Life with the children, 2020

March 29, 2020

June’s almost two now… already interested in numbers. She definitely says “Two, three, two…” as she’s putting thing into rows, which she loves to do! Toys, coins, any objects she is playing with may end up all lined up on the floor… But she’s doing rudimentary counting, at least she’s got the concept of saying numbers while placing the items. The first and most critical part of this whole numbers thing!

And she’s beginning to name the pictures in her books, not just say “What’s this? What’s that?” There are lots of new words that she understands… too many to remember.

April 10 (or so), 2020

Am still worrying about the grown kids/grand kids/kids…. this pandemic is getting serious. Makes me question what world will there be for them when it runs its course… Of course, I’ve always thought it’s gonna come down to us vs. the viruses.

I do find such joy in the kids, all of them, now! They are so amazing and endearing. June’s vocabulary and skills are growing by leaps and bounds every week! She is developing quite a temper, though. If she’s tired and doesn’t want to do something — like put on pants — she can be inconsolable. Just screams and screams.

May 20-22, 2020

Trying to keep up is hard lately, as we’re pretty busy. June is changing and growing so fast, some new little thing every day! She says so many things now – hard to remember them all!

The sweetest thing lately is her little “butterfly song.” She says “fly-fly-fly” (very quickly) for butterfly, and she’s made up the whole very sweet little song, in which the only discernible word is “fly-fly-fly” but is complete with hand gestures and waving arms, looking up and pointing, so clearly it is all about butterflies, which she loves and is very excited by. Marvin says they are June’s favorite part of nature. When we were at Granny’s, I asked June if she could sing her the fly-fly song. She immediately started singing and dancing around singing the same things she says when singing it for me. I think the word “high” is definitely in there! She sings other songs, but nothing as identifiable as the butterfly song.

She really loves music and always starts dancing when music plays. She also loves playing my guitar — and singing along. She gets the idea of melody and seems to sing notes in the chord I’m playing.

June 21. 2020

We had June’s fly-fly birthday party (she’s two) last weekend. She had fun, and Stewart, Kay & Jaap, Granny, and Andrew (Taylor’s friend from Jax) here for our first social event in Screven — all outside, on account of the pandemic. June related to everyone very positively during the party. She’s such a big, smart girl now! She speaks in complete sentences now, at least when she wants to! We were going out the door in our hats and she said, “Oh no, I don’t have my hat on!” Several other sentences lately. And — she’s getting very stubborn about getting dressed. Most of the time, she’d just rather not. Oh boy!

She has a huge vocabulary these days. Way too many words for me to keep up with. And she continues to be so sweet and happy most of the time! She did go on a string of unhappy days… sick and unhappy, maybe teething as there were stomach problems. But she’s good now, tho still some digestive issues.

Marvin and June are getting along so well lately! He’s better at playing with her and doesn’t get so frustrated. We do enjoy them so much and are so amazed at all they do! Though they are a challenge at times!

June’s throwing skills continue to improve. She can throw a ball right to you, judges the distance well and is right on target! She can throw pretty far, too. Also can run and kick a soccer ball over and over. She’s a ball girl! She loves for me to kick the big ball “so high!” and she does really well at throwing and catching it too! She just loves to run, climb, and play rough!

July 18

Language development continues… rocks are now rocks, not “row-ies.” We have such sweet times together! She really loves t play with me, hang with me. We just did lots of “A’s and flowies” in my journal… she loves to draw on my pages… and potty training is proceeding well, so proud of herself.

She is so responsive to our reactions to her. She was writing in my journal, made a wild stroke, and I reacted in a startled way. Then she looked at me with such sorrow, said, “Sorry!” very genuinely and hugged me. She also loves to bring all of us snacks whenever she is having them. I was still in bed and she came knocking on the door to offer me goldfish crackers. She always makes sure “Bubby” has a snack too if she’s having something — same with the gummy bear vitamins. She’s truly a sweet child! Very unselfish and caring. Though she’s lately becoming very stubborn as well and given to getting her way about things.

Sept. 9, 2020

Yes, she’s getting very headstrong. Very determined to do what she sets her mind to do, but she can be fairly easily distracted and gets over things quickly too. But she does cry and scream if thwarted. She’s also been very sweet lately, saying, “You home!” to us, holding our faces and being so sweet and huggy! The highlight of my day is coming home to the family and hearing June say, “Daddy home!” She often comes running to hug me and smiles so sweetly up at me. It has been hard with the ‘Rona — I have to stop her, strip and shower as soon as I get home, so I can’t respond to those sweet greetings! She also loves to give us all little kisses.

Another little sentence she says now is, “Ahhh! I broke that!” She’s a bit rough on things, even the books she loves, so things get broken. She’s rough and tumble right along with Marvin and stays all bruised and banged up. She loves to play outside, loves throwing, catching and kicking the balls, and she can play catch with me for quite a while with the little basketball.

Marvin’s growing up too, though he still has some issues with anger and screaming. He’s doing much better with most things, like bedtime and playing nicely. He and June have lots of fun together being wild kids. He is very protective of her and is usually letting her play with him now.

On the other front, I never get to see my older kids. Everything together has made it near impossible. It’s been very hard for me. I’m still non-grata with Liana, though there are some hints of a response occasionally… They all seem to be doing well, okay at least, despite the crazy times. I miss them terribly! I’ve tried to let them know how much I love them, but I’m not sure the message gets through. Life is so…. hard sometimes. Damn hard. I miss my Mom and Dad…

Sept. 26, 2020

Liana called to wish me happy birthday yesterday! The first overture she’s made to establish contact! It was wonderful to talk to her at last! But sad. We did not really resolve the break, but it was a good talk and it gives me hope that it will get better. It’s good to know she’s doing well, is happy and safe. I miss here, all the kids, so much!

June had her first real beach visit yesterday — St. Simons. We played in the waves and she just loved it! Squealed for a solid hour!

Oct. 10, 2020

A tiny connection has been established with Liana! I renewed her car tag, so I had to ask her for her mailing address, and she was appreciative, we exchanged texts, and things seemed nearly normal. Much improved, so I have a glimmer of hope… The birthday conversation seems to have helped.

A few notes on June and Marvin… June’s vocabulary is growing so fast I can’t keep up! And it’s so cute! She says “yep!” and “nope!” a lot now! She calls Granny “Bramm-ma” and calls Kay “Grammy-Tay.” Oh yes, now she knows her own name! If you ask, she says, “Anna June!” And she told me, “You John!”

Marvin continues to be challenging for me. He is pretty amazing in lots of ways. Very smart. He can recite the story of Wall-E from the book, nearly completely, and he does so, frequently looking at the book and pretending to read it. He really wants to read! He’s certainly an auto-didact, like Lucy. Drawing robots is his daily obsession now, and he’s filled hundreds of pages with Wall-E, Johnny 5 and others. He can keep up a narrative on something for half-an-hour as he draws, though it’s sometimes hard to know what he’s narrating… His defiance continues. I’m trying to be better but not very successfully. I am able to avoid the power struggles, though.

October 18, 2020

A Sunday in the cooling-off days… playing ball with June this morning. She can now throw the soccer ball up in the air and catch it. She’s so proud of herself when she catches it! She does love to play catch with me! She’s so coordinated! She says, “Three, two, five, go!” and takes off running across the yard. We have fun! She is starting to count a bit. She got 1, 2, 3 yesterday in counting something with me.

October 24, 2020

Now she is moving to “1, 2, 3, go!” a lot lately! And she knows the word, “sad.” I said something about Mommy would be unhappy if she broke the plant, and she said, “She sad?” Seems I often find myself wondering how much of our nice, sweet times together she will remember. I guess I wonder if I will live long enough for her to remember me at all. That makes me sad. At least she’ll have some positive emotional grounding for her life. We spend a lot of time playing! (She just drew a little face in my notebook and added eyebrows — she told me they were the eyebrows… and then she asked me to write, or “show her the ppi’s” — her word for letters — for her name.) A few new sentences: “I put this in the trash!” “I can share with you!” Lots of quality time on the porch lately… also lots of stinker behavior! Ya gotta watch her every minute! She’s into everything!

She’s growing up

(This is the third installment in the series The children. See The children… intro for an introduction… These posts are all in the category The children…I think I will try alternating between journal entries on June and Marvin and entries on the others, keeping the June/Marvin entries chronological and the others more random, time wise. We’ll see how that goes!)

January 20, 2019

A busy season, not kept up here… writing with my new real fountain pen that Taylor gave me for Christmas! So smooth! So much to catch up on with Anna June’s life! She’s so close to walking and talking it’s scary… can stand w/only a little help balancing, and she takes little steps if you hold her hand. She’s also eating a little solid food, with predictable results for diaper changes… She’s a big girl now!

Her quirky personality continues to delight us and continues to add new little elements. She’s been a little sick with a cold and cough the last couple of weeks, so has a hard time sleeping. I’ve been doing a lot of walking and rocking, and she’s slept many hours on my chest or cuddled up to me. It’s so sweet!

She’s also quite a brave and rambunctious kid! At the moment, she has a big bruise on her cheek and a knot on her head from falling — usually because she tries to do too many things at once, like standing up and reaching down to pick something up. But she’s a very happy kid too! She loves to laugh and seems to know what’s funny! She laughs when I tease her and tickle her tummy, or when I snort and chase her across the floor, and she always laughs like she’s really proud of herself when she pulls up on a chair.

She’s a real explorer, too! She bears close watching, this one. Especially when she’s playing on her own, as she’s tried to go out the back door, and she loves to push any door back and forth. She knows how to push toys back and forth too, and slide or throw them across the floor! She is almost eight months old now, so I guess she’s gonna be developing even faster in the next few months. Taylor and I are enjoying her so much, trying to be aware of how quickly these precious early months go by, and not miss a moment. I’m home five days a week, mostly, other than a few meetings or games, so I’m involved, deeply, day-to-day, and loving it, loving them, my sweet, sweet family.

January 27, 2019

June has been a wild-baby-wild baby tonight! Crawling all over Granny’s house, carrying a little pink sock. Up and down the steps from den to living room and back over and over, laughing and playing with me, so sweet! She pulls up on everything and is sitting in her highchair eating bits of food and bread, which she loves. And she loves to drink water from a glass. She’s close to holding it herself, too.

Her little cooings and babbling and spitting sounds are so sweet that I hardly want her to start talking! But that will be sweet too! We all enjoy her so much! Marvin is doing better with her, though still some issues.

I’ve not yet done anything re: connecting with the kids… I guess I’m afraid. But Liana’s birthday is coming soon…!

January 30, 2019

June’s energetic little forays into the world around her are so delightful! Tonight, upstairs, she was crawling about with a little tin of sleep balm in her hand, making her little “aaargghh” sound, chewing on it, throwing it across the floor, then crawling after it and banging it and rubbing it vigorously on the floor. And intermittently looking at us, smiling with delight over her new toy! She does love to go on stroller rides around the pond and watch the chickens peck about. She loves to be outside, even just to look out the window. It usually calms her if she’s upset or crying just to look out at the chickens or whatever might be in view. She gets excited whenever the back door is opened and loves crawling around in the grass.


Still trying to figure out what to say to Liana. I don’t understand why she won’t communicate with me, so it’s hard to know how to break through. I need to start with saying how important she is to me, and how I love her and miss her so much and want to be connected… or do I need to apologize abjectly for my stupid failure to confide in her from the beginning? My fear and weakness in not just being open about it all… I guess some combination of these two approaches… I think I don’t need to say too much, which is my tendency, but I definitely need to say something.

April 7, 2019

April already and things are much the same. I discussed it all with Therese last week, and she suggested I keep trying, meditate on what to say and how to say it…

June continues to be a darling child, 10 months old in a couple of days. She loves to walk around holding my hands. She just laughs and crows when she walks. We went to the park, and she walked, with help, all over, crawled a very long crawl across the lawn. She’s almost saying words at times and loves playing with Marvin. He’s gradually learning to share, thought it’s hard. Most things are better with Marvin, though some things are worse. His defiance is really hard for me to deal with. Bedtimes and mornings are a lot better usually – though sometimes mornings are hard.

I never hear from anyone, but I guess I rarely call anyone… I guess we’re all drifting into separate lives…

May 2, 2019

Anna June is totally walking! Not yet 11 months old, she can go all over, change directions, almost go up the step. She took the first few tentative steps from chair to couch at least two weeks ago, and walked from Granny’s chair to the kitchen counter, almost 10 steps, about five days ago. She’s been getting braver every day, and yesterday walked all the way across the big room. She is so proud of herself and so cute when she walks, with her wide stance and determined attitude!

She plays with Marvin like a big kid, and they have so much fun. He’s gradually learning how to be careful of her, though he still wants to grab her and has hurt her a few times. He’s doing much better at bedtime now, going to sleep on his own after a few books. And better, usually, in the mornings. He had a great fourth birthday — four kids to play with plus Uncle Stewart! (Whom he loves and who has the same birthday!) And Kay & Jaap, plus Taylor’s friends from Cherokee, Kiwi and Sarah, who brought her six-year old daughter.

Anna June continues to be such a sweet girl, hugging us and saying HI!, waving, saying Da-da and Mommie and Nanny — we think! She seems to understand so much of what we say that we think she’ll be talking soon. Well, she is talking, just not in words that we know! And she loves to sing!

Also clearly loves music! Any time I play my guitar, she immediately zooms over and wants to play and dance! She notices music on TV and dances to it, too.

She loves drinking water or tea and can hold the glass by herself to drink. Sometimes she spills, but she is really good at holding a glass and drinking. She also loves to go outside. She asks to go out, pointing and making sounds, and loves to play in the grass. She also loves to chase the chickens and push the gate back and forth. And eat dirt.

One of the cutest things about her is the variety of little expressions she makes. Hard to describe, but she’s been doing this little quick eyebrow raise for a long time, since very early on… plus she nods and shakes her head and makes animated expressions that are so endearing. She just came over to me and climbed up into my lap and read my little red notebook, tried to put on my glasses, looked for the pen, and smacked her lips when she found my empty cup. And was just generally charming!

She continues to find sleeping on top of me or in my lap her favorite nap-time place. But I haven’t had to walk her at night for several months now. She also plays well alone. She loves to put things into containers and then take them out again. She loves to play with Marvin’s trains, cars, trucks, etc. She tries to put the train cars together like she sees Marvin doing… So many things she does in imitation of what she sees us all doing that it’s hard to describe — or remember!

Stewart was here for the party, and I talked to John and Orion on O’s birthday, but otherwise have had no communication with anyone. Will try again to talk to Lucy and some of my siblings — and still trying to find a way back in with Liana. She is, according to her IG, starting up her herbal consulting practice. Hope to talk to her about it, as I’ve been making lots of tea, tinctures, infusions and salves for the past two years. Maybe she’ll talk to me about that…

May 16, 2019

Almost a full moon…. Life goes on. I was resentful of the lack of response to my comments on Li’s post about the consulting practice. I needed to confess that. Trying to understand. Therese suggested I work on a letter, even though it may never be delivered. Working on beginning that here. Maybe and un-ID’d blog post or something…

On the Anna June front, things are great! She is so energetic and loves to play and walks so well now! She walked all the way around the garden today! A long way! Curious and investigating everything! And so sweet and charming to everyone. She does love to eat, though she has no teeth yet.

June 8, 2019

Anna June is ONE tomorrow! She’s eating blueberries by the dozen tonight, just loves them! Taylor’s friend Irina just brought them to us, so we’re all enjoying them. Stewart, Jaap and Kay are to come here for the birthday party tomorrow, so we should mark the day well! Taylor’s making another amazing cake, a vanilla-sprinkles cake, and lasagne like we had when we brought her home. We looked for buttonbush flowers and mallow today, like the ones we found on the way to the birthing center, but no luck. Maybe later.

Am working on writing something to Liana. And thinking about doing a blog for the kids… a way to make it current. Maybe start with selected bits from this journal.

June 9, 2019

Anna June’s birthday! She’s a happy girl! Slept thru the night last night! She’s a beautiful and very special child. She’s been walking for more than a month now, can almost go up and down the steps without sitting down, and she can crawl all the way to the top of the stairs – which gives me no end of worry! She can also drink from a glass and eat with a fork — which she loves to do! Her manual dexterity is unparalleled She also has excellent balance and strength and can walk backwards! She seems to understand a lot of what we say and communicates her wants very well. She points and vocalizes with clear intent. And she does have very definite wants!

But she’s usually happy and lots of fun playing with Marvin. She knows just how to play with cars and trucks and trains and all his toys, complete with the sound effects. She can put the Duplo blocks together and tries to hook the train cars and tracks together.

I so so wish my two families could be one! I think John and Manna and kids would love these two, and Lucy and Li would be a good relationship for June and Marvin to have, and ultimately would be a positive thing for all of them. I don’t know how to make that happen, but I keep hoping for a way, at least an opening in the wall. I guess it will take time. It’s been two years now since things were pretty much over, and the kids began to be aware of that, but I guess that’s not long enough for them to adjust.

Baby June

[This is the first post in a new series on my children. See the previous Post, The children, for an introduction.]

Jan. 23, 2018

In my little red journal from 2018 I wrote: Notes on Anna June’s babyhood! And notes that I hope all my children will read after I die. Or in the run-up to that event. Please. Much of it is ‘A letter to my children.’

A Letter to My Children. I hope they’ll all read it! Just so they’ll know how much they are loved.

Anna June, Week 21: MGBC visit. ultrasound. O+, tests good, general screen good, BP 100/74. A girl, long legs, nice brain, all good.

Resume journaling here October 2018 – This is mostly for June and the kids, since I may not be around too far into her life, and with the way things are going, the other kids may not be around as much as I’d like.

So I’m trying to keep this record so they know I am concerned, want to stay in touch, and know that I love them all very much.

June 9, 2018

June was born early this morning! [Still looking for journal entries…]

October 21, 2018

It’s a Sunday, quiet day at home with Taylor, Marvin and June, and the first truly cool Fall day we’ve had. Taylor and Granny are cooking and Marvin is watching PBS Kids. Pretty normal day.

I suppose my awareness of my own mortality is stronger lately, as that 72nd birthday seemed to be hard to take. So maybe that’s contributing to this new journaling impetus, especially as I think of June maturing, wondering “What was Dad like?” Wondering how things were in those early months, years. And me not there to talk to her about it all…

Plus, I want to get back to journaling as a practice for myself, as well as for the other kids and grandkids to have some insight into my thoughts regarding all this, all these family changes as related to them. …

So – all this rolling around in my mind, making me re-think the best venue, the vehicle, for this purpose. I write here, but how do all these interests get served by me writing in this little red notebook? Maybe do a document that could more easily be shared, with this as pre-writing, drafting, just getting motivated to do other things that I send? … I remind myself of my mother! Tho I don’t have her agenda..

I must remember to keep in the forefront of my mind that it’s for them, to let them know they were loved and appreciated through all this. I need to work to communicate with them all along and not just after the fact.

December 13, 2018

Continuing to try to document this process of accommodation to the new circumstances of my life… notes for the children… thinking of blogging it.

The mediation went well… a difficult process, but done.

And big news! Anna June is crawling! She’s been up on all fours for weeks, but yesterday she did the alternate knee/hand crawl for several steps, and today she’s crawling four feet or more at a clip! Plus she’s being so adorable and cute and sweet all the time and just a real joy to my life! I am endlessly grateful for this wonderful gift in my later life!

I really love that she is so sweet with me, and that I can get her to sleep when she’s in distress at night or needs a nap. Her sleeping on my chest is so sweet and healing to my spirit. She loves to play and loves to dance! A very active, curious baby. Now that she’s crawling, our lives will be busier for sure, just keeping up with her!

December 20, 2018

The Winter Solstice is here! We hunker down for the long cold winter! It has been pretty cold and wet all Fall.

June continues to amaze us with her happy energy and her great dexterity! These, fine beautiful finger are so active and so good picking things up and manipulating them! She reached another milestone today, crawling up the steps from playroom to kitchen. I watched her try over and over to get that knee up on the higher level, and finally she got it. Then, after several tries, the other one came up and she crawled a little in. Then, she pushed up into “downward dog” on toes and sat up!

She’s really trying to pull up on chairs and things, so that will come soon. She may be walking by spring! She’s into everything already. And she loves the mandolin! Marvin and I were playing with Taylor’s mandolin today, and she just crawled right over, got in on the fun. Then she took it from me and started scratching and beating on it! Anything new, she wants to investigate. She loves to play! And loves to laugh!

Preparations for our second Christmas together are going well… we cut a tree from the yard, decorating with nice, simple natural garlands. Taylor has such a nice sense of tasteful, artistic touches in the house, using natural things, handmade ornaments mostly.

Marvin is doing much better lately! Though he still has some meltdowns, like tonight, when he can’t settle down. Would be good to know what his issues are… He and I seem to get on fine most of the time. He still doesn’t seem to believe that I mean what I say, but he’s being better at taking suggestions.

December 22, 2018

June’s delightful babyhood is hard to capture. I keep thinking of things I want to record, then forget them when I sit down to write in my journal. She does seem to love music. She’s always responded to my lullabies, and if she’s crying, I can stand her in my lap and start singing a lively little melody and she’ll stop crying and start bouncing and dancing and laughing! She laughed and laughed when I blew raspberries on her tummy today!

She loves for me to walk with her. It will always stop her crying. Many nights in those first few weeks, I was up for an hour or more walking her when she was having a hard time sleeping, just being cranky. She also loves to walk outside, or just to look out the windows. She’s fascinated by the chickens, and she enjoys crawling around in the grass.

Sometimes it seems she can see right into my soul! I feel a deep connection with her. I said to several people after she was born that on some levels, it felt like she brought Taylor and me together so that she could come into the world! It seems to me that she is such a wonderful gift to the world that however outside of social convention Taylor and my relationship is, it is a positive thing and right for us to be together.

Which brings me to the difficult topic of trying to re-establish relationships with my other kids, especially Liana, who has been pretty angry about the breakup of the family. I have wanted to make some attempts to communicate, but I don’t quite know how. I don’t want to make things worse, so I keep putting it off. My greatest weakness…

I want to talk to her about how I never realized she would take this all so badly, and that we really believed she would come around, understand. I suppose we thought that because she is not one to follow social conventions either. I realize that she’s most upset because she felt deceived by me, and I realize now that I should have been more up front with her from the beginning. But things were so complicated, and I suppose I just thought she really knew how I felt. She’s also pretty upset, as she said, about me leaving it up to her to tell her mother about June. Which I understand, but I just thought I wanted to tell Liana first to be sure she didn’t hear it from someone else.

It’s been a while now, so maybe things will go better now that the whole agony of the divorce process is done. I will try soon.