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Days alone with a toddler are really hard to describe. I don't know why. They're some of the absolute most exhausting and absolute most sweet days I've ever had in my life. In between those two extremes are a lot of utterly prosaic hours — the taking off of boots that are on the wrong feet; the cleaning up of water that gets carried in a soap dish to the bed; the picking up of hundreds of thousands of barrettes, doll shoes, blocks, puzzle pieces, wooden dogs, sippy cups, pieces of tape, felt pancakes, tiny saucepans, wooden boats, baby sweaters, Matchbox cars, bunny stickers, little socks, plastic wolves, and ponytail holders; the pitting of cherries and slicing of apples; the changing of diapers; the braiding of hair that's halfway down her back; the practicing of arabesques on alternate legs; the learning to skip; the learning to spin; the strapping into car seat covered in crackers; the grabbing of soy sauce bottles as they're about to be flung; the grabbing of almost everything as it's about to be flung; the recapping of markers left on the floor; the wiping of chin; the drying of tears; the putting on of Hello Kitty Band-Aids; the smothering with kisses; the getting of hugs; the taking off of pants put on backwards; the washing of dishes; the popping in of Charlie and Lola DVDs when the sun starts to sink, and all I want is a half an hour to sit and stare at the sprinkler before dinner.

She's not a stay-at-home girl. Every day, we go somewhere: the library, the bookstore, the fountain, the park, the museum, the other museum, the mall, the pool, the playground, the river, the woods, the store, a friend's house, a restaurant. We go out. She's easy. She'll go anywhere, do anything. She likes places, and parties, and people. A diaper change in the back of the car, cold milk, and some dry clothes buy us hours. She sleeps on the way home. I listen to Elizabeth Mitchell radio on Pandora and try not to sob. Children's music. I had no idea. I can't even listen to this song without bawling. I've never cried more to any music than to children's music, usually in the car while she sleeps. I look at her face in the mirror. I drive slowly down through the woods. The sunlight flashes through the trees. The birds sing up above. I drive through downtown, with the buildings and people, then back over the shimmering river, and go through the Burgerville drive-through for a fresh strawberry milkshake. It tastes like every single dream I ever had, all come true at once.

Happy, happy, happy Midsummer to you. May it be filled with everything little and sweet. Xo


claire jenkins says: June 22, 2015 at 08:14 PM

I don't know if I've told you before, but please check out! It's an indie kids band from Columbia, SC and (my friend is the bassist) they are so so so so fun!! Such fun.

Is the painting over the fireplace Amelia? Is lovely. It looks just like her.

lovely summer to you and yours.

Ack! I listen to the same pandora station and cry at that song and a few others as well! Darn that indie children's music. But it's beautiful. These busy days.

I've followed your story with Amelia since the beginning...since before the beginning...and this post makes me tear up and then smile. It's lovely how things work out. Even though we don't know each other, I feel like a friend has had a dream come true. jonni

Christine says: June 24, 2015 at 09:06 AM

Elizabeth Mitchell is my favorite too, and sometimes it feels odd that I will put her on when the kids aren't around, but hey. I completely hear you on the sobbing. For me, it's usually when I'm trying to sing something to them. I think music opens the heart chakra.

Lovely, Alicia. I remember feeling the same way with children's music when my girls were small. Life with toddlers...the day's are long the years are short. Your beautiful writing and photos are a gift to you and Amelia as she grows up. Thank you for sharing.

Dan Zanes. Fun music - and only a few will make you sad.

Love seeing these precious days with your daughter. We listen to children's music everyday and an artist I highly recommend and know you will love is Maria Sangiolo. 'Hello Moon' is about her daughter and 'Giggly Girl' is still a favorite that my daughter and I still dance and sing to.

Julie from Augie says: June 30, 2015 at 07:07 PM

My twins are going on ten, and now children's music makes me cry because it brings me back to those younger years so clearly. Especially Elizabeth Mitchell's "Little Bird," Eric Stoltz/Sandra Boynton's "Snuggle Puppy," and Zoe Lewis' "Sheep."

Have you heard Natalie Merchant's children's cd? It is heartbreakingly beautiful. She's taken children's poems and set them to music. I am especially fond of Bleezer's Ice Cream,

Oh that link didn't work. Try this one Leave Your Sleep is the cd name.

You make my summertime so reminiscent of my childhood long ago. The picture of the Bunny Rabbit with the Girl on its back is so familiar, where is it from? I love it!

Thanks, sherryC

I come back to this post because it's so beautiful and true. I'm in this stage with an almost-three-year-old, and you say what I think and feel but haven't written out. Thank you!

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at




Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.