Sea World Highlights

August 30th, 2011

The welcome seals. They were very serious about receiving fish from onlookers.

Where’s my fish?

The Sea World workout in the Sesame Street area. A wonderful place for families—and dads who didn’t think they were going to get a workout at a fish park.

Sea World workout!

The dolphin show was full of surprises.

Bird Lady of Sea World

When you sit in the front row…

My best shot of the day!

You see many amazing things and get soaking wet and move to the back rows.


Back at Sesame St., he was intrigued, but not enough to let them touch him.

Don’t touch me, B and E!

Atlantis was very well done.

Atlantis! There you are! We wondered…

And there is grass by the convention center area. Perfect for a respite. And for children to practice their karate moves.

Play area!

No “trainers” got into the water with the whales. Such beautiful animals. Regal, powerful and in tanks.

Thank you for entertaining us, Shamu.


Sea World Looms

August 11th, 2011

Tomorrow, 5:30a.m.: This family hits the road for Sea World. We will pick up cousins along the way. We have bathing suits and changes of clothes. Sunblock. Snacks that will be smuggled into the park. I am hoping I will walk through the maneating sharks tunnel without thinking about EQ’s. I am hoping I will watch the Shamu spectacle without constantly worrying if he is going to murder his handlers. I am hoping I won’t cry at the injustice of all the pretty caged sea life and my stint as hypocrite by purchasing tickets and supporting zoos. I am pretty sure I will be totally obsessed with watching my son’s reactions to seeing dolphins up close, sea turtles, orcas, etc. and that my joy at seeing him joyful will override any guilt I am currently experiencing about caged sea life. I’m relieved the Dadda is: Going with us. Cash! Keys! Kids! Cash! Cash! Aaaannnnnd—Sea World!

Nice dolphins! So sorry you are caged.



The Magic Of Cousins

August 5th, 2011

And now: It’s August, in case you hadn’t noticed, or, like me, are mentally still in early Spring—although the heat makes it hard not to notice something summerish is going on in a big, uncomfortable way (here in the valley).

Summer means cousins. Two! Arriving to the perpetual delight of my son. He laughs at 8 year old H’s jokes and antics, the best audience an 8 year old boy could have. He does whatever his 4 year old cousin A tells him to, with joy. He follows them everywhere. Up trees.

Tree kids!


Strike a pose!

Plays quietly in the sand for an hour, then—

Quiet sandplay…

screams for an hour when H becomes the scary sea monster—again and again and again.


All very good exercise promoting healthy appetites.

Making faces while eating!

Leading to much cozy downtime and a good night’s sleep for all.

Cousin downtime is magical.

A mama breathes easy. Then goes out and parties with her sisters until 1:30a.m., drinking Sex On The Beach and dancing like a madwoman. Yep. Good times. I heart summer, people. I. Many hearts. Summah. Woo hoo! zzzzzzzzzzz….

A mama parties. And pays for it the next morning…



I Won The Pans!

July 16th, 2011

So Carmageddon may be gearing up right now in hot old Los Angeles, but who cares? I WON PANS! A set of All Clad stainless steelers. How did you do it, PB? you ask.

I entered the Pioneer Woman contest and out of 30,000 entries me and another chick WON. Unreal! As my husband says, you can’t win if you don’t enter. I’ve been entering her generous contests for 3 1/2 years. AND I FINALLY WON!!! Can I use the pans? Well, since my husband burned up the bottom of my spankin’ cool Macy’s saute pan (still in the house—Mr. Wonderful STILL thinks he is going to “fix it”) and since I seem to have a saucepan inherited from my childhood and another saucepan and frying pan from Ikea, both as flimsy as the store (I don’t know about yours, but our IKEA is always shaking)—the answer is a resounding YES. YES I CAN USE THESE WONDERFUL PANS THAT I WILL HAVE FOR A LIFETIME.


O saute pan! So sad. But I don’t care now!

Thank you O Pioneer Woman!

Carmageddon? Pshaw. Bring it on!


The Baby Blessing

July 12th, 2011


So the baby blessing took place in my mother’s faintly overgrown backyard, guests’ heads thunked by falling trumpet vine blossoms (they are as large and as heavy as some sandwiches), the mingling of shadows and vines and succulents forcing the sun to do that magical dappling-of-life number that can be so very relaxing. The blessed babe wore white frills and was draped in thin blue ribbons and other appropriate blessing bits administered by the handsome monk in a three piece suit. As the ceremony progressed, I found myself utterly moved and in each moment, as Zen as the Zen blessing itself and despite (or because of?) the 12 page prayer we all recited. A breeze sent from the ocean toyed with our hair, the blessed babe’s ribbons and our prayer pages: Lovely, I thought, glancing at my husband, worried he might not be into it—but he was chanting, too, and going-with-the-flow and this made me happy—not that he wouldn’t go-with-the-flow, he’s very open to new experiences (he is a writer, after all)—but it was nice to see him enjoying himself and not at all bothered by 12 pages of recitation. He was sitting next to our little boy—who was watching the blessed babe intently—sitting next to my niece, sitting next to the sliding glass door, through which I could easily spy the generous buffet for when it was all over. I studied the blessed babe’s parents whenever I looked up from the 12 page prayer, mommy obviously in a happy place, chanting, daddy bouncing his little cherished on his knee, my mother’s yard transformed into a pretty bit of temple in the world, a sweetspot, a Zen-O-Rama patch working its Om on us. I can’t believe I just wrote that. But I’m being true to memory, for once, and at the time I thought, again (with a growling stomach): Lovely.

Om, little guy! Om!

The post-blessing-feast also took place in the backyard, at a long table with an ample collection of trumpet vine blossoms. Attending were parents, a piano teacher, the handsome, super-stylish monk, grandparents, a famous mystery writer, a runway model, an adorable three and a half year old boy, my niece, a copywriter and his wife (she an obviously struggling writer), a screenwriter, a former equestrienne, a radio airtime ad salesman and a housewife—some titles and descriptions mentioned above belonging to all and the same person (Om!).

The famous mystery writer asked me to describe my middle grade novel. So I threw her my logline. The monk perked up right away, brows raised. “She’s only 11 years old and she has to rip the mutant’s heart out?” he asked, either astounded or impressed by the climax of my novel, I’m not sure. “Sounds interesting!” said the famous mystery writer. And we all discussed middle grade books we remembered reading as children—and we all, each one of us, remarked upon the importance of books stretching imagination and requiring thinking-readings from young audiences. I asked the famous mystery writer if the revising process ever ends. She shrugged and stabbed her tender poached salmon with her fork—more than once. “There are some books I would like to go back and revise even now,” she told me—then shrugged. “But nevermore.” Or something like that. She said something like nevermore. And the monk (was he wearing a Rolex watch—if so, it suited him—a naturally elegant man—you would like him) launched into his telling of meeting the boy destined to be the next Dalai Lama. Or he met the reincarnation of the last Dalai Lama—I mean the one before the current Dalai Lama. Or maybe all Lamas are one and the same. I’m not sure. But it was a beautiful blessing and a fascinating lunch and the first-time parents and their baby are even more special in my eyes after that day in an ordinary, faintly overgrown backyard transformed. People did that. People just came right on in and made magic together in suburbia. Fascinating.



Happy 4th Of July!

July 5th, 2011

Kapow Preschool Art!

On Toys…

June 6th, 2011

It took a while getting here—praise all that is holy—but we reached this phase: When I tell my son we are going to a store he immediately tells me there will be toys there and that he will be taking one home.

Roar! Mmmph…

I hear some parents in the toys sections of stores adamantly telling their kids, I CAN’T AFFORD THAT, WE DON’T HAVE ENOUGH MONEY, THAT’S TOO EXPENSIVE, NO, NO, NO. I have decided that this particular way of communicating with a child is not my style. I don’t want my son to grow up with money issues. I want him to believe there is enough money in the world for him. I want him to know that abundance, that money, that buying things is great—but not possible, practical or something to expect with each visit to a store that carries toys, cars, sailboats, RV’s, diamond studded watches, Go Karts, giant stuffed animals, remote controlled helicopters, Wolf ranges, golf clubs, silver barbecue units and anything else fantastic that catches his eye at any given time, etc.

Go, car, go!

So now, before we hit the store I say something like, “Today, we are going to the store to get such and such and we can also look at the toys, but we’re not buying toys this time.” Bam. Simple. End of story. I watch him nod and process this information. And—praise all that is holy and right in this world—I watch him accept it. Once we’re in the toy aisle, he may ask, “Can we take this home?”, but I stick to my guns and say, “Not today, remember? We’re just looking.” Bam. Simple. I watch him accept this. If we’re having an I-am-tired-because-I-get-up-so-darn-early-and-my-nap-wasn’t-enough sort of day, in which case he will press the toy issue to the point of, “What? Oh, no!” and tears, I calmly stick to my “Not today, Love,” story until the weepiness passes. If he continues crying, I say, calmly, “I’m sorry you’re upset. Maybe we should go to the car so you can finish crying.” At which point he snaps out of his distress, continues looking at toys and eventually comes willingly to the cash register.

I do remind him of all the toys he has to play with at home. This seems to help him accept not buying a new toy. I do assure him he has birthdays and that Christmas exists and other special occasions. Assurances help. They really do.


I have no idea if I’m creating serious money issues for him at 3 and a half years old, making his life better or worse, but hopefully better and hopefully I’m not screwing him up, like I feel I would be if I kept telling him, “No, we don’t have the money.”

And so: I carry on in the world of parenting, gripping my sense of positivity (sometimes hanging onto it by a thread) so that I can feel good about myself as a parent at the end of the day when he’s snoozing and I can finally run for the cookies and milk with a sigh like an earthquake and so much love in my heart for that little boy I’m amazed I haven’t burst. No time to burst! Onward, parent!

All boy…




The Website Of PB Rippey

When I’m Sick…

June 1st, 2011

This has been a rocky late Winter, early Spring when it comes to health. My Facebook wall is filled with many mommy tales of recurring colds, coughs that last a month and (arrrgh!) pneumonia. In my house, pink eye was the tip of the illness-berg eventually ploughing right into Good Ship Mommy. See? I only write sentences like that when I’m delirious. I think.

My little love cup!

Out here in the burbs, I don’t have family close by or the types of neighbors I would allow to watch my child while I writhe in flu-agony. I do have “Curious George”. He dropped in as I took over the couch in my bathrobe, weakly fending off the kitten’s attacks and the dog’s wet nose in my face. My son sang and danced and commented on George’s discoveries and suddenly it was almost noon. That was when I called my husband and told him he had to come home.

Many things to do while Mama writhes on couch!

I know from the past few weeks of battling pink eye and colds that there are deeply hidden energy reserves in me—but I couldn’t locate them today. On the one hand, this was devastating—not having energy. On the other, it made me let go, just let go, let him watch George, let him snack on pretzels and Goldfish multi-grain crackers, let him dance around in his pj’s at almost noon, just let him. It doesn’t happen every day. Let the dishes pile up and the dust balls laze through the house. Let both Facebook and my writing be.

I told myself: Do microwave lunch and dinner. Do phone it in from the couch. DON’T have a mommy-meltdown with husband. Do know he is doing his best to get home. Do utilize cold/flu medicine to knock self out once child is under Dadda’s supervision. Let go, let go, let go…

I have a feeling letting go will be this Mama’s monumental challenge through the next decades. Best to start practicing now. (O little Moofy Boofy Luffy Wuffy Love Cup! Wherever you move to after college, I want to move there, too!)

O woe is me…




Kitten, O Kitten…

May 28th, 2011

Last Mother’s Day I received a pet from my lovely husband. Last year, I was more sleepless than I am these days. That beautiful thing called preschool hadn’t started for us yet. 5:00a.m. wakings were still regular occurrences. Another pet to care for in addition to the two cats was hard for my weary, toddler-focused mind to process. Last Mother’s Day, as my lovely husband was pulling Julian’s cage from the car, I believe I yelled out the kitchen window, quite rudely: “WHAT DID YOU DO!!!”

We love animals!

Then, suddenly, last October we adopted Tucker. I’m still in shock. I honestly believe my lovely husband is on a not-so-secret mission to start a home petting zoo. In addition to two cats and a bird, we adopted a dog who needs to eat 3 times a day and have regular daily exercise. Just when the toddler started sleeping until 6:00a.m., we adopted a dog who requires 3:00a.m. potty breaks. And yet—I love him dearly. Who knew I had so much love to give? I am a magical (possibly futuristic) battery pack of love. An endless font (in ocean blue). A—zzzzzzzzzzz.

We love him and his toddler ways!

My lovely husband and I discussed adopting a kitten and, I thought, were in agreement that 2011 was not the year of the kitten, but remained steadfastly the year of the rabbit—several rabbits, in fact—once domesticated beauties repopulating and hopping through all the front yards on our street, but in no way in need of attention from me beyond the carrots I toss out for them. “Whew! Thank goodness we’re agreed on the kitten issue!” I told my lovely husband. Yup. That’s what I said.


So this Mother’s Day we welcomed Diggory into our petting zoo home. Now, it’s like he’s always lived here. He is one of us. He is (other than my son, Al and Rudycat and the dog) my baby. See the picture below? Obviously he gets me.

Komputer Kitten! Kute!

My lovely husband’s reasoning: “I’ve always felt bad about you losing Charlotte right after we moved to our Ponderosa. I want you to have your own cat again. I mean, yeah we’ll all love him, but he can be—er, yours,” he said as the kitten ripped his hands to shreds with those kitten needle claws and teeth we’d forgotten kittens possess.

Wild Diggory! He hurts.

Of course I adore him, even though it looks as though I cut myself or shoot up because of all the pricks and scratches on my hands and feet. He’s fun to cuddle when he’s asleep. Although he wakes me up intermittently in the dead of night by sticking said needle claws in my back, you only live once and it’s nice for T to have a kitten, for Al and Rudy to have their sedentary cat lives shaken up a bit, for the dog to have one feline who doesn’t hiss at him, for the Mama to have another opportunity to spread her love around as she chugs her morning coffee and for my lovely husband to have his family w/pets—a unit, a joy, a blessing that was a long time coming—for both of us.

He loves books!

Rock on all you late bloomers. That’s right: Rock on! Now please excuse me while I nap before everyone wakes——-oh. Too late.

Playing together!



Happy Mother’s Day, 2011…

May 9th, 2011

The power and beauty of art.

I heart preschool!

PB Writes

The Website Of PB Rippey

Easter, 2011 (With Sneezes)…

April 25th, 2011

It all started with the Easter Egg Tree. We painted/colored it and little accompanying eggs and added a large decorative egg and foam bunnies. We also made foam bunnies to send to relatives and T completed several Easter cards before totally burning out and threatening to throw his Thomas train (tucked into the cargo hold of his mega yellow submarine) at me. I put the crafts and cards away.

The EET (Easter Egg Tree, duh!)…

Until it was time to color eggs, but he made short work of THAT silly craft—or, rather, he turned coloring eggs into something fun, since I wouldn’t let him bash the hard boiled eggs on windows or couch arms or feed them to the dog. That’s my boy! Using your creative noggin! I was tired of egg stuffs, anyway—the dye takes so long if you are aiming for luscious shades. And, anyway, it’s not about ME at Easter. It’s about T. And J, of course, exiting dire circumstances. And the dog—shedding. And Dadda working overtime. Mama single-parenting. From 6:00a.m. to 9:00p.m.-ish. Sometimes. Without a dishwasher.

Monocle, or magnifying glass? Only T knows. And J, of course—along with The Universe.

Egg Dipper As Magnifying Glass…

The dog took matters into his own hands and, while T and I were in his room playing trains and space shuttles, got his nose up on the dining room table and made a meal of the 5 eggs we had colored. T and I returned to the living room to find egg shells and smeared yolk on the floor and a very unhappy doggy.

EEGD (Easter egg eating dog…)…

Then T’s preschool’s Spring Break hit and along with it sneezing fits that turned into a cold for T the day before Easter and, on Easter Morn, misery—6:00a.m.—when he woke for the day after waking every hour all night (poor little guy).

T and his basket in the early a.m.

His cold stopped us from driving to Santa Barbara and visiting the relatives and the beach, but luckily did not stop T from eating his chocolate bunny and jellybeans. This was hard for a mother concerned by her son being repulsed by green vegetables to watch, especially when she was helpless to add flaxseed or wheatgerm to the chocolate bunny and failed to find sugarless jellybeans—so she returned to bed and slept until after 9:00a.m. And, later, had a 2 hour nap with her son who had a 4 hour nap and when everyone woke up, the house smelled like honey wheat bread.

Looking for that jelly bean!

The day was gray, my son was sick, but the house smelled like honey wheat bread because not only had Mama’s first bread machine in her life arrived the day before, but she had survived the crowds at Walmart to procure all the right ingredients for making her first loaf, which her son loved, I mean which my son loved, and which I made, and—I have lost all perspective. There is much metaphor and simile and parallels to be had in this post, but I’m just too tired. As Ingrid told Bogey in that movie: You’ll have to think for both of us—and keep it to yourself.

My first loaf! Why does that sound weird?

After eating my bread, T felt so perky that he joined his dad outside in the yard and they made the beginnings of a vegetable garden and buried watermelon seeds in the earth. Thus, Easter reigned supreme in our house, or, rather, just enough for a little boy who doesn’t know what Easter is, except that chocolate bunnies are involved and Easter Egg Trees and a lot of bunny hoopla and consumer ads suggesting hams and garden sheds and festive outfits. Oh, little lovecup of mine—it’s all about love, love, love. That’s all you need to know. Much love, Your Chocolate Pimp And Ultimate Caregiver Of All Time.

Great garden beginnings…


Chalk Talk…

April 15th, 2011

Talk to the chalk, man!


I’m so confused.

Oh! Okay.

Love, love, love, love, love!




Self-Portrait (With Camera)…

April 4th, 2011



Blog Break: The Editor…

March 27th, 2011

Starting so young!



Blog Break…

March 25th, 2011

Young Scientist!

He views all!



Blog Break: Tide Pools

March 21st, 2011

As I was saying, It was an amazing minus tide late Friday afternoon in Santa Barbara, coinciding with (or because of?) the Super Moon. I forgot my camera, but my sister had her phone and all its very cool, super smart apps. The wind was up, so we couldn’t stay long—T still has a lingering cough—but we enjoyed what we got.

Tide Pool! Ooooooooo!

Whether she’s wild or crazed or placid to the eyes, the ocean never ceases to inspire me with her colors and moods and artsy puzzles when she gathers up her skirts and takes a break from old beach. To see my son delight in tide pools? I mean—I hoped he would at least like the ocean and visiting the beach, but that he would squeal and yell I SEE ONE, MAMA, I SEE A HERMIT CWAB and get so excited by anemones and mussels and barnacles—perhaps we share an “ocean” gene. That for his bedtime stories he reaches for books ocean-related? That he can say Architeuthis Dux (archisus ducks) and know that it’s a giant squid, that he can point out a weedy sea dragon (dwagon) or anglerfish—okay, yes I buy him these books, but he also requests them in addition to and usually more than his Dr. Seuss collection and Brown Bear, Brown Bear and Quick As A Cricket. He likes his ocean books. They interest him. And—I admit it—this thrills his mama no end. Following him as he raced from tide pool to pool, sharing his excitement when he discovered sea-bits, traipsing around the living museum of beach, wind blasting our cheeks, ocean air filling our lungs—bliss.

More Tide Pool—can you ever have enough? No…


Torturing My Mother…

March 14th, 2011

At the Los Angeles Zoo, well into our visit, just after a lunch of cheese pizza and a drink in a container shaped like a smiling crocodile, I gripped my son’s hand and hauled him quickly past the chimpanzee exhibit, which we had to pass by in order to get to the kiddie train, which was suddenly all T could talk about. I glanced behind me and noticed my mother was not keeping up and I experienced a wave of panic. Chimps were pounding—POUNDING—on the viewing window, aggravating other chimps so that in seconds chimp-mania could be heard from the LA Zoo down the coast to the Queen Mary in Long Beach, a crescendo of nightmarish OOOk OOOk AHHHk AHHHks. I was looking around for zoo guards or safehouses or trees I might be able to climb with my son and my mom and hide from escaped chimps or if the chimps discovered us in the tree, I could kick them down with my Nikes and my mom could bash them with her purse or no, over there was the brand new elephant exhibit, we could rush over there and hide behind a friendly Asian elephant, except that the fence surrounding the exhibit hummed and was probably highly electric, so our best bet was the desert tortoise exhibit—I was thinking as the chimps went insane—and hiding in the tortoise dens, perhaps using a pretzel to coax one to block the entrance with its massive shell so that———

Because the zoo, for me, is a little Jurassic Park waiting to explode with escapees, starting with the chimp exhibit and spreading from there. The first time I took T to the zoo, when he was three months old, I spent the visit furious with myself for not stashing a crowbar in the bottom of the stroller just in case escapees threatened us and I felt so, so irresponsible for bringing a little innocent babe to a park filled with dangerous beasts and if my father-in-law hadn’t been with us, I would have insisted to my husband that we leave the ghastly zoo immediately because it was bad enough that the enclosures/pens/exhibits were so small (I mean, no wonder the chimps go nuts and the lions are always asleep and the otter swims in circle after hopeless circle) and worse that one earthquake could unleash residents of the African veldt and then where would we be, but running for the exit with the panicked masses. A crowbar, a crowbar, my breast pump for a crowbar, I thought to myself (incessantly) that first visit with T.

“Like those chimps that ripped that guy’s face off,” I told my mom and she looked horrified and responded, weakly, “Whaaaaaat???” “You know,” I said, as we paused on a bench so my son could gulp crocodile-sippy and catch his breath. We were next to the tortoise exhibit. We couldn’t hear the chimps anymore. Perhaps they’d killed each other. “It was all over the news,” I told my mom as I cased the tortoise exhibit for hiding places. “This couple visited a chimp that used to be theirs and that they donated to a wildlife sanctuary type place and during the visit they were attacked by escaped ‘rogue’ chimps and the husband had his face ripped off. You didn’t hear about that?” “Oh my gosh!” my mom said, paling. “Yeah,” I continued. “I think they pretty much wrenched off his nose. Or bit it off, or whatever. And Jane Goodall,” I said as my mom looked like she might throw up, “Jane Goodall would never let her son, when he was a little boy, near the chimps without her because she knew they’d kill him if they could.” My mom was ashen. We followed T past the tortoises and the empty tapir exhibit (TAPIR—HARMLESS, I was thinking) and watched him run gleefully for the kiddie train. I felt guilty. I had not been absolutely truthful with my mom about the Jane Goodall information. I can’t remember if JG said the chimps would actually kill her son, but that bit was crucial to my point—which was: YOU CAN’T TRUST THE WILD, EVEN IF IT’S PENNED. “What really amazes me,” I told my mom as we watched my son listen to the train-ride-lady tell him the train was broken. “Is how people grab their kids and run FOR the chimp exhibit when theh chimps bang on things and bare their teeth and scream. It’s like running FOR the spewing volcano or sailing FOR the whirlpool or sticking out your arm so the rabid dog can gnaw it to the bone.” “Hm,” my mom said with great sadness as I scooped my devastated son up in my arms and promised him an ice cream cone to compensate for no train ride. He lost his balance when I released him and skinned his left knee on concrete. As I carried my weeping, exhausted child a quarter of a mile to the exit and the ice cream stand, I thought about my zoo fear and how I keep coming back for more and I wondered, Who am I? A mother, or a—what’s that word—do I mean sadist—no—it’s coming—wow, the flamingo exhibit really stinks today—I wonder if I’ll get a nap later—oooh, that ice cream looks so good—masochist, that’s it. Am I a mother, or a masochist? No, that’s not right. Am I a mother or a—I would so love some ice cream—a repressed zoologist. No, that’s not right, I thought as my son generously offered me a bite of his vanilla ice cream. Am I a mother or a—what time were we up this morning? 4:30? I’m tired. I’m just tired. Again. Mmm…

I didn’t ask my mom her opinion on whether I was a sadist, masochist, repressed zoologist, paranoid freak or simply brain-fried from lack of sleep. I figured I had put her through enough for one day.




March 2nd, 2011

I’d forgotten how alarming fevers can be. It’s been awhile since my son’s head felt so hot. After changing him from the stifling footed-pj’s into cooler wear, taking his temperature and placing a cold compress on his forehead, I worked hard on tuning out the alarmist-speak in my mind, replacing it with: Fevers are common. Fevers come out of nowhere, at least with my son. Fevers mean his body is fighting the whatever-it-is and this is a good thing. I have friends who traveled with their children in countries where they didn’t speak the language and their kids bloomed fevers and yet—all worked out—meaning, I know the language here, I know where the nearest ER is if necessary, I know how to use the newfangeld beeping thermometer thingies, I am good at reading my son, I have learned something in 3 years about fevers and colds and flu and boo boos and tantrums and head knocks and coughs and all that goes with raising baby to toddler to preschooler.

Healthy little beach bunny!

So I didn’t call the 24/7 nurse or ask my husband his thoughts on taking our son to the ER. I believed the thermometer (instead of upping it 5 to 10 degrees, blindly responding to unhelpful hysteria), called upon my fever-educators (Dr. Spock, Dr. Sears, my sisters, my mommy friends), got him comfortable and waited. And the fever passed. And just as importantly as the passing of this fever? My not freaking out—like that first time he had a fever and of course we were out of town and we freaked out and took him to the ER where he screamed, where the doc on call had no experience with sick babies and had to phone her superior, who of course advised her to give our baby the parent-pacifier-antibiotic: amoxicillin, about which our pediatrician shook his head sadly when we told him because the fever should have been left to just run its course—it wasn’t even 103—but what the hell did we know? Feverish crying baby, nervous new parents up 5 times in the night to call the 24/7 nurse—okay, those days are over. I will never rule out a visit to the ER, but I will also never rule out listening to intuition, staying calm, learning from past sicknesses, continually educating myself as a parent, and above all: Vigilance. “Listen, PB,” someone told me. “If it isn’t serious, LET it not be serious. Okay?” Yep. Okay.

I’ve written all this from my sickbed. No fever. No coffee. No nanny (not that I’ve ever had one). The good news: It’s a preschool day and I think I’ve turned the corner. Hysteria? Ha ha ha! Or, rather: Ha. Ha. Haaaaaaa…OM.


Happy Valentine’s Day

February 14th, 2011

Despite being given a hint of grief from one of T’s preschool teachers because I failed in my two attempts at making jello hearts over the weekend (I even bought silicon molds, then when that fell apart, tried cookie cutters this morning, then when that fell apart raced to Albertson’s and bought mini-cupcakes, which disappointed this particular teacher, who asked if I’d read the expiration date on the box of jello used, who let out a big sigh of disappointment, who shocked the hell out of me by saying the cupcakes were nice, but the kids shouldn’t have that much sugar—and jello is what???—but instead of responding like a Valkyrie, I took the high road and mostly because T loves the school————–you know? I did return with a plate of the leftover, fallen-apart jello, handed it to this teacher and politely explained, “Um. Here…”)—despite anything freaky in the world, it’s a glorious Valentine’s Day, sunny and temperate, and I have the next 2 and 1/2 hours to myself while my son enjoys his V Day party at school.

Valentine’s Day breakfast bear.

Life is hearts. Have a wonderful 2011 Valentine’s Day and remember to send a little love to yourself—because you deserve it. Even if you fail at jello hearts.


On Play…

February 2nd, 2011

I’ve been thinking a lot about “play” lately and how much I do, or don’t, engage in it with my son. Reading, The Last Child In The Woods and Playful Parenting has me worrying about the last time T and I made a fort together or had a picnic in the Ponderosa’s semi-mangy, large enough for a small Civil War re-enactment backyard. Like any mommy, I’m caught up in mealtimes and Target and Trader Joe’s runs and vacuuming up dog hair twice a day and doing laundry before it becomes Everest-ish, so that rather than getting down and dirty with T in a mud puddle, I’ll let him get down and dirty while I glance at him through the windows as I cook veggie hot dogs or Google healthy waffle recipes for kids.

Mama! Play with me!

Oh, PB. Really? Listen: Step away from the Google. Leave Target for another day. Take the pot off the burner—your son is not going to starve if he doesn’t eat dinner right at six. Go outside and pick up that monster truck and take it over to him and make it make friends with his autos and dinos and giraffes and get some play-action going, Mama. He needs it. You need it. He’ll remember it.

He’s your only child and, to be quite frank, these days won’t be coming back, PB.

I think you’d better go for it.