Her Bad Mother

Saturday, May 20, 2006

The Weekly Squeeze

NOTE: WonderBaby's Second Royal Tour (BC Edition) commences May 22, so blogging activity will be somewhat reduced for a few days until we get settled into tour mode. Stay tuned for Royal Tour Blogging...

So, this Great Mommy Blogger Love-In/Group Hug/Rah Rah Love-Fest Jamboree has really taken off. You continue to post odes to Mommy or Mama or Mother or Drag Mom (dads that some of you think are unusually mom-like) Bloggers that you love and you continue to send the links. We're hovering around 75 posts (77, according my count, which is sloppy, because I am innumerate, so I rounded down.) 75!!!

You love each other, you really really love each other. The heart, she swells.

Keep posting and sending links, if you are so inclined. (If that list of posts were to hit 100... well, we'd have to bust out the Veuve Cliquot, wouldn't we? Virtual Veuve, maybe, but still. I'd be drunk, drunk I tell you, from the heady bubbles of all the loooove.)

(I'm drunk on the Virtual Veuve of Bloggy Love right now. That slurring you hear? That's me. OMG you guys I like totally love you, you know, like totally, for real, I'm not just sayin' this cuz I'm drunk I'm totally NOT I'm sayin' it cuz it's TRUE cuz it is I just totally love you cuz you are. SO. AWESOME. and I totally love you OMG.)

But enough about me. What you really came here for was the Great Group Hug Weekly Squeeze (which I still don't know how to properly name. Weekly Squeeze sounds a bit dirty, like this is the part of the group hug where I reach out and grab someone's ass, which is, maybe, exactly what is going on here, but still. I also thought about calling it Mrs. McFeely Friday, but, um, also sorta dirty. Anyone want to pony up some suggestions and help me get my mind out the gutter? Or, reassure me that the dirty talk is exactly what you are here for, and that I should just get over it and be all Mrs. McFeely squeezing virtual asses if that's what I feel like doing? Anyone?)


Starting from the almost-top of the list and proceeding alphabetically (because if I do it any other way I will totally get lost and forget who I have highlighted and who I have not, but I totally reserve the right to deviate from this plan and careen wildly and unpredictably through the list if the mood strikes), we find Amy of Binkytown's heartwarming ode to the bloggers who first made her feel welcome in the blogosphere and to the community that she's found here.

(OK, so you're saying to yourself, that is not the first post on the list. And you are right, clever reader: It is not. But Amalah's Daily Dose post about the Group Hug is not, technically, a Group Hug Post so much as it is a shout-out to the Group Hug - a very, very welcome shout-out because, um, Amalah. Down with the Group Hug, yo. How cool is that? - which is, as I just said, very cool but in a different vein. You should still go check it out, though - like you're not already, I KNOW - because that Daily Dose thing is an ongoing tribute to Mommy (Etc.) Bloggers in general and so is, in a way, the Ultimate Hug.

And, yes, Beanie Baby is the next blog on the list but I have a LOT to say about her post and I'm already taxing your patience with my rambling and I need you to stay focussed.)

So, Amy's post - which I could also ramble endlessly about - showers love sweet love on the two bloggers - Julia and Tertia - who took the time to reach out to Amy after she, as a newbie blogger, reached out to them (which is just so lovely.) Their encouragement and support, she says, made her realize that this, this whole blog thing, is so much more than just entertainment - it is community.


She says this about that community:

I care about so many of these interesting women I've never actually met - I sincerely do. I am inspired by their talent, generosity, heart, ability to tell a kick ass ghost story, creativity, questions, suggestions, choices, humor, struggles and triumphs. You give me more than words. I learn from you, the world feels a little smaller and much warm and fuzzier. Any of the strangers I pass in a day could be one of you. I had no idea so many of you were thinking or feeling the same things or totally different things that made me see things in a new light.

Yes, yes, yes. So much more than words. Making motherhood - making everything - so much less strange by casting new light on our experience of motherhood, and on our experience of other people. Revealing strangers as fellow travellers on the journey of parenthood. Opening the horizon, and filling it with friends.

Thanks, Amy, for reminding us of that.

A special WonderBaby shout-out to Amy! Whoot whoot!


So, the Husband reads this and goes, 'It's really warm and fuzzy.'

I give him a LOOK.

'But that's a good thing.'

I hope so. I have - had - a horror of all things saccharine and syrupy and unnecessarily mushy (see intro to this post). But motherhood has wussied me up beyond all recognition and now I fear that I may get out of control with the mush.

Please. Somebody tell me if I turn into Little Mary Sunshine or Stewart Smalley or Deepak Chopra and become completely unbearable. Friends don't let friends go total wuss.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Mommy Blogger Group Hug Feature Post - Coming Attraction!

The Great Mommy Blogger Love-in/Group Hug/Rah Rah Jamboree Feature Post, in which one, two or a few submitted posts are highlighted and put in linky lights, and which I promised to post every Friday, will be delayed by one day.

Because I am unreliable that way.

And, because of rain.

Rain messed up my whole week, much of which was to be spent - after caring for WonderBaby, submitting grades and dealing with post-semester carnage (in which I am hit by a shit-storm of e-mails from undergraduates who SUDDENLY REALIZE that omg omfg not doing the work during the term means that they COULD FAIL and who, in a last ditch effort to save their sorry asses, e-mail me frantically with desperate pleas to boost their participation marks so that they can get a B and get into that MBA program. Ha. Wasn't that you reading a comic during my brilliant lecture on Rousseau's treatment of virtue in his epic prose-poem, 'le Levite D'Ephraim?' Ha. HA) and blogging - preparing for WonderBaby's Second Royal Tour, which commences next week.

(That was the longest parenthetical comment ever.)

On Monday, WonderBaby and HBM are leaving on a jet plane (sans HBF, because the world would stop turning on its axis if all those TV commercials did not get made, by god), headed for the wilds of Beautiful British Columbia (Super, Natural) , where WonderBaby shall meet the people and see the land whence her mother came. They of year-round sandals and much, much fleece. It of cherry blossoms and mountains and ocean. It will be good, but also, daunting.

This is an enormous undertaking, and much planning has been necessary, but the rain - my god the rain when will it STOP? - has prevented a car-less HBM from accomplishing the hunting and gathering that are necessary to fully prepare for the upcoming excursion.

So, today we shopped. At a mall. A big mall. With Urban_Mommy (who has car!) and the Boy Wonder (who rides along!) And that took a long time. Because, the shops. And the necessity of having lunch.

And also, it is my birthday on Sunday, and because we will not be going out for an Over-Priced Meal in a Fancy Restaurant this year, Husband is making every evening of this weekend Special Dinner Night and he has oysters and crab legs right now so I must go eat them.



(Post WILL be up tomorrow! Pinky swear!)

You can trust my ma. Also, if she forgets, I will gum her.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Gift

New links are being added to the Great Mommy Blogger Love-In daily. Keep checking out those posts (I'll put a permanent link in my sidebar, soonish). And keep sending them in, if you haven't already done so. No deadline. Each Friday, I'll be doing a post about these posts, a few at a time, so that they can be properly celebrated, until we've gone through them all. Enjoy.


Since WonderBaby was born, I have been keeping a journal about her. Not this one; a proper, bound paper journal with ink-smeared pages. It began as a poo diary (how many poos today? what color? runny? yes my friends the life of a mother dazzles with its glamor), but it quickly evolved into a detailed record of the minutiae of WonderBaby's existence. When does she sleep? For how long? When does she nurse? How long? Which breast? Did I read to her? What books? Did she smile/laugh/roll-over/grasp objects/sit up? Everything.

This detailed note-taking has not wholly been an exercise in record-keeping (every notable moment has been recorded in every conceivable medium - notebook, baby book, digital photo, digital video - short of ass tattoo. And that may still be coming. That? That's graphic representation in ink of my daughter's ass on a toilet. Commemorating the moment of liberation from the tyranny of the poo bag. 'Cause that'll be huge.) Instead, it has been, for the most part, anthropological research. Detailed note-keeping as part of an embedded participant-observation case study. Subject: WonderBaby.

When she arrived - November 14, 2005 - and was placed in my arms, it felt as though she had always been there. It felt as though the weight of her - the delicate, delicate weight of her - was and always had been part of me. That I would always need to feel that weight to feel complete.
But she was a stranger. She was new. She was part of me - my body ached with yearning for her if we were separated for more than a moment - but she was still unknown.

So I set about getting to know her. Primally, we acquainted ourselves through our bodies: tit to hungry mouth, hand to shit-smeared bottom, kisses kisses kisses to beautiful little head, and the constant embrace, skin to skin. This stretched and strengthened my soul, coming to know this other being so physically, this other being who is herself the creation of the most intimate physical knowing, this being who is both of my body and of her father's and so bound, always, physically, to both of us. But my mind struggled to keep up. Who is she who is she who is she who is she?

The poo provided no answers. Consistently mustardy, arriving with appropriate frequency, sometimes with inappropriate force and volume. But the record-keeping... ah. That appealed to the academic in me. I could know her by studying her habits, by taking careful notes (and, not incidentally, checking those notes against so-called Expert Texts, a practice that I abandoned early on, once I realized that they were all full of shit - and not the benign breastmilk kind - and that the very idea of baby expertise is absurd.) So I kept careful notes. I studied my baby. I satisfied my mind's desire to understand her in rational, quantifiable terms. Naps two hours once a day if swaddled and put down in dark room. Nurses every three hours. Resists afternoon naps except in stroller. Responds to nightly ritual: dinner bath cuddle nurse cuddle bed. Sleeps seven hours. Growth spurt? Five hours. Everything that my heart and body told me about her, I double-checked against my notes. But that was the thing: every note that I took, every behaviour that I observed, every conclusion that I arrived at, had already been viscerally noted and imprinted. I already knew her.

I realized this some time ago. But I clung to my book. It served me well; it was something to cling to when I felt confused or out of my depth, which was often.

WonderBaby turned 6 months old this weekend. Yesterday, she had her six month well-checkup. When I took out The Book to note her weight and other particulars, I realized that I hadn't recorded the morning's routine beyond the time of her rising. Nor had I done so for the last two days. I had been mothering beyond the book. I no longer needed my notes. I knew WonderBaby through my flesh, through my bones, through my blood.

So yesterday, after recording the details of the visit with the doctor, I put the book away.

But before I close the book entirely, I thought that I should post its last, incomplete entry here, for posterity.

6:20 Up and nursing.

Dawn, and we hear her happy voice, cooing matins with her bunny. Daddy goes to greet her good morning, and to bring her into bed. In she comes, smile as wide as sunflowers, arms outspread. Down to the breast; she suckles and snuggles and then turns to reach for her Da. Chest hairs are plucked, groins are kicked, fingers probe eyes, noses, mouths. We play, we cuddle, we doze...

2:20 Down in carseat. To doctor; 1 dropper Infant Tylenol 30 min. before shots.

Clutching sides of carseat as it is swung into car; eyes wide as saucers but smiling always smiling.

Doctor's Appointment. Weight: 16.5 lbs.

Chubby little legs that kick and push. Soft round belly and proud high chest.

Length: 27.5 inches

Tall like her Da. Long, long legs that stretch, stretch, stretch. Straining to stand, to bounce. Striving for her height, reaching for the sky, the stars, our embrace.

Head circumference: 17.75 inches

Noble baby head, big and round and full of firing brain. Sparsely haired, built for hats and for sniffing and for kisses for kisses for endless kisses.

Developing well. Sat up early. Babbling. Responds to name. Taking solids.

Growing, learning, living and loved, so loved.

And that was all. That is all.

That's all that matters. She is loved, beyond all measure, with every fibre of her parents' beings. She is loved. And, so, she is known.

I know her. She's my baby.

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Monday, May 15, 2006

These are the mamas of your neighborhood...

*WARNING: mind-bogglingly long post ahead. Pace yourself. Or, just scroll through and admire loverly but entirely gratuitous baby photos before you reach The Mother of All Group Hugs List O' Links at the end of this post.
**New links posted! New! New!

Many years ago, in a land far, far away, long before and miles away from my days of doctoring philosophy and wiping the intellectual noses of snotty undergraduates, I was a snotty undergraduate myself. Brash and idealistic and prone to drunken speeches in which I would sloppily quote Rousseau (we must be forced to be free!) or Nietzsche (our duty is wakefulness!) and then fall off of whatever chair or table I was standing on and weep for mankind's descent into slavish, sheep-like droneness. Newspaper readers! All of us! Heading into twilight!

(I still do this occasionally. For fun.)

Mommy likes her liquor.

I was the world's youngest misanthrope. Humanity I love you because you are forever putting the secret of life in your pants and sitting down on it... Humanity I hate you.

I was pretty irritating. I still can be.

My misanthropy received an unexpected and unfortunate boost in the late nineties when, to supplement my fellowship income, I began working as a researcher for a 'Centre for Dialogue' that my university was building. My task? To research 'virtual communities' - online networks of people with shared interests and/or concerns - in order to establish whether such communities provided examples of 'effective dialogue,' such that they could be said to make a difference in the on-the-ground lives of real people and real communities. I very quickly discovered that most such communities were riddled with conflict, riven by power struggles and politics. It was not pretty. I was not surprised.

Community, bah. It seemed clear to me that the old philosophers had it right: it's not in our nature to get along, to meld easily into communities and love our fellow citizens and neighbors as friends. We're all too self-interested, self-absorbed, bourgeois. We ignore each other, disdain each other, hurt each other. There are and always have been lights in the human darkness - lights that we seize upon and celebrate - but I had a difficult time escaping the suspicion - the seeming fact - that human beings kinda suck, collectively. Subsequent years spent studying and teaching political philosophy did little to dispel that suspicion.

So if you'd told me, even last year, that I would stumble upon a community - a virtual community, mind - that would seduce me so completely with its warmth and generosity and humor and intelligence and powerfully cooperative spirit, I probably would have scoffed. (And if I'd had a few martinis, I would have said something Nietzschean about the unbending of the bow of Western Civilization, shuffled over to the stereo to put Frankie Goes To Hollywood on repeat and then passed out.)

WonderBaby in Martini Fog (if HBM still drank martinis, which she does not, because she has been rendered weak, weak, in this and certain other respects, by motherhood.)

This little community of ours, it is not without its controversies and conflicts. But for every conflict that I've seen, I've also seen a heart-swelling demonstration of humanity. Those ripples and waves in the placid calm of our virtual waters stir us, move us, sometimes threaten to swamp. Sometimes we splash too hard. We get water in our eyes. But we always find the surface, the shared surface, and bob above it, shaking our wet heads and spluttering and smiling and making sure that nobody stays under. We're all here. We're all wet. We are each others' water wings.

We talk, we debate, we judge, we support, we argue, we love. We are different. But we are mothers and fathers (and some, according to more than one ode, are both. Dutch? Apparently you're a Drag Mom) and parents and friends and we get that the plural of those nouns matters. That's what we share, beyond our deep love for our children: the conviction that it matters that we have each other, if only in lines of code. That we have a community. That, like motherhood, like parenthood, community is not always easy, but that its rewards are life-changing, life-preserving. That it's worth standing up for.

This week has, in certain respects, been one of the best of my life. The outpouring of support for such a simple idea, the embrace of the embrace, has caused my misanthrope's heart to grow two whole sizes (which, when put together with the heart-swelling effects of becoming a mother, puts that heart at size Extra-Queen. Requiring control-top reinforced-crotch jumbo heart-hose.) I've been thrilled by the response, overwhelmed by the response, moved by the response. I've read every post for which a link was sent, and commented on many of them (if I didn't comment on yours, it's because I visited while WonderBaby was clamped to boob or while I was in an insomniac daze.) I've laughed and cried and sighed and been struck dumb as my heart clenched in my chest. And then laughed again. The power of love, baby. It's heady shit.

At time of writing, I have nearly a full half-dozen pages in a Word document devoted to the links that you've been sending. I stopped counting them when they hit fifty. And there are more coming. I had planned to write a little blurb about each link, and include quotes from the various posts, but the document in which I've been recording those links keeps growing at such a pace that blurbing each link would require dozens of posts.

So it's also been a challenging week. Worrying over identifying all of the posts (have I found them all?). Fussing over accurate record-keeping (have I recorded them all?). Fretting over how to do each one justice (how do I give due to them all?). Every single post deserves its time in the spotlight, deserves ample and careful treatment. (Bunmaster's genius riff on Pablo Neruda? Mo-Wo's Eclectic Kool-Aid Acid Test? Sherry's poetic invective against blogtards? Bite My Cookie's ode to the literary brilliance of GGC? Kristen's heart-wrenching reminder that a mommy blogger is also the woman who lives motherhood as a deeply felt wish, and that sometimes those wishes die? Every last one of the posts that I received?) I can't do this in one post. I can't even figure out how to get all of the links into the above paragraphs. I've been strobing for the last two days trying to figure out how to do it. But I can't.

So I won't. Today, in this, the Great Mommy Blogger Love-In CardPost, I will list each and every post that I have received to date, and some that I know are forthcoming. (If, for some reason, I have missed you, accept my sincerest apologies and then e-mail me immediately and I'll edit in your link. If you know of any mama-bloggin'-love posts or posts of this ilk, send me those links, too. And if you do a post after-the-fact - great! - send me the link and it'll be included. No deadline, no limits, on love!)

And then, from now on, on every Friday, I will do a post that highlights a few of these posts, with blurbs and quotes and links aplenty. And I will do this until I've worked my way through them all, and until the links stop coming. It will be Her Bad Mother's Neighborhood, where everybody is special. And everybody will get their day in the blogger sun.

(And I will never again sit in front of my laptop in my ratty cardy on a Friday, brain fried by a week of endless nursing and Jolly Jumping and mom-cruising and song-singing and sleep-coaxing and general baby wrangling, stumped for what to write. Huzzah!)

But today, you all go down in history as part of the Biggest Mommy Blogger Hug Ever. Read, and be proud.

It's such a good feeling, a very good feeling
The feeling you know that we're friends.

Sing it, sistahs!

We Are Family (I Got All My Bloggers With Me)

Amalah @ Mom’s Daily Dose NEW!
(Not an original submission but a shout-out to this list so it totally counts. And, dudes. Amalah.)

Beanie Baby


Bite My Cookie

Blackbelt Mama NEW! http://blackbeltmama.typepad.com/black_belt_mama/2006/05/karate_mamas.html

Blog Antagonist


Brain Cells, Return! NEW!*




Chicken and Cheese

Chicky Chicky Baby (Mrs. Chicky)

Coffee… Tea… Sodapop… Peets!

Crooked Pigtails


Expectant Waiting





Her Bad Mother (Moi)


I’m Not Hannah (Heather)

i obsess (lildb)


Jennster NEW!



Knocked Up Then Knocked Down

Kvetch Blog

Life in Mama Land

Little Bald Doctors (Andrea)

Nine-Pound Dictator


Mama Tulip

Mega Mom
http://themomshow.blogspot.com/2006/05/bloggy-love.html NEW!

Melanie in Orygun NEW!

http://mom-101.blogspot.com/2006/05/mothers-day-gift-that-keeps-on-giving.html NEW! (The 'REAL' Post)

Mom/Maam/Me (Nancy)

A Mommy Story

Another Mommy Moment


Mommy’s Dirty Little Secret

Mommy Does it All (Kristen)

Mommy Off the Record



Mother May I

Mommy Monologues (Susan)

Motherhood Uncensored

http://motherwoman.blogspot.com/2006/05/word-to-zephyrs.html (This was not an official entry, but I thought it more than worthy of inclusion.)

Mommy Off The Record

Mrs. Davis.

Mrs. Fortune
http://mrsfortune.blogspot.com/2006/05/leaky-cauldron.html (forthcoming)

My Mom Told Me Not To Blog (MM – Mom of Monsters)

My Splatter-Painted Life


Nonlinear Girl

Not Winning Mother of the Year (Sharpie)

One Girl and her Cats (Alice)

Our Shady Tree (Jennifer) NEW!

Piece of Work (Amy)

Red Stapler (Sue)

Redneck Mommy (T.)
http://www.redneckmommy.blogspot.com/ (forthcoming)

R*Belle (Musings Of a Former Jr. League Dropout) NEW!http://bellechats.com/index.php/queen/comments/how_it_all_got_started/

Rock The Cradle NEW!

Sherry (Horkin Ramblings)

The Silent K (Krista)

Something Blue

Soul Gardening (TB)

The State of Discontent NEW!

Sunshine Scribe

Toddled Dredge (Veronica)

Turning Sixty (Della B)

Urban_Mommy NEW!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

The Mother of This Bad Mother

*The Great Mommy Blogger Love-In CardPost will go up tomorrow - a day after Mothers Day, but there's just been so much love circulatin' through our 'hood that it's taking me longer than expected to pull it all together (I may, in fact, have material for two - TWO - CardPosts. The head, she spins). That, and today was a bit chocolately 'round these parts and my fingers got sticky. So keep sending links to your odes to mommy bloggers, if you haven't done so already, and if you're so inspired; I'll add whatever I receive right up until the last minute. And if I keep receiving them, I'll just keep on posting them. Sticky chocolate fingers or not.

But for now, for today, a word to my mother:

Dear Mom,

I've told you many, many times over the years, and in many different ways, how much I love you. How you have always been a light and an inspiration; how proud I am and have always been that you - beautiful, whimsical, powerful you - are my mother.

But I did not - could not - fully appreciate the force of you as a woman until I became a mother myself. Until I began living, moment to moment, the heartlifting and heartaching work of loving and nurturing my own daughter, I had only the faintest experience and faintest understanding of what it meant to be fully powerful as a woman. And so I could only perceive the brilliance of you as through a glass, darkly. You were always just Mom. A good lady, a funny lady, that-lady-my-mother. The soft voice in the darkness, the warm skin in an embrace, the furrowed brow, the knowing glance, the generous smile. But still, just Mom. Loved dearly, but taken for granted. Taken as seen. Just mom; just a mom.

Now that I know the weight that is a mother's love for her children, now that I know how beautifully heavy that weight, now that I know how hard the work that that love demands, I see you more clearly. My mother, my mommy, my mom: the very source of my life, the very source of me. The heart that carried my heart, the heavy weight of my heart, through childhood, girlhood, womanhood, life.

I see you now. Thank you.

With so much love,

Your Bad Daughter, Her Bad Mother

Bad Daughter: The Next Generation