What My Girls Don’t Know

Grandparents Brunch for the girls at school. I just got the notice, and thought nothing of it.  But driving to school one gloomy morning, I started crying and just couldn’t stop. My mom would have LOVED attending a grandparents brunch. I mean LOVED. Cause that woman…she was fierce with her affections. And I am just so sad she missed the whole grand-parenting gig. I am sad for her. I am sad for me. But not so much for my girls. They don’t know. They don’t know that their grandmother would have made a bazillion ten-hour trips to see them – to be with them – to breathe them in. They don’t know that she would have made sure they had a softball, or basketball, or tennis racket in theirs hands as soon as they could walk. They don’t know that she would have brushed, braided, curled, and styled their hair. They don’t know that she would have played and played and played with them. They don’t know that she would have rocked them endlessly. They don’t know that her laughter might have frightened them because it was so full, robust, and LOUD.  They don’t know that she would have danced and danced and danced with them. They don’t know that she would have hummed them to sleep as she lovely gazed upon their faces. They don’t know that her hugs would have left them breathless. They don’t know that she would have loaded them up in the car and set off on adventure after adventure. They don’t know that she would have fought for them. They don’t know that she would have loved them well…so very well. They don’t know. But they will. One day, I will tell them. And we will laugh. And cry. Because right now…childhood…they are unaware of what they are missing out on. They don’t know.


My Crazy Recognizes Her Crazy

Eden is, no doubt, her own person. But we share some similarities…our emotions run high. I’ve recently discovered that Eden, much like her mama, will lose her ever-loving mind if she feels rushed. I don’t recall exactly how I made this discovery. Likely, my crazy recognized her crazy…long-lost buddies. Anyhoo, one day I simply said, “Eden, there’s no rush.” BOOM…magic balm. It is amazing to watch. Here is today’s episode of “How to Tame a Frantic Heart:”

We were at the library. Eden was happy. We were all happy. Books. Yea!!! Cool air conditioning in this awful heat. Yea! It was about time to go, so I gave the ol’ “Five more minutes, girls.”

My precious bundle of Edenness lost it. Complete meltdown. Screaming. I mean…SCREAMING. She all but fell on the floor as she shrieked, “I DID NOT GET A DVD YET!!!” Scream, scream, scream. (Note, Eden is a perfectly delightful girl. We’re mostly done with stuff like this. But….) (Okay, second note, I have these very same reactions…but they typically take place in my head. Still…my crazy recognizes her crazy…best buds.)

And I pulled out my secret weapon. I came close, touched her, and quietly whispered, “There’s no rush, baby. No rush.” AND all the crazy melted away…and there was my girl, once again. Whew. She got her DVD and tra la la…happy.


Hello. My name is Jan. My daughter is about to enter kindergarten. The very fact that it is JANUARY and she will not begin until the fall probably tells you a little something about me. Or that fact that I went to my first home-school convention when she was eight MONTHS old. That might give you a hint. Or the fact that I’ve sat down with my buddy who is the principal of a local elementary school to get the lowdown on public education. And then there’s the private school that I’ve visited. Twice. That does a half a day kinder with TONS of outdoor play and exploration…and, by they way, is my dream school. And costs a million dollars. Oh, and I definitely plan on walking up the block to the elementary school at the end of our street to take a tour and sit in on a class.

What is wrong with me? You guys. This is not rocket science. I am CLEARLY the product of privilege. And perhaps emotional instability. And a touch of over-think-it-itis. Whatever the case, I am laughing at how absurd I am making this whole…venturing into education thing.

Phil? Cool as a cucumber. Of course. Cause at the end of the day, she will be fine. And she will do fine. And there will be mistakes and tears and injustice…whether I school her at home, up the street, or at my dreamy-dream school.

Though I know I am…uh…analyzing this thing to death…I can’t seem to stop myself. Thank God for Phil. Right? Oh, and for all those amazing options. Let’s not forget that. How fortunate?

But seriously, this little stint into motherhood…the FIRST one entering school…this thing has to have some sort of name. Right?

Oh. And the really funny part of my situation? After the first year, we will be an RV family. So we will be homeschooling. Hey. Maybe we’ll just skip kinder!

Eden — Four and Nine

Eden is such an enchanting girl. The girls wears her heart proudly on her sleeve. Good thing her heart is so lovely. Well, except for when it’s not. Even then, I adore that she is authentic in all that she is…hides nothing. She’s a breath of fresh air in a weary world.image

At four years and nine months, Eden:

  • is not satisfied with a simple, “no” reply. Eden’s version = “No, ho, ho!!!”
  • has named the phenomenon in which one sneezes and toots at the same time. It is an achoo toot. Quite appropriate, I think.
  • has mastered the remote. And life will never be the same.
  • does her own laundry. Or more accurately, can do her own laundry. Joyfully. Because she’s only four. (Phil is da man behind any chore stuff…teaches the girls to do laundry, to sort laundry, and to put away laundry. THANK GOD for this man.)
  • has discovered the delights of the chicken leg. And she’s terribly sad that only two legs come with a bird. AND, she’s discovering where chicken legs come from…which, yes, gives me pause. It freaks her out a bit that chicken legs are…CHICKEN LEGS. We may have a future vegetarian on our hands. We’ll see.
  • enjoys pork chops, but believes them to be chicken. She even asked, “Is pork chop a way to say chicken in French?” Hmmmm. Not so much.
  • looks for the recycling symbol on all of our food containers. Thanks, Rocky from Paw Patrol! We love you, buddy.
  • has embraced the joy of our new compost bin. Fun science stuff!
  • loves to play “house” with Denver. There are exactly two roles in house = the mother and “the dear.” I love that the kid is “the dear.”
  • greeted me one day with, “Mom, you’re just the woman that I wanted to see.”
  • thinks it is pretty hilarious to say “vulva hiney, vulva hiney, vulva hiney.” Yep, that’s a good one, kiddo.
  • unleashes her fury upon me from time to time. This one will need guidance in taking a moment or two to calm down before speaking…as does her mother! And just like me, she almost immediately regrets the words that flow forth. Case in point:
    • Eden: “When I am older, I am leaving and I will NOT be in your family ANY MORE!”
    • Me: “Oh! I’ll miss you. But I understand.”
    • Eden: “Well, I’ll stay close…in the neighborhood. And I’ll visit. BUT when you are mean, I will leave to be with my roommate.”
    • Me: “Sounds like a good plan.”
    • Eden: “But I’ll miss you when I’m gone.”
  • blesses me beyond measure.

Eden — Four and Eight

Such a helper!! This kid is killing me with her desire to help. She just jumps in and guides her younger sisters…buckling seat belts, holding bottles, getting a pacifier. I adore the person she is and is becoming.


At four years and eight months, Eden:

  • is a self-starter. Swoon. Am I right?
  • loves to fish. This is good. She comes from a loooooong line of fisher-people.
  • was wildly successful with her first fishing expedition. We were at a friend’s ranch. Eden would throw out her line, and…no lie…within 30-40 seconds, she would have a fish. Every. Time.
  • missed me sooooooooo much when I was away in Haiti. Her misery was sweet and awful. She’s such a precious girl with such a fierce devotion to her people.
  • likes to gather all of our toothbrushes…we have a collection of 15 or so…cause…well, kids’ toothbrushes are colorful and fun. Anyhoo, she lines them all up along the bathtub and talks to them…they are “her friends.”
  • wants me to kiss her “quiet”. Apparently, I give loud smooches. She likes the no-sound-kiss. (Try it some time folks, it’s harder than you think!)
  • loves to say…”STOP! COLLABORATE AND LISTEN.”
  • encourages folks with, “Now that’s a job well done.” I have no idea from whence this adorableness came.
  • loves to race…trikes, running, swimming, walking. She wants to race!
  • likes to whistle to get my attention…but she can’t whistle…so she says, “Woot whooo.”
  • has picked up the word “disgusting.” She uses is quite regularly…and I giggle every time.
  • has made the developmental leap…feeling awkward when I am not fully clothed. Sigh. It was bound to happen. Onward and upward, little girl.
  • is one of my most favorite persons…ever.

Eden — Four and Seven

Oh, my girl. She has reached an age I just adore. Granted, they’ve all been pretty nifty, but this four-and-a-half stage is delicious. She’s funny…with fewer tantrums. She’s helpful…with fewer meltdowns. She’s sweet…with a fiery temper. She’s just the type of girl I’d pick to be my best buddy. So, once we’re through with the whole growing up thing, I think I’ll have a great gal to hang with.

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Landon...her soul mate.
Landon…her soul mate.
Yes. Yes those are what you think they are. A whole box of them. Yea.
Yes. Yes those are what you think they are. A whole box of them. Yea.

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Makeup applied by Eden.
Makeup applied by Eden.

At four years and seven months, Eden:

  • likes to cut her own hair. Granted, she just snips bits and pieces, so it’s not really noticeable. I wouldn’t even know if not for the trail of golden tendrils she leaves here and there.
  • attended her first VBS…and adored it. Yea! (Jury is still out for the mama…were the four days worth all the blood, sweat, and tears? Eh, a definite maybe.)
  • is da boss of her little sisters: “Denver, you should ask before using Mama’s shampoo.” Hmph.
  • offered to help Denver get her shirt one. Swoon. Such a helpful girl.
  • likes to play Mom and Daughter with Denver. They take turns being the mama. Here is Eden’s rendition of…well…me: “Denver! How many times do I have to tell you??” (Damn it! I’m that mom.)
  • is very, very, VERY fancy these days. Our blessed Sadie (ten-year-old mother’s helper) gave Eden some hand-me-downs. Lots of glitter. Lots of sparkle. Eden is one happy girl.
  • notices and complements girls…and guys…on their wardrobe choices…necklaces especially…but also shirts…skirts. She walks right up to strangers because she MUST, MUST, MUST let them know how much she enjoys their outfits.
  • attended her first wedding. She wore a princess dress and sneakers. Classy.
  • has fallen in love with the Disney Short “John Henry.” It has captured her heart and mind. Ummmm, delving into slavery was…interesting. Gotta start somewhere. Right? I just wasn’t prepared. Too soon! Too soon!
  • calls John Henry, John Hickman. When I asked who John Hickman was, she said, “He’s the brown man with the hammer.”
  • got a hold of a dry erase marker…and went to town…table, TV, floor, door…nice shade of black. Grrrr.
  • is queen of the Quiet Game. Ironic. My non-stop talker is a master of the Quiet Game. Ahhhh. Sweet, sweet peace for da mama.
  • enjoys listening to K-Love (Christian Music). Eden and Denver are learning some of the songs…which is super sweet.They were belting out, “He’s making diamonds out of us.” Indeed.
  • calls Goo Gone “Gone Junk”. Yep. That’s about right.
  • knows our address! How does she know our address??? The discovery:
    • Eden: “I know our house number!”
    • Dad: “What is it?”
    • Eden: “One, three, four, one, four.”
    • Dad: “How did you know that?????”
    • Eden: “I see it when we leave the house.”
  • got a surprise visit from her BFF, Landon! (He moved away in May…sniff, sniff.) She was beside herself with joy.
  • is a delight to raise. An absolute delight. Thank you, Jesus, for this precious girl!

Eden — Four and Six

This big sister is a keeper! Eden is a master at keeping her ducks…or sisters…in a row. And boy, does the girl have a mind of her own! Though this is an excellent quality in life…it is hell on a mama. Yes, Eden knows her mind and continually pursues the art of the sway…”encouraging” others to see things her way. Eden is a bold as she is sweet…rough and tumble as she is gentle…serious as she is funny. Oh this girl…I love her so.

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At four years and six months, Eden:

  • thinks she can speak Spanish…fluently…and often does so.
  • can become overwhelmed with the loudness of three younger siblings, “They won’t leave me alone with their mouths.” I feel ya, sister. I feel ya.
  • has created a variation on the “Hello, my name is Inigo” bit. It goes something like this. “Hello. My name is Chloe. You did not kill my father. Prepare to not die.” Eh. Not too shabby. I believe I have mentioned, Chloe is Eden’s alias.
  • has “discovered” a third mother. There is me, of course. And there is Rosemary…her first and clearly most awesome mom…the one who let her do pretty much anything she wanted. Well, there is now Lucille. Lucille does not get much air time. I don’t know much about her…but she came after the beloved Rosemary, but before me. So there you have it.
  • bites her toenails. Gross. But impressive.
  • uses movie lines at every opportunity. I could not be more proud. This little scene is a takeoff of Megamind:
    • Phil: “What if the answer is no, Eden.”
    • Eden: “You don’t know what’s good for no!”
  • told Denver, “I am NOT being your friend anymore,” in a fit of frustration. Oh, the drama.
  • flew, like a boss, to Denver, Colorado. Not only was she a big help on the flight, she entertained folks around us. Tooooo fast! She is growing up too fast.
  • adored spending time with Papa, Lulu, Aunt Shea-Shea, Kyser, Uncle Greg, Celis, and Kilian.
  • is a BIG fan of Papa’s cinnamon toast. Who isn’t? Lots o’ butter…lots o’ sugar…what’s not to like?`
  • leaps before she looks. Gotta say, I love this little trait of hers. It reminds me so of…who is that? Oh yes, me. Here’s to the leapers in life!