were swirling in my head as well.  Finally, juggling work and School Board and teaching at Penn had left me spent at the end of the day, and Amy's demanding job had similarly had her at her wit's end. 

Friday, November 30, 2018

Huang Family Newsletter, November 2018

It's a grind as usual in the Huang household.  Asher is stumbling through pre-school and basketball class; we did a behavioral evaluation and eagerly await the results and next steps.  Aaron did really well at his first swim meet of the year, and is doing a nice job balancing more practice with school and chores.  Jada got her braces off and is gearing up for holiday concerts with choir, orchestra, and all-city.  Amy and Lee are haggard from demanding jobs, teaching at Penn, and keeping tab on an increasingly complex schedule of extra-curriculars and logistics.  Through it all we are thankful.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Kids Are Allowed to Be Not Okay

As Asher's behavioral issues have worsened, we have intensified our pursuit of special services to try to help him turn things around.  As this is our third of three children that we've had to do this for, there is no shame on our part in asking for help, nor in letting people know that we need help.  Not that there should ever be any shame in doing what you need to do to help your children to thrive, but of course I needn't tell you that in certain circles there is incredible pressure to maintain a sort of appearance of perfection and ease in parenting.  We've long past given up that front.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

A Race Against Time for Asher’s Safety

I have hinted at this a bit in this space and elsewhere, but let me say again that Asher’s adjustment from having a nanny to being in preschool has been a difficult one.  In general, the 2’s and 3’s are called “terrible” for a reason, because it’s a perfect storm of thinking the world revolves around you and the world treating you like it doesn’t, all the while you’re ability to communicate and reason is still very nascent.

Yes, yes, and oh my lord yes for Asher on all of these things.  He is physically big for his age and behind on communications for his age.  He can be so so sweet most of the time, but when he doesn’t get what he wants his outbursts can be epic.  And in social settings like preschool (or, this has also happened when we’ve dropped him off at Sunday School at church or at Child Watch at the local Y’s), he can engage in behavior that is unfair to impose on the other kids and on the adults in charge, like throwing toys and hurling chairs and lashing out and even hitting and spitting.  At this point, more often than not (which is to say, well over half of the time), I have to get Asher before it's time for him to be gotten, because the adults in charge are no longer able to deal with him.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018


I recently caught up with an old friend of mine whose kids are around the same age as Aaron and Jada.  We used to watch sports and talk sports all the time, so it wasn't out of character for him to blurt out in the middle of our brief conversation, "yo, did you see the game yesterday?"  Alas, not only had I not seen the game, I didn't even know what game he was referring to, although once he told me the sport and situation, it was obvious that "the game" needed no additional explanation as to which one he was referring to.

It is a function of a demanding job plus teaching at Penn plus serving on the local school board that has vaporized my free time and is eating into my getting enough sleep.  But surely, my friend protested when I stunned him by saying I was unaware of a game yesterday, an avid sports fan as I was and still am, could make time to at least check in on the score.  After all, we are in a similar life situation, in terms of juggling work and parenthood.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Say the Dates

A little public service announcement for Philly parents if you have not yet responded.  The School District of Philadelphia wants to hear from you to get a sense of what's important in relation to instructional days, teacher training, and various cultural and religious observances.  Click here to complete a very brief survey that will go a long way towards the District's upcoming calendars being responsive to people's concerns and needs.  Thank you!