picking battles, and zucchini

It used to be that Tolliver wasn't much interested in tasting new food, particularly vegetables. We didn't force it - he ate mostly nutritious meals, and we all know that if Tolliver is locked in a battle, his tactic is always, always to wait. On the rare occasion that one of us had the stamina to insist that he try a bite of something, the spectacle of his displeasure was so varied and colorful it was almost entertaining - like a peacock of disdain. 

Now Tollie is interested in where our food comes from, eager to help prepare it, curious about how to cook it. It doesn't hurt that he's allowed to wield a giant knife in the process. 


allll in

When our friend Juliet wondered whether Hank would be up for a rainbow eye shadow photo shoot with a new friend and sprinkle donuts, she did not have to ask twice!


eyes wide open

Are LMNOP the only fast ones, Mom? 
In terms of singing the alphabet, yes, those letters are the only fast ones, but what about the days?
Summer feels suddenly almost over, like we need to scramble to cram in all the things. This happens every year, but it may be heightened after a pandemic.
The idea of sending the boys back to school - all three of them gone from the house  - gives me pause. 
I will certainly appreciate a few quiet, tidy hours, but I get a little sad thinking about shooing them out the door every day, about losing the texture of their presence in our home.

My thoughts feel mostly suspended - between heartache and possibility, between regret and relief, moving forward and backward at the same time. Meanwhile, the boys are delighting in a fleet of naval vessels built from blocks, awarding one another trophies for invented games and creating self portraits with found objects... I envy these habits of theirs that shape the dull hours, the way they sift pleasure from worry, joy from disappointment, in spite of everything.

At the pool, as Hank flips underwater, I give his body a slight nudge.
Practicing enough means you don't need help anymore, Mom! he exclaims as he comes up for air, eyes wide behind bright goggle lenses.

Practice makes better, for sure. I will find a back-to-school routine baggy enough to live in, and we will fill our remaining summer days with lots of good things.



The dining table is covered with things, stray board game pieces and carpentry sketches and last week's crossword puzzle. I am occasionally tempted to turn on the fan, full blast, and watch everything go into orbit, bandaid wrappers and bagel crumbs and piano sheet music. Graphic novels and nerf darts and water color paints, all of it might swirl near the ceiling, our own personal cosmos? The greasy napkins and the flower petals and the plush finger puppets, the legos and craft projects and tiny plastic soldiers, the stardust of our lives.



Calvin went missing in April, and we decided that while we couldn't replace him, it'd be nice to find Darwin a new playmate. Darwin has basically rid the block of chipmunks, and when he's not actively working rodent control he mostly freelances as an emotional support animal to the boys plus his favorite person, neighbor Deb.

The new kitten was unnamed for weeks, while we crossed our fingers that Darwin wouldn't eat him. We've seen Darwin catch rabbits bigger than this kitten! Good news, Linus has a name now and seems to like living here, and both cats appear to enjoy each other's company.