When I was six I had my very own windmill. At least that’s what my dad told me. We were driving to camp through Altamont Pass, which held one of the first wind farms in the country. He squinted up at the golden hills and pointed. “There,” he said. “That’s the one.” Later, he explained […]

One Weird Old Trick to Undermine the Patriarchy

My five-year-old insists that Bilbo Baggins is a girl. The first time she made this claim, I protested. Part of the fun of reading to your kids, after all, is in sharing the stories you loved as a child. And in the story I knew, Bilbo was a boy. A boy hobbit. (Whatever that entails.) […]

Bridge to somewhere

I love the back-to-school photos I’ve seen in the last few weeks. Whether kids have combed hair or messy bed head, new backpacks or hastily-thrown-together lunches, first-day ties or old t-shirts, their back-to-school smiles fill up more than just my Facebook feed. I’ve caught the hopeful feeling that I usually miss, being out of school—that […]

Why did the boy throw the butter out the window?*

Right now, the butterfly might be coming out. Or it might not. On Thursday, my son’s preschool teacher said that Friday would be the day. On Friday, she said she hoped it would wait until Monday. She and the kids have been marking off the days since the monarch caterpillar stopped munching milkweed and spun […]

Teach Your _____ Well

When I was a teenager, my dad installed a timer on my bedroom light. After 45 minutes, the light would flash a few times. Then, darkness. My dad was tired of me falling asleep with my light on. It was such a waste of energy. This, he said, was the perfect solution. I started thinking […]

Afraid of the Shark

The other day, just as I was about to go out on the water on a nine-foot piece of epoxy-covered foam, a man stopped me on the beach. “Aren’t you scared to go out there by yourself?” he said. “Because of the sharks?” I had been trying to forget about them, even though the sun […]

My Daughter, the Dinosaur

In August, I took my almost-four-year-old daughter to the dinosaur galleries in the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan. The ceilings were lower and the clientele was shorter than I remembered from my own childhood, but the essentials were the same: the bones, the horns, the talons, and best of all, the enormous teeth. […]