Teeth Together Teeth

A mostly-guest-post by my three year old dearie about her growing brother:


“Just forty five seconds
Thirty forty two 
Thirty four sixty sixty
Two and two
One two three four five seconds
That is how long it takes to be a bigger girl.

Forty six seven eight
forty two eight nine ten.

That is how long it will take my brother to become a big boy.”

Suddenly he will claim stairs marauder forts.
He will bud molars
“And I will be big enough to read books”. 
She adds.



Staging a Real Lunch


Today, I try something new, quilted. A downy old time celebration like the pony wall painted at Tavern on the Green.

I order a lunch set from the 13th floor’s coral banquettes. I listen for peppered dressing, the floret of broccoli to fan. Wicker arm chairs glide across a shiny oak floor and the Maitre D clicks his smile, sees every wave of comfort and each flicker of need.


My baby car sits parked at the opening. I swirl my pasta with his open mouth, sleeping ears, lazing curls pressed into my chest.

I don’t know how to take my time lately. I only know him awake, nursing. I am not walking the streets eighth Onigiri, not settling on egg salad on fluffy white, not scuttling like a crab onto the train. I am sitting. This is what it feels to stage a real luncheon.

A Sneeze on Mother’s Day


I say, “Bless you”

or “God bless you” to my students,

private school

Japanese young ladies

and they say/she said, “Thank you.”

I am surprised. Known.


I suggest they write, speak,


“I love you, Mama/Mom/Okaasan

on Mother’s Day.

And this is met

with scoffs.



There are no “I love you’s”

between mother & child.

Not at this age (They are 12 & 15).

Blessings over sneezes have moved in,

but not radical proclamations of I Love You,

Oh Mother who bore me.

Mother who cooks me the most splendid of bentos

& dresses me in resplendent expensive private school blues.


I like you

I need you

I love you


Worry, perhaps, instead


& I got news for you,

not many moms say it to their kids.

It may just be for TV & silly movies.


Maybe some Western expressions

don’t stick

can’t stick


Sometimes eggs do stick to iron pans


snow doesn’t stick, that is,

stay on the ground.

Sometimes things need to thaw;

the ground just needs to soften, is all.


You just bless,

suggest, model

& know

different is also




But as for me & my household,

We yell, “I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

& roudy up the neighborhood.


A kiss can even land

when blown

through a windstorm

through sunshine

clapped shut, caught in my little girl’s mouth

before flapped back.


Love is the ruling word around here

(or will be).

Spring is the time, you know,

for “aaah-chooooos” & the grand grace

of being treasured,

however sniffly.





Her Letters



Can’t believe today she pulled pine green thin marker across Mother’s Day paper,

Made her way over F and learned the downward slope of R, the slide that distinguishes it from P.

She has her own formula for M, the consistent last pull of the left stick joined to Vl. Her pull is consistent. Never is this line neglected. She knows M is me, Melissa and Mommy. Maki, maple syrup moonlight following her down streets and even into train cars.


It was the R that got her, or maybe F, fickle and flummoxed. “Writing is not for kids” this one proclaimed, while staring down at her angled, not round enough O. “It is not for kids”.

But then, out of some real need, some internal prodding, she asked, “Mommy, is this the word, “from”?

Pine green, the crunch of iceberg lettuce all showing up in letters, straight, strong, and gleaming with meaning. This is what it is to witness your daughter making Mother’s Day cards to her Baba and Godmother. I was so charmed, so absolutely excited, and playing it cool, I forgot to take any pictures.

The cards have flown off now, perhaps pinned to fridges, maybe on a dresser. I wanted to say more, how it all came from her, how I did not have her copy. There was no promise of sugary dessert following the meltdown of P popsicle. I did not lure her with reward. It was all her own lines, the stroke of a three year old girl. Letters were drawn on the inside, as well as in the card.

Did You See This?

Did you see my cross-post on Multicultural Kids Blog?

Of course, Children’s Day has passed–it was May 5,

also Cinco de Mayo–the very day we assigned for Jude’s birthday party. 



More on Jude’s birthday party later. 

Anyway, the boy is one. 


Children’s Day is a riot,

& Multicultural Kids Blogs is a very neat spot 

to read & learn about so many smart women raising kids all over the world. 

I’m quite honored to be taking part. 

Packing & Unpacking, Rising & Crumbling



I have been busy

on a holiday track,

dangling, cruising on gondolas

sharing airspace with hawks

in an out in and out of onsens, hot baths,

trains, almost closing doors, every mode of transportation.

There is so much exhaust.


I have missed cards going into mailboxes,

left out whole loaves,

forgotten to get in touch with best friends

having babies

little delicate hands finding their mouths

& growing overnight.


Not to mention, there is a special

mother turning sixty.




I am depleted,

running on cheese & crackers,

wine & elevators that go up to 350 meters.


I have winced on buses careening curves

mountains, passes, sharp banks

of almost-getting sick daughter

who needs a better route,

but does well jumping on hotel beds.



IMAG5673 (1)

We eat well, taste our way through a myriad of teacup size-portions

like French petit fours-meets sushi or kaiseki, the season of taking our meals like a queen.

We lovelies on holiday fall into bed, barely in pjs.


Such tough work,

I feel like a moth

piggy backing her babies,

running errands to clouds

crossing off dandelion seeds

and weeds

trailing dust with every inch, laugh, clink;

there is no where left to land but in bed, perhaps.


I do not fold at the waist or lay myself down—

Tonight it is enough simply to crumble

& turn out the light.


That’s Some Nerve

The better part of the time, I think I could act in most any of that famous neurotic director’s work—I am probably some kind of messy, type A gal. Wait–can you be on the sloppy side and still be type A? Most of the time, I could do with a chill pill and a maid.


I noticed my line of highly-neurotic thinking today. It went like this:
A. I have a headache.
B. Still have a headache.
C. I may be carrying some early stage of an aneurysm. I should get a scan every year to field it. (wait, would you want to know)?
D. If I die, my husband would probably remarry within the year, or three months.
E. I am just going to wallow in drinking my coffee, knowing an aneurysm may be on the five minute horizon. The new wife will be prettier and my kids will not hardly skip a beat. She will probably be neater, too.

You see??? What the heck. I am a shoe-in for Woody Allen fix, right?

And here is the part where I say, talking out loud, flicking on the light to this creative garbage is absolutely the way to go about getting out of the Eeyore ruts. You don’t really want to set the table to thoughts like that. You don’t really want to totally believe those ridiculous thoughts.

So I said it all, out loud, to my husband, and to our visiting friends. I gave them a little laugh and I got to move on. Those little fears can build up. You know those shampoo commercials that show old residue ruining whole groups of hair shafts? The fears wrap around each individual strand of hair and weigh down even the most naturally voluminous coifs. The fears should be dislodged, rinsed off before they get stuck under more scary thoughts. After all, they build. So. I’m gonna start a fear writing thing. I’ll be writing down the fears,  little and big; the Exxon Valdez fear spills and the small puddle fears. The sticky webs of terrible thinking fears that want to bead up and catch all the joy and faith thoughts, mummify them, and suck out the life.

Scary things like the dark. They like being unknown.

This is being brave sometimes: simply picking up your flashlight and flicking on the light.

So there, silly headache. And once the silly-no-way-that-is-logic string of thoughts are spoken out loud or read on a page, I can do what the best friends of neurotics do– that is, we must laugh and laugh until we know it is a joke.

Xoxox love and too much leftover chocolate cake,