Where Does She Get it From?

I was going through my old Facebook photo albums the other day. It’s wild to see how our family has grown and changed since the first day I signed up for social media all those years ago.

During my stroll down memory lane I came across a series of photographs. Of my daughter. From over a year ago. Refusing to swallow a bite of food.

As I was looking at my two-year-old little SweetZ obstinately holding food in her mouth for more than an hour, I was asking myself, “Where does she get it from?” – that stubborn refusal to do the thing that she really doesn’t want to do.

Then a childhood memory of my own came flooding into my thoughts – a very specific trip to the dentist. I’d heard my parents whispering in the front seat of the car during the trip there about what we were going to have done. They didn’t know I was listening, but I was. Even though I was too young to fully understand everything they were saying, I was, however, plenty old enough to understand these words:




I made up my mind very quickly – lonnnnnng before we reached the dentist’s office. No way in hell was I going to open my mouth. That dentist could call frogs from the waters and fire from the heavens, and nothing – ABSOLUTELY NOTHING – was going to make me open my mouth. Not if doing so meant that there would be needles, shots, and stitches.

I remember sitting in the dentist’s chair (which to my little, distrustful eyes, seemed like some kind of mutant-mechanical praying mantis waiting to eat me, slowly and painfully), looking up at the posters they had tacked up on the ceiling. A kitten sitting in a wagon. A pretty rainbow scene. That classic shot of the two little boys wearing overalls that reads, “So, how long have you been farming?” I distrusted those posters. They reminded me of clowns. And I was LIGHTYEARS ahead of Stephen King when it came to the ugly truth behind clowns. I had my own preconceived notions regarding those devilish bastards before IT was published…and he was 39 when that went to print. I was a mere sprite when I realized the true evil behind clowns. But that’s a story for another post, another day.


I was staring up at those posters, all alone in the examination room, contemplating my chances of success if I were to bolt, when the dentist came in.

He said hello.

I stared at him.

His nurse said hello.

I ignored her and stared at him.

He sat on his chair and pulled on his mask. His eyes crinkled behind his glasses. Maybe he was trying to smile at me. I thought he was glaring.

He asked me to open my mouth.

I stared at him.

He repeated himself.

I stared at him and gave my head a tiny shake. No.

He looked at the nurse and gave her a slight nod. She moved a step closer to the chair.

My tiny head shake grew into something a little bigger.

I don’t remember much past this point. It’s all kind of a blur. There was a commotion, some loud yelling, and hands holding my shoulders down while someone else tried to pry my mouth open.

I still have bad dreams. I still loathe dentists.

I don’t know if they were able to do what we’d come for them to do – I honestly don’t remember. All I remember was clinging to the notion that if I were to survive that visit, I MUST NOT OPEN MY MOUTH.

So, as I was looking through our family photographs of my daughter displaying her stubbornness, I realized,


She gets it from me.

And I smiled. Because even though she’ll have to learn to develop the kind of self-control that doesn’t allow her to just give into her stubbornness willy-nilly, seeing myself reflected in her is a pretty darn cool thing.

Now, check out SweetZ in her 1 hr, 10 minute refusal to swallow her food.

Fifteen minutes into her refusal to swallow a bite. She’s still trying to smile at me as if to say, “Look, lady. I could do this all night long.”

Twenty minutes in. It’s becoming less and less fun.

Forty-five minutes into the battle of the wills. All eye contact has been cut off. She had no idea at this point just how stubborn her mama could be. And clearly, I had no idea just how stubborn my daughter could be.

A full hour into it. An HOUR, people.

And there it is. Seventy minutes later, the will broke. The food was swallowed. And there was much, much cuddling. We never had an issue with her swallowing her food again.

ROW80 Check-In: Week 4

Hey y’all!

Week four was satisfying. Reading, writing, exercising…all went well. There wasn’t a whole lot of overachieving going on, but I nailed each goal (except one), which is enough for me at the moment. The exception was the ‘do something good for myself’ goal (*scrunches up nose*), but I’ll do better this coming week, promise.

Hey, and you guys, I absolutely loved getting feedback on writing log-lines (and blurbs), and can’t wait to spend some time this week playing with your suggestions. Thanks – like, a ton!

The really, really good news is that I think we’re looking pretty darn good, homeschool-wise. If that aspect of my life is going smoothly, all the other pieces fall into place relatively easily.

Birthday boy!

Today marks my oldest child’s tenth birthday! We’re super pumped – at our house, we celebrate birthdays for a full week. Birthday weeks are everybody’s favorite because it’s a week chock-full of fun, fun, fun. So I might be a little more absent online than normal, partying my booty off to celebrate a decade with one of the coolest, most remarkable young men I’ve ever known. Go ahead and be jealous! Or, better yet, come over and join us in the fun. We know how to have a good time!

Wishing each of you a happy, productive week!

I Could Fly

When I was a little girl, I could fly.

Every recess you could find Little Jo Blu, as my grandfather called me, making a bee-line for the swings.  I would stay there for as long as I could, pumping my legs as hard as I could, soaring into the sky.  I could fly, and fly I did…usually donning an imaginary red cape very similar to the one Super-Woman wore.

I don’t really remember much about flying in the school-yard.  It seems like there must have been someone alongside me, but I can’t remember who.  The memory is isolated and foggy.  All I can really recall is the feeling I’d have in that achingly brief moment when my swing would reach as far as it could go, and for a instant – a fraction of a breath – I’d be suspended in air, weightless and free.  Then gravity would wrap its firm fingers around me – a reminder of just how earth-bound I was.

It never got old, that feeling of suspension.  The feeling that if I believed hard enough, I could become a bird, or at least fly like one.

Last week, as I was lying in bed wide-awake, trying to talk my frazzled mind into going to sleep, this memory (among others) careened into my brain.  I can’t figure out what prompted it, but I miss it.  Miss being so utterly lost in the feeling of swinging, in the power of imagination, that for the briefest of moments, you are what you dream you are.

These days my dreams are different.  I don’t daydream about flying.  I haven’t had an imaginary red cape in decades.  I dream about a house that cleans itself.  A dog that doesn’t shed, or eat poo.  Meals that make themselves.  Clocks that count seconds a little more slowly.

Somewhere between childhood and adulthood, I forgot about flying.  It left me.  No, that doesn’t sound right.  I think I left it.  At some point in my life I decided it was silly.  Too fanciful.  Unrealistic.

I think I need to go find a swing, and remember.