March 9, 2012

(I) Read All About It

Recently I picked up a collection of stories from the trenches.  I was hooked from reading this on the book jacket:

What is parenting really like?  Is it the sweet scent of a warm, milky face?  Is it the pride in seeing your child's performance as a tree in the school play?
          is the unvarnished truth about parenting and how it's full of surprising if not idiotic situations.  Several writers, directors and actors contributed to this book.  I didn't recognize many of their names but I sure recognized what they were going through.
from Dana Gould after being asked if she was going to teach English to her two daughters adopted from China: 
I cleared my throat and calmly answered, No.  I didn't mean it, obviously, but as I've gotten older, I've picked up a neat little trick.  In the old days, before I was a parent, if someone said something so obviously ill conceived, I would frown...pepper them with questions designed to force a confrontation with the folly of their verbal flatulence.  Then I would smile benevolently and escort them back into the sunshine of my thinking.  But now I'm too busy.  Now when someone drops a dumb-bomb, I calculate how much time it will take to disagree and argue with that person, then agree with them and use that time later in the day to treat myself to an ice cream sandwich.
Seriously?  I thought I was the only one who did that.

and from Mo Gaffney (who like me, says she "waited til I was somewhat elderly to have a child")

My biggest challenge has been patience.  On my best day I'm not a patient person, and--I don't know if you are aware of this--kids require patience.  They test your every last nerve and it's very difficult to reason with them. 
she goes on to perfectly capture the experience of mommy guilt

Prior to my yelling "Stop it" my son was no doubt going to become, I don't know, the poet laureate of the United States or the next Bono or something, and my yelling 86'd that. Some neuron in his brain fired, and now he'll torture ants and want to live in my garage till he's forty...[and] because I yelled "Stop it" in his ninth year he won't be a Doctor Without Borders....Or maybe my yelling "Stop it" will be what he tells his friends when they're discussing their bad childhoods.  He'll say "I was never the same after that yell."
And then there's Dani Klein Modisett whose story caught my interest with an opening paragraph about doing three things at once "even though caring for an infant in my forties has me so exhausted my head feels numb a lot of the day, I still feel compelled to multitask."   In a series of daydreams, she envisions herself rapidly aging as her son reaches milestones like graduation, marriage and fatherhood.  After a good cry, she comforts herself
Aha!  I've stumbled on a perk of being an older mommy.  Look how wise I am!  I lean in and kiss Gideon's nose.  Oh, and don't be afraid to settle down young.  Younger than your friends, I add, tucking him in.  Younger than is legal I'll explain when you're older...
Afterbirth is just the type of book I enjoy these days.  One that makes me smile, doesn't take long to read and makes feel like I'm not the only one who feels parenting is a lot like riding a roller coaster:     ups, downs, sudden stops/starts and oh,  a lot of screaming.


  1. Sounds like a book I'll be picking up very soon!

  2. Fabulous excerpts. I suppose I'd read book slike this too if I wasn't using what little time I have to read excellent posts from mommy bloggers. Thanks for passing on these little snippets that i can absorb while I'm eating breakfast... well, in between mopping up the spilled milk and sweeping up the pancake crumbs. Ahhhh, the joys of motherhood.

  3. Love those excerpts! I think I need to find that book!

  4. At first I was wondering why you chose to share excerpts...but as I read them, I was glad you did. Thanks :)