Skip navigation

“Yeah, I just want you to have a successful day at work, not a day field with car repairs.” I got a new battery for the ’98 Honda Civic. All is well.

Me: “Do you want to play guitar before she gets here, or during?”
N: “After.”
Me: “I gave you two choices.”
N: “I’m making a third choice and I’m using it.”

I let Natalie have all three malt chocolate eggs in left over from the milk chocolate coconut nest Cindy got me, at Krause’s. “Thank you! You’re a great mom. Even when you’re not much of a great mom. Even when you make me angry, you’re still a great mom.”

Girl is told to clean her room.
N: “It’s my room.”
Me: “No it’s not, actually. It’s ours.”
N: “I’m the one who dwells in it.”
Me: ” Hahahahahaha, oh my god. I’ll pay you a dollar to let me share that with everybody.”
Me: “Yeah.”
N: “Okay!”
Me: “Go get your dollar.”

Just talked to N about a Facebook friend having her child confirm that she is in fact “he.” I told her we’d react just like Andrea did, with acceptance and coolness, but that it would be hard to switch pronouns at first and stop saying “Natalie.” She says her name would be Evan, since that was our chosen name for a boy. But I said it’s been pretty clear that she’s a girl. Although — “Sometimes I’m as stupid as a boy.”

Natalie had something important to say. “Mom, if we ever redo my room – and I’m not saying I want to, but if my room ever got blown up, or anything,” then she wants to redo it in a Londony-Parisy kind of flower pattern – do I know the kind? – I pretended I did. “Like with all the green lotus flowers and the soothingness.” Got it.

“Cookie, sorry I scared you. It was not meaningful, but it was veddy, veddy meaningful. Heh. Heh. Heh.”

Natalie promises she’ll wear the purple pants with the blue sequin stripes tomorrow, which I had laid out for her today. “I’m pretty sure. Unless they somehow get lost. And I don’t know how they would.”

“We had to watch A Midsummer Night’s Dream. There was way too much skin in that thing. One guy wore only shorts and a hat. Some men wore sashes that went across their chest…and they’re really bad at women. Either they’re really trying to replicate stupid Shakespeare times, or they’re being really offensive to women.”

Natalie wanted to know why she and Georgia were told to come back inside after they were waiting – and playing outside for 45 minutes – for their parents to pick them up after school. I said it has to do with safety and not being able to monitor kids outside with no adults around. I said: “It’s just over-protectionism in this country.” Natalie’s response: “I hate – whatever you just said.”

Daddy’s in Seattle for a few days on business. Natalie’s complaining to Cindy. “He took his tablet with him! That’s the thing that keeps me alive. Except oxygen. And my parents.”

Cold firm peanut butter on a spoon this morning. “Sen-so-ryyy! Just push in your nails and wipe it away. It’s so nice and sensory-y.”

Andrew’s class apparently has to sit still and quietly and read at times. “It doesn’t seem very much like a Montessori school. It seems like Public.”

Me: “Please put that rock away.”
N: “Give me a minute.”
Me: “It’s always a minute.”
N: “Give me an hour.”

“I just wish he’d come home! I’m not saying you’re a bad caretaker or anything…”

It’s hard to miss your Daddy, I said. “No, it’s easy to miss him, hard to not have him.”

Never before had I ever detected the vile herb in Panera’s Thai Chicken Salad. Today, things went very wrong. Natalie feels bad for Cindy and me: “I want you to have the goodness of learning that cilantro can be okayable.” Well, it can’t, honey. DNA’s a bitch.

Natalie doesn’t like that I joked with Cindy that I “won” because Natalie decided to go home with me. Cindy won last night after The Jungle Book, and I won today. I tell her I was just joking. Not good enough. “Just because you’re joking doesn’t mean I can’t deny things.”

She loves you, Cindy. She doesn’t care about who’s me when it comes to you.”

Natalie’s tired of the teachers telling kids to try this and try that about Riona. “What if we don’t want to try those things? What if we just want to  break up and hate?”

You’re not unbetter at…not cartooning. Uncartooning. You know. Nonfiction drawing. You are. You’re really good at it, I must say.”

Q: What kind of food is crazy?
A: Nuts.

Trump had several failed marriages. “Well, I can see why people would break up with him.”

“Yesss! Pleather! Best substance in the world…other than oxygen.”

New professional-looking red and black hound’s tooth jacket with a high ponytail, bangs pulled back with barrettes: “This might be what I wear for the sixth grade photos. I feel very productive in it.”

The ear piercings are doing very well, 2+ weeks in. I was squirting the cleanser on them and remarking that they don’t cause her any trouble when I’m not touching them. Natalie doesn’t see why her ears would hurt: “They’re just adornment.” Someone’s been reading her Shakespeare dictionary.

“Mm. Nice carpet. I always forgot to tell you that. Whenever I saw you. Just sitting around.

“Daddy, I’m gonna give you a softer one. Softester one.”

“If I die for it, I never get to see it again.”

“…it’ll be even funner! Or more fun, as I should say.”

America Fair project: Native American Storytelling. “Mom, look what I did, for the first time in my history of life. I printed two pictures! I’m very excited, peoples. Very excited!”

“Oh no, I’m toast with jelly and a little pear on the side! I always try to make it more fancy than just ‘toast’.”

“I want to get Daddy’s opinion. Yes, I know. I am using a bit of bigger words lately. And I know what bigger words mean. Like accumulate.”

“I’m tired with a side of crabby.”

The class is going to Lenox today to see Macbeth. “We’re leaving at eight-thirty sharp. Although I don’t know why we can’t be leaving at eight-thirty and one second sharp.”

Natalie wants to wake up at around 4AM with me this Wednesday to say goodbye to me, because I have to take a 5:05 train to NYC. “Dad says I won’t be able to do it. But he knows nothing of my. Loving. Slumbah.”

I warn Natalie about the crumbs on her bed, because warm weather’s coming, and the ants will too. “If the warm weather’s coming, why aren’t the ants outside playing ball?” I have no answer for that.

“Life got bored without you.”

Bringing the papasan pillow back downstairs. “Think dragging a big fluffy pillow is easy? The answer is surprisingly yes. I mean no. …You’re surprisingly good at carrying a pillow.”

We talked about how not everyone asks the big questions. Natalie agreed that she and Kayla, her current best friend, think very differently. “I’m a philosopher, and she’s a weirdo.”

Natalie has been using her sleeping bag on her bed every night. This morning after getting water, she tried to get back in with me. “Life is confusing. Especially mattresses.”

Highlights Magazine maze question: “Author Samuel Clemens was better known for his pen name: Dr. Seuss, or Mark Taiwan?”

N: “This thing asks what item we’d want to take intp space, if we were taking a trip. Guess what I would take.
Me: “Your mother and father aren’t items.”
N grins: “Kind of. They’re little items, dancing around my heart. That’s why I would take you and Dad.”

“I see the good. I’m very good at finding the negative.”

Natalie doesn’t want a dry ponytails this morning. “You know I don’t like dry hair. You know it more than a monkey knows how to climb.”

“Snow equals light fog. It’s a particular type of fog the looks especially white.”

Natalie is doing her part in today’s “Unfuck the DR Table” effort.
Me: “I’m so proud. You’re rocking it!”
Her: “Thanks. I hope I’m not mineraling it.”

An Army commercial on TV: “Why are they asking you to join for the opportunity to probably die?”

On the short drive back from the podiatrist (where Dr. Hune says she doesn’t need new orthotic inserts quite yet) we compare cute giggles, the kind where we cover our mouths and do a little-girl high-pitched tee hee hee hee hee. Natalie says hers won: “Yours sounds like a constipated deer.” I tell her I must share that, as it’s very funny. She is adamant that I mustn’t. I tell her I’ll honor that, but I’d pay her to post it. She asks how much. I tell her this one is worth fifty cents. She sighs. “I guess. I’ll do anything for a nice extra fifty cents.”

Natalie needs to let her nails dry while we do math problems on Adapted Mind. “I’ll do the putting my hands on the table and giving you the right answersing.”

“Mostly older. The tine-siest bit younger.”

Natalie had Kayla for a sleepover. Then she stayed at Kayla’s house, and the next night was spent at Pam’s, with only a couple of hours at home in between. She had a great time, but missed us. “It was awful. In a good way.”

We went for the first ice cream of the season at Kurver, then got Daddy some dinner. Pulling out of Panera with his turkey and kale panini with chicken noodle soup, Natalie asked what the Hooter’s across the street is. I had to explain how I used to boycott Crossgates Mall for having a Hooters, and how I respect their right to exist but don’t approve of families going there and their little boys learning to view girls and women that way. Then I had to make sure to say how our body parts are fine, and fun, and perfectly okay to play with, with a girlfriend or boyfriend, when we’re old enough. And that boobies are comforting and maybe men are always just trying to get back to the booby after they didn’t get enough as babies. I note how soft and blobby and comforting they can be. Natalie seems to agree with all of that and even has some insight about her own: “If they’re like that. Mine are still growing. They’re too pointy to be useful as comforting.”

Natalie was preparing to read to the therapy dog, Glinda, for the first time in quite a while. Dad suggested a Harry Potter book since that’s her obsession right now, and she’s on the fourth volume. No, she said; Glinda wouldn’t understand any of it.

Me: “Is that poop or chocolate on the pj top?
N: “I don’t think so. That would be totally disgusting. But with chocolate, it would be undisgusting at all.”

Me: “Where’s the bird?”
N: “Probably in the cage. Gah-duh.”
Me: “Um, she’s not here…Gah-duh to you.”
N: “Hey! That doesn’t feel very nice!”

We’re setting up a United States puzzle. I note that there’s a lot of small states in the Northeast. “Yeah, all the other ones get to be big and nice, but we just have to cram in.” “Right above Mississouri.”

She sees my freshly colored blue-black hair. “Okay.” She puts her hands up and backs away. “Okay, I’m going to be avoiding you for the next month. Seriously, that’s scary. I don’t like it.”

The bedtime routine apparently involves a choice between fashion design and bothering Mom and Dad, then a dance party.

“So now, I’m still, my stomach hurts from hugging so much.”

We bought a 75″ TV and had to have some talks about how we didn’t need it, but we wanted it. Mom agreed we have a happy life even without it. Natalie said: “We’re living happy lives here, except when you’re having your period.”

We just signed up for Adapter Mind’s math game program. Natalie understands why the program will come back to topics in which she showed “strength”. “So that I don’t un-get used to it.”

Natalie got excited that I’m willing to go to the rock show with her this year, the one where she got her ocean jasper last year with Skyler. “You would? Although, there is one problem. You’ll probably run into someone you know and start talking about embarrassing stuff.”

Mom: “You’re my daughter.”
Natalie: “You’re my grownup.”

Mom posted on Facebook:
If you’ve seen Inside Out (and if you haven’t, please Unfriend me now because it’s not going to work out…and if you have but you didn’t cry, please seek immediate mental health treatment for your strong sociopathic tendencies) then you know the characters in Riley’s head: Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust.
Coming home from school today, Josh asked Natalie how school was, and she told Josh she felt empty. She didn’t have any emotions. It was like all the Inside Out characters in Natalie’s head were busy eating dinner. Then Daddy and Daughter saw the remarkable sunset. And Natalie said: “I guess Joy finished her dinner.”

Natalie gives me a unprompted kiss. As usual, I make a lot of grateful noise about how that’s the best kind, and use the opportunity to define “unsolicited” because I’m annoying like that. I explain how people who go door to door selling things are soliciting. And Natalie says: “More of SELLiciting.” I like that.

“The thing you have to do with salad is make it a little bit messy. Then it actually looks somewhat like a salad.”

Natalie now WANTS to do math, on Adapted Mind. She’s eager. “Who are you?” I ask. “Natalie, Child Genius,” she says.

“Do you like math?” Yes. It’s either right or wrong. It’s clean. It’s cool. “It’s shimmery.”

Natalie’s gym teacher is doing the Jump Rope For Heart thing as usual this year, and she wants 100 friends to give ten dollars each so she can get an Android tablet for raising $1,000. She wants to know how much I’ll give. I said, vaguely, twenty-five dollars? Her face lit up. “If I had to choose an amount to give, but it’s probably not reasonable, I would give two billion dollars.”

Natalie tells a story with her spelling words, as we often do, and she comes across a word she doesn’t know: condemn. “What’s a condom?”

Girl is sketching out the characters and rules for her comic, Wussypillows, for ages six and up. “One day, if I’m famous, this paper is going to cost millions.”

I explain what “tortoise shell” glasses look like and remind Natalie that an older camper once had the very same tortoise shell glasses as I had. She looks at her new purple metal Skechers frames with the plastic earpieces. “Is this leopard shell?”

“The work you to to help companies, it’s called restraint and seclusion, right? Well, I feel like I’m restricted from happiness and secluded from love. And no one cares.”

Natalie felt like her butt had forks stuck into it after a difficult poop. I showed her how to use zinc oxide ointment. “Thanks, Mom. You saved my butt.”

Golf on the Wii: “Keep up the good work, Natalie. Keep it up, kid.”

“Wearing real sneakers…it really makes you a golfer.”

Auf Wiedersehen: “It sounds like some kind of French antibiotic…don’t you think?”

Natalie doesn’t want to attend Drama Kids this summer because the girls always wear teeny shorts and teeny tops and she hates seeing it. “Some teeny things I’m okay with. Like teeny noses. Teeny noses are cute.”

I burp. “Disgusting, Mom. A disgrace to humankind.”

Natalie: “Mom, what did you want to be when you grew up?”
Mom: “A lawyer, or an actor or a medical researcher.”
Natalie: “I didn’t know you wanted to be a lawyer. You never told me.”
Mom: “Yes I did. People would tell me I should be a lawyer. I was good at making arguments…”
Natalie: “Yeah. You’re good at shouting.”

On the phone to Uncle Alan: “Dad is trying to make french toast…and succeeding.”

Natalie’s home from school with an achy stomach due to having a cold. She slept very late and then accepted a bath. I made it too cold, and later I ran the water too hot. “Not hot like stylish.”

Natalie is unhappy that the earth will eventually stop spinning, and time will stop. She likes a night party, but not all the time. “Someone couldn’t lasso the earth and keep spinning it. They’d get tired eventually. There’s not even string that long. Fifty pounds of string couldn’t do it.”

On the current big project in school: “I wish Cindy never found out what an autobiography is.”

“What does prahzihmobly mean?” Presumably.

Monday is MLK day, no school. I ask what he worked for. Natalie says peace. I remind her that peace was secondary to his main goal of racial equality. Natalie wants to know why we have to have so many holidays recognizing people. “The thing is, it makes the normal people feel bad about themselves, as if they’re not doing enough.”

Daddy: “Come over here.” He’s got a game set up on the Wii.
Natalie: “Why, what’s wrong? Yay, nothing’s wrong, everything’s great!”

Kayla’s here, working on a school sculpture project. Natalie says: “It’s very falling-overy.”

Natalie hates Trump. “What’s wrong with Mexicans? They’re bringing over some of the best food of all time.”

“Ready for sensory, Natalie? Yes I am. I’m ready for sensory.” She loves cleaning the toilet bowl.

She doesn’t want to leave our new bed. “This bed is what I sometimes call comfy.”

On romance and stuff: “Don’t worry. I’m not into that stuff yet. I’m still into fun and rainbows and unicorns and India.”

“It’s a teeny bit impossible for me.”

“We have what some people call a washing machine.”

On being mad at Perry: “It’s a tough nighttime relationship.”

“Oh Perry, oh Perry. And I don’t mean it in a Cindy-lovey way.”

“My heart is telling me I’m glad I told you we could fix my vision, but my brain is telling me: You can stop this instant, young lady!”

“I’m an America citizens, and American citizens have freedoms. Give me my freedom.”

On playing Morrissey’s Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want to wake her up:
“Stop, Mom! What did I ever do to you?”

“I’m scared. And I’m happy. For once, joy is here.”

On wrestling: “That’s what it takes to do it with a dog.”

To Cookie: “Your legs are in the air like you just don’t care!”

A blanket: “This thing is indestretchable.”

On Cookie’s first snow: “I know, I know I’m overreacting, but I have to, with this love.”

Mom: “Do you remember when you were little and wanted to hear about cords and smoke detectors over and over?” Natalie: “Of course I do. Those were the bad days.”

Mom: “Go bubble and read.” (Bubble means use fluoride rinse, because she started with a bubble-gum flavored one.) Natalie: “And get a drink of water because I am terrifyingly thirsty.”

“It’s a bit way too big.”

“It looks so short and stubby, in a good way.”

“I can’t believe I used a smelly old sock that made me half able to not breathe, when there was a patch on Dad’s nightstand.”


I made the mistake of using gel in the hair this morning. I said I thought Natalie wanted it less bouncy and grabbing up, and gel would help with that, keeping it looking longer. “But I’m okay with it being bouncy. It makes me feel adorable.”

To a tiny doll: “Your hair, scientifically, is as black as it can be.”

Natalie came to our doorway late at night and said she’d swallowed string. She’d been talking, and her mouth was open, and string fell into her mouth from the upper bunk.

Watching How It’s Made: Peace Pipe. “I don’t smoke, but that’s cool.”

Natalie’s still being tugged in all directions by various girls who want to be her friend, and the stress is mounting. “It’s not easy being amazing. To people.”

Natalie’s upset that I’m looking at a pretty house online. She knows I want to move. She doesn’t. “I want to at least have broken up with all my friends before you move. So that it’s okay with me.”

Dec 8: Natalie bettered herself at this year’s Spelling Bee. Last year she spelled “blink” and flubbed “salsa” (salasa). This year she spelled “puddle” and “people” and flubbed “sonar” (soner). Daddy gave her a Mabel balloon as a bravery prize. She earned it.

Natalie took the Amigurumi extracurricular with Wendy this fall.
Daddy: “Wendy seems very nice.”
Natalie: “She very is.”

“She’s so corn chip! I never thought corn chips and cookies went together. I’ll have to try them when I get home. Do we have cookies in the house? …Grr.”

Daddy: “Who pooped?” It was Natalie. “Poor soul, wanting forgiveyness.”

She doesn’t like the veggie spring rolls from Van’s. “It’s spicy and sickening.”

“Ack. How come my bangs are so annoying, but I love them? And how come some people say bangs are ugly?”

We’re arguing about who owns the art Natalie makes and whether a particular piece (an image of a pink stuffed poodle) can get thrown away or recycled as Natalie wants, versus being saved, like I want, although the bird pooped on it. I tell her when you work for a company, they own everything you make while you’re with them, and the same goes for everything she makes while she lives with me. “So if I play with my toys, you get to decide the plot.”

“Mom, can I use one of your pens or pencilses?”

A kid’s magazine has a thing making the kid guess who Samuel Langhorne Clemens was. “I thought it was Mark Taiwan. I thought it’d be more of a Japanese person in a blue suit sitting at a desk. Doesn’t it sound kind of like a Japanese-Chinese person? Mark Taiwan.”

We’re in the bathroom. I ask Natalie to play one more song for her guitar practice. No sighing, I say. “No no. I needed a big breath. I don’t know how most people get by on–” And she models a normal breath.

I’m helping with Natalie’s autobiography and typed that Dotty used to knot instead of knit. Natalie thinks that’s a funny mistake. “Especially for a profeshiahnial typer.”

We couldn’t find any of Natalie’s three eye patches last night. Dad found one this morning. “I can’t believe I used a smelly old sock that made me half able to not breathe when there was a patch on Dad’s nightstand.”

“Mommy, is it just the sweater, or do I think you need to go back on the treadmill? Just in case.”

Walking Natalie into her room after a shower. “Ow. This is  very hurtingy.”

Natalie doesn’t want a hair gel tutorial. “I just don’t want amazing little things in my hair today. I want to be normal.”

Natalie’s desperately trying to get me back into the bathroom to watch a trick where she blows a green plastic Candyland character out of her mouth into a Fisher Price figure to knock it off the side of the tub. “Mom. I’ll do anything but kill myself. I’ll even scratch your back for five minutes. Straight!”

Late entry for Mother of the Year:
On the evening of 12/28/15, close-up mirror clattered on the bathroom floor. Natalie was hanging around the toilet as I did my thing at the sink. I whipped around.
Natalie: “Sorry!”
Me: “Oh my god. Pick it up.”
Natalie: “…For fuck’s sake?”

12/29/15: Watershed. Girl made her own dinner tonight. Crackers, half an everything bagel, hummus and baby carrots.

Daddy asked Natalie to close containers in the kitchen. “I close bags. They unclose.”

Natalie dislikes opera: “Too low, yet high. It’s like the highest low feeling. You know that feeling?”

“Not spiderwebs, just cob.”

We’re making Natalie watch The Bad News Bears from 1976, and she hates it. But she makes a couple of memorable remarks:
On how the coach is convincing Amanda to come pitch for his team: “That’s reverse theology.” She says she learned that from a Bad Kitty book.
Natalie knows very little about baseball. She knows that they go around the bases, and “…one pitches and one throws.”

The Smiths Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want:
“This song gives me growing up worries, plus his voice could use a little straightening out.”

I was washing Natalie’s hair and I reached over to turn on the radio while she scrubbed. I accidentally made a shampoo bottle fall off the bar and it hit Natalie’s tow in the shower. Oh, I’m sorry, I’m sorry! I said. Which one? The right one? She pointed to the left big toe. “The one that’s not strong enough to survive it.”

New vocab:
Offensering (Mom told Dad to so something without being polite. “You didn’t even…that was very offensing. Offensering.”
Thingamurg (On Cookie: “She’s such a…thingamurg.”) Natalie immediately acted ashamed and said she’d never say that again.

To the AG dolls: “You girls are nappin’? Nap time’s over. Now it’s time for some fun and talkin’.”

On cleaning: “Dirt isn’t falling out all over the place, and that’s good.”

“We were watching a disgusting movie that Cindy made us watch. About caveman times.”

“Oh. I guess it’s just like the olden times when women did all the work.”

“Who has two thumbs and feels offense? …Feels offensed?”

On reading all Peanuts strips from the beginning: “Ah, the beginning. Unusual comics that I’m barely acquainted with.”

“You look good. Although it might get messed up after your nap.”





Parent-Teacher conference on Nov 3 was amazing. Apparently our girl no longer take no guff from nobody in the classroom. There were certainly signs of that last year, and Cindy and Patrick had stories to back it up this time. Gaelin wanted to cover the poster on the Hopi with muskets, and Natalie said unequivocally that that was not going to happen. The 6th grade mentor, Coen, acted very sagey-judgey, put his hands behind his head, and called for a vote. Natalie won. Only a couple of musket drawings ended up on the poster. And one time very recently when Natalie was doing math on a white board, Skyler came up and began talking to her. Natalie put up her hand and made it clear she was not to be disturbed while doing the math.

And then there’s her activism on creating a Peace Corner on the playground. After her letter to the Head of School last year resulted in a polite refusal, Natalie recently wrote a new one and, on my advice, got some signatures – from several classmates AND her teachers – and got a more positive response, asking for some specifics. And the next day, Natalie said her petition has been displayed on the Head of School’s office door.

Natalie helped me vote tonight. I told her about the terrible hanging chads and the terrible GWB and his VP who had too much power, and all the people who died. We passed a street named “Hilton” and Natalie said it reminded her of Hillary Clilton or however it’s said. We talked about Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders and how I believe most, but not all, of what Bernie believes. She says we should have an atheist president who can change our coins. We either need to remove “In God We Trust” or, since some people believe in more than one god, change it to “In God parenthesy-thing S parenthesy-thing We Trust.”

Mom: “Ready, Freddie?”
Natalie: “Ready, Georgia’s Brother.”
Mom: “It’s the same hoodie, it’s just heather gray.”
Natalie: “I thought Heather’s name was Heather White.”

Natalie says her teachers liked how her purple pants with blue sequin stripes made blingy reflections on things. I show her that they even do that on a cardboard box she’s standing next to in the kitchen. “Oh yeah!” She giggles. “Even cardboard’s fashionable now.”

Natalie to Elena Kaplan at the premier of The Peanuts Movie: “It’s beautiful, yet it’s animated, yet it’s funny.”

Natalie wants my help because she’s ready to get out of the tub. I ask why she would need me for that. “For drying-off purposes.” What?! “I need help powdering. I always use too much.”

Natalie accepts coconut oil in the armpits today as a deodorant, but doesn’t want it on her lips. “It smells, too much…(waves her hand in front of her nose) natural.”

Mary-Louise Parker is on NPR talking about the value of real letter-writing. “Unless it’s like a business letter thing,” says Natalie. “Business letters are useless.”

We’re dancing in the kitchen while I intermittently stick egg salad in the girl’s mouth. “This is the kind of thing I like doing on nights. Playing around, and dinner.”

We’re reviewing a word list to practice for this year’s Spelling Bee, where we’re hoping she makes it past the second round. I ask her to spell MIGRAINE. “Which is the word, my, or grain? No, really.”

“Lately, for the past two years, I’ve been getting good, non-cheesy fortunes, and I’m taping them together. One day, when I go back to kindergarten, or if I teach kindergarten, every day, every kid’ll get a fortune cookie, and we’ll be making fortune chains.”

I define hodgepodge, a bunch of things thrown together that are not necessarily related. “Like the bible?”

I give the girl some sweet, gentle good morning kisses. Daddy gave up his spot for her and slept on the couch. She smells like him. “Did I miss anything while I was asleep?” No. No. “Are you sure?” Yes. “Okay.”

“I’m getting my own style. Tuck-in, skirt…The skirt is mostly to cover up any lumps.”

Dad: “It now appears to stand at 126.”
Mom: “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Dad: “Paris. ISIS is claiming responsibility.”
Natalie: “Ugh. First politics, now ISIS.”

Natalie shows me a story she cut out of TIME For Kids, a girl selling lemonade to end child slavery.
Mom: “There’s a lot of good kids out there.”
Natalie: “And some of them are in slavery. Although they’re very nice.”

Natalie’s not up for going to Capital Thai with Skyler during their sleepover tonight. “People have bracelets or tablets, but people don’t go around town with an ice pack on their neck. Never heard of that.”

Natalie agrees I could have been a lwayer, as people told me when I was growing up. “You’d be all the way to the Supreme Court before you took the school.”

Dad: “Jindal dropped out of the race.”
Natalie: “Wh-Jingles? Like Jingles the Clown?”

The Sharper Image catalog is great, but “Ugh. Why is it just for men? Women can have wallets too! THAT IS ZERO FAIR!”

We pass through the dining room to get to the bathroom. “Cookie, you don’t have to sit in the nowhereness.”

“Dad’s a good dad. You’re a good mom. Together we’re a good family.”

“Mom, I’ve already asked Dad this question. Are we hoarders?”

To Cookie: “Oh no you don’t! Alpha. ALPHAAA.”

“I love photobombing. It calms me.”

On Cookie’s life before rescue: “She was traumafied. She was drama-traumafied.”

A song for Cookie: “…You like to play/And scramble around/With no dismay.”

Q: What do you use to design pairs of socks?
A: Your imatchination.

The kids at school were talking about their Thanksgiving plans: mostly having family over, or going somewhere to be with family. Natalie said we’re having family over for the first time in a long time, and that we’re having tiny dishes. She couldn’t remember the name for that. A boy named Will said “Hors d’oeuvres?” She said yes, that was it! He told her how to remember: You order hors d’oeuvres. She liked that. She tells us that she’s still not into romancy stuff at all, but if she had to, if someone forced her, if they were going to kill her if she didn’t, then she’d pick Will. The protests about not being into romance went on for several sentences before the admission. It was very sweet.

Natalie hates the haircut I gave her this week. At least it’ll grow back quickly like the recent at the mall, I said. But she hates it. It makes her look like a child. “It looks like the eighties.” No, more like the seventies. “Blehh! Worse, worse! Worse alert!”

“With a name like Smuckers, you can’t go wrong.”

Skyler was bugging Natalie today. Did you tell her to cut it out? “Yes. Except with out the words ‘cut’ and ‘it’ and ‘out’.”

Open a can of Tom Ka Gai and realize that not only is it the eye-crossingly sour variety of hot-n-sour (and I really dislike sour soup)…but I see disgusting dull green wilted leaves and stems that are known to exude a powerful and repulsive toxin. So it’s come to this: Josh wants me to die of cilantro poisoning. I announce loudly my discovery. “Ouww,” says Natalie. “That’s the worst thing that ever happened to anybody.” She’s right. (On the other hand, Josh also brought me a roll of giant Parma Violets. What are you trying to tell me, man??)

Day before Thanksgiving. “Can I stay up late tonight?” asks the girl who regularly gets to sleep after midnight.

Mom: “This kid is saying the refugees can come to his house and play Minecraft. He’s telling people he’s not a hater.”
Natalie: “Neither am I. They can come to my house and play with my crafting supplies. And make me tacos. And eat me tacos.”

Natalie asks what she’s going to do tomorrow. With the boys talking about crosswords and the iPhone 6, and the women talking about what my coworker emailed me, she’s out of luck!

“They’re in luck that they’re coming to this ye house.” YE HOUSE? “Yes. I’ve turned into a cowgirly boy.”

Time for guitar practice…at 10:15 p.m.
Mom: “Do you want the light on?”
Natalie: “Yes, but not really. Do you know that sorts of feeling?”

Mom: “You’re over-excited because people are coming tomorrow. That’s why you’re so hopped up.”
Natalie: “Not just ‘over’. Extravada-over.”

“Start this off. but first, with the starter-offer.” She twists the grogger.

Poor Cookie. “It’s slow dragging time. It’s super fun if you’re me, super boring if you’re you.” She’s on her back on the floor, moving and holding the dog. You’ve gone batshit insane. “Look. I’m not quite as insane as Rose, who’s really insane.”

To Cookie: “You’re a goodish girl. You never know when surprise’ll happen.”

“I wonder what it’s like to be a Perr-Perr. Relaxative?”

Natalie thinks our country is the most polluted or ugly or something. She says Africa and South America are more beautiful and designy.

Back with the quarantined Lizzy and Kaya after head lice. “A long-needed reunion. I don’t really know how to pronounce it out loud.”

Natalie had quite an undecent day. Kayla went to get her braces put on, and Natalie had to sit with other kids for lunch — “and I got stuck with two messy, weird, disgusting, gross boys.”

Natalie spelled DISASTER correctly, practicing for the spelling bee.
Mom: “Wait – DIS-aster or DAT-aster?”
Natalie gets upset with me – she thinks I’m calling her a butt. I have to explain that I was making a silly joke that had nothing to do with her, or with asses or butts.
Dad: “There’s a flower called Aster.”
Natalie: “Flowers aren’t butts.”
Laura: “Flowers are sexy.”
Natalie: “Don’t talk that word!”
Laura: “The planet is full of sex. Plants and animals having sex to make more of themselves…”
Natalie: “You don’t have to talk about it!”

“Daddy! Thing not understandingable.”

“Whoa. They’re so beautiful! Yet so casual.”

“TOO comfy. If they let go. If they don’t sell it any more.” (?)

“They always light up my day. They’re something that makes life worth living. They’re funny, Mom. They’re funny.” [And I have no idea what this was about!😦 ]

“Why is pink and purple most girls’ favorite color? I mean, I get it. They look good together. But really?”

“Do you think talking about being sick is contagious?”

Mom, on dental surgery coming up: “They’re going to make molds and play around with them to see what needs to be done next.” Natalie: “I thought having braces was serious.”

“We’re school friends, not ‘I’m going to talk about them at home’ friends.”

“She likes to be read to, do art (it’s not very good – shhh).”

“Thank you guys for being there when I need you. Except when you guys are napping. It kind of keeps me alive.”

“I don’t really use these. They don’t give me any information that I feel like knowing.”

“Whoever invented chores, I’m not amused. With them. Mom, if you’re writing down what I just said, I’m not happy.”

“People live from cancer. This is so far from that. I think I’m gonna live.”

On a piece of paper money: “At least you didn’t rip it all the way in half, that’d just be half the amount.” No it wouldn’t. “Hooray!”

Natalie and Elly, a few months ago:
N: “I bet, a long time ago, it was ten dollars.”
E: “Ten dollars was worth a lot back then.”

Me: “Hello, Cartoonist.”
Her: “Hello…uh…”
Me: “Mother of Cartoonist?”
Her: “Hello, Photographer.”
Me: “Aw. Right!”
Her: “Hello, Too Much Photographer.”

On the phone with me while I’m at work: “I can’t hear you. Dad is crashing things together.”

Natalie loves the new rock tumbler Daddy got for her tenth birthday. We’re looking at rocks that have completed tumbling and still need to go through the polishing cycle. “Is that real gold? Or just pyrite? Oh my god. It looks like a fossil. I don’t know why the company decided to give it up.”

Organizing doll clothes, I hold up a little shirt. Is this baby or girl? I ask. “I think girl,” says Natalie. “I’ve seen Lizzy wear it.”

Lizzy’s glasses have no lenses. I ask if they had had glass in them before. “Yes. But I just went back to them one day and they didn’t.”

She leaves to get something for the surprise party the other dolls are planning for Lizzy. “Make sure she doesn’t awake.”

An old porcelain doll of mine was uncovered in the cleaning effort, and she’s missing an eye. Natalie is creeped out although I’m trying to make it about not rejecting people for disabilities. Or something. “She looks like she’s looking into my life. And trying to find out secrets about me.” I advise telling the doll a secret so she’ll already know something. Natalie says she has no secrets. Right.

I also bring out my handmade beaded bridal choker and earrings. Some of the beads have yellowed and it’s still quite beautiful. Natalie is entranced. “Can I wear this if I ever get married?” Of course, I say. “Will you come to my wedding if I ever get married?” WHAT??! How would I not attend my own daughter’s wedding– “If you have plans or something.”

On the way to West Stockbridge, I note how it’s a beautiful day. “What I call a Fall day.” I point out gorgeous trees. “That’s amazing. It reminds me of Fall. Ahhhh.”

“But I can see unfine.”

Mom: “I don’t hate it.”
Natalie: “It’s just not a muesli to remember.”

“It looks realistic. In an unrealistic way.”

“It’s fine, little guy. I know how you feel. Lazy. Loved. It’s fine, little baby. It’s fine, little baby.”

Daddy: “It’s time to go brush.”
Natalie: “But I love you.”

It’s picture day at school.
“Are you quite sure it’s not Wednesday morning?” Yes. “Where did you get this information?”
It’s only pictures and it doesn’t really matter. “I know. The only person I know who doesn’t care are some boys who I won’t name, who keep forgetting and wear their normal clothes, and I’m really annoyed with them.”

Natalie likes it when I blow my nose. “To me, it’s kind of reassurance, in a way. To know that you’re in the house, I guess.”

I’m wearing my new Putin shirt. “Didn’t I hear you have a meeting today? Because if so, I recommend not wearing that shirt.”

Mom: “I’m not worried about her reading enough books this year.”
Natalie: “Pleh! I’ve already readed about twenty-five books.”

Natalie: “When I’m a grandma, do you think I’ll be an extra-wrinkly, a normal-wrinkly, or a barely-wrinkly grandma?”
Mom: “It depends on how old you are when you become a grandma.”
Natalie: “About eighty. … Tell me! Tell me!”

Natalie has dry cereal and apple slices for breakfast.
Mom: “How’s your fruit?”
Natalie: “Good.”
Mom: “Have you had any?”
Natalie: “No, but I can tell it’s good.”

I khacked up some gunk.
N: “Jeesh. Poor you.”
Me: “I’m a mucus factory.”
N: “Ya think?”
Wow. It’s like listening to a younger, cuter me.

Listening to “When Velma Takes The Stand” from Chicago.
“I’m sure that music is very inappropriate for my age.” I report this to Daddy. “I said that.” Yes. “It’s either that it’s inappropriate for my age, or I’m just not enjoying it. I’m not getting any jokes. Can we switch it?”

Natalie is astounded that I brought her such a beautiful cherry blossom scroll from the Give Box at work. She immediately wants to take just about everything off her bedroom door and replace it with the scroll. Meanwhile, my recent organizing and purging the upstairs had turned up a Rugged Bear bib we must have been given as a gift for Natalie but never used. Natalie asks if I’m going to put it in the Give Box. Maybe, but I might give it to someone with a baby, I say. Natalie suggests that I give it to Cora’s baby. “I’ve only seen the baby once, but it looks like it would match it. It has big brown eyes. So cute.”

I’m suffering from some disgusting sinus issues. Natalie is being very reassuring. “Don’t worry, your nose doesn’t look any bit more lumpy than usual.”

Natalie asked what to wear today for the first day of Helen’s visit, the tan dress with the roses and white tights, or the top with all that cupcakes and navy shorts and tights that aren’t white. “I like to associate styles with days and clothing…I like to be very specific. Thank you for not laughing when I said one is sophisticated…”

I ask if Natalie wants me to post her artwork to see if any of my friends can answer the question and concept she was trying to express (What’s the point of evolving from Caveman to having all this technology?) “Yes, but they don’t have to use swear words every day. Whoever invented swear words, whoever invented them, I don’t like them.”

We discuss the fact that our house is neither the best nor the worst when it comes to messiness. Natalie says Grandma and Grandpa have the cleanest house. I tell her I agree and I think it takes way too much effort. She concurs: “Yeah. A bit of way too much effort.”

Natalie loves the carpet sweeper. “Whoever invented this, because whoever invented it made sweeping a lot more fun. I have decided that from now on, I HAVE CHORES. And that chore is sweeping. Because all you have to do is push it around. …And it won’t be like ‘DO YOUR CHORES.’ It’ll be like, ‘I’m gonna do my chores.'”

Natalie says you should tell someone to clean their room. “If they decide, they will want to clean their room. That’s just a tip thing.”

“I still have to add some sparkles here and theres.”

“Mind if I change out of this? ‘Cuz, for normal, everyday use, I won’t want to.”

Mom asks Dad: “Did she charm the pants offa Sharon?” He says he thinks so.
Natalie: “Uh, she did go to the bathroom, but–I don’t think so.”

“What’s a million and a half?” What? Uhh…it’s a million and a half. “Which is??” WHAT? It’s a million and a half. “What’s the half?” Half a million! “Which IS??” WHAT DO YOU MEAN??! “The number!” A half a million is five hundred thousand. “Thank you.”

Tried to tell the girl that pi doesn’t mean infinity; it just has infinite digits. But it’s less than 3.2. The digits are after the decimal point… “Okay. Don’t get me started on high school math. I’m still in grade school. No high school.”

“A couple of hours ago, I was lying around thinking. As you know, I sometimes do that.” Earlier it was something about lying, thinking around, lying about thinking around…I can’t keep up.

Dad, looking around the kitchen: “Do you have bowls in your room?”
Mom: “I think all the world’s bowls are in her room.”
Natalie: “Uh, dihh, I’ve never been to China…I would not be a good waitress. I would never be able to bring the bowls back, so I would not be a good waitress.”

To Cindy: “You got my art wet! No advantage of taking my hair for three weeks!”

On the new dog, who came to us with the rescue name “Tay” and whom we named Cookie:
“Aw, Tay’s gonna be a liking.”
“Now I can finally say I have five pets.”

“Are you laughing at my ideas because I’m, stupidy dead?

Natalie told a winding story about Nature’s Classroom and finally ended with: “It’s probably too much than you wanted to know.” I told her of course I wanted to hear it all. “Really? Yay!”

Q: Where does a ghost live?
A: In a terrortory.

Bath water: “It almost makes super mini tidal waves.”

“I hope I don’t get it. I’ve never been real fans of ooniebrows.”

Mom: “You don’t feel like you’re going to vomit again?”
Natalie: “No. But I feel like I shouldn’t do much–activeness, yet.”

We’re going to get rid of most of Natalie’s unused crafting supplies and she doesn’t want to do it today. “It’s called cleaning. And you know it’s one of my worst favorites. And I know you know what that means.”

“How do you like my outfit for tomorrow? I thought I’d do the calmness of pink and blue, plus the craziness of a rainbow necklace with a flower.”

On her assistant teacher, Patrick (I think I talked about the new fourth graders coming in and called them fresh meat):
“He probably doesn’t taste good, except for the meat. And I don’t think about the meat much.”

Natalie hears a tune on the car radio. “Oh, I first heard that on Aquascapes. Surprising, yet truthful.”

At Benson’s we looked at cat toys to give Kayla for her 10th birthday. She has three cats. Natalie asked: “Do cats see in color?” I don’t know, I said. Natalie chose a sparkly lavender mouse. “Do they see in sparkle?” Then Natalie asked if a gift card with a picture of a cat means her friend has to get a cat.

Natalie’s sort of glad Alison may not be coming back to our school this year. “She can be judgeful.”

Natalie decided to crawl backwards from the dining room into the kitchen. “Wouldn’t it be amazing if I made breakfast backwards? That means moon-down-down-chicken. Instead of sunny-side up egg.”

Natalie: “What is this?”
Me: “Raw broccoli raab.”
Natalie: “…What kind of vegetable steals?”
Me: (Nodding)
Natalie: (Nodding)
She’s one of us

I tell Josh about my nap dream, that I was away at a hotel, finishing up school but probably going to fail or get an incomplete for one where I skipped some classes and the final. And our marriage was in tatters and I wanted to save it. Natalie understands: “I get you. I felt that with friendship.”

Two little doggies sitting on a porch
First comes growl
Then comes bark
Then comes the puppy, as happy as a lark.

“What’s something you like…that’s age-appropriate, not like popping pimples?”

I’m washing a tie-dye shirt from camp, in the bathroom sink. The water is a gorgeous deep pink.
Me: “It’s the prettiest color…”
Natalie: “…in THY whole world.”
Me: “Thy means your.”
Natalie: “I know. I’m trying to not make sense in Shakespearean times.”

“Just to my liking.”

“I don’t want cooking oil in my hair. The smoke alarm will go off.”

“I’m not one for poses. I’d rather keep memories of it by standing there. Memories are more special than photos.”

“Alzheimer’s Dimension, what?? …They should really change the name.”

“I don’t know why, but I like the smell of Target. Do you?” Yes.”Finally, someone who agrees with me that Target smells nice. Finally, I know that I’m not alone in liking the smell of Target.”

Mom: “Gray and white go with so much.”
Natalie: “White goes with lots of so much.”

Natalie wants to know why Daddy would take issue with me posting a pic of Cookie snuggled next to him as he dozes on the couch. I don’t know, I say. Maybe he thinks it’s not manly to nap? “I think it’s VERY manly to nap,” she wisely opines.

“To me, Indian Ladder Farms is kind of famous for cider donuts.”

“I only use my knife in emergencies.” Oh yeah? “Yeah. I only use my fork and fork onlyyy.”

“If you’re gonna talk and argue about science, why don’t you just enter Science College.”

I showed her a video of a raccoon carefully taking food from a human hand. “Is it like, Raccoon Day, National Raccoon Day?” No. “Uh, International?”

To Cindy as she fiddled with her own hair:
“What’re ya doin’ with your hair? Wishing it was curly?”

Natalie: “We have to teach Cookie to like peanut butter.”
Mom: “No, we don’t actually have to–”
Natalie: “No, we have to. Dogs heart peanut butter. It’s the rule.”

A guy at the Chinese buffet tonight was disgusting. He tried food at the trays and licked his fingers. I said I thought of telling him off, but you never know if someone has a gun or something. You never know if they’ll get dangerous, if you piss them off. “I can get pissed at you if I want,” said Natalie. “You only become dangerous at bedtime.”

PILONCY: Having a license to fly a plane.

I saw what I’d done and announced: “That is a remarkable poo.”
I heard Natalie’s door closing tighter.

“Helium goes up. That’s a fact. Not a statement.”

The baby has another stomach thing. It started yesterday afternoon at school; Daddy had to pick her up. This morning she sat up in bed suddenly to lean over the bowl, and apologized to me: “Sorry there was no notice.” … “I’m truly sorry about today. You could be at a meeting having fun, but right now you have to make a bathtub.”

Mom: “Actually, no coffee.”
Natalie: “At a time like this? I never knew that you could say that.”

I poured about an inch of “Orange” Gatorade for the baby. “Isn’t that a bit much for one sip for a sick girl?”

Mom, softly encouraging the upchucking: “Go ahead…bring it up.”
Natalie: “It won’t work. You’re putting it into the thinking part of my head. Not the doing part of my head.”

“Just getting mucus out of my nose. I accidentally said ‘me’. Didn’t mean to be one of those oldie types. One of those old Western types.”A lso she wishes she was back in fourth grade when she didn’t have to learn olde-style words for the Upper El Shakespeare production. She hopes they do Macbeth because it doesn’t have so many of those words.

I trimmed the hell out of Perry’s right ear to keep the longass tendrils from making his surgical wound worse than it already is. And Natalie says: “Wow. I can actually see Perry’s ear without hair interruption. I like it.”

Cherry Pedialyte, then water: “Ew. Together they taste like moldy grass.”

Natalie can carry an unwilling Cookie to the back door to go out, because she’s light. “Light colored, light in weight, and light in heart. ‘Cause there’s a fire glowing from love.”

I saw stuff on the bathroom counter that should have been put into a drawer. “Oh, fuck me,” I muttered, and called out for my kid. “You don’t fuck,” she answered. I didn’t follow up to find out what she thinks she was saying, and, thankfully, she let it go.

Me: “…Sometimes we fight.”
Her: “Which is why I try to keep you guys against it.”

“Are you the one who told her about my math games? ‘Cause I surely didn’t.”

Daddy: She looked kind of glum when I picked her up, so I asked her how her day was. And she said, “Well, it wasn’t a week to remember, but it wasn’t a week to forget.”
NATALIE: It was kinda like a ‘So I had a week’.
(And it’s only Tuesday.)

“Did someone just mutter ‘psoriasis’?…What is psoriasis?”

Natalie joins me in the bathroom.
Natalie: “Are your hands clean? Because there aren’t any cups in here.”
Mom: “Why can’t you drink out of your own hand?”
Natalie: “Because your hand is bigger, and nicer, and soothinger.”

We just got the Evite for the Upper El Picnic next Monday evening. “Can I go choose my outfit? If it’s a week later, that’s totally okay than a month, right? Right?”

“UUUHHHHNNNNH. …That was quite random. I was like, UUUHNNHNH. I was being like Gretchen. Have you ever heard her?”

Dad: “Don’t scowl at me. You should have cleaned it right the first time.”
Natalie: “It’s not just you. IT’S WHOEVER INVENTED CLEANING.”…”This is the kind of thing I was hoping NOT to do while I’m still in my depression.”

“No. I’m making a presentation today, and ponytails don’t bring anything out in my personality.”

“I wanted to evolve so I didn’t have to breathe all the time. It’s boring, just  boring!”

We saw two planes pass each other overhead. Natalie thought they would crash. They didn’t, but I said they went too close. “Lose your piloncy! They should lose their piloncy for going too close. Shouldn’t they?”

We talked about becoming better people. “I’m better than I was in first grade. Way better handwriting, I think.”

I tell Natalie she’s in a kind of in-between age where emotions can be unpredictable. “In betweens. I knew turning ten would have its downs.”

The girls are eating Confetti Bites at Natalie’s party and the convo turns to awwul things like Lyme disease and bird poo and using hot needles to remove ticks…”Okay, let’s only talk about good things now. It’s making me not appetized.”

Me, after the birthday party where Liesl, Ana, Skyler, Elena, and Natalie made 10,000 shredded paper bits go everywhere and it took a group effort of 45 minutes to get things under control: “You have some cleaning to do.”
Natalie: “Okay. I’m tolerating that. I’m tolerating that.”

Daddy tells Natalie how much Grandpa loves gadgets and how he once paid $500 for an early Heathkit calculator that did basic arithmetic. “Then he would really like these days.”

Natalie’s not vomiting any more, and Daddy said there are sighs of relief up and down the Eastern Seaboard. “Easter in Seaboard? What’s that?”

Natalie’s not vomiting any more, but she’s slow and a bit weak. She wants to know if it’s okay to walk slow. “Good. I can not go fast. It’s a disability.”

I reassure Natalie that a stupid running-across-the-gym test in January should not ruin the next three months. I make her breathe and then blow out the worry into my palm. Then I throw it in the trash.
Me: “It’s going to be a great year!”
Natalie: “Full of hope–fully neatness? My goal is to be neat this year.”

Natalie needs more time in the tub before we do hair. “I was right in the middle of the ceremony of the game.”

Me”…Sometimes we fight.”
Her: “Which is why I try to keep you guys against it.”

Natalie hates that her class has gym on Thursdays and Fridays because it ruins the end of her week. When kids talk on their way back to class, they’re called up to the front of the line so the teacher can keep a closer eye on them. Usually it’s the boys. And since Natalie likes being at the front of the line, the boys end up in grave proximity. And they’re sweaty and they smell really bad. Especially Tristan…”He’s the most athletic boy and the most smelly boy.”

We’re comparing hands. “I want to make sure I still have a child hand.”

“I only want to read, and I’m worried that it’s affecting my personality.”

“It’s just that every time you put a piece of banana in my mouth, it increases the chances that I’m going to blarg.” Because they have a texture that makes her want to barf.

10/3/15: Words on the way out while Daddy stroked her back, no Benadryl needed:
“Yes?…Mmm. …Sorry. Gross. …Who threw all that? …Yep.”

In the middle of a 100-piece Jurassic Park puzzle: “LET MY MASTER WORK…do stuff.”

Mom has a LOT of dental work and expenses. A very expensive mouth. “I think you’re mouth is priceless, not just expensive.”

We’re working on reducing the heinous uptalking. “Is it something contagious? Is it like a sickness?”

Mom: “I advocate for being gentle with kids.”
Natalie: “I don’t know about that.”

“If you’re gonna talk and argue about science, why don’t you just enter science college?”

They’ll study early American History this year. “At first I was thinking I could study Alexander the Great, but then I decided to study the Declaration of Independence, because I could print out the Declaration of Independences that don’t have anything on them, and they could fill them out.”

“You know what would be a good name for a candy shop? Hudson Candy Spree. It just sounds correct to me.”

“I know. It’s beautiful, on my opinion.”

“Who else? ‘Cuz there are lots of camp usuals who come almost all the time.”

“Two little birdies that I won’t mention ruined my day.”

Organizing doll clothes, I hold up a little shirt. Is this baby or girl? I ask. “I think girl,” says Natalie. “I’ve seen Lizzy wear it.”

Lizzy’s glasses have no lenses. I ask if they had had glass in them before. “Yes. But I just went back to them one day and they didn’t.”

She leaves to get something for the surprise party the other dolls are planning for Lizzy. “Make sure she doesn’t awake.”

An old porcelain doll of mine was uncovered in the cleaning effort, and she’s missing an eye. Natalie is creeped out although I’m trying to make it about not rejecting people for disabilities. Or something. “She looks like she’s looking into my life. And trying to find out secrets about me.” I advise telling the doll a secret so she’ll already know something. Natalie says she has no secrets. Right.

I also bring out my handmade beaded bridal choker and earrings. Some of the beads have yellowed and it’s still quite beautiful. Natalie is entranced. “Can I wear this if I ever get married?” Of course, I say. “Will you come to my wedding if I ever get married?” WHAT??! How would I not attend my own daughter’s wedding– “If you have plans or something.”

“No, we’re becoming cardboard tinters.”

“So, I heard that Grandpa’s losing his mind.”

“If you ever have to get a different job, you should be a psychiatress or a patchmaker.”

“Whoa. You’re letting me get a donut. …Did someone switch out your brain even though you still love me?”

“Can I actually draw something on the piece of paper? I can’t stand a day without drawing. I won’t have much time to draw today.” I wrote a note with this quote: “Plan foiled.” And I’m typing this so long after that I have no idea what that was about.

“And it’s my favorite kind of bridge. That was a good experience.”

“You can kind of tell she’s one of those weird bossy girls.” This went with a drawing of a girl with a label saying: Do not be friends with her.😡

“Just because I’m double digits, no one gets that I still want to be a 7-year-old.”

Mom: “How much better is it? A little, medium, or a lot?”
Natalie: “A quarter of a little. A little.”

“It’s just, she’s not the kind of girl who tries to spell harder than everyone. And she’s not a very competitiony kind of girl.”

“You know what would be the good kind of store? A store where everything is free to normal people, but robbers need to pay for it.”

“It’s been my companion for years and years.” I think she was referring to a sweater.

“I have two new kids on the bus. And I don’t tell them, but they smell odd.”

“Why is it always that way? Every genius I meet has some sort of problem. …That’s sort of sophisticated for a parent.”

Mom: “Didn’t you ask her to do something?”
Dad: “Yes, I did.”
Natalie: “Unh. Can I at least get settled?”
Dad: “Go do what I asked you to do.”
Natalie: “In a seckeeb.”

Natalie and her cousin Eliza are talking about meditating. Eliza’s working at that skill. Natalie is too: “I’m not quite perfect at that yet, but sometimes my mind can be quite blank.”

I showed Natalie how to tickle Dad using one finger on the sole of his foot. He tried to hide the agony, but “I felt his stomach tensening up.”

Dad asked for confirmation that I don’t eat duck. Right, I said, for a couple of reasons. There’s not much meat and a lot of fat, the taste isn’t worth the effort, and I kind of like ducks. But I realized as I said it that I like chickens, and I sometimes eat chicken. So, hm… “Yeah,” interjects Natalie. “Everyone likes chickens unless they don’t like chickens.”

Me: “Sperm have tails to help them swim.”
Natalie: “Man. Geez. Is that why people are good at swimming?”

August 3 at 7:44 pm: “Why do I feel like it’s 8:37?” Later she said I should come into her room at 10:14, or something. She’s often very specific.

“I’m not intrigued. Playing Wizard of Oz Slots without me…not good.”

Dad: “There are no words that rhyme with orange.”
Natalie: “I know. But just in case, Google’s smart…”

We need to decide how we’re going to use those SPAC lawn tickets. “SPAC? Saragota thing?”

I show Natalie how to spear a bagel with a fork to get it out of the toaster. “Oh, thank you. Thank god. Thank you. I know there’s no god, but thank god.” And THAT’S how you know you’ve overcoddled the kid.

“So you shall be pervolked!”

I have to tell a story while pills are going down. “It’ll help me not make a fuss about it.”

“I love you. I’ve always loved you.”

Natalie told me something was her opposite favorite.

Me: “My love for you grows every day.”
Natalie: “An inch?”
Me: “A mile.”
Natalie smiles and makes a quick calculation: “Well, my love for you, every single second, it timeses itself.”

Q: What did the calf say to the mother cow in the morning?
A: You need some calf-eine.

Q: What did the calf and the cow do in the evening?
A: They went to the calfe and the moovies.

“Perry, you are affectionately irresistible.”

“But this time I finally got my revenge back.”

Natalie wants me to lie down with her. But–“Just one suggestion if you’re gonna lie down with me. Mayyybe pants.” If I don’t shave, I’m hairy. If I shave all the way up the leg, I’m stubbly. Can’t Win

“Will someone make up a conversation that I can get in?”

Natalie: “What’s a semicock?”
Mom: “Whuh–can you give me some context? Because I don’t know that word.”
Natalie: “Neither do I. Because it isn’t a word. I just made it up!”

We scoff at your simple goodnight wishes. “Dream that you’re a chocolate man, and suck on yourself and never stop sucking.”

“No, I’ll get up, but my vision is still forming up… …It’s tough to explain.”

Natalie’s looking at expensive real estate in The Week, one of our favorite magazines. “That is the most I have ever seen, in my life, a house be, with money.”

I make Natalie come out to see an amazing pink glowing sunset. “We live on a good planet.”

Dad: “I was up briefly at 6:30. You should have seen the fog.”
Mom: “The whole neighborhood was hard to see.”
Natalie: “I wish I was awake at that time. I love fog. …I’m technically saying I love low clouds.”

Natalie: “You know why I think they give kids summer vacation?”
Mom: “Well, I know why, but you tell me.”
Natalie: “No, you tell me first.”
Mom: “Kids used to have to work on the farm in the summer. People didn’t have babies to go to school and become thinkers. They had them so they could help with the family. The older kids took care of the younger kids, the girls cooked with the mom, and the boys and girls both helped with the crops.”
Natalie: “I feel like they’re trying to torture kids these days with a non-tight schedule.”

Natalie didn’t get her allowance on Friday so she went to Daddy’s wallet for it.
Natalie: “Dad, do you have any three-dollar bills?”
Mom: “No. I’ve told you, there’s no such thing as three-dollar bills.”
Natalie: “There isn’t? You never told me that.”

Natalie doesn’t say things like normal people do. Here are some examples in just a minute.
“Would you seriously want to part me from friends?”
“Mom, can I show you something I’ve been working on, if I can succeed?”
“It makes the good joy come up in my heart.”

“If people were looking at me they’d be laughing. Laughing with hysterickility.”

On exercise: “Good Mom…Do your deeds.”

We have some great products from Rad, and Natalie really enjoyed her first spa night a few days ago with the exfoliating stuff and a good allover body lotioning. Tonight I tried to get Natalie to reciprocate by putting lotion on my newly shaved calves, and I told her it’s what daughters do. It’s what daughters are FOR. “I thought it was to keep race going,” she said. That started a whole conversation about how we evolved to love our children only to keep the human race going, and of the pointlessness of existence. All I wanted was some fucking lotion.

Natalie turns on the light and I tell her to turn it off. I don’t need it for my exercises. “You need to see.” What do I need to see? “Yourself! You don’t want to kick your nose, do you? I bet you don’t.” I get up to type this latest while Natalie begins to yap about her latest misguided theory. She’s now disappointed that I’m not intensely excited by her notion that lollipops must be Australian. “I just like to be, tolerated, you know, with my ideas.” I’m tolerating you, I say. I’m just not that interested in what you were saying. “I wish people were always interested in everything.” (What? I wasn’t listening.)

Natalie: “Why do you like to say curse words?”
Me: “It’s fun.”
Natalie: “Oh. okay.”

Natalie: “I think you should buy red pants.”
Me: “Maybe.”
Natalie: “For any humongous reddish holidays. Like Radish Day.”

We usually do hair at the table while Natalie eats breakfast. She often says “One sec” to ask me to pause so she can drink water without spilling it. Recently I actually honored the request. “Thank you for finally respecting my one secs.” Say it out loud.

“Looks like he speaks English. So do we. It’s no fun.”

“Mom. Today we played a little orphan game of Annie. Do you think this looks orphan enough for the game?”

Me: “…first cousin once removed…”
N: “Heyy! I don’t want to be removed!”

Play date with Aurora:
“Wait. Butts aren’t legally edible.”
Aurora: “What’s your life name? You must have a name for your life.”
Natalie: “I haven’t named my life.”
Aurora: “…Because I’m homeschooled. And my Mom hasn’t teached me everything about French yet.”
“Does anyone here have any questions about me? ‘Cause I could totally answer.”

“Dad is liking his new name: ‘Yes Sire.'”

Me: “What do you mean, ‘Which Boston?'”
Natalie: “Yeah, there are two Bostons. One in New York City. One in New York City and one far away. Very very far away. I remember you told me.”

Natalie: “Mom, what’s two times a hundred?”
Me: “What do you think it is?”
… …crickets… …
Me: “Two times a hundred is two hundreds. What does two hundreds make?”
Natalie: “Seems like five hundred.”
Me: “Five hundred??”
Natalie: “Uhh, I meant four hundred, sorry.”

Downtown Albany, SUNY administration building.
Natalie: “Is that a real castle?”
Mom: “It’s a government building.”
Natalie: “Geez! Government is fancy!”

“Exploderneration. It means the art of exploding.”

Natalie says she doesn’t like science, but she has enjoyed this last camp session’s work on Rocks and Minerals. She explains: “By ‘science’ I mean like bubbly experiments and measuring the difference between two thousand billion times square three. I don’t like that kind of science.”

Natalie is typing up a thing about which president she’d most like to meet. She won’t say why yet. Her choice is Ronald Reagan because he liked jelly beans and he was in theater and it sounds like he was a funny guy. Stick a fork in me. I’m not dying inside; we are way past that. In lieu of flowers, please give to an ultra-progressive charity in my name.

A woman on The People’s Court just said she felt lied to and taken advantage of. “Just like Cindy with my hair!”

Q: What is the most fuzzy animal in the world?
A: A hare.

“Why are you smiling? Why do you have a twinkle in your adorable eye?”

“How long ago have you been married?”

Natalie makes me guess what colors she’s painting on my toenails. “Hm, good guesses. Very good. Very good. I tolerate those.”

“Your toes are adorable, Mommy. You might even craze over them.”

“Perry’s more of a relaxiver.”

“Next time I say that sentence, I would rather you didn’t interrupt. Okay.”

We adopted a new dog. “I think that Cookie just wants to get lots of acquaintance with the bird, but I don’t know if she should.”

Natalie’s pissed. “Why do people litter? It’s a ‘no reason’ thing.”

Me: “I went to Hillcrest High School.”
Natalie: “Did you learn about crescents? Or hills?”
Me: “No.”
Natalie: “What about elementary?”
Me: “I went to P.S. 150. Public School 150.”
Natalie: “Gee, I hate that name.”

“What’s something you like…that’s age-appropriate, not like popping pimples?”

“I don’t see how flies are helpful. Except to spiders. And I don’t see how spiders are helpful.”

Mom: “We were admiring the sky out front…”

Natalie: “I wasn’t.”

I was trying to mimic someone’s English accent. “It’s culture, Mom. Leave the British alone.”
To Pam, at her house: “On my god. Your “ews” have changed since I was here.”
“It’s not the feel, it’s the taste. It loses the taste and turns into an ugly, barfingable taste.”

Trying to keep the dining room table clear of Stuff. I direct Natalie to remove three items from among her growing clutter pile and remind her that she was the one who had wisely noticed the regrowth this time a couple of days ago. Then I decide the rest of the pile has to go. “Mom, can I tell you something?” I coincidentally start choking and coughing on some coffee. “I’ll take that as a yes, um…I don’t tolerate this at all. First you said three, now you say all. It’s not fair.”

“Daddy,” she says, stroking, “your head is so vast.”

“Can I just pick my outfit out first? I express myself with clothing a lot of the time.”

“I didn’t raise my daughter to be afraid of zombie pigmen.”
Pretty high on the list of utterances I never thought I’d hear in my house.
It’s a Minecraft thing.

July 4: “Do they even do radio stations on holidays?”

Q: From whom did we fight for our independence?
A: Um, the Russians, I’m pretty sure? Or Germans. Something like that.

“Wasn’t today the day the we made the flag, or something?” The Declaration of Independence? “Declaration! I thought it was a flag, for some reason. Well, it does look like a flag. Scrolls look like flags, for some reason.”

Cindy’s semi-thawed frozen green figs were too cold for the delicate flower’s mouth. And they were TOO sugary. They needed to be cut smaller. They’re still not small enough.
Mom: “You don’t care about the baby.”
Cindy: “I don’t think she’s having any more.”
Natalie: “Cindy…”
Cindy: “Yeah?”
Natalie: “You speak the truth.”

Natalie just told Cindy where it’s at on the Perry issue: “You know, he doesn’t need all that pity.”

Sarabella Pizza: Closed.
Sweet Willy’s Pizza: Closed.
Fine, I said. No pizza, we’ll go to Plan B.
Kurver Kreme: Closed.
Frank’s: OPEN!
Nothing like ice cream for 4th of July dinner.

“I’m going to bring rollerblades out. Because that’s my nature. It’s my nature to rollerblade. And rollerskate.”

We’re headed out to the new ramen place at the former Miss Albany Diner.
Natalie: “What do raymens, or rahmens, usually wear?”
Dad: “They’re not people, they’re noodles.”
Natalie: “I thought a ramen was a kind of person.”

I enjoyed this little convo after Natalie practiced “Duet in A Minor” on a very slightly out-of-tune guitar.
Mom: “Nice.”
Natalie: “Thanks.”
Mom: “Yeah, except for–”
Dad: “Right.”
Natalie: “True.”

Natalie has Drama Kids/Kidz Art this week, and she’s thrilled that little Tessa will be there for their Anti-Bullying Club. “Who else? ‘Cuz there are a lot of camp usuals who come almost all the time.” Gregory won’t be there, unfortunately. Kids made fun of him for liking Natalie’s fashion design book. But, happily, Emily (the bully indirectly responsible for the club creation) is not on the attendee list! “All I know is that she likes to destroy my happy feelings.” She sings the chicken song right in Natalie’s face. Literally in her face.

I invite my daughter to do mutual foot spas.
Me: “We should do this much more often. Once a week, at least. When people’s feet are relaxed, they are relaxed!”
Her: “Really? Science has figured out?”

“Sometimes I wish we had one of those humongous bathrooms. Not as cooped in.”

We’re playing Mama Angela’s Picnic and Natalie is quite frustrated. My rule is “Things That Start With The Letter S” and she’s not getting it. “Oh my god,” she says in annoyance, “is it things with three particles?!”

Me: “If you’re still hungry when you’re done, there’s more tortellini.”
Natalie: “Tortawhatwhat?”

It’s bedtime. Kid’s in the bathroom.
Me: “Finish up soon, my dear.”
Natalie: “Oh don’t worry. I did finish up.”

We’re iron-straightening the curls for the drama camp recording today. The theme is Twisted Fairy Tale. “Bangs, bangs, bangs! Bangs are the tough part of life.”…”I’m grateful you have makeup drawer. I would never have sparkle on my face. …So much sparkle!!”

“Is lice a symptom, or a chance? Chance or symptom?”

Natalie interrupts while Daddy is on the phone with his old comedy partner.
Dad: “I’m talking to my best friend.”
Mom: “I thought I was your best friend.”
Natalie: “You’re married. You’re not best friends.”

“That’s not comforting. I don’t like being faced to a naked mom. I don’t like it.”

“YOU’RE CREEPY! You look terrible. I don’t like you any more!” She says that each time she sees me in the yearbook Arista group photo.

“I love the smell of your hair. It’s so boingy. Wait. What? I love the smell of your hair, it’s so boingy? You have to write that down. You better write that down. I love the smell of your hair. It’s so boingy.”

“Why does this family have to be so gross?”

I rag on my kid for her terrible spelling and math and tween attitude, but it’s time for a little brag. At the end of the Drama Kids/Kidz Art camp this week, an art teacher told us Natalie is the best kid in the world, a peacemaker who radiates Calm. Another teacher said Natalie should have her own room. (I don’t really know what that means, but the teacher was glowing and smiling as she spoke.) And a camper – who drove Natalie nuts by always asking her opinion and talking nonstop about her own sparkly sequin costume – said: “Is that your parents? Hi. I’m Anne Marie, Natalie’s best friend.” I said: “Hi, I’m Natalie’s best Mom, and this is her best Dad.” Natalie hates this story. Anyway’m just so grateful that my kid leaves any awfulness at home and is such a pleasure to nearly everyone in any other setting.

Mom: “I want to hire someone to bring wild rescued animals to a small party. Like maybe sloths and monkeys. If it was a fun party for me, it’d be huge snakes and iguanas.”
Natalie: “Would you make me hold one?”
Mom: “Yes. Haha…no.”

“Mom! How do you like my new necklace? I bought it on Amazon. Prime.” It’s the Boppy, the nursing pillow I used which she insists on keeping.

In the morning, Daddy suggested that maybe Natalie and Skyler would be allowed to use the 3Doodler during their play date. “No way,” she said. “Skyler is lot more adventurous than I am. I wouldn’t be comfortable using the 3Doodler without your superguidance.”

“Can you lift my hair out of the towel please? Or take the honor to do it?”

Girl is out of the tub. I sniff her. “Do I smell okay?” Yes, I tell her. You smell clean. “Good. That’s the thing I’m going for.”

The touch, the feel of baby powder. “Ahh. Now I feel smooth. And ready for a new day. …Which is tomorrow.”

“Yeah. I only believe it unless it’s proof.” I love that sentence.

“Why do parents have to be so into law!! It’s…it’s annoying for the kids.” Into what now? “Law, and government and things like that. It’s so annoying for kids to be hearing Obama’s speeches every day!”

“They fluffed up the binglebuppers.”

“I wouldn’t be able to rest until I knew you were okay. Like, I normally can’t fall asleep until after 12, and if you weren’t okay, I wouldn’t fall asleep until 7. Literally rest.”

We were picking up my father at the bus station. I came out to the car and Natalie stood outside with her forehead on the side window. She said it was locked. I reminded her that I’d already I told her it would be locked. And she said: “Well, it’s been a long time since that. And I’ve lived a million seconds. My mind is going.”

“I’m gonna tape it to my door. Mom, isn’t this D amazing? That’s my best uppercase D in all my life.” (Susan K sez: Ahahaha. Nats is the best. She just is.)

Q: Where was golf invented?
A: I have no idea, but it was in a FORE in country.

To Grandpa Micky: “I know what you’re thinking: ‘Granddaughter, what ARE you doing?'”

Dad made cookies for me to take to my orthodontist.
Natalie: “Ooh. Can I try one?”
Mom: “No. They’re for–”
Natalie: “You’re gonna have one.”
Mom: “No. I’m not eating those right now.”
Natalie: “You’ll be tempted.”
Mom: “No I…probably.”
Natalie: “Half?”
Mom: “Nn–I’ll think about it. And if you ask again, it’s definitely No.”
Natalie: “Can I NOT have one?”
Mom: “Clever.”

Natalie taught Sara a new word today when she let Sara win at a game, because it’s much worse if they lose. “And I gave her a little speech about what ‘admit’ means.”

OMG. Finally, finally I think I can log a definitive check mark in the Win column. I just overheard Natalie singing “The Hammer” from Matilda, very much like evil Trunchbull would sing it. All she needs is to learn the rest of the lyrics. kvell, kvell, kvell

“What color is your real hair, anyway?”

I turned off the dining room light because Natalie agreed to join me on the back porch to eat dinner. “Well, I’m still in here. And I’m just gonna wait a few minutes and get used to my meal.”

Quote of the Week came after Natalie asked “What’s a gop?” It’s the G-O-P, I said. I explained what it stands for and that it’s another term for Republicans. We don’t much like the Democrats, I said, and the Republicans are even worse. Blech. Natalie agreed: she doesn’t like politics either. I reminded Natalie that Republicans are usually the ones who care about whether women have a baby in the tummy, and whether gay people can marry, and other stuff that’s non of their business. And then she asked me: “But what if you met someone in the Republic you actually liked? Would you call them gross?”

I overheard Natalie singing to herself: “…lovers dismayed…” She claims to have made it up. And she said she has no idea what it means.

Natalie says maybe she’ll be interested in the news when she’s 73. “I’m only being truthful.”

Sitting here, astounded that my nefarious clean-up scheme is working on an almost 10-year-old. All tasks must be performed using a specific coupled behavior, like: “Take these two things to your room, hopping on one foot all the way.” and “Pick up anything in this area that is garbage, while randomly saying BLAP. BLAP.” It’s freaking WORKING. Working, I tell you.

Natalie: “It’s the worst ever, isn’t it.”
Mom: “Well, allergies are annoying, but there’s definitely worse.”
Natalie: “I know. It’s a figure-of-speech kind of worst.”

I’ve been singing “Ben” to Natalie since she was an infant. She knows the song. She sang it tonight as a clean-up tactic. And now wants to know what a ben is. What’s a ben friend? Um, it’s a name. You didn’t know that? All this time? “No. All this time I didn’t know what was going on. With the friend name.”

We’re being jokey and lovey, and then I told Natalie she’d have to clean her room after camp today. Her face fell. “You made me lose hope in the day.”

Q: What does a bird use to heat up its food?
A: A mi-CROW-wave.
Mom: “Ugh. All right. I’ll publish it.”
Natalie: “Heeheeheehee”

Natalie got Thinking Putty stuck in her hair. This was our conversation as I worked on it.
Natalie: “Do you mind if I say a curse word?”
Me: “No. Go right ahead.”
Natalie: “Shit.”
Me: “There’s nothing wrong with saying that. The only thing that would be wrong is saying those words somewhere you shouldn’t, like at school, or using them against someone.”
Natalie: “Am I allowed to think curse words at school?”
Me: “Yes, of course. Doesn’t it feel good? You can say it again if you like.”
Natalie: “Shit shit shit shit shit. …Poppy poopy bitch. I guess it is a little calming. I’ll agree with you.”

Big day: Natalie swam underwater with eyes open behind goggles. Why did she finally decide to do it? Because she saw a seven-year-old girl doing it. Ah, the power of (younger) peer pressure: bringing healthy shame to a child near you, and accomplishing what no adult tactics ever could.

Natalie sees me eating fiber gummy supplements. “To get extra fiber, why don’t you eat some paper?” It’s as good an idea as any.

We finally have a pain and swelling diagnosis: Grandma Dotty’s got a fracture somewhere in her ankle region. “Can we give her some sympathy?”

Natalie gave me a wonderful hug on my return home from work, and she topped it off with some delicious icing: “Did you lose weight last night? …Wow. I can really put my arms with extra around you.”

Our friends visited last night with three of their four boys. They come through here every year on their way to Canada and spend a few hours playing upstairs and catching up. Their youngest is Natalie’s age. This morning I asked Natalie if she had a good time with Jonny. My brilliant girl’s response: “Which was Jonny?”

Natalie says it feels like a Mommy-Daughter day. Dad suggests Flight Trampoline, or the pool at Ciccotti Center. Natalie wants to go to “Painting Pottery” (The Pottery Place). We have many useless items from there. Dad said it’s expensive. “But it’s nice. And I’ve been asking all week.” BAHAHAHAHAHAHA, thanks for the loff.

Natalie saw Donald Trump on Daddy’s computer. I don’t know what pic she saw, but I heard her saying “Ew! Gross!”

“I miss school.” I got it on record.
“I don’t like summer vacation.”
“No. I hate summer. For some reason.”

I hear the sounds from the bathroom. The buzzing toothbrush…the little girl’s voice telling the ants to leave the bathroom and go back home…

“You know what would be amazing? A black woman being president. Because, you know, women haven’t had much right with the president stuff, and, you know, black haven’t had much right. So that would be amazing.”

“I’m sorry if I come in at 4 o’clock in the morning.” You’re sorry in advance? “I don’t wanna be sorry in the morning. I’m sorry right now in case.”

The camera in the bathroom: “It was a present from Cindy. When I was less then zero years old. When I was probably, um, negative 15 years old.”

Mom: “You are like ice cream to me.”
Natalie: “What if it’s an expired flavor?”

Natalie just swallowed (cut) Benadryl tablets for the first time a couple of nights ago. Lots of drama before, during, and after, but they went down with no physical trouble. “By the first one, I knew, it was my pet peeve.”

Daddy’s making a pot of coffee. I note that I was going to do that. He said he did it. I said it’s not going to make itself. (This is how conversations go here.) “Good old man,” added Natalie. “Works like a charm. Works like a Charm Inc.” That’s not where I expected it to go.

“What is Papa New Geewah, a Spanish-speaking country?”

“Ooh, you called me Natalie, not Cindy!” I do call her Cindy by accident. A lot.

We might go to Adirondack Animal Land this weekend. “Woo hoo! I better pack up my money.”

Natalie won’t get off Daddy’s lap, and she wants a pony ride.
“Well, I’m stuck here for the rest of my life. So that’s a treat.”

On Skyler: “She always understands me, but what’s the long word for that? Understanding! She’s very understanding of me.”

“Well, it enjoys me to talk about Minecraft sometimes.”

Natalie: “Why are there no books on taking care of children?”
Kiera: “The same reason there are no gun owners in America.”

Mom: “The variety in nature is amazing.”
Natalie: “I know. I’m kind of surprised. I think everyone else is too.”

Dad made a joke.
Mom: “Yeah, that’s funny.”
Natalie: “-ish.”

Girl is reading trivia in Nat Geo Kids. The brain structure changes every time you learn something. “Your brain is probably huge!” she says. “Gettin’ outta college, people’s brains must be 25 miles long!” Um–college doesn’t really make most people smart like that. “It doesn’t? Wow.”

Q: If dairy was alive, where would it live?
A: In a cottage cheese.

“Even though you’re mostly subording to the others?” (?)

“She has all these corners going around with her.” Cronies? “It’s hard to say with this gum in my mouth.”

“Countries aren’t all that creative.” Oh? “Mexico. Went over to New Mexico. York went over to New York. Zealand. Went over to New Zealand. Hmmm?” Zealand’s not a country. “Darn. Ruined my speech. …I knew you’d like that: ‘Ruined my speech.'”

“Only the pros know how to do it. Lucky pros.”

“Thirty-five!! I want cheerings!”

Ramblings from the summer of 2015 that, as I type them in February 2016, I have no sense of what they meant: “Hey, wanna play “Catch the Octopies? …Why would I show up in the Times? …Oh. I know what I’m doing. And it’ll be my fault.”



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.