Monday, December 29, 2008


You received many wonderful things on this holiday season, but one of the most generous was a gift of money. It was delivered in paper bills in shiny, green tin. After discussing what could be purchased with the money, I tucked it away for safe keeping. A moment later, you said, "where's the cash? I want to hold it!"

Friday, December 05, 2008

The Santa Issue

While reading "The Night Before Christmas" tonight before bed.

"I wish Santa was real."

"What?!" Cue: looks of horror, both of us wondering what to say.

"Do you think he's real?"

"My Santa is real." You mean the Santa you see at Bridgeport Village. Side note--when you've seen other pictures of Santa, you've asked, "did Santa change his face?" That dude is the Santa to you and all others must be...not real?

Looking at the picture you exclaim, "look at him flying around!"

"Does your Santa fly around?"

"No! No, he walks!"

He does?"

"Okay, actually he drives a minivan! That's what he does."

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Homestretch & Promises

Another year of NaBloPoMo is coming to a close. I am thankful to the amazing woman who came up with the idea, and the thousands of others who participate. There is something to be said for a seed that gets a practice going.

All of my life I have struggled with practices: writing, painting, meditation. I need to be in a group of some kind to really do the hard work. In past years, I have tried to put out a promise that I would write more, or better, or at least more earnestly, for you. Every year I have failed.

It seems that parenting is a collection of daily failures; in voice and in action. My attempts, although often sloppy, are genuine. I am so proud of who you are quickly becoming.

When you were a tiny baby, I told you that being a sensitive person is okay. Crying or exhibiting fear--even when it seems exaggerated or unnecessary--is just fine. I want you to feel good about your emotions, even when they don't match the world's expectations.

You are reading real words now, and working with numbers. Everywhere we go you are sounding out and decoding the written word. You like to count everything and can add up how many errands we have to run, or things we need to pick up at the store.

So my promise to you is not how many times I'll write in a week or a month, but how I will compose and record my thoughts. In the past, I've been hesitant to write down 'real' goings-on. That is, if I'm frustrated with an interaction, I tend to pull away from writing here. I'm going to turn that around and see where it takes me. I want this to be a true record, no matter how sappy or negative I may be feeling at the time.

That being said -- I love you and will always love you no matter what path you choose. Tonight at dinner, you said, "When I grow up, I'm going to have a baby in my belly." I felt a surge of nerves and anxiety fill up my chest because I just can't imagine it. I can't imagine your spot at the table empty. But I can't let the worry of what may be--what will be--overtake me.

Please dear, let me hold your hand a few more years.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Bugle -- a guest post from Dad

Your grandpa has a yen for old instruments picked up from thrift stores and church basements. On this trip, you have taken up the bugle. It's true! Your sense of voice, tone, and craftsmanship seems to move up by the minute.

Tonight you were doing an almost spot-on version of Jingle Bells, one of the first songs that you learned to sing. Yesterday, you recorded a song. You simply love Papa's bugle.

Since your baby days, you have resisted any attempts that I have made to play guitar. It has been a source of grief and frustration over the years. Now, with bugle in hand, you are asking me to grab the guitar and "be the clown" in your marching band. As clown, I get to play guitar. I am not only playing, we are finding audiences of pretend friends and citizens all over the house. You cue me and that is fine. In fact, it is as it should be.

I have played guitar on and off for almost twenty years. During that time, I have never been invited into a real band; until now. I can't think of any bugler I would rather follow, anybody's clown who I would rather be. Send me the cues, I will pluck and strum the funk and love of each moment as it unfolds. Let the band play on!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Star of the show

Taken tonight...
My little sweetie, stealing the light.
But I'll gladly give it to you.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

I am thankful for many things. You--well, you are thankful for a lot of stuff too. But today, you were totally excited about blueberry muffins. Thank you for making them with me, my lovely.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Family time

We are at Nana and Papa's house for the next few days. This morning when you realized that we were spending the night, you got really exited. "We're staying? Overnight? For how long?! I'm so excited!!"

When we finally pulled up in front of the house, it was almost past your bedtime and you wiggled and giggled your way out of the car seat. As the years have passed, you have become more and more elated to reconnect with your grandparents. This time, you leaped into Papa's arms and I know he's been anticipaing the love you save just for him. Nana stood waiting on the porch, beaming.

You are asleep now, in my childhood room. Rest well, my sweet.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Village

Today Miss A. talked with you about your Bedtime Behavior. You respect her as a teacher and as your main babysitter, so we knew a conversation would make an impression. After school, we asked you what you two had talked about; you replied, "ahh, it's a long story. I don't want to talk about it." So we didn't push you, and, consequently, bedtime was short and sweet.

You brought home your first packet of "homework" tonight and worked on it diligently. You are so interested in learning and growing. Looking at your written numbers, letters and words--seeing the pride in your eyes--well, I am just so proud of you. It's no wonder you sometimes sob and cry and writhe around.

I promise--at least I promise to try--not to push you too aggressively, if you promise to respect your own boundaries. Those boundaries will shift and change, of course. My wish for you is that you learn all you want to know (and more).

Monday, November 24, 2008


So I promised myself that I would see this 'month of posting' to your blog through to the end. Hell, sometimes these months of posting are the most I write all year. It's important, and I'm thankful for the challenge. Mostly.

Earlier, while you were screaming in your bed, refusing to sleep, my finger hoovered over the "create new post" button. I didn't want to push that button. I wanted to walk away.

But here I am.
There were moments this evening I understood why, perhaps, women end up rocking away, in dark corners of their bedrooms or with tangled-up brains, hiding in the basement.

A part of me has been there, but not as a parent. What's frightening, though, are the gray corners of that image that creep in--start surrounding me.

There is no regret, but sometimes the vastness of this responsibility is heavy.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Letter to a robber

Tonight when we got home from our night and day away from home, you noticed that a few lights were on inside. You asked if someone was already home, and dad explained that we left some lights on so it looked like the house was occupied. Of course you wanted to understand why we would leave lights on, and dad told you that the lights keep potential robbers away.

I wasn't exactly sure if I wanted to enter into a discussion about burglars, but here we were. Since it was not my idea, I allowed dad to attempt an explanation without scaring the, uh, crap out of you. The idea that someone could come into our house and be here, uninvited, much less take any of our stuff creeps me out plenty; I chose not to be the explainer this time.

Anyway, after the discussion and going round and around -- yes, people could break in, but no, it probably wouldn't happen and, yes, that's what the security system is for but, no, you shouldn't be afraid -- you set to work on a project.

After 10 minutes or so, you came into the kitchen with a note for any potential robbers. It is written on adding machine tape and you insisted that we post it on the door. According to you, it says, "robber, don't come into our house. I don't want you to take my work. And Myra. She'll run away, so don't come in." Additionally, you want to create a special piece of artwork for any potential robber to take instead of something else he or she may want. Your reasoning is thus: if you make something nice for them (a painting, or even some nice needlework!), then they won't want the other stuff...right? Right?!

You seem to understand that sometimes people don't have what they need, and so they may do bad things to change that circumstance. I think it's lovely you believe that the power of the written word--and your own creativity--could help turn that negativity away (literally) at the door.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

November sleepover #2

We are at our friends' house for our family dinner and sleepover. In the morning we will have a quick breakfast and then head to Buddhist Sunday school, which we all enjoy.

Lots of hangout days ahead.

Friday, November 21, 2008

BOB Books

You are on the first box of BOB Books and I so enjoy watching you work your way through them. When we got them in August, you were interested, but became frustrated so easily. We encouraged--but did not pressure--you to go at your own pace.
You read a new book in the series tonight and it was so wonderful to see you really, truly reading and encountering a new character (Jig the pig) working with good old Mag the dog. Your joy in the content of the story was authentic. You held your hands up to your face and leaned over, gripping your stomach at the sheer hilarity of Jig and Mag's digging contest. It's a beautiful thing to be on the other side of the book. We hope you always encounter reading and learning with this much amazement. After all of these years reading myself, I certainly do!

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Sometimes, after a long day, all it takes is a couple of prat falls--or silly dances--to send you over the edge.

Your giggles and all-consuming belly laughs are so rejuvenating after spending hours with
teenagers who: outnumber or lack compassion for me (or learning)
who: turn away when I ask them meaningful questions.

In the long afternoons, I dream of the running hug and burying my face in your blond curls, feeling your smile on my neck.

And then
there you are again.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Early Fall birthday party, for our sweet friend J. Your first time rollerskating. We look goofy, but it was a great time.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Blue streak.

From the time you entered the house tonight until the moment you went to sleep, you were talking.

At dinner -- you brought your purse to the table just in case you had to answer your phone. There was great conversation with all of your friends. We heard all about the little soap opera you have cooked up for them.

While in the bathroom -- you read books aloud to yourself for 10 minutes.

Before bed -- ongoing dialog about school, Dad's school, how he should change his classroom, "You need more colors in your room! A green rug, yellow bookshelves. This is how you will do it..."

Lying in bed for your nightly back rub-- "no, no, over over, and around my neck...good, no, now on my shoulders!"

Truly, there was not a moment where we had silence, and this is not the usual way. Most nights, you have at least two minutes to yourself, but there seemed to be a lot of things you needed to communicate. I love it.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Snapshot: With Baby Jo

One evening, after you were dressed for bed, you wanted to cuddle on our bed. You took off your glasses and tucked in. Suddenly, you realized you were missing Baby Jo, hopped off the bed and brought her into bed with us. After about 5 minutes or so, it was time for you to head to your own bed. We needed a photo to commemorate the occasion.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Baking together: Raspberry muffins

Because of your allergies, baking and cooking can sometimes be delightfully simple or uncomplicated in a boring way. Over the past few years, more and more gluten free and dairy free items have come into the market. You are not interested in any form of chocolate, so that limits our choices even further! Today, while at Whole Foods, I discovered that they've introduced their own line of gluten free baking mixes. Although Whole Foods carries expensive items, their 365 Organics lines are often less expensive than other brands. So we picked up some muffin mix and a bag of frozen raspberries to stir in.

Instead of the pre-bedtime game or book, tonight we made muffins. We even sat in front of the oven and watched them rise (16 minutes! You sat on my lap the whole time). These muffins good. So, so good. We used Earth Balance and Hemp Bliss instead of butter and milk. Luckily, you are not allergic to eggs, so we didn't have to use a substitute. These muffins did not have a gritty, flat taste as gluten free products often have. The raspberries were perfect, although you did not like the "squishy" texture of the whole berries.

I can't wait to bake more with you! I know you probably won't eat them, but we will make the fudge brownies together sometime soon. You enjoy the process of working and helping so much, you don't seem to mind if we make something that's not exclusively for you. Perhaps I can convince you to try one bite!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Sweet nothings

"I love you Mom. You are so pretty. You are the most pretty, that's why I love you.

I love you Dad. You are...the weirdest. You are weird.

Mom, you are the prettiest, and Dad, you are the weirdest.

I love you, good night!"

Friday, November 14, 2008

Music: Elizabeth Mitchell

You have always loved listening to music and so we've introduced you to as much variety as possible. In the last two years, you've grown very fond of Dan Zanes, Lisa Loeb and Led Zeppelin. You are into anything, really, as long as it has a good beat and it matches your mood. One of your favorites is the singer Elizabeth Mitchell. She has, with her husband and daughter, created some wonderful albums. About two months ago, she graced Portland with her presence. Although the show was short, and the venue uncomfortable, we were beyond excited to see her. Here's to enjoying more live music in the future!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Slightly sick

Today you and Dad came home with sniffly noses; you came barging through the door with coughs and pitiful looks.

Dinner was just coming out of the oven. Then, a puzzle and bath. When we tucked you in--Dad rubbing your back and me, next to you, squeezed in tight--when we tucked you in, you were asleep as your head hit the pillow.

I love to lie next to you when you have just fallen asleep.

So many of my words about you these days seem to reflect my night writing habit. I am trying to find the light.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

passing thoughts

On my way to bed tonight, I was thinking of you as I climbed the stairs. The temptation to check in on you was great. Why do I still miss you when you are sleeping?

Dad told me that you cried for me in the car tonight. You must have known I would not be there, but perhaps your desired closeness overwhemed your memory.

P.S. I love our new nightly ritual: robot stories. More on that soon.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Sometimes you play favorites.

Today, it was my turn. As you cuddled into my lap for your snack, you said, "I love you the muchest!" And I didn't want to correct your grammar because, for just awhile, I want to savor the sweetness of your misspoken affection.

It was a good day.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Multiple Directions

Today, we came to pick you up at school and your caregivers couldn't tell us where you were. In one instance, I was angry, worried, sad -- livid. Running down the hallway toward your dark classroom, I could hear your wails as I opened the door. You were in the doorway of the bathroom in wet pants. Paralyzed and ashamed. You said, "I've been here a long time! No one came to help me!" I stroked your hair and held you in my arms. Who knows long it had been, but you tell the truth. What if we'd been another 15 minutes? There were three adults in the common room, watching 8 other children listen to prerecorded music, but apparently not one of them remembered or noticed your absence.

The sick feeling in my gut pulls me to places I don't necessarily want to go emotionally, but certainly helps me examine what I want in my relationship with you. When we come home after a long day, do we really need to clean and do other chores? Tonight I gladly painted with you, and then created stories before a long bath.

There are moments when I wonder if we'd be better here together, holed up with our books and paints and pretend games. You are, in many ways, a homebody like myself. This weekend you told me, "I like to be home. Will we be home next weekend?" We will, but I know full-time, at home life not what's in the cards right now.

Tonight during our goodnights tonight, I was holding your hand -- stroking your fingers and kissing the soft skin. You said, "you'll always take care of me, Mom."

Sunday, November 09, 2008


This afternoon, we went to Wordstock at the Portland Convention Center. Both Dad and I were volunteering for BookMooch. The expectation was that you would not be able to handle 4+ hours there, but you were more than happy to stay.

You helped at the table -- explaining BookMooch and handing out flyers, you sat at a poetry reading -- our dear friend Matthew Dickman read from his new book, "All-American Poem" (at the end, you even raised your hand to ask a question!), then insisted you return to see another friend, Michael McGriff, read from his new book, "Dismantling the Hills," and, of course, ran in circles around the children's area.

At one point, you dragged Dad to see another author (Kevin Cook) discussing his book about teen golf education. We aren't sure why you were drawn to this, but any (appropriate) opportunity to learn about new books and ideas is fine with us.

You even created your own comic book!

Whew. It came as no surprise that you were exhausted and cranky, but you still managed to listen to a story, and then create your own story, before bed tonight. It's tough for you to understand, sometimes, that there are many more stories for you to write...but that you must sleep and rest in order to live them.

Saturday, November 08, 2008


We had a big day with friends: eating, laughing, playing and, hopefully, sleeping. You three friends will grow and learn together, and for this I am eternally greatful. We are all so lucky to have each other in our extended families!
More on all of this tomorrow.

Friday, November 07, 2008

By the numbers

45 minutes -- time it takes to get you ready and out the door (this amount of time includes the Dressing of Dolls).

5 minutes -- time it took to convince you that yes--yes you CAN take care of yourself after you use the bathroom.

3 minutes -- length of time between the first and last bite of your mixed berry cereal bar (eaten in the car).

9 hours -- length of time you are away from us on weekdays -- too long.

1 hour -- bedtime ritual: puzzle, bedtime toast, dressing (you and the babies), brushing of teeth etc., book at bedside, song (Wouldn't It Be Loverly, sung by Yours Truly) and tucking in (with extra kisses).

11 hours -- about how long you'll sleep tonight.

Until we meet again, my love.

Thursday, November 06, 2008


This morning, you got in the car with your Dad and said, "Daddy, we have energy in our body." And he said, "who taught you that?" You responded with, "I thought it myself." Dad asked you if energy is everywhere or just in you. You determined that energy is in everything, but that it comes "from inside your body." He asked another question, "are we energy or do we have energy; is it part of our body?"

After a few moments of silence, you said, "Daddy, stop asking me about energy." "Okay," he said. "Okay," you said.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Bargaining Skills, Or Why You Could Work As A U.N. Negotiator

Tonight you met your match. We like to pretend we rule the roost 100% of the time, but it's really not true. Sure, we have rules and regulations, but when there are low-stakes requests, we will often let you have your way. Sometimes this comes back to bite us in the a**.

We have long said you could work for the U.N. in conflict-resolution. Or, really, we could, depending on the issue. Tonight the scene in our house reached critical mass: there was biting, hair pulling and, after dinner, a drawn out bedtime snack negotiation. In the middle, of course, there was sweetness and light. Our meal conversation was happy and interesting. But you are really attached to your bedtime toast. Tonight, however, you didn't mention the need for said toast until we were upstairs and ready to begin the other bedtime procedures. You did not need the toast--for you had actually been noshing on snacks before dinner as well--and so tonight we stood firm. You were, for lack of a better word, pissed.

"Okay, then -- I'll take 3 pieces or ZERO pieces!"
"I'm going to sleep in YOUR bed tonight!"
"The FIREMEN are going to come to our house and shoot FIRE at you!"
"Give me my DINNER BACK! You didn't let me FINISH!"

Eventually, of course, it ended because we refused to battle with this attitude. This behavior always surprises me because, well, you are my baby. I see, most of the time, a girl who is growing so quickly--who is strong and smart and reasonable.

During the turning moment, we had a talk in the dark hallway about letting go of wanting things, or, even, letting go of wanting a different feelings. Dad spoke of your Yoga practice and breathing. Finally, you held out your little fist, palm up, and opened it slowly, saying, "I'm letting go of want. The grumpy feelings are going away." In that moment, we all got what we wanted and needed.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Right now, we are sitting on the couch together. Dad is helping you put on your pajamas. Our little family of three is watching Barack Obama accept his new role as President of the United States. And we are--all of us--so happy. As you tuck yourself in beside me, I have hope for you--for us--for all of us. I have hope that those who did not stand behind him will work to unite our country--will honor and stand behind our new leader.

This is an amazing and important moment in history, one that I am overjoyed to share with you. "We are not enemies, but friends," President-elect Obama says. These are words to hold out to all you meet, dear Lucy. I will do all I can to live this example for you.

Yes we can!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Picture Day

Today we found your Fall portraits tucked inside your little cubby at school. I am always excited to see what parts of your personality are revealed in the variety of poses. This year, your opinion on the chosen outfit included a debate about whether or not you'd wear your cardigan over your dress.

As we were preparing for picture day a few weeks ago, I was somewhat insistent you take off your sweater and, although you agreed, you were reticent. You had other ideas. As Dad and I were driving away from school, he reminded me of a debate I once had with my own mother. I was in the 2nd grade, and when she pulled the school pictures out of the envelope, she was disappointed because I hadn't removed my pale, purple cardigan. I remember thinking it looked nice, and had only buttoned the top button to show off the cute shirt underneath. When I look at the pictures, even now, I remember the sadness I felt. Why didn't my mom honor the ideas I had about my self-image? I did not want to pass on a similar memory.

When we picked you up after school that day, the first thing you said was, "I forgot to take off my sweater!" I said, "that's okay, sweetie. I'm sure the pictures look great!" You replied, looking down, "actually, I left it on...on purpose. It looks pretty with my dress." And I told you that I was so happy you made your own decision and reiterated how much I want to value your ideas.

While looking at the pictures after dinner tonight, you were so proud of how cute you looked. Each pose featured a different version of your smile--the tilt of your head shifted a bit in the shot with the Fall leaves in the background. Your golden hair looked lovely and your skin was peachy and clear.

As we put the photos back in the envelope for safe keeping, you said, "see Mom, I was right! The sweater did look great with that dress!" Yes, yes it does.

Sunday, November 02, 2008


In no particular order -- events and moments to cover this month:
Bob Books and reading
Working with numbers
Telephone etiquette
Baby Guy and your imaginary friends

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Once again...

I am going to post here every day here for the month of November. Someday, when you see all of the sentences and paragraphs I've written for you, you'll notice that it's more of a yearly update. Although I always intend to write more and more often, intentions have rarely turned to action.

More soon....

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Bedtime conversation

Lucy,"Mommy? Tell me where I came from again."

Me,"You came from an egg."

Lucy, laughing, "No! No I didn't! Where did I come from?!"

Me,"An egg, well, kind of."

"But, but...I'm not a chicken!"

[Uproarious laughter from both parties.]

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Snapshots of Bend No. 1

Lucy outside of the Birds of Prey exhibit at the High Desert Museum in Bend, Oregon. This is a great spot for folks of all ages. My favorite part of the museum was the owl exhibit. In the glass enclosure, there was a giant sheet dividing it into two 'apartments.' Apparently the two, baby owls were keeping their parents up all day and wearing them out. The sign providing this information stated that most human parents could surely understand the need for this division. Yes, yes we do.

Monday, July 28, 2008

A new friend

Earlier this month, we went to see Lisa Loeb promoting her new kid's album, Camp Lisa. We were all excited to meet her and the album has been on continuous rotation ever since. Good thing it's a great album!

Summer glimpse

As usual -- high hopes for writing to you here, but I've been too busy with you to note it all.

After the last note, you went in for your eye surgery, which went swimmingly. Despite all of the worry and concern, you were an excellent patient. When you woke up, you were not afraid or even teary-eyed, which surprised everyone. Your eyes have healed and revealed a new you. This you runs up and down hills, undaunted. We realized that your depth perception must have been nonexistent before. Your knees now bear the scrapes of childhood, all due to your fearless romping.

This summer has been somewhat challenging. You are really coming into your own (to put it nicely). Almost everyday, there is some sort of battle. We threaten and cajole and finally we come to an agreement that we actually do know best after all. There are please, pleases and no, nos and WTFs all over the place, but more than anything, we love who you are becoming. But there are moments when we wonder if our responses will send you to therapy. We have a fund started.

You are reading short books and counting! You are proud of what you can do and so are we. It does somewhat limit our ability to S-P-E-L-L out words we don't want you to hear, because you can often decode what we are trying to communicate to each other in secret. Pretty soon, we'll have to start passing little notes folded up in triangles and read them in locker room after recess. Er, you know what I mean.

A few more notes for later explanation:
You love babies, especially the one who "lives in your belly".
You have imaginary friends, "Baby Guy" and "Innis".
You are asking more and more about Life and Death.
When you are upset, you do "the volcano" to let the bad energy out and then take deep breaths to bring the good in.

More soon...

Saturday, June 21, 2008

June 21

It is finally summer and we are all looking forward to the time we'll spend together in the next couple of months. This year, I know you won't allow me to delve into the part of my personality that likes to stay home. I almost feel ashamed to admit that this part exists, but it does.

One of my favorite aspects of your nature is your ability to see what others need. You are at a point where you seem to understand and respect the different 'parts' of people. While you will sit on the couch with me and relax when I need that, you push me to learn new things -- you hold yoga class, play "golf" outside, plant cosmos in our yard, introduce me to all of your friends and sing silly songs. You want to hear new music -- you enjoy jazz, hip-hop and many things in between.

You are one of the best negotiators I have ever met. Even when I have steeled myself to say 'no' to more playing before bed, more cookies, or a popsicle, somehow you manage to have those things. Often, this is not a problem, however, we are learning that we cannot match your strong will.

Four is my favorite age so far, although they have all been (mostly) good. Last year was hard because we lost two family members and our lives were clouded with this--even more than I realized. But this year, you are asking questions about what this means. Last week, you inquired what death and life mean. And having to give you clear answers has made me grateful that you ask them. The week before, you asked questions about race and skin color.

Right this very moment, you are whining for a popsicle and yelling at the cat and I hear the freezer door open, so it's off we go!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Happy Birthday Baby

Lucy! You are Four! Years! Old! today (well, yesterday). We are so proud of you, and love you more than ever. This week you learned all of the countries in North and Latin America. Wow. Today you showed dad where all of them are on the map -- we are amazed. On Monday you started studying and by Thursday, you knew them all. (Confession -- until you reminded me where Belize is, I couldn't have shown you.)

After a long and cold Spring, Summer has arrived early and with a vengeance. It seems appropriate -- you have been asking for short sleeves and sun dresses for months. You dream of sunny days. So perhaps the greatest gift today was the sun.

There are parties to come and pictures will surely follow. I can't believe it's been four years since you arrived, my sweet girl. I know you're set to show us who you are this year, more than ever. I'll try to be ready for it, whining, laughter and all.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

You can't always get what you want.

Lately I've been feeling itchy for you to grow more independent. There was a part of me that knew I shouldn't wish for it, but there are times in the day where it would be so much...easier. And now I feel lazy for writing it down. But you know the times -- in the morning getting ready and at night. Our struggles are rooted in the fact that you know how you need or want things to go, but you aren't quite there developmentally. And I want to help.

Simultaneously, I've felt this need to hold you close, draw you in. Last night, we went out without you and it felt...strange. The author reading and signing wouldn't have been appropriate content for you, but we were at one of your favorite places -- Powell's -- and found ourselves browsing the selection of "Clifford the Big Red Dog" books you are so wild for. As I write this, I'm thinking that I set out to write about your sudden shifts -- your development -- and, of course, this is really about mine.

As the sun has appeared more and more, you are expending more energy outside. You are coming alive! With the increased activity comes a deeper need for rest, for moments to yourself where you can chill the eff out when you find yourself too wound up. So maybe it's the literal increase in movement that's caused me to feel the metaphoric movement away from me. And that's just so damn typical, isn't it?

Yesterday when you and Dad picked me up, I opened your door to give you a quick kiss. You looked at me, sighed, and said, "You are so beautiful Mommy." This moment was a balm on my otherwise frustrating day with teenagers and so what I need. You seemed to sense what I need, and it is so awesome to see this development.

But I still long for you to need me, to make me go through the entire bedtime routine with the kisses, the hugs, the calling back in, the holding for four minutes on the floor and, finally, the silence.

Tonight we were drying your hair and your eyes were closing. You said, "I feel cold." You were unusually tired and when we laid you in bed, you rolled over and fell asleep. You didn't even make it through our little stories. We kissed you on the cheek, turned out your little pink and green flower lamp, and left the room. I waited by the door and found myself regretting each second I wished for this moment.

"But if you try sometimes you might find you get what you need."

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Life Questions Episode #253: Frank Sinatra

Saturday morning conversation about Frank Sinatra.

"I want to listen to that song, "oh my gosh my golly," who sang that song?

"Frank Sinatra."

"Yeah, yeah! Frank Sinatra -- that one!"


"But he died. I missed him. Where did he go, did he go to the sky?"

"No, no. He's just gone. It's okay, though. We can still listen to his music."

"Oh! Oh! I have an idea!"


"I can see Frank Sinatra in California! I can go there someday!"

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Last night we were at a friend's house for dinner. When we were at the table, you ordered me to laugh. I made a laugh-like sound, but you knew it wasn't real; everyone laughed, though, because we are all silly that way.
Dad leaned over and stage-whispered in your ear, "tell Mom to laugh authentically." You smiled and bowed your head, but did not repeat the words. We waited in anticipation, holding our breath to make sure we didn't miss hearing the big word escape your lips.
Conversation moved on, but a minute or two later you quietly said, "laugh authentically." Then, in a louder, happy exclamation you said, "I found it! I found the page!" as if the word -- the moment of the whispered request was in an ever expanding memory book of words and experiences.
Later, in the car, we tried to learn the secret of what the pages of your book look like, but you couldn't exactly say--maybe you saw words or pictures, perhaps it was just the moment of the whisper. No matter what it was, these moments of metacognition took my breath away.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


A couple of days ago, a beautifully bright and sharply in focus rainbow appeared in front of our house. It was one that was so close, you could see the end resting on the top of trees two streets over.

Later, in your room, you told Dad, "I'm going to think about the rainbow before I go to sleep."

Friday, March 14, 2008

Blue Ribbon

I don't want to lose the memory of many things, but today I want to acknowledge my pride for your most recent accomplishment.
When we started swim lessons a few weeks ago, I wasn't sure you'd pass the first "test" by the end of your intro class. I'm sorry I didn't have the faith in you...
The first two lessons, you cried and shook. Then, you gave up the crying and expressed excitement about swimming (even though you gripped us with your vice-like fingers). Finally, you started floating on your own -- beautifully and with a brilliant confidence.
Last night, you got your blue ribbon and I am so proud of you. The blue ribbon means you floated on your back, by yourself, for 20 seconds. It means you can jump into the water face first and turn yourself over into a floating position.
When I was a girl, I was deathly afraid to hop in to water, even into the shallow end. I didn't trust myself. But I know you won't be that girl -- you will not feel that fear.
Today you told me you want to go skiing. Let's not get carried away now, okay? Mama needs to take this slow.
But whatever mountains you choose to scale (literally and figuratively), I'll be there to cheer you on.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Passion and difficulty

Today is my birthday and you woke me up by saying, "go away mom." You and Dad have this thing on weekend mornings; you wake up together while I sleep in. I am forever grateful of the extra sleep, but you are very territorial of whatever early morning magic you create -- painting, writing songs on the computer and reading books.
I am already afraid of our future relationship. We both have a passive-aggressive tendency and we've had disagreements where neither one of us wants to admit defeat. Then I realize I'm trying to one-up a preschooler and I recognize the ridiculousness of my own behavior.
You are so passionate and loving most of the time -- and oh-so-sure of how everything fits together. I wouldn't trade what we have for a world without you, but I worry when you act like a jerk. I'd prefer to think your nature is the "I love you mommy, I made this for you, thank you so much" and not the "you are not my friend, go away, I don't love you."
We'll find our way together; I'll never go away.

Saturday, January 26, 2008


"Did you buy my bott*m at the Container Store?"
"Dude, is this where I put the bowl?"
"Is this for me? That's awesome!"

Friday, January 11, 2008

A little sick

Although you have suffered through many colds before, and even expressed your dislike for them, this is the first time you've seemed so...mature in the way you complain about illness. You talk about how you feel, "My nose is so runny, and now it hurts!" and "My stomach hurts from coughing." This morning you said, "I don't feel better."

This morning, I was holding you in my arms, leaning against your bed. It was still kind of dark outside, though the rain had stopped overnight. You tilted your face up to mine and said, "Someday I'll be too big for you to hold me." I felt a lump in my throat as I told you that, yes, it's true -- but that time is awhile off. I'll always hold you -- in some way -- when you need me too.

We were sitting on the couch eating cereal and you said, "I love you too," even though I hadn't said it first. This is something you've been saying randomly, sweetly, to me. I like that, to you, I must express my love for you constantly, and without words; the too acknowledges that.

Now you are trying to nap, your raspy coughs interrupting the low hum of the furnace. The cat is twitching by my legs and, for just this moment, everything is just right.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Wake up & See you later

This morning you woke me up by stroking my arm and gently suggesting we play Cherry O! on the bed. Dad reminded you that I like to wake up slow and easy like you. You respected that and we had a nice time hanging out. I love to see your awareness and sensitivity blooming. This year, one of my resolutions is to be more patient. With you, this means staying a bit more even -- wating for you to come around before becoming firm or angry. It's important for all of us -- short and long term.

Our friend Peter stopped by the house this afternoon. He is on a quick trip from his overseas home and it's always great to see him! He is the father of three kids and you love to sit on his lap, tell him stories and laugh together. You're keen to notice people's expressions and you especially enjoy his many dimensions. When he was leaving, you stood on the porch yelling your goodbyes. This is something you do with friends as they leave -- you don't want anyone you love to feel unappreciated. Peter, in particular, responded to you calls; you said a goodbye to each of his kids as he made it to his car and he called back. You are delighted by those who "get" you.

I feel that there was more I wanted to say here -- something more substantial -- and I struggle with that. Is our journey different than other parents? Is sharing it here with a future you valuable? As I write this, I must feel there is some benefit; at the very least, there is reflection. You are in the process of giving up naps and I'm sure I'll have sometime to write about that. I hope I can find some cleverness, or at least a more specific emotion, soon. This is the time of year that feels so far from a brightness, so it's good I have you to remind me of what's right here!