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Archive for the ‘children’ Category

Mouse is Avi’s imaginary friend.  She’s been around for close to a year now.  Her and Mouse’s Sister.

Now that Avi is playing with her friends rather than simply next to her friends Mouse is frequently addressed by her friends as well.  Avi usually corrects them; she alone knows Mouse’s true whereabouts and feelings.

And then, there are times like the following.  They make me laugh so hard I cry. And I can only blame myself for the language since, as my ex just informed me this morning, ‘Damn It’ is apparently my curse of choice.

This was emailed to me by Avi’s once-a-week sitter, who is also one of my girlfriends, and is published with permission.  W__ is her son who is the same age as Avi:

Ok, so we pull away from your house and W__ talks into his cell phone and says “hello, Mouse” and Avi says

“Mouse isn’t here…I forgot Mouse! DAMMIT!!”

And W__ is staring out the window completely oblivious.  And Avi says again,

“I forgot Mouse, DAMMIT, can you beweeve I forgot Mouse, DAMMIT”

And I’m biting my lip SO hard because I don’t want to laugh and call W__’s attention to it but at the same time, I don’t know what to say to Avi about it… So I’m just driving and hoping that she just moves on and then she says,

“DAMMIT DAMMIT DAMMIT!

I cant beweeve I forgot Mouse, can you beweeve it L____?”

And I say, “no I can not believe it Avi, that is too bad” and she says,

“Oh wait! There she is, walking on the sidewalk….”

and that was the end of the dammits.

And will I stop swearing?  Damn it, no.  And do I still love Mouse and Mouse’ Sister?  Absolutely.  I never knew so much fun could be had from fictitious friends.

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There was a time when you flew in circles about the room, flapping your wee wings and laughing in delight.

There was a time when the cries ushering from your mouth were only true tears of sadness or hunger.

A hug, a nurse, a kiss, a tickle, cheered all.

Where have you gone, my little fae?  And who is this peskie pixie that has come in your place?

Who screams with a banshie howl, shattering glass with her spoiled desires.

Who refuses to listen to reason and instead throws herself on the ground–a heap of thrashing limbs.

Who screams and screams and screams and screams.

And then screams some more.

Where did she come from and why?

But, of most importance, how do I get you back, child of my heart?

I see glimpses of you as she gasps for a new breath.  I see you underneath it as she whimpers, ‘I want a hug.’  But I cannot give in while she is still here.  That would make her stronger.  Some how I must resist her caterwauling and still find you beneath it all.

I don’t know how to do that.

I miss you, child of my heart.  I miss the mama I was to you.

But, most of all, I miss you.  My little faery child.  I miss you.  I hope you find your way home soon.

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Dear Madame Librarian,

When I was a little girl, my mom took me to the library almost every week (as far as I can remember).  The open foyer was breezy and sunny.  To the left went the children; left again into the big kid section; right and into the little kid section.   Low wooden buckets lines the walls in the little kid section, plus a little white shelf filled with teeny tiny peter rabbit books.  And in the big kid section, my favorite section, there was a low desk sized perfectly for children to check out their own books with their own library cards.  Sometimes I browsed the low stacks, but my favorite fiction books were in the tall stacks.  The Wizard of Oz series was on the highest possible shelf which meant I got to pull over a stool to reach them.  Each hard cover volume was huge.  I loved the smell.

On the other side of the foyer was the grown-up section.  It felt specious, littered with complex information and quiet, thinking grown-ups.  I could always find my mom to the left, in the fiction.  Sometimes I found fiction for myself there too, even though I was still a kid.  Sometimes, I fingered the drawers that held the maps, wishing I had an excuse to pull them open.  I didn’t; so I pulled open the card catalogue drawers instead and fingered through them.  Curious.  Like reading through a dictionary.

I don’t remember the name of my favorite librarian.  She was the kid’s librarian.  She sat behind the low desk and smiled and said hello so kindly.  She seemed pleased when I filled out so many summer reading cards to pin up on the wall.  I vaguely recall her help and suggestions.  She was kind.  She was part of the room itself.  I wouldn’t be surprised if she actually lived there like Mike Mulligan and Maryanne in the basement of the new town hall.

Today, I brought my own child to the local library.  Where you work.  I wish it already held as many fond memories.  But it doesn’t and, unfortunately, I don’t believe it ever will.  Technically speaking, the children’s section is lovely.  Tons of books.  Big kids, little kids, buckets of picture books, a nice open area for group activities, a little play area with couches, plenty of tables to sit at.  But you, Madame Librarian, are a unwelcoming cold breeze sitting behind your high desk.  A high desk, I should mention, where you cannot check out your own books if you are a child.

Twice I have asked for help, and twice I have been glared at as if I shouldn’t be disturbing you as you cut our your shapes from your colored paper or gossip with the others.  The first time, we spotted a picture of Maisy the mouse.  My child wanted to know who she was.  Modeling a love of learning and asking for information, I suggested we ask the librarian who she was and wether we might read a book about her.  When we asked, we received a glare poorly covered up with a glassy smile.  “Sure! We have plenty of Maisy books if they’re not all taken out.  It’s a TV show!”  I’m sorry, did you just say TV show to my toddler who doesn’t watch TV and is at a library for a reason?  A reason having something remotely to do with, say, reading the written word?

The second time was today.  My child has displayed a ridiculous fear of bugs.  Who knows from whence it came since I spent much of my childhood dreaming of being an entimologist.  Upon its discovery I declared, “We’ll just have to go to the library and take out some books on bugs so we can learn about how cool they are!”  When we got there, I discovered that all the picture books were stories and the computer catalogue was no help, so I turned to the librarian.  “Can you tell us where to find non-fiction books about insects for my two year old?”

You glared at me.  “We don’t have any.  They’re for older kids.”

“Oh, well that’s alright.” But what I’m thinking is, “Is there a rule somewhere that says little kids can’t look at big kid books?”

“You should have just typed in ‘Insects’ in the computer.”  To which I opened my mouth to reply that I had, but you swept out from behind the desk and disappeared into the tall stacks.  I grabbed my child and followed you.  I had to look down every single aisle since you were completely gone.  When we finally found you, you stood there impatiently but then proceeded to list through every single kind of insect we could read about as you pointed to every single shelf.  Did you think I was daft?  And then you left us, turning back briefly to comment that the books with a brown stripe were for children in grades one through three.  Other than showing us where to find the books, that was the most helpful thing you said the entire time.

We found plenty of appropriate books.  As it turns out, nonfiction books for first graders to read to themselves are perfect for parents to read to their toddlers.  Not too many words, simple sentences, and great pictures.  If you were the good childrens librarian I wish you were, you would have known that, and been excited at our search for bug books, and encouraged my toddler to explore the stacks, to one day call libraries her second home.  But you aren’t.  And that is extremely dissapointing at a time when my child needs to love the library now.

In a few years, I’ll have lost her to the internet.  She won’t know how to use a phone book or an encyclopedia.  She will not feel comfortable wandering through the stacks alone, pulling random books out to poke through, rubbing her hands across the cover as if it could tell her more than the words.  She will love the smell of dusty keys and frying screens instead of musty books that breath their own history when you turn the pages.  I need your support now, because in a few years, it will be too late.

As for the dismal toddler and preschool activities you offer, I won’t even go into it.  It’s not worth.  But you, Madame Librarian, need to get your priorities straight.  Encourage the seeking of knowledge from the very books that surround you.  Encourage the desire to reach up higher than anyone thinks you should.  Welcome us gladly into your day.   Are these things not why you became a childrens librarian in the first place?

Sincerely,

Single Mom with Tiny Tot

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Our Children

I convinced one of my oldest friends to drive up to my parent’s house for Seder dinner.

Her first long drive alone with her toddler.

No matter how much time has passed,

I still find it breath-taking that we are both grown-ups,

and both parents.

I think I will always find it breath-taking.

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If I’d been able to think coherently, I would have been playing the twilight zone theme song in my head as I drove.  It would have, at least, made me laugh.

Instead, I was too busy crying and explaining to my two year old why.

“Mama wasn’t thinking.  Mama made a mistake.  All-of-the-gas-stations-are-out-of-power-and-we’re-almost-out-of-gas-and-we’re-too-far-to-turn-around-and-I-don’t-think-we-have-enough-gas-to-get-there-and-my-cell-phone-has-no-reception-so-I’m-nervous-and-scared-and-so-I’m-crying.”

Avi let me babble for a while before she interjected “Mama wanna cookie?  Avi give mama kisses.  Will that make you feel better?  Avi give you hugs and kisses.  That will make you feel better.  Let’s sing the princess song again.”

In the meantime, I’m also wishing I had just enough gas that I could pull over and take a photo because I’ve never seen anything like it:

completely white trees bent over, bowing to our honorable presence,

sweeping the streets with their top-most branches.

Cars and trucks whisking by seemingly unaffected by the disturbing absence of wildlife and light pollution.

Haunted thoughts of having to hitch a ride with a complete stranger, toddler in tow.

Looming dark gray clouds pressing down on us.

The knowledge that I might just make it,

unless I hit traffic from a downed power line or tree, unless the skies open up with hail, unless my bladder can’t contain the swelling pain from having to pee and I just have to stop and the re-starting of my engine uses up just enough gas to keep us from reaching our destination.

Here, of course, is where the theme music might have come in handy.

Not to worry.  In the end, we made it.

We hit the Pioneer Valley and it was like driving into Brigadoon.  We crossed a line and the trees were green and upright.  I cried again when I spotted a lit street lamp.  This green green electrified valley entirely surrounded by frozen homes.

I even found a gas station with at least a gallon to spare.  Of course, I parked and sprinted to the bathroom first.  Holy pee, batman.

I have no photo of this ice storm to share with you so here’s a happy bonus shot of Avi and her gramma at Yankee Candle:

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Winter Fae

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Shut it, whiner.

I’ve been sitting here, contemplating going to bed but I’m having a hard time stomaching it, literally.  I did not eat great today, not awful, but not great.  And then I stuffed myself at dinner.  It was so freaking good.  I made pizza with my own home-made sauce (a first! the sauce, that is, not the pizza) and tofu-basil mash on top with black olives.  I thought I’d died and gone to heaven.

But now I have indigestion in the form of acid belly and a tight throat.  Mint tea isn’t quite cutting it.

I was starting to feel a little miserable, basking in the sludge of self-indulgent blah, wondering why I let myself do this so frequently.  And then I went to the message board of my local mother’s group.

One of the moms posted a vent yesterday.  It involved crying twin infants, poop, cat vomit, heads in tiolets and missed naps.  She’s got four, yes FOUR, children under the age of three.  Two sets of twins, my friends.  And then another mom responded with a vent about her equally crappy day involving her two year old and twin infants.

My reply?  “Next time I start to vent about my one kid, someone tell me to shut-it.”

Now, don’t misunderstand me, we all have our days, and we are all entitled to vent about them, seek comfort, go cry, or pound a few pillows into dust.  But this was a pleasant reminder that I’ve got it pretty easy:  I’ve got one kid.  Only one to cry, cloth, feed, and chase.  Only one.

And that, dear friends, is how it shall stay for a long long time.

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