Confessions From A Mother

I’m amazed at how quickly Em is picking up new things and I constantly wonder where he’s getting these new ideas from. Sometimes I think I get it, and other times he just starts doing something and I’m left scratching my head, wondering if he’s keeping night hours elsewhere.

They’re precise little human recorders, babies. It’s no wonder how they can turn out so graciously sweet or so horrifically angry.

His new thing is all about books. He loves reading books and then rereading books and then re-
re-reading books and, well, you get the picture.

He crawls down off of my lap, walks over to where his books are kept, grabs a new one, walks back over to me, hands me the book and then turns around and waits for me to pick him up and read to him. Now, I can’t believe he does this. I can’t believe he enjoys hearing me yammer on about ducks, curious monkeys and blue horses, green frogs, purple cats and jumping on the bed. One day I read Brown Bear so many times I lost count.

One day, however, each time I finished reading one of his books, I placed it in his basket of toys underneath Huggy Bear. (Not the guy from Starsky and Hutch.) I realize this doesn’t qualify me as a patron saint of motherhood, but I was going cross-eyed and I needed to do some chores around the house. I can’t just not do it, you know?

I’m pretty sure that the fuel used to run a parent consists of few parts guilt.

Anyway, I wonder what the record is for number of times someone’s read a Super Chunky Good For Me! book in one sitting.

Last week I took him to a local “World Music” class a family-oriented café here in Williamsburg called Mamalus. The management is thinking of offering weekly classes. They’ve been offering freebies for the last couple of weeks. Most of the classes seem to be for older children, but we signed up for the two that included his age group. (Incidentally, I have noticed that Em is kind of in a bit of a “no-man’s age group” when it comes to classes. He’s either too old or too young. But we make due.)

So, we arrived early and it was already packed. There was a couple standing at the corner holding several different instruments. They were obviously running the show.

They pulled out drums and rattles and moroccos and bells and then bigger drums—all types of instruments. We went around the great big circle and the Cuban music man sang out each baby’s name to the beat of a drum. When he got to Em, Em was unsure of how to react. I told the man his name and the man beat the drum and sang EMORY! EMORY! EMORY! EMORY! Em just stared up at him, open-mouthed and perplexed—not frightened, but maybe a little unsure. (Or maybe he was just recording it?)

After every child had their moment in the spotlight, the room erupted. Parents and nannies danced; children sang, babies waved their hands in the air. And I’d have declared it a room full of chaos had it not been belted together by song.

Since our visit, Em has begun this adorable sing-songy chant of sorts. At first I wasn’t sure what he was doing, but then I realized that every time I sing, or every time I turn on one of his musical toys he would react. It’s really adorable and strange and I want to dance all over again.

Children are capable of making those normally seduced by shame realize that the only thing shameful about life is feeling shame at all.

So, whenever Em is older and he lets us know how embarrassing we are, I’ll tell him he has only himself to blame. And then I’ll thank him.


  1. Hi. I love the story. Have you checked out your local library? I just recently discovered my local library and my 10-month old loves it! A lot has changed since I went to the library eons ago. There are now cafe’s in the library and you aren’t “shushed” every minute by a librarian. Although I live in Arizona, perhaps your local library has something cool for kids, and plus, you can read different books and it won’t make you go batty reading the same ones over and over again! Cheers!


  2. As I’m sure you’ve already been told several thousand times, he SO has your mouth.—and chin and eyes, but mostly mouth.

    And this:

    Children are capable of making those normally seduced by shame realize that the only thing shameful about life is feeling shame at all.

    is tear-startlingly beautiful. Thank you!


  3. You are so right on. Babies are amazing. And it is amazing how they do record things. They pick up on our anger or joy. Your post is a beautiful tribute to the little ones who bless our lives.


  4. Brown Bear is a staple at our abode. I’ve memorized it and about 10 other board books. Kinda getting stir crazy here with the repetition, so I mix it up with the library’s board books as well.

    Also on the reading niche – just picked up “Even June Cleaver Would Forget the Juice Box – Cut Yourself Some Slack (and Still Raise Great Kids) in the Age of Extreme Parenting” at the local library. It echoed much of the comments/discussion here re: motherhood and muddling through. Not necessary to read the whole thing – but certain passages really made me feel normal about my attitudes towards this whole parenting thing. Happy reading!


  5. I just had to leave a comment and tell you how adorable that picture of Emory is! What a beautiful little boy! :)


  6. Oh goodness – everytime you post a picture of that beautiful face my heart and uterus simultaneously explode!


  7. Everyone: Thank you. Tonight, when I was driving home from the gym I thought to myself, I can’t wait to see him. And then I had to slow down because I didn’t want to drive into the person in front of me trying to get there faster.

    He had me at tornado.


  8. Michele Chaves July 16, 2008 at 2:54 pm

    Great post about the many, many joys of motherhood. Those times connect us with our parents and grandparents and parents all over the world. How can we not be amazed watching our children soak in all the truly amazing things and experiences in this world, one of the greatest of which is books, I think. What a joy it is to get to experience a little bit of that excitement again through their eyes. My daughter was voracious about books from an early age too and the repetition surprised me as well. Did we all do that too? For some reason, I have no recollection of asking my parents to read me the same books ten times in one sitting…but then I don’t really remember much about myself as a small child.

    When Annie was little, I recorded my voice reading her favorite stories and found a number of children’s books on tape or CD. I would play them at bedtime and they were pretty helpful in soothing a tough moment. The tape of me reading also came in handy during those “no one but mom will do” days when my husband was stuck at home with a crying child and no idea what to do. Just hearing mom’s voice immediately helped calm things down.


  9. srsly, other than torrie’s (girl)baby, you truly have the cutest (boy)baby i’ve ever seen. ever. wow. chalk him up as your best accomplishment ever (i’m sure you already have).



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