I was sure I never wanted to be a parent. I was happily single and child-free by choice. And now my pockets are filled with kid crap—a Lego head, a sticky gum wrapper, a crumpled up dress from an abandoned Barbie doll.

It’s Kate’s fault. I fell ridiculously in love with her the first time we met, on a blind date in the middle of a March snowstorm. Kate, the love of my life … who just happened to have a two-year old, and was hell bent on having child #2. It was a package deal, take it or leave it, all or nothing, you’re in or you’re out.

I agonized. I fretted. I abandoned my logical, rational beliefs and consulted a psychic–who told me it would never work. I ran away to Bali to get away from it all.

In the end, I listened to my heart.

Things in my Pocket is about the unexpected treasures I’ve found along the way.

Lockdown

I experienced my first lockdown at the kids’ school this afternoon. The end of the day bell had just rung. Kids were spilling out of the classroom doors. Etta was the first out of her classroom; she saw me waiting for her on the grass outside and came running pell-mell to give me a hug, a big grin on her face. I was just about to ask how her day was when the announcement came loudly over the intercom, calm but insistent …

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Talking About Barbara

“I’m sad today,” I said to my kids.

I didn’t want it to be a big deal. I wanted it to be like one of Kate’s thousand little conversations, casually mentioned and repeated over time so that the lesson gradually and naturally sinks in.

But a thousand little conversations have to start somewhere.

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Four Strategies to Keep the Chore Momentum Going

If you’ve ever started a new exercise program, you knows it’s one thing to begin an undertaking … and quite another to keep the wheels turning.

After many false starts, we’re in a pretty sweet spot where my kids do their chores consistently, without too many reminders or much complaining.

How did we get here? Read on for four strategies we use to keep the chore momentum going.

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Three Tricks I Use to Wrangle My Kids into Doing Chores

Do you make amazing, elaborate, beautifully-designed chore charts … that your kids completely ignore? Or do you manage to get your kids’ buy-in to your new chore chart system, only to find yourself doing all of their chores, AGAIN, after just a week or two? Or perhaps you’ve never made a chore chart and don’t know where to start, or why you’d even want one.

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In Search of the Elusive, Perfect Chore Chart

I have an obsession — some would call it a weird obsession — with chore charts. I make lots of them. Simple ones and complex ones. Ones with hand-drawn pictures and ones with words and bullet points and diagrams. Ones in painstaking detail for each portion of the day, and ones that show a sweeping overview of the entire week.

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