and the “who’s the adult in this relationship” award goes to…

Sigh. Not The Mama.


The Family had a positively gorgeous Sunday. Late to rise, but quick to embrace the day (once we got our arses out of bed), we cleaned, played, gardened, yoga-ed, and dined to our hearts’ content. One of those days for the record books, really. Well…


As the clock ticked toward bedtime, I had to give The Kidling a few straightforward instructions.  Nothing my naïve mind thought worthy of a meltdown, but simple directions such as, ‘one more minute to play, then shower time.’ For those of you not responsible for a young life, this in the functional equivalent of  ‘remember to alternate feet when you walk’ or ‘you have to exhale before you inhale again.’ This clearly fell into the category of basic bossing (because The Kidling interprets any moment not spent playing freely according to her whim as being bossed around).

That’s when The Shit hit The Fan.*

She screamed. I didn’t waiver. She yelled. I remained steadfast.

And that pissed her off.

“I don’t care!” The Kidling screamed with every ounce of anger she could muster.

“Fine then.” I replied coolly, “Then I guess I don’t care, either.”

You can guess how well that went over.

More screaming, more yelling, with a healthy dash of crying and whining. Mix until frothy, then add a dash of hissy fit. 

It came to a head with me icily directing my obstinate child between tasks with wordless finger-pointing. Words are for people, I thought to myself, and this creature is no human being. She told me in no uncertain terms how awful I was. It was getting pretty ugly, when suddenly, The Kidling stopped fighting me. She turned to face me, held her hands up, and began to arrange her fingers.

Oh, shit, I thought. Because I knew exactly what she was doing.

The Kidling was declaring a truce.

Once she had those awkward little fingers figured out, she signed as she said to me, “We care about each other’s feelings.”

So I gave that amazing little child of mine a hug and I raised my white flag.


* I think I just introduced two new characters…

don’t inhale the concoction

Sometimes, The Mama can be a little indulgent.

No comment, The Dada. It’s my blog and I can understate if I want to.

I like to think that letting The Kidling do what she wants every now and then–even when her request is unorthodox–is  good for her creativity. And, fine, I get tired of saying “no” all of the freaking time. So when The Kidling asked for a bowl for her pine needles the other day so she could “make truffle oil,” I complied. No harm done, and I drew the line at wet ingredients.

See!? I set boundaries. So there.

As The Kidling sprinkled and stirred, she requested additional ingredients. I chose spices that met one of two conditions, 1) they were white, or 2) they wouldn’t stain. Salt, cream of tartar, coriander, pepper… Just as I was running out of ingredients that fit my criteria, The Kidling declared her truffle oil complete. I asked how it turned out, and she told me, “It smells marvelous, but it doesn’t feel marvelous if it gets up your nose.”

Remember that the next time you have the cinnamon nearby.

packing with the pint-sized lobbyist

Sometimes The Kidling just don’t know what’s best for her. She sasses when a simple, “I understand” would remove her from an undesirable situation. She demands when a “please” would virtually guarantee her request would be granted. She whines.

And whines and whines and whines.

Other times, though, The Kidling gets it. I mean, she really gets it. Such was the case this weekend when we were packing for an overnight excursion. She and The Dada were choosing items to pack for her amusement on the long* car ride. They had gathered books, blankets, and buddies when Alice requested her portable DVD player. Before The Dada had a chance to respond, my pint-sized lobbyist reasoned, “It will keep me from saying, ‘Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?'”

Well played, Alice. Well played.


* All times expressed in units kidling. Translation=2 hours.

the utility of hand(s)

“Two hands come in handy. But one hand doesn’t.”

-Alice Munchkin Kidling

January 21, 2013


I learned something new Wednesday night.

The Kidling has an amazing book from which she has been choosing the vast majority of her bedtime stories. As a recent reward (for good behavior. The Family wholly supports bribery), Alice wanted a book “about dragons that is even longer than The King’s Stilts.” I thought we were certainly doomed, but our fantastic local book store delivered: a rather long tome filled with a dozen rather long tales.

Wednesday Alice chose an adaptation of Excalibur. I read it to her and then we snuggled up for what I thought would be a typical bedtime cuddle. Oh, how wrong I was.

Alice: (with tears in her eyes) Mom, I am sad.

The Mama: Why, sweetie?

Alice: Because of that story. Because of what you said.

The Mama: Which part?

Alice: Because he had to leave his parents.

The Mama: I know. It is really sad. The thing is, Alice, parents will do anything to protect their children. The King was afraid someone would hurt Arthur, so he had to protect him.

Alice: But I’m sad he had to leave.

The Mama: It is terrible, Alice. I think losing a child would be the worst thing in the entire world. But good grown-ups will do anything to protect a child.

Alice: Even give them away?

The Mama: (thinks: oh shit!) (says: something I cannot recall exactly, but I can recall it did not assuage her fears.) 

When I went downstairs to debrief The Dada, he mentioned his own story-telling technique. You see, in this particular anthology, someone always dies, is seriously wounded, is abandoned by a parent, is trapped in a cave, is—  Well, you get the picture. The Dada, wise soul who he is, told me that he pauses the story when they get to the gruesome sections and asks, “Alice, you know this is pretend, right?” To which our darling daughter replies, “I know. It’s a miff.”

Several lessons here:

  1. Don’t read terrifying stories before bedtime;
  2. Sometimes less is more when talking about genuinely horrible things;
  3. The Dada can be damn smart; and
  4. My little 4.5-year-old is an expert in miffology.

I think I love her.

it’s opposable!

By now, you have probably figured out that my child is a damn genius. Yeah, yeah, I’m sure your kid is smart, too. Mine is just smarter. Sorry. Some things are inarguable.

Late last week, The Kidling inquired about her hand. This brilliant child o’ mine was curious about her digits, and asked “How come this one (points to her thumb) is different from all the other fingers?”

Evolution, baby. And you are the future.

on mindfulness

Sometimes Alice surprises me.

Fine, she always surprises me, but occasionally she surprises me by surprising me in a different manner than the manner in which I am usually surprised.

Don’t you wish I had left it at that first nearly correct statement? Sometimes accuracy puts a wrinkle in your rhythm, no?

This particular surprise falls into the category of self-awareness. Alice, of course, is the same kidling who doesn’t recognize she has to pee until she is about to wet herself. Imagine my surprise* when she equates physical sensation with its corresponding emotion.

We had just stepped out of a cool morning into a warm car. Alice made a comment on the transition, then settled into her booster seat to ponder. After a long moment of quiet, she informed me, “When my body goes from warm to cold, that means I am scared.”

Whoa, right? Never having heard the term ‘blood-chilling’, she knew precisely the phenomenon. I said something to the effect of “You, Alice Munchkin Kidling, are a genius who will some day end hunger and find cures for all that ails the human body and the human psyche.” Then we moved on.

After telling me a little story about her capacity for love and food, she continued the temperature meme, telling me, “When my body goes from warm to cold, that can also mean that I’m warning myself not to talk so loud.”

An internal volume control system? I think she might be on to something…


* I’m going for the record for the highest rate of “surprise” variations in a single blog post.

Count: 7

Rate: 2.83 percent

Whaddaya think? World record?

on canine gestation

The Kidling is fascinated by the back story. Every back story. She wants to know how a thing happened, and then how the thing that made it happen happened. And then how the thing that made the thing that made it happen happened happened.

It can be exhausting.

It can also be positively adorable. Such is the case when she let’s her little munchkin brain go wild and start to transfer what we’ve talked about to other situations.

Like birds. And Great Danes.

We were driving home from daycare one afternoon when out of the blue, Alice declared, “Oh yeah. Great Danes don’t have eggs. They just lay their babies. They don’t get hatched.”

I will never be able to keep up with that child.