Category Archives: NoraTalk

“Mommy, mommy, my tooth fell out!”

These were the words I heard from my hysterical six-and-a-half-year-old as she was running up the stairs one morning several weeks ago. My niece and nephew had slept over the night before, and when the kids had all woken up way too early, we sent them downstairs to watch some TV while we tried to continue sleeping in.

Liam and I woke with a start from the screams.

“What happened?” we asked, sitting up in bed, confused and alarmed, thinking Nora must have fallen down and had some kind of horrific accident. She just held out her tooth to us and continued screaming and crying, “My tooth fell out! My tooth fell out!”

Our much calmer niece explained that Nora had been biting down on a blanket when she—my niece—had then pulled on the blanket, resulting in the removal of the tooth.

As my head cleared a bit and I realized she hadn’t been whacked in the face with a bat, I reasoned that she was of the age when teeth begin to fall out, and must’ve just had a loose tooth that none of us knew about, including Nora. Either that, or the blanket had been wrapped especially tight around that one tooth and the yanking that took place had been ridiculously hard, and did—in fact—end up ripping the tooth up from its root. In any case, that tooth was not going back in.

I tried to explain what had happened and attempted to put a positive spin on the whole thing.

“Honey! You lost your first tooth! This is exciting! It’s OK. This is what happens when you’re six-and-a-half,” I said. “Was your tooth loose? Was it wiggly?” I asked, still trying to get to the bottom of this unexpected event.

“I don’t know,” Nora answered, clueless, but slightly more calm since the hysteria that had overtaken her moments before was beginning to dissipate.

I walked with her into the bathroom and held her tooth so she could rinse out her bloody mouth. She was nervous that she had swallowed some blood and I assured her it all was OK. As talk turned to the impending arrival of the Tooth Fairy, she seemed to turn a corner. She looked at me wth the slightest hint of a smile and confessed with a big sigh, “I just can’t stop shaking.” I bent down and gave her a reassuring squeeze.

“It’s OK. You were scared and you weren’t expecting your tooth to fall out. Sometimes we get shaky when things like that happen,” I said. “Just relax and take some deep breaths.”

So, not quite the celebratory first-lost-tooth experience I recall having from my childhood, but an experience nonetheless.

As bedtime approached, we had a hard time getting our girl to calm down and settle in, what with all the Tooth Fairy excitement that had been building throughout the day. Our niece confessed earlier in the morning that she had gotten $20.00 for her first tooth. We reasoned aloud that our Tooth Fairy was likely not going to be so generous. I mean, what does our child know about the value of money at this point? Very little. We like to keep expectations small around here. We hope our Fairy’s $2.00 contribution won’t be remembered as stingy.

Liam asked me later that night, “What are you going to do with the tooth?”

“Keep it, of course,” I replied. Maybe not in my jewelry box, which is where my mother kept all of our baby teeth. And where I discovered them one day while admiring her sparkly things, confirming the fact that the Tooth Fairy was indeed not a real thing.

Nora now delights in smiling with her tongue sticking out through the hole where her tooth once was, as well as cracking jokes every time she flosses when she runs the flosser through the giant gap between her other two teeth. Haha. Very funny, little one.




Heard Around the House

Nora: (runs upstairs) “Mommy? Can we have a cookie?”

Me: “No.”

Nora: “How about some apples?”

Me: “Sure.”

Nora: (runs back downstairs, shouting as she does) “We were right, Daddy. She said no we can’t have any cookies. But yes, we can have apples.”

I love that I’m so predictable.


While out hiking on a trail in the woods.

Frances: “Mommy? Look at my walking stick. It has a tail. I’m petting it. See?”

Me: (chuckles; notices the bunch of green pine needles to which she’s referring) “Yep. I see.”

Frances: (leans in close to whisper) “For real life Mommy, it’s just a branch, not a tail.”

No one will ever say my kids lack imagination.


Getting ready for bed.

Nora: (in tearful hysterics) “I want footie pajamas, Mommy!”

Me: “Well I’m sorry, but they’re in the washing machine.”

Nora: “I’m as mad as mad can be at you! As mad as can be! And it’s not fair!”

Me: “Well, life is not fair.”

Nora: “I want footie pajamas!”

Me: “I understand you’re disappointed. And tired. What else would you like to wear instead?”

Nora: (throws herself on bed) “I’m not disappointed! And I’m not tired! And I don’t want to wear anything else!”

Me: (runs downstairs to retrieve clean, but wet pajamas from the laundry machine to add insult to injury) “Fine. Here. Wear them then.” (hands over pajamas)

Nora: (suddenly stops fitful rage, inspects garment, proceeds to put on) “Hmmmm. They’re not as bad as I thought they’d be.”

Me: (shocked she’s actually going through with it) “That’s because they’re made of fleece.”

Nora: (pauses, realizes she’s a tad bit uncomfortable) “Well, maybe they’ll be dry tomorrow and tonight I’ll just wear something else.”

Me: Finally. The voice of reason.

She ended up insisting on wearing socks, and tucking them into her pants, as well as tucking her shirt into her pants so that she could mimic as best she could the appearance and feeling of being in a one-piece.

Drama, drama, footie pajama. Bedtime now for this mama!

Heard around the house.

This evening Liam came home late, so I was by myself with the kids for a bit. I fed Rowan early and then brought him upstairs to have his bath while the girls were just beginning to sit down to eat. After awhile, I heard them abandon their meal and begin playing something fun, as their conspiratory squeals of delight could be heard from below.

After I got the baby to bed, the girls came up for their turn in the bath.

Me: “Frances? Did you finish your dinner, honey? Or is there still food in your bowl?”

Frances: “Me and Nora spilled some water all over the place, but then we cleaned it up with some towels. So don’t worry.”

Okaaaay. Love the confession and brutal honesty at this age. When I asked her again if she finished her dinner, she replied that she hadn’t. Which is why now—at 8:47 tonight—she is downstairs with her father eating a banana with peanut butter instead of lying in bed with me.


Nora: “Mama. When I grow up I don’t want to be the driver of a garbage truck. I want to be the guy on the back. But not a garbage truck. I want to be a recycler. You know, so I don’t…stink.”

Makes perfect sense to me.


Nora: “Mommy? When is Grandma’s birthday?”

Me: “December 23rd. Two days before Christmas. She’s a Christmas baby.”

Nora: “Just like Jesus! But Jesus’ birthday is on Christmas. Not two days before. Mom? When is Mary’s birthday? Not our old babysitter Maire. But, you know, Jesus’ mom?”

Me: “Yes, I know which Mary you meant. But I’m not sure. You should ask your dad.”

Nora: “But how does dad know our old babysitter’s birthday?”

Me: “I thought we were talking about Jesus’ mom.”

Nora: “Oh yeah.” Giggle giggle.

Me: “Because your father went to church school. If anyone knows Mary’s birthday, it should be him.”

Nora: “Oh. Okay.”

Love putting the hubs on the spot!

Everyone should learn to play the getuba!

Keeping the post brief tonight. I can hardly keep my eyes open.

I don’t know why I’m still finding this so funny, days after it happened, but I just can’t seem to let it go. And let me tell you, Nora is NOT happy that I keep remembering and teasing her relentlessly about it. 

Downtown New London has some fabulous murals on the sides of some of its buildings. We were walking there on Wednesday night as part of a food stroll event, the kind where you pay money for a ticket and then sample foods at the local participating eateries.

Anyway, it was lots of fun. As we were strolling, we passed one of the murals. I was holding Nora’s hand at the time and was watching her as she observed the mural. It was a scene of several musicians playing instruments. She began listing the names of the instruments the people were playing, from right to left as we walked by.

“Drums. Violin. [pause] Getuba.” As though a getuba was just any old instrument with which we were all familiar. Like a trumpet or a flute.

“Getuba?!” I busted out. “What’s a getuba?”

We all started cracking up. 

“That’s a saxophone!” I corrected.

“Oh,” she said. Giggle, giggle.

I think what really happened is her brain got stuck on the unfamiliar looking sax, jumped ahead to the known image of the guitar, came back to the sax and incorrectly guessed tuba, but came out with a cross between guitar and tuba and ended up with a ‘getuba.’ 

Of course, I just can’t let it go. Every day since I’ve said the list out loud at least five times. “Drums. Violin. Getuba.” Followed by: cackle, cackle, cackle. Nora is beyond mortified she made the mistake, so I’m going to have to back off soon. 

Maybe I’ll just give her a new nickname, and start referring to her as my sweet little getuba. 

From right to left: “Drums. Violin. Getuba.”

An unexpected and TOTALLY entertaining surprise.

I’ve been perusing lots of different cookbooks lately to find inspiration from new recipes. I’ve borrowed some books from friends and checked some out of the library. I’m so short on time these days, that rather than take a moment to write down an appealing looking recipe, I’ll just take a quick photo on my phone. I’m not sure if this entirely legal, but it’s been working for me. 

I do, however, know this: Few things are better than going to check on an image stored in your photo feed, and then finding no less than 408—That’s right.  I counted. By fours—pictures that your VERY amateur five-year-old took sometime when you weren’t looking.

Mirror selfie # 1 of 3.

Selfies 1-26: The art of wispy hair and a serious face.

Is the ‘capture photo’ button on my camera EXTREMELY sensitive, or insanely fun to push, or does my child just love the look of the same image over and over and over…and over again? I don’t know, but it’s wildly amusing. 

Peter Rabbit close-ups with some questionable dark spaces.

Liam and I have been looking at these this evening and just cracking up imagining Nora so seriously attempting to document her subjects around the house.

Two ceiling fans, more dark shit, a car book, is that an actual smile in a selfie?, some blurry shots, and Pete the Cat.

And then there were about a hundred of Nora just holding up random puzzle pieces in front of the camera. These were perhaps my favorite of the bunch (see below):

We’ll call this series: “Look what I’ve got!”

These were so flipping funny to look at, that I think I will actually encourage Nora to borrow the phone from time to time to practice her craft. And provide me with fodder for the blog, as well as minutes upon minutes of entertainment!

Teachable moment: You should marry the one you love.

Nora asked me tonight as we were driving whether I thought she ought to marry a boy or a girl when she grows up. I told her she should marry whomever she loves. 

“But who mommy? A boy or a girl?” She really wanted me to give her a definitive answer.

“I can’t tell you that,” I said. “You’ll just have to wait and see.”

I’ll admit, it was really hard for me to just leave it at that. To not say something like: Well, most girls marry boys. I didn’t want to color my thinking—and therefore, her developing worldview—one way or the other. 

Most of the married couples close to Nora are ones who are involved in heterosexual relationships. However, we’ve spoken briefly about the many kinds of relationships that exist between people, both romantic and platonic. It’s natural she’d ask since we haven’t conditioned her to think one way or another.

Although marriage is a long way away, it’s important to me that Nora be aware of and accepting of all healthy and loving relationships, no matter the gender of couples involved. Most importantly, I want her to learn from an early age that she can express her feelings freely—always—without worrying she will be judged by me. 

I did put my foot down, though, when Nora next told me that she was going to marry forty people when she grows up.

“Oh no, dear,” I said. “The rule is, you only get to choose one.”

Our little author/illustrator is busy at work.

It seems like our eldest child might have a better chance of publishing her work than her wannabe-a-writer mother. At least, given the shear amount of material she creates week to week.

Nora started making books this fall at her school in Pennsylvania. Things really kicked into gear, though, once we moved to Connecticut. To date, she’s made something like twenty-one books, only one of which is actually complete, mind you. Most consist of a title page and maybe two to three pages of drawing with text.

In the beginning, she required a lot of help with spelling. Recently, she’s been trying to manage on her own. I love discovering her latest creations and admiring all the effort she puts into her craft.


A season’t worth of books crafted from folded 8-and-1/2-by-11-inch paper and staples.


“Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and “Ellie and the Doghouse” with strikingly similar characters and settings. Note the legless child on the left. Not sure what her deal is.


“Appleland,” the prequel to the lesser-known “Fairyland.” Incidentally, it should be known that there was no mention nor drawing of actual apples in the book “Appleland.”


This one is a little harder to interpret: “That next morning, Emily and her best (friend?) Lizzy went in the car. They went to…” Where did they go? Read on to find out!


“That night (she must’ve gotten help with those two words!) they went to Grandma and Pappy’s and Grandma’s and Grandpa’s…” “Hooo Choo.” Are they owls? On a train? I don’t know.


Love the imagination and detail here with the view of the back side of the people. Also love that the characters on the right page are sitting in pews at church!


“Where is My Halloween Basket?” Lately we’ve been making flip-books modeled after some of our lift-the-flap favorites. These are a total pain to make, because instead of just folding and stapling paper, I have to tape together every couple of pages and then cut out little squares behind which Nora draws hidden images. the end result is worth it though. And why in the HELL are that guy’s legs so damn long?!



“Is it under the bed?”


“No.” Haha!








Of course, never to be outdone, Frances has also mastered the art of book-making. Although she lacks the skills needed to write her stories, she’s never short on words to explain all of the images on her pages. According to her, the books above are about “Our Family,” “Farm Animals,” and “The Playground With Some Little Ducks Over There.”


Lastly, I just had to capture this birthday card while I was recording images of the books. It’s from Nora, given to me a couple of weeks ago. “Now you [are] 37, but soon you’re going to be 38.” Thanks for the notice, girlie. 

I like to think that I will keep some of these to show Nora when she’s a bit older. Not insta-throw them away like I do much of the art work that gets made around here. I’m trying to be better about photographing the pieces I like best. My plan is to preserve the images in some kind of keepsake book, so we don’t have to hang on to the actual physical clutter. But these books are pretty special. So, I’m thinking we’ll save a few for posterity. And, if not—if some get lost or accidentally thrown away in a fit of clutter-rage—at least we’ll have this post of evidence of the work that was done.