For a long while, it was impossible to get shoes on Darwin. We could never find the right pair, the socks weren’t good, and as soon as they were on, inevitably we would get in the car and off they would come.

Things changed when we got the Magic Shoes. Until that point, we had mostly hand-me-down shoes (she did have one pair of sneakers before that but I think they were too tight). We probably had 10 to 15 pairs of shoes. None of them fit quite right because they had molded to other feet.

Now Darwin has five pairs of shoes now. Keen sandals, rain boots, Magic Shoes, a pair of Soft Star barefoot shoes, and a pair of See Kai Run summer sneakers that we got on clearance last winter. All these shoes fit her properly and were not molded to other little feet first. She can choose to wear footwear without socks (her sandals) or with (everything else).

The best part of all of this is that she also puts her shoes by the door without being asked most of the time. After months of gentle reminders, it’s becoming less necessary. I’m not generally worried about things being clear and orderly all the time with the kids (ha, good thing, right?) But I hate the constant “I can’t find my shoes” struggle too. The best moment came yesterday, when my mom commented that Darwin had taken her shoes off and put them by the door all on her own at Grandma’s house. I’m so proud of this kid who is taking responsibility for her things!


12 months from the pediatrician

All is well with our happy youngest child, per her pediatrician this morning. Linnea’s vital stats, for posterity:

24 lbs 4 oz sturdy

31 inches long

The appointment went swimmingly. Linnea did not show off her latest skill (she currently stands and giggles, and takes steps between any two people willing to entertain the thought). Our lovely pediatrician is great with the girls, and the nurse we always have, who definitely rubbed me the wrong way the first time we met, has become a favorite.

Two shots today. Basically no crying. Over it in under 10 seconds. This kid is a champ. Leah laid her down on the table and I briefly thought she was going to go to sleep! Two quick pokes and done. Here’s hoping she sails through the next couple days too!

And now the latest cuteness: Linnea sat still for a good five minutes while Darwin attempted to help her get her shoes on. Kids together. They slay me.


In which I reflect on life as a parent-to-be.

There are some things, I can say with certainty, that you cannot know until you are a parent. This is a certainty that I don’t share very often, because a) it can come off as arrogant, and b) since you can’t know them until you become a parent, telling people is useless at best. These are not things like the overwhelming enormity of loving my children. This is the only place that I have felt that emotion, but I would never claim that others could not have that experience in other ways. No. The experiences I’m getting at are the basis of the destruction of all the little assumptions we make about how we will parent our children. The premise is that we are the only side of the equation. This (and I’ve only ever seen it learned through parenting) is a false premise. The truth is, our kid’s temperament, personality, and health shape how we parent as much as our own temperaments, personalities, health and baggage. 

Many parents-to-be get that this is true, at least on a basic level, but I’ve never seen anyone who really understood it until they had a kid. I remember thinking it’ll be fine, I’ll be flexible! I had no idea how flexible I would be, how hard it would be, and how effortlessly I would be able to reexamine the essentials and adapt. I didn’t know how essential it would be to have a community of new parents to share those experiences with, both to give me permission to let the baby cry for five minutes while I ate a tub of ice cream, and to support in their need to drink a glass of wine on the kitchen floor. 

I recently read a social media post from a friend about bedtimes. She’s pregnant with her first and has provided significant help raising a child. The take-home was that the way the older child was raised resulted in a child who has never fought bedtime. I mulled a response for a long time. Some kids are just easier with sleep, don’t expect yours to be! Or some variant thereof. Then I started thinking about it. She’s got a good heart. She’s got a good brain. She will figure out what works for her and her baby and what doesn’t. And if she comes looking for support and commiseration that her baby just won’t sleep unless she’s on my chest with one hand under her butt and the other on her ear while I’m standing in the bathroom under the fan? I’ll be here to listen and nod. And maybe take her a chocolate cake. 


Recently, Darwin has been using a lot of all our nothing language. Things like:

 “I’m going to eat it all up! The whole bowl!” 

Meaning the entire meal – not just what is on her plate. This does not come to pass, fortunately for the rest of the family, who would also like to eat. But this is all to say that Darwin is exploring limits of possibility rather than just limits of mamas. 

She has also been effusive in her descriptions about love. Several times per day we’ll hear: 

“I love both my mamas sooooo much! And Linnea and the kitties and Scouty dog…”

It can go on and on. Leah got it for the entire car ride home today. 

Inevitably, tonight, it happened. 

“I love the whole world. I just love everybody.”

That’s what I call a successful day’s work. 

Summer play group

Our church set up a summer toddler play group this year for a couple of weeks. Attendance for the second week was too low, so it’s just going ahead this week, which is great since Leah has this class she’s reworking and really needs some time this week. Darwin is proving that she is both a) ready to start preschool, and b) almost three.

Ready for preschool: Yesterday we were talking about it and she said “You’re going to take me and drop me off, right Mama? Then you’re going to go to work?” I told her yes, and she was very excited about the prospect of her own space. For a kid who has clung to me like a limpet, panicked at the thought of me being out of the house for more than a moment, this feels like this huge development, and gives me a clear view to a day when I can see Darwin having fun and living her own life, in which I am no longer the leading role. I feel terribly proud.

Three came later: When I picked her up, she had the most intense, loud, extended tantrum she’s had to date about getting into her car seat. It took me ten minutes to wrestle her into the seat (the first 5 were gently trying to work through, the last five were the actually wrestling while trying to keep my cool and validate her feelings…), and she proceeded to scream the entire way to my mother’s house where I had to pick up Linnea, then the entire way home. The problem? “I don’t WANT to be in my car seat!” The bigger problem? She’s getting too strong for me to successfully wrestle her into the seat. It took quite a bit of doing. I keep telling myself that persistence is hard now, but will serve her when the great climate apocalypse is upon us.

The playgroup itself was lovely. Darwin got to spend the morning with our swap family friends (swap is currently on hiatus/done? based on need/schedules/energy) and she was quite pleased with the day. They played outside, they did a craft where they made paper birds with their hand prints, and they played with toys. Darwin even ate a good snack! She was also worn out, but did not nap, and thankfully was asleep by 8 this evening. I was really resistant to dropping naps, but if current trends hold, it may be my favorite decision this year.