Tuesday, December 18, 2012



Amaya had the flu two weeks ago, and then she admitted she had swallowed a quarter in an unrelated medical emergency.

As a side effect of these events, Amaya briefly became very introspective. She faced her imminent death. She compared her misery to better moments, asking me if I could recall times when quarters were not in danger of being removed from one’s intestines. We reassured her over and over again that she would feel better eventually. When she woke up on the third day, she cried because she knew she was still sick and she knew it was unfair. She hugged and cuddled and spoke quietly for about five days. She didn’t enjoy eating and mealtimes were made of tears. I let her watch Phineas and Ferb for longer than anyone should.

amayaboots15 Jake and I remembered how endearing she could be. Even her tantrums had good reason. She slept with our picture under her pillow so she “could always remember us.”

Then she got better. We washed the vomit off the car. The quarter was not present at the xray. Her tantrums started making us shake our heads and send her to time out again. She lost a tooth and the tooth fairy remembered to visit, this time. The hole in her smile is hopefully as momentary as her new inability to smile naturally.

Temporary and fleeting hardship is the sweetness of childhood. Recent tragedies make me so amazed and grateful at the constant change and impermanence that exists in my life.  Children deserve that.

Enjoy now. Merry Christmas. amaya boots 12

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Imaginary Numbers

Amaya is probably the only person who truly considers positive integers to be as abstract as metaphors.

When she started Kindergarten last year she couldn’t count to ten. When she finished Kindergarten she could sometimes count to twenty. Now half way through the second time around she can count to 39, and then she says “twenty”.

I’ve tried to explain how this works to her. Four comes after three, and therefore, forty. If I help her get past 39, she gets stuck at 49 (back to twenty) and so on.

Today we were counting and she said, “I don’t think anyone can count to 100.”

I said, “Lots of people can count to 100. I can count to 100.”

“WHAT?! I thought it was almost impossible!”

I said, “Once you learn how to count it’s like a pattern, and you can count as high as you want.”

“But no one can count to a million. It’s a sploder!”

“A ‘sploder’? What’s a ‘sploder’?”

“It’s like 33,000. Or a really long car ride.”

Only Amaya can create a simile about a number with an imaginary word compared to a number, and it still makes some kind of strange sense.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


2012-10-31_1351648169 2012-10-31_1351664547 

When I talk to Amaya I can actually see my words spilling off her ear lobes.

“Amaya, don’t go in your room. Mozely’s sleeping in there.”

“Ok,” she’ll nod, and then turn around and walk down the hallway to her room.

Usually my words are full of “don’t”. I think she has trouble keeping tabs on negatives.

She has the best self esteem. It makes her so articulate.

“Mom, would my tush look good in that uniform?” she said as we drove past some construction workers.

“What are you talking about, Amaya?” I laughed.

“I’m TALKING about my TUSH!” She thinks I am so daft sometimes.

“Well, you do not have a fat tush, so I’m sure it would.”

Everyone has a fat tush, Mom.”

Where did this girl learn the word ‘tush’? And why did I see her shaking her bare tush at a neighbor friend through the fence yesterday?

After school I was sweeping the floor and she flew in the back door. “MOM! Do you know what a pre-hunting rally is? That’s what wolves do!”

While I was considering what to do with this information, she ran out the front door, back to her friend’s house.

Just now she asked me if I would take her outside to the car, because it’s dark, so she can claim her goggles. “Because I want to pretend to be a scientist. Please, please, pretty hugs and kisses please.”

She lies about anything, prefers green vegetables above any other color, loves hard enough to hurt people, and dreams during group assignments in kindergarten. She always forgets what comes after 29 and still won’t look at the letters long enough to learn to read, but she’s figured out that pretending to pause makes it seem like she’s considering what the word is before she just makes something up.

If she isn’t good at something, she acts like she doesn’t care at all about it. She has no desire to do anything that doesn’t come to her naturally.

After she fell once while learning to ride her bike she didn’t want to practice any more. We backed off for a year, because people told us that she would want to again, on her own.  Any time we asked her if she wanted to ride her bike, she didn’t, and would say that she was just fine with only riding her scooter and she wanted us to sell her bike. We finally forced her to practice, last week, under threat of no t.v. During the very first ride I wasn’t even touching the seat, just pretended. She turned all the way around the culdesac on her own. After five more rides I made it obvious that I wasn’t holding on and she stopped immediately and threw her head back and cried. She couldn’t hear any of my words above her wailing.

She told me that “Glum” means ‘sad’ and ‘unhappy’, which she learned on “Word Girl”, a favorite show. “Redundant means you talk to yourself and you put your finger on your nose,” she said. She has more vocabulary than any kid who reads books.

I run after her, trying to gather up my words so they won’t get lost in her costume drawer. I hold on to them while she’s jabbering, but there’s no pause in her conversation. I try to organize what I’m going to say first so that she won’t forget what she has to do next.

I guess she figures she has enough words for the both of us.

2012-07-16_1342464499 2012-06-18_13399850312012-11-24_1353784121

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Much Thanks.

So today,
wake up frickin' early
Insanity with Shaun T
green smoothie (delicious, hungry 5 minutes later)
get Amaya off to school, late
teenagers teenagers (super healthy and not enough lunch) teenagers teenagers
ONO YO with babies
babysit my babies. Barely. Mostly when they cry.
make dinner with loads of BUTTER because. It's over.
put babies to bed
fall asleep immediately afterwards during the first ten minutes of a show

Thankful for Ono Yo, handfuls of homemade granola, and butter.

Because that's what's keeping me from biting heads off today.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Flat Kermit

This morning as I was juggling my million things I have to carry in one trip from the house to the car, because we are always late getting off to school, Mozely says, “What is this?” and picks up a dead frog.

Let me say that again. He picks up a DEAD. FROG. Peels it right off the road.

I immediately quit juggling my million things and say, “Ew! Ew! Gross! Don’t touch that! Drop it drop it drop it drop it!” while flapping my arms in the international hand sign for “drop that nasty thing right this instant,” emphasized by the dance of the feet named “I’m freaking out because you are touching a dead frog” but he just stands there, and in all truth I do not want to touch him (dead frog germs!) and I don’t want to grab the frog away from him (dead frog germs!).

He looks at me in alarm and says, “What is it? Ew? Is it poop? Is it poop? Ewwww, poop!”

After he finally drops it, I wipe his hands. He asks me again, “Was it poop, Mommy? Ew, gross. Don’t touch that.”

Blessed be the name of the person who invented the wet wipe. Amen and hallelujah.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Clutter of 32

I used to think that at some early adult point in my life, my ability to grasp both sides of my plate, firmly, would develop.

In my view of the future world, homemade eggplant parmagiana would be a weeknight dinner, my dishes would be washed and put away, the beds would be made (without any protruding sheet corners), my children would have a bed time routine that included cuddling and stories and nightlights, and my writing career would develop late into blissful nights of inspired words like “feathering.”

The to-do lists of my mind are horribly cluttered and put me in a frenzy. The immense number of things that have to be done for living in this moment makes future moments feel heavy.

Spending an hour cleaning reminds me that there is dust under the couches, books in disarray, and a bathroom mirror to wipe. Grading 4 essays an hour calculates out to more hours than I have in a weekend. Knowing I only have a few minutes until Mozely wakes up from his nap before he is hanging on my legs, crying, makes me want to avoid dinner altogether. I am constantly counting my moments, until my eyelids collapse while I try to get one post written or even one paragraph. Then I count the number of hours I have until I have to wake up and start it again.

I don’t think I’ll ever be caught up. I’m running the treadmill and it’s just about to trip me up.

I have two goals for 32. And maybe I’ll feel like I’m moving forward instead of in the same place.

*I will exercise, every day, except Sunday.

*I will begin writing. Something.

When I hang out with people with clean houses, calm kids, and dinners on tables, I think,

When was I supposed to learn how to do this?  These people have sewing projects, and family game nights, and yoga in the mornings. They have Halloween decorations up and manicures and dress well. They also have kitchen towels without stains that actually add a decorative touch to the place. They return their library books back on time. They go to dance class, soccer games, and even buy the shoes their kids need for these. Their kids wear actual pajamas instead of just randomly assorted stained cotton clothing. I am seriously impressed with these people.

I’m not sure I need all of that. But maybe I need a maid.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Getting a Brainful

Lately my brain feels a little like it’s got a few leaky spots. Right in the back, against the nape of my neck, some future dentist appointments are slipping out in steady drops.

I don’t like planners and never look at them so I prefer to just run through, constantly, the list of things I have to do that day, that week, that month, in my head. I have a very good memory. It used to be that if I said I forgot something I had to do, I was probably lying. These days it’s true. It’s very disconcerting.

Things I’ve said “yes” to, only to get you off my back, whizzed out of my ear like a balloon losing air. It was noisy enough to wake me up last night, and left me wondering where those excuses I’d already made up were supposed to land.

The to-do list for work has gotten lost under the mess of papers that spread like whitewash over my desk. I find that while you’re looking for one paper you were supposed to fill out by the 15th and put in someone’s box, you find three more notes with numbers of people you were supposed to call back. While you’re checking your email for the information you need to call those people back with, you see that the flags you created on your messages as priority are long past. All of this reminds you of that data chart you started three days ago and promised to your Principal by today, which will take more hours than you have that day. Your phone rings and it’s someone who needs you to do something. While you’re talking to that person your phone rings on the second line. All of those things I’ve forgotten are really just temporarily displaced. 

Just yesterday I had an award winning short story in my head. Now I can’t remember if I was dreaming that I had the story, or if I really had it, because the unnamed character died in the fog, and I can’t even bury him properly or notify his next of kin. I’d like to have something to lay him to rest, but I am only assuming he’s a he, because I’m sexist about my main characters wanting to be men, unless they’re me, and I don’t think I would like to be in a short story.

It makes me feel even more frantic, not knowing where I am forgetting to go, or what I was supposed to be avoiding, or thinking I’ve lost something I’m not sure I had.

Sometimes I’m arguing with Devon after school about his homework that he has not yet done and I say, “We’ve had this conversation before” because it seems very familiar but I’m wondering if there’s a detail I’m missing, like, maybe it was Lesson 3-2 on page 143 we were talking about, and not Lesson 3-7 on page 156. Or maybe we were talking about Art. Or last year entirely. 

When you’re a teenager you’re sure that you’ll remember everything, but if you don’t it’s because you have waves under your board and friends to meet at the bus stop and nights to stay up late in and ipods with new music.

When you’re an adult you need to remember everything, but you can’t because you have children who talk while you’re checking your bank accounts and eyelids that can’t stay open past 9:30 and a pile of papers that whisper to you when you’re trying to wash the dishes that have been giving you stink eye for three days.

My head is so full of students’ names, lesson plans, data that proves nothing, students’ mean words, Amaya’s last shoe drop, Mozely’s tantrums, minutes until Jake gets home, and my next meal,

that it’s amazing anything else fits.

I’m fixing a hole, where the rain gets in, and stops my mind from wandering…. where it will go….

----Paul McCartney

Thursday, March 22, 2012


When I realize that my books are past due, I say,
"Oh, whatever. I'm just donating my money to the library."

When I have to pay a fee to buy my movie tickets on-line, I say,
"Cool, I don't mind paying for convenience."

When I have to pay more at Tamura's for bananas, I say,
"No problem. I want to help the local businesses."

When I get charged huge amounts for some specialty product, I say,
"Yeah. I am totally supporting the economy."

When my groupon expires before I use it I say,
"Well, I would've paid that price anyway."

This is probably why I never am mad about paying taxes,

why I never clip coupons,

why I would never eat anything disgusting on tv for money,

why I will never be rich.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Rage Me

Today was not so great.

Sometimes I hear, at work, that we spend all this time worrying about how the 1 kid is affecting our class instead of focusing on the other 99 that are being great.

There's a funny thing about one thing. It can mess up your whole day.

One inappropriate comment stops the whole discussion cold.

One misbehavior ruins the whole period.

One rude confrontation can gnaw at you for hours.

You think about your "one thing" s, and suddenly the gnocchi in your stomach from dinner feels like a whole ton of bricks.

Not losing your cell phone helps just a little.