My 4-year-old loves toy guns and I don’t know how to parent that

mcmullinThere was a standoff in our living room this morning. A group of knights attacked a group of pirates right there by the coffee table. There were several casualties, including horses that needed immediate attention while armed policemen waited nearby. There were reports of slain dragons, a princess who fainted, and a child was driving the rescue truck. A police helicopter was hovering over the scene.

It was mayhem.

This type of violence is not uncommon in our living room these days. My son is 4 and a half and he likes to play with soldiers and pirates and policemen. And swords. And guns.

I grew up in Europe where I knew exactly one person who owned a gun. I never actually saw said gun, just heard that one of our neighbors liked to hunt. The  police came to question us before issuing his weapons permit.

In fact, I never saw a gun until I met my father-in-law a few years ago. He lives on a farm in central Pennsylvania, and the cabinet next to his bed is filled with shotguns. He uses them to hunt and to shoot sick animals or unwelcome groundhogs. One time when we were visiting, he left his shotgun casually leaning against a car we wanted to drive. Seeing my husband pick up and move the gun made me queasy and uncomfortable. What if it goes off? Do guns do that, just by accident?

Read the rest on The Washington Post site!


It is such a cliche to love New York, no? Is there anyone out there who does not find it magical, inspirational, annoying, and irresistible? I mean, sure, there might be some people who hate the place, but I haven’t met that person yet.

For the first time in my life, I live close enough to “The City” that it’s not really a big deal to pop in and out for a day. It is awesome. I love it that on the roads I travel most around my neighborhood there are signs pointing to New York City. It is always tempting to make that turn and just head there for no reason.

I was sort of joking when I suggested to a friend that we should go bra shopping in New York because… well, because why the hell not? Thankfully, she took me seriously and on Friday we took off and spent the day shopping, walking, talking, eating.

It was glorious.

In no particular order:

1. Number of bra and panty sets purchased: 3
2. Last time I owned matching bras and panties: Never.
3. Earrings: 1 pair
4. Fancy hair thingy to get away from boring ponytails: 1
5. Size of steak we shared at Wolfgang’s: Who knows? It was ginormous.
photo-2 copy


6. Manhattanhenge! 



7. And on the other side of the street: crazy Moon!


8. Cigarettes smoked: 2
9. Last time I smoked a cigarette: 15 years-ish, at least.
10. Blisters on feet after walking all day: 2
11. Frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity: YUM. Must be some kind of witchcraft.

And finally: finding a new friend in a new city and traveling so well together: totally and completely priceless. Calendar marked for our next trip!

This is how we sleep

When my husband is away on a business trip, Sam and I share a bed. I tried to fight it, but then the business trips became too frequent and Sam and I spent less time not sleeping than sleeping. It just wasn’t working.

Last night he snuggled in next to me — all cool and sweet-smelling from his bath. We read some books and then curled up under the covers. It was barely 8 o’clock but we were both tired and cranky. I rubbed his back then he rubbed mine with is pudgy hands.

Then came the question that I’ve been getting a lot these days: “Mama, will you marry me? I want to marry you.”

I was half asleep and this is a conversation we’ve had many, many times before. I took the easy way out.

“Sure,” I said.


“Mama, why are you so fat?”

I chuckled awake and pretended to be offended. I laughed and said: “You know what, I don’t think I will marry you after all.”

“No, no, Mama, I don’t mind! I don’t mind that you are fat!”

And strangely I didn’t mind either.