Showing posts from July, 2008

I'm Raising Brainiacs

Since Shakespeare Camp started on Monday, Sam has been regaling me with all of the details, from the silly theatre games, to the real stage he'll get to act on (last year he was in a gym), to the snacks in the snack dispenser. And he's asked me a bunch of times: "Do you want to sit in the balcony when you watch the performance? It's really cool, and I think you should, and will you? Huh? Will you will you will you? I don't know how you get up there, but maybe you could ask when you drop me off, and don't you want to sit there? Why aren't you excited about sitting there? Don't you think it will be cool? Did you ask the Camp Staff yet? You're going to sit there, aren't you? How are you going to get up there? It's so cool!" Ack...he couldn't reduce me to a more complete state of incapacity if he jumped up and down on me and whacked me repeatedly with The Complete Works of Shakespeare . So today, after a long tiring day, Ric

Summer Goofballs and Water Babies

They are growing so fast, I hardly recognize them. We've had a lot of dance parties this summer. Not as much swimming as I thought we would do, but we did get to go to the pool today. Tallulah loved it: Oh how I wish summer could last forever...and I'm not the only one in this house who feels that way. I saw school supplies on sale today and stifled the urge to scream and run the other direction. The horror, oh the horror!

The Little Negotiator...and Further Reflections

"Mom. You need to give me ten bucks, because I buckled my car seat myself today." OK, dear, you are 3; here's the deal. I will not be paying you anything for buckling yourself in your seat. "OK Mom. How about 5 bucks? You need to give me 5 bucks." No dear, I do not. Hard lesson, isn't it? *** What a day. This one rivals this one , although it doesn't quite rise to that level. However, it did include, among other things, one lost and very needed camp binder with much searching high and low and so far no success, one bird flying through the house and getting stuck in our dining room, one trip to Costco with four children, two bank jobs (errands at two separate banks), and 45 minutes on hold with one of our lovely creditors trying to fix an error on our account. It also featured an absolute highlight of the summer: Today we went to Jazz Art, a twice a year event sponsored by the Berkeley Civic Arts Commission. Picture one cool jazz cafe, a

Seeking Inspiration

I am facing a long day in which I must get many loads of laundry done, find a place for many precious pieces of art that came home from art camp yesterday, pick up many items and find their homes, feed many picky eaters, and keep many people from spending the day whacking each other. I feel like I am preparing for battle. Steeling my reserves. Shoring up my defenses. And getting ready for disappointment. The basic conundrum: How do I get through the day and at the end of it, feel good about what I was able to get done and how I managed to mother my children all at the same time? I will attempt to practice heroic levels of detachment, keep my chin up, keep my feet moving (except when I need to sit and have a glass of water), and let the little stuff drift away from me. Life requires more optimism than is reasonable, don't you think?

I Just Can't Help Myself

I must post this picture of my daughter. Thank you to Nicole for this picture, and reminding me that childhood beauty can simply take one's breath away. Too often I get caught up in the rush and tumble that is our daily life and I do not pay attention to the boundless beauty, joy, love, and goodness with which I am surrounded. Faced with this picture (and the others Nicole took of my kids at a local park on a wonderful summer day), I can't help but be stopped in my tracks and forced to notice. She is, as has been documented here, a force to be reckoned with. Today at the grocery store, I braced myself for the usual fight. She has had trouble relinquishing the front seat in the cart to her baby sister. Said sister is almost two, but Elizabeth still has trouble with this. She always "calls" the front seat, only to be disappointed that it cannot be as she would wish. This little song and dance usually leads to tears and yelling. From both of us. I had both

Beatles: 1, NPR: 0

I made one of the best decisions of the summer this morning. I turned off NPR and turned on the Beatles. Blasted it really loud on my way to work, sang like a fool, and percussed on my steering wheel. Self-professed NPR junkie that I am, I realized that all thinking and no singing makes Mommy a very dull mommy indeed. Need an infusion of energy? Looking for a new perspective on the daily grind? Take a break from filling your mind with important social, political and cultural content and get your groove on!

The Talk

" The Talk " is looming at our house. We even have a cool book called What's the Big Secret that we are consulting. Well, it's on our dresser anyway, although I have yet to look at it. (Thanks for loaning it, Erika!) But the talk is on its way. There are many signs that tell us that the time is right: questions about things he hears at school (and there have been some doozies), movie scenes with kissing (ugh!), questions about babies... Indiana Jones has become really popular with the boys, and Rick and I have enjoyed revisiting these old favorites. (How come I never noticed how cheesy they were? Especially the third one!) Anyway, Sam and I were watching the 1st one the other night. Remember the scene where Marian (IJ's love interest) and Bellach (bad guy archeologist) are in a tent where the Germans are holding her hostage and Bellach wants to put the moves on her? He hands her this fancy white dress ( because archeologists digging for the Ark of the C

I'm It!

Running down a gravel path today, two beautiful girls spilling ahead of me. The older one, out in front, joyfully shouts: "I'm the leader!" Not to be outdone, the younger, equally joyfully, shouts: "And I'm the rotten egg!" You must admire such exuberance.

Why Do I Wait

Why do I wait to do things? Why did I take two months to finally empty that tote bag that went on the outing so long ago, that as it turned out, contained my favorite brush, the same brush I have been suffering without lo these eight long weeks? Why did I take six months to throw that diaper bag/backpack in the wash? I finally washed it the other day, and now that it's bright and clean, I remember how much I love it. E and T can go to daycare in high fashion now. Why did I put off taking care of that traffic ticket, only to go to court on the last possible day (today), without someone to watch the girls, so that I and 60 or so other hapless individuals, plus the judge, the court reporter, the bailiff, and the Spanish interpreter had to endure 2.5 hours of Tallulah? The child actually bit me -- HARD -- at one point. She, the wordless wonder, spoke a near complete sentence, motivated by the sheer unpleasantness of having to be in the courtroom for way too long: "Mama,


When I first started this blog, I wrote about wanting to blog as a way to make sense of the contradictions inherent in raising a family: the love and the anger, the joy and the despair, the exasperation and the exhilaration. Contradiction is a compelling idea to me. I am fascinated by the way people actually live their lives, by the way people act differently than they truly believe is the right and good way to act. There seems to be some essential truth there, some kernal of meaning in the constant presence of two seemingly opposite things. I have come to believe that I am supposed to pay attention to the clash, to sit with it, wrestle with it. And the more I pay attention, the more I see these contradictions all around me. They certainly are not limited to parenting. They are found in politics, art, education, the justice system...everywhere. I am reading Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma , and enjoying it immensely. He is a wonderful writer. Having heard him spe

She's Freaking Me Out

Hardly had I clicked the PUBLISH button on my last post about Elizabeth when she added another charming moment to her history. Picture me in the grocery store, four kids in tow, all of them squirrely. I parked the cart in front of the centrally located tomatoes, and sent the older ones to get a few veggies while I selected avocados about 10 steps from the cart where Elizabeth and Tallulah were squabbling. Picture a little sour old lady waiting to get to the tomatoes and finding it impossible with my offspring in her way. I hurried over and apologized and tried to move the cart. Little sour lady wouldn't back up, and I was pinned in by two other carts as well, so I had to stand there for a little while apologizing and trying to move, while the veggie seekers came running back with their finds, further clogging up a very small area. Little sour lady would not return my attempts at civil, polite conversation; she just seemed utterly annoyed by my children and my cart. This lit

Fasten Your Seatbelts, She'll Be 13 Someday

My three year old is quite something. The other day, I overheard her playing with her big sister, and heard her say: "My boyfriend is 8, and he doesn't even drive yet." What is that? This is the same little bit who turns her backside to her older brothers, pokes her little bottom towards them, and says, "I'm shaking my booty at you!" The same girl who refuses to hold my hand across a street, insisting that she will "hold my own hand" instead. Picture a stubborn little peanut holding one hand in the other, chin up, marching across the street. The same girl who said to me today, in response to my telling her that she could not play in the fancy new dress a friend gave her, "I'll just sneak in my room and put it on when you aren't looking." I kid you not, that's what she said. The same girl who, when she kisses her father, I feel the need to tell her that he is already married. (She likes to give him what she calls &qu