There are some conversations you are just never ready to have as a parent. It all might seem easy or straightforward when you are reading those child advice books, but actually having the conversation on a Wednesday night when your six year old is crying? Not so simple. You just muddle through, try to tell the truth, and do the best you can.
A family friend passed away suddenly this week and, while the girls have had a few family members and pets die before, this was the first time that Ally was old enough to have a framework to better understand and ask the tough questions. Like I said, we muddled through. We finally were able to get her to stop crying and go to sleep by agreeing to a verbal contract to take care of her two “lovies” if anything ever happened to her.
It’s been on my mind, maybe with my own birthday clicking off another year soon, for the rest of the week. If she’d sent me an Outlook invite that she’d start asking life’s ultimate questions on Wednesday night at 8, here’s what I might have said with a little forethought:
We always live with death by our side so don’t take anything for granted and try to appreciate each moment. Life is always changing. So often we live our lives like we’ll live forever but as soon as we remember that life is fleeting we find ourselves letting go of the distractions and being more present for one another. Try to find peace with the impermanence. If we can remember this and carry it with us, it won’t be morbid or sad, it will bring a lightness and ease and comfort.
Or the 6 year old version of that. Maybe the stuffed animal contract was the right way to go… Continue Reading
We are very lucky to have a lot of people in our lives that are very generous with the girls. We are also very lucky to be in a position where we can give the girls plenty of gifts ourselves. This does create one of those always enjoyable Chinese finger traps puzzles that seem to pop up in parenting every other hour. You love your kids and want to give them presents or the things you didn’t have, but you also don’t want to create raging, entitled brats.
If you’re a parent, you most likely encounter this yin-yang most in the form of the thank you note. If you want a threat with some teeth that will put the fear of God in your kids, just work thank you note into the consequence then watch them writhe in agony as they lose control of their limbs and slip from the chair. Continue Reading
Quick and easy might also describe how fast this cake disappeared in my house!
Yesterday was Michelle’s birthday and after the excess of Easter, including a decadent three-layer carrot cake, she claimed she didn’t want any cake on her birthday. There was no way I was going to let that stand. Life is too short not to eat cake on your birthday.
But I could see her point, too. I definitely like my desserts, almost as much as the kids, but sometimes a little can go a long way. Thank you, Dessert for Two for introducing me to the world of mini cakeslast year.
For a family of four, a mini cake is the perfect thing for a mid-week celebration where prep time might be short or for keeping that celebratory pomp and circumstance but without being left with an entire cake to eat. Continue Reading
Allison, as the second born, leads a different life to that of Cecilia. No matter what we do as parents, much of her life revolves around Cecilia. Allison has gotten used to tagging along to Ce’s schedule and activities. Unlike Cecilia, who often likes to defend her position as first-born and remind us that she already knows how the world operates, Allison is easier going and her flexibility is a key piece of her personality.
This flexibility has made Ally more resilient than Ce, I just hope it hasn’t taught her to expect a little less out of life. It was with this in mind that I was happy to see Allison grab the mic and demand the spotlight during her birthday week. Rather than let her big sister lead, she had clear ideas about what she wanted and how she wanted it done.
Sure, she became a bit of a birthday terrorist by the end, but she had also freed herself from the second child handcuffs. At least for a week. Continue Reading
I am officially adding a decent pub to burritos and good pizza on the list of things that are difficult to find when moving out to the suburbs. For the last two weeks of these constant slate colored days both of us have been wishing for warm comfort food and dark beer. The kind of place that smells gently of bitters and fry oil with fogged windows that shield you from thinking of what’s outside.
Or, basically nothing we could find within a 20 mile radius of our house.
There are certainly places to drink out in the ‘burbs, but most are faux-authentic chains trying so, so hard or dark paneled Legion halls steeped in the smoke of unfiltered Winstons. Not places you want to bring the kids or kick back and finish the crossword puzzle that the fish and chips came wrapped in. Continue Reading
During the car ride into the city, Michelle had been working to tune up her potential questions to ask. The most promising one, surely the most memorable one, I thought, was the one about the octopus and the washing machine.
So as we sat down to eat at Babbo (unlike NYC, Babbo in Boston is the pizzeria) before walking over to Milk St., it only seemed fitting that I order the octopus all’arrabiata. It was tender (other than one big tentacle), charred and spicy. The pizzas had improved since our last visit, though I still think they put too much cheese on them causing the middle to be a soggy puddle in some cases. But I’m a pizza nerd, no one else seemed to mind and there were no leftover pieces left. Continue Reading
What to get someone for their 30th birthday? I’d used up my quotas of photobooks and custom made art prints for awhile and none of my ideas seemed to match up with the significance that seems to get dropped on these deca-milestone birthdays? To add fuel to the fire, the present also needed to work for someone that’s nine months pregnant and a house already stuffed with newborn paraphenalia. And I’m just smart enough to realize this present should probably be more about her and less about the baby. Which brings us back to the original question. Jewelry wasn’t totally jibing with our pending addition and therefor more frugal ambitions. What was a guy to do?
Unlike me, Michelle is not a big hobby person which can present some challenges, but still I could think of a lot of smaller gifts that would work, but nothing that seemed big enough for the occasion. Cruising the online gift shops, I stumbled over Norwood Arts’s countdown boxes. While I didn’t want to do the baby gifts, maybe I could borrow the concept. Use the smaller gifts, en masse and make the presentation part of the experience. For my milestone birthday a few years ago, Chelle purchased tickets for three Red Sox games because she wanted the present to be more of an experience than a thing. I was hamstrung by the pregnancy (an experience in itself) on the experience front, but getting ten birthday boxes to be opened one each day might be memorable.
Seven days in and I think the birthday boxes are a success. I bought a number of sizes and styles from the Container Store, printed up some stickers and filled the boxes with a variety of gifts, some small trinkets, others a bit grander in nature. The best part is that after a long day dealing with a baby banging on your ribs, sometimes having a present waiting at home can help make it all a bit better. That and leftover birthday cupcakes, of course.