Saturday, September 17, 2011


From the back seat of the car, in a very sure voice I hear: "I'm going to be a mommy, doctor, mermaid, princess, dinosaur project, climber, team."  Wow.  Do you remember thinking things like that?  I want to and can be anything at all.  And even all of those things at one time.  Why couldn't you be a rock climbing paleontologist mermaid?  Or a doctor princess?  I love it.    

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Well, after last week of being a sad boy at preschool, Pumpkin made a concious decision to enjoy himself this week.  He told me he was going to have fun and he wasn't going to be sad.  Not in the kind of conversation where I feed him lines and he agrees, but the kind of conversation that he starts completely on his own and I just listen and interject some "oh's, uh huh's, and mmm's". 

On Monday, Honey drove Peanut to school, and Pumpkin was incensed that he was not going.  He stood outside in his Bike helmet and underpants and cried and yelled that he wanted to go too.  I wish I had thought to take a photo, but alas, you will have to image it.  It was as amusing as it sounds. 

So by Wednesday, he was pumped up.  He had a great day playing, and today, he barely looked back to say goodbye.  I had to ask for a hug and he reluctantly turned back for one.  I need to plan on all my hugs and kisses as we get out of the car it seems as I am certainly not going to get them once we are inside!  He told me all about his day and the other kids, and is excited for next week already.  Whew. 

Here's my boy as we killed time between Peanut's drop off and his - he can get really dirty in about a nanosecond...


It was overwhelming.  There were hundreds of people, standing room only.  He was 59, and running a triathlon when he felt ill.  Within a very short time, he went into cardiac arrest.  It was totally unexpected.  During the service, people laughed and cried, smiled and winced.  This man had touched so many people's lives - there were huge groups of people there from every connection, all stunned and sad.  Over and over he was lauded as a man who made other people comfortable.  A man who smiled and talked and spent time with and for other people.  As I sat there, experiencing the rituals that comfort so many of us, and looked upon this sea of people, I couldn't help but think about my dad.  Another man who touched many.  Whose funeral was standing room only.  Who worked hard to make other people comfortable.  Who loved his children.  Life is short people.  Enjoy it. Embrace it.  Smile.  Listen.  Be. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011


The detachment of the present day human is amazing.  Our family went together on some errands this afternoon.  We went out to lunch, to the pet store, shoe store, and grocery store.  We spoke with one another, via actual vocalizations, eye contact, gestural communication, and body language the entire time.  I'm quite proud of that considering what was going on all around us. 

There was a little girl, maybe 2 1/2 who was standing by the fish tanks in the pet store.  She looked to be by herself, but Honey told me that he had seen her mom just a second ago texting while the girl tried to tell her something about the fish.  Peanut and Pumpkin were enamored by the fish too, so we all stood there for a while and the girl started talking with us.  We had a nice discussion about the orange fish and how they were like Andrew's (She seemed to feel we would understand that) and the minutes ticked by.  No sign of mom or dad.  I looked at Honey wide eyed.  "Really?"  Finally, her parents came around the corned and we laughed about the conversation I was having with their child.  Ha Ha Ha.  It's super amusing when your toddler talks to total strangers because you won't listen to them and you have left them alone in a store while you text. 

So on to the shoe store.  I used to think the little benches with the mirrors were for sitting on while you tried on shoes, but alas, I was mistaken.  Those are the spaces for people who want to cut themselves off from the folks they are shopping with to text or post on facebook.  I have never seen so many people sitting down and just typing on their phones in one store before.  It seemed really weird to me.  I guess you can still try on shoes while you text... As I rolled Pumpkin's stroller through the aisles, people were completely oblivious that they were taking up the whole aisle and we could not get by.  More than once I turned back and headed around another way to get through the store. Seriously, do we need to be so focused on the little tiny boxes?    

I'm sure there are sometimes when you really feel that you need to pull the phone out and text, post, email, whatever.  But please, consider how your children perceive that.  Consider how necessary it really is.  Consider how you may be using it to avoid others.  Consider how you may be neglecting what someone else needs.  Consider how you may be seen as rude, or self absorbed.  Consider the lost opportunities to be a social being.  Pay attention to the people around you.  Please. 


The rain last week was unreal - flash flooding, nonstop pouring rain for several days, roads closed, cars underwater.  I kept singing songs from camp in my head - "It rained and poured for forty days-y days-y, drove those counselors_ nearly crazy crazy....."  Well, it is drying out now and we have had no ill effects here, so we are very lucky.  I went out today to get on the garden clean up, and decided to pull some of the seed heads off the marigold to save for next year.  I've never seen anything like this - the seed heads got so much rain that the seeds in them started to sprout!  Beware of what may grow in the next few weeks!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Sad sad boy

Pumpkin and I have not had very much time apart in his two years.  Yes, he spends part of a day each week with a nanny while I work, he's been to lots and lots of playgroups, has been in coop preschool with me while I taught or assisted, and has been (rarely) with other coop moms while I taught or assisted.  He has not ever been dropped off with adults and children that he does not know for any length of time. 

Peanut, as you know by now, is going to an amazing school that matches her personality really well and has already drawn her out of her shell.  My thinking is that 1) I'm going to work to help pay for this, so I'd like to work at least some of the days she is at school.  2) It seems awfully silly to have the kids at two different schools or to have one home and the other in school.  3) He'll love it! 

So my plan is that he'll go two days and she will go four.  I'll work the two days they are both at school as well as the two other days I currently work.  We'll continue with our nanny, and I'll have time with the kids in the weekday afternoons as well as Sundays, and I'll have time with just Pumpkin on Monday and Tuesdays.  This all seems doable, except that he is super sad at school so far.  I know I know, it's only day two, but his little sad face in the pictures from today is just killing me!  He separated easily and I could leave without issue, but it looked like he was on the verge of a breakdown in all the pictures, and when I picked him up he was so very sad.  I mentioned that our nanny would be here tomorrow and he even said "mommy I need you here with me!" which is unheard of as he loves when the nanny comes. 

Now of course I am second guessing it all.  Alternatives are flying around my head.  Should I move all my Friday clients to Wednesday so I can be free to hang with the kids Fridays?  Should I just keep him home for longer and not worry about working more?  Should I just have him home and have a nanny two days while Peanut is at school?  Should I carry on and hope that he will feel more comfortable next week?  I feel like we should go on trying since it's so new, but still, my heart is in knots for the boy.  Oh my sad little man.  Sigh. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


If there is one thing each of us can do each day to help the world it is to "be where they are".  Whoever "they" are - your spouse, kids, the guy on the train, the checker at Trader Joe's, your best friend, your nemesis.  We are constantly looking to make people do what we want, understand what we are saying, follow our lead or direction, be faster or slower, more or less accurate, friendly, whatever.  It's all about us.  What if we made it all about them?  What if we went through the day, or even through a very small part of the day, with them in the front of our minds?  What if we strive to understand, to listen, to really hear, to validate, to acknowledge, to smile with open eyes and hearts?  What if we try to be where they are instead of make them get to where we are?  What would it hurt?  What would it help?  Really how long would it take?  I think we might all be surprised at how much slowing down, accepting and waiting might do to improve relationships, and really, your whole day.  Try it now - try it tomorrow.  When you find yourself becoming frustrated or anxious, or your breathing starts to speed up, or you find you are holding your breath, rolling your eyes, tapping your fingers, or heavily sighing, take a deep breath and change your perspective from how much this is all annoying you to what the other person may be feeling or thinking.  Maybe that guy tailgating you has a kid at the hospital he is trying to get to.  Maybe the checker is slow because she was up all night with her best friend who is getting divorced.  Maybe the child kicking the back of your seat on the airplane just left his best friend in California.  Maybe the waiter who got you meal all wrong is preoccupied waiting for test results from his biopsy.  Maybe we can all cut each other some slack, and try to imagine that we are all doing the best we possibly can.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The First Day

The first day, and I know I was more frazzled and wary than she was.  I had been working all weekend on a million forms to fill out, snacks to bake, errands to run, breakfast and lunches to pack... Since this first week is all 1/2 days, Pumpkin and I are finding activities close by school, but that means I'm packing for a full morning for all of us. 

With Peanut, we took it really low key - no photo ops, just some easy conversation about school starting.  We talked about the kids who would be there and some who would not.  We talked about how the teacher she had connected with this summer would be a mentor to the other teachers and she wouldn't see her as much.  We talked driving there, and when I would be picking her up. All was well, and everyone was calm but anticipating the day. 

She slept fine, got up snuggly, and as she got dressed, she got a little apprehensive.  Suddenly, those pants were too small or too big, and she didn't want to wear them, and she didn't want this or that... I could have been annoyed, but I know she was concerned about it all.  So I sat down and held her and talked about how most kids are worried on the first day of school.  Most kids don't know everyone in their class or their teachers.  I reminded her that she knew and liked some of the children, and she knew and really liked some of the teachers.  I reminded her of the farm animals, the dragon tree, the space where all of her extra clothes will be, how she really enjoyed all of the outdoor time, and how she would surely get to use her new raincoat today.  We found a new pair of pants, and she was ready to go. 

She was slow to smile when we walked in, but the text I got in an hour or so said she was happily talking about her new bunk beds at breakfast.  She was happy when I came to pick her up, and had drawn a picture of our playground at home for me.  I heard about the rain, playing outside and getting her crocs all muddy.  Not much, but I know I will hear more tomorrow morning on the way back to school. 

We all crashed hard this afternoon - I even turned on the tube for the kids to veg since everything else seemed to be such hard work.  Remember the last party you went to where you didn't know anyone?  Remember how much work it was to make smalltalk and remember who was who?  It drains you.  Imagine how hard that must be for a little kid.  We forget how much energy it takes to do this school thing, especially for someone who likes to be in comfortable, known situations like Peanut. 

On to the next tomorrow - Pumpkin has his first day too.  I'll stay for a bit, and he will have a shortened day to start getting used to the idea.  I'll have to keep in mind that although I expect he will be fine and jump right in, I'll need to be patient and support him as well.  Having two kids with such different personalities can throw you for a loop sometimes.  We shall see what the morning holds!