Sunday, December 28, 2014


This morning found Adam and I debating whether to incorporate the whey left over from making cheese into today's bread dough or just feed it to our chickens. And I will admit that, walking back from the chicken coop, I felt pretty smug about having had that dilemma, and the wholesome, organic picture it paints of our life. But in the name of internet transparency, and with the goal of not playing the sanctimonious mommy blogger card, I feel compelled to add that while this discussion took place, our child was sitting on the couch playing games on my phone.

I mean, this happens, too. "This" being literally a naked hippie baby feeding his chickens organic chard.

Sunday-morning cereal sharing

Kamal is not particularly partial to cold cereals, unless they are in Adam's bowl, in which case they are DELICIOUS. 

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Bread is good.

This ad right here is such a fail. 

First of all, I know it's intended to make me feel skeptical about bread, but what I really feel is "Look at that delicious bread! I'm gonna eat it. What? I don't want to read two whole books before I eat the bread! GET OUTTA MY WAY, BOOKS, YOU ARE BETWEEN ME AND THE BREAD."

Also, I don't want to read anything that's going to talk me out of bread. 

Here's a 100% whole-wheat boule I made today. It's very brown because I put it in the oven when Kamal was napping, and midway through his usual nap time Kamal woke up and would only stay asleep in my lap. When I knew it was time to take the bread out of the oven, I didn't know what to do--risk waking the precariously sleeping baby, or let the the bread burn?

Fortunately just a few minutes after the bread needed to be taken out of the oven, Kamal emitted a massive fart and woke himself up, solving the dilemma. He's so awesome.

Very brown, but still perfectly serviceable

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Kamal sandwich

Here's Kamal sandwiched between his best friend and his mama. There are no words for how happy this photo makes me.

These two kiddos, together, are pretty much the best thing ever. I love how in this photo you can see how distinct their personalities are and at the same time how much they love each other.

Friday, November 28, 2014

An egg for the picky toddler

Small triumph in the Picky Eater Chronicles: crepe (really just an omelette) filled with creme fraiche and homemade plum jam.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving afternoon

My quickly-growing baby still wants to nap in my arms sometimes. I have things I could be doing. But right now this is more important, and infinitely sweeter.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Yummy stay

When I cleaned his face off after lunch, he burst into real, completely harrowed sobs. I was alarmed. "What happened, honey?" I asked. "Oh, what's the matter?" Tears mixing with the mayonnaise and blueberry juice on his cheeks, he wailed, "Want yummy STAY my face!"

(Now there is yummy all over my clothes, too. And the couch. And some of the walls.)

Friday, August 15, 2014

Baby Mine

Did you ever watch Dumbo? You know, the Disney movie with the baby elephant that has ears so big they can lift him off the ground? I haven't seen it in probably thirty years, but like many of those Disney early-childhood separation-anxiety pictures--Bambi, The Fox and the Hound, effing The Journey of Natty Gann--it made its impression.  I remember there's a scene in it where Dumbo and his mother are forced apart, and it's heartrending. 

What I remember most about the movie, though, is the first verse of the lullaby that Dumbo's mother sings to him. The lullaby's called "Baby Mine." It goes like this:

Baby mine, don't you cry,
Baby mine, close your eyes.
Put your head close to my heart, 
never to part,
baby of mine. 

The song has another verse, maybe two even, and a bridge, but I don't know them. I guess my mom only knew the first verse, because she lulled me with it over and over again, till one summer morning when I was five and asked her what "never to part" meant. She explained to me that it meant Dumbo's mother and Dumbo would live together forever. "Like me and you, right?" I asked. Then my mother explained that no, she and I would not always live together, that one day I would live apart from her. The words "never to part," didn't actually apply to us, not in the most literal sense. She said that mothers and their children eventually separated, and that was the normal order of things.

I didn't take this very well. I was five, I was a pretty nervous kid with big feelings I didn't really know how to deal with, and my mother was the central figure in my life, the source of love and security and sustenance. The idea that I would one day part from her, that she wouldn't be a forever presence in my life, melted me into a big teary mess. That day I took the bus with my big sister to the Honolulu Academy of Art, where we took summer classes, and all day long I walked foggily through the beautiful building, with its cool echoing courtyards and quiet lilyponds, singing the song under my breath. Every time I got to the "never to part" line, I choked and teared up. I kept repeating it because I was waiting for the sadness to heal, and I kept finding it hadn't.

When I was nineteen and still-nervous and my mother passed away, I wondered whether my five-year-old self had had some sort of premonition about such a premature, permanent parting. For years I avoided the song--and it's a beautiful song, lots of people have covered it; Alison Krauss does this particularly lovely cover--the way your tongue carefully avoids a sore tooth. Every time I heard it I felt wounded and scared, like the song itself might take someone away from me. 

Then I had my own beautiful baby, who needed, who still needs, to be rocked and sung to sleep. Of course I thought of the song my mother sang to me, but some weird superstitious feeling--what if singing it means I'll die and leave him motherless when he's only a teenager, too?--made me choose every other song I could think of first. But the Alison Krauss cover kept playing on our Pandora, and I kept thinking--the song is beautiful, and he'll never meet my mom, his grandmother, and oh they would have loved each other. Maybe this is one little way for him to know her. And so I started singing it to him, here and there. Every time, a little tremor of trepidation, but I don't want to be someone who confuses her wounds for her reasons.

The other day Kamal pointed to the dining table, cluttered with a variety of grown-up paperwork and baby toys, and demanded: "This."

"What do you want, honey? There's lots of stuff on that table."

"This!" he insisted.

"Can you tell me what you want? Do you want this car? Do you want your ball? Do you want to draw?"

"No! This!" He made his concentrating face, and finally produced, "Meedeek!"

That's his word for "music." On the table was his little four-key plastic piano.  I gave it to him and he started banging away, his little face alight. 

"See!" he ordered, pointing at me. That's his word for "sing"; he likes being the accompanist. 

"Ok," I agreed. Some day, I fantasize, we'll be like the Partridge Family, never mind that Adam would probably rather endure a piranha attack than sing in public. For now Kamal and I are a two-person, highly experimental-sounding band.

I started singing a song he usually likes, but he lifted his hands off the keys and shook his head fiercely. "No. No dis sah."

"Not that song? Okay. How about this one? The water is wide, I cannot cross o'er..."

"NO! No Water Wi'."

"Okay. Do you want the Itsy-Bitsy Spider?"

"No! No Fider. No." 

"Okay, kiddo, you tell me, then. What song do you want to sing with me?"

And I listened to the request fall, pure as rain, from his rosebud mouth, from his perfect heart: "Baby Mine."

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The line

Maybe she'll let me if I wear this.
Poor Kamal. While Mama will let him jump on the bed, she draws the line at jumping on the bed with the express intention of falling down and bumping his head, per the monkeys in one of his favorite songs. He is tearfully protesting this obstruction of justice, while I rethink all the lyrics to every song ever.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


What wouldn't I give to know what Kamal dreams about? He just now woke up halfway and sat straight up in bed. Eyes still shut, he pointed an imperious, chubby finger around the room, babbling incoherent but definitely entitled-sounding orders at an invisible legion of followers.
Last night, he sat up and hollered something into the dark while Adam and I were still up chatting at the dining table. We both held our breath, waiting to see if he'd go back to sleep. When he did, Adam whispered, "Did he say something about mimosas?" and I whispered back "I'm pretty sure he said, 'Mama se mama sa mama ku sa." Given that Kamal's been exposed about equally to brunch and to MJ as essential cultural constructs, either guess is plausible.


Last night, 2:00 AM:

"My shoe off!"

"Uhm. Fuh. Whuh? Baby?"

"My shoe off!"

"Yes, Kamal, your shoes are off."

"Mama shoe off!"

"Yes, mama's shoes are off. Because it's time to sleep. We don't sleep with shoes on. Can you go back to sleep?"

"Daddy shoe off!"


"Daddy shoe off!"



"Yes. Yes, Kamal. Ok. You're right. Daddy's shoes are off. It's sleepytime, honey. Ok?"

"Dahdah shoe off!"

"Yes, Toby is also not wearing any shoes. And he is asleep. So..."

"Yaaaaaay shoe off!"


"YAAAY! Shoe off!"

"Sweetie pie, it's--"

"Mah boo baba. Mah boo baba. Ma BOO baba!"

"Yes. You're wearing your blue pajamas. And--"

"Ma boo baba butt."

"And yes, your blue pajamas have buttons. But--"

"More butt! More. More more butt!"

"Yes, there are a lot of buttons. How about you lie back down now? Can you close your eyes?"


"Oh good. Good night, my sweet baby."

"Yes. Yesssss. YAAAAAAASSSS."

"Good night, honey."

"Yay, Yes!"

"Time to go to sleep, Kamal."

"No more Yes."

"That's right. No more Yes."

"Bye-bye, Yes!"

"[sigh] Bye-bye, Yes."

"Syoo, Yes!"

"See you, Yes."

"Naht naaaaht, mama."

"Nighty-night, sweetheart."

"Naht naht, Daddy."

"Daddy is sleeping, honey. Let's not wake him up just to say good night, okay?"

"Naht naht, Dahdah."

"Toby is sleeping too, honey."

"...Dahdah shoe off!"

This, along with occasional rebel yells of "No feet! ('No sleep!') No more feet!" and my eventual, unanswered pleas of "Are you ever going to go back to sleep? You have to fall sleep eventually, right?" was the long, dark soundtrack of my early morning. Until FIVE-THIRTY. Nonstop. My alarm went off at six for an early meeting. Came home from that meeting at a quarter to nine and found him passed out in the big orange chair with Adam.

This photo is actually from 3 months ago. But it's pretty much exactly what this morning looked like.

I just ordered another "help your child sleep better" book. I don't want to read another sleep book. I AM TOO TIRED TO READ ANOTHER SLEEP BOOK.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


So. Leaving the Howarth Park playground early this evening, I buckled an extremely reluctant Kamal into his car seat. I let him hold my keys to distract him while I clicked him in. He threw them into the passenger seat; I didn't consider that he might have pushed buttons on the key fob. I went round to the driver's side to get in, and--you guessed it--locked. Every door: locked. Keys, cell phone, child: inside.
Fortunately, it was late in the day and pretty cool out, and Kamal, along with the rest of the parking lot, was adequately entertained by the elaborate "Wheels on the Bus" routine I performed outside his window. But wrapping up this drama, just fifteen minutes later, required an actual fire truck (man, the fire department is quick! Those guys are awesome) parked behind our car, along with what I'm sure was a modest group of kind, concerned well-wishers but felt in the moment like an enormous crowd of witnesses to my idiocy.
(Kamal was thrilled by the big red truck, not to mention bedtime is delayed. Throw in Mama dancing outside his window and all the interesting strangers peeking in at him and this was a giant win as far as he's concerned.)

To add to the list of sentences I never thought I'd utter:

"Hey, please don't color on my boobs, okay?"

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

SuperMama and the squirrel

So I do realize that this is probably something every early-stage hoarder says, but very few things are as satisfying as suddenly finding the perfect use for the thing you kept that most people would have called rubbish and thrown away. 

Yesterday, toddling along a trail at the park, Kamal spotted a fat, cheeky old squirrel with whom he desired an audience maybe more than he has ever desired anything in his whole little life. And Cheeky Fatty was having none of it. And then I remembered the airplane packet of peanuts that I had sleepily accepted from a flight attendant way back in September and stashed in my giant purse even though I don't love peanuts.

A few seconds of rooting around and I found it, crumpled, nearly forgotten, perfect. And like magic I morphed from a just-barely-keeping-her-shiznit-together mama to SuperMama.