Monday, July 31, 2006

As If You Weren’t Manly Enough: Doing the One-Handed Stroller Shuffle

Today, The Girl and I were on our daily walk. We crossed to the other side of the street (using the crosswalk, of course), and I see this Man walking towards us, strolling around his baby, doing the one-handed, side-step thing.

I’m sure all of you know what I am talking about:
You know-pushing the stroller with baby inside using just one muscular, manly hand while walking to the side of it.

Why is it that men have to do the one-handed stroller thing?

What is this?!

I just don’t understand.

Would your ‘manlihood’ be somehow diminished if you took to the stroller with both hands? Is it some form of ‘detachment parenting’? Or a purely unconscious action in not being able to accept responsibility of the child? What?

Not all men do this, but I’ve seen enough of it to get me thinking about this subject.

Just thinking out loud….

Friday, July 28, 2006

Breastfeeding in PUBLIC?!?!!? And on The Cover of a MAGAZINE?????!!!!

Okay. So I saw this here article on CNN today. It was also mentioned in the mamasays newsgroup.

"I was shocked to see a giant breast on the cover of your magazine." One says.

You must be equally shocked, then, to see your own breast while nursing your own child.

In truth, this whole 'uproar' doesn't surprise me at all. We are 'talking' about BabyTalk magazine here. It is very mainstream. You are more likely to find that in most doctor's offices than Mothering, where you see breastfeeding babes all over the place, unabashedly.

"A breast is a breast. It's a sexual thing." One Texan woman says.

Hey, I didn't know they were just sexual!!!

The editor of BabyTalk made a comment that strikes to the core of it all:
"There's a huge Puritanical streak in America..."

If that ain't the truth, I don't know what is.

Anyone else care to respond??? An open invitation......

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Articles and Posts of Note #3

Mom-101: Eat It, Sears: Getting your bed back!!! Hurrah!!

Finslippy: And here I thought the suburbs were boring
Crazy babysitters on the loose.

False 45th: Performance Art Update
Not Mama-oriented whatsoever. But. Check out the 'mysterious one' at the Farmers Market in Montpelier. This was, by far, way better than last weekend's costume.

Anagram Server: This is awesome. Have fun.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Time Check

There was a time when I saw with clarity to the fathomless bottom of deep pools. Every drop of water was charged with meaning and intention. I found my way with ease to the very core of these dark watery places and swam and sat and listened and rode on the power of my breath until I surfaced with all of the messages I had received. My fingers strung beads or passed over the cards or pulled back from the flickering flame and I understood. I passed in and out and between. This was a time out of time. Moments flowed together seamlessly. These were my foundation.

Now I wake up and step in cat shit. I scowl at inanimate objects strewn around my home. I am hoarse with repetion of the same pleas, directions, imperatives and expletives.

Have mercy on the mama having her Saturn Return....

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Articles and Posts of Note #2

Motherhood Uncensored on The Whole Mom: Essay, Having It All.

The Hardships of Being A Mom To A Special Needs Child, on The Whole Mom

This post on The Shape of a Mother made me nearly bawl my eyes out. Wishing much support and love to you.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Music For A Child

I’ve been on a major Santana kick lately. It’s all I listen to-aside from the soundtrack of Mary Poppins and The Wizard of Oz that have been running through my head. Maybe it’s that African-Latino sound that grabs my ear every so often, resulting in non-stop Santana binges.

It’s all the old stuff: Moonflower, Live at the Fillmore-’68, Abraxas, the third album (Toussaint L’Overture: amazing!), Shango. I listen to the somewhat new one as well: Supernatural. It’s the earlier stuff that makes me want to move, though. Those rhythms are so raw; they could give you shivers all through your body. How could you not dance to something like this?

The girl digs it too: she gets down with her funky dance. I have no idea where it came from.
She looks like some Voodoo Goddess channeling her ancestors. Given her ancestry, she might just be.

Santana was a big influence throughout my childhood. It was always playing, along with Jethro Tull, Elton John, Fleetwood Mac, The Guess Who and Heart among many others.
I have a very vivid memory of my father playing Shango on the record player (you know, when records were still pretty much in the mainstream). I’d dance only as a kid could: with crazy abandon, and sing. Oh yes. Belting it out only as a kid can: really loud and slightly off-key. In the center of that record was the likeness of ‘Shango’. I’d watch this Shango spinning round and round the incantations of music on the record player. Damn it was scary as a kid! Powerful, though: I could never stop looking at it. I can still see it in my head. Perhaps it has become a little distorted in my memory stores over the years. I don’t have the album and I can’t seem to find a picture of it. I bet if I look at it today, I’d say: That’s not so scary…who knows.

Too bad when the CD came out, there wasn’t any room for the Great Shango. You wouldn’t have even known he was part of the album, spinning and spinning, unless you knew of the record.

With all that said, I wonder sometimes how what kind of music I listen to (among other things) will influence my girl, what sort of memories the music will create for her.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Putting Myself On Boyfriend Probation

Around the time the girl turned 22 months, somebody said to me:

“I’m so glad you put yourself on boyfriend probation.”

I thought about this for a minute. It never really occurred to me that I have, but now that I think of it, I guess that’s exactly what happened. I must have made the decision somewhat unconsciously, shortly after my latest ex and I broke it off.

I will admit I haven’t had the best track record: druggies (not too hard core, but enough), alcoholics, Lunatics, born-again Christians, the ‘I found God’ types; although, those last two happened after we broke up, strangely enough. Let’s not forget the one with obsessive control issues.

Yes, I was in a-um-strange place myself at that time.

Shortly after I became pregnant, I had a wake-up call, a realization (that seems such a mild word-a thundercrack to the skull, maybe) that, looking back on it, seems so obvious, so simple: I cannot live my life as I once did. This became even more apparent once the girl actually squirmed herself into this world and my own.

No more could I stay out all night as I once did. No more could I drink myself stupid (while having obscene amounts of fun, of course). And-no more unbalanced men, as well as men in the ‘relationship’ area.

There is a whole other life I am responsible for. I came to the conclusion that there wasn’t room for these types of men in my life-and my daughter’s. I want her to feel safe, and loved. I want to be able to respect myself and my daughter enough to not get involved in the sort of chaos I once knew.

And, I do respect both of us enough, so much so that I put myself on Boyfriend Probation. Now whether that was conscious or unconscious, or some sort of survival mechanism, that’s another story.

Maybe someday I will meet a nice fellow that’s not into drugs or absolutely, legitimately crazy, but for now, I am very much content with being on Boyfriend Probation.

Monday, July 17, 2006

It's Hotter Than....(fill in the blank)

We haven't left the house in three days (mostly), due to the fact that it's been around 90 degrees . We've been deeply ensconsed within the fabulous air-conditioning, getting high off the fumes-just kidding.

The air is only in the bedroom, though, so The Girl has been running around in her diaper when we are not in the room. I've been trying to fill the day with activities to keep The Girl busy: reading books, Legos, COLORS (as she calls them)-crayons, coloring books, markers, notebooks to fill with Colors) and yes, movies.

Hey-I'm not going outdoors unless I absolutely have to. Even then, it's most likely to be when the sun has gone down.

One such occurrence came up, in the 'absolutely' department: Yesterday, I had to go to the grocery store. But that was it. We walk everywhere, so by the time we got halfway to the store (only a block and a half, if that) I had already abandoned the thought of a double iced Latte, however tasty it seemed.

We needed to get back to the Ice Cave, a.k.a. The House, pronto.

And you know, it's probably only going to get worse-the way global warming is going, among other things.
The maple sugaring buisness in Vermont has been ever so slowly moving North these past years, into Canada.

All I have to say is, it better rain soon.

Check this site out Now!

For anybody who is a Mother (in any way, shape or form)

You MUST check out this site:

The Shape of a Mother

Monday, July 10, 2006


It will be 2 years-on July 22-that my very pregnant belly was cast.

In the dead heat of summer, I patiently sat in my mother’s living room on a chair (not the most comfortable, but what is when you’re 9 months pregnant?), legs propped up on another chair, as my mother and Linda took turns in covering my torso with strips of casting. There was no air-conditioning, only box fans, window fans and the ceiling fan were going. Yeah, it was hot.

And, yes, there are pictures.

As the crust hardened and separated from my body, I could feel my baby girl rolling around inside-she was a very active tumbler from day one-and the beginnings of the Braxton-Hicks contractions, very slight, not close enough to go to the hospital by far, but still-there they were.

A very small baby shower (with only about 4 people) was held the same day. I was so glad (in retrospect and at the time) for the private atmosphere this provided. I imagine if it had been with the rest of my family (you know, all of them), it would have been a situation of slightly controlled chaos.

Technically, she was due to come into this world on August 7, you know, any minute. Well, that day came and went, obviously. That day turned into a week and a half- almost two weeks. When she finally did make her first appearance, I, of course, was in love. To be honest, I don’t even remember anybody else in the room except my daughter and I for at least the first half hour.

The cast from that day holds many different memories, some light, some dark:

I look at my now two year old daughter (where did the time go???) bouncing around, climbing on tables and then to the cast, back again, and think: dear god-this bouncing girl grew inside my body. Of course, awe strikes me dumb and all I can do is smile (after I tell her to get down off the table, three times). Who knew you could love someone this much?

I think about how I thought the situation I was in before and while I was pregnant was okay when, really, it was not. And, more accurately, I realized it was not okay and didn’t do anything about it till the last minute.

And, every once in awhile, I think about Rose C. She was there at the baby shower that day, looking fresh and pink-cheeked with her news, so overjoyed and positively glowing.

I picked up the Sunday paper a few days later and saw an article about a ‘Worcester woman dies in car crash’. I didn’t read it-only skimmed through the paper-, but I had this very distinct feeling that would not go away, knowing it was her.

With a phone call that strange space between life and death tightened for one spare moment and all I could think of was Life: hers, mine, the one growing inside of me, in her.

The cast now hangs on my wall, a blank canvas still, a symbol of all these things, of a difficult yet insanely blissful time in my life.

I have not been able, for one reason or the other, to give it any color or decoration. I wonder if it is because it already holds so many things, events, feelings,-still fresh in mind- that there is no need to decorate it at this point.

Still, it certainly deserves some kind of adornment. I feel something should be done with it, but I know not what.

Mothers Movement Online Articles

Two articles from Mothers Movement Online:

"Time To Kiss The 'Mommy Wars' Goodbye"
-Tracy Thompson
Maternally Challenged-her blog
Her official site

"Everybody Hates Linda" (Hirshman)
-Judith Stadtman Tucker

An Excerpt of Linda's thoughts:

"..women bear greater responsibility for closing the gender gap at the office and at home; remaining barriers to women's success in public life are mostly of their own making; business and government have no incentive to relieve economic and time pressures on working families; and the quickest fix for the women's leadership problem is training young women to make more strategic choices about education, careers and childbearing"

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Things We Notice Once We Become Parents

Things We Notice Once We Become Parents: Mary Poppins and The Wizard of Oz

Recently, my daughter has discovered Mary Poppins (‘pop’ as she calls it) and The Wizard of Oz.

It has, very literally, been years since I’ve seen either one. They were both iconic to my childhood. I was very nearly rabid about both of these classics, demanding to watch them over and over and over, driving my mother mad, no doubt; just adding two more entire movies to the soundtrack in her head. She could probably recite the two movies without any prompting these days for as much as I watched them.

In watching these standards with my daughter,-yes, we see a lot of movies, but we don’t have TV/cable, so it doesn’t seem as evil. Is that bad?- I am seeing things anew in both movies: the little details, dialogue becoming quite clear to my adult ear, rather than rushing through my child ear, picking out the rhythms to the songs, and random words like Supercalifragilisticexpealidocious (did I spell that right?). Having realizations such as ‘So that’s what they were saying all this time…’ and nodding my head in thoughtful comprehension. As well as the old question: So what is Mary Poppins? Is she a witch? And-what exactly is Mary and Bert’s relationship? How did they meet?!

There is one particular scene in The Wizard of Oz that really irked me this time around. Towards the end, when she is about to go home, Glinda the Good Witch asks Dorothy what she has learned. She replies with: "…If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own back yard. Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with.”

Okay. I understand ‘home is where the heart is’, and I do believe in family ties, keeping close to one’s family. Still, I found myself becoming increasingly annoyed at these last lines Dorothy speaks. I also understand that this was filmed in 1939 and the first book in the series was written in 1900. Women had acquired the right to vote barely 20 years when the movie was made. They (We) were still expected to be docile creatures and stay at home, tending the kids and hearth. God forbid if you should have an adventure outside of the home. Yeah- can’t have nice girls going on awesome, dream-like adventures (drug-induced, perhaps? Come on-Snow??? Poppies??? Who could forget the 'crazy coincidence' of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon following the course of the movie? Hopefully, you figured this one out before you were intitiated into the world of parental bliss...). Oh nooo, can’t have that: Be a good girl and stay home, after all, there’s no place like it.

Despite all of this, I find it hard to dislike either movie. These are things I have noticed since becoming a mother. It won’t make me stop watching. Besides, what child doesn’t like Mary Poppins or The Wizard of Oz? I’d be hard pressed to find one such child.

Check out the original Movie Script

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Future Puzzle

I think it started with the (stuffed animal) dog hanging from a single wire. No, it was before that when my endurance and sanity were sapped by my period, nine days of torrential floodng culminating in utter parchedness and a feelingof complete imbalance. Follow with atimely chaser of stomach flu and theeeeeeeennn- action! The single wire!

Suspended from the Japanese maple in the front yard, on a length of rough twine, Sophia's dear companion (stuffed!) puppy Myrtle perfoms feats of grace and daring on a single wire. A la Circus Smirkus she dangles at just the right height for Sophia to grab her and swing her round and round the yard like a tetherball. As with everything this must be executed in a very particular fashion. Stand in front of the lilacs and send Myrtle sweeping at top speed toward the porch. And for awhile this continued happily until the afternoon I came back from work to find Sophia had sustained injury from the heavy porcelian teapot she had apparently fit as a helmet to Myrtle's head. As Myrtle has returned to the stage from the audience after a celestial spiral of wonder, Sophia got cracked full on in the face with the teapot.

That was the day of three different head injuries. That was the very day that she began to respond to accidents by insisting they did not happen. If she takes a spill and I ask how she is she refuses to admit to the fall saying she is unhurt and nothing happened. About a month later this pattern is still going on. A witchy mama I have tried every approach to correcting this scary line of thinking and have had no success. Evidently, when my husband reponded to her teapot accident she must have heard anger in his voice (instead of the fear and concern) and said she was “Great” and she “did not get hit with a teapot.” Every mishap since (and there have been an unusually high number of them- refer to spider bite post) has been met with this same behavior. This scares the hell out of me. We are trying to reinforce that when she is hurt she must reach out and listen to her body's message. We have taken every damn line I can think of and no change. And so it am reminded of the intricasies of perception.

I received messages as a child that I was the go-to-girl. I had to hold everyone up with my preternaturraly high level of competence in the adult sphere. In the fifth grade I was pulled out of my classroom several times aweek to cover for the school secretary. Literally, I was removed from lessons to run the office in her absence. This meant dealing with phone calls, using the intercom to contact teachers and dismiss children when parents arrived. I had to do the bells for some lunches. I was eleven years old. This was the year that my teacher put me in charge of creating a dance curriculum to present to my classroom once a week for a month in lieu of gym class. I could go on...

Clearly I was socialized as the little mother and problem solver and everyone.s big sister. I am still trying to sort this out on a daily basis. It is one thing to reflect on your experince as a child and try to trace the roots of behaviors and beliefs. It is quite another to watch it LIVE if you will as THE mother.

In this case I see that an erroneous perception has caused Sophia to react in a not so good way when injured/sick. We are staying on top of it and trying to gently bring her around to admiting she did tumble or does need help. It is so unspeakably strange to be on this side of it all. To be on this fluid, tenuous, dynamic side of the creation of a self. To watch all of this. To be a part of a future puzzle.