Site Overlay


Showing posts with label Milestone. Show all postsShowing posts with label Milestone. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 02, 2014



Charlotte is four years old! She can carry on a real conversation and even adds lively inflection to her voice. But at the same time, she still seems like our baby. We think back to when Vivi was four, and she seemed like such a big kid. We’ve always treated her that way. I guess that’s why people always say the first child ends up with a different personality than the last. I just never thought we’d view our own children that way.

Next week Charlie starts pre-k, and I am going on the same emotional roller coaster that I did when Vivi started pre-k. Only this time I won’t have another munchkin at home with me in the mornings! Just what am I going to do with myself?

At this point you might be wondering…am I going to blog here again? No, I am standing by my decision not to post here regularly. I’m writing today because I want to give Charlie the same attention Vivi got in all her birthday posts in years past. Charlie’s posts from previous birthdays are here: {three}, {two}, and {one}. Here goes…

Dear Charlotte,

When I look back at what I’ve said to you in your previous birthday letters, I laugh when I come to the word “opinionated.” Yes, that still fits you to a tee! On your birthday, you crawled into bed with me to snuggle. I began to sing Laurie Berkner’s birthday song, and mid-way through it you said, “Don’t sing, Mommy!” It’s funny to me that, so unlike Vivi, you have never wanted me to sing impromptu songs to you. On the other hand, you do love for me to sing bedtime songs, but only on command. Lately you’ve been requesting I recite “The Goops” at bedtime, and you always laugh when I get to the last line, “Are you?”

We gave you a Betty Bunny story for one of your presents, and you’ve been wanting me to read it every day. You take it up and down stairs with you when you go so that it can be near you. Vivi has struggled with some gifts being just for you, particularly the Elsa and Anna dolls and the My Little Pony. Even though we explained to her at her birthday that if she didn’t share with you, you might not share with her, she has been taking it rough and cried quite a bit on your birthday. Luckily, you are a sweet little sister and have been more compassionate toward her than even I have. You offer to share your toys with her, at least part of the time. Your generosity and genuine love of your big sister is so sweet to see. Today we dropped Vivi off at school, and you whispered as she walked away, “But I wanted to play with her all day.”

I am not the greatest replacement for a playmate, but we have fun playing card and board games together. Right now you’d rather play crazy eights than do almost anything else. In fact, when I asked you what your favorite thing was that you did today, you said playing crazy eights. I will miss how open you are still with your jokes, shouting words like “Poopie!” and then busting out laughing. We all love to make you laugh because it is such an unreserved, gleeful sound.

We love you to pieces, sweet girl.
Mommyat9:55 PM6 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Charlotte,Milestone

Thursday, May 01, 2014



Vivi is six! My mom came up to celebrate her birthday with us. Vivi is particularly fun to celebrate a birthday with because of how much she loves the event. She talks about and plans her birthday for weeks and even months leading up to it. She is just so excited! It’s nice that her birthday is in spring because, for me, it marks the beginning of a change in the weather and even the demeanor of the people around here. Everyone heaves a collective sigh of relief that new life has sprung once again.

As in years past, we incorporated a local farm in the birthday activities. Because her birthday nearly coincided with April vacation week, we were able to sign Vivi, Charlie, and a few friends up for a gardening class. Afterward mom and I took them to eat dessert at one of those frozen yogurt places where you pick your own toppings. When I returned one of the girls to her house, her mom came out and said, “Now you can go home and have a glass of wine.” That wasn’t her first rodeo, but it was mine. Phew! The sugar shock was so great, it almost seemed like the ice cream intoxicated the girls for a full hour afterward. Much fun ensued, as I’m sure you can imagine.

This year I’m seeing how Vivi’s growing sense of self is changing how she experiences her birthday. I was surprised to discover, come birthday morning, that she was disappointed to learn that even planning ahead couldn’t make her birthday as perfect as she might have wanted. She hadn’t considered that perhaps the weather wouldn’t cooperate (ha, what’s new?) or that she’d still have to participate in regular life activities–school, swim class, bath time–even though it was her birthday. But being the resilient, happy girl we know and love, she recovered quickly and by the end of the day, she said she had a great time despite those minor setbacks. I came to her kindergarten class and read one of her favorite stories, Bad Kitty, much to the giggly delight of the kindergartners, and then I watched as each and every one of them hugged her on their way out the door. She seems to have made quite the impression on them too.

I’m planning to write a personal letter to Vivi that isn’t on the blog this time around. You can check out my previous birthday posts, a few with letters, here: onetwo, three, four, and five.at10:00 PM9 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Holidays,Milestone,Vivism

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


in spaces between

Me (center) and my cousins, July 1997

In the summer of 1997, I was in between my junior and senior years of high school, and I was invincible. Like most privileged kids at that time in the suburbs of Atlanta, I drove a beat-up Volvo station wagon, my bulletproof tank. The car represented my freedom from oppression, whatever that can mean to a girl who doesn’t even have to supply her own gas money. That my muffler was held intact with a coat hanger didn’t matter; I was part of the crowd. Like Billy Joe Armstrong was hoping when he penned the song that is now a part of every highlight reel, I was having the time of my life. Graduation was barreling forward in just a year, and I was experiencing each moment with instant nostalgia and intense feeling.
Read more »at1:25 PM9 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Family,Milestone

Saturday, December 07, 2013


the shadows of things that may be


This little light o’ mine. My latest thrift shop find. Ain’t it grand?

This morning my eyes popped open at 7:00am on the nose. My brain keeps orderly internal time, though I dunno why, given that I haven’t had a job to wake up for as long as little sister has been with us. I have no one to impress with that little anecdote except you, Reader.

Read more »at1:04 PM6 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Aimless Digression,Holidays,Milestone

Monday, December 02, 2013


joie de Vivi

“Oh how I love cake!”

I just went back and read this post about Vivi. If there’s one thing I’d tell that version of myself from six months ago, it’d be not to worry so much about kindergarten. Vivi seems to be enjoying herself and staying out of trouble. On the day I visited, she excelled at the tasks given to her, from leading a small group to writing sentences (she balked at the teacher’s request that she complete two sentences, but she did it). I say “leading a small group,” but it primarily involved her bossing around other kids while reenacting a scene from a book they had just read, and she ate up every moment, bless her.

She has many friends and loves life, so thus far I am able to report that school has not yet squashed her spirit. It’s all good. Oh, and don’t get me started on school lunch, which she ADORES. If I would let her buy lunch every day, she’d be happy as a pig in a poke, but we’d be $60 broker per month. For now I let her buy once a week, and she typically chooses either pizza, hot dog, or soft pretzel/yogurt. Her cafeteria routinely serves veggies like green salads and mashed sweet potatoes too, so I have mostly praise to give them on that front.

Vivi still asks more questions than I thought humanly possible. I’m considering getting her this book for Christmas as much for my assistance as for her edification. Nate gets into the answering of the questions with patience and good humor, and I try to use his example as my guide. Oh my goodness, the girl just wants to know. Here she is watching football with her daddy. In this clip, she’s asking him about a football player whose name is Ball:

at5:22 PM4 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Milestone,Video,Vivism

Saturday, November 30, 2013


our incredible hulk

Charlie has always been fiercely independent. As soon as she could walk, she’s been attempting to carry gigantic loads way heavier than her own body weight without our help. A few days ago, Vivi complained that she couldn’t lift the lid to our storage footstool, and Charlie cheerily replied, “Sure we can! Just grab that handle, and I’ll get this one.” She prefers to push the stroller to being put in it, such that you can often find our family of four walking down the sidewalk with Vivi in the stroller and Charlie pushing it. Hence our nickname for her: Hulk.

The Princess & The Ladybug


Christmas in Florida, c. 2011. Charlie is 16 months old here. My original caption read, “Charlie, our work-dog.”

Three year olds are full of contradictions. They want to be snuggled but treated like big kids. Charlie’s picking up on the cues of older girls and so has begun the princessification process, but she’s also still into frogs and mud.

Charlotte’s desire for independence has never been as evident as since she turned three. She is quite the interesting mix of easy-going and opinionated, and you never really know which version you’re going to get until the action begins. I love our daily strolls to get Vivi from school. We skip, dawdle, and mosey, the two of us in quiet pursuit of Thoreau’s great art of the saunter. At times this activity is more fun…


…Than at others…

Me: We need to walk. Charlie: No thanks.

Her primary party trick is the ability to entertain herself for nearly hours on end. It is a talent that is universally commented upon by guests when we are able to sit and chat for long periods (n.b.: this is while Vivi is at school. When she’s home, all bets are off). Oh, and for her next party trick, she’ll sing you a medley of show tunes:


at11:21 PM5 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Charlotte,Milestone,Video

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


{46}: reflecting on the week

“A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2013.”
No lie, this is one of the best pics from our holiday photo shoot. Why is it so hard to get them both to look and smile?

On the RangeNovember 12 – 18, 2013

{On the Range} is my weekly series where I discuss what we’re doing, reading, and eating. It’s a little bit 52 project and other photo projects, and a little bit {Did you Read?} and {In the Ranger Kitchen}

This is a double duty post to give you our weekly update and check on on Day 7 of the first week of pre-holiday boot camp. How was your week? Be honest, you did only half or less of the things, right? That’s okay. Being that each will only take you 15 minutes, these items can really be combined into a few days, so don’t be discouraged. #LeanIn and soldier on! And if you haven’t started yet, you can do it any time. There’s no rush.

Read more »at7:30 AM4 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:52 Project,Did You Read?,Holidays,Milestone,Minimalism,Parenting,Pre-Holiday Bootcamp

Tuesday, October 08, 2013


{40}: leaf peepers

“A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2013.”

On the RangeOctober 1 – 7, 2013
{On the Range} is my weekly series where I discuss what we’re doing, reading, and eating. It’s a little bit 52 project and other photo projects, and a little bit {Did you Read?} and {In the Ranger Kitchen}

Read more »at6:11 PM7 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:52 Project,Did You Read?,Fall,Milestone,On the Range,What’s for Dinner?

Friday, September 13, 2013


first week of school done!

photo a012c955-ea0e-4326-9aad-a4604d30a188_zpse4ee1936.jpg
Our big kinniegahdena

This is my third year summarizing the first week of school.  To reminisce along with us, check out Vivi’s first week of pre-k and preschool. When I look back at those pictures, I see a little punkin who used to let me dress her without a fuss. Someone I could pick friends for based on whose mothers I got along with best. How unruly her hair used to be. What a happy little peanut.

Now I have a kid who is still happy but is full of opinions and stories. She’s out in the world, navigating the ups and downs and making her own friends. We couldn’t be more pleased. The school is great, the teacher is bright and energetic, and the kids are friendly. When I ask her every day to pick her favorite part, she tells me that she loves everything except the time when they have to sit still and listen. I chuckle at how easily I predicted that assessment by her.

Getting to this peaceful place in my mind hasn’t always been easy, but today I’m genuinely glad about leaving her in the morning in good hands. It helps that the school recently switched to a Vygotsky-based curriculum I love, called Tools of the Mind, that is focused on play and building self-regulation skills and confidence. Honestly, I’m just happy they haven’t mentioned the word “test” yet. Perhaps that’s coming. Curriculum night is in a few weeks, so I’ll check back in.

One way I helped myself get comfortable with the notion of public school was to make an internal pact to supplement her learning with subjects I think are important, like geography, science, and foreign language. It also helped me to become familiar with the general subjects kindergartners are expected to learn about universally, which I did by getting a book called What Your Kindergartner Needs to Know. I flip through it again occasionally to remind myself of the big picture. Another way I became more comfortable with school was to ask lots of questions. I pestered many people; perhaps my favorite example of the grilling was the time I interviewed a good friend and teacher for the blog.

photo 0959dfed-4b4a-475b-a58f-f65405e28451_zps890efe14.jpg
Kid #2 officially started preschool!

I can’t forget to mention little sister too! She started as a new preschooler at Vivi’s old school (here’s the post last year about her starting “stay-n-play,” which was like a mom’s morning out). However, Charlie has been going there for other programs and to pick up Vivi since she was born, so I was confident she would feel comfortable. And she does! She barely turned around to give me a goodbye hug on her second day. Winning! Must be all that tiger blood.

Seacrest out,
~Jat4:16 PM4 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Milestone,School

Thursday, September 05, 2013



Charlie turned three last week, and I am reeling that she’s already older than Vivi was when we moved to Boston. I wrote about Vivi turning three in this post. We marvel at all the ways Charlie is different from Vivi at her age. For starters, her gross motor skills are far superior; she has been swimming with coordinated arms and legs for nearly a year already, and she rarely trips and falls. Vivi was (and still is) falling on a daily or sometimes hourly basis, perhaps because she was taller for her age (100th percentile versus 80th). On the other hand, Vivi had already created 10 whole volumes of Vivisms (here’s volume 10 from her birthday week, and here are all of the Vivisms) by her third birthday and had us in stitches every day with her hilarious pronouncements. Like my dad always says, it’s amazing how each kid brings their own package into the world. It’s so true.

We celebrated Charlie’s birthday for the second year in a row (a tradition!) in DC while visiting old friends. She rode a train and a carousel and ate a coconut cupcake with coconut sorbet–she’s a coconut fiend! As always, we never could have predicted that a foam alphabet game from the $1 bin at Staples would be her favorite birthday gift, but I love that she’s still so easy to please.

Dear Charlotte,

You are a cuddly joy! You go along with almost anything we want to do, scrambling to keep up with your big sister and shouting “ME TOO!” Just as other parents told me would happen, you are introduced to all that life has to offer at a much faster and earlier pace than Vivi was. Movies, okay. Candy, why not? The big jungle gym, of course!

I say you go along with what we want, but you are not without your opinions. Almost as soon as you’d drawn your best artwork to date today (a masterpiece of faces!), you decided the picture would look best covered in buttons and purple scribbles and had a near meltdown when I tried to intervene. I am in awe of your tenacity of spirit and at the same time your patience in dealing with a sister (and a mom, for that matter) who insists you follow her every direction and whim.

Being a clumsy person myself, I am drawn to your grace and athleticism, knowing you will have more success in playing childhood sports than I did. And you’re still only three, a fact that we must constantly remind ourselves of, considering your maturity and capability.

We are so happy to have you in our family of four!
Love, Mommy

at11:07 AM4 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Milestone

Wednesday, May 08, 2013



Even as I began making some plans the other day for what I would do this week and remarked to myself “I don’t have that much going on!,” I knew it wouldn’t last. Either because of jinxing myself or because life has a way of filling in the gaps, my moment of freedom was short-lived. I got a migraine followed in quick succession by Charlie catching a 24-hour vomit virus. Luckily no one else in the family caught it, but the laundry required by one child during such a night is astonishing. It really makes me pity the people who don’t have nearly industrial-sized front-loading washers waiting in their basements to do their sick clean-up bidding.

We’re all back in good spirits now, and I’ve returned to the sorting of the cold-weather and warm-weather clothes. This routine has a method: I find some clothes I truly hate–they seem to materialize out of nowhere, no?–and I stack them in the corner. Then when I come across an item I’m not sure I want to keep, I go over to the stack and sit the item on top. Immediately, I get a gut reaction that is either “Gross, it belongs there” or “Quick, pick it up, or it will be gone!” The key is that you actually have to walk it physically over to the stack, don’t just let it hang in the closet or sit in the drawer. The other key is you can’t listen to your brain’s hasty protests, like “I might wear these jeans to paint the house!” The irrational hoarding part of your brain doesn’t know what it’s talking about, for you will be far happier without the clutter than you would be if you kept those ugly jeans. I’m sharing my tip with Works for Me Wednesday, though I’m not sure this trick would work for anyone but me. But there you have it. Use it if you will.

So I guess I’m just checking in with the deets, but there’s not too much happening over here. What’s going on with you? Fill me in!

Yesterday we went on an impromptu picnic after picking up Vivi from school. We sat in the grass under a cherry tree and ate our store-bought tuna wraps in quiet satisfaction. Life burgeons all around us, and as happens so often to me as a mom, I want this moment to last forever. I try to stuff down that guilty feeling I get, wondering if I am enjoying them enough, because it is not a helpful feeling, and because I don’t think that part of me will ever be satisfied that I am truly relishing them as I should be. I get the same feeling about the spring blossoms; when I see them, I am both happy and guilty, somehow believing I am supposed to be getting a greater appreciation of them than just the joy I get in seeing them when I pass by.

I watch the girls frolicking in the woods, giggling because they spied a ladybug, and I am struck by how little they look. Satisfied they are still my babies, I turn my attention toward the sun and lie in the grass, eyes closed, to soak it in. Just at that moment and not a second later, Vivi yells “Mommy, my tooth is almost all the way out!,” thus breaking my brief truce with the marching of time. Of course her tooth would fall out now. Despite my silent protests, it seems they will keep growing.

I am not one to quote poetry often, but my resignation to life’s continual passing brings to mind that Virgil poem Georgics from which we get the phrase “Tempus fugit.” Here it is:

Sed fugit interea,
Fugit irreparabile tempus, Singula dum capti circumvectamur amore.
But meanwhile it flees: Time flees irretrievably,While we wander around, prisoners of our love of detail.

at7:30 AM5 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Aimless Digression,Milestone,Photos

Tuesday, May 07, 2013


on the range {week 18}: updated

{On the Range} is my weekly series where I discuss what we’re doing, reading, and eating. It’s a little bit 52 project and other photo projects, and a little bit {Did you Read?} and {In the Ranger Kitchen}

On the RangeApril 30 – May 6, 2013

“A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2013.”

I can’t claim credit for my post title today. My aunt has a framed photo of herself and her sister as little girls, and she wrote a variation of this sentence below it. It always made me chuckle as a kid, even the thousand and fortieth time I read it, so I’ve been dying to steal it ever since.

Update: So, apparently it’s not a good idea to use certain words in your post title, for they attract p*rn sites. Thus, I removed a sentence in my title that said “A coupla [warm baby birds] standing around.” Except I didn’t way “warm baby birds” but other words that mean the same thing as those words. You got me? Sheesh, the stuff you learn blogging. It could fill a house. Or at the very least a single-wide trailer.


  • Vivi came inside after playing to tell me with a serious look on her face…”Mommy, I’ve realized something. Bubbles are not fantastic, they are terrible and not fun. AND a mess.” Then she showed me her hands, which she then proceeded to wash carefully after throwing away the bubble stuff. Is she her father’s child or what? Ha! The whole scene makes me giggle every time I think about it again.
  • Charlotte is a common name up here, as is the nickname “Charlie” for boys, so one way I like to distinguish my Charlie is to give her lots of other nicknames. Chuck is my personal favorite (did you ever see that short-lived program, Pushing Daisies?). Lotti is not really that cute in my opinion, but it’s fun when you add something to it, like Lotti McSniffles when she’s sick. I change it up for added interest, like Chuckles McFussyBritches when she’s tantruming. Vivi’s been playing around with it too, but the other day she said something like “Charlie McFuckles,” totally by accident of course, and I still haven’t recovered from all the laughing.
  • My little brother turns 20 today. If that doesn’t make you feel old, I dunno what will. Happy birthday bro!


  • You can’t spit without running into a fairy garden these days. They are the terrariums of 2013. But who cares? They are awesome! Whatever gets my kid in the dirt is ok by me. One of my favorite how-tos is this one by Beth of Remarkably Domestic. I think the pipe is too much for me, but I’m all for grouting some rocks onto an old pot I have lying around. Cute, huh?
  • Do you love IKEA as much as me? If so, you will love this Apt Therapy article compiling ideas for hacking their furniture to create cute stuff for your kids. I wish I were that crafty.
  • I’m not sure if this LA Times story would have always made me so steaming mad or if it’s partly because I just got done re-reading Lee’s novel. I mean, really, the nerve of people! Will we never live down the stories of old people being swindled by snaky men? Let’s hope she gets herself an Atticus-worthy attorney.
  • Yet another reason to love Jenny Lawson, cuz she ain’t gonna let no door tell her what to do.
  • I am so glad I know better than to “birthday jack” Facebook posts about my kid turning 5. So creepy. If this ever changes, friends, you know what to do.


  • Beef vegetable soup
  • I tried a new thing at Trader Joe’s, which doesn’t happen often. They are called aloo chaat kati, found in the frozen meal section, and they look like Indian hot pockets–except they are way more delicious. Like the samosas at TJ’s, it’s a vegetarian meal that is greasy enough that it satisfies me the way eating meat does–no easy feat in my mind.
  • In the interest of full meal disclosure, I had not one but two bowls of Trader Joe’s mango sorbet last night, with coconut sprinkled on top. So yummy.

at4:50 PM4 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:52 Project,Did You Read?,Family,Milestone,On the Range,Photos,What’s for Dinner?

Thursday, May 02, 2013



Genevieve turned five years old this week. For some reason, five seems like a huge milestone. Perhaps it’s because I remember turning five myself…or rather, I remember the dreaded booster shot in the hiney. These kids today have no clue how fortunate they are that they can forgo this exercise in humiliation. But as I was saying, five is a huge birthday, and I’m hanging on for what is sure to be a wild ride of a year.

I’ll write more soon about the birthday party, but for today here is my yearly letter to sweet Vivi.

Dear Genevieve,

Over the past year, I’ve seen your four-year-old personality continue to develop, and much of what I said last year applies to you this year as well. It’s an extraordinary journey to be invited to witness the cultivation of your marvelous self. Mostly, I feel like you are molding me instead of the other way around. A new friend exclaimed, “Vivi’s face lights up at EVERYTHING. How wonderful!,” and I couldn’t agree more. Here are some of my favorite of your qualities:

:: keen eye for detail :: You have a precise and discerning regard, and you can often be heard from the backseat reminding me, “Mommy, it’s faster to go the other way to the library, remember?” What would I do without your help in getting where I want to go in life? Your keen eye extends to the fashion world too, and your nose crinkles when I attempt in my own fumbling manner to broaden your clothing horizons outside your limiting criteria of 1) pink, or 2) leggings (see also: ruffles). To your credit, this spring you are stepping out in frocks of blue and green (praiseallujah).

:: leadership potential :: What others might call bossiness, I see as the leader in you exploding forth. You direct the operations of many a household task or sisterly game, and I wouldn’t choose any other executor as my partner (with the one exception of your daddy). I hope you seek an opportunity to lead a team as an adult, for you will make a heck of a chief. May your brave quest to lead both men and women happen without or in spite of the limitations that both genders seek to put on women who lead my generation.

:: sharp wit :: You’ve become a lover of Shel Silverstein already, and you laugh heartily throughout his poems. I’m thrilled to share a sense of humor with you. Your expansive vocabulary grows ever greater, and your hunt for information is nearly unparalleled in my experience (your schoolmate Jacob vies for first place in this area, asking his grandmother today, “How was Europe formed?”).

:: tender heart :: When I asked you if you wanted to make your grandpa a birthday card, you said “Yes! But I’m going to need a really big card because there are going to be lots of hearts.” I hope you will maintain your loving nature and with it, your ability to bring even the shiest of friends into the fold with your patient and kind ways. You are a genuine people lover, and I feel lucky to be loved by you.

:: endeavorous spirit :: Endeavorous is not a word, although I’d like to make it a new one for you because I feel it sums you up so well. You are willing and even excited to try new things, whether they be activities, sports, or food. You encourage our whole family to experiment with your love of life. Thank you for being a stupendous individual.


Teaching Charlie to play baseball.

at4:09 PM5 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Joie de Vivre,Kids,Milestone,Parenting,Photos

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


how babies are born: a conversation with my daughter

The worried look, caught on camera

Welcome to the March 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Tough Conversations
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have spoken up about how they discuss complex topics with their children. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

Update (10/22/13): We’ve added a new favorite book to the library of sex education called It’s Not the Stork!: A Book About Girls, Boys, Babies, Bodies, Families and Friends It has illustrations of a bird and bee talking to each other on each page, which were cute and provided some comic relief for the material to keep the conversation light.

I was planning to write about preschool gender roles today. In fact, I had the post all ready to go on the submission deadline. That morning, my almost-five-year-old daughter actually began our first tough conversation. How’s that for timing? Apropos to nothing, Genevieve turned to me with a furrowed brow at the breakfast table and said “I don’t want to grow up! I want to stay a kid forever because William said that Mommies have their tummies cut open for the baby to come out. Is that how babies come out, Mommy?”

Before I get to my response, let’s break down her announcement. My first reaction is “Oh, sad!” because at that time of the day, I hope for my child to ponder the best way to get more cereal on her spoon, not worry about the fate of her uterus in a few decades. My second reaction is “Thank goodness!” because I’m so happy she feels comfortable to bring up these subjects to me.

Without even a sip of coffee, I managed somehow to keep head firmly attached to shoulders. I calmly explained that first of all, having babies was not something she needed to worry about now because only grown-ups have babies. Then I told her that although some babies are cut out of their mother’s womb (as I’ve discussed in the past, we use anatomically correct language), it’s not how most babies are born. I told her that babies are usually born from a mother’s vagina, and it’s usually a wonderful and happy day when it happens.

She looked a tiny bit less frightened. Then I asked her if she had any more questions. Boy, did she ever.

“Yes,” she replied firmly. “Sometimes I feel a rumbling in my tummy. Is that a baby floating around?”

Oh, sad! No, I reminded her, only grown-ups have babies in their wombs. Clearly we needed to go over digestion again, so I began telling her all about how food is broken down for nutrients in the stomach, and waste travels through the intestines to become poop. Her eyes widened and her expression softened to one of curiosity and wonder. Mommy was talking about poop! She had lots of questions about how poop is made and the reason we sometimes have gas (admittedly we call gas a “toot”).

From this experience, I take away the importance of follow-up questions and making sure I understand why she wants to know the information and that she understood my responses. My daughter is almost five, and next year she’ll be in kindergarten, so I know there are more talks to come before that first day of school. I want her to know she can always come to me when she has questions about how her body works or if kids at school tell her information she doesn’t think is correct or feels needs clarification.

Later that day, I went to the library and picked up a few books that have started and continued quite a few discussions about the human body this week. To my surprise, she will sit through an entire lengthy book on the subject! This proud mama looks forward to the many more conversations to come.

In case you’d like to pick up some books, here are the ones we’ve read so far and liked:

Above all, I want Vivi to be excited about how amazing her body really is and hopefully never rarely embarrassed by her bodily functions. Her question was a good reminder to me that once is not enough for a discussion about her body. We’re never going to sit down and have THE TALK because I plan to have many age-appropriate talks over her childhood. I consider this conversation a doorway to a new beginning for us.

Have you had “the talk” with your preschooler? What can you share about the experience?

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be updated by afternoon March 12 with all the carnival links.)

  • A Difficult Conversation — Kellie at Our Mindful Life is keeping her mouth shut about a difficult topic.
  • Discussing Sexuality and Objectification With Your Child — At Authentic Parenting, Laura is puzzled at how to discuss sexuality and objectification with her 4-year-old.
  • Tough Conversations — Kadiera at Our Little Acorn knows there are difficult topics to work through with her children in the future, but right now, every conversation is a challenge with a nonverbal child.
  • Real Talk — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama explains why there are no conversation topics that are off limits with her daughter, and how she ensures that tough conversations are approached in a developmentally appropriate manner.
  • From blow jobs to boob jobs and lots of sex inbetweenMrs Green talks candidly about boob jobs and blow jobs…
  • When Together Doesn’t Work — Ashley at Domestic Chaos discusses the various conversations her family has had in the early stages of separation.
  • Talking To Children About Death — Luschka at Diary of a First Child is currently dealing with the terminal illness of her mother. In this post she shares how she’s explained it to her toddler, and some of the things she’s learned along the way.
  • Teaching 9-1-1 To Kids — Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling talks about the importance of using practical, age-appropriate emergency scenarios as a springboard for 9-1-1 conversations.
  • Preschool Peer PressureLactating Girl struggles to explain to her preschooler why friends sometimes aren’t so friendly.
  • Frank Talk — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis unpacks a few conversations about sexuality that she’s had with her 2-year-old daughter, and her motivation for having so many frank discussions.
  • When simple becomes tough — A natural mum manages oppositional defiance in a toddler at Ursula Ciller’s Blog
  • How Babies are Born: a conversation with my daughter — Justine at The Lone Home Ranger tries to expand her daughter’s horizons while treading lightly through the waters of pre-K social order.
  • Difficult Questions & Lies: 4 Reasons to Tell The Truth — Ariadne of Positive Parenting Connection shares the potential impact that telling lies instead of taking the time to answer difficult questions can have on the parent-child relationship.
  • Parenting Challenges–when someone dies — Survivor at Surviving Mexico writes about talking to her child about death and the cultural challenges involved in living in a predominantly Catholic nation.
  • Daddy Died — Breaking the news to your children that their father passed away is tough. Erica at ChildOrganics shares her story.
  • Opennesssustainablemum prepares herself for the day when she has to tell her children that a close relative has died.
  • Embracing Individuality — At Living Peacefully with Children, Mandy addressed a difficult question in public with directness and honesty.
  • Making the scary or different okay — Although she tries to listen more than she talks about tough topics, Jessica Claire of Crunchy-Chewy Mama also values discussing them with her children to soften the blow they might cause when they hit closer to home.
  • Talking to My Child About Going Gluten Free — When Dionna at Code Name: Mama concluded that her family would benefit from eliminating gluten from their diet, she came up with a plan to persuade her gluten-loving son to find peace with the change. This is how they turned the transition to a gluten-free lifestyle into an adventure rather than a hardship.
  • How Does Your Family Explain Differences and Approach Diversity? — How do you and your family approach diversity? Gretchen of That Mama Gretchen shares her thoughts at Natural Parents Network and would like to hear from readers.
  • Discussing Difficult Topics with Kids: What’s Worked for Me — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares parenting practices that enabled discussions of difficult topics with her (now-adult) children to be positive experiences.
  • Tough Conversations — Get some pointers from Jorje of Momma Jorje on important factors to keep in mind when broaching tough topics with kids.
  • Protect your kids from sneaky people — Lauren at Hobo Mama has cautioned her son against trusting people who’d want to hurt him — and hopes the lessons have sunk in.
  • Mommy, What Does the Bible Say? — Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work works through how to answer a question from her 4-year-old that doesn’t have a simple answer.
  • When All You Want for Them is Love: Adoption, Abandonment, and Honoring the Truth — Melissa at White Noise talks about balancing truth and love when telling her son his adoption story.

at7:30 AM17 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Blog Carnival,Books,CarNatPar,Education,Health,Milestone,Parenting

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


this just in: adorable child sings adorable song, gives interview

Charlie is at that age where she’ll answer questions and sing songs on demand. Thus, I spend most of my time asking questions and requesting songs. See for yourself…



Read more »at5:43 PM2 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Kids,Milestone,Video

Tuesday, January 08, 2013


{week 1}: on the range, with nacho casserole

Some people start those “365 blogs” where they write or post pictures every day for a year. As anyone who blogs can testify, that would be exhausting! Not to mention practically impossible. But I thought it’d be fun to try to write once a week about what’s going on around here. Kind of like a mix of my In the Ranger Kitchen series (which I kind of forgot about after summer…oops!) mixed with some journaling. Here’s a bit of what went on the first week of the year.
Read more »at4:04 PMNo comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Milestone,On the Range,Recipe,What’s for Dinner?

Wednesday, January 02, 2013


yours, mine, & ours: best of 2012

Is instant nostalgia a blogger thing or is it a product of my generation? Whatever the reason, I’m enjoying the 2012 recaps I’ve been reading (see: mermag, local kitchen, Doodles & Jots). And since I did my own recap last year, I thought I’d make a tradition out of it and do another.

Read more »at4:09 PMNo comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Blogging,Milestone

Thursday, November 08, 2012


birthday soup and a mixed tape

Ten years ago today on my twenty-third birthday I was at Clemson University, presenting the results of my research project in Kenya (studying street children) at the Southeastern Regional Seminar on African Studies. My parents drove up to support me and sat in the front row, eyes trained on me, a regular smiley Frick and Frack of the supportive parenting variety. At the time, I was very happy to see them and have them celebrate my birthday with me but also mildly embarrassed that it might have appeared I had brought my parents to see my “show and tell” at the research conference. Ten years later, the embarrassment has fallen away, and I see it as a tangible display of real love. I cherish the memory.

Read more »at7:30 AMNo comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Milestone,Music,Recipe,Spotify

Monday, October 08, 2012


photos of our new house…for real this time {SQUEE!}

The hubster pointed out that I really shouldn’t call a post “new house” if I’m not showing photos of the new house. Oh…right. Sorry about that. The truth is that it had been my plan, but then I grew more exhausted as I tried to edit out the bad pictures, and I decided I should wait until I have a minute to sit and think about it. Ha! That’s a laugh.

Anyway, I owe you some pictures after that tease. Today we have movers galore in the house, but luckily I was able to get these before chaos reigned supreme. I hope you’ll follow along with me as I attempt to play house in our new digs. I’m looking forward to beginning new traditions and decorating like a grown-up.

Read more »at7:30 AM1 comment: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:House,Milestone,Photos

Friday, October 05, 2012


{this moment}: new house

I brought Aunt El to the new house today. She oversaw my unpacking efforts and provided quiet but effective motivation when I felt like quitting.at8:24 PM1 comment: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:House,Milestone,this moment Older PostsHomeSubscribe to:Posts (Atom)


“; n.innerHTML = at; container.insertBefore(n , footer); } } return true;};document.doAT(‘hentry’);Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...