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I have an article up on Great Memoirs for New Moms”, on a blog called Flashlight Worthy Books.

I love the idea of their blog: assembling lists of books so good you can’t put them down, on a variety of topics. I also love the execution; I’ve linked to them a few times because their lists usually are as good as they say they are. It’s an honor to write for them, and you should check it out.

One book I did not include on my list of mommy memoirs is Heather B. Armstrong’s new book, It Sucked and then I Cried. This is because I have not read it yet. Based on the quality of her blog and the press her book has gotten, I think it likely to be very good. Flashlight worthy even. I’m looking forward to reading it.


I’ve been on hiatus as a professional writer for three years in Babyland. I’m ready to spread those wings again.

So before I left for my vacation, I wrote out a clear concise plan for getting my career off the ground. It had lists of markets to submit to, with their upcoming submission deadlines and notes about the articles I’d like to write for them. It was a rare gasp of organizational skill. A breakthrough in my normal haze of creative chaos.

But I’m still me, so I wrote this all out on the back of a green index card, which I left on my desk so it would be waiting for me to begin work on when I got home.

When I got back to my desk the card was gone.

I’ve found half a dozen green index cards, identical to the one I outlined my career plan on except… each one is covered with Rio’s drawings or Serena’s scribbles.

It’s hard to read much into those wiggly black lines, but I think the Universe might be trying to tell me something about how good the timing is to move some of my energy away from mothering towards writing.

This morning, Rio followed me around for hours with a notebook, asking me to spell words for her so she could write them down. She wrote stories and then read them aloud to me.

I knew this day would come. The day the pieces just clicked into place and she had  a new skill and that skill was writing words on a page. When I decided to homeschool her, when I trusted the “print-rich” approach over any kind of reading lesson, I trusted she’d learn to read and write on her own.

Still, it was like watching a baby’s first steps. You may have known the kid would learn to walk, as nearly all kids do. You may have realized those steps were close. But the moment the baby moves toward you on her own two feet is still magic.

After the thrill wore off a bit (around hour three), it got annoying. I had things to do other than spell every word Rio could think of.

At lunch we had a talk about plagarism. “I’m not going to spell words for you all day,” I said. “If you want to know how to write ‘Madeline went to the park’, look the words up in your Madeline book and copy them.”

“But Mama! Copying someone else’s work is not nice. I am not going to copy!”

After some difficulty, I persuaded her that in this instance it was OK. She spent the rest of the day copying words out of her children’s books and bringing them to me to read aloud for her.

She was so physical in this, her whole body vibrating with the effort. She ran, she shouted, she stood beside me and stomped her foot impatiently while I put down the dish I was washing or the bill I was paying and turned to read what she’d written.

“Drip.” “Drop.” “Bunny.” “Amazing.”

Here she interrupted me.

“I know it’s amazing, Mama! But what does this word say?”


We stared at each other for a moment. Then I told her the word says amazing, and that amazing starts with an ‘a’. And she was off and running again, to copy it onto three more pages, in different colors.


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A little bird told me…

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