Finn is Five!

Finn turns five.

Let the festivities begin!

“There once was a woman who swallowed a shell, she didn’t tell…” Finn starts singing in the backseat. I just picked him up from school and we are driving to get cake mix for birthday cupcakes. “She swallowed a crab to live in shell, she swallowed the shell, she didn’t tell…There once was a woman who swallowed a fish to catch the crab to live in the shell… she didn’t tell…”

I start day dreaming… did he make this up? It wouldn’t have surprised me if he did. I can see it now, Finn the author and Asher the illustrator.. yes it all makes sense… what a team…

“She swallowed a wave … BURP…” We all laugh. “Do you know what happens after she swallowed the wave? She burps out a sandcastle with a hole for water, the fish lives in it, the shell on the side with the crab,  the gull on top…”

We love the song. It turns out he didn’t make it up, but he did add a few made up jabberwocky – like rhymes.

Finn is a gift of humor, laughter, and creative spontaneity. He is joy.

Tomorrow we deliver chocolate chip allergen free cupcakes and brownies (we were short a few cupcakes).
“We have to make sure they taste good,” said Asher. And they do.

Happy Birthday. (Insert here the rapping turtle and hippo birthday song we love on YouTube)

At first a seemingly not so complicated or provocative day, yet when you start to review it… there ARE meaningful messages in such simplicity. If we didn’t stop to at times to write down these mothering moments, we could miss out on the incredible job we are doing as a family.

Today on my way to pick up Asher at camp, I received a phone call.

“Hi Karen, nothing to worry about, Asher is fine… he just fell and has a fat lip.”

“Oh no, okay, I am on my way. Has it stopped bleeding? Stitches? Teeth?”

“What? What are you saying Mom?” Finn asks from the backseat.

I get off the phone. Poor Asher fell and has a fat lip. Screech. We pull into dunkin’ donuts for some munchkins. A little pick me up at pick up.

“I’ll take a dozen.” I say into the speaker.

“Okay, and how many would you like?”

“Twelve, that’s also called a dozen.” (Really? I think to myself.)

“A dozen is twelve.” Finn repeats from the backseat.

“Yes it is!”

Onward the chariot goes. We swing and Asher’s lip is well, fat. Just as expected and he’s making slurping noises.

“Ice cream for dinner,” I smile.

“Yay!” Asher hugs me.

The rescue team drives home.  Finn tries to decode Asher’s mumbled and funny speech. It’s a new language and Finn likes the challenge. “I figured it out Mom! Asher wants me to unbuckle him and open his door.” Its a little role reversal and I can see Finn enjoys this new role of taking care of his big brother.

The boys eat salmon and fresh zucchini from our farm share that tastes so fresh and sweet that they taste like they’ve been coated with sugar. Ice cream is not forgotten, Hood’s Boston Red Sox brownie and chocolate swirls…. totally thought it would be a hit… but… Finn doesn’t like the brownies and Asher isn’t crazy about the chocolate. Funny, because the bowls were licked clean. Hm. Maybe they are just too tired to chew. Smile. Tub time.

I pour water over Asher’s hair. As I run my fingers over the suds I say, “Today is your last day of being 5-years-old. So… how was your year?”

“GREAT!” he responds.

“Another year of firsts…” Then I  think to myself. First year of school, First time seeing fireworks, First time seeing a beluga whale, First time going to camp…

It was a pretty amazing year and SO fast. Pause here. Breathe. I remember smelling his sweet soft baby hair. Don’t blink. (My own mother’s advice echoes in my mind). I scrub the whale soap into a cloth, and Asher washes the rest of his body and then hands me the clothe so I can wash his back. He reluctantly climbs out of the tub, brushes his teeth, and starts walking out the bathroom door.

“Wait! Let me carry you?” I ask.

“OOOKAYeeeee” He says with a cheer and smiles widely.

We read books and start our switcheroo and I tell him about the night he was born. “It was a clear beautiful and starry night and I couldn’t wait to meet you. I labored for a long time, but you came on your terms over 3o hours later. I walked in Child’s Park, where we go to see the frogs at the lily pond and walk and bike through our secret path, and I hugged trees hoping the universe would help. Your Dad was there too and he cut your ambilical chord. “Did it hurt?” He touches his belly button.
“Oh no,” I say.
“Mine too, Momma?”
“Yes, yours too, Finn and it didn’t hurt.”
I find Asher’s belly and kiss it. He giggles.
I nursed you and cuddle you and wrapped you into a burrito. A burrrrrito. I like rolling and stressing the r. 
I take a blanket and roll him up tight.
“Me too, Momma,” calls Finn.

Asher falls asleep fast. Creek. The sound of the boys’ bedroom door opens. The light flicks on. It’s Finn’s nightly sneak out into my bed, but this time I am making cupcakes.

PSST.Come here,” I whisper, “sign Asher’s birthday card.” Finn is caught off guard and loves that he’s not in trouble. We both sign the card, and Finn puts it by my bedside table. We kiss goodnight and I re-wrap him in a burrito. We have plans for a great celebration tomorrow.

Happy Birthday, Asher. Off to frost the cupcakes and wrap up your gifts. I am honored to be a part of your journey and witness your divine courage, freedom and light as you grow leaps and bounds year to year.  


“We have come into this exquisite world to experience ever and ever more deeply our divine courage, freedom and light.”



Today was Asher’s first day of sports camp! He’s been looking forward to this for weeks! Soccer, basketball, tennis, swimmming… all day every day for two weeks.

“Im a soccer player,” he explains to the teenager registering us. “Great! and don’t forget to wear your colored shirt on Tuesdays and Thursdays.”

We walk into the gym, where all the counselors and campers wait on the bleachers. He knows one other person. He meets Max a fellow 6 year old, in the registration line. Now he knows two.

“Okay, are you all set?”

“Yup!” He starts hopping down the steps and finds a place to sit.

“Wait! Give me a hug and a kiss.”

“Bye Mom!”


And that’s that. A confident, happy, independent, camper. I think he’s on a fantastic journey.




“Mom, MOM! You didn’t button up my pjs all the way!” Asher complains. 

“Well I would have, but you insisted in a cowabanga jump in the middle of me helping you with your buttons…”

Insert here Finn laughing hysterically. The room is dark and I just finished his swicheroo. We all start laughing. Asher can’t stop.

I say the word again, “Cowabungah..” we all giggle again. 

The best way to put to rest a full day, with laughter.

Happy birthday week, Asher!!

“Will you get mad if…”

Words poured out of Asher’s mouth so easily when he checked in with his brother while they both drew a rainbow…

It’s these tiny moments in which I’m not using conflict resolution skills that bring fresh air into our home.

“I really like this Asher, it’s beautiful…” said Finn.

The house which was once a storm of little boy tantrums is now calm. Sip. Coffee. Reflection. Breathe. Peace.

“I’ll show you how to draw rain… But you can make it however you want Finn…”

What was once a argument is now a dance.

What changed? The sea was just swirling with “Stop it!!”, walls, and “if… then…” . It was a model of calm seas and changing of the storm windows to spring and summer screens.

While they screamed I kneeled down rubbed backs and said “Instead of stop we can ask how can I help?” and waited…. then I walked over to our house rules chalkboard and added two more:

quiet voices
ask “how can I help?”

This house without walls is our home.

(I apologize now if I’ve already written about this topic, I can’t seem to find the post)

I’m outnumbered in the house. In when I was little I was out numbered as well. I grew up with two older brothers, 5 and 9 years older. So I was surrounded. Tree and rock climbing, dirt digging, yard work, forest play, baseball play and lots and lots of running. Race. Tag. Touched you last. Climb across the counters and don’t touch the crocodile water. Tree fort building, couch fort building, make a go-cary not run into a building. Skateboarding, biking, basement roller skating and then whoosh, time flew and they vanished and we grew. They were out of the house, school and beyond.  And I was left alone. It  was like being an only child for a while. And now that they were gone, what did I want to do?

A couple of years ago on a road trip to see my middle brother in PA, we visited the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  After spending a long time investigating in the galleries of armor and arms, I bought the boys this book Usborne’s Stories of Knights and Castles. I inscribed the words “To Asher and Finn, to the littlest Knights and protectors of the heart. I love you, Mom. September 2010.”  They were still too young to read these stories, so when I first started reading them I would skip over some of the language.  Today they are older and we’ve read the 9 stories about 4 or even 5 times each.

Tonight I read the titles and Asher chose “Gawain’s Ugly Bride.” The premise of the story is that King Authur’s kingdom and life are on the line and have been threatened by a wicked sorcerer.  Sir Gawain a faithful knight of the round table searches to solve the following riddle: “What do women really want in life.”  Sir Gawain meets a horrid looking woman who will give him the answer, but he must marry her to save his kingdom. He agrees, the riddle is solved, the spell is lifted and the kingdom and King Arthur’s life are spared. What was the answer to the riddle? “The thing that women most desire is the freedom to choose for themselves.”  Does Sir Gawain keep his promise? Of course he does. He’s a knight.  After the wedding the new bride changes into a beautiful maiden at night, but during the day she is a horrid looking. A spell on her had been partially lifted by Sir Gawain, for she truly was a beautiful women. That evening the maiden told Sir Gawain that she could appear hideous during the day or night, but the choice was his. AHA! You see where this is going? Gawain thought for a bit and then said “You shall choose for yourself, whichever you decide, I shall love you just the same.” And guess what? The spell was lifted completely because she could be her true self all the time. Lovely right? The boys think so too.

We all give each other the freedom to choose for ourselves. As grown ups we model healthy choices, we make mistakes, and show our ugly side, but we aren’t perfect. We are human and we love each other just the same.


“Mom, do you know what f*ck it means?” Finn asks while eating his morning oatmeal.

“Finn… did you say bucket?

“No, Mom… f*ck it. FFFFFF not bbbbb.”

“What does it mean, Finn?”

“Well if you don’t like someone. Sharon said it to Melanie in school today.”


“It’s a bad word.”

“Yes it is. We can choose other words beside that word.”

“Yeah.” He agrees.

The next day he repeats the same conversation. We agree again it’s not a term we use. Then that’s the end of it. He hasn’t brought it up since.