Posts Tagged ‘Motherhood’


Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

Feeling kind of ill after stomach dropped out upon hearing shrieks, screaming, and crying from Rollie in the backyard. He got stung by a yellow jacket. First bee sting in six years. Hasn’t swollen up yet, thank god. Always worry about that, since my Grandma was deathly allergic. Amazing that I knew IMMEDIATELY that it was not a normal Tiller-pissed-me-off scream.

Lost Arts

Saturday, December 20th, 2008

I have always been fascinated by the way that people lived, survived, ate, and lived in the past. Maybe it was too much Little House, but i have always been amazed at the things that people knew how to do. Baking, and sewing, candlemaking, fire banking, farming and building things with their hands.. . these have always been things that interested me in a way. I often think of how far removed I have become from those skills in just two generations. My grandparents did not have tvs, cars, electricity and running water when they were small. They had no heat or air conditioning. No malls, target, or Walmart. They had the rolling store. They had Grandma’s Singer sewing machine. They had lathes and planes and saws and mills and plows. They had mules, horses, and wagons. They had chickens and eggs and pigs. They knew how to wring a neck and kill a pig. They made hoecake. They had gardens, and wells. They canned. They made their own clothes.

All of this is becoming lost to us. Sure, I can remember my grandparents talking about these things, but talking and doing are not the same thing. So, sometimes, I like to try and learn little skills such as the ones they knew.

No, I didn’t kill a pig. I made Grandma Palmer’s banana pudding.

This may not seem like a lot. But i didn’t even know that the stuff in the pudding is actually custard. Until i made the custard, I did not even know what was in custard. That fluff on the top is meringue? Huh. I had no idea that was just egg and sugar. I made that bitch and it looks damn good, too. Haven’t tasted it yet, but i don’t know how it could go wrong with ingredients like that.

Not sure why i wanted to make the pudding, except that it makes me think of my grandma Palmer, and i have been thinking about my grandmas a lot lately, and my mom, too. I don’t think that growing up as a tomboy and a daddy’s girl I ever realized just how hard my mother and grandmas worked to put meals on the table, or to make holidays as wonderful as they were. And I never heard a complaint from them.

Rollie and Tiller will not such peaceful memories of their own mother at Christmas time.

Fucking custard and meringue, sugar cookies that look like blobs, and fudge that won’t set up . . .

I Pray

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

Seven years later, and I am still amazed that it ever happened. It seems like it was just yesterday, and yet another century somehow. I wonder at the fact that I am responsible for two little lives that will never know what it was like to live in the world before that horrific day, and for whom the knowledge of an event of such magnitude will always be conceivable. My children will never know what it is like to live in the thought that it will never happen here. I know that the person I was on September 10, 2001 was not the same person who finally fell into fitful sleep late on September 11, 2001. But I’m pretty sure none of us were; A pebble was tossed into the pond that day, creating something that will touch us all, in one way or another, sooner or later.

Me and T, before

Me, pregnant with Rollie, after

I am still touched by the way our country banded together in those first few days, and I still have hope that we will be that way again. Sometimes I still have that hope.

My thoughts and prayers today are with the many, many families who were affected by the tragedy of 9/11, the ones who can’t say that everyone they loved came out unscathed that day.

Yes, Annelle, I pray!!

I just don’t know to whom I’m praying.

Tiller Turns Two

Monday, October 8th, 2007

Dear Tiller,

Today you turned two. We celebrated your party on Sunday. It was a Hello Kitty themed party. Aunt Lisa and Papaw Palmer couldn’t make it, but your Grandma Palmer was there, and also your Johnson Grandparents. Uncle Mark showed up, even though Aunt Lisa didn’t make it – I think he is either in love with you, or cupcakes. Maybe both. Other attendees were Mama and Dada, Rollie, Ned, Vanessa, and Scarlett. We had chocolate cupcakes, and some with colored icing, but everyone wanted chocolate. We ate pizza for lunch, and you received way too many gifts. You received a stroller, baby bed, and infant carrier, a couple of baby dolls, two cel phones (just what a little girl needs), a stuffed dog on a leash, a vacuum cleaner that really vacuums, a tea party set, a doll case, and a ton of clothes. You are a very lucky girl to have so many friends and so many people who love you.

I remember when Rollie was two, and you were about to be born. It seems like just yesterday, and now he is four and you are two, and I am really, really a mother. You have learned so many amazing things in the last year. You learned to walk a little after you turned one. Now you are running and hopping. Of course, you don’t actually leave the ground yet, but you say “I am hopping!” and do a lot of bending at the knees. You like to do whatever Diego and Dora are doing – All the actions: Climbing, swimming, rowing, hopping, swinging, climbing. Thanks to Dora and Diego, you intersperse your English with Spanish words. Sometimes I have to act out actions to figure out what you are saying to me.

Your talking is just amazing – what a vocabulary! You string so many words together in run on sentences and your dada and I just look at each other, wondering what it is you are saying, because we just don’t understand all of it. That doesn’t matter to you, though. You just keep on talking, and are so expressive when you do it, nodding your head convincingly, or holding your hands palm up when asking a question of us. You repeat everything that we say, and think that Rollie’s word is God. If Rollie says or does it, you want to say or do the same thing.

You are starting to show a bit of stubbornness. When we say “time to change your diaper,” or “Let’s put on pjs” your first reaction is to take off running. We spend a lot of time chasing you down. You love the water and will pour water over your own head when in the bath and then laugh and laugh. You are the laughingest goofball of a child I have ever known. Your sense of humor is corny and quick. You love to sing in goofy voices and then laugh at yourself. Did I mention the dancing? You love music and singing and love to dance. Your dances are a sight to behold, too – You do one where you move your arms around. I couldn’t explain it if I tried, but will have to show you the video someday. Your favorite songs are “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,“ “The Wheels on the Bus,” “You Are My Sunshine,” and “The Itsy Bitsy Spider.”

You love animals and babies. You crack us up, because when you talk about the other kids in your Mommies’ Morning Out class, you call them “babies,” but you think you are a big girl, even though you are all the same age. You started the MMO this fall, and I was worried you would miss me, but you love the class, and the other kids (Kai, Claire, and Abby) and your teachers, Miss Betsy, and Miss Janet. You cry on the days when Rollie has class, but you don’t.

You are kind of a bruiser. Sometimes I am in another room, and I hear Rollie screaming bloody murder and I walk in, and you have him in a headlock, or you are lying on top of him and won’t get off. I am hoping you will turn out to be a gentle soul, but it is nice to know that you stand up for yourself, too.

You love swimming. I am amazed at how much you love the water. You laugh and laugh in pools, and you love the kiddie pool at the lake. When we take you in the lake, you lie back as if you could just float on your back, all by yourself.

When we go to the park, you like to swing, swing, swing. You are not scared to climb or slide, but swinging is where it’s at for you. I have pushed you on a swing for almost an hour at a time before. You cry when I make you get out of the swing.

In the mornings, you scream and cry, “Mama” or “Daddy, come get me.” “Mama, Help!” You sound pitiful and sick, but as soon as we walk in, you start chirping away in your excited, sweet morning voice, asking “Where’s Dada?” or “Where’s Rollie?” You start talking in a waterfall of words and if other people in the house are still sleeping, I try to shush you, and you just won’t quiet down. It is endearingly annoying. When you wake up from your nap, you are the same way, except crankier, just like your Mama and Aunt Lisa, and Grandma Palmer. I carry you down the stairs, you crying the whole way, and when we get to the bottom, I ask if you want a snack, and you turn the tears off immediately, a smile breaks across your face, and you say, “Sack” while nodding your head at me.

Let’s see. What else:

You sleep well at night, usually going to bed between 7:30 and 8, but you aren’t a great napper. Most of your naps are 35 to 45 minutes long. I am thankful when you give me a whole hour.
You never let me fix your hair, which I guess is part of the curse. I never liked having mine fixed either.
You love eating. I have been lucky that both kids have healthy appetites. I try to feed you healthy stuff, and you do a pretty good job with it. You do love gold fish. You call them, “Olefish.” So cute.
You are starting to love to read, and we read to you every night, but you also will grab a book and sit down with it, turning the pages and pretending to read.

Since your birthday party, you have been walking around saying, “I’m a baby!” and then “I’m a big girl!” You may be growing up to be a big girl, a young lady, but you will always be my little baby girl, even when you are fifty. I am so lucky to have you for a daughter. I knew that being a parent was special, but I never knew how amazing it would be to have a boy and a girl. Mom always said that there was something so very wonderful about having a daughter, and now I understand what she meant. You are sweet and mercurial, tough and sensitive, beautiful and ornery, girly and tomboyish, smart and silly, all wrapped up in the cutest, roly-poliest package I have ever seen. You are a little like your father, and a lot like me, and better than both of us put together. I have learned so very much from you and Rollie. Having a little girl, though, is a slightly more daunting task for me. I know that I am your foremost role model, the woman from whom you will learn so very much in your life. You bring out so many things in me that I didn’t know I had inside. You make me a better person. You make me want to be someone you can look up to, someone you can learn valuable life lessons from, and someone you can respect. I hope that I do as wonderful a job as my Mom did. I hope that I set an example for you that will make you as proud of me as I am of you.

Happy Birthday, Baby Tiller.

With love,

Thanks to Uncle Mark for the cute Tiller with Stroller vid.

We are Way Cute When We Drink

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2007

Most of the time i feel like Dogwood Girl is a great outlet for me, a healthy exercise in purging my sick mind and all that. But lately? It is just another damn thing that I am not getting done. Who needs something else to make them feel guilty? I am not going to let it get me down. I will post when I can post.

But some things require taking the time. Like when one of your bestest friends, the one that introduced you to your husband, which resulted in your life becoming boring and parental, and yet you still love her, is getting married and you spend the weekend with the girls, acting trashy and pretending that you don’t have children or husbands. Much fun.

In case you haven’t visited the town, Helen is totally kooky, touristy, and a total fucking riot. Here’s a town where everyone drank the Kool Aid and decided to make their little town a theme park. With beer river tubing and taffy and Ye Olde Fudge.

We spent the weekend in a cabin, with a pool table, a panoramic view of Mt. Yonah, a hot tub, rocking chairs, four couches, and three tvs. Anyone who knows me can tell you that if you put me up with a pool table, a stocked bar, an IPod, and a hot tub, I might never leave. I watched Auburn beat out those detestable Gators while pounding beers, playing pool, and hot tubbing. It was awesome. We are even mature enough that we could afford a place where everyone had a bed. I shared a King with my little sis and I barely knew she was there.

This was the first Bachelorette party I have been to, i realized later, at which only the Bride-to-be was a Bachelorette. The rest of us were all Matrons. That is a little disturbing. Didn’t get in the way of the shenanigans, though. And as Lisa and I informed the others, we are still way cute when we drink. You can see evidence of this in the following picture, as Leelee exudes cuteness:

High points, other than aforementioned view and hot tub, were the excellent meals, and the company. Great group of girls. Okay, it’s a tossup – Girls vs. very frightening, nightmare-inducing Deer Anus Cyclops Head. It could go either way.

More pics:
Keri, Robbie, and Nessie:

Robbie solo, and with her very cool future Sis-in-law, Katie:

Et moi, basking in the heat of the tub and two beautiful field goals against the Fucking Florida Gators (Yes, this Bulldog hates them just. that. much.) And to top off a great weekend, on the way home, i met a couple of bikers on Harleys at the gas station. One of them asked me to go for a ride with him. He was cute in a pushing-50s, Marlboro-Man-gravelly-voice kind of way. I was tempted. It was a great day.

“I need to get back to Atlanta,” I said.

“I live in Atlanta,” he replied with a devilish grin. “I’ll take you home.”

“I can’t. I gotta get back to the husband and kids.”

“Ma’am, I’m so sorry. I didn’t see your ring. I didn’t know you were married.”

“That’s okay,” I said. “You made my day!”

And it did. We’re still cute, girls, even when we’re not drinking. And chivalry is not dead. At least not in the hills of North Georgia.

Let’s Put This Into Perspective

Monday, September 17th, 2007

To think that not that many years ago, women regularly wondered where their next meal would come from, as they waded down towards the river to wash their clothes by hand. They knew that after a long day, they were expected to service their husbands. They were in constant fear that their beloved family members were going to die from some terrible disease for which there was no cure, no antibiotic.

I am sitting around today worrying about my slow internet, the fact that I didn’t get a chance to write once last week, and that I couldn’t fit my long run in this weekend, so I ended up doing it today. I was kind of disappointed that I only finished 7.5 miles in the time between dropping off and picking up my son from preschool, when I wanted to finish 9.5 miles.

Life is hard. Real hard.

Back to School

Tuesday, September 4th, 2007

I cannot believe that I dropped off my little Tiller for her first day of school today. Okay, not real school, but the Mommies’ Morning Out program. She goes Tuesdays and Thursdays for three whole hours. She was so excited to put on her big girl backpack. Keep your traps shut about the fact that it is Rollie’s hand-me-down backpack; He got a brand spanking new Diego backpack for his birthday, and it just seemed ludicrous to throw the old one out, so I just crossed out his name and put hers on the backpack. I also drew her a nifty flower to girl it up a little. Then I felt guilty for not drawing anything on Rollie’s backpack, so I drew him a car. Two more fun things about being a Mom – 1) You can guilt yourself about just about anything where your kids are concerned and 2) You will need a Sharpie. Often.

Both kids got out of the van, with Todd’s help. He followed us over to school for her first day, since we did it last year for Rollie’s first day. Yes, Todd is the best Daddy ever. They were so cute, with backpacks and raring to go. They humored me while we took some pictures to commemorate the big event. Rollie was cracking me up, saying hello to the Pastor and to his friends from last year. We took him to his classroom first. He went right in, found his hook, hung up his backpack, and started playing. He said, “Hey guys!” when he walked in the room. Tiller followed him in at a run, with her backpack too big for her body, and mimicked big brother with a very cute, “Hey, guys!” to the big kids in Rollie’s class. Luckily, she was not upset when we put her in the room with kids her own age.

We walked her down to the room, and the door was shut. She went right in, starting to play before we could get her backpack off her. We showed her where her hook was and hung up her backpack, because she wasn’t able to reach the hook yet. She went right back to playing with cars. Todd and I said bye-bye, and slipped out. No tears, not even a glance.

Then I went to meet Lisa for coffee and unadulterated adult conversation (can adult conversation be unadulterated?) for over two whole straight hours. It was good. Really, really good.

We Did It! Kept One of These Critters Alive for Four Years!

Monday, August 27th, 2007

Dear Rollie –

I cannot believe that you are four years old today. It seems like just yesterday that I was lying around taking naps, and anticipating your arrival. If only I had known how drastically my life was about to change. You turned everything upside down from the moment you arrived, and I will never be the same.

In the last year, you started school for the first time. You just went three days a week from 9-noon, but it was so hard to drop you off that first time. You were so excited, with your little backpack. I don’t know why I worried – you did great, and you made lots of friends, and you loved going to school. You didn’t get in too much trouble, although I did have to go pick you up one time for biting. I was mortified. We talked about it, though, and you never did it again. Your teacher at the beginning of the year was Miss Michelle; you loved her, and sometimes you didn’t want to leave school and would hug her legs and cry and scream when I came to pick you up. After Christmas, they moved the three-day kids into a different class and your teachers were miss Reshma, who was from India, and Miss Janice. Both of them were very sweet to you, and liked you very much, although you went through a difficult stage there for a while. You were pushing a lot. That was our fault, though, because we let you watch the movie, “Cars.” It was a movie about a racecar, and in his races, he and other cars would bump each other, and you started bumping other people in real life, including your friends at school, and your little sister. Any time you ran into someone, you would say that it was “bumping.” We took the movie away when we (finally) realized the movie was causing the behavior.

Your friends at school are Jackson, Reese, David, Ezra, Zoe, Shruthi, Toby, and Sarah. I loved to come pick you up and see you playing happily on the playground. I always had to bring home a pile of artwork that you did at school. The box in my closet is about to explode, it has so much artwork in it. I don’t know what I will do when you and Tiller are both going this coming Fall. The teachers last year always said that you were very smart and doing well with your ABCs and counting and letter sounds. I am very proud of your intelligence and how quickly you learn things, and I know that you are going to be reading in the next couple of years; I cannot wait to see your excitement when you realize that reading a book is like opening a door to a whole new, unexplored world. I look forward to discussing books with you, and to seeing what subjects you get excited reading about.

Your favorite things to play right now are cars and trains. You are a pro at riding your tricycle, and Daddy and I finally got you a new bike for your birthday. It is a Huffy Rockit, and it has flames on it. We took you to the park to ride yesterday and you did great. You were a little scared, and had a few wobbles when your training wheels went off the sidewalk, but if I walked beside you, holding the end of the handlebars, you were confident. If I let go, you would cry and scream for me to hold on to it again. I admit that I was annoyed that you were too scared to try it, but I was proud that by the end of the outing, you were riding without me helping you, and riding ahead of Daddy, Tiller, and I. You showed us how you could ride in circles, and you were so proud of yourself. I know that years from now, I will wish that you need me more often, that I will want to hold on to your handlebars, or help push you up the big hills, so to speak, but I know that part of being your Mama is watching you become an independent little boy.

You received other stuff for your birthday: A bunch of matchbox and hot Wheels cars, an Auburn shirt (I am hoping you will grow out of that ugly thing pretty soon), a game with a monkey, a football set and a cool die-cast truck from Uncle Mark. Uncle Lyle got you a racetrack for your cars, and a cool Snoopy Snow Cone machine. Grandma and Papaw Palmer got you a baseball glove and tee with a whiffle ball and bat. The glove looks so small, and yet it is too big for your hand. We are taking them to the Lake for Labor Day this weekend, and I am looking forward to playing some catch with you and Papaw (when we’re not watching the Dawgs play, of course – Football season starts this weekend!) Your party was a cookout at our house. We filled the kiddie pool up for swimming, and had hot dogs, hamburgers, cake, and ice cream. All of your Grandparents were here, but Meemaw and Pop couldn’t make it. Uncle Mark and Aunt Lisa were here, and also Uncle Lyle. Aunt Denise was sick, and Aunt Suzanne and Uncle Wade couldn’t make it because they had baby Luci on Friday. That’s right! You and Tiller have your first cousin. I am a little sad that you don’t have a cousin closer in age, but you and Tiller are such partners in crime, that I know you will always have each other to play with. Other people at the party were: Harmony, Gabe, and baby Chase; Ned, Vanessa, and Scarlett; cousin Adam, and Jenny and Addie; Matt Stewart showed up in time for a burger, cake, and ice cream.

Let’s see, what else happened this year? Your vocabulary has rocketed. I am amazed when you ask me things like, “Mama, what are consequences?” and you really caught me off guard last week, when you asked me how babies get out of their Mama’s tummies. For the record, I just told you the truth – babies come out of their mama’s vaginas, kind of like when they go pee pee. You looked confused and then asked me if the baby went into the toilet. You like to say that things are “crazy” or “cool.”

You are a great big brother. You teach Tiller lots of games, and you are pretty patient with her, even when she is a complete pest. You both love to dance, and to sing. Your favorite songs this year have been: Just about anything by Kings of Leon, although your favorite is probably “Charmer.” You love to sing to Sufjan Stevens’ “Chicago,” The Decemberists’ “Crane Wife 3,” and Lily Allen’s “LDN.” You totally rock out to MC5’s “Kick Out the Jams” (I am a good mom, and always do something to distract you from the first line, so that you won’t learn that one) and The Stooges’ “I Wanna Be Your Dog.” Your favorite song to dance to is Peter Bjorn and John’s “Young Folks.” The big dance move you do is what we call “The Big Dance.”

You finally potty-trained this summer. I was frustrated as all get-out, and then one day at the lake, you just started pooping on the potty all by yourself. It was like you decided to finally do it once we gave up trying to teach you. I think you may get a little bit of obstinancy from both your Mama and your Dada. Whatever. I am just glad that I am not changing two diapers anymore. You still wear one at night, and during naps. Not that you nap anymore. Unless you fall asleep in the car, or you are sick. I get pretty frustrated with this, because it means that I never get any alone time during the day, but I know that I will miss our afternoons together when you start school for real.

I really, really try to cherish every moment with you, and I think that I do a pretty good job of checking myself when I am not making the most of our time together. Right now you are sitting next to me watching Diego while I type this. Tiller is sitting next to you. You are wearing a purple, plastic lei that you got at the gym this morning, Thomas the Tank engine underwear, and an Auburn shirt. You just turned to me, yawned, and said something about Baby Jaguars.

I cannot believe how much you are the center of my world, how much I love you, and how fast you change. Lately, you have become more pouty when you are mad at us, and sweeter, to the point of saccharine, when you are trying to show us affection. If you are mad at us, you will tell us “You are a joke!” which we reprimand you for, but secretly think is cute. You also sometimes say that “I am not loving you today.” That one hurt the first time you said it, but now it makes me laugh, because you would have to do a whole lot more to make me not love you back. I don’t think I could love you one iota less. I think you yourself have summed up my love for you: You have taken to telling us, when you are being sweet, that “You are my heart, mama. You and Daddy are my hearts.”

I think that people who are not parents cannot possibly understand the all-encompassing love a parent has for their children. It is a double-threat, a totality of body and mind. It is a love that occupies my mind at all times, even stealing into my dreams to wake me in a terror. It is the physicality of the love, though, that awes me so; the physical sense of feeling sick when you are hurt, or even at the thought of you being in pain. The knowledge, fearless and involuntary, that I would take a bullet for you without a moment’s hesitation. I know that I would kill for you, or die trying. I guess it is biology, a primal instinct to preserve my offspring, but I also like to think that there is a bigger power in our world and that it is fueled by loves like the unalterable love that I feel for you and your sister. You are my heart, sweet Rollie, and you will always be my heart.

Happy Birthday,
Your Mama

Poop Jokes are Funny

Wednesday, April 11th, 2007

They really are.

Yesterday afternoon, I was changing Tiller. When one of the kids has a really large poopy diaper, I exclaim “Poop-O-Rama!” Everyone gets excited. Tiller was excited about her Poop-O-Rama, and as she is starting to mimic everything we say, she let out a gleeful, “Poop-O-Mama!!!”

Today, I had Rollie try to go on the potty. I try to remind him hourly and after eating or drinking. Today has been a banner day – so far, no poop in the diaper. Only on the potty. To my joy, Rollie said, “I have to go poop.” I told him to go, go, go. He rushed to the bathroom, took off his pants and diaper, sat up on the toilet, and closed the bathroom door. He sat for a second, and I was on the couch waiting to hear something from him, when he opened up the door and darted out towards his toy box.

Me: “Did you poop?”

Rollie: “No, I just need to get a magazine.”

Such a little man.

Note to Self

Wednesday, March 28th, 2007

Next time someone at the church preschool asks you to come help out tomorrow because they might need a few extra hands with both class pictures and the Easter egg hunt occurring on the same day, all somewhere between 9 a.m. and noon?


You will no doubt end up both running the whole Easter Egg hunt and being in charge of capturing the whole thing on digital. I had to hide eggs for the one year old class, then help them hunt for them, then the two year old class eggs had to be hidden, then the three year olds had to find theirs.

After each group went, we then had to have them turn their baskets in, so that we could distribute the eggs back out evenly. (Neal Boortz would keel over at this “redistribution of wealth” lesson in action.)

You think the animal kingdom is cutthroat? You should see these little things pushing, shoving, and biting – yes, biting – to get a cheap plastic egg with a Peep in it. Human beings, on their basest level, are not pretty.

And the fact that I am leading the Easter egg hunt and I don’t even know if I believe in the whole resurrection story? Well, that is just . . . ironic. And so very, very not punk rock.