emo kids having emo kids

"Nobody likes me. No one wants to play with me." When he begins those words with a gradually increasing quiver in his voice, my entire being shatters. Eventually, he moves on to other things and that loud, overpowering laughter and zest for life takes over. For him. I find myself up at all hours of the night, feeling his pain and sorrow over every ounce of my body and wishing I could will it away.

In so many ways, he is so much like me. (I'm wincing as I type that.) Throughout my entire pregnancy, I wished he may wind up a little bit more like his father in terms of resiliency and confidence and the ability to not be ripped to shreds over someone else's bad day. Instead, as it would turn out, he is just like me. ("I don't want to go to a regular college where they do math, like the one daddy went to," he told me the other day. "I want to go to an art college and write stories and poems and paint.")

Today I dropped him off at school and he clutched my hand for the first time in weeks. "Come with me on the playground," he said. "You'll be the only one who likes me and wants to play with me." I resisted the urge to shatter into a million shards of devastation and instead followed him to the playground -- where four children ran up and engulfed him in hugs. "There's my hug monster," one shouted with a giggle in her voice. "Oh boy," he said. "I'm just so much fun to hug," he explained to me with a glimmer in his eyes. "Want to play with me?" asked another girl from another class, grabbing his hand before he could even happily accept. "You can go, mommy," he yelled as he and his new friend ran across the playground. I tried to convince myself to leave without stopping his teacher and pleading with her to assure me that he is as well liked as this morning proved. I have no willpower, but she assured me that he is well loved.


If I try hard enough, I can still remember being a kid and hoping with all my might that no one would speak to me for the duration of the school day. Ethan longs to be included but lacks the confidence to ask for inclusion -- and, boy, so I understand his apprehension. (And irrationality, and falling to pieces, and so on.) As we approach this phase in parenthood -- this new, shiny end to infancy and at-all-times protection -- I'm trying to find in myself the confidence that I lacked through every phase of my own life until now. Now it is up to me to find it, confidence, and wear it like an armor to shield my own child from the same struggles and troubles that plagued me when I was in his shoes. And while I may not be able to protect him entirely from those struggles and troubles or prevent them from happening, I can simply remain conscious to not dismiss them and give him the best tools to push on through the fog. We are stronger together, the two of us, and may that bond be one he carries forever as close to his heart as I do.

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introducing new thin stix, solid tempera paint sticks by the pencil grip, inc.

Ethan loves to draw and paint. He will literally sit and work on his paintings for hours, and the walls of my entire house are basically lined in his masterpieces. In fact, on our entire cross-country roadtrip last October, he happily drew the entire way (and back). Because neither my husband nor I have any artistic skills or instincts, we've had to do our research to find out how to best nurture Ethan's absolute love for art. This past holiday season, we saw an ad for Kwik Stix -- solid tempera paint twist-up sticks -- and ordered him a set. Much to our surprise, several other friends and relatives also purchased Ethan some Kwik Stix in various shades and finishes (he's partial to the metallic, he wanted me to point that out).

It didn't take him long at all to fall in love with Kwik Stix. They became a perfect independent art opportunity for him without needing to pour paint, rinse the brushes and get his supplies out. They were the perfect opportunity to fit in some painting before school or an errand when time is sparse and we can't really afford to leave the house completely covered head-to-toe in paint. Kwik Stix dry in only 90 seconds, which is an added bonus for little artists who are proud to display their artwork.

I was thrilled when Kwik Stix contacted us about the opportunity to try out their new Thin Stix. Much like the Kwik Stix that came before them, Thin Stix are also solid tempera paint sticks that dry in only 90 seconds. However, they're thinner and help children achieve finer details (and also a perfect pencil grip). With the Thin Stix, Ethan was able to add more detail into his artwork without having to grab a fine point marker to fill in the necessary details.

And, yes, to answer the question we get a lot: they really are paint.

The Thin Stix have become a staple in Ethan's art making, which is pretty much a constant in our every day. We are currently experiencing cabin fever from a bout of strep throat that has taken down our entire family and Ethan has happily spent hours creating art during our newfound downtime.

Ethan is hooked on his Thin Stix (which are AP certified, meaning they're safe and non-toxic for even the littlest artists) and is excited about the opportunity to get to share a set with a lucky winner! Follow the steps below to enter to win a 12-pack set of Thin Stix solid tempera paint sticks for the pint-sized Picassos in your life!

If you can't wait to get your hands on a set of Kwik Stix or Thin Stix (which is totally understandable), I'm excited to say that they're all available on Amazon -- happy shopping!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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