Thursday, June 30, 2005


Before Isaac was born, I tried to send out as many submissions as possible to writing journals and various magazines. Some were poems I was revising like mad, others were essays that had started as blogs. It wasn’t as many as I would have liked, but, like I said, I tried.

At the time I thought this move wise – after all, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to concentrate on such things for…who knows how long. As it turned out, the rejections are rolling in – as they are apt to do for writers – and I’m having to swallow each one with a large dose of mommy hormones scurrying about my body. The good angel hormone on one shoulder tells me, "Oh, Kitty! The joy of motherhood by itself is reward enough! Writing is a process. Love the process!" While the bad, demon hormone on my other shoulder screams "Bastards!" (and then cries and eats ice cream).

But in fact one poem of mine was accepted, the original version of which showed up on this blog back in January, I think. I’m told it will be up on the online journal Literary Mama in the July 2nd issue.

Meanwhile, at the drawing board, one submission I made to another online mother-y zine received this reply: "Dear Daniela: Unfortunately, we will be unable to use your poem at this time…" Hey, if you’re going to reject me, could you get my NAME RIGHT?? Now, I think I understand why they call it "submission."

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

advice column

Dear Ladywithebaby:
I can’t decide which stroller to buy. Can you help?
-- Carrying in Caledonia

Dear Carry:
The route to choosing the perfect stroller is obvious: First, exhaust yourself researching strollers on the internet, so that you are completely overwhelmed with choices. Next, staunchly ignore your peers who won’t stop talking about how you should go to the baby mega-store that’s an hour and a half from your house. (The whole point, after all, is that you don’t want to drive, you want to stroll.) Finally, hang out in the park and steal one. I’d recommend one of those jogging strollers – you can really book with one of those!

If you don’t do these things, you are a terrible mother.

Dear Ladywithebaby:
All the other moms in my Mommy and Me class report that their babes sleep peacefully through the night. My baby still barely gives me three hours at a go. Can you help?
-- Red-eyed in Ridgevale

Dear Red:
At your next class, stare deeply into the eyes of the other mothers until you have hypnotized them with the red spidery lines of your pupils. Then go like this, "LIARS! LIARS! LIARS! I HATE YOU!" Alternatively, if that baby of yours is a real night owl, why not take her out to the bars? Show her what night life is really all about.

If you don’t do these things, you are a terrible mother.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

post-partum high

It's the new craze about town - the "I-fit-in-my-pants-dance."

I-hi-hi-hi Fi-i-i-i-i-t in my Pa-hants! Pants, pants. Oh yeah! I fit. I fit in my pa-he-he-he-hants. mmmm - hmmm. Ooh baby. I fit. I do. Pants, Me. Oh yeah. (repeat chorus)

towards an identity

"Four months without eating your young. Impressive for any mammal." --my friend, beth

So I'm walking down the street the other day and there's a woman approaching me with a girl about four or five skipping ahead of her.
"Watch out for the lady with the baby," the woman cautions her daughter.
It took me three blocks to figure out who she was referring to.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

dreaming is free

I just bought Isaac a trilingual book. It’s in English, Spanish, and Achuar. The Achuar are an indigenous group in southern Ecuador. I find them fascinating because their dreams are a central part of their lives. Each morning they describe the dreams they had and elders interpret the dreams and make decisions about the day based on these interpretations.

Lately, I’ve dreamed there was a holiday we were celebrating where the traditional food was s’mores. I’ve dreamed Mike was angry with me because I didn’t pay attention to the paths and got us lost. I tried to read a map that was posted on a wall behind a group of young women lawyers smoking and wearing pointy-toed shoes – all at work on a Sunday. I’ve dreamed we were at a restaurant where, for a little extra cost you could have your picture taken with the prisoners of war held in the basement. I’ve dreamed I was trimming the dead and wounded leaves off a plant and when I was finished, there was nothing left.

Tell me, are conditions favorable today for hunting in the jungle?

mommy brain

Mommy brain is starting to leak into my ears.

The scene at a local cafe as I experienced it:

"Have you seen the new nipples?" says the clerk sorting through an old man’s change for the right amount.
"I don’t know about any nipples," the man replies.
"See? Look at this one!" the woman exclaims.
"Oh my!" says the old man. "Those are interesting."
"Okay, I got what I needed," the clerk tells the old man, returning a pile of change to him. "Have a great day!"
"I will. And I’ll be on the look out for those nipples now!"

Saturday, June 11, 2005


" I dunno know how you guys walk around with those things." – Elaine from Seinfeld

Having a boy is interesting on many levels, not the least of which is the mystery of their little penises. They are like magic wands or crazy straws or something. I don’t know. My son can pee all over his socks and leave his onesie completely dry. It defies all reason.

I peer over my husband's shoulder as he diapers Isaac -- another mysterious wee-wee, missing diaper, soaking instead newly clean and dry blankets in the vicinity. "Can't you aim that thing in some favorable direction?" I ask him. "It'll just move again," Mike informs me. My son coos sweetly in agreement and eats his little fists. I leave the boys to be boys.

Don't try this at home, kids. We're not talking about some ordinary garden snake. Maybe there’s such a thing as quantum penis.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

the age of innocence

One day this week, Mike went in early to work so as to be able to come home and spend a lunch with us. That morning I got the call: Flat tire on the way to work. Other tires looking bad. Can you meet me at Costco to get new ones put on and we’ll find lunch somewhere while that’s going on?

Costco? Me? The mother who is loathe to put her babe in the car, period? Who has panic attacks thinking about driving two miles to get, yes, a car seat check? "Do you really need me to bring the baby?" I’d asked. The woman chuckled, then, seeing I was serious, put her hand over mine for a moment and turned back to her computer. Costco has to be a good 20 minutes from my house. And the Costco parking lot outside their illustrious Tire Sales department on a hot day during the lunch hour was just the place I wanted to bring my precious infant…not!

Besides the obvious hazards, Isaac doesn’t like the car. He is not soothed by the motion, or the white noise of the traffic. He cries. I don’t do well when he cries. In a haphazard attempt to ease his car worries, I’ve bought him all kinds of toys that dangle in front of him – a mirror, a soft mobile of (you guessed it) safari animals, and other goodies. To top it off my radio is broken, so I have to improvise if I want to try to calm him with music. Bottom line? If you see a green Jetta weaving down the road driven by a woman sweating and singing "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" at top volume over the wailing from the three-month-old in the back who is wondering why his mommy isn’t coming to release him from his prison of a seat, but has left a poka-dotted lion in charge instead, get out of the way, it’s us, and we’re not having a good day.

The world has gotten just that much louder and dirtier, just that much more profane since I had a child. Why in the world would I want to subject my sweet, sweet baby boy to Costco? All that innocence. You can smell it. I think I’ve decided that must be why people keep having children. Why else would we continue to do this obscenely difficult thing? We’re addicted to the innocence.

Some weeks, my only accomplishment is bringing Isaac into public and making people smile. It’s his job at this point. (His job is also to bust those teeth the hell out o’ the gum line without completely making himself and his loved ones insane, but we’ll wait on that topic.) The other day we passed an old man we often pass, who always greets us pleasantly. He looked up at Isaac from his wheelchair and told me, "You can just feel the magic pouring from them, can’t you?!"

We couldn’t get the tires that day. The lunch rush and current sale made the line too long. But we’ll definitely get them soon. And one of these days, Isaac and his mom will get over their fear of the car. Once we have our new tires and new-found freedom we can cover more territory and take this show of beauty on the road.

Share Related Posts with Thumbnails