314 Slices
Medium 9780870818462


Kevin Holdsworth University Press of Colorado ePub

The ambulance that carried Whitey to the hospital

was operated by the same firm that ran

our town’s funeral home and crematory,

a coincidence that might have made him nervous,

but Whitey was already too-far-gone, rolling on

to hog heaven now, above the black and orange clouds,

his skull too full for impact, set to burst;

he downshifted into sky Sturgis for the final time.

The deer he’d missed browsed placidly

on the scrub-brush slopes beneath White Mountain,

the one he’d tagged lay smeared in bits and pieces,

dragged off the road by Officer Staples, lights flashing.

Lord, that busted up Sportster, Staples noted,

was as sad a sight as a bloated range bull,

or a dead moose, or a road-killed owl or eagle,

all strewn against the trapeze fence.

He walked the red sea roadside

but found no skid marks on the pavement

and nothing left to salvage.

We all knew Whitey liked to ride too fast—

he boasted road-rash tattoos, close calls aplenty,

but when he broadsided that hapless bambi,

his velocity must have carried him straight through it,

See All Chapters
Medium 9781574412444

1. The Beginning

Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe University of North Texas Press PDF



The Beginning

SOME GIRLS DREAM OF BECOMING A MOM, but I wasn’t one of them. I wanted to play the piano ever since I was six years old and heard my Aunt Helen play Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata.

I was nine when I started class piano lessons. In the beginning, I practiced at home on a cardboard keyboard my teacher gave me. I imagined a sound like Helen made. Dad eventually brought home a turn-of-the-century “upright grand” piano—a pizza-parlor cast-off covered in deep blue paint. When I first pressed down on the ebony and ivory keys, the sound I made resonated all the way through my bones.

That same year, one of my teachers at Byron Kilbourn Elementary School decided I was gifted. Had I attended fifth grade at Milwaukee’s magnet school for gifted children, there would have been accelerated math, special study projects, even violin lessons, to go along with class piano I’d just started.

We visited the magnet school, but my parents wanted to think it over before enrolling me. Dad was attending Marquette

See All Chapters
Medium 9781855753686

4. play and language

Jenny Stoker Karnac Books ePub

Your child’s toddler years are characterized by a flowering of his capacity to play and to begin to use language. Playing and language provide a link between you. Both of them are ways for the child to bridge die emerging gap as he acquires the physical capacity to move away from you. But that sense of coming together in mutual understanding through play or language also acts, for die child, as a catalyst for further separation—they are a route for communication and interaction with die outside world.

A child’s ability to play and to talk stems from his being able to symbolize, to make one thing stand for another: a doll represents a baby, a stethoscope a doctor, die word “table” stands for die object table. We can speculate that from his earliest days a baby has been able to conjure up images of things in their absence. When he cried for his mother to feed or comfort him, it is likely that after repeated experiences of relief from die bodily discomfort he began to be able to hold an image of an anticipated response to his cries that is missing until it appears. Babies of quite a young age will often stop crying when they hear the sounds of their feed being prepared or die sound of their mother’s voice. In a sense, these images of what is missing can be thought of as early forms of symbolization, and as time goes on and parents become slightly less adaptive to their baby’s needs, the baby will begin to rely on these images as sources of comfort to fill the gap between his wishes and die satisfaction of those wishes. In some cases he may even create his own physical “symbols” of the experience of his mother’s comfort in her absence by thumb-sucking or finding a piece of soft thaterial to soothe himself. When he plays peek-a-boo, die baby’s pleasure stems from die reappearance of a familiar face that, for that brief moment of absence, he has been able to hold as an image in his mind. What is more, even at this very early age die baby’s delight in this game of predictable, controllable appearance and disappearance would seem to indicate that he at some level “knows” that the repeated disappearances are not for real. If they were, then he would become distressed.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781855753686

6. separations, sleeping, and sibling rivalry toddling no more: the move towards the wider world

Jenny Stoker Karnac Books ePub

The toddler years are dominated by a gradual process of separation between the child and his parents. We have seen how the struggles over the pull back towards dependence and babyhood and die push forward towards independence dominate the toddler’s (and the parents’!) development in all spheres. Both he and you—his parents—wish for more autonomy, and yet despite this wish, you at times also long for more togetherness and closeness. Negotiating the way between these opposing pulls is one of the most important tasks of these years.

As with feeding, weaning, and potty training, which were the topics of our previous chapter, managing sleeping and separations are at base to do with allowing and encouraging more bodily autonomy in your toddler. And difficulties, particularly with feeding and weaning, often overlap into difficulties with sleeping and separations.

Of course, toddler sleeping problems are very common, and not all can so easily be attributed to parental need for the comfort of a baby. But, nevertheless, there is frequently some guilt on the part of parents about putting their child down to sleep and allowing themselves time to get on with their own lives, separately from their child. It is as if sometimes parents feel that they are abandoning their toddler, when they say goodnight to him, to a terrifying fate. And sometimes dais struggle is about coming to terms with the presence of a third person in a relationship.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781574412444

7. First Words

Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe University of North Texas Press PDF

“Okay, thanks,” I called back.

Sam didn’t notice the smoke or the bees. He just went on.

At the end of Y Street, we’d walk past a dusty Chevy

Chevette parked on the other side. The tires on the little blue car were flat and it never moved from its spot. One day, as we walked by the car, a twentysomething man came out of the house and down the porch carrying a baseball bat. With a big swing, he smashed the front windshield. He looked up and seemed surprised to see me and Sam.

“It’s okay,” he called. “It doesn’t run anymore.” My own startled look softened and I smiled. Sometimes, I’d like to put a baseball bat through a car window, I thought. My career’s going nowhere; I’m thirty and pregnant—accidentally, again; and I can’t keep up with the toddler I have.

Sam turned right for a short sprint on Miller Street and right again for the final stretch down Sherman Way. Cutting across our tiny front lawn of Bermuda grass lined with Shasta daisies that were always flopped over, Sam rounded the fragrant, white star jasmine vine I’d planted. He jumped up the stairs to the front door and let himself in. The welcome end of another chase-Sam-around-the-block episode for me. But for

See All Chapters

See All Slices