Pine Needles & Pearly Whites

Dear Kids,

Here are some stories about you.

The Christmas tree dropped a lot of needles as it dried. You liked playing with the loose pine needles. You collected them in old Harney & Sons tea tins and Ziploc bags, and Livia even made some pine-needle art. You couldn’t seem to get enough of them, even though there was a shocking amount on the floor every day. You denied shaking the tree or brushing the needles off the branches deliberately. But the tree became nearly bare on its lower half, while its upper half was still full. Hmm. Suspicious.

You used to fight over our Kindle Fire, because you both liked playing video games on it. So we bought two new ones just for you. They have parental controls which allow us to limit you to one hour of play per day. This has changed the way you behave toward each other during video-game time. There’s no more fighting. Instead you discuss what’s going on in your respective games, share strategies, etc. It’s nice to see you cooperating! Your favorite game is “Plants vs. Zombies.” In this game, zombies are attacking your house, and you have to grow special plants and fungi to fight off the zombies. You often bring your tablets to me so that I can see your new plants and read the notes that the zombies leave for you. While you’re playing, our house is filled with the sounds and music of the game, and periodically I overhear strange comments, like Marshall saying, “Aw! Why do the zombies have to go on a real rampage?!” It’s surreal.

Huggie-hugs have become very popular around here. I used to give them only to Livia, but now everyone is doing huggie-hugs. I can’t speak for anyone else, but they cheer me up immensely. One morning, before I hit the road for a long day of work in CT, you both gave me huggie-hugs, and it made me feel so much more optimistic about the day. When I told Marshall that his huggie-hugs made me feel better, he said proudly, “I make you feel like a million bucks!” It’s true. You both do!

A delightful bit from a conversation between Marshall and Daddy while waiting for the morning bus to school:

  • Marshall: Why did the chicken cross the road?
  • Daddy: Why?
  • Marshall: So it could poop on your head.

Back in 2009, when we were trying to pick a name for our new baby boy, part of the appeal of the name “Marshall” was that it was uncommon but not unknown. We figured he’d be the only Marshall in his class, but that no one would think the name was weird. But lately we’ve been hearing the name all over the place. For example, Peyton Manning was just on TV with his son Marshall. And recently Marshall brought home a book from school. It is “Catch That Cookie” by Hallie Durand. The main character is named Marshall. Our Marshall was thrilled to see his name in print for the first time. So I guess I’m glad that the name made its way into “Catch That Cookie,” but it hope that it will continue to stay under the radar for most new parents (and authors), so that it will stay at the perfect level of rarity.

Livia has a great set of pearly whites. When she pretends to be a shark or a monster about to bite, she shows off those teeth, and wow! They are beautiful. She hasn’t lost a single one yet. This doesn’t surprise me. She was slow growing them, so it makes sense that she’d be slow to lose them. I’m glad she’s taking her time, because I will miss them once they’re gone.



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