The Boy

Least Resistance

In the car, returning from breakfast. Ian has yet to find a gift for Mommy. He and I are going, shopping, that afternoon. He doesn’t want to. ‘An electric can-opener and thermal socks,’ instructs his mother. ‘That’s what I want.’ Shopping with Daddy will be painful enough without thermal socks. ‘Oh,’ rescues Grammie, ‘you can […]


Ian and I spent quite some time yesterday playing Hide the Shoe. Despite my son’s flair for complex rules of engagement, the game is as simple as it sounds: hide the shoe, find the shoe. Clues are allowed, as are ‘warm’ and ‘cold’ nudges. Ian’s hiding spots were easy to find; he giggled whenever I […]

Forty-Five Seventy-Two

If there’s one thing I learned in Mr. Murphy’s Chemistry class—apart from using a bunsen burner to make peanut-brittle—it’s to always specify units with your measurements. Thirty what? Six-point-five what? Knowing this crucial information was the only thing keeping your test-tube from exploding, or your test from losing twenty percent of its grade. For the […]

If They Want

My company offers employees two volunteer days each year to work with non-profit organizations. In August, I helped the Omaha chapter of the CCFA with its annual ‘Guts & Glory’ walk. Next Monday, I’ll be helping at the St. Louis Area Food Bank. Children are welcome, so Ian’s coming along. Last night I explained the […]

Wink, Wink

Playing Go Fish! with Ian: me, Kelly, and Ya Ya. We all know his hand, because he proudly announces each card as it’s drawn. Plus he drops them. He has a monkey; we try to help. ‘Ian, Mommy just asked Ya Ya for a monkey. What does that mean?’ He grins and doesn’t know. He […]


sweating, struggling, we’re lugging the bin over grass and gravel, sticks and stones to the mound of broken trees, the earth hot and dry like Hemingway or Steinbeck; man and boy toiling through the fading sunlight. you wait at the edge, eager, forward and back again as i shovel and grunt. your fingers twitch. dust […]

Give a Hoot

Ian helped clean up last month, after the CCFA walk. He walked through the park, scouring the ground for wrappers and paper and popsicle sticks. He helped because we asked, but he often picks up trash while we’re walking and playing in parks. Sometimes he’s being considerate; often he just likes picking things off the […]

Shake, Shake, Shake

Ian finally received his replacement Thomas engines after this summer’s recall. In appreciation for his patience, and as an apology for distributing poisoned slow coaches, RC2 Corp. sent Ian new additions to his collection: two repair vehicles, one with a cherry-picker and one with a search light. He was playing with them in the kitchen […]

Phone Etiquette

Ian’s getting better at using the telephone. He speaks into the mouthpiece, and no longer simply talks about what he sees as if the caller can see it, too. He also says ‘yes’ or ‘no’, instead of nodding and shaking his head. Now if only we could stop him pushing the ‘End’ button with his […]