…Perhaps we were only mildly entertained. Regardless, please enjoy! If you are looking for Kaylia's official Website please visit KayliaMetcalfeWriter

The Memory Keeper's Daughter

The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards

This novel surprised me.

I'm a bit fan of being manipulated by good writing to feel something  anger, sadness, regret, etc. But the key is that the second I notice I am being manipulated, I become resentful and no longer really enjoy the book...

Edwards manages to manipulate you into feeling a wealth of emotions, but her writing is so good that you don't see the strings being pulled and that makes the novel's emotional wallop an even bigger gut punch.

I'm not ashamed to say I cried when I read this... or that I immediately  looked Kim Edwards up on Amazon to see what else I could read by her.

The story, of twins separated at birth by a father hoping to spare his wife the trauma of raising a special needs child, is a powerful tale of love and family.  Working with themes of regret, hard choices, and shocking family secrets, Edwards is a master of making each and every character not only believable but sympathetic.

In the end the story, in the hands of a lesser writer, could very easily have been trite and overly melodramatic... the sort of thing that you see on Lifetime at 3 am.  However, Edwards manages to compel you to care and to keep reading even when it is almost painful to do so.  The Memory Keeper's Daughter is a raw and powerful story... but not for the faint of heart.


Apparently there was a TV movie made in 2008... but as it isn't streaming on Netflix and costs 4 bucks on Amazon, I probably won't get around to watching / reviewing it.

Look Me In The Eye

Look Me In The Eye by John Elder Robison

First off let me just say that I have a hard time reading memoirs because unless you are a mighty special person or something mighty special happened to you or you did something mighty special or whatnot... I don't really want to read your memoir.

Getting divorced does not count as mighty special.

Finding a husband, raising a kid, starting a home business.... these don't count. (To me).

So... does having Asperger's Syndrome count? I was on the fence because I happen to know several people with the syndrome and most of them have had to overcome obstacles, have had to figure out the world around them differently than you or I, have gone through drama and trauma and have, somehow, survived to tell about it.

So, I was a cautious reader of this book to be honest.

... and I was right to be cautious.

The book itself is well written. It is a retelling of one man's life and his personal struggle with Asperger's. If you recognize his name it is because he is the brother of Augusten Burroughs the author of Running With Scissors.... so yeah John Elder Robison came from that same, now famously dysfunctional, family.

That right there was the crux of my problem... for while this book doesn't implicitly say "all Aspi kids are like this" it strongly implies that "all Aspi kids are like this" when the truth is that not all Aspi kids are like anything; the variety of ways that Asperger's manifests is one of the reasons it can be so hard to diagnose.

If you take the Asperger's part out of it, you have the life story of a man who lived an interesting life... but by no means an incredibly mighty specail life... and if you add in the Asperger's stuff you have what ammounts to one man's life with a disease that is vastly differnt depending on who has it, how early it was caught, the support system in place, and countless other factors.

Honestly, I don't know what sort of rubric to judge this book against.

It was a quick read. The flow worked for the most part. The anecdotes were clearly written and entertaining.


But I had a hard time connecting to John. I had a hard time caring about John. I actually had a hard time finishing because while his personal story was interesting, it seemed like the sort of thing that would have been more interesting if I had actually known him... giving up part of my life to read about his just felt awkward and ultimately unsatisfying.

Writing this review a few weeks after I finished the book I suddenly started to wonder if I had actually finished it... I went back and checked. Yes. Yes, I had finished it... the ending, like the rest of it, just hadn't left that big of an impression on me.

I didn't learn anything, I didn't really feel anything except occasionally pity, ocassionaly confusion, and yes at one point a touch of disgust.

I sort of wish I hadn't bothered.

And to be fair .. again... I am one person who a)hates memoirs to begin with and b)already knows a fair bit about the thing that should draw the reader in and keep them interested. So, perhaps I should have known better than to have read / reviewed this book.

However, if you like memoirs, don't know much about Asperger's or want to know about this particular man's reality... then by all means, read it! I hope you enjoy it more than I did.


Today we kept working on reintroducing you to bottles. Apparently we had taken a bit too long of a break from them and you are a bit resistant to using them. However, we need to supplement you with formula as my milk isn't as much as it was and I (and my nipples) need to be able to take breaks from your gaping maw.

And your daddy likes feeding you.

And I want to be able to go back to work in January or at the very least take you to day care maybe one day a week at some point.

And honestly? Honestly I really don't enjoy breastfeeding. I know, a lot of women do... but I don't. I won't say I hate it, because after all it is providing you with food and health etc, but I will say I dislike it immensely.

You flail and scratch, you pop on and off, it hurts, it is draining and boring and takes forever.... and it hurts! Sometimes it seems like you hate it too!

So, to the bottles we go!

We aren't going to get rid of breast milk or breastfeeding you, we just want to be able to have more options. I have fed you via the breast for over two months now... I'm honestly not sure I can do another month, but we shall see.


We went out to breakfast this morning to celebrate both Daddy's birthday and my birthday. You did so well at the restaurant!

We tried a new place... it was ok, but the floors were sticky so I doubt we will be back as regulars.

I'm so glad that you are here for our birthdays this year. I'm very glad we are facing our mid and late 30s with a child.

Anyway, it was a quiet day just hanging out iwth you and playing. You are doing so well with your naps and even geting pretty good at bedtime, I think you like our routine!


Ashley came to visit with little Richard today. You are so well behaved when there is company! Why can't you be so good when it is just us?

We took a trip to Target and it totally wore both you and Richard out! So far, you are a good shopper as long as you aren't wet or hungry.

I tried having you in the bjorn for part of the day... but after about 10 minutes you were done and angry. I think I need to save that for when we go outside, walking around with you in while in the apartment seems to just piss you off.

Also today I started on my baking lists for all the holiday baking.... I'll stick with some classics but want to bake a few new things this year too. Hopefully as you get older, holiday baking will be something we can do together.


Today as part of the ongoing entertain/distract the baby campaign we skyped with Rachel in Santa Cruz! It was a lot of fun... and you seemed to dig looking at the screen.

We don't really let you look at the screen (TV or laptop) except for skype stuff. I want to keep you TV-free for as long as possible. I know eventually we will want to let you start watching movies and such, but we are going to wait until you are at least 2.

At least that is our plan right now.

Anyway, you enjoyed your skype with Rachel and I enjoyed you being so easily entertained.

In other news, we have been sort of doing a sleep routine lately (since getting home from thanksgiving) and even though you cry a lot and it is hard, I thin it is getting better.


Today is your daddy's birthday! Happy Birthday to Daddy!

We celebrated with a special dinner (I made pesto chicken!)

This morning I was so tired I could hardly see straight and so I brought you into our bed for some cuddles. You aren't an overly cuddly baby, but you seemed happy enough to lay with me for a while.

I'm still not really comfortable with you sleeping in our bed, but little cat naps seem ok since I know I won't really sleep, just rest.

You are happiest when we are looking at and talking to you, and if I can do that while in a semi reclined position, all the better!


Pretty typical day here today.
You re getting better at your naps and don't seem to mind taking them in your crib, which is nice.

It's starting to get a little cooler and I like you better in jammies anyway so today was a "let's not get dressed" sort of day.

Today I made the list of all the people who we are sending Holiday cards and letters to and wrote the holiday letter. It will need to be edited etc, but it is a start and I'm glad. We are giving holiday cards to almost 80 people this year! WOW!


We are still getting used to our new nap routine... and we are working on a nighttime routine as well.

It is going slowlYou are getting to be such a good eater! Look at your little belly! So big and round! So much love for your little squishy arms and legs!


It was so nice to be home after our trip!

Today Daddy took you for a walk and I got a bunch of stuff done... and while it was nice, I did keep forgetting that you weren't here and going into the nursery to check on you.

I love you!

I love how happy you are when you are playing in your seat!
I love how sweet you look first thing in the morning!
I love how cuddly you are when you are eating!

I am so very thankful for you!


This morning we got up and went to the beach before picking you up from Grandma and Grandpa's house.

The beach.. oh how I miss it! We went to the spot where we got engaged and looked out over the water. It was fun to think of all the changes that have taken place since that windy engagement day....

After we picked you up, we went to your cousin Noe's birthday party in Modesto. again you did great watching all the people... but you did seem to sort of hit your max and so I kept you on my lap for most of the party. 

I can't wait to have birthday parties for you!


This morning we dropped you off at Grandma and Grandpa's house and then Daddy and I had a date day and night!

We saw a movie, we had dinner... we called several times to make sure that you were ok....

It was fun to spend some quality time with Daddy, but I missed you. A lot.

Notes: The Skyfall James Bond movie was great.
Pizza My Heart belongs in Santa Cruz, it was weird to see it in San Jose.
I celebrated my night off of nursing by eating doughnuts in bed around 11pm and watching cartoons.

Again, it was a nice mini break, but boy did I miss you.



There are a lot of photos that were taken today, not only of the day itself but we did the "official" family phtoos today as well. But those will all be albums for eons to come... so I wanted to show you this one instead:

That's you taking a nap at Grandma and Grandpa's! You are being such a good sleeper... it makes me look like a liar!

I love your little orange outfit even if Grandpa says you look like a pumpkin.

We visited with Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt Kristen, aunt Gina, Uncle Peter, Cousin Kendal, Great Grandma Metcalfe,a nd Auntie Ree! Wow!

Ok... here are a few of those more fancy photos!

4 generations!


Tomorrow is Thanksgiving! I'm so excited! We leave for San Jose tonight and will stay in a hotel. Tomorrow we will spend the whole day with family!

Today we started our day at 6:15 because that was when you decided that sleep was for the birds.  However, you are getting better about your naps in your crib... it isn't a perfect system, but we are getting there.


Today is Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day in which we mourn those transgender people who have been killed because of hate and bigotry and at the same time celebrate those who are here.

We did this by taking part in a candle light vigil in downtown followed by a march and then a reception.

Baby's first political rally!

You loved it! I wore you in the bjorn and you had a great time looking all around at everyone. During the march, you fell asleep!!!! And at the reception you snuggled with Chris and James while I gave my speech. All in all, you were perfect which just reinforces the idea that you are fussy so much at home because you are bored and need more / different stimulation.


One of our "distract and entertain the baby" games is Doing Laundry! Or rather, Folding Laundry!
You seem to enjoy this process and even though it makes folding a basket of laundry take forever, it is worth it.

You are starting to seep for longer periods at a time... at night. This helps me a lot as you still hate sleeping during the day. You are still an active sleeper (all night) but your longer chunks of sleep time (5 hours) are a blessing nonetheless!


Book Club Today!

Which meant that you hung with Daddy and I got to hang out and talk books with a lovely group of ladies! (And show off your photo of course!)

I love book clubs.... you always get people who disagree about why or why a book or character is good or sympathetic. Sometimes the discussions can get loud and intense, but the end result is that we all share our opinions in a respectful way. after all, writing is an art form and art is subjective.

Coming home from book club always makes me want to write more.

We talked about a book today called "The Language of Flowers." I really disliked this book. At one oint a new mother leaves her newborn (less than a week old) daughter alone in an apartment. She does this out of necessity at first but later she does it again to teach her newborn daughter a lesson, to win the battle of wills.... it was disturbing.

And it made me want to hug you over and over and over again.

In other news you are starting to reach out and grab things (or try to grab things) like the camera strap in the photo above. Hooray for milesones!


12 hours of almost non stop fussy screaming baby.

It hurts my ears, it hurts my head, it hurts my heart.

This has to be part of the "worst part" right? It has to start getting better soon.... right? RIGHT?

I'm so glad your Daddy is home.... and I'm so glad we have such nice neighbors! Jennifer and Adam and little Jarom came over for dinner tonight. It is so nice to have neighbors who are friends as well as neighbors! I hope that we get o see more of them in the coming months / years!


Leah came to see us today.

I hope people come visit when you are older and less fussy as well... but I am so glad for the company right now!

Leah and I met in college... we noticed each other during an English class... it turn out we had 3 English classes together. Lucky us!

There is nothing like meeting someone and clicking with them... finding out that you have everything and yet nothing in common and never running out of things to talk about. I miss a lot of things about Sacramento  but I think I miss Leah the most. So many happy memories... she was my first real girl friend / best friend as an adult.

I am sure you will have a elationship like that too someday, and I am excited for you!

I'm also excited because Leah and her husband Joe are going to maybe start a family next year. Guess who is going to maybe get all your hand me downs?!


Today your aunt Bethany came to visit and I just had to dress you in your Beatles outfit (she was a huge fan when she was younger). I wonder what group or musical act you will be obsessed with when you are a teenager. I hope it is something akin to the Beatles and not something like One Direction... /gag/

It was fun hanging out with her... even if you did cry most of the day.

She even watched you while I got some blood work done. Just how messed up is my blood? We'll know in a few weeks!

Hanging out with Aunt Beth made me miss my sisters, I am so excited that you get to meet your aunt Gina next week!



No.. the photo for today is really this one:

You had a lot of trouble napping again today (poor thing). If it wasn't your farts waking you up it was your sneezes.

Allison came to visit you and we discovered that you are happiest on the changing table. so, we just pulled up a chair and let you hang out there for a while.

You are starting to make little sounds in between the crying. Could there be adorable coos in our future? Yes please!


I had a Dr apt today. It was my postpartum check up. I'm doing good and got the green light.

You don't know what that means, and that's fine.

But I know what that means, and Daddy knows what that means. And we are happy.


The photo is from your stint in the car seat during the trip to the Dr office.


I'm cheating again.

This adorable photo is from yesterday morning at the SWAC coffee when you were being delightful.

Today there were no photos because today sucked ass.

Today, by the numbers: Number of naps exceeding an hour? One. Number of naps less than 20 mins? 4. Number of times she spit up all over herself? 4. Number of times she spit up all over Mommy? 5. Number of blowout poopy diapers? One.... which resulted in both Mommy and Baby needing a full change of clothes.


Today was an early Thanksgiving dinner with friends including little Piper who is five months older than you... and only 3 pounds heavier. You two are almost the same size!

I made a potato dish that went over well and we enjoyed the holiday fare with gusto! Such a nice time with friends!

And yeah... you were fussy for part of it... but not as bad as you could have been / have been lately. So, there's that.

I'm looking forward to your first Thanksgiving... and yes, despite it all, I am very thankful for you.


Daddy was so pleased with himself, he dressed you all cute this morning!

So of course you spit up all over yourself.

I changed you.

You spit up all over me.


WE both had dentist appointments today. Oh the joy. We got there on time and still had to wait. We took turns getting our teeth looked at and taking care of you in the lobby.  Never has a dentist appointment been so stressful!

And we both have to come back for fillings etc.  Little one we are going to be manic about your teeth health just so you know. Because this was a pain the rear.


We have learned a new game that you seem to like! I prop you up on pillows on the couch and we sing and I wiggle your legs and arms and hands and give you big kisses.

Like everything, it makes you happy for around 10 minutes, but still... I was lucky enough to get some pretty awesome smiles today.

And Daddy is home! Hooray!


Tummy Time with Miss Allison.

You still like your tummy time but not as much as you used to.

You are 7 weeks old today... and you are totally the epitome of baby bipolar!

Another first today... first skype talk with Daddy while he is out of town. You were sort of interested in it... for around 10 minutes anyway.


In my ever ongoing attempts to find things that make you happy... we did floor time in the nursery on the safari rug today. It went ok... for around 10 minutes... That seems to be your attention span for anything.

You are lucky you are so cute.

You ae also lucky (as am I) that your Daddy loves you as much as he does. Tonight he drove down from the mountians to hold you (while you fussed) so that I could have a bit of a break... and then he drove back to the mountians where he is working.

This crying stuff has got to end at some point.
It just has to.


Today was election day... but before we get to that...

This morning while I carried you around in circles in the living room I decided to listen to the radio. I ended up hearing them ask for a contestant to play a trivia game. In order to continue to stave off the abject boredom of walking around the living room in circles, I called in. Wonder of wonders, I got the question right and won some tickets to a park! (I will probably donate them, but still!)

And then it was election day! Do you like my rainbow cupcake? I was celebrating the results. The LGBT community made some big strides and President Obama was reelected  A few local propositions didn't go the way I had voted, but on the whole it was a very satisfying day.


Guess who came to visit!

Uncle Patrick and Aunt Stacy! aka Your God Parents!

It was a great visit! You were sweet and happy, you didn't throw up on either of them, you even napped like a normal little baby!

I'm looking forward to your first trip to San Francisco where they live,but for now it was great that they were able to come visit you here in Fresno!.


Back to being fussy at home again today.... le sigh

Except for a brief few moments where you were all smiles for Daddy.

I'm exhausted!


It was a big day today!

First off we voted (early) so that we wouldn't have to try to do it during the weekday next week.

Voting is important, don't let anyone tell you differently.

Then we went to Sacramento for a baby shower! One of Daddy's friends from high school, aaron, and his wife, Nicole, are going to have a baby girl early next year. I was a bit worried about how you would do in the car... and how you would do at the party as you still tend to cry and fuss most of the day... every day.

You did great! You loved watching all the other little kids play and getting passed from lap to lap! It was like we had found the magic no-fuss spel! I guess maybe you aren't getting enough stimulation at home; I need to be taking you out and about more often!

Look at you all alert and content on my lap up there! Such a trooper!

On our way home from the shower we had two other bits of adventure... an exploding diaper that resulted in us on our hands and keens on the side of the road (in grass thankfully) trying to get you cleaned off..... and a visit to your aunt Steph!

And then you slept the whole way home!

Damn but you are sometimes all kinds of awesome!


We took you to the library today and got you your very own library card.

Now, you won't really be doing much checking out for a while... but just for signing you up they gave us a free board book about baby animals. Score!

I hope you like the library as much as I did when I was little.

We used to walk to the library and checkout books every week during the summer. It was awesome... so many books! At one point I wanted to read all the books in the library. Now, I know that isn't practical, but it sure sounded like fun when I was 12.


Daddy's home!

We are both so glad to see him! We had to share but we did get all our kisses and hugs!

And it is November... the month where people talk about what they are grateful for all month and then go out and spend a zillion dollars on buying more crap.

Today I am thankful that Daddy is home.

And that you let me take your photo in the kitty hat... because omg so cute!


A rare moment of you sleeping....

You like your seat a lot, especially when I take you for long walks. Now, that doesn't help ME get any rest... but so be it.

It was another long hard day today.... but tonight you consented to be a sweet little angel in the arms of our neighbors Jennifer and Adam and I got to take a nice hot shower all by myself!

I am very ready for Daddy to come home.

I let you nap (such as it was) in your crib today. We are going to start napping in there from now on to hopefully make the transition into sleeping in there easier. Fingers crossed.

Today is also your Grandma's 50th birthday. I wonder what you will be like when I turn 50. Hopefully you won't be making me a grandma......


So, I'm cheating a bit.

Today was rough, you slept (barely), you pooped, you ate (in tiny little snacks), you farted,.... and you cried and screamed.

It was a long hard day and I didn't take any photos.

Daddy isn't home yet but I dug out this photo because I needed to remember that I don't have to be alone (he will come back) and that you are worth it.


Yes, this is your halloween costume.

You are a banana.

You are so appealing!

Get it? Get it!? HEEEE!!!!

Yeah, I'm a dork who loves puns. Get used to it kiddo!

Today you didn't cry as muh... you screamed. Screamed. And screamed and screamed.

I cried.

And then...

and then you did this:

... and suddenly the screaming didn't seem so bad.


Uncle Mark and I took you for a walk today and you rode in the baby bjorn! Hooray for nex experiences!

I was a bit hesitant, but after a few hundred feet you seemed to settle down and be ok. It puts an odd strain on my back but I'm willing to try it again if it means another way to make you happy.

You still cry an awful lot.

Anyway, Uncle Mark had to go home today but Daddy is coming back soon!


More tummy time!

Olive is starting to pay more attention to you when you are down there.... I am keeping a very close eye on her, but so far she seems content to keep her distance and just watch you.

You haven't seemed to notice her yet.

Isn't that a pretty quilt? Miss Pam gave it to us! It is perfect for tummy time!

It was a pretty relaxed day with Uncle Mark today... and then we went to the Halloween party at Robin's house! You were great for the first bit of the party... and then you got sleepy and fussy and didn't want to go to sleep so we came home.

ANd I didn't get a good photo of you in your outfit.... maybe tomorrow.


Almost a smile....

It was a nice visit with Grandma and Grandpa but now it is time to go home! Another 3 hour car drive!

And again you slept! Woot!

Uncle Mark brought us home and is going to stay with us for a few days. How fun!

ANd yes, we both miss Daddy.


Today you had a nightnare or something.... you were dead asleep and then suddenly you were screaming. And I mean Screaming! I thought something was eating you! I snached you up and comforted you but couldn't find any reason for the sudden cries.

What were you dreaming little one?

We also went for a walk today... which you normally like, but the streets of San Jose must not have been as nice because you cried the whole time. The Whole Time.

Seriously, you cry a lot.


Another day at Grandma and Grandpa's house! Today you got a bath in the kitchen sink! Again you liked the water being poured on you but weren't a big fan of the getting in and out process.

While we are here you are sleeping in your bassinet in the bed with me... it is as close to co-sleeping as we are likely to get and I'll tell you what, I'm getting no sleep due to your thrashing noisy sleep. I'm looking forward to you being big enough to sleep in your own bed.

You keep teasing us with these "almost" smiles.....


Look! We can play with our toys at someone else's house too!

Walking you in the middle of the night, singing you lullabies my mother sang to me and eating my dad's home cooking... this is a very nice little trip we are on baby girl!

It is a bit odd being both a child and a mother in this house. I'm sure I will get used to it, but it is odd to say the least.


We survived a three hour car trip! You only screamed for the first 15 minutes!

Then you went to sleep!

I miss Daddy but it is nice to spend time with Grandma and Grandpa and Aunt Kristen.

(but boy their house is cold!)


The GCV LGBT Community Center Staff.

I'm so glad to be a part of this team of people who are working so hard to make the world a better place! I hope you grow up knowing the importance of nonprofit work and community groups!

We packed today for your first trip away from home... we are going to go spend the week in San Jose with Grandma and Grandpa while Daddy is away in the field.


My little girl all dolled up.

Not sure how you will like being all dolled up as you get older... I was into dresses and tights until 4th grade (then it was all about leggings -stirrup pants- and big tunic tops... it was the 80s after all).

I think it was 5th grade where I discovered jeans and never went back to frills... but you, my dear, will get to figure all that out for yourself.

For now though I am going to dress  you in hand me downs and whatever fits... and today that meant all frilled up!