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May 2005
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Lessons learned solo

Um…sorry for the silence. I’ve been getting grief from my loyal fans (aka my parents), and I suppose I should feel guilty. See, here’s the deal. The boys are going to vacation Bible school at a nearby church this week.

All THREE boys.

I’ve had every morning from 9-12 to myself this week, and it’s been amazing.

I don’t get all that much kid free time in my life, and I’ve been out there using my precious hours to their very best advantage.


What, you thought I was going to say I was taking French lessons or something? No no no, my precious lambs, I have been hitting the mall. For one glorious day I had my friend Amy along, but for the rest it was just me and my Visa. And now I will share with you what I have learned as I meandered the stores, arms laden with clothes.

-         After spending more than an hour with no one to talk to, I start muttering to myself. “Now, WHO needs purple sandals with rhinestones? I mean REALLY?” or “What corporate exec decided shirts should be see-through this season?”

-         Not long after that, I move to making friendly comments to my fellow shoppers. “Oh, now THOSE are cute!” or “Hey, do YOU like see-through shirts?”

-         Not everyone appreciates this.

-         Even if my children have been participating in a vicious campaign all morning to drive me stark raving mad, and I’ve seriously considered dipping them in chocolate and eating them, three minutes after leaving their side if I encounter a mom with a little boy who looks like any one of mine, I will be swept with a longing to smell his head.

-         I seem to be a sap.

-         There really ARE Starbucks everywhere.

-         It’s hard to find pretty strappy sandals when you have feet that have both the width and the charm of a duck’s.

-         It is worth the search.

-         I am personally affronted when a skirt in MY SIZE turns out to be too small on my actual hips.

-         I am irrationally proud when a skirt in MY SIZE turns out to be too large.

-         I know that’s not logical.

-         When I hand Tre and Max over to the care of another adult, they morph into angel children. When I arrive to pick each of them up I am greeted with a chorus of, “OH WHAT A LOVELY BOY!”

-         I don’t know if I should be irritated that they don’t behave that well for me or slip them five bucks for making me look good.

-         Raphael, on the other hand, is true to form. When I pick him up I am greeted with, “My my my, what an active child! I mean, he’s SWEET! But oh my. He’s a BOY, isn’t he? Don’t get me wrong, he’s terribly CUTE! Um…someone said a bad word today. We don’t know who it was [meaningful look at my sweet, cute child], but we wanted you to know.”

-         I don’t know if I should be irritated at him for misbehaving or pleased to know it isn’t just me.

-         My answer for all three of them is to hug them tight and smell their heads.

-         Their heads smell like sunscreen and puppies.

-         Time away from the kids is wonderful.

-         Time with the kids is irreplaceable.

Just another day in the life

Max and Raphael were on their way up the stairs from the basement when an argument broke out. I believe the issue at hand had something to do with who was going to put away a stuffed snake. I heard them scuffling their way up the stairs, then there was a SMACK, a pause, and a yell from Max. A split second later he skidded into the kitchen, a hand cupped over his nose.

“Raphael HIT ME!” he bellowed. Blood dripped out between his finger and thumb, and I gladly turned away when Clay stepped in with a tissue. Gah. I CAN deal with my children’s blood if I have to. However, I never WANT to. Gah. I opted, instead, to collar Raphi, who had just reached the top of the stairs and was peering around the door with huge dark eyes. He looked like someone who knew he was in trouble.

“Raphael, go lie down on your bed.” He paused, then opted for the innocent, bewildered strategy.

“But…WHY, Mama?”

“Because you hit your brother in the nose. That’s not ok.”

“But… [deep sigh]…ok.” He turned and trudged up the stairs. I turned back to see Clay holding a wad of tissues to Max’s nose, assuring him that it would indeed stop bleeding eventually. In the meantime, I noticed, it had left fat red polka dots of blood on the kitchen floor. I decided to go get a new roll of paper towels from the garage and not return for a few minutes.

This worked beautifully, because by the time I came back in Max’s nose had almost dried up and he had recovered enough to ask if he could have Coke with dinner. As if. I said no, gave him a hug, and told him to go wash his hands. In the kitchen I noted that Clay had ALREADY CLEANED UP THE BLOOD. Now. Is that a man or what? All that was left for me to do was to deal with the little blood-letter doing time on his bed. I trudged up the stairs and found Raphael, lying in his usual position when he’s been sent to his bed. His feet were up on the wall, his body sideways along his pillow, and he was muttering to himself.

“Raphael,” I sat down next to him and he swiveled his head around to look at me. “Honey, you can’t go around hitting people.”

“Ah know.” He sighed.

“You hurt Max.”

“He bleeded from his nose.”

“That’s right.”

“Ah hit him like this.” He made a tiny fist and struck an imaginary nose – POP. I nodded.

“Yes you did.”

“Ah HIT him.” Another wee POP. I was uncomfortably aware that he was teetering on the edge between shame and pride at his act.

“Yes. Well. And it hurt Max, didn’t it?”

Just then Max came in the room.

“Mama? It’s ok if I can’t have Coke for supper. Milk is good too…and GOOD for my BODY.” He grinned the grin of The Good Kid, skipped over to me, and threw his arms around me. “I love you, Mama.”

Truly? The two of them totally deserve each other.

Anniversary gift

This Friday will by my parent’s wedding anniversary. Thirty eight years. Thirty. Eight. It seems an extravagance of years, a wealth of time.

Saturday Dad came home from running some errands with a bunch of roses for Mom. He handed them to her with the same expression he’s always had when giving Mom flowers, both pleased with his gift and anxious to see if she likes it. She accepted them with the same delight and surprise she always has. Thirty eight years of him presenting her roses (usually yellow), yet both of them are still momentarily undone by it.

She asked me to put them in water for her, and I took them from her. They felt heavy in my hands, so I counted them. Twenty roses, yellow with tips brushed in coral. I pulled the cellophane floral wrapper off them and inspected them. There was not a single damaged petal to be removed. They were, quite simply, the most beautiful roses I’ve ever seen.

I re-cut their stems, stripped away glossy green leaves that would have been below the water, and arranged them in a large, heavy glass vase. I touched my nose against the velvet of their petals, careful not to bruise them. When they were set on the counter between the kitchen and the family room, they seemed to light up the whole space with the glow of their colors.

All weekend long, amidst the clutter of weekend stuff and activity, the roses have been there, like a beacon. When I walk past, the scent of them brushes by me, causing me to pause and breathe it in for a moment.

Like Dad and Mom’s marriage, they aren’t mine, but they are a gift to the whole house.

Sins of the father...and the mother...and the grandparents...and...

Recently I came into contact with a family I haven’t seen for years. When I knew them they were a bewildered newly married teen couple. They’d conceived a child shortly before they graduated high school and gotten married shortly after. Another baby followed a few years later.

I used to see the mom socially, and I remember sitting in the morning sunshine, holding her daughter for her, and listening to her talk through her struggles in her marriage. He was unhappy, she was unhappy, the in-laws on both sides were unhappy, and everyone was deeply embroiled in ferreting out the wrongs someone else had done. This girl swung back and forth between enraged and despondent at what her life had become. It was all her fault…it was all his fault…it was all their fault…it was just all wrong.

Not surprisingly, this couple divorced a few years later. The divorce didn’t erase the chaos, but it sure has complicated it. They continue to have an unreasonably hard road, all of them.

Anyhow, recently Tre and Max were playing with a group of kids that included the children from this marriage. I walked up to the group just in time to see Max do a swan dive onto Tre, who was reclining on the floor. No idea why. That sort of thing just HAPPENS sometimes, ok?

Tre erupted into screams of protest, Max leapt up and immediately fell to vociferous self-defense, and a general melee ensued. Raphi chose to add to the occasion by racing around in circles and screaming.

I waded into the midst of this bucolic scene and dragged the main parties out by their ears. As I shushed Tre and lectured Max, I noticed the young daughter of this family out of the corner of my eye. She sat on the floor, shaking her head and muttering,

“I should have kept a better eye on them. I wasn’t watching at all.”

This child is younger than Max by almost a year.

I stepped away from my warring sons and knelt in front of the girl. I looked at her big eyes, too weary for a six year old, her tiny bone structure that makes her look like she’s poised between flight and breaking. I took her fragile face in my hands and said quietly,

“Honey, it’s not your job to watch them. It’s MY job. I’m the grown up. You didn’t do anything wrong.”

She looked back at me like I was speaking Russian. And when I thought about what she’s probably learning at home, I realized I might as well be.

Crazy thoughts

Ok, sorry, sorry. Bad blogger. See, my big brother, the one true Josh, is visiting from Arizona. AND on Monday and Tuesday I had my friend Heather’s kids for the day. Well, three of her kids. So by my count that made six kids here for those two days.

That’s not actually as bad as it sounds. I have this THEORY, you see, about children. It goes like this: you can always handle with ease ONE LESS child than you have. So for the mother of four, three kids is an easy job. So for ME? With suddenly DOUBLE my usual number of children…um…where was I going with that, exactly?


Anyhow, it was somewhat taxing. We had plenty of fun and all, but the main difference was that I couldn’t accomplish anything else other than keeping children alive. Usually I can squeeze in a few other random tasks, but for those two days all I did was attend to children. That left me a bit behind in my main focus for the week, catching up on a year’s worth of irritating my big brother. So far so good on that front.

You know what was the biggest difference about having Heather’s kids around? Mostly it was more of the same stuff my life is usually made of. However, Heather has a daughter who is just twelve days younger than Raphi. Her name is Iona, and I noticed, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that she is not a boy.

For one thing (not to be too stereotypical, but, well, it’s true), she’s obsessed with makeup and nail polish and things to put in your hair. Her mom doesn’t fuss with any of that stuff so MY bathroom cupboards? Nirvana. I painted her toenails (Big Apple Red) and her fingernails (Peaceful Plum). She returned the favor by giving me a pedicure, with the toes of my left foot sporting the red, and the right foot in plum. Now, she’s nearly four, and a gifted toenail painter for her age, but she did paint good portions of my surrounding toe. The tendrils of nail polish radiating out from my toenails gave them a distinctly fuzzy look. We agreed they were lovely.

On Tuesday I took the passel of kids to a nearby park. It’s an extraordinary park, with fountains for playing in and an awesome playground. I gathered shoes and shirts and sent the lot of them off to play in the water. Now, here’s a difference between just having my kids and having extras along. With my boys I know them and their migratory patterns well enough that sitting under the tree while they played would have been relaxing. I would have checked on them at regular intervals, and enjoyed the shade. But with the six of them I was not so confident. I sat there, endlessly cycling through their names mentally as I located them in the fountain. Wyatt…there he is…Morgan…ok, over there….Iona…still by the flowers…Tre…I see him…Max…over near Morgan…Raphi…”HEY, GET DOWN FROM THERE!”…ok…Wyatt…

And so on.

Iona pranced over to me and sat down.

“Kira? Can we put the purple one on my toes?”

“Ok, remind me and we’ll paint your toes purple when we get back to the house.”

She grinned.


We sat in silence as I visually patrolled.


“Yes, honey?”

“Are you going to have a baby in your tummy soon?”

I may have choked a bit.

“Uh…no…I mean…”

I paused, and looked at the swarm of kids in the fountain. Next to me was a mountain of towels and lunch, a gigantic bag to contain the resources to meet so many children’s needs. I looked down at my own fuzzy toenails. More kids? That would be crazy.


looked at me with that clear-eyed gaze. I ran one hand over the silky fuzz of her blonde hair.

“I hope so, honey. Someday, I hope so.”

Why Father's Day cards just don't cut it

One day, a year or so ago, a guy came to church for the first time. Not Clay, a different guy. The only reason I noticed him was that he looked like my ex.

A LOT like my ex.

I mean, not exactly like him or anything, but the shape of his head, the slope of his shoulders, the LOOK of him was just so evocative of my ex. I looked at him, blinked, shook my head, and looked away.

He sat behind us in the service and Max crawled up in my arms and stared at him over my shoulder. Later, when we were passing the peace, this man reached a friendly hand out to Max. Max’s eyes widened and he dove under a chair. He pulled my coat over his head and wouldn’t move.

I took this guy aside after the service and explained to him,

“See…you look like his dad. That should be a good thing, but it’s not. I’m sorry, and I’m sure he’ll get used to you…but please don’t take it personally if he’s scared of you.”

This man didn’t do anything to scare Max – except to remind him of someone who scared him, someone who left.

Today, being Father’s Day, I watched the dads around me and thought about what makes a good dad. I’ve seen it – I’ve had it.

I remember my dad, waiting up for me when I was a teenager and out late, cheering at a basketball game. He would sit with me in the kitchen and made me scrambled eggs if I was hungry. He wanted to know how the game went, wanted to hear my teen girl dramas. He was just so glad to have me home.

I think of Clay, recognizing Max’s particular ache for a father’s love, scooping him up in his arms when he’s being a total pain, whispering words of encouragement.

I’ve seen bad fathering too, and how it echoes in a child’s heart, how it can reverberate in the man he becomes. Bad fathers echo the fathers who were bad to them. They fall like dominoes.

But good fathers…good fathers evoke a Father who never left. Who never will.

Like pulling teeth

First of all, let me say thank you. Wow. Heather nailed it – I’m totally intimidated now. Gah. But everyone’s response was so kind and encouraging. When I was first dating Clay, one of the things I told him that I liked about him was that the things he appreciated in me are the things I like best about myself. I felt the same way when I was reading your comments. It’s official – I’m in love with all y’all, too.

So thank you thank you thank you. I’m going to try to reply to everyone – but give me a few days, ok?

Meanwhile, I’ll try to soldier on here and not be self conscious.


Ok, then.

Today was Raphi’s appointment to have his tooth pulled. As I was driving to the dentist office, I thought about something people often say about parenting, that if you as a mom are happy, your kids will be happy.

I was not happy.

I kept trying to imagine some way of removing a tooth that wasn’t brutal. Raphael was sitting in his car seat, chattering away with his brothers, randomly screaming, and generally being oblivious to what lay ahead. I wanted to drive right past the dentist’s office, to just blow right past it and end up at the park instead. It seemed just WRONG to deliver my unsuspecting son like that.

We arrived and I ushered the boys inside. Tre and Max immediately sat down to play their GameBoys. Raphael trotted up to the dentist, hiding his brand new light saber behind his back.


“Oh…uh…what did you get?”

He whipped the light saber around and presented it to her with a flourish.


He’s very excited about his light saber. The dentist nodded and ooohed appropriately, and then showed him to his chair. I sat next to him, feeling a bit queasy as she swabbed his gums with numbing gel.

What followed next was the hardest part of the whole thing. The actual needle in the gum portion of the visit…was bad. That area just isn’t very fleshy, and she had to go fairly deep to numb it fully. Raphi cried and wrenched his head out of her hand. He kicked his feet and pushed fretfully at her instruments. It hurt.

I knelt down next to him and placed one hand over his hands, gently holding them against his chest. With the other hand I stroked his hair and I whispered in his ear. He was still anxious, but he leaned into the sound of my voice and was able to relax enough to get through that part.

Soon enough his lip was puffy and sensation-free. The dentist reached in around the tooth with a small flat instrument, gently loosening it in the gum. Then she picked up a shiny pair of pliers.

Raphi saw those things coming to his mouth, and he recoiled.

“NO!” He pushed at my hand and scrabbled against the paper drape on the chair. His eyes frantically searched out mine. The dentist and I exchanged looks. She’s a mom too, and we both knew we had to commit to pulling the tooth NOW. He’d seen the pliers and it wasn’t going to get easier to see those heading toward him. It was a split-second judgment call, and we both felt like we had to go for it.

I trapped his hands securely under mine, steadied his head, and said firmly in his ear,

“It’s ok, Raphi. You can do it.”

The dentist reached into his mouth and…

The room shimmered, and went dark around the edges. I couldn’t watch. I dropped my head and breathed slowly and deeply. I felt the slight tug, and then it was out. Raphi didn’t even flinch.

The dentist quickly pushed some gauze in the hole in his mouth, turned to wipe the blood off the tooth, and turned back to show him.

“LOOK!” she exclaimed, “All DONE!” Raphael took the tooth in his hand, blinking in amazement. He pushed the gauze aside with his tongue and explored this new space. He looked from me to the dentist as we showered him with praise for his bravery. She handed him a tiny tooth shaped box to store his tooth him, and I took the moment to slip out of the room.

In the hall I leaned my forehead against the wall. I braced myself against the wall with my hands, waiting for the wobbly spin in my head to stop. I wanted to throw up.

What I did instead was go back in the room and hug Raphael. I fussed over his tooth and discussed the tooth fairy. I wrote the dentist a check, ushered the boys out the door, and we were on our way.

I drove home, feeling distinctly weak at the knees. Raphi was sober, but seemed otherwise fine. I watched him in the rear-view mirror and wondered. To march him in there and turn him over despite the churning anxiety in my stomach…it felt counter-intuitive. As a mom, my job is to protect him from danger. This felt a lot like DELIVERING him to danger.

Sometimes, I suppose, the right things just feel wrong. Sometimes mama ain’t happy – and that’s ok.

Two years!

When I was a little girl I had this…problem of sorts. I was convinced that if anyone disagreed with me it must mean they simply didn’t fully understand my point of view. So say my parents and I were arguing about something like whether or not I should be allowed to camp in a tree all night with a blanket, a flashlight, some books, and snacks.

“No.” They would say.

“BUT!” I would counter, “BUT! There is this PLACE, where three branches meet! And it’s practically like a CRADLE, it’s so safe – why, I bet it’s safer than my own bed, because you know I fell out of that last week, and I haven’t been able to hear right ever since. PLUS, I will just be reading, you know, when I’m not sleeping happily, cradled safely in the branches of the tree. Which will be educational. The reading, I mean.”

“No.” They would counter.

I would sigh and look at them through narrowed eyes. Clearly they DID NOT UNDERSTAND ME. And so I would undertake to MAKE them understand. I have a clear memory of my mother’s face, weary and drawn, head bowed under the barrage of WORDS from her daughter, saying,

“Kira. We UNDERSTAND. We just don’t AGREE.”


So what’s my point?

Well, I started this blog two years ago today. A few of the early entries didn’t make the transition when I switched to TypePad a few years back, but here’s my very first blog entry ever.

Gah, I was nervous.

But you know what? This blog has been more of a gift to me than I imagined it could be. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy this forum. I am still that annoying little girl, with a tiny soapbox of her own. I come here with the same drive to be heard, to be understood, and in the process I figure all sorts of things out for myself.

What fascinates me is you guys. Sometimes I get emails from people who read this blog. Moms, dads, single men and women who are nowhere near having kids, women going through a divorce. They are (usually) such kind emails. They tell me what they like about this blog, and what it reminds them of. I LOVE those emails. Because I know why I’m here, but I can’t for the life of me figure out why YOU are here.


If you will please indulge me, I’m asking everyone to comment. Even if you never comment, I’m begging you to do so JUST THIS ONCE. Answer a few questions for me, wouldja?

1 – Who are you?

2 – Where do you live? Generally, I mean. I’m not looking for a street address or anything…

3 – What do we have in common? Differences?

4 – Why do you read this blog?

Thanks, everyone. Thanks for reading, thanks for commenting. I’d probably still do this even if my mom was the only reader. I can totally picture myself as an old woman in a nursing home someday, blogging for myself on a laptop as decrepit as I am. But I do love the fact that y’all stop by to check in on me.

Smooches, all. Happy blogiversary to us!

Happy Birthday, Raphael!

Dear sweet baby boy who is turning four,

I know, I know, you’re not a baby. At least once a day I get reprimanded for that.

“Ah am not a baby!” You glower at me.

“Sorry,” I reply, but what you don’t know is that I mean Sorry, but you will always be my baby.

I wish I could give you more this birthday. I can’t replace your Iron Giant, and all the stores are sold out of the light sabers you long for so much.

But worst of all, I can’t give you your dad.

You’ve always been oddly aware of his absence. You were so young when he left – literally a baby. Yet as soon as you could talk he was one of the things you talked about.

A few days ago I was trying to type something on the computer. You were waiting for me to walk you across the street to a friend’s house, and you passed the time (as you do) by chattering at me. I tuned you out somewhat, trying to parse out a sentence that would simply not come together for me. Distantly I heard you say,

“…an’ when my dad gets here he can help me.”

“What? When who gets here?”

“You know – Appa.”

I turned to look at you. You regarded me with an expectant look.

“Honey, Appa loves you very much, but he’s not your dad. He’s your grandfather.”

“Oh.” You looked around for a minute. “Who IS my dad?”

“Well…his name is _____, and he lives in California."

I tried to say it casually. May I say, THAT is not a question I ever dreamed I would have to answer. You nodded, then said quickly,

“I want to see him.”

Ok. Alright then. I never wanted to do that, to take a photograph and present it to you as your father. It seems if he wants the right to be the embodiment of the concept of “DAD” in your heart and mind, the least he can do is show his face in person. What can you glean from a picture? What is there for you in the fact of his image?

But you asked, and my policy is that a direct question is given an honest answer. I showed you a snapshot, the one of him holding Max, and you grinned.

“Ok,” you said, and you were ready to go to your friend’s house.

That night you kissed the picture of your dad goodnight, and you stuck it to the refrigerator door. I left it there a few days before I quietly moved it around the side of the fridge, where his eyes couldn’t haunt me. You haven’t missed it so far.

It’s easier for me to talk to Tre and Max about their dad. They knew him – they had to feel the loss of him. So when the subject of their dad comes up I can remind them of the good times, hand them joyful memories to take away from that pain. Look, I tell them, things were so good once. And he loved you so much. But then he broke, and it’s not your fault. It’s sad, but he just can’t be a dad right now. Remember? Remember how much joy he took in you? He would be here if he were thinking right.

But you, dear Raphael, you never felt the loss. And I can’t give you good memories of your dad, because he wasn’t that person in your lifetime. Sometime between when you were conceived and when you were born, he just slipped away.

This was not your fault.

It. Was. Not. Your. Fault.

I get so angry at him for leaving you like that. It’s hard for me to talk to you about him. I’d rather he just didn’t exist for you. There’s nothing in the reality of him for you. No memories, no special times together, nothing. He made you and left, and somehow I have to help you understand that, when my own mind grinds to a halt at the fact of it.

Oh, but you look like him. You have his eyes…his funny ears…his stocky build…even mannerisms that you never saw. A friend asked me recently if it was hard for me, to see these reflections of him in you.

“Oh no,” I said, “no.”

When he was just your age he was already in charge of the care of his younger brother, already trying to make life work in a chaotic and violent home. When I see him in you I feel almost like I’m giving a part of the abandoned little boy your dad was a chance at the childhood he should have had.

Speaking of what should have been, he would have enjoyed you so much. Your precociousness, your attitude, your skill at expressing yourself. You would have had him in tears, laughing at the inappropriate things you say.
”Don’t ENCOURAGE him,” I would have told him. But he would have been helpless in his admiration of you. He was always amazed by his sons’ growing abilities, and you would have wowed him.

But that guy is gone. Long gone, and I honestly don’t know how to explain that to you. You will work out the fact of his leaving within your own heart. I don’t know how that will play out in you. I pray you will remember all the other people who love you who haven’t left. I pray you will grow into a person who can think of this mysterious “dad” person with compassion. He really is more wounded than you can even imagine.

I just went into your room to look in on you as you slept. As usual, you had flailed yourself around until your head was at the foot of the bed, your feet were near your pillow, and your blankets were a churned sea of bedding. I picked you up and turned you around, surprised again at the heft of you. You are growing so fast, sweet boy. You curled up on your pillow, and I pulled the blankets up to your shoulders. You break my heart, you’re so beautiful. Tender and young, with such a large thing to figure out already. You’re just turning four and already you’re finding your own way in this. I promise to try my best to answer your questions.

In return, can I ask a few things of you?

Please stop beating on the dog’s tummy and calling her your bongo fish.

Please stop calling me “babe.”

Be careful. I know you think you’re invincible, but you’re not.

Please know, no matter how you make sense of your dad’s absence, that you are precious. Your presence has made my world louder, somewhat more battered, and more interesting by far.

Please know how much your mom loves you.

Happy birthday, baby.




A tooth and a quest

I was out for a few hours this evening, and on my way home the boys called. They lined up with the phone in order of age, so I talked to Tre first. He gave me the report on the evening’s activities, cautioned me to get home soon, and handed the phone to Max. Max lodged a complaint at my absence, told me an incomprehensible joke, waited for my dutiful laughter, and handed the phone over to Raphael.

I heard rustling, and Raphi yelled,

“Hang on, that Iron Giant wants to talk to you!”

“What? Who?”

“Mah Iron Giant!”

“Your Iron Giant wants to talk to me?”

“Yeah, wait so I can turn him on!”

More rustling, then over the phone came the familiar voice of his Iron Giant toy.

Raphael loves the movie The Iron Giant, and his Iron Giant toy is one of his most prized possessions. We got it from his cousin Kodi, who was selling it in a garage sale. When we got it it had one broken arm, and Raphael has since loved the other arm and one leg off.

He wants me to fix it.

I can’t fix it.

Neither can I fix his tooth, which shall be pulled next Thursday at


, and I don’t even get any drugs for the event. The dentist assures me it will be an easy extraction. To hear her describe it, those baby teeth are held in by a thread and good wishes. So she’ll numb him up, pop that bad boy out, and my angelic LOOKING child shall take on an image more fitting with his behavior. Say, that of a drunken hockey player.

BUT. Before his tooth is pulled he’ll be turning four. That’s right, Monday is Raphi’s fourth birthday (and this blog’s second birthday), and here’s where y’all come in.

I want to replace his Iron Giant toy. I know there’s no way to do it for his actual BIRTHDAY, and probably no way to do it at all unless I want to outbid those maniacs on Ebay who are paying upwards of $200 for the dang thing. (Short rant: $200? For a flippin’ toy? Toy collectors are big meanies, and you can tell them I said so. Stand down, people, and let a little boy have his toy! Free market be damned, my baby is turning four and losing his front tooth, and that those facts are not related and have nothing to do with you IS NOT MY PROBLEM.)

Where was I?

Ah yes. Does anyone have any idea where I could find a reasonably priced Iron Giant toy? One of the ones that stands about 10 inches high and says, “Hogarth….friend…BONZAIIIII!” It has a switch that turns it off, on, or to creepy motion detecting mode, causing me to have a heart attack when I turn off a light, triggering the stupid toy to speak in that deep voice that is REALLY WEIRD in the middle of the night when every one else is asleep. If you have any suggestions, leave me a comment. I shall be ever grateful if anyone could help.

Prayers for a quick and complication-free tooth extraction wouldn’t go awry either.