Jul 30 2015

Give Em The Boot


Sol got his cast off today! He was sent home with this boot, which is a big improvement because the boot can come off. He’ll be taking a loooooong bath tonight!

And Davy goes in for surgery (if all goes well, knock on wood) tomorrow morning. I’ll be really happy to have that behind us.

Jul 8 2015


Davy: “Mom, I want to draw something that starts with the letter H. What’s everything that starts with H?”

Me: “Well, H makes a “huh” sound, so think of things that start with “huh.” Horse, hat, house, happy…”

Davy: “Happy! So, I’ll draw us.”

Jun 30 2015



Sol was a trouper getting the cast put on this morning. The prescription medication works well for managing his pain, and already he seems to be needing it less and less frequently. Yesterday he spent the full day lying listless on the couch, but today he’s insisted on testing the limits of his new (lack of) mobility. He did his best to roll headfirst off the couch, and when we didn’t allow that, he kicked and writhed until we put him on the floor and let him figure out for himself that he can’t walk or crawl. Now he’s working on a kind of half-scoot, half-roll method of locomotion.

Keeping him entertained for the next few weeks is going to be a real challenge. There’s a limit to how many books I can read or clapping games I can play, and he gets bored with TV after about an hour. Blocks are good, catalogs that he can rip to little shreds are good, going for walks with the stroller is good. I’m not opposed to video games but I suspect Sol would destroy something like an iPad in about half an hour; I’m eyeing the new kids’ edition of the Kindle Fire because it comes with a two-year warranty. Anyone want to take bets on how long such a “kid proof” device would last in Sol’s hands?

Because we didn’t have enough going on today, it was also Key Day, the celebration at our preschool for kids like Davy who are moving on to kindergarten. The idea is that they’re each given a ceremonial key to show that they are always welcome back for a visit. Here’s Davy’s key:


It’s a really sweet day. Everyone talks about the special qualities of the kids, and then they walk across a little bridge to mark their transition to elementary school. And then they eat ice cream. Davy was really mostly interested in the ice cream.

Robin got his final report card for the year: it’s Montessori so it’s all touchy-feely and I have to kind of read between the lines, but it seems like he’s doing good in reading but could use more practice in handwriting and math. His teachers wrote: “Robin is a fun loving student and he takes responsibility for his learning each day. This year he has progressed in his focus and has found a balance with his need to be social. Robin has become a self-directed learner…As he continues to strengthen his fine motor skills we look forward to seeing his imagination play out on paper. Robin has made many social connections this year and really enjoys playing with older students. He is working on appropriate boundaries when playing with friends. Robin welcomes leadership roles in groups. Robin continues to cultivate a positive attitude and resilience when faced with disappointment. We have so enjoyed having Robin in class this year and we look forward to his continued progress in the coming year.”

It’s all very California but also, y’know, nice. I’m genuinely glad that the teachers at his school are just as concerned with Robin’s social and emotional development as they are with his academic progress. Next year we’ll see how they cope with Davy!

Jun 29 2015

The Wreckin’ Ball Takes a Fall

Sol broke his leg yesterday. Sam took him to a park while I went with the older boys to see Inside Out (good movie, by the way), and he ran in front of the swings and got hit. We took him to the emergency room where they x-rayed his leg and confirmed the break. They also set it in a splint for us, and we have an appointment early tomorrow morning to get a cast put on. He’ll probably be in the cast for four to six weeks.

I’m trying to tell myself that it’s not the worst thing that could happen, but it feels pretty dire right now. He doesn’t understand, and he’s upset and frustrated. He was also clearly in pain all last night—he kept waking up and crying “ow ow ow.” We got a prescription for pain medication that Sam went out and filled first thing this morning. I just hope it gets easier on him soon.

Jun 21 2015


Yesterday I planted some vegetables in our garden—it’s the first year since Sol was born that I’ve had the time and energy for gardening. Fortunately we live in California so late June is a perfectly reasonable time to start growing some veggies. I put in cherry tomatoes, butternut squash, cilantro, watermelon, and gypsy peppers—all from seedlings—and I planted a sunflower seed. I also put out some pots of mint, basil, and thyme on the front porch. With the new water restrictions I’m only allowed to water the garden twice a week, so we’ll see how everything does. Sam was nice enough to put up some chicken wire to keep the hens out of my garden.

Today is Father’s Day, which has been nice—we went on a hike with our scout group, and we’re getting Sam’s favorite pizza for dinner. I bought him a mechanical (as opposed to battery-powered) watch that’s pretty cool—in fact, now I want one for myself!

Jun 19 2015

The Time I Went to the Sun


Robin’s last day of first grade was last week, so we got to take home a folder of his classroom work from the year, including the picture above. I love it, and I only wish there was more of a story to go along with it.

My favorite material, though, was the “weekend news”—a few sentences that Robin wrote every so often about his weekends. Taken together they make a kind of journal: Life According to Robin. I asked him if I could share the weekend news reports on my blog, and he said yes, so here they are. I’ve tried to put them into chronological order, and I’ve cleaned up the spelling.

“On Sunday a family visit we went to lunch.” (Accompanied by a drawing of a car, a house, and Godzilla.)

“A Sunday I went to Scouts. I had fun. I was with Karen.” (Drawing of people holding hands.)

Undated (but around Thanksgiving)
“I was in Thanksgiving me Dad cut the turkey The End.”

Undated (but around Christmas)
“I went to my Grandparents. I made a book. The End.”

“Over the long weekend I went to Chuck E Cheese. I went with my family. We played arcade games and listened to music. I had a really good time at Chuck E Cheese.” (Many, many, many pictures of a mouse in a tee shirt.)

“Over the weekend I had fun doing stuff. I played video games. It was fun. The End.”

“On Saturday I went to Fairyland. I went with me dad. At Fairyland I learned about the puppets. I got to play with the puppets. After the puppets, I talked with the puppeteers. Before we left I visited the gift shop. I got a puppet fox. I had a really good time.”

“Over the weekend I made puppets. To make puppets we had to go to the craft store. We made test puppets but it was fun. They looked okay. I can’t wait to make the real ones and share them with everyone.” (Drawings of animal heads helpfully labeled “puppets.”)

“On Sunday I ordered a new toy called Lego Cinema Swamp Jump. In the toy there was a fox. I like foxes. I’m waiting for it to arrive. I can’t wait to play with it.” (Drawing of what looks like a bear head wearing a top hat.)

“On Saturday I had Chinese food. It was good food man. I want to have it again, man!”

“On Sunday Pig Rex is good I made him. There was paper. The Pig Rex is a monster. I had my brother’s mask on.” (Drawing of a pig with claws.)

“On Sunday I went to a birthday. Dominic was there, Evie too. It was fun. I played I had a velociraptor.”

“On Saturday I gave my mom a present. She liked it. It was a picture of a bounty hunter.” (Drawing of Bossk from Star Wars.)

It’s just really interesting to see what strikes Robin as notable: new toys, meals at restaurants, visits with family, birthday parties, and things he makes himself. …Sounds like a pretty good year, I guess?

Jun 6 2015


It’s my birthday today, and I’m thirty-nine. I have no fear of forty. I expect that every year from here on out will get a little bit easier: we’re still in the trenches with three young boys, but not quite as swamped and stressed and sleep-deprived as we were when Sol was a little baby. I think “it’s downhill from here” in the best of ways—every step a little bit easier, the terrain a bit gentler. Next year Sol starts preschool. It’s only two mornings a week, and since it’s a co-op one of those will be the day I work at the school, but still…I’ll have three hours, once a week, entirely to myself. I haven’t had that for eight years.

And a year after it’ll be two mornings, and then three, and then Sol will start kindergarten, and eventually we’ll get to the point where Sam and I have nothing to do but sit out on the front porch in our rocking chairs, smoking corncob pipes. Every step of that path looks attractive from here.

So that is why I am not afraid of forty. But today I am thirty-nine, and I’m grateful to be celebrating it in a quiet way with my family, the greatest of life’s gifts.

May 26 2015

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Lizard Monster

So the other afternoon I was walking to Robin’s classroom to pick him up, and I saw a bunch of moms staring and pointing at a display in the hallway. “What is that about,” one said. So I looked:


Oh, it’s a nice display of the kids’ artwork. “Self-portraits” in construction paper, a very sweet array of pink and beige and brown and Simpsons-yellow faces, and it even looks like a couple of the kids did themselves as ninja turtles, ha ha…

…wait, that one’s not a ninja turtle…


Aaaaaand I knew without even checking the artist’s signature that it was my kid who created the one horrifying visage in the otherwise sweet and wholesome display, the one that actually shocked other moms when they saw it. I’m so proud.

Lately Robin has been telling us that when he grows up, he’s going to create a mutagen to turn himself into a lizard. I’m not discouraging this. I feel that “mad scientist” is actually not such a bad career path, so long as he avoids volcano bases and English spies, and files early for patents. I mean, it’s a pretty versatile skill set. Even if the lizard thing doesn’t work out.

Apr 17 2015

Update: Surgery Postponed

So, we showed up at the hospital at 8 AM this morning; checked in; signed all the consent forms; changed Davy into the hospital clothes; met one last time with the surgeon and anesthesiologist…

…aaaaaaand they decided they didn’t like the sound of Davy’s cough, and want to reschedule the surgery after it’s cleared up. Which, of course I didn’t argue: I fully understand how respiratory issues and anesthesia can be a very bad combination. That’s why I told the nurses about Davy’s cough during our pre-op appointment last Wednesday. I also told them that Davy almost always has a cough, which is true. Any cold or virus, no matter how mild, will leave Davy with a cough that lingers for six weeks. We’ve brought this issue up with our pediatrician, who told us that aside from keeping an eye on it, there’s nothing to be done: the only treatment is steroids, which you don’t want to give a kid unless they are struggling to breathe. Davy’s persistent coughs have never interfered with his breathing, so all we can do is be watchful.

But anyway. Because Davy’s hernia is not currently impacted, this isn’t an emergency surgery, and therefore the doctors would like to wait until his cough has cleared up. And I agree—I don’t want to take any risks that can be avoided. I just kind of wish they’d told us this on Wednesday.

So we’re back home now. Our instructions are to wait a week after his cough has cleared up, and then call to reschedule the surgery. Of course it’s entirely likely that Davy will have a new cough by the time the next surgery date rolls around, but I suppose we can try it and hope for the best. The kiddo’s in good spirits, at least.

Apr 16 2015

Surgery Tomorrow

Davy’s hernia repair surgery is scheduled for early tomorrow, so if you can send some supportive thoughts our way…I’d appreciate it. We’ve met with the surgeon and the anesthesiologist and they both seem great, and it’s a really a very routine surgery, but they do have to give Davy general anesthesia so I’m tense about that. Hopefully by this time tomorrow we’ll be back home with the kiddo.

We had an appointment yesterday where the hospital staff showed Davy pictures of the various rooms he’ll go through tomorrow, and had him practice breathing through the mask for the anesthesia, and generally did their best to put a friendly face on everything and make it less scary for him. He got to choose a scent to add to the gas (he chose bubblegum), and he’s allowed to bring a stuffed animal or small toy with him tomorrow. I really do appreciate these little gestures. “We don’t want this to be a traumatic experience for him,” a nurse told me. “We don’t want him to fear doctors or coming back to the hospital for follow-up care.” It makes a lot of sense.

Then she said, “Watching the child go to sleep in the induction room can sometimes be an emotional experience for the parents” and I just about started bawling right there. So while Davy has a good understanding of everything that’s going to happen tomorrow, and I think he’ll be fine, I might be a total wreck. I guess I’ll just try to be as brave as my four-year-old.