Always Listening

July 14th, 2019

The things 4.5-year-olds say are getting cuter. The other night, as I tried to adjust the bathwater to coax Eliza to get in:

Me: “Too hot or too cold?”

Eliza: “It’s too medium.”

Okay, Goldilocks. 

Speaking of Goldilocks, my daughters are more interested in stories finally. As a writer, I have pushed books on them like intellectual opioids for years, largely without any positive feedback. But now, they’re starting to get it. They’re piecing together letter combinations and recognizing, at the very least, that when I read, it’s because there are words on the page. They like to test this by covering the words with their hands to see if I stop reading. Sometimes, to mess with them, I keep talking just so they think I have x-ray vision. It’s important to keep your kids on their toes.

We just started reading chapter books, a day I have longed for with all my heart. We started with Alice in Wonderland. Yet again I revisit a childhood favorite to realize it is kind of a zany story to expect kids to understand. The sheer number of antiquated words is confounding. I am 47 and I have no idea what a gryphon is or what makes a mouse a “dormouse.” My children have definitely never heard of a “hatter,” never mind a “mad” one. “Why is he mad???” How did children ever understand this story?

Add to that the fact that at least one of my kids hums loudly through storytime while doing gymnastics, and I mostly consider reading to be a zen exercise. Frankly, I didn’t think either of them were paying any attention at all, until Phoebe told me she wanted to “make a book.” The next thing I knew, with my mom’s help, she had put together this little number.

Alice fell down the rabbit hole.

Alice fell down the rabbit hole.


Alice opens door.

Alice opens door.


Drink me.

Drink me.


The cake said eat me.

The cake said eat me.

The point is, kids are always listening, even when you think they are not. And they sometimes understand stories better than I do.

What I’m eating

The first of the fresh New England sweet corn!

What I’m listening to

Gerrymandering: The 2020 Census and Voter Suppression on Fresh Air — this is a very convoluted issue, but if you take just 20 minutes in the car to listen to this podcast you will understand why it’s so fucked up that they’re trying to get that immigration question on the upcoming census, and just how racially charged of an issue it is.

What I’m reading

I just read the memoir Leaving the Witness about writer Amber Scorah’s experience growing up in and then becoming disillusioned with a religious cult.

What I’m watching 

Saw one of my historical favorites, Lucinda Williams, at the Green River Festival this weekend.

What I’m working on

For Helpshift: Customer Spotlight: How Vivino Measures Customer Service Success

This is one of those weeks where I have worked 50+ hours and have very little to show for it because nothing has been published yet.

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