Climb Rhyme

By: Lauren Spagnoletti

I’ve just finished reading a book to my kids

And it involved some very good rhymes

And so I’ve decided to use what I’ve learned

To talk about how my son climbs

Whenever he gets so close as an inch

To a structure that goes into the air

He can’t help himself, he hitches his pants

And if he doesn’t climb, that would be rare

He uses his legs and his ten little fingers

To grip and to push and to pull

He gets to the top, there’s no trying to stop

When he charges right up like a bull

Before

By: Laura K.

Before…

Before the kids, chiefly. Well, technically Kid #1 was the size of a…raspberry, a couple feet out of the frame of the photo. Our last anniversary of Just Us.

Before free time was an object of lust. Before the absurd, quotidian perfection of watching them grow.

After a lot.  The wedding, the house, work drama, family drama. After some of the gut-ripping loss….but before most of it.

I could take the same picture now, our feet in slippers on the coffee table, and in ten years find it and write, “before all this…” I don’t yet know.

“I Got It!”

By: Lauren Spagnoletti

“I got it!”

That’s his catch phrase. Because he does “got” it. He’s a take control, get out of my way, get it done kind of kid. He doesn’t let his height get in the way. He carries around a step stool wherever he goes. When he discovered this work-around, the world opened up to him. Now he could access any snack in the pantry or fridge, and reach the toys that were previously unavailable to him.

Despite the fact that he hasn’t let us sleep in almost 2.5 years, we never knew the brightness he’d bring into our world.

These Are the Things

By: Lauren Spagnoletti

Legos and soldiers and Paw Patrol puppies
Star Wars and Magnatiles and PJ Mask villains
Daniel Tiger’s mom, who never complains
These are the things that fill my brain.

Which fruits he won’t eat and veggies he will try
Tactics to bribe him using a French fry
Car seats and crib sheets and Thomas the train
These are the things that fill my brain

Carrots eaten
Poopies taken
Vaccines given
The mean kid’s mom’s name

K applications, school buses, and carpools
Amazon orders of plastic play tools
Treacherous attempts to potty train
These are the things that fill my brain

The Daily Grind

By: Lauren Spagnoletti

The maddening, upbeat melody of my alarm jolted me out of a deep sleep. I don’t know what my dream was about, but now its images were amorphous – overtaken by the obligations and tired tasks synonymous with life as a working parent. From my labored shuffle to the shower to my manic pleading with the four-year-old to put on his shoes to my sluggish commute through early morning traffic, all I could think of was returning to that bed. Feeling the weight of the blankets on my tired body were my motivation. First we wanted kids, then we wanted sleep.

Defiance

By: Adam Donshik

Nothing he does is ever intentionally evil. Sure, he’s got that shit-eating grin that washes over his face whenever he’s doing some maddening act of defiance. Somewhere in that brain of his he’s aware of the inevitable outcome. Action, reaction: Newton’s third law in full effect. And, yet, here we are again having the same fever-pitched argument which leads to tears and self-pitying declarations of never getting to do anything. Never, ever.

I just wanted him to put on his shoes, so we won’t be late. Now we’re late and I’m having an aneurysm while he’s hyperventilating under the couch.

Jackson Kissed Christopher

By: Amy Ball

Christopher named his hamburger Tony, and his fries the Huberts.

“See ya, Jackson and Margaret!”

Dad thought this was hilarious. “That’s my son!”

“No, no!” Christopher muttered before chomping the fries.

Margaret was a girl at school, who Christopher had hit across the face with a toy truck. Mom didn’t know who Jackson was.

“Now you, Tony.” Christopher patted the bun.

Tony was his grandfather’s name.

Mom wondered if he was going to create cartoons or be a serial killer. Was this something to stop or encourage?

“You’re so sensitive!” Dad laughed, pushing her shoulder. Hard.

He posted the video.

The Smell of You

By: Alexis McGuinness

Your mother thinks your body odor after you haven’t bathed in a few days smells like summer time. She thinks your breath is curious. She sniffs and considers the varying particles that reveal what you ate for lunch and snack and on the way home. She knows you’re sick before you sneeze. It’s in the smell of your exhalation. When you tickle her face after scratching yourself, she does not recoil at the odor under your fingernails. After all, it’s her odor too. You are loved, you dirty you.

The Ribbit Song

By: Lauren Spagnoletti

I was frustrated to have to calm him for a second time that night, when so many hours lay ahead of us before morning light. But he crawled into my lap and snuggled his head between my breast and arm. He belonged in the curve of my seated body. I rocked him back and forth and inhaled deeply the smell of his floppy hair. “Mama, ribbit song,” he said. Normally I would have refused, in service of our treacherous sleep training ritual. But tonight I sang about frogs on logs, and we both smiled as his eyes turned to slits.

February 17, 2019

By: Susan Shay

Curled by his pillow, dark lashes frame golden flecks dancing in cerulean pools. Blazing with inquiry one moment, introspective the next. A younger soul than the other two, yet thoughtful and compassionate when the need to move – dance – shout – rage doesn’t overwhelm.

“YOU ARE Tender!”

A word gifted by a beloved teacher that so beautifully encompasses my boy, before he knows the meaning. A learning opportunity. Tasked to love; to recognize the strength of feelings, care, empathy. Today he feels abandoned – she left to take care of another boy, her own. Tenderheart feels it all.

Mama cries.

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