Tuesday, April 28, 2009


I've discovered a foolproof method of getting my kids to eat absolutely anything I want them to eat - the catch? The invention - and patent - is impossible.

I have always marveled at Aidan's willingness to eat anything that grows outside. As a toddler, Aidan refused most vegetables - except the cherry tomatoes we grow on the deck, and the ones from my parents' garden. Sun-ripened, warm from the sunshine and the heat of the day, Aidan would eagerly eat one after another, and clearly his preference also included eating them with Grandpa.

In California last summer on the Vanoni farm, Leo and Aidan both grazed from sun up to sun down on the plethora of foods the farm has to offer - plump red strawberries; luscious, full blueberries; mouth-puckering lemons; gorgeous green avocados like nothing you'll ever see in an East coast store. Sometimes, Leo didn't even discriminate between ripe and unripe: if he could pick it, he would eat it. It was every mother's dream.

I nearly fell of the trail last month when we were hiking with my brother and his family. Aunt Linsey found wild arugula growing, and although lettuce has never crossed the child's lips before in his life, Aidan could not get enough of the wild greens.

As our humble garden slowly awakens to spring, some perennial herbs have returned, including mint and chives. For some reason beyond all comprehension, both boys love the chives, and munch on them every time we go outside. Personally, I like the chives only as a deer deterrant and for the cute purple flowers they sprout; raw onions make me cranky, and chives are no exception. I am nearly repulsed when the boys come in with their oniony breath after what was supposed to be a quick jaunt up to the mailbox! They always manage a detour by the patch of herbs....

And so, my invention: anything I am hoping to get the kids to eat, I will plant in the ground and grow on a vine. I'm not talking carrots and peas here, I'm talking all the dinners I slave over each night! Pasta Primavera, delicately bursting from thin green vines... Black Bean Enchilladas stoutly springing from thick woody branches.... Curried Chicken curling off straight green stems.... and Seared Salmon spreading like ground cover on the hill. Fine, I'm not actually the next Einstein, but at least I've dished up some interesting food for thought.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


We try to capture the moments
the memory
the way you
put your "imagination hat" on:
a preschool creation lying on the floor,
you scooted your head down to meet its open cap.
only you, in that moment, would think to don the hat at floor level,
like a cat creeping into a paper bag,
rather than simply picking it up and placing it atop your head.

The memory of you, standing tippy toe to select just the right spoon to suit your taste
for your strawberry banana yogurt.
ME do it, you scream
when we try to intervene.
Gearing up to knock the truck off the table, you say
ohnoohnoohnoohno over and over and over again,
your words creating an oxymoron with the delight of the voice and
the crash you are about to make.

The memory of you together
in this moment
two imps in cahoots
giggling over the fort you made with the couch pillows
proud, yes,
and because you got away with it - again.
Laughing over lunch at a joke you know
Mom doesn't get.
And never will.

The memories, we cling to
tell each other about
write down in a journal
attempt to record in a poem
we cling to the exact words you spoke
joke you made
inflection of your voice
expression of your eyes,
your furrowed brow

we think we will never forget
yet the memory of what made our hearts burst with laughter
is replaced with a new one, yes-
but I wish I could have them all.

Mostly, though, I hope you remember-- at least,
I hope you know-
the love
the joy
the adoration
I am paying attention,
I see you
I appreciate you
I love you
I love you all these days

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Tiny Barber of Bearwood

Recently, I got my hair cut. When I got home, I decided the bangs needed to be a bit shorter. I pulled out my trusty home hair cutting scissors and got to work while Aidan and Leo busied themselves playing in the water table in the bathtub. I didn't realize, at the time, that I was being carefully scrutinized as I concentrated hard on not butchering my own hair (as I have occasionally done in the past with such attempts at home grooming.) We were all pretty hungry, so once I dried the kids off and left them to meet me downstairs for a snack, I headed to the kitchen. Aidan came down a short while later, and when Leo did not surface for many minutes, I sent Aidan back upstairs to see what he was doing.

Calmly, Aidan walked back into the kitchen - no running, pounding of feet on the stairs, loud exclamations from the hallway to give me a heads up - and didn't say anything. I said, "Aidan, what is Leo doing? Why isn't he coming down?" Serenely, matter-of-factly, uniterestedly, Aidan replied, "Well, Leo is giving himself a haircut." "WHAT?" came my panicked response. I tore up the stairs, thinking to myself, those scissors are so sharp! what if he pokes his eye out? what about that beautiful hair that is so crazy and lovely? why on EARTH is he cutting his hair? why is Aidan so calm? I LOVE THAT HAIR OF HIS!!!!! I tore into the bathroom and there was Leo, perched upon the lid of the toilet with the scissors deeply embedded in his hair. His face was covered in long strands. Six chunks of long hair lay on his shoulders, chest, and back. His pants were covered with fine strands. First, I wanted to laugh. Then I nearly cried. Finally, I contemplated grabbing the camera, but decided that the positive attention of the photograph would reinforce something that I most definitely did not want repeated. I settled on a firm scolding and reprimand, telling Leo it was danger, only Mommy or Daddy or a hairstylist could cut his hair. Looking up at me with large, puppy dog eyes, he had only one thing to say: Why? Somehow knowing how to stretch that short, one-syllable word into two syllables, in a tone that implied that I had just flung his lovey out the window or some other such horror, in a way that challenged the very idea that what he had done to his hair was nothing short of a masterpiece.

And so we have introduced a new style to our Tiny Barber, and it is the comb over.