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excerpt from
Dispatches from a Not-So-Perfect Life
or How I Learned to Love the House, the Man, the Child

By Faulkner Fox
Harmony Books, January 2004

Joseph did not like his first Gymboree class--if shrieking non-stop was any indication of his mood. He kept blinking at the bright lights in the huge gymnasium and recoiling from the shocking red, blue, and yellows of the tumbling equipment. Nor did he like the class finale: us moms holding an enormous parachute over our babies who squirmed below on red tumble mats while Miss Kimmy, our instructor, blew bubbles above the children’s faces, and we all sang “The Farmer in the Dell” as loudly and enthusiastically as we could. I had to drop my edge of the parachute in order to bend down and pick up an utterly distressed Joseph. Miss Kimmy looked askance since the parachute was meant to be an “independent moment.” Too bad, Miss Kimmy. My child needed me, and moreover, I needed the comfort of his sweet body pressed against mine as well right then. If I’d been any less self-conscious, I might have been shrieking along with my son.

What, exactly, did I find wrong with this scenario? Call me overly intellectual or lacking in a sense of play, but I realized I didn’t want to sing “The Farmer in the Dell” with a group of other white women on a Tuesday at 10 a.m. I might be cajoled to do this--ideally in a more heterogeneous group--on a Saturday, but Tuesday morning was still sacred in my mind. Tuesday was for work. Truth be told, I started to fantasize about work as I stood there singing about the dell. Quick, I thought, let me call the other Dell, the high-powered Austin one, and beg them to hire me even though I’m barely computer literate. If they won’t hire me, maybe they can just rent me a small cubicle so I can sit there and pretend to be part of the adult world that matters again.

I felt split--deeply so. I didn’t want to miss a second of Joseph’s day--I could get weepy sometimes if Duncan gave him a bath without me--but after four months of around-the-clock mom duty, I was also getting antsy to re-join the larger adult world. I missed the world of working adults periodically throughout my days at home as a full-time mother, but the hunger was near constant at Gymboree.

This excerpt is reprinted with permission from the author.

For more about Faulkner Fox and her new book,
visit www.faulknerfox.com

Also on MMO:

Funny, human and complicated
MMO review of Dispatches from a Not-So-Perfect Life

Dispatches from a not-so-perfect life:
MMO interviews Faulkner Fox

In MMO Essays:
Get A Wife: Confessions of A Slob
by Faulkner Fox

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