Child Reading, by Dihl et Guerhard Manufactory (Boston, MA)

The Definition of Insanity


There’s nothing sweeter or more rewarding than reading to kids. Or so I thought, until this happened:

My one year old brings a book over, saying “Hi Da-Da!” and wants to sit on my lap.

His book of choice: “Snuggle Puppy,” and I read it with spirit and enthusiasm. He loves it. When it’s over, he holds the book up and says, “More!”

Obviously I’m a hit. Sure.

Oh wait, what’s that?

You want to read Snuggle Puppy a third time?

Why sure! But this time I change up the voices, add some snaps to jazz it up and give him a huge raspberry to the neck for a spectacular grand finale to this Snuggle Puppy Trilogy … an encore Bruce Springsteen would envy.

Huh. I must be really good at this because now it’s all Snuggle Puppy, all the time.

A fourth reading has been strongly requested and of course I fulfill it. Obviously my award-winning raspberry-ending

Read More Essays



30 Ways To Offend Your Toddler


After years of triggering tantrums from doing just about nothing, I’ve finally realized that toddlers are probably the most easily offended people on the planet. The general rule of thumb is to stay away controversial topics like religion and politics. To avoid offending toddlers, you have to stay away from a much broader spectrum of

The Talk

girl with lightbulb

I’ve been reading a lot of posts on Facebook from parents struggling to have “the talk” with their children.

I didn’t find it that hard.

My daughter started asking questions when she was nine, always when we were in the car with her three-year-old sister. I had the best educated three-year-old in the country.

I kept expecting to

Sticky Fingers

funny parenting moment

What’s the last text you want to get from your husband when you’re away from home? “We really shouldn’t leave the Super Glue where the kids can reach it.”

Can I Have a Popsicle?

Photo by: Eden, Janine and Jim

When my foster daughter was about four we were in a super store at the cashier. She reached into my purse, pulled out a tampon and holding it high in the air, yelled, “Hey Mom, can I have this popsicle?”

Good thing other shoppers have a good sense of humor and children of their own.

Photo: Eden,

It’s Not You, It’s the Zipper!

photo by Arek Olek

I ordered a dress in a size smaller than I am for my daughter’s wedding, because:
A. I plan to lose weight before the wedding and
B. I didn’t want to have to hem it
So when it arrived I tried it on and asked my sweet little man, Tommy, to zip me up. As he struggled getting

This is What the Oregon Trail Prepared Me For

Photo: Lovelorm Poets

Day 07 of the fever sickness. It’s not the sickness but the isolation that will get you.

Nina has definitely had some flashes of being out of touch. I can only hope she will regain her social identity and leave this behind at some point. She has taken to pulling out hair (first from my head

These Are the Days

photo copyright of Freckled Cat Photography, http://www.freckledcatphoto.com/

My favorite days at home with my girls–ages 5 and 8-months–are the days when we go slowly. The days we lie on the floor of our kitchen and try to teach Annie to crawl by crawling around ourselves. The days I sit in the rocking chair in Annie’s sunlit room, with both girls on my

Text to Self

Text to Self

It was dark, too dark to be out on a walk with a toddler. We had been in search of a playground and it was just a day or two after the daylight savings time change.

I had misjudged both the time and the distance. It was past dinnertime and I was tired, my baby cranky.


Just Say Yes

Photo: Traci Shannon

With all the craziness of downsizing from 1600 sq. ft. home to a 320 sq. ft. trailer to see the lower 48 states in a year-long family road trip, I’ve had some control issues. This has caused the word “No” to come out of my mouth more often than I would like.

So when my daughter mentioned

When You Least Expect It

Photo Credit: el7bara

I got up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. When I opened the door to the hallway, there was my seven-year-old son waiting for his turn.

And seeing him, standing in his boy-sized underwear in the glow of the nightlight, my heart split right open and my throat caught.

There was something in

Don’t Judge Me, I’m a Mom

photo submitted by youbabyandi author

Moms are judged too frequently.

I had an incident with my daughter not too long ago at a lodge we visited for a weekend. It was 8 PM at night and we were at dinner shortly after we arrived. She normally sleeps at 8, so she was tired and grumpy.

At this point, I’m starving and so

The Moment My Children’s Fashion Sense Blindsided Me

photo by Jen Preiss

I believe I have a good fashion sense. I have clothed all my children without someone questioning my taste. Even my own clothing has earned occasional positive reviews.

So I wasn’t prepared for my children to rebel, making shopping a grueling nightmare. I’ve had more fun at my yearly OB/GYN visits.

My thirteen-year-old son refused to wear

No Return Policy

baby's bracelet tag

My three-year-old son stared in horror as I delicately cut my newborn twins’ hospital ID bracelets off with a manicuring scissors so I could scrapbook them.

As he burst into tears, I calmly reassured him that I hadn’t harmed his new siblings and, in fact, they slept through the whole thing. But that wasn’t the problem

Stepping Off the Parent Treadmill

Photo by: Leslie Gordon

Ever since having children, I’ve felt like I’m on a treadmill: getting through the days, trying to keep up with who needs what when (usually: everyone, all the time), all the while wondering what this is for, how it really works, and, of course, if I’m doing it right.


More Like the Sun Than the Sun That Day

More Liek the Sun Than the Sun That Day

It was a perfect day with a bright sun and a cool breeze. My one year old in the stroller was pointing and yelling “Ba!” at each bird, squirrel, dog, butterfly, and live creature he saw along the way.

My three and four year olds raced down the sidewalk smelling every flower they could find. “Smell

The Last Gift

Photo by Tot Schlor (https://www.flickr.com/photos/tatjanaschloer/7880375974/)

This text came from my seven-year-old granddaughter: “Nina died. We had to put her down. ”
Without knowing it, my youngest granddaughter had told me that my amazing daughter and son-in-law had prepared their daughters for the death of their beloved dog.

How did I gage this from an 8-word-text? The word ‘died’ said it all.

The Pre-teen Shopping Wars

Photo by: Tat Schloer

I have found six key phrases to keep my pre-teen girl from buying clothing that I don’t like:

1. Wow, that is really cute! I love it! So cute!
2. Doesn’t ______ have that shirt, too? (Fill in the blank with any friend’s name or Miley Cirus.)
3. Super, they have that in my size too!
4. That reminds

Future Lawyer

Future Lawyer

I threatened to charge the kids money every time they tattled on each other this summer. My son just found $5 on the ground and said excitedly, “Now I can tattle five times!”


Photo credit: Cecilie Sønsteby

Proof Positive


Listening to an NPR show discuss the Ferguson, MO, shooting in the car this morning, my daughter asked, “Why don’t they just call people by their name? Not black or white, they have a name. I just want to know their name and if they are good people.”

Too Much Stuff

Too Much Stuff

It occurred to me that if I charge the rates of a public storage facility, my adult children might come and remove their stuff. Brilliant!

Then I realized how hard it would be to get them to pay that bill. Darn it.

Empty house, full of stuff. Memories. Family. Love. A lifetime.

Photo credit: Hobvias Sudoneighm