The Littlest Critic–What My Toddler Taught Me about Writing

When I wrote my first novel, Other Waters, I was a graduate student in the Writing Division of Columbia University’s School of the Arts, so I had the benefit of hearing lots and lots of other people’s opinions about my work. The core of the program was the workshop, a weekly seminar in which you […]

Act Like a Baby: Life Lessons from a One-Year-Old

A week ago my daughter Amalia turned one. One of the things that freaked me out about kids before I had one of my own was the way they serve as a physical manifestation of the passage of time. There are entire eras of my life where a year or two could pass without anything […]

Have Faith, Will Travel

Five minutes before we took over the microphone from the DJ at my daughter’s baptismal reception, we notified her godfather that we expected him to say a few words. He had flown in from Nicaragua, where my husband’s family lives, for the occasion, and in all the preparation we had somehow forgotten to warn him […]

The Circle Dance: The Sacred and the Mundane

“Life is a circle,” my cousin said. Or maybe it was “life is a cycle”—you could translate the Greek word either way. We were talking about my daughter’s baptism, which took place on Sunday in Worcester, Massachusetts, where I grew up. My cousin came from the island of Corfu, Greece, to act as Amalía’s godmother, […]

Dispatch from the “Mommy Room”

I was trolling Facebook on my phone and sloppily dribbling breast milk onto my skirt when I first saw the Time magazine cover asking me if I’m “mom enough.” On the one hand, the breast milk confirmed I am, indeed, a mother. On the other, the question, with it’s sassy little adverb, and the picture […]

Amalía Has Two Easters

A few weeks ago my mother, Joanie, called me up all atwitter, as she often does after reading not one but two newspapers first thing in the morning. (Bless her heart, she is singlehandedly keeping the physical, print version of the newspaper alive.) “Guess what!” she chirped. “The newspaper says that according to the census, […]

Confessions of a Bad Mother

In the last two weeks I’ve been called self-satisfied, low-class, controlling, shallow, sexist, smug, priggish, crazed, repulsive, creepy, trashy, frivolous, provincial, disgusting, and just plain horrible. My crime?  I pierced my six-month-old daughter’s ears at the request of my Nicaraguan husband, an experience I wrote about for the nytimes.com‘s “Townies” column. It was fun to […]

Mini in Miami

Amalía and I are in New York, but we brought a little bit of Miami with us. Two little bits actually: the shiny gold studs in Amalía’s tiny ears. Read all about it in the post “Baby’s First Bling”, which I wrote for the Townies column of the Opinionator blog in the New York Times’ […]

Same Same, But Different

Almost exactly 10 years ago I had a cyst removed from my right ovary. It was discovered during my annual gynecologic exam, which I had scheduled early because I was about to move to Greece to oversee the rebuilding of my grandparents’ house, which had fallen into ruin after the Greek Civil War, an experience […]

Splitting Hairs

They say marriage is about compromise. My daughter is wearing ours on her head. In Nicaragua, where my husband’s from, it’s customary to shave babies’ heads on the theory that their hair will grow in longer, lusher, and healthier. In New York, where I’m from, it’s customary to shave the heads of convicts and privates […]