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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.

 

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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.

Sigh.

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.

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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.

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On something to amuse you: Apparently this happened last night as I drove by on the bus, nose in a Carl Sagan book.

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.

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?

To Rosalyn on a Thursday

10 Jan

You wrap your tiny, perfect little arms around my neck, like pincher’s, clinging softly, not desperate, but like a craving, scrambling higher and higher up my body, until your warm head fits snugly in the crook of my neck.

You hair is soft, freshly washed, your body retaining a little, just a little, of that baby softness. It’s outgrowing this weakness, but still, around the back, I can find it, and I draw lazy circles as we sit, you recent from the bath, still dripping in some places, and I perched in that spot you dropped the water, nose to your brow, drinking you in.

I want to freeze you intact in this place; your limbs, stretching from baby to child, your curious, 70% cocoa eyes, that mouth which bubbles and brims with thoughts, ideas, loud words, wants, quests. I want to trap your giggles in a margarine bucket, opening slightly at the edges when I’m 40, and you’re being, well, difficult, so I can remember today, so I can remember you smooth arm and chubby fingers stretching around my neck, so I can remember the joy which shoots like beams from your eyeballs as we tickle you.

“I want it! I want it!” you scream in any direction, any room in which your sister has the discourtesy to touch something. She capitulates in most cases, the path of least resistance, or at worst, the path that leaves ones eardrums intact.

You are the baby. I stare at you, straining to remember this age with Vivian, this almost 3 time, and I can’t. She was not you-she was so completely and utterly different. Mature somehow, older. You’ve been left to ripen longer, left to explore the outer reaches of toddlerhood without our impatience for what’s next to disturb you.

I watch you cling to your father as you do me, the same, but different. As girls are wont to cling to their daddies, you dangle yourself across his chest, nuzzling his neck, your eyes closed. Sweet, peaceful contentment, in the warmth of a father’s arms.

Stop growing my honey bear. I cannot stand the thought of losing the you who is here with us now.

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Morning.

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.

“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.

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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.

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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.

“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.

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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.

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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.

Sometimes admitting you’re wrong is only part of the problem

1 Sep

vivkyleros.jpg

Waiting for the bus on this cool morning, fall in the air, I hear an old woman behind us.”Such wonderful children! They behave so well!”

I search around with my eyes quietly until I realize she’s talking about my daughters. I look back at the girls, who are sitting chatting with a little heartbreaker named Kyle, he of brush cut and toothy grin, sharing the stoop of a doorway.

“Oh, mine? Yes, they are, today.”

I minimize their goodness. I reduce the times when then act as I expect to smaller moments than I should. They ARE good kids. They DO listen. They are happy to be with me. They are learning. They speak kindly and properly to other children and adults.

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(Vivian sees man in Cowboy hat)

“Wow! A man in a cowboy hat! Cool! Is he a cowboy?’

“Ask him Vivian.” I snicker a little, inside of course

“Are you a cowboy!” she bellows?

“No.” he grins “I just kinda like the hat.” He smiles gently at her. She beams back.

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They spread joy and warmth where ever they go most days. They are fine children I should be proud of. They are the children I wanted when I first learned they would be mine.

It’s time to focus more on them, on how they are that makes me happy, rather than how they are that upsets me. When they misbehave, it’s more like a wolf attacked a sheep, it’s nature, and it’s necessary. How I react dictates how the day is spent.

Time to stop reacting to the things I hate most I wager.

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We ride the bus home with Kyle and his Grandma. Vivian drills him on what he likes.

“Do you like Tigers?”

“YEAH!”

“Do you like snakes?”

“Yeah!”

and on and on and on it goes.

Molasses

22 Aug

girlchild

honeychild

like molasses you are over me

clinging, sticky in your demands

tiny pursed mouth opened to a

black hole of you, of

pure frustration and need. The

needs of being 2 on this planet.

Soon, sooner than I think

sooner than warned

you will shun the arms I so unwillingly give

1 am, blurry eyed dragging teddy wordlessly

your airsoft skin gentle on mine tiny

scented head on my pillow.  My girlchild to

womanchild to woman, no child.

yet I will always have this child.

I cast my eyes into your future. I cast out

my lines flying from north to south in search of

warm mornings, cereal that stays in bowls

wet kisses, tears. They recede into

broken hearts and angry women.

I shall hand you reeds to breathe above this. I shall

grasp your hand tighter down stairs. I shall

paint stories with the greenery that frames your

tiny impish glow.

Honeychild, let the bees come. Your sweetness

flows freely as it should.

See Mommy

16 Aug

“Wake up seepyhead!”

roll over

“Hi Ros

Shuffles in pile of clothes. Picks up shirt

“Here’s your short”

drops shirt on my head

“Thanks Ros.”

“Here’s you shirt”

drops shorts on bed.

“Ros, come cuddle”

Drops self on bed. Here we sit for a few minutes.

Down the stairs.

“I wan cispies” Ros shakes when she gets excited. She is shaking, waiting for Rice Crispies.

“See Mommeee!” her hands high in the air as my own are full of cereal and milk and bowls, her insistant glowing face meeting mine.

“Not now Rozzie. Wait”

My girls eat. They talk. They argue over the Cinderella book until Vivian finds the other one. I get ready for work.

I eat my bagel reading the paper online.

“See MOMMEE!” Ros yells, louder now.

“Soon baby. Soon. Let Mommy eat.” Limbs are flung into my face, a leg in my ribs, a finger in my ear. I scarf back my bagel and shut of the monitor.

“Let’s get dressed Ros.”

“This one?”

“no”

“this one?”

“no”

Repeast ad nauseum, until Ros remembers her neon green skirt in the kitchen, and wants to wear it again.

“Skirt! Kitty Shirt!”

She’s dressed.

“See Mommee?”

I glance at the clock, decide to be ten minutes late.

“Yes flower. See Mommy.”

Last night

14 Aug

Last night I lost it.

After days of whining, screaming, snivelling, acting up and generally making my life a living hell, despite the birthday festivities, I lost it completely.

I screamed. A lot. Loudly. That version of me doesn’t come out often, but when it does, get out of the way.

Vivian got a non PC swat on the butt to reinforce that I am more than sick of her constant refusals to cooperate and her whining and snivelling and flat out fibbing.

With visions of wanting to tear my child limb from limb, I slammed the door and stalked off to sit on the deck as they cried their crocodile tears. (You know the type-start, go one weakly, stop to see if anyone is coming, start again. Rinse. Repeat)

I don’t want to be a mother they’re scared of, but the other version of me seems to be the one they feel free to walk on, to push and push and push. I’m terrified of something happening to me, so I have trouble walking away from them.

Not so last night. Last night I entertained all the ways I could run away or just be done with kids. I didn’t want them anymore at that point, and why would I? Nothing we do seems to have any affect-I don’t know how to parent small children, and I have no parent to ask. (My father can joke, but he worked when I was small, and has no idea what my mother did)

WHY do I feel so alone in all of this, so helpless? Why can I not find my loving sweet caring daughter in all of this? Why is she so driven to driving me mad lately?

While yelling myself hoarse out of frustration and anger and sadness, I blurted out the one thing I didn’t want to. “Do you want Mommy to go away again?!”

I feel so fucking terrible about that the most. A swat on the ass you get over. The fear of being abandoned, not so much. I feel so fucking helpless because most of the advice I hear or see is great for parents other than us-people with one child, or a stay at home parent, or children spaced further, or for parents who are sane, or for people who have help, and lots of it near by. We are NONE of these things.

I hate myself today. I hate who I have to be with my kids, but I don’t see what else to do at this point. I really don’t. 

 ETA:

My post in the same vein up at GNMParents today. Go read it. It’s just as irritated and depressing.

Only those who look with the eyes of children can lose themselves in the object of their wonder.

12 Aug

Someone asked me in an email if I found being the mom of “A kid” weird.

I do, kind of. It’s odd after years of haunting the baby aisles to know that I don’t need to anymore. New bottles appear. Cute outfits come and go. I find myself crawling up the store into new areas, legs stretching to find where my oldest daughter now fits. I mourn silently the baby time I have lost. It’s a new place this type of motherhood.

As a new mother, you wander streets and malls with the same tired eyes, floppy deflated bread tummy, hopeful grin. You meet the eyes of other first timers, and share a moment of wonder, a look that says in one second “I know exactly what you’re going through, and it sucks but we’ll get through it” like the baby confers ESP. You pass along coupons in the diaper aisle, recommend wipes and new ideas for stimulating play. You have something to day. You’re scared and excited, all at once, and you’re young. Oh so very young, fresh.

Now I look at new mother’s and wonder if I was ever that young and fragile looking, that tired and washed up. I’m a soldier on her 2 tour surveying the fresh troops. I envy them the knowledge they don’t have-the newness awaiting them. But I don’t envy the fear, or the lonliness, or the long days and nights of nothing working and nothing good to say.

Today, the mother of a “kid” and a toddler turning into a preschooler, I hardly recognize myself in them. It’s only been 4 years, and I marvel at this. 4 years have changed me so utterly, altered my being and my sense of space in so many ways. 4 years have matured me in ways impossible without children. I have become responsible not just for another life, but for another person. Who they become, the values they hold, how they treat others, that is MY doing. Which is why I’m now just as terrified as a new mother. I can break them in such subtle ways now. In hindsight, cuddling a baby for hours to help them sleep is a breeze compared to talking down a “kid” having a meltdown while the toddler decides to join the fun. It’s hard work to be understanding and calm some-days.

I’m not my mother-I’m something else entirely. I’m my own person. My girls clamber for me-last night, after the excitement of the day, they wouldn’t go to sleep, and Rosalyn needed a few moments of Mommy alone. And with her head tucked under my chin as we watched Dirty Jobs (ooh! Alpaca’s!) I remembered how fleeting my girls are, how nearly invisible they are in the long span of time. Today they play hide and seek and pretend. Tomorrow they might be choosing a trade or backpacking through South America.

It’s all new once again. And I’m glad. I could use a spit shine.

The kid who don’t care

2 Aug

Sigh.

I just spent a frantic hour that should have been nice and family like but instead involved a lot of running, stomping, heaving, getting angry and sweating. (Not necessarily in that order)

Vivian, as most of us are aware, is 9 days away from turning 4. (Four? Four? Where the frick did 2 and 3 go?). And apparently, she’s entering a new developmental stage as well. I’ve begged for answers to this question in the past.

I’ll be frank. I don’t know how to discipline my kid. Or rather, I do, but it doesn’t seem to work.

I know it’s the age where she’s going to ignore me and be willful. Is giving her options and a little autonomy really going to help? or will she be the devious little rat I suspect she will be and decide to see just how far she can push until Mommy snaps? Aside from that smack the other day, I do NOT intend to make physical punishment part of our regimen, because I know that shock value wears off, and all it really does in many cases is relieve my own stress and anger. Should we try time outs? Time in’s? Ignoring her? (I so can’t do this, not the the extent that might be necessary)

The problem is that this child is extremely willful (I think some people call it “spirited”) she doesn’t understand mellow-crap, the only time she’s mellow is in front of the TV (which has been taken away for the entire weekend). I think she’s watching entirely too much of it, and intend to shut that down for at least a few days. I don’t remember watching 2+ hours of TV a day when I was a kid, and my mother didn’t take any shit from me.

Something has to give. She screamed for an hour straight for poor Mogo when she was punished for something earlier today. I know part of it is that we have difficulty picking our battles, and that when you ride transit, you can’t just toss the kid in the car-the “we’re going home NOW!” threat doesn’t work as well. But I still want them to learn how to behave in public.

On the other hand, before they lost interest in their meal, the waitress commented on how good they were being as they ate, so I don’t know if I’m expecting too much from them or what. I see other kids who are good and quiet. But then, they look like they’ve had life beaten out of them

Sigh. Little help here?

To my daughter, named in dream.

12 Jul

There are drawings in the notebook I have written this in, drawings my eldest daughter has left me. The heads are far too large, bloated even, but the arms and eyes are just right, perfectly placed almost, dimensions as they should be.

With these drawings I hold in my hands a memory I will never lose, a memory of irrevocable times, of words she’ll only say correctly from here on out, thoughts she’ll have beyond the pricelessness of her youth. How sparse! How magical-how brief and melting are these days.

As a newborn, an infant, I listened to her squalling with the frustration and helplessness of my youth, my inexperience. I pleaded with her nightly to stop screaming, to let me know, to tell me, hell, to turn colors so I’d know what it was that she needed, what it was that I was doing wrong. Her snurgles late at night as she slept, her broad smiles in the early morning, her disdain for closeness-all things I thought would never end, that I would never find the answer to.

Yet here we are. Here I sit, thoughts meandering to late night baths, lavender lotion slathered on chubby unused baby legs, the desperate coos of the of a young mother trying to entertain a cold, wet unimpressed infant. Bottles by the sink for 4 am feedings, spent torn between annoyance and awe. Your lips would droop as you fell off into sleep, your stomach filled, until the nipple popped from your mouth and your grip on my finger lessened. Only my arms to guide you gently back to sleep.

I grow weak for those moments, those days. I want to beg for a do-over, another chance to get it right, to appreciate and enjoy, to love you as you weren’t, to love you for what you were, not what you some day would be. To love you. To love the daughter I had given myself, the one who named herself in my dreams.

Soon, too soon Vivian, you will turn 4. The heads you draw will become smaller, more expected. Perhaps your grin will not be so broad for me. Your world will hurtle outwards into space, time, into the lessons that make up a life.

I am sad, and yet hopeful.

It is the mother’s place to hold tightly to the past-once the demands have lessened, she can stop and remember the coy moments spent laying on the spare bed, playing with the littlest of toes instead of remembering the innumerable loads of laundry. She can finally stop and recall the excitement of the new. How truly soft your cheeks really were.

I don’t sit sadly, maybe crying because I miss you already. It’s not because I am sad to lose you, as all mother’s will one day lose their daughters-I cry because I mourn what I have lost instead-what I gave up. Your first years gone in a retreating flash of time. Your silly years gliding away from me, already lost to you.

I will keep these drawings as i will keep this letter. For you. For your future, the daughters you will or won’t have, the days when you question my love for you. When you question the life I dream for you.

——————————————————————————————

While I am not your father, my love is mirrored in the following.

All night long the hockey pictures
gaze down at you
sleeping in your tracksuit.
Belligerent goalies are your ideal.
Threats of being traded
cuts and wounds
–all this pleases you.
O my god! you say at breakfast
reading the sports page over the Alpen
as another player breaks his ankle
or assaults the coach.

When I thought of daughters
I wasn’t expecting this
but I like this more.
I like all your faults
even your purple moods
when you retreat from everyone
to sit in bed under a quilt.
And when I say ‘like’
I mean of course ‘love’
but that embarrasses you.
You who feel superior to black and white movies
(coaxed for hours to see Casablanca)
though you were moved
by Creature from the Black Lagoon.

One day I’ll come swimming
beside your ship or someone will
and if you hear the siren
listen to it. For if you close your ears
only nothing happens. You will never change.

I don’t care if you risk
your life to angry goalies
creatures with webbed feet.
You can enter their caves and castles
their glass laboratories. Just
don’t be fooled by anyone but yourself.

This is the first lecture I’ve given you.
You’re ‘sweet sixteen’ you said.
I’d rather be your closest friend
than your father. I’m not good at advice
you know that, but ride
the ceremonies
until they grow dark.

Sometimes you are so busy
discovering your friends
I ache with loss
–but that is greed.
And sometimes I’ve gone
into my purple world
and lost you.

One afternoon I stepped
into your room. You were sitting
at the desk where I now write this.
Forsythia outside the window
and sun spilled over you
like a thick yellow miracle
as if another planet
was coaxing you out of the house
–all those possible worlds!–
and you, meanwhile, busy with mathematics.

I cannot look at forsythia now
without loss, or joy for you.
You step delicately
into the wild world
and your real prize will be
the frantic search.
Want everything. If you break
break going out not in.
How you live your life I don’t care
but I’ll sell my arms for you,
hold your secrets forever
.

If I speak of death
which you fear now, greatly,
it is without answers.
except that each
one we know is
in our blood.
Don’t recall graves.
Memory is permanent.
Remember the afternoon’s
yellow suburban annunciation.
Your goalie
in his frightening mask
dreams perhaps
of gentleness.

“Help! My two year old is a screaming monster!”

7 Jul

All I can say is, buy earplugs, and wait it out. But damn, funniest search I’ve seen in awhile.

It’s that time again.

15 Jun

Rosalyn is 27 months old. In the mail comes a bunch propaganda coupons from Huggies, spouting off on the wonders and joys of toilet training!

uh, really? At 27 months? Huh.

Truth be told, I’ve made some casual moves in the direction of training her, but nothing of any seriousness. I didn’t rush Vivian along, and we’ve had next to no problems with it. I few bumps to begin with, and fine ever since. Night time took a little longer, but in the grand scheme of things, not that long.

Ros however….she’s her mother’s daughter, which is the other reason I’ve been avoiding even really thinking about this. If she is anything like me, she won’t do it just cause she don’t wanna.

We have a small kiddie pool on the deck, and she usually prefers to play in it nekid. A little while ago she came running in the house “Need to change bum! Need diaper!”-code for “I need to crap!” She had that look on her face. I tried to direct her to the bathroom “NO POTTY! NO!” she screamed as the largest piece of crap I’ve ever seen from a child fell from her butt, followed by a few more treats, as Vivian yelled “EW! TURDS!” as she moved out of smelling range.

Rosalyn made a run for the toilet, but the last piece o’poo couldn’t wait. So it lay, lonely in front of the toilet as she stared up at me.

I know that technically, she’s ready. She’s smart, dammit, she VERY smart. But I have the usual mother’s tendancy of coddling the baby. She’s still a baby to me. This afternoon at the park, she kept explaining that the lupin she was holding was hers. “This my flower. Rozie’s flower. It’s mine.” I stopped and shook myself realizing that yes, she isn’t a baby, not really. She hasn’t been for awhile. But I always assume she’s farther behind, in the same way I assume Vivian is farther ahead.

Everyone says that the older sibling thing helps to teach her when to go, what to do, etc, but so far all it’s done is make her sit on the toilet for a little while, turn the fan on, and yell “ALL DONE!”.

I’m expecting too much, right? I’m just busy enough without worrying about TWO children who need the toilet RIGHT NOW! 

Slant of Green

9 Jun

It’s end of the day tired that makes me think. These days, not so long ago, when I was running naked in the yard, my mother alive, sitting, watching me. The soft warmth of air through greener leaves.

That summer light. That glorious, diamond light bouncing from leaf to leaf, settling on the water.

It’s the end of the day tired that reaches my legs, that echoes through me the moment I get up to do another something (more play soap! wipe my bum! ACK!!!! more yogie!). It’s a reminder of the times already past, the days I won’t be able to gather around me, the light that will never be the same, the whispers of myself around me.

It’s the end of the day that makes me hopeful, allows me to look kindly at the drooping eyelids of my firstborn and remember that tired. The sunshine tired, the dirty park tired. The tired from running and running and running with the wind entwined in you, running to some place in the future you don’t know that you’ll never want.

It’s the end of the day that makes me remember. Recall, superimpose my childhood on theirs, tears in my eyes. The quiet nights sitting on the steps with my mother, sitting still to feed the squirrels. Her warm arm pressed up against mine, leaning. How large and omnipotent she sat in my eyes. How woefully ignorant I am of her.

It’s the end of the day that brings me full circle. Child, child of lost mother, mother of child. A circle I do not want to continue, a circle that shall be eclipsed by the moon my daughters point to, and the worlds they will touch.