Tag Archives: Kids

What does the owl say?

Most of the time we cruise along on autopilot. Life happens all around us and we turn around from time to time and we can’t figure out how we got to where we are or remember a time when we were anywhere else.

Very rarely do we have the chance to see Life happening. But when we do – what do we do? Do we stop it from happening, draw attention to it? Take a picture?

Me? I loudly say “What did you just say?” as though I caught a kid cussing me out behind my back.

Owl tattoo

For Lucy’s first birthday I got an owl tattoo to commemorate her life thus far and so that when the dark circles under my eyes fade I won’t forget the year that I stayed awake all blessed night long for a year.  Shortly after I got her tattoo I started seeing owls everywhere. Consequently she has owl pajamas and we point out the owls we see in stores and magazines. Like any good parent of a toddler I say “What does an owl say?” and she says “Hooo hoo.”

And that’s the long version of how owls came to be called Hoo-hoos in our house.

I am not big on Baby Talk.  We use real words to talk about things.  How else do your kids learn to talk? But something about Hoo-hoos made me smile and I may very well have asked a certain someone if she wants to wear her Hoo-hoo pajamas a time or two.

Today Lucy said owl.  I don’t even know what she was talking about but I wheeled around and shouted “What did you say?” and she said it again, “Owl.”

It’s just one small thing.  But if I don’t write it down I will forget.  I won’t remember when that part of Life happened.  And before I turn around Emily will be driving a car and Lucy will be begging to wear lip gloss to school. And I won’t be able to explain how it happened.

Someone will be wearing her hoo-hoo pajamas tonight. And maybe tomorrow night.

Inside a Paper Bag

photo (4)As a teenager I looked through the big box of family photographs often.  Pictures from the late 1970s were in albums.  They had rounded corners and a vintage feel.  As time went by the pictures never made it in to an album.  They were in Kodak envelopes, labelled “Rehoboth Beach, 1982.”

Whether the pictures were in books or sorted in to piles there was one thing in common year after year.  There were pictures of us sleeping, a tiny Kelly with a  Snoopy in a rainbow bedroom, my brother in his Smurf sweatsuit curled up in my dad’s chair.  As a teenager I didn’t understand why there were so many of these pictures.  We were just sleeping.

My dad used to joke us when we were little,  “You’re good kids, when you’re asleep.”  As a parent I can certainly agree.  There is little more wonderful than a sleeping child, the frenetic energy of the afternoon exchanged for the slow and steady breath of night.

I spent a lot of time the last few days sitting on the edge of my bed just watching them – my girls, snuggled up asleep.  We’ve had five days of Ladies’ Nights.  We have had quick dinners and eaten dessert on a blanket in the living room.  We watched Footloose and Project Runway and we painted our nails.  These little sleeping beauties, they are my good kids – “when [they’re] asleep.”

I look at them and I wonder if they will have a childhood like I did.  They will ride their bikes, they will play in the creek.  They will have birthday parties in our back yard. We will have pizza at the pool.  I will take pictures of them while they sleep.  It will be the same.

They won’t have a TV Guide to circle their Saturday morning cartoon choices.  They won’t tie an index card with their name and address to a balloon and set it free, hoping against hope for a reply in the mail some day.  They will not likely ever have a teacher that calls their handouts “dittos.”    And unless I print some of these images their teenage selves might not roll their eyes at the numerous pictures of them sleeping.  Many things will be different.

When I was a little girl and I was waiting for the bus to come in the morning I would watch the sky. There is a moment when the sky goes from pink to tan right before the sun comes up, right before the school bus comes. I used to pretend that my whole neighborhood was inside a paper shopping bag.  This morning while Emily was putting her shoes on and Lucy was still asleep I stepped outside on to the deck and looked at the sky.  There was a paper bag all around me.

The sky turned from tan to sunlit before Em finished tying her shoes.  I need to remember to show my girls the paper bag that surrounds us.  I need to do it quickly while they still remember what a paper shopping bag looks like.  A few more years from now you might not ever see one at the store.  The only paper bag left will be the one that surrounds my neighborhood early in the morning.  Their childhood is different.  But it is the same.

photo 1


My kid is Frank the Tank

I have written plenty about Emily’s love of organizing.  From a very young age she liked things neat.  She puts away her toys.  She lines up her shoes.  She completely empties her backpack and makes sure there are no stray apple cores or bits of papers every day.  She is a neatnik and I am thrilled.  She makes it easy for me to be in Pick Up Clutter Free Overdrive.

Yesterday evening MQD asked me where his flip flops were.  “I don’t know, if I saw them I put them in your closet, but Em cleaned up the living room… so…” They were in the basket ordinarily reserved for dog toys.  Of course.  She has a tendency to stash things in odd places, but I can live with this.  No matter how many times I may think it as I look for something that I am certain was just right here it will not pass my lips “Dang, Em… would you stop with the damn cleaning up all of the time!?!”

So, with a solid four years (Em didn’t really maximize her cleaning skills until about three years of age) of a tidy house behind me I embarked on having Baby Number Two.  It will be a piece of cake, I thought.  I have one kid.  Two will be a breeze.

If Emily is high tea and elbow length gloves on the veranda then Lucy is a fraternity party in a wet basement.

It seems like just last week I had a baby.  She was sweet.  She pooped on me on occasion and I routinely sleep in a pile of wet drool, breastmilk, sweat from my ever changing hormones.  But Lucy was a baby. She can’t help the constant flow of liquids.  She was sweet.  And she smelled good.

A few weeks ago Lucy started crawling.  Last week she started picking up speed.  And yesterday she morphed from my sweet baby to a benevolent college freshman, drunk on cheap beer and loud music.

I took a shower.  We were chatting.  She was sitting next to the tub.  I could hear her little hands slapping against the side of the tub, the shower curtain swaying back and forth.  And then I didn’t hear her hands.  And the shower curtain stopped moving.  When I got out of the shower I was happy that no one in my house replaces a roll of toilet paper until it is totally and completely empty.

It didn’t stop there.  We went in to the kitchen to make dinner.  She sat in the middle of the floor with her plastic spatula and a spoon.  I turned my back for a second. I know better.

Splash!  Fisher’s water bowl hits the floor.  And she is off to the races, slipping and sliding like college kids in  a long hallway coated in laundry detergent. Things were just getting good.

Remember the first time you had a party at your apartment and That Guy showed up? That guy that was the life of the party.  He was funny and loud and had a tendency to get naked.  You were glad he was there because it meant your party was going to be awesome but somewhere beyond your desire to have your party look like a deleted scene from Animal House you kept thinking “oh shit, man, please don’t break anything…”

My second child, my sweet little Lucy… she is That Guy.  She is up for anything.  I am in so much trouble.



What’s the opposite of Desperate? Grateful?


There’s a Barbie bike
No beer cans or ash trays.
It is official.

Coffee in one hand
I’m doing the baby sway
In Sweats and slippers.

Smile on my face
The bus driver waves at me.
I can’t deny it.

Dishwasher humming
Today Show in the background
I’m not pretending.

I am all grown up.
Welcome to suburbia.
I can’t turn back now.

Heart to heart, you’ll win…

In the early 90’s an Amazonian Queen had a perm. And both boobs. And Revlon Rum Raisin lipstick.

“Hippolyta, I wooed thee with thy sword, and won thy love doing thee injuries.” ~ Theseus, A Midsummer Night’s Dream

If that’s the case then Emily and her sidekick are destined for eternal love.  The chasing one another with sticks, the beatings that take place in the yard only moments after breakfast on a Saturday morning. The two of them tumble to the grass and roll down the hill, hunting snakes and deer in Kellan’s front yard.

These activities are in stark contrast to the playing of Family that takes place in Emily’s room.  It is quiet in her room and I poke my head in the door.  Quiet is a signal of distress and trouble when children are in your house.  “We are putting our baby to bed, and then we will do Chores.” Chores include putting away all of the games they have taken out of her closet.  And arranging their baby’s things  carefully on her bed.

It shouldn’t surprise me that Emily shifts so easily from Warrior to Mother.  I like to fancy myself a woman that keeps a foot in both camps.    But when I stepped out the kitchen door the other day and caught her running towards the driveway I had to stop her, take a picture.  “Whatcha doin’?”


“What do you have there?”

“My baby. And some lipsticks.”

And she ran off to get her stick.  That’s my girl.

Shooting at the walls of heartache bang,bang!!
I am the warrior!

And heart to heart you’ll win
If you survive
The warrior!!

~Patty Smyth & Scandal

My baby’s take on the baby…

“What’s that?”

“It’s like a vitamin, kind of,” I said , stirring the glass of Metamucil.

“What kind?  What is it for?”

“Well, when you’re pregnant your stomach and all of your insides don’t have a lot of room so you have trouble going to the bathroom and stuff.  This is fiber, and that helps.”

“So you don’t only have really small poops?”

“What?”  I asked her, realizing this entire conversation was going to be repeated at school in all likelihood.

“I mean, you just have small poops, right?  The baby poops and it comes out your butt.”

“Not exactly.  We have to leave in five minutes.  Get your backpack.”

It’s easy to feel like I am the only person in the house that feels so pregnant all of the time.  But I have to wonder how much time she devotes to thinking about it… because when it comes up she seems to have a pretty well thought out vision of how it all works.  Right or wrong.  And really there is no telling her she’s wrong these days.




Rock on, little lady!

I am not very good at “trying not to get excited.”  Last night at about 9:15 we submitted an offer on a house.  Not just any house, but “the one.”  The House that could become “the one that got away” if it doesn’t work out.  And now we wait.

I have said to anyone that will listen today that I feel like I asked a girl to prom and she just stared at me.  Not yes, not no.  Just nothing.  I understand the dance.  The Negotiating Dance.  But I don’t enjoy it.  I can’t. I am too busy trying not to get excited.

So when we sat down to dinner tonight I didn’t expect to get hysterical giggles.  Maybe I should have.  Nobody makes me forget my troubles like the goons I live with.

MQD bursts out in to some spontaneous air drums and Em rolls her eyes. He says “You’d better get used to it.  I am gonna be embarrassing you for at LEAST fifteen more years.”

“You wish,” she replies.

MQD tends to adopt the same teenage manner of speech in response to Em’s.  “Do you even know what that MEANS?”

“Yeah, it means you HOPE you can embarrass me for fifteen years….”

“So, what are you gonna do?” he asks her.

She pauses  only briefly before she busts out her own sick air guitar.  Duh.  What do you think she is gonna do to combat your efforts to embarrass her with your air drumming?  Show you up with her fierce air guitar.  Puhleaze.


Three Reasons I Have the Best Kid Ever

I don’t talk a lot about the reasons why Emily is the best kid ever.  (And before you convince yourself that I am already screwing up the new kid in-utero, know that we have addressed this.  Em will be the “best kid ever” and Baby D, as Mike as dubbed him/her will be “the best baby ever.”)  But damn that kid slays me daily.

I have found myself, at sixteen weeks pregnant, smack dab in the midst of “no longer first semester crippling tired” but still exhausted.   Definitely pregnant looking, not just fat as hell, but not yet  comfortable with the emerging pregnant body that I had somehow managed to totally forget was going to appear. And so hormonally driven to the point that when I got home from work yesterday evening and MQD was making dinner and  turned to switch his ipod over to The Gravy Boys, playing Happy, a song we danced to at our wedding I pulled my hands back from him (hands he’d taken in his, lovingly, presumably to dance with me) screeching “I have BANANA on my hands, I can smell it!  It’s disgusting.”  I’m a peach recently.  (And incapable of linear thought, evidently, but stay with me. )

So, that’s me the last few days. I sing the praises of the Husband on the regular, like a proper newlywed, but back to Emily.  That kid has kept my cranky at bay quite a bit lately.  Last night, amidst my grumpiness, we snuggled up on the couch the three,  (four, no five, cats and dogs love sharks, who knew!) to watch some Shark Week.  I promptly fell in to a catatonic sleep.  I could hear Em & MQD go upstairs to read a book and get her tucked in to bed.  I could hear MQD come back downstairs and go in the kitchen.  I was willing myself up off the couch to deliver my kiss goodnight and failing miserably when I heard her little feet coming down the stairs.

Anyone with children knows they sound like a herd of elephants when they walk around the house (pitter patter of little feet, my ass) unless they are returning downstairs after being put to bed.  Then they are quiet as mice.  The magic of being a parent allows me to sleep through being stepped on by the dog, sat on by my 40 pound kid and Shark Week “turned up to 11” and still sit upright when I hear the little lady has popped out of bed and is sneaking down the stairs.  Just as I started to say “Em, go back to bed, I am coming right up” I see her face. Something about her eyes stops me and I don’t say a word.  She puts her arms around my neck and said “You’re so tired, mama, just go to bed.  I came down here to get my hug and kiss.  See you in the morning, now you get some sleep.”

Determined to stay grumpy I stumbled towards the bedroom.  As soon as I lay down, however, I smiled.  That kid.  She is kinder than I even aspire to be.

In keeping with the spirit of my Bad Mood That Will Not Cease I developed a crippling hangover style headache about five minutes after I went to bed last night.  So, I got up, grabbed an ice pack and hit the couch.  MQD had (again, lovingly, dammit this family is making me look like an asshole!) joined me in bed to hold my hand, asking me “Is there anything I can do?” moments before falling promptly to sleep.  He can fall asleep in record time.  Quite possibly even faster than Fisher.  There is nothing more irritating than being tired, incapable of falling asleep and surrounded by slumbering loved ones.  And besides, only when everyone is asleep can I watch truly shitty television in secrecy.  And eat ice cream from the container.

All of that to say when I woke up this morning I wasn’t thrilled to be awake.  After just  a handful of hours of fitful sleep I pried my eyes open to say goodbye to MQD before he left for work.  “Is Em up?” I asked  “Yep.  I brushed her hair.  She is putting away her laundry.”  Music to my ears!!

Not only do I have the kindest child on earth, I also seem to have spawned a kid that loves to organize.  When she was overtired after a trip to Disney and a a few long days on vacation, what did she do?  Retire to her room to organize her suitcase.  When she is cranky from a long day at the pool and no nap where does she run off to?  Her room, to organize her markers.  While some parents might awake on a Saturday to the sound of silence, bolt out of bed and run to find their kid, dreading the disaster they will most surely find, I wake up late on a Saturday to find her cleaning her room.

I popped my head in to her room before jumping in the shower to see her smiling, organizing her socks.  “This top drawer gets so messy.  Before I put away my laundry it needs to be more organized.”

She is kind.  She is tidy.  Reasons one and two Em is the best kid ever.    Reason number three is short and sweet.  That kid is funny.

I was in the bathroom putting my make up on when she came up the stairs, slapping her knee and shaking her head.  When she was three or four  I taught her to say “a real knee-slapper” in response to someone’s joke. Probably around the same time I taught her to roll her eyes, when I first began to believe sarcasm was a quality to be cultivated in a child.  She still rolls her eyes, much to my chagrin.  But she also still slaps her knee, much to my delight.  So, knee slapping away, she is coming up the stairs.  “What’s so funny?”

“How many times do you think Fisher had breakfast today?”  I pause,  unsure of when the punchline is coming.  “Well… Two!  maybe even three!!  I fed him while you were in the shower.  I just saw he is eating AGAIN, so you must have fed him when you went downstairs to get dressed.   Oh man, I bet Dad fed him this morning, too…” and she strolls back into her room to finish tidying up, giggling to herself.

It was not particularly funny, the dog eating twice, possibly three times this morning.  It was her delivery.  She could give a rat’s ass if I thought it was funny.  She was amused.  She shared. But mostly it was for her.  Cracking herself up.  Just for her own entertainment.  Takes after her mother.

Em is a delightful reminder.  Be kind.  Clean up after yourself.  And most importantly, entertain yourself.  No one else is as funny as you.

Unless you live with these clowns.  These two make me happy I never get rid of the crap in my “costume box.”  Silver lamé and a fur buff make for some pretty hard core fun.