Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Web of Mother and Daughter

Almost two weeks ago I saw a shaman for a healing session called a soul retrieval. This is not a past lives reading or a psychic forecast. It is much simpler and more practical, concrete. It is the calling home of the little pieces of YOU that slide away over the course of time for better or worse.

During my session as I lay back comfortably, eyes closed I felt a big, black spider crawl up my left leg. Although my concious mind assured me it was not a reality I swatted it away three times. Even as my hand stirred from the table and brushed against my skin I knew there was nothing literally there. But, it was unmistakable. Furry black body with wiry legs, ambling crookedly over my calf toward my knee.

A number other intense experiences occured during the session but as I walked home in the twilight after the meeting I recognized that spider asone from a reoccuring childhood nightmare. I dreamed that the spider was coming to take away my mother. I was seven or so and I saw him looming just behind hetr. I saw her bright orange sundress, Dr. Scholls sandals with the navy buckle, and paisley bandana. Don't take my mother away, I would whisper. It was what my husband calls a dread dream. A bottomless pit of shadow filling my belly. It came again and again until- gone. Like that.

I reflected upon that image as I walked to my daughter over twenty years later... Then Sophia got a spider bite.

She had an absolutely horrendous (delerium, grinding teeth, tortourous pain) reaction. Her little hand swelled into a red boxers mitt, skin taut and leathery. I spend a night staring at her waiting for a fever that thankfully never came and listened to the pouring rain. It took several days to subside and then the telltale fang marks. Two dots tightly spaced , in the center of the front of her right hand.

I told a friend about all of this and she said she had mother/spider dreams as a child too. She told me that in our dreams a spider is believed to represent the mother. What does all this mean for us? For the web bewteen mother and daughter, daughter and mother?

Maybe I need to make a shrine to Spider Woman/Grandmother Spider, pronto. Maybe we all do.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Poem: Tattoo You

Tattoo You

So proud-
Around you turned
And showed bare
One shoulder blade.

Tattoo you:
A sketch of vowels and consonants
In a script befitting
Your adoration for one little girl.

It seemed a little skewed
To my keen eye:
An ‘i’ for the second ‘a’…

Tattoo you:
So proud-
A name sketched on that blade
Unknown in so many ways…

Around you turned and
Showed bare
Your ignorance
For one little girl…

A Mommy with an Attitude: What the Hell is Caitlin Flanagan Talking About? The Good the Bad and the Baffling!

A Mommy with an Attitude: What the Hell is Caitlin Flanagan Talking About? The Good the Bad and the Baffling!

Hey-I found this while bloggin'

it's great!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Mama Needs More Vices

Brief conversation between myself and husband confirms my supicions. Mama needs more vices. No drinking, smoking, TV...No downtime involving unplugging my constant inner chatter. No pop culture escapism. Sometimes yoga just don't cut it.

My great passion- reading fiction - is also sometimes not quite the answer. Either my eyes are fuzzing out or my brain can't recognize those pesky letter vowel combos without lapsng into sleepyland. (after preschool age child falls asleep at her constant 10:00 bedtime)

Sometimes you just need to be at the middle school dance in the musty town hall , winning the dance contests and cramming someones mom's underbaked version of Duncan Hines brownies down with a swig of A and W. Christ were those days simple....

I think I will be my own personal Vice Squad . Instead of battling I will actively seek those BAAAAAD things I am not getting.

Mother Mary

I am not an overtly religious person. In fact, I don’t think I am very religious at all, and really never have been.

My daughter and I pass her nearly everyday on our regular walking route.
This Statue, this Mother, this Goddess.

I’ve lost track how many times we’ve gone past her, a quiet, solid presence, held in stone.

Every time, she holds my interest.
Every time, I cannot help but look upon her in acknowledgment, in respect.

Apparently, my daughter thinks so too. Apparently, she knows Mother Mary well-
On more than one occasion, while walking alongside me, she’ll veer into the alcove of Mary; bow down to sniff the flowers (‘fow-fow’s), her hand delicately cupping the petals. She then straightens, gazes shyly at Mother Mary, shifts a little so she is standing in front of her and begins a conversation with the Holy Mother in her current baby jabber.

When she is done, she comes over to me, takes my hand, and we continue our walk.

I always wonder what she’s saying to Mother Mary.

…And if anything is being said back to her…

Friday, June 23, 2006

Re-Introducing The Muppet Show!!

Re-Introducing…The Muppet Show!
(With Special Guest Star: Beginning to Feel A Wee Bit Old)

I picked up The Muppet Show-Season 1- the other day at the library. I was excited to finally see it on DVD. I watched it as a young kid. I thought maybe Cat would like it too. Worth a try, right?

Of course, she loves it, just as she obsessively loves Labyrinth. Our house seems to have been ‘Henson-ized”. By this I mean we have everything (almost) Henson related: Labyrinth, Sesame Street, The Muppet Show (obviously) and even (for Mom) The Dark Crystal. All I’d like to say is Jim Henson was a frickin’ genius. Obviously.

Season 1-This is way back- ’76, maybe. As we sat down and watched it- the familiar (to me) opening sing- and-dance number, the Muppets themselves, and finally the special guest star being dramatically announced-it struck me as we watched these episodes that they are old by now, (Don’t mean to make anyone else feel old, but if it makes you feel any better- I felt old after watching these) not to mention the guest stars, such as Ethel Merman, Valerie Harper, Joel Grey, Gene Kelly, George Burns and Jim Nabors, to name a few.


Most likely, a lot of kids growing up today probably don’t even know (or care) who Ethel Merman was, or Valerie Harper, or even Gene Kelly.
Even I had a hard time placing Valerie Harper: Wasn’t she the one on Rhoda, The Mary Tyler Moore Show? Was that it?

Another thing that occurred to me: most of the guests who appeared on The Muppet Show are dead by now.

-And Vincent Price….is he dead, or what?

People like Merman and Kelly seem like the ancient of the most ancient dinosaurs in comparison with today’s top movie stars, pop queens and (is it still angst-ridden?) ‘rock’, if it’s even called that anymore ( Do I sound old yet?) I don’t even know who’s on the charts these days, and quite frankly, don’t really care.

In spite of ‘feeling my age’, I am glad for the opportunity to re-introduce a show such as The Muppets to my daughter-something that is truly entertaining for children and adults alike- rather than having her be into something like Barney or those freakish Teletubbies.

A little extra: Check out the ‘Manamana’ sketch and 1-12 sketch on Google Video Of The Day (you'll have to scroll down a wee bit)
Also, according to Wikipedia, Vincent Price is dead.

Also on my blog.

Dancing Queen

After four years of living in the kid zone I am happy to say we have one single solitary musical toy in our repetoire. I mean musical monstrosity not instruments like fairy drum, castinets, bellydance zills, cardboard banjo etc... It was a dumpster find by my mother in law - a Sit and Spin that lights up and plays barely recognizable "favorites". At first Sophia hated it. What the hell with the flashing lights and dissonant racket? Sure enough she warmed up to it and is channelling lounge dancer Josephine Baker as she dances around it in only a tutu, all arms and legs, hair flying. It is the ideal aerobic workout -- just flinging yourself around to the dance remix of "She'll Be Coming Round the Mountain". I swear the "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star " has a disco whistle in it..As she speed arabesques through "Rockin Robin" she is sheer energy, raw muscle. It is a vision of loveliness. It is my temple. my shrine to the wildness just beneath the surface of us all.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Dog Scare

From Journal, May 21, 2006

Yesterday, Cat and I were out on our walk. She was walking alongside me as is the norm these days. We passed where Capitol Grounds used to be and this goddamned German-Shepherd began viciously barking from inside a car as well as frothing at the mouth, baring its teeth like fucking (excuse the language) Cujo.

It absolutely freaked Cat out-freaked me out too: I actually jumped. She totally froze and did the silent scream, mouth a huge square portal of fear.

No owner in sight, nothing but a rabid dog rocking the car. It took about 25 minutes to calm her down. Took me about half the day to come down from the rage that nearly overtook my entire being.

There was nothing I could do. Except to comfort my now hiccupping daughter lying on my shoulder, clinging for dear life.

I think the fact that there was nothing I could do partly fueled the rage I felt at this situation. Comforting my daughter was not enough: I wanted re-tal-i-a-tion. I wanted to rip whoever owned that dog into shreds. Shreds. For terrifying my daughter with that goddamned dog.

I thought briefly of leaving a note on the car saying Thanks so much! Your dog just traumatized my child.

I didn’t because 1. The dog was still rocking the car
2. My rage was blinding.

Just the day before, we encountered another dog and its owner in front of the Tattoo Shop. It was a pleasant experience! A yellow lab and a very nice lady as the owner. Cat actually petted the dog as it calmly stood by. So, at least she saw that dogs can be nice and friendly.

Also on my Blog with additional links.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Bird Song

"Birdie, birdie, ba, ba, ba,
ohhh, yeah, yeah
Birdie, birdieee, ba, ba,
Yeah, yeah, yeah."

This is the sweet song that my girl has been singing lately, after literally finding her voice. I’ve been asking her to sing for quite some time now, and she’d sing out a few bars of an attempt at Baby Beluga (which is damn hard to say, thanks very much Raffi), but that was it. Just today she found her voice. Her sweet, true, loud, husky, hilarious voice. I ask her to sing and she goes off into the most random string of words she knows now. I find myself in awe of the bold move to just sing whatever is in her head, however she wants. I think how stifled we all are, walking around this world, holding in our random soundtracks, and how life has a way of limiting our voices. I hope her voice will stay strong and true, and hearing hers, I’m wondering where my own wandering tune went.

Monday, June 19, 2006

The Space Invaders

(June 16, 2006)

Okay. At Rite Aid this morning buying a sippy cup.They must have had a delivery: there were boxes everywhere throughout the store.

This woman-mid 30's, I would guess- comes down the aisle I am in. I notice her at the last minute as she begins saying 'Could I please get by' while actually grabbing hold of the stroller handle and begins pushing it out of her way, tentatively, as though it were a box of merchandise.

I totally whipped around in amazed disbelief: 'I will move the stroller with my baby out of your way', meanwhile giving her the death-glare of Don't you dare touch my baby. I will rip your head off.

Why is it that everyone seems to think babies are like common, or community, property, almost?

Besides all of this, there was the very basic issue of space invasion, and I am not talking about outer space. I am talking about personal space-this is your space, this is mine: do not invade.
I've always been a huge fan of personal space, I mean huge. Now that I have a child, my interest (what a mild word) in it has grown infinitely.

I always try to be aware of other people's space. I don't hover near people in line at the bakery
( a major annoyance). I try to be respectful of other people's space. I tell my child to back up a bit from the other kids, and adults, if she begins to get too close for comfort.

Some people just are not aware of space, apparently, particularly other people's. But maybe they should be.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

What Matters

In the midst of completing report cards, and dealing with some tricky parent situations, and the chaos that was my classroom after having a substitute teacher for a day, I was reminded about what is really important in this world.

See, I’m a teacher, and in the last few weeks of school, a teacher is juggling way too many balls in the air. It’s easy to be mired in assessments, staff changes, parent issues, student behaviors, and end of the year expectations. But when you lose what matters most, everything changes.

When I found out about a former student’s death I was just coming out of a long meeting, and heading to class. When my colleague told me that one of my former students had died at the age of 14, I burst into tears. It was her face, youthful and beautiful, that came rushing in to my mind. Immediately it was a few years ago, and she ran beside me as part of my after school running club, excitedly laughing, telling stories, and being goofy.

Later that day a student asked to have lunch with me. I had parent calls to return; meetings to set up, papers to grade and report cards to write, but that didn’t matter. I thought of that former student, and said yes. You see, what slammed into my mind with the senseless death of a young woman was that yes, students need to learn how to read, do math, write and other content areas. But what really matters in the lives of young people, all people, is relationships. Feeling valued, listened to, important. They say that adolescents need just one adult, one adult that they can turn to, that they can trust. I know many people were working hard to connect with my former student. For me, her death made me pull out of my thick educational ostrich hole and actually talk more with students. It made me walk away from the work that was piling up on my desk and really listen to what they have to say.

Later that night I held my own daughter in my arms. I wept as I told her no matter what; I’d love her until the day I died. And if for some reason she couldn’t come to me, I prayed she’d find another adult who would listen to her, love her and help her get what she needs. To me, that means everything.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Two Weeks, Non-Renewable

I cannot check out two week, non-renewable books from the library. I just can't. I never have enough time to finish them. Or, I haven't even started them and they just end up sitting on my desk, collecting dust and other papers till it's time to take them back, unread.
It bothers me.

Also, another thought in the library vein: I thought it interesting that the Kellogg-Hubbard Library has had to put up a sign on the bathroom door in the children's section saying this:

Storytime at the Library
I wrote this on my blog a few weeks before the sign went up.

Sunday, June 11, 2006


I have a daughter who is four years old.
My daughter is four years old.
My four year old daughter...

Repetition does not make it seem any more real. Last week my daughter turned four years old. FOUR.YEARS.OLD.How can this possibly be true? Surreal moment of blowing out the candles. Four years later, me with no abdominal tone, permanant stretch marks wondering how in the world I got this far... Lately we have hit a regressive patch. Bedtime, mealtimes are a bitch. She has lost her knack for entertaining herself and lurks around looking for trouble. Most of which involves the cat.

A few weeks ago she sat in her underwear scarfing a bowl of blackberry rhubarb crisp. I was trying to talk with my husband about food and she interrupts.

"I dont want do this God Damned thing."

Silence on our part. Do not scold for foul langauge.Try and move past it. "What thing, pal?"

"Talk about buckwheat noodles."

Well, I can't argue. I didnt want to talk about GD buckwheat noodles anymore either.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Searching For Mama

The Mama Says Blog-well, we've been getting a good amount of traffic these days. As of today, there have been 107 visitors since the Site Meter has been added (in May)! (Click on the Site Meter at the bottom of the page to see the numbers)
It's interesting to see what people are searching for on your site.
I would just like to share a few:

"how many poopy diapers should a three month old have a day"
-this is a favorite

"5 months poem"

"when a two year old babbles continuously for some minutes"
- this is great!

"mama poems"

"Living with extended family"

"poem about summer"

Also- there are searches that include various members of this blog.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Links Page

Questions to ask your health care provider, hospital, midwife

What to ask your careprovider
What to ask your Hospital, Doctor, Midwife or Birth Center
What to ask your Pediatrician, Doula and more
All about the Midwife

Health Care Info.

ALACE: Association of Labor Assistants & Childbirth
Educators. List of home birth midwives and doulas in
Vermont Nurse Midwives: List of Midwives in Vermont.

Le Leche League of Vermont
Le Leche League International
Le Leche League of Central Vermont

Recall's.gov:Find out if any toy, carseat, etc., has been recalled by the government here.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Article on European Union encouraging couples to have more children

Here is an interesting article I found on BBC News online. Interesting facts and stuff.
It has relevance to several posts here on Mama Says: Thoughts on a Second Child, and others. I'm sure, too, that this subject has been on alot of people's minds.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

On the ordinary magic of mothering/writing

I wrote the following poem years ago when, as a single mom, I struggled with the same questions and feelings that Sam and Kris wrote about in their previous posts.

My children are grown now and so, in its way, is my poetry. And even though I have no little children tugging at my mind and body, no next poopy diaper to change, I still choose to work the magic of the mundane, the ordinary. Why? Because it is the only work.

The word "ordinary" comes from the latin: to order; and the root word of "mundane" is world. To tend carefully to the ordinary, the mundane, is to serve no less than the work of the Anima Munde Herself. To work an ordinary magic is to be a priestess of the Orderer of the World.

And so I dedicate this to you, Sam and Kris, and to every mom who struggles with the sacred burden of working her own small ordinary magics within what seems to be her own unimportant little corner of the everyday world.

Though the powers-that-be are invested in seducing you to believe otherwise, know that you are the mother/priestesses who, every single day, order the creative inner worlds from which your children will grow their realities. You are the singers of what the world longs to become long after you are gone.

Magic, indeed.


Some things never go away
Never leave me alone
Stretch marks
Dirty dishes
Overdue bills
And the pen in my hand
Rendering its constant stream
Of words
Hauled up
Out of the well
Dripping and sparkling
To hang in the air
And wait their turn
To be arranged just so
And dry in the sun