Emoji Bingo!

I created these BINGO cards to teach my daughter coordinates (in the context of columns and rows rather than x and y axes). Unlike Geography BINGO, where we use coins to combine money math with state “geometry,” for Coordinates BINGO, we use Bananagrams. Whenever I call a “coordinate” (C#, R#), she places a Bananagram tile facedown. Once she gets a BINGO, we flip all the tiles over, which she uses to create as many words as possible. (I usually let her get BINGO at the 11th or 12th tile). Canva is an excellent homeschooling graphic design program for those who prefer (and need) to create their child’s curriculum. My daughter loves emojis, so she enjoyed helping me create these cards.

Micropoetry Monday: Apocalypse

20210802_164910

When nearly all the world had become infertile
from the measures taken to prevent overpopulation,
children became more precious than saffron,
rarer than the Sumatran rhino & Darwin’s fox,
for what did it mean to save the planet
when there would be no one left to inhabit it?

For the postmodern world began to suppose
that mothers & fathers were interchangeable.
Yet it was proven that one person
could never be both father & mother,
but rather,
the best parent for what has always been a 2-parent family.
For to lose a mom
was not
to lose a dad
or vice versa.
In marriage,
their flesh had become one,
but in the eyes of their children,
Mom & Dad were separate entities
that had merged their sacred powers of procreation
to create flesh of their flesh,
& to imbue that flesh with the spirit
they would send out into the world–
not to seek their fortune,
but to make the world more fortunate
for them having been in it.

For the world
became such a place,
that only the experts
could speak
on certain subjects.
One had to be an artist
to talk about art,
an activist to discuss politics,
a chef to critique food.
Such was The State’s way
of controlling
the flow of
misinformation,
& so any talk of morality
was the first to go.

Dear Amelia

“Dear Amelia” was published in the summer 2021 issue of Bella Grace magazine.

Dear Amelia,
You have made me appreciate red wine,
pink champagne,
and the true spirits of tomato and orange juice
more than ever.

Dear Amelia,
Thank you for giving me an excuse
to take naps in the middle of the day
and for making me take the spring semester off;
I didn’t want to take those lit classes anyway.

Dear Amelia,
You have given me an outie
where there used to be an innie,
and it’s weird.

Dear Amelia,
Thank you for giving me a reason to replace
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
and the excuse to reread it;
to play peek-a-boo,
to teach you baby sign language,
to cut up the moon for you,
to show you that you don’t have to do it all
to have it all,
to show you that you can do anything a boy can do
(but that you don’t have to),
and to tell you about the people I wish you could know
and who I wish could know you.

Dear Amelia,
You have kicked me when I am down
(for the night),
but I don’t mind,
for it lets me know you are still there.

Dear Amelia,
Thank you for showing me how much
I can love someone I’ve never met
but know is there—
who I love even more than I love myself
(and that’s a lot!).

Dear Amelia,
You took your sweet time getting here,
yet you came at seemingly the perfect time,
for who I am now
is better than who I’ve ever been.

Dear Amelia,
Thank you for giving me another chance to do this . . . all over again.

Dear Amelia,
It took a while to get your name just right,
but know that what we chose to call you
was not to honor anyone but you.

Dear Amelia,
Thank you for coming to be a sister to my other little girl,
who will need you and share your toys for you from time to time.

Dear Amelia,
Enjoy the abundance of the girl who beat you to it
and who will be more than happy to share hers—
especially the Calico Critter house with the dog-eared bunnies.
Don’t mind their shabby appearance,
for they have endured the play of Hurricane Hannah.
Let her show you how milk makes the best bubbles,
how you can sound like an elephant if you blow your nose hard enough,
and how to play pretend with anything.

Dear Amelia,
Let this other little girl tell you what you have missed,
even as you will experience things she will miss.
Share your stories.
When your dad and I have gone,
stay close to her,
for no one else will have the same memories of us
that you two will.

Dear Amelia,
You are ready to meet the world,
but is the world ready to meet you?

Dear Amelia,
Thank you for showing the world
that even in times
of pandemics and all manner of upheaval,
life goes on,
for babies are still being born.
Children are precious,
for they are the future.

That said,
Dear Amelia,
I am so glad your lease is up on January 15, 2021—
with the prerequisite grace period, of course.

And always remember,
Dear Amelia,
that just as you will leave my body,
I will someday leave your life.
And I pray that I will have given you everything you need
to take care of yourself
(and hopefully others),
so take care,
and we will see you soon.

But most of all,
Dear Amelia,
remember that whatever you choose to do
may not be essential to the world,
but it will be essential to you,
for it will give you purpose and provide for you
and any who may come after you.
Know that you do not have to know
what it is you want to do
at the same time as everyone else,
for lifelong learning
includes learning about yourself.
Find your quiet place,
where you can take the time to reflect,
for when you know yourself,
you can be yourself,
Miss Amelia Skye.

Letter to my daughter

My epistolary poem, “Miss Amelia Skye” (“Dear Amelia”) was just published in Bella Grace magazine. Amy Krause Rosenthal’s book, Dear Girl, was the inspiration behind the format. I have since created a Mixbook of this poem for my daughter (who will be turning 5 months in a few days); this book will go into a time capsule for her to open at the stroke of midnight in the year 2042 (which will make her 21, if my math is correct). 🙂

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When Age Was No Longer Numbered

When the world no longer aged,
learning did not cease
but development did.
Husbands loved their expectant wives
with their rounded bellies & tiger mom stripes,
& the mothers loved their little one(s) within,
who floated as if in a state of suspended animation,
the mothers,
in suspended celebration.
The babies born were loved for who they were
& who they would never become.
Developmental milestones became a thing of the past;
educational milestones became the next big thing.
There were no more birthdays—
just calendars marking each day
since the last birthday had been celebrated;
there were anniversaries, however,
for Time continued marching on,
leaving a lighter bootprint
with every passing year.

It was an era of endless childhood:
of childhood sweethearts who would never marry,
of teenagers who would never know wisdom,
of young parents who would never become grandparents,
& of grandparents who would never pass away.
Those who loved their age loved their lives;
those who wished to be young again would be old forever;
& those who wished to grow up would never know independence,
for no matter how much they learned,
they would never mature.
There were no more conceptions or births,
no more deaths from old age but unnatural causes.
Those who loved what they did would do it seemingly forever,
& those who did not
could not bear an eternity of hating their livelihood,
so they went back to school
in acknowledgment & the reclaiming of their perpetual personhood,
for they had all the time in the world.

In this reverse Groundhog Day,
where the days changed, but the routine did not—
the world began to live in an almost hypnagogic state,
for the only promise of tomorrow was that it would come.
For some,
this cessation was the spring of eternal life,
for others,
a never-ending winter.
And for those who were too young to know any better,
it was all they knew.

Her Magical Childhood

1954 (10)

Her childhood had been sweet,
filled with marshmallow hugs & chocolate kisses,
of butterfly, angel, & Eskimo kisses,
of kisses that flew from her hands like cosmic dust
to decorate the sky,
& of kisses from Grandma
from that gold-paved paradise over the rainbow;
of stork bites & tales from the Cabbage Patch,
& monsters in the closet & under the bed
that disappeared with the always precise aim
of Mom’s crafty glue gun;
of make-believe games & make-it-yourself puzzles;
of art class with junk mail scraps & broken crayons,
& a refrigerator that had become a museum gallery,
with Lego magnets holding up hodgepodge collages;
of music class with the laminated lyrics
of hymns, folk songs, & Christmas carols;
of PE in the park,
field trips to everyday places,
& lunch where cookie butter & Nutella sandwiches
were always on the menu;
of science class on the beach & Sunday school under the trees;
of math class with numbers that had special significance—
in her life or the lives of others or the history of the world;
of a 24/7 library with fairy tales, folk tales, & tall tales,
& thick scrapbooks that told the family history—
the history she would end up repeating—
that of happy marriages & childhoods,
with written instructions & real-life examples
on how to make them happen.

1954 (2)

The Homeschooling Mama’s Dilemma

Pledge

The frazzled, second-time mama,
whose nerve endings were frayed,
grieved for the time she robbed from Penny to spend on Polly,
for the times she snapped at Penny because of Polly,
& for the times she did not even hear Penny because of Polly,
whose color of hangry ranged from tomato red to beet purple.
As the principal of Sally Jane Richards’ Homeschool for the Housebound
(& wife of the dean)
cradled her colicky cuddlebug,
her other hand reached out to reassure her doodlebug—
this shiny new piece of change who had come into her life
without a heads-up & put her into a temporary tailspin—
that Book Club & Reading Club,
Math with Monopoly Money,
A.M. & P.M. Bingo,
Wheel of Fortune-inspired Hangman,
& Alphabet Soup & Word Salad with Bananagrams,
had to wait for the not-so-secret formula
to do its disappearing noise magic trick.

The Loveliest Bones

Bebe shoes

Since reaching late thirtysomething,
Anne had wanted to know what it was like
to have a child who would tell her she loved her
without prompting,
& the awareness she saw in the weeks-old bundle
was sometimes more than she had seen
in the years-old bundle
who was crawling towards the age of accountability.
As she looked at her children,
one cradled in one arm,
the other,
snuggled under the arm that had yet to fall asleep,
she knew there was not one daughter she preferred over the other,
for how could one choose a right eye over a left?
This mother—
a family tree whose feminine, blue-eyed branches
reached for the sun in opposite directions—
brought the fruits of her labours closer to Solomon’s twin fawns.
When Anne of the 1000-plus days looked to her husband,
the king of her 900-square foot castle,
she saw confirmation & absolution of her beliefs,
reflected & shining from within the deep green pond,
for to this ageing former head-banger now headmaster,
they had the best of both worlds:
a child who may never leave them
& a child who may know well enough to do so.