Throwback Thursday: The A to Z Challenge Edition

Remember that time I spent hours- HOURS- linking 26 posts to one master post, and none of the links worked?


That time is directly below.

I’m way too sleepy to fix it, but will fix it in the morning while I have a cup of coffee or four.

In the meantime, all of the posts are available. You just have to click through individually.


OK so technically on the east coast it’s not Thursday any more. But since this was a 26- part series and none of those parts had been moved from my old blog to the new site, I suppose I can cut myself a little slack.

Last April I completed the A to Z Challenge. Here is the whole alphabet, in alphabetical order. (As opposed to backwards Z to A, which is how it appears on the old blog, since it lists newest to oldest.) Having it listed A to Z makes me happy. Here it is.

20130927-000555.jpg A is for Animals

20130927-000806.jpg B is for Bedtime, Budgets, and Beets

20130927-001557.jpg C is for Cinderella

20130927-001718.jpg D is for Dance Class

20130927-002026.jpg E is for Emissions Test

20130927-003854.jpg F is for Flylady

20130927-004611.jpg G is for Greenwich

20130927-004708.jpg H is for Hair

20130927-005024.jpg I is for Infertility

20130927-005141.jpg J is for Jump

20130927-005245.jpg K is for Kisses

20130927-005350.jpg L is for, well… L

20130927-005508.jpg M is for Mommy? Mommy? Mommy? Mommy?

20130927-010205.jpg N is for Nia Vardalos

20130927-010311.jpg O is for Older

20130927-010404.jpg P is for “Progress, Not Perfection”

20130927-010529.jpg Q is for Quiet

20130927-010624.jpg R is for Routine

20130927-010722.jpg S is for Smitty

20130927-010822.jpg T is for Things You Can Never Ever Say to Someone Dealing With Infertility

20130927-010944.jpg U is for Unimpressed

20130927-011038.jpg V is for Veterinarian

20130927-011136.jpg W is for Words

20130927-011235.jpg X is for X-Ray

20130927-011332.jpg Y is for YMCA

20130927-011428.jpg Z is for Zebra

Z is for Zebra


Lily got one of those “Sophie the Giraffes” for her first birthday. It’s supposed to help with teething. I don’t remember if she ever chewed on it. But she has always loved it because, well, we know how she feels about animals.I wanted to find it and take a picture. But our home is currently in a condition where… well…. let’s just say I couldn’t find it.

Recently, Sophie the Giraffe resurfaced. She started carrying it around with her in her rotation of animal friends. And she called it zebra.

For a while, I let it go. But one day, I finally told her. “You know that’s a giraffe, right? It’s not a zebra. Zebras have stripes.” She picked up her giraffe and left the room, grabbing a pen on her way. I was too tired to ask her what she was doing with the pen. Plus the apartment is such a mess right now she’s have a tough time doing damage I’d even notice.

A few minutes later we were headed out to run errands and she told me she wanted to bring her zebra.

“Giraffe,” I corrected her.

“Zebra,” she corrected me.

She had drawn several lines on each side of the giraffe. It was now striped. And, I suppose, by my definition, a zebra.

Sometimes it’s hard to argue with a preschooler.

Y is for YMCA


Lily loves the YMCA. Loves.

We’ve been members less than a year. But it is already like a second home to her. She learned to swim there. (It took her about three weeks of being in the water with Mommy and Daddy every day before she could swim entirely independently.) She continues to work on her swimming there. (Big arms! Put your head in! Kick! She can swim the whole width of the Olympic-sized pool.) She goes to the YMCA school. She knows everyone who works there. Her friends are members. She goes to every kids’ event they have. It’s within walking distance for us so a trip to the YMCA is an easy way for her to burn off energy.

A few months ago it became a place of shelter and rest for us during Hurricane Sandy. We were extremely lucky. We had no property loss at all. But we were without power or water for a week. The people at the YMCA opened their doors to anyone who needed a place to go. We showered there, we played there, we ate there, we plugged in our iphones there.

We’ve lived in Greenwich for nearly three years now. And a good part of the first year was extremely lonely. We’ve made friends that have become like family in a variety of places. But the YMCA is certainly one of them. And I’m grateful for that.

X is for X Ray


Last year at this time I wasn’t feeling so well. I had been coughing for a few weeks and it was getting to where I couldn’t sleep. Allergies, I figured. So I took a cough suppressant. Then the next day I broke out in a rash. Must have been allergic to the cough suppressant, I figured. But eventually the rash got so bad it became a serious concern. So I went to the ER, assuming I needed some Benadryl or something. A few hours later I was admitted to the hospital. With pneumonia. It’s actually kind of a funny story. It’s just not the story I’m telling today. The point here is that I had pneumonia last spring.

There was only one logical, healthy reaction to this: assume Lily had pneumonia every time she coughed.

The biggest problem with this reaction is that she coughs. Like, a lot.

We’ve realized quite recently that her cough really IS allergies. (We are grateful for this discovery, as we- and doctors- thought for a bit that it was asthma. Toddlers with inhalers are sad.)

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Back to a few months ago, when we were constantly convinced Lily had pneumonia.

It was another one of those days when she was coughing so hard she was throwing up. We decided enough was enough. So we took her to the ER. The doctors in the ER insisted it was nothing. We insisted it might be something. They finally agreed to do a chest Xray.

Again, I feel the need for a disclaimer. There are a lot of judgey Moms out there. Shame on you. But just in case, you still feel like judging, here’s the disclaimer. We do NOT run to the doctor for every little thing. I have a rough-and-tumble kid, and I let her be rough-and-tumble. We insisted on the x-ray because it had been months of coughing. (Literally? Yes.) And I was convinced that I gave her pneumonia. (Which isn’t really how that works. But. Mommy guilt and all.) This was her first x-ray ever, and they will continue to be saved for emergencies. K?

And now, a word about our Lily. She is TOUGH. She loves the doctor. She is brave. So we played up this whole x-ray thing. She was going to go into a room where a robot would take a picture of the INSIDE OF HER BODY!!! So cool!

She was skeptical.

Then she was taken inside the x-ray room to see the robot and put on a special vest. Then she was left in there alone, and the lights went off. Then the robot made terrifying loud noises.

And then I saw it from a 3-year-old’s point of view.

Her parents had just put her-alone- in a room with a robot who could see her insides.

She. Screamed.

It wasn’t just a sad scream, or an angry scream, or an attention-getting scream. It was a terrified scream. She was really, truly scared. And we couldn’t go in to help her. It was awful.

Fortunately for her the technician couldn’t get a clear picture because she couldn’t stay still. That gave Daddy the opportunity to go in, put on a vest and join her. She didn’t love it, but she tolerated it.

That was one, tiny moment. And it made me want to put Lily in a bubble so she would never be sick or hurt or scared again. I can’t imagine how I’ll make it through another moment like this, let alone a lifetime full of them.

But if I had put her in a bubble, I wouldn’t have watched her play her first soccer game yesterday. And I couldn’t watch her swim the entire length of the pool. Or climb to the top of the rope spider web, hang from the top rope, and drop down.

And the magic of those moments is worth the fear.

W is for Words


I feel like Lily will never learn to read.

Now, before you decide I’m one of those Moms who goes crazy with the early-reading business. I assure you I am not. I have a Masters Degree in Education. I know what is developmentally appropriate. So it’s not that I am impatient. It’s simply that I am in awe of how someone could learn to read from the very beginning.

So far, she reads three words.

Lily. Zoo. Ohio.

It used to be that they had to be in a particular font for her to read them. Ohio, for example, needed to be in block green letters. As in Ohio University. (How proud are Mama and Papa that one of her first sight words is their alma mater? Pretty freakin proud.) Lily needed to be handwritten, and just by itself. She didn’t identify it in a sentence. Same with zoo.

Now, though, she can find these words anywhere. She brought me my birth certificate the other day. (which was on the counter from the great Car Inspection Debacle.) “Mommy? Does this say Ohio?” Yes. Yes it does.

She can also type these three words on an iphone or computer. Lily. Ohio. Zoo. If you ever get a text from me with a lot of random letters and those words thrown in, you’ll know who it’s really from.

But despite her having three sight words, it is just beyond my realm of understanding that she’ll ever truly be able to read.

It reminds me of the time I thought she’d never truly be able to speak. Like, real thoughts. Which she most certainly does. From the time she wakes up until she is fast asleep. I wrote about her words in January of 2011. She was 20 months old. For the sake of my own nostalgia, and as a mark of how far she’s come, I present to you “Out of the Mouths of Babes.” If her oral language development is any indication of how her reading and writing will develop, expect her first novel soon.

Out of the Mouths of Babes (January 6, 2011)

My daughter is learning to talk. As a voice teacher and writer, this is about the coolest thing I have ever witnessed in my life. I have outlined her current vocabulary below. To me, this is fascinating. If it’s not fascinating to you, go read something else. is pretty funny. Try that.

Words that you would recognize, that mean what you think they mean:





No (or, N-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-no)



Bye-bye (used as the thing that is said when a person is departing, and the act of the departure itself)

Juice (not just something to drink, but juice, specifically. Always phrased as a question)

Shoe (used for shoes, but also socks and feet, always phrased as a question)



Hot (almost always accompanied by blowing on something imaginary, even if the thing she’s describing as hot is not food)

Yucky (pronounced yuh-KEEEEEEEEE with a giant glottal stop between the syllables)






Exclamations. This could go in the category above, but is fun enough that it gets it’s own category:

Oh no!

Uh-Oh! (these two are interchangeable)


Whoa! (these two are NOT interchangeable. “Wow” is reserved for the impressive or exciting, or when she just feels like saying “wow.” Whoa, on the other hand is only for things like almost falling down but then catching ones’ self. As in, “Whoa, that was a close one.”)

Boo! (It is important to note an expectation here. “Boo” is always terrifying, and the listener must exclaim how terrifying Lily is for having said it.)


Whassat? (What’s that?)

Whaaaaaaat? (always accompanied by hands held out, palms up.)
Note concerning these questions: they are generally completely out of context and do not refer to anything in particular. She just think it’s funny.

Words that are pretty close, and you’d get it if you really thought about it. Or if we were there to translate:

Nah-nah (night-night, or bedtime)

Bah (bath)

Daw (dog)

Da (dance)

Elwo (Elmo)

Dah (down. Yes, dog, dance, and down sound an awful lot alike. Context clues, people)

Peace (please)

Hep (help)

Buh (book)

Kee-kee or Kih-ee (kitty)

Bee-butt (belly button)

Num-num (food, or the way she feels about the food)

Words that sound sort of like one thing, and mean something else entirely:
Mooooooohhhhh? (more. This is her most common word for food, regardless of whether she has had any yet. Origin, I think: “Lily, do you want some more?” This word is starting to mean she just wants something. And it’s up to the listener to discover what that thing is. Always phrased as a question. Always.)

Bah (back. This is her word for containers. Origin, I think: “Lily, put that back.” Often she is explaining she wants not the thing, but the container that holds the thing. Or both.)

You’d never have any idea what she was saying, but it’s cute and she’s using it consistently and correctly so give her a break:
Kee-kew (Thank You)

Uh, *random syllable*, *LOUDER RANDOM SYLLABLE!!!!!* (One, two, three. That’s right, my kid can count. Uh, sort of.)




Baaaaaaaaaah (complete with vibrato)


Beep- beep

Vvvvvvvvv (the sound an engine makes)

Shhhhhhhh (which means be quiet but is also the sound of running water)

Zzzzzzzzz (the sound of zippers and bees)

And our favorite Lily-ism:
Deedle-eedle-eedle-eedle-eedle! (Which doesn’t mean anything except that she’s really happy.)

I would suggest printing this guide and keeping it handy, but a translator will be provided when you visit if you are not yet fluent in Lily.

V is for Veterinarian


Lily has decided she wants to be a veterinarian.

Of course what she really wants to be is an animal rescuer, like Diego.

But since that’s not a thing, she will settle for veterinarian.

She told me of her plans the other day on the way to the Bronx Zoo. She couldn’t remember what you call a person who helps animals when they’re sick. So I told her they were called veterinarians. And then she told me she wanted to be one.

I think this is a brilliant idea. She loves animals, has a heart of gold, and an interest in education. My instinct- I’m not kidding- was to find a vet who would let her job shadow for a day.

As a reminder, Lily is not quite 4.

I like plans. I like knowing what is going to happen. I like being on a path. And truthfully, my career training started at 6 with piano lessons. But I don’t think we knew then that it would be career training.

I wish I could look into a crystal ball and see what she’s supposed to be. Then I could make sure she has all the right opportunities and experiences.

But I guess it’s also pretty cool watching a kid change and grow. Odds are pretty high she’ll become a professional Something-That-Doesn’t-Exist-Yet. So while we wait, I do the only thing I can, given my lack of crystal ball. Every night I pray with her that we help her become just who she’s supposed to be.

That’s better than a crystal ball anyway.

U is for Unimpressed


Lily makes amazing faces. And she poses for the camera. When she feels like it.

Last summer we stumbled upon an event downtown. We asked Lily if she wanted us to take her picture. This was the result.



She has never seen the McKayla’s Unimpressed meme. This is just what she was feeling.

We have a serious diva on our hands.

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