One foot in mouth.
This is not figuratively speaking,
or an erotic reminiscence of a fetish,
but an alarm going off
at six something AM,
a sharp kick in the head
from a body so small.
We were told attachment parenting
all the way—
a kangaroo with a joey in her pouch,
a cub hiding beneath her mother’s copious flesh and fur,
just like in nature
so they grow up to be well-adjusted adults.
Wriggle. A scream
piercing the morning-night.
No bed big enough for
check: Two adults
check: Two children
under the age of two.
The husband/father turns to his side,
desperately clinging onto and clawing a three-inch spot
at the edge.
The wife/mother writhes out from underneath
the horizontal mess of tiny limbs and milk breath.
stay asleep stay asleep stay asleep
She thinks of how the bed used to speak of
passion, romance, kinky play, deep peaceful sleep,
but now the bed shrieks of
piss, sour milk, vomit, Country Floral Lysol, and sleepless nights of
who knows whose finger is lodged in my eyeball now?
She arranges her angels
1, 2, and yes 3,
all in a row,
anoints warm foreheads with a kiss,
and remembers who she is on the couch.
“A gender-equal society would be one where the word ‘gender’ does not exist: where everyone can be themselves.”*
I’ve always been aware of gender conditioning and actively tried to combat any lingering prejudices or stereotypes in my own parenting, even down to encouraging dolls with my boys when they were little. It’s great to read people writing about gender issues they’re experiencing with their kids. For too long these subjects have been discouraged or silenced. I’d love to publish some more creative writing on this topic, especially if you are struggling with a child who actively tries to move away from gender normative preferences. A society where everyone can be themselves – thanks Gloria for those aspirational words.
* Gloria Steinem