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 [...]

Christmas and My Hamid Karzai Hat

2017-05-18T14:46:36+00:00 December 13th, 2013|holidays and celebrations, parenting|

I was smug at Thanksgiving when I didn't get the bug going around. The kids puked onto me liberally, they spiked 103 fevers. I handled it calmly, even pleasantly, and I didn't get sick. We had a nice Thanksgivikkuh! But if you believe in retribution, karmic payback came today. I got it, possible punishment for arrogance. 101 [...]

Leaving Disneyland

2017-05-18T14:46:41+00:00 November 19th, 2013|daily life, parenting|

I was afraid my kids might not love Disneyland like I do, but they took to it like pros. Despite a full day drive there and back, long and unpredictable hours, more than usual sugar intake, and near-constant bombardment of stimulation, our five day trip went remarkably well. We had wonderful help and support from [...]

Letting Her Be Her Own Girl

2017-05-18T14:46:42+00:00 November 10th, 2013|parenting|

No one who knows her would call our daughter Shayla a wallflower. "She's a fighter," her first grade teacher told us in our parent conference, "and that's a good thing. Sometimes in this world you have to fight for what you want." I've always thought of myself as mellow, but living with Shayla I'm coming [...]

Shedding Their Skins

2017-05-18T14:46:57+00:00 September 5th, 2013|daily life, parenting|

Our 3 year old shot up three quarters of an inch in the last month, and has outgrown his pajamas, again. He's 3'3". The 6 year old hit 4'1" and outgrew her car seat, so we took off the back and now it's just a booster. It's blindingly fast the way this flotilla of kid [...]

It’s All So Interesting

2017-05-18T14:47:09+00:00 July 24th, 2013|daily life, parenting, waiting and wanting kids|

I stayed up late finishing Meg Wolitzer's The Interestings tonight, captivated by her lovely prose and the widescreen view she offers of a group of friends who meet as teenagers and stay involved through middle age. It's such a gift, the ability to be so specific and detailed that there's a simultaneous feeling she's speaking [...]

Some Positive Points for Us

2017-05-18T14:47:26+00:00 April 15th, 2013|adoption, parenting|

We just switched our daughter from a "star/sticker" system to a "points/rewards" plan, and the difference is dramatic, in her and in me. I've decided it's time to award myself some points! But first I should explain. A sticker on the calendar for a successful day was a zero-sum game; while the intent was to [...]

Once More Into the Breach, Dear Friends

2013-04-03T22:09:34+00:00 April 3rd, 2013|daily life, parenting|

I never imagined how often day-to-day parenting would feel like the battle scene that opens Saving Private Ryan. I thought we'd won ours, getting both kids back from the beach to our motel room. 15 minutes of crying by our 5-year-old daughter (tired? overstimulated by vacation and spring break? sugared up? check, check, check). But [...]

2-Year-Old Lady MacBeth

2017-05-18T14:47:45+00:00 February 12th, 2013|parenting|

Of all the tantrum-inducing opportunities life affords, I could never have predicted that our terrible two-year old would focus so much on hand washing. Of course he doesn't limit himself, but this is his most reliable source of agony, running to the bathroom wanting to wash his hands. Somewhere between getting the tap on, the soap [...]

First Snow

2017-05-18T14:47:51+00:00 January 29th, 2013|parenting|

Just the thought of it gave me chills. It thrilled and excited everyone who heard about it. We were taking the kids up to the Sierras to see their first snow. I'd been there when they saw the ocean for the first time! They grew up in San Francisco and our girl didn't see the [...]

Essay on Camp

2017-05-18T14:47:53+00:00 January 19th, 2013|daily life, parenting|

No, this isn't about Susan Sontag. It's about how the kids change so gradually, even glacially, and suddenly something blindsides me and everything feels like it's happening so fast. Today I was working on my spreadsheet for summer camps (more on that in a sec), and our daughter, "helping" me at the computer, doodled away [...]

Getting to Yes

2017-05-18T14:48:00+00:00 November 26th, 2012|adoption, parenting|

Our angelic "terrible 2"-year-old had a big breakthrough this week. He learned to say yes! I never thought about what a huge developmental leap this concept must be. Clearly, no is more compelling and immediate early in life; most of what happens to us just happens, so the need to reject the things we absolutely [...]