Gifts That Can’t Be Wrapped

This Christmas has been special. I am grateful for many things.


The presence of my big brother – Uncle Ben – which means that all four of us “kids” were together at Christmas. This has not happened often in the last decade.

baby playing cards
Playing Shanghai as a team.

Furthermore, you can’t imagine a more doting uncle. He is the first to volunteer to take the baby and love her to pieces when she’s up for grabs.

So, so grateful for family – both nuclear and extended.

Then there’s the very presence of a baby at family gatherings. It’s well worth the interrupted activities, half-eaten/lukewarm meals, and sleep loss to be able to bring a shiny little smile-maker to parties and watch her inspire ridiculously huge grins and other silly antics all over the place.

She also gave us a present. She was so close to success, so we practiced extra-hard on Christmas Day, and she finally gave us… a laugh (-ish thing)! Several of them, actually. Of course she seemed to be done by the time we got the video going… but listen to the end and see what you think.

Big brother E is pretty awesome (as long as everything is going his way, ha ha – sigh). These are his “Christmas hands”; he didn’t want to wash the Christmas off.

Christmas hands
Christmas hands.

And I love this, too. One day late for Christmas, but just as beautiful as I could ever hope for.

snow on boxing day
Snow on boxing day!

I hope you’ve had family and friends around you, yummy food, and time to relax this holiday. And lots of love.



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Toddler Tracks: Some mornings are a laugh a minute

Thank goodness for the mornings we don’t all have to get up and rush out. Mornings when we can wake up slowly as a family, and pass E around for snuggle-hugs in our family bed – mornings when we get to really listen to the strange things that he thinks to say when he wakes up.

For instance, yesterday morning, Sean and I both had the day off for an appointment. E said, before we were even out of bed, “Daddy, can you be a robot?” (This was because Daddy had gotten his new CPAP machine this week, and for shiggles put it on and pretended to be a robot for E.) A few minutes later, when Daddy had taken him to the other room to go potty, I heard E say, “You don’t be a robot, Daddy. I’m sorry.” I don’t know what made him say he was sorry – I think he’s still figuring out what it means – but it just sounds so cute and heartfelt. Like, “Daddy, I’m sorry I forced my expectations on you. Don’t be a robot just because I say so… You should just follow your dreams.”


Kinda like the time the three of us were in the car, and Sean and I were talking about something that had happened at work, and E decided to interrupt with, “I’m sorry, it’s all my fault.” He didn’t seem to be consumed by guilt, just decided to own up. (In the past week or two, when people are having conversations near him that don’t include him, he’s much more likely to say, “Stop talking! Everybody stop talking!” Because what could we be discussing that would be worthwhile without his input? But we don’t pay no mind.)

Back to yesterday. After breakfast, E and I were working on this bizarre puzzle we have, featuring a dubious version of the human digestive system, where all the organs are separate and you fit them into this yellow guy’s torso.

E: What are those?

Mommy: Those are his lungs. That’s what he breathes with.

E (earnestly): When I have lungs, I will breathe with those lungs.

Mommy (giggling): You already have lungs! You’re breathing with them right now!

E: Yeah. (pause) I don’t know where are my lungs. (He probably thought they would be visible and purple, like the ones in the puzzle.)

Mommy: They’re right here. (poking gently) These are your ribs that protect your lungs, and your lungs are underneath them.

E: Yeah. (Looking at the diagram) Those are his lungs. He’s breathing with his lungs on.

This morning he asked me, “Hey Mommy, where’s the liver?” Luckily, I knew what he was referring to.





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