Who says what?

Novelist, mother, minister, and yoga teacher muses on books, babies, motherhood, and what matters with reverent humor.

Friday, March 27, 2009

On a Completely Different Note

You know how there are all these crazy people out there who are having as many children as they can so they can take over congress with their so-far-right-of-center politics that they 1) don't believe in evolution, b) don't believe in birth control, c) don't believe in your religion, d) want everyone to be follow Jesus and e) think I'm a sinner? They're part of a movement called the Quiverfull. NPR just did a little piece on them.

Well, guess what? I think motherhood is a spiritual practice. I think having children is part of my spiritual calling. And I certainly wouldn't mind a big family.

But let's be honest before we start converting people. The world is beautiful precisely because choice exists. You can choose your god. You can choose your spouse. You can choose to have children. You can choose NOT to have children. Every conservative sect of every major religion adheres to something like the Quiverfull movement--big families = obeying God's law and making more scary religious people just like you to populate the world.

That said, why don't all the crazy liberals like me who have the audacity to believe in religious freedom and bodily integrity (the government doesn't own your uterus, YOU DO), have some more kiddies so that WE can fill the halls of congress. Come on Democrats, come on hippies, come on Planned Parenthood activists, get screwing. It's time to make a change. Making babies is not just spiritual, it's political.

And that's just assuming that you're offspring will believe what you believe. (But as long as we're going to be arrogant and think that we're right about everything, we might as well happily assume that we have full control over the beliefs of our children.) Yeah, right.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Starter Mom

My husband and I brought my son to look at a preschool this morning. This means that in the not too distant future we will pay other people to watch him smash play dough and snatch toys from his unsuspecting peers. But it means something else. Something much more sinister.

I am no longer a starter mom.

Starter moms, not unlike starter homes, are new to the whole experience. They are the moms of infants and toddlers, women still straddling the white picket fence of maternal transformation. Their past is still in sight; they can almost taste the salt on the last margarita they drank, almost remember the back beat at the club they danced at until two in the morning. Like a starter home, everything is still beginning. Your bohemian past is close enough to smell like the lingering odor of patchouli.

Then. You cross over. You have a preschool aged child. You no longer can claim postpartum status. You can't blame your jiggly belly on your recent pregnancy. (It's only been three years...) Now, like a huge house in a established subdivision, your life secures you. Your life traps you. You are mom. You have a mom belly. Mom pants. A mom voice. Never mind that on some level--deep inside--you're still that hip, groovy gal you once were. A line has been crossed. Soon, the PTA.

Frankly, I am appalled. How could this have happened? I just wanted some kids. And now, much to my utter dismay, I have joined a rank of human beings that at one point I mocked. I could not understand their mom bellies, their mom jokes, their mom sweatshirts, their mom insistence on vegetable eating. Now, I'm on the other side folks. See me waving from over the fence.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Long Day, A Funny Cupcake

It's just a coincidence that my husband left for a trip on the morning both of the children were sick because I know he wouldn't want to leave me with two sniffling, sweating, miserable complaining angels, now would he? Not that I have anything to complain about myself. My son slept until 10:45 a.m. and the little one took an unprecedented 2.5 hour morning nap which meant that, unlike a normal day, this one included a great deal of quiet.

The trouble is, as most mothers of small children know, the day goes by much, much more slowly when you know your husband will not be coming home in the evening, and when you realize, because your children are walking snot-faucets, that you cannot go anywhere to see anyone and cannot have anyone come to see you. Time shifts to slug pace and the minutes pass with a horrifying languidness, so you play with the kids--down on the floor, really cheerful, engaged, present--and look at the clock certain it's lunch time. And only five minutes have passed. (And then you feel guilty and awful and yell at yourself internally for being such a bad mother all the while dreaming about when you get to sit down all by yourself and check your email, except when you check your email you can no longer imagine why you wanted to because there aren't any emails and just why would sitting and staring at a computer screen ever compare with playing pony with your precious offspring?)

So when I had got both of them down for a nap, and was standing in the kitchen thinking about the fact that I probably would not see another person for the whole duration of the day (excluding the children, of course, who do qualify as people, of course but not people people like the kind you can chat with over supper), I realized there was no chocolate in the house. There was hot chocolate, which I made, but the problem with that is that you can't chew it. I wanted to chew something. And there was no chocolate in the house because I ate all of it all at once on Monday. I stood at the counter desperate for a solution. We had chocolate sauce--homemade and courtesy of my mother-in-law, as well as cupcakes (white with white frosting), but no actual chocolate.

Then it hit me. I quickly took out the chocolate sauce--luckily a firm sauce--a knife, and a cupcake. You can imagine, I'm sure, the end result. That cupcake couldn't see the light of day!

And so, I passed ten minutes. Meanwhile, my husband hasn't actually left town yet. Oh, it's going to be a long day. (And thanks to Shirley Jackson whose writing style inspired this entry.)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


I am not on Facebook--and proud of it. But I have been told that you are to list 25 things about yourself. Presumably to lure in unsuspecting strangers and make them into friends who shall be supremely interested in checking back each day to read the banal comments ("snowy today," "feeling hungry," "must make dinner,") that you leave on your wall.

Since my blog is all about ME, I thought I should write 25 things about myself. Except. 25 is far too many. I don't have the time or the imagination for that. (Worst of all, what if there aren't 25? What if there are actually only 20 things about me in the first place? Or ten? What would that mean?) AND. I don't know anything about myself as I seem to have lost myself in a pile of dirty children's clothes. And my memory? Lost in the birthing room.

I will just have to settle for a more meager narcissistic challenge. I will write 5 things. About, essentially, nothing.

Okay. Here goes.

1. Have just eaten cupcake. (Preceded by piece of chocolate cake.)
2. Elder child projectile vomited during lunch. (What a yummy ambiance.)
3. Crocuses are coming up. I would be able to see them if someone had raked the leaves last fall off the flower beds.
4. Found a suspicious substance on my pants. Could have been vomit.
5. I just stopped and examined my cuticles for five minutes. Because I couldn't think of a number five. (See. I could never make it to 25.)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Blah, Blah, Blah Blog

On and on we go. Writing and writing. Talking and talking. Texting and texting. There are so many people saying so many things, posting them, editing them, reading and re-reading them.

It's a virtual world.

Blah, blah, blah. Another one writing.

You know who doesn't? You know who lives Zen rather than writing it? My children. And because of this, they make me crazy. Crazy with impatience, primarily, but also crazy with annoyance, crazy with frustration. Why do we have to walk so s-l-o-w-l-y to the car? Why do we need to stop and watch the airplane? I see it; let's move on. Do we need to play with our food? Let's just eat and go on to the next thing! Come on, already!

Meanwhile, they notice everything. They have everything anyone could want. They have what all the facebookers long for. They don't need followers to their blog; the whole world affirms them at every breath.

After friends left, the other day, my son took out his crayons. "This blue," he said, holding up a musky, grey-blue. "This is the color of D's Mama's eyes." He had seen and remembered the color of his friend's mother's eyes. I had no idea.

So, blah, blah, blah. On and on we go. And the little people know all there is to know. They see us. They are paying attention. They love without counting and live without timing. They are teaching me everything I used to know before I grew up. Writing is nice. Blogging is nice. But life? Life! Life is what we are here for.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Seen, Heard and Lived

1. My babysitter has never eaten a brussel sprout. (How could this happen?)

2. I ate five chocolate chip cookies while reading Jen Lancaster's dieting memoir. (Read her. She rocks.) Let me clarify. During the first 5 pages.

3. I am wearing Delta Burke underwear. No. Not Delta Burke's underwear. Just underwear with her name on the tag. (Printed. Not written in permanent pen for you day care mother's.) How can this be? I am only a size 12, yet I am wearing fat lady undies. Still, they are pretty and purple. Still. I am not so sure I am ready to surrender my hiney to BIG GIRL undies.

4. The baby is learning sign language. So far her favorite is frog. She now signs frog for everything she sees. A sort of ecstasy of frogness exists around us now. We are all frogs, which certainly, on certain days, beats being a person.

5. My beloved husband ran out of threats for our toddler this morning. That is why I am the mother. My threat well never runs dry! Try me. Just try me!

6. You can not stop yourself from commenting on this blog. You are overcome with the urge to leave a comment. A really nice comment. A really, really nice comment.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Kindly Remove Yourself From My Derriere

Funny, isn't it? I used to think, in the once upon a time of my earlier life, that I would love having children because they would keep me company.

Well, I was right. They give me company. A lot of company. Sometimes, an invading kind of company. Like a crawling up every crevice of your body kind of company.

I'm touched and poked and drooled on. Climbed on. Jumped on. Ellias puts his fingers in his nose. Then my nose. I do not pee alone. Or poop alone. And finally, when they are both asleep (for 10 minutes and then Adeline wakes up), I am alone. Autonomous. No one is touching me.

And the cat arrives. He pushes himself under my hand. He presses his nose to my mouth for a kiss. He shoves his flat, matted backside into my face.

I just want to be left alone. With my chocolate. Is that so very much to ask for?

Monday, March 2, 2009

Donna Reed vs. Donna Reads A Lot

I'm not one for public confessions, let alone blogger confessions, but let me just say that, given the opportunity, I would rather read than clean the house.

Not the juicy life details you were looking for? I beg to differ. What a stay-at-home mother does with her "free" time is , in fact, the stuff of day time (and Lifetime) TV. Some bored housewives, for example, have sex with the postman. Some, dust. I, read.

In her very excellent book, TO HELL WITH ALL THAT, Caitlin Flanagan delineates the difference between a stay-at-home mother and a housewife. To simplify, the housewife, once the children are napping quietly, cleans, irons, bakes, or engages in some other domestic chore. The stay-at-home mother? Well, who knows. If she's me, she steals into her secret room, breaks open her personal chocolate stash, and devours a novel.

You can tell these two women apart. All you have to do is enter their homes. Ever been in the sparkling home of a mother with two toddlers? Either she's got a lot of domestic help or she's spending all of her "off" time scrubbing the toilets. (And don't get me wrong. I do spend some of my down time cleaning the toilets. Because they smell. And I don't want them to smell. I just only do it once a week.)

So, who are you? What are you doing during the private moments of your day? Five minutes here or there? Oh, wait. Don't tell me. You're on the Internet. Reading blogs. You're Donna Blogs A Lot. Well, God bless you. Some one's got to read this thing.