Her Bad Mother

Saturday, August 11, 2007

When Your Laptop Dies, Nobody Hears You Scream

Because you can't get online to scream (that is, you can't get online comfortably, from your usual happy perch on the sofa or at the dining table, because you have to sit in the hot room with the uncomfortable chair and use the stupid desktop).

Because you've lost all of your document files of haikus on the theme of screaming.

Because you've lost all of your image files, and in any case can't get into your Photoshop to make new ones that rip off Edvard Munch.

Because you're alone with the child for the weekend and can't risk disturbing her sleep with your manic screaming.

Because you're alone with the child for the weekend and can't get to a computer shop to see if they can perfrom emergency laptop CPR.

Because even if you could access your files and get online (at least with something more efficient than the cloddish desktop in the den, which has an old version of Windows and none of your preshus files) you don't know how you would express your scream, because if you could get to those things you wouldn't have this guttural howl burbling at the bottom of your throat.

Because you feel really stupid, actually, for not backing all of that shit up, and screaming feels like it would be more stupid piled on stupid.

This image would be much, much better with some Photoshop interefence. Like, say, a blond bob and some graffiti text proclaiming Bill Gates' future in hell.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

In The Bag

Edited to include more! bags! (Tell me what's in your bag and I'll add it, too.)

This is my bag:

Notice that I do not call it a purse. That is because, like my dear friend Katie, I do not like the word purse.

(I also do not like the word moist, which is why you will never see any discussion of Duncan Hines products in this space.)

Anyway, back to my bag: it contains my life, or at least a good portion of it. And seeing what's inside might tell you a little somehing about that life. So...

My life, as summarized by the contents of my bag:

1: Canadian passport, expired. (I am Canadian, and I have limited life skills.)

2 & 21: Blog propaganda. (Am a blogger, and a shameless propagandist.)

3: Blog propaganda upon which I exploit the image of my child. (Am a blogger, a shameless propagandist and a bad mother.)

4: PunditMom's magnet. (I like PunditMom, and magnets.)

5: Child's pink foil party hat. (My child likes to party.)

6: Bliss toiletries, appropriated from W Hotel Chicago. (Have good taste in toiletries and was recently in Chicago. And, have no moral qualms about petty thievery.)

7: Chamomile tea. (I get hangovers.)

8: Moneys. (Have moneys. Not a lot.)

9: iPod Nano, battery dead, earphones missing. (I like music, but not enough to keep iPod battery charged. Also, I lose things. See above re: limited life skills.)

10: Hand sanitizer. (Have post-partum germophobia.)

11: Key to the Doors Of Perception. (Your call.)

12 & 13: Moleskine notebook and pocket Gertrude Stein. (Am snooty intellectual.)

14 & 15: Grooming products. (Am snooty intellectual who nonetheless values grooming, and lipgloss.)

16: Wooden ring of unknown use and origin; not what you think, dirty people. (Have wooden ring; collect random junk; have dirty mind.)

17: Chocolate coin. (Hope to one day travel to Chocolatlandia, where I intend to purchase goods and services.)

18: House key, not my own. (Have lost my keys. But have completely useless back-up key, so no worries! I'll just climb in and out of windows!)

19: Half-eaten digestive biscuit. (Have child who is ambivalent about digestive biscuits. Also, am averse to wastage, but not averse to eating old biscuits.)

20: Sub-bag, pink, for carrying moneys and credit cards. Not wallet. Sub-bag. (Have issues about naming accessories. Also, have credit cards. Am grown-up, sort of.)

22: Half-eaten Crayons. (Child eats crayons. I feed child crayons. See above re: bad mother.)

23 & 24: WonderBaby's bag du jour, featuring cowboy image, containing rocks. (Child likes bags, and cowboys and rocks. Also, child makes this mother carry bag of rocks. This mother is child's bitch.)

What's in your bag? (If you do a picture, leave a comment or link to me so that I can find it.) (I like snooping in other peoples' bags. Like Katie's: check hers out here.)

More bags! Check out Kgirl's bag here, Heather/Cool Zebra's bag here, Alley Cat's bag here, aaaand some Blog Blah Blah bag right here.

More! MORE BAGS! Check les sacs du...



Laural Dawn


Perpetual Exhaustion

Girl's Gone Child





Maman Des Filles

Just Scribbling

Blithely Babbling





I Can Fly, Just Not Up

No Mother Earth

Amy-Jo/Cheese Party

Ewe Are Here

Notes Of A Full-Time Mom


The Maya's Mom List

Unfit Mother

Mommy's Dirty Secret

Have I missed anybody? Got a link to add? Let me know!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Songs of Innocence and Experience

One of the most difficult things about pregnancy, for me, was that it forced me to confront myself as a biological creature. It forced me to experience myself as a body, as a being put entirely into the service of nature. My every wakeful - and not so wakeful - moment was spent in a state of hyper-consciousness about my physicality: I was nurturing a life, and that life depended upon my physical being, and no force of intellect or imagination could alter or facilitate or intercede in that dependency. And as a person who had spent all of her conscious years in her head - and someone who was well-trained in a school of philosophical thought that emphasizes the absolute primacy of mind over body, reason over appetite and base sense - this was very, very hard for me.

So I was anxious - anxious beyond measure - about birth and new motherhood, which I perceived as a broadening and deepening of this experience. I didn't fear it, exactly: I wanted the experience. Every fibre of my physical being strained toward this experience, and demanded that my mind follow - this, in itself, was disconcerting. The thing of it was, rather, that I doubted my ability to stay the course: how would I ever, ever find my way through this dense thicket, this overwhelming jungle, without maps, without books, without the compass of my intellect? How would I survive, if I had only the thrum of my senses to guide me?

I learned, of course. This education came with difficulty: I spent weeks, months, trying to beat back heavy, fear-dampened branches with dog-eared tomes of advice on navigating the brave new world of motherhood (tomes written, no less, by only the most theoretical of explorers, explorers - men - who had only scanned this landscape through spyglasses, safe on their ships, far from these strange shores), only to discover that while these might force the branches back for a moment, it would only be for a moment, before the branches would lash back and knock me off my feet.

I put the books away. I put the books away and set about listening to the thrum of my senses, and discovered, slowly, that doing what felt right kept me on the clearest course. I navigated my way (with no small assistance from others lost in the same wood, shouting encouragement and direction) through breastfeeding and swaddling and sleep and sleep and sleep and crying-it-out and the first signs of spiritedness, guided by my senses and by the gentle prodding of the sympathetic hands of fellow travellers. I found my way. And now, even when I lose my way, which I still do, I know to trust myself and the kindness of fellows in finding my way back. I know what to do.

The knowledge came, however, in more than the form of a sense of direction. I came to know the the unparalleled joy of allowing myself to embrace my biology, my physicality - and the unparalleled bliss that comes with bonding oneself with, binding oneself to, another creature, and having that creature be bound to you, so tightly, so deeply, that you are really are as one, one physical being, with one bonded heart and one bonded soul. We know something of this bond in love, in erotic love, but only ever fleetingly, in the sweet interstices of romantic companionship; we are never fully, physically bound to our other, no matter what we think Plato might have said, through Socrates, about our souls' other halves - we are complete souls, we adult beings, and although our greatest happinesses come with allowing our souls to join hands with others, we never merge souls, not really.

Except, that is, when we have a baby. Then we know - if only for a moment, for one long, sweet moment - what it is to be more than one, to be one plus, to have split open and spilled out our blood and our viscera and our spirit and gathered it all back up again in our arms and held it, tight, pressed it to our chests, felt it throbbing and squirming and to have known, to know, what it is to hold one's soul in one's arms.

And then to have it pulled away. Because this is what is inevitable, this is what the books can't tell you, this what no mother can escape: from the moment your child, your soul, is handed to you, whether that child has been pulled from your gut or yanked out from between your legs or flown from across the sea, whether your soul comes to you in gore or wrapped in white cotton sheets, your possession of it - of him, of her - is temporary. Mind-spinningly temporary. Every second, every heartbeat, that passes from the moment you clutch your second soul, your little soul, in your arms, takes that soul away from you. Every moment is a moment of growth, and every moment of growth loosens your grip. And you must keep holding, you must keep your arms outstretched, but you can't, you mustn't, fight to hold on.

This, then, is the art of motherhood, and it is not an art of the mind: to hold on and let go, at the same time.

We are constantly letting go: when they are pulled from our arms for the first time, when they stretch out their arms to someone else for the first time, when they first say no. When they first push themselves out of our arms, when they crawl, when they walk, little feet carrying them away. When they wean. When they wave bye-bye without shedding a tear. When they fall down and they hurt and turn to someone else for comfort. When they grow, when they live - with every step that they take they are moving away from us. And it is our task to navigate this ongoing, this infinite, separation with love and with grace.

But once you have learned to know with your body - to have reached far, far beyond carnal knowledge and the intoxicating wisdom of the flesh - to know, fully, what it is to be a body with a soul threaded, literally and figuratively, to its heart, a soul that can give birth to itself, take form, be held oh so tightly and then let go - once you have this knowledge, you are, truly, naked, vulnerable, exposed, open to untold hurts, to infinite pains, to the unshakeable awareness of loss. This is knowledge, and this knowledge thrills, and stings.

So it is that we mothers are ever walking out of the Garden, cursing and praising the heavens, grasping at roses, pricking our heels on thorns.

(For Katie, who has put the boobies away, and for all you others who, like me, came home to find that our little souls had grown - and taken one, two, many steps further away from us - in our absence.)

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Whitesnake, Baby. Bang Your Head And Pass The Tylenol.

(Or: Here I Photoshop Again On My Own)

Whitesnake, circa 1987. The Tawny Kitaen Era.

Whitesnake, circa 2007...

... the WonderBaby Era.

Any questions?