know your limits

You might recall that dinner time can be a struggle at The Kidling’s house.

What’s that you say? You weren’t aware of that? You thought The Kidling was a perfect angel who sits politely at the table, eats every vegetable The Mama places in front of her, chews with her mouth closed, sits still, eats until she is full, thanks me for the delicious meal, asks to be excused, then clears her plate without being asked? Let me remedy that misconception.

As I wasn’t really saying. Dinner time + The Kidling = Struggle.

I hope you are paying attention, because there will be a quiz… if I can ever get around to finishing this story.

The Family’s dinner time rules—that eating and conversation are the only two activities acceptable for executing during meal time—are frequently ignored. More often, though, they aren’t ignored, exactly. No, the balance is just disproportionately skewed toward chatter.

Lots and lots of chatter.

Chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter.

So one evening in mid-January when The Kidling paused her dinner, fork in hand, to tell me what was going through her head, I wasn’t at all surprised by the interruption

What did surprise me, though, was what was going through her head. On this evening, Alice told me, “I’m never going to point this at you. I’m never ever going to kill you. I never want to be a pirate… but I do want to find gold! I’m not going to steal it, though.”

At least she knows her limits.

the lovesong of A. Munchkin Kidling

Monday night, The Kidling improvised a magnificent song. It was a lilting ballad, sung in her pitch-perfect contralto. A love song, if you will, and the object of her affection was The Mama—Not muffins. Not Nana. Not Clifford, spaghetti, nor even the mighty theropod. No, on this one, glorious evening, her lyric told a story of love, and it was all for The Mama.

That’s right. Me.

And she delivered every note of this wee tune whilst staring at The Dada.

I didn’t bother to stifle my giggle.

the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth

“I always tell— Most of the time I tell the truth. But sometimes I tell lies.”

-Alice Munchkin Kidling

January 17, 2013

The Name

I clearly hover on the edge of obnoxious when it comes to telling stories about my kid. And okay, I occasionally cross over into the ultra-obnoxious. I admit it. Who am I kidding, I embrace it. In fact, I tell anyone who will listen that I worship at the Church of Alice.

Thus, the book of alice. It feels wise and a bit holy, no?


The Kidling’s ability to observe, synthesize, demonstrate, practice, and master new concepts never ceases to amaze me. A little sponge, she learns especially even the things I wish she would not. Still, some new tasks and concepts are difficult for my wee Einstein. The things she picks up with ease and those with which she struggles are neither predictable nor classifiable. She adds new vocabulary to her repertoire with astonishing ease, yet cannot consistently distinguish her “M”s from her “N”s.  She skips like an old pro, but is still struggling with the ever-elusive cartwheel.

Perhaps the funniest of Alice’s struggles is dressing herself. Now, I don’t mean The Kidling can’t put on her socks, shoes, pants, or sweaters herself. She even has buttoning under control. I mean, seriously. Buttons are hard. But they are no match for The Kidling.

Though she may have a seemingly inexplicable phobia of cardigans as an adult.

But The Kidling has met her match with her undergarments. Underwear, underwears, undies, unders… No matter what name we give this formidable foe, they present a challenge. And because The Kidling does dress herself every morning, The Parents often aren’t aware until bathtime that she has been foiled, yet again, by that tiny swath of cotton. On that final step before sweet, sweet freedom to play to her heart’s content in the tub, the ever-present adversary presents itself with a baggy front and a too tight back, with bows on the inside and tags on the outside and, my personal favorite, with one butt cheek entirely exposed because she squeezed her tiny little body into a leghole and has one leg through the waist.

But The Parents remain steadfast that The Kidling needs to get this figured out. We are more than happy to help with those tricky undergarments whose printed-on tags have since faded, but otherwise, The Kidling is on her own to figure out which way is up. Last night before bed, when Alice was getting into her jammies, she was unconvinced of her ability to conquer the panty puzzle. I suggested that she hold them up and try to figure out which way they needed to go, then go ahead and put them on. If, after trying and testing, they were on crooked (or backwards, or sideways), then I promised my assistance.

But she didn’t need my help. Why? She had figured out the answer to the underwear quandary. She had learned a universal truth, and told me so, declaring the answer to be simple: “My labia is smaller than my bum.”

True enough.

sick day

The Kidling took a sick day Wednesday and I was the fortunate parent whose turn it was to stay home with her. And no, I don’t say that in jest. You see, when The Kidling gets sick, she is darned near her normal self. In other words, sick days are “force fluids/administer medicine/enforce nap time/and play” days. “Snuggle far more than usual” days. Oh, and “indulge The Kidling’s whims because a sick kidling breaks my heart” days.

See why I was glad it was my turn to stay with her?

Because I got to let Alice sleep in, when I got back from my morning run, I sat down at my computer and leisurely tended to the book of alice. I responded to long-neglected blog comments (you might have noticed) and perused my notebooks for little Alice gems around which to build a story. Then, I spotted one from another sick day late last year.


On this particular sick day, Alice and I must have had one of our “I love you/I love you more” arguments. This is the very best kind of argument, as it is impossible to lose. Alice sealed her victory when she took my face in her tiny hands and turned my head to the side. Then she placed those little hands on my shoulders and whispered in the voice reserved for her most sacred secrets, “I love you more than Clifford and a giraffe stacked on top of each other with. Clifford first. And. The giraffe second.”

Cue melting heart.