Tuesday, April 30, 2013

maeve as a boy and slight paralysis

Last night I had a dream for at least the second time, that while I was changing Maeve's diaper, I realized she was a boy -- how had I missed that this whole time??  At least she was still a baby so announcing that she was a boy wouldn't be that bad, though it was strange I'd been putting her (him) in dresses all this time.  I'd have to give away all her clothes and change her name.  I was sad about losing the name.  In my dream, I kept looking at Eden thinking, this is my only daughter, and Silas has a brother now.  I think we were going to rename him Henry Gray and ask Eden if she wanted "Maeve" to become part of her name...

Some part of my subconscious must still be trying to absorb the fact that this third child is here and staying, and that, somehow, I do have daughterS.  Traveling alone with Maeve this weekend punctuated her mystery -- who is this tiny stranger?

Today is rainy.  The house is dark inside and the new-green on the trees through the windows looks almost yellow, glowing.

There is a mountain of unfolded laundry on the floor of Eden's room where Ben stashed it this weekend.  Usually I put it on our bed as a challenge/reminder to fold it before we sleep, though what we actually do is shove it on the floor, climb into bed, put it back on the bed in the morning, shove it off again at night etc. for a few days.  And though the house is quiet and it would be a good time to begin to create order, I can't bring myself to walk in there.  Or to turn on the light.  Or to unpack my suitcase.  So I'm sitting on the bed in half-light thinking about Maeve the baby who is, indeed, a girl, and wondering who in the world she'll become.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

soft boiled egg and spinach on toast

Maeve and I just returned from a weekend in California.  Glory.  And exhaustion.  Sweet, happy exhaustion.

I have made this recipe at least four times in the last couple of weeks and have eaten it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, both with and without children, both alone and with company.  So easy.  So delicious.  Thank you Smitten Kitchen.  I definitely recommend.

A few quick notes: I apparently am not a careful reader and never added cream to my spinach.  I also cooked the shallots and spinach together rather than separately as she mentions, and it worked.  I sometimes have forgotten the mustard and have eaten it both with and without crumbled cheese -- good all ways.

from Smitten Kitchen:

Spinach and Smashed Egg Toast
1 large egg
1 slice of your favorite hearty bread
2 ounces baby spinach
1 pat butter
1 tablespoon minced shallot or white onion
1 tablespoon heavy cream
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon smooth Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon crumbled cheese, such as goat cheese or feta
Bring small pot of water to boil. Lower egg into it and boil for five (for a runnier egg, as seen in top photo) to six (for a less-runny but still loose egg, as seen in bottom two photos) minutes.* Rinse egg briefly under cool water and set aside.
Wash your spinach but no need to dry it. Put a small puddle of water in the bottom of a skillet and heat it over medium-high. Once the water is simmering, add the spinach and cook it until it is just wilted, and not a moment longer. Transfer it to a colander and press as much of the excess water out with the back of a fork as possible. No need to wring it out here; we’re hoping to those lovely wilted leaves intact. Keep that fork; you’ll use it again in a moment.
Put your bread in to toast.
Dry your skillet if it is still wet. Heat a pat of butter in it over medium-low heat. Add shallots and cook them for a few minutes, until translucent and a little sweet. Return spinach to skillet and add cream. Simmer them together for one minute, then season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Put your toast on your plate and spread it thinly with Dijon mustard. Heap the spinach-and-shallot mixture on top, then add the crumbled cheese. Peel your egg; doing so under running water can make this easier. Once peeled, place it on your spinach toast, smash it open with the back of that fork you used a minute ago, and sprinkle it with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Eat immediately.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


We are standing outside.  Silas, with his long skinny legs and knobbed knees, walks off the bus and throws his arms around my waist.  Maeve sits on my shoulders, my hands around her small warm body, balancing her there.  The afternoon's become overcast, a scrim of clouds suggesting rain and stirring a breeze.  Eden and I walk barefoot on the warm concrete.  She stops, kneels down to the grass and digs -- "Look, Mom!  A grub!" She holds up a dirt-smudged C on her palm.

The neighbor across the street waters his thick damp grass and smiles at us.  He raised his girls in that house and now they are grown.  How quickly, it seems, we may be standing in our yard outside an empty house, watching the young family who's moved in across the street walk down the sidewalk chattering, a pack of elbows and backpacks, dragging jackets as they go.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Spring Night (outside)

I've resorted to escapism.  The day passed smoothly, the weather unexpectedly beautiful, daffodils, tulips, dogwoods, red buds, tulip poplars all bright, SUN, towering trees leaving out -- the thaw made life!

But tonight, after being dragged all over creation today, Maeve will not sleep.  She's sweaty and screaming in her bed still now after an hour and a half.  I've rocked her, given her a pacifier, burped her, held her, sang (which seems to make her mad) -- nothing.  And, of course, it's contagious.  Silas is whining "moooommmmmy" from his bed.  Poor Ben is fevered in another bed (but fortunately not yelling). Eden is coughing from her corner.  So with no where to go, I am now sitting outside on the front stoop listening to some squeaking creature in branches above me -- squirrels? bats? (though they sadly are struck with disease) -- something I cannot see.  The sky is still a bright whitish-blue but the earth has dimmed and my computer screen is glowing.  I have a glass of wine and of water, a sweatshirt and couch pillow, a journal and volume of poetry.  Tomorrow I'm supposed to send a friend work.  It will be the first poem I've exchanged for *ages* and so far I have nothing to give.  So, I suppose, it is time to turn my attention there.  Cheers to an outside warm enough to sit in, to chirping settling sounds of night, to the sleep that is bound to come.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

my Maeve

Last night Maeve howled in her bed.  Finally I caved, and as I slipped into her room, she looked at me with wild expectant eyes -- she knows me.  I picked her up and carried her around her small room.  Then we sat.  I wondered if her stomach hurt and thumped my palm against her back as she lay across me.  She is longer than the chair is wide now, much longer.  

The baby whose chin I cradled between my thumb and finger as her little body slumped against my palm in a soft curve -- she has grown by.  The baby whom I could scoop into my bed and tuck under my arm to sleep for three more hours, looks for me, thumps her legs, wriggles north in her crib til her head is tucked in the corner, and cries hard when I close her door.  

Oh, babies.  Change, we know, sears us.  But what about growth?  The expansiveness of its nature, the health of it, the movement into depth or independence it requires, the way it transforms -- it is change, and its very goodness hurts.