Blood, Memories and Time Travel

At six and four, Buddy and Sis are old enough now to enjoy the occasional overnight visit at my house.  These visits linger in memory with certain central “themes”.  Oh, yes, I might think, looking back, that’s the time we made peanut…
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Listen, here: That much, I can do

The status of grandmother was bestowed on me six years ago last month.  Oddly, it didn’t come with a manual.  Though it is surely one of life's richest blessings, I’m still trying to figure out how to do it. There must be others…
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The Undisputed Hoover of Plate Cleaners

Children change so quickly, don’t they?  It’s an amazing thing to watch.  And, of course, it’s so much easier to discern these charming progress points when they aren’t your immediate progeny.  Kind of like watching a new house…
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After the Storm, the Calm

First, close the door as carefully as possible.  Now, let’s survey the aftermath. There is a dinosaur sticker clinging to the hardwood floor near the entry hallway, torn, folded in half, but sticking nonetheless.  A single, royal…

The Lesson of the Angel Tree

It seemed like a such a good idea at the time. So why was I standing in the aisle at Target, a genuinely clenched knot in my stomach, on the verge of panic? This was a terrible, terrible mistake.  I must be an idiot.   How can I get…
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Southbound Girls and Birthday Reflections

A landmark birthday roared past recently, one of those that bestows a zero digit on your age and thus cannot be ignored.  Even for those of us who aren’t given to ruminating about the terrors of aging, it’s hard not to contemplate the…

Ode to Kid Thinker

“What’s that red button do?” you ask me, tugging on my arm and pointing carefully. We’re standing in front of a vintage race car, a powerful, striped beast posing silently for viewing by the quiet masses wandering through the…
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On Sibling Bonds, and Remembering Jane

It’s a funny thing about sisters and brothers. You might long for them if you don’t have any.  But if you do, nothing in your life will ever drive you nuts in quite the same fashion.  That is, if you are like most of humanity. Ours…
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Off to School: Ready, or Not?

In photos passed around at the office or posted proudly on Facebook, in conversations remote or at the coffee machine, whether about emerging kindergartners or newly liberated college freshers, the off-to-school transition has a universal…
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The View from the Next Booth

It’s a routine Sunday morning at my favorite neighborhood restaurant, the best place for breakfast in our part of town—that is, it’s best if you prefer to place your order while sitting at a table, to a seasoned grown-up who will bring…
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Things I Remembered on My Summer Vacation

It’s time to get back into harness after a perfectly delightful summer break, which included plenty of fun in the sun, some intriguing backroads exploration, and a restorative helping of lengthy naps.  There was lots of quality time with…
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Hold Me Closer, Tiny Dancer

The Scene:  Spring dance recital. The Location:  A clean, bright church in the heart of downtown. The Players:  Scores of dance students in assorted matching ensembles, ranging from restless, over-stimulated three-year-olds in tremulous…
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The Cruel and Beautiful Tricks of Time

I like to think I became a grandparent at a fairly young age (don’t we all?).  Let's don't dwell on whether that is a delusion.  Just believe me when I say that life can sometimes look very similar to the way it rolled before the age…
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Confessions of a Spoiler

It is a truth universally acknowledged (as the immortal Austen might have put it), that giving stuff to kids is fun. They make it so easy for you, the little buggers, when they radiate anticipation, joy, and wonder in such bewitching fashion,…

Can Manners Really, Truly Be Fun?*

Seated recently at my table for Sunday dinner, my grandson uttered a phrase that is sure to make the heart of any grandparent sing with delight and hope for the future. “May I please have some more mashed potatoes?” he asked, with…

Culinary Fantasies and Four-Year-Olds

I had the chance to feed Buddy and Sis their dinner the other day, and when thinking ahead to the menu, I thought I’d try something easy that might be a fun change of pace. We’ve always been big breakfast fans in my family, and upending…

Bottomless Pits, With Legs

“I declare, I believe that boy has a hollow leg.” This affectionate observation was delivered many years back at family dinners by our great uncle, watching in good-humored amazement as my little brother worked deftly through his…

The Longest Days of the Shortest Years

It seems indisputable that today’s world harbors parenting challenges that we never imagined when my daughter was young. Yet one essential truth remains, universally acknowledged then and now: Two-year-olds are impossible. The other…

Temptations and Toddlers

(Today’s Chronicle story is provided by a guest writer.) They’re here! They’re here! I hear them on the other side of this door. Mom! Come open this door! I’ll keep shouting until you open up. You never come to the door fast…

Soundtrack for a Saturday Morning

It’s a crisp, clear fall Saturday morning, and Small Sister and I are hanging at the park. Her mother’s in a yoga class nearby, and I’m happy to entertain Sis while my daughter gets an hour of stretching and peaceful introspection.…
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Child-proofing: Another term for Don’t Kid Yourself

Quick! Twenty minutes on the clock. Go. Living room: Art pottery whisked off coffee table, stowed on top of fridge. DVR remote up onto mantle, same place each time, in fervent hope I can remember where to reclaim it. Embroidered throw…

A Grandparent by ANY Other Name

When the news came awhile back that my first grandchild was on the way, it was, in all candor, a major shock--a two-step process, like an earthquake and its attendant after-shock. The first-wave tremors brought joy, of course; I knew my…
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Zen and the Art of Negotiating with Toddlers

A brilliant, Harvard-trained Ph.D. who was teaching a business school class on negotiation that I attended not long ago added intriguing dimension to her lecture with an interesting personal anecdote. This insightful strategist, who consults…
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Going Home (Part 3 of 3)

The departures gate creaks open, admitting the mid-day sun and a puff of air into my stuffy front hallway and illuminating the piles of luggage and Absolute Necessities that travel everywhere.  The pile is crowned by the ragged and ubiquitous…
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