And so it begins...

We have many Braverman days in the Miller homestead. I didn't realize we'd be having Buckman days, too. Let's start at the beginning: Javi's braces were removed a couple weeks ago. He's a double retainer kid now, with a retainer for his top teeth and one for his bottom teeth.

Each and every time he wants to eat, he takes out his retainers and sets them next to his plate or on a napkin. Each and every time, we force him go find his case and put those expensive pieces of metal where they belong. Each and every time.

Except last night. (You know how this story is going to end, don't you?) We had dinner at a local burger joint and Javi, of course, forgot to bring his container. We rolled our eyes and moved on with dinner. Fast forward to 30 minutes after we'd gotten back home.

Homeboy realized he'd left his retainers wrapped up in a napkin on the table at the restaurant. (Surprise!) He and the Mountain Man raced back over to recover the retainer but, of course, the table had been cleared and the trash had just been taken out.

Can you guess where my guys were for the next hour or so? Yes, that's right. Digging through the dumpster behind the restaurant. Gnawed chicken bones, clumps of chili fries, grease, wads of toilet paper, plastic utensils -- all wet, all foul, and none of it even pretending to be retainers. That's right. No retainers.

An hour of digging through trash and we still have to pay $300 to replace them, leading to this:

Survey says we should get used to it. Lord help us all.

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QOTD: Imagination, Year 4

It's been another of those weeks, but I have no complaints. And I'll soon be sharing some really fantastic news with everyone. In the meantime, I realized it's been forever since I posted a few "kids say the darnedest things" anecdotes -- and there are some really good ones happening these days.

Bella is on the tail-end of Year 4, and I adore this age. She's still sweet and cuddly but she's whip smart and learning new things every day.

Bella and her "baby" Wormy, who she tells me was born from her leg and that's why he's so long.

However, her imagination is also growing my leaps and bounds, making it easier for her to develop story lines and make spurious connections that leave me shaking my head in wonder at this amazing child of mine.

Example 1: This week, I had to meet with my friend Sara who’s also a lawyer. She had agreed to file some paperwork for me, but we had to meet after school hours. That meant I showed up towing my 2:30pm-to-7:30pm shadow, known in the wild as Bella.

Despite my fear that she’d be ridiculous, she was only a mild disturbance and most of her interruptions were out of curiosity. Because I don’t like indulging her with serious answers (which only lead to more questions) in adult situations, my standard answer to complicated questions is, "the elves did it," which normally quiets her because OF COURSE the elves did it.

I used this excuse several times during my meeting with Sara and again when I dropped by a different office to sign some other papers. Both of these offices contained one distinct and matching item: a red foam high heel (as both women are members of the same women’s professional group).

Later, Bella explained her afternoon to the Mountain Man this way:
Daddy, we went to Mrs. Sara’s and there was a red high heel and it had glitter on it because her elf wears glitter and then we went to another lady’s room and she had a red high heel too but it didn’t have any glitter but it did have rat traps but only the bad elfs have to eat the rats from the trap and Murray Grace is NOT a bad elf.
All in one breath and with big eyes and a knowing grin. Because there are secrets in this world -- secrets like elves -- and she knows them. Because her imagination allows her to create twists and turns without the heavy weight of logic.

(And note that I didn't notice the traps. The woman whose office has the traps did mention they had discovered some field mice and had put out live traps. Bella must've absorbed this information, though she never commented on it nor discussed it with me later.)

Example #2: Javi learned a new joke. He points in the general direction of something that has an underside, such as the seat of a booth in a restaurant. Then he asks someone, "What’s under there?" The person is supposed to reply, "Under where?" -- which is HILARIOUS because it’s "underwear." Right?

Okay, so he asked 50 million times and we never said "Under where?" so he finally broke down and explained it. Then this happened:

Bella: You didn’t ask me, Jav!
Javi: Okay. What’s under there? [points under Bella’s seat]
Bella: Panties!

Everyone but Javi found that hilarious. Javi let us know he would NOT be playing with us anymore.

Now share. What are you loving about your child's stage of development? What's your favorite anecdote from the week?

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Kickin' (Back)

Hiya. It's been awhile. How are you? How were your holidays? How's your January going? Let's not talk about how I've been working and meeting and racing on a super-huge project that I'm hoping will mean less working and meeting and racing. Well, I don't want less working, but definitely less racing.

And maybe more reading? More writing? More thinking about more than how much I can squeeze into my kid-free hours without completely pissing off my husband (because apparently he doesn't like an absentee wife).

And so. I return with this. My handsome son showing off his favorite part of football. Kicking. And according to him, he'll be doing it for money when he gets signed in the NFL.

In case you're worried that he isn't properly preparing for his options, he's already pinpointed seven backup careers. I don't know that they're any more practical, considering one backup is being a chocolatier and another is playing for the MBA.

So, tell me. What's kickin' in your hood these days?

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