Get Your Hands Dirty

I feel really bad about her blue hands. As often happens in amateur experiments, first there is delight, then disaster.

You see, today, on this rainy ripe-for-boredom day, I vowed we’d try finger painting. It seemed easy enough—the blogs promised it would be. Ella came in from her outdoor playtime and found me with my hair in a bun, stirring flour, sugar and slowly boiling water in a sauce pot on the stove. “Mommy’s making paint for you,” I say. Of course she wanted to hold the whisk. We got through that part unscathed, unscalded. It was going well, I thought.

Music to Me

There's music playing and I'm writing at my desk, knowing that this moment is just too good to last long.

I started with Duncan Sheik only because he was just a few artists down from Disneyland Children’s Sing-Along Chorus, which had been on repeat ever since my daughter decided that Mommy’s Office was more fun that E’s Playroom next door. “This is good,” I think. “This is different.” A few tracks later, I’ve scrolled down to the E’s and Elliot Smith, then the F’s for Freelance Whales and Frightened Rabbit, where I settle for awhile.

If you asked me if I missed anything about my life before I became a mom, I’d smile at you and sigh, and ask you if you had at least 10 minutes to spare, then seeing you looking panicked and glancing at your watch, I’d throw out a few things that immediately come to mind: hot cups of coffee, uninterrupted sleep, the freedom to have a Jack and Coke whenever for no reason, boatneck tops, an ice cream cone all to myself.

But at the top of that list, without a doubt, is my music. 

The Next Step

I look away and when I look back, Ella has climbed up to the fourth step of the staircase. Some divine force stops me from shouting, “Ella! You’re going to fall! Get down from there!” and I’m able to walk (quickly but outwardly calmly) over and say, “You’re up really high. Are you trying to climb up the stairs by yourself?” She says yes, looking a bit scared and unsure of her decision, but then climbs one step higher, holding on to the rail. I resist all maternal urges to grab her hand or shoulder and help her up as I always have (or take her back down, kicking and screaming probably) and say, “It’s a bit scary, huh? But I won’t let you fall.” She goes up another step.

New Day, New Boo-Boo (and It's Okay)

A lesson in texture, pattern, and color
Being the mom of an active, curious toddler means being prepared to gracefully handle the scrapes, boo-boos, and tummy bugs that come with the (unsterile) territory. She’s just not the kind of girl who'll sit on the curb while her pals poke at worms and do headstands on the be-puddled concrete driveway. I’m just not the kind of mom who'll stand by her side with a hand-sanitizer around my wrist and a hand towel on my shoulder.  I thought I would be—maybe I would be if she'd let me. But she's happiest out of my shadow, running around barefoot in the garden while I'm still standing on the tile, clumsily putting my slippers on. 

Just Because Buntings

I'm always looking for an excuse to make buntings. They're an instant shot of happiness, like a cup of marshmallow-filled cocoa on a cold morning or a handwritten letter in the mail. So when the project I was working on called for sunny yellow decor props, I didn't need to be asked twice. Or even once. In fact, if you, my editor, had said, "Don't worry about the props. We have all the things we need," I'd still have made these, just in case.

They're not the most creative (Are you sick of polka dots and chevron stripes already? Sorry, we can't be friends), but I made these the day before the shoot. And wouldn't you know it, they were just what we needed.

(From Smart Parenting magazine)

Download, print, and cut out! Then, just add string.