thomas curiosity - filtered

I worried a little how Thomas would fare as one in a classroom of many.

He is full of questions about how things work, how they’re put together, how they came to be, and when he’s on a mission to discover the answers he will not let go until he has them.

With Thomas there is no “I don’t know.” He gets strangely obsessive about knowing things, and as a person who gives up easily I often wary of satiating his curiosity when it’s inconvenient to my agenda.

This worried me as he entered kindergarten, an environment where a teacher cannot devote twenty minutes to unraveling the secrets of how a flashlight works for just one student.

Ah, but I worried for naught.

We met recently with his teacher and her eyes lit up as she talked about how much she enjoyed him, how much she loved his think-outside-the-box ways. When I expressed worry over his excessive question-asking, she assured me his curiosity was a great example for the other students.

I heard many horror stories of public school as I raised my babies and prepared to send them out into the world, but I don’t know what I was so afraid of. Or maybe I’m just lucky. At any rate, I’m very grateful for our experiences so far.


Thomas Zug, age 5

I have to admit, I’ll miss my little guy.

I love to follow the trail of his questions back to what he’s thinking about. He’s always thinking, surmising, turning it around in his head, trying to make sense of it… and expressing hypotheses.

“Wook at that!”

“How does…?”

“What if…?”

“Would anyone like a…?”


To Thomas, everything is amazing and should be experienced with someone else. Movies! Snacks! That cool wock on the gwound! You have to have/taste/see this!

I had the most peaceful, productive day in three months with both my kids in school, but passing this milestone still choked me up a little.

For All the World to See

Thomas NOT running from the camera

Thomas treats any camera like it’s wielded by the paparazzi – any time you get one out he’s covering the lens, his face, or running for cover.

The boy is so against being photographed, we’ve taken to calling him Sean Penn.

But yesterday he was so proud of himself for spelling his name in sticks that I took advantage and asked if I could take his picture. Thankfully he forgot his prejudice for just a moment.

What a cutie pie!

belief in his own reality


Me: “Thomas, be sure to tell your friends to stay out of the blueberry bushes.”

Thomas: “What blueberry bushes?”

“The three blueberry bushes we planted in the garden.”

“We don’t have any blueberry bushes.”

“Yes we do. They’re the bushes next to the big hole you’re digging to the center of the earth.”

“The strawberry bushes?”

“NO! The bushes right next to the hole!”

“But MOM! I’m TRYING TO TELL YOU SOMETHING – we don’t HAVE blueberry bushes!”

*sighs* “Never mind.”

Thomas, to his friend as they walk out the door: “Mom’s lying. We don’t have any blueberry bushes.”

Just a coupla turkeys. I mean kitty cats.

another kitty cat joined us for dinner! Kitty Cat joined us for dinner

The creative mischief never ends at our house, and it seems I have two children destined for tattoos in their future. Some might prefer I be more concerned about this, but I just can’t seem to get worked up over a little ink.

It washes off. Usually.

Our Thanksgiving weekend was thankfully free of horror stories. I just heard one that involved three different drama-filled family gatherings & an unmedicated schizophrenic cousin. So yeah. We were drama free and appropriately medicated.

We ate a lot, slept a lot, adventured a lot, and watched tv a lot, and we did it all together, and WE LIKED IT.

That last point is directed at me, who typically feels a tad DONE with the kids after too much togetherness. But even I, selfish grouch that I am, enjoyed four days of family bliss.

This could come in handy in a pinch, like when I burn his stinky blankie to itty bitty bits of stinky ash.


Last night the kids and I drove a friend into Seattle. It was dark, we’d had a long day, it was getting close to bedtime. The kids were feeling snuggly, but Thomas didn’t have his trusted blankie.

Out of the silence he says, “Mommy, can I have your phone because I took a picture of my bwankie and I want to wook at it.”

I didn’t answer right away.

Did he just say he took a picture of his blankie? With my phone? And now he wants to snuggle with that picture as a representation of his actual blankie?!

I can’t teach this stuff – IT JUST HAPPENS.

He’s so brilliant he’ll support me in my old age (so maybe I shouldn’t burn the stinky blankie after all).

38 Today

Tonight on the phone Ruthie wished me a happy birthday, and in the background I heard Thomas channel his inner Scooby Doo – “Your BIRTHDAY?!”

He gets on the phone and says, all indignant, “Why weren’t we invited to your birthday?”

“Uh… there’s nothing to be invited to, I’m down here working.”

“But why didn’t you invite us to your birthday?”

“No, honey. I didn’t have a party.”

“But Libby said it was your birthday!”

“Uh, well, it IS my birthday, but we didn’t have a party.”

“You didn’t have a party?”

“No, it’s my birthday, but I didn’t have a party. Do you understand?”

“It’s your birthday but you didn’t have a party.”



“But why wasn’t I invited to your birthday?”

perhaps I need a nap


Last night I fell asleep folding the laundry.

(Yes, that’s right, my life is that exciting).

Around 1:30 in the morning I woke up to the distant cry, “I POOPED!” and strained against grogginess to make sense of the context. It felt like the middle of the night, yet I was hearing my son hollering at me from the bathroom upstairs.

Sure enough, he was stranded on the toilet with a dumped load of Number 2, and near hysterics that no one came to wipe his butt.

This morning I asked Bryan why he didn’t wake me up to go to bed, and he laughed. Apparently he called my name several times and physically shook my body, all with no response. And since I’m quite the angry bear when aroused from a deep sleep, he just left me there.


I honestly have no recollection of any of this, yet the other night around 2am a ringing alarm clock next to Ruthie’s bed IN THE NEXT ROOM woke me up.

Whatever. Call me fickle.

bowing before the porcelain throne

bowing before the porcelain throne

Ruthie became dehydrated twice this week as a result of the heat – and despite my constant nagging about drinking water. As she hovered over the toilet, I held back her hair and stroked her back as she heaved.

I’m not sure how I knew she was dehydrated, as opposed to actually having a stomach virus. Short of a hangover or two, it’s not like I’ve been around anyone before who was dehydrated enough to feel nauseous. But sure enough, after she hovered over the toilet for awhile, I finally gave her a tall glass of water to drink and a puke bucket to lay next to her, and sent her off to bed.

The next morning she was fine.

Someday when my kids are out on their own, I picture them dropping in on each other to share a beer and some banter from time to time. And despite how weird this may sound, I kind of imagine their relationship to be a lot like Dexter and his sister, Debra – she was always barging in on him, and giving him a hard time, and taking swigs straight from the juice carton, and bringing up memories of their dad.

Despite the fact he was a serial killer and she didn’t know it, they seemed close and I liked their sibling vibe.


I can imagine Ruthie barging into Thomas’ refrigerator and pilfering a beer, then flopping on the couch. As she strokes her aching head with the cold, sweaty bottle I imagine the memory coming to her.

“Hey Thomas,” she’ll say. “Remember how Mom always used to yell at us to drink more water?”

“Yeah,” he’ll say. “That was her answer for everything.”


“She was crazy.”

car talk

Thomas: What are we doing here again?

Me: I’m picking up the canopies our friends borrowed.


Me: The peas?

Thomas: Yeah, I wanna see the can of peas!

Ruthie: Mom, is the chicken we eat the same as the REAL chicken that goes BAWK BAWK?

Me: Yup.

Ruthie: So we cook the chicken that is alive?

Me: Yes, but it’s not alive WHILE we’re cooking it.

Ruthie: [silence]

Me: How does that make you feel?

Ruthie [smiling]: Good. I like chicken!

Of course.

Hack [hak] Verb –
To jury-rig or improvise something inelegant but effective, usually as a temporary solution to a problem.

I am scrambling to hack a new childcare situation for tonight now that Thomas is sick.

Twelve hours from now I am to report to The King Cat Theater for my presentation at Ignite Seattle on The Sanity Hacks of a Stay At Home Mom.


Thomas woke up at 5:30 this morning coughing and screaming from an ear ache, which means I likely can’t take him to my friend’s house where he will infect all her children.

So if ever I needed a sanity hack, IT WOULD BE RIGHT NOW.

Happy Birthday, SuperThomas


Thomas, today you are four years old. I can hardly believe we’re here already! You inspire me every day with your generosity. When you experience something amazing – a taste, a view, an object – your first reaction is to want to share it with someone.



IMG_0348.JPGYou are slow to warm up to new situations – it took you three three months to say hello to Daniel at the bus stop, and four months to stop clinging to me at preschool drop off. You sit back and assess a situation or person, determining who will be one of your trusted peeps. But when you make a determination, it seems to be a set relationship.

This year you also claimed a “best friend.” You ask to see him on a daily basis, and tell me you wish he was part of our “famiwy.” Your sleepovers and park dates are filled with Light Sabor wars, kung foo fighting, and SuperHero rescues. Knowing your intimate, faithful, and dedicated personality, I imagine this friendship lasting many years despite attending different schools in the future.

Like most sibling relationships, you and Ruthie are love/hate, but mostly love. You adore her, and you protect her. That time we went to Santa Cruz beach and Ruthie ran in and out of the surf? You were so worried for her safety that you screamed at me and pushed me toward the water to stop her.


You follow her everywhere and do what she does. This sometimes gets you into trouble because you don’t evaluate whether your choices are foolish or wise, only whether Woofie did it. My prayer is that your conscience will override the strong draw of your sister’s leadership, and you will one day speak into her life regarding some of the choices she makes.

thomas roars like a lion.jpgI think your challenge will be to believe in yourself and to trust your instinct. You are thoughtful in your determination, and quiet in your execution, but your ego bruises easily and you worry what people will think. I’m confident Jesus will lead you through all this, and I think you’re already working out what that looks like. When I make a decision that puts you in tears, your question to me often is, “Does Jesus agree with you?” And when I say, Yes, Jesus gives me wisdom to be a good parent, you are satisfied.

I love you, and I love being your mom. I’m continually aware that I walk a fine line between leading you and raising you to be a leader. I want to support you and nurture you in a way that bolsters you up as a man, but still cuddles and snuggles you like a boy.

And your dad? You are WAY INTO your dad. Every morning when you wake up you ask, “Where’s dad?” Every night when he comes home you skooch your chair around the dinner table to be right next to him. And on the weekends you LOVE to run errands and do GUY STUFF with your dad. Sometimes you even climb into his lap with your blankie and your thumb and chuckle just a little bit – you are so content in that space it brings an uncontrollable giggle up through you. I LOVE that – the happiness and contentment that expresses itself in a bubbling over of laughter.

In closing, know that I want to encourage your natural curiosity. You are filled with striking questions and keen observations. Here are a few of the things you’ve said to me over the last year:

Why does the sky change colors?

How did Scout get up to heaven when there’s nothing for him to stand on?

How do things melt?

Why does Jesus live in the sky?

Hey I know! We can send the [broken] spoon up to heaven for Jesus to fix, and then he can shoot it back down to us!

I wish I was Jesus or a Super Hero so I could save people.

Daddy I need to change my pants so I have somewhere to put my gun. (he needed a pocket).

Daddy, can we break our car so we have to buy a new one over there and I can play in the Spiderman house? (re the Spiderman jump house in the used car lot)

I wish there was a machine that could make it so the WHOLE WORLD could watch Clone Wars!