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The Invalid Actress

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“I think you should come pick up your daughter from school,” the nurse’s voice said over the phone, with some urgency, to my mother. Apparently, I had rolled my eyes back in my head so that only the whites were visible, and my nursery teacher thought I was going to pass out. I wish I could still effectively pull this...

Sometimes, It’s Too Much to Carry

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I can’t remember the last time my kids made me cry, but tonight was a rarity. My son was being too wild and banged his head into my lip and the shock brought tears to my eyes, as the blood trickled from my mouth. I was distressed and went to the bathroom, locking the door behind me, and as I dabbed at my lips, I just let it all out.

The thing is, the physical pain didn’t really bother me. I can handle injections or small surgical procedures (okay, not throat cultures), and certainly having been a former habitual lip-picker (who has been in remission for around 5 years), a little lip blood is not jarring to me. But the root of my emotional display was that I needed some space. It was...

The Trending Gap

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It was a cold, wintery night and my mother showed up at my house to drop off some packages. As she stepped into the light, I noticed that she was wearing my sister’s old maternity coat, the one that I had put on in my last pregnancy, and my husband admonished me, saying “You’re gonna wear that out?” with such disdain, that I quickly stuffed it back in the closet and got a new coat. I sent it back to my sister, and somehow, before hitting the poor people of Africa, it made it into my mother’s closet.*

The coat was close to 10 years old, a deep army green, with a dead-squirrel looking trim around the flimsy hood. There was no stuffing left between the two layers of shiny...

A Million Milestones Until the End

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We are cutting my baby boy’s hair soon, because we are shortly arriving at his third birthday. I am worried this means I may no longer be able to call him a baby anymore, but my backup plan is that I will never toilet train him, and so he will have to be a baby forever. This may wreak havoc on his social life, but that will be his future wife’s problem.

I cried my eyes out when I weaned him on his first birthday. It was so painful for me, emotionally, to close that chapter of our lives, to know we’d never have that same physical connection anymore. That soon, his silky baby skin would turn more rough, weathered from age and heat and wind, and he’d no longer find solace and peace...

Revising the Rules

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For the past two years, I’ve had a rule. If my (bigger) kids get up for school and are down for breakfast by a specified time, they are allowed to bring an iPod to use on the bus. My toddler begs to go on a bus for free, and also begs to use an iPod, so my system is irrelevant for him. This arrangement violates all of my anti-screen policies; however, I felt that some of my children were in need of motivation to get moving in the morning, and also the culture of the bus was a bit beyond “educational” for their young ears. Although one of my complaints about putting my kids in front of a screen is that they zone out, I felt this to be a positive side effect on the bus. I didn’t...

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