Dear J,

You woke up in a full scream. “AAAAA!” We ran to your room. “What’s wrong?” A few nights ago, the dry air gave you a nosebleed in your sleep. So, we thought we’d find you in a pool of blood again.

“Are you okay?” Mama picked you up and hugged you tight. You wheezed, “I don’t want… the big… bad… wolf… to come into my house.”

You started having nightmares. Good thing we already read a story about “bad dreams”, so we talked about it before. That helped you connect some dots, but not enough. We assured you that you were safe. Your bed is a safe place. Your home is safe. Plus, we have Kimi. She will bark the eyes off any stranger and she can give anyone a nervous breakdown.

Then you became more interested about why Kimi barks at strangers. “What is a stranger?” “Why does Kimi bark at strangers?” “Why did Kimi bark at the two girls at the park?” “Why did mama laugh at them?”

We had a fun day at the zoo. I still can’t believe mama took both of you to the zoo alone the other day. Even strangers came up to her and said, “You are brave coming here alone with two.” What happened was, you were supposed to go to the Children’s Discovery Museum on Tuesday, but it was closed. Since all of you were already out, and you were teetering on a nuclear meltdown because you had been looking forward to a fun day, she took all of you to the zoo instead.

No challenge to great for super mama

No challenge to great for super mama

When we came home, mama smiled and said, “He has so much fun with you.” I hope so, because I know one of us is tired after all of that. Even the meerkats were sleepy.

Things are different now. Instead of us persuading you, you lead us to the things you want to do. We went on the carousel 5 times. Then you took us to the cars. Then the ladybug. Then the dragon train. Then lunch. Then you said you wanted to play some more. You led me to the play structures, by the hand, up the steps. (Julie stayed with mama, of course.) When mama brought you the other day, she couldn’t help you do dangerous things. But Danger Dad was here today. So you went down a 10 ft firepole-step for the first time. Then back up. Then back down. Then back up and down and up and down again. Every time you learn something new, you get excited and you want to do it again and again.

Even if it’s as simple as stepping through a door:

But today, Danger Dad took you down the tall twisty slide, and the long slide:

I don’t know if adults were allowed in there. I saw another dad do it and it seemed sturdy enough.

But despite all that, there are days when you say…

I don’t like you very much, daddy

What? Okay, I’ll look at Julie instead. “No, don’t look at Julie.” Why? “I don’t want you to. You cannot look at her.”

I asked Mama about it later, and she mentioned that sometimes you snuggle up to her or whimper when you hears me waking up in the morning. Sometimes you do that when you hear me opening the garage door after work too.

She said she asked you why. But either you don’t know or you wouldn’t tell her. But in the shower the other day, I figured it out.

I said to mama, “I know why. It’s because he knows that every time I appear, his time with mama is over.” Because we take turns. For example, mama picks you up from school, and when I come home, I take you for a walk with Kimi while Mama stays at home to cook. In the morning, mama gives you breakfast first, then I tear you away from her to take you to school.

So as much as you love me, you don’t like to have to end your time with mama. So, I’ve been trying to make our transitions less sudden. Like every time I appear, I’ll say hi, then just hang around.

Remember the book I was reading last week called women’s ways of knowing? I finally finished it. What I got from it was that women feel like freed slaves. The first 95% of the book revolved around that theme. Apart from that, I found the last 2 chapters most useful.

Some of my notes:
Deflation of your authority is important to help your students learn. It’s important to reveal your flaws to your students. (Women) students need opportunities to watch profs solve and fail to solve problems. We need models of thinking as a human, imperfect and attainable activity.

This goes with my belief that all of us are born scientists — curious investigators, experimenters and truth-seekers. The formal education system of “memorization” just drives a stake in every child’s brain, crippling your natural curiosity like a butcher’s lobotomy.

So as parents, we have to protect your little learning engines. To remind you that you already know how to learn. You already have the power. You just need to help it come out. Like nurturing a seed and helping it grow.

This week in pictures/videos:

Snacking on daddy's thumb

Snacking on daddy’s thumb

Oops she can’t sit yet…

But she can grab her own feet

But she can grab her own feet

J gets ice cream reward for helping mama clean all the rooms:

Walking with your current favorite book before farmer’s market

Reading Little Blue Engine that Could

Reading Little Blue Engine that Could

Playing in the rain:

Limping boo boo:

No roots (laughing at me because I can’t find roots to show you):


Mama's helping you learn to read by labeling everything

Mama’s helping you learn to read by labeling everything

You found some of her word cards on the floor and corrected her, “This is how you draw, mama… dots dots dots”

Then you drew a spiral

Then you drew a spiral

I didn’t know if you were going to stop. But this experiment successfully proved you are a safe rider:

You conduct experiments every night at bath time

You conduct experiments every night at bath time

You're always mama's snugglepuppy, especially when she's on the phone

You’re always mama’s snugglepuppy, this time when she was on the phone

Kimi obeys her new master:

The diggers are usually parked on our evening walks. One day, we saw them working late:

Delicious fingers and toes:

Delicious pizza is more delicious when you make it yourself:

And finally, drop off stories:

Zoo sounds

In the car, J said “Daddy I want music.”

I turned on his CD and the song “What would you do if they put you in charge of the zoo” came on. Instead of singing the words, he sang all the sound effects:

*elephant trumpet* *WeeEEEEEEee!* *scream* *wooooeeee!*

So I sang along too.

On the way to Starfish, I saw a squirrel in the sandbox. I said Look! a Squirrel! He observed silently. We watched the squirrel for about 5 minutes. It jumped onto the bench. Then it hopped back down. Then it flew onto the tree trunk and climbed to the end of a thin branch. Then it hung upside down. He loved it. “WHY IS IT HANGING UPSIDE DOWN??? WHY? WHY?”

When we got to Starfish, I put him down. At first he held my finger tight. I said I have to put your things away. Then he saw the activity cube and ran away to play with it. I put his things away and he was engaged with the cube.

When I was done, I went back to say bye. I asked him, “Can I go to work now?” He thought for a little, then looked at me and said, “YA!” So I hugged him tight and kissed him and said I love you and mama and Julie are picking you up later.

As soon as I exited the door, I peeked in. He ran from the activity cube with his arms like an airplane, across the room. He put one hand on each couch armrest and jumped over the gap. Then he circled the area near the couches and looked like he was looking for something.

I’ve never seen him so confident after I left before.


When we got to Starfish, Jayden and Natalie and a few other kids were running in circles with wings on their backs.

When Jayden saw Joshua she ran to him and said, “Jawshooa here you go” and gave him a set of wings. I said Look WINGS and J wanted to put them on so I helped him.

Green wings

Green wings

Good morning teachers. They said they got the wings from the dollar store nearby.

We looked for something to play but all his friends were in one corner playing with an activity cube. So I said let’s go say hi to your friends. I was surprised he didn’t resist. He actually wanted to go see what they were doing.

Natalie was sitting down with JP. She showed us all the sides. J liked the side with a wheel that spun. No one was sitting on that side. I stepped back. J pointed at it, still cautious. I said “Spin it.” He spun it, smiled, then started walking around the cube to explore.

I hugged him and kissed him and said bye. He stopped to let me squeeze him but then shuffled along with his wings with his friends.

Wed – music, wings and train

Right outside the garage, he said, “Daddy I want music please.”

He wanted me to play the last slow song on the CD over and over. The one where they say good night and there’s so much to do tomorrow. We can laugh and play.

When we stopped the car at CCLC, he said, “Daddy, why did you stop the music?”

I hummed the song on the way to class and he smiled.

At starfish, I saw a pair of green wings on the floor. “Do you want to put on these wings?” He said “I want PINK ones!” Okay, I found a pink set in a bin. It only had three wings instead of 4. I put it on him anyway and he didn’t mind.

He took me around the room and stopped at the train bin. He reached for a train and pushed its button. It didn’t make a sound. He fished for the other one and pushed its button. WOOO WOOO he smiled and took it out.

Jayden and Natalie were building tall unstable towers with big wooden blocks. Jayden said “I’m making a tower. I have to keep it up.” It was an inverted triangle and she had her arms surrounding it. Then Natalie pushed it over, they laughed, and then they started throwing the blocks around and the teachers came to do damage control.

J walked around and I said here are the train tracks. We made train tracks away from the block wars. We made an oval and he pushed his train around it. WOO WOO one of his friends came over with a baby and two cars. I said you can play with us. J said, “NO!” I said I want to share with him so he is happy too. J said, “NOOO!” I said look we can make space, and he can play with his own train tracks. I put a few links for him and he sat down and pushed his cars on the rails.

I asked J if he was okay for me to go, and he said sadly, “yeaaaa…” As I left, he was lying on the floor with his head turned to the side. He was looking at his train and pushing it back and forth.

Fri – I don’t like school

He loved singing the zoo song on the way to school again.

But when we got to the parking lot, he said, “I don’t want to go to school.” This was after you saw us talking about it in the living room, because he said, “I don’t like school.”

I said, “You can take your time.”

He said, “I want to take my time.”

Okay. So I said we can take our time and talk about something. I went around to uncip him. I said you can leave something here. He looked at the book in his left hand and the animal cracker in his left hand. He said, “I will eat the cracker” all gone.

On the way to class, he said, “Can you talk about the Cal train?” C-A-L Cal. T-R-A-I-N train. “Can you talk about the red caltrain?” The red caltrain has a red circle with the word “Train” in it.

GOOD MORNING FRIENDS. Miss Ditte came to say hi. J didn’t want to go down. I put him down. He wanted me to pick him up but he managed his emotions and was ok with me just hugging him. Ms Ditte said there will be a guest reader today. Her friend.

Then she saw his book. J showed him the Trains book. She asked him if he wanted to read it and they went to read on the chair. I said thanks. Then Arjun came to stick his nose in the book. J didn’t want to share his book. Ms Ditte did her usual “No Arjun” thing and Arjun left.

I said I love you goodbye and J stared into space with his lower jaw pushed out.

“WHY?” The saga continues. Here’s mama’s new approach:

J: “Mama, why is it night time?”
Mama: “Because it is dark outside”
J: “Why is it dark outside?”
Mama: “Because the sun went down”
J: “Why did the sun go down?”
Mama: “Because the planet rotated enough”
J: “Why did the planet rotated?”
Mama: “Angular momentum”
J: “Momentum… mama, why is it dark outside?”
Mama: *facepalm*

The “Whys” don’t stop. Mama would say, “I don’t know.”
You’d say, “Why don’t you know?”
“Because I don’t know everything. Do you know everything?”
You’ll say, “Yes!”
“Okay, why?”
“Because Armadillo!”



P.S. – Remember how mama started her new mom support group at Tiny Tots for her business? Mama was excited to have a proper circle this week. Usually they come in one at a time, but this week there were three moms plus one grandma at the same time. Her support group has been growing every week.

P.P.S. – More good news for you to be proud of mama. Last week, we took both of you to get vaccinated. This week, mama went back for J2’s second shot. The nurse said, “Oooo your baby so cute. Is she breastfeeding?” Mama said of course. She said, “You’re so lucky.” Mama said, “In fact, I’m coming to talk on Tuesday about breastfeeding with the doctors.” “Oh is that you? They have been talking about you! They are very excited.” Mama was invited to lunch at the pediatricians’ office. Remember how it started with a pamphlet? Now the whole office is interested in making their practice more breastfeeding-friendly, and mama is volunteering herself as the resident lactation consultant. I’ll let you know how this story unfolds!

Good night…

Bedtime stories

Bedtime stories. It’s a miracle how we make it through every day still sane. Or maybe it’s not a miracle or maybe we’re no longer sane.