Sunday, August 25, 2013

Sleepover milestone. Check.

Tulip was invited to and attended her first sleepover.  She, I mean I, I mean Luna did just fine.

Actually, whatever trepidation I thought Tulip might have was nonexistent.  I, on the other hand, had great pause as to whether my daughter who only just finished Kindergarten was ready to sleep in another house...without ME.  But the real drama was not from Tulip's mama, but from her baby sister.  Oh my but was Luna sad that Tulip was leaving the house at 4:00 in the afternoon and wouldn't be coming home that night.  She started weeping on the couch as Tulip packed her backpack.

"You know, Luna is really sad that you won't be sleeping in your room tonight," I told her and okay maybe I was projecting a little bit.

"Oh..." Tulip said knowingly and finished packing her outfit for the next day.  She went to find her sister and offer her some solace.  "Luna, what if we each draw a picture for each other and we can tuck them under our pillows tonight."  Total brilliance.

Problem solved except that mama now had a fresh batch of tears welling up in the corner of her eyes.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Back to work

Returning to work after spending the whole summer with my kids is tough.  But it's not so bad when this happens:

"Good morning, Mama," Luna says.

I drop my mascara right in the sink and drop myself right onto the bathroom floor so she can crawl into my lap.

"You look like a happy girl this morning," I say.  And I smell her hair.

"That's because I had a funny dream."

"What did you dream about?"

She caresses my arm while she searches her sleepy mind.  Then she tells me about a funny clown and unicorns and hot dogs.

"That does sound like a funny dream," I tell her.

"Mama?"

"Yes?"

"Do you want to make paper butterflies with me?"  I taught her how to do this over the summer and she has made 6,338 paper butterflies so far.

"Oh, Mama has to go to work today."

"That's okay." Her caress turns into a pat, pat on my arm and she is up out of my lap.


Monday, August 12, 2013

You know you're the mother of three when...

You know you are the mother of three when you find yourself telling your youngest child to just go outside and pee in the grass real quick because all of the toilets in the house are currently being occupied.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Talk

Well, Luna and I finally had the talk last month.  I knew the day was coming and though I thought I would dread it, it really wasn't that bad.

Luna stopped nursing.  For good.  Not just for a few days.

I practiced (or should I say my children practiced) self-weaning.  Needless to say, Luna took the longest to wean.  It got to the point when she was nearing her 4th birthday that I would ask her if there was even any milk in there.  She'd nod, all eyelashes and latched on lips, yanking my breast up and down.  She said, "The milk goes into my stomach and then there is a little hole in my stomach so the milk goes..." and then she traced a swirly pattern all over her body while making some sort of "whoowhoowhoo" noise.

Okay, then.

Sometimes she wouldn't nurse for two, three days and I would think, "This is it."  But then she'd ask for mama-milk before bed and she would assure me that there was still milk in there.

Then, one month after her 4th birthday, I realized one day that she hadn't nursed in, like, four days.  Or was it five?  She asked for mama-milk one night and I could tell.  She popped off and I said, "Let me guess.  There is no more mama-milk."  She kind of shrugged, and made some funny faces.  I started to tell her that she will always be my baby, and even if there wasn't any mama-milk she could always snuggle me, and...well, I probably babbled a bit more and I'm pretty sure Luna realized that this talk was more for me than for her because she made some more funny faces, kissed me and went too bed.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

When we chant...

Friends visited yesterday and after dinner we took a walk to our neighborhood playground and pond.  Someone was concerned about poison ivy and my husband pointed out the rhyme "Leaves of three, let it be."  Yeah, I know, that's an oldie and everyone knows it. (But in case you didn't, you're welcome)

Then during our walk along the path on the way home, Luna felt compelled to pick up some round, brown object.  I shrieked, "Why would you pick that up?! It might be some kind of poo!" She looked completely confused, probably by my reaction, I'm not that big of a poop-phobe and I usually don't shriek.  Anyway, I tried my mama logic to take advantage of this teachable moment.

"If it's on the ground, and it's brown, it is probably some kind of poo," I explained. It ended up being the casing of some sort of nut, but still.

Then my hilarious husband says, "If it's brown and on the ground, walk around."

So that was that.  Today, I overheard my kids chanting in the pool, "That's not all, that's not all, the baby's drinking alcohol!"

Whatevs.

Friday, June 14, 2013

You know you are the mother of three when...

You know you are the mother of three when...

You find yourself strangely excited by the prospect of cleaning, yes I said cleaning and I'm not even the OCD type, the house for an entire afternoon because your husband has planned to take the children to grandma's.

Yes, I have been looking forward to this afternoon for a day and a half.

What is wrong with me?  "Nothing", say you moms-in-the-know because what you know is that this arrangement will mean no interruptions for, well, hours.  Can that be?

So, yes, I am looking forward to tacking some organizational projects, and even quite a bit of cleaning, and feeling that sense of victory of seeing a project through from beginning to end in one sitting.

Plus, I know where all of the chocolate is hidden.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

I have graduated

We had a block party this weekend, and I found myself frequently... how should I put this... well, sitting on my ass.  I mean, I was struck by how much sitting down I was doing.  There was no physical reason for it.  I wasn't injured or sore or in any other way required to take it easy.  But at one point I noticed that while I was sitting and chatting with other sitting moms, there were other moms definitely not sitting.  Other moms were on their feet, on the move.

And I thought to myself, why am I sitting here?

And it wasn't like I was supposed to be doing something per se.  It's not like I forgot to get the limbo dance going or anything like that.

And then it hit me.  The youngest children of the other sitting-with-me moms were in Kindergarten and 2nd grade.  The youngest children of the not-sitting-down moms were toddlers.

My youngest? A freshly turned four.  FOUR!  I no longer have to be up on my feet ready to lunge, reach, grab, dive, intervene, dive-roll, scoop up, snatch up, pick up 95% of the time.

I have graduated!

If baby-face needs to go potty, she will find one and do all that business by herself.  If baby-face wants another juice box she will find me, ask me if she can have one, and then go get one by herself (and you better believe she figured out very quickly how to treat herself to another juice box all by herself).

Baby-face can even bring me a drink or another brownie while I... you know... sit there.

I have graduated too.  Life is good.

Monday, May 27, 2013

on rainy days, we paint

What can I say about Tulip, other than she is the loveliest little flower in the garden. She's happy, and friendly, and has a great sense of humor and appreciation of life. She finds a way to enjoy every minute of every day. Happy birthday my lovely blooming beauty.

Today is her 6th birthday and among other things, she got 10 new bottles of paint.

Tulip's painting. Can you tell what 10 new colors she got?


Luna's painting. Mama, Luna and Tulip going for a walk and defending the world (pink and purple stuff) from a dragon (the blue guy at the top). Pretty typical day for us Saavedra girls.


Wolfie's painting. Ultrabot. Of course.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Just read the first line

"Mama! You better get in here and wipe my butt before Papa does it!" Luna calls from the bathroom.

Yes, it's true.  My husband and I love our children sooooooo much that we knock each other over in the mad dash to the bathroom to be the one and only parent who gets the privilege of wiping butts.

At least, that must be what our children think.  It's pretty darn close to the truth, though.


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Bedtime questions

Luna was up a bit past her bedtime.  So she was giddy.

Luna also had Mama all to herself in her own bed (Tulip fell fast asleep in the top bunk).  So she was even more giddy.

Mama had just come home from a boot camp class at the Y and try as I might to prop myself up with my arms while I leaned over to smooch my Luna, those arms just quivered and quivered which made me a bit giddy.

I sat on the edge of her bed, neither one of us ready to separate.

"Oooh, I like your ring, Mama."
"That's my wedding ring.  It's very special and I never take it off."
"What happens when you take it off?"
"I never take it off."
"Oh.  What happens when you take it off on Thursday?"
"I never take it off."
"Oh.  Why?"
"Because it's my wedding ring and I never take it off because it means I'm married to Papa and that's very special to me."
"Did us kids watch you get married to Papa?"

My arms are shaking.  This, and her question, make me laugh.  Hard.

"No.  You weren't at our wedding.  You weren't born yet."
"You mean, you left us at the house with no Mama and no Papa to watch us?"

I have a laughing fit.  Like, I actually look and sound like I'm crying.

"No.  We didn't leave you at the house.  You weren't at the wedding because you weren't born yet."
"But what happened when you left us at the house?"
"We didn't leave you at the house.  When we got married, there were no babies.  Then after we got married we had one baby, Wolfie, then another baby, Tulip, and then finally we had baby number three, Luna."
"What. Happened. When. You. Left. Us. At. The. House?"

She knows how to make me laugh so hard.

"Good night, Luna."
"What. Happened. When. You. Left. Us. At. The. House?"
"Good night. Luna."
"Mama?"
"Yes?"
"I like your ring..."
"Nice try, Luna.  Good night."

Friday, March 29, 2013

Legoland (or, the review I am writing on my own)



Our spring break staycation (do people even say that anymore or has it gotten old, like how my students tell me YOLO is old?  anyway...) is coming to an end.

We went to Legoland earlier this week and thanks to a tip from a friend, I am now passing along this tip to my loyal readers.

Stay at the Marriott in Schaumburg.  I am in no way being compensated for this review, but it is just too good to keep a secret.  The Marriott has a Legoland package for four people.  For $149 (okay, so after the hotel adds their taxes the package actually costs $168 and change) you get:

  • a one night stay
  • 4 tickets to Legoland (right there - that's $60)
  • 1 free in-room movie (we watched Rise of the Guardians - typically $16.99)
  • 4 free breakfasts (and this is no continental breakfast - okay, maybe it's a souped up continental breakfast but there is a real omelet chef waiting to cook you something delicious to order and there are crepes, bacon and sausage, biscuits, potatoes, fresh fruit, all the typical continental breakfast breads and cereal, oatmeal and salmon and cheese - yes, salmon ) 
  • and there is a pool (priceless)
I'm serious - you get all of that.  What a treat.  Thanks Pam ;)

A bigger treat for mama and papa was an afternoon at IKEA.  Wolfie built his first IKEA item - a new chair for his room.


Sunday, March 24, 2013

the babysitter forgot her "things"

Last week we had a babysitter.  Since then, it has come to my attention that at bed time, Luna asked her for some mama's milk.

Oh brother.

I couldn't resist.  I had to ask Luna about it to get her perspective.

"Luna, did you ask [the babysitter] for mama's milk?"

"Yes, but she didn't give me any.  She forgot her things."

"What things?"

"You know...the things with mama milk in them," she replies as she pulls up my shirt and pats my breasts.  "These things."

"You mean breasts?"

"Yeah, she forgot to bring her breasts."

Like I said, oh brother.

Friday, March 22, 2013

I'm a genius

Well, at least my husband called me a genius and I do have to agree with him.

Here's why:

Luna is no longer wearing a pull up at night so that means the sheets are inevitably going to get wet in the middle of the night.

On her mattress there is one mattress protector, one sheet, another mattress protector, and another sheet.

When she wets the bed in the middle of the night and wakes me up to tell me, all I have to do is pull off the top set and...voila...her bed is made.  The wet sheets go in the washer for me to deal with in the morning, little miss L goes right back into a clean dry already made bed, and most importantly, Mama goes right back to bed without having to wrestle a new set of sheets onto a bed at 2:30 a.m.

You're welcome.

Tell me, mamas, why are YOU a genius too?


Monday, March 18, 2013

8 years ago, I became a mama.

I love each and every one of his freckles.
I love the windows in his smile.
I love his beautiful almond-shaped eyes and how bright and engaging they are when he talks to me.
I love how he looks, how he smells, how he feels and how he, um, tastes.  (and if you don't believe me, see here)
I love the sound of his giggle and his hearty laugh.
And OMG I love the way he dances.
I love how he fondles my hair or my necklace or my shirt when he tells me something important.
I love to hear, "Mama, can I tell you something...?" before he, you know, tells me something.
I love how important it is to him to tell his Papa about his Legos.  ("Mama, will you text Papa and tell him that I just built a ________?")
I love how he is patient and eager to play with his little sisters.
I love to clip his toenails because when I get to that baby toe it reminds me that he still has a baby something that I get to take care of.
I secretly love it when he tries to tickle my armpit or tickle my feet or slap my butt (even though I tell him not to do that) because at least he still wants to touch me.  I mean, one day he might not want to touch me at all or, worse, he might not want me to touch him.
I love the way he draws.
I love his handwriting.
I love the way he still says "babing suit" when we get ready for swimming.
I love what an avid reader he is.  And I love that he recommends books I might like such as The Magic Treehouse "Dinosaurs Before Dawn." Riveting.
I love it that he loves art.
I love it that he finds the right occasion to say thank you and I don't have to prompt him.
I love how when I spend an afternoon in his classroom as a parent helper which really means I sit at the back of the room and do some clerical chores to help out the teacher (which I really, truly am happy to do), he turns and waves at me at least 87 times.
I love his posture and body language when he is explaining something.
I love that he wants to share his day with me.
I love that he appreciates a routine.
I love that he is willing to try new things.
And I love how he enjoys the simple things.
I love his imagination.
I love that he invented Ultrabot in kindergarten and that he has become part of our life.
I don't love that he is 8 because that is too big too fast but I do love that he is 8.
And I love how every single night he tells me, "Mama, don't forget to come up to my bed to give me a smooch."
And I love that I get to do that because he is what made me a mama.



Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Cute Factor

When my children see something they think is cute, like a baby animal or a baby, um, baby, they make these "oooooh" and "aaaaaw" sounds with such emotion it sounds as if they are crying.  If I'm in another room, my ears have to hang on to the "oooooh" sound to see if it ends with a "it's sooooo cuuuuute."  This morning, I hustled into the girls' room thinking someone had gotten injured only to find them playing with their Littlest Pet Shop animals.

Oh, and in my house it's not "cute", it's more like "key-uuuuute."  And with that cringing-crying-but-actually-not tone.  And Luna balls her fists up under her chin.  Tulip is about one step away from biting her fist over the cuteness.

Me, I just get tears in my eyes when my kids, um, babies, are doing something cute.  So I guess they get that cringing-crying-but-actually-crying thing from me.

Oh, and don't watch Toy Story 3 on a snow day when you are feeling so fortunate and so full of happy emotion to be granted an extra day to be with your children unless you don't mind cringing-crying-but-actually-crying-way-out-loud-so-you-have-to-excuse-yourself-to-the-bathroom.

Sigh.  The good kind.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Mama Success

Sometimes, Luna and I have these very deep conversations.  She uses a very serious whisper-type voice.  She makes intense eye contact.  She places her hand on my cheek to make sure I am an active listener.  And she e-nun-ci-ates with real intent.

Tonight, as we snuggled, we had one of those moments.

"Mama, farts stinks," she begins.  "And, if you touch your butt, your hand smells really stinky."

I feel triumphant that my youngest child has realized, fully, these two wise lessons.  They will carry her far in life, I'm sure.

Good night.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Sorry, Barbie

I had a date at Barnes & Noble with Tulip today - she still had a gift card from Christmas.  Out of the 100 million books in the children's section, she grabbed a Barbie book.  Now, those of you who know me know that I'm not that crazy about Barbie.  And neither is Tulip.  She has one doll and has never asked for another one.  Why Tulip was drawn to a Barbie book is beyond me.  Actually, I probably know why.  It's Barbie.  She smiles at you prettily from the front cover of a book.  Duh.

Anyway, when I looked at the title of the book, I had one of those "oh, it figures..." moments.  Barbie Wants To Be a Baby Doctor.

Seriously.  Those of you who know me know that I am a natural birth/attachment parenting advocate.

I flipped through the first few pages and saw Barbie in the nursery.  (What?!? No rooming in?)

Barbie gave a baby a bath.  (What?  Where's the midwife teaching Barbie the invaluable benefits of vernix?  Why is Barbie bathing a baby?  Why isn't she showing the mother how to massage the vernix into the baby's skin?  Sheesh.)

Then.  You guessed it.  Barbie gives the baby a bottle.  Gah!  (What?!  Where's the lactation consultant showing Barbie and the mom how to obtain a proper latch?)

Oh, and during all of this she is wearing skinny jeans and high-heel wedge sandals.  Whatever.  I'd like to have those same purple skinny jeans and wedges as Barbie but I wouldn't be wearing them if I was a baby doctor working in a hospital.

I had to remind myself that at least in Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for the 100th Day of Kindergarten a mother is wearing not one but two babies in a sling.

Tulip grabs a coloring book and a Fancy Nancy book and some generic princess book that comes with a locket and we get chocolate milk and a cookie and finish our date.

Inevitable it is bedtime and we read the whole Barbie book.  Well, further into the book we find that a new doctor needs Barbie and the nurse's help.  A mommy had a baby girl.  The nurse shows Barbie how to hold the baby.  The baby cries.  The baby is hungry.  Barbie brings the baby to her mom.  Then the book says, "Her mom will feed the baby."  There is no picture of a bottle.  It is completely implied that the mom will breastfeed the baby.

Yay.

Sorry, Barbie.  I'll give you the benefit of the doubt next time.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

My son

My son.  Here's what he's like right now:

Wolfie's giggle is so genuine and delightful.  

At exactly 5:59 this evening he said, "Well, it looks like we have 91 minutes until bedtime."

He had two chapters left in a book he's reading.  He read one before bed and then was strategizing how he could finish it in the morning.  I reminded him that tomorrow is late start Wednesday (implying that he would, in fact, have extra time in the morning) and his face lit up.  "Great!" he said, excited to have extra time to read.

We went to Key Lime Cove this weekend.  It was bananas.  I might blog about it another time but part of the kids' big treat was an arcade swipe card with 100 credits.  One card.  Three kids.  It turned out that Luna skipped the arcade so only Wolfie and Tulip had to share this card.  Without prompting from me, Wolfie turned to Tulip and said, "I know, I'll use the card to play three games, then I'll give it to and you can play three games and then you'll give it back to me and that's how we'll share it."  And that's exactly what they did. 

Finally, he made this puppet stage last week.  He just asked me if we had any boxes that he could turn into a stage.  A half hour later we were all handed "tickets" and invited into the living room.  
Ultrabot was at it again.


Monday, February 4, 2013

fascinating

Tonight I was coaxing Luna to the bathroom so she could do her business of getting ready for bed.  On our way down the hall, she told me to be the teacher.  I said, "Come on, student, let's go potty and brush your teeth."  Game is on.

"Okay, teacher," she says in her pretend voice.

While she was on the potty, she asked me if teachers wipe butts.  I figured this was the opportune time to tell her how it really is.  I was rambling on and on about how to go potty at school...

"Close the door for privacy."
"You can even lock it."
"The potty will be just your size."
"There's toilet paper right next to the toilet just for you, student." (the game was still on)
"You get to wipe yourself..."

She squeaks, "That's fascinating."  Then, in a whisper voice, "Mama, that means 'wow'."

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Got ink?

Tulip discovered the sheet of sparkly temporary tattoos she got from Oma for Christmas.  We had forgot about them, but we found them, and they are sparkly so my, oh my, was this a treasure.

She put on one tattoo.  Then another.  Then another.  Then...we'll I'm sure you know how the story goes.

She showed me her tattoos:





She asked me if I wanted one.  I saw that some of the tattoos were a little, how should I say it, dark for a five year old.  I mean, there were sparkly red roses and then there was that rose with a dagger in it.  So I figured I would take the dark tats and let Tulip tattoo me with a stabbed rose and a spider.
(No picture of me in temporary tattoos - sorry to disappoint)



Twenty minutes later she showed me all her tattoos:




You'll see she still managed to find a heart not only on fire but also encased in barbed wire.  Oh, and a snake.  I guess that her new ink, along with that lavender t-shirt sporting a graphic of a girl riding her bicycle, pulls Tulip's new biker look together.















Saturday, January 19, 2013

Good morning weekend style

On the weekends, the kids wake up before I do and find me in my bed.  They like to snuggle.  What really happens is this:

The snuggle causes some hair pulling.  Not tremendously painful for me, but it's hair pulling nonetheless.  I'd like to think we are spooning, but some little feet inevitably kick me in the crotch.  Or, two little feet knead my belly, alternately kicking me in the full bladder.  Sometimes I wonder if the toddler is actually trying to invent a new game called "Let's See If I Can Make Mama Wet Her Bed - Tee Hee."

Sometimes, to protect my bladder (which I suppose I could empty if I actually got up out of bed but until 4 minutes ago I was sound asleep and happy with the state of my entire body), I flip over and turn my back to the child.  I need to do this more often than not with Tulip.  That girl is tons of pointy elbows and knees.  I get expertly jabbed in the spine and neck vertebrae while simultaneously kneed in the small of my back.  But at least I can continue to ignore my swelling bladder.  I cannot, however, ignore the bruise that is developing on my brow which is the cause of my momentary glance over the shoulder to say "good morning" only to receive a head butt.  A mistake, of course, but a head butt nonetheless.  Oh, and more hair pulling too.

If Wolfie is up first, he simply slithers in to bed next to me.  He has learned the art of snuggling.  This kid wants to snuggle.  And talk.  My bladder is spared but my groggy head has to wrap itself around this:
"Mama, if you ever want to distract a robot, all you have to do is ring a loud bell.  Or, if you need to wipe out an entire army of robot octopuses, you just have to turn on the siren of a fire truck."

Good morning.

If all three of them are awake at the same time, they battle for a coveted spot next to Mama.  Usually one of them has to lay directly on top of me.  Oh, isn't is sweet, the image of me enveloped in a blanket of my snuggling offspring?  It is, for about 20 seconds, but, they are awake and want to play which means they begin to flail around trying to tickle each other.  I get a knee in the bladder.  And an elbow in the chin.

This is attachment parenting, folks.  Jealous?

I shoo them out of the room.  I tell them to play for 5 minutes (because that is the maximum time they will leave me alone) so Mama can rest a bit more and then I'll get up and fix them breakfast .

So they scamper off to play with each other and I listen to them from my bed.

"I did it!  I really did it!" squeals Luna.  She's three so everything is awesome.
"Luna, that's so great," her sister says.  And she means it.  Tulip is just as awed and proud of her little sister's accomplishments lately as I am.  Especially how well she draws and colors.

Then, "Wow, guys, come look at the sky.  It's so beautiful."  And that's Tulip noticing the sunrise.

"Hey girls, do you want to play baby dragons?" Wolfie engages both of his baby sisters in a current favorite make-believe game.

So as I lay in bed and my body recuperates, my heart fills.  And even though it's only been 3 minutes and 30 seconds, I can ignore my bladder a little bit more.  I get up and go see my kids.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

It's Saturday!

video

Why blog about it when the kids can just tell you what they are doing...


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Wonder

It's the wonder of the season.  Or, it's the wonder of children.  Either way, my heart is full of wonder when I watch and listen to my children.

Luna asked me many, many questions about Santa on Christmas Eve.  She wanted to make sure she understood it all, I guess.  She thought he was invisible.  I said, "Santa is watching."  Her eyes filled with wonder.  "How?"

I told her that he was watching to make sure all the children were in bed.  For added measure I told her that if any children are awake or are sneaking around the house he would pass by that house.  Luna's eyes got even wider.  "Uh oh," she says.  And she meant it.  (Luna has been having trouble staying in bed lately - she sneaks around looking for me so she can have 3 or 4 more hugs or kisses.  I think she's just trying to smuggle those fairy cards.)

We traveled to Bloomington between Christmas and New Year's to visit friends.  While driving along the highway, Luna exclaims, "Mama, what is that?!"  It was a factory.  The sky was brilliant blue and very white smoke was billowing out of the factory chimney.  What we were actually looking at aside, the smoke cloud was beautiful.  In fact, the contrast of white against blue was quite magical.  I told Luna it was a factory.  Luna said matter-of-factly as if she had just learned one more secret of the world, "Yes, Mama.  That is a cloud making factory.  That factory is making clouds for the sky."  Who was I to argue that imagery?

Tulip got a guitar for Christmas and yesterday I heard her playing it in her room.  She had shut the door almost all the way and had put a Christmas music CD on her new boombox.  She was trying to strum along to "I Wish It Was Christmas Today".  There was just enough of a crack in the door for me to watch.  That was pretty awesome.

For the first time we told the kids they could stay up until midnight on New Year's Eve.  They were so excited.  We had a movie marathon.  They usually go to bed by 8:00 and when our second movie ended at 9:30, Gabe announced that we had enough time to watch two more movies.  You should have seen Wolfie's face.  His eyes got so wide and his grin just kept growing and growing and then it was a mad Saavedra sibling dash to the shelf of DVDs to pick out a new movie.

Finally, I read Wonder by R.J. Palacio.  Everyone should read this book.

Happy New Year to all of you!