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Essay

Lice

Lice of the Party

“You still have a fever. You can’t go to the party.”

“But daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad, daaaaaaaaaaaaaady, everyone will be there. It’s my first sleepover party. You’re so mean. I’m never talking to you again!”

And so it goes. Back and forth between mom and dad, trying to drive a wedge between resolute (wife) and wavering (dad), my highly motivated, high-fevered daughter is turning up the heat, doing anything and everything to get herself to that sleepover. Even if her parents separate, divorce and reconcile all in the same night.

But we hold firm, barely. And so she goes to sleep overwrought, and over medicated with bubble gum-flavored Motrin®. Today’s battle won, we go to sleep ready for the tests and tribulations that come with the perils and pitfalls of tween parenting.

Cells buzzing, phones ringing, we are awoken to a cacophony of sound. Someone is sounding the alarm and we rise to the reverie of suburban

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Moments

And What Does Your Mother Do?

wine

We were on vacation, five people crammed into a tiny hotel room. I told the kids they needed to find something to do for a few minutes so I could shower and the husband could get the car.

“It must be hard,” my seven-year-old son said.

“What?”

“Trying to take care of yourself when you have to take

Proof Positive

Radio

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.”

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

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

The Perfect Anniversary Gift

The Perfect Anniversary Gift

What do you get the woman you love to celebrate 16 years of marriage? In my case, I knew the answer. There’s only one thing my wife wants more than anything else, and that’s a healthy future for our son.

Along with being a bright, energetic, playful kid with a quirky sense of humor, our son

The Worst Day of Her Life

The Worst Day of Her Life

“This is the worst day of my entire life,” my daughter sobs. Her eyes are red and tears are dripping down her cheeks.

Today someone adopted the last puppy we have been fostering for the animal shelter. Today the big beautiful tree that shaded our front yard was taken down. My daughter mourned the birds’ nests

Zombie Grandma

Photo by ankakay (https://www.flickr.com/photos/ankakay/)

 

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was a time (second grade) when kids like to talk about death. A lot. My son, whose school that teaches a peace curriculum, enjoys pretending to spray friends with machine-gun fire. He grabs imaginary arrows from the quiver on his back and

Let’s Play Babies!

Let's Play Babies!

Ava: “Mommy, want to play babies? You and Jack are the babies and I’m the Mommy?”

Me: “Yes, please!”

Ava: “Okay babies, time to clean up the Barbies. Mommy didn’t make this mess!”

Photo credit: Some rights reserved by Mads Boedker

Century Old Mama

year in review clock

One of the weirder mom quotes: We were reading a story when out of the blue my six year old asked me, “Mommy have you lived for a century?”

I replied “No, that’s 100 years.” “Are you sure?” he said. “Yep, I’m sure butterbean.” (Though sometimes it feels like it.)

Tot Etiquette

Cute very young little boy or maybe a girl with curly hair attem

In the early years we spend plenty of time and energy teaching manners and etiquette to our little squirts.

Wash your hands–but sing the entire alphabet while doing so. What is this message we send? Don’t you ever wonder what our kids think of these signals we send? And why is it that “we” don’t sing

Yes, I’m Not Ashamed to Admit It

doughnuts

I was standing at the kitchen counter with a glass of red wine in one hand and a Krispy Kreme doughnut with Key Lime filling in the other. My husband was laughing at me. I didn’t care.

I started a new job that was full-time in the office instead of part-time at home. I was working really

Best Moment of the Year

mom and daughter

After successfully completing another big conference for moms, MomCom–this one national (whoot whoot!)–this mom finally got some free time to unwind and reconnect with her patient daughter. This is how the moment went:

My daughter as she’s putting her feet between my legs while we’re reading in bed: I’m not cold. I just haven’t seen you

I’ll Never Call Them Flip Flops Again

flip flops

My daughter was looking for some other shoes when it was warm out. I told her she could look in her closet for flip flops. “What are those?” she said. I described them. “Oh, vagina shoes,” she said.

Because, of course.

Photo by: Rudolf Vlček

Fiction from a Four Year Old

it all makes sense

My four year old eagerly absorbs myths and stories, and all of them hold equal weight. The other night she created a fiction mix that combined all the recent tales she’s taken in. It went like this:

The wicked witch took Dorothy’s dog Toto away and then the big storm came and she

Give Them the Holiday Bird

Baby's Holiday Bird

A few years ago we had an interesting experience at a major chain portrait studio where we took our first holiday pictures as a family. The photographer made a grammatical error on our holiday cards, but the biggest surprise came when we were looking at the pictures. The only picture of my

Losing My Mind

coffee

I was at Starbucks treating myself to a Latte. I managed to order above the chatter of my pack of children, then I made a fatal mistake: I added a newspaper. After getting my credit card back, I gathered the gang and walked out of the store with the paper under my

Love Makes Us Rich

Those-Who-Are-Rich-In-Love-Are-The-Richest-Of-All

 

Me: I feel really happy right now. I just wanted to tell you that.
Six-year-old son: Why are you so happy?
Me: Well, we have a safe and beautiful home, reliable cars, enough to eat and all the love we can handle. I feel like the richest woman in the world.
Son: Love is what

Who dunnit?

Dental Health Toothpaste

This morning after finally getting all three kiddos off to school, I lumbered into the bathroom to take out my contacts. I unscrewed the left-side lid, popped out the lens and put the lid back on. Next I unscrewed the right-side lid. Instead of a bath of sterile solution, I discovered that

Apples to Apples

two boys playing card game

Once upon a time, when we still needed babysitters, my niece offered to watch the kids while we went out with my brother and sister-in-law. Her only payment was that the kids had to play the card game of comparisons “Apples to Apples” with her. No problem. The kids were more than