Category Archives: Mom

The Murraying Kind

I don’t think this is my daughter’s first time around.

Although she’s only 3 in this life, I’m pretty sure she’s had a crack or two at this planet, previously.

If I had to guess when her last life here on Earth took place?  I’ d say somewhere in the 1950s.

Because she has the soul of the Perfect Housewife.

She’s been able to crack eggs, one-handed with no shell bits in the bowl, since she was one and a half.  Last year, she asked for her own vacuum cleaner. (I didn’t think she was serious.  She was.)  Her grandmother called me while The Girl was at her house, asking when we’d baked pies.   I laughed out loud.  (We don’t make pies, we buy them.)  She went on to explain that The Girl was using an old-fashioned, crank-handled apple peeler.

(Image from here.)

With no help.  And no instructions.

I had no explanation.

The Girl is never without a baby doll, who she is potty training and diapering and burping, and no she can’t just leave them and come have lunch because she is responsible for them, duh.

And when she’s not taking care of her babies, or cooking, or cleaning,

she’s playing Marrying.  (Which, in her own particular dialect, comes out sounding more like “Murraying”.)

I do not understand.

I have never, ever pitched marriage to her as a plan.  I’m not against marriage, per se.  I just don’t see it as a destination.  But I think she does.

She finds weddings fascinating.

She marries everything to everything else.

Barbie & Ken get married.

Her spoon and her fork get married.

When left with nothing else, she’ll even marry crayons.  (Can you imagine Blue talking about the wedding night to his blushing bride, Red? “Oh, I am gonna color you so hard.  You won’t be able to tell where the Blue starts and the Red ends.  When we get done there’s just gonna be a big puddle of purple left, you dig?  Aw, yeaaah!”  Anyway…)

We had a moment, tonight.  To be by ourselves and talk.

I asked her why she wanted to get married.

She just smiled.

I asked how old she thought she should be, when the deal goes down.

“How old were you?”

I told her I was 23, and that was too young.  She nodded, agreed.

“Are you going to marry a man or a woman?”

She laughs, looks at me like I’m slow.  She will marry a boy, she says, because she will want to have babies.  I start to explain that families with 2 moms can have babies, and families with 2 dads can have….but she senses this explanation is going to be bigger than she has patience for, so she tells me she will have 2 babies.  One will be named Tito, the other Apple.  (P.S., the boy is Apple.)  And she tells me that one day Tito and Apple will have babies, and that she will be their grandma, and….

I interrupt.  “You know, you don’t just get married.  You have to be married.  And when you get married, you promise you will stay married.   For your whole life.”

She tells me she knows that, stops just short of rolling her eyes at me.

And she tells me that’s why she is going to marry a nice boy, so she will like him for her whole life.

“What would a nice boy be like?”

According to The Girl, a nice boy will kiss you on the forehead and buy you fries and pick up the babies when they cry and open the car door for you.

(Image from here.)

She’s not entirely wrong, you know.  She’s kind of got a lot of the elements figured out, already, at the age of 3.

Nearly as figured out as I did at the age of 23.

Yes Santa Claus, There is a Virginia. And She Believes, a Little.

(Image from here.)

Have I ever told you that Ginny is actually short for Virginia?

When I was a kid, Virginia seemed like a big, long name, and a neighbour suggested shortening it to Ginny, and it stuck.

There are some tough names to have this time of year.

Holly.  Carol.  Noel.

Virginia has its moments, too.

People who relentlessly remind me that “Yes, there is a Santa Claus.”  Then laugh, like they’re the first person to ever say that to me.  (Wankers.)

(If you’re not sure what the hell I’m talking about, read this explanation of the tale of Virginia and her doubts.)

As a kid, I don’t remember ever believing in Santa Claus.


My parents just never made a big swinging deal out of it, and I was an extremely logical kid.  Who snooped.  And figured it out.

So sometimes it can be hard to buy into the whole ethos.

My blog friend Mark was talking about how necessary, in the face of evil and evil-mongers, it is to remember that people are, essentially, good.

Which at this time of year, when we are supposed to be at our best, and we rarely are, it can be tough to remember.  Or even recognize the good.

But I have.

I saw the good this week, over and over.

I saw it in the homeless woman, who came to my door, hoping to earn money by shovelling my walk.  And the smile never left her face, even as my husband told her we couldn’t pay her, we don’t keep cash in the house.  Then she handed him the mail that the mailwoman had deposited in the snow leading up to my house, rather than the mail slot, giving me the Christmas card from a beloved relative that would have been lost to the elements otherwise.

I saw it in The Girl.  Who used all the wisdom and goodness in her heart to come to me at bedtime last night, unprompted, to tell me that if Santa is out of Easy Bake Ovens (an item she’s been requesting daily for two months), that it would be OK, it wouldn’t matter.

I saw it in the man who stopped traffic in a busy street, ignoring honks and rude gestures, to help a disabled man back up onto his feet, from the icy cross walk where he’d fallen into the path of oncoming cars.  And I saw it in the people who realized what was going on, and quickly banded together to make sure no traffic got through while this rescue effort took place.

The good is there.  We just have to keep looking for it.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

The Long Way

Saturday night lasted until Sunday morning.  You were at a party, best party you go to all year.  People you like, much drinking of Christmas spirits, all kinds of food (though in retrospect, you really should have eaten more of it…), and this year – tacky Christmas sweaters.

"After" (The "Before" had conspicuously placed jingle bells.)

So when you get home at 4 in the morning, reeling from red wine, wishing you’d thought to eat dinner 10 hours previous, trying to remember who pulled who’s lip piercing out of who’s tacky sweater, and still wearing your own tacky sweater,

the last thing you want to see is the father-in-law who babysat for you, still fully dressed, not having been to bed, telling you that your son has been throwing up the entire evening.  Seven times.

And as you close one eye in an attempt to hear him more clearly, it sinks in that you are a terrible, terrible mother.  Knowing there is no redemption for you right now, and that the grandfather is clearly capable, more capable than you, you pass out.

And as The Boy’s bout of stomach flu clears up, you start to feel not so shit hot yourself, and you re-evaluate your relationship with your stomach’s contents, analyzing how close you actually are to them, and if you can bear to part with them.

But there is no time for such considerations, as The Girl takes the metaphorical baton from her brother, and commences Linda-Blair-in-Exorcist style purging.  Throughout the night.  And into the morning.

And when she is done with the virus, bright-eyed and chipper and demanding once more, The Husband takes a crack at it, hosting the virus for a shift.

And then it’s Tuesday, and you’re saying to yourself, “Wait a minute, wasn’t I going to have a proper hangover, here?”

If this hangover is still happening, you’re taking the very long way around.


I avoid pregnant women.


It’s not a superstition.  I’m not afraid the condition is “catchy”.


I do it because I don’t want to ruin it for them.  I don’t trust myself not to go into visceral detail, listing off the maladies I suffered during those 10 months (9 months of pregnancy is the single greatest fallacy foisted on humankind.)  I don’t always believe I can hold my face in a way that conveys happiness, when I’m around a pregnant woman, because for me, pregnancy was the opposite of happy.  It’s not that I run screaming from pregnant women; I just don’t seek them out, and when I find myself near them, it feels vaguely wrong.


The first couple of months of my first baby’s life weren’t a whole lot sunnier.  Nothing came naturally.  The mythical “instincts” peddled to me in reference manuals failed to materialize.  Sleep deprivation drove me to a brink I hadn’t known existed.


I was pretty sure I was failing.  That was humiliating.  And so it became increasingly easier to isolate, to convince myself I was the only one going through this.  In my small (shrinking, at that time) world, I really was the only one going through it.  I eschewed the “Mom’s Groups”, became suddenly engrossed in checking my child’s diaper when I spotted other parents at parks, closed the blinds a lot.


Of course, I wasn’t the only one.  There were other moms in the city, in 2004, who were doing a lot of what I was doing.  There were moms who lived across the country, sleepless at the exact same time as me.


I just didn’t know any of them.


And even now, on the other side, knowing what I know?  I’m kind of glad I didn’t know them.


Because I would have wrecked it.


What would have come out of my mouth as my wild insecurities, would have entered their ears as judgement.  My desperation would have driven off all but the most equally desperate, creating a vortex of neediness that would have dragged us all under together.  The gravity of my situation would have led to needless comparison, one-upmanship, that would have eroded any kind of tenuous relationship I could have cobbled together.


Time, fate, life.  They did their thing.


Made me put one foot in front of the other.  Made me survive, strengthen, thrive.


Led me into a neighborhood, one whose school I never even considered in the move.


Put The Boy in a preschool class, where there were moms who smiled back, and didn’t click their tongues in disapproval at my obvious deficiencies in parenting.


Slowly gave me the confidence to talk , throw out comments just to see who would laugh, who “got it”.  Who was on my team.


The team is surprisingly big.


And nobody on the team gives a crap who breastfed, who used disposable diapers, who potty-trained their progeny by 18 months, who was a co-sleeper, a baby-wearer, an immunizer.


I still have to shake my head, to believe that over a dozen of these women, women I genuinely Like, women who are shiny and wonderful, can sit at a table, and drink, and laugh to the point of tears, and confess parenting missteps.


And know it’s OK.


If I hadn’t talked to them, tentatively smiled at them.  If I hadn’t set my heart on the stained glass in my front door, thereby (unwittingly) choosing the school The Boy would attend.  If I hadn’t failed to refill a prescription in the week that I did.



Yes.  I do know how lucky I got.



(Image is Shine on me by supermummy)

It’s a Damn Good Thing I Didn’t Know What I Didn’t Know

Contrary to popular belief, I did not go into motherhood blindly.


I’d had some experience with child-rearing.  I’d done way more than my fair share of looking after my younger siblings as a kid.  I’d watched friends of mine raise their own babies.  I knew I’d be tired.  (I had no way of knowing about the post-traumatic stress disorder-ish state that extreme lack of sleep can put you into, but I knew I’d be tired.)  I knew there’d be frustration.  I even knew there’d be sacrifice.


But what I really, really couldn’t imagine, the thing that would cause absolute horror to creep into my heart?


When I get sick, no one cares.


I am not stating it in a martyrish way.  I can’t fault anyone for it.  I’ve come to accept it as fact.


But when I get sick, I’m on my own.


No relatives to swoop in and take my kids away.  A self-employed husband, and if he’s not working, I’m not eating (Although as I sit here trying not to vomit into a wastebasket, I really don’t give a flying fence post whether I ever eat again.  But I have to believe that will change, soon).  Volunteer commitments that don’t run if I don’t show up.  And children who need me.


Man, do they need me.


They’re not inhuman little monsters, or anything.  They’re not completely without compassion.  But when I try to explain that Mommy is sick, they get an expression on their face, as if I’ve just told them that the GDP of Uruguay last year was $32 billion.


They’ve heard what I’ve said.  They’re not disputing that what I’ve told them is a fact.  They just don’t see how it’s germaine to their little lives, or how it accounts for the fact that the peanut butter sandwich they requested 2 WHOLE MINUTES AGO has not materialized.


So while I’m busy shifting paradigms to get me through this (I can leave the house a mess, I can screen my calls, and I can eat nothing but carbs because they’re the only thing that doesn’t make me want to hurl, because god dammit I am sick), maybe you should read someone else’s blog.


Because in the last little while, some people I know have written some stuff that will knock your mother lovin’ socks off (provided you’re in a part of the world experiencing sock-necessitating weather).


Kitty at The Show Must Go On wrote Patience SVP.


Mongoliangirl at The Cusp wrote The Seventeen Acres:  “Yes, but not forever.”


Rassles at Sometimes I Make Lists wrote Self-Diagnosis is Never a Good Idea.


Sulya at i am the octopus wrote this and this and this and this.  (She’s been dizzyingly proficient, lately.)


And Blues at Blues of a Waxwing rendered me speechless with The souls of everyday objects.


So while I’m having my pity party over here, go.  Go read and enjoy and comment.  I’ll be fine. 


Don’t worry about me.