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back on track

Nathaniel hurtled through the house at around 5am this morning to join me. We tossed and turned in the waning dark, and got up at 5:45. I have tea steeping. He’s sitting in the not-red chair, looking at a George and Martha compendium that weighs almost as much as he does. Outside, it’s quiet and soft, humid, tree branches ruffled by wind. It may rain. Honorée is deeply asleep, dreaming bicycle dreams. Nathaniel is now next to me, asking “Can you please get away this stuff?” so he can read his book snuggled into me. Time to fix my... read more

Elementary School, Musical

My daughter loves Miley Cyrus. She’s eight. I guess it’s that time. First, my dad gave her a Hannah Montana doll when we were at my brother’s wedding rehearsal dinner. Then the kids got to watch the Disney channel (the kids have next to zero screen time at home) while we were in Ojai on our family vacation. There were just times…when I needed a break…and there were a lot of back-to-back Hannah Montana episodes on. “Mom, I just LOVE her,” she said. “She’s just so COOL.” Is she? Is she? On the one hand, I want to hand-pick/curate all of my... read more

Why are all the Hapa kids sitting together?

Three weeks ago I went to pick up Liko from preschool and found his class gathered outside the school, waiting for the mommies and daddies. Something struck me: The white girls huddled in one group and the white boys in another. Where was Liko? He and his three other part-white/part-Asian classmates, boys and girls, were off to one side, hanging out with each other. (A note on demographics: Since this is a Jewish Community Center preschool, most of the kids, including the half-Asian ones, have at least one Jewish parent; there are no black or Latino kids in... read more

The worst thing in the world

Commentary from William C. Bell, president and CEO of Casey Family Programs: When families feel the pressure of a slowing economy on their shoulders, children suffer. Historically, when the economy shifts downward, there has been a corresponding increase in child abuse and neglect. Childhelp, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to the prevention and treatment of child abuse, reports an eight to 10 percent increase in calls to child abuse hotlines since July. Researchers have indicated that there appears to be a link between the health of our economy,... read more

Puppet Show, with video

“I’m bored,” my daughter said. I kind of hate it when she says that. But this time, I told her, “I hear that you’re bored, and I’m okay with you being bored.” We then went through a list of things she wanted to do that were impossible logistically–like drive to California, for instance. A few minutes later she and her brother began making paper one-dimensional puppets. I felt drowsy in the heat and took a rest on my bed. The next thing I knew, the kids were ready to perform their improv puppet show and I luckily had my camera on the bedside table. It’s good... read more

Sacred Space

My daughter was lying on my bed. She was five and a half. She looked around the room and said it was so peaceful and beautiful. She noted that my room had altars with candles and photos and there were no toys in my room. She said that she liked my room more than the room she shares with her brother. She went on to decide that she hated her room and that it wasn’t fair and I had the good room. She worked herself up rather quickly. I went through a myriad of response feelings internally: “Back off, this is my room. Of course my room is peaceful... read more

Sending off Summer

This week, my son and daughter went back to school. Nathaniel survived (and thrived during) his first day of kindergarten and my daughter began second grade. Blazing hot Southwest days are getting beaten down by welcome doses of chilly breezes and rain. And before us: Labor Day Weekend. Here’s my paean to the Summer of 2009: In July, my kids spontaneously decided to create ice sculptures this summer by filling different cups and bowls with water and freezing them. Then they stacked the unmolded ice and asked me to “take pictures!” “Isn’t it SO beautiful,... read more

Looking for the Helpers

Helping our children to process the tragedy in Boston.   It is no surprise that one of the most-shared quotes in the wake of the horrific bombing in Boston was wisdom from the ever-reliable Mr. Rogers, who said: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ “   I count myself among the fortunate in that a.) I was not personally affected by the bombings in that I do not know anyone who was hurt or injured and b.) My son is too young for me to have... read more

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