Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Loose Tooth!

It finally happened. After a good year of waiting, watching her other preschool classmates losing teeth and getting tooth fairy bounty, my little String Bean has her very own loose tooth! Never one to follow the crowd, it's one of her bottom teeth (all of her friends lost their top front teeth first). She's been asking me for several months: "Is this tooth loose?" while pointing at a very firmly rooted tooth. It's been a long time of apologizing for her very strong, reluctant-to-leave baby teeth and reassuring her that one day she'll get her very own visit from the tooth fairy. Ah, finally, those days are behind us. She's very excited, wiggling it as she watches in the mirror, asking endless questions about the tooth fairy ("How does she know when you lose it?" "What if you swallow it?"). I promised it would all work out, whatever happens. Then I asked about all of those friends of hers and what the tooth fairy brought them. I want to make sure that, when the time comes, the tooth fairy pays her the going rate...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Writer-Mommy

The strangest thing about having a blog is the sheer fact that people read it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve run into a friend and started to tell her a funny story about my kids, only to find that she already knows all about it. How, when I haven’t seen her in a few weeks? Apparently many people I know actually read this blog. Which is great, but surprising. And which makes me feel guilty for not keeping up on it more. I’ve been working hard on the writing front, that’s my excuse. Two novels done, taking turns going out to agents, coming back, going out again…like waves on the vast ocean of one possible future. In the mean time I’m submitting a short story to literary journals, working on my third novel, writing a new short story, and revising two old short stories to send out. This business part of writing, the submissions and collecting of rejections, is the least fun part for me, but it’s the part where I’ve always quit in the past, so I’m not quitting this time.

As for the girls, they like that I’m devoting so much time to writing. Sure, when I duck out for a writing night (where hubby puts me up in a nearby hotel, keeps them for the night, and I crank away for as many hours as my weary eyes will tolerate), sometimes they fuss and beg me not to go. But in general, they think it’s cool. They are both book lovers, and the idea that I’m ditching them for an evening of working on something they appreciate seems to make it okay. And the fact that String Bean has announced many times that when she grows up, she wants to be a writer like mommy…well, I don’t have to tell you how proud that makes me.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Little Mama

“Mom, why are you so small?” String Bean asked me the other night. Good question! I mean, I’m not ridiculously small. I’m petite. Very. At 5’1” and a hundred pounds, I’m on the small side, sure, the smallest in my family by far, but I know there are even smaller moms out there. I take note of them whenever I see one. My taller friend Janie and I used to play a game of it, any time we were standing in a group, line, or crowd. She’d scan the people around me until she’d found a likely candidate, then say “That one. I bet you’re taller than her.” And I’d casually go stand beside some unsuspecting woman, just to see if I had a few millimeters on her.

It’s not that I want to be taller. I’ve always liked being small. After all, I feel like a whole human being. And when you’ve been looking at the chests and chins of everyone around you your whole life, that’s just normal, you know? Why would I wish for something other than the norm? Not to mention my laundry loads are smaller, my suitcases easier to lift, and in general I just take up less space than your average human adult. I’m not a loud, space-dominating type of person, so being small suits my personality perfectly. But to have your five-year-old notice that you’re a small mom, as moms go, kind of brings the point back home for a moment. I know it won’t be long before she passes me up. She’s already up to my highest rib, and her t-shirts are starting to look a lot like mine in the pile of laundry when I’m folding and sorting piles. I’ll have to come up with a good explanation of my smallness, as well as a good description of how it feels, because I have a feeling String Bean’s never going to experience being the shortest person around.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


My children are mermaids. Who knew? After two and a half months of swim lessons and several heart-stopping moments of watching them sink rather than swim, or inhale mouthfuls of water when they’re supposed to be holding their breath, I’ve finally witnessed the miracle of watching them propel their little bodies without the teacher’s assistance about five feet. They just duck their wet heads, get those skinny arms and legs going, and pop up for a breath every few strokes. The most amazing thing is how calm they both were about it. Peanut turned to her teacher last week and asked her to let go, saying “I want to try swimming by myself.” I figured she’d sink like usual, but instead she chugged right over to the wall like she’s always known how to do this. String Bean had the exact same realization yesterday, when the teacher pointed her toward the wall, asked if she thought she could make it on her own, and without a word she took off, all those long limbs pulling her along from the middle of the pool until she was face-to-face with the wall. She came up to find her dad and I applauding, and looked surprised to be there, right at our feet, halfway across the pool from where she’d started. We praised her, this girl who just two months ago hated getting her face and ears wet, until she gave us her trademark smirk and eye roll and asked us to stop. But even though they didn’t want anymore effusive praise, I could see the pride in the way they both tipped their chins up, just a little, waiting for their next turns to swim.