Archives for category: advice

Dear Big Girl:

You love to party. Today I abused that fact. I needed to pick up my computer from the geniuses (if they are so genius, why did they pick the MALL as their location?). So, I tell you that we are going to a party. You were so keen on going to a party that you took party hats, 22 of them, to show and tell today. Surely there is SOMETHING at the mall that a toddler will think of as a party. Not. One. Thing. This is where my travel history has tainted me, baby. It seems, everywhere other than Austin, Texas, has small children just like you. San Antonio. China. Italy. Dallas Airport. Hamilton Place Mall. But, not Austin. Keep yer dirty childs at home or the four establishments in town that do not train their waitstaff to groan when you walk through the door.

Sufficed to say, you noticed that the party was absent.

Then you wept. You didn’t whine. You wept. I let you down. I didn’t mismarket; I lied.

Fear not wee one, for guilt feeds my creativity. I know I am stating what is obvious to you.

When we arrived home, we partied with the supplies at hand.







We even invited some little friends.

Thank you for holding me to my promise, sweet baby. I am happy to slow down and party with you anytime.




Dear Internet:

Is it bad that I cherish sick days?

I do not wish my baby illness or any discomfort.

But, when those days inevitably arrive, I am grateful to soothe her. Cuddle her. Calm her.

It feels very good to make her feel better.


Mama P

Dear friends:

WARNING! Mom-forward-alert!

There are some of you, like me, who are in the middle of a stressful spot. One of the things that I wish I had more time/patience for is order. You have expressed the same frustration. Clean house, clean mind. Right? But, I have had other, more important, things to do.

Giggling. Tickling. Playing ball. Practicing new words like fun, silly, rainbow, pink, mamushka and love.

Song for a Fifth Child

by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton

Mother, oh Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing and butter the bread,
Sew on a button and make up a bed.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I’ve grown shiftless as Little Boy Blue
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
(Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).
The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren’t her eyes the most wonderful hue?
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).

The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
For children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

Anytime you want to have a playdate in my filthy home or yours, just call me.



Dear parentals:

Tiger Mom? Free Range Children? The jury is still out for me. But, I can relate to the following statement:

I have replaced exercise with extra coffee.

The person with whom I have this in common is Samantha Bee. Yes, that one. She is awesome. And funny. And also somewhere between Tiger and Free Ranger. Please enjoy her take on summer breaks and parenting over at The Wall Street Journal:

A Long Summer for ‘Weary Tiger’ Mothers
Seventies parenting resembled crate training—now, we’re actually expected to watch our kids


Water P. Chestnut the 4th

Dear Internet:

You warned me. I was craving the role of mother long before I accepted that role formally. I read mommy bloggers (and, no, I do not take offense nor do I intend to make offense with that term) before I probably should have and they ALL warned me. Friends warned me. Family members warned me. Strangers I accidentally ran into with my shopping cart in the produce aisle warned me.

When you go back to work after you become a mom, you will feel as if you are failing both roles.

I am not failing. I am doing pretty well, I think. And I tend to waffle on my opinion of myself. People have told me that I am doing well. Some of these people are contractually required to tell me this (my parents and friends for whom I protect dark, dark secrets), but some are not and I believe them. However, I still FEEL like I am failing. At work, I cannot keep my mind off The Bean. At home, I worry about the work responsibilities creeping up like Tribbles as I limit my obsessive email checking.

Scooter loves her school and is thriving in ways I never imagined after only two weeks. Hello potty training! I am getting used to working for an entity after four years of working for myself or my family. And, hey, I am good at it. A little rusty, but good. I am still foundering at unpacking after the move, but home is starting to feel more like home. I am not sleeping enough, but that is also steadily increasing as I knock out big task items and become accustomed to the new routine (and the freaking security lights outside my window).

I don’t have a big revelation in this post. This is just a shout out to the mommies (and daddies) who struggle to balance.

It is hard if you stay at home. It is hard if you go back to work. All you can do is get together with friends, vent steam and move on to the part of the conversation where you discuss how rewarding it is to parent your child regardless of your path.

For instance, how mind blowing it is to observe your toddler learn to trust the buoyancy of water:

Le sigh. Instant dose of serenity, energy and motivation for this mommy.

Failing to fail,

The P

Dear Routine:

I have missed you. I am glad you are making a return to my life. Glad isn’t the right word. I am more than delighted; I am thankful. I am thankful for so many things. But today, I am thankful for you. And, the popsicle. And the sanity that routine, and popsicles, bring to my life.

Coffee and popsicles on the back porch will most certainly be part of the routine. Rest will also be part of the routine.



Dear self:

I just wanted to remind you that this terrible (no good, very bad) day is nearly over. Remember colic? It passed. The two’s will pass, also. And, you can disinfect the tub, buy printer ink cartridges, scoop the litter, stain treat the six pieces of clothing from lunch, assemble the table and the other million things a little later. For now, go outside and play fetch with your daughter and dog.

But, watch your step because Luck is NOT a Lady today.

Deep, sustaining breaths!


Dear Colleen:

Thank you for starting my birthday morning off with delicious cinnamon rolls and coffee! It set the day for the proper course. When I return the favor, I will be making you THIS:

It is from one of our favorites:

Also check out my pal, Molly, as she is as awesome as you are (and she is giving away cool stuff).

Yours for evah and evah,





Dearest friends:

Did this really happen? Probably not exactly. I am a paraphraser and a creative one at that.

After a discussion of expenses increasing, specifically groceries:
“Would you be interested in going in on a cow?”
“Where would we keep it?”
“Dead in the freezer.”

After a friend choking a mouthful of water into my clean laundry :
“What the hell just happened?”
“I dunno! I was drinking my water when it simultaneously went into my nose and down the wrong pipe.”

Regardless, I really did nearly pee my pants.


Dear Conan:

Today I treated myself to listening to 24 minutes of your commencement speech at Dartmouth. I was multitasking, BUT You had my attention. What you said is so true:

“…disappointment leads to clarity, which leads to conviction and true originality.”

Thank you for sharing your disappointments so publicly with us over the last two years. It has been a pleasure to watch you excel, despite the circumstances. You are truly Teh Awesome.



Dear baby:

We have developed a morning routine. It includes watching television. Two years ago, had someone predicted this, I would have called bull hockey. I would NEVER rely on a television to survive the day. But, here we are. And, I love it.

It isn’t survival the way one might imagine. I do utilize PBS in order to shower, but this is a different. You are not a cuddly child; you are too busy for such nonsense. So, I have scheduled this morning ritual because you sit near me as we both slowly wake.

The ability to recognize that these moments are precious, even more so than stupendous events, is the greatest advantage we “older than average” parents have.

I love our mornings together.



Dear baby and friend:

You two are growing up entirely too fast.

Slow it down.


Mama &, undoubtedly, the other Mama

Dear stressed ones:

Watch and learn.



Dear Colleen:

Recently, you left me behind as you packed to go home. I took advantage of this time off from my normal duties of keeping your foot warm, to see our nation’s capital.

I told them to stop messing around.

Then, I messed around a bit.

I am a clever one.

I touched art that ought not be touched.

I am a rebel!

The zoo is impressive.

Tattooed bears!

Then the weirdest thing happened. I was admiring the fall foliage…

…when someone PICKED me like an ordinary piece of fruit!

Then, I was banished! The nerve!

So, I sought refuge where I thought I might not be noticed.

But, the sly devils found me!

Then I realized the wee thing was saying famished, not banished. She was just looking for an appropriate pairing. When I thought of pairing juice with small, over-priced children’s crackers I realized I missed being in a pair and keeping you warm.

So, I am on my way home!

See you and Lefty soon!


Your Right Sock

Dear adult self:

There are a few things that I love that I don’t ever want to get “too mature” to still appreciate. Just wanted to keep you in the loop:

  • when a plane’s shadow passes over me
  • when I get exactly the right number of hangers to put the clean laundry away
  • when I see the garbage truck take our trash
  • when I walk into the door and my dog greets me the same whether I have been gone 5 minutes or a week
  • when I blow a kiss at the red light and it turns green on cue
  • when I drive under the flight path next to our airport as a plane is landing
  • when I see that is is 12:34


Your Inner Child

Dear baby:

You have added so many skills to your set these last two weeks. You mimic our behavior in such fun ways. For example, you like to clean up (on your own schedule). If you spill, you ask for a towel and wipe it up. If you create garbage, you put it in the trash bin. If you play with your blocks, you put them in their box.

Your Dad came home and needed to get out of his office clothes. You helped him by picking up one of his socks and promptly taking them to the trash bin. I diverted you, and asked you to take them back to Dada so he could show you how to put them in the dirty clothes bin. By the time you made it back to him, the sock was gone. Your Dad I I agreed that we’d find it when we found it and have a good laugh at that point.

Laugh we did.

When it was found in the toilet.

A little too late.

One more location to look when something goes missing and a good reason to move FAST when I see you trotting off with my iPod or cell phone.

Love you,


Dear Paula:

I was wondering… Who is going to win? Pfizer, Merck or Bristol-Myers Squibb? I KNOW there has to be a contract pending on some kind of statin.

I love butter, too,


Dear San Antonio:

Let me first say that the thing I miss most about Austin is my circle of friends. Austin is a striking place. But many of the features that charmed me when I first moved there, are now gone.  This doesn’t make Austin any less appealing. It simply made it easier to leave. Except for the friends. That part sucks.

San Antonio is a very different place. The first difference I noticed upon arriving is size. Austin is a small city that feels metropolitan; San Antonio is a sprawling mega city that feels like a town. The second difference is the gentility. Austin has an unusual number of college students and young tech workers; San Antonio has a vast population of armed service members. Having been surrounded by both groups, I present this theory:

  • There are fewer brats in San Antonio than Austin.

I won’t overwhelm you with data to support my theory. But, I will tell you about the drive home yesterday. We were 2 miles from our house when the power went out. All traffic signals were out, but traffic was moving. We were in a backup that appeared to be caused by an unpowered traffic signal drivers were treating like a four-way stop.  But, that was not so. It was from a rail road crossing in fail safe mode due to the power outage. Much to our surprise we observed the following miracle:

  • Drivers were driving around the gate arms (our trains are regular and it was not train time). There is only enough width for one vehicle at a time. Traffic in both directions yielded to the other after 8-10 cars.

Traffic. Yielded. Without. An armed officer. Yelling commands.

Had this occurred in Austin there would have been one of two outcomes. Folks would have waited in their cars playing Word with Friends on their smart phones for the two hours it took to restore power and thus the rail road crossing. OR, they would have turned into zombies and rampaged one another, their cars, and the rail road crossing down to the crunchy, red, flashing light. It doesn’t take much to cause a riot in Austin. Trust me.

San Antonio, I salute you!

Corporal P

Dear Mommiverse:

You told me it would happen. I just thought we’d be immune. Our baby would be different. Or rather, our baby would eat the way I did as a child. Like an adult. Trying new things. Putting very few items on the list of yuck.

Our good eater has, in one week, transformed into a picky, picky, picky eater. And a stubborn one at that.

Here’s the odd thing: she is craving many of the foods that children demand be removed from their plates. Peanuts. Pine nuts. Cashews. Ketchup. Mustard. Relish.

She also wants a steady stream of graham crackers. But, I hear that is pretty normal.

But, no fish, chicken, bean, carrot, potato, pasta, nor pizza shall pass her lips.  Not even covered in ranch.

So when you child says “I want my burger dry!”, save the condiments for mine.

The Nutty P

Dear fellow geeks:

You THOUGHT I was going to say carbonite. But, I really do mean carbonara. As in the most unhealthy Italian dish EVER, which is saying something. Let’s take pasta and add eggs. And, cheese. And, butter. And, bacon fat! It wasn’t perfect, but it was good.  A recipe to keep and tweak (or actually follow next time).

The best part is that no one has salmonella today. This either indicates that the current panic over the ingestion of raw eggs is unwarranted OR that the heat from the noodles did, in fact, cook the egg goo.

I highly recommend the recipe found here:

It is well written and illustrated.

This is helpful when part of the recipe includes “the noodles magically cook the eggs”.

Still full,

Buttery P