I’m starting things off a little differently this week.

We heard from two moms whose families live in Highland Park, Illinois, where a gunman opened fire on a Fourth of July parade.

My family was able to escape a mass shooter in Highland Park. We were within 30 feet of shots being fired and we ran for our lives. We are alive. We are safe. We are loved. And we helped to rescue an injured dog and reunited it with its family. Now I struggle with staying alive. Staying safe. Seeing armed guards on the roof of my daughters’ day care and having to accept this as a new normal. Keeping a brave face for my children when all I want to do is stay in bed and cry. Missing my mom. Being a mom. Fighting to keep anger from destroying everything around me. Knowing this will never end until assault rifles are banned.
—A mom. A survivor. A daughter. A friend. 

This week I had to explain to my 5-year-old son what happened several blocks away from us when a man with an assault rifle shot at people at our Highland Park parade. I had to tell him that the sirens he heard for 30 minutes straight down our street were because people got hurt. I had to tell him that he was safe, and he will continue to be safe, even though I know that he is not. I had to send him to camp the next day knowing that he is absolutely not safe from men with assault rifles.
—A Highland Park Mom

It’s stories like this that are the hardest and most important to share. Please leave a kind message for them in the comments. Take care of yourselves. And support the work to reduce gun violence however you can — we shared some resources in this post and in my interview with Megan Ranney.

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And now, on to your parenting wins and woes…

Moms know best

—Two Moms

My biggest win lately is developing confidence in my ability as a mom to make the best decisions for my baby and myself. I had a lot of guilt at first about choosing not to breastfeed after the first few days of my baby’s life (felt pressure at the hospital to breastfeed/societal pressure and was scared with the formula crisis) but knew in my heart that bottle/formula feeding was right for my family. My baby is two months old now and our family is thriving. I know formula feeding is a part of why we are doing so well. It works for us, and it’s okay that others make other choices. Let’s all support each other. Parenthood is hard enough.


—All the Applesauce

This win has little to do with intentional parenting and everything to do with my amazing kiddo. My 3.5-year-old is non-speaking and only uses signs for “more” and “all done.” He has an AAC device that he uses to talk at preschool (Early On) and at therapy but shows little interest in using it at home, so we usually communicate through offering choices and him reaching. The other night at dinner, he ate all his applesauce and I asked him, “Do you want more applesauce?” To my surprise, he shook his head “no.” He has shaken his head before, but not in response to a question (probably more for sensory stimulation). “No?” I said, surprised. “Okay, no more applesauce.”

Then he cocked his head, thinking, and tentatively nodded his head up and down, “yes” — a first, in any context! “Yes?? You want more applesauce?” I gave him more, and he gave me the biggest smile before digging in. This kid surprises me more and more every day — and being able to ask and answer yes/no questions feels like a huge win for our family!

Virtual hugs


RSV, COVID, and Hand, Foot, and Mouth back-to-back-to-back. Our house is plagued by viruses. We’re looking into calling a priest. Kiddos (6, 3, and 1). My husband and I are exhausted. I swore at my last pediatrician’s appointment. Send help.

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