In which I write a quick note to Swine Flu
Poetry Saturday

More than the usual amount of melodrama

The only good thing I can say about today is that I worked out. THAT IS IT. 

(Oh, I also saw Carrie and Liz and their respective kiddos and that was ALSO a good thing lest they read this and think: WTF, Maggie Cheung, didn't you just spend your morning with your Fave Local Bloggy Ladies, does that not count as GOOD? When it should actually count as FABULOUS, HARRUMPH.)

So. There was that. 

There was also hour after hour after hour of telling Jackson to stop doing one thing so he could start doing YET ANOTHER thing I did not want him to do. Hour after hour of throwing toys, bothering his sister, going over there when I wanted him to come here, refusing to do what I asked, joyously doing what I specifically told him NOT to do - mere seconds after I TOLD HIM SO, my mean mommy face all up in his. 

Molly was either screeching because Jack was taking her things, screeching because I wasn't holding her, or screeching because THAT IS WHAT SHE DOES. 

(Two nights ago I was a friend's house and her husband came home from work and he was all, "Hey Maggie, wassup!" and I was all, "My children are beasts." And he thought I was joking. And later on Molly screamed one of her trademark Everyone Is Going To Die Unless I Get My Way screams and he remarked from the kitchen, "They ARE beasts!")

Also, neither of them ate. I'm used to Jack not eating. Molly, however, is a machine. (Well, a machine that fuels itself on processed carbohydrates and dairy products, but that's more than I can say for Jack.) But today, today was some sort of coordinated attack. Nothing for breakfast. Nothing for lunch until I broke down and threw the little Ritz cracker sandwiches with the peanut butter filling at their plates because HOLY HECK, CHILDREN you cannot subsist on milk alone! And now: nothing for dinner. And I am giving them the Holy Trinity of Toddler Food, people: mac & cheese, hot dogs and grapes. Three things they reluctantly agree to eat at least 99% of the time, which is as good as it gets around here. What else am I supposed to do? It's not like I'm trying to feed them VEGETABLES - I already made THAT idiotic mistake at lunchtime. I am almost positive I could feed a third world nation on the food I throw in the trash every single stupid day.

Not being able to get my kids to eat, and not just eat GOOD for you food but eat AT ALL, is one of the most frustrating downer things in my LIFE. 

I sat down to write this afternoon and instead of pounding out another 1000+ words like I've been doing every other day this month, all I wanted to do was delete half (if not ALL) of everything I've already written. Every idea I had for moving forward felt wrong. Every potential scenario was based on some previous scenario that I wanted to erase. It's not writer's block so much as wondering whether I have anything left to say. My characters are the most boring insipid people ever dreamed up. They live in the dullest town. They go to the most unrealistic high school on the planet. Their parents are morons, their teachers are caricatures, the things they say would never ever come out of the mouths of Actual Teenagers. Perhaps I will just recreate The Flood and have it done with. 

Phillip is really busy with school and work, focusing on some pretty big Life Decision type things in terms of career and what he wants to be when he grows up, and I am sitting here saying Sure, honey, whatever you want to do! I'll just hang out here and get the kids dinner they won't eat! And REALLY, that is REALLY OKAY WITH ME, but last night I was feeling left out and unimportant and lame and forgotten and have I mentioned my "novel" sucks? IT SUCKS SO MUCH. 

And for 10 days I was thinking: yes! This is the Thing I Will Do With Myself. I love this! It makes me feel like I am being who I'm supposed to be! HAR HAR.

I would also like to say that I'm bummed not to be having a Christmas party this year. Of COURSE I am very (maybe more than very) excited about my sister's wedding and SUPER stoked to wear the froofy dress and the shoes and stand up at the altar and eat the food and dance and help plan the big PARTAY. (Additional note to my sister who probably isn't reading this but if she IS: WAAAAAY EXCITED! PROMISE! WOO!) But we've had a Christmas party every year since we've been married, I spend WEEKS making cookies and buying stuff and plotting the white elephant exchange and dreaming up the Signature Cocktails. We invite absolutely everyone we know, knowing that there is no possible way all those people will fit in our house, but every year we see Old and Comfortable Friends and New and Exciting Friends and I, at least, have a blast. I'm going to have to have a replacement party in February, I think.  

In short - motherhood: FAIL. Novel: SUCKS. Career: NONEXISTENT. Christmas: CANCELLED. Blog: Well, I have that I guess. Except, oh wait, I am missing out on some pretty awesome local blogger perks in the upcoming weeks so BOO ON THAT TOO. 

So, uh, now that I've alienated absolutely everyone, AS YOU WERE. HAPPY WEEKEND. I will be writing another couple thousand words if it kills me. TAKE THAT, NANOWRIMO.

[From the email my Partner In NaNoWriMo Angst just sent me: I feel like we both need some sort of waifish self help coach in Lululemon yoga pants to tell us to write affirmations of self value on our mirrors in lipstick. On this end, I have started taking out my frustrations (literary and otherwise) on caramel popcorn and giant cookies. I wonder how Virginia Woolf, or the V-dub as I have taken to calling her, fought the fatness. Oh, yeah, that whole "lying in bed for months at a time due to the bipolar disorder that would eventually claim her life" thing. Scoff. Back to square one.]

To think I forgot to mention The Fatness. WAH.



I'm sorry. I have days like this all the time where everything is FAIL. But the kids and the eating...? It frustrates me every time even though I KNOW I need to be all nonchalant and hand-wave it away like I don't care. But I DO care, every stupid time. Boooooo.


I hear ya. Conner? EATS NOTHING. May I recommend Tyson's Chicken Fries? At least then I know he is getting quality, white meat chicken...
He eats 5 fries which I cook in the toasted oven on 400 for 12 minutes. Serve with ketchup (and in his case mustard). I make a smiley face with the mustard on top of the ketchup (or a number or letter of his choosing) and he gobbles them up.

Also? He loves pre-cut apples with peanut butter.


Maggie, all you're doing by telling me your novel sucks is making me want to read it. Seriously, I just don't believe it can be that bad.

Sarah in Ottawa

I totally want to read your novel, too. I'm sure it's nowhere near as terrible as you think! Characters with names similar to those on VM? SIGN ME UP!

I am sorry that you had such a brutal day; stupid fall. But in terms of Christmas, is there any way that you could throw some sort of modified party - maybe with children too? Or scale it down a bit, or have a girly one on a weeknight? All is not lost!

Let's hope that today - Friday the 13th, a lucky day for those of us with Italian heritage - is much, much better!


On the novel:

This is a normal phase!!!! Particularly when you're writing a long piece and even more particularly when you're doing it Nano-style. I have been seeing your tweets on word count and been amazed by you! You're awesome! I absolutely think you're doing what you should be doing and I'm sure you will feel like that again too, just not now because this is the Writing Ennui. Neil Gaiman wrote this story about how he was at a certain point in a novel and he called his agent and said, "This is terrible, I will maybe have to write something else, or become a gardener," (paraphrasing here) and she's like, "Oh, you're at that point of it?" And he asked, "Do I always do this?" and her answer was yes.

You can do it!

(I am so behind on word count I will never get caught up, but for me, the goal of making everyday writing a practice is going to be a victory.)


You guys are so NICE. And encouraging and uplifty and positive and sweet and fabulously good looking. But that does not mean I am letting you read my novel.


I am so glad you're not deleting what you've written. I am quite convinced that it is better than you think it is.

Also, I waaant to host a Christmas party but we only know like ten people in this town, and I don't think that's enough. Hmph. Maybe once we have kids.


on the food thing:
seriously, read Child of Mine. And then stop worrying!

barring that, read this post:


Do not delete. If I have learned anything about writing, it is DO NOT DELETE. You can start a new scene without a reasonable transition, etc. but DO NOT DELETE. Because tomorrow? Yesterday's scene will fit perfectly into your new line of thought.

Also, if you get the basic plot in place, you can always go back and fix the actual verbiage of the conversations updated by talking to a teen later on. Plus, most of the time, teens don't talk quite that much different from adults, there is just a bit different slang (and man, that sentence doesn't make sense. But I think you get the idea.) Not all conversations have to be peppered w/ teen slang.

I am so with you on the eating thing. Of course, I've noticed in many cases that it is often my fault... she doesn't eat her meals when I give her too many snacks in between them. Even when I go a couple of hours between snack and dinner or lunch, I can tell when she isn't as hungry and that makes a lot of difference. I don't know if that is your issue, or if you have even considered that.

Ellen W

I am with you on feeling like I could feed the starving children of the world with the food I have thrown away. Last night my almost 4 yr old had nothing for dinner besides milk and since my husband was out of town I had no energy to fight. So he had a time out and went to bed early. I am just starting to feed the baby solids and sometimes wish I could just keep nursing him exclusively since it is easier and is keeping my weight down :).


Thank you for the disclaimer :)

First off- big hugs re: the food thing. I can't tell you how often Daniel comes home and finds me in tears about Ethan's refusal to eat. It's so hard.

And you looked great yesterday- so I don't believe in the fatness.

Hang in there, keep writing and keep venting here and know we are here for you online and in person too!


Ugh!!!!! What an awful day. Horrible about the novel, but it makes you a real writer - you gotta hit the wall and hate it, right? Actually, I really don't know. I made that part up.

Hang in there, Maggie. This too shall pass. At least some of it will! I know that from reading your blog for, let's see, 3 years?

One thing I know for sure: Christmas is NEVER cancelled! Now that, my friend, is what makes all this awfulness bearable and dare I say it? possibly redemptive!

Kate P

I can't say whether or not your novel sucks, because you won't let us READ it (kidding, we love you anyway), but let me say this: no writing is ever wasted. I agree in part with Christiana in that you should not delete--I paste the cut sections into a side document--but at the same time you have to know when to "kill your darlings." I know that dents your word count, but there's quantity and then there's quality. :)

As for the kiddo food, my mom seems to have a grandkid-feeding repertoire that consists of frozen chicken nuggets, corn, PB & J, macaroni with ground beef and tomato sauce, and Wendy's. Which makes me wonder why she spent all those years denying us kids a stupid box of sugary cereal.


Count me in on also wanting to have a glimpse at the novel one of these days.

On the feeding, if they're drinking lots of milk, they may be getting most of their necessary daily caloric intake and thus be genuinely not hungry. The official recommendation is for no more than 2c/day for toddlers. Or they could just be plotting to drive you insane on a daily basis!


How I Get My Kids To Eat What I Want Them To Eat
I tell them, "these are mommy's trees. You can't have any. If I catch you eating mommy's trees, you will be in BIG trouble." Then I walk away, or pretend not to notice as they sneak trees off mommy's plate.
I set out the same plate of food at dinner they didn't eat at lunch. And then at breakfast the next day. Then after they eat the healthy food, I offer cereal.
I want to know how to get them to SLEEP. So if you have any advice there, I'm listening. :)

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