Parenting

In Tenderly. More on Medium.

Painting of two swifts flying over wildflowers.
Painting of two swifts flying over wildflowers.
‘Common Swifts’ (1886) by Bruno Liljefors via Wikimedia Commons

Watching pigeons, blackbirds, and swifts with my infant son while suspended in quarantine

Before he learns the sign for milk, my son points to the top of the seven-foot high, Kahlo-blue wooden fence which protects our rooftop patio and chews invisible seed, mimicking the birds eating from a terracotta dish. Will we go see the pigeons? Can you see the pigeons? What are the pigeons doing? My husband asks the baby many questions, and this is one of the first words he clearly recognizes. When he begins to be unsettled, pigeons snaps his eyes to the glass and swivels his head to search out their small forms. He smiles. …


Tom Curtis’s photoshopped animals bring children’s drawings to life

The top left corner shows a child’s drawing of a duck floating in water. The main pic is a realistic version of the drawing.
The top left corner shows a child’s drawing of a duck floating in water. The main pic is a realistic version of the drawing.
Photos: Things I Have Drawn

Father-of-two Tom Curtis has developed a unique way to collaborate artistically with his young kids based on the premise that the world might be a good deal more interesting if it actually looked the way children choose to depict it. Through his Instagram, Things I Have Drawn, Curtis shares brilliantly photoshopped versions of his kids’ drawings, as well as submissions by the young children of his fans.

Kids tend to have a natural affinity for animals, so it’s no surprise that a great many of Curtis’s fantastical creations are upgrades of existing animals, with smiling faces and a joyful demeanor…


Every day brings a struggle to preserve the light in my children’s eyes from a growing awareness that dims it

3 young Black children seen from behind, looking out the window at grass and a road.
3 young Black children seen from behind, looking out the window at grass and a road.
Photo: Dara T. Mathis

Like a mother bird tending her chicks in spring, I have largely occupied myself during the Covid-19 pandemic with caring for my three small children. I am thankful my husband can work from home as I write freelance and manage the kids’ homeschooling. We began to notice the birds trilling amid the tree blossoms as April gave way to May.

Our feathered friends are a delight. When we observe them, we forget why we are cooped up in the house. Watching birds with my children gives me respite from the anxiety of being Black during a pandemic that has disproportionately…


She wasn’t sure if she had done the right thing, but her choice became one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever received

Photo: ESB Professional/Shutterstock

“Mom, can I go vegetarian?”

My latest out-of-the-blue request was instigated by a squid dissection in our sixth-grade science class.

Appreciation for animals had been with me since I was a toddler. From the books our parents read us, to watching wildlife documentaries, to playing fetch-the-orange with Maxwell, our yellow Labrador.

It wasn’t until that lifeless squid stared up at me from atop the creaky school desk that I saw things in a new way. Science education mattered, but I sure wouldn’t want my life to be taken for it. What other unchosen sacrifices were animals making for me?

We…


Now more than ever, neighbors should come together to help one another — especially the babies, and their exhausted parents

Photo: Ake via RawPixel

Though our neighbor wasn’t eating with us, we felt her presence as we dined. Vegetable dumplings — lightly fried and filled with mushrooms, cabbage, onions and carrots — were not a typical weekday dinner in our household, but according to Tangie, in her culture they were comfort food. Our neighbor hadn’t meant to stay long when she came by to drop off the dish, but our excited toddler had wanted to show off his new baby sister. From there, and for the fifth time that week, my husband and I animatedly retold the story of Molly’s birth. Then, Tangie and…


Is raising a vegan kid healthy? Yes. Is it easy? Not always. It it worth it? Totally.

Photo provided by Lee Price

There has been a lot of controversy in the media surrounding vegan kids and their parents. Recently, The British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) advised that parents seek their doctor’s advice before raising their child on a plant-based diet. In Belgium, you can now face jail time for feeding your child a vegan diet.

This news took my interest, as I know many parents raising healthy and happy vegan kids. I decided to reach out to some vegan dads online and see if they would be willing to share their experiences with me. …


I’m 27 and dogs are always on my mind, while babies are on my mind only when I think about how I never want one

Photo: Matt Nelson/Unsplash

I wrote this article when I recognized a sudden rise in interest in my plans for motherhood as I entered my late twenties, mostly from friends and family. I guess you reach a certain age, perhaps you pass a milestone in your romantic relationship, and the questions begin.

If you’re in a relationship, they like to ask, “So are you planning on having kids?” For the single ladies, the questions sound more like, “¿Y el novio?” “What about your boyfriend?”

Why do other people seem to be so preoccupied with the boxes you haven’t checked off on a to-do list…


It’s our responsibility to teach our children we should follow through on our commitments, even when things get tough

Photo: Jay Wennington / Unsplash

“Can we pet your dog?”, three little girls asked me as I walked my dog on our Sunday morning stroll. I looked down at my 10-year-old dachshund mix, a grumpy senior citizen who was far too busy smelling the nearest bush.

“Sorry girls, he really doesn’t like when new people touch him. But thank you for asking!”

The girls replied with a collective “ohhh” and I carried on with my walk. I couldn’t help but turn back to give them a little sorry smile as I waved goodbye.

I felt bad like I always do when kids ask to pet…


I wish my family had gone a long time ago

Photos: Jennifer Haubrich

Taking my family to an animal sanctuary had been on my wish list for years. I follow several on social media and fantasized about us all petting pigs and cuddling goats together. Finally, last spring I booked a two-night stay at Catskill Animal Sanctuary in Saugerties, NY, for June.

It was two days after school ended. We were tired from the end of the school year whirlwind but excited to get away and have a new experience.

At least that’s how I saw it.

In the backseat of the car, my 13-year-old compared what our family was doing to what…


Who owns the natural world?

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The bird met its demise sailing headfirst — majestically and tragically — into the clear glass of a picture window tucked between the rustic beams of a log cabin. To the bird, the unencumbered space between the familiar wood must have looked just like a channel between the trees, a route she had flown safely a thousand times. Today, it was the last path she would ever take.

She was killed instantly and fell the short distance to earth where she came to rest on the green, autumn grass. The mid-September sky was blazing blue overhead. The air was cool…

Tenderly

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