Hello Vodka This is Mommy Calling

I was thinking the other day, that Reza could be my mother. If my biological mother had decided to leave me on the side of the curb in 1976, Reza would have adopted me, I know she would have. It would have made her a teenage mother, and in someways I am surprised she wasn’t a teenage mother, her big heart is always taking in strays. Stray dogs, stray people, stray people’s problems, stray teenage adoption- not such a stretch. I distinctly remember showing up one Saturday morning sometime last year to see Piglet while Reza was out, and noticing a suspicious car in the yard. It was an unmarked car parked next to the swing set with two men wearing matching grey suits and ray bans. It was then I knew her latest stray who she was hosting in the spare room, was a bit more trouble than the usual alley cats. A few weeks later something happened between them, someone called the cops, Reza kicked her out, and has been locking her door ever since. She won’t tell me what happened, and although I wish Piglet could talk he doesn’t divulge any of Reza’s secrets.

Reza, much like my own mother, also gives me parenting advice. She tells me Eva needs a sibling. I tell her … “Just like I need to saw off my arm.” She is horrified, tells me I spoil her, and looks at me suspiciously when I say no then give in and say yes because by the time Eva has had two lollipops what harm does a third one do? kind of like wine. It’s irrational but I am sticking to it – but only on Saturdays. Then mid sentence Reza runs outside and starts mowing the lawn in her way too small nightie with bizarre and at the same time random timing, like she left the kettle on or something. The noise makes me loose concentration and I start thinking I am in my own version of the Truman Show.


Reza is always trying to convert me to religion, to save me, to earn her golden ticket to heaven, and be my spiritual guide. My cynicism of religion has not budged but I was searching through my drawers last night for a pen and found a poem on a card about Motherhood with an image of Mary Magdalene. Reza probably gave it to me, slipped it under the door, or with her bill. It read:

Dear Lord,

It’s such a hectic day, with little time to stop and pray. For life’s been anything but calm, since you called me to be a mom- running errands, matching socks, building dreams with stacking blocks, cooking, cleaning and finding shoes, and other things that children lose. Fitting lids on bottled bugs, wiping tears and giving hugs. A stack of last week’s mail to read- where’s the quiet time I need? Yet when I steal a moment, Lord, at the sink or ironing board, to ask the blessing of your grace, I see them in my little one’s face, that you have blessed me all the while. And I stoop to kiss that precious smile.

I thought of my own mother and how she is still doing a lot of these things, she still nags us all to be her best version of ourselves, she has taken in our partners and all the grandchildren in kind of like strays and nags them too. Last weekend she was throwing a dinner party and wanted Chris and I to attend, but we declined not because we had a better offer but because it was the only night we have off all week because life with a three year old and jobs is otherwise hectic. She twisted our arm and convinced us to come for a drink.

“Why do we have to come for a drink?”

“Because the Gig man is here and he is English.”

“Who is /What is a Gig man?”

“Your father has brought him over to start the pilot gig racing program in Bermuda.”

“Reza’s father was a pilot.”

“The Gig man does not want to meet Reza he wants to meet Chris.”

“Why does he want to meet Chris?”

“Because he supports the same team as Chris, he is a Tottenham Hotspurs supporter.”

“Oh they have a huge game on Sunday.”

“So you have to bring Chris over for a drink.”

“Okay fine.”

We came over, my mother had hired staff for the evening, unbeknownst to me I was drafted too and spent cocktail hour passing canapés. Then my mother requested that Chris make her a cocktail. We started gossiping together in the kitchen like Anna and Bates in Downton Abbey. Chris was fixing her a drink, while I was arranging toast points.

“Do you think that is enough vodka?” he asked me looking down at the two finger vodka he had poured.

“For my mother, not at all, why don’t we double it and make it a four finger and just put a touch of soda water in it.”

“We can’t do that.”

“Yes we can, she can send it back and we can water it down if need be.”

“You are going to get her drunk.”

“Not off one vodka, it will be funny, come on.”

He poured the stiffy.

“I want to see if she flinches.”

I took my almost seventy year old mother the drink.

“Chris wants you to taste it to see if it’s okay.”

She raised it to her lips and drank with reverence.

No flinch.

I returned to the ante room and reported back to Chris.

“No flinch.”


I looked down and started laughing.

Chris said, “What are you laughing at?”

The cocktail napkin, its so mom.

Chris looked down and read it: “I laughed so hard tears ran down my leg.”

A Life in Cocktailnapkin002

Then I started to think…. It would be a pretty hilarious character portrait to hunt through all her stuff and find all the cocktail napkins in her collection.

“It would be quite a portrayal.” Chris said…and so I did, like the good researcher I am, collecting all her cocktail napkins my mothers own pracied memoir, a life in cocktail napkins. Maybe that is what I will entitle her eulogy.

Here goes:

I tried jogging but I couldn’t keep the ice in my glass

A Life in Cocktailnapkin003

At our age swimming is dangerous, lifeguards don’t try as hard.

A Life in Cocktailnapkin007

SLUTS: Southern Ladies Up to Something

A Life in Cocktailnapkin006

Don’t get your tinsel in a tangle

A Life in Cocktailnapkin008

You will always be my best friends, you know too much!

Hello Vodka, this is mommy calling.

A Life in Cocktailnapkin004

This last one is especially fitting. I am thinking the three of us kids, should ask her to choose one for her epitaph.

Later on, when we were invited out of the kitchen, Chris finally got to meet the Gig man.

“Hey, I hear we support the same team – YID ARMY! Woot. Woot.”

“Huh? Oh You are a Spurs supporter? “


“You have a big game tomorrow.”

“Yes WE have a big game tomorrow.” Chris said.

“ I support Torquay United. “



“Maybe we did give her too much vodka.” I said later.

“It’s almost impossible to get a third division team like Torquay confused with Spurs.”

“Almost isn’t good enough.”

“Write that one down.”

“What for?”

“Your life in cocktail napkins, the abridged memoir.”

“We should do one for Reza too.”

“If Reza was my mother, I would need a four finger vodka.”

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The Ornamentation of Christmas

The Holiday Season is almost upon us, and although I have the best intentions of sending Christmas cards, I never ever get around to it, in fact I probably wouldn’t have a Christmas tree if I couldn’t order that online. Every mother knows success in life is about those extra twenty minutes in a day, whatever corners you have to cut to get there, most importantly abandoning family traditions. Why send a Christmas card when you have a blog and facebook and twitter!

I have been inspired early to start posting about the holidays by Patience Brewster, an artist and a designer of beautiful Christmas ornaments. Check them out at this page. Ornaments even a derelict mother can appreciate!


Every Christmas my mother very generously gives everyone in the family a Christmas ornament and my uncle has also started bringing ornaments back from his travels. Eva is still young enough that her favorite thing about Christmas is the tree, and well maybe I am now finally old enough that we share the same love: the tree, the lights, the ornaments, the smell as it slowly dies, those pesky needles that get everywhere. There is one level to which I will not stoop- the plastic Christmas tree. That is never happening in my house.

When I finally purchased my first Christmas tree in the dawn of my delayed adulthood I had about five ornaments, mostly hand me downs from my mother. She was really disappointed I had not spent half of my pay cheque “investing” in ornaments, but really she was even more depressed that I didn’t have any children to make them for me. The glitter and glue star that I made out of popsicile sticks is enjoying its thirtieth Christmas this year, on her tree. It was around this time (the dawn of my delayed adulthood) that she started a tradition of her own, we call it: tree inspection.

Fast forward several years to 2014, a marriage and one grandchild later: our Christmas trees-mine and my mother’s- arrive at the same time on the same day aboard the same truck because she – a savvy grandmother- orders hers online too. Hers usually goes up on its stand first, the decorating takes the better half of a week and when she is finally finished with its half seventies, half contemporary chique look, she begins the lengthy process of comparison. Keeping up with the Jones’ we all know is a dangerous game but my mother is like the domestic version of a chess master. After every Christmas Cocktail party, she asks someone in the family,

“What did you think of their tree?”

“It was nice.”

“It was way too puny for that enormous and ostentatious living room.”


“It would have looked better if the lights twinkled instead of flickered.”

“What’s the difference?”

“There is a huge difference, I might come down with epilepsy from looking at that tree for too long, I had to turn my back.”

“Does your tree twinkle or flicker?”

“Of course it twinkles! Who do you think I am?”

“A Christmas Nazi”

After mom’s Christmas tree has been finished in all its glory she takes to yelling at me as she drives out the driveway,

“You better put that tree in a bucket of water or it will die on your doorstep! “

“Okay mom, Ill make Chris do it tonight.”

A few days later we would get the tree up and she would again drive by.

“I don’t see any lights on that tree.”

“We are planning on decorating the tree this weekend.”

As soon as the lights are up she arrives on the doorstep,

“Here is a gift, it’s a (2014) ornament, why don’t I put it on the tree to get you started with the decoration.”

A few days later if she sees anything hanging off the tree, the star, a Christmas Mickey Mouse, or her ornament, she arrives, dressed head to toe in red and green, with a santa hat, and musical earrings playing “Joy to the World.” She looks the tree up and down, shaking her head.

“You need to put ornaments around the back you know.”

“Why no one is going to see them?”

“But everyone will be able to tell by the way the tree leans.”

“No one will know.”

“You never brush the back of your hair either and it’s a rats nest!”


“You need to put more ornaments lower down and higher up.”

If I didn’t distract her she would start rearranging the ornaments.

“Don’t you have any more?”


I think she thinks of a Christmas tree as some sort of emblem of how well you are doing in life, how creative, how affluent, how organized, how family orientated and how much you care about Christmas, and lets not leave out Jesus Christ. He should be at the top of every Christmas tree.

“Where is the nativity?”

“We don’t have one.”

“You have to have a nativity!”

“No we don’t.”

“You have to have a nativity now that you have a child.”

“I am a heathen, remember.”

“Your husband was an altar boy and its your duty as a mother not to spoil Eva’s religious soul.”

I had no answer for that so she bought a Fisher Price nativity on amazon to be kept at Hamma and Gigi’s house. Of course Eva loved it, and has not stopped talking about Baby Jesus and Gigi’s perfect Christmas tree ever since.

Personally I would like a tree that leans a little to the side, a tree with character. I am really suspicious of people whose trees look like they shoplifted one from the department store, or stayed up for seven consecutive nights decorating it. Why?

My mother would disagree. She has been known to try and return her Christmas trees for not having the perfectly shaped form. Maybe she should think about a plastic tree? Personally I embrace the imperfection of nature, and imperfection in all its forms.

“You need tinsel on that tree.”

“We all need tinsel, mom.”

Perhaps this year, I will purchase a few new ornaments for my tree from Patience, if only to please my mother. Eva, because she is only two years old, gets off easy she can make me something with glitter, glue and popsicle sticks- the messier the better as long as she makes it with love and dereliction. As my husband says,

“Eva takes after you, arts and crafts are not her forte.”

Xx Derelict Mom



Friends: My Saving Grace

Today is my fiftieth blog post. 50! I am having a little party for myself on my office chair with my old man of a dog, Piccolo. It’s making me reflective. It’s making me think of all the friends, enemies, and frienemies I have made through my blog. I still find it fun, I can’t imagine that I would ever stop doing something that is so much fun.

Piccolo has been my best friend for eleven and a half years and plenty of people will, do, and have made fun of me for loving a dog so much, and yet sometimes I am a bad best friend leaving him home alone too much, taking him to the vet a few months late for his annual check up and making him have an expensive and painful dentistry, but never mind, I do my best and at least I have stopped dressing him up in ridiculous costumes. I do my best with Piccolo, at my blog, at raising Eva, at life and sometimes that’s not good enough but I have an outlet of course.

It’s fun to watch Eva grow up and make friends, and negotiate her own relationships. She loves older girl friends, a girl named Maeve and Matilda, and Sienna and Scarlet who live next door. Eva is a favorite with the boys and she mucks right in with their rough and tumble play. Caelen’s mother and I have already discussed china patterns, and a wedding date, impatient to see what happens. Occasionally I see glimpses of more adult emotions like sadness and jealousy.

Eva said to me last weekend, “I want to get a kitty cat, I want two kitty cats, because they don’t bark like dogs.” And then later on she said, “Sometimes I like Piccolo.”

“What do you mean, sometimes?”

“Mommy, he is your best friend.”

“He can be your best friend too, I can share.”

“I don’t like it when he licks me.”

“Eva that’s a kiss.”

I leaned over and kissed her on the forehead, which she promptly wiped away, convincing me she is two going on sixteen and those moments parents dread when their teenager makes them drop them off at school around the corner, were already happening to me. When she is sixteen I will remind her about the bracelet she gave me when she told me I was her best friend, and how I changed all her diapers and took care of her when she was sick and all the wonderful horrible details of being a mother that a child will never know, remember, or appreciate.

On Monday morning she said when she woke up, “I wish every day was Sunday,” and I told her I wished the same thing, but big girls have to go to school and mommies and daddies have to go to work. Later in the week, two friends came over and Daddy had to put her to bed and she said to him, “Daddy, I don’t like it when mommy’s friends come over, it makes me feel shy.” But I know Eva does warm up but it takes some time, sometimes three years, and most of the time chocolate works.

Eva has finally accepted my friend Reza, and when we arrive at her house every Saturday morning she screams and yells until I unclip her car seat.

“Mommy, Mommy, I want to come in.”

“We are only picking up Piglet. I’ll be right back.”

“No mommy, I am coming in to see Reza.”

“Okay, fine”

Our visit delays our regular and inevitable trip to the playground, but I am secretly happy that Eva has finally warmed up to Reza.

Reza is my dog walker and we met probably five years ago, when my dogs Piccolo and Piglet were fighting horribly and we needed the intervention of a dog trainer and his pack walking service. Enter Reza. The first time I met her, it felt like taking earplugs out of my ears and hearing the world for the first time, she was loud, a bit crazy and utterly charming.

She drove way too fast down the drive way in an old jeep beeping her car horn wildly, windows down with about seven dogs hanging out of the sides drooling. There was a fluffy medium sized red haired dog, a grey Weimaraner, a Rhodesian ridgeback, a Rottweiler, and a Labrordoodle and a couple of mutts. I had second thoughts about putting my little babies in the back seat with this motley crew of canines, but I did and she sped out of the drive way in an equally manic way which made me concerned for their well being but I felt I had no choice. If I left them at home they might kill each other. As the jeep teetered on its axel speeding around the corner, I noticed the back bumper hanging off and sparking as it dragged behind, like an unwilling accomplice.

Reza could never fade into the background, I am sure everyone knows who she is, if they don’t know her personally. To say she has presence is not enough, meeting her is like getting run over by her car, which is equally an extremely possible way of making her acquaintance.

I always love a character, so in a quiet unsure way I was besotted with Reza from the very beginning. She might be the only person I know who doesn’t have an email address, but there is something appealing, simple and ahead of her time on that front. Reza keeps it simple, and she is also loving, generous and believes that God will always take care of whatever problems arise. She has faith, more faith than I do.

The dogs soon started to hide when they heard her car horn honking her arrival outside the front door. I was a bit worried about this, so in the typical behavior of someone who does not have human children (at the time) and possibly too much time on her hands, I consulted my animal psychic. I put it to her this way, the dog walking seems to be working but I am worried that the boys are frightened of Reza as she is quite different to me, and our general quiet environment (this is pre Eva). The psychic said that they loved Reza, they might not want to go on the walk but they feel much better after they come back, kind of like the way we all feel about exercise. She also added that if our walks stopped for some reason it would cause a real problem, and specifically if Reza stopped walking them they would be upset. It was this moment that I began to realize that Reza was not just a friend she was part of the family.

Much like I get a notebook account every evening of what Eva has been up to at nursery, if she successfully negotiated a fight, who won the argument over the yellow swing, how long she napped and if she did a poo or not, Reza would appear back at front door with the dogs with a report on their behavior.

“They both did their business. That piglet is a character.”

“He sure is.”

“He doesn’t take any messing. Portia ( the Rottweiler) tried to get in his way, and boy Piggy he put her right in her place, snapped at her with all his teeth bared.”

“That sounds like Piglet.”

“He is a real so and so.”

I laughed, a so and so might be how I would describe Reza.

A year or so in Reza confessed to me something I had long expected,

“Piglet is my favorite. He is my little man. Such a So and So.”

As we got used to Reza as part of the family, we grew accustomed to expect the unexpected. Usually in the form of something odd strapped to the car, or someone odd in the car. Reza has a heart bigger than anyone I have ever met and it is often her downfall.

She lives on a budget, but she has a car which she knows is a privilege that not everyone enjoys, and she is always giving lifts to people, no matter how shady or down trodden they might appear. Personally I have never given a lift to anyone I didn’t know out of fear, yet fear doesn’t seem to sway Reza but she does get hurt from time to time. Once someone stole her phone, a blackberry my father had handed down to her, and because she never locks her door other things sometimes disappear. There will always be someone out there who will take advantage of a generous person.

Reza fills up her car in fifteen dollar increments, and the other day when she went to the station to get her regular she met a man who could not buy his kids dinner, so of course she gave him the fifteen dollars. It was a normal day for her, but probably not for the man that happened to come across her loud screeching vehicle full of dogs.

Every Sunday she bakes for the neighborhood kids and takes care of them after church. And Yes she goes to church every Sunday. I can’t remember the last time I went to church.

A month or so ago when she picked up Piccolo for his walk she tried to give me a flyer and invite me to her church’s prayer picnic that following Sunday.

“Oh I have to work on Sunday.”

She took the flyer back and could probably tell I was lying. When she brought Piccolo back from his walk, she handed me something else, a small pamphlet.

“Read it and think very hard about the message.”

I looked down and something about the cheaply printed comic book made me think it was a Jehovah Witness mini watchtower booklet.

“Reza, I thought you were an African Methodist Episcopalian (AME), not a Jehovah Witness.”

“Of course I am a Christian, hun.” She said looking offended. “Promise me you will read it.”

“Okay I promise.”

I went inside and read it. This was the jist, an elderly couple who are missionaries happen to sit next to a convicted murderer who just got out of prison on a plane flight. The plane catches on fire and is about to crash and incinerate everyone, and the murderer asks the couple to take this opportunity to trust Jesus Christ. They respond by saying that they have been good people all of their lives spending fifty years in Africa building schools and hospitals for lepers and “fed and clothed thousands of dear natives.” (that is a quote) “doing good works for God.” The Murderer tells them that good works are only fine but that they have to save sinners to get to heaven. They disagree. The Plane incinerates, and then the sweet good charitable elderly couple burn for eternity in hell but the murderer goes to heaven. The message: save a sinner or burn for eternity in hell.

I still don’t go to church so I suppose the scaremongering pamphlet didn’t work on me. I wonder if it works on anyone? Was Reza trying to SAVE me? Does she think I am a sinner?

Reza is so charitable she takes in people who have no place to stay, even sinners, and lives with complete strangers in order to give them a helping hand. She is the kind of person who would give away her last dollar knowing it would come back to her. I would never be so confident.

My husband, who makes fun of everyone, calls her a Magpie, because in addition to at least seven dogs, she usually has a car full of bags of clothes, toys, candy, chips (all bulk size), anything she has found on the side of the road and once an inflatable boat. I would not blink twice if on my way down the driveway I found her digging through the trash. She has always brought me bags of second hand clothes when she finds something in my size, but the other day she ended up bringing me an entire suitcase of clothes, shoes and of course negligees and took the time to draw my attention to the sexy bathing suit which she instructed me I should be wearing when Chris comes home from work. I still have the swim suit, its on my dressing table, more as a hilarious ornament, rather than anything I would actually wear or even be able to fit into but I couldn’t bear give it to anyone else, maybe in another lifetime I will be that thin and do as Reza instructed.

I stopped buying clothes for myself after Eva was born, and Chris just buys me the same t-shirt in a different colour every time it’s my birthday, Mothers Day or Christmas. I have had to put a moratorium on t-shirts but not the designer second hand outfits Reza finds. Its like having my own personal shopper, just not at Saks Fifth Avenue – at Thrift city or as we call it The Barn. I do occasionally wonder if the new additions to my wardrobe were out of a dead person’s closet.

I get compliments too.

“Where did you get that?”

“From my dog walker.” I used to say and people looked at me funny like we swapped shirts or something, so now I just say, “From my friend Reza.”

Reza keeps it real too. In a moment of trying to economize Chris suggested we cut back on our expenses and cut the dog walks back from three times a week to twice, so when I told Reza she was really disappointed.

“But you can afford it.” She didn’t mess around. “Look at the size of your diamond ring, its HUGE.”

“It’s not HUGE Reza.”

“Yes it is.”

Well its not, but I guess everything is relative especially when you don’t have a diamond ring and if you did you would probably pawn it. Still, she had a point to make and so did the dogs, because within a week of missing their third dog walk they went bizerk and began warring with each other again, forcing us as the psychic predicted to reinstate the third dog walk.

Reza never married but her love life was long and varied as I came to find out about a year after she began walking the dogs. One Friday afternoon in December I was all dressed up and wearing makeup, no one would recognize me, who knows me now, and I was waiting at the bus stop to catch the number 11 into town when she saw me and stopped.

“What happened to your car?”

“Nothing, I am just taking the bus so I don’t have to drive.”

She looked at me like I was crazy.


“ Because I am going to have a few glasses of wine, and I don’t want to drive my car home.”

“Get in the car, I will drive you.” She looked at me sternly.

I obeyed.

“Drinking will do you no good, you shouldn’t drink, I don’t drink, not one drop.”


I wondered whether I should try and convince her that I was actually doing the responsible thing by taking the bus, but I figured that it would be a pointless argument and of course she was probably right.

It took thirty minutes to get to town and I think she talked the whole time, somehow she ended up telling me the story in detail of how she lost her virginity. I think I just responded with the simple yet articulate, “Oh really, that is ummm nice.”

My extra large glass of red wine when I finally arrived tasted especially good.

When Eva was born Reza showered her with gifts, unnecessary but very very kind. Eva who like her father is very sensitive to sounds was completely afraid of Reza and we had to have a talk to Reza about trying to control herself and to stop beeping the car horn wildly when she arrived. She remembered some of the time.

When Eva grew into a toddler, she ran and hid from Reza when she arrived, and then broke into a high pitched wail when Reza tried to approach her, speak or look at her.

“She is shy” I would say embarrassed, but I knew she was also intimidated by Reza’s loud, kind of crazy energy.

As Piccolo and Piglet racked up a decade of years each, their relationship began to sour as they grew more and more grumpy and there was not much three dog walks a week could do to change that. We rigged the house with a series of gates and a strict protocol of behavior for the humans that we were hoping would rub off on the dogs. It didn’t. For once Reza could not help.
Finally one day Chris had enough, the dogs tried to kill each other again, Eva had to be locked in a closet and there was so much blood, it looked like someone had been murdered on the stairs. He said to me, “Enough is enough, one of the dogs is leaving the house and not coming back.” Of course I knew he was right, but I would never have reached that point myself without someone losing a finger or the tip of their nose, and god I would never forgive myself if it had been Eva.

We put Piccolo because he is the nicer of the two dogs with my parents for two months, while I tried to work out a solution. I hoped Chris would mellow but he didn’t, and I was forced to find a home for Piglet. I think I cried myself to sleep for a month before I could even cross that bridge but I did. I did something I never thought I would do, rehome my dog. I found a candidate but at the last moment I backed out, it wasn’t right, something wasn’t right about it. I begged my parents to adopt Piglet but their answer was a certain No.

Around the time my entire family came down on me for stalling in finding Piglet a home, Reza was wrestling with her own tough decision. Her dog Sergeant was old and had lost the ability to walk, so in January she had to have him put to sleep. And after a few weeks of grieving she suggested a timely solution to my own problem.

“Why don’t I adopt Piglet.”

“You would do that?”

“Yes, and he would still be your baby.”

“When I pick up Piccolo for a walk I will drop off Piglet for a visit.”

And so we came to a co-parenting agreement. Reza would become Piglet’s mother and I would become more like a god mother. I would pay the vet bills, and visit him every Saturday and take him on an outing and Reza would drop him off to see me a few days a week. This solution had in many ways been under my nose the whole time, ever since she first called him, “Her boy,” he had always been her favorite charge.

It’s been almost a year since Piglet relocated, and almost three years since Eva was born. Eva became smitten with Reza when she discovered that she has a bowl of candy in her house that she doles out to the neighborhood kids. Eva is now first in line on Saturday mornings when we pick up Piglet for an outing. Although I make her, her own organic raw cacao chocolate at home, I am not a stickler for anything so every Saturday before lunch she has a mouthful of chocolate courtesy of Reza, who she now calls “Auntie Reza.” And on occasion Reza sneaks her a packet of potato chips, which she happily scoffs and then erupts in an allergic reaction to the processed MSG. I try to say no but it’s hard to disappoint them both as they have discovered what they have in common, a love of chocolate and chips and a new friendship has been born.

Reza calls the house now quite often when she needs to talk something over. After the hurricane when she was sitting in her house ten days without power, she had obviously had too much time to think, so she called me.

“I am thinking about becoming a bone marrow donor. I give blood but I want to do something more.”

“You know you have to go away for that, and it’s a dangerous operation.”

“Yes but I want to help people.”

“Do you know anyone who needs bone marrow?”

“No but someone might need my bone marrow and I would happily give it away.”

“But you would be risking your own life, it’s a complicated operation.”

“Its just something I have to do like a calling.”

“Would you give it to a Jehovah Witness?”

“Yes I would give it to anyone.”

“Okay well don’t rush into anything we need to research it first.”

“Can you look it up on your computer.”



Now I am thinking she has really gone insane, but that is from the viewpoint of someone who has never even given blood, forget a kidney or my own marrow. But you got to love her; she adds sparkle to my life.

Reza really solved a terrible situation by adopting Piglet, and we will be friends forever not only because she did for me something my own parents flatly refused to do but also because she just can’t help being herself. She has a loving heart of gold even if she does think I am a wine guzzling heathen with an ostentatious diamond who needs to be SAVED. I know who I will ask if I need a bone marrow transplant and it won’t be my parents it will be Reza of course!

I am considering letting Reza save me, just to see what happens.

Xx Derelict Mom

Reza and EvaFlight 144001Piccolo on his walk













Two Weddings and a Funeral: Wedding Two

Check out the preceding post Wedding One: https://derelictmom.com/2014/07/03/two-weddings-a…-2-wedding-one/

Friday felt like the night after a party rather than the night before a party but the one thing we had to do that day was attend the actual rehearsal at 5pm. I picked Eva and Sadie up early from school and met my sister and we drove up together in caravan. When I got about a quarter of the way to the other end of the island, a little voice came from the back seat.

“Mommy, the wedding is way too far away.” Little did she know we were only a quarter of the way there.

“Yes it is Eva, but we have to go to practice for your Big Flower Girl day.”


Crap I thought, we are only in Devonshire.

A few more miles down the road, the same voice.

“Mommy I need my juice.”

So I pulled over got out of the car for a water break before resuming the journey.

Another mile down the road the same little voice came from the back of the car

“Mommy I feel sick”

“Oh boy.” I thought… and flicked my indicator on.

I pulled into a hotel parking lot, my sister followed me in her car.

“Now what?” Anna Laura asked.

“Eva feels sick”

So we got the girls out of the car to walk around for a bit, when it was time to resume our journey, Sadie hopped in her mother’s car and instead of saying anything at all, Eva just turned around and climbed into Aunty Laura’s car. It was like getting flipped the bird as a mother, my daughter had abandoned me and my fifteen year old car for my sister’s jazzed up new Hyundai.

”She will be fine, “ Anna Laura assured, “I have the fun car”

Sure enough she made it the other half of the way without throwing up or complaining.

An hour plus after our journey began I was reunited with my about to be car sick daughter. Eva ran around the property, trying to find the closest and quickest path to the water. Toddlers have an acute sense of danger and seem to be drawn to it, which is why as a mother it is best not to be tired, or hung-over and we might have been both.

The rehearsal went on for some time, and without the pomp and ceremony of the actual event Eva and Sadie did not ever successfully make it down the garden aisle amid empty chairs. I had high doubts that when they were filled that they would have the courage to make it down without an adult holding their hands, and me walking down the aisle in a hot pink and orange dress would not only ruin the colour theme but also the whole point. Eva was going to have to make it down the aisle under her own steam. I thought of all the possible scenarios..

What if she has a tantrum?

What if she gets scared and runs backwards down the aisle?

What if she won’t leave me and clings to my leg?

I realized at that moment that there were times in a mother’s life when chocolate was your best friend and not just during PMS. I was going to resort to chocolate bribery, it had to be done, on the wedding day I would be armed with a Cadbury’s twirl.

As most mother’s know a twenty minute window of time can either make your day or the lack of it can break your day, so the hour plus to travel to the wedding was a recipe for disaster, as well as the fact that I had to pack for every two year old eventuality and there were so many, the mind boggled. I brought a full dinner and extra in case she pukes. I brought an extra dress and pajamas in case she puked, I brought wipes, a stroller for her sleep in, a blanket, her bunny, books, a hair brush, five juice boxes, milk etc etc. I bathed her before her nap, and stuffed her, Daddy and my suitcase of supplies in the back of a taxi.

“Wait, “ I said as the taxi started to roll out of the driveway. “I forgot something,” I ran inside for my iphone and a fresh set of clothes- for me, in case Eva threw up. I hung her bridesmaid’s dress on the hanging rack in the back of the taxi- no way would she be wearing that until we got to the other end of the island.

“Why do you have so much stuff?” Chris asked with the air of inneccessity.

“In case Eva, Throws up!” I yell back at him rolling my eyes, wondering what he would do if she puked all over him because I had not brought him an extra suit, but men had a more laissez faire attitude to eventualities, that is until they eventually happen.

“Wait,” I yell again.. and run back in the house and grab my concealer.

“What is that for?” Chris asks.

“Have you seen your daughter?” I say pointing at Eva.

“She went down for her nap and woke up with a spot above her lip. We will need to cover it up.”

As I dabbed my finger in the makeup and Eva fought back as I came near her with my finger. I suppose at two, the point of makeup is not subtlety or concealment it is drama.

“What is that?” Chris asked going in for a better look at the blistering spot above her lip.

“I fear that it is the tropical disease otherwise known by its clinical name: impetigo.”

There was a gasp from the back seat.

“An impetigo beauty spot .” I said, thinking we could just get away with it. I figured it was too good to be true to imagine that my daughter might actually be healthy on the day of her uncle’s wedding.

My own uncles, and my parents had taken “child free” taxis to the wedding, while we had to pile in three kids, four adults, two strollers and masses of supplies into our “child taxi.” By the time we pulled out of my sister’s driveway with everyone and everything stowed away for the hour journey, I was pretty sure the only thing I had actually forgotten was to shave my legs.

A few minutes in Jake, my sister’s husband decided we actually had forgotten something and so we pulled into the Collector’s Hill gas station and he emerged with a six pack of beer and a four pack of Barefoot white wine minis, which is the housewife version of pulling over for a forty. I think he thought we needed to lighten up the reality of being trapped in a cube minivan taxi with three children for over an hour and there was the Spurling family tradition of the roadie, that had to be honoured on long trips away from the east end homestead.

By the time we arrived at the wedding there were two white wine mini’s left over so we hid them in the bottom of my sister’s stroller, which Anna Laura pushed, rattling with the unmistakable clink of wine bottle against wine bottle usually only noticeable on recycling day on Speaker’s drive. Anna Laura pushed the stroller, like a Trojan horse inside Danielle’s father’s house where the wedding party was dressing. Anna Laura looked innocent but that belied a far more conniving personality and I was sure that two white wine minis weren’t the only contraband she had ever smuggled in her stroller.

Eva did not adjust well to being out of the safety and comfort of her parish so she ran around the grounds in her pajamas screaming, hitting her mother, and being tamed only by the strong arm of her father while refusing point blank to ever wear her flower girl dress, the same dress which she had been begging to wear for the last month while it hung on the back of her door.

While my mother stabbed the groomsmen with boutonnières, the guests began to flood in and Eva was still in her pajamas. Eventually Chris, who had been designated an usher and was neglecting his duties, whipped her Hello Kitty pajamas off and her white tulle dress on and handed her to me in a screaming writhing ball and disappeared at my request to usher people to their seats, while my two year old prima donna tried her best to hold up the wedding. Soon after Daddy disappeared Eva seemed to flip a switch and agreed to have her hair done in pigtails, agreed to wear her wedding shoes and even smiled for the camera. It was then I realized the bullet we had dodged, for the forty five minutes we had been there she had been suffering not only from the onset of impetigo but recovering from car sickness. If we had driven to Dockyard we could have all been covered in vomit. There was much to celebrate.

The Reverend came over to Anna Laura and I to say hello to the little girls and make small talk before the wedding started. I yawned and my sister asked me winking in front of the Reverend,

“Would you like a glass of water?”

“Yes please, I am parched” I winked back.

She reached into the back of her stroller and as if hunting around for a clean diaper, wipe or snack bar she carefully unscrewed a white wine mini and poured us each a glass in a plastic cup.

“Thank you” I said, receiving the offering as if it was Dom Perignon in an overrated Miami nightclub.

We were finally ready for the main event.

Where there was wine for grownups there was chocolate for toddlers, so before the wedding started I slipped Hamma a piece of Cadbury’s twirl and he waited with it in his top pocket just below the boutonnière, encouraging Eva down the aisle with its sweet temptation but with toddlers there is no guarantee.

When it was their cue, my sister and I lead Trystan, Anna Laura’s six year old son, Sadie and Eva to the back of the aisle. Trystan took the little girls’ hands, and Eva tried to swat me with her flower girl basket and whined in protest,

“I want my mommy to hold my hand.” I might have celebrated that on a normal day but it was the beginning of disaster until Anna Laura stepped in, grabbed Eva’s hand and told me to go, as I backed up she did as Aunty Laura said and grabbed Trystan’s hand and marched down the aisle with thoughts of the Cadbury twirl waiting for her at the end. Anna Laura and I ran around the back of the house, and missed the whole thing but evidently they made it down the aisle, pigtails intact. I doubt adults are too different from Kids, and I wondered if it wasn’t chocolate and an older man that tempted Danielle down the aisle with my brother.

Xx Derelict Mom

Stay tuned for next week to find out what happened at the reception:  The Witching Hour.

She made it down the aisle

She made it down the aisle

Happy Father’s Day


I don’t remember the last time I gave my daughter Eva a bath. I can imagine my mother doubling over in agony at the thought but on most days, Eva is sponged, ears cleaned out, hair washed and conditioned and on occasion brushed too but not by me, by Daddy. Sigh…

Daddy also gets her ready for bed, puts her diaper on, convincing her on some days that its okay to wear a princess diaper when she really wants a Minnie Mouse, then he takes on the protracted battle over pajamas, sometimes successfully convincing her to wear something other than her ladybird pajamas she grew out of six months ago, at this I am truly amazed and thankful.

Of course in these blissful moments of father daughter bonding mommy isn’t exactly kicked back with her feet up watching sports and drinking beer, she is usually cooking dinner, preparing lunch for the next day or cleaning up the mess from the day if not week before.

As it’s Father’s Day it seems like the perfect moment to mention that through the last two and a half years of parenthood, my husband has changed, from the parent to be who spent most of my pregnancy bewildered, and the first six months of her life thinking “what have I done,” not that was he alone in that.

Although he won’t admit it at first he didn’t want to be seen pushing a pram, but he evolved when he realized mommy was much too slow going up hill. Daddy and Eva have always had bonding moments, from their pram walks when she used to nap in the mornings, to bath time, and feeding the fishes. Through all of this, Eva’s daddy has struggled to keep his identity and continue the things he loves the best, which include primarily: Sports. In the last two years I have noticed that he has picked up one decidedly female trait. He has learned to multitask.

Take this picture of Eva and Daddy’s evening routine, and the video I posted below of Daddy in Mommy’s home office, watching sports on the TV, watching real time game feeds on the internet and entertaining Eva all at the same time. Ahhh Fatherhood.

Fathers Day



Given Daddy’s new multitasking skills, it came as relatively no surprise when Eva said the other day, with the determination and curiosity only a two year old could muster, “I want to grab Daddy’s pee pee.” Then she paused and added “Please.”



“It’s not appropriate.”

“But I said PLEASE.”

“No it’s not right, Daddy’s Pee Pee is HIS pee pee.”

“I will say THANK YOU.”

“No thank you.”


“No the answer is just NO.”

“Daddy, did you both have a shower after swimming lessons?”


“Multi tasking needs a rethink.”


When Eva was fifteen months, my friend Claudia asked me if Eva had started to prefer Daddy yet. I said No, and she warned me that it would happen and I shouldn’t take it personally.

I was probably days away at that point from what would become a full blown Daddy obsession. Daddy goes to work long before Eva wakes up but when he comes home from work she is usually at the gate to meet him. He barely has time to take his motorbike helmet off or put down his keys and she is in his arms.

“Daddy pushes me higher on the swings,” she says.

“Daddy is more fun,” she says.

“Daddy is bigger,” she says as she swipes at me from his shoulders.

On the weekends Daddy likes to wake her up because he misses out on that during the week. When I come into the room Eva says,

“Nooooo” sticks out her lip and says, ”Don’t sit next to me.” And swipes at me again.

Then sometimes when I pick her up she flat out tries to punch me without realizing that that would probably make me drop her on her head. Sometimes I wonder if she is precocious or if all two year olds are like this with their mothers- I am sure I was. I wish I could say Daddy was immune to her ill treatment but I keep remembering the week he went to work with a blood red eye, which looked like he had joined a fight club, but in reality he had only been swatted with Tinkerbelle’s wand for hiding the TV remote.

It’s hard to feel like you are anywhere near competent when your child is offended by your presence. To make matters worse I had noticed recently that my daughter was speaking with a decidedly British accent in stark contrast to my distinct American diction. Let’s just say she hasn’t inherited the mother tongue. Eva’s father is British as is her nursery teacher Zoe which might have something to do with it- that and the obsession with Peppa Pig.

My two year old bites me as hard as she can on the arm and then says, “Pardon me.”

Our situation reminds me of those women who hire nannies who can’t speak proper English and their kids end up speaking some version of heavily accented pidgin English- just my situation was in reverse.

If Eva ever does let me take her out without her Daddy, people will think I am the nanny and not the young hot variety- the aging spinster. No I will insist, I am not the nanny,

“I’m a derelict mom with a very “proper” child.”

I have noticed that some of the things Eva has been saying lately have a common theme,

“Daddies watch sports and mommies watch the news.”

“Mommy doesn’t climb ladders.”

“Mommies don’t go swimming.”

Hmmm maybe I need to work on being more fun?

But like most parents of two year olds I have learned that I must go with the flow, so the other weekend when I came home from my brother’s post wedding brunch, I didn’t bat an eyelid when I discovered Eva and Daddy eating chocolate and watching JAWS. Maybe, just maybe I had discovered his secret.

So last night when I put her to bed, as I do every night she said,

“Mommy, I love you a little bit.”

“Just a little bit?” I asked

“Yes, but I love Daddy a lot.”

“What about your grandfather, Hamma? Do you love him a little or a lot?”

“I love Hamma a lot.”

“ Are you sure you only love mommy just a little bit.”


“I love …. Bunny a lot.”

“What about poor mommy who loves you?”




“Do you want to go to the playground this weekend and Mommy will push you really high on the big girl swings.”


“Then we can come home and have a chocolate after your lunch.”


“And if you are a good girl, you can watch some TV.”




“Are you sure you only love mommy just a little bit?”

“Okay Mommy, I love you a lot.”

“And Mommy loves you and Daddy a lot.”

I turn the light out but as I was leaving, I just couldn’t help myself.

“But we are not watching JAWS again- that crosses the line.”

“Okay mommy.”


Happy Father’s Day Daddy.

Xx Derelict Mom & Eva

I am Published : A Real mother!


This week’s blog is more of an announcement. I am now a published author, as my story “A Real Mother.” is part of a newly released anthology of memoir called: Take This Journey    With Me edited by the author Rachel Manley. I haven’t been published before, except for my unedited weekly self published blog which is often “maudlin and full of self pity” but also equally “magnificent,” so this is a big deal for me even if it isn’t for other people 🙂 This piece was written about my experience before I had Eva before I discovered that a real mother is actually a derelict mother. I hope you enjoy a little preview below, and will join me at an event that is free to the public, a reception for the book launch on May 15th at 5:30pm at the Bermuda Society for the Arts where you can hear me and a few other contributors read excerpts from our work. Hope to see you there! Must sign off before Eva smears my entire body in butter.

A Real Mother excerpt:

As a child my vision for my future looked like something out of a Merchant Ivory film: romance, drama and lots of horse riding. There were no jobs or children or responsibility but then somehow I woke up married, 35, pregnant and working full time. Real life had dawned and another person’s life was soon going to take priority over mine and I was in both shock and denial. I was able to waddle through life quite happily thirty plus pounds overweight, but every day when I picked up my prenatal vitamins I was relieved by the sound of the pills rattling around inside representing all the time I had left before her birth. On one particular day I looked down at the mother and baby on the bottle and was sure of only one thing: that was not what was happening to me. Call it a premonition, but I knew what I was facing would not be the vision of smiling maternal bliss on the vitamin label. My fingernail picked at the corner of the picture hoping it would peel off. Did the woman have to look so thin and perfect, be dressed nicely and have perfectly straight hair? The mother looked like she had been eating lettuce leaves for nine months not chocolate milkshakes. I brought the bottle up really close to my eyes, and squinted at the detail; I was horrified to realize that she was a model. It was a lie; this woman was posing; she was getting paid; she wasn’t the babies’ real mother. She wasn’t real like me. I wondered what that meant, what made me a real mother? Swollen ankles, cellulite, chocolate milkshakes, a scowl and the other speechless things that happened to you in pregnancy? Then I looked at the baby in the picture and down at my stomach, and realized that part of the picture wasn’t real yet either. I had no idea what a real mother was.

This 2 Will Pass


When I started this blog in January I never thought I would be blogging about genealogy, in fact I had to look up how to spell the word, but now I am hooked. My “uncovering” led me to my grandfather’s albums, which had been temporarily forgotten in a box in my parent’s vacation house. I have no idea what might have happened to the albums when my parents sell the house they are putting on the market this week.

At home, my husband gets madder and madder every evening when he discovers another book or file from the 1930s spilling pages stacked up on the back of his couch, when there is no room left he might move out. And then there is poor Eva who with my blog, scrapbooks and videos and her misfortune to be born to a documentary filmmaker mother, she will be both immortalized and exaggerated for time immemorial. My current philosophy regarding hoarding is, it’s an underappreciated art form but I digress.

My grandfather Curt was a lovely sentimental man who left us at the ripe old age of 96 and with a few mysteries to figure out. In his album, he did not disappoint- we found a secret pocket with correspondence from an ex girlfriend who had suffered a mental health breakdown, and a family secret hidden in a letter hidden behind a photograph. My mother discovered it by accident and we then had to pull out every other photo and look behind it. All of that to say, that in the same album I came across this poem cut out and glued in, which in a way inspired this post.

Curt- This Too Will Pass001 copy

All of our lives are quickly passing, brought home to me recently by reading love letters clearly penned by a teenage boy whom I only knew as an old man. The same is to be said of watching my little toddler grow up and change from an infant into a little girl. Don’t worry I am not getting sentimental – Hell will freeze over before I get sentimental about the first six months of Eva as a baby. I don’t want that back ever. When I was crying to strangers, with a boob hanging out, unable to get a grip on my life, there was always that advice, “This 2 Will pass.” It was the only thing that helped, I knew at some point Eva would have to stop screaming. Five months in she grew out of her colic and things began to improve. I no longer looked at people who had bathed that day with wonder and jealousy and I had reclaimed some control over choices in my life, now if I don’t shower it’s because I chose not to. It wasn’t grand but it was better. What didn’t work was this advice, “If you think having a baby is hard, just wait until you have a toddler, it’s worse.”

Now that I have a toddler I have a new theory on that piece of advice and it is this: People who complain about toddlers must have had easy babies. It just can’t compare. Give me a tantrum any day over breastfeeding that doesn’t work, a baby that doesn’t sleep, sterilizing six times a day for months, mastitis, and weight gain that gets worse after birth, and no way to communicate with a baby who clearly did not want to be born into this century or maybe she just didn’t want to be mine, the last theory is still on the table.

Eva I would say is a pretty good toddler, but tantrums do occur sometimes and sometimes at the worst moments. A few weeks ago was the Bermuda International Film festival. Every year I try and take part in some way. This year Jan Harlan was Chief Juror and he returned to Bermuda for a second visit after coming last year for the Screenwriting in Paradise workshop I hosted. I was happy once again to see him several times over the week. A friend Susanne and I had planned that on his last day here, she would drop him off at my house, I would entertain him, take him to dinner with Eva and then to the airport to catch his night flight back to London. Sounded like the perfect plan but seldom does anything with a toddler work perfectly to plan. I always have hope, I am not sure why.

On the evening in question, I was running late as usual and drove into the house at 5:30 but managed to get Eva’s dinner packed and her sorted out before Susanne and Jan arrived. Jan Harlan for those that don’t know was Stanley Kubrick’s brother in law and longtime producer, collaborator and friend. Jan now keeps Kubrick’s films and legacy alive by travelling the world setting up the Kubrick exhibitions and lecturing and publishing books about the man, his films and his legacy, which is Jan’s legacy as well.

After Susanne left, I took Jan over to meet the Gruncles, (Eva’s Grand Uncles) to show him that all things on Speaker’s drive aren’t derelict and that there were people who lived here who had class and good taste. Eva tagged along, happy to visit their toad pond, and dressed head to toe in a Tinkerbelle fairy costume. We approached their glorious house, two stories surrounded by wrap around balconies, over St. George’s harbour and framed by a collection of palm trees. Walking up the brick welcoming arms onto the porch, I detected a slight reluctance in the little fairies hand I was holding. I nudged her along.

After admiring the nasturtiums in full bloom, we entered the Gruncle’s house through two huge suspended temple doors. It was like passing a threshold and entering the Ming Dynasty except that there is also a fully equipped modern kitchen with all the latest appliances, (except for a red kitchen aid mixer as that is at my house.) By now Eva’s reluctance had turned into a “No, I want to play outside.” To which I responded,

“We have to go inside and see the Gruncle’ Michaels.”

She started to cry, so I picked her up and brought her inside.

“This is my Uncle Michael,”

Jan shook Michael’s hand,

“And this is my other Uncle Michael.”

He shook hands with Big Mike. He didn’t look confused even if he might have been.

The Michael’s poured us glasses of white wine, on a glorious late afternoon in a Bermuda spring. It couldn’t be a more beautiful day.

Jan took in the whole house, the blooming pink orchids, the scent of sumac, and cardamom, to the tall ceilings and art and artifact of the Michael’s previous lives and adventures through Asia. Classical music was tinkling out of the sound system and the air had the promise of summer.

“This is magnificent, just magnificent.” Jan said taking in the palms that almost surrounded the house.

Eva was a bit of a liability in a house like this, there was always a risk she would want to take a trinket or a souvenir out of the Ming dynasty Pagoda and it would disappear and turn up months later in her Peppa Pig doll house if at all. Or worse be dropped in the toad pond, and forgotten. Babies and toddlers probably didn’t belong in the Michael’s house, so when she was there I tried to keep a close eye on her. Worst possible scenario is she would try to mount the Tang Dynasty camel.

Eva was patient enough to see if she was getting a present, usually when she comes over she gets either a new Chinese outfit or at least a dumpling. She was 0 for 0 this afternoon and she didn’t drink wine yet. Eva didn’t know or appreciate it but the dumplings that appeared in our freezer were put there by the Gruncles.

I had just sat down probably for the first time that day, and brought the glass of wine to my lips when I got a tug on my trouser leg.

“Mommy, I want to go outside.”

I put the glass down.

“Ok in a minute”

“No now! “

“No in a minute, Mommy is talking.” Mommy wasn’t talking she was trying to drink a glass of wine and have the option of taking part in a civilized conversation that didn’t involve Peppa Pig or Mickey Mouse.

“Outside now” Eva barked, this time I didn’t respond. She stewed.

A few sips of wine later, I was thinking about pitching to Jan how he should try and sell the idea of my screenplay to his friends at Warner Brothers.

A Perfect Day,

A Glass of Wine

A possible entre to Warner Brothers

The perfect moment.

And then it happened.

Eva shut her eyes, balled up her fists, opened her mouth and there was just silence and then an ear piercing scream followed by short rapid breaths, blind kicking and punching movements vaguely in my direction but with enough force to knock her off her own feet. Then muffled words came out between the scream-breaths.


I put down my glass of wine, gave Jan and the Michaels a sheepish smile while they continued small talking while pretending not to stare at what is known as a TANTRUM.

The side door was the quickest exit. I whisked her out immediately. That is always your first goal as a parent, when the TANTRUM strikes, remove child from the direct vicinity of anyone even if they have hearing aids. A piercing scream would make anyone think twice about saying how cute Eva is.

When we got outside, meeting the demand, which started the TANTRUM, Eva was not satisfied as the TANTRUM usually ends up being about anything other than what actually started it.

“What is wrong Eva, What do you need?”

“I want to go to my house.”

“You can’t Eva, we have to stay with the Michael’s and Uncle Jan.”

I don’t know why I try to reason with a toddler, it’s futile but we still do it I think with the false hope that suddenly her capability to reason will grow up by twenty years.

She cried and stomped her feet.

“Mommy has to go back inside, are you coming with mommy or do you need to be by your self.”

“No, No. No” She said.

“Okay Eva you can stay out here but do not leave the balcony, you can come back in when you have calmed down.”

When I closed the screen door to rejoin the party, the TANTRUM regained strength. Her stomping turned to thrashing which turned into running, and soon there was a screaming, stomping Tinkerbelle Banshee running loops around the wrap around balcony, each one getting faster and louder, as I enjoyed my glass of white wine inside chatting to Jan and the Michaels.

“The wine, the body is full, but it’s so light and zippy.” I say commenting on the Pinot Grigio, kissing up to the finer palated in my midst.

“It’s quite fruity.”  replied Jan in his Teutonic tone.

“Pardon me,” Said the Michaels.

I swirled the wine in the glass like you are supposed to do. I smiled and did my best to indulge in an over thought out analysis of the short films that won at the festival.

As the screaming and running continued unabated, I thought to myself:

“This 2 Will Pass. She won’t scream forever.”

Conversation drifted to Coral Beach, the exclusive private club where Jan had been staying, the highs and lows of the food at the restaurant, the view, the general ambiance as we, the four of us tried to collectively ignore Eva’s pacing and screaming. Eventually I spoke to what no one else dare comment on. The TANTRUM.

“Let me just check to make sure she hasn’t thrown herself off the balcony.” I exited stage right onto the porch.

She looked up at me, stopped running like she might have finally won,

“Eva, have you calmed down now, would you like to come inside?”

“No, !!! I want to go to my house.”

I knew she wouldn’t leave without me, so I shook my head and returned inside the threshold of the screen door.

She returned to her well worn loop.

When back inside, I said, “She is only 2, she has to get tired at some point.”

Jan looked at me with a slight smile, one that was either a smile of understanding or of disapproval; I could not tell, and then he said,

“It seems to me that there is a battle of wills going on, who will win, that is the question, who will win?”

“I will win the battle, she will win the war.” I thought.

A few minutes later, after I had gulped my wine when no one was looking, I saw a little face smushed up against the screen. She was breathing heavily, sort of snorting but she wasn’t screaming any more. Her face was red and she had worked up an appetite.

I bent down to her level, and asked,

“Eva have you calmed down?”


“Are you going to cry anymore?”


“Okay, would you like to go to your house?”


“Would you like a dumpling?”


“Sometimes they just have to get it out of their systems.” I explained.

Eva and I had come to an understanding you might call it a TRUCE.

Jan, Eva and I said farewell to the Michaels and stepped out of the Temple doors and went back to our house. Later we met daddy at the restaurant, had a pleasant dinner where she was surprisingly well behaved and then we took Jan to the airport and said our goodbyes before returning home to put Eva to bed. It was the end of a typical day in the life of a 2 year old and her Derelict Mother.

That night as I was going to bed I was reminded of those people who said, “If you think a baby is hard, wait till you have a toddler.” They were wrong. I wouldn’t trade this for the world, sure my Warner Brothers moment was ruined but she had already pretty much ruined my career, if you could call it a career. But when she was a baby- that – almost ruined my whole life, but I knew then as I knew in this moment… That This 2 Will Pass. I will have to admit that I will in later years look back at my raging Tinkerbelle and miss her spirited rebellion and hey anything where I can still sit down and have a glass of wine- it can’t be that bad now can it. It’s nowhere near as bad as breastfeeding a baby. A friend who had had a similar experience sent me this link this week to a blog about breastfeeding.. I would say it touches on what it was like for me, but I made it far worse for myself by working and refusing to give up. I won’t be writing a blog about breastfeeding, I will be writing a book, forthcoming. # Crazy and Derelict!


Xx Derelict Mom



#Doing It All Maria Shriver report

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Go Maria Shriver! #DoingItAll The role of the contemporary mother. It is not easy. Most women nowadays are working mothers, and that by definition is imperfection. I do not think you can do both at the same time well. I have one daughter and I work from home and I find it difficult, and it is the expectations of society that make it worse, and from that place this blog, derelict mom.com was born. I salute all the derelict working mothers of the world. When my daughter Eva was born, I only had two weeks off and that was because she happened to be born right before Christmas, after that until I put her in daycare at four months I worked with her. Breastfeeding never worked for me so I pumped while driving in the car from film shoot to shoot, or while doing chores in the house wearing the backpack pump and my little Eva even had her first acting role at six weeks. I was miserable it was really hard and I am not living on the poverty line. If anyone is reading this check out my 2010 documentary Poverty in Paradise made with the Coalition for the Protection of Children, about the plight of mothers living in poverty in Bermuda, a trailer is on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RH34cl_7NFA