Being fluent in boy and other things you didn’t put on your resume*

Nico in the tub, shot with Canon Xsi

You didn’t write down that you are fluent in dinosaur and Thomas the Train, that you can even identify most whales and Star Wars characters, that you have an entire lexicon of boy at your disposal.

You didn’t put down that you are a master of distraction. That you know how to strap a squirming, even screaming child into a carseat in seconds flat using sleight of hand and tiny fish crackers.

You know how to get a diaper changed so that no poop seeps upward, across the back. And if it already has, you know how to get those clothes down the body without any poop riding up near the baby’s face.

You didn’t put down that you have nearly bionic hearing, that you can hear a cry, a bad dream, a sudden blowout, even a seizure in the middle of the night, all the way from the living room with Jon Stewart blaring in the background.

You also didn’t mention your special skills in what they call, what is it? Distraction? The word escapes me. When you get them to pay attention to the other thing, the new thing, not the illicit, chokable or iPhone-like thing in their hand.

You have even regained your word recall, lost in a postpartum haze for a while there. Well except for that one word I can’t think of above. Transference? Deflection?

Anyway, you did not include on any resumes at all that you are a master multi-tasker, that you can simultaneously check your email, nurse a baby and toast a blueberry waffle at lightning speed.

More importantly, you have learned to listen to the big boy who can talk, to repeat his words back to him so he knows you heard him, to let him dream up crazy schemes in his treehouse, like the one involving the cardboard box, red yarn and a pulley system, and not say, This definitely won’t work and sounds kind of dangerous… but instead, let out an enthusiastic, “Let’s try!”

You have learned to take his criticisms to heart, like when you are actually not listening to him and he says, “Are you even listening to me??” and you have to stop and say, “You’re right. I’m not listening to you at all! You’ve got me now.”

What didn’t you put on your resume?

*This list was inspired by this great poem by Joyce Sutphen. As usual, this was part of my fantastic writing class with Laurie Wagner. You can enroll in her online course here!

P.S. Just opened up registration for spring classes! Take Superhero Photo starting April 10th or an upcoming Mondo Beyondo class!

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Hi, I’m Andrea

On this blog you’ll be learning with me how to use our voices, share our creative superpowers and live life in full color.

As an artist, photographer, life coach + mentor, I’m redefining what it means to be a SUPERHERO — ‘cause in my world, it’s got nothing to do with capes, spandex or sidekicks and everything to do with tenderness, intuition & baby steps of bravery.



  1. Idil

    Beautiful and so true. If only we could put those things on our resumes . Nicos growing so fast, adorable picture.

  2. molly

    There should be a degree for moms that learn “boy,” especially after three girls.
    And my P would clarify that Thomas is not a “train.” He’s a “Tank Engine.”
    He’s busy telling me about the Titanic’s sister ships right now though, so he’ll mention that later…

  3. Trisha

    SO AWESOME! Love it!

  4. corad

    This resonated so much for me! Another thing not included on my resume: ability to find kindred bloggers. Hugs.

  5. 6512 and growing

    I am becoming increasingly more fluent in Boy, which is an ever-changing language. At first it was Thomas and all of his cronies, and then legos (always legos) and now it’s folding paper airplanes, deciphering the high level engineering of cutting and folding on the dashes to make a plane that soars. I’m looking forward to what is next, always.

  6. Anna

    I didn’t put down that I can inflate a football to ideal pressure by touch, I know all the players on our city football team (and many of their jersey numbers and heights), and can sing the team songs in place of lullabies.

    I think I said something about being a good leader, but didn’t put down that when it comes to star wars lego, I’m prepared to be the follower.

    I haven’t said I can bowl a quick cricket ball, coach a soccer team, and build boats to sail down the creek.

    I may have mentioned being a good negotiator, but you probably didn’t realise I was referring to my ability to accept clothes that don’t match as long as they’re warm enough, to trade no bath tonight for a shower tomorrow, and to put shoes and socks on (when he’s more than capable himself) in order to get out the door on time.

    And when I say I work well with others, what I mean is that I no longer get frustrated about sharing my breakfast, sleeping with the hall light on, or putting the toilet seat down.

    LOVED this post Andrea!

  7. Jennifer Hagedorn Dizon

    I don’t know why this made me cry. Not like wailing crying. But, you know, the throat hurts, the tears are welling up and I’m thinking, geez, of course… of course…

    Thank you Andrea!!! for making me remember my superhero-ness in many things. 🙂

  8. Kelsie

    Beautiful and touching. Thanks for putting a smile on my face.

  9. Leah

    I speak little boy & baby girl but nobody cares at my law firm. Oh, how I want to quit … especially today.

  10. Katie

    Fantastic! As a mama of two boys I found myself in a continual nod as I read this.

  11. Leia

    Dam Andrea! I didn’t put the exact same things down on my resume too!;) All so well said about being the mama of two boys! I love it and the pic of Ben in front of the word ‘savor’ is awesome too! I’ve been wanting to catch up w/ your blog and about 100 million other things and just saw this, took a breath, related to every word and was able to laugh:) I still have not regained my recall for words even at 17 mos post. I once had a quick wit and an ability to understand complex theories that could leave me in deep thought followed by big and small epiphanies that could light me up like a sunrise. Now I just *am* in each moment as much as I can be and try to soak up what I can and try to give as much as I can and try not to be hard on myself about what I can’t. I’m trying to take bigger breaks and fill myself up again w/ things that excite me or relax me. I’m headed out for an uplifting weekend soon w/ just me, myself and I. Should be interesting;) Wish me luck!

  12. Tina

    Yes! I never believed I know all those dinosaur names, or that I’d keep a stash of snacks at all times, or how to find the socks that aren’t too soft, or to wake up in an instant, or how to hear the change in breathing a room away, or how to live with my heart walking around outside of my body.

  13. Susan

    Oh oh oh. My heart lept to read this. It’s so true! I’ve been working on being more present in whatever we’re in, me and my 2 boys (4 yrs and 6 mths) as sometimes I wander to thinking, scheming on my own artistic ideas and plans … or bills, or what to make for dinner, etc. But indeed, this boy-ness; so many surprises, so many new things to know about transformers and hammers, so much fantastic, endless-til-it’s-utterly-done-on-a-dime energy. Today when walking to the park my 4 yr old turned and hugged my leg out of the blue saying, “mommy, I can’t believe that Gene [the baby] came out of you. He’s sooo cute and I love him.” Dang. I love being the mom to boys. And going on the resume it is!

  14. Catherine Just

    Andrea, my heart felt FULL and I felt understood on so many levels reading this list. It’s so true.

    The car seat. The poop. Losing the words and then finding them again.

    What I didn’t put on my resume?
    Master at making my son laugh just by singing in my opera voice.

    Patience and total reverence of who he is that never seems to end ( but ONLY with my son – not with ANYONE else…)

    Fierce advocacy for my son and his rights to have all the same opportunities the rest of us have.

    I’m deaf in one ear – but I always hear/ feel him when he is upstairs and is crying even when it’s just a little peep. but I don’t hear anyone else – even when they are sitting right next to that deaf ear! Serrrriously.

    well versed in medical diagnosis and physiology and oral motor therapy, milestones of children with Ds.

    a pro at feeling when people are looking at my son with a ” oh I’m so sorry ” look and the look that says and feels like REAL acknowledgement that he is a cool dude just because he is Max – not because of disability.

    a pro at feeling and expressing how proud I am to be his mama.

    Time management around getting him dressed. Don’t bother with socks and shoes until we are in the car and he is fastened in the car seat. Take shoes off before he falls asleep in car so the transition from car to bed has much higher success rate. Using the warmth of the car heater, the vibration of the car driving on the freeway, plus the lullaby music, plus feeding him his lunch to induce a very deep nap time sleep.

    being the translator for Max when he is using sign language to communicate.

    pretending to be asleep so Max loses interest in being awake himself.

    hee hee hee I feel so sneaky saying that one.

  15. oprol evorter

    I’ll immediately grab your rss feed as I can not find your e-mail subscription link or e-newsletter service. Do you’ve any? Please let me know in order that I could subscribe. Thanks.


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