The Last Doll

I stood in the mall in the tiny store crowded with books and toys and trinkets of all shapes and sizes, and I stared at the wall of stuffed animals as I tried desperately to narrow down my choice.

I was 8 years old, and my fourth facial surgery was just a few days away. The stuffed friend I was about to pick would be my hospital companion, tasked to stay with me after visitor hours ended when my parents would be required to leave. ...  read more

Hair, Vampires and Vitamin D: Letting Kids Make Choices

I want to write today but the sun is shining and it’s April and I live in Oregon. Bear with me. I’ll do what I can.

An Oregon Sun Day is sort of like a Snow Day; some people love it, some people hate it. My kids think school should be canceled. And not so they can play outside. No; my kids think school should be canceled so they can hunker down inside because “THE SUN. IT’S BURNING OUR EYES. TOO BRIGHT. TOO HOT.” Sun Day? Kid panic. And just FYI, it’s 60 degrees (15 degrees Celcius) right now. I’m raising a brood of modern-day vampires is what I’m saying. They sparkle in the sun, and it’s distracting. ...  read more

I’m a Pee Fight Pacifist

Look, I don’t usually take on extreme positions here. I’m just not that kind of girl. I tend to be all mushy and “well, there are two sides to every story” and “I’m sure she had the best intentions” and “there’s room for EVERYONE.” On the other hand, I believed Mr. Clinton when he said he did not have sex with that woman so I admit to a certain ongoing struggle with being a Pollyanna. ...  read more

Warning: Kids Grow Up. This Is Not a Drill.

I feel like it’s important to warn you so you at least have a chance to avoid me today. To hunker down in your house under your blankets or your baby’s burp-rag or whatever you can find. To lock yourself in the bathroom and to tell your littles to shush and quiet down and here, eat this whole Hershey bar so the crazy lady outside can’t hear us when I come pounding on your door. To not answer the phone when I call you. To put an out-of-office notice on your email. To runRun, is what I’m saying. Save yourselves. ...  read more

Tricky Dick: Not a Story About Nixon

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When we were kids, we used to sit cross-legged at school and call it Indian Style. No one calls it that anymore for all the right reasons. Hooray for cultural sensitivity and change!

Now kids sit Crisscross at school. Except no one calls it just Crisscross, because ho hum, right? How boring. Now when you sit cross-legged, you have to call it Crisscross Applesauce. Frankly, I don’t know what applesauce has to do with anything, but there it is, an essential suffix. Woe betide the mama who thinks she’s tight enough with Crisscross to only use his first name. Those kindergartners, man, they will school you. It’s Crisscross Applesauce, Mom, they will say and then they will look at you like you are equal parts dumb as bricks and to be pitied. Kind of how I look at banana muffins that are missing chocolate chips. Like, it was sweet of you to try so hard, but this is incomplete.
 ...  read more

Sleeping. In Surround Sound.

I made you something the other night while I was busy not sleeping. I not-sleep a lot because my children regularly and expertly outmaneuver my Ambien prescription and my 50 pairs of earplugs. Frankly, I think Ambien and Earplugs should just admit defeat and quit embarrassing themselves, but they went to a Tony Robbins workshop one time and they insist they can achieve their personal dreams. I don’t have the heart to destroy them so we bumble along together, trying. ...  read more