Archive for October, 2008

Halloween Gone Bad (Director’s Cut)

October 31, 2008

(Updated Sunday, November 2)

What happens when you combine witch with fairy with barmaid with pimp:

Behold, Evil TinkerWench.

Which, you know, is sweet and everything, but if one is really going to make the most of Halloween, one really must get one’s children all done up is some sort of get-up that demonstrates a) one’s appreciation of pop culture history, b) one’s understanding of the temperament of one’s child and c) one’s complete disregard for social norms that demand one not draw figurative parallels between one’s children and crazed, Beethoven-loving thugs from a dystopian future.


Behold, the Nursery Droogs.

Because that would be wrong.

Or not.

(I don’t think that this could possibly qualify as Cutest Photo for PBN’s photo contest, but maybe Funniest? That is, if there’s not a category for Most Disturbing or Most Indicative Of Parental Inclination To Parent According To Impulses Of Amusement Rather Than Principles of Good Care.)

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Mom At Work

October 29, 2008

You’re never more aware of how much drudgery is involved in the work of mothering than when you’re doing that work while suffering from a bad cold or flu or some such viral misery as makes your head pound and your lungs ache and your throat burn. You lay in a fetal curl, hacking miserably, wishing for sleep, unconsciousness, a coma, anything to take you away from your discomfort, until you hear the baby stir and you must rise to nurse and soothe and nurse and soothe and nurse and soothe, which you do, of course, hoping that he’ll settle enough to lay beside you and amuse himself with rattles and soothers while you rest your tired head but of course he does not do that because his diaper is full to bursting and so you must rise, again, and deal with the shit-soaked diaper and damp pajamas and that’s fine because once you’ve done that you can lay back down unless, of course, the inevitable cry comes from the other room – Mommy I got poo I need to go to the toilet – in which case there’s another cycle of shit and damp to deal with and if you’re really lucky it just means wiping a bum and overseeing some toilet-flushing and hand-washing but if not – and let’s be honest here, at this point your luck is about as reliable as sub-prime mortgage lending – it’s going to mean tossing the three-year old in the bath and disinfecting all visible surfaces because when she says I got poo she very probably means it in the Lopburi monkey sense of I got poo in my hands and that just never ends well and certainly does not end with you tucked cozily in bed with a hot lemon drink and a Nyquil buzz. Not, at least, for some very long hours yet to come, if they ever come at all.

Under these circumstances, the work of motherhood seems like a bad scam, like some multi-level marketing scheme that someone tricked you into by promising wealth and glamor and a pink Lincoln Continental but that just ended up being a whole lot of catalogue-pushing and bad kitchen parties. (This is a bad analogy, really, because, no matter hard motherhood can be it at least offers its rewards up front – you get your Top Performer Bonus, your pink Lincoln Continental, right at the outset in the form of your beautiful children, and that gift, the gift of their loveliness, just keeps expanding regardless of how well you sell the program – Motherhood: Your Key To Bliss!™ – and so what if they crap a lot? Still, on days like these, days when you’re tired/sick/desperately-in-need-of-a-day-off, it’s hard to remember how or why it was that you agreed to do this work.)

I love my children. I love being a mother. I love, even, the condition of motherhood, the state of things whereby I am a mother, down to my bones, the state of things whereby my entire physical being strains to care for and love my children, whereby my very biology demands my commitment to these creatures who run and laugh and hug and kiss and shriek and hurl poo. What I do not love so much is the work. I do not love the diapers, the toilet-training, the cajoling, the cleaning, the washing, the arguing, the bargaining (okay, sometimes I like the bargaining – not even the most sophisticated trial lawyer could keep me to my wits the way my preschooler does when she wants something -“Mommy,” she says, “let’s make a PROBLEM”, meaning a deal, and then proceeds to offer to eat her veggies in exchange for three marshmallows, which upon negotiation becomes a bargain of one carrot for one marshmallow or two broccoli for one marshmallow or maybe three marshmallows for two carrots and a firm commitment to go straight to bed after bath) the screaming, the squirming, the wiping, the endless, endless wiping… and I love them all the less when every fiber of my being is begging to curl up under the blankets with some Vicks VapoRub and retreat into mentholated silence.

I know why this is. On an ordinary day – on a well-rested day, on a day when my spirits are up and my energy is good – the drudgery of motherhood is a minor irritant, a reasonable price to pay for the deep satisfaction of being surrounded by such love, the true pleasure of being witness to such beauty. The giggles of my baby boy, the peals of laughter from my little girl – these are ample recompense for the poopy diapers and the spilled milk and the temper tantrums. But I’ve had, of late, little energy for such pleasures, and so although I smile through the headache and the hacking cough at the giggles and the hugs and the malapropisms, I find that I would much rather have a few hours alone with the Nyquil than wrestle the baby (however snuggly and adorable he is) or hear another disquisition on the superiority of Dora to Fifi The Flowertot.

Does disliking the work of motherhood make one a bad mother? My impulse is to say, of course not – one can love being a mother, being mother to one’s children, without loving all of the tasks that usually attend that role. I loved being an academic, but I didn’t enjoy everything that went with that territory. But then again, I quit the academy for precisely that reason – I didn’t love everything about it, I didn’t love it enough to take the bad with the good. And I figured that if I didn’t love it enough, I wouldn’t be good enough. So I quit. I quit, in part, because I loved motherhood and writing more, but still – the quitting was in the offing long before motherhood came along, and the quitting stemmed from the fact that I did not love the work enough.

I’ve already said – the diapers are more than amply made up for by the joy my children bring to me. I love my children – I adore my children – and I love mothering my children. But there are some things that I don’t so much love about the work of motherhood. There are quite a few things, actually. And so when I think about, say, the prospect of having more children, I pause. (I pause, actually, and say to myself, HELL NO, but then when someone asks me seriously, really seriously, whether this is it, no more children, I pause again, because I can’t quite wrap my around making that HELL NO official. Which, if that sounds confused: YES, I KNOW.)

Do you have to love it, all of it – or at least like it, all of it – to do it well? Or is just loving your children enough?

When Blessings Are Curses

October 26, 2008

A day curled up in bed sounds lovely – so lovely, in fact, that you’ve wished for fervently for months – until you’re forced into it by some nasty hobgoblin of a chest infection, some vile viral force that squeezes your lungs and throat and holds your aching body to the mattress and pillow and forbids you from enjoying for even one millisecond the fact that you are curled up in blankets in the middle of the afternoon and nobody expects you to move. So you end up cursing yourself for ever having wished anything of the sort and laying in a miserable heap, tormenting your sick self with the thought that you would be infinitely happier if you were upright and being shrieked at by children, because that kind of headache can be treated with Ativan and at least then you could enjoy some cookies.

BAH.

(pulls blankets back over head.)

He’s A Cowboy, On A Swedish Moose He Rides

October 23, 2008

Why it’s generally a good idea to think twice before saying to my husband, oh, hey, maybe you could play with the baby while I go take a shower/a nap/Ativan:


*******


If you could continue to spread the word about this, it’d be much appreciated. My sister needs to raise a minimum of $1,200 in order to do the ‘Run For Our Sons,’ and every penny goes to Duchenne’s research, so. I know that there are a lot of causes out there that need your dollars, so no pressure – a Tweet or a link spreading the word is just as helpful as a donation. Thanks ever much.

And speaking of other causes… THIS supports a good cause but does not require running or engaging in any other activity that causes one to produce sweat. I’m going to try to go – if you’re in the Toronto area, you should go, too. Because pampering is good. (Also? if you go HERE and leave a comment before 5pm tomorrow, you could get one of two free passes. Which is worth about $175 in swag alone, so, you know, you should totally go for it.) (Not least because there are only, like two comments there right now, which means that that swag bag of cool goodies and afternoon of mani-pedis could totally be yours. What are you waiting for?)

Sings The Tune Without The Words

October 22, 2008

It’s been four years since my nephew, Tanner, was diagnosed with the condition that will kill him. During that time – which moved slowly at first, the disease not seeming to have taken hold in his little body, until he began growing faster, and it began its ceaseless attack on his muscles, crippling them and consuming them as the rest of his body grew – I never once saw my sister, his mother, cry. I knew that she did cry, of course, when the children weren’t looking, when she didn’t need to maintain a front of fierce composure, but her tears never spilled where anyone could see them. She was scrupulous about that. Tanner needed her to be strong, and so she was strong.

I wasn’t prepared, then, when she broke down in front of me last month, after we’d spent a week at the bedside of her eldest son, Zachary, as he lay hospitalized – tubed and wired and monitored against the infection that was attacking his spinal cord and nervous system – a week that we’d spent clutching hands and holding each other and her patting my back whenever my eyes welled up with tears: it’s okay, Cath, she’d whisper. Here, let me take Jasper if you need to leave the room. She hadn’t cried – although I felt her grief like an electric current, like a surge of energy that lashed out in so many broken wires, snapping and hissing, every time the doctors refused to give a prognosis, every time his father, her ex-husband, called and said that he couldn’t visit until very late, every time he flinched from pain, every time we left his room – she hadn’t cried, until we were many miles away from his bedside, and when the moment came, it surprised me.

I’d accompanied her to her doctor, to get some forms signed that would allow her to take yet another compassionate leave from work, so that she could attend to the business of watching over one sick son – too many miles from home, at the hospital for sick children – while making sure that the other son, the dying son, and the daughter, were cared for. He asked her how she was holding up, she told me as she walked out of his office. He asked her, and she burst into tears. The tears were still streaming down her face.

We were silent as we collapsed Jasper’s stroller and loaded it into the minivan, in the back, where Tanner’s wheelchair sits on the lift that was specially installed so that Chrissie could drive him around, so that he could go to school and to swimming and on errands with his mom, just like a regular boy. She didn’t say another word until we were in the front seats, her keys in the ignition. I feel like I’ve been raped, she said, the tears still streaming. I feel like I’ve been raped and beaten. It hurts that bad. She put her head on the steering wheel.

I told the doctor, sitting at Zach’s bedside, watching him, worrying that he would die, it was too much hurt, she said, not lifting her head. I told him I feel like that this was a dress rehearsal, like I was practicing for sitting by Tanner when the time comes, except that I won’t be hoping he won’t die, like with Zach, I’ll be knowing that he will die, knowing that he won’t leave the hospital, ever.

Her hands gripped the steering wheel, her knuckles white, her head still down as her body shuddered, sobbing. I put my hand on her heaving back; I stroked her long hair. I didn’t say anything. I didn’t have any words for her.

I didn’t have any words for her, because there are no words. There’s no lesson to be pulled from her experience, no philosophy to apply, no narrative that will make things better. This story already has its narrative, and although it’s tempting to impose philosophies and draw lessons – how precious life is, how precious love, how fragile the former, how enduring the latter – these are meaningless against the impending conclusion of this story, the loss that looms not like storm clouds but like a great, gaping black maw, a black hole of nothingness. There is only the inevitable conclusion of this story, and its finality. If it holds a poetry it is a wordless poetry, a song without lyrics that strums the distance between love and loss, light and dark. If it holds this poetry, it is well beyond my grasp to seize it. I can only witness, mute.

I have no words. I have nothing to give to my sister, only love, which is everything, I know, but still – it’s nothing in the face of so much pain. And so we can only march, together, bound by love, bound by pain, struggling with these and against these bonds to wring as much love-beauty-joy from the journey, while it lasts.

I can do one thing with my words, though: I can ask others for help. Chrissie will be running, in a few months, in a marathon to raise money for Duchenne’s research. There’s no cure for Duchenne’s, but there’s always hope, and Chrissie is running, as always, for this hope. With my words, I can cheer her on, and I can ask others to cheer, and to help by cheering and to cheer by helping.

You can donate in Tanner’s name here. It probably won’t change the ending to this story, but it will help the narrative maintain a recurring theme of hope. And that, right now, is all.

(I’m closing comments. Please use whatever energy you might have spent sending your love and good wishes and use it to pass this story along, or, maybe, to click the link and give a dollar or two in Tanner’s name. Thank you, as always. Thank you thank you thank you.)

Hold The Mustard

October 20, 2008

I don’t know at what point I realized that I was doomed to one of the worst public humiliations of my parenting experience, but it might have been when the elderly lady walked in on Jasper and I in the ladies’ restroom at our local Kelsey’s restaurant and noticed a) his nakedness, b) the slick of mustard poo coating that nakedness, c) the slick of mustard poo coating me, and d) the slick of mustard poo coating every visible surface in the room, and then, without a word, turned on her heel and walked back out again.

We hadn’t planned to go out to dinner Saturday night. But we’d ended up driving out to the countryside to visit friends and hadn’t planned for dinner and so had hatched the ill-conceived plan to just stop on the way home so that Emilia might fall asleep in the car afterwards. It occurred to me at some point that our car-stash of diapers and pull-up pants and wipes was low, but I reasoned that Emilia would use the toilet at the restaurant – she’s been using the toilet fairly reliably – and that we could make it through the evening with just a spare pull-up and no wipes. I forgot that we also had a baby, and that at five months old, he’s unable to use the toilet and, you know, control his bowel movements.

We’d been at the restaurant for about twenty minutes when Jasper started to fuss.

“He probably needs a change,” I said. I did a mental calculation of baby supplies on hand. Zero. “You’re going to have to go out to the car,” I told my husband. “There should be a diaper in the backseat.” I figured that I might have a wipe or two in a crumpled-up travel pack of no-name wipes in my bag. I didn’t bother to check.

So it was that five minutes later I was in the ladies’ restroom with a baby in need of a change and only one diaper, no change of clothes, and one or two dessicated wipes. Which wouldn’t have been a problem, necessarily, if said baby wasn’t loaded from stem to stern with – how to put this? – a shitload of effluent that had just begun leaking through his clothes.

Leaking through his clothes and onto mine.

Leaking through his clothes and onto my clothes and onto the floor.

Leaking through his clothes and onto my clothes and onto the floor and onto my feet.

Mustard poo, as any new parent knows, does not, strictly speaking, smell like poo. It has a sort of cloying, sweet organic smell, like the smell of dead roses, or of rotting fruit, or wet hay, with a bit of a sharp, mustardy edge to it. I had a lot of time to think about this as I wrestled my fat, naked, poo-slicked baby in the ladies’ restroom of the Bowmanville Kelsey’s. I had a lot of time to think about this, because it is very, very difficult to clean a poo-slicked baby in a public restroom with only one wipe. Actually, it is very nearly impossible to clean a poo-slicked baby in a public restroom with only one wipe. Which is why I spent close to half an hour just standing around in my poo-stained shirt, holding the naked poo-slicked baby and a clutch of paper towels and wondering what the f*** I was supposed to do, during which time the elderly woman wandered into the restroom, correctly assessed the situation as off-putting to one’s dinner, and exited immediately.

I needed to act. I knew that if I took much longer, one of a number of things was going to happen: 1) someone else would come in wanting to use the restroom, which by this point looked like the set of one of those alien movies where aliens get slaughtered and splatter gummy yellow effluent over every surface, 2) my husband would send the server – who was maybe twenty-years old and prone to responding to every request with a giggle and ‘okay, awesome!’ – in to find me, which would contribute nothing but nervous tittering and an added element of spectacle to the scene, 3) Jasper would release another blast of poo and I would burst into tears, or 4) all of the above.

So, gripping Jasper under one arm, I filled the sink with soap and water, dipped him butt-first into the bubbles and scrubbed at him with paper towels. Then I threw paper towels over the change table, three or four layers thick, for later wiping, and shoved some more paper towels against my poo-smeared chest so that Jasper wouldn’t get re-smeared when I held him against me. Then – still one-arming it – I pulled the clean diaper onto him, and his wee cardigan, which had mercifully escaped being shat upon. I contemplated tossing his clothes into the wastebasket, but decided that that would just prolong the smell, and so I wrapped them in more paper towels and then – holding Jasper an inch from my damp, decoupaged chest and summoning every ounce of dignity I could muster – marched back through the restaurant to my husband.

“Take him,” I said, “and get the waitress to bring a plastic bag for this.” I dumped the paper-towel wrapped package of poo-soaked clothing on my chair, grabbed my own cardigan, and walked back the restroom, where I stripped off my reeking, soaking shirt and shoved in the wastebasket. Then, clad only in my bra, I scrubbed myself down – myself and all the other surfaces slicked with poo – before zipping my cardigan over my more-or-less naked but also more-or-less shit-free chest and heading back out into the restaurant and to my family: Jasper now clean and settled back in his carseat, my husband holding out a large glass of red wine for me, and my daughter grinning madly over a plate of mini-hamburgers.

And clutching a big squeeze-bottle of mustard.

If we never go out for dinner again it will be too soon.

If you have a worse poo story, I’d like to hear it. Also, I’d like to know if I’m the only parent who regularly finds herself short of supplies at critical moments, because a former grad-school colleague just messaged me saying ‘good story, but when I’m a parent I’m going to keep a package of diapers in the car’ and I was all, like, ‘ha ha good luck with that’ until I realized that maybe my particular form of slacker parenting is not the norm and that, perhaps, I should be deeply embarrassed about my general ineptitude. Yes/no?

What’s In A Name?

October 17, 2008

We knew there was a problem when the border guard leaned out of the window of his little cubicle and tried to peer into our car.

He gestures towards the backseat, our passports clutched in his hand. “Who’s the mother of that baby?”

“Um… me?” Why on earth would he ask me that? He has the passports in his hand.

“Do you have identification for that baby?”

“Um… you’re holding it? That’s his passport.”

“His last name is different from yours, ma’am. I have no way of knowing if this is your baby. Do you have a letter from the father?”

This conversation is starting to make me anxious. Katie, in the driver’s seat, is gripping the steering wheel tightly and trying to look virtuous.

“No, I don’t have a letter. I wasn’t aware that I needed one. I have a passport for him. You’re holding it.” I’m starting to babble. “You can call my husband if you want, but I guess that doesn’t help, right? Because I could just give you any old number, and how would you know it was my husband, so…” shut up shut up shut up “I don’t know what you want me to do; I mean, that is my baby…”

The border guard is staring at me with that blank but vaguely threatening bureaucratic stare that is the trademark of border guards, traffic cops, DMV employees and hair salon receptionists.

“His last name as indicated on this passport is different from yours, ma’am. He might not be your baby. And you have no travel letter. You could be taking him from his father.”

“But we’re on our way BACK to Canada. We’re RETURNING from a trip. We’re going BACK to where we came from. And he IS my baby. He IS.” I want to tell this guy that I have the scars to prove that I birthed this baby and that he’s welcome to see them IF HE DARES but I bite my tongue. Border guards have no sense of humor, and, also, it’s not like a display of my scarred nethers would prove anything. It’s not like Jasper left his gang tags on the walls of the birth canal on the way out. Any baby could have been responsible for that blast site. There’d be no way of proving that it was him. At least, not out here at the Thousand Islands border crossing in the middle of the night on a long weekend.

My voice is starting to get that hysterical edge. “That’s my husband’s last name on his passport, and I am married to my husband and this is our baby and I’m headed home to him but I have no way to prove that to you so I don’t know what you want me to do, seriously.”

The border guard looks at the passports, and then back at Katie and I, and then back at the passports again. “Okay,” he says. “I don’t get a bad feeling from you.” (WTF?) “I believe that this is your baby. I’m going to let you go. Next time, though, you need to bring more documentation with you.” He leans out of his border-guard cubby and hands us back our passports. “On your way.”

Katie hits the gas and peels away before he can change his mind.

We don’t say anything to each other for a few minutes.

“I think we brought back more liquor than we were supposed to. Thank god he missed that,” I say. I roll down the window to get some air. “Also, I think that I’m going to take Kyle’s name.”

*****

I don’t have any special attachment to my family name, apart from the fact that I’ve used it most of my life, which is significant, I know, but still. It’s not a true family name. My father picked it out of a hat, literally, when I was not quite two years old; he changed our family name after a falling out with his stepfather caused him to want to sever all ties with that part of his family. So my birth certificate was amended and I ended up with the family name that I have now. There’s no ancestry attached to it, no legacy. It’s just a name.

But it’s my name, and the one I’m used to. When I married my husband, I kept that name. I made a half-hearted effort to use a hyphenated version of our names, but it was hard to keep up, and, also, it sounded funny and pretentious, like it needed to be spoken with one’s lower jaw locked and all of one’s vowels and consonants enunciated clearly and separately. It’s not that I was opposed to taking his name, but nor was I opposed to keeping my own, and I just kinda lapsed into the easiest choice. I had a vague notion that I might change it to his when and if we had children, but that seemed a long way off.

I hadn’t thought again about changing my name until the other week – the week prior to being challenged by the border guard – when Emilia introduced herself to a little old lady that we encountered in the park. “My name is Emilia M—–” she said proudly, pronouncing, very carefully, every syllable. “And this is my brudder, Jasper M—–” She indicated the bundle in the stroller. “And this is my mommy, Caffrin M—–.” She beamed at me, proudly (is there any other way to beam?) and accepted the woman’s cheerful admiration of her language skills and general adorability. I, however, felt a little bit ashamed. My daughter doesn’t know my name. And, will she be disappointed that it is not the same as her own?

And: Am I disappointed that it is not the same as her own?

I was proud of her pride in introducing her family. I was proud of and heart-burstingly pleased by her delight in our us-ness. This is us, she told that lady. We are a family.

Does it matter that we don’t all share the same name? In the larger scheme of things, no, probably not. It doesn’t matter to me that border guards might challenge me on my children’s names. It doesn’t matter to me that some people might have judgments about me not taking my husband’s name, or about me not sharing my children’s name. What does matter to me, though, is this: my childrens’ feelings about our name. Perhaps Emilia wouldn’t care so much, if she knew. Call me but love, said the poet through the voice of Romeo. The name doesn’t matter, where there’s love. But I remember being a kid, and taking pride in my family, and really loving that we were us, that we were, we four, all Connors, that we alone in the world shared this name as our own, and that it set us apart. We were the Connors, and we were family.

That I loved, that I love, being a Connors, is precious to me. But that family unit is no more. My family, now – the family that is the very seat of my heart – is the M—–‘s. And I want my children to have the same pride in being – with their mom and their dad – the M—–‘s as I did being a Connors.

Perhaps it’s time to make that change.

What did you do? Did you keep your name, or not? If you didn’t, how do you or will you sort this out with your children? How do they feel about it? INQUIRING AND BEFUDDLED MIND WANTS TO KNOW

Baby Can’t Dance (Or, Everything I Needed To Know About Post-Partum Mental Health I Could Have Learned From Jonathan Swift And Ally McBeal)

October 15, 2008

Ooooh. Is so big!

Svetlana gives Jasper’s belly a poke. He giggles.

Is big baby. Is happy baby! He grabs her finger and yanks it into his mouth. And strong!

I shrug. I know that he’s big and strong. I am, after all, the one holding him. With difficulty.

This is why you are post-traumatic stress. This is big boy who make big entrance. He come fast, he is big, it is BLAM, and you are stress.

I nod. That’s one way of describing the circumstances of his birth.

And now, he is the BIG big big boy. And the strong. He is like Gooliver! This is the tired. You are tired from Big Gooliver.

I stare at her, blankly.

Gooliver? And the Poochins? I do not know this in English. The Poochins, they tie Gooliver?

Oh, I say. GULLIVER. And the Lilliputians?

Yes! This is this baby. GOOLIVER. He is big for you! So big for birth, so big for holding! So much for to make you tired, and stress.

I think about this. I wonder if the better analogy isn’t that I’m Gulliver, and my children are the tyrannical Lilliputians, attempting to bend me to their tiny wills. Or that I’m Gulliver, and Jasper is a Brobdingnagian. Or that I’m a Brobdingnagian, and Jasper Gulliver. Emilia is almost certainly a Lilliputian, albeit a very, very tall one.

Whatever the case, Jonathan Swift is spinning in his grave, I’m sure, to hear his work reduced to awkward literary tropes – giants and little people, tyranny and oppression – exploited for the purpose of post-partum psychiatric therapy.

I’m missing a point here, I think.

I give my head a shake and shrug at Svetlana. I don’t know, I say. He certainly exhausts me. But I don’t feel oppressed by him. I’m just tired. And anxious. And tired.

You sometime want to escape?

Hell yeah. But not like ‘oh god release me from these ties that bind’ kind of escape. Just, you know, some kind of ‘gimme a break’ escape. A little bit of quiet, sometimes, maybe. A little bit of peace.

Peas. Yes. You need this. You have had some peas these weeks? She looks at her clipboard. These two weeks?

Some.

You need more peas.

Yes.

She brightens suddenly, looking at Jasper, who is squawking and hooting like an angry squirrel to get her attention. He is not Hooliver! He is cartoon baby! Very big baby, very smart, very strong, but is still baby. Is still BABY.

She looks at me expectantly. I’m not sure where she’s going with this.

You see. He looks like big boy. He is strong like big boy. But he is just baby. You tell him: ‘YOU ARE BABY.’ And then you put him down. And you do not worry. She leans forward as if to tell me a secret. He cannot dance.

I stare at her, again, blankly.

She raises her arms, elbows bent, and does jazz hands. OOGA-CHUCKA. This he cannot do. She leans forward again. He is just little baby. He stay where you put him. Do not need to hold him always. Do not need to tie him down with arms. He is baby. Put him down.

I put him down on the floor of her office, sitting upright against my legs. He immediately grabs one of his feet and chomps down happily.

You see? Is fine. And now you have arms. Maybe not always peas, but arms.

Indeed.

What I learned, then, yesterday: sometimes, a few minutes of free arms equals a decent measure of peas/peace, and any measure of peace does a mountain of good in an anxious life.

Also, that mixing and mangling metaphors and analogies is good for the soul. And that having a Slavic pantsuit-wearing, Swift-reading, Ally-McBeal-loving throwback of a psychiatrist isn’t such a bad thing as I might have thought.

OOGA-CHUCKA.

Postscript: that whole put him down and free your arms thing? Works best when he isn’t shrieking in protest. That’s not so peaceful. Just sayin’.

Need to work on that part.

Not Tonight, Dears. I Have A Headache.

October 15, 2008

I’m blocked, in that writerly way. I’m exhausted from weekend in Boston, I’m exhausted from the visit with Svetlana today, I’m exhausted in advance of a few days of the husband working long hours again. I’m not unhappy, but I’m tired, and my head is full. And kind of achey. But mostly full.

So I’m just going to take half an Ativan, watch the Canadian election results and go to sleep and cross my fingers for the muse to return tomorrow.


He is (and she is) already here, of course; I just need to be rested to draw from their magic.

In the meantime, go read this. It’s important.

(Am closing comments again. Am sorry. It’s just, I read all the comments and right now I need to get sleep instead of clicking compulsively through comments and, also, I don’t want anybody to feel that they have to reassure me about not posting anything of substance and about choosing sleep over blogging and you can see how I overthink these things. Sorry. I’ll be up for conversation again soon, I promise.)

(Goddam Blogger won’t let me post this. FAIL.)

Don’t Let The Turkeys Get You Down

October 13, 2008

Today is Canadian Thanksgiving. I will be having sweet potato casserole and stuffing and mashed potatoes with gravy and lots and lots of pie and, also, Ativan, and then will sleep the sleep of the stuffed.


And then I will face the week. And it will be a good week. Because if there’s one thing that Thanksgiving teaches you, other than that everything tastes better with gravy, it’s that no matter how challenging your life gets, it’s always better than that of a turkey. Please to remember.