Tag Archives: Lucy

Existential Parenting

Lucy looks like a happy kid.  Here we see her heading in to the gym to see her pals.  She enjoys coloring, playing with the large legos and chatting it up with the other small people.  On the way out of the gym she receives a dixie cup filled with animal crackers or goldfish, after she washes her hands, of course.  This is typically a highlight of our day.

By all accounts, life is pretty good.


When not mingling with her kind she enjoys a little solitary time.  My girl likes to relax.  She kicks back and takes in the world. Life is simple.

But I fear that underneath Lucy’s happy exterior lurks something deeper.  I think she is struggling to do more than just exist.  She is finding her essence, perhaps this life of coloring and taking walks is just not enough.  What gives me this idea?

Take a look at Lucy’s bookshelf.  A good look.

No Exit

Right there between Eric Carle’s “With Us, on the Earth and Sea” and the mind numbing rhyming of “Hop on Pop” we have Jean-Paul Sartre’s “No Exit and Three Other Plays.”

This kid is going to be hell in her teenage years.

“Criminals together. We’re in hell, my little friend, and there’s never any mistake there. People are not damned for nothing.” – Jean-Paul Sartre, No Exit

Damn Kid

I’m actually surprised it hasn’t happened before.

Some evenings bath time at our house is more like a drive-through car wash than a leisurely play time with tub toys.  Lucy is stripped down after dinner and I pop her in the tub.  I leave the warm water running and I don’t plug the drain. We get in and we get out.  It’s not a party. It is as utilitarian as a diaper change. Get clean and get moving. We have books to read and nighttime games to play.

Tonight Lucy Goose was standing in the tub all soaped up.  She was having a good time.  She grinned right through the hair washing.  With one hand under her armpit I reached over to the towel bar for a washcloth when I was suddenly soaked.

If you have ever lived with someone that likes to leave the faucet/shower lever on shower when they get out than you know what happened.  The sudden water in the face can be a rude awakening.  Wiping water from my eyes and with soaking wet hair I turned back towards the faucet and I saw her.  She still had her hand on the lever that switches the water from the faucet to the shower.  I quickly pushed it.  The water resumed coming from the faucet.

The bath that I had planned on being quick just got quicker. I’ll  just get the soap off and whooooosh.  Water in the face.  Again.  This time she was laughing.

So, help me.  This kid is so bad.  And I usually love it.  But man, I was annoyed. I finished washing the soap off of her.  But I did not brush her hair.  I showed her, huh?


Watch & Learn

It was quiet.

I know better than to ignore the quiet.   Screaming.  Whining.  Yelling  Slamming.  Banging.  These are the sounds that say “Yep.  We’re all fine, Mom.” But quiet?

Quiet means you’d be smart to hightail into the room where your kids are playing and be prepared to freak out.

I was folding laundry in my bedroom.  Glamorous life, I know.  Lucy had been wandering back and forth between my bedroom and the living room making the “enh enh enh” sound that means “Pick me up and carry me around. There is nothing wrong with me but I am bored.” I had decided to tough it out.  I would just finish this last load, put it away and then I’d make up for not providing a challenging and age-appropriate activity for six minutes of the poor kid’s life.

But then it got quiet.

I made the foolish choice.  I folded like mad and decided to ride it out.  When I left my bedroom I had half a mind to just go straight to the kitchen for a Magic Eraser.  There was sure to be crayon on a wall.  I’d be grateful for crayon and not Sharpie.  Or maybe there would be a dumped over dog water bowl.

Much to my surprise my sweet girl was sitting quietly on the couch with the dog.  She pointed as soon as I saw her.

Goose & Fish

Her point was not at me.  It was at the television (which had been muted, so I didn’t realize it was even on.) She pointed.  And she didn’t move.  She sat like a stone and watched.


You recognize the start of those happy trees, don’t you?  My sweet girl that doesn’t watch television because she is shy of 16 months old and I am afraid I will turn her brain in to oatmeal or, even worse, create a kid that is incapable of amusing herself without a screen, was watching TV.

But not just any TV.  She was watching Bob Ross.


And I hope I didn’t ruin her because I sat down right next to her and said “Check this out. First he covers the whole canvas with Liquid White.  Watch and learn, kiddo. Watch. And. Learn.”

She was mesmerized. I can’t blame her.

Do the Right Thing

I had one of those moments today where I was forced to make a choice in a split second.  I had one of those moments when neither option is really what I want but the confines of time and the number of arms I have forces me to choose.  I did the “right thing.”  But it didn’t feel good. It did not feel good at all.  And my heart still hurts.


I have told the story here before of how I fell in love with Fisher.  I have admitted that he sleeps in my bed with me. But I have never spoken of the way he tears my heart out of my chest every so often, mostly because I like to try and forget.

He will hop down from the bed and then be unable to move.  Or he will be in the midde of jumping up on to the couch and he will collapse.  A seizure, says the vet.  They do not happen often enough to establish any kind of pattern.  Blood work comes back fine.  No known cause.

His legs crumble beneath him.  He begins to pant and drool.  His eyes look deep in to mine as if he is frightened.  He doesn’t move.  It lasts for a minute, maybe two.  If I am alone with him I hold him in my arms and tell him that I love him and that he is okay, that he is safe.  If I am with MQD or my ex-husband I bawl and sob and say “Is he okay? Do you think he is okay?” repeatedly until I am kicked out of the room.  (I will wait here while you make a mental note – Kelly in a crisis, bad idea unless she is the only adult present.)

This afternoon marked the first time that Fish had an episode while I was alone with him.  Alone with him and Lucy.

Fish and Lucy like to look out the window in the afternoon and wait for the school bus. When it is warm they stand at the door.  When it is cold they stand and look over the back of the couch.  Today we were all snuggled on the couch, Fish with his feet over the back of the couch, Lucy Goose right next to him.  They were watching, waiting for the school bus.  They might have stayed just like that for the thirty minutes it would take for Emily to get home.  I considered reaching back behind me to grab my phone and take a picture of these two but I feared my movement would disrupt this quiet calm.  So, I just watched them.

And then his legs folded under him and he curled in to himself.  Lucy was quick to take advantage of this chance to climb on to his back.  And this was my moment.  My split-second “what the hell should I do now?” moment.  I wanted to take my sweet ten-year-old boy in my arms and hold him, shh-shh him and tell it was going to be okay.  He was scared, he is just an animal.

In that moment, though, we were all animals.  All three of us.  And I chose Lucy. I don’t think I should get a medal for having the presence of mind to grab Lucy and hold her away from my ailing dog.  Anyone with a pet knows that a good dog, even a great dog can be squirrelly when they are frightened.  I could pet his head.  I could shh-shh him but I could not hold him in my lap.  I could not hold him because I had this wild thing of a 13 month-old in my lap instead.  And my heart broke in to a million pieces.

20130304-194359.jpgThose big brown eyes.  The same eyes I fell so hard and fast for long before I became a mother they tore a hole straight through me.  “It’s okay, big boy.  I am right here.  I am just keeping Lucy Goosey safe, baby boy, keeping her from bugging you, okay?  But I am right here, I promise, I am right here.”

I must have told him in a thousand different ways that I wasn’t going anywhere and that I was just holding on to Lucy to keep her from bothering him.  But I knew even as the words were falling from my mouth that it was not completely true.  My big boy was hurting.  And I was protecting my baby.

It was the “right thing.”  But it did not feel good.  It did not feel good at all.

Minutes went by and his breathing steadied.  I sobbed the ugly tears on the phone and Fish calmed down.  So, eventually, did I. The school bus came at 2:37 and Fisher jumped off the couch like nothing was wrong.  Cautiously, I opened the door.  He’d either take a few steps and slow down and I would know that this time, this time was different, or he’d leap off the porch to cover his big girl with kisses.

He leapt off the porch.  I leaned against the door frame and watched those two run up the front hill, all zig-zag across the flower beds.  Lucy pressed her face against the storm door waiting for them to come up the front steps.  And just like that today was exactly the same as every other afternoon.

So help me, if these kids are not the death of me, this dog will be.


Lucy Goose is ONE!

Dear Lucy,

20130120-133802.jpgLast year I wasn’t sure if it would be possible to love a baby as much as I loved your big sister. Lucky for you – you turned out to be a Lucy, not just a baby. And in one short year my heart has tripled in size.

I am crazy about you, little girl. And the bonus that I never saw coming? I love your sister twice as much as I used to and your dad, too. You are the icing on my cake, sweet girl. Life was sweet before you arrived, but now that you are here – I just can’t imagine our family without you.


So. You’re one. We made it.


I keep writing and writing and deleting. I don’t have words for you, Lucy Goose. You are sleeping in my lap right now. And I can’t wait for you to wake up. I have spent nearly every minute of the last year with you. And all I want is more.

You are a funny little thing. You make me laugh all of the time.


One year ago we left the birthing center in the dark hours of the morning and we came home, the four of us. I’ve never looked back. You have been a sweet and smushy little baby. You nurse like a champ and you hold my hand while you sleep. You are a cuddler. But you are also so independent in your own little way. You have been just a perfect little baby.


In the last few weeks I have started to see the little girl you are going to be. And Lucy Goose, you are trouble. You are funny. Your sister and I are funny, but you? You are a nut. Your squinchy little smile. Your gonna give me a run for my money, I am afraid. There is a reason you didn’t come to me until I had figured this mothering stuff out a little bit.

Happy birthday, Lucy Goosey.  I love you so much I can’t stand it.



The Point

There are milestones in a child’s life.  If you are not careful they slip right by and you don’t even notice them.  Yesterday in the car Em was making Lucy giggle and she suddenly shrieked “Mom!!!  Lucy has another tooth!!” I expected to see a little tooth showing, that almost imperceptible whiteness of a tooth that has barely popped through.  But, nope.  Up top, to the right of center we have our fifth tooth.  It isn’t just kind of there. It’s a Tooth and I missed it. The kid grins from ear to ear all day I don’t know how I missed it.

20121220-085205.jpgThis week Lucy started pointing.  She doesn’t point at things she wants exactly.  And she doesn’t point if you say “Lucy, where is your puppy dog?” or “Lucy, where is your mama?” She just points.  She walks around and points.  Remember Larry Dallas, the womanizing sleazebag that lived downstairs from Jack and Janet and Chrissy Snow?  He would just point and grin.  Lucy doesn’t wink, but she doesn’t have to.  It’s fabulously ridiculous and I am glad I didn’t miss it.

This morning she was pointing and laughing.  Technically she was pointing and laughing at me (which if you have ever spent ten minutes in my presence you know that is like the Life Jackpot for me.)  Laugh at me, please.  Nothing makes me laugh harder.

So.  Lucy does this now.


And since she does that.  It means that from time to time she does this, too.


And if you have ever lived with me or taken a long ride in the car with me or watched a movie with me or hung out with me when the air is dry than you know that I pretty much do that, too.  This kid, Lucy, in her Boston Red Sox sweater looking just like her father… maybe she looks a little like her mama, after all.  Just a little.

I have two daughters. I just realized that today.

I have fallen in love quite a few times.  I love to fall in love.  My heart beats fast and my arms go numb.  Falling in love is exhilarating.

Falling in love happens long before loving someone.  When you are in love the possibility exists that you will fall out.  You will grow and change or feelings will get hurt and hearts broken.  But when you love someone you love them forever, day in and day out for the rest of all time.  You can count on them and they count on you and you know that no matter what ever happens in your lives you will love one another.  Forever.

I fell in love with Lucy when I felt the top of her head.  It was early in the morning on January 20, 2012.  She was not quite yet born.  I felt her head and she slipped back inside me.  I wept.  I called to her.  “Please, baby, please…” I was desperately in love with her in that moment and I needed to hold her to feel my arms around her. I had fallen in love in a moment’s time.  And I have been falling for almost a year.

This morning it changed.

She was sitting on the floor, playing with her pile of noisy stuff.  She was jabbering to herself.  I was sewing Christmas ornaments.  She turned and she looked at me.  She smiled and looked back at her things.  All she did is smile.  But in that moment everything changed.

A few times a day I will say to Emily “Hey, you know what?” and she turns to me and smiles or occasionally smirks and says “You love me?” and I nod.

Sometimes MQD will hand me a cup of coffee and instead of “Thank you” I say “I love you” and what I mean is not just thank you for this cup of coffee but “thank you and I love you and I will love you for the rest of all time.”

And this morning when Lucy looked at me it happened.  The hair stood up on my arms and I realized I loved her.  Forever.  Not my baby Lucy Q that is sweet and warm and sleeps in my arms.  But this person.  This tiny person that will slam her bedroom door some day and break my heart in a thousand ways, I love her.

Little Lucy Quinn, today you are a baby but you won’t be one forever.  In a little over a month you will be a year old and you will officially be a toddler, although you have been toddling around for well over a month now.  Today it struck me that you are already becoming the little girl that you will be in no time.  You looked up at me from your pile of noisy stuff and I said “I love you” and you smiled.

And the hair stood up on my arms and I realized that I will love you until the end of all time.  You’re really here.  Forever.  You are my daughter.  Yesterday I had a daughter and a baby and today I realized that I have two daughters.  You are this tiny person that I love.

No picture today.  I can’t pick one that captures this moment.  But I won’t ever forget it.  It took me eleven months to realize that my baby is here to stay.  I won’t forget it.


A Pubic Service Announcement

Just a quick Public Service Announcement for you on a Sunday morning.

It is entirely possible that your baby is smarter than your dog.  You can let that sink in.  I’ll wait.

My dog is really quite bright.  At nine years old he is wise and grey.  He is patient and kind.  Unless he wants to go outside and then he is less than patient.  He will whine and bark and run in circles shouting “Hello, assholes!!  Didn’t you hear?!  Your dog wants to go OUTSIDE right NOW!”

Lucy didn’t say a word.  She just waited until I went to the bathroom and hurled her little body at the screen door until it popped open.  Fortunately kids are slobs and she didn’t shut the door behind her or I’d still be screaming her name and looking under the couch cushions.

The takeaway from this little tale – your baby might be smarter than your dog.  And lock your screen door.  You’re welcome.  20121110-153712.jpg


**Note to my readers (some of whom I formerly considered my friends) – Really?  Do you not even pay attention?? A PUBIC Service Announcement?  Note the title, kids.  Killer typo.  And  not one of you gave me shit about this. No wonder my baby is running away, I am a MESS.

Every breath matters.

The shittiest five seconds – I wrote about that once. But the most terrifying ten seconds? I am not sure I can write about that yet. But I feel like I should try.

First, a couple of facts.

Fact: I practice baby-led weaning. Contrary to what you might think this has nothing to do with stopping breastfeeding. Baby-led weaning is, at its simplest, following your baby’s cues and skipping pureed foods. Lucy has been eating solid food since she showed signs of readiness: ability to sit up unassisted, an effective pincer grasp and a loss of the tongue-thrust reflex. A crucial part of embracing baby-led weaning is making peace with the fact that your baby will gag. Gagging is a human’s reflex that prevents them from choking. As long as your baby is gagging they aren’t choking. It’s frightening at first. But by the second baby I was sure. I was sure that she was okay, her body was preventing her from choking and forcing the pieces of food that were too big back up to the front of her mouth. I am not afraid when Lucy gags.

Fact: I do not like to ask for help. I have spent too long changing my own tire because I was sure I could do it myself.

That’s the back story. This morning – the most terrifying ten seconds happened. My hands are still shaking. My face still swollen with tears. Lucy is asleep in my lap.

I knew she wasn’t gagging. I know what that looks like. When I turned around and I saw her sitting on the floor in the living room her eyes were wide. She was silent. Her face was red. It has been no longer than five seconds since I had looked at her. Long enough to have found a minuscule something on the floor and eaten it: a Barbie shoe, a leaf, a piece of paper.

A finger sweep produced nothing. I smacked her on the back. Nothing. Her face grew redder. I needed help. I did not hesitate.

I calmly picked up my phone and called 911. The phone was ringing and I sat cross-legged with my baby on the floor in front of me. I tipped her head back and checked her airway. As the dispatcher answered the phone I was prepared for what would happen next. A-B-C. I had checked her airway. Breathing would be next. The 911 dispatcher would talk me through infant cpr while I waited for the ambulance.

I called for help. As I said earlier, I have seen her gag. I always know she will be fine. But today I didn’t know that. She was silent.

I did not panic.

Before I could finish identifying myself “My name is Kelly. My 8 month old daughter, Lucy, is not breathing. It has been less than a minute. I live at…” she threw up. If you’ve ever been a runner you’ve seen it. The snot rocket. A ball of mucous the size of a golf ball. And she was fine. She deeply inhaled and rolled over and crawled away.

“She’s fine. Umm… I guess I just needed to call you. She is fine…” And she is.

And so am I. I called my husband and said “Lucy is fine, I just need to cry.” I told him what had happened. He was quiet. “Say something,” I said.

“You did everything you were supposed to do. Good job, Mom.”

I was calm. I was prepared. Because I have taken an Infant CPR and First Aid class. I didn’t need it today. I hope I never do.

I use this space to share my life, to reflect, to create and record a history of my own growth. Very occasionally do I use it as a soap box. Today I will.

Take a CPR class. Soon. Don’t wait. Murphy’s Law – if you take it than you won’t need it.

Go hug someone that you love. Because if you think you love them now, I dare you to spend ten seconds imagining your life without them. Then think about how much you love them again. And then call your local American Red Cross and register to take a class.


I can’t describe the feeling when I’m in my bed asleep…

Co-sleeping with a crawling baby is an adventure.  Snuggling up with your tiny newborn is easy to imagine.  Even someone that is not an advocate of co-sleeping has likely fallen asleep with a newborn on their chest so they can understand the powers of the sleeping baby.

But the sleep arrangements now that the goose is loose? It’s a whole new game.  A bedrail helps to contain her.  I am teaching her how to get off the bed, dangling her little legs off the side until they hit the floor instead of diving head first.  You get used to waking up with a little person sitting on your arm.  Or your face.  Or standing on your pillow.

Lots of people that co-sleep with their newborn begin to transition him/her in to a crib around this time.  If you’re not wild about having fingers in your nose or getting kicked in the groin it could be the wisest choice.  Unless, of course, you ever want to get any sleep.  As a newborn Lucy slept like a rock.  She woke to nurse once, maybe twice, in a night.  Since she has started crawling everywhere, cruising along the furniture and battling with the dog for his new bone she doesn’t have the time to devote to eating during the day.  She will nurse a handful of times during the day but it is a quick snack.  She does the bulk of her eating at night, when there is nothing better to do.  I can’t blame her.

If I want to get any sleep at all and she wants to marathon nurse all night I do not see an end to our current sleeping arrangements anytime soon.

People love to ask “So, how is she sleeping?” and ordinarily I say “Great!” or my all time favorite “Like a baby!” because any answer at all only invites advice.  And for the most part unless you are a been there done that co-sleeper/breastfeeder/baby led wean-er (ha! Baby led weaning is the term for skipping pureed food and letting your baby eat solid food when they are ready.  Baby led weiners – I have no idea what that entails) than even well-meaning advice falls on deaf ears.

I slept poorly throughout my pregnancy.  Lucy is nearly eight months old.  So, it is fair to say I have not “slept through the night” in well over a year.  I am used to it.  And while it is no secret that I am vehemently opposed to sleep-training an infant I am dangerously close to letting myself cry it out.  Me.  I might cry it out. Face down on the floor while Goose climbs on the dog.  Fish can look after her for an hour, right?

Because I am tired, guys. Nursing a baby takes a lot out of you.  And not just sleep.  Water.  I drink at least a gallon of water a day.   I am pretty good at getting myself a glass of water.  I went in the kitchen to get a glass of water just now.

Yup.  A bowl of water.  Sigh.  I’m tired, y’all.