Small Success Thursday: One Bite at a Time


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As a teenager, whenever I felt overwhelmed, my dad would say, “How do you eat an elephant?” with the answer being, “One bite at a time.” Being a teen, I’d snark, “Why do I even want to eat an elephant?” That “take it one thing at a time, but just keep at it” attitude serves me well as a mom with a large family. While I promise we’re not dining on actual pachyderms, it does feel these theoretical down months of ordinary time  are jammed with more than a few herds of Jumbo and Babar’s relatives.

We’re planning a party for our 25th wedding anniversary. I’m working on a book. Last week we drove the oldest out to Dayton to start graduate school. This week we donated our non-working 12-passenger van. There’s a 90th Anniversary of the kids’ school; I’m part of the planning committee. This summer includes band camp and swimming lessons, dental appointments and physicals, two driver’s tests, filling out the common ap, studying for the ACT’s, visiting colleges, a 5 or 10K for one child, and the summer (ugh) math books. Then there’s the ordinary stuff like laundry, bills, errands, organizing, cleaning and cooking. The kids will still need new shoes and haircuts, clothing and showers, bedtime stories and sojourns out into the world for ice cream and library books.

When I look at the disciplined list (firm restriction to 15 or less per day), it still feels overwhelming. So I’m very grateful to Small Success Thursday for making me stop each week, and for the community of SST, that encourages the stillness of prayer even when it is difficult. I’ve felt the support from your prayers, and I’m returning to the regimen of daily taking time for God (even if I did accidentally leave my Magnificat at the DSW while we were getting sandals).

This week’s small successes included moments like stopping to pray, which led to making it to confession, which in turn helped me hear when my six year old son came to me, dressed for swimming. “I want to go to the pool.”  he said. If I’d not paid attention, I’d have missed the miracle of that sentence, expressing a complex thought, a destination, and proof he really wanted it (by getting dressed himself). We went to the pool. An awesome time was had by all. Hoping today, if I hear my children speaking, I won’t harden my head against their wishes because of the looming list.

Have a great week of summer. Back to elephant eating….

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Copyright 2015 Sherry Antonetti


About Author

Sherry Antonetti is a mother of ten children, published author of The Book of Helen and a freelance writer of humor and family life columns. You can read additional pieces from her blog,


  1. My successes this week were that I managed to provide my son with a fun first day of summer vacation, I set the stage for summer playdates by networking with other moms from the school, and I have put together a curriculum that will hopefully prevent “summer slide”.

  2. He just finished 1st grade, and has ADHD as well as some motor challenges (nothing that would be obvious at first glance, but he’s not quite on par with his peers). He’s also an only child in need of socialization. So when he’s home during the summer I really take advantage of the extra time to work with him on a variety of areas. I have a math review book which encompasses all the different concepts he learned in 1st grade. His grades in math were good, but he needs reinforcement of the skills and concepts, and needs help making connections between concepts. So we are going to do two equation from each chapter each day (a total of 25 equations/day) so that he keeps each concept fresh in his mind and sees the connection between then, as opposed to doing one chapter/week in sequential order which is probably what would work for other children. He loves to read and has recently become much more interested in chapter books, so we will be working on making predictions and retelling the stories, as well as fluency. We will do book reports, writing prompts, etc. He got 90s and 100s on his spelling tests this year, but his teacher was concerned that he doesn’t carry that over to his writing (even words that he has spelled correctly on tests, he misspells in his writing pieces. So we will be working on that. He is going to be taking private swimming lessons and my husband is going to be working with him on riding a two-wheeler. We will be doing lots of library activities and lots of playdates to keep up the social skills. It’s amazing how much work one child can be! Anyway, thank you for asking, and sorry that I responded by writing a novel!

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