James, My Alarm

This morning James ran into our bedroom in a flurry, ripped open the blinds and screamed, “IT’S MORNING TIME!”. He then turned on the radio, switched on the lights, jumped on top of me and yelled, “GET UP, LAZY BONES!”.

And it wasn’t just this morning.

It’s every morning.

Boundless energy, that boy has—boundless.

“No human being believes that any other human being has a right to be in bed when he himself is up.” —Robert Lynd

Painting In Our PJs In the Morning

Sophie woke up wanting to “teach the boys how to paint.” She’s not the most patient of teachers. She also dislikes mixing colors. Although the pictures depict a rather lovely experience (and for awhile, it was), it did not end well. I suppose, for a more truthful depiction, I should take pictures across the spectrum. Too often, though, I’m solving and resolving at the one of the spectrum, leaving little time for picture-taking—whereas the other end of the spectrum is the stuff you dream motherhood is going to be, with plenty of time for dreamy documenting.

“A child’s attitude toward everything is an artist’s attitude.” —Willa Cather

The Brook’s Song

This morning I walked past unmade beds …

and a laundry basket overflowing with dirty clothes …

and a playroom that, honestly, more often than not looks like this.

I walked down the stairs past the frame in our wall gallery that still has the model family in it, as I haven’t had time to choose, print and pick up a picture to take its place.

I stepped over the large, rolled-up rug in our entry, which has yet to sell on Craigslist—probably because I haven’t gotten around to actually posting it yet.

I walked past a pile of dried-up wipes James emptied from the wipes container …

and nearly stepped on a tube of suntan lotion, resting next to Sophie’s ballet outfit, which she wore two days ago.

I took a sideways glance at the pile up of cars, each of which fell to their demise after being pushed down the sloping arm of our leather and oak mission chair.

I walked underneath the Happy Birthday banner, still up after Andy’s birthday earlier this week.

I walked through the dining room and looked out our windows only to be reminded of the fact that our lawnmower is still at the shop, our grass is much too tall, there is a great possibility our fence will never be finished and weeds have overtaken our flower beds.

Once in the kitchen I checked on the quilt my mom made for Owen, which is soaking in a tub of cold water because of an overnight bloody nose diaster.

I looked at the counters, still covered with dirty dishes, some in the process of being washed, thanks to a broken dishwasher.

Up late last night with freelance work I yawned, wishing coffee could make itself. The boys were yelling “banana” repeatedly and Sophie was inside the refrigerator, taking stock of all the new things Andy had brought home from the grocery last night.

I broke a banana in half and pulled out a large container of strawberry yogurt, Sophie’s favorite. While I was spooning it into a bowl she said she wanted vanilla. With honey in it.

The vanilla yogurt, actually Greek yogurt, is my yogurt. It comes in small, individual, expensive containers and so I limit myself to about three a week. I add honey. I love them. They’re my treats.

“No, Sophie.” I said. “Those are mine. You love strawberry yogurt.”

Cue whining/complaining/tears/other it-is-way-too-early-for-this reactions.

I gave her the strawberry yogurt. More whining/complaining/tears/other it-is-way-too-early-for-this reactions.

Perhaps I was being selfish, not giving her the Greek yogurt. Perhaps I should have held my ground, and insisted she eat the strawberry yogurt. But the weight of the whining, the mess, the late nights, the broken lawnmower and the broken dishwasher, Owen’s physical therapy appointment which we were already late for, the painful blister on my foot from (stupidly) wearing flip flops while pushing all three kids in the stroller all the way to the farmer’s market yesterday all became too much.

I gave her the Greek yogurt. And a bottle of honey (which I, perhaps, placed too hard in front of her, as it fell over). I walked into the kitchen and gripped the counter.

“Go upstairs,” Andy said. “Take a break.”

“I can’t take a break,” I said. “You’ll be late for work if I take a break. I can never, ever, ever take a break.”

Of course that last sentence was not true. But many days, it feels like that.

Andy went upstairs to take a shower. I started coffee. And poured myself a bowl of generic rice cereal and began to eat.

“Mommy?” Sophie asked. “I don’t want the vanilla yogurt. Can I have strawberry instead?”

“The brook would lose its song if you removed the rocks.” —Fred Beck


I imagine—know—some people spend 20 minutes on a yoga mat doing sun salutations every morning. Somewhere someone is drinking hot coffee while sitting in a rocking chair on a front porch while watching chickens peck about their yard. A crew team simultaneously dips their oars in water that reflects the newly risen sun. A commuter is lost in a book of fiction while riding the subway to work. Dogs everywhere relish their morning walks with their owners.

This was my morning, which is like every morning:

Freshly washed (OK, not folded but still) laundry flung all over the living room in the time it took me to feed Tucker and let him out.

People often talk about the things they’ll miss when their children are older. I do it all.the.time. Mostly here. But I know—I know—I will relish my quiet mornings. I’m not a morning person. I don’t like having to share my cereal like a mother bird to two hungry toddlers (who just finished off two bowls of oatmeal, a banana, a cereal bar and a glass full of whole milk each) who, literally, stand in front of my like starving baby birds, mouths open saying “me! me! me!” I don’t like drinking my coffee while watching Super Why. (I know, I know I could not turn Super Why on but as much as I’d rather have the news on in the morning, or classical music playing in the morning, or the simple quiet of open windows in the morning, Super Why allows me 20 minutes to drink my coffee in peace so it’s simply the lesser of two evils.) I don’t like the mad rush of mornings (which I know, once everyone is in school, will only get worse). I like slow mornings. Leisurely mornings. Like this:

My mom bought this cloth calendar for me for Christmas. Designed by Heather Ross, it is my morning ideal—listening to Andy play his guitar while reading The New York Times, Tucker curled up next to me, a hot cup of coffee (on the floor!) simply waiting for sips. I hung the calendar on my pantry door and every morning I see it, I admit, I sigh. It’s coming, I know. But some mornings, my ideal morning just seems so darn far away.

In the meantime, my coffee continues to cool as I deal with a laundry situation—which, as I type this, Tucker has turned into a luxurious dog bed made up of tank tops, tutus and underwear and that smells of dryer sheets. At least someone in this house is experiencing his morning ideal.

“The average, healthy, well-adjusted adult gets up at seven-thirty in the morning feeling just plain terrible.” —Jean Kerr

Morning Glory


taken November 12

“The moment when you first wake up in the morning is the most wonderful of the twenty-four hours. No matter how weary or dreary you may feel, you possess the certainty that, during the day that lies before you, absolutely anything may happen. And the fact that it practically always doesn’t, matters not a jot. The possibility is always there.”—Monica Baldwin

Some Mornings Are Longer Than Others

This morning, after the boys were dressed and Sophie was dressed and we were about to make our way downstairs, Sophie flipped out and started to frantically take her underwear off.


Because they had cupcakes on them.

And she said she didn’t know anyone who has a birthday today.

(Of course.)

“If we would listen to our kids, we’d discover that they are largely self-explanatory.” —Robert Braul