Archive for May, 2006

Because it’s all about me. And her. But mostly me.

May 30, 2006

Still somewhere over the rainbow, waiting for right moment (departure of Air Canada flight, Friday afternoon) to click heels and go home. Where, hopefully, sleepful nights (and other nice things, like husbandly company and, um, blogging) will resume.

But will miss this Oz, despite the challenges of our journey here…

********

I did not think that travelling and spending time with family would have such a negative effect on the blogging.

I thought that travel, and the visit home, would provide so much fodder. There would be so many stories. So many photos. So much to record and share and dissect. But I got derailed. First, by simply not having regular access to the necessary technology/connections/what-have-you. Secondly, but more thoroughly, by becoming overwhelmed by the weight of my stories, made heavier by the thoughts and feelings provoked by family.

I was tempted to beging this post by saying that I have never been more personal, in this space, than I was the other day, posting about my conflicted feelings over posting about my conflicted feelings about family. But that would not have been true. I have discussed my struggle with post-partum depression, and the professional challenges that I faced because of that depression. I have written about my discomfort with my post-partum body. I have written about my resistance (now well overcome) to singing songs about vaginas. (Sorry, vulvas. Vulvae?)

If anything, I have shared too much. But I have shared about me, and about my daughter, and my husband, and the family that we three are. I have avoided, for the most part, saying much about friends and family. I have avoided doing so because I have felt – do feel – that I do not have the right to tell their stories. The only stories that I tell here are my own, and those of my daughter. The stories of the family that we are, and are becoming. There have been and will be times when loved ones will appear in these stories, but these are only appearances, carefully situated within the context of the stories that are mine. Their own stories are just that, their own, and so theirs, and only theirs, to tell.

My struggle in my last post was not whether or not to reveal personal details about members of my family – that was never at issue. It was whether or not to frankly discuss the feelings – the anxieties – provoked by my family. Part of the difficulty here, obviously, is that in admitting to such anxieties I am already revealing much – possibly too much – about my family. And this was where I got blocked. I needed and wanted to express and record – to write – my worry about my family, and in particular about my parents. My concern that they be well and happy and healthy and whole. My anxiety that they might not be. My helplessness in the face of their struggles.

But expressing this anxiety, these concerns, reveals my family as imperfect, my parents as vulnerable. And perhaps it is not my place to tell stories that reveal that much about them. Perhaps it is unfair, to my parents and to my family more generally, to put it out to the world that my family is flawed. So flawed that I have spent many a night awake, racked with worry about its well-being. About my parents’ well-being. This may be unfair because in admitting to this worry, the world – or that very small share of the world that reads this blog – is compelled in some way to view my parents in the light of that worry. As (merely) the objects of my concern and anxiety, rather than as the wise and kind and wonderful people that they are. The whole beings that they are.

But my worry is my worry, and is part of my story – this story that I keep harping on about – and is part of my coming-to-terms with being a parent myself. Part of the process, for me, of figuring out what it means to be a mother has involved figuring out what it means to be a daughter. Am I to my parents what my daughter is to me? How do I see my parents? Love my parents? Will my daughter see me and love me the same way? And – what does it mean when the current of care changes between children and parents? When children begin to worry more about their parents than their parents worry about them? How, when and why will WonderBaby worry about me?

I know, I know – one might say that it’s too early to be fussing about this. But I don’t think that it is. I am a daughter right now, and a parent right now, and I have I’ll Love You Forever on the bookshelf right now. Right now I am caught up in all of the emotion of new parenthood and old childhood and the clash of these storms creates a beautiful but startling lightning.

I write through the storm.

So: I love my parents. Desperately. They are wonderful, beautiful people who gave me a wonderful, beautiful childhood. They will forever be wonderful, beautiful people, to me and to their family and to all who know them. And they both of them make the world a better place for being in it. But they have their struggles, as all real human beings do, and I worry. I worry because they are not together, as they should be. As, in a different, better, easier world, they could be (I know, this is the lament of every child of divorce. But in their case it is true true true true. Oh, the bitter sweetness of this truth.) I want to take care of them, to make sure that they are both happy and healthy and without cares. They would both insist that I am not to worry. They would say, will say, that they don’t want me to worry, that I needn’t worry, that there is nothing to worry about. My mother, I’m sure, will read this and protest out loud, to herself and, later, to me. But this is a daughter’s story about her parents and worry for her parents.

So this is personal. My story about my parents. It’s only my story. But it’s real. One day WonderBaby will have her stories about me, and I will want her to feel free to fully explore those stories, regardless of whether or not I agree with them. I will never want her to worry about me or her father, never want her to be sad for either of us, for any reason. I want her always to see us and feel us as powerful, happy, whole. But I also know that that’s not possible, that one day, inevitably, she will see our vulnerability, and be frightened. For herself, and for us. And when she does, I hope that she finds a place to put that fear and understand that fear.

I hope that she tells that fear, as a story. And that in telling it, understands it, and accepts it.

That’s what I’m trying to do.

********
There will now be a temporary moratorium on morose posts, effective immediately. The final Tour Report will be lighter fare, involving discussion of the definition of the word ‘dude’ and penises. And dolphins.
Good times.

The Great Mommy Blogger Love-In List: Unexpurgated, unabridged and babble-free!

May 30, 2006
We Are Family (I Got All My Bloggers With Me)
Amalah @ Mom’s Daily Dose NEW!
http://blogs.clubmom.com/daily_dose/2006/05/things_to_do_in.html
(Not an original submission but a shout-out to this list so it totally counts. And, dudes. Amalah.)

Beanie Baby
http://www.athenadreaming.org/Beanie/archives/2006/05/an_antidote_to.html

Binkytown
http://amywojo.typepad.com/binkytown/2006/05/the_gift_that_k.html

Bite My Cookie
http://bite-my-cookie.blogspot.com/2006/05/exception-to-rule.html

Blackbelt Mama NEW! http://blackbeltmama.typepad.com/black_belt_mama/2006/05/karate_mamas.html

Blog Antagonist
http://bloggersrepent.blogspot.com/2006/05/why-blogs-and-bloggers-are-not-stupid.html

Boudica
http://boudicas-babies.blogspot.com/2006/05/blog-inspirations.html

Brain Cells, Return! NEW!*
http://braincellsreturn.blogspot.com/2006/05/best-friend-i-never-met.html

Bunmaster
http://bunmaster.blogspot.com/2006/05/happy-mothers-day-yall.html

Cheeseparty
http://cheeseparty.blogspot.com/2006/05/love-letters.html

Chelle
http://soodz.com/blog/?p=587

Chicken and Cheese
http://chicken-and-cheese.blogspot.com/2006/05/kool-kids-love-kool-aid.html

Chicky Chicky Baby (Mrs. Chicky)
http://chickychickybaby.blogspot.com/2006/05/spreadable-love-now-with-canola-oil.html

Cocktails With Kevin NEW!
http://www.cocktailswithkevin.com/2006/05/tribute-to-moms.html
Coffee… Tea… Sodapop… Peets!
http://coffeeteasodapoppeets.blogspot.com/2006/05/theres-some-writing-going-on.html

Crooked Pigtails
http://crookedpigtails.typepad.com/crooked_pigtails/2006/05/happy_mothers_d.html

Domesticator
http://daveswife.blogspot.com/2006/05/cult.html

Expectant Waiting
http://expectantwaiting.blogspot.com/2006/05/spreading-mama-love.html

GGC
http://girlsgonechild.blogspot.com/2006/05/sisterhood-of-traveling-rants.html

Gingajoy
http://gingajoy.blogspot.com/2006/05/tale-of-two-mommy-sites.html

Granny
http://rocrebelgranny.blogspot.com/2006/05/koolaid-moms-unite.html

Halushki
http://yonkogirl.blogspot.com/2006/05/write-on-allomom.html

Her Bad Mother (Moi)
http://badladies.blogspot.com/2006/05/to-all-moms-that-blog-and-more.html

HomeFireBlue
http://www.hill-liles.com/2006/05/bees-knees-are-tasty.htm

I’m Not Hannah (Heather)
http://imnothannah.blogspot.com/2006/05/dont-judge-me.html

i obsess (lildb)
http://i-obsess.typepad.com/

Izzy
http://izzymom.com/2006/05/15/the-great-mommy-blogger-love-in/#more-163

Jennster NEW!
http://jennnster.blogspot.com/2006/04/you-asked-i-answered.html

Jezer
http://jezewhiz.blogspot.com/2006/05/mothers-day-love-in-with-links-o.html

Kittenpie
http://furtheradventuresofme.blogspot.com/2006/05/your-mothers-always-write.html

Knocked Up Then Knocked Down
http://knockedupthenknockeddown.blogspot.com/
http://tko.typepad.com/ (new site!)

Kvetch Blog
http://orthoticcontessa.com/2006/05/14/its-my-day-and-ill-gush-if-i-want-to/

Life in Mama Land
http://lifeinmamaland.blogspot.com/2006/05/we-are-family-i-got-all-my-sisters.html

Little Bald Doctors (Andrea)
http://littlebalddoctors.blogspot.com/2006/05/you-go-girls.html

Nine-Pound Dictator
http://ninepounddictator.blogspot.com/2006/05/my-blind-date-with-blogger.html

Nonlineargirl
http://nonlineargirl.blogspot.com/2006/05/made-up-holiday-real-life-mamas.html

Mama Tulip
http://sorrysoldout.blogspot.com/2006/05/click-links-feel-love.html

Mega Mom NEW!
http://themomshow.blogspot.com/2006/05/bloggy-love.html

Melanie in Orygun NEW!
http://melinor.blogspot.com/2006/05/mommybloggers-represent-or-only.html

Mom-101
http://mom-101.blogspot.com/2006/05/hi-im-thalias-mom.html
http://mom-101.blogspot.com/2006/05/mothers-day-gift-that-keeps-on-giving.html

NEW! (The ‘REAL’ Post)

Mom/Maam/Me (Nancy)
http://mommaamme.typepad.com/mommaamme/2006/05/blog_love_and_i.html

A Mommy Story
http://amommystory.blogspot.com/2006/05/mommy-blog-love-fest.html

Another Mommy Moment
http://anothermommymoment.blogspot.com/2006/05/i-heart-mommy-bloggers.html

Mommycakes
http://mommycakes.blogspot.com/2006/05/homework-done-check.html

Mommy’s Dirty Little Secret
http://mommysdirtysecret.blogspot.com/2006/05/dirty-little-secret-13.html

Mommy Does it All (Kristen)
http://mommydoesitall.blogspot.com/2006/05/girl-crushes.html

Mommy Off the Record
http://mommyofftherecord.blogspot.com/2006/05/spreading-little-love.html

Motherbumper
http://motherbumper.blogspot.com/2006/05/lovin-my-kool-aid-posse.html

Mothergoosemouse
http://mothergoosemouse.com/2006/05/12/if-you-cant-say-something-nice

Mother May I
http://maypapers.blogspot.com/2006/05/mamasday-inspired-by-hbm-call-to-honor.html

Mommy Monologues
http://mommymonologues.blogspot.com/2006/05/first-picture-then-love-letter_13.html

Motherhood Uncensored
http://motherhooduncensored.typepad.com/motherhood_uncensored/2006/05/you_dont_have_t.html
Mother-Woman
http://motherwoman.blogspot.com/2006/05/eclectic-koolaid-acid-test-pattern.html
http://motherwoman.blogspot.com/2006/05/word-to-zephyrs.html (This was not an official entry, but I thought it more than worthy of inclusion.)

Mommy Off The Record
http://mommyofftherecord.blogspot.com/2006/05/spreading-little-love.html

Mrs. Davis.
http://lovelydavis.blogspot.com/2006/04/why-moms-blog.html

Mrs. Fortune
http://mrsfortune.blogspot.com/2006/05/leaky-cauldron.html (forthcoming)

My Mom Told Me Not To Blog (MM – Mom of Monsters)
http://toldnottoblog.blogspot.com/2006/05/mothers.html

My Splatter-Painted Life
http://thekwaitfamily.blogspot.com/2006/05/celebrate-cyber-mommas.html

NattyChick
http://nattychick.typepad.com/nattychick/2006/05/bring_on_the_mu.html

Nonlinear Girl
http://nonlineargirl.blogspot.com/2006/05/made-up-holiday-real-life-mamas.html

Not Winning Mother of the Year (Sharpie)
http://notwinningmotheroftheyear.blogspot.com/2006/05/funny-thing-happened-on-way-to-my-blog.html

One Girl and her Cats (Alice)
http://onegirlandhercats.blogspot.com/2006/05/ooh-i-just-cant-resist-this.html

Our Shady Tree (Jennifer) NEW!
http://our-shady-tree.blogspot.com/2006/05/our-shady-trees-ode-to-amazing.html

Piece of Work (Amy)
http://thispieceofwork.blogspot.com/2006/05/spread-love.html

Red Stapler
http://redstapler23.blogspot.com/2006/05/her-bad-mother-contest-for-good-mom.html

Redneck Mommy (T.)
http://www.redneckmommy.blogspot.com/ (forthcoming)

R*Belle (Musings Of a Former Jr. League Dropout) NEW!http://bellechats.com/index.php/queen/comments/how_it_all_got_started/

Rock The Cradle NEW!
http://rockingthecradle.blogspot.com/2006/05/mother-of-week.html

Sherry (Horkin Ramblings)
http://www.pardyhouse.com/blog/2006/05/long_live_the_koolaid.html

The Silent K (Krista)
http://blog.thesilentk.com/?p=323

Soleclaw NEW!
http://soleclaw23.blogspot.com/2006/06/women-loving-women.html
Something Blue
http://somethingbabyblue.blogspot.com/2006/05/now-with-instant-cool-burst-sensation.html

Soul Gardening (TB)
http://soulgardening.typepad.com/soul_gardening/2006/05/mothers_day_blo.html

The State of Discontent NEW!
http://jaelithej.blogspot.com/2006/05/week-late-and-several-marbles-short.html

Sunshine Scribe
http://sunshinescribe.blogspot.com/2006/05/in-celebration-of-mommy-bloggers.html

Toddled Dredge (Veronica)
http://veronimitch.blogspot.com/2006/05/great-mother-love-in-2006.html

Turning Sixty (Della B)
http://www.turningsixty.com.au/tsblog/
Urban_Mommy NEW!
http://babyinthecity.blogspot.com/2006/05/big-hugs-and-kisses.html
Welcome to My Life! NEW!
http://www.deeizak.com/2006/07/10/my-a-list/

Writing in the dark

May 27, 2006

Mrs. McFeely Friday/The Weekly Squeeze (and visiting blog friends) will resume after WonderBaby’s Royal Tour. HBM is currently blog-challenged, and struggling to overcome…

*******

I’ve been having trouble blogging.

In part because I’ve been off the electronic grid for four days: there’s no wireless connectivity in the small desert town where my mother just bought a home and where she plans to retire. (Yes, Canada has desert. Semi-arid desert, with cactus and tumbleweed and rattlesnakes and everything. It’s desolate, and beautiful.)

But being off the grid shouldn’t have stopped me from writing. I’ve drafted many a post off-line. And, ordinarily, I’m constantly working words, weaving sentences, knitting ideas in my mind. Crafting posts as I nurse, rock, sing, walk, play.

But I haven’t done this. Not since Tuesday night.

Tuesday night (Wednesday morning, long before dawn) I sat up awake in the guest room of my sister’s house, WonderBaby asleep in a Pack’n’Play beside me, computer open on my lap. A Serious Family Drama had played out that evening, the second evening of our trip, and I couldn’t sleep until I had purged my mind of the surging emotion and clattering worry and slowed the pace of my frantically beating heart. So I wrote. I blogged. And as I blogged, I fretted about the destination of my words. Would I publish this post? Could I publish this post? The words were so fraught with worry and confusion. They revealed so much.

Was I blogging too close to the bone?

I was. But I had nowhere else to go. Husband was dead asleep, miles away in Toronto, not answering the phone. All I could do was write. And the place that I write – the place where my writing lives and breathes, the place where the writing becomes real – is the blog. So I sat there, in the dark, and wrote a post. And when I was done, my fingers hovered over the mouse pad. Hit Publish? Or Save as Draft? Publish? Or Save?

If I hit Publish, somebody might read, and understand, and send words of commiseration, of comfort. But more importantly, I would be advancing the true story of our lives – my life, WonderBaby’s life, the life of our family – in all of its gore and glory. I would be honest. WonderBaby’s Royal Tour is not, will not be, a series of picture perfect snapshots, family portraits against postcard backdrops, amusing anecdotes and colourful stories about eccentric grandparents and boisterous cousins. The story of this trip is one more instalment in the serial narrative of our lives and it has more than its share of pathos and drama. It’s a messy story, as full of tears and anxiety as it is full of laughter and kisses. Writing this trip honestly – holding true to the narrative as it unfolds in our real lives – means writing the truth. But what if the truth is sloppy and naked and scared?

How much revelation is too much? Where is the line between writing honestly, and exposing one’s self?

I hit Save. Better safe, as they say, than regretful. Better safe.

But I haven’t been able to write since.

All of my thoughts and feelings and worries over the past few days have defied composition, because I begin each mental post with a caution to myself: you can’t blog this. You shouldn’t blog this. You won’t blog this. And that stops me cold.

My determination to stay safe is choking the writing. I need to find a way to write honestly, without crossing whatever line exists between honesty and overexposure. To tell my story, our stories, without violating trusts, without divulging secrets, without baring souls too completely. And without turning pathos into bathos.

I have to find that way. So that I can continue writing, in a way that keeps my mind and heart and conscience clear. And so that the stories I pass on to WonderBaby are true stories, the truest stories, so that she can know her mother, her father, her family. Her history.

Her story. Her true story.

The WonderBaby Royal Tour, Western Edition, First Dispatch

May 23, 2006

Where to begin?

Which stories to tell? What news to relate? Which curse words to fling?

1) The birthday that began as day from hell (complete with crippling back pain and projectile cat vomit and near-confrontation with aging naked socialite at spa) but got better (lovely meal prepared by lovely husband) but then went hellish again (projectile husband vomit from over-indulgence in super-rich chocolate cake and/or secret Vietnamese lunch that he snuck in while I was at spa staring down saggy-titted Rosedale matrons)?

2) The flight westward? With Energizer-charged WonderBaby, now with EYES THAT DO NOT CLOSE, not even after endless hours without sleep? During which the so-not-helpful flight attendant commented, after observing WonderBaby’s amazing ability to sit up on floor near bulkhead with a soft book and hoot, loudly, FOR HOURS, that “it’s always the skinny finicky ones that develop most quickly.”?

Insert multiple curse words here.

(Am trying to train myself to minimize cursing. Am in presence of small children. And increasingly, freakishly, alert WonderBaby. Goddam.)

3) Our arrival in British Columbia’s beautiful Okanagan Valley? The lovely greeting from WonderBaby’s little cousins? Tanner’s query (oft-repeated) as to why his auntie wears glasses? And why auntie looks like Velma? And could she please take off her glasses and not look like Velma? For the record: a taller, blonder, thirty-something Velma. And could someone please explain to him, in terms that a six year old will understand, that this is a look that many a latter-day feminist hipster girl strives for?)

The long, difficult discussion on the drive home about where WonderBaby came from, exactly? (Auntie’s tummy. Why? Because she grew there. Why? Because that’s where babies grow. How did she get there? She, ahem, grew from a seed. How did the seed get there? Um… How did she get out? Um…)

From the cabbage patch, dudes. From the cabbage patch.

4) WonderBaby crawling? Backwards, but still. On hands and knees and MOVING.

I can’t do any of these stories justice in the five free minutes that I have right now. Especially without the cursing (cursing makes storytelling immeasurable faster and easier. A well-delivered what the fuck would summarize that my commentary on that flight attendant story quite nicely, thank you very much. But I’m cutting down.)

Saints preserve me. It’s going to be a long twelve days.

The Weekly Squeeze

May 20, 2006

NOTE: WonderBaby’s Second Royal Tour (BC Edition) commences May 22, so blogging activity will be somewhat reduced for a few days until we get settled into tour mode. Stay tuned for Royal Tour Blogging…

So, this Great Mommy Blogger Love-In/Group Hug/Rah Rah Love-Fest Jamboree has really taken off. You continue to post odes to Mommy or Mama or Mother or Drag Mom (dads that some of you think are unusually mom-like) Bloggers that you love and you continue to send the links. We’re hovering around 75 posts (77, according my count, which is sloppy, because I am innumerate, so I rounded down.) 75!!!

You love each other, you really really love each other. The heart, she swells.

Keep posting and sending links, if you are so inclined. (If that list of posts were to hit 100… well, we’d have to bust out the Veuve Cliquot, wouldn’t we? Virtual Veuve, maybe, but still. I’d be drunk, drunk I tell you, from the heady bubbles of all the loooove.)

(I’m drunk on the Virtual Veuve of Bloggy Love right now. That slurring you hear? That’s me. OMG you guys I like totally love you, you know, like totally, for real, I’m not just sayin’ this cuz I’m drunk I’m totally NOT I’m sayin’ it cuz it’s TRUE cuz it is I just totally love you cuz you are. SO. AWESOME. and I totally love you OMG.)

But enough about me. What you really came here for was the Great Group Hug Weekly Squeeze (which I still don’t know how to properly name. Weekly Squeeze sounds a bit dirty, like this is the part of the group hug where I reach out and grab someone’s ass, which is, maybe, exactly what is going on here, but still. I also thought about calling it Mrs. McFeely Friday, but, um, also sorta dirty. Anyone want to pony up some suggestions and help me get my mind out the gutter? Or, reassure me that the dirty talk is exactly what you are here for, and that I should just get over it and be all Mrs. McFeely squeezing virtual asses if that’s what I feel like doing? Anyone?)

ANYWAY.

Starting from the almost-top of the list and proceeding alphabetically (because if I do it any other way I will totally get lost and forget who I have highlighted and who I have not, but I totally reserve the right to deviate from this plan and careen wildly and unpredictably through the list if the mood strikes), we find Amy of Binkytown’s heartwarming ode to the bloggers who first made her feel welcome in the blogosphere and to the community that she’s found here.

(OK, so you’re saying to yourself, that is not the first post on the list. And you are right, clever reader: It is not. But Amalah’s Daily Dose post about the Group Hug is not, technically, a Group Hug Post so much as it is a shout-out to the Group Hug – a very, very welcome shout-out because, um, Amalah. Down with the Group Hug, yo. How cool is that? – which is, as I just said, very cool but in a different vein. You should still go check it out, though – like you’re not already, I KNOW – because that Daily Dose thing is an ongoing tribute to Mommy (Etc.) Bloggers in general and so is, in a way, the Ultimate Hug.

And, yes, Beanie Baby is the next blog on the list but I have a LOT to say about her post and I’m already taxing your patience with my rambling and I need you to stay focussed.)

So, Amy’s post – which I could also ramble endlessly about – showers love sweet love on the two bloggers – Julia and Tertia – who took the time to reach out to Amy after she, as a newbie blogger, reached out to them (which is just so lovely.) Their encouragement and support, she says, made her realize that this, this whole blog thing, is so much more than just entertainment – it is community.

Yes.

She says this about that community:

I care about so many of these interesting women I’ve never actually met – I sincerely do. I am inspired by their talent, generosity, heart, ability to tell a kick ass ghost story, creativity, questions, suggestions, choices, humor, struggles and triumphs. You give me more than words. I learn from you, the world feels a little smaller and much warm and fuzzier. Any of the strangers I pass in a day could be one of you. I had no idea so many of you were thinking or feeling the same things or totally different things that made me see things in a new light.

Yes, yes, yes. So much more than words. Making motherhood – making everything – so much less strange by casting new light on our experience of motherhood, and on our experience of other people. Revealing strangers as fellow travellers on the journey of parenthood. Opening the horizon, and filling it with friends.

Thanks, Amy, for reminding us of that.

A special WonderBaby shout-out to Amy! Whoot whoot!
*********
POSTSCRIPT:
So, the Husband reads this and goes, ‘It’s really warm and fuzzy.’
I give him a LOOK.
‘But that’s a good thing.’
I hope so. I have – had – a horror of all things saccharine and syrupy and unnecessarily mushy (see intro to this post). But motherhood has wussied me up beyond all recognition and now I fear that I may get out of control with the mush.
Please. Somebody tell me if I turn into Little Mary Sunshine or Stewart Smalley or Deepak Chopra and become completely unbearable. Friends don’t let friends go total wuss.
********

Mommy Blogger Group Hug Feature Post – Coming Attraction!

May 20, 2006

The Great Mommy Blogger Love-in/Group Hug/Rah Rah Jamboree Feature Post, in which one, two or a few submitted posts are highlighted and put in linky lights, and which I promised to post every Friday, will be delayed by one day.

Because I am unreliable that way.

And, because of rain.

Rain messed up my whole week, much of which was to be spent – after caring for WonderBaby, submitting grades and dealing with post-semester carnage (in which I am hit by a shit-storm of e-mails from undergraduates who SUDDENLY REALIZE that omg omfg not doing the work during the term means that they COULD FAIL and who, in a last ditch effort to save their sorry asses, e-mail me frantically with desperate pleas to boost their participation marks so that they can get a B and get into that MBA program. Ha. Wasn’t that you reading a comic during my brilliant lecture on Rousseau’s treatment of virtue in his epic prose-poem, ‘le Levite D’Ephraim?’ Ha. HA) and blogging – preparing for WonderBaby’s Second Royal Tour, which commences next week.

(That was the longest parenthetical comment ever.)

On Monday, WonderBaby and HBM are leaving on a jet plane (sans HBF, because the world would stop turning on its axis if all those TV commercials did not get made, by god), headed for the wilds of Beautiful British Columbia (Super, Natural) , where WonderBaby shall meet the people and see the land whence her mother came. They of year-round sandals and much, much fleece. It of cherry blossoms and mountains and ocean. It will be good, but also, daunting.

This is an enormous undertaking, and much planning has been necessary, but the rain – my god the rain when will it STOP? – has prevented a car-less HBM from accomplishing the hunting and gathering that are necessary to fully prepare for the upcoming excursion.

So, today we shopped. At a mall. A big mall. With Urban_Mommy (who has car!) and the Boy Wonder (who rides along!) And that took a long time. Because, the shops. And the necessity of having lunch.

And also, it is my birthday on Sunday, and because we will not be going out for an Over-Priced Meal in a Fancy Restaurant this year, Husband is making every evening of this weekend Special Dinner Night and he has oysters and crab legs right now so I must go eat them.

Now.

Sorry.

(Post WILL be up tomorrow! Pinky swear!)

You can trust my ma. Also, if she forgets, I will gum her.

The Gift

May 17, 2006
New links are being added to the Great Mommy Blogger Love-In daily. Keep checking out those posts (I’ll put a permanent link in my sidebar, soonish). And keep sending them in, if you haven’t already done so. No deadline. Each Friday, I’ll be doing a post about these posts, a few at a time, so that they can be properly celebrated, until we’ve gone through them all. Enjoy.

*****

Since WonderBaby was born, I have been keeping a journal about her. Not this one; a proper, bound paper journal with ink-smeared pages. It began as a poo diary (how many poos today? what color? runny? yes my friends the life of a mother dazzles with its glamor), but it quickly evolved into a detailed record of the minutiae of WonderBaby’s existence. When does she sleep? For how long? When does she nurse? How long? Which breast? Did I read to her? What books? Did she smile/laugh/roll-over/grasp objects/sit up? Everything.

This detailed note-taking has not wholly been an exercise in record-keeping (every notable moment has been recorded in every conceivable medium – notebook, baby book, digital photo, digital video – short of ass tattoo. And that may still be coming. That? That’s graphic representation in ink of my daughter’s ass on a toilet. Commemorating the moment of liberation from the tyranny of the poo bag. ‘Cause that’ll be huge.) Instead, it has been, for the most part, anthropological research. Detailed note-keeping as part of an embedded participant-observation case study. Subject: WonderBaby.

When she arrived – November 14, 2005 – and was placed in my arms, it felt as though she had always been there. It felt as though the weight of her – the delicate, delicate weight of her – was and always had been part of me. That I would always need to feel that weight to feel complete.
But she was a stranger. She was new. She was part of me – my body ached with yearning for her if we were separated for more than a moment – but she was still unknown.

So I set about getting to know her. Primally, we acquainted ourselves through our bodies: tit to hungry mouth, hand to shit-smeared bottom, kisses kisses kisses to beautiful little head, and the constant embrace, skin to skin. This stretched and strengthened my soul, coming to know this other being so physically, this other being who is herself the creation of the most intimate physical knowing, this being who is both of my body and of her father’s and so bound, always, physically, to both of us. But my mind struggled to keep up. Who is she who is she who is she who is she?

The poo provided no answers. Consistently mustardy, arriving with appropriate frequency, sometimes with inappropriate force and volume. But the record-keeping… ah. That appealed to the academic in me. I could know her by studying her habits, by taking careful notes (and, not incidentally, checking those notes against so-called Expert Texts, a practice that I abandoned early on, once I realized that they were all full of shit – and not the benign breastmilk kind – and that the very idea of baby expertise is absurd.) So I kept careful notes. I studied my baby. I satisfied my mind’s desire to understand her in rational, quantifiable terms. Naps two hours once a day if swaddled and put down in dark room. Nurses every three hours. Resists afternoon naps except in stroller. Responds to nightly ritual: dinner bath cuddle nurse cuddle bed. Sleeps seven hours. Growth spurt? Five hours. Everything that my heart and body told me about her, I double-checked against my notes. But that was the thing: every note that I took, every behaviour that I observed, every conclusion that I arrived at, had already been viscerally noted and imprinted. I already knew her.

I realized this some time ago. But I clung to my book. It served me well; it was something to cling to when I felt confused or out of my depth, which was often.

WonderBaby turned 6 months old this weekend. Yesterday, she had her six month well-checkup. When I took out The Book to note her weight and other particulars, I realized that I hadn’t recorded the morning’s routine beyond the time of her rising. Nor had I done so for the last two days. I had been mothering beyond the book. I no longer needed my notes. I knew WonderBaby through my flesh, through my bones, through my blood.

So yesterday, after recording the details of the visit with the doctor, I put the book away.

But before I close the book entirely, I thought that I should post its last, incomplete entry here, for posterity.

6:20 Up and nursing.

Dawn, and we hear her happy voice, cooing matins with her bunny. Daddy goes to greet her good morning, and to bring her into bed. In she comes, smile as wide as sunflowers, arms outspread. Down to the breast; she suckles and snuggles and then turns to reach for her Da. Chest hairs are plucked, groins are kicked, fingers probe eyes, noses, mouths. We play, we cuddle, we doze…

2:20 Down in carseat. To doctor; 1 dropper Infant Tylenol 30 min. before shots.

Clutching sides of carseat as it is swung into car; eyes wide as saucers but smiling always smiling.

Doctor’s Appointment. Weight: 16.5 lbs.

Chubby little legs that kick and push. Soft round belly and proud high chest.

Length: 27.5 inches

Tall like her Da. Long, long legs that stretch, stretch, stretch. Straining to stand, to bounce. Striving for her height, reaching for the sky, the stars, our embrace.

Head circumference: 17.75 inches

Noble baby head, big and round and full of firing brain. Sparsely haired, built for hats and for sniffing and for kisses for kisses for endless kisses.

Developing well. Sat up early. Babbling. Responds to name. Taking solids.

Growing, learning, living and loved, so loved.


And that was all. That is all.

That’s all that matters. She is loved, beyond all measure, with every fibre of her parents’ beings. She is loved. And, so, she is known.

I know her. She’s my baby.

These are the mamas of your neighborhood…

May 15, 2006

*WARNING: mind-bogglingly long post ahead. Pace yourself. Or, just scroll through and admire loverly but entirely gratuitous baby photos before you reach The Mother of All Group Hugs List O’ Links at the end of this post.
**New links posted! New! New!

Many years ago, in a land far, far away, long before and miles away from my days of doctoring philosophy and wiping the intellectual noses of snotty undergraduates, I was a snotty undergraduate myself. Brash and idealistic and prone to drunken speeches in which I would sloppily quote Rousseau (we must be forced to be free!) or Nietzsche (our duty is wakefulness!) and then fall off of whatever chair or table I was standing on and weep for mankind’s descent into slavish, sheep-like droneness. Newspaper readers! All of us! Heading into twilight!

(I still do this occasionally. For fun.)

Mommy likes her liquor.

I was the world’s youngest misanthrope. Humanity I love you because you are forever putting the secret of life in your pants and sitting down on it… Humanity I hate you.

I was pretty irritating. I still can be.

My misanthropy received an unexpected and unfortunate boost in the late nineties when, to supplement my fellowship income, I began working as a researcher for a ‘Centre for Dialogue’ that my university was building. My task? To research ‘virtual communities’ – online networks of people with shared interests and/or concerns – in order to establish whether such communities provided examples of ‘effective dialogue,’ such that they could be said to make a difference in the on-the-ground lives of real people and real communities. I very quickly discovered that most such communities were riddled with conflict, riven by power struggles and politics. It was not pretty. I was not surprised.

Community, bah. It seemed clear to me that the old philosophers had it right: it’s not in our nature to get along, to meld easily into communities and love our fellow citizens and neighbors as friends. We’re all too self-interested, self-absorbed, bourgeois. We ignore each other, disdain each other, hurt each other. There are and always have been lights in the human darkness – lights that we seize upon and celebrate – but I had a difficult time escaping the suspicion – the seeming fact – that human beings kinda suck, collectively. Subsequent years spent studying and teaching political philosophy did little to dispel that suspicion.

So if you’d told me, even last year, that I would stumble upon a community – a virtual community, mind – that would seduce me so completely with its warmth and generosity and humor and intelligence and powerfully cooperative spirit, I probably would have scoffed. (And if I’d had a few martinis, I would have said something Nietzschean about the unbending of the bow of Western Civilization, shuffled over to the stereo to put Frankie Goes To Hollywood on repeat and then passed out.)

WonderBaby in Martini Fog (if HBM still drank martinis, which she does not, because she has been rendered weak, weak, in this and certain other respects, by motherhood.)

This little community of ours, it is not without its controversies and conflicts. But for every conflict that I’ve seen, I’ve also seen a heart-swelling demonstration of humanity. Those ripples and waves in the placid calm of our virtual waters stir us, move us, sometimes threaten to swamp. Sometimes we splash too hard. We get water in our eyes. But we always find the surface, the shared surface, and bob above it, shaking our wet heads and spluttering and smiling and making sure that nobody stays under. We’re all here. We’re all wet. We are each others’ water wings.

We talk, we debate, we judge, we support, we argue, we love. We are different. But we are mothers and fathers (and some, according to more than one ode, are both. Dutch? Apparently you’re a Drag Mom) and parents and friends and we get that the plural of those nouns matters. That’s what we share, beyond our deep love for our children: the conviction that it matters that we have each other, if only in lines of code. That we have a community. That, like motherhood, like parenthood, community is not always easy, but that its rewards are life-changing, life-preserving. That it’s worth standing up for.

This week has, in certain respects, been one of the best of my life. The outpouring of support for such a simple idea, the embrace of the embrace, has caused my misanthrope’s heart to grow two whole sizes (which, when put together with the heart-swelling effects of becoming a mother, puts that heart at size Extra-Queen. Requiring control-top reinforced-crotch jumbo heart-hose.) I’ve been thrilled by the response, overwhelmed by the response, moved by the response. I’ve read every post for which a link was sent, and commented on many of them (if I didn’t comment on yours, it’s because I visited while WonderBaby was clamped to boob or while I was in an insomniac daze.) I’ve laughed and cried and sighed and been struck dumb as my heart clenched in my chest. And then laughed again. The power of love, baby. It’s heady shit.

At time of writing, I have nearly a full half-dozen pages in a Word document devoted to the links that you’ve been sending. I stopped counting them when they hit fifty. And there are more coming. I had planned to write a little blurb about each link, and include quotes from the various posts, but the document in which I’ve been recording those links keeps growing at such a pace that blurbing each link would require dozens of posts.

So it’s also been a challenging week. Worrying over identifying all of the posts (have I found them all?). Fussing over accurate record-keeping (have I recorded them all?). Fretting over how to do each one justice (how do I give due to them all?). Every single post deserves its time in the spotlight, deserves ample and careful treatment. (Bunmaster’s genius riff on Pablo Neruda? Mo-Wo’s Eclectic Kool-Aid Acid Test? Sherry’s poetic invective against blogtards? Bite My Cookie’s ode to the literary brilliance of GGC? Kristen’s heart-wrenching reminder that a mommy blogger is also the woman who lives motherhood as a deeply felt wish, and that sometimes those wishes die? Every last one of the posts that I received?) I can’t do this in one post. I can’t even figure out how to get all of the links into the above paragraphs. I’ve been strobing for the last two days trying to figure out how to do it. But I can’t.

So I won’t. Today, in this, the Great Mommy Blogger Love-In CardPost, I will list each and every post that I have received to date, and some that I know are forthcoming. (If, for some reason, I have missed you, accept my sincerest apologies and then e-mail me immediately and I’ll edit in your link. If you know of any mama-bloggin’-love posts or posts of this ilk, send me those links, too. And if you do a post after-the-fact – great! – send me the link and it’ll be included. No deadline, no limits, on love!)

And then, from now on, on every Friday, I will do a post that highlights a few of these posts, with blurbs and quotes and links aplenty. And I will do this until I’ve worked my way through them all, and until the links stop coming. It will be Her Bad Mother’s Neighborhood, where everybody is special. And everybody will get their day in the blogger sun.

(And I will never again sit in front of my laptop in my ratty cardy on a Friday, brain fried by a week of endless nursing and Jolly Jumping and mom-cruising and song-singing and sleep-coaxing and general baby wrangling, stumped for what to write. Huzzah!)

But today, you all go down in history as part of the Biggest Mommy Blogger Hug Ever. Read, and be proud.

It’s such a good feeling, a very good feeling
The feeling you know that we’re friends.

Sing it, sistahs!

We Are Family (I Got All My Bloggers With Me)

Amalah @ Mom’s Daily Dose NEW!
http://blogs.clubmom.com/daily_dose/2006/05/things_to_do_in.html
(Not an original submission but a shout-out to this list so it totally counts. And, dudes. Amalah.)

Beanie Baby
http://www.athenadreaming.org/Beanie/archives/2006/05/an_antidote_to.html

Binkytown
http://amywojo.typepad.com/binkytown/2006/05/the_gift_that_k.html

Bite My Cookie
http://bite-my-cookie.blogspot.com/2006/05/exception-to-rule.html

Blackbelt Mama NEW! http://blackbeltmama.typepad.com/black_belt_mama/2006/05/karate_mamas.html

Blog Antagonist
http://bloggersrepent.blogspot.com/2006/05/why-blogs-and-bloggers-are-not-stupid.html

Boudica
http://boudicas-babies.blogspot.com/2006/05/blog-inspirations.html

Brain Cells, Return! NEW!*
http://braincellsreturn.blogspot.com/2006/05/best-friend-i-never-met.html

Bunmaster
http://bunmaster.blogspot.com/2006/05/happy-mothers-day-yall.html

Cheeseparty
http://cheeseparty.blogspot.com/2006/05/love-letters.html

Chelle
http://soodz.com/blog/?p=587

Chicken and Cheese
http://chicken-and-cheese.blogspot.com/2006/05/kool-kids-love-kool-aid.html

Chicky Chicky Baby (Mrs. Chicky)
http://chickychickybaby.blogspot.com/2006/05/spreadable-love-now-with-canola-oil.html

Coffee… Tea… Sodapop… Peets!
http://coffeeteasodapoppeets.blogspot.com/2006/05/theres-some-writing-going-on.html

Crooked Pigtails
http://crookedpigtails.typepad.com/crooked_pigtails/2006/05/happy_mothers_d.html

Domesticator
http://daveswife.blogspot.com/2006/05/cult.html

Expectant Waiting
http://expectantwaiting.blogspot.com/2006/05/spreading-mama-love.html

GGC
http://girlsgonechild.blogspot.com/2006/05/sisterhood-of-traveling-rants.html

Gingajoy
http://gingajoy.blogspot.com/2006/05/tale-of-two-mommy-sites.html

Granny
http://rocrebelgranny.blogspot.com/2006/05/koolaid-moms-unite.html

Halushki
http://yonkogirl.blogspot.com/2006/05/write-on-allomom.html

Her Bad Mother (Moi)
http://badladies.blogspot.com/2006/05/to-all-moms-that-blog-and-more.html

HomeFireBlue
http://www.hill-liles.com/2006/05/bees-knees-are-tasty.htm

I’m Not Hannah (Heather)
http://imnothannah.blogspot.com/2006/05/dont-judge-me.html

i obsess (lildb)
http://i-obsess.typepad.com/

Izzy
http://izzymom.com/2006/05/15/the-great-mommy-blogger-love-in/#more-163

Jennster NEW!
http://jennnster.blogspot.com/2006/04/you-asked-i-answered.html

Jezer
http://jezewhiz.blogspot.com/2006/05/mothers-day-love-in-with-links-o.html

Kittenpie
http://furtheradventuresofme.blogspot.com/2006/05/your-mothers-always-write.html

Knocked Up Then Knocked Down
http://knockedupthenknockeddown.blogspot.com/

Kvetch Blog
http://orthoticcontessa.com/2006/05/14/its-my-day-and-ill-gush-if-i-want-to/

Life in Mama Land
http://lifeinmamaland.blogspot.com/2006/05/we-are-family-i-got-all-my-sisters.html

Little Bald Doctors (Andrea)
http://littlebalddoctors.blogspot.com/2006/05/you-go-girls.html

Nine-Pound Dictator
http://ninepounddictator.blogspot.com/2006/05/my-blind-date-with-blogger.html

Nonlineargirl
http://nonlineargirl.blogspot.com/2006/05/made-up-holiday-real-life-mamas.html

Mama Tulip
http://sorrysoldout.blogspot.com/2006/05/click-links-feel-love.html

Mega Mom
http://themomshow.blogspot.com/2006/05/bloggy-love.html NEW!

Melanie in Orygun NEW!
http://melinor.blogspot.com/2006/05/mommybloggers-represent-or-only.html

Mom-101
http://mom-101.blogspot.com/2006/05/hi-im-thalias-mom.html
http://mom-101.blogspot.com/2006/05/mothers-day-gift-that-keeps-on-giving.html NEW! (The ‘REAL’ Post)

Mom/Maam/Me (Nancy)
http://mommaamme.typepad.com/mommaamme/2006/05/blog_love_and_i.html

A Mommy Story
http://amommystory.blogspot.com/2006/05/mommy-blog-love-fest.html

Another Mommy Moment
http://anothermommymoment.blogspot.com/2006/05/i-heart-mommy-bloggers.html

Mommycakes
http://mommycakes.blogspot.com/2006/05/homework-done-check.html

Mommy’s Dirty Little Secret
http://mommysdirtysecret.blogspot.com/2006/05/dirty-little-secret-13.html

Mommy Does it All (Kristen)
http://mommydoesitall.blogspot.com/2006/05/girl-crushes.html

Mommy Off the Record
http://mommyofftherecord.blogspot.com/2006/05/spreading-little-love.html

Motherbumper
http://motherbumper.blogspot.com/2006/05/lovin-my-kool-aid-posse.html

Mothergoosemouse
http://mothergoosemouse.com/2006/05/12/if-you-cant-say-something-nice

Mother May I
http://maypapers.blogspot.com/2006/05/mamasday-inspired-by-hbm-call-to-honor.html

Mommy Monologues (Susan)
http://mommymonologues.blogspot.com/2006/05/first-picture-then-love-letter_13.html

Motherhood Uncensored
http://motherhooduncensored.typepad.com/motherhood_uncensored/2006/05/you_dont_have_t.html

Mother-Woman
http://motherwoman.blogspot.com/2006/05/eclectic-koolaid-acid-test-pattern.html
http://motherwoman.blogspot.com/2006/05/word-to-zephyrs.html (This was not an official entry, but I thought it more than worthy of inclusion.)

Mommy Off The Record
http://mommyofftherecord.blogspot.com/2006/05/spreading-little-love.html

Mrs. Davis.
http://lovelydavis.blogspot.com/2006/04/why-moms-blog.html

Mrs. Fortune
http://mrsfortune.blogspot.com/2006/05/leaky-cauldron.html (forthcoming)

My Mom Told Me Not To Blog (MM – Mom of Monsters)
http://toldnottoblog.blogspot.com/2006/05/mothers.html

My Splatter-Painted Life
http://thekwaitfamily.blogspot.com/2006/05/celebrate-cyber-mommas.html

NattyChick
http://nattychick.typepad.com/nattychick/2006/05/bring_on_the_mu.html

Nonlinear Girl
http://nonlineargirl.blogspot.com/2006/05/made-up-holiday-real-life-mamas.html

Not Winning Mother of the Year (Sharpie)
http://notwinningmotheroftheyear.blogspot.com/2006/05/funny-thing-happened-on-way-to-my-blog.html

One Girl and her Cats (Alice)
http://onegirlandhercats.blogspot.com/2006/05/ooh-i-just-cant-resist-this.html

Our Shady Tree (Jennifer) NEW!
http://our-shady-tree.blogspot.com/2006/05/our-shady-trees-ode-to-amazing.html

Piece of Work (Amy)
http://thispieceofwork.blogspot.com/2006/05/spread-love.html

Red Stapler (Sue)
http://redstapler23.blogspot.com/2006/05/her-bad-mother-contest-for-good-mom.html

Redneck Mommy (T.)
http://www.redneckmommy.blogspot.com/ (forthcoming)

R*Belle (Musings Of a Former Jr. League Dropout) NEW!http://bellechats.com/index.php/queen/comments/how_it_all_got_started/

Rock The Cradle NEW!
http://rockingthecradle.blogspot.com/2006/05/mother-of-week.html

Sherry (Horkin Ramblings)
http://www.pardyhouse.com/blog/2006/05/long_live_the_koolaid.html

The Silent K (Krista)
http://blog.thesilentk.com/?p=323

Something Blue
http://somethingbabyblue.blogspot.com/2006/05/now-with-instant-cool-burst-sensation.html

Soul Gardening (TB)
http://soulgardening.typepad.com/soul_gardening/2006/05/mothers_day_blo.html

The State of Discontent NEW!
http://jaelithej.blogspot.com/2006/05/week-late-and-several-marbles-short.html

Sunshine Scribe
http://sunshinescribe.blogspot.com/2006/05/in-celebration-of-mommy-bloggers.html

Toddled Dredge (Veronica)
http://veronimitch.blogspot.com/2006/05/great-mother-love-in-2006.html

Turning Sixty (Della B)
http://www.turningsixty.com.au/tsblog/

Urban_Mommy NEW!
http://babyinthecity.blogspot.com/2006/05/big-hugs-and-kisses.html

The Mother of This Bad Mother

May 14, 2006

*The Great Mommy Blogger Love-In CardPost will go up tomorrow – a day after Mothers Day, but there’s just been so much love circulatin’ through our ‘hood that it’s taking me longer than expected to pull it all together (I may, in fact, have material for two – TWO – CardPosts. The head, she spins). That, and today was a bit chocolately ’round these parts and my fingers got sticky. So keep sending links to your odes to mommy bloggers, if you haven’t done so already, and if you’re so inspired; I’ll add whatever I receive right up until the last minute. And if I keep receiving them, I’ll just keep on posting them. Sticky chocolate fingers or not.

But for now, for today, a word to my mother:

Dear Mom,

I’ve told you many, many times over the years, and in many different ways, how much I love you. How you have always been a light and an inspiration; how proud I am and have always been that you – beautiful, whimsical, powerful you – are my mother.

But I did not – could not – fully appreciate the force of you as a woman until I became a mother myself. Until I began living, moment to moment, the heartlifting and heartaching work of loving and nurturing my own daughter, I had only the faintest experience and faintest understanding of what it meant to be fully powerful as a woman. And so I could only perceive the brilliance of you as through a glass, darkly. You were always just Mom. A good lady, a funny lady, that-lady-my-mother. The soft voice in the darkness, the warm skin in an embrace, the furrowed brow, the knowing glance, the generous smile. But still, just Mom. Loved dearly, but taken for granted. Taken as seen. Just mom; just a mom.

Now that I know the weight that is a mother’s love for her children, now that I know how beautifully heavy that weight, now that I know how hard the work that that love demands, I see you more clearly. My mother, my mommy, my mom: the very source of my life, the very source of me. The heart that carried my heart, the heavy weight of my heart, through childhood, girlhood, womanhood, life.

I see you now. Thank you.

With so much love,

Your Bad Daughter, Her Bad Mother

Bad Daughter: The Next Generation

To all the moms that blog, and more

May 12, 2006
*Because I’ve never written a thing that I didn’t think could be made better through MORE EDITING: Note added below.
I began blogging almost accidentally. I had never planned to keep an online record of life with WonderBaby; in the early weeks of our life together, I was pretty preoccupied by the incredible challenge of pulling that life together. My psychiatrist had suggested keeping a diary as a way to sort through my thoughts on and experiences of new motherhood, but I had dismissed this as a fantastic suggestion for a brand new mother. All of my literary energies were devoted to reading the same pages of What To Expect The First Year over and over and over again, hoping for some hidden insight to leap off of the page at me and reveal the secret of How to Keep Your New Mother Shit Together, and to recording the details of every last spit, shit and nursing session in a little notebook that was dedicated to these subjects. I did spend a lot of time on-line, but that time was spent clicking back and forth between kellymom.com (why is baby spitting up with the force and volume of Linda Blair? why does breastfeeding hurt so much? is new motherhood going to kill me?) and askdrsears.com (co-sleeping is okay, right? I’m not messing up baby forever, right? immediate crib sleeping isn’t necessary to avoiding Electra complexes, right? right?) and googling “nipples falling off breastfeeding ouch.”

I had never heard of a mommy blog. I did not know who Dooce was. If you had said to me, ‘go read Dooce,’ I would have boggled at you and wondered who in their right mind looks for enlightenment on feminine hygeine product packaging.

(Then again, if someone had told me that reading Dooce would reveal the secrets of surviving motherhood, the knowledge of which I craved with the desperation of a dehydrated hippo, I would have been camped out in the feminine products aisle of the local pharmacy scrutinizing every last Summer’s Eve box and the Monistat boxes just for good measure.

But I digress.)

One day, during a google search on “extreme baby gas help,” I noticed a link to a page that I hadn’t seen before. Amidst all of the links to pages advertising Gerber Gas Drops and gripe water, there was a link to something called JezeWhiz, where somebody was saying something about the gas my god the gas what is UP with the baby gas thank god I had the foresight to stock up on gas drops. Intrigued, I followed that link, and in doing so, tumbled down a virtual rabbit hole, and arrived in the mommy blogosphere. And my life changed.

The page that I had arrived at was Jezer’s blog. And the first words of hers that I read, referring to the challenge of a new baby, were, “this gig is hard, dudes.”

I may have gasped audibly. Somebody else knows. SOMEBODY ELSE KNOWS.

In an instant, I realized that I was not alone. I spent the next hour – hours – reading through her wonderful blog, laughing and wincing and nodding and goggling at the pictures of her adorable baby boy. (Go look! You will hyperventilate from the adorableness!) Then I started following her links. I linked to Amalah, and discovered another new mother who was babbling hysterically, brilliantly, about having a new baby and making with the funny my god the funny. And then I followed another link, and discovered that Dooce was not a feminine hygiene product. And then I linked to another blog, and another, and another.

I was totally sucked in.

Women – and men, and men and women – were writing about having babies. They were writing about how hard and amazing and exhilarating and painful and awe-inspiring and crazy-making and wonderful it is to have babies. (Okay, sorry, I cannot even begin to sort out the potential linkages for the preceding sentence. And? Baby on tit. So here’s a game for you: check out my sidebar links, read some relevant posts at those blogs and then take that sentence and play Match The Adjective To The Post. And when you run out of adjectives, make up your own.) And their voices sounded like my own. They sounded like me. Scared like me, amazed like me, bemused like me. Determined to suck every moment – good and bad – out of every day with the new little beings that had changed their lives. Like me.

So I started my own blog. I called it ‘the first days of the rest of my life.’ It was just going to be an online diary. I hadn’t yet discovered comments or inter-blog communication; I was writing just for me and for WonderBaby and for the Husband and for friends and family. But when, during one of my daily visits to Jezer’s blog, I realized that I could comment on her posts – on anyone’s posts – the rabbit hole opened up even further. And when she came to my site and left a comment on one of my posts, I landed at the bottom of that hole and recognized this whole new world for what it is: a place to not only find joy and solace in one’s own words, but to find those things in the words of others.

And although Jezer was the first (thank you, Jezer!), there are so many others that I don’t even know where to begin – or end – in singing their – your – praises. So I’m not going to start. I can’t. I can’t do each of you justice in one short post and I would almost certainly forget somebody and then I would wake up in the middle of the night tonight in a fit of guilt and self-loathing. You know who you are; I visit you whenever I can and when I’m done laughing or crying or gasping or nodding my head so vigorously that my teeth rattle over what you’ve written, I tell you so. (And if it’s not every post, it’s not that I’m not reading; sometimes I have to play catch-up.) You all make a huge difference in my life as a new mother. An extraordinary difference.

KoolAid Moms, I salute you.

(And KoolAid Dads and KoolAid Friends, I salute you too. For helping us all to be the super-crazy-hip-awesome moms that we are)

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Speaking of which, of whom… I lied when I said above that I can’t single anyone out (Carol-Kane-in-Princess-Bride-voice: Liar! LIE-urrrrr!) . I do have to do a teeny bit of singling out. Not because these blogs are any more special than all of the others that I simply do not have the time and space to appropriately fête here, but because I want to single out a particular type of mommy/mom/mama blogger for celebration: the mama-blogger who blogs as part of her parent team, with her husband/partner. The mother who not only puts her life as a mother on the screen, but her life as a wife, friend and lover on that screen as well.

We all, to some extent, share our marriages and partnerships through our blogs. But the shared parent blogs do something really special with what and in what they share: they put the marital and parental partnership right up there on the screen to inspire and reassure. They celebrate, daily, the love and collaboration and struggle and love that define the extraordinary work that is Mom-and-Dad. So, Wood? Thank you for sharing your life as a mother and as a wife/partner/friend with us all, and for doing so so articulately and honestly and with such good humour. For showing us what love really looks like from all sides, so that we can see ourselves in that love, or aspire to that love. And Mo-Wo? Thanks for putting the struggles and triumphs of motherhood and pregnancy and womanhood firmly within the context of shared struggle and triumph, within the context of family.

Thank you both for standing up alongside your husbands and proclaiming loudly that you have your own unique powerful, beautiful voices as mothers, as women and as writers, and for demonstrating that those voices ring all the more powerfully when raised in concert with the voices of your men.

*******

So there you have it. One small contribution to what I hope will be – what is shaping up to be – the Biggest MommyBlogger Group Hug Ever. Keep posting, and sending me your links.
*I’ll keep accepting links whenever you send them. There’s no deadline, ‘cuz, well, who can put a deadline on luuuuve? This is The Hug That Never Ends: if I continue to receive links after the Great CardPost, I’ll just do another post. And another, if need be. And so on, and so on. (I may have to do more than one post as it is – you’re all being so great about spreading the love…)
I’ll pull it all together in one (or two, or three) big linky-rich Mothers Day CardPost(s) and get it up by the end of the weekend (which might mean Monday, depending upon how debauched my Mother’s Day is. Husband? You reading? I want debauchery, dude. And chocolate. And odes to my beauty and charm. Sing it.)

Word to you mothers…