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Every obnoxious act is a cry for help.

6 Apr

It’s a war.

I need help.  NOW!  a terrible thundering hand slashes the water in the tub.

Not until you say please Ros. There’s a nice way to ask. Find it

We’ve hit the impasse for the last 10 minutes. Her voice becomes more shrill with each shriek, her face more contorted, her ability to lasso what she’s feeling less. Her black eyes blaze at me through the doorway as I attempt, calmly, to do what all the books say and model a quiet, reasonable tone.

Apparently, these books have yet to meet Ros.

As it affects her mother, the reasonable tone just serves to infuriate Rosalyn more. I’d like to say I can’t relate, and that I don’t turn to stifle a snicker. She’s so my daughter, even in her anger and frustration. But she’s prone to grunts and slaps when angered beyond what she can control, throwing, stomping, heaving bosoms and spit. She’s been like this since birth, a child of two gears, awesome, and totally fucking pissed off. She doesn’t seem to recognize grey. It’s not in her nature to.

Say please Ros.


Please. Say Please.


Heh. Fat chance kiddo.

I find myself staring into the backyard, the sand recently churned up by my children, released into the wild after the frozen months, the blessing of a beautiful weekend evident. Her voice turns into the trill of a storm, in the background, there, but not. I can hear her moving from frustration to no control, feel her stability crumble as simply as the corners where the pool once sat. Why am I fighting, at 8pm on a Sunday night after a weekend spent playing and walking and meeting people? What am I trying to win-against her, against me? Who is truly served?

I return to the doorway, leaning. Her face is red, and fallen, her eyes helpless and nearly vacant. She is worn, and blank.

Come on honey bear. Let’s get out of the tub shall we?

She fights me, even on this, her will sated, her anger still sore. I wrap her in one towel, ignore the screams as I toss it in the laundry, and grab the fluffy pale blue one instead, fresh from the laundry, and sweet.

I’m cold Mummy.

Come here bubbie. I’ll keep you warm.

Tinkle Tinkle Little Ros

3 May

So…those of you with a 4 year old, please, pay attention.

Our dear, sweet Rosalyn, she who has been potty trained for over a year now, seems to have some issues.

Namely, remembering to go poo when playing/reading/the least little bit distracted, and waking up to pee at night.

She’s even told me that she’s had dreams about peeing. Still doesn’t put it together.

I took her to the doctor, to check for infection, as it’s been getting worse. Nope, nothing.

If one of us wakes her up around midnight for a tinkle, we’re ok. Otherwise, I’m glad I left the plastic bag on the new mattress.

She’s not getting any sleep though. And she refuses to wear a pull up or anything that even remotely smells like a diaper.

Honestly, I don’t much care-I know that it’s likely as my father says-that she’s recently grown, and her bladder just didn’t get the memo. But the poor little thing is exhausted, and I know it’s not her fault. She just doesn’t wake up. (Frankly, she could sleep through a nuclear exchange)

So-my question is this-have any of you dealt with this type of bedwetting? Is there anything I can do that I’m not doing? I absolutely am not punishing her for any of it, aside from a stern reminder to listen to her butt while playing, and I know she’s not doing any of it to punish me. There’s been no major stressors in her life, and she’s the same happy little demon she’s always been. Neither side of the family has a history of this, so I’m a little lost.

So-advice? You has some? I wants some.

Fire in the Belly, at 4

9 Mar

Originally uploaded by thordora

Lately I find myself reaching for babies a lot, my fingers twitching greedily for the soft, chubby legs, the tiny buttons on the tiny sweaters, the wispy hair (OH! the wisps) I don’t really want one-hell, I didn’t want mine when I had them, and hurried their babyhood’s alone with a wink, and nudge and the hope that lack of sleep would cause amnesia.

It must have worked since I can’t remember Rosalyn’s first word. I do recall that she walked for the very first time on her first birthday however. I don’t remember much else though, and thinking on it is like wading through mist. Ok, actually, I remember her exersaucer and how she took it as a personal challenge to get it across a room. She was always so determined to get moving.

In flipping through pictures of her, I noticed that her face, particularly her mouth, is dirty with something in nearly all. Cheese, crackers, peanut butter-always a greasy smear and crumbs down the front, too busy, much much too busy, white rabbit watch checking and running busy.

Then lately, now, I think of her, and the constant strains of “my haaands are durty!!!” and the running for the bathroom, the recent fastidiousness that has risen within her-the clean face I hadn’t seen since birth. I stopped and thought about that snack filled face, and nearly dropped what I held.

She’s a little girl now. My baby, my second born, my brave wonder woman birth, my angry little baby, so serious and sad for months in photos, still with the lost in thought head. She is not a baby. I can carry her down the stairs to her bed, her tiny arms twisted around my neck, her breathing warm in my ear, and I realize she never liked this as a baby, was never comfortable. She wants to do things, communicates her thoughts, tells me she misses her sister when she’s gone. (Yeah, I usually have to pick my jaw up at that one)

Man, where did she go? My baby, will she always be my baby? I know I treat the two of the differently, but how can’t I? They ARE so different! Where Vivian seems to run the rails on the straight and narrow, Rosalyn just…floats by, like she’s on water, plucking lilies from the shore. She’s got that purple crayon, and she’s drawing the road herself.

She really is a fabulous little creature. Not my baby, the baby is gone, and yeah, good riddance and all that jazz.

Four years ago, I was such a mess, and I was angry and depressed and scared, and almost unwilling and unable to love my baby, my daughter.

Four years later, I can’t imagine my heart not full with the sight of her.

Happy Birthday Ros. Sing me a song.

Teetering on the edge of all her tomorrows.

7 Mar

High on daiquiri and bravado, I follow a friend into a bar, a dark bar, narrow, one which,  a few years back, would have held tightly in it’s fist that blue haze of cigarettes and cigar smoke. Now, it has only a few morose smokers huddled against it’s heavy doors, looking listlessly out into the rainy night. We squeeze through the awkward crowd of 80’s clad early twenty-somethings and father figure type bearded men and find seats at the very end of the bar, unfortunately positioned directly in front of the amps, from which poorly executed Johnny Cash covers are whining their way through the room.

A beer, a feisty red beer which sits so poorly in my overly fruited belly, and I stare before me into the small sweaty dance floor. The man playing the guitar mentions it’s “mother-daughter night” and I glance closer. So it is. So it is a group of smiling, shiny young girls are drinking and dancing and holding close their mothers. Mother’s who hold their daughters right back, whose eyes shine with pride and amazement that their daughter, THEIR daughter, is so perfectly beautiful and delicate, so explosive with life. So ready for what might come, hanging on the edge of tomorrow and the next day. Tangled in the hair of one with black hair is a white flower, glowing against her, the porcelain gaze of her skin made frothy almost. She shines, like the new leaves in spring, just from the bud. I find myself watching her in awe, trying to recall when I felt that simply alive.

To be those mothers now-not the daughters. That ship has sailed and frankly, i know what lives underneath the lovely dresses and perfect tresses. Doubt, fear-am I on the path I need to be? Will things be ok? Will I find love, happiness, truth, beauty? Will anyone ever love me? They were beautiful girls, but I focused on the women, the singular devotion, the quiet in their eyes. The sweet satisfaction that come from them, their strength passed on to their daughters, girls on the cusp of becoming women, of finding their footing and destiny. They were the sweet oracles of Delphi, their daughters, merely the handmaidens, for now.

It was as if a ritual, a letting go, a slice at the ribbon of childhood, allowing these mother’s to really see their daughters as the individuals they are, not just as the babies that once suckled at their breast or the rotten 13 year old’s who screamed “I hate you!” when denied the chance to see Outcast or Nelly. Watching these women, there was the sense of a job done, and done well. Satisfaction, and pride. The cubs were coming into their own, and were lovely, and strong.

They stumbled into each other, drunk, mother or daughter. And they laughed a laugh I have never laughed, but wish too more than anything. They saw each other only with love.

It was beautiful.


My darling second born, or Shiva, destroyer of worlds as we are apt to call her, turns four on Monday.

That’s right. FOUR. I turned around, and the universe put a stubborn, obstinate, flighty little GIRL in place of a cranky sweet baby.

Already I experience such joyous things as, when told she cannot do something, usually along the lines of, no, you cannot run with scissors, she’ll cry out “You never let me do ANYTHING! It’s NOT FAIR!”

Yeahhhh. At FOUR. Not 13. FOUR.

Or the constant battles about underpants and proper bathroom hygiene. We had a 20 minute argument/fight/screaming match due to both of us being tired over her wiping her own butt.


Since both of us are stubborn and always believe we’re the one who is right, I’m thinking the ages of 10-18 are pretty much going to suck. Hopefully she smokes more pot than I ever did, because lord, she is smart and wily and strong and pretty fucking awesome.

She’s lying next to me in my bed as I write this, unable to sleep due to having a small nap too close to bedtime. She’s sounding like she’s snoring, but it might be the horrid congestion that’s had me feeding her cough strips all day long to moderate the croup like barking. You know the cough-the one that makes all the other mother’s stare at you at the mall like you’re this pathetic mother for taking her outside, even though it’s only post nasal drip?

Yeah. You know the one.



I look at her and think about last night and cast my mind ahead 15 years or so, to a day, a weekend, a night where all of this doesn’t matter-the interrupted sleep, the inability to remember to get to the bathroom 30% of the time, the screaming over nothing. I think ahead to how lovely her eyes are, and how they’ll burn with fire when she’s 20 and on the verge of taking everything by the horns. I think of her strong legs, and how she’ll maybe be a runner, and fly like the wind, the wind I could never quite take hold of.

I think ahead to that life where we have a beer, then maybe 5, and laugh about where I’ve been, and where she’s going, and all the wonderful, horrible, incredible places in between. We’ll see each other, in the strangest places, in the hairline, the wrinkles at the edges of our eyes. I’ll think of my mother, the empty placeholder between us, and wish she could see her granddaughter, be there to correct her posture and grammar. But I’ll see my mother in Rosalyn, her strength, in their inability to take no for an answer.  I think ahead to us in a dim bar, age narrowing to where it no longer matters, on a plane of is and was and will be.

I think of how beautiful she will look, teetering on the edge of all her tomorrows.


Dammit, she’s FOUR! Which makes me 32 this year, which makes me feel time speeding past me so fast I can’t hardly catch my breath. She was just this giant baby in my arms, a sturdy toddler. Now, she’s this gorgeous creature who looks so much like me I get confused. How could something so lovely, and yet so very immovable and strong be brought forth from me? My heart breaks at little bit, thinking of how bewitching she is, how sublime. How marvelous her future will be.

She’s the creature most like me, mercurial in her moods, loud in her upsets, sweet in her love. She’s the me who was, or as close to it as I might come.

And I love her, both.

Appetitus Rationi Pareat

20 Feb

Oh the guilty stolen afternoon, snuck quietly from the house, stolen to read a surprisingly awesome book (I love it so when that happens-when you buy it thinking, meh, why not, and suddenly you’re drawn in and the world is being colored around you..) The late February wind gusts around me, while puddles of new snow trickle beneath my feet. I can smell spring.

Fishing through the old clothes, I sigh a lot, all the cute things are just that much too small. We’ve grown past it. I finish eating my leisurely lunch, and while waiting for the cashier, spy a tiny boy, only 3 months, cradled in his mother’s arms as he has his lunch, eyes swollen with lunch stupor. His feet were so very small.

I’m on the bus when a little girl comes on, bundled in winter, cheeks rosy, her perfect little nose poking out, eyes curious and watchful. She stares at me with the no-stare. I’m fairly confident that I’m too far away from her to be really seen, but there’s something about those piercing little globes, like jelly beans or black jujubes.

My entire body cascades in on itself and cries out for more. My arms ache, my womb echoes for a child, my body feels drawn. My children are now children in the fullest sense of the word, and my body, my muscles, my soul shakes in the absence.

The simple unfair fact of knowing this ache after the birthing is complete. It startles me, like a cat shook from it’s sleep, and it angers me, that I couldn’t have felt this 6 years ago, blooming with the cells that would eventually become my first born daughter. Why not then? Why not when I could have reveled in every moment, enjoyed, simply stood in between maidenhood and mother, and accepted it, embraced it? Why only now, when the over is unplugged and in pieces?

I enjoyed the last 5 years. It has been a hard ride, a rough one, the brambles of mental illness entwined with simple achievements like first words (I can’t remember Rosalyn’s, and hope I wrote it down) and birthdays. But these years have been so innocent, comparatively speaking, as I’m noticing now that I have one in school. Those first 5 are halcyon days, glowing with such wonder, fabulous flowers on a plant you always found ugly. I eagerly sold the high chair, the crib, gave away 99.5% of the baby clothes. I welcomed, with open arms, toddlers, preschoolers, and now, children.

So universe, why now huh? Why burden me with a hunger I can never satiate? Why fill me up with this longing, for another child to grow in my belly, another gasp at the quickening, the terror of crowning and the quietude of 4am? Why bestow this gift on me now, after all this time, when its unnecessary, and more than a little inappropriate?

I stared hard at that little girl’s eyes, smiling wistfully, looking a little high I imagined. I could feel that baby skin on my fingertips, the porcelain of it, the chubby fingers grasping on their own, without measure or wit. I could imagine her weight on my hip, the little sighs she’d make while feeding, her tiny thumb, barely clinging to her lips as she slept.

In her eyes I imagined enjoying the babyhood’s of my daughters more completely, sanely.

Wanting a child is merely my wish for wanting to be normal.

Having Rosalyn so soon after Vivian stole that from me. And I can breathe now, and see that, see that for Vivian, I was scared, and worried and full of far too much book learning but I loved her and my world ran around her. But pregnancy, and a new child later and I was full of venom and hate without much room for love or empathy, not at first.

I crave a do-over. I want to be able to love a child the way Ros deserved to be loved, almost 4 years ago now. I can’t make it up, but on some level, my ovaries are trying to have the great chess game, to make up, to make due.

I’ve known, for years, that there’s no going back. What was, is, and simply, I cannot change or make that up. I can only move forward now, grasp my daughter tightly as she grins and tells me I’m pretty, as her cheekbones light up, exactly as mine do. What I can do it love the baby that was, the girl that is, the woman that will be.

The pinpoints of light in that baby girl’s face, interrupted only by the hesitation of the bus on a busy street, will forever hold me in thrall. I can face that hunger down, hold the door open, ask it to leave. And accept that finally, I have been allowed a feeling so basic to women, a hunger I never dreamed I’d feel. All of this shakes me from reverie, telling me to move on, move past and beyond.

I can love that phantom child, he, or she that will never be. I can love a ghost that never was.



“Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward.”

7 Sep

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.


(and no, I am not actually going to sell or hurt my daughter…geez, give me SOME credit won’t ya?)

A Burning Science Question

14 Jul

Since many of you have more edumacation than me….

Vivian LOVES science. LOVES IT. As in sits enthralled as I read to her about subatomic particles loves it. (and you have NO idea how freaking AWESOME I think this is…)

I was out today buying some much needed over the shoulder boulder holders (and hey, Sears! The woman ACTUALLY made eye contact and waited on me, despite measuring me wrong. Apparently we don’t ask the fatties to take their shirts off so we can get an accurate measurement) when I walked past the bin of useless and/or creepy books. There sat “The Book of Science”.

6.98 is a price I will pay, especially for a book that speaks at a level they can understand, covers most basic scientific principals and has simple experiments at the back.

I’m flipping through it while waiting for the bus and notice something. All the little boxes talking about important scientists and their discoveries-ALL OF THEM ARE MEN.

Nothing against you boys, but I’m raising girls.

So while I can spend time on Wikipedia tomorrow looking for the few that will spring to mind, I’d love to hear suggestions for other female scientists, chemists, physicists, etc. I already warned Vivian that there are no women in that book, and we’ll have to learn about them elsewhere-I just need a little help with the elsewhere.

ETA: I’ve been asked if I truly think that gender matters. Yes, and no. I believe many women, and girls can go farther with female rolemodels presented. I think many of us grew up knowing little about women in science and math, correcting this deficit as we aged. I want my girls to be able to name more women than men. I think it’s also important so we can point out the effect marriage and motherhood once had, and still can have on WOMEN, and not men. I want them prepared to be adaptable creatures. I want them to be prepared for the fact that it might be harder. And that it might also be cooler.

I didn’t grow up with the knowledge that women could do all those things. It would have been nice to have seen a female face staring back from any numbers of the books I read. Imagine starting out knowing that women and men ARE equals, that both have accomplished so much and that gender doesn’t matter.


Our kids are normal. Really.

13 Jul

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.

Three Things for Tuesday

10 Jun

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.

The agony and defeat of Barbie

9 May

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?

This little piggy……

14 Apr

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. 🙂

Love, My daughter, Love

6 Mar

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.

“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.”

12 Feb

10 feet from where I sit, face lit by this computer in a dark room, my daughter burns with fever, barters with the fever headache and lingers in fever dream.

A short while ago, she called out to me, and I saw her sitting confused in her bed, hands covered in vomit. She looked up at me to make it all better.

I did.


On my way back from getting children’s advil and ginger ale and some coke for me, my eyes lingered upon the missing poster for Karissa Boudreau, a 12 year old girl who went missing in Bridgewater a few weeks back. I had my usual, knee jerk sad response until I saw her birthdate.


I was 18 in 1995. I was squandering brain cells in 1995. While I was wondering what university I might go to, while I was trying to piece together what sort of life I might like to have, Karissa’s mother was entering a new world. I think the same when I think of Hannah Walker, an 11 year old girl from my home town who died hours away from the heart transplant she so desperately needed. While I was confused and foolish, their mother’s were becoming.

They tell you that you’ll change when you have a child. That life will become different. But you don’t change. You evolve. You become an absolute different person-a new you. A you with true fears, true love. When you become a mother, when you take that child home, be it home to where you live or home in your heart, you molt. You shed the skin of your maidenhood, you leave behind the trinkets of before. You grow a new organ, next to your heart, that allows you to feel pain and joy all at once, over and over again.

When I was 18, people were birthing their children, and themselves. And now those children are lost to them.

How do we look up at a clear night sky, stare at the stars and not scream why? How do we not spend our days huddled in bed, crying for those we can’t save, crying for the fucking unfairness of it all? How do we spend our days arguing stupid needs and wants while somewhere, a mother has lost her daughter?

How do we excuse this? When I was 18, I didn’t know any better. I couldn’t conceive of this. My heart had not yet opened. Could I have imagined then, how I would feel walking home in the brisk winter night, playing over and over in my mind the time Vivian had a seizure from her fever, and worrying it might happen again? Could I have imagined then how utterly my heart had stopped that day, and how I feared she was dead?

Could I tell 18 year old me these things?

These losses, these gains, these changes-they bind us to each other. Karissa is my daughter. Hannah my sister. All of you-my mother. In a sisterhood we stay attached, in a sisterhood we find ourselves safe-across this province, across these countries and oceans, we’ve felt the same fears and longings for our daughters, our sisters and mothers. For ourselves. The fear of one mother is the longing of a daughter.

I couldn’t understand this 10, 12 years ago, when these children, these people drew their first breath-that they are connected to me, that they are as important to me as the people who sit beside me. Your daughter is also my daughter. I feel her pain as well as you do. This is how we survive the losses. This is how we survive the fear of loss. We look to our mothers, and sisters to know how to bear it, how to move past it.

We look to our daughters to know how to fear.


I can still make it better. I can rub tummies and soothe the pain. But I worry about her paleness, her slight frame. I worry, as mothers as wont to do. I fear. I fear because I understand love, and I understand the bond that ties us together, the bond that tells me in seconds when something is wrong. I fear that someday, as it seems for both Hannah and Karissa, it just won’t be enough.

We love the nightlife

1 Feb

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

“I need…something”

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?


9 Nov

This morning, the sun broke through my windows like a thief, quietly, shifting upwards almost imperceptibly, until it was shining in their eyes.

My messy haired daughters, wrinkly pajamas, sleep filled eyes. They sit playing, almost silently, lighting up as I turn the corner to wish them good morning. How happy they are to see me-like they haven’t seen me for days.

I raspberry a belly. Suddenly, two shirts are held up, giggles held in, barely, saying “please Mommy, me too”. Their laughs are like crystalline daggers in my heart.

It’s a beautiful morning.

“Children aren’t happy with nothing to ignore, and that’s what parents were created for.”

5 Nov

My daughters, it’s not that I hate you, or resent you, or want you gone. It’s not that I’m tired of your shining faces, like new leaves, grinning through the wetness of the morning. It’s not even that I’d wish you were never born, because I wouldn’t. Your births have been the greatest gifts I’ve ever given myself.

But there are days, long cold in the heart days, when I cannot tolerate you one more second, where the fury worms it’s way through my heart and I can barely see for the rushing blood. There are days when your whining makes no sense, when I have given you everything I would have ever wanted from my mother and still you want more, draining me with words and demands and needs, so many god awful needs it makes my head hurt.

I’m quite sure that whomever originally thought of vampires was a mother.

Daughters, stop touching me. Or rather, eldest, please stop. I can tolerate the soft caress of my youngest, and yet the rough play of my oldest stops me cold, freezes me up, shuts me down. My youngest, you sit quietly in my lap until you nod off to sleep, haunted houses on A&E. My eldest, you screech and whine and demand demand demand you little dictator. I can’t deal with you. You’re just like me.

My daughters, this will pass. I know it. There will come a day when I will look back to the lazy Sunday’s we spent, you playing SNES with your father, me reading on the couch, and I will miss those days. You will be out with friends and lovers and we will be at home, wondering if you’re warm enough, if you’ve picked the right person to open your heart to.

Soon, soon it seems you will be gone from me. If only I can be patient, and love the moments you’re in right now.

Mommy, I need to go poo!

27 Oct


Things are fine and dandy at 10:30pm when Vivian lets me know she has to poo. A few minutes later, she mentions that there’s a little poo in her panties.  I’m thinking a tiny bit that ran for the exit on her way to the bathroom.

I could not have been more wrong.

Apparently, 4 year olds who are asleep forget to pull their panties and pants all the way off before the commence crapping. I peeled her bottoms off only to hear a sick “slupt” on the bathmat. Then the smell hit me.

I don’t know what I fed her, but man, it was unhappy when it made it’s reentry into the world.

She kept looking at me like I would be mad, but how could I be? I remember being a little girl who had just crapped her pants, and how horrible I felt when my mother got mad. I couldn’t control it then, and neither could Vivian. When it comes, it comes. So we had a good laugh, I told her she was stinky, grabbed new bottoms and sent her on her way.

Mind you, I may just go scrub with bleach for awhile.

It’s funny. I finally feel like a mom right now. I passed one of my own tests with flying colors.

“Autumn is the mellower season, and what we lose in flowers we more than gain in fruits. “

18 Oct

The last few lovely days of 2007 are upon us, and we bask in it’s sunshine, the soft warmth of fall, the automatic scent memory of wood stoves and crushed leaves in our noses. The trees shine yellow, orange, purple-my candy dreams come to life around me.

Conjure up if you will, a target smile of comfort, blissed out eyes, closed off into their own little world. This is where I am most at ease, most alive. During the transition between life and death, summer and winter, I find my place. A child born of that division, forced to acknowledge it forever.

But I don’t mind. Fall lingers in my pockets like an old favorite of a book, nothing too chewy, nor too easy, but just right-just enough to make you ponder and think, make you wonder. Just enough to help you fall off to sleep each night.

If a season can be home, then autumn is mine, with all it’s nooks and crannies.


We trudge off to the park, as we do most nights, dragging Poppi along, trailing sticks and cigarette smoke.

“I don’t trust you on the road Poppi.” Vivian states as he pushes Rosalyn down the street to the next sidewalk ramp. “Get off the road.”

Bemusement fills his face. “Little Dictator” he mumbles as he plods along. I grin silently.


We watch Rosalyn toddle along from slide to slide, veering between her favorite red one, the fast one, and the shorter yellow one. She hops when she runs, almost like a rabbit, but cuter, that irrepressible toddler spirit humming along.

“Mom would have loved her.” I blurt out. “She’s just so adorable and girly…”

“yeah.” My father says. “Think of the pink frilly dresses she would have bought. Oh! The pink!”

And it’s only the truth. Love might be equally shared, but everyone has a secret favorite, a child whose heart matches theirs just that little bit more, the child who just gets it, the child who fits just right into the crook of your eye. Rosalyn would have been that child for my mother. The daughter who wanted skirts. Who wanted little girl things. The cute little girl, loving and warm.

A little part of me is jealous, even of the relationship they would have but couldn’t. My mother would have understood this child in a way that I can’t, ways I might never. I envy that.

My father and I sit quietly for a few moments, lost in thought, watching Rosalyn go up, down, up slides. Perhaps my mother watches as well, putting down her sewing to hover around Rosalyn’s head, making sure she doesn’t fall too hard or too far.

I like that idea.


14 Oct

“….I’m gonna be a spider what are you gonna be? Rozie is gonna be a kitty meow! Isabelle came over when I was sleeping so she came back later but her brother had broken his armOW! and we played and it was fun-what’s your favorite color? I love pink. What color is your house? Mine is red. I love dinosaurs ROWR! Are you going to see the bee movie?….

The past two days have been held in thrall to Vivian, she who never ceases speaking in public. 4 straight hours yesterday-4 continuous hours of talking about absolutely nothing aside from what a 4 year old wants to talk about.

Indulgent looks from the older women are counted from looks from other mother’s who are obviously thinking I’m not doing something right. But I count on the older mother’s advice and wisdom in these cases. Today, an older lady smiled and corrected the girl who said “My someone is spoiled!”

“Nah,” she said, “She’s just smart, and that’s never a bad thing.” She looked and smiled at me, restoring my faith in my daughter, she who I continually apologize for. And for what? Because she is curious and friendly, happy to spread her love to all she meets? Because I feel that she is disturbing someone with her incessant chatter and lust to know?

So many girls and women grow up never questioning anything-they don’t watch or read the news, the don’t learn of history or science or of things that take real thought. So many women never learn how to meet others half way, never learn to understand other people, their quirks. My child is curious about her world-is anxious to learn what works. My daughter wants to know. Why should I apologize for that anyway?

“Time is a gift, given to you, given to give you the time you need, the time you need to have the time of your life.”

20 Sep

I’ve been scrabbling for words lately, trying to find the head space between being stupid busy at work and mood swinging in my head.

I’m full of thoughts-almost to bursting. To the point where I can peel through them. I feel like an onion with layers, some moldy and rotten, some remaining sweet and fragrant. But an unstable onion, unable to point and shoot in the right direction, my sulfuric acid going to waste.

This is my irritable time-when the words don’t work, and I’m not full of flowering phrases or beautiful odes to those I love, to the moments in time I’ve stopped for. I feel deconstructed, Northrup Fryed. My metaphors are jumbled and distilled.

It’s the most awkward thing-being capable of such moving grace in words one day, and the next being almost incapable of stringing a sentence together. I know my work is sometimes lovely, but it is fickle, and removable.

I’m full, and yet at the same time, vastly empty.


I took Rosalyn to the mall the other day, and we browsed in the dollar store. In one aisle were a stack of clocks.

“Want the clocks!” she yelled, “WANT CLOCK!” Except she left the L out of the word each time, and I felt the surrealness of life with a toddler descend upon me. Thankfully, no one seemed to hear.


Watching my daughters makes my hands shake to write, to try and capture that essence, the sloth like speed of time, the blindness we hold towards tomorrow. I have suddenly become so very cognizant of time, of how soon they will be 16 and ignoring their weird mother, how soon I will rarely touch them again. Time is going to betray me, and make women out of my daughters.

Again, I tell myself “No Pre-Mourning.”

I am but a vessel for them, my words an extension of their arms. I write for them, so the late afternoon September sun will remain fixed in their eyes, orange and peering through changing leaves, the soft diffusion that makes me wish for a camera. Their brown eyes trust implicitly, and follow me, casting about for their beauty. The sky holds wonders, turtles and magicians, rocket ships, the moon.

How we ache for the moon.

Already Vivian stretches up to touch the sky “What will it feel like?” she asks. “Tell me when you touch it.” I reply. She might go there some day, into the sky. “Will it feel like cotton candy?” I ask.

“No!” she giggles.

The blue is blue on blue on forever, and her eyes shine because of it.