After a few days with family, The Who and I boarded the fast ferry across the harbor (and more) to meet up with m*, who arrived at our vacation house yesterday. This was The Who’s first bonafide boat ride and although he was excited at the prospect, nothing compared to the actual thrill of feeling the wind on his face as the boat sped across the water at 45 mph.

This is the smile of a delighted boy.

Midway through the 1.5-hour ride, he started getting a little restless, so I suggested we go inside and sit at a table to play a game on my phone. Wrongo, Ringo. That was a terrible idea. What had been fun and windy and bouncy outside, was stale and warm and queasy inside. We sat at the table for maybe ten minutes before we both started turning green and going back outside seemed like the best (and only) option. I immediately felt better outside, but I think it took The Who a little while to recover.

He actually fell asleep on me for about ten minutes, which is virtually unheard of these days.

All in all, though, a good trip. And a way better way to get out here than to drive in vacation traffic. We were met by m* just off the dock and we meandered our way through town with our luggage, finally arriving at our [cute!] little place. We are staying at a different place this year after spending the last two years in the same condo. This is definitely smaller, but much more homey and comfy. It’s also at least a quarter mile closer to town, which makes the walk feel more doable.

The set-up: queen-sized air mattress on the floor for The Who. He was positively delighted by this and went to bed happily at 8:30 tonight, despite all the napping (car and boat.)

Now we have a week of fun ahead of us. The Who’s agenda is to drink salt water from the ocean. My agenda is to get to the beach, check out the new shops that have cropped up between last summer and this, and thwart The Who in his efforts to lick the ocean.



Blog Scattergories

Via Dresden.


Who doesn’t like a blog game? It’s harder than it looks! Play here or let me know if you play on your blog. Play on & use your imagination!

Use the first letter of the answer to the first question to come up with answers for the rest.

1 )What is your favorite summer theme movie or theme song?
“Bang on the Drum”

2) Something you would use to keep out of the sun
Big, goofy hat

3) Something you would wear in a swimming pool
Bandeau Bikini (riiiight.)

4) Something you would bring to a summer block party
Beef to grill

5) Something you would use to soothe a burn

6) Something you would eat first in a blackout
Bacon. When given the choice, regardless of the circumstance, I would always eat bacon first.

7) Some place that you would love to spend a week in the summer
Bathing in the bay on Cape Cod (and, lucky me, I get to do it next week!)

8 ) Something you would say to neighbor kids on summer break
Bedtimes are for losers!

9) Some person that you want to have a water fight with

10) Something you will say when summer is finally over



After about a year of my taking The Who out alone on weekends, we’ve been making an effort to spend more time together as a family. The Who has been asking for it (and is clearly so much more delighted when we are all together) and it’s good for m* and me, too. We went to the Aquarium on the 4th of July, a picnic last weekend, and today when the heat wave finally broke, we hit up the local Putt-Putt for baby’s first mini-golf.

Golf, croquet — same diff.

I don’t know what we’ll do tomorrow, but I bet some of it will involve my continuing to obsess over the Great Swimming Lesson Debacle of 2012. And also grocery shopping. There’s always grocery shopping.

Three Things.

I have three things to tell you people:

1. Swim lessons. Remember the other day when I waxed all poetic about swimming and how The Who was learning to swim and I was delighting in the lesson time? Yeah, not so much anymore. Today, after three days in a row, The Who, for the first time, showed some resistance as lesson time approached. He was ok when I dropped him off in the pool and walked away, but within minutes, I could hear his cry from across the pool. I stepped up on the hill in time to see the harshest of the three teachers forcing him to lie flat in the water and calling him a “bad boy” and extending his turn in the water for refusing to let go of her arms and “flap his wings.” Another mother stood next to me and said, “Poor kid. Is he yours?” And when I said yes, she said, “I don’t know how you do it; I’d be crying.” To which I replied, “I am.” (She couldn’t see through my sunglasses.) It took all the strength I had not to rip him from the teacher’s arms and just hold him. He cried every time he was in the water after that, which just breaks my heart. He has loved lessons up until today. He was energized and joyful each day. I hope this teacher doesn’t break his spirit. Fortunately, he did still want to get right back in the pool with me afterwards, which we did, but not before I had a firm chat with his teacher. There will be no shaming of my kid and comments on his goodness on my watch.

2. The movies. With threatening clouds looming and the crappy swim lesson experience still lingering around us, I thought today would be the perfect day for The Who’s first visit to the big movie theatre. There really aren’t any completely appropriate movies out right now (ideally, his first movie would be something like Follow That Bird) but it seemed doable and he seemed into it.

“Two incredibly overpriced tickets to Ice Age: Continental Drift please.”

He had himself a lovely time, even if he was a bit bored. In classic Who fashion, he was pretty compliant and not over-the-moon about the experience. I brought a cushion to boost him up in the seat, and we had the proper accouterments: popcorn and Junior Mints. He got a little bored (note to self: next time, arrive 15 minutes late so we miss most of the TWENTY MINUTES OF PREVIEWS)  but opted to stay when given the choice. And I’m sure he was delighted that he did because once the movie was over and the theatre was empty, the kid ran those ramps and aisles like he was Rocky, training for a fight. Who knew an empty, semi-dark movie theatre was such a preschooler’s playground?

3. The Who visited the dentist yesterday and got this little turtle as a prize. He promptly named the turtle “Astronaut.”

As soon as we got home, he brought Astronaut directly to Bella to play.




Perhaps you can’t tell, but that little head in the distance beyond the light pole is The Who. I am poolside while he is in swimming lessons. Thirty blessed minutes of sun-soaking with no one talking to me. I can block out all the other children fairly easily and it ends up just being white noise. I could possibly sleep if it wasn’t 95 degrees. There’s plenty of time for cooling off when he is back in my charge.

I can’t wait until he learns to swim. And not because I want him to cease pulling my bathing suit down or clinging to me when he jumps in, but because I know he will love to swim when he knows how. I remember vividly the feeling of drawing breath and pushing off underwater to glide across the pool. The quiet of being under the surface. The way I could just disappear and then pop back up into the laughter and delighted screaming of my friends. I loved to swim.

Sure, The Who loves the pool now. He loves splashing around and jumping and playing, but there is something very different about it when you don’t fear it and you feel confident enough to propel yourself. I can’t wait to watch him experience that.

Here We Go.

The blogs I love the best are the ones who just keep me up to date. The ones who fill me in on their daily lives with pithy little stories and cute pictures. And then, I especially love when those same blogs have intermittent deeper posts, where they let us in just a little further. And, sure. I love the blogs that my friends write. Because they’re my friends and it’s fun to get to hear a little more about them. But, yeah. I like to be kept in the loop, kept up to date, informed. And I like it the most when my newsy friends are great writers, which they are. (Hello, WestPhillyMama, It’sNotLikeACat, and CreatingMotherhood — among many others, of course.)

Somehow, though, despite knowing that my favorite blogs are the ones who pop in regularly to keep me on top of the daily headlines, I am the kind of blogger who typically doesn’t blog unless I have some Big Thing to blog about. Somehow, despite being a Facebooker, Tweeter, Memoirist, and Livejournaler from way back, I still feel like the mundane details don’t belong here.

Maybe, though, they’re not mundane to everyone?

I was the happiest as a blogger during NaBloWriMo, where I wrote something every day. I felt no pressure to make it “good” or “worthwhile” because the goal then was to publish something — anything — every day. And then as soon as the month was over, I reverted back to sporadic posting and only when there was a capital-T-Topic.

I’m going to try to do some more blogging. I’m going to try to loosen the rigid rules I have laid out for myself regarding what posts should be about and just try to work on volume. I will try hard not to turn out insipid bullshit, but I have to warn you: you gotta take 90 shots to get one good photo.

Here we go.


I’ll tell you what’s expensive: organic shit. Especially the lotions and unctions. And I never knew before I had a kid because I never paid as much attention to the things going in and on my body as I do now. I dropped $30 today on 12 ounces of shampoo and 6 ounces of sunscreen. I expect that stuff to have gold flakes in it.

This is incredibly overpriced organic applesauce at a place that sells exclusively overpriced organic food.

There’s some list floating around about which vegetables and fruits you really “must” buy organic and which are ok to just eat the peasant version of. Something to do with the skin of the fruit and the pesticides, but I can’t keep track of that and so I am probably buying expensive bananas for no good reason except that it makes me feel like a better mother.

The water in here is not organic, but the cup is stainless steel. That gets me “good mom” points. It totally does.

Yep. It does. Slathering organic, natural sunscreen on my kid and pouring him organic milk makes me feel like a good mother. I mean, sure. There are other things that make me feel like a good mother (e.g. not smacking him in the head and stuff) but I feel like I am doing a good thing by putting quality stuff on him. I’m not going to lie to you: when I pile all my groceries on the conveyor belt, the more organic stuff on there, the better I feel.

My bananas come decorated with tape that announces their organicness.

Also (and if you’re a parent, you will already know this), the more organic your kid products and snacks, the more respect you earn at the playground**. If your kid eats organic cucumber for snack, other moms (who keep trying to ply their kid with organic cucumber, but whose kid always opts for Cheetos) will be envious and covetous of your mad parenting skillz.

It’s totally the new Keeping Up With The Joneses. Except I feel like it used to be so much cheaper to keep up.

** I am fully aware that this does not apply to every parent. And I am fully aware that this phenomenon of “who is more organic-y” is much more prevalent among privileged stay-at-home-mom types. And that there are a zillion and three carcinogens all around us and organic sunscreen is not such a big deal in the scheme of things. And that I am actually a good parent because I love my kid and blahbitty blah blah blah. But, I’m just sayin’.

This is not even pretending to be organic. But, damn it’s tasty.


The Who has a couple of friends that he just adores. And I know he adores them not by the way his face lights up when I tell him we’re going to see those friends, but rather by the intimate ways in which he interacts with them when they’re together. He and these pals greet one another with embraces, wherever they first meet: on the front steps of one of their houses, on a sidewalk, at the playground. They high-five. They wrestle. They sit quietly engrossed in imaginative play for long stretches of time. They hug one another goodbye (and sometimes even kiss, if there is kissing-goodbye going on around them.)

They share their ice cream with one another.

I expect that at some point this will change. The Who and his comrades will probably move from open, unbridled affection for one another to arm chucks, fist bumps, and quick “bro” hugs. As a girl, and now a woman, this is not a stage I really moved through. It has always been acceptable and encouraged in our culture for girls and women to hug and kiss and, frankly, it’s kind of a bummer that boys and men who do this are often shamed and mocked.

Maybe he will grow up to be a hugging kind of man. And maybe it won’t be so socially weird by the time he does. Or maybe (if all goes according to plan) he won’t give a crap if what he wants to do and how he wants to behave is socially weird or not. But right now, my boy’s a lover. And I just find it so goddamn sweet.


How is it double-digit July already? And how is my kid practically reading?

Ok, he’s not reading, quite. But he is really on the verge. Sounding letters, listening for words that start the same. Matching pictures and words. The whole thing. Inventive spelling is right around the corner and if I put in the time and he stays as interested as he is right now, he could easily be reading by this time next year.

His recent stab at writing the word “circle.” (That second letter is an “R”)

He jumps off the side of the pool now. Into nothing. Right into the water. Sure, I reach down and grab him up before he sinks (he’s not a swimmer yet) but this boy who refused to let go of my bathing suit top (sorry, everyone at the pool, for the multiple unintentional viewings of my ladies) is now “reaching and kicking” and sliding under water and back up without any trauma whatsoever.

Standing at the top of the slide for the zillionth time, which less than two weeks ago scared the crap out of him.

He is a “big kid.” It’s so clear to me. I hear his voice and the way he puts sentences together and see the things he can do and although he is still very much my baby and still very much a little kid, he is big. And getting bigger. There’s no getting off this ride and I’m not having any more kids and I have spent two of the last three nights lost in watching old videos of his baby days.

I totally understand why people keep having babies. Of course, there is the “I want my kid to have siblings” argument. But it also has to be about wanting to re-immerse yourself as a parent in the growing of a child. To re-experience the babyhood, the steps, the learning, the figuring it out. The Who is my first kid. Everything he does will always be fascinating to me and new for the both of us. Kindergarten, middle school, learning to drive, first dates — all of it. I get it and I am excited and eager to see it and experience it all. But there is something intoxicating about the first years when the basic elements of being a full-fledged human are emerging. Walking, talking, eating. And as The Who starts to outgrow some of that novelty, I am starting to miss it.

I’m grappling with wanting him to flourish and learn and move forward, but also wanting to hang onto the coattails of his babyhood. I’ll let him go, of course. He’ll fly. But I’m still going to grab him around his waist and smother him in kisses every chance I get.

Slow down, kiddo. Slow down.


I gotta wonder about the fine line between taking care of my son’s psyche and coddling him. I got a lot of crap early on from friends and family about the kinds of choices we made for him (e.g. sticking to a rigid, firm nap schedule) and I heard things all the time like, “Kids are resilient; he’ll be fine.”

I don’t want him to be “fine.” The truth is that we never know what choices we make as parents ultimately affect our kids and in what ways. People will say, “Well, I did such and such and my kid turned out ok.” But how do you know? How do you know that the such and such didn’t affect the way he will communicate as an adult in relationships, for example? Yes. Your kid is fine. But is that the goal? Is the goal just to keep them alive and cute?

I know you can never really know what results your parenting choices will have. And I am also not saying that I am a better parent than anyone else. But I do make a lot of unpopular decisions in child-rearing because I believe that the alternative, while maybe more convenient for me or more attractive to society, will ultimately be somehow destructive in a nebulous sort of way down the line.

I think this is what people mean when they say that parenting is the hardest job you will ever do. Sure, the day-to-day can be trying. Like when it’s 4pm and your 3-year-old who has recently given up the nap is battle-worn and beat and you’re the same and all he wants is your attention and all you want is to never ever ever hear his tinny little voice again. I certainly don’t count those among my favorite moments, but that’s not what really makes parenting hard. It’s the constant worry, the investigation, the planning, the caution, the love so intense that just the thought of his pain makes your shoulders heave with sobs. And, for me especially, someone who is very motivated by instant gratification, it’s the drive to keep on making these difficult and unpopular choices, hoping that they will pay off in the long run.