Sex and Death*

*Not necessarily in that order.

As we were checking out of the pediatrician’s office the other day (Kate is free from ear infections which is only a bummer because now I don’t know why she is still throwing epic tantrums and crawling into bed with us at 4:45 a.m.) when Flora said, “Aw, look at the baby.”

On the bulletin board was a poster. On the poster was a picture of a sorrowful-looking couple holding a picture of an infant between them. The poster was encouraging parents to vaccinate their children. In short, the baby had died of pertussis (whooping cough) because she hadn’t been inoculated.

I glanced at the picture, quickly scanned the poster, and turned back to Flora. “Yep. It’s a picture of a baby.”

“What’s that picture for?” she asked.

“Well, it’s asking parents to vaccinate their children,” I answered cautiously. “You know, those shots you have to get sometimes when you come to the doctor’s office. Those keep you from getting sick.”

“Oh. Did that baby have shots?”

Oh, no, oh no. “No, that little baby didn’t have any of those shots.”

“So did she die or what?”

“Yes, Flora, that little baby died.”

Pause. “Do you remember Mr. Tim?”

“Yes, I do.”

“Did he not get those shots? Is that why he died?”

“No. Mr. Tim had cancer.”

“What’s cancer?”

“That’s a type of sickness. Sometimes doctors can’t help you if you have cancer.”


And that was the end of that.


Later that evening, Flora again: “When I was a baby, and came out of your mouth —”

“Woah, what?”

“When I rose up and came out of your mouth. When I was borned.”

“Oh, honey, babies don’t come out of mommies’ mouths.”

“Well how do they get out of mommies’ bellies?”

Long pause.

“How did I come out?”

“You came out of my lady business.”

“What?? Babies come out of lady business?” And she laughed and laughed.

I thought, I’m glad you think it’s funny now.


Would you have handled any of this differently? How?

Lost: The Lighthouse

*Spoiler alert* (I have been remiss in noting that my Lost posts are chock full of these, and I have been gently chided. So, now ya know.)

Here’s the difficulty I’m having.

Let’s take a look at Sideways Jack. Divorced, a dad (that was only one of last night’s surprises); there seem to be some difficulties between him and his son, but, hello? His son’s a teen. Jack doesn’t drink. He’s mystified by an old scar — which is explained away by his mother, but leaves us wondering (okay, leaves ME wondering) how close the Sideways reality and the Island reality are getting.

Jack is honest. Honest without being pained, martyred, angry. The Jack Shepherd we have seen for five seasons has been angry and tortured, has second guessed every decision he has made. Is haunted.

Sideways Jack isn’t haunted. Does he want to be a better father to his son? You bet he does. And if you weren’t moved by that final scene with him and David, you have a cold, cold heart. David doesn’t tell his father about his audition because he doesn’t want to disappoint his dad. And his dad says (I’m paraphrasing), “I will always love you. You will never fail in my eyes.”

Nice use of Dogen, there, too.

Now, let’s head back to the Island. Jacob appears to Hurley, gives him a few instructions, and then tells him exactly how to get Jack to do what he wants him to do (leave the Temple, go to the Lighthouse). He tells Hurley to use the phrase: You’ve got what it takes.

Jack has been hearing his whole life, from his father, that he doesn’t have what it takes. (Takes to what is up for interpretation.)

(Aside: The Island is full of people with daddy issues, isn’t it? Name one of the characters in the Island timeline that doesn’t have them. Even going back through every season, we see problematic father figures all over the place.)

Jacob manipulates. This is why I’m having trouble seeing him as the “good” guy. (The whole idea is starting to seem to me a little simplistic, actually.) The Sideways characters seem more whole, less tortured, than their Island counterparts.

What did Jacob do to them and why? (I think this will directly tie into what the Island is, which is pretty much the Number 1 question on everyone’s list.)

And why is he bringing more people to the Island?

Yeah, Not Locke isn’t exactly warm and fuzzy. He kills people; he manipulates, too; he’s scaring the shite out of Richard. He’s likely the source of infection that’s turned Claire into a cold-eyed killer. Can’t wait to see how “the infection” affects Sayid.

I don’t have a lot to say about the Claire/Jin story line. To me, it looks like Claire is the new Rousseau. Hey, maybe along with the protector, the Island needs a crazy, bereaved mother — one who sets deadly booby traps — running around on it. Not Locke showing up in the role of Claire’s friend at the end of the episode confirms this (for me): Not Locke = Not Christian Shepherd = Smokey.

Thanks to my diligent fellow Losties on Plurk who looked up 108. Sum of all the numbers. So far, all of the candidates we saw last night in the cave are alive and kicking. But who the heck was Wallace?

Over Here

A while ago, I was asked to write a guest post at Glow in the Woods. Kate of Sweet l Salty and a Glow in the Woods contributor asked me based (partially) on the fact that I’m more than six years out from the death (and birth) of my first baby.

I am constantly sobered and heart-broken over the fact that a site like Glow in the Woods needs to exist. There are new babylost parents out there every day. When I stumble across another mother or father who has lost a baby, I want to reach out to them. Kate asked me what I would tell a newly bereaved parent. What I will tell every newly bereaved parent.

This is my answer.


Given the depth of talent and moving writing on tap at Glow in the Woods, I just want to add that I am terribly humbled by my inclusion. I have not examined my loss (except as a reader of other Glow in the Woods contributors) through Buddhism, for example. I find Chris’ contributions especially helpful; in his words I recognize what happened (is happening) behind my husband’s eyes from that day and forward. I don’t know that I’ve ever thanked him for that. (Thank you, Chris.)

And thank you, Kate. For even considering me worthy of writing at Glow in the Woods. That my writing attracted the attention of such an amazing writer as you is honor enough.

What Twitter is Good For II

Can someone let @pghrugbyangel I need to talk to her? KTHXBAI.

Seriously, I use the DM feature of Twitter quite a bit. I DM’ed the above tweep to see if she can babysit for me next Friday. And then I quit Twitter, and I haven’t emailed her yet. Ooops.

Oh, DM = Direct Message. It’s kind of Twitter’s IM feature. (Again, for my dad: IM = instant messaging, akin to chat. It’s like instant e-mails, back and forth. Oh, never mind.)

So every now and again, I DM someone. Do they want some gluten-free chocolate chip cookie dough (part of my daughters’ daycare fundraiser)? What time were we going to meet? Can you babysit for me on Friday, at 6 p.m.?

I don’t have to remember e-mail addresses or cell phone numbers. (How lazy is THAT?) I don’t have to know their last name, even! (Insert your own inappropriate joke here.)

But now I have to go all the way into my e-mail, find an address, put a subject line in, type a message, and send it. Instead of the two-step method that is Twitter.

So, not only has my attention span been shortened, but I can’t even be bothered to e-mail (or, even more medieval, call) someone.

How pathetic is that?

Plus there’s the whole waiting for them to e-mail or call back thing. Twitter: another sign of the culture of immediate gratification.

The Hard Way

A friend of our sent us a card with candy in it recently. The candy were those little ‘red hot’ cinnamon candies (which I love).

Flora wanted one of those candies in the worst way.

I tried to warn her.

“That candy is hot,” I said.

“Will it cool off?” she responded.

“Not that kind of hot. It’s spicy.”

She gave me an incredulous look (Flora has quite a repertoire of incredulous looks). “Who would give us spicy candy?” she asked.

I handed over a candy.

She blew on it for a bit, then popped it in her mouth.

A minute or two later, I looked over at her. She was holding the candy in her fingers, a stricken look on her little face.

“I told you,” I said. She looked at me mutely, her expression priceless. Somehow horrified and wondering at the same time.

“Throw it out,” I advised. “And get yourself a drink of cold water.”


When I was in my 20s, I gave up coffee for Lent.

I had a headache for a week. It sucked. It also made me aware that I was pretty hooked on caffeine.

Giving up Twitter is worse. (Yet, probably better for me.)

The willpower it takes to not type “” into my browser is… phenomenal. Although I could safely do so, I guess, as I would get a sign-in page, which would be enough to bring me to my senses.

I think. Best not to test me right now.

I have gotten some e-mail from “tweeps” (that would be Twitter peeps for those not in the know. And, for my dad: “peeps” is short for people, in this context people who are friends — not those marshmallow confections that Dr. Bro likes so much). They have asked how the no-Twitter thing is going, and I have been honest: It’s hard. I don’t like it.

I even find myself irritable about the whole thing. I guess part of that is feeling out of touch, and, I will admit, irrelevant.

Which brings me back to one of the reasons I gave up Twitter in the first place: the relevance of my on-line presence in the first place.

(Justin Kownacki has a zillion thoughts about on-line relevance, and I will be citing him in the coming 40 days. Just as soon as I get that professional blog on-line. But that is another post for another day. I’m still waiting for my attention span to increase. Although in squee-worthy news, Justin links to me on this post. I’m not really sure he means it to be complimentary, but I’ll take it. I’m a narcissist like that.)

Where was I?

Oh, right.

Twitter and this blog are purely personal pursuits. They are not for networking, they are for socializing. I’m not trying to drum up business, although I do occasionally post links to this blog on Twitter. One of the points I made in my Year of Social Media post was this:

Becoming a parent can be extremely isolating. Within the last five years, I had two babies, moved to the suburbs, went from WAHM to SAHM to WOTHM. While I still keep in touch with a handful of IRL friends (without social media, too), I have lost touch with many more. Friends I went to high school or college with, people I moved away from when I left the South Side.

In the past year, though, I have discovered so many more people and I feel as if I’m fast on my way to becoming friends with many of them. Social media and blogging have helped me overcome the isolation I have felt since the triple-whammy of motherhood, ‘burb living, and full-time work.

As such, Twitter (and to lesser extents, Facebook and Plurk) have been vital to my mental health.

I am stepping away not because I don’t want to be connected any longer. I absolutely crave that connection — like any person craves connection.

It’s just that it’s gone way beyond a way to connect to people, and become a compulsion. My husband is the psychologist, so I won’t be psychoanalyzing myself (he can do it in the comments for me), but it seems that not being able to stay away from Twitter for 5, 10, 20 minutes is a bit of a problem. Especially as the children may be setting a fire in the other room. (I kid. More likely they are figuring out how to use the remote. But still, what is mommy-blogging for if not to over-dramatize?)

So if I’m commenting more often on your blog, or sending you pointless e-mails and text messages, please bear with me. I’m searching for ways to still connect without being compulsive about it.

Thanks for your patience.