Sunday, December 4, 2016

To My Second Son On HIS First Birthday

My Sweet Baby,

You entered this world in a flash, and I knew you immediately. I confess I wasn't sure I would. My connection to your brother was so deep, so visceral, that it was difficult for me to imagine the same with another little human. But there you were, and there we were, and here we all are. You are one year old and an absolute delight. The key to my heart is in your cheeky grin, your sweet snuggles, and your copy-catting of your brother. 

All three of us - me, your Papa, and your Brother - love you fiercely and freely. Although I haven't spent nearly as much time staring at you (and yes, taking your picture as you sleep) as I did your brother in his first year of life, know that I still know you. I'm your Mama and you're my Son. You're my son who loves all things soft of texture, dogs, lights, balls or even remotely ball-shaped objects, hats, being held so you can observe, learning and using new signs and words, being just like your brother, joining in, This Little Piggie, North Pole/South Pole, whole apples, and all food - all of it. You're a walking ball of light. 

One year is gone, and another just beginning. Because of you I am Mama twice over. Thank you for being you. 

Love Always,

Saturday, September 24, 2016


"Mama, will you make me a blue light saber?"
"Yes. Yes, of course."

Parent-pro-tip #387: Always save your empty toilet paper tubes.

"Mama, can I get out of the car and be with Papa?"
"Yes. Yes, of course."

Parent-pro-tip #388: Insist on hard hats when your children are around heavy machinery.

"Mama, can AL get in the tube?"
"Yes. Yes, of course. But we need to watch his face and body language so he can let us know whether or not he likes being there."

Parent-pro-tip #389: Babies are people too.

BONUS parent-pro-tip: Babies like shiny.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Ballet Shoes

A couple of weeks after we moved here to New England, my husband was working on a Saturday, so I took the boys to a local school to check out their PTA's annual rummage sale. You'd think, having two boys, we'd be all set in the children's clothing department. But, alas, they are April and December kids, thus opposite seasons in clothes. Anyway. I found a couple of things for AL and BC found a pair of pink ballet shoes. After realizing I would buy them for him, and that they would match his pink hat at home, he announced he was going to find a "ballet dress" to go with them. The search began. After about 15 minutes he delightedly settled on a purple skirt (we were later told it was a "Princess Sofia" costume skirt. Still not sure what that means...).  After we paid for our items BC wanted to don his new treasures immediately. You'd never seen a happier boy walking out of that building in his ballet shoes and ballet dress.

Before we went in I had promised BC we could stop at the school playground for a few minutes on our way out. So we did. The playground, by this time, was pretty busy. I have to admit, I felt some trepidation allowing BC to go play with the other kids in all his finery. I wanted to protect him. Of course I did - and always do. I wasn't sure what kind of rude comments would be made about this boy in the skirt. He's a highly sensitive child, and I didn't want him crushed. But what could I do? I had already made the promise. He immediately started running, climbing, and swinging. It took about 3 minutes before a few kids came over to him. They were a bit older and had obviously just come from their soccer game. "Look!" said one girl. "Look what he's wearing!" My heart started racing. I waited to see how I could support my child and mediate, if necessary, for all parties. "Hello," said BC to the girl. "Ummmm. You can't do that," she declared. "Do what?" he asked. "You can't wear ballet shoes outside." I paused.

"Yes I can."
"Nuh uh. Ballet shoes are for inside only. I take ballet and I know."
"Well, I'm doing it. I'm wearing them."

And that was that. No retort, no argument, no comment whatsoever on the skirt. Nobody cared. The only concern was for the rules of dancing shoes being for inside only. I was proud of my son for standing by his conviction to wear what he wanted to wear, even in the face of peer critique. I was also struck by the fact that this exchange would have gone so very differently had we still lived in the midwest. Of course I'm generalizing, and assuming. But I'm 99% certain I'm right. Yeah, I'm right.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Self-Righteous Indignation

In case you missed it (practically impossible if you live in the U.S.), this past weekend a 4-year-old boy somehow got into the gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo, dropped 15 feet into a foot of water in the enclosure's moat, and was taken (some reports say "dragged") by a 17-year-old male gorilla to another part of the moat where the gorilla was then shot and killed by first-responder/emergency zoo staff. There is so much to say about this situation. There are so many unknowns. My first thought was, "how awful on so many levels." I grieve for the gorilla. I grieve for the zoo staff. My heart breaks for the little boy and his mother. However, as is more and more the case in this country, after the initial shock of the incident was reported the comments started rolling in on the almighty social media.

"Where was this boy's mother?!"
"Somebody call social services because there is clearly a case for neglect!"
"If that was [sic] my kid I'd smack the crap out of him!"
"Parent your damn kid!"
"This is what happens when people don't discipline their kids!"
"People need to learn to control their kids, not be their friends."
"They shot the wrong primate."


You know, I was a much wiser, knowledgeable, better parent before I became one. The self-righteous indignation in the comments above makes me sad. And devastated. And furious. Sad because I am sure the mother of this child (let's all remember that it is a child we're talking about. A 4-year-old child) is reading at least some of these comments, because they are inescapable. Devastated because I used to be someone who would make those kinds of comments about parents needing to get in control of their children (not ones advocating violence, but even so...). I use to be that asshole. And furious because (now that I am a parent and no longer the that asshole) I see how awful the attitudes and messages behind these kinds of comments really are.

First of all, we don't know what happened. We don't know. Was the boy's mother (or parent) there when it happened? Maybe. Maybe not. We don't know. Was the parent being neglectful? Maybe, maybe not. We don't know. Is the parent a disciplinarian or an attachment parent? We don't know. Was the child hit/slapped/abused for his actions? We. Don't. Know. We just don't know what happened or how this boy was/is parented, or any of the extenuating circumstances.

Second, this is NOT what happens when parents don't discipline their kids. This is what happens when a freak set of circumstances collide. If this were the sort of thing that happened when people didn't discipline their kids then this sort of thing would happen all the time, isn't that right??

Thirdly, children are people, got it? People. Like, real people. If you think for one second that there is some magical way to "control" them, then you're obviously not a parent. Sure, you can spank (i.e. hit) them - slap them around a bit. You can threaten, intimidate, bribe, reward, or do any number of things to get them to comply with your demands. But that's not control. And it's not even healthy complacency.

Fourth, "They shot the wrong primate."?! The person who wrote this (friend of a friend on Facebook) disgusts me. The sentiment is appalling, base, vile, unfeeling, and just plain wrong. You're mad about an innocent animal being shot to death? So am I. You think the better outcome would have been for another innocent animal (that's right. A child wandering into a place he shouldn't be does not strip him from his innocence here) to have been shot instead?? You're illogical and wrong.

Last, I think people are getting pissed at the wrong thing for the wrong reason. We don't know what happened here. We know an innocent animal lost it's life because of human actions. That's what the comments are abhorring. But, and here's my salient question for all the commenters, are you vegan? Because if you're not, your indignation on this topic is not worth a damn.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

My Favorites

Mother's Day in a new state. Still got to be with my favorites. The transition remains a challenge.

Monday, May 2, 2016


How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard. -A.A. Milne

We left Indiana for Massachusetts today. Yesterday was a most perfect day. The clearest of skies, the softest air, the sweetest of memories. Then last night there was a terrible storm. Thunder, lightening, rain, hail (so much hail), and a tornado warning. I carried both kids from their sleeping beds into the neighbor's bathroom, where we waited for the better part of an hour with them and their kids. And then, almost as suddenly as it began, the storm was over. 

I guess that's how I feel about this move. Some days I feel perfectly at peace about it, and then I will get a storm cloud of emotion and all hail (forgive the pun) will break loose. My emotions will overtake me. I'll want to hide in the bathroom until it passes. And it always passes. 

In leaving my home state, I also leave behind my immediate family, my chosen family, and some of my most treasured friends. This will not be an easy transition. I feel lucky to have been able to be in such near proximity to these people for the time that I have been. I will miss so much about that proximity. I will definitely miss living on the farm which we have called home for the past 9 months. But, that's life, as they say. And with every ending there comes a beginning. I am lucky to have had such beautiful experiences in my old home. I am lucky to have such an adventure awaiting me in my new home. And I am lucky that, most of the time, my skies are clear. 

Sunday, April 24, 2016


Ready? Deep breath. Four years. Four. You, my child, are my heart. For these past four years I've watched you grow from baby, to toddler, to now kid. I look at you with wonder. How did I grow you? How did I birth you? How did I get so very lucky? This has been a year of transitions for us, with more to come in the near future. Yet, you are my constant. My constant reminder to slow down, to appreciate, to be okay with imperfection, to forgive easily, and to breathe.
Before you were born I expected I would have a child who I loved and who brightened my day. I expected to be changed by motherhood. I expected a little person with my hands and my husband's eyes. But I never expected you. You are my unexpected joy, my unexpected teacher, my unexpected friend, my unexpected challenge, and my unexpected breath. You, and now your brother too, are my child. Today you are four. Today, and tomorrow, and all of my forevers, I love you with my whole heart and my every breath.


Thursday, April 14, 2016


I get the distinct feeling that, in a few years, I'm going to have my hands (even) full(er).

Friday, March 4, 2016

Simple Life: Update 2

Well, the best laid plans... We are moving to New England! My husband was offered, and accepted a job out east so off we go. Our plans to build a small, sustainable homestead will be put on hold temporarily as we make this move and see where we go from there. I am sure many challenges and adventures await us. I am sure we will miss our "tribe" here in Indiana. I am sure a new tribe will emerge. I am sure glad I get to walk this earth with these people.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Blood, and Bones, and Tissue Paper

Last fall BC and I were playing... something. I forget what, exactly. Something monster-related. I know I did a bit about how I would eat his fingers - yum! And he said that, no, I couldn't eat his fingers because they were muscles. "Oh really?" I queried. "And what other muscles do you have?" "My arms and legs!", he said. "And your heart!" I said, capitalizing on the teachable moment. "Do you know what else is inside your body?" He grinned, "blood, and bones, and tissue paper." I laughed, he giggled, and our game went on.

The night I went into labor with AL was a night I'll never forget. I was running short on patience. I wasn't feeling well (in hindsight yes, because I was in pre-labor), and I just wanted BC to go to sleep. He was fighting it, as 3-year-olds are wont to do. I was getting frustrated. He was getting frustrated. But instead of taking a moment to connect with him, I let my exhausted frustration get in the way and told him he just needed to go to bed. He tried to bite me. I told him I wouldn't let him bite me and that if he tried to do it again I would leave the room and Papa would have to do bedtime with him, instead of me. He tried to bite me again. I left the room. Seconds later he came out of the bedroom, crying, trying to apologize. But I held firm to my limit. My husband scooped him up. I said, "I love you. Good night." And, the image of his tear-streaked face over my husband's shoulder, looking at me - wanting me - will forever be burned into my memory. "Bye bye, Mama." was what he said.

Bye bye.

When I think back to that night, to that moment, I feel nauseous. As parents we always have things we wish we could have done differently, moments we would like to take back, words we wish we hadn't said. It wasn't too long after that moment when I began to realize I was going into actual labor, and I began consciously willing myself not to. Because I didn't want my last night with BC as an only to be so hard, so unsettling, so... not right. I didn't want his last words to me before his tiny world was turned upside down to be "bye bye". And yet, they were. When I accepted the fact that birth was imminent, I woke my husband, called the midwife and my mom, and then told my husband to go back to bed to "try and get some sleep." I sat in the kitchen on the yoga ball and cried. I just cried and cried. Because I knew. I knew that the "bye bye" at bedtime was it. I could never do that moment differently. I could never take it back. And in that moment - the one I wish for all the world I could do over - with those two words, my tissue paper heart was ripped in two.