our obligatory back-to-school post (but this one is pretty good)

You might have noticed that The Family has been MIA. Not actually MIA, so don’t go making any phone calls. But seriously, how funny would that be:

Operator: 9-1-1, what’s the emergency?
Dear Reader: I want to file a missing people report. The Family has been too quiet lately.
Operator: Your family?
Dear Reader: No. The Family. I haven’t heard much from The Mama in the last couple of months.
Operator: Your Mama?
Dear Reader: Hey, you don’t have to be rude!
Operator: No, I mean your mother.
Dear Reader: Huh? Oh, no, not my Mama, The Mama. And The Kidling!
Operator: The killing? Is someone hurt?
Dear Reader: No! The KiDling. My favorite kid who I haven’t ever actually met. I know she talks nonstop, and I haven’t heard a peep from her all month. I’m a little worried.
Operator: Okay. We can send an officer out to do a welfare check. What is their address?
Dear Reader: The Family lives in Our Town, The Middle. Oh, and don’t forget to check on The Pup while you are there.
Operator: (silence)

Which is all to say that you might not know what is going on in Our Life. A brief summary: we had school, then it was summer, and now it isn’t.  Now that you are all caught up…

Without going into too much detail, The Kidling has been feeling pretty under the weather. Nothing serious, but she has been sick in that way that includes both naps and steroids. In other words, she was about as ready for bed last night as I am after my third espresso. So, after her shower, we went for a walk. Accompanied by a moonlit sky and striped pajamas, The Mama, The Kidling, and The Pup meandered around the neighborhood until we landed at her school. We walked through the open field past the playground, stopping to count windows in order to determine which teacher was still there working so late into the night. Once we had figured it out, this child of mine–

the same child who told me her retirement plans by December of her kindergarten year. The one who, just weeks before this summer was to begin, looked her teacher square in the eye and told her, “I’m sick of learning, I’m sick of working, and I’m sick of talkin’ about readin’!”

 –gazed up at the three-story brick building, eyes bright in the moonlight, and said,(sigh) I love this place.”

I do, too.

storm season

Here in the middle west, storm season is approaching. Not that, frankly, it ever isn’t storm season in the middle. We just change the type of storms we are referring to. The approaching storm season I am referring to on this fine, cold afternoon is tornado season.


I can tell you I never, ever, in a million billion zillion years thought I would look forward to tornado season, but here we are. This crappy winter has me questioning my very essence.

Perhaps when my brain defrosts I will have other thoughts.

So when The Kidling mentioned tornadoes the other day and suggested that we don’t need to worry about tornadoes here in the middle, I told her that, in fact, we do. Truth be told, the spring after The Kidling was born was a particularly tornado-y one.

No, tornado-y is not a word.

No, I do not care.

I told The Kidling that we had many, many tornado watches and warnings when she was an infant.*  In this basement-less home,** The Dada and I spent a lot of time in the only room on the first floor of the house that didn’t have windows: the world’s tiniest bathroom. We hustled down there with blankets and toys on myriad occasions to wait out the weather.



But when I relayed this story to The Kidling, she was delighted. Before I had a chance to wonder why, she exclaimed, “Thanks for keeping me alive!”

Kidling, it was the least we could do.


* Does anyone actually know which is worse? Like, consistently know? Don’t bother saying yes, because I won’t believe you.
** No, basement-less isn’t a word either. And I still don’t care.


the magical mr. j

We had a phenomenal weekend. A whole lot of nothing happened, but in the middle of nothing, there was magic. It all started in my dear friend’s clothing store, where The Kidling had a melt-down of epic proportions.

Stay with me here. No one said magic was easy.

You see, The Mama and Sigrid decided to go shopping at our mutual friend’s high-end boutique. I love this, because I justify each and every purchase with the fact that I am contributing to her children’s college funds. Sigrid and I were accompanied on this trip by her 2.5 year-old daughter Aya and The Kidling.

Bad move. The Kidling–being an only–and Aya–being, well, two–have a tendency to bicker. They adore one another, but actually being together can be a bit much.

We’ve all had those relationships.

The girls got along famously for entire minutes before things got dicey. Thankfully Sigrid and I have different shopping styles, so we alternated in and out of dressing rooms while Aya and The Kidling played with pretend pearls and other delightful kid-friendly treasures on the carpet by the dressing room doors. We were able to maintain something that resembled peace for quite some time before someone lost it. Nope, not the two year-old.

The Kidling.

To be fair, Aya crossed the line: she touched a toy that the girls only had eight of. How dare she?! Surely she understood that The Kidling needed every single one in order to complete her project (yes, a sushi restaurant. Say it with me now: y-u-p-p-i-e-s)! The audacity of a two year-old child! Don’t her parents teach her about manners?! Can’t she wait her turn?! Why doesn’t she understand–

Ahem. Sorry. I need to reclaim the keyboard from The Kidling, who apparently learned to read and write multi-syllabic words at some point in the last paragraph.

As I was saying, Aya touched a toy and The Kidling let out a blood-curdling whine. We hightailed it out to the entry and had a serious talk. She’s little, blah blah… You have to share, blah blah… What would have been a better choice, blah blah… After listening to me blather on about her choices, The Kidling was distracted by something shiny.

It happens to the best of us.

When she walked over to the glimmer and discovered it was a penny, she snatched it up with delight. All money is the same to The Kidling, and all money is saved for the express purpose of a trip to a distant continent.

Money is travel → travel is adventure → adventure is exciting → money is exciting.

We made our way back into the store, finished our shopping (after apologizing to the patient shopgirls), and headed around the corner for lunch at her favorite restaurant. It was late–nearly 3:00 pm–and we were surprised to find my sister-in-law, Mama³, with her business partner and assorted family. It was a delightful surprise. We chatted for a bit before excusing ourselves to sit down and order lunch.

Because The Kidling had been playing on the floor with community toys for over an hour, we decided to make a trip to the restroom for a quick scrub. When we returned to the table, The Kidling must have had déjà vu, because she spotted a penny on our table.

A second penny.

The Kidling was speechless. I told her I had no idea where it had come from, because, well… I had no idea where it had come from. I had my suspicions, and Mama³ was at the top of my list. We talked about the options: the server, magic, the hostess, Mama³… but our discussions were inconclusive. She could hardly believe her luck, telling me, “I just didn’t know this could happen in my life!” 

As we talked, Mama³ and her entourage left. Shortly thereafter, our food arrived. I moved her plate out of arm’s reach so I could dish some steaming mac & cheese onto a second plate when we discovered a third penny beneath the plate’s rim.

“It couldn’t have been the girls! They couldn’t have given me the three-ith one.”

We discussed the remaining options. It wasn’t Mama³. The Kidling assured me that magic was out of the running, as her friend told her it isn’t real. She decided it had to be our server, informing me that “that’s the one my hypothesis is on now.”

As we walked through the details, The Kidling insisted her conclusion must be accurate: “I don’t know how it could happen, UNLESS my hypothesis is right.”

We talked, we ate, we talked, we ate, we talked… Finally, lunch was over. It was late and The Kidling was starving, so we ordered dessert. When the mango sorbet arrived at the table, The Kidling searched everywhere for another penny.


“He forgot again!” she exclaimed.

“What makes you think it was him?” I asked.

“Maybe it was the other gentleman,” she conceded.

The Kidling consumed the vast majority of her dessert before I put the brakes on further sugar consumption and sent her away to wash her hands. While she was away our server, Mr. J, walked by. I thanked him for making lunch so much fun for a tired, shopped-out kidling. Mr. J asked if it would be too obvious if he hid another coin beneath her water glass. At that point, we couldn’t have made it any more obvious, so he went for it.

The Kidling returned, and I suggested she take one last drink of her water before we left. She picked up her glass, took a drink, and gasped when she spotted the final prize, a quarter, on the table.

Now she knew.

We packed up our things, grabbed her booty, and headed for the door. As The Kidling walked by Mr. J, she gave a huge smile and told him goodbye.

While The Kidling might have been convinced by her friend’s insistence that magic isn’t real, I am not so easily persuaded. What I saw during lunch was real. And it was magic.


“Wasn’t it gross when there was the card at Target that had the baby panda that said, ‘if I was more thankful, I would puke a rainbow’?”

-Alice Munchkin Kidling

July 3, 2013


sweet morning musings

Saturday morning.

A child wanders, bleary eyed, into her parents’ bedroom.

The mother rolls over.

Words are exchanged.

Together they trudge

into the next room.

They snuggle.


Love and blankets

surround them,

providing comfort and warmth.

And comfort.


Amidst the beauty and wonder, the child rolls over and whispers

sweet, honest words.

A smile.


The morning’s first laughter.


Wondering why the book of alice is a little different today? Why not?


Another gorgeous September Iowa day, another dinner enjoyed out-of-doors. This time, our backyard was the venue and the fare, though tasty, didn’t hold a candle to the one consumed Wednesday.

Now typically Alice shows her appreciation of a beautiful day by mirroring what she has seen The Mama do time and time again. Expected, right? That’s what children do, right? Well, of course, but it is particularly adorable when said child:

  1. Speaks in a scratchy contralto;
  2. (and a borderline speech impediment);
  3. Sighs appropriately; and
  4. Is Alice.

In other words, when we step outside on a beautiful day, The Kidling can often be heard saying, (sigh) What a lovely day!” or (sigh) It’s so nice to be outside on such a goooorgeous day!” or “Let’s eat outside!” So though she may not be one for sharing, she does do gratitude well. And, you know, everything else.

Just saying.

So where was I? Oh, yes, a beautiful evening in Iowa. The Kidling suggested eating outdoors, and The Parents willingly obliged. Whist eating our dinner, Alice spotted an airplane overhead (as opposed to underfoot? I could probably save my readers a lot of hassle if I didn’t feel the need to state the obvious and use excessive quantities of adjectives, adverbs, and qualifiers). Following the plane and its contrails with her little kidling eyes, Alice observed, “Look! It’s heading for your hair salon!”

Of course it is, dear. That entire airplane full of folks is in dire need of haircuts, pinch braids, and dreadlocks.

no, she is not always this sweet

I just want to get that out there right away, because otherwise this post might make you insanely jealous of how sweet my child is when yours kind of sucks a little. So, to answer your question, no. The Kidling most certainly is not always this sweet. But when she is, it sounds like this:

“When you give love to me, I keep it for a few days. I keep it until Christmas, then I give it to all the kids. To every single kid so they all have love in their hearts so they can all be so happy!”

Is that a collective sigh I hear?

The Mama is a schmuck

In the last few weeks, several delightful bloggers have delightfully bestowed… well… delightful awards upon the book of alice. But I am a schmuck and I’ve done nothing with said delights. Instead of the proper response , I am simply going to give a shout-out to the very kind (and delightful) folks who like my wee blog. They are (in alphabetical order)…

All that makes you…

The Common Tarte

Hurt or Heal

Inhouse Mum

The Musings of a Jewish Stay-at-Home Father

These are five terrific blogs (I actually read them), and I am honored that they find some joy/humor/glad-it-isn’t-me moments on the book of alice.

Thanks folks. You really are swell.