From the Mouths of Babes

I cannot even keep up with constant stream of ridiculously funny things that Liam is saying lately.  I find all of this so charming – a large part of it is the perky, bee-boppin’ delivery.  He strides with confidence through this world, even though sometimes it means he hugs a total stranger or injures himself with his enthusiasm and lack of fear (case in point, a couple of days ago he lost two fingernails at school because he was riding his bike with abandon, and that somehow landed him in urgent care.  Shudder.)  We worry about our second child a bit more than the other two, because he is so fearless.  But his fearlessness also makes him delightful in a lot of ways – open, funny, confident, and always very, very verbal.

I’ve started emailing myself when he says something hilarious, so I can remember.  Here are a few of our recent conversations.

In the car on the way home from school:

L: God?
* * * * several seconds go by * * * *
L: Go-od!
* * * * more time passes * * * *
Me: What are you hollering about, Liam?
L: Shhh, Mom.  I’m waiting for God to answer.
Me: That’s not how it works, dude.
* * * * a little later once he finally accepted that no booming voice from the sky was going to say “Yes, Liam” * * *
L: Why doesn’t God answer me?
Me: He’s busy.
L: Yeah, but he’s everywhere.  There’s God in the sky, and God in the trees, and God in the rocks, and God in the grass . . . no wait, no God in the grass.  But God everywhere else, so why isn’t he talking to me?
Me: Really?  No God in the grass?
L: Because we step on grass, mom.  Duh.

At the pool:

L: Dad!  Don’t take me out to the steep end!

At night before bed:

The Prof: Have you got everything for bed Liam?  Milk, pjs, puppy?
L: Milk, Check!  Pjs, Check!  Puppy, Not Check!

And his greatest trick (I think he learned this from his father – when you think you might be in “trouble,” start throwing out the compliments!):

Me (mad at him for whatever reason): Liam, you’re about to go in time out.  Stop doing [insert whatever he is doing].
L (sidling up to me with a wounded dog look): Mom, I just can’t be good because I love you soooooooo much, because you are soooooooo beautiful, and your hair looks great.

Posted in Liam | 5 Comments

Challenge Complete

I explain to the boys what we are going to do, and Jack says “Ah.  So when we dump water on your head, then the sick people will laugh, and the sickness will come out of their mouths and they will be better?  Is that it?”  When I explain that no, but it will make them feel better, they will like knowing that people care about them, and also we will give them some money so that doctors can make them better, then Jack literally scratches his head and then says, matter-of-factly, “Well, we better give ‘em some food to eat, too.”


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Ice Buckets For Josie, Colette, Quinn, Lachlan, Calhoun, and Michael Brown

The Professor and I enjoyed a bottle of really good Malbec last night.  This morning I enjoyed the presence of my children by my bedside at 5:45.  One of those terms “enjoyed” is being used sarcastically, by the way.

I was challenged yesterday in the ice bucket challenge, and I’m like . . . . mehhhhh.  OK.  I’ll do it but I’m not going to nominate anybody because while I am totally down with this social media movement and its awesome effect on awareness and dollars for the terrible disease ALS, I’m also aware that it’s kind of had its day.  But I’m going to be a good sport and do it, and the hubs and I will donate to the ALS Association.  We will also donate to Cystinosis Research Foundation in honor of my buddy Josie, to the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation in honor of a sweet little girl named Colette and in memory of her twin brother, Quinn, and to the BBB-accredited charity, the St. Louis area foodbank in memory of Michael Brown, and in hopes that our donation helps to feed hungry people in Ferguson.

While I’m linking to causes, I’ll link to the be the match bone marrow registry, in hopes that some of you may join.  My friend Mary has 20 month old twin boys.  She let us know a month ago that one of the twins has a very rare leukemia known as JMML – and yesterday confirmed that the boys are identical twins, meaning there is a close to 100% chance that the other will also develop the disease imminently.  They are looking for a donor match on the bone marrow registry – one has not been found yet, so Mary’s held one very successful donor drive in her son’s honor, and friends are working on hosting another.  There is no hope for the boys’ recovery without a bone marrow transplant, so finding a donor match is imperative.  Ya’ll can order a kit online and send in a swab to be tested, and place yourself on the registry – preggos can register, just let them know you’re preg and they will set your registry to go live 6 months after your due date.  Consider it?  Lachlan and his twin Calhoun are little blond haired Irish kids, so they need a Caucasian donor – but any of you out there who are of non-Caucasian descent, and especially any of my mixed-race lovelies, please consider signing up.  There are way more white folks on that registry than any other race, and race matters in the bone marrow matching game.

It’s been a tough news cycle lately, both personally and in the wider world.  My only choice in the face of such pain and fear is positive, affirmative action.  So I’ll have my boys dump cups of ice water on my head (I am not going to be one of those Ice Bucket FAILS where a giant heavy cooler of water is dropped on my head from on-high, giving me a concussion or a broken limb), and I guess I’ll post a video (oh Lord, aren’t we all so sick of those videos), and I’ll pay some money to some things, and focus on the positive.  We have more power to do good than we know.

Posted in Dear Friends, Everyday Adventures | Leave a comment

Robin Fly

I grabbed the Economist out of the mail today and flipped quickly to the obituary, like I usually do, and wondered who would be the subject next week, next month.  Who is alive right now who will not be when I next pull the Economist out of the mailbox?  Like I usually do.


Craig is curled and heavy my arms.   I was rocking him in the glider in my bedroom, pinning his flailing arms and legs, shoving a pacifier in his squawking mouth, squeezing him into submission until his immature nervous system finally stopped firing out random signals and let his heaving bucking limbs relax.  So now he is relaxed.  I run my thumb across his forehead, smoothing.  His sleeping mouth sucks at the paci.  His sleeping hand clutches at my shirt.  Tucked in.


Robin Williams committed suicide today.  Since everything is a circle that all winds back around to my children, I think about depression and addiction and a mind that goes so quickly, the chattering streaming monologue, and how relieved I was to hear that Mr. Williams’s mother Laurie preceded him in death.  I think also about how little the public will care when I die.  It will not be like the way we all collectively gasped at the loss of Mr. Williams, and Mr. Hoffman before him.  And I wonder which I’d want for my children.  A plodding, quiet, uneventful life of contentment, or the mad loneliness that seems inevitably to accompany the mad artistic gift – beloved by the world and yet walled off from it.

People on facebook are talking about sadness, but I know depression isn’t sadness, but blankness.  Depression is absence.  Addictive substances are hole-fillers, putting something where there is nothing, and almost always the Nothing swallows up the Something and then the gravitational pull of the twin diseases cannot be escaped, even by a mind running so manically, frantically as his.  Outrun.

A couple of days ago we were disciplining our oldest for getting in the baby’s face and trying too roughly to make him laugh, again and again and again, too too many times.  And at first he was defiant as we lectured, but eventually he broke and his face split open and in a vale of tears he wailed “But I just love him so much, I just love his smiles, he’s so little and cute and I just want to make him smile.”  And I loved my oldest boy so keenly in that second, I almost couldn’t bear it, so my face split open and through a vale of tears I wailed “I think the same thing about yoooooouuuuu.”

I’m not sure what these things have to do with one another, except that I think there is a fine line between a vale of bittersweet tears and a set of blank dry eyes . . . between feeling keenly the pain of the human condition and feeling nothing in the face of it.  We humans, each standing inevitably alone.  We reach and reach for each other, grasp each others’ hands sometimes and sometimes not quite making contact but always reaching toward each other, except sometimes a loved one stops reaching and your hands claw through empty air and you want your arms to grow long enough to cover your wingspan and the loved one’s, too, but you can’t.  Your reach goes as far as it goes, and no farther, and if they won’t reach back . . . you feel sadness and they feel blankness and though to outsiders those emotions probably look the same the distinction between the two is vital, literally.  So maybe the difference between sadness and blankness is all in the reach.

His manic, crazy, genius mind.  I read an article recently that said there is some scientific theory, some potential actual physical proof that human consciousness continues beyond the death of the body, into some plane of existence we cannot comprehend.  I hope that if it’s true, the heavy blankness is left behind, leaving only the lightness and energy that we all loved him for.  I imagine him, lighter now, lifting like a helium balloon, like a bubble, like a bird with air under its wings. Up up up and out of sight, and his family below, arms outstretched, a vale of tears, reaching.  I just love him so much, I just want to make him smile.  He made us all smile, he dimmed the pain of the human condition for millions.  Blessings be on his immortal soul, now and forever amen.

Posted in Navel Gazing (and I Don't Mean Oranges) | 3 Comments

MILP Roundup # 358 – Naming the Baby

The weekly Mothers In the Legal Profession Roundup is hosted on a rotating basis at the Butterflyfish, Grace, BJJ, Law, and Living, Mommy and the Sin City, Magic Cookie, The Reluctant Grownup, and Perspectives of a Hard Boiled Egg blogs.

This edition of the Roundup covers posts from July 28 – August 3.

We MILPs, we are a fecund, fertile group.  At any given time about 20% of us are pregnant, and this week three lovely ladies in this list are brainstorming names for the wee darling little parasites fetuses that shall be joining the growing posse of MILP-offspring very soon.  So, in order to help ya’ll out, I pulled some baby-naming instructions off the interwebs.  This week’s theme is Naming The Baby.  (And please, my dears, for the love of god, don’t do this to your child.)

**all bold italic quotes taken from here.

How your baby’s name sounds when it’s said aloud is one of the most essential things to think about. Is it melodious? Harsh? Does it go well with your last name?

I personally think Tenders Wonderland is a pretty darn melodious name, myself.

An unusual name has the advantage of making the bearer stand out from the crowd.

I’ve always thought “Vue” was a weird name for a car, but am still sorry to see QH’s Vue kick it, even if it is “just a car.”  Chin up, QH, you are a coping superstar and we are all cheering for you to get through this latest roadblock.

And never let anyone pressure you into a name you don’t like.

This may be a problem for FOTD, since either her or her husband are going to have to give in!  (HINT HINT IT’S HIM AND WE ALL KNOW IT BUT YOU CAN LET HIM THINK OTHERWISE FOR A LITTLE WHILE).

Take ideas graciously, but don’t tell anyone what you and your partner have decided until after the baby is born — when it’s too late to give in to any subtle hints.

Although I agree with Frenchie that it’s ok to share the name you’ve picked once you’re fully sold on it, given the response she’s getting to her (lovely) chosen name, perhaps she and I are wrong and should have followed this advice!  That said, she did get some good help with buying a family car - we have a Pilot also, and love it!

Many parents choose to name their babies after a grandparent, other relative, or close friend.

FOTD (in her second post of the week) heads to family reunion, continues to take pregnancy completely in stride.  Meanwhile, Daisy JD also has a vacation with family, then sets up the virtual vacay slideshow and offers us a glimpse of her fun week, followed by some meal planning at home.

Keep a list of favorite names handy so you can add to it whenever a name pops into your head.

But I Do titles this post with just such a list . . . a terrible, terrible list, what we call in the law “the parade of horribles.”  But I Do . . . I hope you survived that crazy day!

The derivation of your baby’s name is something you may want to think about.

I’m not sure what “Cora” means, but based on the pix in Lag Liv’s latest post, it’s probably something along the lines of FREAKING ADORABLE.

Be aware of what your child’s initials spell.

I suspect that neither Kate nor the rest of us MILPs would ever want to accidentally give a child the initials MPRE – too many bad memories!


Perfect Yellow Yolk posts a lovely poem that inspired the theme of Naming the Baby.  Go read it.  Gives me chills, and the very teeny tiniest bit of sadness that it is something I will never do again.

And in closing, I will post my own poem – not one I wrote, but one I was introduced to shortly after Craig was born, and which still makes me tear up when I read it.

Thirty-Six Weeks, by Emily Grosholz
Ringed like a tree or planet, I’ve begun
to feel encompassing,
and so must seem to my inhabitant
who wakes and sleeps in me, and has his being,
who’d like to go out walking after supper
although he never leaves the dining room,
timid, insouciant, dancing on the ceiling.
I’m his roof, his walls, his musty cellar,
lined with untapped bottles of blue wine.
His beach, his seashell combers
tuned to the minor tides of my placenta,
wound in the single chamber of my whorl.
His park, a veiny meadow
plumped and watered for his ruminations,
a friendly climate, sun and rain combined
in one warm season underneath my heart.
Beyond my infinite dark sphere of flesh
and fluid, he can hear two voices talking:
his mother’s alto and his father’s tenor
aligned in conversation.
Two distant voices, singing beyond the pillars
of his archaic Mediterranean,
reminding him to dream
the emerald outness of a brave new world.
Sail, little craft, at your appointed hour,
your head the prow, your lungs the sails
and engine, belly the seaworthy nave,
and see me face to face:
No world, no palace, no Egyptian goddess
starred over heaven’s poles,
only your pale, impatient, opened mother
reaching to touch you after the long wait.
Only one of two, beside your father,
speaking a language soon to be your own.
And strangely, brightly clouding out behind us,
at last you’ll recognize
the greater earth you used to take me for,
ocean of air and orbit of the skies.


Posted in Categorizing Things is Overrated, MILP Roundups | 4 Comments