This Girl

Spending last weekend with my Fellow Flowers crew at Rock Retreat Run made me think – hard – about This Girl:

Pirate Trixie

Trixie, age 1, circa Summer 2010 in her Pirate Fascinator

My daughter’s seven now, too old to be that tiny pirate, but she’s also still too young (I hope, oh god, I hope) to have internalized society’s messages about how she *should* look/act/feel/be.

There are so many things I wish for her: authenticity, strength, resiliency, kindness, bravery, intelligence and unwavering friendships.

And of course I still want her to be a kick-ass pirate.

This weekend also made me think of This Girl:

Tiny Jani

Me, age 3-ish, circa Let’s-Not-Go-There

This Girl still struggles with all of the things on that list above, although she’s figuring it out with a little help from her friends.

What I just wish for my daughter is that she could find a like-minded tribe at seven, not at 41, because I think the key to survival is knowing that while You’ve Got This, your tribe Has Your Back in case you fall.

And that’s a message we can’t ever hear enough.

For now, Trixie just learned to ride her bike and I’m there – literally – in case she falls, but 99% of the time she doesn’t need me. It’s the other 1% that matters the most, though, so I’ll do my best to pick her up when she falls and find others to join her on the ride.

Biking Trixie

A Clever Plan

I was so happy last Sunday night to go to bed at 8:45 PM.


Photo from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” I want that eye mask.


Like many adults, sleep is a huge luxury to me that’s often in short supply.

I thought there would be an end in sight to my sleepless nights once the kids exited the toddler stage, but my lack of rest continues to haunt me.

Between our barky semi-continent toy poodle, my own insomnia, rare hospital phone calls and the occasional kid nightmare, I still find myself getting up at least once per night, often with difficulty returning to sleep.

Which is precisely why the early turn-in last Sunday felt so darn decadent.


At 12:38 AM, I felt a tug on my pajama sleeve.

MGM (7) was standing next to the bed, smiling in triumph.

(Sidenote: I am waaaay past the point where waking to someone staring at me next to my bed is alarming. It’s like two kid-sized eyeballs serve as a silent alarm. If actual intruders break in, I’m dead meat).

MGM: “Mom! Mom! Get this! I put on my whole school uniform under my pajamas. Even my underpants! Now I just have to take them off and I’m ready for school!”

While part of me admires the cleverness of his plan, once I came to, I blearily asked if he’d been asleep at all yet.

Of course not.

He was planning to stay up all night and even set his alarm for 1 AM, when he scheduled his breakfast.

I convinced him that we would rest together in the guest room, and he was out cold by 12:55 AM, with a promise that I would wake him up at 1 for a bowl of Fruity Pebbles.

Whoops. I guess I forgot.

On my end, I tossed and turned until about 3:30 AM, when I tried to crawl back into my own spot, only to discover that Trixie (5) beat me to it.

And so went another night of Musical Beds at Fancy Pants Ranch.

The next morning, waking MGM up was worse than the usual bear poking.

I apologized in advance at the school when I dropped him off on Monday.








Winter Boots

To say that I wasn’t prepared for the weather to jump from Halloween to mid-January conditions this week is an understatement.


First, I cartoonishly skidded along our (short) driveway to retrieve the mail, barely maintaining equilibrium.


More elegant than I am.

Despite 25 years of driving experience, I also spun out while driving down our hill.


Not quite me, but you get my drift (Pun! Ha).

But the most egregious offense was not having boots for my kids.

I’d ordered winter coats, snowpants and new mittens back in August, but somehow I neglected to put boots on that list.

On Snowmageddon Day 1, the kids merrily trounced off to school with all requisite winter gear, save boots.

Trixie (5) told me she had to wear a cast-off pair of boots from the school’s lost and found pile at recess, which just made me feel like the horrible parent that I am.

I couldn’t bear to ask MGM (7) what he wore, but I imagine something like this:


What you get when you Google “weird boots”

That night, I vowed to take them shopping for proper boots.

Except … I forgot that I had an appointment after work for eyebrow waxing. And a facial. God forbid I miss my beauty treatments!

I remembered the Boots Issue on my way home, approximately five minutes before the only kids’ shoe store in our town closed for the night.

I’m not sure what the salesperson thought when I rushed in there, face blotchy from the facial and hair askew, sweating and shouting, “I need boots now!”

To her amazing credit, she pulled two pairs from the back in the sizes that I needed.

(By “needed,” I mean totally guessed).

And I lucked out, because I brought them home and they fit like a charm.

Here’s what we got. Both are from Kamik.


Score one for the Mother of the Year!



Venn Diagrams

MGM (6) had to make a Venn diagram about the work that firefighters and police officers do.

I’m not quite sure what to think of the results.


What firefighters do:

  • They put out fires
  • Go in fires
  • Go crazy with hoses

What police officers do:

  • Catch robbers
  • Arrest people

Apparently, there is also no intersecting of duties. No helping people. No wearing uniforms. No riding in vehicles with sirens. No performance of heroic actions.

Hence, the 8/10 for the grade. We also seem to need to spend more time discussing public service careers and less time playing Angry Birds.

Big sigh.



Gift for a Baby

One of my dear friends at work is having a baby any day now, and naturally, I want to get her a cool gift.

The only tricky thing is that this is her third baby, and by now she already has a lot of the major stuff that babies require.

My usual strategy in situations like this is to get something that will be used up and not make more clutter. A huge bonus would be to get things that make life easier, too.

This is my plan:

  • Gift cards to a few local restaurants, preferably ones that deliver. Will print menus and include with the cards.
  • A bottle of champagne. Cheers to the new baby!
  • Special baby care items that are unique and non toxic, like Honest Company products. Check out this baby arrival gift set:


  • Something interesting for her two older kids, like the fun toys like these from Land of Nod:

 land of nod2 land of nod5 land of nod3 land of nod4

  • A month of free babysitting. Just kidding! I can barely take care of my own two kids.

Other ideas to consider:

  • Hire someone to cook a meal (or a week’s worth of meals) in her home. And clean up the mess! This is so much better than just dropping off, say, a frozen meal that needs re-heating and assembly of sides, etc. Don’t get me wrong; bringing frozen meals is still a great gesture, but what’s even better would be to have someone else shop, cook and serve the meal at her home, then clean up, leave the kitchen spotless and get out the door. I know I could do this  myself, but of course I do not cook.  Many decent-sized cities have personal chefs who will be happy to do this. You can also do a quick search for local caterers, as many boutique operations would find this right up their alley.


  • Spa treatments at home. While I personally think a gift certificate to a day spa would be an awesome gift, it’s not easy to make the time to use it with a newborn. Having someone come to your home for a massage, pedicure or facial is better suited to a newborn’s schedule (and by that, I mostly mean “non-schedule“). Finding someone legit to do this is actually not as hard as it sounds. Even though our city isn’t that big, I know that my usual esthetician (she does great facials and also massages) and at least one other massage therapist I have used have their own tables and sometimes work out of their homes or on the side. Since I know them well enough (and know they are not sleazy), I could probably ask for a favor this one time and tip generously on top of their usual fee.


P.S. While I promised myself that I would not succumb to anything ordinary, I did fall for a lot of the adorable baby outfits at J. Crew. Seriously, this little gray bunny outfit and the “hi” onesie are too cute for words.

baby1 baby2 baby3 baby9

And what about these tiny swim trunks? So European man at the beach.


More baby stripes I could not resist:

baby6 baby7 baby5 baby4



Art Acquisition

Last night we acquired a new piece of art for Fancy Pants Ranch.



It’s a collaborative effort from an upstart group of young artists who don’t play by the rules.

And, oh, yeah, they’re all six years old.

We won this at a charity auction for the kids’ school. MGM’s effort is on the far right, the purple figure with long teeth. According to the artist, his vision was to represent “a wolf.”

I offered to let him hang this masterpiece in his room, but he declined on the basis that it was too scary.


MGM (6) had to write an essay this week about a famous person for a school unit surrounding historical figures and heroes.

After much gnashing of teeth, we settled on Alfred Nobel.

Why? Because of his storied prizes in categories like Medicine, Literature and Peace?

Of course not.

He was selected because he invented dynamite.

After writing the essay, the second part of the project consisted of making a poster with cutouts for one’s head and hands, and then decorating the poster board with items that the historical figure would have used.

Here’s attempt #1 for Alfred Nobel:


What you’re viewing is a poster board with head and hand cutouts, but decorated with scenes from “Star Wars Angry Birds,” which I highly doubt was something often played by Alfred Nobel.

Second try:


Bow tie, “Nobel Prize” around neck, and a giant stick of dynamite in his right hand.


Cat’s in the Cradle, Etc.

I knew this was inevitable, but so soon?

In addition to creating elaborate traps for the Tooth Fairy, his younger sister, and (especially) his parents, MGM (6) has taken to posting notes on his bedroom door.

These were all from one night last week:

IMG_4857 IMG_4858 IMG_4859 IMG_4860 IMG_4861


  1. Do not come in.
  2. Do not wake me up.
  3. At 12:00 in the afternoon.
  4. Cancel school please.
  5. Read the other signs.

At least he used “Please” in one of them. Small victories.