November 3, 2017- Sore throat

*Isobel is home today with a sore throat and ears. It’s not strep- phew! We took her to the doctor this morning to make sure, as she had strep four times last year. Everything’s okay, no fever. Her throat hurts when she swallows water, so I made her some blueberry tea with honey. What she really wants (and always wants when she’s sick) is a Pedialyte popsicle- but I think I’ve convinced her that it will only hurt her throat worse to have something frozen if cold water hurts…*

“Mom, this is disgusting.”
“Aw, I’m sorry, but you said the cold water hurts your throat, so the pop will make it worse, babe.”
“I hate tea.”
“There are like a million kinds of tea. How about some black tea with cream and sugar?”
“I guess I could try it…”

*She won’t have soup either, even if I put a shitload of noodles in there, so I try the black tea, light and sweet. It’s almost cake it’s so good. I give her a graham cracker and half a cup of tea.*

“Well, this isn’t so… oh uggghhhhhh. It tastes like air!”
“Air?”
“Like nothing!”
“Oh, well, maybe it’s…”
“It’s like garbage water!”
“Damn, Is, that’s harsh for tea. It’ll make your throat feel better though, if you drink it. Can you just try a little?”
“Maybe it makes my throat feel better, but it makes my tongue sick!”

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November 1, 2017- After her bath

*After Isobel’s bath today, she is drying off when she stops, looks up at me, and says…*

“Mom. If there were no girls, there would be no babies.”
“Right. But the girls still need boys.”

*Now, since the kid is only six, I’ve only explained the process of how a baby grows and is born- not how it actually got IN THERE. I’m sure that conversation is inescapable, but I’m not rushing into that part of the whole thing.*

“But why? Only girls can have babies.”
“That’s right. But girls need boys to start the baby- like remember, the egg comes from the girl, and the sperm comes from the boy, and they fit together, and then the baby grows in the girl.”

*She considers this a moment, her head tilted to the side, turquoise turban getting darker as it wicks water from her freshly washed hair.*

“Kind of like a puzzle.”
“What, a baby?”
“Yeah, the pieces fit together- to make a baby puzzle.”
“You got it.”

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October 18, 2017 – Problem Solved

*Isobel is in first grade. In class, the kids sit grouped together by fours and fives- there is one girl at Is’s table who, sometimes, just isn’t that nice. Today, Is reported that this girl grabbed a boy’s math work and threw it on the floor. Then she turned and said to Is, “Why are you always staring at people?”*

“Mommy, she always says I’m staring at her.”
“Are you?”
“No, I’m just looking around.”
“Okay, did it bother you that she said that?”
“Well, yes.”
“Huh. Well, you could really, really stare at her, like this…” And I stare at Isobel, really hard, and when she starts to smile, I turn my head a little, but don’t smile back, kinda creepy-like.
“But, Mom, that’s not how we do things now.”
“Oh?”
“No, when there’s a problem, we don’t just do something back to someone. Like when you were in school. Like in old times.”
“Huh. Like old times.”
“Yeah. It’s much gentler now.”
“It sounds like it. That’s nice. Okay, so what do you do now? How would you handle it?”
“I already told her I’m not staring at her.”
“Good! That should do it, right?”
“I’m not sure… she says it all the time.”
“Huh. Well, what else can you do?”
“Well, I don’t want to get clipped down, so I could just tell the teacher.”
“That seems like a good idea. Will you do that the next time she bothers you?”
“Yeah! Thanks for solving all my problems!”
“You really solved your problem, Is, if you think about it.”

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October 11, 2017, with ninjas

*We’re talking about family at dinner, and Isobel asks if there are people in the family she hasn’t yet met. Among others, I mention a cousin who lives in Japan. He’s an artist, does amazing cut paper work, and is also a new father. I jump up and pull a magnet off the fridge- it’s a picture of one of his pieces- a slinky black rabbit in motion, paper curling like smoky ribbons around his body. Is is impressed.*

“Mom, so, my cousin is an artist?”
“Well, he’s my first cousin, and so he’s your first cousin, once removed. And yes, he’s a professional artist.”

*Her eyes get big, and I can almost smell her thinking.*

“Mom. Wow.”
“I know! He’s amazing. He does all this work by hand. Pretty cool, eh?”
“It’s very cool! Hey, is he a ninja?”
“What?”
“A ninja. Because he lives in Japan.”

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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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October 3, 2017, after bedtime

*She’s supposed to be sleeping. It’s been a busy day- school, swimming lesson (in the big pool today!), and dinner with a friend. Plus, I am rockin’ my new ‘always patient mom, goddamn it’ self. I’m trying to, anyway. Then, on the monitor…*

“Mom. I made up a word.”
“Oh yeah?”
“Yeah. Wanna hear it?”
“Sure.”
“Twickerninge.”
“Okay. What does it mean?”
“I’ll tell you when I find out.”
“Haha, okay babe. Go to sleep, it’s getting late.”
“Okay. Good night.”

*Some time passes, just a little.*

“Mom.”
“Yeah, babe.”
“It means an animal eating. Like, look, twickerninge over there, standing up. See, I used it in a sentence.”
“That is amazing.”
“I know, right?”
“Good night, babe.”
“Good night, Mommy.”

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Sunday, August 13, 2017, after bedtime

*Isobel had a busy day- this morning she helped me clean, then we spent the afternoon at the water park with her friends, then she had a nice, relaxing bath. Dad came home after being away for a few days on tour in time for dinner, and then Grandma came over for a bit. On the way home from the water park, we heard the Don Henley song ‘Boys of Summer’ on the radio, which has been getting a lot of airplay lately. About ten minutes after Is went to bed…*

“Mom?”
“Yeah, babe?”
“What does it mean, ‘I saw a Dead Head sticker on a Cadillac?'”
“Well, the Grateful Dead are a band, and the people, sometimes hippies, who follow the band, are called Dead Heads. And a Cadillac is a luxury car, really expensive, and hippies don’t usually drive luxury cars, so it’s kind of unusual, like it’s something you wouldn’t see very often. That kind of sticker on that kind of car. Get it?”
“Why don’t hippies drive expensive cars?”
“Well, they don’t usually have lots of money, and Cadillacs cost a lot of money.”
“Do hippies have long hair?”
“Yes, sometimes.”
“Huh.”
“It’s bedtime, Is, go to sleep, we can talk about this tomor…”
“But why don’t hippies have money?”
“Because money doesn’t matter so much to hippies.”
“But why?”
“Because other things matter more than money. Art, music, peace, being kind to each other, taking care of the earth- these things matter more than making and spending money. So, money doesn’t matter much to hippies.”
“Oh, their hair does?”
“Hahaha, yes.”
“Okay.”

*Silence for a few minutes. And then…*

“But they need to have a tiny bit of money, the hippies…”
“Yes, babe, the hippies are fine.”
“Oh okay, good night.”

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July 6, 2017, Bedtime

*Every night, right after I put Is to bed, we each pick three things that are fun to think about (so she’ll hopefully have good dreams), and say them on the monitor after final hugs & kisses…*

“Mommy! I’m first. Okay… playing Barbies today!”
“Nice. Um… how about your long, relaxing bath?”
“That was sooooo good! Making the car art at Rec today!”
“It is a fabulous car. Picking out your bracelet at the store.”
“Yes! Eating sorbet!”
“How about earlier today, when you told me that when you’re an astronaut, and you’ll be the first girl on the moon?”
“I love that one, Mommy. I’m going to have the best dreams ever.”

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June 28, 2017, first thing in the morning

*I’ve decided to go to college. It’s a bit weird, as I’m 48, but I guess there’s no time like the present? Anyway, this morning I was telling Dave how I scored on the practice Accuplacer tests I took last night, while Isobel was playing on the floor with her Hello Kitty stuff nearby…*

Me: “So, I got 100 percent on the reading comprehension, and 100 percent on the sentence structure… but twenty-seven percent on elementary algebra.”
Him: “Well, you knew you’d have trouble with that.”
Me: “Yeah…”
Isobel: “Mommy, what’s that, elementary algebra?”
Me: “It’s the math with the letters in it that makes me cry.”
Is: “Don’t worry, Mommy, I’ll help you! Do you know what four plus four is?”
Me: “Aw, thanks, Is! Yes, is it eight?”
Is: “Yes! Okay, what’s X plus X?”
Me: …
Dave: “You’re scaring mom…”
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June 18, 2017 *Father’s Day*

*We’re at the in-law’s for Father’s Day- after an afternoon of playing in the yard, Is runs in to use the bathroom and asks me to join her…*

“Just for a minute, Is, then you’re on your own…”
“I have to poo, though…”
“Yep, you can do that by yourself, babe, okay, I’m out.”
“No, stay! It’s Father’s Day! This is what YOU get for Father’s Day!”
“What, poo? That’s great. Oh my god, the smell. Is, I’m leaving…”
“Happy Father’s Day, Mommy!”
“Aaagghhhhh…”

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