On Losing a Dog

I don't like dogs. I know how that sounds. It says something about a person, they say. It says something about a person if she doesn't like dogs. People who don't like dogs are the kind of people who hold a stick out from their bodies and say, "Stay away," and "Keep your distance." This is not the kind of person I aim to be. I am ashamed of it. At the same time, I am fascinated by it, this…


A Visit to the Doctor, or, Kids Can Be More Than We Bargain For

It started a month ago when I scheduled Wally's 5 year appointment. It was in the books, and for some odd reason husband Wally decided to let WV know that he had a doctor appointment in several weeks. "Do I have to get shots?" WV asked. "Maybe," W4 replied. And the freak out commenced. Every day for a week, WV started by asking, "Do I have to get shots today?" "No," I replied. And every night,…


Adventures in Babysitting: Tales of the Best Sitter Babies in the Land

My daughter, Vivvi, is 2, so she messes up a lot of words. When we drive by the bank, she calls it the "piggy bank." When I put on a belt, she calls it my "seat belt." And sometimes her mistake is just a reversal of words. Just today, she said she wanted to go to the "theater movie." And my very favorite repeated offense is when she calls the girls who watch them so we can have date nights…


To Laugh or Not to Laugh? That is the Question.

A favorite question for my two year old daughter to ask is, "Is that funny?" She'll make a face (yes), do a dance (yes), or spit (no), and follow up with a quick check-in—"Is that funny?" So much of being a kid is about asking that question. And so much of being a parent is figuring out that answer. Parenting requires more brain power than anything else I've done in my life. AP Math in high…


When Patience Runs Dry, or the Ugly Side of Parenting Little Ones

Tonight I didn't pick WV up and chuck him across the room. I didn't crack him in two over my knee. I didn't reach into his throat and rip his voice box out and raise it up in the air with a primal "yalp!" I didn't Jackie Chan face chop him with my palm and a loud "hi-ya!" And the fact that I didn't do any of these things is, in itself, a major accomplishment. Oh Lord, I wanted to. I imagined each…


Potty Talk—Adventures in Public Restrooms

Public restrooms. Yuck! Am I right? Some people go to great lengths to avoid entering them, and one of those people is my dad. And it's no wonder. When we were kids, at a gas station pit stop, my brother, who was 6 at the time, had to go. He really had to go. So my dad dutifully brought him into the most disgusting bathroom to ever exist and convinced him it was far better than number 2 in the…


Let's Talk about Phones, or Texting while Living

I didn't get a cell phone until I was the last one. While everyone else had gotten one in college in the early 2000s, I continued to use my trusty old land line and calling card. Well into my second job out of college, I got my first clunky little flip number.


About a crayon (but not about a crayon at all)

For 10 minutes yesterday I found myself where I find myself every few days. In the middle of a 2 year old tantrum, wondering how it started, wondering how to make it stop. Wally Ben knew exactly how to make it stop—"Just give Vivvi her pink crayon," he pleaded. "That is what she wants! That will make her stop!"


Dear Woman Who Rolled Her Eyes at Me and My Kids at the Grocery Store,

Hi, it's me, the mom of WV and Viv, or as you probably know them, Crashy and Tantrumy. The first time you rolled your eyes by the lettuce, I did a double take. I thought you must be thinking of something bad that happened that day. But when you tried to get around us in the dressing aisle, made eye contact with me, and rolled 'em hard, I knew I was the intended recipient of your grump. You really…


A Walk Around the Block, or Parenting: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

Earlier this week, I was finishing up a walk with my kids and my 2 big dogs. I have a double jogging stroller (with which I have never embarrassed myself by picking up the pace beyond a break-a-sweat walking pace.) We looked like a picture walking down the street. Wally, at four years old but big enough to be mistaken for a first grader, jammed into one side of the…