This Is Childhood

“You’re going to want to write it down. All of it.”

My friend, a mother herself, smiled knowingly as she presented the journal she’d fashioned from an old marble copybook. It bumped my pregnant belly as she handed it to me. Everything bumped my belly in my ninth month of pregnancy.

She turned out to be right. I spent hours hunched over that journal during my oldest son’s first year of life. When I flip through its pages now, it’s a testimonial both of his growth and of my transition–emotional and anxious–to mother. Is he OK? Am I OK? Am I doing any of this right?    

When my second son was born, the journal was store bought and smaller in scale. The entries were just as fraught with emotion. They hinted at a growing maternal confidence. But they were documented much less frequently. He seems OK. Are we OK? Am I doing more right than wrong?

In the haze after my third son arrived, I scribbled down the details, “9lbs 2 oz, 23 ½ inches,” ripped the note off its pad and slapped it on top of his brothers’ journals on my nightstand. That’s the closest I came to a journal entry with him.

And, no. My fourth son didn’t even get the impersonal stats on a loose-leaf sheet.

Over time, I have accumulated a stack of sticky notes. Here is what they say:

“Paw-crits = paw-prints“

“Fun-quints = footprints”

“Ge-go = here you go”

“What o’clock is it = what time is it”

“Ya got crumbs = Do you need to shave”

“Leepeet = syrup”

“Lasterday = yesterday or any day before today”

All phrases coined by my kids at different ages. Journal-worthy. Indelible.

Individually, each captures a moment in time.

Together, it feels as though they are all that is left of my favorite years with my babies.

They belong in a journal.

Soon I will have one.

This Is Childhood

This Is Childhood

This is Childhood contains heartfelt essays about every year of the first decade of childhood. It provides writing prompts for those times when the words need some coaxing.

I finally took the time to write about my sweet third born. He was the inspiration for the book’s Age Six. I’m so proud to be a part of this collection and have my words sandwiched among those of so many beautiful writers.

This is Childhood is a perfect gift for Mother’s Day.

Somebody please tell my husband;-)

Because I still want to write it down. All of it.

Mom, Are You in There?

My kids begin spring break tomorrow. I’m excited that, for eleven glorious days, my counter will be void of the requisite eight snack and lunch bags that require nightly cleaning and packing.

I’m less excited about how many fakakta excuses the boys will create to interrupt my every-other-day-6-minutes-tops shower.

Mom, are you in there? I didn’t know where you were. I thought you left us.

Mom, are you in there? Where is Dad?

Mom, are you in there? What are you doing?

Mom, are you in there? Can I just please see where your penis is supposed to be?

Mom, are you in there? I have to poop.

Mom, are you in there? I’m hungry.

Mom, are you in there? I have to tell you something.

Mom, are you in there? What time is it?

Mom, are you in there? I have boogies in my nose. I need you to help me get them out.

Mom, are you in there? When will Dad be home from work? How many hours is that from now?

Mom, are you in there? Where are my socks?

Mom, are you in there? Can I play the iPad?

Mom, are you in there? When can I play the iPad?

Mom, are you in there? Is it my turn to play the iPad?

Mom, are you in there? When will you be finished?

Mom, are you in there? I want to be with you.

Mom, are you in there? I have to pee.

Mom, are you in there? My hiney is itchy.

Mom, are you in there? How many more days until my birthday?

Mom, are you in there? My brother breathed on me!

Mom, are you in there? My brother keeps looking at me!

Mom, are you in there? My brother farted on me!

Mom, are you in there? My brother killed me in Minecraft!


Mom, are you in there? My brother hit me with the Minecraft pick ax!

Mom, are you in there? I can’t stop thinking about Minecraft! Can you help me stop thinking about Minecraft? Mom?

Mom, are you in there? I found a frisbee outside. It’s green! That’s my teacher’s favorite color! Mom! Can you hear me?

Mom, are you in there? I know you told me to stop asking for things all the time. And, I heard you. But can I just ask for one thing? Can we just have McDonald’s please? I’m not asking just for me. I’m asking for everybody. So, can we? Mom?

Mom, are you in there? You told me the yesterday before yesterday that I could have dessert after lunch. But you forgot to give me dessert. Can you give it to me now? I’ve been waiting so long. I really want dessert from the yesterday before yesterday, Mom!

I wonder how many new ways they’ll invent to interrupt my shower before school resumes on April 1st…


Today marks the last entry…the tenth…in our This is Childhood Series. Lindsey Mead writes an exquisite reflection on age 10. When Lindsey writes about her children, it takes my breath away. Today’s tribute is no exception…

Our This is Childhood writers are Aidan DonnelleyKristen Levithan, Nina Badzin, Galit Breen, Allison Slater Tate, Bethany MeyerTracy MorrisonAmanda Magee, Denise Ullem, and Lindsey Mead. I adore these women and was honored to be a voice in this series.

This is Childhood: Nine

I like 9 years old. It’s the biggest of the little guys. So close to double digits, but not quite there yet.

The 9 year old in my house is cool enough to hang with his older brother’s friends.

But he’s not above playing superheroes with his younger brothers.

Amidst the chaos of our home, I typically find him tucked in a corner engrossed in a book. Any book. A chapter book from the Warrior series, Diary of a Wimpy Kid (for the 27th time),  an encyclopedia of animals…even his youngest brother’s picture book, borrowed from the library. He pours over books in silence. For hours. He’s immersed in a world that, 4 years ago, didn’t even exist for him as a kindergarten boy who was just learning to read and write his name.

Our 9 year old boy has confidently…and accurately…labeled himself an artist and a storyteller. I love that he shares my passion for running and writing.


My 9 year old is so resourceful. A true problem solver.

My 9 year old is so resourceful. A true problem solver.

But I think it’s the things he is good at that I’m not…like his unbelievable artistic talent…that make me most proud of him. It’s fun to be his Mom. I’m intrigued by him.  I wonder who he will grow up to be.

The amazingly talented Denise Ullem of Universal Grit writes about Nine today. Her daughter is nine, and I get such a kick out of reading about the world of her nine year old girl. It’s a world so foreign yet appealing to me. Please go read Denise at This is Childhood: Nine….



I Just Want to Pee Alone

Holy crazy year, Batman. And it’s only March.

It feels like only a week ago that B&B hacked every branch off our Christmas tree in the middle of the family room after vowing not to water it for the full month we gave it a home.

Ironically, that’s where this story begins…

So, Christmas came and went. And B&B committed to an outside-the-box approach to removing our Christmas tree. I wrote about it, and my piece appeared on The Huffington Post in early January. A few days later, I received an email from Jen, who writes the blog People I Want to Punch in the Throat. She had read my Christmas tree horror story, liked it, and was offering me the opportunity to submit an original essay to her for an anthology she was compiling.

Jen skyrocketed to blog fame after her Elf on the Shelf post went viral in December, 2011. It resonated with me because I refuse to participate in those elf shenanigans. I view moving that elf around the house as the equivalent of playing the tooth fairy. Every night. For a solid month. And I  am a sorry-ass excuse for a tooth fairy.

Jen’s first book, Spending the Holidays with People I Want to Punch in the Throat, became an Amazon best seller and sold over 10,000 copies in its first 3 months of availability.

She is a giant in the blogosphere.

And an overall hilarious human being.

Let me see….let me see….did I want to be affiliated with Jen?

Oh, hell, yeah.

As a matter of fact, I petted the computer monitor when I read her email. Literally reached out and stroked it.

Was I at all nervous about my submission? Of course I was.

But not abundantly so. Between B&B and the boys, there is never a shortage of absurd material around which I can craft a story.

Meanwhile, I’d already been invited by Allison Tate and Lindsey Mead to participate in This is Childhood. They are two of my absolute favorites…as writers and women, and I was indeed verklempt that Lindsey had reached out to me.

Beating on my breast, Tarzan-style, I declared, in my best Oprah-shout,

“2013 will henceforth be referred to as The Year of the Collaborative Effort!”

Then, I floated about my business, patiently awaiting inspiration, both funny…for Jen…and poignant…for Lindsey.

While I was dancing on clouds, I received a text from my cousin. Her Dad, one of my favorite Uncles, had just suffered a massive heart attack, and we were instructed to prepare for the worst.

My entire family and countless friends collectively held our breath and said our prayers for a very long four days.

It was during that time that Little Sister’s husband called me. He and I are super close, but he calls me only in times of crisis. From the mall. When he needs help with Christmas, birthday, and Mother’s Day gift advice for Little Sister.

“I’m sending you a picture of two robes. Which one should I buy her?”

“I’m texting you a picture of two watches. Which one looks more like her? Please reply in the next 45 seconds because I’m holding up the line waiting for your answer. No pressure. Just hurry up.”

Little Sister’s birthday is in May, right before Mother’s Day. And Christmas had just passed. I was still sweeping up the pine needles to prove it. So, I was alarmed by his call.

He told me, “She couldn’t call you. She is a mess. We got a call from the dermatologist today. She was just diagnosed with malignant melanoma.”



“What did you just say?”

He said: “Cancer. I said your sister has cancer.”

I didn’t hear too much after that. I know he kept talking. And I kept saying, “Mmm hmm. Mm hmm. OK. Mmm hmm. Sure.”

I hung up with him and eased myself down onto the sofa. There aren’t many places to hide in my house, so B&B found me there a few minutes later.

“What was that about?”

I whispered, “She has cancer. He called to tell me my sister has skin cancer.”

Two days later, we lost Uncle Bob. We had felt it coming, but the news still levelled us.

Little Sister flew herself and her stupid cancer across the country to be here for the funeral. I don’t really do church. For a litany of reasons, not the least of which is that my mind wanders, and all I think about is how-many-things-I-could-be-doing-right-now. But I listened a little bit that day. One of Little Sister’s oldest and dearest friends, whose voice is reee-diculous, sang at the church service. And my cousin gave a beautiful eulogy.

After the church stuff was over, we had a good old party in Uncle Bob’s honor. A “sure, I’ll have a cocktail in the middle of the day” kinda party. Everyone took turns telling stories about him. We celebrated his life, laughing until tears ran down our cheeks. I don’t pretend to know what happens to the human spirit after we die. But, it certainly felt like part of him was there with us that afternoon. In the anecdotes we told. In the love we shared for him. In the legacy he’s left in his children and grandchildren…and so many more whose lives he touched.

I sat next to Little Sister, whose stupid cancer was an uninvited intruder in her young body. And I found myself hoping that she would be open to receive all of the positive energy and love from the people in that room. And just maybe it could knock that stupid-ass cancer right the hell out of her.

Here is what i thought…

Dear Universe,

It’s Bethany. With all due respect, this melanoma nonsense is downright horse shit. Little sister has 3 kids. And those kids need their mother. So work your magic on this piece-of-shit cancer.

Also, dear universe, if you could help me locate my funny, I’d be super duper grateful. I have that essay due. You know. To Jen.

So, F the cancer. And send the funny. Cool? Cool.

I realize it doesn’t work that way, but the yoga is really affecting my judgement recently.

I managed to pen something and send it to Jen before my carriage turned back into a pumpkin.

Little Sister flew back home, where she had a follow-up procedure and some blood work done. She called to say they’d gotten all of the cancer during her procedure.

Thank fucking God. And/or the Universe.  

Then Jen e-mailed me to say my essay had made the cut for her book.

Holy shit, right?

So, I immediately reverted back to my Oprah impression, announcing

“2013 is the Year of the Collaborative Effort!”

My sweet Interrogator proved the perfect muse for my February This is Childhood piece.

And our anthology, appropriately titled I Just Want to Pee Alone, was just published.


Several of the contributors to the anthology announced its availability on Friday. When I woke up Saturday morning, I was greeted with this…

#1 Amazon Best Seller. Oh Hell Yeah

#1 Amazon Best Seller. Oh Hell Yeah

You know how it’s great to have the smallest house on the block?

You’re reading the smallest house right now. The tiniest blog in the bunch.

I am supremely lucky to have been a voice in the writing series that allowed me to express myself in a cerebral style. This is Childhood introduced me to a group of women who’ve been an invaluable support system and sounding board these past few months.

And I’m eternally grateful to Jen for the opportunity she’s given me to be a contributor to this hilarious anthology. I will always pet the computer monitor in gratitude when her name appears in my email inbox.

Buy the book. You will laugh.

Don’t believe me? Read this review.

Here’s to 2013, the year of the collaborative effort.

And, as always, F U, CANCER.


The Case of the Missing Nipple


Verb: “What if I shoot a stranger with a bone arrow?”

Me: “That’s not nice.”

Verb: “No, Mom, a bad stranger. A bad stranger who is trying to take me. What if I shoot him in the eye with a bone arrow?”

Interrogator: “Well, that would hurt. And he probably wouldn’t be able to see.”

Me: “How about we change the subject?”

Verb: “OK, if a stranger tries to take me, I will hit him and kick him.”

Me: “And you can bite him. And scream. But only if a stranger tries to take you. Otherwise, no hitting, kicking, biting, screaming.”

Verb: “Or bone arrows.”

Me: “Right.”

Interrogator: “What if somebody shot a stranger who was trying to take you?”

Verb: “Like who? Like our grandfather?”

Me: “Guess what? My grandfather was shot.”

Chorus: “What?”

Me: “My grandfather was shot.”

Interrogator: “Your grandfather got a shot?”

Me: “No, my grandfather was shot.”

Interrogator: “Shocked?”

Me: “SHOT. He was SHOT. With a gun!”

Interrogator: “He was shot with a gun?”

Kenyan: “Who would do that?”

Verb: “A bad guy.”

Me: “He was in the war.”

Interrogator: “What war?”

Me: “World War II. The one against Adolf Hitler.”

Waldorf: “Adolf? That’s a ridiculous name.”

Me: “Well, he was a ridiculous man. Not in a good way.”

Interrogator: “Who gave him a shot?”

Waldorf: “No one gave him a shot, for crying out loud! He was shot! Pow pow pow!”

Interrogator: “So, did he die?”

Me: “He did. But not from getting shot.”

Verb: “He got shot to death and he lived?”

Me: “No. He got shot. And someone removed the bullet. And he lived. Then, when he was old, he died.”

Waldorf: “Oh, wait a minute, this is your grandfather who lost his nipple, right?”

Me: “Right.”

Kenyan: “He lost his what?”

Me: “His nipple.”

Verb, to Interrogator: “Hahahaha! She said ‘nipple’!”

Me: “I said nipple, yes. Nipple, nipple, nipple. My grandfather was shot. And he lost his nipple. It’s not funny.”

Interrogator: “Did the bullet shoot his nipple off?”

Me: “No. The bullet went into his chest. After the bullet was removed, they sewed my Pop back together and he only had one nipple left after he came out of surgery.”

Interrogator: “Well, what did they do with the other one?”

Me: “I don’t know.”

Interrogator: “Well, where did it go?”

Me: “Maybe it was inside out. I don’t know.”

Verb: “An inside out nipple is just weird.”

Me: “Well, anyway, he was a soldier. And he was very brave. And he got shot. Then he came home, and soon after, Lolly was born.”

Kenyan: ‘Was he older than Dad?”

Interrogator: “Whose Dad?”

Kenyan: “Your Dad.”

Interrogator: “My Dad? My Dad is your Dad.”

Kenyan: “I know!”

Interrogator: “You mean our Dad?”

Waldorf: “Yes! For crying out loud! I can’t stand this anymore!”

Kenyan: “So? Was your grandfather older than our Dad?”

Me: “Obviously he was older than Dad. Dad hadn’t even been born yet.”

Kenyan: “I mean when he was shot!”

Interrogator: “Who was shot?”

Kenyan: “Interrogator!”


Interrogator: “We’re still talking about this? Why is everyone screaming in this car?”

Kenyan: “Unfortunately, yes. We are still talking about it.”

Me: “My grandfather, at the time he was shot, was younger than your Dad is now.”

Verb: “And then he died?”

Me: “Well, not right then. He lived first. Then, he died. When he was old.”

Interrogator: “And he didn’t have a nipple.”

Me: “Right.”

Interrogator: “I hope he shot that bad guy back.”

Verb: “With a bone arrow.”

Interrogator: “In the eye.”


This is Childhood continues this week with Amanda Magee’s dazzling tribute to Eight. Amanda is an amazing talent. Please read her here.

The Irony is Everywhere


“So, can I have a Facebook account?”

I look at Waldorf and immediately laugh in response to his question, “Haha! No.”

“Why not?”

“It’s illegal for you to have a Facebook account. You’re only 11 years old.”

“Oh,” he digests this information.

“And Facebook is my territory,” I add.

“Oh, don’t worry. I don’t want to read what you write,” he says with a smile.

Indeed you do not. You’d be none too pleased.

“OK, can I have a Twitter account?” he asks.

“No again.”

“Why not?”

“It’s also illegal for you to have a Twitter account at 11 years old. Plus, the internet is full of strangers. Dad and I don’t want you connecting with strangers online. It’s dangerous.”


I stand in the back of the school auditorium. Grinning and clapping my hands. Homa Tavangar, author of Growing Up Global, has just finished speaking to a group of girls at my kids’ school.

As the students file out of the auditorium, I head toward the stage, my copy of Growing Up Global in hand, eager to meet Homa in person. Hoping she’ll sign my book.

I’ve seen her picture and know her writing voice. She’s seen my picture and knows my writing voice as well. But this is the first time we’ve been in the same room together.

I smile broadly, and her grin mirrors mine. “It’s so nice to finally meet you in person!” we say simultaneously.

She is warm and engaging. She’ll be back at school to introduce the screening of 10×10’s Girl Rising on March 13th. We speak briefly about the film, and she signs my book.

How do I know Homa? We follow each other on Twitter. And we’ve shared a handful of emails.

Essentially, we are two strangers.

Who connected online.

It’s ironic, isn’t it?


“Kenyan, did you start your science project yet?”


“Well, it’s due in 2 weeks. Maybe now is a good time to start.”


“What are you going to invent?” I ask. “Something you need in your everyday life that we don’t have?”


“OK. So what do you need that we don’t have?”

He considers my question. “A pool. So I can swim.”

“Hmm. Not really an invention.”

“A TV in my room?” he suggests.

I shake my head, “This isn’t a wish list, Kenyan. It’s problem solving. Identifying a need and coming up with a solution.”

His eyes light up, “Well, I forget to take my medicine sometimes. Maybe I’ll invent something to help me remember.”

“Good thinking.”

“And I forget to floss,” he continues.


“Hey! Maybe I’ll build a super toothbrush holder that can hold my medicine on one side and my floss on the other side! Because I always remember to brush my teeth!”

“Bingo! Get to it!”

“I’m going to call it The Remind-O-Tron.”

“It’s catchy, Kenyan. And how can you forget the Remind-O-Tron, right?”


I look down at my phone to read the text I’ve just received. It’s from a Mom from school. A friend.

“Hey, the Kenyan told me he left his science experiment at home. Want me to come pick it up?”


“No. Thank you for offering. I’ll bring it to him.”

I text B&B,

“The Kenyan left The Remind-O-Tron at home.”

“Oh no. You mean he FORGOT The Remind-O-Tron?”

“Yes. That’s what I mean.”

And no. The irony is not lost on me.


In my sternest voice, I tell them, “Boys, we are at the dinner table. Haven’t I made it clear that the place to talk about pee and poop and butts and penises is in the bathroom? Please stop the potty talk at the dinner table.”

“Sorry, Mom,” comes the chorus from around the table.

“Can I just say one thing?” the Interrogator asks earnestly.

“Yes, Interrogator. You may.”


The entire table, B&B included, erupts in laughter. The Interrogator breaks into his 6 year old smile. The one with the adorable dimples and the gap where his two front teeth used to be. Unable to help himself, and thrilled with his brothers’ laughter, he throws his head back and yells again, “FFFFFFAAAAAAARRRRRRRTTTTTT!”


“So boys, Mommy has something very exciting to tell you!”

The Interrogator and the Verb look up at me from across the dinner table. We’re not eating yet. They are too busy scratching the table up with their Lego figurines, who are engaged in battle.

“Did you get us a new Lego set?” the Verb asks in his husky voice.

“Did you get us our own iPad’s?” the Interrogator inquires.

“No. And no. You know how Mommy writes stories sometimes?”

“I thought that was email,” chimes the little one.

“I thought that was texting,” says the big one.

“It’s not email. Or texting. Well, sometimes it is. But Mommy likes to write stories.”

“About us?”

“Sometimes, yes.”

“Do you make me a red power ranger in your stories?” the Verb wonders.

“Am I Captain America in your stories?” the Interrogator demands.

“No. And no. They’re just funny stories. Anyway, Mommy wrote a story and it’s going to be published in a real book!”

“What’s the name of your book, Mom?”

“The title is I Just Want to Pee Alone.”

The Interrogator heaves with laughter and slaps his palm against the table, scattering the Legos. The Verb laughs that laugh B&B loves the most. The one where he sounds just like Snoopy from Charlie Brown.

“Ha hahahahahahaha! Ahhhhh hahahahahahahaha!”

“You did potty talk at the dinner table, Mom. Pee is potty talk. No dessert for you.”

“Ah hahahahahaha!”

The irony is indeed everywhere.

But I’m too excited to care. Jen of People I Want to Punch in the Throat has compiled an anthology of hilarious stories by female bloggers, and I’m thrilled that I’m among them.

What did I write about? Well, you’ll just have to buy it and read for yourself.

I Just Want to Pee Alone

Don’t you too? Available this spring.

Our This is Childhood Series continues with Tracy of Sellabitmum talking about how different age 7 has looked on two of her three daughters. Tracy is a Minnesota Mom whose blog is one of my favorites. Her pictures are stunning, and her reflections on age 7 moved me to tears. Please read her here.

This is Childhood, ages 8, 9, and 10 continues for the next three weeks when the talented Amanda MageeDenise Ullem, and Lindsey Mead take on those years.

Top Dog

“Let’s play wrestle!” he yells, his tiny body assuming an aggressive stance.

“Let me take my coat off first so that..” before I can finish my sentence, my youngest son has wrapped all four of his appendages around my leg. He holds on with a vise-like grip.

“AHA! I’m Iron Man, and I’ve got you now! You’ll never escape me!”

I walk to the closet, dragging my right leg…said 4 year old child attached to it…behind me as I hang up my coat.


“That’s it. I’m done,” he announces as he tosses his sneakers one at a time into the laundry room. He’s just returned home from playing basketball. His face is a mask of anger.

“Uh oh. What happened?” I ask my husband.

“I’m done. I’m so frustrated playing with these guys. Nobody takes the game to the level I need to play at in order to enjoy it. It’s a total waste of time for me.”

“Why is that?”

“Who knows? They play like a bunch of old men! Maybe they’re afraid to get hurt or something. I’d rather never step foot on the court again than compromise the way I play.”


“Want to play Scrabble?” my husband asks.

I answer quickly, “With you? No.”

“How about Boggle?” he suggests.

“You against me?” I shake my head,  “Nope.”

He’s annoyed. “Come on. Why not?”

“Because I hate to lose. And you always beat me. At Scrabble. And Boggle. That’s why not.”


“This is ridiculous,” he scoffs.

“Stop talking. I’m trying to watch Survivor. Save it for the commercials,” I chide my spouse.

“I wouldn’t be talking if this competition weren’t so absurd.”

I sigh and pause the TV. Thank God for DVR. “Why do you say that?”

He gesticulates wildly towards the TV, “It’s ridiculous that they can’t swallow a grasshopper faster than that! It’s a grasshopper! Just shove it in your mouth and swallow it down! What’s the big deal?”

Calmly, I reply, “I wouldn’t eat the grasshopper. Even if it meant I’d win the reward. And the reward is chocolate. And I love chocolate. I still wouldn’t eat the grasshopper.”

His chest inflates, “I guarantee I would eat that grasshopper. Not only that, I’d eat it faster than anybody on the show could eat it.”

Oh, here we go. “Would you eat it faster than any contestant on any reality show ever consumed any grasshopper?”

He nods assuredly. “It’s true. You know it’s true.”


“Nice race,” he heaves, catching his breath.

“You too,” I reply, matching my husband’s effort to steady my ragged breathing.

He nods behind him, “I took a wrong turn and ran farther than I should have.”

“I was wondering why I crossed the finish line before you did.”

Because that never happens. Even when he’s pushing 100 lbs of combined weight belonging to our youngest two kids, whom he pushed the entire race in the double jogging stroller.

He offers his hand, “Come on, let’s go over and see how everyone else did.”

I wave him off, “I think I’m going to stay here, thanks.”


“Because I can’t walk.”

“Are your legs beat?” he asks.

“I hurt my foot,” I point to the underside of my right foot, searching for the invisible knife  responsible for the searing pain.

“What happened?”

I shake my head, “I wore my racing flats. No arch support. I should have eased my way into them. Never should have raced in them today.”

He winces, “Did you first feel it when you crossed the finish line?”

I smile. “Nope. I felt it a mile in.”

“Why did you keep on running? You should have dropped out!”

I shrug. “Quitting was not an option. After all, I had all of these strangers to impress.”

He nods, “All of these people you’ll never see again for the rest of your life?”

Perfectly serious, I answer, “Exactly. I didn’t want them to think I’m a quitter. Because I’m not.”

He places his hands on his hips and smiles down at me, “Well, I’m sure they’re all very impressed by your effort. I know I am. Now let’s get you a pair of crutches. Non-quitter.”


“I’ll take pop culture for 600, Alex.”

Alex Trebek announces, “Alright, you’ve chosen the Daily Double!”

B&B yells at the Jeopardy contestant on TV, “Make it a true Daily Double! Bet it all!”

I holler at the same TV contestant , “Don’t listen to him! Bet ½! Maybe less than ½!”

He turns to me, incredulous, “What?! She should bet it all!”

I frown, “If she bets it all and gets the question wrong, she’ll have nothing. If she plays it safe, she’s still in the game.”

He raises his eyebrows, “If she bets it all and gets the question right, she takes the lead. Better to bet it all and take the lead.”

“Nope. Better to play it safe and stay in the game.”


“We need to discuss this,” he balances the kids’ dirty plates on his forearms and follows me to the sink.

“Now?” I ask.

“Yes, now!” My husband is nothing if not persistent.

I sigh, placing my hands on the counter. “OK, what do you want to know?”

“What do you want done with your body when you die?”

The Interrogator gasps audibly, “Mom, you’re gonna die?”

I place my arm around his bony shoulders, “No, honey, I’m not gonna die. Not today.”

B&B turns to our 6 year old son, “We’re all going to die. Probably not tonight. Don’t worry about this, buddy, Mommy and Daddy are just talking.”

I whisper to my husband, “Can we talk about it after he goes to bed?”

He shakes his head, “Now.” Persistent.

“I want to be cremated,” I reply.

He nods. “Well, you better tell your family that.”

“OK, I will.”

“Now,” he adds.

“Why now?”

“Because what if you die tomorrow? If I tell them you want to be cremated they may not believe me. They’ll know it’s true if you tell them yourself.”

I nod, “OK.”

He nods, “OK. So tell them.”

“I will.”


Jesus Christmas.

“Alright. Calm down. I’ll tell them.”

Now I’ve gone and poked the bear…

“Don’t tell me to calm down! You know I hate when people tell me to calm down!”


“Hey, Mom, you have to come over here and play this game with us!”

I walk over to stand next to my oldest son, who is almost shoulder to shoulder with me. He is watching his father play a game on the iPad.

I peek over Waldorf’s shoulder. B&B is tapping out a pattern on the game’s 4 different pie-shaped colors…blue, red, yellow, green.  Recognition sets in, and I laugh immediately. “Is that Simon? The memory game?”

B&B looks up to meet my eye. His laughter echoes mine. “Yes! Do you remember this?”

I nod, “I loved that game when I was young! Can I have a turn?”

Waldorf nods, “Sure! It’s Dad’s turn now. Then my turn. Then yours.”

We watch B&B race to match Simon’s pattern.

“Slow down, dude. Just get the pattern right,” I say.

Waldorf shakes his head, “No, he’s right to go fast. You get more points for speed.”

Now B&B looks at Waldorf. Two sets of eyes alight with the excitement of this additional pressure.  Deflated, I watch their delight.

“I’m out,” I announce. And I retreat back into the kitchen, where the dirty dishes await.


Are you confused yet?

I’ve just finished reading a galley of Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing, written by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman.  And I found it fascinating.


I began this book with a slight sense of dread.  Last year, I read Bronson’s and Merryman’s Nurture Shock, which resulted in a near nervous breakdown after realizing B&B and I needed a complete parenting style overhaul. Waldorf and the Kenyan will likely need extensive therapy as a result of our abrupt shift. The Interrogator and the Verb stand a fighting chance of turning out half decent. (Want to know if your parenting style needs revamping? Read this excerpt from Nurture Shock, which appeared in NY Magazine.)

As I read Top Dog, each of the above scenarios popped into my head in reference to different points made in the book. The research the authors compiled helped me understand the reasons why my husband, sons, and I behaved the way we did in each of these examples.

  • The youngest child often has the most fight in him. “Let’s play wrestle” is my youngest son’s most often used expression.
  • When competing, men often focus on what they will win. This often leads to overconfidence. May I present…my husband.
  • Women refuse to waste time with losing. Which is why I no longer play Scrabble and Boggle with my husband, who wipes the floor with my rear end in both games. Even though I’m the alleged wordsmith in the marriage. Self-proclaimed wordsmith.
  • I pushed through a race (like a fool), running the risk of further injury, because there were spectators watching. I was running, which is something I train for, enjoy, and typically do well. Had I been trying something new, like tennis, their presence would have increased my stress level enough for me to quit.
Hey, what's this? Look who took 1st place in her age group at that race!

Hey, what’s this? Look who took 1st place in her age group at that race!

  • B&B fits the book’s classification of a warrior, which means he needs stress to perform his best. One of the worst things I can encourage him to do is to “calm down”. That’s going to take some work on my part. Dammit.
  • Men risk a greater percentage of their money when answering a Daily Double in Jeopardy than women do. *Side note, B&B always yells “Make it a true Daily Double!”
  • Additional stress within a competition makes men less emotional and more calculated. While it can create too much stress for women. This explains why B&B and Waldorf rose to the occasion to compete in a timed game of Simon, and I willingly chose to wash dishes.

In every chapter of Top Dog, I was able to identify instances in my everyday life to which the psychology behind winning and losing applies.

And don’t think I didn’t bust out a ruler to measure the lengths of each of our index fingers and compare them to the lengths of each of our ring fingers. But you’ll have to read the book to understand why…

Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing is available on February 19th. Po Bronson will be speaking at SCH Academy in Chestnut Hill, PA, at 7:00 PM on Wednesday, February 20th. The event is free and open to the public.

I look forward to meeting him. I’ve almost forgiven him for my near nervous breakdown after reading his last book.



Our This Is Childhood series continues today with the fabulous Allison Tate’s take on Age Five. Allison is the rock star responsible for writing The Mom Stays in the Picture. Her writing elicits such emotion in me. And the pictures that accompany This is Five are priceless.

Next week, I’m tackling Age Six.


What Everyone’s Doing

I log onto FB, and they’re doing it. All of them. With pictures to prove it.

My friends, family members, casual acquaintances…seemingly everyone I know is doing it.

“We should do it.”

“Do what?” B&B asks.

“Do this,” I reply, tilting the monitor so he can see.

He frowns. “You’re out of your mind. We’re not doing that.”

“The kids would like it, I think.”

He shakes his head. “The kids would be miserable. They’d ruin it for us.”

I beg to differ. “Don’t you mean you would be miserable? And ruin it for the rest of us?”

He shrugs. “Same difference. The outcome is misery. We’re not doing it.”

What is it they are doing?


Everyone is skiing. Everyone but us.


Here are 5 solid reasons you won’t see the Meyer family on the slopes this winter.

1.) It’s fucking freezing.

I can handle the cold. But my kids hate extreme temperatures. They don’t do well in July, and they fare equally poorly in February. It’s important to remember that they are boys, which makes them anatomically incapable of keeping a pair of gloves married for longer than 37 minutes. Back in December, I organized their winter accessories. I was left with 8 gloves of all different sizes and patterns. All right handed.

Say we take them skiing. By the time we arrive at the mountain, an hour’s drive away, the four of them are already 23 minutes beyond the point of knowing where each of their left handed gloves are. The cumulative complaining about their frozen left hands would put a damper on the day.

But, B&B would put them to shame. He abhors the cold. Stick him on a snow capped mountain, where the temps peak at 20 degrees, and he simply cannot function.

Not without complaining more frequently than my kids, who at least have reason to complain. Since all four of them are glove-less.

2.) I’ll lose one of them. 

I’m in the business of crowd control. I do try to share meaningful moments with each of my kids. I’m smart enough to attempt them within the confines of my own home. Meaningful moments don’t happen outside the house. Because the minute we exit the premises, I morph into someone whose behavior closely resembles that of a secret service agent.   “I’ve got these two covered. You cover those two. Wait, I lost one…I LOST HIM! No, he’s good. He’s here. He was peeing behind the tree, but I found him. He’s just pulling up his pants now. I’ve got two. You have two? We’re good? Let’s move.”

Desperate to connect, the kids try to talk to me when we’re out in public. I flash a phony smile, “That’s wonderful, honey!” I raise my eyebrows and throw in a gasp for good measure, “Gasp! You did? I’m so proud of you!” But I’m not listening to them. I can’t. I’m too busy counting them, herding them forward, reminding them to remove their hands from their penises, barking at them to stop touching one another, cut it out already with the potty talk, and for the love of Pete, smile, because we are having so much fun!

If I strap skis to their feet, place them atop a mountain of ice, and yell, “Let’s all stay together!” or worse, “See you at the bottom,” that will be the last moment we share as a family.

I will never be able to keep track of them.

3.) Ski poles are weapons.

I know the Verb and the Interrogator, ages 4 and 6, would learn to ski without poles. In which case only the Kenyan and Waldorf would be wielding weapons. 2 kids with ski poles is better than 4 kids with ski poles, right?


How do you expect my younger sons to defend themselves against their older brothers? Because they will indeed have to defend themselves. From poking…from swatting…from jousting. To equip them with ski poles is dangerous, irresponsible, and stupid. But, to leave them defenseless against their armed older brothers is just plain suicide.

So, I’d have to insist on poles for everyone. Say it with me…”brawl”. We’d be lucky to disentangle them long enough to shuffle them over to the chair lift for the first run of the day. If we actually managed to get them into line, we’d have to wait our turn, which would give them time enough to poke, swat, and joust with one another in tighter confines.  Unable to hear my voice over the wind, and just out of reach of my short arms, I’d be forced to use my poles to disentangle them. It’s likely I’d have to do some poking, swatting, and jousting of my own.

And someone would undoubtedly get hurt.

Because ski poles are weapons.

4.) I cannot run the risk of injury.

The chances of the kids getting hurt…frostbite aside…are slim. B&B is an entirely different animal. He is predisposed to injuries. Particularly in cold conditions.

Exhibit A:

We take Waldorf and the Kenyan sledding one Friday evening. First time down the hill, B&B sleds…sober…directly into a baby tree. Breaking his collar bone. And sending the Kenyan into a temper tantrum for cutting his fun short. B&B wears a sling for the next several weeks. He is unable to lift the children. Unable to wash the dishes. Unable to dress himself. Unable to put on his belt. Unable to tie his shoes. He expects me to wait on him.

It’s a recipe for wedded disaster.

Exhibit B:

After a very long 6 weeks of nursing the broken collar bone, B&B finally feels ready to exercise. He dons his running gear.

Me: “You should hit the track. Take it easy. No intervals. Just get some time on your legs.”

B&B: “Yeah, that’s probably what I’ll do.”

Me: “Seriously, do NOT run the trails. It’s too icy. You haven’t run in awhile. Make that something you work towards.”

B&B: “Yeah, I hear you.”

2 hours later, he hobbles into the house. Jacket ripped. Hands bleeding. Bloody right hip. Ribs bruised.

Me: “Is that fake blood?”

B&B: “I got problems.”

Me: “Are you joking? Because pretending you’re hurt again isn’t funny.”

B&B: “I’m not joking, Bethany. I fell. I really hurt my hands. And my hip. And my ribs.”

Me: “You fell on the track?”

B&B: “Of course not. I fell on the trails. You were right. They were really icy.”

Of course they were.

Exhibit C:

B&B decides to take Waldorf, the Kenyan, and their two buddies sledding. They load up the car and drive to a local hill.

Shortly after they leave the house, I text him…

Me: “Having fun?”

Him: “No.”

Me: “Huh? Why not?”

Him: “I fucked up my ribs.”

Me: “Ha. Ha. Seriously, why not?”

Him: “I am serious.”

Oy vey.

Me: “Shutup!! What happened?!”

Him: “I was at the top of the hill, holding onto my sled. I took a running start. And I tripped over my fucking shoelace, which must have been untied. And I fell down. HARD. Right onto my fist. It hurts to breathe. I think I cracked a fuckin’ rib.”

Me: “You’re saying you attempted a running start, tripped on your own shoelace, landed on your own fist, and hurt your rib?”

Him: “Yes. We may have to go to the hospital. Again.”

Me: “Are you serious? Did this really happen? I am ROFLMAO at the visual.”

Him: “Fuck you. It happened.”

Me: “Well, I’m sorry you got hurt. Again. Good luck telling the Kenyan he has to leave sledding early again so you can go to the hospital. Again. He’s going to have a royal hissy.”

Him: “No shit. You’re not going to post anything about this on FB, are you?”

Me: “Never. I wouldn’t dream of it.”

To fit this injury-prone man with a pair of skis and place him on a mountain and tempt him with the thrill of achieving high speeds while racing his offspring down a steep hill is to ensure that our next stop is the hospital.

I don’t know much. But I do know this.

5.) I’d have to sell a kidney on the black market to be able to afford it.


Even in the fine state of Pennsylvania, where the Pocono Mountains offer free lift tickets all season for 4th and 5th grade students, it still costs a small fortune.

Boots x 6 people
+Skis x 6 people
+lift tickets x 5 people
+ lessons x 4 people
+ gear x 6 people
=Skiing is expensive.

The last time I skied, I wore mint green bib overalls, a pair of sunglasses from the Limited, and a pom pom hat that my Mom wore religiously from 1970-1975. And I was on the cutting edge of mountain top fashion.

I was in Marshall’s last month and tried on a pair of ski pants. Not with skiing in mind…purely to wear sledding with the kids. I broke out into a sweat merely trying to wrestle them onto my body. In what universe does a mother of 4 have to remove her underwear in a dressing room in order to squeeze into a pair of ski pants? Because I was in that universe. And it was disturbing. Boot cut, skinny leg, low rise ski pants? They’re gonna cost me. Because it’s not merely the price of the pants. It’s the personal training sessions I’m going to need to reshape my body to fit into those ski pants.

Move over, Susie Chapstick, times have changed.

And evidently, so have ski pants.

Oh well. There’s always next year…

***This post appeared in the parenting section of the Huffington Post on February 8th, 2013.


Our This Is Childhood series continues this week with Galit Breen painting the most poignant picture of age 4. The same age as my baby. Yep. I cried when I read it. Head over to read Galit, who is such an exceptional writer.

Let’s Begin at the Beginning


I look over my shoulder in his direction, “What?”

He whispers, “Come here and look at this.”

He places his finger against his closed lips to caution me to remain quiet. We make eye contact. He nods his head in the direction of our living room sofa.

I peek around the pantry. There sits Waldorf. His favorite cat on his lap. A book in his hand.

I retreat back into the kitchen, smile at B&B, and whisper, “That’s sweet.”

He frowns. Shakes his head. Whispers, “Look again.”

I do as instructed, looking more closely this time. He’s not holding the cat against his will. For a change. His feet are on the couch, but his shoes are off. He’s not eating candy. He’s reading the new book he got for Christmas. He just started it. Wait. He’s practically finished it? How could he have read it that quickly?

Waldorf is reading the last few pages of his new book. As I watch, unnoticed, from the kitchen, he flips to the first page of his book, settles in, and begins reading.

I retreat once more into the kitchen. Eyes wide, I look at B&B. “That right there is blasphemy.”

B&B wears a pained expression, “He read the ending of the book first. Who does that?”

I shrug and smile, “Evidently, Waldorf does it.”



We are firm believers in the notion that birth order shapes personality. Unfortunately for our oldest son, he is our guinea pig. Not only is he our first, he is the product of a middle child and a youngest child. Many of his seemingly indelible first born tendencies are lost on both of his parents. We recognize our oldest siblings in his behavior. We recognize all four of our parents…each of them oldest children…in his behavior. While the dynamic is familiar to us, neither of us can relate to him as readily as we can to our other kids. Our experiences as middle and youngest children make those emotions accessible to us.


I sit up in bed, propped against two pillows.

“What are you doing?”

His voice takes me by surprise. Reading intently, I haven’t heard him ascend the stairs, open the bedroom door, or sit down on our shared bed.

I keep my eyes on my book, answering, “I’m reading.”

“I can see that you’re reading. What are you doing with your hand?”

I look down at my right hand, which deliberately covers the last two paragraphs of the page I’m currently reading. “I put my hand there so I don’t skip ahead to see what happens.”

He smiles. “Is that right?” Raises his eyebrows, “Waldorf?”

I dismiss him. “You’re out of your mind.”

He laughs, “That’s funny. Considering I’m not the one who is placing my hand over the unread words to keep myself from skipping ahead in the book.”



B&B is onto something. I admit that. Under protest.  

There are several aspects of our oldest son’s personality that remain an enigma to me. But there are more things about him to which I can relate.

He is private to a fault. He isn’t overly affectionate. He strives for perfection. He wants so desperately to be funny.

He is the physical image of his Father at 11 years old. But, Waldorf is his Mother’s son.

And I feel as though I’ve burdened him.


I’m not much into New Year’s resolutions. While I admire the intentions behind them, I find they are often lip service.  And make for overly crowded gyms until mid-February.

Despite my feelings toward them, I found myself resolving, last January, to take more chances. Stop being so private.

To be vulnerable. Be more affectionate.

To open myself up to new possibilities. You’re only human.

To try. Knowing I’d very possibly fail. Everything you say and do doesn’t have to be funny.

I’d spent my life reading the last chapter of the book first. Planning. Controlling. Knowing what to expect.

And I found myself ready, finally, to start a new chapter. With a different book. Without my hands blocking the words. With no glimpse at the ending.

So, in 2012, I started cross training. I began practicing yoga. For the first time since I’d become a parent, I resumed working “outside the home”. And, I started writing.

When I walked into her cross training gym, owner Pamela asked me what I wanted. I told her I wanted to be less tired. She spent 7 weeks sharing her nutritional expertise and recipes with me. Throughout those 7 weeks, she showed me that I can get the same results working out for 20 minutes that I’d been getting in triple that time exercising. It’s 20 minutes of sheer hell, punctuated with lots of cursing. But it’s 20 minutes. And, when I eat what she tells me to eat, I’m less tired. Which explains why I’m dragging after eating pizza last night. Seeing the results of my hard work makes me happy.

When I tiptoed into yoga for the first time, everything about it was foreign. The music, the temperature, the physical proximity to strangers, the entire situation. I was overwhelmed and intimidated. Over the past 8 months, that studio, once so unfamiliar, has become a place of refuge for me. I love my yoga instructor, whom I’ve deemed my spiritual bartender. I’m physically challenged and mentally balanced. I get an intense workout and an attitude adjustment each time I hit my mat. Feeling the energy in that room makes me happy.

Every time I leave my house to go to work, I stress a little bit. Should I be leaving the kids?
Yes, it’s only 4 hours/week. And I’m leaving them with B&B, who is their father. And, yes, I ate cake and got a chair massage while working this past Sunday. Semantics. But those four hours recharge my batteries. I come home refreshed and happy to see them. I love being in the store. I love the vibe. I love the clothes. I love connecting with the customers. I love the owner, who’s become a dear friend and pimps my writing like she’s my john. Being a part of their team makes me happy.

The leap I took in 2012 that’s impacted my life the most happened one year ago today. I posted my first story to my blog. It has been so much work. But it has been so very worth it. Over the course of the year, I’ve chronicled the chaos of our household, one anecdote at a time. I’ve wheezed with laughter over my keyboard at times. I’ve pushed my chair away from my computer, and allowed my body to wrack with sobs at others. I’ve been lucky to develop friendships with fellow writers in all different parts of the country. I’ve connected with readers, who’ve touched my heart with their beautiful e-mail messages. Through mutual friends, I met a literary agent in NY. She is now my literary agent in NY. She is a rock star, and she puts up with my crazy. We are overdue for margaritas. Writing makes me happy.

It feels like I’ve grown more in the past 12 months than I did in the 20 years prior to that. Opening myself up to new experiences and being vulnerable has connected me with so many new people. It’s left me content, at peace, supported, inspired, challenged.


How do I tell an 11 year old boy that I know firsthand what a burden it is to be so private, to reserve affection, to demand perfection of yourself? How do I explain to him that the most important thing he can do in this life is let his guard down and connect with other people?

I don’t.

I just continue to be his Mom.

And encourage him to continue to be who he is.

And quietly hope he navigates his way…eventually…

…to a brand new book…

…on the first page of Chapter 1…

…because this, my friends, is a good place to be.

Thanks to so many of you for connecting with me to make this past year…and my life…so extraordinarily full.


Please note my blog has moved to .


This is week 3 in our This Is Childhood series. My friend, Nina Badzin…my Jewish sister from another mother…provides her honest insight into 3 years old. Please read her here. She is so much kinder about this age than I have ever been….

I was slow to motherhood. Painfully slow.

To be perfectly honest, I was scared of my first…(continue reading here)

IMG_13073 year old Kenyan
Interrogator 3 yearsWaldorf 3 years

Up and Away he Grows


A curious thing happened last week. I was in the throes of everyday life with B&B and the kids…trying to squeeze in exercise, pressuring myself to continue the good food choices I’d committed to making before the holidays, frustrated by the pull of each of the boys needing me simultaneously, counting on more than 7 fingers how long it had been since B&B and I had done the deed…and I was looking for a light at the end of the tunnel.

I saw the light.

And I turned right the hell around and tried to claw my way back into that tunnel.


His thin arms, growing longer it seems by the minute, envelop my neck.

“Goodnight, Mom,” whispers my oldest boy.

Ours is a dance I know intimately. As well I should. I’ve been doing it nightly for over 11 years.

I rest my head against his, clear my throat and begin singing, “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine…”

He interrupts, “You don’t have to do that anymore.”

“I don’t have to do what anymore?”

“Sing. My song. You don’t have to sing it anymore.”

Unaware, I smile, “I sing your song before bed every night, silly. I like singing it.”

He looks away, cracking the knuckles of his long fingers, a brand new ritual for him. “Yes, but…well, I’m getting too old for that now. So, you don’t have to sing it anymore.”

Up and away he grows.

He quickly kisses my cheek and, careful not to look wounded, I conjure a smile for him.

“OK. Goodnight, sweetheart. Have a good sleep.”

He turns and bounds up the stairs, two at a time. The exact replica of my husband, in a tween size version. I sit on the sofa, gazing at the empty space on the stairs that his body just occupied. The lump in my throat is big enough that it threatens to choke me.

A few hours later, before succumbing to my exhaustion, I peek in on each of my boys. Another nightly ritual. Our 4-year-old lies on his back with his arms and legs splayed wide, the fist of one hand closed, all but the thumb, which is up. He’s lost the thumb that he sucks, and I grin at how it gives him the appearance of hitchhiking in his sleep. I kiss him gently on both cheeks, inhaling deeply, looking for any trace of the baby smell that no longer clings to his little body. Nope. Gone. I hoist myself up to the top bunk to look at our 6-year-old, sound asleep on his belly. I kiss his cheek and smooth his hair, taking extra time to coax the Superman swirl in the front to play by the rules. I close their door quietly, then tiptoe into the older boys’ room. Pausing first at our 9-year-old’s bed, I smile at the twisted and tangled mess of sheets, blankets and limbs. In perpetual motion, even when he’s asleep. I kiss his cheek, pale and warm, nearly as soft as the day he was born. My final stop is alongside the boy who, on a Friday night one September, turned me into a mother. 11-years-old. He lies on his back, his favorite cat asleep at his feet. He spans almost the entire length of his bed. His hair, which grows thick like mine, is matted to his forehead. I run my fingers through it without fear that I’ll wake him. For he is, and always has been, our only heavy sleeper. It’s happening too fast. Just last week, he abruptly stopped calling us Mommy and Daddy, transitioning instead to Mom and Dad.

Up and away he grows.

I kneel beside his bed, take his warm hand in mine, and begin singing more earnestly than I have since he was a baby, “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy when skies are gray. You’ll never know dear, how much I love you. Please don’t take my sunshine away.” For a few moments, it seems there’ll be no end to the hot tears that flow down my cheeks, dripping from my jaw onto his comforter.

He may not need his song.  And I want him to know that’s OK. But, I still need his song. At least for now I do. And so our ritual has assumed a different shape. What was once an enthusiastic duet punctuated by dance and accompanied by air guitars has become a whispered solo, performed by a voice quivering from unshed tears, sung under the cloak of darkness to a slumbering boy who is blissfully unaware of my presence.

And just like that, it’s happening.

Up and away he grows.


I’m stoked to be a part of this series. I’ve been gathering my thoughts, jotting them in notebooks, typing them into my iPhone. I’ve been stressing a little bit too.

“Knock knock!”

Who’s there?


6 who?

“Oh, puleeeze! You know What Six Looks Like!”

Sure do. No pressure there. 

We’re chronicling the chaos of the first decade of childhood. My oldest son is one year beyond that decade, and already he is taking leaps toward independence. It’s what he needs. It’s what we want for him. I just wish someone would tell my heart to get with the program. This writing collaboration is occurring at a time when I’m feeling heaviness in my heart as I’m tasked with loosening my grasp on the boy who turned me into a mother. But it’s given me the opportunity to immerse myself in memories of who Waldorf was…and who his brothers were…on each step of his journey to becoming the man he’ll eventually grow up to be.

Please join Kristen Levithan at Motherese as she walks us so eloquently through the second year of childhood.

***An abridged version of this piece appeared in the Parenting section of the Huffington Post on January 19th, 2013.