at age 8 1/2:

During a conversation about what to buy for school lunch. Saoirse was attempting to convince Quinlan to try a new entree.

SK: “Quinlan. Their grilled cheese isn’t like Mom’s grilled cheese.” 

Me: “I’m not offended at all.”

SK: “Oh. Sorry.”

*     *     *     *     *

After Saoirse lost a treasured ring she’d earned with good behavior at school, I told her that I’d bought her (and her siblings) another one to replace it. I never buy spontaneous toys, with this exception. 

“Quinlan! Mom is a kid mom! She understands!”

at age 8:

After my first time volunteering in her classroom:

“You just have to practice being a helper. You did a good job, but you were a little shy…That’s okay. It’s been a long time since you were a teacher.”

at age 7 1/2:

“What are you drinking, Mom?”


“Let me guess: wine.”

at age 7:

Wiggling her second loose front tooth:

“Guess what. I ate apples with lunch so I could get this tooth out.”

at age 6 1/2:

Singing a song from her school Christmas program:

SK: “Dona nobis pacem. That’s Aladdin!”

Me: “That’s Aladdin?”

SK: “Aladdin. Mmm-hmm. Our teacher says that’s Aladdin.”


Dave, chuckling: “She means ‘Latin’.”

*     *     *     *     *

While reading with her little brother:

“CIAN! Be careful with that! You’re going to break the SPINE!”

*     *     *     *     *

“Sometimes there’s so much love in my heart it makes me want to barf.”

*     *     *     *     *

Watching the sky at sunrise:

“Whoa. It just burst into colors.”

*     *     *     *     *

“You know, Mom? I’ve been waiting my whole entire life to be six and seven.”

*     *     *     *     *

Me: “Which church would you like to go to tomorrow, St. —-, where we usually go, or St. —–, which is connected to your school?”

SK: “Which one is shorter?”

*     *     *     *     *

After asking to watch TV:

Me: “You’ll rot your brains!”

SK: “No. We watched a whole movie [yesterday], and I can still count to a hundred.”

Upon volunteering to do a chore:

“I like washing the dishes! We should do this again sometime.”

*     *     *     *     *

“I just laid eggs. So I’m going to have babies now.”

at age 6:

SK: “You know I don’t want kids?”

Me: “Why?”

SK: “Because I don’t want them. I’m going to marry Timmy.”

Me: “Well, what if Timmy wants kids?”

SK: “Then I won’t marry him.”

Me: “That’s fine. But why don’t you want kids?”

SK: “They’re too noisy.”

Me: “Yeah, but it’s a fun noisy.”

SK: “But we can do things. We can go to restaurants alone. And we can drink beer more.”

Me: <<silence>>

*     *     *     *     *

“Kindergarten’s too learn-y…everywhere I look, I learn.”

*     *     *     *     *

“I really like the food that you make. Even that stew that you make? I don’t like it, but I like that you make it.”

*     *     *     *     *

SK: “Why did I give that blanket to her?! Now I don’t have one.”

Me: “Because you were being kind.”

SK: “I wasn’t thinking!”

*     *     *     *     *

SK: “I thought your book was done” SK just said.

Me: “I just have to make one last round of changes–for my editor this time–and then it’ll be ready to publish and go to bookstores.

SK: “Well, what if they don’t like it?”

I explained that I would have one more chance to make the changes correctly, or the publisher could decide not to put out the book. She didn’t like this concept very much:

“Well, some people will like it, and some people won’t, and that’s just the way it’s going to be.”

*     *     *     *     *

In the springtime:

“Ah. Nothing better than the sweet smell of leaves.”

*     *     *     *     *

Uncle Paul: “Who’s the greatest godfather ever, Saoirse?”

SK: “Um, Jesus?”

*     *     *     *     *

“Widget [our cat] should be in a circus.”

*     *     *     *     *

“Mommy and I have the same hair. Is it because we’re old?”

*     *     *     *     *

On the benefits of being a kid:

“You don’t have to cut coupons. And you don’t have to pay bills. And you don’t have to write books.”

*     *     *     *     *

Me: “Do you remember what it means that my book is on submission to publishers?”

SK: “Mm-hmm. They decide if they like it.”

“Right. Well, three of the ten who have it have already decided that they didn’t like it. Do you know how many are left?”


“Hey, good job!”

“Eh. I guessed.”

“Well, you’re right. And now we have to wait and see what the other seven decide.”

“Well, what if all of them say no?”

“Then we’ll have to send it to some more publishers to see what they have to say.”

“But what if every single one in the world says no?”

“Well, then I’ll save this one for you to read one day, and write another book.”

“But what if, every single book you write, everyone says no?”

“Then I think it’s time I look for another job.”

“But then you can write a book about beautiful pink dolphins.”

“Do you think that will get published?”

“Yes. Because a lot of people like dolphins.”

*     *     *     *     *

Talking with her dad about our new kitchen. They were discussing the breakfast bar, honest.

“In the new house, Mommy said I’ll be able to do my homework at…what is it called again?”

“The bar?”

“Yes, the bar! I’m going to do my homework in the bar!”

at age 5 1/2:

“I can’t pee when I have to poop. It’s on the wrong side.”

*     *     *     *     *

“You’re the world’s greatest mom!”

“Why? Because I let you lick the batter?”

“Uh-huh. And Dad’s the world’s greatest dad. Because he likes chocolate so much.”

*     *     *     *     *

“Now the snow is as thick as cotton balls.”

*     *     *     *     *

“You’re the neatest mom I’ve seen in the whole entire world.”

*     *     *     *     *

About Bruce Springsteen:

“He’s a terrible singer.”

*     *     *     *     *

“Sometimes when my skin peels off I eat it.”

*     *     *     *     *

My mom: “I’m so loud!”

SK: “Because you’re a Gram, and you’re so old.”

*     *     *     *     *

Me: “Do you want to wear a headband?”

SK: “No thanks. Because I’m going to be playing!”

*     *     *     *     *

Me: “I have such smart children! What am I going to do with such smart children?”

SK: “Love them.”

*     *     *     *     *

“Mom, do you know, when I start crying, my heart starts beating so hard around my neck? And I almost spit my heart out!”

*     *     *     *     *

“I’m an Old Bay girl. I love Old Bay. Because it goes on everything.”

*     *     *     *     *

“Mommy? Every time I eat candy I feel like I’m faster at running.”

*     *     *     *     *

“Can we order some pixie dust?”

 at age 5:

“Quinn, tomorrow’s Giving Day, so we have to give Mommy some things we don’t like.”

*     *     *     *     *

Commenting on her slight disappointment that the house we rented for a week’s vacation on the beach wasn’t oceanfront:

“I couldn’t see the sea that much.  I wanted to see a beautiful sight.”

*     *     *     *     *

“Dad? Why don’t you take naps like Mommy does?”

*     *     *     *     *

Looking at a picture I drew for her:

“Mom, did you try your best?”


“It doesn’t look like a dolphin, but I still love it.”


“The tail looks like a mushroom!”

*     *     *     *     *

Me: “I’m so hungry I can’t think straight!”

SK: “Are you thinking backwards?”

*     *     *     *     *

“Do you play with Dane?”

“Mmm. He eats Play-Doh sometimes.”

*     *     *     *     *

In the middle of a conversation:

“Mom, I have to go pee very badly. I’ve no time to talk.”

at age 4 1/2:

“Gram, are you going to run around?”

“I don’t think so, sweetheart.”

“Are you too old?

*     *     *     *     *

Signs that we were eating take-out too often after Cian was born:

On seeing David walk in the door with a grocery bag:  “Is Dad bringing home dinner?!”

Play time involved “swiping” her library card, and playing restaurant.

*     *     *     *     *

(Note:  SK was basically raised as a vegetarian for her first two years)

“I love meat!”

On a recent dinner of pot roast:

“Mom, I love that stuff that we ate.”

*     *     *     *     *

In the car, passing a housing development.  David points to a house.

D:  “You see that deck?  They’ve been building that for awhile.  It’s taking forever!” 

SK:  “Just like Mommy’s book!”

at age 4:

“Mom, I don’t know about us having three kids.”

“Why is that, Saoirse?”

“It’s going to get awfully noisy in here…”

*     *     *     *     *

“One day, on a rainy day, can we go on an airplaine to see the sun?”

*     *     *     *     *

SK’s thoughts on early pregnancy: just look at this.

*     *     *     *     *

Me: “We’re going on vacation. Daddy won’t have to work.”

SK: “Why won’t he have to work?”

Me: “Because vacation means he’s taking off of work and can spend time with his family.”

SK: “Yay! Now I’m not going to miss him.”

*     *     *     *     *

SK: “Mom? Can we have another baby?”

Me: “You want another sister or a brother?”

SK: “Yes. Can you go get me one?”

*     *     *     *     *

In preparation for SK’s “What I want to be when I grow up” dress-up day, where she went as a “mommy.”

Me:  “Do you want to wear jeans, or do mommies wear pants?”

SK:   “Hmmm. Jeans.”

Me:  “Okay. Do mommies wear their hair down or in ponytails?”

SK:   “Po’tails.”

Me:  “Okay. And what do mommies carry? A purse? A baby?”


SK:  “Groceries.”

*     *     *     *     *

SK:  “Mom, what’d you dream about last night?”

Me:  “Mmm, raindrops and thunderstorms.”

SK:  “No, I don’t like that dream.  I dreamed about butterflies and rainbows.  That’s what you dreamed about, too.   Rainbows and butterflies.”

*     *     *     *     *

SK:  “Can we have pasta with just butter for lunch?”

Me:  “You just want butter?”

SK:  “Yeah, just butter.  Not sauce.  Because that sauce was terrible.”

(That “terrible” sauce was homemade, with roasted-tomatoes that took six hours to prepare.)

*     *     *     *     *

Me:  “Where’s your dad?”

SK:  “He’s downstairs.”

Me:  “Oh.  What’s he doing?  Do you know?”

SK:  “Yes.  I think he’s writing his book.”

*     *     *     *     *

“Mom, what are you going to dream about tonight?  You can dream about anything you can like.”

*     *     *     *     *

“I was hoping we should make cookies today…because we made cookies a long, long time ago.”

*     *     *     *     *

“Mom, I wiped my room with a wipe!”

“You did?!”



“Uh, did you make a mess up there?”


“Should I go see?”


*     *     *     *     *

“That was a long long time ago, back when I was a little girl.”

*     *     *     *     *

“Oh. I for-da-got.”

at age 3 ½:

Overheard, while playing at her train table:

“Gram! Look at this engine! His name is Bitch!”

Silence. Then, “Oh. Uh. What’s your engine’s name?”

“Stitch!” Saoirse clarifies. “Stitch-Bitch. My favorite train, and he’s Stitch-Bitch!”

“Okay, then,” says my conservative mother, trying not to fall over from giggling. “Stitch-Bitch it is! Hello, Stitch-Bitch.”

(And for the record, no, Saoirse’s never heard either one of us say that word. So stop wagging your finger. She just likes to rhyme.)

*     *     *     *     *

“Mom! Quinn’s barfing!’

*     *     *     *     *

“Mommy, may we have crab legs tonight for dinner?”

“Uh, no, honey. I’m making shrimp with pasta.”

“Oh, yummy! Shrimp?! That’s what I wanted!”

*     *     *     *     *

“Mommy, do you like when Daddy plays his guitar? Do you like his noise?”

*     *     *     *     *

‎”Saoirse, don’t go near that toy. Quinn’s playing with it right now, and you’re playing with this.”

“No, she isn’t! Damn!”

*     *     *     *     *

Commenting on her day at preschool:  

“I just played with the girls. Not the boys…The boys are mean.  Not the girls. The boys miss their mamas. Not the girls.”

*     *     *     *     *

Monday is known as “My Day”

*     *     *     *     *

“Mom, you can’t go 42. The speed limit is 35. Daddy drives slow. He doesn’t breaking the law, so you should drive slow, too.”

*     *     *     *     *

During mass, when the rest of the church is quiet:

‘Mom! This is taking FOREVER!’

*     *     *     *     *

After fighting with her over toys all morning, gives Quinn a sudden hug:

“Oh, you’re my best, best friend.”

*     *     *     *     *

‎”Saoirse, don’t misbehave.”

“Don’t worry, Mom. I won’t. I just need toys.”

*     *     *     *     *

Singing the Notre Dame victory march:

“Shake down the ‘funder’ from the sky…go Irish!”

*     *     *     *     *

Upon seeing a girl walk out of preschool in a princess dress, gasped, and:

“Mom, look at that girl! She’s wearing a princess dress. I would like to have a dress like that.”

*     *     *     *     *

“I love you writing. I love that sound.”

*     *     *     *     *

“Who’s this singer, Mom?”

“It’s Florence and the Machine, babe!”

“I don’t like it. It’s noise.”

*     *     *     *     *

All words beginning with “Y” are replaced with “L”:  “logurt,” “lellow”

*     *     *     *     *

Singing Quinn’s “theme song:”

“Come all wifout, come all wif Quinn. You’ll not see NUFFIN’ like the mighty Quinn!”

at age 3:

‘There are fish that live in the ocean? That sounds delicious!’

*     *     *     *     *

“That’s a really nice picture you’re painting, Saoirse.”

“I know. It’s mine.”

*     *     *     *     *

‎”Mom, I put your brush in the toilet. Don’t cry.”

*     *     *     *     *

“Mom, you’re the best. You’re the best mom that ever was.”

*     *     *     *     *

“Mom, are we racing those other cars?”

*     *     *     *     *

Placing her hand on my shoulder:

“Mommy, I’m so proud of you.”

*     *     *     *     *

After falling out of her chair onto the hardwood floor. Heartrending wails ensue.

“Saoirse! Are you okay? What’d you hit?”

With a look, incredulous:

“The floor!”

at age 2 1/2:

“Look, I’m ironing–just like Daddy.”

*     *     *     *     *

“You’re the best mommy. I yuv you.”

*     *     *     *     *

Overheard rapping to a Tribe Called Quest song:

“Here we go, yo! Here we go, yo!”


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