November 30, 2015: A Particular Place and Time

About the series: Everywhere you hear it: how fast it goes. How one minute you’re griping about “Seriously, is this kid ever going to be potty trained?”, and the next minute she is, in fact, potty trained, and you’re at Target shopping for furniture for her college dorm room. How all the minutes in between have somehow vanished, and the only details you can recall are the ones in the stories you’ve told or the photos you’ve kept. Already, I feel it. My oldest is five and I find myself reaching for memories of the days when it was just the three of us. What did we do? How did she look at me? Was I the same mom to her that I am now, to all three? I can’t stop time, but I want some of it to stick. So I’m starting a new blog series about the moments. The details. The little world I live in. I hope that in my day-to-day you can recognize a bit of your own family and that we can continue to make this journey together.

November 30, 2015. Lunchtime.


Today I made macaroni and cheese. It’s a treat for the kids, something we reserve for dinner on nights when we’ve made a meal we know they won’t even attempt. But peanut butter gives Ceci eczema and I don’t have anything in the house to make a different kind of sandwich. While the noodles boil, I let all three girls play in the playroom. Maggie is circling toys in a catalog that came today in the mail. Ceci has just abandoned a magnetic dress-up doll and asked me to put a fairy princess dress on over her black and silver Star Wars shirt. She tops the look off with a firefighter hat. Wook at my hat, mom. Alex is sitting in the middle of the mess, though I’ve scanned the radius around her and scooped up all the small pieces I can see. She is always happiest near her sisters, regarding them with eyebrows raised, equal parts surprised and in awe of everything they do.

When the noodles are ready, Maggie wants to put in the cheese. I point out the hot burner and let her pull a chair up to the stove. She and Ceci take turns climbing up to stir. Alex clutches the bottom rung of the chair and gazes upward.

The older girls choose to sit next to each other at the table, which Maggie points out, because usually we stagger them as a method of crowd control. Maggie eats ravenously, dragging macaroni up the sides of the bowl with her fingers. I worry sometimes about her manners, but she’s five. Other kids are probably grosser. At least I hope so. Ceci is still wearing her pink crushed velvet dress and eats with tiny bites. Alex has finished her first bowl of squash with applesauce; I get up to get her more and put a few sweet potato puffs on her tray. When those are gone Maggie takes it upon herself to give Alex more, but first she checks beneath the high chair and in Alex’s lap to see if she’s dropped any. These, Maggie eats.

This is lunch. Next is nap. Dishes are abandoned as Maggie and Ceci race upstairs. I give them a head start. They like to hide from me, and while I know their hiding spot – behind the crib, the same one every time – I still play along. There is one spoonful of macaroni remaining in the pot. This, I eat. Then I heft Alex on my hip and head upstairs to join the others.

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