Archive for the Motherhood Category

To My Daughter on Mothers Day (Sappiness ahead, consider yourself warned)

Posted in A Bit on the Dark Side, Motherhood with tags , , , , , , on May 10, 2009 by Ms. Ex

Dear Daughter,

I hope you’ll forgive me for so public a display as this.  Maybe you’ll never even see it.  If it does what I hope it will, you will instead receive a hand-written letter of apology and remorse from me.

See, I’m so used to typing, it’s hard to sit and write.  But maybe this habitual action will help me sort out what I want to say.

Seventeen years ago, I found out I was pregnant.  An accident, but not really.

The truth is, I wanted to be.  I wanted a baby.

I wanted someone to love who would love me right back.  Someone who wouldn’t leave me or hurt me the ways I’d been hurt already.  I wanted you, always.  Even before I knew.

You were born ten weeks early, so fragile and tiny, I thought I would lose you immediately.  I had no way of knowing whether you would survive.  I cried every day until you came home five weeks later.  I railed at the unfairness of never getting to experience a sense of peace about you.  I knew from the minute you were born how tenuous our hold on life is, how you didn’t really belong to me after all.

Because of who I am and what my life had been, I made bad decisions.  A lot of them.  Your father and I are both damaged people, mostly incapable of making reasonable choices for ourselves.  In order to survive, I had to leave him.

I hated the split of our lives.  You were just a baby, but I hated that I’d failed you already.  I made vows to do things better, to be a different kind of parent than mine were.  I swore I would never be the one to say you couldn’t see your dad, as long as you were safe with him.  I wanted you to know him and me for what we were.  I never spoke badly of him in front of you.

But all my hopes of being a good parent were nothing in the face of my mental illness, my irresponsibility, my dysfunction.

And now I see that no matter how much I loved you, it wasn’t enough.  I didn’t do the things that would make you feel secure in yourself.  I wasn’t well enough to model maturity and security for you.

I brought men in and out of our lives, I moved us around incessantly.  I was selfish and impatient and wouldn’t just sit and play games with you, or hang out.  I worked long hours and still didn’t do a good job of building a life or supporting you.  I indulged you out of guilt over giving you me as a mother.

And now, you are lost to me.  Not in a physical way, but I sense the distance and I feel fear about you.  I fear your anger and overwhelming emotion; I’m all too familiar with it because it mirrors my own.  My love for you is so strong it burns a hole in me.  I fear it’s too late to undo the damage I’ve done and the patterns already so ingrained in you.

Being a mother is the most wonderful awful feeling in the world.  Every action takes on vast meaning and sometimes irrevocable consequences.

But if I can start to learn how to loosen myself from this miry muck, then anyone can.

When you need to know the way, I hope you’ll still love me enough to ask.

Huckleberry Finis

Posted in Motherhood with tags , , , , , on May 9, 2009 by Ms. Ex

I am reading an elementary school version of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to my little guys lately.  I wasn’t sure if it was too early to start chapter books, especially with Ethan only four years old and a little…energetic. And easily distracted, too.

But he loves it.  I don’t know if it’s the starting fires thing or the running away, but something is holding his attention.

And try as I might to be glad that we live in modern times and life isn’t so hard for most kids, I kind of miss those days on my sons’ behalf.

Nowadays, running away generally means living on the street in some city.  Most kids don’t have the necessary skills to survive a raft trip on a river, even if they have provisions with them.  The only reason I have them is because I’m weird and like to sleep outside (and do pretty much everything outside).  I taught myself how to gut and debone a fish, how to build a fire and a shelter.  I learned about dressing a deer from books because I was interested in homesteading.

I’m willing to bet most of my readers will think I mean putting a snappy three piece suit on that deer.

I’m pretty sure I could survive for at least a little while.  It helps that I am intimately familiar with my particular ecological area.  I know what I can eat and where I might find it.

But I’m starting to think even the smaller adventures are no longer possible for our boys and girls.  I spent my middle childhood in a 100 year old neighborhood, in a house built when a hired gardener was de rigeur.  Our back yard was a wild, overgrown masterpiece with Rose of Sharon, daffodils, peonies and magnolia trees, mulberries and walnuts.  The former order of the design could still be discerned among the ivy tendrils and blackberry bramble, but there were coves and hideaways, forts and thickets.  There were pockets of wild, and my friends and I could climb and explore and never even be seen from the house.

We would sneak in the lushness of Virginia summer from back yard to back yard, unnoticed, unprotected.  We stole pale, tart cherries from a neighbors tree.  We pulled unripe figs from another’s tree to watch the milky liquid seep out.  Rocks were our seats, trees our beds.

I miss it.

I don’t want fear to keep me from allowing my children the opportunity to explore, to go places and build things from junk and make believe that their small patch of earth is a kingdom, and they the kings.

Because it is; and they are.

Who Let the Dogs Out

Posted in Motherhood, Why you should maybe rethink the whole reproducing thing with tags , , , on May 1, 2009 by Ms. Ex

Ethan, the four year old autistic one?  He sometimes acts like he’s a dog.

He flounces around on all fours, barks, and brings stuff to me in his mouth.  He even licks me, but that could just be unresolved oral issues.

I humor him, because I think it could be a useful skill at some point.  You know – “bring me my slippers, honey” or “bite that intruder!”

But now little Beckett is doing it.  He’s only 21 months, and he is so stinkin’ cute with his little puppy noises, I can’t stand it.  He crawls over to me when I sit on the floor and nuzzles his little soft head in my lap and my heart just goes goosh.  So I let him do it, too.

What I’m wondering is, am I helping solidify some kind of maladaptive means of them getting their needs met?  Is Ethan going to bite strangers like he now bites his brother and me?  Is Beckett going to be labeled a weirdo because he wants to be scratched behind the ears by his girlfriend?

These are the things that worry me as a parent.  I don’t want to end up on some National Geographic special with kids that can’t speak but only make barking sounds while bounding around the fenced-in back yard.

But I think the problem has resolved itself.  Tonight they threw cereal around on the floor and got down on their hands and knees to eat it.

And Ethan said, “Look, mom!  We’re chickens!”

This Bra Is Not My Home

Posted in Breastfeeding, Why you should maybe rethink the whole reproducing thing with tags , , on April 30, 2009 by Ms. Ex
How things work.

How things work.

A while back, I went to this legendary lady, Miss P, at J.C. Penney who measures and fits gals (my gals, in this case) for The Perfect Bra.

This mythical beast is one that doesn’t cause unsightly bulges, add inches to an already ridiculously large chest (why do they sell 40D’s with gel inserts???) or cause upward spillage.

It covers, it forgives, it loves you long time.  It costs a fortune, but you don’t care because it lifts and separates.

After Miss P is done telling you to strip and stand there all half-naked in the bad light and evil mirror of dressing room doom while she does something out there, you know not what, she returns with armloads of brassiers and proceeds to manipulate your flesh in ways I have never before experienced.  I wouldn’t necessarily call it good, either.

By this time, whatever you originally had in the self-esteem department is lying on the floor like so many bitten off hang tags.  There’s nowhere to go but up.

I did not previously realize there are instructions for putting on a bra.  Miss P applied the bra, for there is no other word quite as fitting, then pushed, pulled, stretched and jerked me into it.  This happened a multitude of times.  Did I mention Miss P is a spinster?  Interesting.

When she was finished all this manipulation, she made me demonstrate it. It’s her job to fit women, then make sure her little pets are in capable hands.  When she was assured that I had mastered this task, she loaded me up with said bra and I was on my way.

Now, I have to admit it was worth the humiliation.  They made me look different, better in my clothes, or something unidentifiable.

But I neglegted to tell her that the bra was going to be put through the rigors of a breastfeeding toddler.

The industrial strength monstrosities I ended up with are now tattered, threadbear, missing hooks.  They separate, but I’m not sure lift is still the appropriate word.  Perhaps suspend would be better.

I hoisted up the underwires so many times over the last few months that they are weak and poking out of their channels.  When little one says “milk”, the elastic tries to loosen itself.

Maybe if I wasn’t so cheap I could just buy a really, really good nursing bra.  But I’m so close to the end, I can’t bring myself to do it.

Besides, I have my sights set on something with a little more sex appeal, a little less functionality.  Maybe something a little less JM, a little more MM.

I wish.  Except for the whole overdose part.

I wish. Except for that whole overdose thing.

Finally! Scatalogical Saturday Has Arrived

Posted in Motherhood, Why you should maybe rethink the whole reproducing thing with tags , on April 24, 2009 by Ms. Ex

Some time ago, a strange gentleman, obviously not a native English speaker, was kind enough to offer to return to my blog for “Scatalogical Saturday.”

I understand he is indisposed at the moment, but perhaps they have wifi that reaches his cell.  I don’t know.

But in honor of his probable return at some future date, I bring you:  poop.

I have refrained from titling this post with that particular word, in hopes that the pervs who constantly found my “to pee or not to pee” entry will not find this one.

See, I deal in poop.  It’s the currency of motherhood, the end result of what moms do.  My little Beckett, who all day long says, “daddydaddydaddydaddy,” when asked, “Who feeds you?”  Replies, “Mahi.”  That’s what my name sounds like when emanating from a beautiful baby named after a morose playwright.

About the poop:  I am a princess!  I am not supposed to be wiping asses and shaking solids into the toilet!  This is not what Disney geared me up for with all those movies.  I mean, hell!  Even Cinderella didn’t have to touch excrement and she was a flouncing* slave!**

So today, daddy comes in with Beckett and tells me, “It’s a big one.”

*Sigh.*

I plunk him in the bathtub to strip him because there’s just no other way to handle these things.  Ethan, being the odd duck that he is, wants to see it, insists on seeing it.

“Oh my god!” he says, and runs off.

Seconds later, he returns with his camera.

“I’ve got to get this on film!”

I’m betting it will never make the Disney cut.

*Flouncing.  Come on, aren’t you tired of freaking?  And frigging is so last decade.

**I am so not a princess.  I’m not even like a baroness twice removed or anything.  I might be a courtier or even a eunuch!  Or maybe I’m getting my terms confused.  Anyway, just so you know, I accept the shit because…wait for it…it happens.

Clue Number One that Tivo has Taken Over

Posted in Motherhood, Why you should maybe rethink the whole reproducing thing with tags on April 23, 2009 by Ms. Ex

So we’re reading a bed time story last night, when Ethan decides he needs to go get something.

Me:  But I’m reading the story, and you’ll miss it.

Ethan:  JUST PAUSE IT!

Overheard at the Crib: Another Cow on the Lam

Posted in Motherhood with tags , on April 21, 2009 by Ms. Ex

Last night, I was informed that one of Grandaddy’s cows had gone to a better place.  Or not.

Ethan:  “One of Grandaddy’s cows died.  Um, I mean he went to God.  And now he’s in prison.”

Now that’s capital punishment.

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