From the mouths of babes, January 2018

Without any prompting, ask your child these questions and write down EXACTLY what they say.

Holden, 6 years old:

1. What is something mom always says to you? Stop getting in Sandy’s face.
2. What makes mom happy? To listen and get out of Sandy’s face.
3. What makes mom sad? When I don’t listen to you.
4. How does your mom make you laugh? By saying I’m gonna poop in your face.
5. What was your mom like as a child? I think you were a genius.
6. How old is your mom? 36
7. How tall is your mom? I think 45 pounds.
8. What is her favorite thing to do? To be a artist.
9. What does your mom do when you’re not around? Works.
10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for? I think a Power Ranger.
11. What is your mom really good at? Building lightsabers.
12. What is your mom not very good at? Putting really hard puzzles together.
13. What does your mom do for a job? Works!
14. What is your mom’s favorite food? Pomegranates
15. What makes you proud of your mom? When she does what I tell her what to do.
16. If your mom were a character, who would she be? Ventress!
17. What do you and your mom do together? We play.
18. How are you and your mom the same? We talk the same words.
19. How are you and your mom different? We look different.
20. How do you know your mom loves you? Because I lived a long time with her.
21. What does your mom like most about your step-dad? He’s really funny.
22. Where is your mom’s favorite place to go? Home.
23. How old was your Mom when you were born? Ummm, six?

Snow big deal

It snowed Saturday morning and stayed on the ground for a few hours. Long enough for us to terrorize the neighborhood with a multi-street snowball fight (involving only ourselves). I was the conscientious objector/documenter, of course. Here’s a slideshow of the carnage.

Snowball War 2017

Excerpts from my son’s future autobiography — Vol. 1

My mother never seemed to appreciate some of my early attempts at artistic expression, like running free in a crowded parking lot, putting my face too close to things that were either on fire or boiling, licking all the candy at the freestanding candy kiosk at the mall, or shoving my hands directly into whatever food was placed in the middle of the dinner table even if I had no intention of actually eating it.


There wasn’t a question that my mom couldn’t answer with a pensive, “That’s a tough one.”

“Mom, what does ‘what’ mean?”

“Mom, can I have a pretzel?”

“Mom, who would win in a fight — this pachycephalosaurus or this dragon?”

… “That’s a tough one.”


One of my favorite games to play with my mom was the one where I would act like a seizing banshee while she would try to buckle me into my carseat. You should have seen the expression on her face, her hair hanging in stress-sweat-soaked strands, as I laughed manically. I’d win every time!


I learned early that anything could be a drum, if you hit it hard enough with drum sticks.



One of the strangest but most helpful Parenting EpiphaniesTM I’ve had is when I realized that parenting and cooking often give me the same kinds of anxiety because they are both a kind of alchemy.

Sure, there are basic recipes and best practices and knowledge handed down from generation to generation. But every set of ingredients is unique, and the oven at your place might not act like the oven at Barbara’s, because Barbara blackmailed her husband into buying her a super fancy new one, so who’s to say that a recipe is going to turn out the same way given all the variables.

And that gives me great anxiety because that is a very large responsibility. You can kill people with a badly cooked meal, or at least make them very sorry they ate your food.

So to fight cooking anxiety you just have to do it. Just find some dumb, basic recipes and follow them until you learn why you do the things in the order you do them. It starts to make a kind of sense, and you get to know your appliances better so you can make smalltalk with them while you wait for your toast to brown.

Parenting is similar. You read the recipes but you basically just have to get in there and get your hands dirty. Over and over again, with the same recipe, until you could make it blindfolded. Sometimes it will turn out great and sometimes you’ll forget to put the foil over the pork while it roasted, and you’ll chew it twice as long. You will still be grateful for the food.

P.S. Tonight I made country-style pork ribs and my kiddo went to bed very happy. #twofer

This is pretty much what joy looks like


In case you ever get bogged down in the mundane and the frustrating and forget.

Bite it

Holden has taken to yelling, “Mama! Watch your tongue!” at me unprompted, many times a day. Even when I’m not saying anything inappropriate.

And, as rude as he is, he’s right. The tongue is going to get me in trouble some day.

Toddler talk

It’s such a weird thing to watch a child acquire language.

When your child is in school full time, he’s picking up all sorts of stuff from teachers as well as the adorable little tykes he’s with all day, on top of the stuff he picks up from you and anyone in your house. So you are never quite sure where some of the stuff comes from. And when he busts out with something hilariously bossy or rude, it’s hard not to react with an incredulous laugh. Which a toddler probably considers the jackpot of parental reactions in most situations.

Here are some things Holden’s been saying lately. I wish I could get this stuff on video so I could preserve the inflection and conviction, which adds a whole other layer of hilarity. But, he is pretty good at shutting down shenanigans as soon as he sees me train a camera or phone on him.

• “O-B-E!” — I have a theory that there must be some song they sing at school where they spell out the word “obey,” which is delightfully Orwellian.

• “Are you OK? I’m OK.” — To people or toys, whenever they might have gotten bumped or jostled.

• “I can’t like it.” — Not I don’t like it, but I can’t like it.

• “The number B!” — He sometimes calls letters numbers and numbers letters, even though he knows all his letters and many numbers backward and forward.

• “Scoot that booty!” — For scooting out of chairs or down stairs.

• “That’s enough!” — For times when he is tired of your drama.

• “ROOOOAAAARRRR!!” — Used when we read books about lions, tigers, sharks or snakes, and used to scare the bejesus out of strangers at restaurants or grocery stores.

• “That is soooo sad.” — Proclaimed when he sees pictures of people or animals not looking very happy, or when we pretend to scare off monsters and lions.

• “Come back here!” — To be said to someone who is walking away in his view prematurely, or to poop making a getaway down the toilet.

• “Wait on meeeee!” — To be wailed to any parent figure who might take two steps away from him when he’s feeling like an integral part of the mission.

• “Put it in your pocket!” — About your mobile device when he wants your undivided attention.

• “Stop it, mama!” This is usually accompanied by a threatening finger point, followed by a time-out, because oh hell no.