Families that Eat Brains Together, Stay Together

Nothing says “Perfect Halloween” like making costumes, eating too much candy, and throwing a temper tantrum.

Darin and Oscar had a good time, too.

We went as the main voting demographic of the current election:

That’s right, mindless, flesh-eating undead monsters.

Who eat babies…

Oscar enjoyed another long-held tradition of politics, going door-to-door and taking food out of people’s mouths.

Look at how he panders to the cameras.

Overall, we had a wonderful time, and taught Oscar a lot about family values.

The most important value in this family being, Mama gets all the candy.

I love that having kids is like experiencing a second childhood. For years we never celebrated Halloween except to hoard cheap candy to tide us over until Christmas.

Now we can experience the joy of dressing up, carving pumpkins, and having an excuse to watch “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.”

Finally, in a few days we can all experience the joy of the fact that in less than 48 hours we will no longer have to watch political commercials, pulls ugly fliers our of our mail, or deal with robot phone calls. I’d rather get Zombie phone calls any day.

Zombies don’t talk, but they sure are cute.

Every Day I Am Oscar’s Mom

I don’t know when I am going to have time to blog regularly.

I don’t know who is going to publish my book.

I don’t know if I am going to get tenure.

I don’t know if we will ever be able to afford to buy a house.

I don’t know when Oscar will start talking.

I don’t know what tomorrow will bring.

But every day I wake up and I get Oscar out of his crib and I give him breakfast and he puts his arms around me and gives me a kiss. He brings me books and blocks and a clean diaper and lets me wipe his mouth with a washcloth. He likes to throw trash in the garbage and put wet clothes in the dryer. He laughs when I blow raspberries on his belly. He can eat two bananas in less than five minutes. He knows a little sign language, and his favorite sign is “more.” More cereal, more milk, more Thomas the Train, more raspberries, more kisses, more applesauce.

More love.

There will never be enough love in the world for this little boy.

Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes (Turn and face the strain)

When I was pregnant with Oscar, and even after he was born, I didn’t create a nursery for him. We planned to co-sleep for a few months, and then sleep in the same bedroom with Oscar for at least a year (which is now recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics to reduce the risk of SIDS). Also, we live in a two-story house and sleep in the second floor loft. The other two bedrooms are downstairs. I had no intention of traipsing up and down the stairs in the middle of the night to comfort a wakeful infant.

Although I knew Oscar’s transition to his own room would begin once he was sleeping through the night (which didn’t really happen until he was around fifteen months), the move happened all at once, literally overnight.

One day last week I put Oscar down for a nap in his pack-n-play in my office. I closed the door and within minutes heard some strange noises. I opened the door to see that Oscar had climbed out. Not really believing it, I plopped him back and in and watched him climb out so swiftly and gracefully it was as if he had been doing it his whole life. So I took him upstairs to sleep in his “real” crib, but I spent the whole time fretting that he might climb out of that, which could mean falling out of the loft (only a widely-spaced wooden railing separates it from the first floor) and being seriously injured or even killed. Knowing we wouldn’t be able to sleep a wink that night, Darin and I decided to immediately move him into my office and move my office upstairs.

Oscar now officially has his own room, after eighteen months. We moved out all of the furniture except for his crib, the glider, his dresser, and some shelves for toys. We are in the process of decorating the room and making it Oscar’s little room at last.

It’s pretty weird not having Oscar near me at night when I’m sleeping. I used to be able to hear him sleeping and I loved it. Now he seems so far away. But I love the way he runs in and out of his room during the day, dragging toys out to the living room. And I love saying his room.

Here is the room in transition. If you look closely, you can see the little prisoner.

Morning, Baby…or MORNING BABY!

Years ago when I was a teenager and visiting my dad, I was reading to him from the TV Guide listings. As I came to the movie ‘night, Mother, starring Sissy Spacek, my dad stopped me and said, “Wait, was that “night mother” as in “Goodnight, Mother,” or “NIGHT MOTHER!” (i.e. a horror movie)? We both cracked up.

Some mornings with Oscar are wonderful. Morning, Baby! I swing him up out of his crib, cuddle with him and nurse him in bed for awhile, watch as he body slams Darin a few times, and then take him downstairs where he plays happily in his playpen while I make coffee and turn on the computer.

I usually love mornings, which is really, really funny coming from me (I can hear the peals of laughter coming out of my family right now). I used to love mornings for one and only one activity: sleeping in.  Now, I love them for a different reason. Mornings are a time when I feel a little bit fresh, a little bit like I can manage the dysfunctional corporation that is my life like a seasoned CEO. In the mornings I am focused enough to get some writing done, and Oscar is usually content to play quietly with his toys for awhile.

Some mornings are not like that.

Some mornings I am so tired the thought of standing makes me a little bit nauseous. Some mornings I am so far behind in my work that I can’t bear to turn on my computer. Some mornings Oscar acts like a little child in a horror movie. You know the one where they smile sweetly and then eat your soul?

It occurs to me that I can’t do anything with the time, energy, and focus that it needs in order to be done well.

I can’t mother Oscar the way he deserves to be mothered. I don’t provide him with stimulating activities and well-balanced organic meals.

I can’t be a teacher and scholar who researches, writes, and thinks at the cutting edge of my field.

I can’t be a creative writer who has the time to sink into writing a novel long enough to hear my character’s voices and convey the setting in rich detail.

I can’t blog regularly enough to be a good blogger.

I can’t keep my house clean and organized, and it’s beginning to look like an episode of Hoarders.

I have no social life.

One mother I know organizes full-moon hikes, book club meetings, barbecues, and neighborhood play dates every month. Her house is immaculate.

Another mother I know travels with her kids to Costa Rica to volunteer on sustainable farms.  She speaks at the community center and shows slides of her Peace Corps work. She writes articles for national magazines.

Clearly, I suck. At everything.

I have to go now, Oscar is stuffing cereal into the printer.

Cheerios and Silent Disapproval…

D Day


I’ll never forget the moment you told me we had a son.  I am so grateful that you were able to speak softly to him, reassuring him right after he was brought into this world, during that agonizing wait before he could be in my arms. I know that your voice, the first one he ever heard, is painted beautifully and permanently on his soul, a source of strength and comfort to him for the rest of his life.

I love that you gave him his first bath and changed his first diaper. I look forward to so many other firsts for you and Oscar: first bike ride, first camping trip, first fish caught, first father-son garden, first video game played together.

Thank you for giving me the gift of a son who is the joy of our lives. And thank you for making every day, not just that first day, magical.

Love, S. & O.

Perfect Moment Monday–Sticks and Stones

I took Oscar to the park on Saturday and he was in heaven. Which for Oscar means having his hands in the dirt. He is fascinated by rocks, sticks, and bugs.

He got to swing on the swings for the first time.

The weather was perfect, and after a long winter we just soaked it in for hours.

Despite a dirty house and a looming article deadline, I was able to relax and just be there in the moment with my son.

For more perfect moments, visit Lori.

I Capture
Perfect Moments.