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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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


“Mommy, I am dying.”

The other night I overheard my mother putting Sadie to bed. Sadie is Eva’s cousin at a robust, four and a half months older than Eva. GiGi tucked her in and as she was dosing off dreaming about Mickey Mouse and Disney Princesses my mother recited the Lord’s Prayer.

I had totally forgotten or blocked it out I am not sure which – but my mother recited the Lord’s Prayer to my siblings and I every night of our childhood and we would be instructed to say it along with her when we were old enough, how could I forget. The words came creeping back into my mind like a favorite poem:

Our Father who art in heaven,

hallowed be they name.

When kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth, as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,

and forgive us our trespasses

for we forgive those who trespass against us

And lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil, forever and ever


At the end my mother would say God Bless, and then list all the family members who were in heaven.

Every night would be a chorus of “Go to bed! “ “Say your prayers!” we would put our hands together in pretend prayer until we were reprimanded to take it seriously. My sister would always get the trespasses line wrong and we would rarely finish it without help. So all these years later, did it rub off?  Not really in the way it was intended.

Far from being a good Christian, I rarely go to church and I got married in my aunt’s garden because our vicar refused to let my two miniature dachshunds, Piccolo and Piglet walk down the aisle as ring bearers. I am what my mother calls a “heathen.”  It was this moment, a flashback to my childhood recitations of the Lord’s Prayer to consider the possibility of this being true.

It is always shocking when you turn out to be exactly like your mother even if you had intentions of being completely different. Eva is barely two but every night I make her turn off her Tinker Bell lamp by pressing the center of the flower at its base, and then as the fairy swirls around and the lights go out, I refuse to put her in her crib until she says, “ Good night Fairy, I believe in Fairies.” Most of the time she does what she is told, and curls up without resistance but some nights she won’t say it just to annoy me.  Sound familiar? Without realizing it until now, I have been indoctrinating my daughter in the supernatural. I am a heathen; I am a derelict mother. Worse I am just like my own mother. I can’t seem to read her a bedtime story and call it a day.

Age two is when children begin to develop their imagination and I forgive myself thinking that letting her believe in fairies is helping expand her mind. Eva’s make believe usually involves a tea party or a sleep over for her friends: Bunzy, Mickey and Minnie Mouse and Peppa Pig.   But the other day she was having just such a sleep over under her blanket tent. I came in and sat down next to her and she laid down ontop of the blanket and looked up at me and said, “ I am sleeping.”

I replied, “No you are not.”

To which she replied, “No, I am not sleeping,”

I agreed, then she said, “I am dying.”  For a moment I felt like Tinker Bell fell out of the sky at my feet and expired.

“You aren’t dying.”  Was my witty, well thought out reply.  I could see her scanning my face for recognition. I was taken aback but tried to hide it with a fake smile. It worked.

“I am not dying.” she said.

“Yes.” I agreed.

I really wasn’t prepared for something so difficult to happen, she wasn’t supposed to throw hard questions my way until she was at least eight and maybe not until she was sixteen. I was supposed to have years to dream up interesting, intelligent answers to, “What happens when you die?” I was worried too that next, pretending to pee like a boy was going to turn into the where do I come from talk at age three.

I asked Auntie Zoe the next day when she picked her up for school if anything happened at school that would make her say something like that. Zoe said they were talking about watering the tomato plants that were dying. That made me feel better, but I couldn’t help but think she had picked it up from an older kid, after all the playground is where you learn most of life’s lessons starting at two.

I am still not sure what I will tell her about dying. I am starting to think I should start talking about heaven first, perhaps I should read her the Lord’s Prayer, or maybe Gigi will have a chance to indoctrinate another generation if she ever agrees to babysit. By saying No she is passive aggressively creating more fairy-believing heathens.

I myself do believe in an after life but how do you explain that to a kid. I also believe in Tinker Bell in the parallel world of my imagination where I am still a two year old waiting for a life full of adventures. Maybe Eva is a bit cynical like her grandmother after all by living we are growing older, which is dying. Or maybe Eva just wants to understand but, in that case I have some bad news because adults are still arguing about life after death and the other mysteries of our world.

Interestingly around the same time this happened, I came across this article trending on the internet, evidently most kids believe in immortality whether its believing in heaven, fairies, ghosts or God.


Not planning on giving up on Tinker Bell anytime soon.

Xx Derelict Mom


Two is the Beginning of the End

It was my new years resolution to post at least once a week, and although I have so many posts floating around in my head I am right up on that deadline, as I am posting at essentially five minutes to five on Friday the last day of the second week of my blog’s life. How could I almost give up on my resolution in the first week of January? Real Life and a two year old is the sad and true answer. A sick two year old and the problem with a sick two year old is it usually results in a sick thirty seven year old, but no excuses- its not good enough!

I am starting to feel my age now and yesterday I said to Eva:

“How old is Eva?”

“Two” she says, and then I ask

“Do you know how old mommy is?”

“One” she answers.

I say, “No I am thirty seven.” with a chuckle.

And she looks at me blankly, confused as she can only count to “eleven-teen.”

“Hmmm” I thought to be one again! Or even two instead of thirty-seven which is such a mouthful it sounds depressing even in its iteration. Tempus Fugit.

Then I looked down at Eva and saw her twinkling fairy like blue eyes looking back at me without a care in her world, all seven hundred and thirty days of her little life. I remembered that piece of advice that parents of older kids always tell the bedraggled mother of a newborn, and boy was I bedraggled so I got this all the time,

“Savor these days as they are quick. She will grow up too fast.” I would usually smile back with my fakest smile thinking, fine but you haven’t been up all night with a screaming newborn and mastitis thinking will these days ever end.

The other day I was hunting through a second hand barn, the only shopping I do now days, and between buying Eva a 1970s Minnie Mouse in a racer car, I happened upon a hard backed edition of Peter Pan. I had forgotten that it was my favorite book as an adult if not one of my favorites as a child, so I bought it and opened it up. As Eva was driving her Minnie Mouse car up my leg, I flipped open the page and was aghast after reading the first paragraph. I include it below.

“All children, except one, grow up. They soon know that they will grow up, and the way Wendy knew was this. One day when she was two years old she was playing in a garden, and she plucked another flower and ran with it to her mother. I suppose she must have looked rather delightful, for Mrs. Darling put her hand to her heart and cried, “Oh, why can’t you remain like this for ever!” This was all that passed between them on the subject, but henceforth Wendy knew that she must grow up. You always know after you are two. Two is the beginning of the end.” J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan.

Or “The End of the Beginning” like Winston Churchill’s famous speech, I thought. We have just potty trained Eva, she was wearing big girl undies, dressing herself and for the first time in two years I felt that for a minute I could leave her alone in the living room while I dashed to the kitchen for a chocolate square. Phew, we had conquered her last major baby milestone what was next? I was so terribly stretched with my job and one child, yes just one child that I haven’t been able to look back at our lives, perhaps that is what this blog is for, a record for Eva and I and anyone who cares to read it. It is a confessional for my derelict ways, a diary of our highs and lows, our conversations and arguments.

Eva’s second birthday was on December 21st, the winter solstice, the turning of the seasons. That night she went to sleep singing, “Happy Birthday to Eva, Happy Birthday to me.” The next morning when I went into get her as I usually do as I have done every morning of her life, I bent down and lifted her out of her crib giving her a huge kiss on forehead and for the first time in her life she wiped it away with a look of disgust. My heart sunk, it felt like she had wiped away every kiss I had ever given her.  To add insult to injury when Daddy kissed her she wouldn’t wipe it away. I was crushed. Two was the beginning of the end. But that night when I put her to bed at the close of her first day as a two year old, she said without prompting. “Night Night Fairy, I believe in Fairies.” as I had said to her every night of her two years as we turned off her Tinker bell lamp.  At least she still believes in Fairies and maybe one day before she is three she will let her mother give her a kiss again without wiping it away.

Later that week when we were walking past my parent’s house she ran to a little plant with red flowers that she used to pick for me, she picked three bunches of flowers, then looked up at me and down at the flowers and said “Flowers for Daddy.” My heart predictably sank again… and I thought Daddy doesn’t know it yet but it is the beginning of the end even for him, so instead of letting the little flowers wilt on the counter or behind an ear as we had done in the past, I put them in a little shot glass, where they still are for a few more days anyway. This is what we now use shot glasses for BTW- repurposing.

Tempus Fugit. Two is the Beginning of the End.

Flowers for Daddy