Monday, August 31, 2009


Happy fall, y'all!
Absolutely Mama's favorite time of year.
Here's to baked apples with heavy cream, meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and squash from Grandma's garden.
To runny noses on Saturday mornings as we run uptown to get Mochas- the lil' dude gets the whipping cream!
Here's to shoes with toes.
And apple cider from the farms.
To kitchen candles that are warm.
And the Dad making wings on Sundays.
To the lil' dude and her stocking hats that squish her cheeks.
Here's to favorite jeans.

Here's to a new season.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Recovery Day

You woke up per usual this morning.
8:30am, singing your sunshine songs, and talking to your crib pals.
Hollerin' for Mama.
For milk.
But by 1pm you had had enough.
You turned today into a recovery day.
Which makes sense given the fact we were on vacation for a week, then this last week presented itself for what it was and it was a whirlwind.
You simply needed to recharge your batteries.
So you napped for 4.5 hours- all Sunday afternoon.

And looked in on you constantly ... because, lil' dude. Seriously.
And one time I peeked my head in your room, I spied you sleeping on your back, with your arms up by your ears.
It reminded me of this:

And so your recovery day inspired me to do something.
I sat down and began my pregnancy scrapbook.
And I finished it.
All 24 pages.

You'd think now being you have 12+ teeth and are speaking in sentences and running the DVD player I would have forgotten my story- our story. But I never have, not for one minute.

And I can't wait to show you my story- our story someday.
I hope you like it.
Especially the page with the eviction notice I wrote when you stretched yourself out and got comfy 10 days past your due date.

Oh lil' dude, I love our story.

Saturday, August 29, 2009


Tonight, you had trouble falling asleep, lil' dude.
So I rocked you to sleep.
And it was so, so nice.
We should do that more often.

Mama loves.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Village People

They answered the call, one by one.
I need your help.
We're here to help, they said.
We're happy to help, they proved.
All in the name of one little girl.

It's not as dramatic as I make it out. Daycare is on vacation this week, and our long-planned backup plan didn't pan out. So I called out the big guns. I called the neighbor, the Fairy Godmother, the Auntie, and grandparents.
And they answered the call without hesitation.

Tuesday the lil' dude spent the afternoon basking in the neighborhood sun, traveling hand-in-hand with her bestie E. as they went down the street together.
Wednesday she spent the day in a red wagon with her bestie AJ, dancing to Alan Jackson, working on sharing skills, and swinging tandem. I hear she spent last evening with her FGM eating a McFlurry and sleeping for 12 whole hours 70 miles from her bedroom.
Today she'll have her FGM's undivided attention as she dedicated a vacation day to our family. The lil' dude will be home when I get there, squealing MAMA, HOME!
Tomorrow, she'll wake up in her sunny room, smiling at her Grandpa as he surprises her with a full day of coffee drinking and book reading.

She's one of the luckiest little girls I know- she is loved and cared for by so many. The Dad and I are not alone in this adventure of parenting the lil' dude; we are so blessed to share her with everyone.
That my daughter can go with the flow, whether upstream or downstream, makes me proud of her. That she will open-armed and big-smiled go to the inviting arms of whomever, makes me grateful for her affections.

So, to all of you- for hugging her tight, arranging her ponytails, kissing her tears, thank you for loving her as only I could.
As only we could.
And to all the rest of you who offered, are still offering, and will offer, thank you. I know you'll do the same.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

If I Was

I missed the lil' dude's bedtime routine last night.
Always anxious for a play-by-play of every minute of her life, I asked the Dad for an update.

He told me how they both laid on the floor watching Toy Story, how he extended her bedtime by 30 minutes since she was so content. He rationalized skipping story time made up the difference. He put a happy girl to bed.

He then asked me, "If you were the lil' dude's mom, where would you put her detangling spray and comb?"

I laughed- I knew he was making fun of me. I am very meticulous when it comes to where things go, and where things belong. It's habit I can't break. If you took inventory of the bins and shelves in the lil' dude's closet, you would see I have her Little People animals arranged separately: Ark, Zoo, Farm. I just can't have chaos like zebras residing next to chickens and Noah. I just can't.

I told him the spray is on her turtle bath toys shelf hanging on the shower wall. He looked at me funny.
Yes, it has a shelf on the top for shampoos and soaps, I explained. The comb is in the top drawer of the her changing table, by the butt cream and nasal aspirator.

Well, that's where it BELONGS, anyways.

The comb is definitely missing.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Corn Fed

Last night the lil' dude and I took a trip to Grandma's house- Grandma-Great S!
She was so excited to see two of her very best gals.
The lil' dude? She ran straight from her car seat into the woodshed where Grandpa's old golf cart sits waiting for riders.
Ride! Brrroooom! She squealed.
Grandma got tears in her eyes, why that baby girl remembers this place! She's so little! She remembers!
And Mama, feeling her own eyes burn, that's because no one ever forgets this place.


She makes me proud, my daughter. This is the one place I miss most in my life. My entire life begins in that old farmhouse. Watching my generation of family takeover my old spots makes me humble.


We sit around the ancient dining room set, eating the best food you can imagine. The lil' dude shovels in her third helping of freshly canned carrots, from 2009's bounty, doused in real butter and real salt. She's already eaten an entire cob of fresh garden corn, the butter, the butter is in her hair and on her neck. I feel my eyes burn again. More, she signs quietly, her mouth too full for words. My heart, too full as well.


Goodbyes at this place are still as hard for me as they were when I was a child. I want to bottle everything and inject its life into my arms. But I know better, I already know it's what runs through my veins.
I'm lonely, Grandma says, matter-of-factly. Those 60 years, they went too fast. I miss him everyday.
She hugs the lil' dude around the neck and says to me, but these days, like this? These help. Thank you for coming for supper.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Anatomy of Summer Vacation

We spent the week at Bigfoot Resort- with some of the lil' dude's very best besties, Big T and T2. On the agenda was not much- lay stake to our beds, unpack our junk food, and play it by ear. It truly was a vacation and we couldn't have asked for a better week.

Eating chocolate chip muffins for breakfast with Daddy.

Going frog hunting with Mama- after we both slept past 10am- that's my girl!

Finding delight in simple things.

Eating snacks and watching Nemo during the rain.

Falling more in love with Baby T2!

Letting Big T fulfill his role of provider to the princess in her chariot.

Experiencing s'mores for the very first time, affectionately known to this crew as smokes.

Running toward home with a pocketful of memories and the taste of summer vacation still on the tips of our tongues.

Monday, August 17, 2009

S'more Fun

The lil' dude fam is all set for vacation week.
We packed the Beagle.
Junk food.
And, hoodies.

Have a great week!

Friday, August 14, 2009

To Serve

You look awfully happy little girl ... for someone who is meeting the needs of a man.
We'll talk more about that when you get bigger, honey.
Oh yes we will.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Hakuna Matata!

I love it when I feel like a kid again- lil' dude, you always transport me back to my childhood. I'm hyper-nostalgic. I can't help it.
Last night, you and I sat down to watch a movie, and The Lion King filled the screen and my heart soared a little. And, there I was, back in 8th grade.

That Christmas, your aunties and I exchanged names for little Christmas gifts. High on that year's gift list was The Lion King merch. Pillow cases. Lip gloss. Notebooks and pens. Key chains. Action figures. I listened to the soundtrack endlessly. Being 14, we were on the cusp of adulthood, yet we were still teetering on the edge of our childhoods. We were still in junior high. 1995 changed all of that for me, for us.

But in 1994, we had The Lion King and life was simple, and sweet.
It means no worries for the rest of your days,
It's our problem-free philosophy,
Hakuna Matata!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Monday, August 10, 2009

Oh, Captain! My Captain!

I know somebody who loved helping drive the pontoon this weekend!

I know somebody who had fun with new friends!

I know somebody who didn't notice the wind, the rain, nor the cold.

This is the coldest summer. The summer the sun would not shine. The summer the swimming would not happen. The summer the smores would go unfired. The summer the SPF would go unslathered. I'm sorry your summer has been this way, lil' dude. If I could change it for you, I would in an instant. But you don't seem to mind. You roll with the punches. You play the hand you were dealt.

You make your Mama proud.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Letter from Mama, v20

You are 20 months old today, lil' dude! You're in your '20s!

This shouldn't surprise you, but I have your 2nd birthday party planned, and I've stashed away little goodies here and there for the treat bags for your pals. Because, HELLO, you'll be 2 in just four months. Time doesn't have to slow down though, or hurry up. Time can stay where it is, minute by minute, because I'm here enjoying you as you grow up right before my eyes. I revel in each and every milestone you hit, I laugh when you're funny, I whisper when you're asleep, and I treasure every piece of you. You have this ability of being one step ahead of me. For months, I positioned your little tush on your pink princess throne of a toilet. I filled up a potty-only basket of toys, books, and games. I rationed out mini-M&M's. I read. Then, last weekend, you had to go ... so I positioned your little tush on the normal toilet and there you went, no big deal. All week long, in fact, you've done that. You simply are one step ahead of me. I love it! Forget the published journals, textbooks, and famous, expert authors. Everything I've needed to learn about parenting, I've learned from you.

This week, Daddy bought some sweet corn from the same guy he buys from every summer. This year, you got your very own cob, cooled plenty, buttered minimally. You ate the rest of your meal around your corn, leaving it alone on your plate. You touched it with a fingertip. You peered down at it, eye-level. You blew on it, for good measure. Then, you cried. No, off! So, I stripped the cob of its kernels and gave you a spoon and you cheered right up. You don't need fancy things, or new stuff. You remind me of your great-grandpa R. He always jokingly said, if the cow ain't broke, don't fix it. Now, that cliche doesn't make sense and he knew that, but he said it anyways.

You're slowly losing your baby words. All-d has been replaced with all done. You want to pick your sippy cup out yourself. You insist on climbing into your car seat unassisted. In the mornings, you march right up to the Daycare Lady's door, and whip open the door, and burst in declaring your arrival. It's almost like you're too embarrassed for your littles to see you being carried in by your mom! I mean, you're 20 months old! Way too old for such preciousness. But, I still make a production out of smacking you on the cheeks with big, noisy kisses, and brushing your bangs out of your face as I tell you to be a good girl. I can do that because I'm your mother, just sayin'!

And, because? Mama loves.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Not Without Her

There are days, when things just go. And I can't remember what books we've read, or what meals were served, or what words she whispered to me in the glow of the lamp in her room. I wish it weren't so, but that's life.

This morning wasn't much different except that it was.

The lil' dude and I sat as one on the couch, her pink NaNa covering us both. I was administering the Neb as her lungs have been rattly the last day or so. She was sleepy and not putting up any fight, so different from the last time the Dad and I held her down to strap her mask on ... in December, on Christmas afternoon. I think part of her knows now that medicine will help her feel better, making her chest expand once again to include laughing and running.

When we finished, I kissed her blond melon and situated her in her chair to wait for Daddy to bring her to daycare.

As I got to the entryway, digging for my keys and shoes, she heard me. No, no, NO, Mama! Mama! I quickly went to the garage, to put my things in the truck, to get something out of the freezer for dinner. I had planned on going back to her, back for her.

She was immediately on the other side of the door when I reached it, and she was crying hard. Big, fat tears. I scooped her up, balancing frozen chicken breasts in one hand, sad daughter in the other. It's OK, lil' dude. I came back for you. I'm not gone, you can come with. She kept repeating, lil' dude go bye-bye. Lil' dude go.

And naturally, on the short ride in, she was fine. We said our joint goodbyes to Daddy, counted the big trucks and buses we passed, and drank waters. Her tears dried, and she bounded up the stairs to daycare excited as ever.

Yes, there are days when things just go.
But I'll never go without her.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Last night, Daddy and Mama went on a date.
It was an important date, as we went to our first concert together.
I know, I know. We've been a couple for over six years, but had yet been to a concert together.
I joke it's because he has poor taste in music.
He jokes it's because I have poor taste in music.
I don't. Clearly. You love my music, lil' dude!

We went to the state zoo, and saw Paolo Nutini perform at the amphitheater.

We walked past the monkey's houses, walked past the grizzly bear exhibit. Deep, deep into the woods we walked, hand in hand, giggling about taking you to that very same zoo a year before. And then, the music began.

Paolo Nutini's first album was released in 2006, and somehow I stumbled onto it. And, somehow I managed to get Daddy a-listenin' and we both fell in love with his Scottish rogue and lyrics. Imagine that! Mama and Daddy liking the same music, the same album.

Last night, as he took the mic, he made no preamble. He began to sing, dedicating his song High Hopes "to the giraffes." I melted a little.

My hopes are high,
but my eyes
can't believe
what they see,
give me something to
believe in, give me
something to
believe in.

*A special thank you to your Auntie B. for giving us the opportunity to cross go to a concert we both like off the bucket list. And, to neighbor E., your babysitter. You know, the one you holler to from your bedroom window when you hear her voice laughing from her deck or in the pool.

Monday, August 3, 2009


Being on this side of you imagination is a trip, lil' dude. You are finally getting to the point where you actually play. If I'm in your closet putting away clothes or organizing your chaos, you pat the floor beside you, inviting me to sit. Toys, you say and hand me a prop.

Your fine-motor skills are really developing. You can match where your farm animals and their beds are in the farm by looking at the pictures. You can name all of them except for the pesky sheep. You call him a puppy, but that's OK. And you think most animals moo, and that's also OK. I still think you're as brilliant as the sun.

Help, you sign, when something gets stuck or won't fit right. Yesterday, you had your yellow chicken driving the bus! I kept saying, "but lil' dude, your chicken CANT DRIVE THE BUS!" all dramatic-like, and you laughed and laughed. In your world, anything can happen. Anyone can drive the bus.