It's not that the kids refused to try Judo, but they were hesitant. Elan was anxious ahead of time. We were in the car, and I found myself saying to him, "Listen up. I'm going to tell you the secret to life." Once that came out of my mouth, it seemed necessary to pull over. I parked under a tree and turned around to face them, my two beautiful boys, their perfect skin, their eyes - brown and blue - pools reflecting liquid light.
"The secret to life," I said, "is that 95% of the time, no one's paying any attention to what you're doing. They're too busy worrying about themselves to notice you." As I said it, it sounded kind of sad, yet freeing.
"What about the other 5%?" Elan asked, his brow furrowed between his eyebrows. His eyebrows are thick like mine. Emry's are thin and arched, like Mikhail's.
"The other 5% won't happen today," I said, channeling the sureness of Mom with a capital M. He was reassured, and so was I. I piloted the car back onto the street.
Emry was excited about Judo, but when we get there, ... more
My then-shaggy boys in the Mojave desert where I grew up, December 2014
Sometimes I fear that I'm doing my kids' childhood all wrong.
Not enough forts, for instance.
When I was a kid, we had a corner of the living room devoted frequently to forts. There was a living and a family room. Plenty of space for forts.
Our house here in Berkeley is little. We make forts, though we haven't made one in a while. The giant camo blanket, lightweight with strings sewn into the edges, is perfect for fort-making. We tie ... more
Boys in redwood roots, Big Basin, September 2015
This is the first year I have taken Elan with me to Yom Kippur day services by choice. I decided he's old enough to come with me, and for me to still be able to pay attention and get something out of the service. He wore shorts and crocs, and we went (him by scooter, me walking) to the "super-reform" service held outdoors alongside the playground at the JCC. But even during the times that he took a break from listening by swinging ... more
End of summer, San Diego, August 2015
There's a poem in my head and I don't know how to write it.
Riding my bike home, I hear the bing-bing of two metal things hitting. I decide to not stop. The sound is rather pleasant.
A man is installing a rain gutter in hopes of El Niño. A woman in white pants trims something in her garden, as I pass a large van with a bumper sticker on the back window that reads WITCH.
Two old cars rot under a plexiglass carport. Across the ... more
Kauai, February 2015
When a day gets sloggy, or I've got too much to do, or I'm stressed, my kids are used to me saying, "I want to go to Hawaii."
It's also my go-to line whenever the whining gets a little much.
Them: "I wanna have some [INSERT NAME OF SUGARY TREAT HERE]. I really really really want it!"
Me: "I want to go to Hawaii."
Them: "I want to watch [INSERT NAME OF FAVORITE SHOW-OF-THE-MOMENT HERE]. I HAVE TO HAVE TO HAVE TO watch it!"
Me: "I want to go to Hawaii."
And ... more
Earlier this week, I posted here on the blog about our decision to let Emry make his own choices about his hair (to read it, click here). When we did that, we were simultaneously setting a family policy that, if you have strong feelings about your own hair, then you get to make decisions around it. (This doesn’t include hygiene, because neither of my children would ever choose to wash or brush their hair if it were up to them.) (Check back to see if the policy ... more
Emry & me, Kauai, February 2015
We started getting the questions when Emry was two and a half: "when are you going to cut his hair?"
We cut Elan's hair when he was a little over two. He had beautiful blonde-brown hair, often scraggly but still beautiful. But it started bothering him when it got in his face, and he showed signs of wanting to have it shorter.
Emry, on the other hand, was always quite sure that he didn't want his hair cut. He wanted it long. He liked it long. ... more
Emry, November 2014
Just because this age is ridiculous and utterly charming, frustrating and adorable. One moment, I can't wait until he's old enough to take himself pee in the middle of the night. The next moment, I never want him to grow too old that he doesn't want to have a cuddle from his Mama.
Just because it's Monday, and there's a meerkat head poking from his backpack, and there's no gum stuck in his wild blonde hair, like there was last week.
Just because this was a recent dialogue happening ... more
Emry, October 2014
This is what the living do. We want and want and want some more, and then we are suddenly satiated, and this is grace.
Riding my bike through the autumn morning, the piles of leaves damp from a little nighttime rain, or maybe it was heavy dew, the sky a brightening blue with strewn white cloud over it. A sky like that has promise. The way the light slants past the street signs, hitting the tops of the trees and letting them show off their yellows, their ... more
Several months ago, my sister and her dear friend Kristina took their families on a camping trip. Around the same time, Mikhail and I decided to take our kids on their first trip to Yosemite as a Rosh Hashanah celebration.
I believe that is where the similarities between our two camping trips end.
We have taken our kids camping numerous times before, starting when Elan was only eight months old, but always with a large group of Mikhail's family members or on one-night trips with other families with young children.
Elan's first camping trip, August 2007, Swimmer's ... more
Emry, July 2014
For the last several months, Nubbins has been dropping his nap.
(Everyone who has parented a nap-dropping child now sighs.)
I'm knocking wood as I type this, but so far, this transition hasn't been nearly as gnarly as Elan's nap-dropping chaos was. Part of this is probably because I have not attempted to force him into nap or enforce a set rest-time. I'm still scarred from the screaming fits that happened when I tried to convince Elan that a good alternative for a nap would be to have quiet time ... more