Worth a Thousand Words?


E2: What do you want me to draw?
Me: Uh… a beach ball

E2: See!
Me: Oh, that’s very good.
E2: (to her brother) What do you want me to draw?
E1: A hippocampus with a griffin on top of it
E2: What’s a hippocampus?
E1: It’s a part of the brain, and a griffin is half lion, half eagle.
E2: …
E1: And the griffin is eating an ostrich, tail first, and the ostrich is eating a baby and the baby is eating a worm and the worm is eating dirt and the dirt is eating space and space is eating time and time is eating the space-time continuum because it’s always being paired with space, which is always trying to eat time, and the space-time continuum is devouring the Earth because humans are trying to use it to teleport and time travel, but the Earth is being burnt by the Sun and the Sun is being devoured by Betelgeuse, which is exploding in a giant supernova, which in turn is being exploded by dark matter, which is being eaten by dark energy, which is being eaten by Winnie-the-Pooh. Which is being eaten by honey. Which is being eaten by a chandelier. I don’t know why there’s a chandelier, but it didn’t like the honey.
E2: …
E2: I can’t draw that.


War Rig


Every time E2 buckles in nowadays, I have to go through an elaborate checklist with her:

E2: Do I have the coloring book?
Me: Which one? The one with the princesses?
E2: No, the one with the heroes… with Wonder Woman.
Me: Uh, here it is.
E2: And the silly book?
Me: The pop-up book? It’s right next to you.
E2: Right. And the one from the library?
Me: Are you talking about the penguin book? It’s right here.
E2: Okay. And my toy?
Me: What toy?
E2: The Superman.
Me: Where did his head go? You know what: Never mind. Are we done here?
E2: NOT YET! Where are my markers?
Me: Here.
E2: And my snacks?
Me: They’re right in front of you.
E2: I can’t reach the net!
Me: I’ll put them in the door handle. Okay?
E2: Um…
Me: Anything else?
E2: What about the other library book? You remember? With the mouse?
Me: Maisy? It’s not here. I returned it already.
E2: Why did you do that?
Me: It was due. When are we going to go?
E2: Why couldn’t we keep it?
Me: That’s how libraries work, honey. It’s a public institution we all share… You know what: we’re done here. I’m buckling you.
Me: Oh, you can, can you? Show me.
E2: See?
Me: That’s just the top buckle. Do you want me buckle the bottom one?
E2: …
Me: Your brother is starting to fuss. Let me just do it.
Me: I tell you what: You do it while I put E3 in.


Paced Bottle-Feeding


I’ve been working on a follow-up to my Harvey Karp post in which I talk about establishing sleep schedules, but it’s taking a while to get my thoughts organized, and I lost an initial draft, and everything I’m reading says the first three or four months don’t really apply so…

Let me post first about paced bottle-feeding. Yeah, I didn’t know what it was either.

But Dana says it’s how she prefers I feed E3. Apparently, it’s a way of bottle-feeding breast milk that better simulates the pace and flow of drinking from the source.

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  • keep the baby upright (not lying down)
  • keep the bottle horizontal to slow down the flow
  • don’t stuff the nipple into the baby’s mouth; instead, tease it out a little to make her work at sucking
  • let the baby naturally take pauses and breaks
  • feeding should take 10 minutes or longer

This video does a good job of explaining:

Naturally, every new trend comes with its accoutrements, though I’m 50% sure that this is not just another way to scam parents out of their money. We use the Como Tomo slow-flow bottle, Nurture Right pre-sterilized breast milk baggies, and Avent Microwave Steam Sterilizer. I’ve also found the First Years bottle warmer to be a handy thing to have around when taking E1 out of the house to places that might not have a microwave or stove to heat water.

Oh, and Dana swears by her Ameda breast pump Naya breast pump. It’s not cheap, but it’s the most comfortable and efficient kind she’s found.

Coming Next Week:



10/2 World Architecture Day 10am-5:30pm at the Hirshhorn Museum

In honor of World Architecture Day, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden invites visitors to celebrate the genius of modern design Monday, Oct. 2, at “Donuts with the ‘Brutalist Donut,’” a day of free donuts and unconventional architecture tours.

Known best for the art displayed within its walls, the Hirshhorn will devote the day to spotlighting its sculptural Gordon Bunshaft-designed building, which opened to the public in 1974. Standing out among the classical buildings of the National Mall, the Hirshhorn—affectionately nicknamed the “Brutalist donut”—is one of the most popular examples of the Brutalist architectural style, which erupted from the 1950s through the 1970s.

For the second year in a row, visitors of all ages can drop by the museum to enjoy complimentary donuts, while supplies last, and partake in a wide-ranging schedule of architecture-themed activities led by Washington-based experts. Architecture, photography and art enthusiasts alike will be drawn in by local Instagram community IGDC to join in appreciating the monumental stature of this much-debated architectural style.

For kids
10 a.m.: For a special edition of STORYTIME, the museum’s youngest visitors are invited to explore architecture through a read-aloud of Iggy Peck Architect by Andrea Beaty and a hands-on building activity.

For all ages
12:30 p.m.: Architecture specialist Amanda Hurley talks Brutalism and color, expanding on her Washington Post Magazine article arguing in favor of preserving brutalist architecture in Washington.

2 p.m.: A Gallery Guide-led tour will explore architecture-inspired art on view, including the fantastical world of Ilya and Emilia Kabakov’s models in “The Utopian Projects.”

4 p.m.: Kelsey Keith, editor-in-chief of Curbed, debates the good, bad, beautiful and ugly of Brutalism, and the Hirshhorn’s groundbreaking design in architecture history.

6:15 p.m.: Deane Madsen (@deane_madsen), former design editor of Architect magazine, will lead an IGDC (@igdc) brutalist Instameet tour #atHirshhorn. Founder of the Instagram account @brutalistdc, Madsen will explore the exterior and lush garden at sunset.



10/4 Counts of Conjuring Magic Club 6pm

Holiday Inn
2460 Eisenhower Ave
Alexandria, VA 22314

The Counts of Conjuring meeting next week! The next meeting’s theme is “Bring a Friend”

Not only will we be learning a new magic trick for everyone to take home but we will also be introducing new friends to our kids club! If you bring a friend (8yrs to 17 yrs) then you will get a free magic trick for EACH new friend that you bring (max 3 free tricks)!

So, come learn some new magic with your friends!

Wednesdays UpCycle Tinker Time 3:30pm-5pm at the Durant Arts Center

All ages (an adult must accompany children ages 12 and younger)
$5/person or $15 max for a family (Annual Members tinker for free)

Tinker with us on Wednesdays from 3:30 – 5p and Saturdays from 10:30a – 12:30p.

Explore our unique collection of materials in our studio space and create your own thing. There will be wire, glue, tape – you name it – to hold your work together, and we’ll have a nice selection of mark making supplies available as well.


10/5 Interpretations of Julius Caesar at the Walters Art Museum (Baltimore) 6:30pm

Associate Curator of Art of the Mediterranean, 5000 bce–300 ce, Lisa M. Anderson-Zhu will share insight into the Walters’ ancient Roman collection, while cast members from the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company present scenes from their production of Julius Caesar.

Thursdays Alexandria Homeschoolers Park Day at Hoofs Run (Blue Park) 2pm-5pm

Thursdays Family Night at Old Country Buffet 4pm-9pm


Not only do kid’s 4-11 eat for only $1.99 from 4:00 p.m. to close, but they also get to enjoy treats like cotton candy, soft serve ice cream and all the desserts Mom can handle.


10/6 Peabody on the Court at the Walters Art Museum (Baltimore) 12:00pm-1pm

Enjoy free lunchtime concerts on the Walters’ Sculpture Court the first Friday of each month.

Presented in partnership with the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University.

October 6: Tyrone Page, saxophone


10/7 Art on the Avenue in Del Ray 10am-6pm

​October 7, 2017: Art on the Avenue – Artist Demo Booth & Kids Activities
2301 Mt. Vernon Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22301
Art on the Avenue is a multi-cultural arts festival celebrating our community’s diversity through the arts in the Del Ray neighborhood in Alexandria, Virginia. UpCycle will host a DIY stomp rocket kids activity and an artists demo booth.

10/7 OPUS 1 at Merriweather Post 4pm-11pm

Inspired by the spirit of the woods, OPUS 1 combines art, music and technology to create an enchanting evening in the forest.
Join us on October 7th as the woods come alive with light and sound like never before.
Immersive art installations, mesmerizing music performances and treetop projection mapping–OPUS 1 presents more than 11 entrancing installations for all ages to enjoy, including:
The Lightning Cloud: An inflatable air pavilion designed by architect Jesse Seegers offers a euphoric performance environment and an iconic backdrop for dynamic projection art
The Dream Machine: Fresh off of the world premiere at Melbourne’s Supersense Festival, Dream Machine takes hallucination-inducing sculpture to an immersive performance environment on the iconic Chrysalis stage, led by Darkside’s Dave Harrington and a host of special guests
EXO-TECH Galactic Hearth: Sophia Brous lights up The Hearth stage with her star-studded improvisational ensemble weaving a strikingly unique palette across wide influences, exploring free jazz improvisation alongside expansive R&B exotica
George Mason Pep Band: Voted Best Pep Band in the Country, George Mason’s Green Machine and its eccentric bandleader Doc Nix kick off the festival with a performance featuring over 50 of the group’s top players and a set of energetic tributes to today’s hits of EDM and pop
Enjoy food and drinks from DC and Baltimore in the Culinary Village throughout the night.
Admission is free and open to all ages.
Reserve tickets for expedited entry.
OPUS 1 is designed to bring art and cutting-edge culture to the new Merriweather District, in celebration of Columbia’s 50th Anniversary. For more information on the full program, visit opusmerriweather.com

Mein Pants


This week is Banned Books Week, bringing public awareness to demands for censorship, especially within public libraries.

Common Sense media has a couple of good articles on the importance of broaching this topic with your kids and the kinds of books that often get asked to be taken off shelves:



We celebrated in our co-op by sharing Shel Silverstein poems and talking about why some people might have been offended by them — and why it would be a loss to be missing such voices and viewpoints.

The day before I watched the Captain Underpants movie with E1 and E2. Because my children have a sense of humor, they thought the movie was hilarious. To their chagrin, though, I had them talk to me about why Captain Underpants is one of the books that libraries receive the most complaints about.

They could see that humorless prigs could have a problem with potty humor and an adult authority figure prancing about in his underwear. With some prodding, they grudgingly admitted that the two prankster protagonists, George and Harold, basically teased and bullied the supervillain, Professor P, before he did anything wrong.

And then there’s the whole issue of hypnotizing their principal, Mr. Krupp, to be Captain Underpants, which is essentially forcing a person to act against his own interest without his consent. E1 could see how the same sort of action in a very different story would clearly be an act of evil.

This didn’t lead him to the conclusion, though, that Captain Underpants was deserving of being banned. Art uses distortions of the truth to make you notice aspects of the truth that were hard to see. Professor Poopypants’ (and Krupps’) absolute lockdown on transgression and humor is not an act of justice but a will to power. Their censorship does not make the world safe and orderly, just limited to the scope of their own imagination. Harold and George are agents of chaos — but that is because they are kids, and they are human — and they thrive and grow under grace, not repression. We ignore their joie de vivre at our peril. But we also ignore their ugliness at our peril.

So my next move is to veer into Cosby. I’m pretty sure they don’t know about him as a troubled sexual predator, so I hope to introduce his comedy in a state of innocence. They deserve to hear the joy and mastery of his storytelling before I stain it with the context of his personal shortcomings. You can watch his 1983 standup film Himself on Youtube. I’ll then play his bit about Spanish Fly (also on Youtube).

Then I’ll drop the bomb about the multiple allegations of him forcing himself on women over the years — very carefully, of course. I’d be interested to see if E1 still thinks the artistic ends justify the means. I myself would have considered myself a free speech absolutist a few years ago. A number of things that have come up in the past year, though, has complicated my feelings on the subject… and it’s too important a topic not to talk through and think about time and again.

Objects of Wonder


I highly recommend the Objects of Wonder exhibit at the National Museum of Natural History.

One of the wonderful but maddening things about the Smithsonian is that its museums are so expansive — one could wander through any one section for hours and still feel overwhelmed. I tend to prefer smaller museums, like the Baltimore Museum of Art, to peruse without pressure and savor a well-curated selection.

“Objects of Wonder” relieves itself of the onus of a topical thesis and just presents a few rooms of random cool stuff. Ostensibly celebrating collectors and the obsession of collecting, it really doesn’t have much rhyme or reason. There’s a wall of “blue things” catty corner from a taxidermically preserved lion that Teddy Roosevelt shot on safari. There’s a mural display that will tell you the story of a Tsimshian tribal legend and another display that will compare analogous bones of a hummingbird and a dinosaur. It’s just wow after wow after wow.

I’m sometimes frustrated that my 9-year-old has a compulsion for trivia, but I’m sometimes able to see it as a superpower — and this exhibit bathed him in the sun of that strength.