Eating Babies


“Oh my gosh, Mom!” shrieked Leah. “This apple is so cute and tiny like a little baby! I am afraid to eat it!

She grabbed her knife.

“It probably tastes really deeeelicious,” she said, smiling wickedly.

She sliced and wailed, mocking a baby’s cry.

She ate.

Eve incarnate handed me a piece.

It was the sweetest apple ever.

Crying Over Spilled Oatmeal


Leah spilled her oatmeal as she carried her bowl from the dining room to the kitchen.

I heard the splat.

I sighed and grabbed a wet wash cloth.

“Hey, Mom! Look! It landed in the shape of a heart!” she said.

She took the washcloth out of my hand and cleaned it up by herself.

I hugged her and swallowed hard as my contacts started to blur. What if I had yelled at her when I heard the oatmeal fall? I might have missed out on this moment, and she may have been afraid to spill and make mistakes in the future — the opposite of what I want for her.

Yesterday, Aiden, who earlier in the day had adamantly insisted that his parents don’t love him, got a monster thorn in his foot. He limped home, crying.

I tweezed it out of his very dirty foot, and then washed and dried his feet.

He climbed into my lap (he doesn’t really fit anymore.. it was more like being sat upon, but I didn’t mind at all) and put his arms around my neck and said, “Thanks, Mom. I DO know you love me.” His words had really hurt me, and they were apparently still on his conscience. What if he hadn’t stepped on the thorn? Would he have had a chance to make things right? What if I had yelled at him and refused to help because of his negligence for not wearing shoes outside?

In my childbirth class last night, the last one of the 12 week series, there was discussion over how disgusting it will be to change diapers. “Yeah, but you’re not just changing diapers, you are showing your kids you love them,” I said. “You are showing them you’re there for them even when they stink the most.” I hope my students remember this at 3am when they are down to their last diaper in the pack and are washing crib sheets.

If we just go through motions without love, overly-sugared spilled oatmeal, up-the-back poopy diapers, and why-aren’t-you-wearing-shoes-while-you-play-outside?!?! foot thorns can be pretty annoying.

Be thankful for and make the most of every opportunity, and humble yourself enough to allow the spills, stink and stickers get to your heart.

I need to be reminded of this, too.

Salamander and Eggs


Found this salamandar and its eggs under a brick in my yard. We kept the salamander for about eight weeks and I let him go before I went to visit Tom in the UK. I love that my children enjoy little creatures like this, and help to take care of them. Salamanders like to eat ants. Every time we found ants, Leah would grab the salamander jar and put as many into it as possible, pushing them back in as they tried to scale the walls to escape. “No, you are Salamander food! Get back in there!”

Shh! The Spiders Are Listening

Two spiders were crawling along the ceiling in the kitchen.

Leah saw them.

“Are you going to kill them mom?” she asked, in a loud, startled voice. She’s not too keen on spiders.

“No.. I’ll probably leave them there. They’re not hurting anyone.”

“Oooooh!” she said, a light bulb turning on in her little head. “The spiders can hear us.”

She pushed her curls out of her eyes, leaned very close to me and covered her mouth with her hands.

“Are you going to kill them?” she whispered.

“Yes,” I said, as seriously as I could manage while stifling my laughter.

Grandma Through the Fence

Marian says she’s the “ugly old lady who lives on the other side of the fence.”

She is anything but ugly.

Her white curly hair is like a halo and her smile may be comprised of false teeth, but it is genuine.

Industriously, she hangs her laundry on the line before the sun comes up. The damp cone-shaped bras, floral bathmats and eyelet lace curtains are like a row of triumphant flags declaring her existence. I look for them each morning and let out a sigh in relief over my coffee when I see them.

When she saw me outside today, she called me over just to hug me. She kissed both of my cheeks and my forehead. She told me I was a good mom in such a way that choked me up.

She knows all of my children’s names and talks to them over the fence. Sometimes she brings them cookies and asks them about what they are imagining while they play.

She always accepts short-stemmed dandelion gifts – through the holes in the fence – as if they are prized roses. She tells me she has little dishes on her windowsill just for that purpose.

Marian loves raspberry tea.

She works the polls annually and knows the names of all of the neighbors in her precinct. She flips to their page in the signature book as soon as they walk through the door.

She has many fancy hats and seldom wears the same twice in a row to church.

She stalks my white lilac bush as soon as it starts to bud. At the first few blossoms, she asks for me to cut her a few so she can take to them to her mother’s grave at the cemetery on the hill. She died when Marian was 12. Marian found her. White lilacs were her mother’s favorite flowers.

When Marian was in her 40s, her husband died. She says God used her suffering to help her become more aware of the suffering of others.

Her son lives with her now, but I have a feeling that, even though she’s ancient, she probably fusses more over him than he does over her — “I am an independent woman!” she says, stubbornly.

She will talk away your afternoon if you let her. (Sometimes I have to interrupt and rescue the unsuspecting workers who come to do various tasks on her property.)

She is like a grandmother to me.

I love her.