TUESDAY: Purple Dinosaur

BY ROSEMARIE WATTS

Copyright is held by the author.

IF YOU have to listen to that purple dinosaur sing one more time you’re going to scream. You want to turn the DVD off, but it is the only thing that calms baby Jack down. There he is sitting on his little diapered bottom, rocking back and forth, transfixed by that singing purple monstrosity.

Laundry is strewn across the couch, the sink is full of dirty dishes and the house smells like dirty diapers and perspiration. You should be using this time to clean, but your energy is spent. No one told you how hard this was going to be. Well, they all made their jokes about lack of sleep and poopy diapers, but that is what you expected from a newborn. No one told you that over a year later you would still be exhausted, and not have it together.

You miss your friends. You were the first to have a baby. Nobody has kids in their 20s now a days, except you. Your friends still call, but they don’t understand the frustrations of raising Jack, and you haven’t physically seen them in months.

You have to call your mom, she will understand. She was a stay at home mother herself many years ago. You grab your cell, but the battery is dying. You open the junk drawer, pushing aside spatulas and a crumpled up dollar bill from your last vacation. You find the charger stuffed in the back. You pull it out and plug in the phone, and call your mother.

“Hi, Mom” you get out before you burst into tears.

“What’s wrong honey?” She asks, but you can’t answer, you just continue to bawl your eyes out. Your mother is saying soothing things to you, but you are not really listening. The sound of her voice does calm you, as you try to get your emotions under control.

When you can get the words out, you disjointedly tell her about being tired and lonely, and how the only way Jack will stop fussing is if that stupid purple dinosaur is singing.

“You need to get out of the house,” she says.

“What? But, that is so much work.”

“I don’t care how much work it is,” she insists. “You and Jack need to get out of that house now.”

“You’re probably right,” you admit.

“Are you going to be okay? I can probably come over on Saturday.” Her coming over on the weekend is not going to help you now.

“No, no I ‘m fine.” You’re not, but you know that is what she wants to hear.

You thank your mom, and hang up the phone. The thought of preparing a diaper bag, finding diapers and wipes, hunting down clean clothes and filling bottles, and then struggling to get Jack in the stroller, makes you shudder. Jack is still intently watching the TV. You think: he won’t miss me if I step out for a moment.

6 comments

  1. Dan Spence

    Rosemarie : Where’s the rest of your story? Does mom go out in the backyard or does she leave for a couple of hours and while she’s out she gets hit by a car and poor little Jack grows up Feral, thinking he’s the offspring of a purple dinosaur? Parenting can be stressful but stepping out on your kid is the ultimate crime.

  2. Moira Garland

    You’ve racked up your characters’s motivations well in the story. I’m not against ‘open’ endings but this seems rather sudden whereas we need to know a bit more about how the protagonist has changed, or not changed by the end.
    More please 🙂

  3. Michael Joll

    I have yet to meet a mother who has not felt like this at some time in the first year of parenthood. For a year, sometimes two, they teeter on the border between insanity and infanticide. That so few choose the latter is little short of miraculous. Hang in there, mom. It gets better once they turn eighteen and need money for college.

    On a more serious note, perhaps a bit too much of the passive voice. Try eliminating the verb “to be” and see how much more dynamic the writing becomes.

    Good luck with your writing career. For extra help, check out your local writing groups in Brampton and Orangeville. Brian Henry has details at Quick Brown Fox.

  4. Highlander

    This is a perfect vignette of a very young mum suffering from postpartum depression, a term she’s probably not even familiar with. The story needs no other words and no tidy ending; it is what it is — for now..

  5. Gloria Jean Hansen

    It does get better, young mother, when they finally start collecting OAS and CPP. Trust me….heh, heh

  6. Pingback: RERUN FRIDAY: Purple Dinosaur |

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