Teaching a child about death

The assignment at preschool was simple: draw a picture of your family. The teacher stapled 15 little pieces of paper on the bulletin board outside of the classroom once the drawings were finished. There were big families and small families. Families with pets, babies, and families that looked like tiny aliens. Our family, drawn on…

Why Moms Have Eyes in the Back of Their Heads

Sam and I have been locked in an argument about my parenting skills. You see, he thinks that I do not have eyes in the back of my head. And I know that I do. He is pretty convinced that he is right. He tells me, “Mama, you only have eyes in the front,” and pokes his…

What Are We Allowed to Talk About Anymore?

We gathered in the center of our cubicle farm—the four women I share the space with stood around my desk. I am new in the office and they were asking me about my son. They wanted to see pictures and asked me about his age, his height, and told me that he has my eyes…

How I Learned to Cherish My Son’s Wild Imagination

Jackie the Jackalope came to live with us a couple of months ago. My son picked her out of a big bin of similar stuffed animals and immediately identified her as a jackalope. Jackie has soft, gray fur; a white belly; and velvety, floppy ears. I am not sure where Sam heard of jackalopes, or why he…

Five

I had to do a quick calculation in my head to figure out how old you are in months. We have long ago stopped talking about you in terms of months—it’s been a long time since those were the big milestones: three months, six months, twelve months, eighteen… It’s also been a long time since…

Math Problem

Sheets crumpled at the foot of the bed, the white, silky ones. Pillows thrown here and there, mismatched, warm, sleepy. A foot across my chest toes twitching from dreams of running biking swimming adventure. One arm tucked under his chest rising, rising. Another arm twisted, chubby palm on my thigh. A soft snore breath of…

The “Save the Princess” Message Hurts Boys, Too

I have a 5-year-old little boy, a living room filled with boxes of soldiers, swords and Matchbox cars, and a complicated relationship with fairy tales and the princes and princesses who live in them. A part of me loves it when my son decides to play princess. It does happen from time to time —…

Nightmare

Last night Sam had a nightmare. It’s been a while since he had one — maybe since the winter. For a while he was getting them regularly, thanks to whatever crazy developmental stuff was going on in his little head. But the past few months have been uneventful when it came to his sleep. It’s…

I Let/Don’t Let my Children Play with Toy Guns

I bought my son his first gun when he was barely two years old. It was the first summer that he could walk and he was also really into bubbles. I came across a clear plastic bubble-maker with colorful tubes and wheels inside, and I remember being so excited to bring it home and fill…

To red shirt or not — one mother’s decision process

One more year. I have one more year. Until about six months ago we lived in Maine where the birthday cutoff is October 15. My son was born on December 31, so I was watching other parents around me agonize over the kindergarten decision with a smug look on my face. And then we moved…