Category Archives: cute list

Her Words

Nora’s a talking machine now, pretty much repeating and holding in her tiny brain any and all words she happens by. She withholds her words, locking them away like the treasures they are, when she is commanded to speak or perform, when tricks and tales are solicited from her by parents and grandparents and friends.

Sometimes the combination of words and light flashing in her dark eyes kills me. It makes me want to hold her and hug her and freeze her in the toddler moment that causes her words to be so amazingly innocent and true. The lilt of her voice, the sound of her giggle and the expression of her personality in the silliest and simplest ways makes me appreciate language in a new way each day. What would we be without words?

She says “Otay,” all drawn out and exaggerated. Ken says it reminds him of the exaggerated hello’s on Seinfeld, a word so adorable that it could be easily mocked.

She says she does or does not want to hug people, a clear gauge of  her shyness. Usually it is just her being coy, jumping eventually at the chance to hug whoever it is who will shower attention on her.

She declares things are “Your turn,” quickly and loudly announcing the “your”, followed by the drawn out sing-song “turn.” Everything is a game.

She says yogoke instead of yogurt. And now Ken and I do too; she may never get it right and that would be “otay.”

She tells me she loves things and when she says love I hear LOVE, a true understanding of the word.

She shakes her head in the affirmative when she makes a declaration of like or dislike or expresses her desired next task. “I want to paint.” Simple notion with simple head bobs. She is sure of herself.

I teach rhetoric, causing me to see and analyze language differently from most. I’m not sure if everyone would see the tactics and tools of a budding orator in Nora’s first attempts at persuasive speech. But I see them. And they make me infinitely happy.


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Growing up I was lucky enough to have a live-in Grandmother for a while. Mome. She had a big room at the back of the second floor with so many treasures hidden inside – a black and white television, a “no-no” drawer filled with lemon drops and pennies, and a precious black rock.

The rock wasn’t really a treasure, but it was to me. Mome would hide the rock somewhere in the nooks and crannies of her room and guide me to it in a game of “hot and cold.” I remember searching for that small black pebble. And I remember never being satisfied with just one game.

On Sunday Nora experienced her first Easter Egg hunt thanks to “Betty Dallas,’ my aunt who was visiting from, you guessed it, Dallas. She bought play-doh filled eggs and hid them, mostly in plain sight, in my parents’ side yard. We thought Nora would love finding the eggs and discovering their play-doh. We thought we’d pack them in her lamb basket and return to visiting and eating.

Nora had a different idea. She asked a very patient Betty (and almost every other visiting family member) to hide the eggs for her. She would cover her eyes, with one hand over one eye or split fingers over both, and wait for the next amazing hunt to begin. She didn’t mind if the eggs weren’t really hidden. She just wanted the experience of taking that plastic egg in her hand, looking at the admiring crowd and yelling, “I found it!”

She gets to do it all over again at daycare on Thursday. I’ve warned them that once is never enough.


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Sugar and Spice

I have a secret (ok, not so secret anymore) dream that someone someday will read my blog and hire me to write for them, or pay to advertise here, or even maybe Lisa Belkin will read and repost one of my posts on Motherlode. If I made the NYTimes my life would be complete. I don’t need to be Julie – my blog made into a movie where I am played by some amazingly beautiful actress. I wouldn’t object, of course, but that isn’t really my goal. I stated all of this just for fun. I continue to do this just for fun. But I also now do it because I am a writer – and I always have been. Having the goal to set text here every night, to hope that some of it may actually be good even, fulfills me. Growing up, I typed (on my Apple 2E) long stories about children and teddy bears; I composed a family newsletter for a few years when I was in elementary school; I won money for my college essay and got to read it on the radio. I wrote creatively and analytically through undergrad and then “gave up” my first teacher summers to continue writing at Bread Loaf.  I write and I always have.

I tell my students that good writing is good thinking. I have quotes posted around my classroom espousing variations on the theme that one doesn’t know what exactly he thinks until he writes it down. That is true for me. I blog to think and truly appreciate the time I do have with Nora after working all day, to process the challenges, to participate in a larger conversation about parenting and motherhood. I believe, in a way, that writing and reflecting like this makes me a better mother.

It has occurred to me lately, however, that my chances of creating a huge following here, or publishing in Mom magazines isn’t really likely. I bought parenting magazines this weekend to research which ones I may send submissions to. But I don’t write about “hot moms” and have no desire to. Who cares? I am not overly dedicated to coupon shopping. I am not paranoid about clutter (but choking, yes. You should have seen me when Nora happily bit into a raw carrot tonight. You would have thought it was poison.) I don’t have any special talents aside from what I write. I don’t delve into photography as many big-time mom bloggers do. I am certainly no cook.

Many of the successful mom blogs are also about stresses, about those things that moms think but don’t want to admit out loud, about the trials of parenting. And every once in a while they throw in a sappy moment for good measure. There’s no “edge” here in my blog. There’s no overly snarky attitude. There’s no drama. I could lie and create some, I guess. But that’s not who I am as a mom. I’m sure my next phase of struggle will occur. I know there are many moments when I feel frustrated and sad and guilty and lost, but those aren’t always the things I think about when I perch on the couch to write each night. I think of surviving another work day. About how smoothly our routine goes most days. About what a smart and happy and funny girl Nora is. About how helpful it is to have a husband at home who helps with all of the house chores I am so terrible at. About how nice it is to have a family support here and afar – parents and brothers and sisters and friends.

When our nights and days include moments like these**, how can I just sit and rant and complain.

Reading her night night books from sarah on Vimeo.

Sure, she tried to run away when we took a walk to feed the chickens down the street. Yes she runs away and hides when it is time to nebulize. Of course she tests us all the time – she’s two.

But no one pays for sugar and spice.

I have a job. I don’t really want to be “discovered” for the money (though that certainly would be nice), I really want to be “discovered” to validate my writing. To feel, for a moment, that writing to who knows what audience on the Internet is real. That I really am a writer.

**In the video Nora is reciting the last two pages of her favorite goodnight book (The Going to Bed Book). She says “The moon is high, the sea is deep. They rock and rock and rock to sleep. She actually recited the entire book correctly, but of course I wasn’t filming. I was just staring with a huge admiring smile on my face.


Filed under cute list, me time, routine with toddler

The Creative Side

“Look, Mommy! I made a pile!” Nora announces proudly many times each evening as she plays with her beloved play-dough. She molds, she separates, she pats and she rolls it. Play-dough holds her focus like few other things.

Nora has a creative side – a side that loves to draw with crayons, pens and sometimes markers. She makes pictures and requests us to make pictures too. She will quickly realize (if she hasn’t already) that Ken is far superior in this area, that anything she requests he can render in a moment. She has already asked me to make “fast airplanes like daddy.” I’ve failed miserably, but she can’t yet tell me that.

Watching Nora draw and create with play-dough sends my mind into the future. What amazing things will she create down the line? What will she be good at? What will she discover to be her most rewarding talents? How will she seek to express herself? These are the rewarding moments, watching the development of an amazing little person and wondering just where all this will lead.

(Happy Birthday – now a day late – to Great-Godmother-Gail! I hope you are off enjoying your own creative side.)

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Ahhhh…A breath of fresh cuteness

Now that the sickness has fled Nora’s body for the time being. she is back to her too cute self. In comparison to her moaning, whiny sick self, her abundant energy and talkativeness has Ken and I constantly amused. Here is the new Nora cute list – since it’s been a while since I made one.

OTay: Nora’s new word of the day – everything today was “O-Tay.” Lots of her words are cute: her excited breathless “yeah” in response almost everything, including Ken’s asking her if she wants a sister or brother, “bless you, Dada,” every time Ken sneezes or coughs, “books a bed” every time she wants to read in bed, which is often, and her labeling of all the colors of everything she sees and does.

Picture Books: Now Nora reads to us instead of us always reading to her. She knows all the pictures in her picture books and says the words enthusiastically and shuts the book and pronounces “the end.”

Silly kisses: Nora sometimes, if you’re really lucky, will give you silly kisses – which means she kisses you numerous times on the cheeks, nose and sometimes the mouth. And she doesn’t stop because it always makes us laugh.

Airplanes: Nora LOVES airplanes. Every time she hears an airplane, even when we’re in the house, she stops what she’s doing, looks up and says “aplane.” She also tries to say helicopter, which is really cute.

Drawing: Nora loves to draw, especially with the many colored pens she finds in my school bag. Tonight she drew many colored Os. I took a picture since amazingly it did look like she was drawing Os. She colors so intently and makes straight lines on the floor with her pens or crayons, organizing her materials.

Cleaning: She certainly doesn’t take after me, but at least once a day Nora asks for a few diaper wipes to “cean” her books and toys. Sometimes she insists I help. Maybe she is trying to send me a message about my own cleaning skills.

And the nebulizer: While I wish this wasn’t even in her life, she is SO good about doing her nebulizer so far. When I tell her it’s time for her mask she runs to open the door for the apple tv, asks for Yo Gabba Gabba or the Backyardigans and then turns on the machine and jumps up on my lap for a relaxing ten minutes of tv and breathing pulmicort. I have a feeling this arrangement is too good to last.

There are so many cute things that Nora does it’s actually hard to list. She is just so enthusiastic about life right now. At the same time, she’s asserting her independence, trying to do everything from putting on her socks and pants, to feeding herself, to serving her own cheerios.

Oh please stay around, healthy Nora. I missed you!

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