Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Perspective

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The tantrums
are every day
now, over anything
sometimes,
his blocks
won't stay stacked,
the legos
have too many
pieces
and he can't stretch
out his legs
when he dumps
them in his lap,
none of the books
turn pages fast enough,
and he's seen
all the pictures,
claimed out loud
every one of them
is a ball.

He's learning the boredom
of objects,
their limitations
in providing happiness
and delight.
I sit back
like some Discovery channel
scientist,
notebook and pen
watching
the wildlife,
how the closer he gets
to tired
he starts to stumble,
trip,
wobble,
and the disintegration
of his control
over himself
sends him
to the floor,
hunched over sobbing
into the carpet,
screaming,
nayh,
which I believe
means no,
no to all of it lately,
no to toys
that don't do
what he wants,
no to his body
that betrays him,
slower than
he can compensate for,
skills not fine
enough yet,
his motor thrumming
wildly under
that flushed breath,
wanting more.

And then
there's no to me,
the one staking
out his boundaries,
designated marks
of reach,
what remains
open,
what will be
closed,
and the decisions:
about food,
clothes,
diaper changes,
nap times,
television.

In the cool
middle of the night,
when he's finally
too heavy
and given over
to fight,
I can still rock him
back to sleep,
tell him
it's all coming,
freedom,
independence,
loss of innocence,
there's always more
shiny toys,
the squeezing confines of flesh,
people who say no,
and this is what we have
in deep darkness,
what we come back for,
where we fall safely,
what we are when we love:
bodies in nightshirts
blankets
piled like hills
to a horizon line
of blue,
sunrise a hum
up from the throat
and around
into the arms
holding on,
but not too tight.


Deanna Jones grew up in the Philippine Islands as the daughter of missionaries. She taught secondary level English and Language Arts for nine years. She was the Writing Consultant for the Carrollton Farmers-Branch ISD and now runs private writing workshops. Her work has appeared in IIlya’s Honey, Spillway, Sulphur River Literary Review, Rattle, Descant, Literary Mama, and others. She lives in Frisco, Texas with her husband and two young sons, Zachariah and Connor.


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