Everything You Need to Know…

…About nonverbal 1 1/2 year old Baby Hank.


Day One at the Beach:



Day Three at the Beach: 



And now you know.


Cicada Boy

My little Walter is a bug kid. He’s never met a bug he didn’t like or wasn’t willing to touch. Butterflies, beetles, ants, spiders, rolly-pollies, inchworms, caterpillars and especially CICADAS.

What is a cicada, you ask? Well let me tell you since this is now a subject on which I am very well educated.

They are not locusts. They do not eat crops. They are not a biblical plague. They do not sting or bite or seem to really care if they get eaten. (Walter doesn’t eat them, but the birds do)

They DO have red eyes (at least the kind here in the midwest – in Asia there are prettier ones). Some of them do appear periodically – once every 13 years or once every 17 years. Others appear annually or biannually so don’t worry, we’ll never have a summer without at least a few. Cicadas do sing their little hearts out all day everyday looking for love. And if you’ve never had your sanity threatened by the deafening screeching/ticking sounds of thousands of cicadas singing all at once then you really haven’t lived.

Also! When they come up out of the ground at the beginning of the summer they crawl right out of their skins. Then they very generously leave the carapaces (best word ever) all over the place for little boys to find and collect. Like a super creepy easter egg hunt that lasts for three months. (We have six mason jars full of exoskeletons in the garage. Six.)

But the best thing about cicadas is how much Walter loves them. Somehow they speak to his nurturing little boy soul. When he catches one he wants to pet it like a kitten and tell it how good and nice it is. (Personally? I think the true appeal is the cicadas’ poetic metamorphosis in returning to the light aboveground. They strip off their skins – their old selves – to reveal that there were wings and the capacity to fly inside them all along! It’s exciting! It’s beautiful! It’s probably not why Walter loves them.)

But whatever the reason, he has bonded with them. He has been a cicada for Halloween, he has a cicada tote bag for school, he has all the cicada books available for sale on amazon, he has a special cicada beanie baby, he has a display cicada inside a glass cube, those six mason jars full of shells, a tee shirt, art on the wall… I even have a brass cicada necklace that he gave me for my birthday a couple of years ago. It’s quite a statement piece. And naturally over the years I’ve drawn dozens and dozens of pictures of cicadas at his request. Here’s one I did today. It’s a cicada portrait of the two of us.


My sweet boy is graduating from preschool this week and I know his cicada-obsession is gradually waning. I’m sure he’ll always have a soft spot for bugs and I know that in the coming years he’ll have lots of other exciting big boy interests. But nothing can really compare with the ardor of a little child who has been enchanted by some small magic invisible to the rest of us. Seeing the world through Walter’s eyes has brought me so much creepy crawly joy.

So keep singing your song, cicadas and Cicada Boy! You are all miracles to me.


Scary Story

It was a dark and stormy night…

Just kidding it was an unseasonably warm November afternoon. I was nine months pregnant with Hank (one week away from his due date) and the kids were riding their bikes in the driveway and enjoying the sixty-ish degree weather. When our neighbor stopped by and asked if we wanted to join her on a short walk to the pond we agreed.

The kids brought their bikes and we hiked the one whole block over to the neighborhood pond and hopped on the little paved trail that circles the water. Emily (our neighbor) and I were talking, getting to know each other, having a grand old time when in the middle of a sentence I heard Emily gasp. I looked up in time to see Milo about twenty feet ahead of us, still on his bike, actually flying through the air like the ET kid.

Milo Pond pic

That’s why this is a legitimate scary story and not just a mommy-scary story. I suspect paranormal, extraterrestrial, voodoo, or possibly leprechaun involvement. I mean. This can not be explained. Why didn’t he fall off his bike? Why didn’t the bike just fall over? How could he possibly have been going fast enough to completely clear the rocks? It doesn’t make sense!!!

Anyway, as I was pondering these things Milo’s miraculous flight ended with a big splash and me charging after him to the edge of the pond. At this point I’m hoping he’ll just stand up in the water and maybe whine a little when I insist he haul his bike out of there. But my hopes were squelched immediately as Milo’s head popped up out of the water and then went right back down again. (This is the part that’s mommy-scary)

That’s when I thought it might be a nice idea for me to go swimming too. Me and my super pregnant belly slid/jumped into the water after him and got there before Milo really started panicking. You guys, that water was up to my neck! Oh yeah, and freezing cold. Also DISGUSTING. Pretty sure it was 80% duck poop in there. But Milo was ok and I handed him out to Emily who was waiting at the edge to help us (thanks Emily!). Then I figured I might as well get the bike since there was no way anybody was getting back in that cesspool again for any reason. So I used my feet to pry it up out of the mud (please let it have been mud) at the bottom and handed that off to Emily too. Then I had to haul my giant self out of the water and we all walked home. Shivering like we’d had an alien encounter. WHICH WE MIGHT HAVE.

The end.

(Not pictured: Me nine months pregnant – the paper wasn’t big enough) 

Mom Won’t Let You Play With Guns? No Problem.

The following is a pictorial catalogue of things my disturbingly resourceful little boys have found to stand in for their most coveted toy.


Because He’ll Only Be Three Once

Time is really speeding up around here.

The other day we had some rare March sunshine and my not-a-baby-anymore, Walter, asked if we could “Please go outside and lay down on a blanket to look at the animals in the clouds.” I said, “(Sniffle, sniffle) Okay.

And we did. And I took a mental picture and drew it out so I wouldn’t forget.

His little three-year-old legs covered up to his thighs in his dad’s special Superman socks (so he looked like a fifties pin-up girl). The Superman shirt with a cape that he loves because his big brother has the same one and because he wants so badly to be a strong, big, brave hero. The sunglasses that he stole right off my face because he somehow knows that there is nothing of mine that I wouldn’t happily give up for him. The beautiful day in the middle of a dreary wet March that I otherwise might have let pass by unnoticed.

And we found a frog in the clouds. And a feather in the grass. And he asked if he could have grilled cheese for lunch. Cut into butterflies. And I said yes.

And for a little while, time slowed down.

Amber Alert

Going to the St. Louis City Museum with your friends? Fun!

Going to the City Museum with your two year old? Amber alert.

“This time he’s been kidnapped for sure…”


Dendrophobia – fear of trees


Both my kids have it. What did I do wrong? Whenever we walk or drive through trees or tall bushes, both of the kids will coach themselves, “It’s ok, they’re just trees.” Or, “Trees aren’t scary. Trees are nice!” Because they’ve heard it so often. At least we are on the road to recovery. But it adds a whole new facet of adventure to walks in the park. Did you have a phobia when you were a kid?

Cowboy Penguin

A few weeks ago during church Walter was acting up so I pulled him onto my lap and said, “Walter, can you sit quietly and play with your airplane? You’re such a big boy now.” And he sat up straight, puffed out his chest, and declared in a voice audible within a three pew radius, “I’m a big boy!”

This got Milo’s attention (and everyone else’s) and he, perhaps not wanting to be outdone,  declared in a voice that was just as loud and proud, “I’m a cowboy penguin!”

cowboy penguin

Um… what?

On Getting Older

The other day I was headed out the door with the kids when I caught sight of myself in the mirror. I was like, “Whoa, nelly. Where do you think you’re going with no makeup on, Grandma?” Because, see, now that I’m an old fogey I don’t have the option of going out in just my face. So I made the kids stand by the door and wait while I ran up to my bathroom to throw on some concealer and mascara to wake things up a little bit. Know what I found when I got upstairs? I already had concealer and mascara on. It just wasn’t enough to disguise the terrible things that time, child rearing, and staying up late reading have done to my face. (Plus, I’m apparently getting senile.)


Kill. Me. Now.

The thing is I’m turning 31 this week. And, I don’t know, it just feels wrong. And waaaaaay older than 30. Like, maybe it’s time to start acting like a grownup or something? (You know, since I obviously look like one.)


And I don’t mean to be that cliched female bemoaning her lost youth, but… well, I do kind of feel like bemoaning sometimes.

But there are good things about getting older, right? Right? Like, maybe a little perspective?

I’ll keep you posted, young’uns.

And while we’re on the subject…

… of kids learning how the world works, I have drawn for your consideration an illustration of what Walter believes will happen if the wind blows hard enough.  

ImageHe holds on to the top of his head with this look of panic and screams, “My hair!”