Tag Archives: humor

chop chop


As fond as I am of attempting to braid her hair exactly the same way that Elsa does in the movie (every morning), it was time for a shape up around here. I loved the length (when it was pulled back into neat braids), but those braids stayed neat for approximately twenty minutes, and then she was just a mess of tangled hair in the face for the rest of the day. Then one day she just announced that she wanted to cut it all off – but finding time to get her in somewhere for a cut just wasn’t happening. At the last minute we decided to get it done while visiting family for Easter, and we snagged her a quick appointment for a cut. We took down the braids, and they measured out two pigtails that were long enough to donate. Chop, chop and they were off. 

Now she looks like this, and even though it’s only been two days, it’s hard to imagine a better cut for this kid’s personality.


Tonight, while she was in the tub, she leaned back dramatically into the water and lamented the fact that it was going to be at least fifty-hundred years before she’d ever get to do an Elsa hairstyle again. Then she sat back up, short hair dripping water down her back and said “But luckily it only takes fifty seconds to wash it now.” She thought about that trade off for a few seconds and giggled to herself. “Lucky me!” she laughed, and went back under the water again.

She called her Grandpa tonight, and when he answered the phone he asked who it was on the other line. “Grandpa, it’s me, F, just with a new haircut!” When she got off the phone she laughed and told me that nobody knows who she is anymore, now that her hair looks so different. I think she’s really enjoying this change, settling into a new look, and having something fun to talk about with family. It cracks her up to think she can pull one over on Grandpa, as if he could ever mistake that conversationalist on the other end of the line for anybody else.

a circle of sun

I read the poem again this weekend that makes me think of F, A Circle of Sun, by Rebecca Kai Dotlich – so much so that we based her whole third birthday party around it and I embroidered it on her birthday dress. There were several reasons I pulled out that particular anthology and read the poem again. 

I’m honey on toast.

I was thinking of this other poem again, and the idea of honey, and I remembered the reference to honey in this poem. I watched her Saturday eating dessert that was too sweet for me, watching her mouth ringed with marshmallow and chocolate, smiling her dimples into view.

I’m morning and night.

I was alone with the girls this weekend while M was out of town, and I let them climb into bed with me and sleep. I’ve been having a hard time lately in the evenings and at night – I worry about them, I check on them again and again, I fight back fears that I have no control over. Aside from the extra elbows and bony knees, I loved having them close. I watched the little one as she slept, curled into the crook of my arm. 

I’m a piece of the sky in a circle of sun.

She has brought some of that warmth (and that laughter) back into this house. She is little, and she doesn’t understand it, but I’m grateful for this gift. Here are a few of those things from the past few weeks.


She is old enough now to engage in longer books, read in small pieces. We are rereading Thrump-o-moto, a book that has already proven to be a page turner. It’s long enough to have chapters, but it doesn’t – the story runs on from one page to the next – sometimes mid-sentence. I have to set an early page limit – four pages tonight – or we’ll be reading for hours. I usually hold our place with the book’s outer flap, but she’s been watching her sister fly though seven hundred page novels, one right after another, and she’s noticed the collection of bookmarks scattered around half a dozen of her books. We finish page four of Thrump-o-moto and she looks left and right. “Where’s my book-pauser?” she asks. I will never call them bookmarks again.


A couple of months ago she was describing the difference between various superheros, as breathlessly relayed to her by her hero loving friends. She was trying to describe just how large one of them is compared to the other. He’s bigger than the symphony of outer space. She still uses this phrase occasionally. I’m hungrier than the whole symphony of stars.


Her school is adjacent to the Italian-American neighborhood here known as The Hill. Her class takes frequent walking trips around the neighborhood, visiting local shopkeepers and sampling breads and chocolates and meats. My parents went to Italy back in September, and shortly after that trip F started to play this game from the car – announcing flags that she saw as we drove buy. American Flag! she yells out, American Flag! Italian Flag! For a few days I thought she had picked up her Italian flag knowledge from her grandparents’ trip, but then M reminded me that she probably points out Italian flags with her classmates during their wanderings. She actually calls any secondary flag below the stars and stripes an Italian flag, even if it’s the state flag or the city flag or the Hardees flag.

We will think she’s fast asleep in her car seat, thumb planted firmly in her mouth, when we hear her call out into the silence in a sleepy voice American Flag, Italian Flag.


Her father heads out of town and she asks him to bring her back a princess. He’s going nowhere near any sort of princess outlet, but he promises her he’ll keep an eye out for one. A few days later we make a quick trip to the mall and, in a moment of supreme weakness, I let her choose a small toy at the Disney store. She sort of makes a circle around the front portion of the store and she can’t seem to focus or even slow down. It takes several tries to get her to even stop and consider a purchase, even as I’m trying to help her make one by virtually eliminating all the field and offering up only two options. She finally stops and looks at me and says “There are so many choices I can never possibly make up my mind.” 

I can appreciate this, and I select a small dress up accessory set and wait in line for someone to tell me to have a magical day. She’s retreated to the table with the coloring book, away from the towering shelves of indecision.

We’re at the art museum with her class, the only field trip I’ve accompanied her on this year. It occurs just a few days after we were there with family on a Sunday, making art in one of the galleries and walking around the new addition. The children move from gallery to gallery with a docent perfectly matched to a group of four year olds. They find colors, and moons and train smoke and round, ripe fruit in bowls, that last one is a Cezanne. They talk about yellow apples and the ones they’ve picked on a recent trip to the apple orchard. They talk about lily pads like the ones they see at the Garden. The docent takes them into the next gallery and they sit down in front of a large piece full of bright circles and heavy black lines and swirls. What do you see here children, when you look at this painting?

I see a Picasso, she says, and I laugh and then smile.

(We have a Picasso board book, that apparently has worked.)


She’s writing letters now, and a few words, but mostly just letters that she strings together into nonsensical words and patterns. She writes for awhile and then asks for a translation. The other night she showed me this paper, and asked me what it spelled.

It felt good to laugh, and she’s happy to have a new word to employ when we tell her to knock it off with the poop talk.


She is working at her desk, deeply engrossed in the task at hand. She ignores me as I walk in and out of the room, delivering folded laundry or straightening up or checking in. I don’t disturb her, because an engaging all-consuming task is a double bonus for everyone. The fourth or fifth time I walk in, I stand in the middle of the room, trying to remember what I’ve come for. Her back is to me, and she’s humming a tune under her breath. I smile while I watch her work until she eventually stops singing and looks up from her desk. Without turning around to face me, she simply declares “I might just be the one you’ve been looking for,” before returning to her paper and her song.

overheard: big words

The Playmobil pirate and an Ernie figurine are playing together in the tub.  The pirate’s legs are bent at ninety degrees, and he’s gently flipping underwater somersaults with the touch of her fingers on his toes.  Ernie is perched in a bright yellow plastic boat, watching the pirate’s antics in the water.  She is carrying on a constant stream of dialogue between the two while I floss my teeth at the mirror.

Ernie:  Pirate, you must stop flipping.
Pirate:  I’m allowed to flip.
Ernie:  I don’t want you to flip anymore, you are splashing water into my boat.
Pirate:  I’m still flipping.
Ernie:  I’m using my nice words.  (Growling in a most decidedly un-nice way.)  Stop flipping.
Pirate:  You need to talk to my supervisor.


M and I are reading books to her before she heads off to bed.  Somewhere in the conversation around these books, she uses the word “Absolutely”.  It rolls right off her tongue, despite the multiple syllables.  Her dad laughs at it, and asks her how she can say a word like “absolutely” so clearly when she still pronounces lemonade, “lemo-lade”.  She shrugs her shoulders, cocks her right eyebrow just like I do and says “It’s absolutely lemo-lade.”  And so it is.


I’m vacuuming her room, and the method I employ for this task is to first pull the furniture to the center of the room, vacuum the perimeter, and then push everything back to the wall and vacuum the rest of the floor.  Some of the smaller items like her desk chair and her rocking chair are stacked onto the window seat, but this day she is sorting all the unshelved books into piles and she asks me not to disturb them.  I cannot really follow how she is arranging them, but there is most certainly a method to her madness, and she frequently backs up to survey her progress.  I think maybe she is trying to create four different stacks of books that perfectly align in height, but then I think that maybe she is organizing them by color.  It was probably by genre; I have a bad habit of consistent underestimation on her behalf.

The vacuum is fired up and I circle the island of furniture which causes her to scramble quickly onto the window seat.  She is barefoot, and each little foot is wedged between two stacks of books.  The quickness of her movements causes them to start to slide, and the sound of her carefully arranged piles crashing to the wood floors below is louder than my vacuum, and I quickly turn to look, expecting to see her in a heap.  I turn the sound off and she is standing there with feet still spread apart, hands on hips, looking at the mess below.

“Unbelievable,” she mutters.  “Unbelievable.  There goes all my organizing, in a pile on the floor.”


Did you grow up with a Reader’s Digest on the end table in the living room or on the back of the toilet?  Did you read the “Drama in Real Life” story first, and then flip to the “Life in These United States” and “Humor in Uniform” and “All in a Day’s Work”?  I used to read those funny little paragraphs and marvel at how everyone seemed to be living these little three-to-four sentence snippets of hilarity, especially in the upper Midwest and Florida (those states seemed to have the most frequent submissions).  As I got older, I started to wonder if any of those stories were actually true, or if they were shaped by each writer into funnier paragraphs for the minuscule submission fee that the magazine would pay them for their entry.  I mentioned this to my parents last weekend – how we managed to give birth to a child that could fill a monthly column of these humorous snippets.  I could be a rich lady if they’d let me enter them all. Perhaps I already am.