Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Play Nice

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Three generations sit at a table:
grandmother, mother, child.
The grandma hisses,
don't you kick me
or I will spank you
from here to hiss-hiss.

Diaper full, a dark pink splotch
spreads down the inner thigh
of her light pink leggings.

She licks
the glass wall between her
and the playground.

You are mean, Caroline,
the grandma says, glaring.
You threw it. I saw you.
You did it on purpose,
and you are mean.

The mother licks
chicken breading off her fingers
and sends Caroline
to play on the slide.

Your children are there.
You hope they will.


Dayna Patterson thinks third graders are wonderful, old enough to be independent, young enough not to have hit puberty’s wall. It is a sweet, sweet spot she’ll be sorry to relinquish as her daughters grow.


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