November 30th, 2008


We were recently given some boxes of cookies in gift boxes — complete with ribbons.

The boys saw only snacks. But the girls saw hair accessories.

October 29th, 2008


Part of Gabrielle’s schoolwork this morning was a reading review page where there were words written below empty boxes. The assignment was to read the words and then draw a picture of what it was.

She got them all right. Except for “pig.” Above “pig” she had drawn a cluster of flowers.

That’s weird. I know she can read this word.

“Gabby,” I asked her, “why did you draw flowers

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July 22nd, 2008

Worlds Apart

The boys didn’t mean to be mean. They were just being boys. But they were mean. And because she was just a girl, it hurt.

We sat together on the bed, hugging.

“They were only teasing you,” I whispered into her hair. “They love you like crazy — you know that.”

But she sniffled and quivered in my arms until I wanted to cry too.

Because I know just how

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July 14th, 2008


“Mama, aren’t you very tired of working? Wouldn’t you like to take a break? How about if I do some laundry for you?”

It took only a little investigation to discover that

1) it’s really too hot for playing outside. 2) a new movie just arrived from NetFlix. 3) the DVD player is broken. 4) this child knows there’s a DVD player on my laptop.

June 23rd, 2008


This morning I take my big girls to camp. It’s a day camp, but they’ll be spending evenings at their grandmother’s house for the week. Which will leave Gabby and me alone to face a houseful of testosterone. One husband, five sons, and one dog. All boys.

I’m thinking I should move into her bedroom for the week and bring along my nail polish, hair accessories, and Jane Austen novels.

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June 7th, 2008

Playing House

Gabrielle is the mommy and Raphael is the daddy. Three or four plastic babies are nestled in various corners of a house made up of pillows, blankies, an old sweatshirt, and a jumprope. There are bibs and bottles and pots of tea. There are matchbox cars and a barking stuffed dog.

Daddy swings a plastic hammer dangerously close to Mommy’s head and shouts, “I smashing! I smashing real hard!”


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June 3rd, 2008

Oh, the pressure

Gabby: I just want my birthday cake to have a princess on it. Wearing a crown. And a sparkly dress. And then I want there to be a sunshine wearing sunglasses with a big smile. And of course lots of flowers with grass. And maybe some butterflies. And lots of fives, of course, because I am turning five. And don’t just write “Happy Birthday” on it, either. You should write

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May 26th, 2008


Gabrielle approached me this afternoon with a worried look. She turned around to show me the back of her dress.

“Is this tied the right way?” she wanted to know.

“Yes,” I told her.

“A bow with two loops?” she pressed.


“And the strings are hanging down the sides?”

She stretched her neck, trying to see her back.

“It looks very nice, Gabby,” I assured her. “Are you worried

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