Thursday, January 29, 2009

the healing time

The Healing Time

Finally on my way to yes
I bump into
all the places
where I said no
to my life
all the untended wounds
the red and purple scars
those hieroglyphics of pain
carved into my skin, my bones,
those coded messages
that send me down
the wrong street
again and again
where I find them
the old wounds
the old misdirections
and I lift them
one by one
close to my heart
and I say holy

~Pesha Gertler

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Tigger Couch

This was Caleb at 9 pm this evening, 30 minutes past his bedtime. This is what happens when you coop up a two year-old in the house for five days straight. He wants to take the pillows off the furniture and bounce like "Tiggy" until he's coughing and gagging.

Man, I love that kid.

Why, you might ask, have I held my child hostage indoors for such a length of time? Because I am conducting an experiment to see how long it will take me to become bald. From tearing out my hair.

It's this damn cold. The green-snot-wet-cough cold we've all got. Oh, and this damn cold. Holy witch's tittie, Batman. Every time I've tried to take Caleb out in the backyard to blow off steam--Caleb, my child who could be a superhero named Impervious--we're out there for about ninety seconds, then he looks at me like, "Seriously? Seriously?" and goes back in the house. And then I'm like, "Thank Gah..."

Who needs the Great Outdoors when you've got a perfectly good couch for bouncin'?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

What do I know?

So I bought these flashcards just before Tavish was born at the dollar store. Tavish wasn't born at the dollar store. I don't feel like doing the mental acrobatics to fix that sentence (And yes, it would be mental acrobatics. Please don't make fun of me; I've had about 14 hours of sleep in the last 2 years.).

But then I decided not to give Caleb the cards yet, since he didn't seem remotely interested in the alphabet, except to listen (or not) whenever I would sing it, which isn't often. Fast forward three months. We're sitting in the living room this morning, Sesame Street is on t.v., but I've turned the volume off because, although it wasn't even 9 a.m., I was already on sensory overload. But that's a whole different post.

So the show has an animated segment on the alphabet--each letter comes onto the screen solo, accompanied by objects that start with that letter. You know the drill. Well, I'm on the phone with my friend who just had a baby and out. of. nowhere. Caleb starts saying each letter as it comes onto the screen. So immune I was to my toddler's incessant babbling, I tuned him out until he was right in my face, saying, "T! U! V! W!..." as each letter appeared on the t.v. And then it hit me. The child knows the. whole. freakin. alphabet. I about dropped the phone.

Um...ok. I feel like, well...a dumbass. Where have I been?! How did this happen? If I hadn't been so proud, I might have said, "WHERE DID YOU LEARN THAT?" the way *some* moms do when their kid drops an F-bomb.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

lighting the birth candle

"Will it hurt ?" she asks me over the phone today, 4 centimeters dilated.

She will probably have her baby girl tonight--her fourth baby, but in so many ways, her first. The first time with a midwife, the first time going into labor on her own, the first time wholeheartedly embracing natural childbith, the first baby after a C-section.

"Um...yes," I tell her, "It will hurt."

"But you can totally handle it," I say, "and you will."

"I hope so..." she says.

I know there is nothing I or anyone can tell her that will prepare her for what is to come. The plunge into the deep of labor is, in so many ways, a solitary one. No one can convey exactly what it will be like. No one can labor for you. No one can push your baby out. It is an age old truth that is terrifying. Yet, it is a truth that can set a woman free.

I want this freedom for her. Two years ago I watched her walk headlong into the snare of modern American obstetrics, and have her heart completely shattered over an unnecessary C-section. I watched her slowly, slowly put together the pieces. I watched her bloom again with child, and for perhaps the first time, truly take ownership of and responsibility for her birth. And now she is on the cusp of taking firm hold of her birthright--every mother's birthright--to give birth on her own terms. I watch on in amazement.

After I get off the phone with her, I light a candle, just as I promised her. I call women in our tribe, ask them to light their candles. We are holding a joyful vigil tonight for safe passage, for freedom . We are women who have gone to the depths of labor pain and come to the surface triumphant, knowing a singular, revolutionary truth: "If I can do this, I can do anything." We hold out hope that tonight our friend will come to know this truth, too.

Just as I light the candle, my two year old comes in the room.

"Birthday?" he asks.

"Yes, Buddy, it is a birthday candle. Shall we sing Happy Birthday to Ms. J's baby?"

"Yes," he says with his signature toddler lisp.

And we sing Happy Birthday and blow out the candle. We're having so much fun, we do it seven more times.

Monday, January 12, 2009


Caleb talking to a piece of broccoli he had placed on top of his sippy cup, just moments before he flicked it onto the floor:

"Keefow, baki. Fa daow...owie!"

(Translation: "Be careful, broccoli. If you fall down, it will be owie!")

jiggy christmas

Well, Caleb hasn't quite gotten with the capatalist surge toward Valentine's Day. I think the child is living in a perpetual state of Christmas-ness (Well, a lot of our neighbors DO still have their lights up...)

I had no idea he knew any Christmas carols. The other day we were walking through Carytown and he spontaneously started singing, "Jiggy Balls, Jiggy Balls, jiggy all the way..."

Yeah! Now THAT'S the kinda Christmas I'm talkin' about!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

grocery store therapy

Today I took the boys to Whole Foods. I don’t shop there much. It’s all the way across town and expensive. But today I needed a little grocery store therapy. My heart felt very tired and I guess I needed a pick-me-up.

There is a silence in me these days—the kind of silence that comes when there’s an area of my life in serious un-balance, but it’s not quite time to right it. It’s time to let things settle, time to carefully, slowly choose the next step. Time to rest in the in-between. Which can be such an uncomfortable place. Which is why I needed a chocolate croissant. And about eighty-eight dollars worth of other comforting food items.

The boys were a dream in the store. The baby slept in the sling and Caleb sat in the cart and protested only once, when it was taking me an excruciatingly long time to select salad dressing. I settled on a Thai ginger lime vinaigrette. It sounded so good I almost wanted to drink it.

I made my way leisurely. Two Satsuma tangerines. Two Honeycrisp apples. Six Shitake mushrooms. A not-yet-in-bloom purple hyacinth. I was trying to forget the sadness in my chest.
“Owie?Owie?Owie?Owie?Owie?Owie?” Caleb asked, as we passed a couple dozen cacti for sale. “Yes, Buddy. Owie…” I said quietly, repeatedly, distractedly.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Tavish, just days old

My dark-haired prince,
you have
the cutest dimpled chin.
And the ripe berry of your mouth
hangs so delicately, deliciously
open when you sleep.
Your eyes flutter as if winged,
the poem of your tiny hand unfurls and
I am taken, never so taken.

These are the good ol' days

We took down the Christmas tree yesterday, and while I was happy to take it to its final resting place next to the trashcans in the alley, I was a little misty-eyed when my husband put these ornaments away. These ornaments are the kinds of things that just warm my sorta corny, sorta sweet Chicken Soup for the Soul heart. I hope I have them forever. I hope when I am an old lady I get to sit in the dark soaking in the sight of the lighted tree, my babies' handprints and footprints all through the branches.

I loved making these ornaments with my friend, Gina, without whom I probably wouldn't have them. It's always nice when you suggest to a friend that you get your kids together to make a craft and then that friend basically ends up doing all the work (the next one's on me, Gina, I promise!).

Activities like making no-brainer ornaments make me remember that it is indeed true when people say having a second kid makes everything exponentially more complicated. You wouldn't think mixing some flour, salt, water and food coloring together, then smushing it into a pancake into which you press a kid's hand or a baby's foot would be that big of a deal. Or an all day affair. Until you take into consideration that I had an easier time with Calculus than I do figuring out how to get a few minutes to myself in the bathroom some days.

Yet, somehow, when you get a gaggle of kids together in a room with a couple of moms, amazing things can transpire. Like actually taking a task from beginning to end on the same day. And capturing the tiny foot of a baby and a hand of a boy who, though they seem they'll be little forever and I'll never get a damn thing done as long as I live, will be grown and out of the house all too soon, leaving me with plenty of time on my hands to recall--and miss--the good ol' days.