April 11th. Today is your 100th birthday, Gram.I still haven’t deleted your number from my phone although it has been at least 12 years since you last answered at that number. I miss your voice when I would call, the way you would say, “Hey, doll!” and always have time to talk to me. I miss the way you would chastise me for writing you thank you notes for simple things like birthday cards. I miss the way your home smelled of you, of Red Door. The way you would offer me anything and everything in your pantry, your fridge, your cupboards, even if I walked in bearing food.Mom gave me a recipe box filled with some of your favorite recipes clipped from newspapers or written in your own hand. My nose inhaled the scent in that little tin box, so faint and yet so powerful. Instantly I was 5 years old, wrapped in your arms, being pulled out of the tub. You would place upon the toilet lid, rubbing me dry with a towel before sprinkling me with Jean Nate and powder poof to the nose.This is how I will teach my girls about you. I will give them these memories. I will show them pictures and I will tell them how much you loved them, even though you had only met M once; C and V, not at all. I know that for as much as you loved me, you didn’t have to know them to love them. You always loved them.I miss you and I want to talk to you and tell you what has been going on. I want to tell you what the girls are up to. I want to hear you laugh when I tell you that M is trying to eat me out of house and home, how between her gangly arms and legs and the missing teeth, C looks like a baby giraffe, and how V. . .oof. . . we just don’t know where V came from; it’s like she’s been here before.When the girls are cutting up the worst, Mom remind me, “Gram would love this,” and she’s right. You would so love it.I want you to ask me, “How is that broken down brother of yours?” and I’ll gladly respond, “Broken-down.” I want you tell me to give The Hubs a “big ol’ sloppy kiss”.At your memorial service, I didn’t cry. It surprises me though, how every year when I write this post, when I read that poem, the tears fall quickly and steadily. You absence is still felt very strongly.I love you, Gram. Happy Birthday.
Do not stand at my grave and weep;
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.
I’ve got a love/hate relationship with social media. In particular, I mean the big four — Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat. I love being connected with people who I might otherwise not be. I love a good photo and these platforms provide food for my creative soul. I love a good joke, pithy commentary, and hilarious witticisms about pop culture.
I hate, however, how what starts off as a “quick” scroll through a feed becomes an hours long time fall down the vortex of unproductiveness.
I’ve got a Facebook page. I’ve got a Twitter account that I hardly ever use because I don’t get Twitter at all. I’ve got a Snapchat but really just use it for the filters. I’ve got an Instagram account which I love, but even then, I don’t cultivate it the way others do. I post in bursts, rather than a steady stream. Most, if not all of my accounts are public because as a writer and photographer, it’s important to me that others are able to learn about my work.
While keeping my account public has been good for business, recently, it’s been troubling for a reason that really makes me feel weird. My 12-year-old daughter’s friends follow me on Instagram.
I’m not posting anything untoward, but I feel SUPER uncomfortable when I click on an innocuous name and discover that it’s one of M’s pals. The questions slide into my brain like skee-balls ready to be tossed.
Who is QTKayTee05? Wait, is that — – -? How did she find me? Why is she liking all these photos? Does her mother know about this? Should I block her or just ignore it? What’s going on over on her account? *clicks over* Private.
My girls don’t have access to social media, much to their chagrin. I reluctantly let them try music.ally when it was all the hype, and even TBH. That’s one where you can give compliments to people earning gems in the process. Those two were hard-won apps for M and C, let me tell you. I take consolation in the fact that after all their pleading to get the apps, the novelty quickly wore off. Just like with rainbow loom, fidget spinners, and fingerlings, after a while, the girls stopped using it and moved onto the next thing.
I’m in a unique position as are many of my peers. We are digital immigrants — people born before the advent of digital technology. We are raising digital natives — the generation of people born during or after the rise of digital technologies. We are walking a tightrope.
I can clearly remember when we first got internet access in my house. These were the days when waiting for an internet connection was akin to watching water boil.
And heaven help the poor soul who picked up the phone while you were trying to connect.
Nowadays, we’ve got access to the internet 24/7, 365 and we aren’t afraid to use it. Not only do I try to be judicious with how much screen time the girls have, I try to balance my own usage. I’ll challenge myself not to use my phone while I wait in line at the post office or the grocery store. I’ll get a hardcopy of a book rather than use the digital download, just so that my eyes don’t take on the permanent sheen of a backlit screen. I ask myself why I’m scrolling through IG when I should be going to bed. It’s a constant dance of responsibility and one that I am trying to teach by example.
I am constantly figuring out which way to go when it comes to social media and how much of it I’ll allow the children to be exposed to. There’s no one right answer; believe me, I’ve looked. Like with everything else, you have to do what’s best for your family.
The girls have asked me if they can download Snapchat and Instagram to their devices and I’ve drawn a hard-line on that.
It’s a fine line, to be sure. On the one hand, as their mother, it’s my job to protect them from things that could harm them. The prevalence of bullying (cyber and otherwise), shaming, and the scores of social media related foolishness that has become part of this generations make-up is frightening.
On the other hand, I have to instruct them on protecting themselves, both in real life and online. Trying to raise conscientious digital citizens is no easy feat, especially when the medium in which you’re trying to talk about changes so quickly. It’s not enough to just say, “Don’t text anything you wouldn’t say out loud,” and “If someone you don’t know sends you a friend request, don’t just accept it.” We unpack each scenario, talk it out to its potential end, so that they can see how far a momentary lapse in judgement can really reach.
Fold into this mix my own recollection of feeling like the kid who was always last to get the cool gadget or clothes or what have you (Yes, Mom, I still remember wanting these little cloth Mary Jane shoes that all the girls were wearing and never getting them). I want for my girls to be able to hold their own (for lack of better phrasing) with their friends, but at the same time I keep thinking, “Well, if their parents let them do it, why don’t you go see if you can live with them!”
Gah! Every time I open my mouth, my mother flies out.
As social media evolves, so to will my approach on how to deal with it. I’ll #post, #tweet, and #snap, all about it.
featured image courtesy of www.dreamstime.com
Last Saturday, I was having an all out crank-out. I was out of sorts, tired, and just feeling “meh” about everything. Talk about waking up on the wrong side of the bed. I woke up on the wrong side of the house, the street, and the neighborhood. The level of crankiness I achieved had not been seen in our house since the girls were in diapers. There was no rhyme or reason to it. I was just cranky.
Thankfully, I have an amazing husband, who, rather than gather up the children and flee to higher ground (i.e. anywhere outside of my vicinity), drew me in close as if to tell me a secret and whispered in my ear his plans for us to have an impromptu date night later on that evening. His recognition of my distress, his playfulness, and his solution, were so timely (and so appreciated), I couldn’t help but loosen my grip on the bad mood and watch it float up, up, and away.
He’s good like that. Handsome, smart, ambitious, and can talk me down off the ledge with the promise of fajitas and margaritas? He’s definitely a keeper.
This particular day, he outdid himself.
Same day, later on in the afternoon, we were relaxing in the living room while the girls played on their own. I had to run an errand in a little while, and I asked the Hubs to remind the girls to take care of their chores while I was gone. I asked him to do it because (IMHO) they’re more likely to listen to him than they are to me. I said as much and then started to unspool a story to back it up. The Hubs came over to where I was sitting and all but put his finger to my lips to hush me up.
“C’mon now,” he said, “Let’s not take the express train to Negative Town.”
I was so caught off guard, so instantly deflated, I couldn’t do anything but laugh. “The express train to Negative Town?!” And then I realized, I was literally standing on the platform, waving my ticket in the air. I was about to jump onto that train and ride it all the way into the city center, where no doubt I’d spend an inordinate amount of time belly-aching and stewing.
And for what reason? There’s no feeling better on that ride. There’s just picking up every slight and snub until your pockets full and you can barely shuffle along.
With one unexpected and timely suggestion, the Hubs effectively pulled me away from the tracks and tore up my ticket.
I’ve never considered myself a damsel in distress, but I certainly got rescued that day.
Since then, whenever I’m starting to feel the desire to air my grievances, I think about the express train to Negative Town. Almost immediately, whatever I was about to carry on about seems ridiculously unimportant.
The express train to Negative Town? Why? There are so many better places to go and I’ve got the best guy to go with me.
I am all about anything that helps the daily routine more efficient. In the evenings, just before bed, I cycle through my appointments for the following day. I make sure my tote is packed with the essentials (notebooks, chargers, laptop, iPad, mid-morning snack, late morning snack, and water bottles). If I’ve got errands to run, like to the library or the post office or Target, I put those bags in the back of the car. I lay out my clothes. I pull out the non perishables so they are ready to go for breakfast when I come down. I derive a great sense of satisfaction from starting the next day already ahead of the game.
Can’t say the same thing about the girls.
Try as I might, they just can’t seem to wrap their minds around the concept of knocking out as much as you can before you call it a night. I’m not asking them to fulfill some Herculean task here. I’m asking for them to lay out their clothes for the next day so that we don’t waste precious morning minutes debating about what to wear, or wondering where something is, or (God forbid) whether or not something has already been worn thereby eliminating it from the rotation (Middle school daughter, I’m looking at you). My kingdom for a uniform.
The latest attempts at doing a little bit in advance have focused on lunch prep. The girls’ school does not have a cafeteria, but they do offer hot much options that you can order in advance. I did some fast math (well, it was more like eyeballing the bottom line) and realized the hot lunch option wasn’t the best plan for us. That’s a shame, too, because that means I’m making lunches.
I know, I know. The girls are old enough to make their own lunches. We’ve tried that. Unsuccessfully. One was having a carbohydrate lovers special — chips, goldfish, peanut butter and nutella on white bread, and cookies for dessert. One was having a junk food lovers special — potato chips, tortilla chips, two different types of cookies, and two different types of popcorn. The last one, I have to believe she misunderstood the directions because her lunch box held a Hot Wheels, two Lego Friends, Wonder Woman’s lasso of truth from Halloween, and a rock.
So, I say all that to say, I make the lunches. Why it hasn’t occurred to me to prep their lunches while I do meal prep for myself is beyond me. This past weekend, however, my brain kicked on and said, “You know what would be a good idea? Sort out the lunch situation now!”
I took armfuls of supplies from the pantry to the counter tops. I had different sized baggies, I have peanut butter and almond butter. I had rice cakes, crackers, chips, and granola bars. I had cookies, apple sauce squeezers, and mandarin oranges in juice. Two loaves of bread sat beside jars of strawberry and grape jelly. I rolled up my sleeves and got down to work.
First things first: the kindergartener has to take a snack in a separate baggie every day. I whipped out five, quart sized bags, put her name and the date on them. I dropped an applesauce pouch in each and then dropped a snack sized baggie of popcorn in after it. I dug a mixing bowl from under the counter to use as my holding station and dumped the packets in.
Next, the kindergartener only eats PBJ. The middle schooler tells me that she only eats PBJ after I’d already made a turkey sandwich. The 4th grader has a delicate stomach (i.e. finicky), so salami and crackers it is. I make five PBJs and cut them in half, bag them up, and put them in another mixing bowl.
I make five salami and cracker packets and dump those into the mixing bowl as well. Into the fridge it goes. I grab the first bowl with the applesauce packets in it and dump in enough salty and sweet snacks for each kid for every day of the week. I take out three water bottles and line them up on the countertop where, in the morning, I will deposit the lunch bags.
Sunday night, I go to bed a little anxious and a little hopeful. Monday afternoon will be the real test of my plan.
Mondays are long days for us. Aside from just the punishment that comes with it being Monday, the girls have got school, field hockey practice, and tennis practice. I’ve got the post week-end clean up that includes laundry sorting, sheet changing, grocery listing, and meal prep. Oh, and I’ve got my own work in there, too. More often than not, mid morning Monday finds me making my lunch and the family dinner at the same time. Needless to say, Monday’s are a long haul. By the time we get home, everyone is well past hangry. This is when having that dinner on deck comes in handy.
The girls come in, books and papers, jackets and sports gear in their wake, clutching their tummies, they’re so hungry. Did I mention that I keep a Costco sized container of snacks and juice boxes in the car so that we avoid starvation? But, I digress. As I’m dishing up plates, I’m having them empty their backpacks and wash their hands.
While they belly up to the table, I pull out my mixing bowls of lunchtime goodness. In the time it takes them to bless the food, their lunches are made and in the fridge, ready for the next day.
Oh, snap! It worked!
I was like a cross between Oprah and Keebler Elf, dropping lunchtime treat bombs into the open mouths of their lunch bags. “You get a pack of E.L. Fudgesticks! You get a pack of E.L. Fudgesticks! You get a pack of E.L. Fudgesticks! You all get a pack of E.L. Fudgesticks!!”
Truth be told, I’d rather not spend an hour or so on a Sunday afternoon surrounded by sandwich bags and lunch trappings, but if that means not having to do it all Monday through Friday, sign me up.
What tricks help make the weekly routine move smoothly?
Tell me about it in the comments!
*cover photo by Tomas Rodriguez via bet.com
Often times when I am in the midst of a mundane task, I let my brain wander where it will. It alights on a memory for a moment, before flitting in another direction, drawn to whatever firing neuron first memory sparked. It happens so fast — you’re folding towels, then you’re thinking about that time you were folding towels with your grandma, then you’re wondering what happened to the ring that she used to wear on her pinky finger because when you see that memory in your mind’s eye, you remember how the ring flashed its stones when she snapped the towels in the air, her arms going taught for a split second before she would draw the towel back in towards her, now neatly pressed in two, and how despite her age, she didn’t have those bat wing arms that old ladies get, and man, I really need to make sure I hit the triceps when I go to the gym next week, which will be the first week in April, and. . .
Just like that, you’ve bounced from one thing to another in a blink of an eye. Have you ever had a conversation with someone and their comment triggers a similar trajectory? They say something that has your train of thought pin-balling helter-skelter in a matter of nanoseconds, and all you do is snort because when you’re brain settles down, it landed on something funny? It happens finger snap fast, yet trying to explain how you got from A to B is like trying to explain a dream (See, I was at my house, but it wasn’t my house and you were there, but it wasn’t really you).
I had that experience like the first example the other day. I was putting clean sheets on V’s bed, and as I billowed the flat sheet up and over her mattress, my brain leapt forward, neurons firing like bottle rockets in the sky. Suddenly, I was filling up with questions, inconsequential questions if I’m really honest, that I really need answers to.
Will you indulge me?
- It all started with the flat sheet. When making the bed, do you place the flat sheet face up with the print is pointing towards the ceiling or face down, with the print against the fitted sheet? Seriously, I need to know. I learned to put the printed side of the sheet pressed against the fitted sheet so that when you fold the sheets back, you can see the print. The Hubs was taught the
wrongother way. Guess which we way we do it now?
- Speaking of beds, do you make your bed in the morning? This is a point of contention in some households, I know. Blessedly, we’re bed makers in the house of Hilary with One L. I get up, I make the bed, then start my day. I have heard the argument that there’s no point in making the bed if you are just going to get back into it at the end of the day. I disagree. To me, coming home to an unmade bed is like coming home to dirty dishes on the counter or wet towels on the floor. I just can’t. And to those people who say it’s better to leave the bed unmade so it can air out while you’re gone during the day? Watchu doin’ you gotta be airin’ out the bed?
- Maybe we’re airing out the bed because of our shower habits. AM or PM Showers? I heard this asked on a radio amongst the morning show hosts and it spiraled into a heated debate. The majority of the hosts were in favor of PM showers because they were “washing off the scuzz of the day”. At first I thought the argument was going to revolve around having to get up early for work and that an evening shower would save her a step. Nope. Repeatedly, one host pointed out that if you get in your bed without washing, you’re just putting all that junk in your sheets and on your pillow. Okay, but wouldn’t it stand to reason that if you shower in the evening and then get up in the morning, you should shower again because you’d just be putting all your nighttime germs into clean clothes?
- And speaking of washing bodies and beds, don’t even get me started on the how often do you change your pjs’/sheets/towels conundrum. If we look back at the PM shower people, you’d be putting a clean body in clean (or maybe slightly used pjs’) on clean or slightly used bed sheets. I’ve heard of people who change their pj’s every night, every three days, every week. Some sheets get changed once a week or once every two weeks. Towels? “I take it on a case by case basis,” one friend told me. Oh, and separate wash cloths for hands and body. Can I be real a second? I’d never heard of that before and it got questioning my whole routine!
- Moving away from the bedroom and bathroom, I need to know: Is it possible to get all of your groceries in one store? This a question that I’ve asked some friends and the response has always been a resounding “No”. It can’t be done, they tell me. Brand loyalty, quality of products, or cost/savings trump convenience of one stop shopping or quality of products does. Example: we get our meat and produce from one place, pantry items from another, and specialty items from a third. Could I get it all at a big box store like Wal-Mart? Probably. I don’t though, because I like getting my pantry items from Target and saving 5%. I get my specialty items from Trader Joe’s; they always have something that I fall in love with which can’t be found anywhere else (have you had their Mochi Rice Snacks? ) or things that just taste better than in other stores. Meat and produce? I get from The Fresh Market or Whole
PaycheckFoods. I guess I’ve drunk the Kool-Aid since I pick up stuff from there. That’s not to say I won’t pop into a Martin’s or Kroger if I need to. I’ve got a favorite grocery store, which is a statement that a) I never thought I’d make and b) reminds me of how deep into this “adulting” thing I really am.
- The rest of my questions are things that I’m just curious about. It’s less “Am I doing this right (or wrong)” and more, “Am I the only one?” For instance, How many times do you hand wash a “Hand-wash Only” item before throwing it in the wash with everything else? I think I may be tattling on myself with this one.
- Have you stuck with your New Year’s Resolution? Maybe a better question would be do you remember your New Year’s Resolution (no, no I don’t).
- Do you do this?
- What do you call a Graphics Interchange Format? You know what I’m talking about. One of these:
Is it “giff” with a hard g or “jiff” with a soft one? The developer of GIFs says it one way (hint, like the peanut butter brand), but some dictionaries use both pronunciations.
- This is probably the most pressing of all. Over or Under?
Got questions? Got answers? Leave them for me in the comments!
*featured image* Sisterly Love by Frank Morrison
When I sat down to write today, I was going to tell you a V Story. A V story is me relaying yet another instance where my youngest child has left the rest of us crying from laughter or shaking our heads in disbelief over the things that come out of her mouth.
My parents live for these stories. They end up telling their neighborhood friends, who have often check in with my folks just to see what V’s up to. If I had a dollar for every time someone told me that V 1) reminds them of Olivia from The Cosby Show 2) reminds them of Rudy from The Cosby Show or 3) needs a show of her own, I could probably sustain my Starbucks habit for the foreseeable future.
So, while I do have story to share, as I was organizing it in my head, I started marveling at the mystery of birth order (that is definitely another post for another day). My older two girls are nothing like V — were nothing like V at that age. M has been a line towing, straight shooting, literalist from the beginning. C was the baby of the family for 4 solid years, fully embracing her role as the class clown. Her comedic chops were rivaled only by her sweet, sensitive nature. And then V joined the party. She’s a party unto herself.
I’ve got three incredible daughters each of whom possesses their own super strong personality.
Nowadays, when people ask me to describe the girls, I immediately rely on one of two examples.
Example 1: M is “What have you done for me lately?”, C is “What can I do for you?”, and V is “I’m about to do whatever I want to do whenever I want to do it.”
Traditional sibling roles? Absolutely.
While the first example is pretty succinct, the second example is chock-full of context that really adds some weight and texture to the framework.
Question: How would you describe the girls?
Example 2: So, if the Hubs and I ever left the girls home alone while we went out of town, and they got it in their heads to throw a party where the police are called in, here’s what would happen. M would be standing in the front door, hands on her hips, telling the authorities, “I told them not to do it. I told them it was a bad idea and that I wanted no parts of it. I said [insert Dixon family rules and regulations as stipulated by Mom and Dad]. They wouldn’t listen to me and I told them not to do it.” She’d be singing like a canary as she slowly crossed the threshold from inside the house to just behind the adults who’ve arrived to shut it down, offering directions as to where to find the most egregious offenders and suggestions on what punishments should be meted out and how.
“Firstborns bask in their parents’ presence, which may explain why they sometimes act like mini-adults. . . They excel at winning the hearts of their elders.”
— excerpted from “How Birth Order Affects Your Child’s Personality and Behavior” by Jocelyn Voo, Parents.Com
Reliable, conscientious, cautious, controlling, and achievers — those are words often used to describe firstborn children. M is a first born, through and through.
C, on the other hand, would be in the kitchen, giant trash bag in hand. She’d be furiously shoving red solo cups into the bag, unclogging toilets, wiping down counter tops, pulling clothes off of lampshades and ceiling fans (in my imagination, this is an epic teenage throw down. Like, any John Hughes’ movie plus House Party plus Neighbors). C would be saying over and over, “We can fix it. I can get it cleaned up. It’ll be back to the way it was in no time.” Or, she’d be in tears because: sensitive.
In general, middle children tend to possess the following characteristics:
- People-pleasers (yup)
- Nurturers (yup)
- Thrives on friendships (yup)
- Has large social circle (yup)
- Peacemaker (yup)
Sweet, sweet, C — classic middle child. My sensitive soul desperate to make it right, shoulder the blame, and keep everyone smiling. I gotta toughen her up.
And then there’s V.
I mean, those of you who know her are probably laughing already. Go ahead. She’s a piece of work, I know.
Rounding out this trio of Bacchanalian celebration would be V, hanging out a second story window in an attempt to flee the scene of the crime, or rolling up in the driveway with a pack of friends, taking about “What’d I miss?” because she’d have snuck out of the house unbeknownst to anyone. Snuck out like two days ago because: V.
“Youngest children tend to be the most free-spirited due to their parents’ increasingly laissez-faire attitude towards parenting the second (or third, or fourth, or fifth…) time around.” — Jocelyn Voo
I can’t even begin to tell you how many times V has done something and I have just shrugged like, “Third kid,” and kept it moving. To say the attitude is laissez-faire? Ce n’est pas une surprise. The year V turns 16, I will be turning 50. Yeah, let’s roll that around for a minute. I’m already tired for my future self with that one. Last born kiddos also have a bag full of characteristics that make them easily identifiable as such.
- Fun-loving (yup)
- Uncomplicated (ha!)
- Outgoing (yup)
- Attention-seeker (yup)
- Self-centered (yup)
These should have been printed on a notecard and included along with her birth certificate and discharge papers from the hospital. Then maybe we would have stood a chance.
So, back to the my V story.
Yesterday, V was upset when I picked her up from school. Pick up time for her is usually at the end of rest time (where the kids get to watch a video) or the beginning of snack time. Your girl had her knickers in a knot because although she got to stay for the whole video, I was coming to claim her right at snack time. Never mind that she could take her snack to go. She was going to miss out on the post-nap round table snack time discussion. Shame on me, right?
V is giving me grief as we walk to the car. She’s walking slowly. She’s mumbling “It’s not fair” under her breath. She’s really laying it on thick. We get in the car where C is engrossed in a book and M is knitting. In typical Dixon girl fashion if one is bent out of shape, the other two go above and beyond being Pollyanna. M turns to V and sings out, “Hello, V! How was your day?”
Through gritted teeth, V says “I don’t want to talk about it.”
M persists. She tries to engage V in some Q&A until I implore her to stop antagonizing her sister. V is clearly not entertained (although I’m giggling because she’s biting off answers like she’s got gristle in her mouth). M persists. She modulates her voice to what I can only imagine she thinks a therapist sounds like, and says, “Tell me about your day, V.”
Me: M, stop it. Leave her alone.
M: What? I’m just asking about her day! (to V) Tell me what you think about when you see my face.
V: I think to destroy it.
I mean, what’s really left to say after that?
Somehow on the drive to school this morning, the girls got me talking about what their names would have been had they been boys. With M and C, we found out they were girls, so we quickly tabled any male names that had been under consideration. With V, we didn’t find out who she really was until she made her debut, so I was able to share the top three choices that ultimately ended up being knocked with that XY punch.
We dropped M off at the middle school and continued onto the lower school. V — who for the record, is 4 years old — asks me if “any more babies are coming out of your tummy” because she wants “a bunch of sisters”.
I heartily assured her that was definitely not happening. She goes quiet for a minute before piping up from the back seat again. This time, she wants to know how she “got out of there, anyway”. Now, you all know, this isn’t my first rodeo when it comes to the birthing story, but it was 7:49 in the morning and I hadn’t even had my coffee.
Putting on my “just the facts, ma’am” voice, I said how the doctor gave me some medicine so I wouldn’t feel anything in my belly, made an incisions, parted it, and pulled her out. After a beat, she wanted to know what an incision was.
“A cut,” I said, navigating the traffic while keeping an eye on her in the rearview mirror.
“Oh. My. Gosh!” V exclaimed (four going on forty, seriously). Her eyes were wide in disbelief. She fell silent for a minute as C chattered on about what she recalled from her own birth story.
“Wait, wait, wait,” interrupts V. “How did the baby get in there in the first place?
Of course. Of course she wants to know this. And again, I’ve been down this road, so I was ready. C pipes up from the back seat, saying “I got this, Mom!”
C takes a deep breath and says, “So, what happens is, a husband and wife pray to God for a baby and when they’re ready, God gives them one.”
Sweet relief, she went with the basic version. I was a little nervous, after all, I’d had the more technical talk with M a few months ago and I’m pretty sure C was pressed up against the door like this. . .
We’re still a few minutes from dropping C off at school when V lobs another question at me.
V: But how, Mom? How does the baby get in there when they talk to God.”
Me: Well, they say ‘Dear God, my husband and I. . .”
V: (hands folded) Dear God, my husband and I. . .
Me and C: No! V, no! Stop!
The brains on that one! She wants a bunch of sisters and she was going to find a way to get them. Straight had me walk her through how babies (in the G rated version) are made. C piped in quickly, too, saving me from having to untangle this particular thread of convo.
“That prayer only works for grown-ups who are married!” C explained. “You can’t say it. It won’t work.”
God bless, that child. She gets two desserts tonight.
My eyes flitted to the rearview mirror and V was fixing me with one of these looks:
Someone come get her (and her praying hands).