A Proposition of Sorts

Now that I look far more haggard than I ever looked “put together” even in my best moments, there are a few things that have become certain. This includes the disappointing fact that I am no longer flirted with, by anyone even gas station attendants looking for an extra tip. I comfort my ego by thinking that this is because I am so obviously married, a fact anyone can pick up on by noticing my glittering wedding ring. The truth is if you checked me out you would probably miss the glitter altogether but what you could never miss is the middling overhang, that thing that I used to call my waist when I was eight. Since then I have called it affectionately my pouch, but then I had a baby and it never went back to being just a pouch it is now imperfectly huge, like a bunny burrow my daughter used to live in, then left leaving it eviscerated and at the same time puffy. Occasionally I get a look from someone who hasn’t seen me in a while… it’s a look that speaks loudly and clearly, “My god she let her self go,” as if it was a choice and that I had anything to do with it.

More disturbingly I have noticed an opposing correlation. The less and less members of the opposite sex flirt with me, the more and more people of both genders ask me for advice. I know, why would anyone ask me for advice about anything other than which Danish is better, cream cheese or blueberry? “I don’t eat gluten,” would be my response to which they would look incredulously back in my direction seemingly asking, “How can a chubby person not eat pastry?”

In the same sort of way people always seem to think I can help out their son, cousin, or friend who wants to be a filmmaker so every few months I end up sitting down with someone just starting out to give them my “advice.” The truth is I don’t have any advice, as I have not yet achieved what I really want to. This is really too embarrassing to admit, except in my blog so I usually show up to these meetings, disheveled, dose up on caffeine and tell them to pursue their dreams and try and give them a few practical tips from a most impractical person along with some inspired realism peppered with my best fake smiles and encouragements, when inside I am thinking “Get out while you still can and become an accountant,” but I won’t allow myself to speak that truth as it would be unfair to the fictional version of myself that is both successful and solvent.

So this is how I turned up at my usual coffee place last week to meet my husband’s friend Jamie’s nephew who is applying to film school in Canada and making short films on the island. He was a strapping lad, who had probably been out of school for a few years trying to get into film school and into “the industry.” We went through the usual and the particular. He through out a budget and a story idea, and what he was planning to achieve and how long it would take him. I told him bits and pieces of what I knew about funding and casting etc. etc. Then he asked me something that almost made me choke on a figurative cream cheese danish.

“Have you ever done any acting?”

Hmmm I thought to myself, that was not a usual question. Why would he ask me that, it was like asking me if I had eight legs instead of just two.

“No, I haven’t actually except for student productions when you act, direct, do set design, makeup and Kraft Services all at once while barefoot and with a two dollar budget.”

“I know what you mean, but would you consider acting?”

I took a long swig of coffee and then the ever so egotistical, I am really still eighteen, thoughts crossed my mind— Is he flirting with me?

I tousled my hair, buying time, and then answered, “Well I might consider acting if it was the right role.” It was my best Nicole Kidman impression.

He had previously told me about the film he wanted to make about a young twenty year old man who has a psychotic break and his relationship with his mother. He was going to act as the main role as well as direct. I probably should have seen it coming but I didn’t, so then he asked,

“I would love to cast you as the mother.”

I immediately stopped hair tousling, and then licked the bottom of my coffee cup trying to cover up my shock.

“Oh as the mother, as YOUR mother?”


At this point my mind went reeling into a stream of consciousness rambling horror.

“Definitely not flirting, not flirting at all. How can I be your mother, you have a mustache? You are bigger than me. I can’t play your mother, I don’t even have grey hair and I still get my period, I’ll have you know. How can this be happening. Mother of a grown man. Ewwwww. A grown man with a mustache.“

Our conversation ended soon afterwards, with me missing out on what could have been the role of the century.

Later that day I was checking out at the grocery store with all my provisions for my real child who is three not twenty and does not have facial hair yet, hopefully never. The cashier recognized me or my ATM card when I was checking out.

“Oh my gosh, Luci Spurling, how are you?”

Fine I thought, as long as you don’t ask me to act as a middle aged woman.

“You don’t know who I am?”


“It’s Chernelle’s mother.”

“Oh my gosh, Hi, its been a while, I haven’t seen Chernelle in a few years but I chatted to her on email the other year, how is she doing?”

“Chernelle is great, did you know she is a grandmother now.”

I started to madly search for the dark chocolate I had purchased in my grocery bags.

“Grandmother?” I looked at her with an expression as if I had just witnessed the miracle birth of Jesus Christ.

“A What?”

“Did you say Grandmother?”

I stuffed a block of chocolate in my mouth, to ease the pain that word caused to reverberate through my entire body.

“Wow,” is about all I could muster. The packer offered, “Would you like me to take the bags out to the car for you?”

“No I am not crippled, nor am I a grandmother, nor will I play one onstage or in anyone’s crazy fantasy.” I murmured half to myself, my speech distorted through chocolate squares.

The following day I went to fill up my car with gas, full service of course as that’s how old people roll.

The gas man leans on the car hood and leans into the window to say to me, “I can’t believe she hasn’t given out yet.”

My immediate thought is – My god not again, he is talking about me. Then I realize he is talking about my car. My offended expression changes into one of laughing acceptance as I hit the side of the old jalopy with my hand and say, “They don’t make them like they used to.” We smile like two old crows sitting on a park bench watching clouds float by.

“So How old is your car anyway?” the gas man asks me.

“I am not sure, I have lost count.” I reach over and pull the registration out.

“1996” I say proudly, “Nineteen years old.”

As I tapped my fingers on the dash, and wound my fingers around the worn grooves in the steering wheel, that fact really started to sink in. Nineteen years old. My damn car is older than the mustached young actor who wanted me to play his mother. My god I am old.

It is not actually just my own age, or being called “Mame,” that is hard to accept. As the gas topped up on the car and I drove off I realized that I was having problems accepting that Eva would eventually grow up, she would stop going everywhere with me, and that some day she will be almost twenty. And when she is twenty she might decide to date an actor, she might even consider one with a mustache a decision, which will certainly give her mother grey hair menopause and a heart condition.

Until then I can only accept mortality, age and the metaphorical ticking clock of the crocodile in Peter Pan. In the meantime I can enjoy Eva at three sort of the perfect age, if only I could press pause.

I bought Eva a crocodile sleeping bag for Christmas. She hates it, and has banned all camping equipment and toys with teeth ( or ticking clocks for that matter) out of her playroom, bedroom, or bathtub. I may follow her inspired example and live eternally in denial, and treat my daughter like she is three years old forever. Hey maybe that’s my own mother’s secret 🙂

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A Moment of Brilliance

If you have read my blog at all in the past year, you will know the moment of brilliance I mention in the title is most certainly not my own. The terrible irony of the scene I am about to recount is that the discovery occurred as I plumbed the depths of my own derelict motherhood. It reminded me of all those accidental discoveries in history when the inventor is trying to invent something else but the experiment’s unintended byproduct changed the world: silly putty, play dough, dynamite, Velcro, LSD, Viagra and its antidote penicillin. Now who could live in a world without all of those things! Eva’s world would certainly be less without play dough, but I digress.

Last weekend, I let Eva stay up late again so I could finish my extra large cocktail before putting her to bed. Bedtime is always a specter that hangs over me, as I know I will have to deal with it at some stage, and all the whining and excuses that come with it. We read her three stories because she is three, and then she has to use the bathroom at the last gasp, she needs a drink, she is hungry, she is scared, she needs several scary toys removed from her room before she could possibly consider shutting her eyes. After she shuts her eyes, the lullaby machine must be turned on, her pajama pants rolled up to the knee and her legs stroked until she starts to drop off. Then I unfurl the pajama bottoms, tuck her in and sneak out of the room.

On the night in question, both her Daddy and I were in her room to kiss her goodnight and Daddy was going to read one story and mommy was going to read two stories. Daddy and I decided the best way to deal with this situation was to skip chapters, pages, sentences out of her new Disney storybook, and she would not be the wiser. My sister is moving house and gave us a bunch of her children’s books including an anthology of five minute Disney stories we have been reading to her over the last week. Five minutes doesn’t sound like a long time but five times three is fifteen minutes plus the bedroom routine I described above with Friday night wine and dinner on the other side of the bedroom door. Completely selfishly Daddy and I decided to skip a chapter of the story.

Eva did not miss a breath and began yelling, “No Mommy. No Mommy, you missed a part!” and started to claw back the pages of the book.

“She doesn’t miss a trick.” Said Daddy. We resumed where we left off, then I decided to miss just a page. “No Mommy, No Mommy, you missed another part.”

“Okay Eva,” and I returned to where I had left off. Undeterred by Eva’s attention to detail, I decided to skip just a sentence. Eva sat bolt upright, looked me in the eye, and with a forthright but polite manner, as if she was speaking to a complete dunce Eva said, “You missed a line mommy.” Then with extra slow pronunciation just in case her dumb as a post derelict mother might miss a syllable, she began to recite the story word for word from where I left off until the very end, Verbatim.

“A movie called the Invisible Monster with Ten Foot Claws was just beginning. Minnie and Daisy watched as an actress entered a spooky mansion. The door slammed behind her with a Bang! “Eeek” Minnie and Daisy jumped. “You’ll never get me monster! “ the actress cried. But soon she heard the scratch scratch scratch of the monster moving toward her. The monster chased the actress all over the house. Luckily she managed to escape. But Minnie and Daisy watched the rest of the movie with the lights on.” ETC ETC.

Her father and I stared at each other scratching our empty heads, wondering if what just happened was our imagination, her imagination or the vodka we just consumed.

“Eva can you read?” I asked.

Eva shrugged. I pointed to a word, “What does this say?” She shrugged again. It was then I realized that she wasn’t even looking at the pages; she was reciting them from memory.

“My god, “ I said to Daddy, “I have only read her this story a few times and she knows it word for word.” Mom’s love to state the obvious.

“Maybe she is like her uncle Mark and has a photographic memory?” I added.

“Maybe, she isn’t looking at the pages, she remembers if from hearing it, she must have an audiographic memory- is there such a thing?” Daddy asked.

Of course after ten minutes of stroking and rolling down the pajama pants and sneaking out of her room, I ran to Google and looked it up. Evidently there is something called Eidetic memory that occurs in a small number of children (2-10%) and generally is not found in adults, because if the ability is not nurtured it can fade by the age of six.

“Ugh,something else to do… How I am going to nuture this?” I wondered, then at the same time marveled that if I was a teetotaler and had never tried to short change my daughter out of her nite nite story for purely selfish reasons then I would never have discovered this amazing talent.

Now I just have to figure out how to put it to use/ turn a profit, before she is six. Vegas? The Circus? Daddy will probably just have her memorize the almanac of Tottenham Hotspur F.C. Maybe I’ll have her memorize all of my favorite Bette Davis movies. She can’t go around quoting Minnie mouse forever.

The following day I ran around telling everyone in the extended family that my child is “Gifted” to their collective expressions of doubt and skepticism. Is it so unbelievable that we could have a “gifted” child? Maybe it is? Maybe she will pay for her own college education, maybe I am dreaming? Maybe, Maybe not!

Here’s to the Gifted and to the Derelict and to all that is revealed in a Bedtime Story!

Xx Derelict Mom

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Kids Say the Darndest Things… and so does Reza

I am loving mothering a three year old, and I am finally understanding what it means when people look at Eva and I, wistfully and say,

“Time goes way too fast so appreciate this time you have together when they are little,” or words to that effect.

On no sleep, sick for several months, with overdue work projects and hair that hasn’t been brushed in at least a week I used to hate that comment. Now I feel that I am through the worst of the early years, usually the time in a mother’s life when they further complicate it by having another child or two. Not me, not yet, maybe never. Eva seems to be of the same persuasion. Although her cousin Sadie has been asking her mommy to have another baby, there is nothing farther from Eva’s mind, in fact, I don’t think she could imagine a world where she would have to share mommy or daddy with anyone else, not to mention a stuffed toy, that would surely be the end of her world.

Eva’s friend Luke at Auntie’ Zoe’s is expecting a baby sister in April even though he has only just turned two. I have given Luke’s mommy all of Eva’s old clothes, which sparked a massive tantrum when Eva saw that Luke was making off with all of her stuff, especially when she noticed he was taking all of her precious shoes.

“My heels, my heels! Luke is stealing my heels.”

Luke’s mom was able to pack the car with everything other than Eva’s Cinderella heels, which she had weaseled out of the Tupperware storage box and managed to cram her foot into, although by now a size too small. She was certainly the belle of the ball on Christmas day 2013 when she received not one but two pairs of Cinderella slippers because cousin Sadie couldn’t cram her foot into the pair she was given, now it was Eva’s turn to grow out of her glass slipper but she would not relinquish them. I am sure that if Eva had a baby sister or brother she would most certainly turn into the Evil Big Sister.

Auntie Zoe told me the following week that when Luke talks about his new baby sister, Eva yells at him in her domineering, proud, evil big sister way, “My mommy is NOT having a baby,” to the amusement of everyone.

I always wondered what age kids were when they came out with hilarious one-liners like that Bill Cosby show, “Kids Say the Darndest Things.” I think its age three.

The other day when daddy and mommy were going out to a friend’s party I jumped in the shower with Eva to save time. In the shower she took a sponge and said “Mommy I am going to make your bruise feel better” and tried to clean my C-section scar. I said, “Eva it’s not a bruise, it’s a scar.”

Then she asked, “Mommy how did you get that bruise?”

“That is where you were born Eva, when you came out of mommy’s tummy.”

Bewilderment swept over her and her eyes went wide, just the kind of reaction I would expect if I were to tell her she was in fact going to have a little brother or sister. I tried to make it better, easier for her to comprehend, “That was a long time ago when you were this big,” I explained holding my hands about 19 inches apart.

Another night, I was reading her a bunny book at bedtime. You have to look under the flaps to find the bunnies, who are hiding in their burrows. When we reached the last page she flipped up the flap to discover two bunnies sleeping together in a burrow on one side of the page and on the other side of the page, a bunny sleeping alone in another burrow.

She took her pointy finger and pointed to the two bunnies sleeping together and said, “That is you and me, mommy.”

I gave her a kiss on the head and nuzzled her like a mommy bunny would do to her baby bunny.

“And that,” she said with her pointer finger at the solitary bunny in a burrow, ”That is Daddy.”

“Why is THAT Daddy bunny, Eva?”

“Because Daddy likes to be by himself all of the time.”

When Eva’s Stay-at-Work Dad got home I proudly told him this, which he accused me of making up but I also felt guilty for finding it so funny, because although Eva doesn’t understand I understand that Daddy is working hard for all of us and when he is at home a crazy bouncing three year old is not the best way to relax on the only twelve hours you have off in a week.

Another evening, I had Eva in my arms and I opened up a cupboard to get a new bag of popcorn for her. Our popcorn cupboard happens to be directly below our open hard liquor shelf. Eva stared at the bottles of vodka, gin and Campari and then she said,

“Mommy would you like a drink?”

“No thanks, Eva, I think I am okay.”

“But that is what you and daddy drink,” she said pointing to the hard liquor.

“I don’t drink that but daddy does, okay maybe I do occasionally”



“I think you should just stick to tea.”

“Okay Eva I will just drink tea.”

My darling Eva always speaks her mind, and I can tell when she is contemplating something because her eyes grow wide and I can see her the wheels of her brain contemplating something bigger than her stuffed turtle or Bunzy’s wobbly nose.  I am wondering if these thoughtful funny comments on our lives are a phase or if it is her personality. I am thinking it might be her personality. I certainly know other people who are just as funny, like Reza.

The other day Reza came bounding down the driveway in her car, I was washing up from lunch and started laughing when I saw what looked like a metal skip attached to the roof of her car. The Magpie, as Chris calls her, has been at it again I thought. It must be open day at the dump.

“What is that?”

“It’s a box to keep things in.”

“Its big.”

“I don’t have any closet space.”

“How much did you pay for it?”

“100 dollars.”

I rolled my eyes.

“What are you going to keep in there?”

“My umbrellas.”

“How many umbrellas do you have?”


I just shook my head.

I wondered if Reza had a collection of shoes at home that were too small, just like Eva and her glass slippers. The answer is – more than likely.

I am sure I will have a lifetime more of entertainment with Eva and Reza in my life.

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Recent events: the stomach flu, followed by the 90 day cold and flu intermixed with Christmas, a diabetic dog living in exile, and transitioning Eva to a big girl bed has made the last few months a tad hectic. The first thing to be thrown out was my exercise routine. During my time away from jogging I have come to the realization that I am not really cut out for it. I am not built for speed as my husband would say. For the time being I have decided to leave pounding the pavement for when I feel better. I think for now I am better suited for going to the gym, walking, and my new discovery, yoga.

The first time I tried yoga was when I started my Masters degree and the University of Bristol was offering free yoga classes. I should have known better, but I turned up along with three hundred other shoe and sockless students. The odor of foot was so overwhelming I left half way through, never to return. I suppose other people don’t try yoga because they think it isn’t real exercise, but I am telling you the foot smell is the worst part.

I must have blocked this memory out, because when my uncle asked me if I wanted to join in on his yoga class next door, I thought about it for a moment and said, hey why not. I was recently reading about how people with both my blood type, type A, and my autoimmune disease, Hashimotos, should probably not do high intensitiy aerobic exercise and should do activities like yoga, just what I wanted to hear to get me out of that three mile run. I also have hamstrings so tight that I walk around like Eva stuck a lego animal up my butt so it would probably do me good. Oh and then there is the Sciatica, I heard that word while getting a massage once. I thought I was too young to have anything that hard to spell, then I realized I already have Hashimotos an autoimmune disease and I am nearing forty. Maybe exercising with older people is a good way of feeling younger and fitter than I really am.

Regardless the reason, three weeks ago I showed up on my Uncle’s dock with my mother’s senior citizen yoga matt ( it has double cushioning) tied with a royal blue ribbon. Most of my mother’s belongings are tied with bright colored ribbons, even my father from time to time. Mom does Yoga too with the same teacher but on a different day with a group of women who gossip with every warrior pose exhale. This class is by far my mother’s preference over spending any more of her life with the family, or on the compound than she has to.

Turning up on the dock with Uncle Michael 1, Uncle Michael 2, Aunt Ann, and Carol Green did feel a little like a prison break workout in which we are all allowed out of our houses on the compound for a one hour group training exercise or worse a Calisenics class at the local rest home. If you are wondering who Carol is, she is a good friend of the Michaels’ and kind of like a stand in for my mother (she might be competing for my mothers title of Ultimate Fag Hag) and from time to time a Spurlingville resident. She also makes great Chinese dumplings but not at the same time as doing yoga.

Uncle Michael 1 is in the back of the class because he is so tall he can see over everyone else, but the downside of that is that everyone’s butt is in his face, something he can’t stop commenting on, “ Carol get your butt out of my face.” Etc etc.

Because we are all related, our yoga teacher made us do synchronized yoga on my first day which was pretty difficult considering we all disagree on most things. The teacher asked us to balance in a circle on one leg like a Flamingo, embracing each other in a circle. It worked for about five seconds, especially considering Michael 1 had to have both feet reconstructed after a paragliding accident twenty years ago (trying to be a bird) and its pretty miraculous that he can stand on two feet at all. I think people must think yoga is a cult and ours did seem kind of cultish, most of the family doing synchronized yoga on the dock making flower formations, next we will be constructing crop circles on Michael’s Mini farm.

For most of the yoga session instead of being centered in oneness I was wondering who was watching us thinking, “I always knew those Spurling’s were mad.” We looked down the dock and there was our family repair man on the neighbour’s roof taking a mini break and wondering who Michael had rented his house out to now, a yoga colony? Normal was overrated, you had to accept that to live in Spurlingville or even to occasionally visit.

By the following week I was looking forward to the one hour weekly family yoga retreat. Unfortunately my oven repair man showed up fifteen minutes before so, I began stretching impatiently in my yoga pants and stretchy top, clutching my borrowed yoga mat with that same Royal blue ribbon. Michael 1 called.

“Are you coming?”

“Yes, but the oven repair guy is here.”

“We are all waiting for you.”

“I’m coming.”

Yoga had moved from the dock to my Uncle’s porch because of inclement weather, I was thankful not to be on display. When I walked out onto the porch I froze mid way through unraveling my yoga mat.

Uncle Michael 1 flashed me. Under his t-shirt and shorts he was wearing a fluorescent green mankini. Yes a mankini like Borat. I asked if I could go back and get my camera and take a picture for my blog. Unfortunately he refused to have his picture taken but he doesn’t have much control over the blog. Evidently he had been walking around in the mankini without a cover-up while they were all waiting for me and the yoga teacher because she was running late (never again). Maybe we should all get matching ones? It could be our yogi uniform.

I am not the most coordinated, and Michael two and I kept getting our lefts and rights confused, no wonder I failed the Mensa entrance exam. J

While we were yogaing, I kept trying to follow what my uncle Michael 1 was doing when I got confused. “Downward what?”

At one point while in the splits. Uncle Michael one said to me,

“Stop looking at me, my goulashes are going to fall out.”

“Are you still wearing the mankini?”

Uncle Michael did manage to fall off his yoga blocks and I got physically stuck when I knelt on the ground and leaned backwards to rest backwards, and could not get back up, and had to have our teacher extract me. I looked like a chubby pretzel someone dropped on the ground because it didn’t have enough salt. I think I am probably hopeless at yoga. I fear Ill never be able to pick my nose with my toe like Eva. But I only went into yoga class with a simple goal, I would like for the first time in my life to be able to touch my toes. I am still not there yet but progress is gradual, kind of like Sciatica. I am planning to continue our family yoga, so if you come to Spurlingville on a Thursday morning and hear a lot of moaning you will know its just me trying to touch my toes, Carol doing in her knee, Uncle Michael two trying to get his right and left straight, and the rest trying not to get stuck in any position, including in sight of a mankini.

Our yoga teacher sent us this link after our last session. There is one way to get rid of the mankini and scare off all repair men, naked yoga.


I also stole this missive from my cousin Dana’s facebook page.




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Beauty and Destruction

My husband calls me a hoarder, something I vehemently deny. I suppose my idea of a hoarder is someone with a QVC credit card, a collection of dolls, or stacks of National Geographic magazines gathering dust atop every surface of the home. I do love my library, my research, my DVDs but there is still a place to sit at our table. However, there was visible relief on Chris’ face when I promised him that I would declutter the house of my overzealous blossoming belongings which seem to have grown in girth, dust and bulk in the years since I last had any kind of sort. I suppose the horror that look swept away had gradually crept along his face as he was continuously marginalized in his own house by stuff. This feeling must have gotten much worse for him, when I gave birth to Hoarder Junior. When we discovered we were expecting a girl, I could see him bristle with the expectation of shopping trips, clothes closets full to the brim, a collection of pets, purses and paraphernalia. Women are a mystery of stuff, bathroom stuff, bedroom stuff, makeup stuff, baby stuff etc etc.

Therefore in his honour I have begun this momentous task, this art form of the Purge. After reading in the new years resolution email blasts that it is best to take 15 minutes every day and tackle a small space, I attempted to do just that, in other words make realistic goals and small progress. This sounded reasonable but I have tackled decluttering with the obsessive gusto only a hoarder could habituate, ironic as that might be!

I started by taking a day off to clean out my closet. I was able to dispose eventually of six trash bags of clothes, clothes like the magenta dress that was so beautiful I had to purchase it for the future me who never quite fit into it, but someday would and the jackets ( I have a propensity for jackets) which I have shrunk or out grown. And the parts of my wardrobe, which were just momentary lapses of control, or downright unflattering and fashion backward, I should not admit to such missteps but it was time for the closet to divulge its mysteries, keepsakes and mistakes. These decisions required a full scale modeling session for my purge worthy self critic, alone in my bedroom one resolute morning in front of the full length mirror, titled slightly backward to give the most unflattering angle.

I have spent considerably more time since I purged the closet going through other drawers in the house, but I seem to not be throwing anything out, instead I am cleaning and rearranging, I even alphabetized my spice rack, after all I do have a Virgo rising sign. Anything I have managed to remove from the house, not just the room, I have given to Reza. I am not sure this constitutes purging either, it is more or less a kind of exile, because if I wanted it back I could probably ask for it back, kind of like my beloved dog Piglet who lives with Reza, who I happily visit every Saturday. I can visit my pots and pans now too, see how they are doing, if they miss me, if I need them back or can do without.

During this process I have realized that all of the “stuff” in the house is if you had to attribute it to someone rather than to us as a collective unit, you would say it is “mine.” I am forced to admit to buying and using all the kitchen appliances, the multiple tools on my fashionable and wallet thinning trips to Williams Sonoma, there are the shelves of books that grew from a stack of reading to be done into a shelf and then into an entire three tiered bookcase. I will get around to reading them one day, and no I do not believe in kindles nor do I own one. I love a library, a large overflowing one. I could never throw a book away, any of the ones I have given away I have gradually replaced, missing their place in my library. Purging one’s library is probably improbable for someone who likes to collect ideas, reference material and aspiring reads across multiple genres including the collected works of Kipling.

I have however grown interested in audio books, simply because I can listen to them while driving, while washing dishes, while purging! Or why don’t I just come out and admit that my “purging” is more of a pretense for organizing. I am hoping that my husband will be satisfied with organization and in place of space and order. I still have my work cut out for me in more ways than one.

Eva’s room is a continual work in process, because in Eva’s room I do the dance of two hoarders vs. one minimalist, it will be an eternal argument mostly between the two hoarders. For instance, I used to hide Eva’s friend’s birthday presents in her closet until she got old enough to discover them, and I would find a trail of plastic wrapping and the guilty child and no longer new toy at the end of it. Eva’s room before she was born was a dumping ground for my old clothes, winter coats, a hiding place of all and sundry- but no longer, I have had to relinquish my back room domain. Instead in the nooks, crannies and drawers I would stuff things I had no other place for, there are stuffed animals, books, crafts, mementos, baby apparatus, clothes, and more clothes, future clothes and past clothes and Sponge Bob Square pants shoes three sizes too big she is waiting to grow into with impatience. There may be truth to being too prepared for the years to come.

Eva never goes anywhere without her stuff, which includes of primary importance and stature, her bunny lovie with the wobbly nose. When she discovered we had three alike which we rotate when they need to be washed, or are misplaced she began to demand all three, then she became fixated on blankets, of which at least one has to accompany her and her three bunnies when we leave the house. She also needs to bring one of her four cozy dressing gowns. At home Eva has a heaving collection of other stuffed animals, which come in and out of fancy. Her life size sea turtle which she likes to sleep on top of, her shark who lost a fin in a tug of war fight at nursery and was then banned from attending due to the high possibility of future injury.

Eva likes things so much she has developed the terrible mother mortifying inclination to take things she desires and when questioned prefers the descriptive verb, “to borrow.” It is probably unnecessary to say that Eva has yet to willingly return any item she has borrowed. When new toys appear in her backpack or at home in the milieu, which is her playroom, I have to interrogate her on the origin of its species. I have returned many stuffed animals, small toys, bears and other preoccupations of children’s imaginations to parents of Eva’s friends, red faced and embarrassed to admit my Eva had taken the other child’s toy. She also regularly dismantles toys at my parent’s house and removes them to her own home, some have come to permanently reside at our home, which I suppose was Eva’s intention all along but all of this stolen booty adds too to our mutual hoarding problem. I prefer to include Eva within the umbrella of hoarding rather than Kleptomania. At home, our living room has become a child’s playroom, which we once cleaned regularly and now we have all forgotten to put away anything, in fact the most attention the area gets is from our dog Piccolo who likes to use it as his inside toilet if we forget and leave the door open. Once a showpiece it is the room we all mutually pretend is not there, a mess safely behind closed doors,- that is with the exception of Piccolo.

Since we have moved Eva to her big bed she has spent less and less time sleeping and more and more time playing with all her toys as now that she has outgrown her crib she has absolute access to all of her toys all at once for whatever purposes she desires. After naptime I regularly discover her buried beneath a mountain of soft toys, having to dig her out to resurface her for the afternoon, literally ply her out from underneath her toys, which feels ever so creepily like an episode of Junior Hoarders.

Last weekend when I went into Eva’s bedroom to dig her out she was there uncharacteristically unsurfaced with an evil smile on her face.


“Mommy, look I made everything really PRETTY.”

My eyes scoured the room. As I took in what happened with shock, she seemed eager to explain.

“Mommy, you left the diaper cream out, HA HA HA! You forgot to put it away.”

“You are right I did forget, to my eternal regret. ” For Eva had smeared not only her self head to toe in oily impenetrable diaper cream, but she had worked it into all the corners, and holes, notches and joints of a BORROWED train set, she had greased the brand new pink mesh of her canopy with the stuff, generously given my two nonwashable red dachshund door stops a new cover of cream, wiped along the furniture and drawn what could be described as rainbows along the wall.

“Its Beautiful and Destructive,” I said deciding to celebrate her artistry rather than get upset, and part of me did think it was funny although I wasn’t laughing.

“Ha Ha Ha, Mommy I am LAUGHING, he ha he ha.”

Needless to say the diaper cream was a COSTCO sized container I had never managed to use up, I should have known I could leave that to Eva.



I was reminded by certain family members that it could be much worse, she could have been smearing POO. I am all for that kind of optimism.

This incident has given my decluttering some inspiration, because the less I hoard, the more I declutter, the less I have to clean, sew fins back on, lock away, or discern its origin. The less stuff we have, the less we will be ruled by it. I do of course believe that, but getting rid of stuff is hard for a Hoarder especially when there is a new generation of stuffed animal clutter, because of course- I still have my own mildewy eyeless worn out collection of stuffed animals from my childhood, STILL.

Maybe I should give up?

Xx Derelict Mom

First Love


“Love is the ultimate outlaw. It just won’t adhere to any rules. The best any of us can do is sign on as its accomplice. Instead of vowing to honor and obey, maybe we should swear to aid and abet. That would mean that security is out of the question. The words “make” and “stay” become inappropriate. My love for you has no strings attached. I love you for free.” Tom Robbins, Still Life With Woodpecker.

I included the above quote on my wedding program and it remains today as it was then, my favorite quote by my favorite author. Tom is in his eighties now and he recently published a collection of stories verging on memoir called Tibetan Peach Pie. One of the first stories is about his first love, a young circus girl with long blonde hair and a pet snake. This vision made me think of my darling Eva who although merely three years old, has loved all reptiles and amphibians since before she could walk. Eva especially likes toads and we spend many mornings looking for them in my uncle’s pond, and this, years before she will contemplate kissing any, for as Tom Robbins wrote, “Prince Charming really is a toad.” But Miss Eva, as soon as she could speak would look at her mother and look back at the toad and say with all the sincerity of a nun, “I LOVE him.”

I imagine moments in the future when Eva confides in me that she has a crush on something other than an amphibian, or that she is nursing a broken heart or a disappointment in love, these moments are probably fairly certain. I look forward to enjoying her happiness when she finds the right boyfriend at the right time, a wedding, a grandchild. Of course I am just as certain that all of this is in her future. What I didn’t anticipate is that Eva’s love life would begin at age three.

You can pity my maternal stupor when I unzipped Eva’s school bag the other day during my evening routine and discovered a love note from a boy. It was a Valentine in January. It said “Eva, I love you,” and had a snowman emblazoned with his name, love, Rogan. It took me a moment to realize that I was holding Eva’s first Valentine.



“Eva, who is this from?”

“Rogan.” She answered as if I was asking her what color the sky was.

“What does it say Eva?”

“Rogan loves Eva.”

I gasp and hold the note close to my chest, I then scan it into my computer for posterity, consider frames and then decide to tape it to the fridge door, as if she had just won a blue ribbon in an art competition, or baked the best brownies at the Agricultural show or made the Dean’s list.

“Eva, this is amazing.”

I couldn’t wait, so I called her father at work, “Eva got her first love note, I found it in her backpack.”

“Who is it from?”


“Rogan? I thought she liked Caelan?”

“Eva likes older men, like her mother.”

“How old is Rogan?”


The next morning when I drove her to school I could barely keep my eyes on the road my heart was singing, and I kept thinking about the love note picturing Eva and Rogan remincing in the married bliss of old age about being childhood sweethearts. Rogan’s mother and I picking out china patterns, deciding where we will throw the wedding and fighting over who will get to babysit the next generation. I hit the curb and veered back into my lane and present time.

When I dropped Eva at school, I asked Auntie Zoe,

“Did Rogan give anyone else a love note, or just Eva?”

After daydreaming, my cynical been around the block protective mothering wisdom began to question the note’s authenticity.

“Did anyone put him up to it?”

“No Rogan did it of his own accord and Eva was the only one he made one for.”

My heart soared, but realistically I also knew that Eva was the only girl at her nursery school so she may hold a place of high esteem that may not translate to the wider world of preschool.

Zoe continued, “Rogan is a very loving boy, he makes these for his parents and his brother, but this is the first love note he has made for anyone else, the first one for a girl.”

My heart skipped a beat. I was the mother of a prom queen, the most popular girl at school. When I got to my office the first thing I did was email Rogan’s mother to discuss the love note.

“Did Rogan say anything to you about the love note he made for Eva?”


“Yes, it appeared in her bag yesterday and he didn’t make one for anyone else, I checked with Zoe.”

Our giddy excitement of motherhood blew the entire incident up into a full scale relationship, a relationship Rogan and Eva didn’t seem to notice, as their “love” had more to do with playing on the climbing frame, stamping and painting than it had to do with spending their lives together. This fact would be brought painfully home to me that afternoon.

When I arrived at nursery to pick Eva up, Rogan was still there.

“Hi Rogan, thank you for the nice note you gave Eva.”

“You are welcome,” he said barely looking up from the ground.

I was expecting more excitement, more pandering, I was after all his future mother in law.

When Eva and I walked to the car, my heart was still singing, my mind planning out her romantic future. When we got home I began the evening ritual of emptying her school bag, removing and cleaning her lunchbox, and reading her school report book, when something I read stopped me dead in my tracks and took my breath away.

“Rogan called Eva a bad girl and made her cry.”

It was just forty-eight hours since Rogan had crafted his masterpiece Valentine professing his undying love for Eva.

“My god! That was short lived.“

I contemplated calling his mother, but it felt too radical. Maybe it was just a lover’s spat. I was thrown from the ecstasies of love to the depths of despair. How fickle are little boys hearts! I sat Eva down to discuss this terrible development.

“Eva what happened at school today?”


“Eva sweet heart, you can tell me what happened.”


“What happened with Rogan?”

“He was mean to me.”

“Its okay darling, boys can be mean to girls sometimes.” And fickle and heartless I thought.

“Mommy can I have another beet.”

“Yes Eva.” I handed her a beet.

“Eva, do you still love Rogan?”

“YUCK, No Mommy I don’t love Rogan, I love Caelan.”

Caelan is Rogan’s little brother.

“Oh! “

I underestimated Eva. I guess she knows more than me and I should butt out and not be so easily swayed into an outright fantasy by a five year old’s love note. At some point when they are married for too many years, boys stop writing love notes, so I am going to keep this one for Eva to remind her of the good old years when she was popular and spoilt for choice — at least among brothers. Her life might be shaping up like a Mills and Boon love story, a beautiful woman torn between two brothers, but there I go again dramatizing. I am sure there will be room in every story line for an interfering mother/mother in law. I should know my own mother still calls my sister’s teenage boyfriend “Remora” when she sees him. “Remora” is a nickname she bestowed on him after finding numerous hickies on my sister’s neck, an affectionate moniker after the fish, whose head has a sucker for adhering itself to the belly of a shark. My sister is the shark of course. Eva should be forewarned that she will never live down what she does as a teenager or a Threenager for that matter.

DM signature001Remora


The First Unfairness


Eva has a new mantra for 2015,“It’s not fair!”

I am not sure what gave rise to her newfound acuity of what is proper and deserving and right but it is emerging alongside the equally important skills of empathy and manipulation. This understanding of equality is as fundamental in humans as it is in dogs. Dachshunds particularly have an almost sixth sense for when one is given a bigger treat than the other, or when one was greeted before the other, or petted for a fraction of a second longer, an imperceptible injustice, which dissolves into an all out war, a forced reconciliation after battle, and eventually exile. I am reminded now reminiscing about Piccolo and Piglet’s well hewn warpath that dogs are believed to have intelligence equal to the average three year old and this fills me with dread for Eva’s year ahead. My experience with warring dogs is a powerful argument for not giving Eva a sibling as life is at its worst when every child at nursery or home wants a turn on the same metaphorical yellow swing at the same time.

The yellow swing is about all I hear about every day when I pick Eva up from nursery. Rogan or Ethan, or Sadie wouldn’t let me have a turn on the yellow swing. And the worst part is I am currently mother to at least three children with the mental age of three ( Eva, Piccolo and Piglet (in exile)) but back to that yellow swing:

“I am sure they did let you have a turn.”

“It wasn’t long enough.”

I pause unsure of my answer and manage to muster,

“It was long enough, it just didn’t SEEM long enough to you.”

I flounder as I am not sure how to raise a child who is to the power of ten times more impatient than the average three year old. All parents say this I am sure, but they haven’t met Eva. Her rage at not getting what she wants is only as powerful as her resolute will to never admit she is wrong.

The other day Eva hit Piccolo and I with a plastic stick that came off one of her Christmas presents.

“Eva please apologize to Mommy and Piccolo.”


“I insist Eva”

“no, NO, Na, Na, NO.” sung to the beat of a Beyonce song. The Diva has arrived.

“You will have to sit on the naughty step.”



I pick her up and put her on the bottom step of the stairs. She cries for forty minutes, every ten minutes I ask her,

“Are you ready to apologize to Mommy?”


Every ten minutes for forty minutes.

Eventually I asked her father to convince her to apologize. He took her off the naughty step without my permission, wrapped her in a blanket and finally ten minutes later, a whisper as loud as it was meaningful eked out,

“I am sorry Mommy.”

“Apology accepted.” I whispered back, arms crossed.

“Now get ready for bed.” No wonder I am the least favorite parent. I put her on the naughty step, Daddy whisks her off, he feeds her chocolate, I make her go to bed. He devises treasure hunts, I wash her ears out, he carries her around the house on his back, I spend most of my waking time following her from room to room plucking her off furniture like a baby monkey, a simile she enjoys bringing to life. I turn the TV off. Daddy turns it on.

Now that she can count it has infiltrated her logic of equity, her comprehensions and assessments of what is fair. About a week before her birthday she started saying that because she was two she should be allowed to watch two cartoons before bed, as that was only fair because she was two.

“Okay that sounds reasonable.” I said not willing to argue the merits of one cartoon, and only one cartoon.

Then Eva more than one step ahead of me as usual added,

“And when I am three I get three cartoons before bed because, I am three!”

“Okay, three cartoons before bed.”

Eva gives me a look as if she was thinking, “Fantastic she bought it.”

Noticing that Mommy’s energy has been flagging lately she has started to use her newest skills of argument, reason and toddler justice to give voice to her most base desires.

When we get home from school, she opens the fridge, “I want chocolate.”

“No chocolate before dinner.”

“That’s not fair.”

“Yes it is!”

Eva bursts into a fit of tears like I had made up a new rule to prevent her from getting what she wants, to eternally get in her way like only mothers can do.

“Eva, no chocolate before dinner has always been a rule and it should never be questioned.”

“It’s not fair, you never said I couldn’t have chocolate.”

“You never asked before dinner.”

“Anarchy” I murmur under my breath.

For Eva the stretch between getting home and finishing dinner is enough of an eternity and so I have discovered that the upside of an impatient child is that she has forgotten about chocolate by the time her deserving hour arrives.

Eva’s other daily habits are also evolving as she grows into her year of being three, or as a blogger wrote the other day her year of becoming a “ Threenager”. Eva is now scared of the dark and calls for mommy to come and take her to the potty at all hours, which I do of course and then lead her back into bed, tuck her in and kiss her goodnight for the umpteenth time. To my amazement these midnight potty trips have meant her diaper is dry in the morning and I am beginning to dream of never having to buy a diapers again until I need Depends.

Eva has always liked to hold my hand while using the potty especially when she has a bowel movement. I guess it gives her fortitude. Now that she is three, she prefers the back of her toddler chair, which I have to move in front of her when she is expecting a movement. Her blue chair is a symbol of independence at last. She holds on to the back of the chair and grunts away reminding me of my Lamaze class. She is very territorial about her blue chair and over the last few days she has been greatly offended by her father. I am relieved it is for once not me who is guilty of such offence.

“Last day, Daddy bit my fingers, these three fingers right here, AND he put HIS shoes on MY blue chair, his shoes on my blue chair!”

She says this with great expectation wondering when I will put Daddy on the naughty step. If Daddy is going on the naughty step it will be for a host of other reasons, not for putting his shoes on Eva’s blue chair but in her world and especially within her potty moments, it is all about the blue chair.

The other day her Daddy and I were discussing his new job and I said, “You will have to play the bad guy at work.”

Eva was shocked, and repeated for days to come, “You called Daddy a bad guy, Daddy is not a bad guy. Mommy you said Daddy was a bad guy.”

“I meant he should pretend to be a bad guy like when he pretends to be a monster.”

At some point Eva is going to wonder why she is the only one that ever has to sit on the naughty step. I am sure Daddy would like to put mommy on the naughty step for my offences against husband-kind: burning the potatoes, leaving the washing in the washing machine, never making the bed, earning too many sky miles on the visa card.

Eva’s other new and disturbing habit is that every night when we are laying in her big girl bed reading stories, she asks, “Mommy can I lay on your boobies?”

“Why do you want to lay there?”

“Because they are soft.”

“Okay put your head right here” I said patting my right breast.

“Mommy you have big boobies, can I touch them?”

“Yes.” I say half disappointed that I cannot for my life recall the last time anyone said anything that romantic to me.

With a wicked smile, Eva does her best belly flop from an upright standing position landing splat on top of my chest, winding me with a WWE Banzai drop.

“Owww, why did you do that, you are hurting Mommy.”

“I want somewhere to rest my belly.”

“Okay, just be gentle.”

Every night I do my best to get through reading her bedtime stories. It’s hard to keep my eyes on the page, while recovering from the nightly Banzai drops, trying to eek out, “Mary had a little lamb, little lamb” while being held in a chest lock.

Last night. I tried to convince Eva to assume another position.

“No, I like it that way.”

“Mommy doesn’t like it, it is uncomfortable.”

“But that’s not fair.”

I could hear my mother in my head,

“Life’s not fair,” but I know better than to say that to my three year old. Instead, I sucked it up and remained in the chest lock for yet another night. The moral, life’s not fair, is perhaps a better lesson imparted on the mother than the daughter.

Year three has already brought many new questions and some tough ones too. Since Eva overheard the headline breaking that Teresa Giudice and her husband of Housewife fame were going to jail she has been asking me,

“Mommy, What is Guilty?”

She hasn’t bought my most recent, explanation:

“Guilty is when someone does something that is not fair, and they are punished like the naughty step, or when Daddy yells at Mommy, and then there is jail too when you are really bad, or when you don’t wear your car seat straps.”

This week’s big toddler probing into the mysteries of life question is,

“Mommy what is Ebay?”

“It’s a place to sell things you don’t want.”

“You mean like Piccolo?”

“We aren’t selling Piccolo.”

“What about Daddy?”

“No we can’t sell Daddy.”

“But he bit my three fingers and put his shoes on my blue chair.”

“Life isn’t fair.” I thought.

Last night I finally finished rereading Peter Pan. It was one of my new years resolutions (2014 not 2015.) I laughed when I came across this passage about a child’s First Unfairness, it reminded me so much of Eva.

“Quick as thought Peter snatched a knife from Hook’s belt and was about to drive it home, when he saw that he was higher up on the rock than his foe. It would not have been fighting fair. He gave the pirate a hand to help him up. It was then that Hook bit him.

Not the pain of this but its unfairness was what dazed Peter. It made him quite helpless. He could only stare, horrified. Every child is affected thus the first time he is treated unfairly. All he thinks he has a right to when he comes to you and yours is fairness. After you have been unfair to him he will love you again, but will never afterwards be quite the same boy. ( or girl) No one ever gets over the first unfairness; no one except Peter. He often met it, but he always forgot it. I suppose that was the real difference between him and all the rest. “

Eva’s Daddy has a few more chocolate coin treasure hunts in his future to make up for putting his shoes on Eva’s blue chair, Mommy will forever be the one who wouldn’t let her have chocolate before dinner, and her friends will never be forgiven for not letting her have a longer turn on the yellow swing but amidst all of this inequity Eva still loves us and we love her back from the prone, clearly unequivalent position beneath a Banzai drop.

Xx Derelict Mom


The Best Posts of 2014

If any of you are interested click on my blog 2014 in review report below for my top read blog posts. The top one is Family Photos, with Meet the Fockers coming in fifth. My biggest fan is my mother in law, who comments the most, even more than my mother and that’s not because I blocked her. Thanks Shelagh!  I wish I had more followers like you 🙂 If you like my blog why not go to the http://www.derelictmom.com website and put your email in the Follow window and you will be email inboxed whenever I post, make sure you don’t miss any in 2015. The facebook newsfeed is unreliable and a bit of a mystery. XxDerelict Mom

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 9,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

A New Year, Pass the Cake

It’s 2015, I woke up on the couch at 12:01am and that is pretty much a metaphor for the year I have had: It sucked and I missed the party. I know I am supposed to be grateful, I replay that scene in Ally McBeal when Calista Flockhart bangs her head against the wall saying ,“I have my health, I have my health,” then I remember I have the flu and have been sick for most of December. Raising a germy three year old is not for sissies, neither is writing a blog.

I did do one thing I have never done and that is keep a new year’s resolution to blog at least once a week. I came close, last weeks blog wasn’t written and posted until Sunday, did I mention how the flu really ruins your life. Imagine blowing your resolution on week 52. The Journal of Clinical Psychology says that 92% of new years resolutions are not achieved. My other nine resolutions belong in that category. Over the years I have learned to be more realistic, one year I made the promise that I would write two hours every day. HMPF. Two hours every week is much more doable. I have stuck to two hours every week to write my blog and it worked. Over the year I clocked up ( I just counted) 89,051 words not including this post which will have plenty of run-on sentences so I can tot up to 90,000 words. It may not be obvious but I was an OCD perfectionist in a past life. I am more proud of this than my Caesarian scar, my whiney three year old, or any of my professional work. 80,000 words is the average length of a memoir, so I have proven to myself that with weekly goals I can finish a rough draft of a book in a year and still be able to pick up my daughter from school, work, get sick, and do all the other things I am expected to do like brushing my teeth. In 2015 I hope to do just that. I will still write my blog but I may not post as regularly.

My other new years resolutions are to try meal planning and take better care of myself and avoid the FLU, and the other one is to declutter. When I said the last one out loud to my husband, he did one of those dances he does when his team wins and then he looked up to heaven like God had finally answered his prayers. I didn’t realize our house was that bad.

I can see my mother vigorously nodding. I suppose it’s like the back of my hair. I just don’t see it.

Yesterday I was chasing Eva around the house with a brush before school and she was trying to convince me that her hair did not need to be brushed. My reply was,

“Eva if you don’t let me get the knots out then they will get worse and it will hurt even more to get them out.”


“Yes, Eva. Mommy knows best.”

“But Mommy, YOU don’t brush YOUR hair.”

I was speechless for a moment and then remembered my mother’s most quotable phrase.

“Eva, do as Mommy says not as Mommy does.”

As soon as the words escaped my mouth, I thought,

“My god I am turning into my mother.”

As I look forward to Eva’s year as a three year old, I realize that as soon as they can count to twenty they start back talking. My motherhood challenge this year will be to learn how to handle her astute observations on areas like self grooming where I am lacking. I better add self grooming to the new years resolution list.

A few days ago, I was rushing to get out of the door to drive over to Reza’s house to help her administer Piglet’s insulin, when I answered the door in a bra, it was Reza she had overslept and was dressed in only a see through nightgown, Piglet in tow. Reza and I have a lot more in common than a diabetic dog. And there was Eva shaking her head in the background at the two of us. Eva’s arms were crossed, her face full of disapproval, her body wrapped snuggly in one of her collection of four dressing gowns, the zebra one.

“Decorum, mom.” I imagined her saying. She doesn’t have that big a vocabulary yet, but that was what she was most certainly thinking.

Eva has learned very astutely how to use her observations to get what she wants. The weekend before Christmas, we were at her grandparent’s house when her cousin arrived with presents.

“Here are Christmas presents for you girls, Eva and Sadie.” Stasia said.

“Which one is for me?” Eva asked and Stasia pointed it out.

“Can we open them now?” Eva asked.

“No, you have to wait until Christmas Day to open them.”

Eva grabbed the present.

“But, I don’t celebrate Christmas.” She explained with sincerity.

Eva will be becoming Jewish, (like her friend from school) in 2015 so she can get her presents earlier and won’t have to wait through advent.

Sure enough when December 25th dawned Eva had returned to Christianity after a brief absence over Hanukkah. We bought Eva a turtle tent for the living room for Christmas, so she can have her own “territory.” After daddy set it up for her and I tried to enter, she laid some ground rules.

“If you are invited into my tent, you cannot do a boofa, if you do a boofa you have to leave.”

“I am not going to do a boofa, Eva.”

“Maybe it’s your breath.” She responded.

One thing I have learned this year, is not to underestimate a toddler. I have been dreading giving up her nighttime bottle, but when I decided to trade her bottle for getting a big girl bed, she had no hesitation and we have not looked back.

Hamma and Gigi tried to out present Eva’s turtle tent when they bought her a hot pink baby grand piano, toddler size. Eva likes to play it naked with her toes. The first thing she said when we set it up was,

“Mommy, I like to play the piano standing up.” She forgot to add naked, with her toes on the keys and her butt in the air. I am going to nickname her, Pearl, after the Elkie Brooks song.

Eva has already sussed out where I fit in the family power dynamic. The other day we went to visit Hamma and Gigi and Eva was playing in the living room with Hamma, while I was in the kitchen area with Gigi and the new puppy.

Hamma explained to Eva that the door had to remain shut to keep the puppy out of the living room.

“Why?” asked Eva

“So the puppy doesn’t chew the furniture.” Hamma explained.

“Can my mommy come into the living room, she will promise not to chew the furniture?”

I do like toothpicks and my mother and I don’t always get along but I have yet to chew her Mahogany side tables. It’s comforting to know there is territory I haven’t covered for 2015.

My sick facebook trolling came up with this link, to an auto generated New Years Resolution, I put my name in and said that I wanted to change my bad habits, and its advice was:

In 2015 I resolve to make better bad decisions.

I am doomed!



My total word count for the year: 90,324

DM signature001Eva's Resolutions

Christmas on the Curve

I knew when I got the stomach flu a few weeks ago that somehow I was destined to catch something else and ruin our Christmas with some form of effluent. What caught me by surprise was that everyone would be sick, including the dog and that I would spend Christmas morning on the Curve, as in Curving Avenue. For those that don’t live here, that’s pretty much as deep in the hood as you can get.

Things started to go wrong when I left all my cooking for Eva’s family only birthday get together until the morning of the event which started at 11am. A stressed out derelict mom and a stay-at-work dad can’t invent time so I was still cooking for about two hours after everyone arrived. Never fear, Eva still got her paleo chocolate cake with buttercream frosting and we managed to skype her grandparents in England but not until they were halfway into bed. It all got done and I was happy at least that I had not tried to throw her a real birthday party like we do in June for her “Unbirthday,” but the next day things started to go wrong.

On Monday it was back to work with a lunchtime escape courtesy of Chef Judah and Chef Serge at the Lido. When I returned home, my little Piggy was there waiting for me, as Reza drops him off every Monday afternoon when she takes Piccolo for his walk and we have several hours of quality time together. I knew something was wrong when I walked in and stepped in two puddles of pee. It wasn’t like him not to greet me at the door or to pee on the floor. Piggy has better manners than most of us.

When I picked him up he moaned a bit and I realized that he felt really light like he had lost weight in the few days since I had last seen him. Reza came to pick him up at about seven o’clock.

“Reza, I don’t think he is very well.”

“Yes, he wasn’t well yesterday either.”

“Do you think he could have gotten into some trash or eaten something bad?”

“Yes, the B….CH next door feeds him and when I tell her off she swears at me but I told her that I know plenty of French too.”

“Okay that’s probably what it is then. I will take him to the vet tomorrow, if we call them now and it’s not an emergency then they will say to bring him tomorrow.”

“Okay.” Reza said through tears, “I just don’t want to loose him.”

“Don’t worry we won’t loose him because he ate a bad hot dog.”

Clearly Reza knew more than I did.

A few hours later she called.

“I am sorry but I ignored what you said and I am taking Piggy to the after hours vet. I am already on my way.”

“Okay Reza.”

She called me on the way home and said that he had been given fluids for dehydration, and treated for gastroenteritis and that a blood test would come back tomorrow.

The following morning as I was trying to convince Eva to wear underwear and we were going through our regular repartee,

“Mummy turtles don’t wear underwear,” When the phone rang and it was the after hours vet.

“I am afraid it’s very bad news.”

Very bad news, what could that be he was fine a couple days ago!


“He has severe diabetes and liver involvement.”

“Okay what does that mean?”

“You will need to do what is best for the dog and end his suffering.”

“I can’t do that today.”

“I know its not a good time of year.”

“If that’s the answer I have to take him to my vet for a second opinion.”

“I will need your credit card for the charges.”

“I will read you the number, the stripe is burnt out anyway.”

I spent the entire day wearing sunglasses in December trying to work, wrap gifts and not drown the house plants with my tears. I was going to have to put my dog down at Christmas, the dog I had to rehome last Christmas. It was not something I could quite get my head around. He was only eleven, miniature dachshunds should live to at least sixteen. I wasn’t mentally prepared for this. How would I tell Reza?

I picked up Piggy from Reza’s house and took him to the vet for our three o’clock appointment. My vet said immediately that Piggy would NOT have to be put down.

I was in shock.

“What do you mean, he doesn’t have to be put down, you mean we can wait until the new year?”

“No, you should just have to treat the diabetes.”

She looked over the blood work and confirmed.

“He does not have liver involvement, his liver enzymes are the same as they were a few years ago, slightly elevated but it doesn’t have to do with his diabetes.”

“Will he feel better with insulin?”

“Yes he has a complication from diabetes, ketosis which is making him sick not organ failure; we should be able to get him stabilized.”

I was so relieved. I wasn’t sure how much was because I didn’t have to put him down or because I didn’t have to break that horrible news to Reza.

I stressed myself out so much the next day I woke up with a terrible cold and cough, the horrible tickly throat cough that lasts for weeks, goes into your chest, and makes you cough till you can’t breathe and you throw up. You are never sure when it will strike and if you have one in public people start to crowd around you thinking you are having a panic attack or a seizure.

I cancelled all of our Christmas Eve plans and then got the bad news that Piggy would be in hospital until Christmas morning, so I went ahead and cancelled the Christmas breakfast I was supposed to be hosting at the house, anything to get out of cooking.

On Christmas day, I picked up Reza and we headed up the country to the vets, but not before she loaded my car with Cassava Pies and said we would have to make a delivery after we picked Piggy up. I was easy with that, at least the family knew better than to make me responsible for anything other than roast potatoes for Christmas dinner.


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Our vet gave Reza and I a full run down in how to give Piggy insulin shots and how to feed him and how much to feed him, and a full run down on possible complications. It was intimidating but I knew we could do it, and we had a four day weekend to get up to speed.

I was happy we were picking up Piggy and not a body bag on Christmas morning, it would not be the kind of package you expect to be handed on Christmas. Everything was looking up as Reza and I headed off west in the hazy sunshine of Christmas morning 2014. Spending it at the vets with Reza and the Pig was certainly not as bad as the Christmas morning I spent in the Maternity ward with a famished newborn. I kind of felt like an odd couple version of Thelma and Louise with a diabetic dog sitting on my lap as we headed toward town in my beat up 1997 Mazda, alone on the road when most people were feasting and opening gifts. We felt like we had escaped a much worse fate, and we each had a new lease on life as one of Piggy’s two mothers.

My exuberance was short lived.

“Reza, where is our next stop. Where are we taking all that Cassava pie.”

“We need to drop some by Stormy’s house.”

“Where does Stormy live?”

“Curving Avenue.”

I was silent for a moment.

“We are going to deliver Cassava pies on Curving Avenue on Christmas Morning?”

“Yes.” She said.

“Jesus Christ! “

“Don’t take the Lord’s name in vain.”

“Reza, you sound like my mother.”

I thought about my options, I could admit I was scared to drive into the depth of the hood and instead opt to drop her on a street corner with more Cassava pie than she could carry and make her walk dragging a diabetic dog. Ummm no.

“You know, the Curve?” She asked

“Yes I know Curving Avenue,” I figured I was already in too deep with a back seat full of Cassava pie. Truth was the only time I had ever driven down Curving Avenue was as a news reporter eons ago, escorted by police to cover a fatal stabbing. It had just gotten more dangerous since then. In fact, gang violence was known to erupt around the holidays. I was instantly worried about Thelma and Louise, and the body bag. I wondered if someone would stick us up for Cassava Pie. I would never put that past a hungry Bermudian.

As we turned right past the sign that reads “Curving Avenue,” I sunk deep into my seat, eyes darting around, and whispered to Reza,

“Just tell me where?”

She seemed oblivious to my nervousness as she rolled down her window, and began what was an animated Robin Leech type tour of the hood.

“On the left you have Hoarders Manor, with a collection of fine furniture falling apart in the front yard, stolen or appropriated at least thirty years ago and built up in an alfresco tower to offset the front of the house, making it almost impossible to enter.”

“Above and to the right we are passing a much adorned piece of public art on a concrete edifice with the famous tagline, Money Over Bitches, inked in blood and located here with prominence to represent the artist’s emotional and physical landscape.”

As we wound silently around Curving avenue, I wondered if my Santa hat counted as a hoodie and started to worry about the case of insulin and hypodermic needles in the trunk. I considered what Thelma and Louise would do if we got stopped by an actual gangster. Reza would probably start speaking French, pull out the concealed pistol she found at the dump while I would try and offer the gangster money on my credit card to spare us and I am sure Piggy, diabetic and pint size would put on quite a fight against any pit-bull. All of that I was hoping to avoid.

“Are we there yet?”

“It is right up here by the Cake Shop.”

Cake Shop

I braked as a motorbike came from the other direction.

“That’s Stormy’s daughter, beep your horn.”

“I am not beeping my horn on Curving Avenue.”

So Reza rolled the window down and started hollering,

“Cassava Pie delivery, Cassava Pie.”

Stormy’s daughter came over with a confused look on her face, and Reza handed her

a tray of Cassava through the window.

“I know better than to get out of the car.” Reza said to me, as we continued on our Cassava Christmas delivery route through the hood.

Happily Thelma and Louise eventually made it back to the relative safety of St. David’s and the East End massive. I kissed Reza and Piggy Merry Christmas and returned home to Eva, Daddy and Piccolo with my own tray of Cassava Pie. It was refreshing to have done something different for a change on Christmas morning and to have survived without champagne or sausages, and to have Piggy for another year of Monday visits and Saturday outings is more than enough of a Christmas gift for both of us, Thelma and Louise that is.

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