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  • Writer's pictureRachel

A Meeting of "Show Don't Tell"

Updated: Apr 16

It has been a hot minute since I last blogged.

I've been writing here and there, not committing to anything in particular. It's been a mood. Between summer fun and Kindergarten prep, I couldn't stop my mind long enough to form anything meaningful. What I'm currently left with is a mismatched of unfinished projects mingled with mild writers block. I'm hopeful that once I get the hang of my new normal, the words will start flowing again.

One project that I took on this summer was a writing exercise to "show, don't tell". As a start, I decided to craft descriptions of my three kids, using descriptive language to paint a picture of their look and character. So, read along and meet my kids!

**Names have been changed**


Jane came quietly into the room. She was a young girl with delicate features and big round eyes. Her brunette hair waved this way and that upon her small head, ending no lower than the lobe of her ear. Tiny light brown freckles sat upon the tops of her fair-skinned apple cheeks, now showing a pinkish hue from the sun’s summer kisses. Her hazel eyes looked up from her short stature, brows furrowed with concern. They were the kind of eyes that were always watching; her ears attentive to the adult talk around her, as if their words held a secret code she wished to learn. Her arms hung straight down at her sides, shoulders slumped to match her head. Most days, she would choose to wear a dress from her tickle trunk. Frocks of pink and purple adorned with gold and glitter. The closet of a princess. Other days, she would search her drawers for leggings and a coloured tank top to reflect the older girls she knew. She liked the idea of headbands but could never wear them longer than necessary, complaining of headaches. It was no matter; why should any girl’s mind be confined to suffer for the sake of frivolity? On this day, she had chosen an empire waist pink dress with brown polka-dots, with a few large brown buttons missing down the front. The bottom frayed from play and neglect. And although she dressed for play, her forlorn face resembled the rainclouds outside the large kitchen windows.

Jake was a jolly boy. He had what seemed like a big head for his body, magnified by the lack of hair on his head. The once rounded toddler he was mere months ago was now replaced with a more lean figure from much wrestling and running with his siblings. His porcelain skin resembled mozzarella cheese, a nickname given to him from his Italian family shortly after his birth. His perfectly rounded eyes showed deep dark brown iris’ that were almost indistinguishable from his pupil. They were wide-set under his large forehead, with his nose looking delicate in comparison. Before you saw Jake come into a room, you heard him. Unaware feet could be heard stomping up the steps, still wearing his mismatched pajamas from the night before. He didn’t think to change his clothes for the day; that was mommy’s job. His mind was preoccupied with wondering whether the train he heard outside was a “good-guy” train or a “bad-guy train”; or if his imaginary-friend found his way out of the jail he put him in yesterday for taking the pup treats. You know, important matters. He was exuberant in every range of emotion. Whether he was happy or angry, tired or hurt, there was no missing it. He would often perform a panicked wailing that almost-always got a swift response from the adults nearby, but not always in Jake’s favor.

Daniel was born smiling. Not a day went by without his wide-faced grin shining on the family. His smile seemed to involve his entire face, eyes squinting and nose crinkled from the effort. He held the same big, round eyes of his siblings, but with a slightly lighter brown from his older brother. The baby of the family, he was adored and dotted on by all. Dirty blond curly wisps shined on his head, poking out in ringlets from under his baseball cap. He had fair skin and a mouth that was always partially opened. He was a great mimic: repeating every word said and action performed by his older siblings. As mispronounced as the words were, most of his audience could understand their meaning from his advanced use of intonation. Wherever he went, he ran, energetically bouncing from one room to the next. He would help himself to whatever lap was nearest, climbing with gusto as if it were his mount Everest, then settling in with a determined plop. As much as he loved to move, he knew to be still when it mattered. He would often rest his head on the top of his dad’s shoulders when scooped into his arms; a gesture that invoked the softest response from his father. At night, he would curl his whole body into his mother’s arms as she rocked him into sleepiness, pushing her hair away from the spot he desired on her shoulder, his hands burrowed under his chin. This is the place his mother liked him most: close-by and steady. She imagined him as an older boy, with the same zest for life and physical prowess, taking risks and winning girls over with his magnetic smile. But in this moment, he was all hers. She concentrated to allow the warmth of his toddler body seep into hers, taking a mental catalogue of the sight of his form; the smell of his clothes; the sounds of quiet breathing; the taste of his hair when she kissed him, regretting all those nights she took these treasures for granted.


one child on a bike, another puling a wagon with another child all seen from behind

I realize that the paragraph for my youngest was longer than the other two. Forgive me for getting a bit sentimental over my forever baby!

Time just refuses to stop.

If you know my kids, let me know in the comments how I did.

Until next time,


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