Thursday, October 30, 2014


I just wrote my 600th blog entry.  Thank you for reading -- whether you're here for the first time or have read for years; it's nice to journey together, either way.

I'd love to do a little drawing and send a thank you package to two of you.  It will be a surprise package of some of my favorite things and should be good.  If you want to be in the running (please be in the running!) jot a little comment below anytime between now and Thanksgiving!  I will pick names on Thanksgiving day.

Thanks, again.  XXO


November 28


thank you!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Shaken Baby Syndrome

When you first have a baby, some of the literature thrust into your hands – from the hospital, the pediatrician, fliers in the mail, books – warns you about "shaken baby syndrome": when a mother loses her mind because of an inconsolable screaming baby and shakes that baby out of pure desperation, damaging her.  Why this has the privilege of being called "a syndrome" rather then "an incident," I do not know.  In any event, the advice offered in said literature is to put the baby down some place safe and leave the room. 

This morning our house was in danger of shaken toddler syndrome, shaken mother syndrome, the whole house shaking syndrome.  

I've decided that though Maeve looks like a sweet dimpled little girl, she is in fact one of those cartoon babies with evil eyebrows, plotting her next move as we go.  She eyes the folded laundry, eyebrows raise, and just as I stand up, she unfolds the entire pile in one fell swoop.  Yesterday, I noticed she was no longer sitting at the table with a bowl of yogurt. After looking around for a minute or two (no answers to my calls), I found her silently sitting on the closed toilet seat in her underpants, hands coated with yogurt like gloves, smearing fingers all over the face of my phone, she'd stolen.

This morning the impulses of the evil eyebrows were more subtle: she woke me up at 5 AM crying but fell back to sleep.  After tossing and turning, I finally slipped downstairs at 5:25, closed myself into the kitchen, and settled on the floor with my laptop, kettle boiling, to work on a poem. At 5:44 who should scream awake again but Maeve, evil eyebrows arching, some sixth sense radar-ing my movement in the house.  Down she came, and my silence, naturally, abruptly ended.  It wasn't just that intrusion, though, it was the screaming and complaining, the constant clinging to the leg, the constant refusal of anyone else's comfort or hands or help, that ensued for the following THREE hours that pushed me back to those early days, to the edge where every fiber of the body is bent toward wanting to shake the baby.

I did put her in her bed and leave the room.

Now, at 9:47, the small eyebrowed one has sabotaged the 9:30 yoga class with little-boy-who-cries-wolf potty hollers, a skinned knee, and a terrible attitude.  We sit in the car in tense silence, where perhaps this small wonder is wondering whether she over did it this time, and her mother offers no answer, just grips the steering wheel in an effort to keep her hands to herself. 

Monday, October 06, 2014

Fall Love

Today is chilly and damp.  A woman I just met at the library called it "daydream weather."  I would have called it something more like "dreary," so I am trying on her perspective, daydream weather...

I've spent much of many days sitting on the bathroom floor reading books to Maeve, who's learning to use the potty.  Try as I might to get out the door to Trader Joe's, the potty trumps, and we, again, settle into the bathroom while I force myself to read Maisy goes on Vacation five more times.  When we finally enter Trader Joe's, she asks for the bathroom  -- in the very back of the store --  so we go, navigating the disgustingness of the public bathroom, and she goes a tiny drop.  Then we schlep back up front to the dairy aisle where I begin to stack yogurts in the cart when she urgently announces she has to go again, so back we go, to the far corner of the store, and wait in the blue bathroom, 15 minutes down, the list still pretty much untouched, while she sits and sits and never goes.  This is potty training --  lots of wet undies, much inefficiency.

But I like it.  I like it because underlying all the laundry and toilet seats are days of rare undividedness: I stare at her; I stay with her; I talk to her as she plucks the illustrated cats and bunnies from the pages of books we're reading and lays them down to sleep on the footstool.  I'm taken with her smallness, her little legs and feet that hang off the seat, her dainty shoulders and arms, the way she looks at me out of the corner of her eyes and blooms into smile when she hears her own success.

Today she's napping early, knocked out by her own efforts.  So I am here, bundled in a sweater, drinking tea, and watching the oak leaves fidget in the breeze.  We are all cartwheeling into a new season together.  The dogwood's reddened leaves sway.

Right at the edge of October, the sting of our morning separations quieted, too.  Eden's found that it's easier to leave than be left, so she kisses me in the living room and runs up to the bus stop just with Silas.  There are still a few mornings when I see one of them through the dark bus window pressed up against the glass, forehead and palms, looking like some Disney animal being dragged off to the pound, but thankfully these are fewer and farther between.

I was listening to a friend yesterday talk about how she can just look at her kids and ache through to the bone, cry even, because love is that devastating, that deep.

Sometimes I try to protect myself from being conscious of that kind of love, from feeling it, because it punctures clean through.  It hurts.  It's easier to talk about pee on the rug than how she stands at the marker board coloring dots and wiggling her hips to the music.  It's easier to tell the story of running through the house with an almost-peeing child hanging on to my body than to tell how I found "I love you love Eden" scrawled in 1st grade handwriting on a blank page of my journal.

But in fall, there's no hiding.  The leaves changing before the eyes to fire shades, the wind blowing clean but tinged with earth and decay, the "daydream weather" and golden sun edging each leaf, pouring over us all; the searing beauty makes us raw-aware: it makes us love.

The notion's kind of romantic, I know, and smacked into a day littered with a pushy morning trying to get out the door, collisions with wills and too-short shoe laces, tears and sharp two-year-old shrieks.  I even locked myself in a closet earlier to escape from the yelling.  But nonetheless, it's here, fall, exposing how deeply we love that which quickly changes.