Tuesday, December 30, 2008

So far these are the discussions I have had to have with my daughter post visiting MY mother.

1. Suicide.

Apparently my mother shared that a "good friend" of hers committed suicide recently because she was depressed. Apparently this "good friend" was 16...and a neighbors child.

2. Online Dating

My mother shared her "profile" with my daughter. Including a picture of herself walking into a sunset. Emily reports that she also saw pictures of "the boys" that my mother is "good friends" with.

Oh. My. Head.

Temporary Lock

Saturday, December 27, 2008

I have turned my child over to my mother.

Well - I haven't - but Terrance arranged it. I am still not on speaking terms with Crazy D from the August outburst..but Terrance is a good person, and kind hearted towards my mother in a way that my brother and have exhausted.

I worry about Emily when she is away from me and more specifically with my mother. There have been visits with her grandmother in which her hair doesn't get brushed....and she hasn't been required to brush her teeth. And she has subsisted on Diet Coke.

Terrance used to think was full of shit when I would talk about the year I didn't brush my teeth, or my mothers attitude on meals and nutrition. I would call it my feral childhood, and Terrance would call bullshit for my exaggeration. In his mind, no adult could be so non-attentive to the children in the household.

So when I hand over my carefully observed only child to my mother, I worry.

It is a tough dichotomy - wanting your child to have a relationship with your parent that is not steeped in all the years of shit that you wade through...

Emily knows I am not talking with my mother, although she doesn't really know why. It is not her concern, and I have no need to poison a well that seems healthy. She sometimes asks and I explain that I love my mother....but I just can't talk with her for a while. Emily also knows that there is a baby boy soon to be born to my brother and his wife...and that my mother is not welcome. For my brother, he has had to shut that door - and BOLT it. I only put up a temporary latch, for I know that I will open the door again some day. I always do. I always have.

Just get through the day

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

By 11 this morning, I had already yelled, "EMILY! SHUT THE F**K UP!" at my beloved only offspring.

Yes, the sounds of profanity before noon must mean One thing!

It's Christmas Eve!

Combined with the imminent arrival of my period makes for a priceless personality combination in the Mother/Wife of the household.

About a half an hour later, she and I were entangled in a life and death struggle over the brushing of her hair.

I tried. I honestly tried to keep my cool with the usual whining and complaining. I was explaining that I was parting it into sections so I could comb out each section. Emily, if left to her own hair brushing devices, waves the brush in the general direction over the top layer of her hair. This leaves the undergrowth to resemble Mirkwood - filled with giant spiders and evil spirits.

It is into Mirkwood that I am forced to delve. I try to be gentle - holding the hank of hair in one hair to deflect some of the inevitable pulling on the roots. I remind her that I want to be done with this as quickly as she wants to have it done.

And after one too many whiny "oooooouuuuucccchhhhh - why can't you just be done?" Followed by "Why can't you just do it quick?".....

I snapped. I held the brush out and began to BRUSH. HARD. Her head began snapping back and forth as she cried louder. I yelled "SEE! THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU DON'T BRUSH YOUR HAIR" and "THIS IS WHAT TO FEELS LIKE WHEN I AM NOT TRYING TO BE GENTLE!"

Not quite a metal hanger incident ala Joan Crawford....but bad enough.

She ran off to her bedroom - wailing - and slammed the door. I lay down on the bed and waited for my heart to stop pounding.

After ten minutes, I walked across the house and knocked on her door.

"Who is it", she called out.

"It's Your mother - may I come in?"

"Oh. Ok."

And the door opened and she stood there...tears still on her cheeks.

"I'd like to apologize and give you a hug", I said - stepping into the room

And she broke down. The tears of a little girl who needs to be consoled.

"That was MEAN", she murmured from my midsection.

"Yes it was and I was wrong to be mean. Can we try to be gentle with each other - I know you are excited about Christmas..."

"I AM excited. I can't help it."

"I know, sweetie. I love you."

That's how the pee drops get on the toilet seat!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

This morning I was in the Shower getting ready for work.

I hear Emily walk in to use the toilet.

I peek out to remind her to NOT FLUSH because I will be boiled if she does.

She nods in agreement.

I peek my head back out of the shower - Can she hand me my toothbrush when she is done?

"Sure", she says and stands straight up from the toilet - pulling her panties up as she does.

"HEY!", I exclaim. "Do you plan on using toilet paper at any point after that transaction there?"

She sighs - heavily - and very dramatically pulls her undies down and reaches for the TP. She then makes a ridiculous amount of show by wiping and throwing the paper into the toilet.

I remain frozen, mouth agape, staring at my child.

"What was the hurry there? Were you missing out on a once in a lifetime sighting of the Yeti? Honey - you HAVE to wipe yourself. It is probably the reason you get itchy..."

She rolls her eyes in my general direction and reaches for my toothbrush.

"Here", she deadpans, handing me my toothbrush. And walks out of the bathroom and turns off my light.

Small Pieces

Monday, December 22, 2008

Writing for me is a habit I need to get back into - and the one I put off most easily.

I get tired. I need to do other things. Animals and children need attention, husband has lost (glasses, belts, car keys, insert item here)....and the days slip away.

So I am going to try to write down small things.

I broke up with my therapist last week. But I did it in a sneaky and kind of underhanded way insomuch as I had to go into have my prescription refilled...and waited until the last possible moment, so had to have one of the emergency appointments ( which pissed me off beyond reason - as if I am a drug seeking Prozac addict. The last time I saw Eric (my therapist) I felt defensive with him. I felt judged. And that made me angry. Which made me want to run away from him.

Because one of the ways I avoid hurt is to completely cut that person out of my life - (Hello, Mom - whom I have not spoken to since August!) Compound that with my internalized need to mask all anger towards men (Because god knows I can't be a perfect girlfriend/wife/daughter if I am expressing my anger at the men I want to Validate and adore me) and I took a sneaky way out.

I went to the emergency therapist and said that I didn't think I could make progress with Eric anymore. And he listened to me and made a referral to a new therapist who sounds like she could meet my needs better.

Now logical Dawn would say that Hell YES, if you need to move on, then move on.
But there is another Dawn who gets angry at her inability to be brave about this - to have just told Eric that it wasn't working - cauterize the relationship and move on.

But I can't. I freeze up. I become blocked and indecisive. I flutter.

Which makes me angry at myself, and the cycle of self punishment begins.

The Bitch is Back

Thursday, December 04, 2008

This bitch still has fabulous ankles. See? I wore these to work today. Because I may be 38 - but I still kinda rock.

Semester is almost done. Papers to grade. Shopping to finish. I am Addicted to True Blood and have read all the books too. SOOKIE!!!!!! I am also now reading "Let the Right One in" after seeing the movie ( which was kick ass) and am hooked. I know. Totally NOT the Social cognition stuff I am supposed to be reading...or the papers from class that I should be grading - but when the Vampires come for me, I'll have a full working knowledge of their social hierarchy and rule system. Zombies too. I'm ready and up to date thanks to the "Walking Dead" comics.

I have some posts that are partly written. Some funny. Some salty. Some a little sad and bitter. Some Professional Dawn in there too. But all me.

But here - as a teaser into my mind are the bits and pieces of draft posts that have been sitting in my blogger drafts for a year or more. Sometimes I write a little something and save it...or get distracted. I find them fascinating. Little slides into my mind.

So here they are. Take them as they are:
You can't know things until you know them. Yeah. I know - it sounds trite.

Blogging has become a part of my identity. Had you told me this, July 2005, I would have stared at you, dumbfounded. I had no idea of what a Blog was, let alone the desire to write one (or three) myself.

I was many things, most of them complex and not quite defined. But Blogger? What's that?

Eleven months later, I am a speaker at BlogHer. I am a writer and an advocate. I am a facilitator for women to begin to talk about the things that bother them. I am a destroyer of the cult of motherhood. I am Dawn.


I know, I no longer have a "bebe" to carry, but these signs at Loblaws made me happy. The parking spaces, right up front next to the handicap spaces must be a godsend to parents trying to wrestle child, groceries, car seat and every other thing involved with the care and upkeep of a young child.

You have my Mommy Loyalty, Loblaws


Ok, so I never smoke in front of Emily. Ever. I wait until she is asleep if I am going to have a Infrequent cigarette on the porch. I mean, a pack lasts me months!

I just like one every now and then. No every day need to smoke. But sometimes? A glass of wine and a cigarette? Heaven.

So, last night I wait until Emily is asleep. I pour my lovely glass of Merlot and creep out onto the porch. I sit in the warm breeze. I watch the stars and the lights of the cars that drive by. I smoke. I drink. I smoke another cause the first one was so good.

Time passes.

That's when it happened. A voice from the screen door:


to which I replied in the only way I could:

"What the hell are you doing out of bed?? Get back in Bed!"

Then I ran into the bathroom to brush my teeth and wash my hands.

It's a sad state of affairs when I get busted by an 8 year old. I feel less guilty when she's caught us almost having sex.


Well, hello there folks from the Huffington Post. I didn't expect to see you all here. Of course, you caught me at a rough time...starting my PhD and all. I am less witty and prolific than usual, as the life force is being sucked out of my very marrow by my three classes.

They are:

Cognitive Development
Seminar in Curriculum Ideologies
Research Design and Methods

Hold yourselves back, I know those are some HOT topics. And would you like me to start talking about the Lit review (non Norton Anthology version) I have yet to begin. And why is that?, You ask.

Well, the crack smoking and prostitution is taking most of my free time, and what's left I spend abandoning kittens in alleys. And kicking puppies.

Or it could be that becoming a part time Stay at home mom and a full time student seems to be kicking my ass more than I expected. I mean, I worked full time during my Masters degree. How much harder could it be to NOT work and go to school?

Confucious on a Croissant! It sucks ass. (Yes, donkey gelatian ass) I run around all the time. I make sure the child is bathed, dressed, has a lunch and all her homework/school forms, is walked to school, then I run home to do the dishes, straighten up and throw the laundry in, then I try to read a little before I have to have lunch (which I have to MAKE), then I think "How will I use this last hour before I pick her up from school and she terrorizes me until I wrestle her into bed?"

And these are the days that I Don't have class, or meetings, or running around to kiss the asses of various academics and beg them for signatures. Can I be blamed for wanting to punch the little Masters degree girls who:

1. Have no children/not married
2. Talk about children as if they know everything
3. Have never held a job outside of internships
4. Complain about how busy they are

I want to jump up on my desk and shriek:

"HA! You people have NO idea what busy is! And you are collectively going to be shocked as shit when you meet a real kid one day, cause they don't act the way you've read AT ALL. And I dare you to insinuate to their parents that it is the parents fault. I would pay good money to see that Deathmatch begin!" (Back me up here, Feral)

but I don't. I sigh. I look away. I listen to ridiculous statements about children and families. I close my eyes.


I am rapidly approaching my one year anniversary of leaving the United States for Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Now, Prior to my move here, I may have simply said "Montreal" - but now I distinguish that I am in Quebec - in Canada.

For those of you NOT in Canada - this is an important difference. Kind of like the difference between Boston and New York. Like the Red Sox and Yankees are the same team.

There are things I adore about my adopted country and province ( and yes, we are considering permanent resident status). The pace of life is actually slower. Yes. In a city the size of Montreal, my life is slower. Emily starts school at 9 a.m. Lunches can happily last 2 hours. With wine. And conversation. Bread is fresh and there are usually 2 bakeries/patessiere's within walking distance of most people's houses.

Now some of these things I notice because I lived in such a rural environment for a majority of my life. Montreal is a large international city. I see things that I have simply never seen before.


It is snowing again in Montreal.


As with every end of winter stretch, I feel fat and lethargic. Months of minimal activity and bulky wool sweaters make me feel a bit like Jabba the Hut on a bender.

This makes me crabby and irritable


Dear Body,

We don't talk alot, you and I. I suppose we should talk more...you know, spend quality time with one another. In fact, I generally don't notice you unless I am 1) Feeling Fat, as I am now at the end of winter in Montreal, 2) Sick or, 3) Pre-Menstrual (which can coincide with number 1).

Having been asked about my relationship with you, I have had to stop and THINK about it. Did I always feel this low grade dislike or general apathy?

No. I am pretty sure that I didn't feel this way about you when I was a child - pre puberty. I was a normal, kind of skinny kid. Active, bike riding, swimming and running around. Busy. I never recall thinking I physically couldn't do something.

Then puberty came, and the notice of my male cousins, and eventually my father. Is this the moment that I abandoned you, Body? Was the betrayal of the trust of my father the moment that I turned my spiritual back on you? Was that when the seed of my ultimate apathy was planted? Does some of our relationship lay within the multifaceted dimensions of the relationship with my own mother and in her relationship with her mother?


I am, after all, built like the women of my father's family. German Farming Women. Good hips, strong legs, breasts that are intended to feed many healthy babies. My genetic heritage insured that I would survive famines to pass on my genes to new generations.

My mother has always seemed effortlessly thin. And Tall. Until her own hormones caught up with her in her mid fifties and she found herself a size 12. At that juncture, I welcomed her to the sizes of the real women of the world. Shit, I AIM for a size 12. That is my middle compromise ground with you, Body.


You know the days that seem to go on forever - and not in a good way? You stumble form one vaguely surreal moment to the next wondering when the hell this is going to settle down. Is there some kind of retrograde planetary situation that was not mentioned to you? Full moon? Tide shifts? Global warming? ANYTHING???

I've had a full week of that. Like disjointed Monty Python sketches, where I am the completely straight woman unaware that I am in the middle of a grand farce.

Last week, I developed a grand Facial Cavity infection...given to me by my child who recovered within a day on Monday the 3rd. By Monday the 10th, I crawled into a clinic begging to be put out of my misery. With the same child in tow, as it was ANOTHER snow day in Montreal.

One might not describe me as the warmest TA in the history of TA's, but I was Extra crabby last week. My very weak sense of usual decorum was invisible and it was clear to most that I should be approached with extra caution - if at all. Sadly a few students braved it - and possibly had their heads handed to them - on curriculum infused platters. Seriously. Don't mess with me about early childhood curriculum when I am sick....trying to tell me arts and crafts projects are curriculum will not engender warm fuzzies from me. Looking incredulous when I suggest instead of the FOUR arts and crafts projects that you create an experiment on Gravity and saying "Isn't that a bit advanced for Kindergarteners..." will earn you the look of death from me. Then I will very meanly suggest that 4 arts and crafts projects are a crap excuse for a curriculum project and that if I were your Director/Head of School I would toss your crap lesson plans out.

By Thursday, I will pick a fight with every professor/instructor I work with on topics as varied as the correct way to do annotated bibliographies and the use of colloquial language within a "script" that is being presented as if children wrote it. I came down on the side of the use of age appropriate colloquialism (i.e. "Hey, Guys!").

By Friday, I will feel slightly better. I will mentally process an invitation to appear on a National Business News program and respond to the producer saying... "Sure - why not." Because it seems just weird enough to fit in with my week.
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