Smile, damn it!

Today was Rocco’s first day of preschool.  I challenge you to find a kid who is more difficult to take pictures of.  Case in point:


Yikes.  Let’s try again.


Maybe one more time.


One more time?


Okay, last time, really.


Hmmm..maybe you just need a different location?


That didn’t work.  More shade?


Nope.  Here, stand by your brother—he’ll get you to smile!


Okay, wow.  Seriously, just friggin’ SMILE damn it!  And look at the camera!


Good!  There.  We did it. 

Now Vincenzo, can I get a picture of just you?


Ouch.  I think I just won my own challenge.

Bad Babies

Here is a sequence of events I happened to capture at a party yesterday.  Leo is the 7-month-old on the right and his cousin is the 16-month-old on the left; see if you can follow the story line.


And so a young villain is exposed.

I missed the photo of an extremely frowny Cousin that followed the last shot, but I captured the moment directly following that one:


And so a young Super Villain is created.

Sorry ‘bout that.

2 Days Down…

Oh my word, people I just discovered there is this place you can take your kids when they’re old enough and leave them for seven hours for FREE and they come back worn out and also a bit smarter.

It’s called SCHOOL [skool].  It is seriously the greatest invention ever!

Kevin asked me what I did today while Vincenzo was at school.  I told him that I came home from the bus stop, put Leo down for his 3-hour nap, played with Rocco until he forgot about me, then worked on a scrap book page.  Leo woke up at lunch time so I took the boys for a walk along the train tracks and we had a picnic.  Then I went home and put both boys down for a nap and they looked so happy sleeping that I myself took a nap on the deck.  We woke up in time to pick up Vincenzo, who came home and played with his brothers while I cooked dinner.

This is quite a change from summer when we’d look up from the gigantic moat we were digging on the beach and realize it was 6:30 and wasn’t somebody supposed to cook dinner?  It was a fun way to live for two months, but exhausting.  Also we were all hungry.

So now we have dinner conversations where Kevin asks me if I got such-and-such done during the day, like call the bank back, and I say I was too busy raising his children, and he points out that I just said I took a long nap, and I explain that taking naps takes TIME, damn it, I can’t just get that done in a couple minutes.  Who does he think I am?

Then I place before him a  steak salad with blue cheese crumbles, a heaping scoop of gratin dauphinoise, and a big bowl of pasta with au poivre sauce and he forgets his question and we both eat our dinner, happy that the end of summer wasn’t the end of the world I thought it was going to be.


I just hope I don’t miss this guy too much.

Why are First Days so Hard?!

I know, I know, everyone else already posted and tweeted and Facebooked about their kids’ first days of school.  Our district didn’t start until today, though, which makes me look ORIGINAL.  I’m not.

After a summer of waking up whenever,* planning beach dates and field trips around Leo’s schedule, staying out late to eat up every last ray of sun at parks, then stopping for ice cream when the kids should have been in bed an hour ago, the thought of getting up and putting on clothes that are not swim trunks and packing a lunch that does not largely consist of Capri Sun and Cheetos and trying to find a comb because surely we must own a comb—all that seems like work. 

I didn’t want Kevin to leave me this morning. I followed him around, wondering aloud: What if I miss the bus with the kids?  What about Leo’s two-hour morning nap?  What if Vincenzo’s lunch isn’t big enough?  Or his new jeans aren’t cool enough?  What if he notices that everyone else got the same shoes as him?  What if he gets abducted?  What if his best friend finds a new best friend this year?  What if I don’t take the perfect picture of his first day?  What lens should I use?  What if I can’t decide which lens to use?!  What if I forget to lock the house on the way to the bus and someone comes in and steals all our Ikea furniture and Hot Wheels tracks?  What if I want to have another baaaayyy-beeeee?!

Kevin left somewhere in the middle of all that, mentioning that in Syria a mother was probably hearing this and weeping real tears.  (I assumed he meant for me.)

Then the kids woke up and I had to be all, “Yay!  School!  I’m so excited for you and not at all neurotic about it!”




And no, none of these is the perfect shot but at least no one stole the Hot Wheels tracks.


*”Whenever” happened to be no later than 6:30, but still.  It was our 6:30

Random funnies

1. Rocco, noticing dust in the sunlight for the first time: Mom! Why are all those crumbs in the air?

2. Girl: Dad, can we go to McDonald’s after camp today?
Dad: No. If you eat too much McDonald’s you die. It’s true—there’s a movie about it.
Me to Girl, conspiratorially: But when you’re an adult, you can go to McDonald’s as much as you want!
Girl, mournfully: Yes, but when you’re an adult you don’t LIKE going to McDonald’s!

3. Rocco is in his “Daddy is a Disease” phase where I am the only one worthy enough to change his clothes, fetch his milk, buckle him in the car, tuck him in bed, and wipe poop off his bottom.  Seriously–he will stand in the bathroom naked, waiting 20 minutes for me to finish a bath so I can then come wipe his butt if Dad is the only alternative butt-wiper on hand.

It’s really quite an honor.

The other day Kevin wanted to let me sleep in, so when he heard Rocco stirring he went to get him up.  Here’s how it went:

Kevin entered Rocco’s line of site.
Rocco: NO!
Dad: Shh, Rocco, Mom’s sleeping.  Can I read your favorite book to you?
Rocco: NO!
Dad: Shhh.  Maybe I could make you chocolate chip pancakes?
Rocco: NO!  I want Mamba!*
Dad: Could I play trains with you?  Wrestle?  Give you a hug?
Rocco, sighing, “Dad, this just isn’t working."

(Yup, this is the kid—the one with the Dennis the Menace hair.)

*Mamba is the kids’ nickname for me.