Saturday, May 09, 2009

Mama Says Zine Blog

Mama Says is moving!

Please stop by and take a look around. Invites will be going out shortly.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

A Different Kind of Lonely

She was so tired. So tired of the same old routine, especially the bedtime routine, so that occasionally she’d rebel against it. Not that she didn’t love her son, and that time shared reading and cuddling together, because of course, she did. But it was more the expectation of it that would start to weigh her down, so that sometimes, she just couldn’t do it. Sometimes, she’d just sit on the couch with a novel in her hands, and it was as if a boulder in her lap pinned her down so she physically could not get up and start the bedtime, as if the words on the page were anchors tied to her eyes and she could not pull away.

Her son would run around wild, jump off the couch, or watch too many videos and eat too much junk, which is what he was doing now, devouring the last of his Halloween candy. Somewhere in the back of her mind she knew it was late, and she’d think that eventually, soon, he’d wind down and collapse, and it must be way past bedtime, though she was too afraid to check the time. She’d just sit and read and wait for him to stop. She had a small marble of guilt in the back of her throat as she sat with her book, her little selfish pleasure, devouring the words, already 86 pages into it after one day. The marble gets a little bigger when her son turns off the TV, turns to his mother and says, “Mom, I’m tired.”

“So go to sleep,” she mutters.

“What about a story?” he pouted as he climbed into her lap. In his fleece, footie pajamas, the kind that zipped from toe to neck, he was more her baby than the 6 ½ year-old-boy he was by day. “Can you read me a booky?” he asked. Always that “y” ending he would do that melted her heart. “Mommy I need a drinky...where’s my blanky....I need my backpacky...” or any thingy, and she’d oblige. After all, how long does this cuteness really last?

“Okay, just one page, honey. It’s really late and mommy’s reading her own book right now.”

“Can we sleep down here?” he asks, excited, snuggled on her lap on the couch downstairs in the living room, pulling up the purple, crocheted blanket her mother had made years ago.

“Sure, honey. You lay down on my lap and go to sleep,” she says, helping her son adjust a pillow under his head.

He hands her his new book, the one she bought him at the Book Fair at his school earlier that evening, the one she knew he’d picked out only because it came with a shiny, gold keychain thing. He was like a bird, she thought, attracted to little shiny objects he’d collect, as if to use them to build a home.

“The Nina, the Pinta, and the Vanishing Treasure,” she started. She looked at him, his eyes heavy, his soft, still-tan skin and flaxen hair so smooth and soft and pure, she is overwhelmed to touch it all, and so she does. She strokes his cheek with first the back of her hand and then the front. He’s holding an enormous brown teddy bear, aptly named “Beary.” She drinks him in, both the sight of him and the feel of him, all fleece and soft and cuddly. “Mom, are you readin’?”

“Chapter one.” And so she reads the first few pages while casually stealing glances at him, his eyes getting heavier, his little face relaxing more and more, and she knows he is so close to falling asleep, his head on the pillow next to her lap, his body draped across hers. She stops reading and says “That’s it for now,” marks the page and closes the book.

He is so tired he doesn’t even object, just turns his head to the side and closes his strikingly green/grey eyes. She’d always wondered where he got those eyes, her own eyes a dark brown. She picks up her own book and resumes reading about a wife who lost her husband, she resumes stroking her son’s forehead and hair and cheekbone, and she sees that tiny, almost opaque freckle at the top of his hairline, the one that seems as if it must be a fleck of dirt, as the rest of his skin is so smooth and freckle-free. So she rubs the spot over and over, gently, though she knows it will not rub away, still, she strokes it in that way a mother tries to smooth away the impurities of life for her son, and it’s now that his breathing slows, shifts to something deeper and more sonorous, and just like that, he’s asleep.

He’s perfect, she thinks, with that freckle still there, his pink lips so shapely, like hers but smaller, a golden sheen over his olive complexion and golden hair. Too bad his father chooses to miss out on this, she thinks. And it is this moment she notices a shift in her own mood, an even heavier weight fills her chest than the one she was refusing to acknowledge when she ignored the bedtime routine that night in favor of reading her novel; an even heavier boulder now rests in her lap and ties her down. This, she thinks, is a different kind of lonely.

Monday, October 13, 2008


Words like branches reach out to the sky.
Poets always walk alone and wonder why.

Poets always stare too long at the beautiful:
a child, the moon, a blueberry bush so full.

A random lady in front of a Friendly's
bends to touch a white flower, its green leaves

point up skyward.
Always, that metaphor, awkward

of life and beings all reaching up
as if to grow from bottom to top is not to give up.

As if to write about it makes it so.
My son says don't write about me though.

He asks, Is it about these crayons?
It is now, but way beyond

those four basic colors, red, yellow, green, blue,
which can't even capture you.

The riper of two fruits to my taste
A man's words that fall from so much haste.

All this desire I try to feed,
my fingertips stained from picking blueberries.

A Sunday afternoon, a day almost done.
A poet almost satisfied with what she's begun

to articulate, to communicate:
a fishamajig on a plate,

a few french fries, the still blue skies
and something from within that plies

through mere poems, black ink on a page, a pen.
Like writing in a crowded Friendly's is a way to find Zen.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

My Two Selves or Like Having Two Seasons at Once

The scope of winter things:
the baby in the bed,
frost on the windshield.
A low pervasive hum is Spring

as silent snow falls and gathers unseen.
Just last week the moon hung low in a pale blue sky
still and more silent than night.
I wished for green

instead of last night's dishes in the sink.
There was the sun showing,
my rhythms, like plants, turn to its glowing,
a miracle on the brink.

I used to gather sticks for my survival
now I buy four loaves of fresh rye,
an engine idles nearby,
a street corner's revival.

There's stasis in the daily shuffle.
People, kids, papers, things, dust and dirt
move back and forth like love and hurt,
move back and forth between home and work, it's awful

how a self can be divided.
It takes a child to show that life's alright
look at the shadow of the spider in the flashlight
it's here I am mom and poet, united.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Metamorphosis and the Illusion of Control

A week ago while cleaning my basil harvest I found a monarch caterpillar chrysalis. Just dangling on the stalk in its perfect jade green splendor, laced neatly with a glimmering golden thread. It was just THERE when I looked. Nothing prepared me for it. I have looked on the underside of every milkweed plant waiting for a glimpse and never found one. Here at the bottom of a heavy pile of basil that was crammed into a tote bag on my kitchen floor for days is this fabulous, impossibly smooth miracle. I put it in a jar and wait.

Only a few days before, my daughter (just barely five years old) gets two loose teeth. Front and center just where they should be. They wiggle and wiggle. She wobbles and twists them. One is ready to go for sure. I knowingly dispense the requisite firm cinnamon raisin bagel and-- it is free! A perfect window to poke her finger into. Sophia puts her tooth in a plastic, hot pink "tooth treasure trove" for safe keeping forever. Why give something like that away to a fairy?

I peek at the chrysalis. No changes. How can that be when my world is moving beneath my feet?
My daughter brings her tooth in for show and tell on the first day of....kindergarten. Kindergarten!

Now this post is all about metamorphosis so it bears mentioning that not so long ago the word school made her crumble in a weeping heap. She was homeschooling and that was that. Only- it wasn't. Over the spring and summer there was an unmistakable metamorphosis. She came slowly into bloom.... We took little steps, carefully looking at the path at first until by summer's end ...she took great running leaps and bounds with her eyes straight out on the horizon gleaming. And she burst into her power and it was amazing.

And then she held a bagel in one hand and said.."MOM?" and showed me that tooth.

The day I dropped her at school I stumbled home back past the crossing guard blinded by tears (sorry Loomis Street crossing guard). I started a four hour cleaning/grieving jag that got me through most of the time intact. I thought,"Do I really have to do this again tomorrow?.. The next day and the next I went to work after dropping her. It distracted me but the pain was still there.

The chrysalis is in the kitchen I am waiting for the case to slowly become transparent and for that which is hidden to appear. I know that in every part of my life, in its right time, this does happen...

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

When will he ever wipe his own butt!?

Anyone else out there with this problem? My five-year-old still calls me in to the bathroom to wipe his butt after his business is done, and I am just not in the mood anymore. I try all the encouraging, "You can do it yourself, you're a big boy" stuff, and he ends up sitting there whining "Mommmmmeeee! I can't do it. I really need you to come wipe my butt." Over and over, I have no repreive, until I go wipe this little person's poopy behind. Do other kids this age do this, or are they all wiping peacefully in self-sufficient bliss? I feel I am doomed to wipe his butt forever!

Finding me

originally written 8/1/05

What am I doing?
I am a mama of two boys now.
Is this my life now?
Chunky spit ups -
mustard stained diapers
screams and cries of toddler angst
Am I really writing about toddler angst?
What do these kids have to pine over?

My bottom has finally stopped hurting and bleeding.
It was a glorious day when I could stop wearing the torpedo sized maxi pads. Speaking of torpedoes let me tell you about these boobs I now have. 24 hour milk store open for business – non stop supply.

This morning I had to drop my 3 ½ (not 3 as he would tell you) son at preschool. After the baby spit milk chunks all over the car as we were pulling out of the driveway, after a full clothing change and diaper change we made it to the preschool at 9:30. I was secretly looking forward to dropping him off and venturing downtown to my first mama group at Radio Bean coffee shop on Winooski Ave. He of course being 3 ½ (not 3) had other plans. He resisted, begged, pleaded, cried and pulled my leg to take him home. After being told by his teachers and the director that it was best for me to just leave I ran to my car and cried my eyes out. What a horrible mother I thought to myself. How could I just leave my child while all I craved was a cup of decaf, women who understand and a chance to feel “normal” for one hour.

None of that mattered now though as I sat in my car crying about how I had scarred my son for life. Then my cell phone rang and it was the director of the preschool calling to tell me Enzo was fine and in fact was smiling and playing minutes after I had left.

Ahh . . . the life of a 3 ½ (not 3) year old.

Normal? Who was I kidding? Going to a hip coffee shop is no longer normal. I am a mama of two boys now.

This is my new norm.

Monday, July 23, 2007

I need a housemate

I need a housemate and I am terrified. Why? I have a five-year-old. Should I be concerned for his safety, a stranger in our home? Concerned about infringing on the space of a housemate with all the power struggles and tantrums? I have no idea how to get through this one. But I am posting here to see if anyone needs a room in a lovely three-bedroom Montpelier apartment. Or if anyone knows of know how it goes. So, here is my offer: $500 a month for a private bedroom, heat, parking, trash removal included, in a spacious, convenient to town, Montpelier apartment. Must be kid-frienldy and non-smoking. Oh, and we have a cat. Thanks mamas.
Inquiries can call me: 223-1802