Tag Archives: birthday

The Pants Is 8

This guy turned 8 this month with characteristic passion and intensity.


The waters are rough.

K-Pants 2017

But worth sailing.


On his birthday he said to me,


“For two years it was only me.”

Me and K-Pants Hiking 2017. MomsicleBlog

“Do you wish you were an only child?” I asked.


“Of course no,” he said.


And that made me happy. Summer awaits.



Seven, OR I’m Tired of Trying to Positively Discipline My Way Out of Every Situation

K-Pants Turns 7. MomsicleBlog

K-Pants turned seven last week. He still loves pink, but he doesn’t wear his pink shoes to school. I was chatting with him before his birthday, and he told me that you don’t get teased before you start school or in college, “but the middle years are the teasing years.”

He’s smart and intuitive and thinks deeply about a lot of challenging things.

K-Pants is 7. MomsicleBlog

Parenting him is getting harder. I expect to say that every year on his birthday.

We fight every day. “You’re the meanest,” he says. And I counter, “It’s not my job to be nice. It’s my job to teach you to be independent and kind.”

The irony of teaching him to be kind while being the meanest person he knows does not escape me. But in his world, he would eat unlimited Twix bars and never sleep. And he would make sure everything about his life was better than his brother’s. So tough sh*t, dude.

It’s liberating to live into the title of Meanest Mom. I’m tired of trying to positive discipline and collaboratively problem-solve my way out of every situation. I have the love and the logic. But I can’t stay calm in the face of his rages and my exhaustion.

Last week we escaped to the Columbia River Gorge–the kids and me and my grandma (but remember, you don’t know she exists or gets in our car). At the beginning of our trip, we headed to Lyle, Washington. It has a rugged and stunning outcropping of rocks just above the Columbia River. I knew this spot would etch a hard line into K-Pants’s soul. When he’s in nature he sings and dances.

Lyle, Washington. MomsicleBlog

He had to use the bathroom when we got there, and there was no port-o-potty, which would have been a stretch for him anyhow because he likes to sit in a nice bathroom and take his time. So I taught him how to go outside.

He hated it. Then he was hot, and he didn’t want to pull his pants up. Or drink water. Or go to the river. When the rest of us started down the path, he dug in his heels.

We were there for him, and he preferred to stand next to the scorching hot car with his pants down. His brain was shutting down and he couldn’t access any executive functions. I should have kneeled down to his level and empathized.

But I was done.

It takes a lot of planning to take a seven-year-old, a four-year-old, and a baby on a magical outdoor adventure. After hours getting there, I didn’t have it in me to keep it together and empathize with him.

“Too bad: We’re going,” I said. “You can’t LEAVE ME!” he said. “YES, I CAN.”

I couldn’t see him down by the river, and I didn’t really look back. It was enough to deal with a whining four-year-old and a fussy baby, and to try to allow my eyes to take in the beauty around us rather than letting my anger at K-Pants ruin everything. But then he popped up on a hill nearby.

K-Pants at Lyle. MomsicleBlog

I left Boy Woww with my grandma (remember, she wasn’t there, but also God bless her), and I set off, with the baby in the carrier, to trail K-Pants. He would bob down into a small ravine, and then pop up again. I had to be careful not to be caught following, or he would add space. He knew that if I got too close he would lose his freedom–I would lunge him like a spirited horse, making him buck and run until he had nothing left and I could put a saddle on and guide him where I wanted him to go.

Finally, after he sat down looking out toward the river, he let me get within scratching distance.

K-Pants Meditating at Lyle. MomsicleBlog

“Do you know what I’m doing, Mama?” he said. “I’m meditating.”


On our way back home to Portland, we stopped at my sister’s tiny cabin near Mt. Hood. Our collective chaos can inflate one of those winter bubbles they put over tennis courts or pools, so shoving us into a tiny cabin with a steep staircase up to a miniscule loft with no railing—it felt like we were precariously everywhere and about to crash it all down.

My sister’s boyfriend is one of three boys.

“Did your mom survive raising you?” I asked him as I shoved people back into the car at the end of our visit. “And do you speak to her?”

“We have a great relationship–and she used to say to us, You’re sucking the life out of me!


So K-Pants is seven. As we head toward the summer and the shock of new routines, I’m feeling free. I’m going to lure my wild horse down to the river with all my meanest mom tricks. When he gets older, we’ll see if he’s independent and kind, but my goal right now is just that I survive it all.

Happy Birthday K-Pants, You Wild, Wonderful Thing

This guy is six.

K-Pants Six, Voodoo Doughnuts. MomsicleBlog

He’s intense. I’m exhausted by and incredibly grateful for his wild and creative personality… and his pink shoes.

For his birthday, K-Pants was adamant about the cake: It needed to be chocolate cake, with white and dark chocolate chips and Voodoo donuts baked in, white frosting on top, with a rainbow, and Star Wars figures.

Sure. I’m along for the ride.

So we got in line with the tourists behind the pink prison bars…

K-Pants Six, Voodoo Doughnuts. MomsicleBlog

And we carefully selected the sugar bombs we needed for the cake.

K-Pants Six, Voodoo Doughnuts. MomsicleBlog

And K-Pants was ready to get to work when we got home.

K-Pants Six Voodoo Doughnuts Cake. MomsicleBlog

This guy, man.

I never would have concocted a plan like this, and that’s a huge part of his gift to us. Six years ago he unlocked the box to my writing muses; he painted our rainbow in much brighter colors; and he took our lives like taffy and stretched them out.

Happy birthday, Mr. Pants.

On Turning 30

My birthday is coming up and it’s a big one: I’m turning thirty.

I think I have a lot of flexibility in how to approach this birthday because I recall that forty is the new thirty. Or was it fifty is the new thirty? I’ll have to check with the AARP.

Either way it’s way better than 600 years ago when ten was the new thirty.

So I figure I have about twenty years of my thirties until I really hit my stride.

Plus, when I look around I see that the thirties can be pretty awesome. Take my husband. In his thirties he met me, I stalked him, we went to India, got married, and had K-Pants.

By far the best decade of his life.*

*He hasn’t read the blog since we moved, so I feel pretty secure making these claims.

The other nice thing is that even though more people depend on me now than in my twenties, things are simpler. I know what I want: family. I know that I can set my own terms for the work I do and that I can take some time to enjoy my current flexibility.

All I really need is a subscription to Cook’s Illustrated so I can find out what the nerd chefs have been up to. And maybe a personal stylist.

So I feel good about entering my thirties, and about the fact that I have a few decades to enjoy them. Especially because turning thirty needs a big party, but it’s not happening this time. Being knocked up and wanting to nap all the time doesn’t match up with my plans for an all-night bar crawl. But watch out in 2021 for your invitation to my surprise thirtieth bash at the Bellagio in Vegas.

Any thoughts or good stories to share from your thirties?