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 [...]

Ready for Joy

2013-02-02T13:40:55+00:00 July 11th, 2012|daily life, parenting|

Can I just say, I'm a little sick of hearing myself complain about my kids? Yes, it has been overwhelming, all-consuming, and much harder than I expected. Venting about the surprises, dramas, and relentlessness of it has been useful. As I'm learning from other parents, kids are often a big pain. But it's insane that I've achieved [...]

Ghosts in the Nursery

2017-05-18T14:48:52+00:00 July 8th, 2012|adoption, parenting|

I'm getting a lot of T Berry Brazelton's Touchpoints second-hand from Jay, who's loving these books. It's fair to say we've both been shocked by the depth and intensity of our own stuff that's coming up as we learn to parent these kids. The "Ghosts in the Nursery" are the remnants and afterimages of our [...]

Learning to Shut Up

2017-05-18T14:49:03+00:00 June 6th, 2012|daily life, parenting|

I think it's a great skill to be able to mirror, reflect back, and participate in the conversation. My verbal abilities have gotten me this far in life, and I think I'm good at listening to and talking with the kids. But sometimes I really need to shut up. This thought first came to me [...]

Finding Our Rhythm

2017-05-18T14:49:04+00:00 June 3rd, 2012|daily life, parenting|

My mother had a rule while travelling: if an attraction had a star in the AAA Tourbook, we had to stop. Why would we leave a town without seeing everything the editors thought was worth a star? We moved quick, and we saw everything. On a 3- or 4-day trip to the Bay Area in [...]


2012-05-22T12:32:14+00:00 May 20th, 2012|adoption, parenting|

I don't know what I thought the "pushing, testing" stage would look like, but I didn't think it would involve pushing the cat off the balcony. It did. Theory one: kids who've experienced rejection try to recreate it. Having lost a home they expect to lose this one too, and create situations that will help [...]

Is There Still Time to Turn French?

2017-05-18T14:49:35+00:00 March 14th, 2012|daily life, parenting|

After wading through a couple very earnest books on adoption and parent-child attachment, what fun to come across Pamela Druckerman's Bringing Up Bebe: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting. I love this book! It makes the French seem utterly sensible in their approach to children, and shows how nutty American kid culture has [...]