I kind of wimped out this Lent, and decided that I would give up chocolate.

Or, at least, I thought I was wimping out.

As is well-known, last year, I gave up Twitter. It was the hardest Lenten sacrifice I have ever committed to (and achieved). The second hardest sacrifice I ever made (and achieved) was the Lent I gave up coffee/caffeine — this was years ago. I had a headache for a week, but, ultimately, I cut way back on my coffee/caffeine intake.

So, this year, chocolate.

I didn’t think it would be so difficult. What that has taught me is that I take chocolate for granted.

I didn’t think about my chocolate intake. If I wanted chocolate, I had chocolate. Even if I didn’t have to have chocolate, if chocolate was there, I had chocolate.

I am suddenly confronting the fact that chocolate plays a bigger role in my life than I suspected.

Unfortunately, at my nephews’ birthday party on Saturday, I was confronted, almost exclusively, by chocolate. Brownies, cookies with M&Ms, chocolate cake, cookies & cream ice cream (homemade! with Oreos!).

I failed. I couldn’t deny myself chocolate. I had a brownie (which was delicious) with cookies & cream ice cream (again: homemade! with Oreos!). It was heavenly.

My father listened to me lament my failings regarding chocolate with some amusement.

“You know what this means, don’t you?” he asked.

“What?” I said.

“Chocolate is greater than Twitter,” he concluded.

Amen, Dad. Amen.

Fair Weather Fan

I do not complain about the weather very much, I really don’t.

I grew up in Erie; I’ve been living in Pittsburgh for 20+ years. We are well north of the Mason-Dixon line. I don’t expect fall to last until Christmas — snow and cold on Halloween are to be expected. Nor do I expect spring to start… well, anytime earlier than the end of May, frankly. Regardless of what the rodent may predict.

I admit to being hopeful about what Phil predicted about an early spring this year. Between “morning” sickness and an exhausting pregnancy last year, and a baby born in December, I have been ready to be outside for more than a year. We are too cooped up; we have watched too much TV. I need sunshine AND warmth. I need no more snow showers.

I also need a baby who doesn’t cry when he’s in his stroller, but we’ll get there eventually I hope.

Last week, @Mom101 tweeted: “I’m ready for warm air to match the blue sky outside. Starting…now.”

I RT’ed this, and added, “Seriously. Kill Phil Vol. 1.”

Flora was supposed to start soccer on Saturday, but they had to cancel the clinic because it was too cold. This week she is supposed to have practice Thursday, and her first game Saturday. I am up for hauling Michael and Kate where I need to  — that’s what baby carriers are for, after all — but I don’t want to have him out for long periods in wet or cold! They are calling for *snow* again for Pete’s sake!

I am desperate for it to stop being cold. So my children can run around in the backyard without needing hats and gloves. I am even more desperate for it to stop being wet and cold. I probably would mind less for myself. But think of the children!

Memory Lane: The Infamous New Year’s Eve Party

I was a smart, quiet girl in high school. I took advanced English, math, and history classes for college credit (I almost flamed out in calculus, but that’s a different story); I was on the school newspaper, yearbook, and literary magazine. I dabbled in high school theater. I hung around with a fantastic group of friends who were similar to me — smart, literate, creative.

I seldom drank, I didn’t do any drugs, and, also, I didn’t date a lot. I mean, I guess I had one or two boyfriends, and I never lacked for a date to a dance. I crushed on a lot of boys, but I wasn’t super interested in dating seriously. It wasn’t something I focused on in high school.

Starting when I was 16, I had summer and after-school jobs, more for the spending money than anything else. I had a good driving record (mostly), and enjoyed the trust of my parents.

Until New Year’s Eve 1988, that is.

That is the year my two best friends and I thought I should throw a party at my parents’ house.

To this day, I do not know what implanted such an idea in my brain. I can’t say that it wasn’t my idea; it very well could have been. (I’m sure N knows all the details of the formation of such a plan.) I do know that M, N, and I thought it was a grand idea, and we came up with a fool-proof plan. Or so we thought.

At the time, I worked at a video store — anyone remember those? In the late ’80s, home video rental (of VHS tapes) was quite popular, and Home Video Exchange in Erie had captured the market (before Blockbuster came along). When I worked, I was usually the closer, counting up the money in the cash register and making sure everything was ready for the morning person. I usually worked at the store near my house, but HVE had two other locations where I could be scheduled.

As part of the Party Plan, I told my parents — who were heading to a nearby ski resort for New Year’s Eve with my brother and sister — that I couldn’t go with them, that I had to work. (I didn’t ski, anyway.) They figured it was no big deal; they were only going to be away overnight. I would spend the night at M’s house with her family. N made arrangements, too, that she would be staying overnight there.

I couldn’t tell you what we told M’s parents we were doing. Maybe staying overnight at N’s house.

Then, M’s older brother and a couple of his friends were recruited to buy the alcohol. I don’t remember what all we got, but the beer of choice was Genesee and Genesee Cream Ale. Yeah, we were klassy.

And then we had a party.

This party, I can tell you, was ill-conceived from the start. I suppose nearly any high school party is.

First off, my mother had recently redecorated our modest home. We had new, lightly colored rugs in several upstairs rooms.

Second, we thought it was a good idea to tell people they couldn’t smoke in the house. However, we also told them that it would be dandy to smoke in the enclosed car garage.

Lastly, you know, we had a bunch of light-weight teenagers drinking unsupervised. On New Year’s Eve.

Disaster — mostly of the puking-on-the-new-rugs variety — ensued.

No one died, thank goodness, and no fires were started. Several of the new rugs were baptized with vomit. Frankly, I couldn’t tell you the whole timeline of events because I spent most of the evening passed out in my sister’s room. (Alone, I assure you.)

I still can’t drink gin, nearly 22 years later. This debaucherous night may also be the reason I am a vegetarian; I have vague memories of regurgitating a McDonald’s Big Mac quite forcefully in the upstairs bathroom. (For the record, none of the puke on the new rugs was mine.)

At one point, N managed to rouse me for midnight — yes, I got drunk, puked, and passed out before the ball dropped, thank you very much — and shortly thereafter we kicked everyone out and started Operation Clean Up.

We did a great job cleaning up. Probably a little too good a job actually. But, no puke stains!

We made a number of mistakes, though. Starting with the “smoke in the garage” idea. The garage stunk. Smelled like a beer-covered ashtray. Unfortunately, none of us noticed at 2 in the morning. We were focused on gathering up empty beer cans and liquor bottles, and scrubbing the rugs. We also, as part of cleaning, left the ceiling fans in the family room on in an attempt to air out the house. Between the smell of the garage and the fans on full blast when my parents came home, we were busted.

There was also the fact that someone ratted us out to M’s parents. They got an anonymous phone call at 3 a.m. We found them waiting up for us when we tried to sneak in the house at 6 that morning. (Remember, this was the days before cell phones.) I thought M’s father was going to flay us. He was LIVID. After yelling at us for lying, he threatened to tell our parents himself if we didn’t come clean (N and I, that is).

We came clean. I actually did have to work on New Year’s Day, and went into the video store with my first ever hangover. I called home when I knew my parents would be there.

My dad answered. “Dad,” I croaked. “I have something to tell you.”

He did not sound surprised to hear this bit of information. My dad recalled later pulling into the garage and getting out of the car. He said he took one whiff, and looked over at my mother. “I hope she doesn’t think she got away with it,” he remembers telling her.

I was grounded for a month. No social events, no friends over, no nothing. School, work, home. That was my life for a month. To this day, I can’t believe M, N, and I were even allowed to talk to each other on the phone. I guess our parents didn’t want to completely forbid us from interacting with each other.

The worst part wasn’t the grounding. It was the collective weight of our parents’ disappointment. It was that we lost the trust that we all had taken for granted. I almost wish my parents had yelled and thrown things at me.

On my 18th birthday, my parents relented and let M, N, and I go to a movie together. We embraced at the mall like long-lost siblings, and we all vowed to never, ever do something as stupid as throwing a party (or drinking gin in excess) ever again. (I can’t speak to the throw-a-party part, but I am still gin-free. I can barely stand the smell.)

I also received this short but solemn lecture from my Dad: “You are 18 now. A grown up. Which means next time, you can go to jail.”

What was the worst thing you got caught doing in high school? How long were you grounded?

Random Thoughts: Hand-Wringing Edition

And possibly a little late to the party, so to speak.

Kate Vietje caused a little dust-up in the blog-o-sphere last week (or maybe the week before) by admitting — in public, on-line — that she maybe didn’t love both her children equally.

A few of my thoughts, and many a link:

1. If this author *had* lost a child, she would not think about which child it would be easier to lose now. She would know it hurts to lose a child, period, and speculating that maybe it would be easier to lose her daughter because of the way she felt about her daughter (i.e. that her daughter is more demanding or more challenging than her son) is useless.

In the author’s defense, she never wishes her daughter was dead, and she avers her love for both her children repeatedly. Should she have written what she did? Probably not. What responsibility does Babble have in promoting the controversy? Probably quite a bit.

2. A great number of commenters observe that when/if her daughter ever reads this post, she will be devastated by it. Their point mostly being (I think) that these private thoughts should never have been made public.

I think that a lot of people judged this woman very harshly for speaking her mind, for telling part of her story. I think mothers’ stories, and mothers’ voices need to be out there, “telling it like it is”. Whether there are lines one shouldn’t cross is still being worked out. For better or worse. See number one.

3. This mothering gig is hard (and, yes, the fathering gig is too). In my opinion, the more people out there telling it like it is (@mattieflap, for example), and admitting that the mothering gig is hard (Heather Sobieralski, at Owning Pink, for example), the better for parents in general. The community has changed, has moved online, and I, for one, am glad.

4. Catherine Connors (Her Bad Mother) skates an interesting line, in my opinion. While she might be writing from a place of love and affection, she also, in another post, defies anyone who tells her to shut up. Would she ever admit to loving one of her children more than the other? I don’t know. When she writes that the thought of losing either of them fills her with terror, I completely believe her. And I also believe that this is a more common feeling in parents with more than one child: That we can’t contemplate losing any of them without breaking out in a cold sweat.

5. I was furious with Michael last week. I was so mad he wouldn’t sleep. I hated that he was sick, and sometimes in my sleep-deprived state, I felt like I hated him.

I don’t hate him, of course, I love him deeply and unbearably. But, oh, how I sobbed Friday night when he woke me, again, from sleep. Sobbed so hard, that Dan took him from me, and sent me off to rest, if I could rest.

I rested, and two hours later, I took him once more from Dan. And two hours after that, Dan took him again.

And that is parenthood in a nutshell sometimes. Sometimes the kid doesn’t sleep, and you get mad at the kid. It’s okay, and I think it’s okay to say that. To speak the experience of parenthood. And a lot of the “oh, but think of the CHILDREN” clap trap out there is just another form of oppression. Or repression, depending if it’s external or internal.

Look, the kids are going to be fine. Psychology came into being long before blogging, so people going into therapy for one reason or another isn’t anything new. If Vietje’s daughter decides to cut her mother out of her life, it’s not going to be because of that blog post. It’s going to be because of her mother’s actions, not her words.

Ear, Ear

Ear infections have been the bane of my parenting experience.

I suffered from them as a child, and so did Dan (plus colic — thank goodness that wasn’t passed along to our progeny), and we have definitively passed them on to our children.

I distinctly remember that Flora’s first ear infection coincided with her first birthday. Kate started sooner, I want to say at about nine months, although it may have been as early as six. She got ear tubes shortly after her second birthday.

Michael was diagnosed with his first ear infection this week. I’m glad I posted all those nice things about him recently because since Tuesday night, he has been a complete bear.

He was restless as hell Tuesday into Wednesday. One of the rules of the Interwebs seems to be: If you post about how your child is sleeping, either well or badly, he/she will do the exact opposite at the earliest opportunity.

But he didn’t wake up crying or anything, nor did he seem unusally warm. So I got him dropped off at daycare on Wednesday morning. And DCL called by the time I was sitting down at my desk. M was crying and running a temperature. He had been congested for a couple of days (Kate, too, had been sick and congested, the week before). I called the pediatrician’s office, and off we went.

On the way to picking M up that afternoon — I couldn’t get an appointment until 1:30 p.m., and DCL reported that after some acetaminophen and a bottle, M had settled down — I had black thoughts. Most of them about RSV and trips to the hospital. I just was incredibly worried, and let my mind kick into overdrive.

The pediatrician who saw us (whom I think of, with apologies to my very handsome husband, as HotDoc) is familiar with our family history of ear infections. He was the one who eventually referred Kate for ear tubes.

HotDoc seemed a little grim when he first came into the exam room. He’s usually a much friendlier guy, easy around the kids, and I just thought maybe he was having a bad day. The doctor’s office seemed to be quite busy.

But he warmed up and deftly checked Michael over, even taking special pains with the ears. After a thorough examination, he declared M had an infection in his right ear. Antibiotics were ordered, and he told me to make an appointment to have M for a recheck in two weeks.

I mentioned I already had an appointment for two weeks; it was Michael’s four-month well baby visit. I said, “That can serve as his recheck, right?” HotDoc agreed and then burst out, “Vaccinations can prevent this sort of thing.”

I raised my brows at him, and said, “Michael will start receiving vaccinations at his next visit.”

We left it at that.

Dan and I have talked with our peditricians extensively about the vaccination schedule. We have decided to follow a less aggressive schedule, and the peds have agreed, with their usual disclaimers. I’m not fazed; my children will be and have been appropriately vaccinated.

But I do find myself with a lot of “what ifs”. What if Michael had breastfed longer? Both the girls BF’ed for nearly 10 months, yet they were still plagued with ear infections. What if I take away M’s binky? Flora was not a binky baby, and had fewer infections than her sister, who was a binky baby. But they both still got infections. What if Michael had gotten shots at 2 months? Would he still have gotten Kate’s cold/flu, and gotten an ear infection? What if I hadn’t had to go back to work — would me being a SAHM have prevented M from getting sick because he wouldn’t have gotten exposed to as many germs?

I know there are no good answers, especially to the first one and last two questions. I will ask the ped about M’s binky on his next visit. Let’s also be clear: I’m not blaming myself for M’s ear infection. Well, aside from blaming my genes, and there’s not much I can do about having passed those along.

As of today, he is definitely feeling better. He slept better last night, although not perfectly, fussing up through 10 p.m., and waking at 3 a.m. His temp is down and his pleasant personality has reasserted itself. I feel bad that he felt so bad, and I wish I could make it up to him.

Let’s Hear It for The Boy

As much as I am missing my baby during the week, I am really enjoying my time with him, whether in the evenings or on the weekends.

He’s a pleasant little bugger.

Knock on wood, but he seems to have gotten most of his fussiness out in those first few weeks. Unless he feels I’m being a little slow with the bottle, in which case he will let his displeasure be known.

Michael is smiling and blowing raspberries. He has many different vocalizations, from “ahs” to “oohs”. He laughs and belly laughs — especially during preparations for bath time when I’m blowing zerbets on his tummy. He watches his sisters’ antics, and he is especially excited when they make a point of fussing over him. He kicks and smiles to beat the band when Flora or Kate pay him some attention. Which, of course, means they pay him even more attention. So he’s smart, too!

He is starting to push with his feet and arch his back when he’s laying down; and when he’s on his belly, he can pick up his head and push with his arms. He’ll be rolling over soon, I expect. (Soon being in the next, oh, month or so. I’m not in a hurry, like I used to be.) He can’t sit up yet, but he sure tries. He looks like he’s doing baby crunches when he does — sounds like it too.

He is grasping things, usually my hair, though not holding onto them yet…except for my hair.

He is (shhhhh) sleeping. His napping is still a little erratic, although he will take two solid ones, usually. At night, he pretty much goes from about 8:30 p.m. to 6 a.m. I wish he would sleep a little later (and sometimes he does) only because I’m usually trying to get ready for work at 6 a.m.

The tricky thing lately is his evening catnap. I’m trying to end it, because ideally — and we all know how ideal babies like to be — he will start going to bed between 7 and 7:30. Now, he’ll drift off anytime between when I pick him up and, say, 6 or 6:30 p.m. Or he’ll snooze during his 7 p.m bottle, drawing out feeding time and bedtime up to an hour and a half. This is primarily inconvenient because I’ve other children to bathe and put to bed.

I’m not pushing it too hard yet, but I am hoping that by waking him during his evening catnap — or, better, not letting him catnap at all — he will start to go to bed earlier. I’m going to try it this week. I’m not ready to go hardcore on an evening schedule with him. I think by six months, I’ll start putting him to bed while he’s sleepy but still awake.

He’s a binky baby, which is fine with me; Kate was too. He has discovered his fingers and his hands, one of which he can get all the way in his mouth!

And he’s just cute as all get-out. I take a picture almost every day with my phone. Just so I can see this face any time I want:

Wouldn’t you?

The Middle

Kate does not like to be alone.

Back in November, my mom bought the girls a new bedroom suite. It is lovely: dark wood, a vanity, an upright dresser — and twin beds.

Kate does not sleep in her bed. She usually sleeps with Flora, although she will sometimes find her way to our bed, or even, occasionally, the couch downstairs (especially if that’s where Dan fell asleep).

I don’t fight with her about this. If it’s okay with Flora for Kate to sleep with her, then it’s okay with me. I did try to bribe Kate to sleep in her bed. I told her if she slept in her bed for seven days in a row, I would buy her Zhu Zhu Puppies.

That lasted two days. Then she defected back to Flora’s bed, and declared, “I don’t want Zhu Zhu Puppies.” (Flora, on the other hand, would *love* Zhu Zhu Puppies; I just haven’t figured out what she can do to get one. Maybe knock off the whinging. OMG, the whinging.)

Kate doesn’t like to wait in her bedroom while I’m bathing Flora. (Yeah, that showering by herself thing isn’t working so well; she doesn’t get her hair clean enough.) She will sit on a step stool in a bathroom, with a stuffed animal, waiting for us all to go into the bedroom.

She still hates going to the bathroom by herself. Although, hilariously, when she is pooping, she will shoo me out of the room.

When I am on the couch, feeding Michael, she comes to sit on my other side, as close to me as she can get.

She won’t go upstairs or downstairs by herself. As with sleeping on her own bed, she simply says, “I’m scared.” When asked “of what?” she usually shrugs. Occasionally she says, “Stinkbugs,” which I can understand. Those ubiquitous bugs are freaky looking.

And she tells Flora, almost every morning, “I’ll miss you until you get to daycare.”

Is this a middle child/second child thing? Is it simply a Kate thing? Lay your pop psychology and your ancedotes on me!

(I was going to post the Jimmy Eat World video for their song “The Middle” because I love that song, but it’s full of teenagers in their underpants. No really. So I decided against it.)

About Last Night

As I was driving home from work last night, my husband called me. I didn’t answer my phone until I pulled off the highway.

“What are you doing tonight?” he asked. “Are you taking the girls down to Mardi Gras at the school?”

I had no intentions of taking the girls to the Mardi Gras party. During the week, I am pretty much focused on: picking up Michael, picking up the girls, getting everyone home, fed, bathed, and put to bed. Oh, and seeing if Flora has homework. That’s pretty much my routine. It’s not very interesting, but it’s what I do.

And that’s what I told Dan, in a nutshell.

He kept calling me. “Where are you now?” I’m getting Michael. “Where are you now?” I’m pulling into the girls’ daycare to pick them up.

He was kind of driving me crazy.

But then I walked into the girls’ daycare, and there was my husband. It was a surprise, and he wanted us to go over the the school and go to the Mardi Gras party.

It was really sweet.

There were a couple of catches, but it was really sweet. I think it’s hard to do “spontaneous” with a baby, but I decided to go with the flow as much as possible. (I used to be a schedule nazi, especially with Flora. I’ve gotten better.)

However, it’s a fact that Daddy Brain and Mommy Brain differ.

I imagine the Daddy Brain to go something like this:

“I’m going to surprise my wife and kids tonight. We’ll have family time, and we’ll go over to the school for Mardi Gras. It’s a win-win: see my family, have some food, support our kids’ school. It’ll be great! My wife is going to be so surprised! I can’t wait to see her and see my kids. Besides, my wife is hawt. She looks so good. No one can believe she had a baby three months ago. Yeah, maybe this will get me some points, and we can have special mommy and daddy time together later. Awesome!”

Mommy Brain, on the other hand, goes like this:

“Where’s the diaper bag? I don’t have anything for the baby: no diapers, no wipes, and no bottles. That’s a little crazy. We’re going to have to remedy that situation. Wow, look how crowded it is. This is so not in the kids’ schedules. I hope the baby doesn’t freak out. Oh, look how cute my husband is; he’s so excited. I should give him a big hug and tell him how sweet he is that he wanted to surprise me. I think that would be very positive reinforcement for him. Okay, now, the kids are cranky because they are hungry. What can I do about that? I’m going to have to run home and get a diaper bag. I’ll grab snacks for the kids because it’s going to be awhile before they eat. I’ll get vegetarian tenders, too, because I bet they aren’t going to have much for vegetarians. That’s okay. I’ll get a bottle and pajamas for the baby, too. I hope my husband won’t stress out too much while I go pick these things up. I wish he had thought of this, or thought to find a way to ask me — no, it’s all right. Damn, my feet are killing me. I wonder if I have time to change. Probably not. That’s okay. This’ll be fun! As long as no one freaks out. Okay, here we go.”

For the record, no one freaked out. We only live about 5 minutes away from the school, so it didn’t take long to run home, throw some things in the diaper bag, and get back. They had fun stuff for the kids to do (face painting, Mardi Gras mask-making, a “parade”). Michael fussed a bit, but he also took a 20 minute power nap on his godmother while I ran around with the girls. The rest of the evening he was alert and pleasant. And the girls had a blast!

And it was sweet of Dan to think of doing it. Maybe next time, he’ll remember we need a diaper bag. But even if he doesn’t, it’s okay with me.

Heads Up

Yesterday I tweeted the following:

Flora: We played dodge-ball in gym. I got hit in the head. Me: who hit you in the head? Flora: I forget. #duh

I meant it to be kind of a funny story, and maybe some people got a laugh out of it. But then I got a little paranoid, thinking people would think I was being flip about head injuries.

What with all the awareness about concussions from the NFL, and Sidney Crosby still out for the Penguins, head injuries are no joking matter around here.

And then I thought, “I have got to stop smoking this dope! It’s making me paranoid.”

Just kidding, dad.


When Flora was five months old, she fell out of my arms.

I was reaching for something with one hand, and holding her on my other side, and she decided it would be fun to try a backflip.

Fortunately, she kind of bounced off the counter before landing on the floor. She screamed her little head off.

I called 911.

When the paramedics showed up, they were dealing with a crying baby and a traumatized mother. The EMT checked Flora over, and said she was probably fine, but offered to take her to the emergency room for a CT scan “just in case”. He pointed out that she hadn’t lost consciousness and was crying were excellent signs.

I wanted the CT scan, so we got ready to head to Children’s Hospital.

Before we left, the EMT asked if I wanted to call anyone. I said I wanted to call my husband.

“Okay,” he said. “This is very important. Listen to me.”

I was listening.

“Do not say, ‘I dropped the baby.'”

I sniffled.

“Do not say, ‘I dropped the baby,'” he repeated. “You didn’t drop the baby. The baby fell. Every thing’s going to be fine.”

I went upstairs to put on jeans (I was still in my pajamas), and call Dan. I repeated to myself, “Don’t say you dropped the baby. Don’t say you dropped the baby.”

Dan answered his phone.



In Flora’s class, if someone throws a dodge-ball, and a player gets hit in the head, the person who threw the ball is out. I remember back in my day, some kids used to aim for the head.

Not me, I used to cower in the back hoping no one would knock my glasses off.

I took a couple of blows to the head as a kid. I have clear memories (oh the irony) of falling off a toy carousel in our basement and hitting my head on the concrete floor. I also remember wiping out on my bright-yellow-with-a-banana-seat bicycle in a neighbor’s driveway and smacking my head on the ground. These were the days before bike helmets were de rigueur.

And I’m just fine.



Flora was fine; the CT scan showed no head trauma or swelling. She didn’t even have a bruise.

On the other hand, I was still pretty shaken up when I picked Dan up from work.

We started the drive home in silence.

Finally, Dan said, “Look at is this way.”

There was a long pause.

“Now she can only be as smart as your side of the family.”

No Reason

My husband gave me a book of poems.

It is not my birthday, or his birthday.

It is not any anniversary of a date or a wedding or a baby.

It’s not a holiday.

It is not the month we met or the month we first kissed.

He just gave me a book of poems.

Sometimes, I’m going along in this river of life, being swept along, trying to keep my head above water. Ten years (nearly) and three kids (four, technically), and certain things take a hit (sleep, my libido).

And it takes a book of poems to remind me that my love, my first love, my true love, isn’t my boy(s) or my girls or my career.

It’s my husband, and our marriage.

I made him a promise, and I intend to keep it. Long after diapers and lunches that need to be packed. Long after math homework and spit up. Long (long!) after age 3 and potty training.

I don’t know if he bought me a book of poems to remind me. Or if he did it because he remembered. Or if he did it because he doesn’t need to be reminded.

I’m glad he did it, though.

Your Laughter

Take bread away from me, if you wish,
take air away, but
do not take from me your laughter.

Do not take away the rose,
the lanceflower that you pluck,
the water that suddenly
bursts forth in your joy,
the sudden wave
of silver born in you.

My struggle is harsh and I come back
with eyes tired
at times from having seen
the unchanging earth,
but when your laughter enters
it rises to the sky seeking me
and it opens for me all
the doors of life.

My love, in the darkest
hour your laughter
opens, and if suddenly
you see my blood staining
the stones of the street,
laugh, because your laughter
will be for my hands
like a fresh sword.

Next to the sea in the autumn,
your laughter must raise
its foamy cascade,
and in the spring, love,
I want your laughter like
the flower I was waiting for,
the blue flower, the rose
of my echoing country.

Laugh at the night,
at the day, at the moon,
laugh at the twisted
streets of the island,
laugh at this clumsy
boy who loves you,
but when I open
my eyes and close them,
when my steps go,
when my steps return,
deny me bread, air,
light, spring,
but never your laughter
for I would die

— Pablo Neruda
Love Poems