The Radius of Doom

Before Dubsie was born my cousin Alison warned us about what she called the Radius of Doom. Anything within baby’s reach at the table is in imminent danger of spillage, breakage, slobberage, or some other form of annihilation.

We learned to conduct safety sweeps and clear the Radius. But of course that isn’t enough. You […]


The Home Screen

  Somewhere between dawn and 6:30 a.m., Dubsie bounds out of her bed. She rattles her cage — that’s what we call her baby gate — and stirs me from slumber.  I stumble to her room, change her diaper, and carry her back to our room, where I deposit her in our bed. I then […]


Don’t Mess With Her Culture

We are a household governed by the rhythms of yogurt. I fed Dubsie the first spoonful when she was six months old (her first taste of sour, you should have seen how her face puckered). The fermented flow has only grown since then. After all,  Dubsie’s maternal lineage is from India, the motherland of yogurt, and […]


The Scheduling Tango

Create a childcare schedule for Dubsie for the next two weeks, with the following conditions:

Ferris is in Cuba for a conference from May 25 to the morning of May 29. Mummy is in Boston for her most important conference of the year from noon on June 29 until the mid-afternoon of […]


You’re Toast

First, say “cough” in Spanish. Tos.

Then understand that we’ve had an illness going around, at least among us adults, that involves a lingering and persistent cough. After a bout of hacking, I tell Dubsie “tengo tos.”

Her brown eyes are full of concern. “You are sick?”

“Yes, I am sick.”

“You need tea?” she […]


The Reluctant Mummy

The truth of the matter, the truth we will tell Dubsie one day, is that Mummy never wanted to be a Mummy. She told me a revealing story once. She was on a hike in New Zealand and met this happy, gray-haired woman in her 70s who had never had a child. “No children, […]


The Song of Uncle John


Once, in the dead of night, nestled between us sleeping, Dubsie sat bolt upright. She began to chant in a deep voice we didn’t know she possessed.

Mother, Father, Uncle John Went to market, one by one

The words rolled slow and solemn from her mouth, like a dirge.

Mother fall off … whee! […]


Bald with a Bindi

Dubsie has turned two! This post will end with photos of the most salient development, which is that my daughter no longer has hair. Her curls occupy a dustbin in the Georgia suburb of Dunwoody. But our story begins elsewhere, on a fine morning on the southern outskirts of Atlanta, at a Hindu temple.

The […]


A Wilderness of Dandelions

Washington, D.C. is tough on lawns. Ours would seem easy enough to care for — it’s only twelve by sixteen feet — but the winter taxes the grass with a few good freezings. In the spring, the ground explodes with life, and any clumps of grass thas survived the winter are swallowed by creepers or […]


Meet Lilia

Dubsie spends most of her days in the company of a Ukrainian woman whose name is Lilia. Lilia grew up in Dnepropetrovsk, in central Ukraine, about 300 miles from Kiev. She is our au pair. Let me explain what that means, exactly.

Au pair is a French word that literally means “on equal terms” but […]