Confessions of a compulsive cleaner

I am compulsive about tidiness. I cannot stand a pile of crap on a counter. I am grossed out by the flecks of husband beard trimmings that remain on the counter even after a good wipe-down or my own hair that is everywhere after I blow-dry. (And there is a lot of this. I once checked the bottom of my Dyson only to discover I had to cut a ponytail's worth of hair out of the front spinner—I could…


Children are poets

I love language. I never met a 25 cent word I didn't like. Original metaphors make my heart beat faster. But best is good, clean simple language. Words that are crispy. That is why Wally Ben is my new favorite poet. Like most preschoolers, he is a very literal-minded guy. As an example, he was watching TV and some 3 inch high little guys were on the screen. He turned to me, like this reminded him…


On kindness, and how it matters and lasts.

A few days after I had Vivvi, I had to make a grocery run. Vivvi was napping, husband Wally could watch her, and Wally Ben and I needed to get out. After a few promises to not lift WV into the cart on my own, I was out the door and free! On the way, I planned my response if some kind-hearted cashier congratulated me and asked when I was due, since I had the look of a 20 week belly on my middle.…


Let's celebrate the most wonderful time of the year

At Christmastime, I'm always baffled at the phrase "getting through the holidays." What is there to "get through"? Days full of anticipation and waiting for wonderful things to happen? Songs about joy and peace and love and miracles? Party after party with family and friends, where, even if there is tension, interesting things happen—things worth talking about and thinking about, sometimes for…


My Two Little Differents—Or, Why We Are Who We Are.

Around the time Vivvi turned one, I started to meet her. For her first 6 months, like any new mom, I was just trying to stay awake enough to not drive into oncoming traffic. For her second 6 months, we were madly house hunting in a market that suddenly became the most competitive it had been in a decade. Vivvi survived on her own somehow. But as her personality started to pop, I realized why she…


My Little Gentleman, Or, Who Are You, and What Did You Do With My Tantruming Son?

WV started preschool at his new school last week. But before that, this preschool likes to ease your child into the first day of class. I understand easing. With an overactive, very spirited, tantruming, tornado of a three year old son, I have become very practiced at the art of the ease. (Wally, when we go to play with the neighbor, you can't argue me when it's time to go in. Wally, now that…


Tea Party: About girls in pretty dresses, and boys, and garden hats.

Wally Ben's preschool last year hosted a tea party (an annual tradition). The class anxiously awaited this day, where they read a book about proper manners, ate mini snacks, and sipped from tiny china cups. Teacher Penny said the boys looked forward to it the most. So when the new church we've been trying hosted a tea party for 2-5 year olds, I thought this would be a great chance for WV and me…


Our House, our lives: It was meant to be

We are settled at the new house (at least the main living area--the basement and garage have been the answer to the question "Where should I put this thing?" a little too often, so we have a bit to go through there. But we have the rest of our lives for that, right?). It is a ranch, just the right size, in a beautiful neighborhood. And it is ours. It was meant to be ours. The universe wanted it…


Moving, and then Moving Again

We started looking for a new house in October. We had maxed out the space of our stylish 3-story, 2 bedroom row house in downtown Elgin. WV would ask, "Why are we moving to a new house?" We would reply, "Because we need a bigger house." WV would reply with the inevitable 3 year old follow up question, "Oh, because this one is getting smaller?" And it was, somehow, getting smaller. The kids love…


A Child's Love of Books

Since Wally was able to crawl toward books, he has at every opportunity. At 12 months old, he would find the mouse on every page of "Goodnight Moon". At 15 months he'd be too quiet out of my sight for a while, and I'd find him surrounded by a pile of books he was paging through. By 20 months old, when he started talking, he had entire books memorized. He gets this love of books from me—evidenced…