Archive for December, 2013

Every day since we put the tree up, often more than once a day, the following conversation takes place.

Boo: Moose!

Me: Yes, that’s the moose! Hi, moose!

Boo, holding out one hand: Meet!

Me: Nice to meet you, moose!

Boo: Ainge!

Me: Yes, that’s an angel. Where are the other ones?

Boo pointing to one of a dozen other tiny straw angels: Othe! Ove!

Me: Yep, there’s one over there too.

Boo: (unintelligible)

Me: Yes, that’s the squirrel! He’s eating a nut! (Here I mime eating a nut.)

Boo: Funny! Meet!

Me, shaking his hand: Nice to meet you, squirrel!

When he gets to the penguin, he never fails to mention that Daddy put it up, and that it’s up high (relatively speaking).

We’re all going to be sad to take the tree down.


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You are 22 months old.

You love picking out Daddy’s coffee mug every morning.

You beg for your vitamin…. all day long.

You do not enjoy having your hair washed, despite the purchase of a device that keeps your eyes and ears free of water and which you were happy about (for one bath).

You attended your first holiday party and were respectful of the hostess’ belongings while enjoying the raisins from the snack mix.

You enjoy applying lotion. Well, if you can call slapping yourself applying…

You played with a parts organizer for half an hour the morning Mama ordered your Christmas gifts.

You went straight to one of your gifts at Gymboree a few days ago and had to be wheedled away from it when our class was beginning.

You use a potholder correctly when you play-cook along with Mama.

You love to climb up on the rocker in your room, and insist on sitting next to whoever is reading to you (NOT on their lap).

You are beginning to say “milk” instead of “meeps”

You say “kabaga” instead of kaboom, usually when you’re flinging yourself on the floor during the hour before bedtime commonly referred to as Tasmanian Devil Time.

You have a renewed interest in your boy baby doll. In particular, you like to take all his clothes off and then have Mama put them back on so you can take them off again.

You are very keen on the 8-minute cartoons we let you watch when we brush your teeth. (Silly Symphonies, early Disney work, very cute and funny stuff.) Your current favorites are the Three Little Pigs and the Cookie Carnival.

You like the Christmas tree, occasionally inquire if it needs a drink, and insist on having it plugged in when you’re around. You’ve taken a few ornaments (“oms”) off but otherwise leave it alone because you know it’s pokey. You also enjoy saying hi to certain ornaments, and shaking Mama’s hand after greeting each one. You were not interested in decorating it, though you did enjoy instructing Mama and Daddy to put things up high.

You are 22 months old, and we can see the two-year-old in you.

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This is the story of two Facebook posts, one of which contained a challenge: post a thank-you to someone who did something, however small, that affected your life in a positive way.

The other one was posted a year ago, maybe more. A friend’s kid whom I’ve known since she was Baboo’s age posted a Zen motto. At least I think it was Zen — it’s hard to recall what with the time and my sievelike brain. Anyhow, the motto was illustrated with an elephant and a mouse. Let go or be dragged, it said.

I laughed, and then I started thinking about it. The more I thought about it, the more I realized I needed it. I got out a pen and drew this:


It’s been on my fridge for over a year. Some days, I just laugh at the mouse hanging on for dear life. But most days, it prompts me to drop things that don’t matter so I can move forward with a lighter step. Mostly, it’s little things: Baby isn’t napping? Let go, take him out where you know he’ll be happy. Or stay home and wrestle with him and stew.

But practicing letting go of little things primes you to let go of bigger things. Very recently, my husband proposed repeating an experience that, last time around, was difficult at best. (No, not another baby!) At first my brain went straight to resistance, clinging to it and turning on itself. Old anger woke up and began to claw at me. I was surprised by that. I thought I’d let it go. I looked at the elephant and the mouse and understood the weight being generated by holding on to year-old negativity and resentment. I started working on a strategy to really let it go.

When he first brought it up, I asked for time to think before we talked. When we talked, I asked a few simple questions and listened. I heard longing and love in his words, and recognition of the follies of the past. As I sat there, I realized what an opportunity this would be, even as it presented difficulties. We would get a do-over, a chance to make it what we wanted it to be the first time but just weren’t able to. We would be free. Light. Leading the way instead of being dragged.

What a gift, the idea of fixing the past by simply moving into the future. And for this, I owe thanks to my friend’s kid, who I now count as a friend. Marlowe, honey, thank you. Your post helped me so, so much.

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Since we’re raising a child in the digital age, and since he already knows how to navigate an iPad (don’t judge me on that one until you read my upcoming post on tech in our house), we like to make sure he has plenty of low-tech stuff to play with. Stuff he can be creative with. Blocks, vehicles, stuffed animals, yadda-yadda. But he didn’t have any play food, which a recent Parents magazine article singled out as a great toy for fostering creativity.

Here let me pause to say that yes, I do read Parents. Rather, I skim it and shake my head at the articles about insanely elaborate decorations for a one-year-old’s birthday party. And pieces about using navy blue eyeliner to make yourself look more awake. But they do run useful pieces like the aforementioned one on raising creative kids.

So off I trotted to Toys R Us. Once I located the play food (with the help of a sales gal — it was my first time there and my head couldn’t handle the onslaught of fluorescent lights and bright colors and brand names), I picked out something that looked fun and took it home.

The Boo loved the tiny frying pan and spatula, but he nearly bit through the sausage. The plastic was so thin I could dent it without much effort, which did not bode well for its life with a toddler who’s currently growing molars. So the set went back to the store and I came home empty-handed because they didn’t have anything that looked sturdier. Or maybe they did and I just couldn’t find it because holy cow, the number of things in tightly packed aisles. That place mussed my aura worse than the grocery store, know what I’m saying? Too many choices. Why do we need that many kinds of cereal? Or tiny Dyson vacuums? Yeah, they make tiny Dysons. Chew on that one for a bit, let me know how it sits with you because it gives me shpilkas in my genecktazoink.

Okay, I’m back now.

At home, I dug out the magazine that had spawned the quest and noted the brand they recommended: Learning Resources. And that, friends, is what I bought. It ain’t the cheapest, but the pieces are very sturdy and shockingly pretty and they offer a bunch of different fun sets.

I chose one with a mix of fruits and veggies and minimal junk food (because my kid already loves potato chips, thank you Daddy!) that came with a couple of baskets (because our space is small and I am a Virgo). My only beef with the set is that the baskets aren’t quite big enough to fit all the food in at once, but the Boo doesn’t care about that. He happily dumps them out and refills them over and over. He also adores making sandwiches and offering me bites of cookie.

And it’s not hard to pretend it’s a good cookie, either:


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


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