Happy Hank

Happy Hank. He’s three. He’s potty training. He’s full of nonsensical monologues that he needs to share very VERY urgently. The other day I said, “Hank. We are not even going to talk about going outside until you are wearing underwear.” Happy Hank replied happily, “OK!” ran off and returned like this. “I’m wea-wing unda-wear!” Nice.


I’ve had three-year-old boys before. They’re all weirdos but Hank has an added advantage as the beneficiary of his two older brothers’ loving guidance. He not only has to do everything they do, but he picks up everything they say. Hank runs around joyfully shouting things like “Goodbye cruel world!” (“G’bye cwool wold!”) and “Come on over here and fight me!”

Here are the three of them doing the scooter ballet – this is apparently an irresistible urge when a kid gets on a scooter. They were all figure-scooting around the driveway last week. So graceful.


But my happy Hank also says things like, “You look so pwetty, mommy!” whenever he catches me checking a mirror. And “I like your pink nails, mommy!” whenever I paint them. So overall I guess it’s worth keeping him.

I’m doing my best to try to prevent any future middle child angst (hopeless I’m sure) so I made him this illustration of a story we made up. It’s about a little kid named Hank who loved airplanes so much that one day when he was running around the front yard with his arms out going blblblblblb pretending to be an airplane he just took off into the air. Nobody could believe it! Mommy and baby Rosie were shocked. Big brothers Milo and Walter were amazed. And everybody was so jealous. They all watched him fly around above the yard until he got tired of going blblblblblb and he came down for a smooth somersault landing and everybody clapped and cheered and begged him to teach them how to fly like airplanes. The end.

And you know, it’s not so far from the truth. This sweet kid is so happy he kind of defies gravity. We all like him a lot. But we love him the most when he wears underwear.


The Sun’s Better!

Hank (age 3) on the arrival of spring: Look! The sun’s better!

I guess he was sick?

But now that it’s April and we’ve all had sufficient time to charge, he’s feeling much better.

Me too, sun. Me too.

So much better that I was finally up for doing this…

Hank loves to “walk” to the grocery store in the red wagon. They have free cookies there. Last year when we did this, baby Rosemary was small enough for me to wear in a sling and I could pull groceries home in the wagon with Hank. Now 14-month-old Rosie is A. too heavy for the sling and B. refusing to be treated differently than the big kids. Even if it means constantly falling over in the wagon as we bump along. So the kids get all the wagon real estate and the applesauce, eggs, bananas, jam, and milk all ride home in my backpack.

Glad you’re back up on your feet again, Sun! We should totally hang out this summer.

The Curious Case of the Blankie in the Night Time

We got disappearing blankies around here, folks. And disappearing socks. And disappearing binkies, sippies, stuffed foxes, seals, cicadas, and bats. But do not fret! Inspector Tired Dad is on the case. Day or night (usually night) he will track down your wayward possessions and reveal the culprit (who is always and without fail YOU). Even if it means climbing up into the treehouse at midnight severely underdressed for the cold.

Love language, y’all.


Everything You Need to Know…

…About nonverbal 1 1/2 year old Baby Hank.


Day One at the Beach:



Day Three at the Beach: 



And now you know.

Cicada Boy

My little Walter is a bug kid. He’s never met a bug he didn’t like or wasn’t willing to touch. Butterflies, beetles, ants, spiders, rolly-pollies, inchworms, caterpillars and especially CICADAS.

What is a cicada, you ask? Well let me tell you since this is now a subject on which I am very well educated.

They are not locusts. They do not eat crops. They are not a biblical plague. They do not sting or bite or seem to really care if they get eaten. (Walter doesn’t eat them, but the birds do)

They DO have red eyes (at least the kind here in the midwest – in Asia there are prettier ones). Some of them do appear periodically – once every 13 years or once every 17 years. Others appear annually or biannually so don’t worry, we’ll never have a summer without at least a few. Cicadas do sing their little hearts out all day everyday looking for love. And if you’ve never had your sanity threatened by the deafening screeching/ticking sounds of thousands of cicadas singing all at once then you really haven’t lived.

Also! When they come up out of the ground at the beginning of the summer they crawl right out of their skins. Then they very generously leave the carapaces (best word ever) all over the place for little boys to find and collect. Like a super creepy easter egg hunt that lasts for three months. (We have six mason jars full of exoskeletons in the garage. Six.)

But the best thing about cicadas is how much Walter loves them. Somehow they speak to his nurturing little boy soul. When he catches one he wants to pet it like a kitten and tell it how good and nice it is. (Personally? I think the true appeal is the cicadas’ poetic metamorphosis in returning to the light aboveground. They strip off their skins – their old selves – to reveal that there were wings and the capacity to fly inside them all along! It’s exciting! It’s beautiful! It’s probably not why Walter loves them.)

But whatever the reason, he has bonded with them. He has been a cicada for Halloween, he has a cicada tote bag for school, he has all the cicada books available for sale on amazon, he has a special cicada beanie baby, he has a display cicada inside a glass cube, those six mason jars full of shells, a tee shirt, art on the wall… I even have a brass cicada necklace that he gave me for my birthday a couple of years ago. It’s quite a statement piece. And naturally over the years I’ve drawn dozens and dozens of pictures of cicadas at his request. Here’s one I did today. It’s a cicada portrait of the two of us.


My sweet boy is graduating from preschool this week and I know his cicada-obsession is gradually waning. I’m sure he’ll always have a soft spot for bugs and I know that in the coming years he’ll have lots of other exciting big boy interests. But nothing can really compare with the ardor of a little child who has been enchanted by some small magic invisible to the rest of us. Seeing the world through Walter’s eyes has brought me so much creepy crawly joy.

So keep singing your song, cicadas and Cicada Boy! You are all miracles to me.


Scary Story

It was a dark and stormy night…

Just kidding it was an unseasonably warm November afternoon. I was nine months pregnant with Hank (one week away from his due date) and the kids were riding their bikes in the driveway and enjoying the sixty-ish degree weather. When our neighbor stopped by and asked if we wanted to join her on a short walk to the pond we agreed.

The kids brought their bikes and we hiked the one whole block over to the neighborhood pond and hopped on the little paved trail that circles the water. Emily (our neighbor) and I were talking, getting to know each other, having a grand old time when in the middle of a sentence I heard Emily gasp. I looked up in time to see Milo about twenty feet ahead of us, still on his bike, actually flying through the air like the ET kid.

Milo Pond pic

That’s why this is a legitimate scary story and not just a mommy-scary story. I suspect paranormal, extraterrestrial, voodoo, or possibly leprechaun involvement. I mean. This can not be explained. Why didn’t he fall off his bike? Why didn’t the bike just fall over? How could he possibly have been going fast enough to completely clear the rocks? It doesn’t make sense!!!

Anyway, as I was pondering these things Milo’s miraculous flight ended with a big splash and me charging after him to the edge of the pond. At this point I’m hoping he’ll just stand up in the water and maybe whine a little when I insist he haul his bike out of there. But my hopes were squelched immediately as Milo’s head popped up out of the water and then went right back down again. (This is the part that’s mommy-scary)

That’s when I thought it might be a nice idea for me to go swimming too. Me and my super pregnant belly slid/jumped into the water after him and got there before Milo really started panicking. You guys, that water was up to my neck! Oh yeah, and freezing cold. Also DISGUSTING. Pretty sure it was 80% duck poop in there. But Milo was ok and I handed him out to Emily who was waiting at the edge to help us (thanks Emily!). Then I figured I might as well get the bike since there was no way anybody was getting back in that cesspool again for any reason. So I used my feet to pry it up out of the mud (please let it have been mud) at the bottom and handed that off to Emily too. Then I had to haul my giant self out of the water and we all walked home. Shivering like we’d had an alien encounter. WHICH WE MIGHT HAVE.

The end.

(Not pictured: Me nine months pregnant – the paper wasn’t big enough) 

Mom Won’t Let You Play With Guns? No Problem.

The following is a pictorial catalogue of things my disturbingly resourceful little boys have found to stand in for their most coveted toy.


Because He’ll Only Be Three Once

Time is really speeding up around here.

The other day we had some rare March sunshine and my not-a-baby-anymore, Walter, asked if we could “Please go outside and lay down on a blanket to look at the animals in the clouds.” I said, “(Sniffle, sniffle) Okay.

And we did. And I took a mental picture and drew it out so I wouldn’t forget.

His little three-year-old legs covered up to his thighs in his dad’s special Superman socks (so he looked like a fifties pin-up girl). The Superman shirt with a cape that he loves because his big brother has the same one and because he wants so badly to be a strong, big, brave hero. The sunglasses that he stole right off my face because he somehow knows that there is nothing of mine that I wouldn’t happily give up for him. The beautiful day in the middle of a dreary wet March that I otherwise might have let pass by unnoticed.

And we found a frog in the clouds. And a feather in the grass. And he asked if he could have grilled cheese for lunch. Cut into butterflies. And I said yes.

And for a little while, time slowed down.

Amber Alert

Going to the St. Louis City Museum with your friends? Fun!

Going to the City Museum with your two year old? Amber alert.

“This time he’s been kidnapped for sure…”


Dendrophobia – fear of trees


Both my kids have it. What did I do wrong? Whenever we walk or drive through trees or tall bushes, both of the kids will coach themselves, “It’s ok, they’re just trees.” Or, “Trees aren’t scary. Trees are nice!” Because they’ve heard it so often. At least we are on the road to recovery. But it adds a whole new facet of adventure to walks in the park. Did you have a phobia when you were a kid?