May 11, First think in the morning

*I get up at either five thirty or six in the morning. I grab a shower, then head into the kitchen to start breakfast and make Is’s school lunch. Is usually gets up at twenty to seven and wanders into the kitchen soon after. Friday, I was standing at the sink, cooking Is’s lunch and drinking my tea. I hadn’t really used my brain yet; this is all automatic setting stuff I do in the morning. When I turn to ask Is what she wants to eat, I catch her standing in the middle of the room, in sun rays, wildly waving her arms. It’s that time of year when the sun streams through the northeast-facing kitchen windows before seven in the morning.*

“Um. Is, what are you doing?”
“There are so many of them!”
“Of what, baby?”

*At this point, I think, o shit, sugar ants… But no. She starts waving her arms again in the air, batting at invisible things like a cat does.*

“What is this stuff?”
“What stuff, baby… oh, oh, it’s dust! It’s just dust motes in the air. You can see them because of the way the sun is shining in here.”
“I want them out of our house!”
“Ha, dude, nobody has a dust-free house.”
“But what IS it?”
“Dust? It’s made mostly from our dead skin cells that slough off… and bacteria we bring in from outside, and stardust from comets and meteorites.”
“What? That’s crazy.”
“I know! But it’s true.”

*She runs away, I think to go to the bathroom, but she returns with the crappy little plastic microscope I bought her years ago for looking at leaves and whatnot. She holds the microscope in the air and looks through it.*

“Is, what are you doing?”
“I’m gonna see which is which!”
“Um…”
“I can’t tell!”
“Haha, of course you can’t, not like that. Okay, lets have breakfast and I’ll tell you all about how microscopes work.”
“Okay. Can you make me some oatmeal?
“Of course.”
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March 31, 2018 – the Navigator of the story

*Isobel is watching ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events,’ while I am attempting to finish my paper for Philosophy (Descartes and dreams, what fun!). Anyway, she stops the show on her iPad, looks over at me working on my computer, and says…*

“Mom. It’s nice they have a navigator telling the story, so you know what’s happening.”
“What?”
“A navigator. You know, he tells the story so you know what’s going on.”
“Oh, no. Not a navigator. A narrator. A navigator is a person who finds directions for a trip, usually using maps, and decides the way to go. A narrator is a person who tells a story, like they talk through a movie, so you can follow the plot.”
“But a navigator tells the story.”
“No, baby, the word you want to use is narrator. But in a way, I guess a narrator is like a navigator- they both help you find your way. In a story or a movie, the person talking over the acting is usually a narrator.”
“Okay. I almost got lost in this movie.”
“Very cool. Enjoy!”
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March 19, An Apple’s Way Of Life

*Every day Is comes home from school and has a snack, then does her homework, then she can play or do whatever she likes. Today, I was cutting up apples for her snack (she requested apples with peanut butter and some popcorn), when I noticed that the apple had a scar. Isobel had two long scars on her leg from previous hip surgeries- one along the bikini line from several open reductions, and one on her outer thigh from a femoral osteotomy and subsequent hardware removal. Most of the time she’s fine with her scars, but sometimes she doesn’t like them. I told her that scars are just a way that you can see how strong you are- that you were stronger than whatever gave you that scar, and now you’re healed. So I pointed out the apple’s scar.*

“Hey, Is, look at this apple- it has a scar!”
She looks. “Just like me!”
“That’s right.”
“Huh.”
“I’ll be done making your snack in a minute.”
“Should we eat it?”
“Sure, it’s fine. It’s just a spot where the apple rested on a branch or something, that’s why there’s a scar in the skin.”
“So it didn’t do anything to get the scar?”
“No, I don’t think apples don’t do much except grow, right?”
She smiles and leaves the room to put her homework on her desk. From the other room she calls to me, “Hey, apples don’t even have a way of life!”

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March 16, 2018, first thing in the morning.

*This morning, Isobel wakes up and doesn’t come right into the kitchen. I putter around, preparing her lunch for school for a bit. When she still hasn’t come in a few minutes later, I find her in her room, sitting on the rug, looking thoughtful.*

“Hey, babe, you okay? What can I make you for breakfast?”
“Mom, I’m thinking.”
“Oh?”
“Yes. I’m thinking about a giant eye test.”

*I get a picture in my head of a regular eye test poster, you know the kind, with the capital letter E facing different ways, but the poster is as big as a door, or the wall. Then I remember we’ve been reading a lot of fairy tales lately, so I wonder…*

“What do you mean? A giant eye test, like the test itself is giant? Or an eye test for a giant, like a test for Grawp, Hagrid’s brother?”
“An eye test for a giant. Like, ‘Can you see this house? Can you see this book? Can you see me? Or am I just a tiny speck?'”
“Isobel, that’s amazing. I wonder if anybody else has ever once thought about that.”
“Hmm.”
“Babe, we’ve got to get to school. Want some oatmeal?”

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This image is a photo of an opera stage, built for a festival in Bregenz, Austria. Read more about the fantastic stages here: http://twistedsifter.com/2011/08/outdoor-opera-on-the-lake-stages-of-bregenz/

November 20, 2017- Family Flowers

*After school today, Isobel is sitting at the kitchen table finishing her snack. I join her with a cup of tea and we talk about our days for a few minutes, and then, apropos of nothing, she picks up this little Nutcracker ornament she bought the other day, looks at it thoughtfully, and says…*

“I think that families are like flowers. The petals that fall off are like the people who die, and are dying. And the petals that come on are the new people being born. And there are a lot of flowers in the world, and there are a lot of families in the world.”

*I’m silent for a moment, taking it in, turning it over in my mind, then I get up and grab a slip of paper and a pen and write it all down. I don’t want to lose this.*

“Is, I think the inside of your head is the most beautiful place in the world.”

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October 6, 2017- After bedtime

*We’ve been reading Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince. We’re just getting to the part (spoiler alert) where Dumbledore and Harry are in the cave, about to get the Horcrux. I’m a bit concerned reading this part before Isobel goes to sleep. I stop right before Harry puts the goblet in the water.*

“We’ll finish this part tomorrow, I told you, these books get scarier now. We can read it in the afternoon, we’ll do some Eloise or something else before bed, okay?”
“I think I’m going to have bad dreams anyway!”
“I hope not. Let’s do our good dreams on the monitor.”

*I hug her and stroke her nose a few times, like I’ve done since she was an infant, then go grab the monitor.*

“Want me to go first?”
“Yes!”
“Okay, um, it’s a three day weekend! So, no school on Monday!”
“Ooh! Really?”
“Yep. Your turn.”
“I’m too tired, you just do the good dreams.”
“All right. Let’s see. We got to see Grandma for dinner, that was nice.”
“Yes… …”
“And maybe we’ll go to the beach on Monday, it’s supposed to be good weather.”
“The beach! We can go to the beach, instead of school! I can play in the sand?”
“Sure, baby, it’ll be fun. So, dream about that, okay?”
“Mommy, I think we just came up with the medicine for bad dreams.”
“I sure hope so.”

P.S. She had GOOD DREAMS last night! Not one nightmare. The medicine works!

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September 27, 2017- at night

*On the way home from dinner with some friends in the city…*

“Mom.”
“Yes?”
“Nights are my favorite.”
“Why?”
“Well, you get to sleep. And you get to see the moon. And the colorful lights on the buildings. And you can see the stars- they look like little lights inside the sky. And we can play the game with the eyes.”
“Oh, the game where we pretend lights in between the trees are creepy creatures?”
“Yes! I love that game.”
“Me, too. I guess night is also my favorite.”
“It’s the best.”

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June 9, 2017- socks again.

*At dinner, Isobel is telling Vaughan and Daddy about the magic flying socks she’s invented. Vaughan is trying to follow her story…*

“See, the socks fly off my feet, then they go down the basement stairs, then they get in the um, washer, and then they get into the dryer, and then they get all folded up nice, and fly back up the stairs, and land perfectly in my drawer! Isn’t that great?”

Vaughan gets a sort of glazed-over look and takes a sip of his drink, apparently considering the magic socks.

Dad says, “You mean Mom?”

*That’s right- I am the magic behind the socks.*

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October 21, 2014

*At dinner tonight… Is will eat pizza, but only white pizza. It wasn’t on the menu… but I asked, and the chef made her one!*

“Hey, Is, that was pretty nice of them to make you that special pizza, huh?”
“Why was it pretty nice? Why wasn’t it VERY nice?”
“You know, you’re right. It was very nice!”

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