Her Bad Mother

Friday, February 9, 2007

Cirque du WonderBaby

(Late! Breaking! Edits! And! Additions! Below!)
Featuring the rodeo stylings of the amazing WonderBaby, and her trusty steed, Rocker Moose!

And in other news...

1) Her Bad Mother is a finalist in the Share the Love Blog Awards, in the category of Most Thought-Provoking. I'm not sure what kind of thoughts I'm provoking (judging from my Google search hits, dirty ones, mostly. Sex with a bad mutha, anyone? How 'bout a bad mother enema?), but I'll take the kudos anyway. And in any case, I'm in good company - go check out the other blogs on the finalist list, and the nominees list, and, while you're there, kick in a vote for Izzy for Woman Power! and Oh, The Joys for Best Humour Writing. And - OMGIcantbelieveIalmostforgother - Redneck Mommy for Most Inspirational (who I nominated for chrissake) and whose most recent post demonstrates exactly why you should vote for her.

2) If Bad is the New Good, then I think that we can safely say that Selling Out is the New Humanitarianism. Capitalism helps everybody, people. Or, at least, some people. Why shouldn't I be one of those people? (Coming soon to my reviews page, courtesy of the Parent Bloggers Network: can the 14-month-old WonderBaby learn to read? Do I want her to, god help me?)

3) Okay, so maybe capitalism doesn't help everybody, but unrepentant pedantry certainly does! Go see what one's brain on blogging looks like (fried egg, anyone?), and, while you're there, maybe let us know whether or not you consider yourself to be - gasp! - a Mommy Blogger.

And a late-breaking number four...

4) Bravo to Mo-Wo for this brilliant, heart-wrenching post, a post that reminds us (or should do) to be very, very grateful for the lives that we lead, and the lives that we are able to give our children. Fuck pre-school selection, indeed.

A Just Post Award to you, friend, and a place in the Call to Action Hall of Fame.

Just Post Jan 2007

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Things You Can't Tell Just By Looking At Her

Because my favorite British redhead-cum-superheroine said that she would hose me down with breastmilk if I didn’t do this meme…

Herewith, six weird things about me:

1. I don’t drive. I could if I wanted to – that is, if I overcame my fear of operating heavy machinery, learned to drive, and acquired a license – but I don’t. The only problem is this: it’s hard to be a soccer mom on a bicycle. So I will either need to keep WonderBaby out of soccer, or learn to drive, someday.

2. I am claustrophobic. I think. I have never actually been in a tightly enclosed space, but I once saw a documentary about spelunking that made me hyperventilate.

3. I have spider-monkey toes. I could roll cigarettes with them, if I were a smoker, and the type of smoker who rolled her own tobacco, which I’m not, but still. I could, if I wanted to.

4. I was once held against my will on a Greek island. (I’ve already told this story, I know, but it is by far the weirdest Thing That You Don’t Know About Me and only six of you were reading this blog when I first told it, so I offer it again.)

5. I’m 99.9% certain that I once saw the Sasquatch. My family was camping in the area of Harrison Lake, and my sister and I were exploring around our campsite when we heard a crashing sound and looked up to see a dark, hairy, humanoid figure crashing through trees, running away from us. As a grown woman, I now realize that it might just have been a really big, hairy, naked hippie, startled out of a sylvan reverie by what no doubt appeared, through a potty haze, to be two small, hostile hamadryads. But I think that the Sasquatch story is better, so I’m sticking with it.

6. I once appeared in a music video for a Spanish heavy metal band. And a TV commercial for a chain of hair salons in Spain. And a training video for that same chain of hair salons. And a promotional video for a nightclub on the northeast coast of Spain. Which is to say that I would have been this close to being Penelope Cruz, were it not for the following indisputable facts: a) I am not a dark-eyed, ebony-haired Spanish beauty (I am, instead, a blue-eyed, fair-haired Canadian of middling attractiveness), b) I have never dated Tom Cruise, and b) Spanish heavy metal videos and chain-salon commercials are not the same as Almodovar movies.

7. I once stuck the suction-cup end of a cat toy to my forehead in an effort to amuse an ungrateful Siamese cat and ended up with a dollar-coin-sized hickey-like mark on said forehead that I could not cover up with makeup. That same year, I shot myself in the forehead (the very same forehead) with a champagne cork. My forehead has seen a lot of action. Which is why I’ve always worn bangs.

8. I’m bad at math.

I hereby smack, on the forehead, with the tag stick: Mimi, Mama Tulip, Mommy-Like Days, Karen and (I know I know I know that this is wishful thinking to the nth degree, but Joy tagged the notoriously meme-shy Mom-101 and so the bar has been raised) Amalah.

Tell you what, if everybody that I've tagged does this meme, I will adopt the doll pictured below, currently languishing in the suburban wastelands of Toronto while her owner tries to pawn her off on Craigslist ("this is a one-eyed doll and it is free 4 u"):

Save Hawaiian Cyclops Doll

If anyone else has a hankering to share their deepest, darkest, weirdest secrets while contributing to a doll rescue mission, consider yourself tagged. Let me know if you decide to help out.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Acquainted With The Night

I was listening for her, last night, as I lay awake in a tangle of sheets and Kleenex and wakefulness. I had expected to remain awake, even though the bottle of Nyquil - acquired primarily for its cough-suppressing, rather than its sleep-inducing, qualities - warned of likely drowsiness. (Do not operate heavy machinery, it cautions. All right then, but only if we suppose that my psyche is not heavy machinery.) I expected to remain awake, even as the doxylamine succinate coursed through my throbbing veins, my tired, congested body sinking with the weight of a thousand bodies into the mattress. I knew that it would take a far stronger narcotic to slow my racing mind, racing still, even with weight of my flu-ridden body slowing its pace.

I was listening for her, expecting to hear, at some late hour, the sleepy mewls and whimpers that come as she begins to stir, lightly wakened by some glimmer of moonlight through curtain, some creak of aging wood bent against winter wind, some slight chill, the breath of some wayward ghost. I was listening, and hoping. If she wakes, I told myself, I will bring her here, into this warm tangle of blankets and tissue and cats and parents. I will press her to me, curl around her, feel the whisper of her downy hair against my lips, and I will sleep.

A whimper, a cry; I hear her stir. I hold my breath. I shouldn't wake her; I should let her soothe herself, find her own way through the forests of sleep (for some, a dense thicket; for me, an isolated copse, as of cypress, exposed to but weathering a cold winter wind.) The nursery falls silent, and I exhale, relieved, and disappointed.

And then, and then... the cry, the shout, the whimpered protest against the follies of sleep. I am up in an instant, padding down the hall, slipping silently into her room, to her crib, reaching for her, pulling her up and pressing her to me, whispering sweet maternal nothings against her tousled head as we glide silently back to the big bed, to the tangle of blankets and tissues and warm skin. We fall quietly into the softness. I hush, I murmur, I whisper words of love as she curls into me, her fleece-clad back pressing against my chest, her head against my cheek. I pull her closer, and feel our heaviness as we settle, as one, into sleep. My eyes are heavy; my heart is eased; my psyche relaxes its grip on my soul; I rest.

There seems so little time, now, for holding her. She moves so quickly; her babyhood is slipping away, even as I sleep. I want to keep her pressed against me. I want to keep her safe; I want to keep myself safe, my heart safe. I want - even as I shake my head against the thought - to keep her small, pressed to my belly, my chest, my heart. I want to keep her near me.

This probably has much to do with winter, with howling wind and icy skies and gusts of snow, with long nights and dark days. It probably has much to do with nattering nabobs of doom, oracles foretelling environmental disaster and global violence and, everywhere, human cruelty, human failure, human sadness. It has everything to do with the cold hard truth of a world in which people hurt. In which children hurt.

We can't even bring ourselves to look, sometimes. We don't want to know. I don't want to know. I skim the headlines, and turn away, my stomach churning, wanting to not know, to block the images from my mind's eye. (When I read this post by Adventure Dad, I wanted to click away from the image. I didn't want to know; my heart recoiled at the image - babies being gagged to silence their cries! - I didn't want to know.) I clutch my baby to my chest and press my hands against her ears (it's easier here/just to forget fear) and wish, fervently, that she might never know that the world contains such hurt.

But it does contain such hurt. And the only hope that we have is to face such hurt, fight such hurt. We must confront it, and register our outrage, and act on our outrage, even if that action is only manifest in words.

I'm still struggling with this; I've wanted to write about my responses to stories like this for some time, but am always unable to formulate coherent thoughts. I wanted to write something in response to Adventure Dad's post, but the only words that came were these: I want to keep her safe; I want to keep myself safe, my heart safe. They're gagging babies in Russia; young mothers are living in poverty; infants are abandoned on doorsteps; our planet is hurtling towards environmental disaster; and war, always war, somewhere always war.

How do we keep our hearts strong, against such darkness? Does parenthood make us stronger, or immeasurably more vulnerable? And if it does both, how do we ensure that our strength derives inspiration from our vulnerability, that it not be diminished by that vulnerability?

We cannot always keep our children pressed tight against our chests; how will we ever sleep easily...?

...when the world outside is so gray?


Better than a narcotic... Jen and Mad are hosting their Just Post Awards again this month: go and seek out those posts that are brave enough to tackle the issues, scary or otherwise, and nominate one or two or many. Better yet, write one yourself, and nominate yourself (or tell me, and I'll nominate you. And add you to the old-but-still-relevant blogroll of the Call to Action project.) And - put this button on your blog. Visualize peace. Hug your children. It might not eliminate all the hurt in the world, but it's a start.