Saturday, August 28, 2010

A Different Pack

It's hard to see her
Surrounded as she is
By her brood,
The way she used to surround herself
With books or sports or women
Or men.
The being surrounded is nothing new
It's not a shield.
It's company,
Just a different pack.
Though she's never before trusted anyone
Or anything
Like this.
With her life.
Nor has she been trusted
In this way
With theirs.

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Wait

It can't be over

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Friday, August 20, 2010

Is Breast Best?

Is Breast Best?

The "funbags" ain't much fun anymore,
The tits are more like teats,
It's all about function over form,
But breast is best for me.

My nipples are shot to hell,
But the cuddling can't be beat
This little body snuggled into mine,
Breast really is best for me.

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Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Swarm

We were at the children's museum, enjoying a snack of rubber watermelon slices, cookies and steak, when THEY arrived. The Swarm. Four children ages just-walking to old-enough-to-know-better, all of them related to one another. The collection of adults that belonged to them hovered just outside the Diner, where Z had established herself as head chef, hostess and thug/bill collector. (We had been the only family there for quite some time.) The Swarm mounted a swift and decisive coup—their adults so absorbed in each other that they didn't notice or didn't care.

The three girls and one boy made eye contact only with each other, the eldest giving orders. Her eyes cut Z with a look my daughter and I both interpreted as, "Don't even try to reclaim the pieces of your soup I'm now dismantling." I forced myself to stand back and see what happened. Z, easily three or four years younger than the leader, quietly moved out of the kitchen area and started playing with a dessert tray at a booth the two younger girls had taken over.

The leader followed her. "Um, excuse me," the girl said. "But I was using that." Z gave a shruggy whine, grabbed some brownies off the tray and moved back to the kitchen, where the boy was sucking on a plastic watermelon slice and wobbling everywhere Z wanted to be.

The collection of adults that belonged to The Swarm then entered the Diner and stuffed themselves into the booth, still talking only to each other, barely talking to the children. Oblivious. I felt trapped with E strapped to my body and my hubby off to the side, answering an e-mail from work. I couldn't even reach Z—The Swarm seemed to cover every exposed surface, breathe every molecule of air, possess every toy, even though they were only four kids with four adults in a space that could hold three times that number. I found myself wishing E were older, so we could form a protective Swarm of our own, a self-contained unit that could conquer a room the way we had been conquered.

I was about to suggest a retreat to the General Store or the Bank or the School when another mom and daughter bravely entered the Diner. The new little girl, her hair gathered into bouncy pigtails, quickly read the room and took up a position next to Z. Her mom gave me a friendly smile and ignored the ignorant family. She and I chatted a bit.

The arrival of bouncy-pigtail-girl and mom irritated The Swarm, which wasn't sure what to make of our burgeoning alliance. The collection of adults that belonged to them weren't any help, absorbed in each other as they were. I noticed that as more and more children entered the Diner—with more adults who were conscientious of their children's play—the influence of The Swarm subsided. And when we bumped into The Swarm and their adults hours later outside of Ben & Jerry's, their powers seemed diminished.

I've been intimidated by a lot of Swarms over the years. Those families that come off as impenetrable bubbles. Whose social calendars are full of each other. That seem to wield strength in numbers and shared languages and experiences. I remembered The Swarm we grew up across the street from, and I finally understood what my mom often said about them: "You become an outlaw, not an in-law, when you marry into that family."

Initially I was seduced by the power and confidence of The Swarm in the Diner. I saw the potential of my family as the seed for that kind of strength. But I quickly realized how unhealthy a Swarm is. To take over a space rather than blend into it, to see outsiders as the enemy rather than potential friends, to look only to each other for guidance and approval. At the end of the day, it's inbreeding.

I also realized that numbers alone are not what make a Swarm. I know plenty of large families that absorb others—us—into their Collectives. That easily share their language and experiences. And love. We may be only four: Z, E, hubby and me. But even if we grew to 24, I'd rather be part of a Collective than a Swarm any day.

Friday, August 13, 2010

This Much I Know Right Now

This Much I Know Right Now

Nobody beats my grandma's apple pie.
Nothing's prettier than my daughters laughing.
Nothing's prettier than my daughters sleeping.
I'm in love with my husband.
Clothing shouldn't be dry clean only.
Balancing motherhood and marriage is hard—
I can't even fathom balancing work.
My best friends are like sisters.
My sister's like a best friend.
Say yes, without guilt, to help.
"It's not that easy bein' green."
Toys should not beep or flash
(or at least should turn off).
Dancing to ABBA makes me happy.
Six-Word Fridays is like therapy.

This much I know right now.
This much I know—not much.
This much you probably know, too.

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Potchy Tushy Incident

In case you've never had a Jewish grandmother or never known someone who does, a "potchy" on the "tushy" (or potch on the tush) is a swat on the behind. And a few weeks ago, Z got a potch on the tush.

I could use every bit of space in the blog-osphere to explain what happened and why. But this is all that matters:

1) The force of said potchy was comparable to that of brushing dirt off your pants (dusty dirt, not the ground-in kind); 

2) Hubby and I were at wits' end with Z's behavior, and the potchy was an act of desperation.

I do not want to say who actually carried out the deed. But that person, Parent A, believed it was the right thing to do at the time. A form of discipline to be used sparingly. Only in cases when behavior is deplorable. And only after attempts at time-outs and removal of beloved objects or activities have failed (as they had that day).

Meanwhile, Parent B went batshit. Absolutely batshit, unleashing a torrent of recriminations on Parent A. "How could you?" "I don't care if she's the devil incarnate, you do not lay hands on our child!" "You are starting a cycle of violence!" "What kind of example are you setting?" 

An argument over discipline ensued, barely out of earshot of the tushy in question. By the time hubby and I retreated to opposite corners of the house, still fuming, the day was shot. We both deserved a potchy tushy.

And what of Z? The bad behavior stopped immediately, though her parents' spectacular meltdown probably had more to do with it than the potchy. Other than that, she seemed unfazed, until a few weeks later, when she started hitting us (only us, thankfully) in moments of anger or frustration.

Like you didn't see THAT coming.

So the three of us sat down and agreed that there would be no more potchies on anybody's tushies. EVER. We apologized to Z. And we apologized to each other. Lesson learned.

That's not to say it won't happen again. The arguing in front of Z, that is. It's something we're both pretty good at. But we're also good at apologizing to each other in front of her. And at making sure she knows, and we know, that her daddy and I love each other, no matter what.

I learned another important lesson the day of the potchy moratorium—one about not dwelling on who was right and who was wrong. Because Parent B had every right to dance circles around Parent A and chant, "Told you so! Told you so! Toh-oh-oh-old you so!" But Parent B didn't—and won't. Lesson learned.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Double Stuf Temptation

Double Stuf Oreo(s), I Covet Thee...

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