Thursday, July 31, 2008

Betty Friedan and Me

Today, every time I sat my writer's ass down in my writer's chair to work, Demon Baby beckoned me. What did he need? The list was endless:

Pull up my pants
Get me orange juice
Make me noodles
You didn't make them right, make 'em again
Wipe my butt
Pretend I am a dog and pet me in my doghouse
Wipe my butt (this is my official job since no one else in the house is interested in toilet training)
More juice
Play "boat and pirate"
Change your iPod to the Clash
Kiss me
No, don't kiss me, because you have cooties and are gross
Get me cheese (the cheese fetish this kid has is alarming)

You get the idea.

And I am reminded of Betty Friedan:

"It is urgent,” she said, “to understand how the very condition of being a housewife can create a sense of emptiness, non-existence, nothingness in women. There are aspects of the housewife role that make it almost impossible for a woman of adult intelligence to retain a sense of human identity, the firm core of self or ‘I’ without which a human being, man or woman, is not truly alive. For women of ability, in America today, I am convinced there is something about the housewife state itself that is dangerous.”

Now, I am not--narrowly speaking--a housewife. In fact, in some ways, I am something even more exhausting. I am a full-time writer, supporting my family as I work from home, with no child care help and very little support, with four children, doing all those empty chores . . . while trying to preserve a sense of me.

And into this world Demon Baby was born.

It is difficult, even with this blog, to convey the very idea that not FIVE minutes can go by without something crashing, without him needing ME. And I cannot tell you how often I hear Betty Friedan whispering in my ear. Mocking me, maybe. "Your IQ? Twenty books published? A butt wiper?"

So it has been that Buddhism and service has been my salvation. The very idea that the ACT of love, of sacrifice, is a religious or spiritual ritual in and of itself.

I do it imperfectly. I really do. But I strive to see this altar of my Demon Baby as something beautiful. The idea that I was here when he took his first breath in this world. And one day, perhaps, he will be by my bedside as I take my last, but somehow, the cosmic umbilical cord remains. He is mine, and I am his, and we are forever linked.

Don't get me wrong . . . Freidan spoke of something very real. She spoke of the mind-numbing reality of running a household.

But I guess, today, as I watch my Demon Baby sleep . . . I see something more, something different.

I see love.

Sunday, July 27, 2008


Demon Baby just screamed for me.

"MOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I need your help!!!!"

He was in the bathroom, so I jumped up from my desk. "What's the matter?" I called from the outside of the bathroom.

"My pants are UNLOCKED!!!!!"

He came out, with his jeans shorts unsnapped, and sort of thrust his belly toward me. "Lock them again!"

Tattoo You

I feel quite certain that Demon Baby will one day be a heavy metal rocker with multiple piercings, a mohawk, and tattoos.

As if to confirm the latter . . .

Anytime it is "too quiet"--that hair standing up on the back of my neck, I know he is in trouble quiet--I come to discover he has marked up his body from head to toe with magic markers. I have hidden every Sharpie in the house--the permanent kind. But with six of us, it is nearly impossible to hide every pen. And now that Demon Baby is toilet-trained, he goes alone to the bathroom--AND knows how to lock the door.

Hence, his legs are green today. His hands black. And he's got some pink around his belly button.

A sign of what's to come one day?

Friday, July 25, 2008

My Morning

By 9:00 a.m. today, Demon Baby and I had been to The Dollar Store and the grocery store. These trips, alone, I could have done in a combined total of 45 minutes. Tops. Including driving there and back. Instead, it took an hour and a half because Demon Baby no longer likes to ride in the cart and instead prefers to HELP me push the cart, and since I value the lives of innocent grocery store workers, and senior citizens shopping who can't move quickly out of the way, I must wrestle with him and the cart to keep it from careening wildly and causing a disaster. In addition, I answered 987 questions from Demon Baby, 986 of which began with WHY?

WHY did a bird poop on our car?
WHY did someone leave a penny on the ground?
WHY does our cart have a wobbly wheel?
WHY doesn't the grocery man FIX the broken wheel?
WHY do you look tired, Mommy?
WHY can't I have this candy?

Is it any wonder by 9:00 a.m. I'm ready for a nap? But trust me, he isn't.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Stating the Obvious

I was feeling very snuggly about Demon Baby. Sometimes, I just don't want him to get bigger. I miss those true "baby" days.

We were walking down the stairs in our house and he was behind me. I turned and said, "Hey . . . do you want me to carry you down?"

"No. That's okay. I have feet."

Monday, July 21, 2008

Demon Baby at the Beach

It's easy to forget how much trouble he gets into sometimes when I look at pictures.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Traveling Nine Hours in a Car with Demon Baby

Note: The trip was SUPPOSED to take six hours.

A summarized play-by-play of driving a long distance for vacation with Demon Baby.

Leave driveway. Get to the stop sign at end of street. Demon Baby says, "I need my orange sippie cup." Know there will be NO PEACE if the purple one is taken on trip instead of orange one. Drive back for orange sippie cup. Four minutes into the trip. Have not traveled one foot.

Leave driveway again. Get to end of street. Make a right. Leave neighborhood. Get two lights up.

"Are we there yet?"


"How 'bout now?"



"No. Don't ask me for at least a half hour."

Two minutes later. "Has it been a half hour?"

Drive on highway. "I'm hungry."

"What do you want? I have the peanut butter cookies you like, I have bananas, I have a sandwich for you."

"I want miso soup."

"I don't have miso soup."

"But I want it."

"You'll have to wait."

"Are we there yet?"


Drive for five minutes.

"I need to pee."

Find bathroom at a McDonald's. He decides he wants fries. Been on road 45 minutes. Have not traveled more then 10 miles.

Get on road.

"I'm tired."

"Good. Go to sleep."

"But I want to sleep with you in the big bed."

"We can't fit the big bed in the car."

"I think I have to poop."

"Why didn't you go in the McDonald's?"

We all know the answer to that. "Because I didn't have to then."

Do the math. We arrived at 6:30 a.m. (I prefer to drive at night.) I needed a cocktail from the stress. It was happy hour somewhere.

The ride home was equally horrific. We searched for a rest room at 11:00 P.M. for Demon who insisted, again, he had to go potty. I was unfortunate enough to take an exit from I-95 where despite a sign proclaiming gas stations and food, all signs of civilization were five miles off. If it is NOT AT THE HIGHWAY, do not post there is a restaurant at that exit!!! I hate highway planners. They are unkind to traveling American Moms like me.

It is good to be home.

But it was a marvelous vacation. I got to pay attention to Demon Baby and he was a very, very happy little boy. Will post some pictures.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Friday, July 11, 2008

Sometimes He Deceives Me

Sometimes the kid is so cute, he deceives me. I start to think, He is a normal little angelic boy. He is not a Demon Baby with evil powers beyond the grasp of mere mortals.
Those thoughts don't last long. Usually, he outs himself as a Demon pretty quickly.
"Mommy, can I sleep in your bed tonight?"
He asks me this while dressed in his brother's T-shirt, which sweeps the floor, making him look like Olive Oyl's sweet little Sweet Pea.
He bats his eyes.
"I just really love you. I want to snuggle with you. Please?" Bats eyes more.
"Well . . . maybe tonight. If you're quiet." Because he really looks SO innocent.
I turn my back to walk into my office and then . . . he asks.
"Will you move your legs so I can dance?"
"Breakdance. On your bed. Your legs get in the way."
"You want to DANCE in my bed. At bedtime?"
"Yeah." Nonchalantly. "Of course. Will you move your legs?"
"Bedtime is for SLEEPING."
"No. All right, I'll tell you what . . . what if I dance on your carpet. Will that be OK?"
Oh, Demon Baby . . . tonight you sleep in your OWN bed. I am very tired.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Demon Baby at the Zoo

Demon baby went to the zoo. He was so sweet. He talked to the giraffes. He pet the giraffes. We almost forgot he was a Demon Baby. See the gentle Demon.
Then Demon Baby decided he wanted to scale the fence. He actually got in with the moose. Bad security. No mere fence can keep a Demon Baby from his appointed mission. Note the determined face.