Sunday, 15 June 2014

Happy Fathers' Day

Farting around. 
My dad taught me my first fart joke at four (What did the burp say to the other burp? Let's go out the other end and be farts!).

He was a clever, thoughtful man who built things. My dad gave me my sense of silliness, and I simply cannot imagine life as a serious person.

I am thankful for my Dad, this year and all years.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Mom's house

I like going to Mom's house.

When I arrive, she asks me if I've eaten and feeds me regardless of the answer. It's always something healthy as opposed to the fridge dregs I would feed myself.

Mom gets the kids as many milk refills as they need, while I sit there. When the kids get cheeky, she gets cross and tells them to be nice to me.

Mom says to get some rest as many times as it takes to get me into bed. She covers me so I can sleep in. When I mosey out mid-morning, I find my kids playing with my old toys, retrieved from well-labelled attic boxes, lovingly stored all these years.

I like going to Mom's house. I like walking around the old hills of my childhood and remembering how the air there smells and how the earth crumbles underfoot. I like feeling a childish sense of security within the walls Dad built.

I grow older, but being mothered never grows old. Sometimes I think I need it more now than ever.

Monday, 31 March 2014

The atmosphere around Uranus

Before foolishly embarking on the construction of a planetary mobile with your children, consider Uranus: the planet that cracked you up as a child, and may continue to do so even as an old person.

Don't bother reading your horoscope for a while.  
I discovered this the hard way, as I attempted to be educational, which always ends in tears.

"Mom, I painted Uranus green! But I dropped it on the floor..."

Sure enough, there it languished.

When Uranus plummets from the heavens, you feel humbled. And when you kneel on the floor next to Uranus that was so recently in celestial orbit, it puts you in a reflective mood. You find yourself cast back to previous instances of Uranus crashing down.

This blog was born as a lament for the independence that I lost in a thumb war to Baby One, which I again lost in a dodgy poker game to Baby Two. Here six years into this adventure, the stars have once more aligned to send my sorry backside to the back of the queue with Baby Three.

"Mom! Wake up! Uranus is still on the floor."

There is little time for reflection with Uranus so low on the horizon, but I know from experience that it's only up from here.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

A Twinkle in Bad's eye

I am deep into Bib Territory. There is no turning back now.

Armed with layers of protective gear, I have nevertheless become a Jackson Pollock of apple sauce, and carrot barf. Three kids in, I am somehow still shocked at what root vegetables can do to baby crap. And that is my lame excuse for not posting a dispatch here in so long: I was too busy running from crap.

Parenting is in the eye of the beholder. 
I would say that the first six months of my son's life have flown, except that they haven't. And yet they have. Haven't. Have. Haven't. Etc. As you can see, I am feeling a bit conflicted and fuzzy about the passage of time, and everything else.

You can tell by my poor choice of baby nicknames. When I watch my cherub gleefully bounce around in his baby swing, I am compelled to call him "Twinkle Toes".

Last night Ana very sweetly told me to check out where she'd written "dad" and "mom" on the fridge, and the picture on the left is the result. She claims innocence, but I have to wonder if it's a revenge plot for the Twinkle Toes thing.

Life with the three-ring circus is a messy logistical nightmare, but it is punctuated by frequent moments of joy, and the arrival of a little boy has provided a very happy disruption in the close and sometimes war-like relationship of his two older sisters.

Recently, while jack-hammering a dried avocado bomb from the highchair, I glanced over and caught Ana and Ali in tense Barbie negotiations, with the Little Guy drooling in the middle of them as a mediator. And right there, banana dripping from my hair, I had to catch my breath because of how perfect they are. Far more wonderful than I could have ever dreamt or imagined. Worth every ounce of sweet potato and crap. And there's been a lot of crap by now.

Anyway, Twinkle Toes is calling me and I'd be a bad mom if I stayed here typing any longer...

Monday, 6 January 2014

Hunting the old magic

Ana could've spent Christmas break honing her reading skills from the first semester. Instead she went hunting moon lions with a bow and arrow fashioned from farm junk.

Reality defense. 
Moon lions are more common than you might think. In fact the world is full of all kinds of amazing stuff, if you don't limit yourself to what's visible. 

I'm not entirely sure why the bow and arrow are neccesary (contrary to popular belief, moon lions are actually quite gentle). But as an expert in invisible magic, I trust her judgement.

Watching her hunt, I felt the anemic ghost of my own childhood magic stirring. Reading practice would've been great, but my gut told me that this rare unstructured time was best left unstructured. 

Whether you be child or ex-child, I wish you a happy New Year. May the year ahead be as magical as it possibly can be, and only as practical as it needs to be. Do your paperwork, then go hunting moon lions. 

Monday, 23 December 2013

Christmas letter

Dear Niece,

This is your second Christmas. Hooray!

At this early stage in your Christmas history, you may be encountering certain frustrations, like:
  1. Aiming cookies at the correct orifice. 
  2. Getting boogers all over cookies. 
  3. Not being allowed to eat the Christmas lights
  4. Occasional abandonment by PARENT GODS OF ENTIRE UNIVERSE while they enjoy mulled wine or sitting down. 
  5. Lack of spaceship and control of entire universe. 
Fear not. There are certain advantages to being the magical age of one and a bit at Christmas. For instance:
  1. Santa must do your bidding. 
  2. Mama and Papa must do your bidding.
  3. Grandma must do your bidding. 
  4. Auntie and Uncle must do your bidding.
  5. The entire universe must do your bidding, just as soon as you find your spaceship.
Happy Christmas Nichte! May the year ahead bring you fewer boogers and more presents. 



Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

I should count my blessings more often. 

Four generations of pie. 
1. I am thankful for my beloved and for our shared life. 

2. I am thankful for our children, for our parents, and for our siblings. 

3. I am thankful for all the members and generations of my family, whether bound by blood or love. 

4. I am thankful for friendship.  

5. I am thankful for the neurosurgeon and the nurses who fixed what would have been a disfiguring condition, had my son been born a pilgrim.  
6. I am thankful for caffeine, my daily saviour against becoming a turkey. 

7. I am thankful for the alphabet, and for QWERTY keyboards. 

8. I am thankful that so many of my relatives excel at making pie. 

9. I am thankful for my village, because a parent does not live by caffeine and pie alone. 

10. I am thankful for the love and for the memory of those who used to sit around the table, and for the gift of the years that were. 

My cup runneth over, and I raise it in a toast to your families, and to your generations. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow us all the days of our lives. 

Friday, 15 November 2013

My brain has turned into oatmeal...

This morning I forgot breakfast. Then I left my house with neither socks nor children. Clearly I am suffering from mama exhaustion.

Scientists agree that as many as 12 out of every 10 new mothers suffer from mama exhaustion. The other 6 who claim they have energy are simply lying.

By the end of this post, you may be suffering from it to. Here are the symptoms:
  1. Failure at socks. 
  2. A tendency to repeat yourself.
  3. An inability to perform basic calculations.
  4. A poor grasp of science.
  5. A desire to tell boring anecdotes, repeatedly.
  6. The consumption of unholy quantities of coffee to no avail. 
  7. A compulsion to binge on 'Homeland' and other TV oatmeal. 
  8. A verbal collapse to nothing but complaining language.  
  9. A tendency to repeat yourself. 
  10. A tendency to repeat yourself. 
These effects are temporary, which is a relief because I just walked outside unbreakfasted and sockless. 

There are other symptoms I'm forgetting to list, but I can't find the words right now. As Steve Martin once said: "Some people have a way with words. Other people...not have way." 

I'm told these effects are temporary. This is a relief because my feet are starting to turn blue. I could sure use some socks. Now...where are my children?

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Things that go beep in the night

Hospitals are fever dreamscapes. Lights blink and machines bleep. Footsteps and meal trays fade in and out of morphine sleep and sober sleeplessness. Angels roam the hallways cleverly camouflaged in scrubs. You can hide anything in scrubs.

I've been here before. A hospital stay with a six-week old baby feels a lot like experiencing the birth again. My boy and I will have to relearn how to breastfeed, and remember how to hold each other comfortably. We will have to sleep when the other sleeps, and smile when the other smiles. 

Like the last time I found myself in hospital with a poorly baby, I am filled with the knowledge of how much worse it could be. I am amazed at how strong and brave my tiny child is, and I am so grateful for the angels in scrubs who make sense of all those bleeping machines attached to my son. 

One of the nurses tells me about a ritual of his: at the end of the night he returns home and turns off all the sound-making devices in his house. Then he sits in the pure silent dark for a good while. I can't think of a better way to return to the outside. 

Thursday, 26 September 2013

The hundred-year flood

Perhaps Noah became New Mexico's most popular baby boy name through a collective yearning for rain during the drought. In hindsite, such an abundant crop of little Noahs seems like an omen.

The flood started with a gentle pitter-patter one evening. By midnight it was a steady tempest that took no tea breaks. If there are male rains and female rains, this was the mother of all downpours.

It just kept on raining.

By morning, the whimsical Pecos had become the mighty Mississippi. The river embraced dead meanders like old friends, etching out familiar pathways from the last great hundred-year flood.

It kept on raining.

Full-grown cottonwood trunks and oil barrels sailed past. The river ate the tractor over yonder, and devoured the swather in the field below. We prayed for marooned cows and lamented lost machines.

It kept raining.

There was nothing we could do but watch the water rise with an uneasy feeling in our guts.

By afternoon the road was an impassable mess, bisected by roaring washes. The acequia rose up, threatening to burst its banks and explore our house. Papa fended it off with a pick and shovel.

The rain let up for about an hour that evening, but it was neither olive branch nor rainbow sign. The clouds remained up there, regrouping. So we loaded up the kids and mud-shimmied down the road to higher ground, just making it through the deep washes.

The radar showed another big, black cloud on the way, so we pushed on to the city. Just over twenty-four hours later, the Little Guy was born.

It kept on raining. But we didn't call him Noah.