The Baby

2015-08-11T16:08:54+00:00 August 11th, 2015|daily life, parenting|

I can remember only a few things about kindergarten. Making paintings with string, all of us in our painting aprons. Somehow getting poor Mrs. Gibson in a conversation about whether God exists. (She and my mother became lifelong friends, so whatever that was about they worked it out.) I barely remember how it felt to [...]


2015-07-13T11:04:47+00:00 July 2nd, 2015|parenting|

Is it normal for parenting to feel like you've got absolutely no skin? We went for Shayla's 8-year-old checkup this week, and she kept up quite a brave front. "Am I doing a great job?" she asked, at least 4 times, as we drove there, parked, and got to the waiting room. "You're doing awesome." She [...]

Please, Anybody But Me!

2017-05-18T14:45:19+00:00 June 13th, 2015|daily life, parenting|

I was startled today to realize that I'd been comforting my daughter for a few minutes without really taking in, or taking seriously, that the tragedy at hand was that she had to ride with me to swimming, not her beloved Papa. ("Not Daddy, noooo! I always have to go with Daddy! Why do I never ever [...]

Throwback Parenting

2017-05-18T14:45:20+00:00 March 6th, 2015|parenting|

I love the Throwback Thursday photos posted by friends when the nineties seemed so "now." How young/cute/clueless we all seem! But parenting is giving me a different kinds of flashback, and lately it's been to high school, 1978-1982. (Yikes!) Me around 1977 or 1978? Notice the blue-lemon-and-lime color scheme, including custom painted garbage can and sidetable. Also the polyester [...]

Thank You for the Yucky Food

2017-05-18T14:45:35+00:00 January 4th, 2015|daily life, parenting|

I know it's developmental. Kids are wired to be self-centered, and part of our job is to help them understand there are other people in the world. Sometimes they impress me, like when Jaden insists on bringing his big sister a treat if he's getting one. Haircut lolipop? He's got an absolute code of honor [...]

Drawing the Future

2017-05-18T14:45:37+00:00 December 12th, 2014|daily life, parenting|

I've been thinking about a sketch I did years ago. In another life, really. Surrounded by sick and fearful friends, I immersed myself in what you might call the California New Age curriculum. We talked about our feelings, drew them, danced them. A skeptic would have a lot to make fun of. A believer could be changed forever. [...]

The Family Bed

2017-05-18T14:45:39+00:00 November 26th, 2014|daily life, parenting|

We all know Jay and I didn't turn out to be French Parents a la Pamela Druckerman. The vision sounded so nice: after eating a very adult dinner, the little ones loving the kale and trying everything, the kids trump off to their rooms, ready for bed. After books and kisses, no drama sleep while the parents have [...]

Crying in Office Depot Aisle 8

2017-05-18T14:45:55+00:00 August 28th, 2014|daily life, parenting|

Back to school! Second grade started Wednesday and I dragged Shayla clothes shopping and to get a haircut, rituals that feel as important as they are trivial. Why do we buy new clothes just before school starts? Our economy depends on us buying this stuff, but it's deeper and more primal for me. I can only vaguely [...]

Our Historian

2017-05-18T14:45:57+00:00 August 15th, 2014|holidays and celebrations, parenting|

It's been a year since we got married, and following a tradition I've heard about but never known anyone to actually do, we defrosted the top layer of our wedding cake and had it for dessert after dinner. It was delicious. Jaden loves cake, and somehow he talked me into putting Hershey's syrup on it, so he [...]

My Kids’ Berkeley

2017-05-18T14:46:19+00:00 March 13th, 2014|daily life, parenting|

When it comes to geography, I'm a cat, not a dog. I'm slow to settle in. When I moved from Texas to the Bay Area, I loved it right away, but it took me a year or longer to start to feel like this was my home. Smaller moves across the bridge to San Francisco [...]

Being the Practical One during a Family Flu

2017-05-18T14:46:20+00:00 February 17th, 2014|daily life, parenting|

You know if you're the practical one. You sense when it's garbage night. You have the phone number for the kids' dentist and doctor. If you and your spouse both have the flu for 15 or more days, you're more likely to rise from a 103 fever and pick up the kids from school. We [...]

Staying with Joy

2014-01-28T20:51:30+00:00 January 28th, 2014|daily life, parenting|

Sunday was gorgeous in Northern California, weirdly summery and hot, and we were at a memorial for my friend Frank Sclafani, who died suddenly and unexpectedly in the fall, a young, vibrant 59, gone too soon. The crowd overfilled the space, and stories about Frank's warmth and gentle kindness were everywhere. So much to celebrate, [...]

Parenting in an Individualistic Culture

2017-05-18T14:46:24+00:00 January 20th, 2014|parenting, takes a village|

Before kids, I pined so much for kid time. The longing was profound. I'm so happy to have kids now, overjoyed! But I'm surprised how lonely parenting can be. It's like we've stepped through this door into a different world, and I haven't completely adjusted; I don't know enough people in my new land. When [...]

Saved by a Walk in the Hills

2014-01-05T16:29:03+00:00 January 5th, 2014|daily life, parenting|

Everyone's ready for school to start again. Each morning for the last week, about 6 am, Jaden gets right in my sleeping face and says hopefully, "school today?" Shayla is also sick of us, ready to see her friends. I thought I'd clear the cobwebs in my own head by sorting out the garage and [...]

What Yelling and Screaming?

2017-05-18T14:46:29+00:00 December 27th, 2013|parenting|

"I love your blog, but you never have anything like this in it" Grandpa Mel said quietly as Shayla threw herself into her third round of violent weeping and begging for... oh I can't remember what. To bring a toy with us? To get something from her brother Jaden or deny something to him? Hot [...]