Thursday, February 25, 2010

Cadbury Eggs

It's that time of year again- it's time for the Cadbury Cream Egg.
Now if you're like me, you're all, gross. No way, and no thanks.

But if you're like these two ...

This time of year is the BEST time of year to be a sugar freak!

The lil' dude spied one of Daddy's after-dinner dessert eggs on the counter last night.

So, she weaseled her way up to it. Then, she set about tearing off the foil like a maniac to get to the goods.

Consider that her first lesson in the etiquette of opening, eating, and savoring the Cadbury Egg. Daddy taught her how to be smart about unwrapping the foil. It has something to do with preserving the integrity of the wrapper to in turn preserve the integrity of the candy nestled inside.

Yeah, I don't get it either. But they are my sugar freaks!

Like Candy from a Baby

Anyone who's ever tried to take candy from a baby probably knows it's hard.
Sorta like taking fresh fruit and juice from my two year old.

Let me preface this conversation by saying motherhood is a dirty job. And when it's day five of your toddler having ... uhh, diarrhea, it gets really dirty. I think I can attribute the lil' dude's current state of bowels to the impending arrival of her 24mo. molars. I think. This week I've been reminded I don't know what I'm really doing- I'm just playing along, following what little instinct I've developed in this game.

But, the wet, wet face- the constant fingers in the mouth, snotty nose, and overall unpleasantness being emitted by my three-footer does reinforce my hunch.

So, back to the subject of this post-taking fruit and juice away from my daughter- arguably two of her favorite consumptions in the world. How to enforce a BRAT diet ... bananas, rice, applesauce, toast.

This is going to be just like taking candy from a baby.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Monday, February 22, 2010


My favorite part of parenthood is the surprises.

Reveling in the knowledge that my child, from whom I created, carried, and birthed, is capable of operating at her own volition. That she grows and learns and functions without me. That she still surprises me with this notion 26 months later.

Last night, we sat down in the rocker to read Charley Harper's ABC's ... a ritual now long-withstanding in the lil' dude's bedtime routine.

A is for ... APE
B is for ... BIRD
C is for ... CRAB

And so on. There are only a few of the letters and corresponding creatures she has a hard time remembering. I'll never tire of hearing her soft, lilting voice shout out each answer. She loves the Hen, Koala, and Jellyfish pages best.

After we closed the book on Z is for ... ZEBRA, the surprise happened.

ABCD ... EFG .. aycheyejaykayeleminoPEE ... COORESSTYOUUUUUUVEEE ... doubleEXwhy ... Z!

My baby girl chirped out her alphabet in perfect prose, bringing tears to my eyes and pride to my heart.
We hurried out to provide Daddy with an encore presentation; a performance he caught on tape, and a segment I post for all our faithful lil' dude readers;

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Your buddy JW. gave you a giant sticker book for your birthday. I think it boasts 300 stickers. Probably every parent's nightmare.
Definitely every little girl's dream.

You are so gentle with your stickers. If you experience difficulty in prying them off the page, you ask for help. If you accidentally rip one, your lip starts to tremble, and you apologize. You hate when that happens. You say, sticker, owwie.

With the exception of the Beagle, you've never broken any sticker rules by applying them to things you shouldn't. It's your puppy's fault if he doesn't try to fight you when you want to decorate him. He loves you too much.

You love to ask me to play wiff it as you hand me your sticker book full of your Pixar heroes. You like it when I ask you to find certain characters on each page, or play the matching or opposite games. You beam proudly when you ace your quiz.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


George Herbert once said, "One father is more than a hundred schoolmasters."

That must be true.
After all, it was your Daddy who taught you the new Syracuse defense mantra, shut it down.

Much like Mama asks you what the horse, pig, elephant, tiger, and duck says ...

Daddy asks you what 'Cuse says, and you say, Shut It Down!

Sunday, February 14, 2010


Happy Valentine's Day!
May all your chocolates be caramel-filled.
Your milk, tinted pink.
Your stickers, fuzzy.
May all your pancakes be heart-shaped.
Stories, happy.
Balloons, helium-propelled.
And people, loved.

Friday, February 12, 2010


In the frigid Midwest where we call home, long, cold, snowy, icy winters wreak havoc on our roads.
I'm talking about potholes.
Atrocious, vehicle-eating potholes.
And they are already affecting our way of life, and it's not even spring.

Unless you're the lil' dude, who on the way in this morning became so very excited when we encountered a massive spread of potholes ... kept cheering and shouting, bumpy! Again! BUMPY BUMPY BUMPY! YEAY FOR BUMPIES!

Now, that is making lemonade when life hands you lemons!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

In the Bag

I'm known for my obsession with handbags.
My obsession with giant handbags.

Do you want to know what's in mine right this second?

Black Kate Spade Wallet
Keys to the truck
Cellphone (with the cracked screen, love you, kiddo!)
A Tinkerbell cellphone (which is not mine)
A Dora Pull-Up
Lipsmackers Dr. Pepper Chapstick
My temporary insurance ID card
4 smashed Goldfish
3 raisins
An Epi pen
My point-and-shoot camera
A ribbon from the lil' dude's Valentine gift
An inhaler
A yellow hanky
A pen
Two Valentines to mail
My Starbucks giftcard and knitted giftcard holder with the bird
$10.00 in Kohl's cash
Easter egg-printed Kleenex
A package of Nemo fruit snacks
Wrigley's peppermint gum
Aveda Hand Relief lotion
2 barrettes
And, 1 hair bow
Pressed powder
Spearmint Chapstick
Vial of Ibuprofen
North Face black gloves
Beauty Rush lipgloss in Tutti-Fruity
Coupons for Pull-Ups, Aveeno baby products, and Huggies wipes
Aveda lipshine in Amaranth
4 crumpled receipts
Nivea Kiss of Moisture lip balm
An empty packet of baby wipes
C.O. Bigelow Ginger Mentha Lip Shine
Recipes for monster cookies and mac 'n' triple cheese
Lil' dude's Aquaphor
Gold Bond Ultimate Hand Sanitizer Moisturizer
A referral to the dermatologist
A business card for possible freelance opportunity
Aveda Lip Glaze in Pepino
Post-It note with reminder to call Vision World
A "materials due" receipt from the library
Plastic Minnie Mouse figurine

I'm embarrassed!
And, totally screwed if I ever lose my bag.

I'm curious. What's in YOUR bag?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Old Chair

There once was an old chair, a rocking chair.
Made by hand out of sturdy oak.
And gifted to two newlyweds by the bride's father.

And when those newlyweds were celebrating the birth of their first grandchild, the old chair found a new home.
In a corner of a tiny girl's room.
The centerpiece of her story, the legacy of one family.

And as the girl grew bigger, so did the chair's role in her story.
From once a safe haven to calm a sad baby, to now igniting her imagination.

So the girl can spend hours tucked behind her old chair, reading books, mothering dolls, whispering secrets.
It's where she seeks solace when sad, hurt, tired, restless.
It's where she smuggles her snacks, her wooden blocks, stuffed pals, and even her Daddy.

Behind that old wooden rocking chair.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Letter from Mama, v26

Sometimes, you can stare at the same thing until the center of it, where your eyes are focused, starts to look soft at the edges, and blurry all around. You can stare at the same thing over and over, and revel in its blurriness for what it's worth.

This afternoon, I finished a particularly troublesome memoir ... and ending to the story so sad, so heavy. I knew where you were, in your bed, and could hear your melody before I opened the door to your room. You're a girl who has given up on the weekend nap. I quietly opened your door, shut it behind me, and picked you up. I sat in the rocker, you on my lap facing me. I felt sick, and saddened by the words I had just read about a parent's betrayal, and the path of redemption the story took on. I rocked you and rocked you; you folded into my embrace. You pressed your tiny nose against mine, and we sat locked in an Eskimo kiss, completely silent, as your features began to blur at the edges, until your center became soft. You breathed in as I breathed out. I focused on your face until I felt my reserve strengthen, until I had calmed down to where you and I sat.

You're my greatest gift darling girl, I am so lucky I know that, and say it out loud. I'll always do right by you, and I'll make my life's ambition to raise you in the sunshine, far away from the shadows. Being your Mama is an honor.

Yesterday your Grandma S. saw you after a bunch of weeks. She said your baby features continue to diminish, your face looks more like that of a girl's. Your legs, when you are carried, dangle lower and lower. You're longer, leaner, sleek. Your one hand grasps your glass of milk as you take long sips from the unobstructed top. When it spills down the side of the counter you are genuinely surprised. Oh my gosh! you exclaim, and offer to help with the mess. I assure you, no, no. It's okay. It was an accident, and honestly, there is no reason to cry over spilled milk.

There's a children's author by the name of Margaret Wise Brown who's a household favorite. You'll recognize her for the classic Goodnight, Moon and The Runaway Bunny. But here, where we live, she's most loved for Mister Dog, the Dog Who Belonged to Himself, and I'll tell you why.

The book was written in 1952. It's as pure as children's literature gets. Toward the end of the story about the dog, named Crispin's Crispian, who belonged to himself , there is a page that goes:

Crispin Crispian was a conservative.
He liked everything at the right time-
dinner at dinner time,
lunch at lunchtime,
breakfast in time for breakfast,
and sunrise at sunrise,
and sunset at sunset.
And at bedtime-
At bedtime he liked everything in its own place-
the cup in the saucer,
the chair under the table,
the stars in the heavens,
the moon in the sky,
and himself in his own little bed.

And that page alone fully represents who you are at this time, lil' dude.
You are a girl for everything, and everything for a girl.

And Mama loves.

Friday, February 5, 2010


Each morning I get myself completely ready before going in to wake you. It's both my favorite and least favorite activity of the day. It's my least favorite because ... you abhor being woken up. It breaks my heart. You open one eye at a time, and holler, No Mama! Not done! No!! Lil' dude's bed! It's sad, and pathetic. It's also sweet.
Mornings are also my favorite because I get to see your shining little face again. You also love the cuddle in the mornings, so it's nice to wrap your warm, pajama'd body against mine as the sun rises. The house soon sounds like you, as you finally make the day your own.

I take off your pajamas and you go potty, wearing NaNa like a cape to ward off the morning chill. I wait by the sink with your toothbrush fully loaded. I comb your hair and make you presentable. You take your time brushing; a habit you inherited from your father. You can't wait to dump out your cup of water ... the endless watermarks on my mirror can attest to that.

You're dressed and you can usually catch a little Mickey Mouse Clubhouse before we leave. I warm up the vehicle, pack my lunch, throw my purse in the car, find something to thaw out for dinner. At this point in the mornings, you find something to bring with you. A book, some stickers. Goldfish snacks, a doll, NaNa, your tiny dollhouse family. It's as if you're packing up to begin your day just as I do.

Yesterday, we kissed Daddy and the Beagle goodbye. I asked you if you were ready to go, if you were ready to rock! like I do most mornings.

And you simply replied, probably.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


There's a notable little something I discovered this morning as I stretched my way into the day.
My arms hurt. My biceps hurt.

I have been holding and lugging and rocking and swaying and soothing and cajoling my little girl into wellness for well over a week now.
My 27-pound, 13-ounce little girl, to be exact.
And I can feel it.

And, standing alone in the shower, or at the kitchen sink, I find myself swaying in that slow, methodical Mama-motion.

My movements have been forever impacted, my body; formed by motherhood.

Monday, February 1, 2010


Being the mother of a toddler, I know my way around rules and regulations; policies and procedures; please and thank you's.
I'm hellbent on raising a polite, conscientious daughter who is both mindful and obedient.
So, naturally, my toddler wishes to hold, hug, and love every single object her hazel eyes land on.

That means I am saying, "lil' dude, look with your eyes," about 89 times a day.

And the obedient little turd will then poke herself in one eye with one hand, while touching said object with the other.

I love how literal life is when you're 2.

I don't love when she actually pokes herself in the eye and cries and looks at me like I'm the meanest of all Mamas.

I'm hoping there's a happy medium.