Thursday, January 25, 2007


Little Boy got his first fillings today, three of them, and a cap as well. I feel like a bad Mum when I think about that, why the hell didn't I floss more? Anyway. When he smiles, I can see the cap, an ugly silver chunk tucked in the corner of his beautiful smile. I hate it. It makes me want to cry. His perfect smile, changed forever. Now we'll have pictures from Before and After today.

Usually, the children grow and change in such tiny ways, we're spared the shock of it. Other days we come face to face with these changes, the little trials and tolls exacted upon the perfect bodies of our once newborn babies. There are fillings, scars, and tiny freckles that appear where there were none before. We know, because we are the mothers, and the warm, solid flesh of our children is our holy land, the place where we worship whatever Creator we are grateful to.

And so I mourn a little today, and I feel a little silly, because it's just a filling. It's not an amputation. The tooth will fall out. And anyway, he does still smile, after all.

Uh oh.

My daughter is nine months old. If you tell her "no," she gets a little glint in her eye, and then she smacks your mouth. It's consistent. It doesn't matter who you are, even beloved Daddy and Nanny Kisses have been disciplined for this transgression.

And so it begins.

Friday, January 19, 2007


Took the kids to church last weekend, haven’t been to church in years, unless you count baptisms.

I’ve been debating whether to post on this, because I’m really not sure where I am with it in my own mind. But this is where I talk to myself when I’m hoping someone else will listen, and so here it is.

Little Boy thought God was the same sort of entity as Batman and Spiderman. I thought that was maybe not so bad. It wasn't as bad as when he used to think that Jesus lived way down in the toilet - I'll tell you that one another time. But at Christmas, and he asked me to take him to visit Jesus. I told him we could go to God’s house, and I explained that he can talk to Jesus whenever he wants, he only needs to pray. "But," I told him, "Jesus was born a long time ago, and then he grew into a boy and then a man and then he died."

“Jesus is DEAD???? WHAT????” Little Boy started to cry, and I was flabbergasted.

“Well,” I said, and I scratched my nose. “Yes, he’s in heaven with God.” But it was past bedtime and Little Boy had already begun to cry. That’s like rolling a ball downhill, so I scratched his back for a while and decided it was Time To Go To Church.

My Dad’s mum died when he was thirteen. As she lay dying she said to the boy my father, “Peter, raise your children in the Church.” And that is what he did, out of love for her, and for me.

The Catholic Church. It was a formal sort of place, you put on your Church Clothes and your Church Manners and you sat still until it was over. It was all pretty serious. There was a Childrens’ Liturgy so it was maybe not so stuffy as all that, but nonetheless, when I remember it is with a feeling of mild oppression. And yes, there is plenty wrong with the Catholic Church, but it is Mine. It is the faith given to me by my family, and my place in that community is as real a possession as my name.

But the Catholic church in my area has no Sunday school, and it’s a fifteen minute drive away.

At the bottom of my street there is an Anglican church. My neighbor (also Catholic) goes there and she said they have Sunday school and it’s a nice place. I don’t have to convert, she assured me. Nobody cares. So I bowed to the overwhelming convenience of it, and that’s where we went. I haven’t told my Dad, but I hope he’d rather we go to an Anglican church than not go to church at all.

Anyway, I put the kids in the car and steeled myself for the sort of Church experience I’m used to. I was all right with that, but it wasn’t much like what I remember at all.

Everybody in that building smiled at me at one time or another. The older people greeted my children, laying softly veined, arthritic hands upon their heads. A man, seeing me with Baby Girl in my arms, took our coats and hung them up. Someone gave me a prayer and a hymn book, and someone else asked my son’s name so he could have a name tag for Sunday School. A lady sitting behind us entertained Baby Girl with smiling and touching-fingers games throughout the service.

It was a little different from Mass, but not much. Many of the words and prayers were familiar, and honestly, I felt near to tears through much of it. I don’t know if it was the comfort of the ceremony itself or the feeling of welcome and community, but I was moved.

After the service, an older British lady - who incidentally had held Baby Girl in the grocery line a few weeks ago, something people don’t normally ask to do any more - came over to say what lovely children I had. She wasn’t the only one to say so.

There were cookies and juice, coffee and tea.

The lady behind me introduced us to Reverend Jane, who talked with me a few mintues before she pointed out that my children were welcome to receive the Eucharist. I was a little shocked. “But Little Boy hasn’t had his First Communion, maybe I should explain what it all means first…”

She was troubled by my response, I could see.

“Jesus didn’t say ‘Take this bread and understand,’” she told me softly. “He said, ‘Take this bread and eat it.”

Hmmm. That’s a very different sort of philosophy.

Throughout the week I’ve found myself thinking about the sense of peace and welcome that I felt there. I admit, there is a tiny voice that reminds me that my donation is as welcome as I, and of course they want new families to come. You can’t have a church without people.

Oh, shut up, I tell myself, you can’t have anything without money. If I’m going to enjoy the benefits of that community for myself and the kids, I should want to give back.

And I do want to go, for the kids. It’s not because I think God and Church are the same – they’re most patently not. If they have church when they’re little they’ll feel comfortable there when they’re grown. I think lot of people who have never gone to church have secret dark suspicions about what really goes on there, and when they’re forced to attend they look like they’d rather be at the dentist. From an educational standpoint, I want them to know what God and Jesus are all about. And who wouldn’t want a place for their children in the embrace of a community as warm as this?

But I also want to go for me – and I have no idea what to feel about that. I haven’t been a Churchgoer for so long it’s not a part of my self-definition any more. I know and respect lots of people who go to church, but I’m not comfortable with the label for me. I think that’s because when I was growing up, the church was a place where you didn’t show much of your real self. You were expected to act and be a certain way, and even as an adult part of me resists that. Can I have it both ways?

I guess we’ll see.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Life returns to that which we call normal.

Hokay. BamBam is back at school (touch wood) after a false start yesterday. He's ok, really more ok than I thought he could be sent home for, but whatever. I was only having brunch with my mother after two solid weeks housebound. I got it to go, and ate it with my fingers in the car en route.

So here I am with some time to think, and it's a strange sensation after the upheaval of the holidays. I'm cleaning out the house, filling bags for Value Village and whoever has a baby next. I think I need to do this in my mental space, as well.

THE WITCH OF BADENOCH is still alive, after six years of rewrites and bashing my forehead on the keyboard. I've learned a lot and changed even more, so I'm ready for a fresh start. I have a white-knuckle sort of approach sometimes, I try so hard it's like I'm holding my breath. I'm determined, and that's good, but you can't force this stuff. So maybe less thinking, more listening. I have the outline in my mind, and I'm not going to try to wrestle its flailing subplots and howling characters onto paper. For now, with so little time available, I'm going to put it all into the writing. And except for a bit of blogging, anything to do with writing that is not writing will have to go.

Do catch up with Damomma, if you haven't.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Name Change

I've decided to change the name of this blog. I'd rather use a phrase that reflects an outflowing of creativity, a passion for the written word, rather than a cognitive blockage or mild psychosis.

I don't know what just yet, but I'll keep you, uh, posted!

Quick family update - BamBam is still running a fever and he's still not eating, it's over a week now. Doctor says his urine is fine but for a little protein and traces of blood - what the heck is that supposed to mean, I ask you??? They've sent it on to the hospital and they'll let us know. He functions as long as we keep him on Tylenol and/or Motrin, but I'd like my boy back, please.

Pebbles is just fine. Delightful. She's made up one of her own Baby Signs - she holds out one arm straight, hand fisted with the thumb on top, and lays her head on her shoulder. It means pick me up, or give me to that person there.

DH is doing all the night shifts with BamBam, so he's tired. I myself get to make a turkey dinner today - delayed reaction, maybe? - so I'm happy. We'll invite someone to share it with us, maybe my folks. Dad turned 55 yesterday.

No writing just yet, but do see Vicki's post on whining, if you haven't!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

The truth is...

Me first, then you!

The truth is I have an open box of Toffifee hidden in my underwear drawer. I just had four, for my lunch.

The truth is I vacuumed the counter today because I saw how dirty it was while I was vacuuming, so I just...did.

The truth is I was impatient with my sick little boy today at the grocery store because the Baby wouldn't let me put her down and I was trying to put the groceries on the belt with one hand and Little Boy was about to cry because I wouldn't let him crawl into the cart. Part 2 - I hate it when strangers, especially checkout girls, see my not-so-good parenting moments.

The truth is I just had a glass of Bailey's in milk because I felt overwhelmed. Now I feel much better, but the groceries aren't put away, still, and the tree is up, still, and the hamster is dead, still. (S)

The truth is both my kids are asleep, so I know there is a God. Off to write a bit!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Happy New Year, or not...


I wish you all the very best this year. I hope your life is full of love and all your dreams come true.

Baby Girl has a tooth, and Little Boy has stopped throwing up, I think. Both of them are fever-free at the moment, and that's the best I've had to report in over a week. The hamster is dead, and the cat is gloating. I'm actually sick of chocolate, but I didn't gain any weight over the holidays. That's because Baby Girl has forsaken solid food of any sort and reverted to being solely breast-fed, so I'm churning through a bazillion calories trying to keep us both fed. I'm Mommy, the food processor.

Writing? Maybe after I get the tree down, and convince Pebbles here to sleep in her crib. Someone needs to go to the grocery store, and it's getting really, really dusty in here. (cough) DH and I both really need to sleep.

These are the dark days, and if I didn't have them I wouldn't remember to be grateful for my truly, truly wonderful life.