Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Junk food poem

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Start stressing about Halloween festivities at the kiddies' school. Read flyer about Room 9 Halloween party. Experience disbelief that each family is to send in some kind of Halloween junk. Calculate that junk total for each child would equal twenty-five pieces. Wonder how so much junk will fit into little goodie bags that kids are supposed to decorate. Experience some level of disgust with emphasis on materialism given the recent economic downturn. Experience desire to not spend money on little plastic witches with little parachutes that will get destroyed after one day of use and go into a landfill. Realize that before landfill junk will come into home. Experience strong desire to keep junk out of home. Consider possibility of homeschooling kids. Remind self of book review about educated Americans segregating themselves and splintering further into tribes who have little to do with one other. Remember growing stack of periodicals at bedside table that require attention. Assure self all will be read during winter vacation including stack of unread books at the pace of one to two books or periodicals per day. Worry about rain on Halloween and the kids' homemade cardboard costumes. Figure that husband will rig up costume umbrella system or costumes will just get wet. Remind self that a little water never killed anyone. Send diplomatic e-mail to party organizer asking if party could maybe consist of eating popcorn and pumpkin bread and filling a UNICEF box with spare change. Feel briefly self-conscious about being urban hippie mom who will only let kids eat whole wheat bread and whose kids get excited by being permitted to grate their own Parmesan cheese. Decide kids will thank you later when they are older for being the urban hippie mom. Remind self that they get to watch some television. Receive e-mail saying that popcorn and pumpkin bread would be great but so would giving out at least modest amounts of Halloween crap to her kid. Consider moving to the countryside and growing, baking, and cooking all own food. Annoy husband with kiddie Halloween-related madness. Listen to husband agree that there is no reason to contribute to mass consumerism. Remember that husband was also raised by urban hippie parents even though mother-in-law sends trinkets to kids for some holidays and says that Valentine's Day is okay to celebrate because it's not too commercial. Wonder if maybe mother-in-law was being ironic. Decide to e-mail "sounds good" to overzealous party organizer and be done with it. Think about what kinds of items to give the kids from the Woodland Fairies who will come Halloween night and take their candy and leave non-candy gifts. Room 9 son would like a robot. Wonder which is more evil: letting him have entire bag of candy or a most likely at least semi-violent robot toy. Decide to put off minimally violent robot quest and purchase until the holidays. Experience happiness that mother-in-law sent Halloween care package comprising science-themed books and travel packs of Halloween-themed Kleenex and cookies that come each in their own Halloween-themed tin. Feel glad that kids have urban hippie grandparents. Wonder what 20-month-old child will do with package of Halloween tissues. Remember that it's not hurting anyone to give 20-month-old tissues. Plan to tell kids that Woodland Fairies don't know about robots in case of query. Wonder when kids will figure out there are no Woodland Fairies. Wonder if it will be hypocritical to eat candy meant for Woodland Fairies. Consider imposing candy on own college-aged poetry workshop members. Feel bad about contributing to workshop members' tooth decay. Hope workshop members' mothers don't blame self for further decay of teeth and experience desire to homeschool their college-aged children. Worry that you will be worrying over college-aged children's teeth and Halloween candy. Experience gladness that Room 7 son just wants his own basketball. Realize that self will have to get robot for Room 7 son if Room 9 son gets one and probably the same with the basketball. Re-remind self to put off robot and basketball scenario until the holidays. Stress about paying for holiday gifts. Consider making everyone bookmarks. Remember with smug fondness modest Halloween parade and party at own urban public elementary school. Wonder if engaging in revisionist memories just like own mother does. Begin to stress about Room 7 Halloween party. Recall vision of fellow Room 7 mother walking towards school building with shopping bags filled with Halloween junk. Consider taking children home right after parade in order to avoid entire Halloween party madness altogether. Worry that kids will hate you for at least five hours for this. Assign husband to attend parade and take kids home early (you can be the sympathetic one they come home to). Wash hands of entire matter. Worry that offense will be caused to other parents by taking kids home early. Re-bother husband with this concern. Decide to end piece. Worry that piece was too painless and fun to write to be any good. End piece.


Rachel Levy worked as a classroom teacher for nearly a decade before taking time off to write and spend more time caring for her three young children. Her work has most recently appeared in Defenestration and Mamaphonic. She currently lives in Ashland, Virginia, and blogs at Rachel’s Rants, Raves, and Recollections and Rachel’s Food Rants, Raves, and Recollections.


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