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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.


A child is a curly dimpled lunatic.

11 Mar

The clamouring starts before I’m even out of bed.

“Mommy, can you get me breakfast? Mommy, can you help me with my panties? Mommy, I don’t want THIS bowl, I want THAT bowl! Mommy, Jayden says that you don’t like me. Mommy, open the sock bin? Mommy, where’s my hat? Mommy, I can’t find Cheer Bear….”

If verbal assault could be explosive diarrhea, my children are official biological weapons.

Since I’ve been home, a lucky win fall for my daughters, the requests and needs and desires have been incessant, and I feel like I’m constantly being poked and prodded by a pack of wild monkeys searching for nits, the howling growing when I deny the T.V, the computer or more food. It’s almost as if they can’t believe their luck, and need to suck every inch of blood from my body until I’m just a husk a pod person comes out of.

I need to go back to work. I enjoy the time, but I’d enjoy it a LOT more if there weren’t kids under foot and I still didn’t need to get up most days to take Vivian to school. I have another job lined up, waiting to hear about one I want better, but DAMN, I am NOT suited to this stay at home thing.

I’m tired of cleaning, especially since no one else seems capable of keeping it that way. I don’t have it in me to constantly run behind everyone, or scrub the bathroom sink for the 5th time in a week. Reading is difficult since children, mine especially, have this irritating habit of talking. I really don’t have the capacity for games or experiments or anything arty. It’s just more mess. Winter has turned into that strange crunchy/slushy winter-spring hybrid, which means going outside is cold and sucky and boring.

I’m going a little nutty. I’m trying to just get away for a little while, since I also know I screwing with the patterns my husband has had for months, but this is a small city and there’s only so much to do. I’ve pretty much settled on spending a few hours at Starbucks or Timothy’s every day to read and maybe write if I’m up to the fierce outlet competition that ensues. Plus, it’s fun watching all the horrid 80’s hair on women far too old to pull it off. The odd poncho I saw today was also a nice touch.

Don’t even get me started on the hugging and the kissing and the cuddling. As people who have met me can attest, I am NOT a hugger, even if I adore you. Not a fan of touching-more a fan of the 3 foot personal space bubble. My kids are ALL up in my shit. I’m touched out in that regard. I don’t know if I can hack it anymore.

I LIKED leaving for the day, and coming back, happy to see my family. I could interact, pee without someone staring through the key hole, eat all my food, all by myself. Now, I’m so bloody lonely for human contact, for adult human contact that I’m being actively nice to strangers. Not just my usual good deed blather, but starting conversations and enjoying them.

This just won’t do. It just won’t.

Look, I love my kids. I do, with every fibre of my being but dear FSM I just cannot get them away from me, even at night. It’s all MOMMOMOMOMOMOMOMOMOM!!!!!, always with the inflection at the end like I’m some strange german word. But I just couldn’t do this forever. Rosalyn won’t stop peeing the bed no matter how many times she pees before hand, Vivian has nightmares nearly every night, and both of them only want ME. Santa could walk in with a pony and all of the Care Bears and no one would care since it’s not me.

SAHP’s-how the hell do you do this? How do you carve out anything for yourself without feeling guilty? These kids are relentless, like the black death….

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.




8 Feb



In the air, this sweet break from the cold, rivulets down the road with winter dissolving, floats forever ago, a place disappeared, a land where the nights were long, crisp journey’s into another world, where time lasted and spun it’s magic around my ears. This air, reminds me of the warmth in our kitchen, the images of my mother’s hands across my back, on my head, in the sink, dishes clanging as I sat, underfoot, studying the patterns there. This air, it marries us across the years, the me then, the me now, handfasted, tied with thread and IV lines.

This air, it burns my eyes.


Taking advantage of a state of hypomania lasting more than 30 minutes (and explaining away my need for sleeping pills last night) I rip apart the bedroom, old clothes sorted out into a garbage bag, magazines on to the porch, to give away, to save for that day all trash is allowed, anything, maybe even the monkey’s on your back. I shift the bookshelves, notice the “unread” pile has grown to 20 or more books, smile. See my lonely photo album, the only evidence that I had a childhood, somehow tucked under the cat’s sofa, ragged and old.

Rosalyn, who has been “helping me” by laying on the futon and rolling around with Bride Barbie, sees the album and is drawn, as all children seem to be, by these frozen moments trapped. 

“That’s me!” she screams at the baby pictures. I find myself correcting her, but not really, so entwined we seem, so much the same, the air between us thin and enraptured, time meaningless. She sees me in full ballet regalia, the hated tutu, the flower hat my mother made that I wasn’t allowed to wear in the recital.

“I want to look like that Mummy.” she mutters, staring intently, eyes boring through the photo. Her grandmother deserved this child, she who loves pink and Barbie and babies and ballet, everything my mother wanted and wished for in a daughter, none of which she got. My mother deserved this granddaughter, who would have made her so proud, so happy, so fulfilled in all the ways I never could. Rosalyn deserved my mother, deserves her still, to embrace her in the ways I cannot, and possibly never should.


I turn, find the one lonely shot of my mother and I, the only picture I have of her holding me, the only one where she’s smiling, where her face isn’t forced for the camera’s or fighting back the pain I know she suffered. She’s gorgeous-my mother was beautiful and I try to show Rosalyn, try to make her understand how lovely and perfect my mother was when I was her age, how I must have crowed “You’re the bestest mumy EVER!” to her in the mornings but I just can’t find the words, all gummed up like marshmallows in my throat and it won’t make any sense, not now.

Possibly not ever. How do you explain an absence to someone who’s never felt it? What’s the point is deciphering that which will never be?

My mother was who she was, and all the things she wasn’t and never would be. She loved me. Maybe I only have one picture and it’s fading and cracking but she’s sitting as I sit now and holding me as I hold my girls and I know, without doubt, her heart glowed for me and shone in the darkness that were her last days.

She loved me. That I can tell Ros. That makes sense.


I point to another shot, curled up in that hideous chair from so long ago, pointed at the television. Shot taken while I was in the grip of the nightly news I imagine, legs pulled under, wearing only underpants, despite my hair being neatly pinned back.

“Ros, who is that?”

She knows it’s me, but waits, looking into my eyes.

“I hated them too, see? No pants. Hated pants.”

“Like me!” she sings, grinning.

“Like you Honey Bear. Just like you.”

The air shimmers, and I can taste the air in that room, liver and onions perhaps, my mother’s ribs, a Sunday dinner of hamburgers, chips and illicit soda. It’s warm and secure and snug around my shoulders like one of those granny square afghans you find in the thrift stores now and again, the work wasted on the receiver, or maybe dead. We’re there together, Ros and I, but it’s her little legs on that chair, my hands holding the warm milky tea and buffing my nails before bed. We’ve merged and danced into each other, my childhood, my memories becoming hers, settling in to a quiet corner where in 10 or 20 years she’ll find herself telling a story about a little girl in a room full of amber light and love and they’ll never be able to tell what’s mine and what’s hers or where it’s all gone.

They’ll never know for sure.


It breaks my heart to never know my mother. I’ll stare at her eyes in photographs, thinking I’ll know the secret if I look at her long enough, that somehow, I’ll absorb enough of her to really know my mother, for her to mean something more than the sum of her loss.

But you can’t know the dead. You can’t know the people they were-you can only wave to the people you want them to be, the people you think they were once, before everything happened. I can stare at her face, the before face, the one before the chemo and the radiation and the pain, the pain of knowledge, the pain of leaving, the pain of facing your life ending, a plane crashing into so many lives. I can’t know that. I’ll never know that in the ways that kept her up at night or guarded her eyes as the days grew closer.

I will never know my mother. She will be that perfect garden in a picture, all beauty and tragedy, curves and angles, youth and hope. She will be annectodal memories for my daughters, the one we cannot hurt, the one who lives forever in our hearts and fingertips and the glittering spring leaves in the broad maple behind the house.

The one that got away.


She was happy once, that I can convince myself of, even when I stare at a face yellowed by treatment, frightened by what might come, and yet absolutely resolute in her ability to ignore what will be. Hope via ignorance. How very catholic of her.


She was happy once. God fucking dammit, she was happy, and alive and beautiful and she was my mother. Sometimes the air arches back and around, like today, and I imagine her, young, like I am, newly blessed with children, just breathing in the air, glad to be alive, remembering when she was young, and all the stories she’d some day tell.

She was happy there.

I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief.

21 Jan

“Mommy, elephants are really scared of mice.”

“mmmhmm.” I’m in a hurry, ran home from one appointment, grabbed the kid from school, dragging her home so I can dart out the door again. Stupid rules not allowing her to take the bus when she can’t walk home by herself alone anyway.

“Yeah, when there’s a mouse, the elephant jumps up in the air it’s so scared.”

I stop, causing Vivian to stop, her mittened hand tucked into mine.

“Dude, the only thing an elephant is scared of is likely human. And carrying a gun. Do you know what people do to elephants for their tusks? They cut them off and then leave them. Trust me, a mouse is the least of their problems.”

We walk a little further, and sure mutters “But they said that elephants are scared…”

I stop again, and bend down to talk to her, not at her.

“Viv, logically, rationally, think about this. How big is an elephant?”

“HUGE!” she crows

“Yes. And how big is a mouse?”

“Really really little?” she offers

“So, knowing this, does it make any sense that a creature as wonderful and large as an elephant would be frightened by a mouse?”

She pauses, looks off down the road. Then the glimmer starts.

“No Mommy. That doesn’t make any sense at all.”

“Question Vivian. Question what they tell you. You’d be surprised what you learn.”

But now of course, she senses the “mom-lecture” coming, and stops listening.


I love that we’re raising the girls without religion. I love that they will be raised without the spectre of blind belief, without being taught to never question the things which matter most, to just accept the fantastic claims we make as a society about gods and heavens and afterlife’s. I love that instead of me saying “No, cause god says so!” I have to explain why and how and when, and the words “just cause” rarely exit my lips.

The urge to run with the elephant myth, or to say the moon was saying good night this morning instead of explaining orbit and the tilting of the earth’s axis is strong. It IS easier to run with the prevalent myth, to run with the man in the sky, guiding your life. It’s easier to make magic instead of science. Or so it seems.

I made a decision awhile ago that while I love magic, and all the magical things our world presents to us, I love truth even more. I love the magic in the real world-in how a plant grows, drawing it’s power from our star, the sun. I love explaining the wonderful way that one thing can be many things, and a metaphor for life-water as liquid, snow, ice, vapour. I love watching the magic appear in my children when they watch spiders hatch and run a myriad of ways across our deck, and know that the world has given them this, and it’s sweet.

I believe in the world around me, and by extension, my daughters. I believe that giving them the tools to question the myths they’re given, to really stop and examine if the easter bunny makes any sense whatsoever helps them become smarter, braver women. I knew growing up that most of those characters couldn’t possibly exist. But I loved them the same, for what they meant. I don’t want my daughters sitting idle, accepting what they are told as law, or as a given. I want the questions to be asked.

My mother, raising me under the cloak of  a Roman Catholic god, never accepted this. Her world brooked no questions, not for the important things, as when I’d express my disbelief in a magical place where everyone sat around and revelled in how awesome they were on earth. This wasn’t something said, and I took a long time to finally have the courage to speak my disbelief out loud, into the air where it was made real.

I have found the world around me, the substantial stuff we walk and breathe in, to be more magical and inspiring than any doctrine or book could be. The truths that we link to, the absolutes that settle in our chests and tell us that no, there’s no way that elephant could ever be afraid of something so minuscule-those are awesome because they are ours. They awe us because they start with us, our minds.

I don’t want my daughters to every forget how powerful and magical they themselves truly are.