Tuesday, August 31, 2010

If you see her

Long curly hair
Blue eyes
Says “no” a lot
If you see her …

What … need more?

Well …

She’s still on the short side of four feet
She has trouble sitting still
Unless she’s reading a book or
Putting together a 100 piece puzzle and
If you see her …

Still not enough?

Hmmmm …
If she’s standing next to an even shorter person
A boy
She’ll be
Pretending to give him food or
Pushing him down or
Giving him a big hug whether he wants it or not or
Asking him to say this word or that
Everything from cow to pillow fight or
Laying on top of him while he screams and
If that is the case
Calmly pull her off and
Tell her that is not how she is supposed to treat her brother
She probably won’t be doing any of that though
She’ll probably just be sitting there
With her arm around him
Reading him a book and
If you do see her

You’re kidding … right?

Pbbbbbbbbbt …
She’s very observant
A little shy at first but
Impossible to shut up once she gets going and
Hard to bull shit
Chances are she’ll be wearing a band aid
Maybe on one of her birth marks
She’s got lots of birth marks and
She has my feet
If you ask her to smile she will and
You should ask her to smile
It’s worth whatever she puts you through to get one
She’ll probably be pulling her shirt up to show off her belly or
Her pants down to show off her underwear
She’ll answer to Seren
If you do see her …

Monday, August 30, 2010

11:00 p.m.

Crickets chirping
The occasional clicking of computer keys
Wedding ring tapping on wood
Static from the monitor
Periodically interrupted by the whizz and whirr of the air conditioner and
Accompanied by rustling on one end and
Rustling and sighs on the other

Far in the background
People can be heard driving to and fro on I-95

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Artichokes and Beaches

A day at the beach with two kids under the age of four
Is like eating an artichoke
That moment when everyone is on the beach and
The kids are playing in the sand
Without screaming or
Shoving or
Throwing sand and
At least one of the grownups is laying down
That moment when you are all down by the water and
No one is screaming to be picked up or
In danger of being carried out to sea
That moment when your son stands there
Until the water sweeps over his feet
At which point he splashes furiously until it goes away
That moment
Where your daughter
Lies down
And lets the water spill around her
And then gets up and dips her hair in less than an inch of water
That is the reward
The rest of the trip
Is the washing
Peeling and
That moment in the car
On the way home
When it is clear that a good time has been had by all and
It feels like mission accomplished
Is the reason you buy another artichoke
I don’t know where the melted butter comes in

Friday, August 27, 2010

Seven Kisses

Every other night I put her to bed and
Every other night I blow her kisses
Seven Kisses
It’s been that way for a while
We read six stories
One we all read together
If it is my day
She picks two books and
Places them on the wooden step stool
The one to be read first is on the top step
Once both are read
I turn out the light on that side of the room and
Turn on the night light
She chooses two more books and
After a check to see that all of her dolls and stuffed animals
Are in their proper places
I read the last two books to her
While we lay in her bed
After she drinks a little juice and
A little milk
I turn out the lights and
Sing Springsteen’s The River and
Then offer up the beverages again
If she is awake she always accepts and
Then waits for me to ask her how many kisses she wants
She says seven

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Seren's Poem

This poem was written by Seren and her Daddy

I have cute feet
I don’t use them in the street
I keep them on the sidewalk
With my sidewalk chalk

I don’t use my feet to draw
I use a hand
When I’m done drawing
I use my feet to stand

Then I go to my favorite place
It’s the playground of course
I play on the slides and ride the swings
But I never ride a horse

When I’m done
I jump in the car
And go to the Please Touch museum
Because with my feet it’s too far

Daddy drives me
Wyeth and mommy come too
If Wyeth isn’t looking
I might yell boo

He likes it when I say boo
So he’d probably laugh at me
And there’d be a lot of noise in the car
So daddy would say shhhhhhh to we

When we come back home
My feet will take me in the door
Daddy and mommy will be tired
But Wyeth and I will be ready for more

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

She told me

She told me we have to save the baby stuff
So she can use it when she has a baby
Apparently she’ll be having her baby in the house with us
And her brother will be the father
Of course
She also told me
That when she grows up she won’t be able to fit in the house
When I called her in to look at a big Eggplant
She told me
It was too big for the house
And that I was too big for the house
And then she followed me into the garage
And caught sight of the baby stuff
Which is what got her thinking about babies
She has lots of babies
Sarah, Juliet, and Bubble Top just to name a few
A couple are dogs
And I think there is a tiger in there too
It wears a blue denim jumper
They won’t ever be too big for her house
She told me she will always love them
Of course
They have birthdays everyday
And occasionally go to China
And practice medicine
And are older than she is
The truth is
That right now
She only barely fits in the house
She told me that too

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


It's Midnight
And a pie is in the oven
Filling the house with it's perfume
The kitchen and the office are clean
And the lights are out in the rest of the house
And the kids are asleep
I’m on the phone with my dad
And writing poetry
It would be a great moment
If my son had pooped today
But I can’t quite get the thought of a 3:00 am diaper change out of my mind
So it’s only a good moment
But it is a good moment
It might be a good moment only in comparison
But I don’t care
Besides the pie is done
So it’s over now anyway
And it's past midnight

Monday, August 23, 2010


Having kids is like watching Wild, Wild World of Animals
The way you would have watched it when it was on television
Without Tevo
Sometimes you see the kill
But miss the start of the chase
Today I missed the shove
Which normally wouldn’t have been a big deal
His screaming is all the evidence I need
Today though
There was no screaming
Only the sounds of collisions and falls
Which could have easily been dismissed as over-exuberance
In our house over-exuberance is like wariness is on the Serengeti
But for some reason I was diligent today and
I turned around
Just in time to see the pan to the face and
I wanted to laugh
But it seemed like cheering for the Antelope to outrun the Cheetah and
I always cheered for the Cheetah
Besides I’m not just a viewer of this drama
So I couldn’t laugh
But I could deliver an I told you so
Clothed in parental care and love
Because I warned her that
It’s a wild, wild world in here

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Neglected Child

When I lie down on the bed at the end of the day
He appears
Almost like a rabbit out of a hat
Except he’s bigger than a rabbit and
Sounds more like a motorboat
A motorboat that approaches rather quickly and
Always drops anchor within arm’s reach
Where he stays until the lights go out and
He is unceremoniously shown to the bedroom door and
Vanishes into the darkness
Even if I spend another hour in the office
While my wife sleeps
I won’t see him until I head up to get the kids in the morning
At which time he’ll escort me up the stairs and
Scream at me until he gets what he wants
Just like everybody else
Just like everybody else
What he wants in the morning is food and
Maybe a clean litter box
It’s only at night
That he consistently wants attention
Only when I lies down at the end of the day

Friday, August 20, 2010


A raised voice
A slap of a fat little hand
“This is your fault … it’s your fault we …”
Five minutes on espn.com while the little one screams
Talking while one falls off the slide …
“I think she’s yelling for you”
Taking the last piece of corn
Eating it in the kitchen
Where no one can see me
“Sorry sweetie, there’s none left”
Baking a pie with both
Even though one can’t really help and
Really can’t eat pie and
Will just be yelled at for
Flouring the room
Spilling the milk
Coloring on the floor and
Dragging the metal colander across the new wood floor
“I think he just wants you to hug him daddy”
Keeping them still
On my lap
For twenty minutes
Watching inappropriate music videos
On you tube
Which at least one will sing when guests are over
“I hope it gives you hell”
“Just one more store”
Which they scream through
But I had to have a look at the distressed plants at Lowes and
I’m not Catholic
So this will have to do

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Waning Light

It’s mid-August
Which means that at half past eight
With the lights off
It’s no longer possible to see his face clearly in the mirror
So I can’t tell you what his face looked like
When I confidently
Yet quietly
Slaughtered the last line of the Star Spangled Banner, and
He pushed himself up off of my shoulder, and
Began clapping
I don’t know if it was a perfunctory applause
The type he gives after nearly every song of any kind he hears during the day, or
Whether he was truly appreciating my song stylings
Probably he was unable to tell the difference between this version and
The goofy and purposefully off key version I used to keep him awake
On the way home from the pool before nap
If I could have seen his face
I might have seen a smile
But since it is mid-August
I moved right into Hallelujah
Jeff Buckley’s version
Sung by me and
Even though I was alone with my twenty month old son
I was glad it was mid-August

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

More or Less

He’s asleep on me again
Head on my shoulder
Bottom on the desk
The rest of him in between … more or less
And I am typing again
Teaching my online class in critical thinking
And fulfilling all of my responsibilities
… more or less

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Parental Bliss

We’re on a family walk
I’m watching our daughter ride her bike
So I miss the first few dadas
But he is nothing if not persistent and
I hear him and slow down so he can catch up
When he reaches me
He takes my hand in his
Rubs it against his face
And then drops our hands down into
The walking while handholding position
I smile
Inside and Out

Monday, August 16, 2010


The specter of growth hovers over everything
Dating, Driving, and Moving Vans … I see them everywhere
In the dirty diapers that keep getting bigger and bigger
In the last remaining bottle of our daily routine
In the fast disappearing remnants of the toddler walk
In the growth in her vocabulary and the words that inhabit it
In the kisses she gives to his boo boos
And in his acceptance of those kisses
In their yearning to run out of the room,
To run down or upstairs depending on where we aren’t
And to bolt for the door
I see it in the time I spend away from them,
When I carry them, and hug them,
And when I try to write poetry about them
Failing to capture them even in words
Even now

Friday, August 13, 2010


He passes gas and laughs
He’s done it for something close to half his life
Of course he is only twenty …
But I still think I have plenty of cause for worry
Only a few months into dating
His mother was lifting a cheek and lettin’ em’ rip
And Uncle John
Well … let’s just say he’s not shy about the passing of the gas
And he would never say “passing gas”
Although he might say “letttin’ em’ rip”
And has referred to dropping the kids off at the pool
And he has no children
So laughter and gas at twenty months concerns me
Who used to go into a separate room every time I had to pass the gas
Me who marriage has softened
But I still say excuse me
And feel just a little dirty every time
I don’t think my son has those feelings
And it’s my fault for not passing on
The traditional Midwestern discomfort with one’s own body
And bodily functions
I even smile when he does it
But in my defense
Anytime he laughs
It’s hard not to smile

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Absolutely Not

Absolutely not
About half of the time
That’s the reply
It almost doesn’t matter what the question is
Or if there is even a question being posed
Absolutely not can be the reply
Don’t go outside
Absolutely not
You have to share that …
Absolutely not
Because you know you can’t keep him out of your doll dresser …
Absolutely not
When your brother says no you need to stop
Absolutely not
You need to eat pizza before you can have a nugget
Absolutely not
I can’t imagine ever saying absolutely not to pizza
At least not before I turned 30 and was afflicted by acid reflux
But apparently times have changed
I should ask her about it
There is a good chance I would get a thoughtful
And endlessly entertaining answer
Delivered in the manner of one friend to another
Talking about the important matters of life
Midmorning over a cup of tea
But there is at least a fifty percent chance
That I would get an answer
That I already know quite well