Spinach, Not Great Questions, and a Good Recovery

Dear Kid,

“None of these leaves are good?”

As far as helpful conversations went, that was right up there with “Hot enough for ya’?” and “Hey, you’re bleeding out of both ears! You OK?”

While Dad was out of town, I harvested and cooked some Malabar spinach. Note to burglars: He’s back and anyway I had the Vicious Attack Dog with me the entire time.

Yeah, it was a lot of spinach. DearKidLoveMom.comMalabar spinach harvesting is no easy matter.

First you have to convince this spinach. This involves a lengthy conversation with an uncooperative vine which has wrapped itself into the Gordian Knot (remember that one?) of complicated vine-ness. And it’s not just one vine—oh, no. It’s about a thousand on one plant.

Then you have work quickly because the leaves (the part you eat) get surly very quickly. You cut each and every leaf off the vine individually, inspecting for wear, tear, and wildlife as you go, and graciously cutting the remaining vine and unusable leaves into smallish pieces so they can be taken out to the compost pile.

After that, you wash and dry the remaining leaves and then, and only then, can you begin the process of cooking.

Since the ratio of compost to usable plant material is about 400 to 1, you can imagine the whole thing takes a while.

Spinach DearKidLoveMomAnd the last thing one wants at the end of the process is to have someone peer into the bag (did I mention how nicely cut up the compost was?) and insinuate that you might have overlooked some small portion of edible spinach.

Possible responses:

“Wait, I wasn’t supposed to keep the bad ones and toss the good ones?”

“I left them for you to go through.”

“Die now.”

…The Look…

Being in a nice mood (and by “nice” I mean not in the mood to be questioned about why I murdered my husband), I opted for The Look.

To his credit, Dad correctly interpreted The Look and immediately said, “How ‘bout I take out the compost? Right now.”

Good recovery, Dad.

Love, Mom

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Interpreting the Splat

Interpreting the Splat

Dear Kid,

There I was, happily working away. Calmly. (And by “calmly” I meant playing solitaire while I tried to figure out what to write next.) Minding my own business. (And by “minding my own business” I mean and watching NCIS.)

When I felt a small little brush on my finger.

This is a picture of what's left of the mosquito. DearKidLoveMom.comI looked down and there was nothing there.

So I resumed working. Diligently. (And by “diligently” I mean I was reading through my Facebook feed.)

And thought I saw a little black spot out of the corner of my eye.

I looked down. Nothing. I have a lot of floaters in my eyes, so I assumed that’s what I’d seen.

My thumb started to itch. I scratched and went back to work. (And by “work” I mean checking to see what was going on in the Twitterverse.)

And there was that little flirty brush again. I looked—nothing.

Frustrated, I looked back at the screen, and there it was. A mosquito. Not the super-huge variety, but a small, nasty bite-y kind.

With lightning-fast reflexes, I smooshed that little sucker. I feel quite victorious.

Did you know that when you get mosquito juice on your laptop screen you can wipe up with a tissue?

Love, Mom

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Labeling Fall, Not People

Labeling Fall, Not People

Dear Kid,


You can tell because it’s 90 degrees and the air conditioning is running full blast.

Also, the calendar says so.

We expect labels to make sense and sometimes they do. Like when a bag says “Coffee” you expect there will be coffee inside and you’re right to be disappointed (highly disappointed) if there isn’t.

Occasionally things are mislabeled.

Often, we apply our own labels and (especially if we’re dealing with people) we get things wrong, wrong, wrong.

Am I the only one who hates sticky name tags? DearKidLoveMom.comAside from name tags, most people defy labeling.

She’s shy, he’s athletic, she’s brainy, he’s a lawyer. Any and all of these may be true—but rarely are they all-encompassing. We label people because it’s easy, it’s a short-cut that (we think) helps us understand the world and the people in it.

But when we just see the label we miss seeing so much more.

Companies spend g’zillions of dollars (that’s accurate—I counted) to convince us to buy their product. They spend hours and vast sums of money creating the label (both the literal one on the package and the marketing message) to persuade us that their product is the right one for us. Some of them hope that their label will convince us to look beyond the price, beyond the product itself even, to purchase whatever it is they’re hawking.

When we only look at the label, we do a disservice to ourselves. We don’t really think about the impact the product will have on our life, our bank account.

When we label people, we do a disservice to them and to ourselves. We settle for only a narrow piece of who the individual is (blonde, short, brown-eyed) rather than taking the time to learn more about who they are.

So aside from name tags, let’s let the labels go.

Love, Mom

P. S. Happy Fall.

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Countdown to Internship | Mom Advice

Dear Kid,

Countdown to Internship | Mom Advice DearKidLoveMom.comDid you set your alarm?

Do you have your keys?

What about your lunch? Did you take your lunch?

Don’t run with scissors.

Once it’s on the internet, it’s there for life.

Be sure to eat breakfast, it’s the most important meal of the day.

Did you turn off the stove?

Be careful! Someone could lose an eye.

Don’t talk to strangers (wait—I rescind that—everyone is a stranger until you meet them).

Be yourself. Unless you have amnesia.


Be sure to say Please and Thank You.

Make sure you buckle your seatbelt.

Don’t sit too close to the TV. Or the laptop. Or your phone.

Put your phone down during dinner!

Don’t talk while I’m talking.

Don’t interrupt your new boss.

Remember to brush your teeth.

Eat your vegetables.

Don’t make me come up there!

You don’t have to cry over spilled milk, but you do need to clean it up.

Did you finish your homework? What do you mean you don’t have any homework? Finish it anyway.

And don’t forget to call your parents every now and then.

Love, Mom

P. S. Because I said so.


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Countdown to Internship | The Truth About Mom

Dear Kid,

Over the years, you’ve had lots of new (temporary) homes–and we’ve been there to help you settle in to all of them.

Countdown to Internship Truth About Mom DearKidLoveMom.comWe took you to see your new classroom and meet your teacher (and ride the school bus around the parking lot) before Kindergarten. We drove you to camp and helped you make your bed and meet your counselors. We went with you to find your myriad of classrooms when you started junior high.

When it was time for college we helped you move into your dorm rooms for the first few years and then into your apartment.

We weren’t there for every minute of every day, but at least we could help you get settled in (and make sure you were living someplace relatively clean [even if it wouldn’t always stay that way] and safe).

Now you are headed off to an internship and we aren’t taking you. You’re driving yourself, you’re moving yourself in, and we’re completely left out of the process.

Many moons ago (when you were a toddler-type person), my friend Nancy pointed out that we (Americans) raise our children to be independent (not so in all cultures, but it’s what we do).

The good news is that we’ve done (imho) a fantastic job of raising you to be independent.

The bad news is that somewhere along the way, we forgot to teach ourselves that we’d survive letting you go off on your own.

You’re driving yourself to your internship city.

And I don’t think I’m ready.

I want to be there with you. I want to see where you’re living, meet the roommates, inspect the neighbors, purchase some groceries. I want to explore the new city with you (or at least the route you’ll drive to your internship), meet the people you’ll work with, reassure myself that you can find the grocery store and that your landlord isn’t an obvious ax-murderer.

But I don’t get to do that this time.

We’ll come visit you and I hope you’ll show us around, but that’s not the same as moving you in.

And I’m not ready.

How can I be when you just started Kindergarten last week?

Love, Mom

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Countdown to Internship | Part II The Dinner Edition

Dear Kid,

Countdown to Internship | Part II The Dinner Edition DearKidLoveMom.comAny requests for dinner this week?


Anything you don’t make yourself so you want to have before you go?

Not really.

Chicken? Fish? Grilled cheese?

Whatever you want is fine with me.

Apple cake or honey cake?

Anything you want, Mom.

Some people would assume you are the Most Easy Going Kid on the planet. (You’re not, I checked.)

Other people might assume you are singularly focused on your phone and had no idea what I said. (You probably were buried in your phone, but you surfaced enough for the conversation. I checked.)

Still others might assume that you are doing your best to drive your Beloved Mother crazy. (You weren’t. You have other tricks for doing that.)

You were just being you. And you honestly had no preference for whether we had fish or chicken.

Which was fine except for the part about you leaving for your internship in a few days and me wanting to spoil you a little before you go.

We could go out to NameOfLocalRestaurant.

I meant spoil you by cooking something you’ll remember. And we’re paying tuition, so we can’t afford NameOfLocalRestaurant.

I like shepherd’s pie…?

EXCELLENT! (Excuse me I have to go fix dinner.)

Love, Mom

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Countdown to Internship |The Truth About Mom Part I

Dear Kid,

What are you watching on TV?
Football Game 1. Football Game 2. Football Game 3. And a James Bond movie.
All of them?
Yeah (duh).
Pick one.
I’m watching all of them.
Choose a channel, Child. And leave it.
You’re really old fashioned, Mom.

Countdown to Internship | The Truth About Mom DearKidLoveMom.comKid?
There’s a big pile of clothes outside your room.
Why is there a big pile of clothing outside your room?
It’s laundry.
Why is it outside your room in a big pile?
There’s no reason for it to be in my room, is there?
Don’t worry, Little Mama, I’ll do my laundry.
Preferably before it walks to the laundry room by itself…

There is also a mighty fine collection of mugs outside your room.
Are you taking all of them with you when you go to your internship?
No, I just need to wash them.
So the hallway is what, a halfway house?
You’re hilarious, Mom.
Seriously, Child, the mugs have filed for citizenship they’ve been there so long.
I. Will. Wash. Them.

I’ll get to it, Mother.
Don’t you “Mother” me, young man.
You want me to call you “Dad”?
I want you to wash your dishes.
Settle down, Mama. I will, I will.
I mean before your 30th birthday!
Again, hilarious. Not.

And yet I will miss you more than you can possibly imagine when you’re off doing wonderful internship things.

Love, Mom

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