I kept my promise to my students in my current class who asked me to journal about motherhood. The journal is ongoing. Below are more entries continuing from my last blog entry. Most of the time I journal it’s just a quick opportune moment while hanging out with the kids–the baby asleep and the big one playing.
Again, I share with you not in the hopes of advice but in the hopes of connecting and urging you to share your mommyhood stories with me.
October 28, 2008
Now we are going to move on to D Ab,cdef…efg…eeeeee…(silence) Doll….Then we are going to go to E e abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxy and z how I know my abcs next time won’t you sing with me….that’s all scribble after tomorrow we are going to do scribble efg…
A POEM AS I WATCH MY 4 YEAR OLD PLAY
We rearranged the playroom
The hum of our new white noise machines
The asthmatic purr of Maisey to the left, on the kitchen floor
The musical tones of my eldest daughter as she plays school and talks to her students they are learning the abcs and “scribble” as she calls cursive
My youngest is quiet…I would say finally but for her taking an hour to settle into bed is good luckily she never blaringly cries just fusses herself to sleep
I finally get that and stop futzing with her every 5 seconds
I a m not a poet and I HATE poetry. Except Emily Dickinson.
“g-g-gi-ff-t “ Now Chels is sounding out words. I can’t see her as we have rearranged the playroom so she can hide in front of the couch and play. But I know she is using her Barbie workbook. The same one she wants to bring to class to teach you all about how to write letters. Yeah, that’s what she thinks teaching “writing” means. : )
I don’t know what to write… Oh, yes, I do. I cried today as I fed Viv her dinner bottle today. It was just before 5, I had finished her bath, and she was howling for her bottle, which I know she probably wanted almost an hour before but had been patient with her mother who wants to try and get a schedule of some kind–
BTW Chels is taking her students to the computer lab now.
Anyway, I was feeding Viv, and she was super focused, not even remotely distracted by my stroking her cheek and kissing her soft, yummy, dumpling forehead–
No cheating! You know what cheating means. You do this…I am not going to do that– Okay?
Anyway¬– sorry, it’s hard not to eavesdrop on Chels.
So, Viv was feeding and I had on the classical station because we discovered over the weekend that Viv loves it, calms right down. The melodies were rushing around me, violin sounds and Viv was half asleep, but sucking steadily. I held her, warm, to me, and I was able to look out the front window and see the peeking blue from the gray clouds and the leaves wiping around from the wind–
There she goes again. It’s been exactly and hour and she is not totally asleep.
–the wind wiping and the musical swirling and Viv sucking, and I started to cry, just thinking…About my friend who’s son has been in the hospital for 2 weeks, with some kind of infection they can’t pin down, swollen eye and rash and morphine drips and no diagnosis. He’s almost 4. Last November a few days before Thanksgiving, she lost her third child, 16 weeks. She’s pregnant now, due in December, and this is what she is facing this year….I thought about it and I can’t say it– the loss of a child–God it is the worst thing in the world, I think. I looked at my healthy baby, and I cried and I thanked God.
Am I capturing motherhood?
October 29, 2008
Last night at 2 am. Chelsea came in. “I had a bad dream!” and not in the matter of fact voice that means she thought she might have a bad dream and preventatively she wants to come in and sleep with us–just in case. No. She was genuinely crying and scared. I brought her back, shushed her, didn’t even ask what the dream was. An hour later she came in and Mike brought her back. A few minutes later, she came back in, and I went back with her and slept in her room.
At some point in this whole thing, I think Mike said to me, “You need to be nicer to her.”
I feel something when Chels is needy…It used to be I would feel an urgency to meet her need. “Mama…I need to do last snuggles…Mama I need you to read me that book…Mama I need you to kiss my boo boo…Mama I need you to read me two bedtime stories…Mama….” I jumped and jumped because I really wanted to. It was healing to soothe her.
The needyness she has now is fickle and evolving. Sometimes it’s “Mama I need you!“ Then, two minutes later it’s “Mama, I can do it myself!” But in the middle of the night she needs me…
At one point, while I was in bed with her, I felt her stir a bit, and I said, “You can hold on to me, honey. That’s why I am here…Later, when I stirred and tried to find my spot, she said, “Mommy you can hold on to me if you want.” And I did.
I tried to explain it to my mother today but she just turned it into a statement about her mothering of me:
Me: I just don’t want to start some kind of thing where I am always sleeping with her-
Her: You know you didn’t sleep with us every night!
I mean come on! Did I even mention my shit? Of course, she was right to be defensive because why am I so crazy about making sure my daughter stays in her bed and I in mine? Because my mother never tried to get me to sleep in my own bed and let the boundary just burst wide. So much so, that I didn’t sleep by myself until I was 9.
I worry that Chels, who has the same anxiety I had as a child,anticipatory. As in, fear of the "What will happen? What could happen?" I don’t want to cater to it. I guess, I want her to be tougher than I was…I am projecting my own shit. I guess I have to get out of the way and watch her and deal with her needs in context to her and her life– not my childhood…
Isn't that the definition of good parenting?
October 30, 2008
Mommy I ate a little bit of it.
And then you will give it to me?
Do I have to eat all of it? The two carrots? That’s boring. Sitting here and eating carrots– BORING! BORING! BORING!
SHHHH! Do you want to go to your room?
I can eat and still do stuff, Mommy! Mommy? I am not kidding, MOMMY! I AM NOT KIDDING. Crunch. That’s just mean, not letting anyone do something! You can’t just be MEAN! That’s just being mean, Mommy. You’re being mean!!!
Eyebrows raised [mine].
She turns her back to me and then glances over her shoulder.
Ahhh, but she is silent.
She turns again.
She scratches her neck. CRRRRUUNNCCCHHHHH
She leans her elbow on the table and puts her head in her hand. CRUNCH CRUNCH Shakes her head like, my mother is soo cruel how can she do this.
I burst out laughing.
What are you laughing about? What are you laughing about? Now she whispers: What are you laughing about? Then, louder: What are you LAUGHING ABOUT MOMMY?”
Me and you? Oh, my God!
I think we are funny.
She laughs and crunches. I don’t think we are funny.
She pretends to swim on the floor.
Last night before bed I was moaning about period cramps and I turned to Chels and said, “When you are a big girl and you get your period, I want you to know you can talk to me about it.” She cocked her head and said matter-of-factly, “That’s inappropriate to talk about with your child.” Mind you, this is the same child who bends over and looks at her "va jay-jay" as she calls it and says, “Mama, I think I got fuzz in my va jay-jay. Can you get it out?” Talk about inappropriate. She also is the same child who wants to watch me go to the bathroom at all times and I have to politely refuse her, citing “privacy” as a need. So, anyway, I found this all to be very amusing. So I said, “Oh, why is it inappropriate?” She said, “That’s not for a long time. We can talk about it when I am bigger.” I said, "How come you are so smart?" And she said, “Cuz my head is thinking.”
Whole day with both girls. Took both to vote and both to Stop & Shop. Finagled Mom to come over. Outside now typing and watching Chels sulk because she has no one to play with. We did go to the park, and she did play with a little girl she knows from the pool. The neighbors aren’t around so she ‘s bummed. I found out this morning that one of the neighbor’s kids, a 7-year-old boy, was talking about his “ding dong”, a word I never heard Chels use before today, and that he ordered her and his sister, who is Chels’s age, to take off their panties during some kind of game–
So I just went over to the neighbors and said something to the dad, and he was clearly embarrassed, but I think we both agreed that we didn’t want to make a big deal.
God, I think about the stuff that went down when I was a kid. Not really at Chels’ age but a little later. I seem to remember vividly, and not fondly, that a neighbor, when we lived in VA, invited me to come over to his house and then bought me passed his mother who was baking cookies, down to his basement where he stopped, turned the light on, and then in a flash, wiped out his penis. I screamed and turned around and ran up the stairs and out the door. I believe when the little boy wiped it out he beseeched me to “touch it, go ahead and touch it!” Good Lord!
Just thinking about my daughter….AHHHHHHHHH! I don’t want her touching “it” until she’s at least 25!!!!!
Stay tuned for more from my mommy diary!