Archive for October, 2013

Once a week for the past month or so, I’ve been kissing my son and husband goodbye and heading to another part of town to sing with people I’ve only recently met. I am not perky at practices, but I do my best to get my part right and generally be a good band member until I beg off at 9 p.m. This is ridiculously early by rock-n-roll standards, but necessary if I’m to get through the next day of parenting with a minimum of zombie brain moments. My band leader is exceedingly gracious about my early departures.

So why do I stay up late and slog myself through the next day? Singing well with a group of people is for me like I imagine hitting the jackpot is for a gambling addict. It’s one of the best feelings I can feel, a happy place I can nestle into and know that I am unquestionably where I belong. I also think it gets me high, though that part is more alchemical than rational.

Also, I get to pet the world’s softest chihuahua:


Further, I’m working on a really cool project — Anne Sexton’s poem Snow White, set to music by Ann Hirschfeld, the latest effort of the St. Louis collective called Poetry Scores. If you live in town and would like to see and hear the fruits of our labor, head to Mad Art on Friday, November 8. Doors at 6, free admission, cash bar, performance at 8, with artworks and food based on the poem out for all to consume. Here’s a link to an eloquent and detailed description of the event.

Hope to see you there.

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In a seize-the-good-weather moment, we (my mom and I) took the Boo to a pumpkin patch for the first time. That’s right, I did not take him last year — don’t know if that makes me a lame mom or just wise with how I spend my energy, but there it is.

At first, he wandered hesitantly around the outside of the main pumpkin shed. My mom introduced him to the giant inflated scarecrow, which he liked very much. Eventually, we got him inside to look at the approximately 8,000,000 pumpkins, but he was far more interested in pointing out that the doors, propped with cement-filled buckets, needed to be closed.

I plunked him on a bale of straw and got a few really nice photos during the few minutes he was enjoying the novelty of being up there. He patted a few pumpkins and took a liking to one that was off to the side on its own next to a planter he decided was a trash can. My mom fetched a little red wagon, and Boo leaned against his pumpkin, a tiny man of leisure in a festive rolling Barcalounger.

But what he really went apeshit over was the ducks. Between the shed and the actual patch (which we did not ever get to because DUCKS!) they had a few large pens with the aforementioned ducks, chickens, bunnies, a turkey and a pig. He stood watching them, making the happiest noises I’ve ever heard come out of him. I didn’t even take pictures (one of my main motivations for the trip) because I was having such a good time watching the joy pour over his face. Also, I didn’t want to be the parent whose kid gets his finger gnawed by a farm animal while she’s busy taking photos.

The ducks were the epicenter of the rest of the visit. He would run around and put rocks in trash cans (a favorite pastime), but he kept wanting to circle back to those ducks. And his attentiveness was rewarded when a lady came by on a four-wheeler and threw a few heads of lettuce in the pen, causing a really cute feeding frenzy.

The first time we stated talking about going home, he looked up and sweetly asked, “ducks?” and we said sure, let’s go see the ducks again. The second time, he started crying a bit while semi-whining, “ducks!” We were able to placate him with (semi-true) promises of seeing Daddy at home and pointing out that his pumpkin was in the car. Most of the way home, he patted it happily and babbled about his “pop.”

The next day, I decorated it with a Sharpie (I plan to bake it):

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You are 20 months old.

You still (still!) will not touch pasta, eggs, meat, cheese, cake or yogurt. However you do really like these, especially the cat ones:


You like to empty your toy bins so you can stand and sit in them. You don’t fit easily when you sit; it’s more like a squat during which you resemble those YouTube cats who like to cram themselves into seemingly too-small spaces.

You can say “cat” now, and your habit of saying “meow-meow” to mean cat is fading quickly.

You sometimes use “please” as a demand, melding it with “up” like so: “Uppease, uppease, uppease, UPPEASE!”

You like to practice taking off your pants. You do this proudly, smiling up at Mama to make sure she knows what a big boy you are.

You have mastered the steps and slides at the playground, though Mama still stands by just in case you get distracted on the stairs. You particularly love the higher, faster slides.

You rush up to other kids on the playground, saying either “hi” or “baby!” We’re working on teaching you “kid” and “boy” and “girl.”

You prefer to walk down the stairs (while holding Mama’s hands or the handrail). You squirm mightily when carried down. That’s when we have short talks about being safe on the stairs.

You are officially down to one nap, though we all struggle through the time that used to be your morning nap. Our watchword for this timespan is “distraction.” Which sometimes translates as “iPad.”

You are adept at climbing onto the couch, chairs and low beds.

You love to run across wide-open spaces, chanting “run run run” or just grunting the whole way. You can easily run for the equivalent of a city block.

You are collecting new words at a blinding pace. Often, they sound shockingly close to what they actually are. But sometimes we have absolutely no idea what you’re saying despite your boundless confidence.

You can find and open the paper toss game on the iPad. You’re not terribly good at playing it though.

You know, and know how to say, blue, red, green and yellow (boo, led, geen and yeddah). You know, but can’t say, orange and brown.

You recognize the letter “a” if it’s capitalized, and will point it out on the covers of books.

You recently went back to wanting a bottle before bed.

You have begun to tell stories of your experiences, the prime example being the time you stuck your hand in a rotten orange and then we threw it away. You also like the one about the time the garbage can pinched your hand. You cross your fingers and get as close as you can to saying “pinch” when you tell that one.

You will beg for a slice of lime, then gnaw on it, pausing occasionally to say “tart.”

You put a stick of sidewalk chalk down your shirt and left it in there for at least an hour this morning, pausing occasionally to take it out and inspect it before putting it back.

You are 20 months old, and it is a great joy to watch you revel in tasting tiny bits of independence.

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What’s This?

Here is a photo of a common beverage:


You’re thinking, “Yeah. Milk, no big deal.”


Not milk.


At least that’s what we call it at our house, now and forevermore.

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Some kind of miracle has occurred, i.e., the baby is still napping, so I’m going to try to crank out a quick post.

The Boo has begun to manufacture his own words for things. See if you can guess what each one means. (A great way to get an idea of what my days are like.)


Chuck, our neighbor, much adored by the Boo.


Yellow, his favorite color.


Music, duh.


Ned, his beloved bedtime buddy.


Yeah, I don’t get that one either, but that’s definitely what he means.

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My Return to the Stage


Hello friends,

No, I have not fallen off the face of the earth, but close: shifting naps, insomnia and teething have taken a vicious toll on my writing time. So until I get myself and the baby figured out, please read this this lovely blog post by my old pal Chris King about a musical event I’ll be performing in. And about which I’m very excited, between moments of nascent tantrums and sleepy stumbles to Target.


Mama Dean

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I'm over 50. I'm raising a fifth grader. Sometimes he posts too.


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