How to Do A Toddler’s Hair in 37 Easy* Steps

* Um, “easy”.

1. Notice that E.’s hair, which was washed and put in twists a few days ago is starting to look a little fuzzy.

bath (fuzz head, with bonus forehead bruise)

2. Check her head and notice that there appear to be gravel in her hair. Apparently the plastic hard hat she has been wearing for digging the ever growing hole in the backyard isn’t helping keep her from dumping shovelfuls of dirt on her own head.


3. Casually, so as to not spook her or to let her know my intentions, come up behind her and attempt to remove the rubber band on one of her twenty twists. Very gently tug rubber band…

4. Stand back as E. shakes her head back and forth while shouting “No! No pretty hair!”

5. Distract her with a Lego guy. Use ninja skills to get rubber band out.

6. Catch her as she tries to escape out the backdoor.

7. Repeat steps 3-6.

8. Turn TV on to the very rarely used Disney Jr channel, watch as E emerges from hiding under the table, drawn in by the sounds of Doc McStuffins.

9. Get her to sit on my lap to watch the show. Use ninja skills to get rubber band out.

10. Repeat steps 4-9

11. Threaten to turn off TV unless she lets me take rubber bands out.

12. Turn off TV

13. Comfort crying toddler.

14. Turn on TV, remind her to sit still. Ninja skills, etc.

15. Remove ten rubber bands as she gets absorbed in show. Confirm suspicion that this isn’t hurting her, just annoying her as she doesn’t want to have to stop playing.

16. Ask her is she wants a bath. Watch as she runs toward the tub so fast that almost crashes into the bathroom door. Girlfriend loves the tubby time.

17. Gather supplies: her special shampoos, hair pick, shea butter cream for after bath, rat tail comb to get out tangles.

18. Deposit child in tub with an assortment of toys. Use ninja skills to get final few rubber bands out.

19. Watch as child uses the big red cup to pour water on her own face. Use cup to pour water on her hair, endure screaming.

20. Apply and later shampoo.

21. Tell child to lay back in tub for a rinse.

22. Tell child to sit down in the tub

23. Tell child to SIT DOWN IN THE TUB

24. Watch child try to steal the big red cup so it can’t be used to rinse hair. Steal it back. Tell her to lay back so no shampoo gets in her eyes.


26. Give up on the getting her to lay down in the tub, dump water on her head to rinse shampoo.

27. Sigh as the second I am done rinsing her hair (amidst fierce protests) she does this:

BeFunky_bath girl.jpg You’re killing me, smalls.

28. Put a ridiculous amount of conditioner in my hands. Rub it through her hair until her hair is practically white with it.

29. Pick, pick, pick.

30. Fail to notice that child has refilled big red cup. Get up to dry off pants and floor.

31. Pick, comb, pick, comb.

32. Dodge big red cup as she dumps water over her head as she cheerfully hollers “I swimming!”

33. Removed pruned child from tub, swaddle in towel. Think she is the cutest thing:

BeFunky_bath towel.jpg

34. Let her admire her springy curls


35. Contemplate rebraiding her hair. Decide I don’t want to spend the next 40 minutes on it.

36. Feeling tired, deposit child in bed.

37. Check on her and discover getting her hair done must be exhausting for both of us:BsyU8jZCAAA70Gn (Completely sound asleep)

Total time: 1 hour, 37 minutes.



She sighs when she snuggles next to me in the big bed, happy to be starting her morning tucked under my arm. She won’t be still for long, so I take advantage of the moment. I kiss her forehead, I pat her still round belly, I stroke the soft skin of her arms and legs, pleased to feel that the elbow dimple is still there. She hands me her stuffed monkey (“Baby Sister”) and demands I give the monkey her fair share of kisses too.

She is two now and is, for most of the day, a whirling dervish of energy. She talks in full sentences and bothers her brother and in turns winsome and feisty and charming and stubborn. She is still happy to be called the baby, but I know her babyness is slippery at best.

One of the paradoxes of parenting young children is the twin desires to want them to stay babies and the desire for them to grow up, to be a bit more independent, to not need our time and attention so completely. I want to soak up every minute of her as a baby. I know I will mourn the loss of her chubby legs and belly as she begins to stretch out and become long and lean like her brother. I want to memorize her little voice and the way she says “Whatcho doin Mama?” and “Baby Sister is cryin! She needs hold you”. But I also want to sleep past 6:30 on Saturday mornings and to see her learn to play on her own while I read on the couch.

It would be nice, I think, if we could slide back and forth in time. To see both the future and be able to go back and hold the baby of the past, rather than trying, in vain, to hold on to the wisps of on stage while time marches relentlessly forward.

The Twitter Aunties

It is so easy and, sometimes, so accurate to be cynical about the internet. There are trolls make reading comments on articles an exercise in foolishness, there are the humblebrags and overshares of Facebook,and the threat of random dick pics on, well, practically every social media site.

For some people, like my husband who disabled his Facebook account years ago, the bad outweighs the good and they might find the hours that folks like me spend on Twitter or reading blogs to be perplexing or maybe even a waste of time. Why risk losing privacy or having weirdos look at pictures of the kids?

But for a lot of us who spend a lot of time online, being on Twitter feels like being part of a community. We cheer when people announce they are expecting, we coo over @Meggles new baby, we watch these babies grow into toddlers and little kids. There is a little village of aunties who know that @samanthajcampen’s Theo is a loving big brother and that @jonniker’s Sam is obsessed with tights and that @TwoAdults has excellent taste in snacks and two kids with the best dimples in all the land.

We share stories and tips and frustrations and pictures and we grow attached in a way that is real, online and off. And so when one to Twitter babies is suddenly very sick, it feels as scary and sad as if it happened to the kid next door.

One of the sweetest souls on Twitter, @MarianneCanada, got the worst news this week when she found out her baby Hugo has cancer. In the three days since they got the news, people who’ve never met Hugo have cried, prayed, lit candles and rallied to help. There is a fundraising page that started with a goal of $1000 but is now up to over $10,000. There are meal delivery being organized and connections to doctors and other families with similar stories being passed on. People want to help, to show they care.

Community can be such a cliche when it comes to social media (really, I who cares enough about crackers to join the “Saltines community”?) but it can be real and alive and I am grateful to be a small part of it.

Real Estate Dreaming

Mr. Monkey and I sat on the couch last night, scrolling through pictures of charming older homes in our dream city (DC for short). We happily noted built-in shelves and original wood trim in pictures of older Craftsman style houses that make me want to write a check for right now. We clicked past houses with only one bathroom (one of our few real deal-breakers) and yards that are too big (we are not so into the whole yard work thing). We wondered how long it will take us to get into one of those houses.

Sigh. The whole real estate thing is a tricky subject for me.

We currently rent a great old house in a basically perfect neighborhood. We’ve been renting for five years now, after the real estate stress that came with our old house in Arizona (see here for a recap of that hot mess). We currently live in a town where it would probably be cheaper to buy a house than rent, at least in terms of the monthly payment, but since we don’t plan to live here forever renting is the clear better choice for us. We’ll rent as long as we stay here and that is fine with me.

Someday though we hope to move to DC and stay there for the long haul. DC is also a real estate market where rent is expensive compared to the cost of a mortgage for a comparable house and so I find myself crunching the numbers and trying to figure out how we can save more for a down payment. We could probably put down about 5% right now and the distance between that and the ideal 20% seems like an exceedingly long distance to cover, even if we try to tighten up the budget and put more money in savings.

I’m aware that the whole buy vs. rent debate has both financial and emotional components. I want to own a house so I can feel like we are done moving (we’ve moved seven times in the last ten years) and that the kids can grow up in one house, one neighborhood. I don’t like some of the uncertainty of renting, like when we had to move out of our last rental house because our landlord put the house up for sale. But I also like not being responsible when something breaks and at having the option of moving if some amazing job comes along or if the house that seems perfect turns out to be filled with random structural and electrical issues that renting gives us.

I know that it is sort of a blogging cliche to end a post with a question, but I am genuinely curious: do you own or rent and how do you feel about that? How would or did you decide to buy?



(*i.e. things that feel true but maybe aren’t totally technically true)

1. If you are a woman (or, perhaps, a dude who is into such things) you will feel about 57% cuter than normal if you are wearing a matching bra and unders set.

2. If you workout hard enough to feel sore the next day, you are expected to work said soreness into at least three conversations or else the workout didn’t really count.

3 If someone above you in the food chain uses the word “twats” to describe another department, your best bet is to keep a neutral facial expression and not do this:

Picard Laughing

4. Nothing good can come of Googling “toddler rash photos”. NOTHING.

5. If you put read receipts on Every.Single.Email you send you should get your computer replaced with a typewriter posthaste until you can demonstrate that you have earned the right to email back.

6. The best time to remember that they installed new security cameras at work is NOT after you have just wriggled out of a sweaty sports bra in your office.

7. Cottage cheese looks like a side effect of a bad infection.

8. Red Vines are, in every way, superior to Twizzlers.

9. The best of all possible weather scenarios is either: rainy afternoon when you have nothing to do but read or sunny and 72 when you are near water.

10. Not all babies are cute. All babies are precious, but not all babies are cute.

This Girl


I’ve been thinking a lot this week about what it means to grow up as a girl. Countless Twitter friends have shared painful stories about their experiences of being sexually assaulted or harassed as part of the #YesAllWomen hashtag that started after the horrible shooting deaths in California.

So many women I know have stories from their past of things done without consent, about guilt or confusion or shame felt at being the object of someone’s sexual interest when they were far too young to have to deal with that, about having grown up with messages that said that preventing sexual assault was their job (don’t wear that, don’t drink too much, don’t walk alone at night).

Many of the women posting are mothers now and I imagine that they have some of the same thoughts that I do: how do I keep her safe?

I worry about my sons too, of course, and am making damn sure that I am raising people who understand about consent and private places and about not kissing or hugging the girls in your class unless they say yes first.

But I look at my daughter, my fearless, free, fierce girl, and sometimes it makes me ache when I think of her having to grow up in a cultural that is, excuse my language here but let’s be honest and precise, so deeply fucked up to women sometimes. I worry about her hitting puberty as early as I did and having to deal with the attention that brings. I think about the 16 year old boy who French kissed me when I was 12 years old and had no idea what I was doing. I think about the boy in 8th shop class who used to feel me up during class while I stood there silently, embarrassed but also maybe hopeful this meant he liked me enough to be my boyfriend (spoiler alert: he did not). I think about being at my Christian college and hearing, again and again, that as a women your job is to be modest, to not tempt the boys, to help them have self-control.

It took me years to feel like I had a voice, that I had agency over my body and my sexuality. I don’t want my girl to ever feel that way, but I don’t know if things are getting better or worse.


On Anxiety

This is the post that I keep starting and then deleting and then starting again.

In the realm of the great oversharing internet, one barely known blogger talking about anxiety probably doesn’t even raise an eyebrow anymore, but, for me, putting it out there that I’ve been struggling with something that feels like I should be able to control it but can’t is a tough thing.

I often feel like I’m somebody who doesn’t have an awful lot of natural talent but who is a workhorse. I may not be the smartest person in the room, but I’m a grinder who will get things done. I’ve often fallen into the trap that if things aren’t going well than the solution is to just work harder. But I can’t seem to hard work my way through this one.

My anxiety started this fall and is, I am quite certain, tied to the stress of having a demanding job plus being in grad school plus having a family (about which there are some guilty feelings because I feel like I am a half-assed parent sometimes and my husband is getting the raw end of the deal). My anxiety tends to manifest itself in two ways: worrying about health (mine and the kids) and in feeling physically like I am on the verge of getting sick. I think the worrying about health thing is connected to feeling like if I get sick (or if the kids get sick and then we all drop like dominoes after that) then all of the plates that I am spinning will come crashing down. I’ll have to miss class or I’ll get sick on my work trip or I’ll miss a deadline…or…or…or….

And, oh delightful irony, the worry about health and the anxiety in general has given me a low grade persistent stomach ache that seems to flare up for a week or two at a time. Nothing like a lingering stomach ache to make one feel less health related anxiety!

(Note: never Google “persistent stomachache” unless you’d like to add ovarian cancer to your list of anxiety)

(Related note: I do not have ovarian cancer…which I found out after I Googled and then sprinted into the doctor’s office to get checked. Actual diagnosis? Drum roll please…Anxiety!)

I’m following my doctor’s advice and am trying to work on improving some self-care things like getting more sleep and drinking less caffeine. I’ve noticed exercise seems to help a bit, as does focusing on one thing at a time and not trying to multitask. It doesn’t come naturally to me yet though, so sometimes I struggle with doing the things that will make me feel better. I stay up too late, numbing myself with TV and then I have a giant Diet Coke in the morning because I am tired (and addicted). I feel tired and so I don’t want to exercise.

But I’m going to keep trying because this is the only life I have and what is the alternative, right?

I will have about three weeks off of school in about a month, so I’ll be curious to see if that helps. To get to that point, I have to write three final papers, two reflection papers and finish a handful of assignments. I can do this. I think I can do this. I have to be able to do this.

Maybe I should go take a walk.