I was walking through our neighborhood with Dylan at my side, both of us pushing the empty stroller (“I PUSHING THE LAWNMOWER MOMMY!”—good for you and your fear-facing ways, kid), and we passed a house with a woman hanging out in the front yard with her young toddler. The little girl, probably around 18 months old, squirmed to see Dylan and grinned at us and waved, and the mom smiled and said hi, and I said hi back, and I . . . kept going.

So, let’s recap: here’s someone who looked about my age, with a kid pretty close to my kid’s age, who lives a whopping two blocks from my house. She seemed nice and god knows I could use a nearby friend, and I just kept walking. Instead of stopping and introducing us or even just exchanging more than a shy hello. What the hell.

(And then I came home and BLOGGED about it. Jesus.)

While I’m busy berating myself for being a socially broken Cro-Magnon, I’m also thoroughly enjoying some alone time with Dylan. Riley is in Oregon this weekend with JB, on his first guys-only camping trip (oh my god, he was so, so geeked about this, and I sure hope he’s having a fantastic time) and as much as I miss them both, it’s an entirely different lifestyle around here with just Dylan around. Fully 95% of his tantrums have completely disappeared, no shit. The screaming, the fighting, the utter chaos—it’s all gone. He’s been an absolute joy to be around.

Those of you with more than one kid, have you noticed this sort of marked behavior change when a sibling is elsewhere? The difference is truly stunning, and I wish I knew how to get to this place—the place where I actually enjoy spending time with my kid rather than wanting to pull my hair out by the roots—while our family unit is intact.




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13 years ago

Drat. Cached page took me to the wrong comments section, this was obviously for your post “In Color”. :o(

Jessica V
13 years ago

Oh hell yes – the difference is amazing when there is only 1 of my 2 around. I think, for us at least, the screaming and chaos is totally about getting attention. My attention, specifically, and ensuring that the other sibling is getting none.

I don’t know how to fix it either. So glad to hear that I’m not alone though.

(Dylan is so cute in that photo! Hope Riley had a good time!).

13 years ago

Hi, I really love your blog. If you lived in Southern California I’m sure we would be the very best of (awkward) friends. How exactly do you make friends past the age of 8 and not have it feel desperate and weird?? I’m still waiting to find out. Taking care of my son, running and reading fill my days for now.

9 years ago

Hey Bill. Love your interviews, you do such a woendrful job. It is nice to get to know a little bit more about local people doing good things. I think you should do an interview with Becky Anderson of the director of the Anything For A Friend non-profit. She is a cancer survivor with an amazing story and is now working hard to help others.

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You know they could also intruct Tarot to build them the Riverine Ironclads and ship the steam engine and steel plating to Tarot and assemble there and then just sail the river ironclads accross the Taro Channel, that’ll save on coal and the risk of sinking in the sea…Then again, Merlin’s idea is simply to slap on the armor on their current barge? so I don’t know, there’s a distinct possibility that they will be employing riverine ironclades once Caleb reaches Siddermark in this book?

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9 years ago

People normally pay me for this and you are giving it away!

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9 years ago

That’s a mold-breaker. Great thinking!


Stay informative, San Diego, yeah boy!


That’s not even 10 minutes well spent!