The Reckoning Week 47: Strong-Willed

February 4th, 2021

It’s snowing again.

Phoebe pops into my bedroom-office with a cheap remote control from an old set of string lights: “Hi Mama! This room is the jungle. I followed the map on my phone to get here.”

“That’s cool,” I say. “Hey, when you have a sec would you be a lamb and grab the toys in the driveway before they get covered with snow and the snowplow runs them over?”

She looks at me thoughtfully. “No. I am going to let you do that,” she says. 

My six-year-olds are going through an “assert their independence” phase, in the parlance of parenting positivists. Some people with less, um, couth might call it “being little a-holes all the time,” but you didn’t hear that from me.


It has been the worst around here this week.

Jon was down for the count (not COVID — I always feel compelled to say that), work has been bananers, and on top of everything else that’s happening in the long bleak winter of a pandemic, our landlord has decided not to renew our lease when it’s up in spring.

This morning Phoebe informed me that she found a “rough spot” in her mouth. I looked, and sure enough, her grown-up front lower tooth was growing in behind her baby tooth, which is wiggly — but still in place. So now, she has two rows of teeth. I tried to nonchalantly act like this was no big deal, because she seemed nervous about it, but inside, I was thinking, Really, universe? Now this bullshit?

My good friend Melissa, who I often consult instead of Google, figured out that Phoebe has what’s known as shark tooth. That’s a real thing that happens to kids, when the grownup tooth starts to grow in before the baby tooth falls out. My daughters love pretending to be animals, so I bet she’s going to be thrilled when I tell her.

After I got over the orthodontia daymares, my mind jumped to the next available anxiety point, which was: What if one of my daughters loses a tooth and neither Jon nor I has a dollar in our wallet and it’s snowing and we can’t get out to the ATM?


What I am trying to say is, I am worried.

About everything. All the time. And it is suddenly occurring to me that this will always be my state as long as I am a parent. Because when you are one person, you can be pretty stressed. But when you are four people, oh, wow. There is never not going to be something to worry about.

On the way to school, Eliza asked me if we could go swimming in spring. I said, probably not until summer. 


“Because the water takes a long time to get warm after it’s frozen.”

She had a solution for this. We take a space heater and warm it up. 

“It’s a lot of water,” I said. 

“We only need to heat up a little bit of it,” she informed me.

“But the warm water will mix with the cold water and become cold again.” I always try to be the party pooper. 

“Then we’ll need a lot of space heaters,” she said. 

The point is, my daughters are very strong willed. But they are also undeterred. They simply cannot be talked out of their ideas. Which is to say, someday, they’ll be startup founders. And with their riches, I will move to a sanitarium in the Alps.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

What I’m reading:

While I was writing this, a colleague on a Zoom call alerted me to the fact that this is a word:

Pronoia is a neologism coined to describe a state of mind that is the opposite of paranoia. Whereas a person suffering from paranoia feels that persons or entities are conspiring against them, a person experiencing pronoia feels that the world around them conspires to do them good.

Also, Why Your Kid Wears Shorts in Winter

What I’m watching:

Search Party — Alia Shawkat, people. 

What I’m working on:

For Sendbird, a chat startup, I have been helping build out a developer portal with a lot of content assets.

For Strivr, the immersive learning category leader: Verizon’s path to empathy — An interview With Cleo Scott: Director of Global L&D, Verizon Business Services


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One Response to “The Reckoning Week 47: Strong-Willed”

  1. Thomas Mason says:

    I’m picturing 10 extension cords strung together with a space heater at the end of the line and one of them (or both) carrying it to the stream to heat up the water. Oy.

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