The Banana Solution

My two-and-a-half-year-old twins were off tonight.  I arrived home at 5:00 to find Baby Girl A still napping and Baby Girl B running on steam, having not taken a nap at all.  When A woke up, she cried for 45 minutes straight.  About the time she stopped, B started melting down over everything.  In the few minutes of relative peace between their storms, we sat down for a delicious dinner – which they both refused to eat.

I was not up for fighting any more battles tonight, so I gave them both our old stand-by’s for dinner: peanut butter and banana.  A protein and a fruit – not too bad, if you ask me.

I peeled B’s banana and handed it to her. She happily began munching away.  I then picked up A’s banana and pulled the peel down one side before I realized what I had done.  While B likes her “beena” completely naked when she eats it, A insists that hers still be in the skin with just the top peeled down.

Oh great, I thought, just what I need. This was, of course, the last banana, so I couldn’t just give her another one.  I tried to pull the limp yellow strip back up, but to no avail.  Think, Shawnda, think…

“Here you go, Baby Girl,” I sang, holding the loose peel up and facing the naked side away from A as I handed it to her, hoping she wouldn’t notice as she peeled down the other sides.  But, of course, as soon as she grabbed the banana, the peel fell down and she fell apart with it.

“No! No!” She cried, grabbing the limp yellow strip and pulling it off completely. “Stick it on!  Stick it on!  Stick it!  Stick it!” She yelled this at me over and over again, pressing the piece of peel to the banana as she willed it back into place.

“A, it’s okay, you can still eat it,” I begged, offering all the possible solutions I could think of.  “I’ll hold this side up while you eat it.  You can peel the other sides down while you go.  Look how B is eating it.  You can eat it like her tonight.”

“No, stick it, stick it!” A pleaded, giant tears rolling down her cheeks.  I knew she was not going to eat the banana without that piece of peel in place.  Suddenly, an idea flashed into my mind.

“What if we hold it on with a rubber band?” I asked her.

She stopped crying, sniffled, and nodded. “Rubber band,” she repeated, handing the banana over.

I fished around in the junk drawer and found a thick blue rubber band.  Holding the peel in place, I wrapped the rubber band around the banana and then handed it IMG_0741back to A.  She looked it over before smiling at me and declaring, “I happy now!”

Then, finally, she took a bite.  I let out a sigh of relief.  Nice save, I congratulated myself.


Final Day

I had every intention of writing some sort of clever “Final Day” slice today.  I thought about what I could say or what I should write to wrap up this month of writing.  But now it’s 20 minutes until the day is up and I still don’t have something fancy to say.  Plus, my twins are beyond tired, my son wants to play a final game of Rock, Paper, Scissors before bed, and my husband keeps asking me, “Aren’t you done with that thing yet?”

So tonight, all I will say is…I did it!


Anti-Princess Mama

Dear Pretty Princess,

imageThanks a lot for nothing!  Because of you, a simple rhyming board book, my two-year-old twins now know what a princess is.  Because of you, they put on dresses and spin around, saying “ta-da.”  Because of you, there are a row of frilly dress-up dresses and tutus hanging to dry in my laundry room.  Because of you, all things must be “pretty” to be worthy.IMG_0694

Don’t try to say it isn’t your fault.  Before my son found you in the Little Library up the street from us, there were no princess in our house and therefore no “princess” in my girls’ vocabulary.  He thought he was doing something nice for his little sisters by picking out a book for them along with some books for himself.  I tried to intercept you before the twins saw you, but it was too late.  Before I knew it, I was reading, “One pretty princess puts on her crown.  To go to the ball, she must pick out a gown..” over and over and over again.

imageAt the very least, couldn’t you be a more modern princess?  I mean, blonde hair and blue eyes aren’t at all representative of my bi-racial family.  And picking the pink gown is soooo predictable.  At least the girls agree with me that the both the green and yellow gowns in your closet are much “prettier” than the pink one you chose.  Maybe there is hope for them, after all.

The bottom line is this: don’t get too comfortable.  As soon as I think I can get rid of you without causing massive meltdowns, it will be back to the Little Library for you.  Actually, now that I think about it, I don’t want to cause the same grief for another unsuspecting mother.  I will have to find another place for you to go where you can’t taint the minds of young impressionable girls.  Hopefully this is just a phase that will pass by soon.


An Anti-Princess Mama



The first step in solving a problem is admitting you have a problem, so here I go:

I’m addicted to sugar. I love sweets!  I can pass up a bag of chips or a bowl of popcorn without a second thought, but put a brownie, cookie, or fun-size candy bar in front of me and I’m helpless to say no.

Tonight my parents and nieces who are visiting from Colorado came over for dinner.  My imagemom made brownie sundaes for dessert, one of my personal favorite ways to consume sugar.  After dinner I had a generous sundae and was quite satisfied.  But then, after the kids went to bed, the brownies started calling my name.  I wasn’t hungry, mind you.  But there they were: soft, chewy, chocolately decadence in a pan, beckoning me to take another bite.  So I did, just one.  But of course that wasn’t enough and I ended up eating an entire second brownie.  It was delicious, but I didn’t need it, and now I’m a little too full.

Step two is to try a solution.  I find that if I brush my teeth, I won’t get something to eat unless I’m really, truly hungry and not just in the mood to snack.  Starting tomorrow, I’m going to brush my teeth with the kids when they are getting ready for bed in the hopes of deterring myself from snacking the night away.

Step three is to evaluate your progress.  It’s going to be hard, but I’ll see how this goes!



My son was all smiles this afternoon when I got home.  His kindergarten teacher just started an “Author’s as Mentors” writing unit with a focus on Mo Willems, and Buddy Boy was brimming with the new things he learned about the author.

“Where is Knuffle Bunny?” He suddenly exclaimed.  “I have to show you something!”

Knowing Knuffle Bunny is a favorite of his younger twin sisters, he shot across the living room and dug through their book bin under the entry-way bench.  “I can’t find it!” He cried, coming up empty handed.

“It’s downstairs, then.  Go look while I start dinner,” I told him, pulling vegetables and chicken out of the fridge.  I finished peeling the carrots and had started to chop them when Buddy Boy returned up the stairs with a well-loved copy of Knuffle Bunny in his hand.

“You know Mo Willems writes the Pidgeon books, right?” He asked me.  I nodded.  “Well, look at this!”

He turned the book around to show me the page where the family is running through the park, his finger pointing to one of the other people in the foreground of the picture.  “Look at this!  He snooked the pigeon into the book!” The look on his face was pure delight.

“He what?” I asked, looking at the picture again.

“He snooked the pigeon into the book.  Isn’t that funny!”  His smile stretched from ear to ear.  “You know what?  He snooks him into ALL of his books!”

Sure enough, there was the Pidgeon on the park-goer’s t-shirt.  I smiled both at my son’s enthusiasm for his new-found favorite author and at his invented vocabulary.  “Wow, Buddy, that is really cool!  We’ve read that book tons of times, and I never even noticed.”

Buddy Boy carried Knuffle Bunny into the living room while I finished up dinner, my heart full as I thought about how grateful I am that all of my kids love books.  As we sat down to eat, I couldn’t help myself.  “Hey, Buddy, what did you say Mo Willems did with the Pidgeon in his books?”

“He snooked him in!”

I laughed out loud.  Snooked.  I like it!

Headed South

How did the day start out so great and then head south so suddenly?  I wish I could forget, but it’s still so fresh in my mind…

A) I tried to go to Fleurt, a local florist and gift shop where my husband gave me a gift card for my birthday.  I was so excited to spend half and hour alone in the tiny shop, but when I got there, the sign on the door told me it is closed on Mondays.

B) I went down the street to the kids consignment shop that is sadly going out of business.  The owner was there, and when I asked her why she was closing, she told me the culture has changed and most people are ordering things online.  Her clientele dropped off pretty suddenly and she just couldn’t stay ahead.

C) The twins woke up from their naps with fevers.  They’ve had runny noses for a few days, and were coughing this morning, but now they are full-blown sick.  That means clinging to  mommy and fussy all night.

D) My five-year-old son had a complete meltdown over the fact that he didn’t get to play Zelda on his cousin’s phone before she left our house.  I’m talking all-out rage, directed towards his father because his dad took them all to ice cream and therefore “wasted” his game-playing time.

E) My husband was totally grumpy as a result of both C and D.

Luckily, there is always another day to go to Fleurt.  The end of another local business has strengthened my resolve to shop locally.  The girls perked up with the help of Children’s Tylenol.  My son and I practiced ways to calm down by taking deep breaths in between reading books.  And my husband…well, he’s still grumpy because he thinks he is getting sick.  But turning around 4 out of 5 is still pretty good.



Ferry ride across Puget Sound-$14.80

Hot dogs, marshmallows, chocolate bars, and graham crackers-$20.35

Pocket knife for whittling s’more sticks-$40.00

Dinner around the campfire with my family-Priceless



Every Night

Every night

for the past twenty-seven months

I’ve put my twins down

then turn on

the baby monitor


Every night

for the past twenty-seven months

I do my chores around the house

holding in one hand

the baby monitor


Every night

for the past twenty-seven months

I settle down with my book and read

to the hum of

the baby monitor


Every night

for the past twenty-seven months

I cuddle up next to my husband

in the company of

the baby monitor


Every night

for the past twenty-seven months

I dream about the day

when I no longer need

the baby monitor


This, Too, Shall Pass

There are way more brain cells in my head dedicated to random Pokémon facts that I would like to admit.  For example, did you know that:

  • Ponyta evolves into Rapidash?
  • Squirtle is a water-type Pokémon?
  • Pikachu comes from the Central Kalos region?

Well, I do! It’s the result of having a Pokémon-obsessed five-year-old who plays, eats, and sleeps Pokémon.  I wouldn’t say the brain cells are completely wasted.  My Pokémon knowledge has made me pretty popular with many students at school, especially the first grade boys.  They appreciate that I understand what they are talking and writing about, and I appreciate that connection to them.  But I do have to say that I won’t be sad if I never have to:

  • read another page from the Pokémon Deluxe Essential Handbook: the Need to Know Facts on Over 700 Pokémon (yes, 700!)image
  • play a round of Pokemon cards (why on earth would the game require you to have 60 cards in your hand–talk about taking forever!)
  • watch a gym-battle in the Adventures of Ash & Pikachu television series (seen one, you’ve seen them all)
  • or play “Pokémon Pet Shop” (actually my favorite Pokémon activity because my son made it up)

So, with that in mind, you will completely understand why I was so excited when my son told my husband on one of their bike rides, “Dad, someday when I don’t like Pokémon anymore, what should I do with all my cards?”  Someday…he said someday! That means there is a light at the end of this Pokémon tunnel.  I’m not sure how long it will take, but like I’ve learned to say in parenting, this, too, shall pass!

When Kindergarteners Write

This morning my calendar was blocked out to grade kindergarten information writing pieces for one of our teachers who is on sick leave.  Normally, grading on-demand writing assessments is not something I look forward to.  But when kindergarteners write, it’s usually pretty entertaining.

The first piece that caught my eye was this one. IMG_0703“All About Recess Disasters” for those of you not fluent in reading kindergarten writing (it is a special skill primary teachers possess).  As you can see from the illustration, recess is a very dangerous place, full of blood, tears and liars, as depicted in this next picture: IMG_0706 Who knew?

The highlight of my reading, though, had to be this piece: IMG_0704Yes, you read that right, “All About Loins.”  Such a mature topic for kindergarten!  This eloquent and articulate information book taught me that loins have paws, legs, ears, and eyes.  And then, using a sophisticated craft move, the author saved the best fact for last: “Loins have fur.” IMG_0707I had no idea I would have such an educational morning!