We believe daily that our children are perfect. Not necessarily genius level scholars, not Mozart or Emily Carr, but at least we think them to be normal, average little people with potential.
I took Rosalyn to her 3.5 year assessment yesterday, and I will say going in that I had some concerns. Her speech, while drastically better than it was, is still many times garbled and incomprehensible. Even without comparing her to her silver tongued sister, she’s had to understand in that Boomhauer sorta way. She seems to not hear us a lot, but whether or not that’s a selective hearing it’s hard to tell.
And her eyes. Both myself and her father wear glasses. I’m significantly more blind than he is, being unable to see near or far. So while Vivian has better than 20/20 vision, I’m afraid that Rosalyn has inherited some issues, namely nearsightedness, since to really look at something, she has to hold it about 1 inch from her nose, and then goes nearly crosseyed to see it.
So we do the tests. The hearing one? Shit, I found the headphones tight, and Rosalyn cannot abide anything tight on her, so we don’t know if she missed the frequencies, or if she just couldn’t hear them considering the headphone placement. The eye test? Wouldn’t sit still for most, but missed most of the depth perception test. I picked up the book however, and would have also missed most of them.
The tester also felt as I did about her speech, that at this point she should be closer to people outside the family understanding her. I felt relieved in a way, to know I wasn’t hearing things.
The bigger problem is that when Rosalyn doesn’t want to do something, she just won’t do it, period. And I think that influenced the tests today. Where he sister is eager and happy to please, she’s her mother’s daughter, and doesn’t give a shit if she can’t see what’s in it for her. So i’m afraid her abilities and senses will be judged based on her will-scary indeed.
I’m not afraid something is wrong. I know she’ll likely need glasses, and possibly a little speech therapy in the worst case scenario. I’m more concerned with fixing any issues.
It’s the wondering-after the first one comes out so advanced in some things, without a problem, how does the second one, the one that I seemingly did everything right with, have so many potential struggles?
We won’t even get into the hair raising hissy fits….
She will be fine. I just wish there were easier answers, or that it was ok to just step back and accept what will be.
late afternoon sunlight, fall sunlight
pours through our windows like water
your eyes to slits, you ask for sunglasses
I remind you the warm room is filled with
instances free of light.
Between the two of you
battles, Spartans, Celts, Afghans
wage on, small things
that crayon, that page
the very existence of a sister
you scream until your voices
drive me to fond memories of
drunken nights under stars, my
head spinning, casual smile
plastered across me as
my hand would reach for someone else.
The chaos in my head then
was so much simpler now.
Pink. You all wear pink.
Small sister, beggar sister
shining eyes at older
The light doesn’t dazzle you
doesn’t stall you,
screeching fishwife of a child.
Your universe starts, ends
at your stubby footprint.
Brown eyes on pink. Brown eyes
wide eyed at me, towards me
full of me, eating of me
asking for my past
my memory, things shared for meaning
Wide eyes in the afternoon
clarity of a season ending.
Somedays I look at my life and think back 10 or 15 years and think, how in the FUCK did I get here?
I stand outside my daughter’s room, fists clenched, anger holding tears hostage my voice raw and torn from the yelling, the yelling at a preschooler yelling
“Like this! I wanna hug like this!” (imagine if a hug is a kiss and the “this” is some obscure squeezing of the cheeks together)
While no matter how I do it, it’s not right, it’s not good enough and in my mind I see 4 years ago or so and a decision made not to drive to a certain clinic and I see a child born and a mother not caring rejecting that child and now that little girl, she does whatever she can to hold my attention, however bad and I can’t help but turn away in frustration and sometimes, like tonight, realize that I can fully grasp how some parents can seriously harm their children in anger, frustration and sheer agonizing tiredness, that mental weight that just never lets up.
Days like today I wonder how I let myself get here, how I deluded myself into being happy with motherhood, with being a parent. How anyone decided that I should be allowed to raise a child. Days like today I look around at everything, at the job that I seem to be letting through my fingers, at the life I seemed to have squandered and I discover that if I did indeed believe in a god, I’d be MIGHTY pissed off right now.
Days like today I’m ashamed to think of my daughters fearing my, of my oldest crying because I’ve said I wanted the other one dead, words flying from my mouth before I could reign them in, visions of 10 years from now, the guilt payments I’ll make, the quiet whisper of a thought that she’ll know I never really wanted her anyway.
I’ve said it, a few times, in writing. Never to her. Hopefully never to her. But it’s true, and maybe I’ll erase this post sometime later, but it’s true that she was not wanted and sometimes I wonder if we didn’t make a huge mistake, if I should have gotten on that bus anyway. Other days I love her and I’m fascinated by her, this girlchild with my legs and unruly hair, her Kathleen Turner voice and chocolate eyes she can draw me.
And perhaps there is some sick irony in my rejection of the child who is so very me.
So today I wonder how I got here, and why I got here. I am here, solidly here, but after having my nail job ruined for the umpteenth time by children, I wonder why I didn’t do more to slow down the getting here.
So this weekend we descended on Hannah’s household.
I’m fairly sure of two things. 1, if they were unsure about stopping at 2 kids, they’re REAL sure now and 2, they have Nova Scotia on high alert for when we enter the province.
My children don’t socialize much. Like, at all. And they certainly don’t get to play with cute little boys who like Cars and trains. And they NEVER get to have sleepovers.
In a nutshell, my children were on their Rambo setting-loud, overpowering and smelly. And I could see the look in the eyes of two parents who already don’t sleep much.
“Dear lord, what have we let into our house.”
I know that my kids are fairly intense little creatures. They play hard, and push push push. As someone trying to raise women who won’t take any shit, I likely encourage that a fair bit. And they aren’t usually around other children or parents. I don’t usually have to worry about moderating things. Nor do I realize what little shits they can be until I step back and look through the eyes of other parents.
But after the 3rd time of someone having to yell after my monkey child to stop her from leaping 8 feet, you realize that your desire to raise a free spirited willful woman may be working a little better than planned. When the little boy comes out crying because Vivian has ordered him out of his own room and into the kitchen, you realize that you don’t really have much to worry about, aside from a vague worry about something like the Jonestown Massacre occurring under the hands of one of my children.
New situations tend to bring out the most frenetic and crazed behaviour in my children. Some kids get shy. Mine ask “Are we going to meet Hannah Montana?” They are genuinely loving, caring, curious little girls.
They are also, many times, irritating, yappy, ulcer inducing little monsters.
I love them either way, it’s just a lot to take suddenly, especially if the cute ball of a baby is coughing and unhappy and wanting take out constantly.
Hannah? Next time, you guys come here so Issac can seek and destroy in their room.
Photo taken by H.R.H of the Camera, SweetSalty Kate who dropped by in the morning…anyone who doesn’t think I’m in for it in about 10 years is blind or crazy.
The day has come.
Rosalyn must be potty trained.
She’s 3.5. At this age, Vivian was well on her way, eager to “earn” her prize and be “a big girl”.
Rosalyn on the other hand, shrugs and pisses herself. She literally doesn’t care. This is the same kid that when told “I’ll throw it out if you don’t pick it up!” says “ok mummy” and walks away.
So out comes the call-has anyone dealt with this? Everything I read talks about either eager to please kids or resistant stubborn kids. She is neither. She’s apathy defined. She will NOT sit on the toilet. She will however, piss at will on the deck.
I just want to stop buying diapers. She is MORE than ready and able to do it, but somehow she senses that I WANT her to, and therefore won’t.
So help please my peeps. I’m lost. Vivian was deceivingly easy.
Sex ed however, is going ok. It’s not really Sex Ed before anyone panics. It’s more like preventative maintenance. I picked up A Child is Born at the local Frenchy’s (thankfully-1.00 is better than 30) and started to use it as a jumping off point. We had started having more detailed discussions about her “womanly bits” viw wikipedia, but I thought that tying it all together might be interesting. And with all the cool pictures-I always loved the shots of the sperm wiggling into the egg, and she was fairly entranced as well.
Once we got to the Daddy parts however, Mogo left the table.
It’s surprisingly easy, talking about this stuff. Maybe because no one ever talked to me about it, maybe because I am a firm believer that what we do today has an impact 10 years from now when they’re with a boy or a girl and wondering what they should do. Maybe it’s because I feel that our bodies are miracles, as is what we women can do with them.
It feels good to be able to talk to them about these things. It feels good to know I’m opening a dialogue that will last forever, all things willing. It feels good to watch Vivian get excited about her own body, instead of fearing it, or despising it.
On something to amuse you: Apparently this happened last night as I drove by on the bus, nose in a Carl Sagan book.
Most mornings around here are hurried, irritated moments. I don’t rise early-I tend to stay in bed as long as possible, since I never shower in the morning (today being an exception so I don’t gross Mad out of the car). Hurrying to get dressed, eat, create a lunch etc etc with a three year old doing her best autistic imitation is very….charming to say the least, and generally leaves me in a foul mood. So much so that I’m looking forward to waking at 6:30 again in the hopes of sneaking out of the house. The fan we leave on in their room is for our benefit more than theirs after all.
This morning, in the interests of peace, no screaming and no repeat of yesterdays “yes I want eggs, actually no, I don’t, I want Krispies and I just dumped all the eggs in the garbage” I offered pancakes-something that takes just a little too much time and brainpower most mornings. I make them from scratch after all-and yes, it’s better this way, and no, it’s not that much harder. I wouldn’t have the brain for Aunt Jemima most days.
Rosalyn started howling “I want dem cowored!!” and I had no idea what the hell she meant until Vivian translated gibberish into “She wants them colored.
Ah. Food coloring. My friend.
It’s amazing that 3 drops of blue food coloring can make everything right in a preschooler’s world. A few pink drops in the milk makes it even better, and I feel a lot calmer than I do most mornings.
Although not having to go to work kinda helps too.
So in a few hours, I am off to meet a fantastic group of women who blog. I’m not that anxious-sorta nervous, but excited to have a much needed weekend to clear my raging brain, and to meet some lovely ladies I’ve become so warmly acquainted with. My father said many warm things about Chester as well, so I look forward to that too. Something new-always a favorite.
So cheers for the long weekend folks (in Canada at least). It’s May 2-4-have a beer for me!
Tonight, I did something I swore I would never do.
(And no, those of you with your minds in the gutter, it doesn’t involve that.)
I bought Rosalyn a Barbie.
Granted, it’s a fairy barbie, with wings, but it’s still very white, very slim and very un womanly.
She loves it.
Anyone who has known me for any period of time knows that I loathe Barbie dolls. I really do. Maybe it’s because my mother never let me have any. (Because I’d chew their feet off, some sort of oral stress relief thing, not because of any feminist leanings that I know of) Maybe it’s because they’re so girly I don’t know what to do. Maybe it’s because I don’t feel they present even a vaguely adequate example of what a woman should look like. Maybe I just hate the plastic.
But I’m also not someone who is going to stand in the way of what my daughters gravitate to. Rosalyn reached for that Barbie in the store tonight as she’s reached for Spiderman, dinky cars or little people in the past. She desired it-not to please me, or her sister, but because she wanted it.
Isn’t that our ultimate goal, to help our daughters decide, for themselves, what they want? Look at many of us-raised to please, raised to ask what others want before us, raised to put the needs and wants of others before us every single time. I want to break this pattern, and I imagine many of you want to as well. It’s rare that we stop and say No, generally because we limit the choices to appropriate ones anyway, leaving it up to them to decide what they’re interested in. That’s how I know Vivian would like some anatomy toys, and maybe a Microscope when she’s a bit older. That’s how I know that Rosalyn loves bubbles and suddenly, Barbies.
Yes, what Barbie stands for bothers me. But she didn’t pick skanky Barbie or “Fashion Model” Barbie. She picked a doll with pink hair she can comb and a pink skirt just like hers. She picked childhood. She picked butterfly wings and dreams. And that matters to me too.
I’m uncomfortable with it in my house, I am. But sitting watching Ros have a conversation with “Bahbie” as she brushed her hair-I’m very comfortable with that.
Barbie pain-do you have it too?
I get so busy sometimes that it’s hard to breathe, hard to stop and remember that it’s a beautiful day outside and the sun is shining and the leaves are finally stretching their arms and legs out to me. I get so busy with the mundane, the reports and the pivots, the diapers and the dinners. So many variables, until you round the corner near the school, and hear the sounds of hundreds of frogs, echoing across the neighbourhood, their love songs not to Alfred, but to each other, to spring, to the first morning of a hundred such mornings, foggy and musty and covered in wet tears of happy and warmth.
We circle the pond, carefully, searching for these frogs, my feet staggering near the edge, remembering far too many incidents that ruined far too many pairs of new shoes, that swamp smell never leaving them. I mutter about bringing garbage bags next time, wondering why the school never cleaned, removing at least the plastic if not the frothy scum on the water. I wonder if the frogs have multiple eyes or legs. I wonder why people can’t clean up their own mess, ever it seems. The hockey ball is forgivable-the 3 empty jugs of laundry soap-not so much.
We find no frogs-I find a tree. A tree that’s new and clean and gleaming in the early evening twilight. It’s nubby and round and altogether reminiscent of being a little girl. New and rounded on the edges. I’m fascinated by it, the greenery, the almostness of it, teetering. Like it was holding it’s breath.
We walk home, busy life forgotten, to do lists stored in outlook, laundry mostly done. The girls slow as we near the house, streetlight by streetlight appearing and the sun falls farther in the sky. Rosalyn asks for what may have been the last time ever “See Mommy?” andI hold her hand tighter, feel her silky cool fingers wrap around mine as Vivian dances in the night with her father.
It’s all so nubby and new.
(Title taken from Bewitched Playground by David Rivard)
My first born hates having her hair brushed, or otherwise toyed with. She’s low maintenance. Loves pink, hates her hair. I’m cool with that.
But some part of me has been just itching to put pigtails and braids and ponytails in someone’s hair. Which is funny, since I’m just like Vivian.
Yesterday, fresh from the shower, I had my hair in a braid. Rosalyn looked up and said, very seriously of course “Mummy, you have your hair tied up?”
Why yes I told her I do.
“Mummy, want my hair tied up too.”
And so was born the CUTEST pigtails I have ever seen. Can you bear it? There is something so bloody adorable about a 3 year old in pigtails.
My mother is smiling somewhere, having finally got a girlchild who acts like one.
3 years since I gasped and screamed as you fell from my body, whisked away to a small warm table as you took up my battle cry.
Unravelled you are. Blanket let loose, hat askew you run wild with it. With “it”-smelly, jam covered, magical pinkness it.
My daughter, my charm, my what if-you fear nothing. We dote, we pet, we cradle, we soften. We love.
and oh, expanded hearts cannot contain this.
unexplained. or rather
over explained and verbose.
melty. sticky melty flowing.
If a life was coal, and a body
the shifting plains
my heart my darling
my heart shall be your diamond.
Happy Birthday honey bear.
Originally uploaded by thordora
In the late afternoon Sunday of a winter you’ll never remember I took this. Your soft eyes glancing downwards, the pointed button of your nose giggling before you, lips caught.
The sun reaches out to catch you, to caress you, much as my hands do from time to time, lingering on the soft baby cheek, that softness which recedes a little more each day, into memory, into a blue bin kept in the basement, between fragile christmas ornaments and first sleepers.
You turn three in a few days. You cross the threshold from baby to child, that precarious world of “preschooler”-not the toddler you were, yet not the child you will be. Such rare magic this year will hold, and I will miss it. Your frustrations have nothing on your incredible fascination. How you see to world-the babbling brook of conversation with your tiny superheroes in that tent Poppi bought you, the lectures heaped on Teddy 2.0….all worlds condense to one for you-the four walls of our home, the harsh brick that warms you, lets the sun in.
You are incredible in your ordinariness. Where Vivian did nothing the books and charts told us, you follow them, a train on schedule. There’s a certain type of magic in this-pedestrian predictability. A comfort. You are exactly what should be.
And this-maybe this is what I love the most. You are so certain of YOU-no questions, no deviations just stubborn, gonna do it my way you. A you I am proud of and driven crazy by in equal amounts.
It’s Love Thursday, whatever that means, and I remembered how you were howling Ros, wanting juice as I had to run out the door, after I had already given you the exact juice you wanted in the exact cup you wanted.
And I laughed a little at this just now. At your insanity and how someday, you won’t need us, not like this. Someday the sighs will descend and the “fine…..” routine will come to town and I’ll remember a little girl who couldn’t tell us what it is she wanted so badly and I’ll remember a little girl who won’t let me out the front door with anything less than 5 kisses.
Your arms daughter, entwine my heart. It is yours.
I’m laying on the floor after doing a section of a new Yoga DVD, wondering why they always seem so tainted by that icky hippy dippy vibe, and trying to relax and “enjoy the quiet and peace.”
On my hard floor, with small cars and action figures poking me. I try, and most succeed. I’m feeling very rested, yet exhilarated.
The patter of little feet comes across the room. Shaking jingle bells. Loudly.
“MUMMY!!!!!! MUMMY! ARE YOUDONEYET!?!? MUMMY! Get UP! Stand UP MUMMY!!!!”
Note to self. Do Yoga AFTER kids are in bed.
I miss my mother today.
It’s subtle. Days, weeks, months-time will fly by with nary a thought or a word of her. Then a day will come where I’ll be enveloped in that long lost grief, held down and forced to bear it. And I’ll be that 11 year old girl again-weak at the knees, confused, upset and hollow.
Rosalyn spent the day climbing over me, up me, around me, her thin arms stretching behind my neck as if she was trying to become one with me once more. She spent the day reminding me what I’m missing, what I had once. Arms that no longer hold me. Lips that will never again say my name.
I crave for my loved ones to call my name, so that I’ll remember the word on their lips if ever they pass. To hear the syllables float softly into the air before me to linger, so I can hold them close.
I miss the smaller intimacies that motherhood brings. Someone who brushes your hair without hurting. Someone who knows how brown you like your toast. The socks you like. The exact color of your eyes and why you hate mousse. My daughters remind me of this some days, days like today when the sun, finally the sun! poured in like maple through the windows and glowed on their honey wheat heads, luminescent.
I remember weekend days like this with my mother, the slow pouring of hours, like honey. We’d watch old movies, cuddled on the couch. I’d have a sandwich for lunch, we walk downtown, stopping to talk, the waltz of a small town main drag. We’d sit at the bar, tucked in a corner of our house, and she’d play music on glasses filled with water as I’d sit, entranced. The sun would blaze through the windows, and it was like life would never end.
Things end however. Too soon, they end.
Today I could feel her hands in mine, dangling around me. And I missed her. I ached for her, for this mother I barely know, this mother mine who I’ll never see again, a woman whose memory forms much of what I believe women should be, much of what I think I should be.
Her spirit, her will was in those arms of Rosalyn today. And it took all I had to not weep quietly in a corner at their magic.
Feel free to give some advice. Or the bad news. Either way…
I came home to a three year old with a bloody mouth and a VERY loose front tooth.
Apparently, her face met her Daddy’s head, and this resulted.
I’m making an appointment with the dentist for her since it’s about time anyway, but I was wondering if anyone has had this happen? I’m concerned for her permanent teeth-not overly so, but still. She’s already got some issues from sucking her thumb, but since she’s mostly stopped now, I’m not so worried.
I’m just waiting for her to break something. I know it’s coming.
ETA: She ripped the tooth from her own mouth, said ‘Tooth” and put it in the garbage. We go see the dentist tomorrow.
There are days
three days, constant cranky
rainy weather days.
On those days I stare at her and wonder
those pains to bring her to life, they bring me
yelling and screaming and punching and
evil little giggles down a hallway? That’s
all I get?
Then there are other, quieter moments
sitting in sun on a blustery Sunday afternoon
warmed by it, hopeful for spring when
her eyes glow with that otherworldly something only
3 year olds know.
What do they know?
Last night, Rosalyn slammed Vivian’s arm in a door. Repeatedly. While laughing.
Even have a moment where you’re utterly horrified and you wonder if your child is turning into a monster? I had that moment last night. She seemed to enjoy hurting Vivian. Even when I was there and holding the door she kept trying to push it, giggling all the way. When I lost my shit and roared for her to get her ass in her bed RIGHTTHISMINUTE she seemed confused at getting in trouble.
This is just 3, right?
Vivian was never mean to Rosalyn. Ok, once, a week after Rosalyn was born, Vivian hauled off and slapped her in the head, but that was it. She’s always been a pretty damn good sister. Vivian is kind, and (mostly) gentle and shares and plays with her sister. Rosalyn….takes delight in tormenting Vivian. Taking her things, running off with them. While I recognize the need to learn to share, I wish Vivian would hold her ground sometimes. Even when I try to get Rosalyn to understand everything isn’t hers, and nearly get her to the point where she grasps it, Vivian relents and gives her whatever it is she wants.
You can almost hear the sly grin forming when this happens.
My brother is 6ish years older than me, so we were never close as children, never really hung out. So I don’t really get the dynamic of what’s going on between these two. Seeing Rosalyn enjoying smashing the door into Vivian was a bit….disturbing at best. But it’s normal, right?
We have entered a new territory with Rosalyn. She’s bridged the gap between sweet innocent toddler and small devious child.
Last night, I came home from getting some groceries to find the girls already in bed. (They share a room) Since I always pick them up something small with the groceries, usually books, I wanted to hand them over before they fell asleep-alphabet dot to dots for Vivian, and an Incredibles book for Ros, who seems to be in love with Dash.
This was a mistake.
Once Rosalyn realizes that I am home, a thought and a need begins in her head. And then, the “But I need _________” game starts.
“I need Teddy.”
“I need a book”
“I need a train”
Or my personal favorite
Vivian used to do this as well. It drove me, quite frankly, batshit. The dawdling, the hemming and the hawwing and the “one more minutes!”-I cannot deal with them. And really-you’ve been running all day long, it’s 8pm, shut down, and go to sleep. You’re up at 6:30 half the time. Give it a rest.
Poor Vivian looks like hell lately, because Rosalyn has a motor that just won’t quit, and she insists on waking her up. This morning I looked at Viv and said “Did you sleep at ALL?”
“Yes. But Rosie kept waking me up. She wanted to steal my dolly and I didn’t want her too but she wouldn’t listen.”
A familiar refrain in our house. Rosalyn LIVES to torment her sister, and apparently, this joy stretches to the wee hours.
I don’t know why Rosalyn just cannot leave well enough alone. I know that neither of them are getting the sleep they need, but if they nap then they’re going until 10 or 11pm, and still up at the crack of dawn, so naps have (mostly) been outlawed in our house. But I hate the fact that Rosalyn can’t shut it off most of the time.
I can handle the 3 year old, need a few more moments with Mummy stuff. But keeping her sister awake half the night? I don’t know what to do there. It’s bad enough Vivian has had to learn to sleep with the snoring….
Anyone have siblings sharing a room? Or are we the only ones mean enough to stick our kids in one room?