Saturday, February 19, 2011

If I were a playwright, I would write about the Ebb AND the Flow

If I were a playwright, I would use this as a scene in one of my plays:


J: Oh this is weird, I haven't squeezed my boob since I weaned Elanah, and I just did, and it's clear liquid that came out. Like water, not milk.
S: Oh yeah?
J: I wonder how it tastes. If it's like milk. (Tastes a dab.) I can't taste anything. That's so weird. Cool. I wonder why it would come out like that, what is happening in the milk duct.

(Pause)

J: Oh, I forgot to tell you. I had a white stain in my underwear today and there was mucous on the toilet paper earlier. So I think I'm ovulating. Or something. Something's happening.
S: Interesting.
J: Yeah, it's the first time in a long time, like years, that I've had any stain in my underwear.
S: Wow.
J: I know. It's exciting.
S: So you're about to enter womanhood.
J: Yes, it's like I'm becoming a woman again.
S: Yeaaaah.
J: It's like I went from being a mother to being a woman. I was just this feeder. No hormones. Just meant for feeding.
S: Aw, my little feeding trough.
J: (Laughing) It feels good. Like my body is functioning again. Or differently. And now I'm going to be entering into the ebb and flow of things.
S: Riiiight.
J: Well, soon I'll enter into the flow.

(Pause)

J:And you're done with flowing.
S: Yes.
J: Are you still ebbing?
S: Yeah, I'm still ebbing.
J: That's good. I think we're always ebbing.


Monday, February 7, 2011

The Healing Love of a Child Valentine

Just when I think I could not possibly be more grateful for my kids than I already am, one of them goes and says something that astonishes me. Like tonight, when Darah and I were reading "Mouse's First Valentine" and Darah told me she would give me a valentine if we were growing up together.  After I read the book, I started telling a story about how when I was a young girl I always wanted to get a valentine from someone (someone, not just anyone) but I never did. Other girls got valentines from their boy...friends, but I never had one (A real boyfriend or a real girlfriend. Or a valentine...until I was seventeen).
I was really telling the story to Sandy, but Darah was paying attention. Darah waited a moment and then melted my heart when she said, "Mommy, if I was a wittow tid when you wurh a wittow tid, den I would want to take tare of you. I would take tare of you and div you a vawentine." I'm almost in tears just thinking of how she said it and what she was expressing. Oh, precious child! Please don't let me ruin her precious child-goodness with my yucky adult-badness. She's so wonderful. Children heal adults with their perfectness. THANK YOU, thank you, thank you, thank thank thank thank (you?) UNIVERSE. AWOMEN.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Lucy is her Alter Ego (Charlie Brown, Barbies, and other Identifiers) : Libraryists and Dirty Dolls, the Mini-Psychologies of Early Play

I enjoy that Darah calls librarians libraryists. (She did it tonight while telling a story that she was "reading" in my pregnancy journal.) That girl's got brains. I also find it hilarious that, after she came to check on Elanah and me in the bathtub tonight, she said, "Good yuck (luck), YOU'LL NEED IT." She really emphasized each word, too. She later told us she learned it from Lucy on the Charlie Brown valentine video. I gotta say, I'm hoping Darah doesn't relate too much to Bossy and often mean-spirited Lucy, but I think she might. Darah is impressed by Lucy, to some degree. I always empathized and loved Marcie, who was a bit of a pushover and follower to Peppermint Patty. Peppermint Patty was too aggressive for me, as was Lucy. Darah seems to want to identify with the strong and powerful rather than the weak and downtrodden. It amazes me, because I always identified with and loved the outcasts. I think it was a manifestation of my shyness and lack of self-confidence. I loved them because I wanted to be loved: I accepted them because I wanted to feel accepted. I feared rejection from others while at the same time resenting that position.

When I played Barbies, I always had my Ken doll choose the same Barbie. The one with the dirty but kind face and ratty hair. I made all of the other Barbies bitches who treated the kind but dirty Barbie like crap. But then Ken always saw the beautiful inside of the rejected Barbie, and he always chose her. I know it's all very patriarchal and disturbing that he was choosing a prize wife, but that is the reality of the games we played in my house as a child. I also was always pretending that my baby dolls were sick and that I was a nurse caring for them. They needed me, and I could not abandon them. I had a favorite, of course, and she was named "Jocelyn." Jocelyn Doll was a naked doll whose hair I had totally cut off with my cousin one day. She had a round face and a shaved head. All of my other baby dolls had beautiful curls and dresses. She was naked, with only a diaper on. She was my prized doll. I loved her best. Ever since we cut her hair off, I pretended she was sick and dying. I felt so, SO sorry for her. I pretended that I found her lying on the streets, abandoned by her parents. But then I loved her and cared for her and became her mother and saved her. Yes, we could analyze my childhood games all day. Or at least I could. But I think the message is clear: I displaced my identity and feelings onto my dolls. For some reason, I felt like an outcast. I felt like I needed something that no one could give me. I wanted to be loved and saved. For years, I wanted to save and be saved by the people I loved. I am still in the process of coming to terms with those deep-rooted feelings that were with me since I was a very young child. I cannot blame entirely one thing or person. It's just, well, sad and interesting.

On the other hand, though, it's really happy and interesting when I think about how DIFFERENT Darah is and how differently she plays. I know she definitely relates more to the overbearing directorial bully than the underdog. I'm kind of fascinated by it. She really prefers to play the "bad guy" in our games, AND she always demands that Elanah be the sick monkey and she be the well monkey when we are playing "Monkey Doctor." She likes to be in charge, that precious, wonderful, amazing daughter of ours. And I usually let her. I like to think we're guiding and supporting the formation a strong, capable and independent woman (not a selfish tyrant toddler). She is also INCREDIBLY smart and joyful and funny and loving. She is protective of her little sister, too. She really thought I was going to eat Elanah one day when I was growling like a lion and chasing after Elanah. She started to cry. It was funny and sad and sweet. I really value people who are advocates and defenders. I strive to be like that, and I will be SO happy if our girls grow up with the confidence to stand up for themselves and others. I grew up feeling like I was a loner when it came to defending myself. I wanted to be defended, but didn't feel like I was - so I became my own defender, I guess.

I felt like some people in my family did not stand up bravely against injustices (small or large...personal or political). I had this self-righteous attitude, and felt superior to those around me, believing that I was the only one who would "do the right thing." There was too much passive aggressive in-fighting going on. My Grandma Mel, who is one of the BOLDEST women I have ever know, while she often had twisted motivations and illogical reasoning, was not afraid of anyone or anything. If she felt like someone needed an advocate, she instinctively defended and advocated. Now, she definitely would go off the deep end in terms of being too much of a fighter, BUT she was at least direct about how she felt. I was very much, as a kid, concerned about fairness and justice. I think I was angry much of the time, deep down inside, about the unfairness of everyone's selfish ways and motivations; while at the same time I was trying to gain everyone's love by being/appearing "good." I wanted to be "the favorite" for each person that mattered to me, except for with my parents. It's obviously very complicated, but that's enough for tonight. The bottom line is this: I was not self confident as a kid, for whatever reason, and so I am amazed, truly, by the intellectual and personal self-confidence that I see in Darah as well as by the physical self-confidence and sense of daring that I see in Elanah. It's so nice to be a witness and a guide. If we're on a healthy path, then we'll all be headed in a similar direction - toward a balanced personality that doesn't get caught up in any extreme too deeply.