I’m excited about going to the plant swap this weekend. I am pretty addicted to the botanical buzz and in light of that I thought I would report this old article. If you would like to use it on your blog or website you are welcome to. Please include my byline.
Addicted to the Botanical Buzz
Bridgette Mongeon © 2003
I ‘m addicted! I’ll be the first to admit it. There is no denial. I am addicted to gardening. I just can’t do without it. I love the smell of the dirt, the idea of encouraging things to grow, and changing my surroundings. Basically I have a horrible horticulture habit.
I remember once while on a two-week vacation in another state, I was taking a walk and noticed a man digging in his flowerbeds. I could not resist, and asked him if I could help. I just had to interact with the dirt, without it I was going through withdrawal. I have even found myself pulling weeds at the post office while mailing the monthly bills. When March rolls around I’m just itching to get out and dig. Throughout the winter months I try to appease my addiction. December and January kept me busy with the holidays, and cleaning up from fall, but come February I was spending spare moments in the nursery, even during the rain, looking at plants, writing down names and dreaming. It is the feeling of being around all of the flowers and foliage that puts me in good spirits, gives me my fix.
I’ve been true to my plants and my addiction through the cold spells. I have covered and uncovered, and tried desperately not to be betrayed by the cunning weather. I am bound and determined to give those tender plants an extra boost of growth for the upcoming season. Every piece of cloth in our house is used on plants during the winter. My hubby encourages me to buy frost protective coverings for my winter ritual. I am not sure if he is embarrassed by the look of the calico covered yard, or if he is just concerned for what appears to be the suffocation’s of the brugmansia by the bedspread.
I watched as my neighbors intently raked day after day, reaching every corner, pulling every leaf out from under and behind things. I confiscated those very same leaves, ripping open the tightly tied bags and dumping them all over my yard. Covering the tender feet of some plants, protecting them from the freeze, and pouring the leftovers into piles to be run over by the lawn mower, and then added to the compost bin.
A gardening friend swears that the 17th of March is the last freeze date for Houston. I fool myself into thinking that certainly I can do something before that date; it is part of my addiction, and probably an example of some denial. By March my sheers have been out for a month. I cannot help myself, I’m very sick!
According to Texas garden lore you can tell that it won’t freeze anymore if the mesquite is budding, others have said the same about pecan trees. I keep looking at my neighbor’s pecan trees and once again enter denial, snipping, digging and planting and saying, “It is spring, the weather is warm.” I am totally deceiving myself but for all intended purposes I’m gardening and happy.
I have found ways to feed my addiction with free plants. This is definitely a rush. There is nothing more exciting! My suppliers and I meet in parks and under trees, providing each other with our drug of choice, nursing each other’s horticulture high.
Garden plant swaps are located throughout the Texas area. Usually held once in the fall and once in the spring, it is a premium deal for plant addicts. The concept is simple bring what you have too much of and politely ask for what you don’t have. Pre-trades done on the Internet intensify this whole concept. I’m searching for someone out there that has an extra tropical ornamental banana pup, or bamboo, or tropicals, or citrus, or succulents that they are willing to dig up in trade for something I have.
When it comes to trading plants, I’m really not that picky. The great thing about plants is that they multiply, giving you a bounty of stash to trade for in the future. When visiting a plant swap you will not go home empty handed, even if you are just coming to observe. Gardeners are very friendly and giving people, if you are not careful each gardener will be insisting you have one of their special plants. Gardeners like to get other people hooked on gardening and are more than happy to share their expertise, advice and stash. As an addict myself I know if I give you a little of my stash, you will be coming back for more. At the end of each plant swap there is an orphan plant area, a place where everyone puts their leftovers that they brought and simply do not want to take home again. A quick adoption of orphans and you are sure to have more than a handful.
There are other essential things to bring to the plant swaps, besides your trade plants. A wagon to transport plants to and from your car is helpful. Everyone appreciates getting labeled plants. Cutting up slats of old plastic Venetian blinds and marking them with a grease pencil can make great plant labels. I always bring my own table, a portable camping or cooking table will do. I also bring a long sheet or tablecloth. I put this tablecloth over my table and hide all of my found treasures underneath. It is plant swap etiquette that plants under a table are not for trade and plants on the table are. I like the old adage; out of sight out of mind, and keeping my treasures out of sight help to make sure I get to take them home. Most swaps are potluck so a dish to share is appreciated. Newcomers are always welcome to swaps but I would RSVP for all swaps, as the space is usually limited.
When I am not playing in the dirt in the garden, I am sculpting in clay at my art studio. I always bring extra sculptures, and hand made planters to plant swaps to entice traders out of their most prized possessions or coveted door prize. Other traders might bring garden related items, rocks, flower press, fertilizer, etc. to trade. Gardening related items are always appreciated as door prizes at swaps and when everyone brings a little something for a door prize it makes the experience even more fun.
Trading on the Internet is also a viable resource for plants and seeds. Start collecting your own seeds and you would be surprised what you could trade for. Many people will also provide their seeds for a self addressed stamped envelope. You can find many different trades on the forums of www.gardenweb.com. The forums are also a great place to go when it is raining and you need a garden fix. There are forums on everything from Accessible Gardens to Xeriscaping. My favorites are of course the Exchange Forum, Texas Forum and within it the Texas Exchanges, followed closely by the Pond Forum and Southern Gardening. For a general chat with gardeners Garden Party is a good choice. There are so many forums at www.gardenweb.com I am sure it will meet the needs and answer the questions of any gardener.
Ninety percent of my plants are from the gardens of others. I remember when a friend begged me to take her cannas. She was tired of them and wanted to put something else in. Eight years later, I am sharing a lot of those cannas and trading them for other rare tropical plants on the Internet.
I’m always admiring the gardens of neighbors. As I am out walking, or even driving, if I see a gardener out working, I’ll stop. I should probably put a bumper sticker on my van that states, “I break for gardeners”. I always request a tour, and so far, everyone has obliged my addiction, often digging up or snapping off a cutting for me to take home. When someone offers you a fern that they dug from their great-grandfather’s yard, and they themselves are a senior citizen, you know you have been given a treasure and a family heirloom to cherish.
As the weather warms, I’ll start my walking ritual of the garden; at least twice a day weather permitting, I’m walking the front yard and back. I don’t think things change much in a couple of hours but the walk enlivens my spirit and fills my soul. The botanical buzz is a part of my addiction.
As spring approaches and the swaps near, I know I’ll receive a lasting fix. In the mean time I’ll dig up some more cannas, divide some lilies and protect my stash for other addicts. Bridgette Mongeon is a sculptor, writer and educator residing in the Heights area.
By Bridgette Mongeon
I respect all of my Facebook friends and do not post porn, injured animals, or violent images.
This may have to be our post every morning. You may be posting porn or killed puppies, or God knows what, and you will never know that you did it.
Because of a hacking or a virus that is now showing up on many individuals Facebook news feed, your most respected friend, parent or daughter’s news feed might be showing pictures that you would never look at. The problem is, they do not see these pictures on their feed. They have no idea what is being spread or said about them. It is that their account is a part of a malicious hacking over much of Facebook.
On November 5th, 2011, “Anonymous” made a threat agasint Facebook. It is unclear if this is activity is actually the hand of Anonymous. However, there is definitely something happening to Facebook and it is damaging the reputations of individuals.
I woke up this morning and wondered a few things
1. What did Facebook have to say about this and what were they doing?
2. How can I protect my account?
3. What should I do if I see this on my Facebook feed?
Writer Emil Protalinski from ZDNet is keeping up with what is happening and he just posted this November 15th story “Facebook confirms images of porn and violence, is investigating “
That is it? They are investigating. This is not enough; I would certainly like to know more. I like Facebook, and use it for work, education and social purposes. As a writer and an artist I spend a lot of time in my office and studio, it is nice to stay connected through this social media. Through it, I have gained and developed friendships, and business contacts and I can see what is happening with my family and stay connected. I have walked through some difficult times with my Facebook friends, but, like others, if this continues I will have to leave. I’m anxious to see how it can be resolved.
WHAT CAN I DO?
I’m not sure what I can do exactly. I’m guessing here and please note that I am. If you are like me, when you have seen the images you have looked away, scrolled quickly but terrified to click on anything about this post, incase it should “drag you into the spam.”
HERE IS MY PLAN OF ACTION
Report Each Post
I have decided to report each post.
To do this, in the corner of the post, you will see a drop down triangle, click on it and then “report as spam”
I also am going to the person’s page and posting a message to them.
“My facebook friend, I just wanted you to know that your account was apparently hacked as I just received a horrible picture of a mutilated puppy on the newsfeed with your name attached to it. I am sure you didn’t send this. I marked it as spam. I do hope you can resolve this. ”
If they are a close friend I might add, “I would like to stay in touch, when you know it is resolved, please let me know, for now, I’ll block your feed. Good luck and, by the way, here is an article I wrote about this problem, should you need some help. ‘Threat against Facebook May Damage Your Reputation.’”
I hope if I am attacked someone will show me the same curtesy instead of mumbling under their breath and deleting me.
You can also unsubscribe from that person if you wish. This is apparently in the same drop down triangle but the moment I mark it as spam the triangle disappears.
How to protect your site?
I have my Facebook site set on a secure server. Look at your url when you are on facebook. Does the url begin with https or http? If it is just http, then you are not secure.
To set your account to secure setting go to Account Settings – Click Security on the left top corner – click Edit next to Secure Browsing, Check box, click Save.
Watch for Spam, don’t get fooled
Don’t click on anything that is a vote on this or you must watch this video. SPAM is everywhere, be careful.
What if I am already attacked?
Here is a link to what facebook says. https://www.facebook.com/help/hacked
And this step-by-step article “Help! My Facebook Account has been Hacked” by Andy O’Donnel might help
I know many of you also consider Facebook a kind of home or meeting place. We have to protect it the best we can, as well as our reputations.
You are welcome to use this article on your facebook or blog, I encourage you to do so. I also encourage you to send it those friends who have been hacked.
OTHER ARTICLES ON THIS TOPIC
Here are some other articles about this, should you want to protect yourself.
March 28, 2011 by Christina Warren
by Graham Cluley on November 15, 2011
The Writer’s Prayer
By Sandy Tritt
Open my mind, Lord. Grant me the talent to write with clarity and style, so my words go down rich and smooth, like fine wine, and leave my reader thirsty for more.
Open my heart, Lord. Grant me the sensitivity to understand my characters—their hopes, their wants, their dreams—and help me to confer that empathy to my reader.
Open my soul, Lord, so I may be a channel to wisdom and creativity from beyond my Self. Stoke my imagination with vivid imagery and vibrant perception.
But most of all, Lord, help me to know the Truth, so my fiction is more honest than actuality and reaches the depths of my reader’s soul.
Wrap these gifts with opportunity, perseverance, and the strength to resist those who insist it can’t be done.
Amen. ~ Sandy Tritt
© 1999 Sandy Tritt. All rights reserved. www.InspirationForWriters.com
The Writer’s Prayer may be reproduced if this entire copyright permission notice and web address (InspirationForWriters.com) is included. If you’d like a glossy ormagnetic copy of the Writer’s Prayer for yourself, or multiple copies for your writer’s workshop or conference, please email Sandy. There’s no charge as long as the shipping address is within the US.
I have been spending some time looking at historical artifacts and the copyright and ownership issues surrounding them. The reason why this topic has created some interest to me is that I’m curious about the advancement and tremendous increase in 3D scanning of artifacts.
It seems there are benefits in the 3d scanning of these precious items. There may be information captured by the scanner that will help scientist know more about the item. It offers an opportunity to document and make accessible the information. For example, the tomb of Tutankhamun is being scanned in hopes of preserving it so that the experience and information can be made available to those interested without actually having to make it accessible for individuals to experience it. This is important because the experiencing of some artifacts causes more damage to them. And it can be an asset in the restoration of an artifact.
Recording the tomb of Tutankhamun from factum-arte on Vimeo.
I have been cautioned not to just embrace all of this new technology without trying to thoroughly examine it. So, I must ask myself, what are the cons of having the artifacts scanned in 3D? Before I answer that, I thought it would be appropriate to look at some of the issues and questions revolving around the artifacts themselves.
- Is it ownership that is important or access?
- If I own land and I dig something up on my land. To whom does it belong? It will depend on the country you are in and the laws within that country. The antiquity may not belong to you. If it did not, would I report it or would I be more inclined to cherish my treasure without saying a word ?
- Many laws are developed in hopes of preventing looting of antiquities. Do they actually accomplish this? How do these laws effect poorer countries?
- How do I feel about cultural property?
- If something is taken or looted what happens to “the loss of context?” Having a coin but knowing where it was found or what the people who had this coin did, ate, where they slept, is important. It is not just the object that is researched, but where it was found.
How important is it for individuals to be exposed to the cultures and antiquities of those around the world? Should countries horde their antiquities? If antiquities can be distributed through trade, what happens with countries that have nothing to trade? How do they expose their people to the cultures around the world?
According to an article that I read, if I happened upon a stolen or found object and it ended up on the desk of an archeologist and it had something of importance on it, that information cannot be published. How difficult it must be for the archeologist who happens upon this. The reason— it has no legitimate provenance and the Archeological Institute of America forbids it. Why? If the archeologists should transcribe it and publish it, then they would be determining its authentication and making it more valuable.
Identity, self esteem, illicit digging, artifacts, private/market all of these words initiate a tremendous amount of passionate opinion in the information that I was reading about this subject.
Should there be a cultural common? Shared information and artifacts between countries, museums and collectors. The Brooklyn museum is making some of their artifacts, for which they hold the copyright, available on a Creative Commons License. Those who want to use them for non commercial use can do so. But, how is this policed?
I would suppose that the same questions and concerns that are found with traditional masterpieces and antiquities will apply to 3D scanned artifacts. Who owns them? Should they be reproduced? And my biggest thought is, that it is much easier to steal a data file than it is a physical dated fossil.
I also wonder about the artists who might use these artifacts as part of their own work. In the case of artists Barry X Ball, whose work I absolutely love, I have questioned this. Ball has taken digital scans of two Braoque pieces, “Masterpieces in the permanent collection of Ca’Rezzonico, Venice— La Purità (Dama Velata), by Antonio Corradini, and La Invidia by Orazio Marinali, as well as Hermaphrodite Endormi from the Louvre, Paris.” and he has digitally scanned them. Then he recreates them using digital milling in another substance. Does he sell these? Can he sell these? Is this art? Can he copyright this as his own?
So I ask the question, What are the pro’s and con’s and more importantly, what are the questions I should be asking when looking at this new technology of 3D scanning as it pertains to masterpieces and artifacts?
( I do hope to cover more podcasts on this subject. Looking for lawyers working with antiquities)
If you are reading this blog post from facebook and do not see the videos and or photographs visit https://creativesculpture.com/blog
At least that is what it feels like. My coauthor Mike de la flor, who also just happens to be my husband as well, and I have been working diligently to prepare another new website. But it is not just a place to go and look, it is a community site, where people can have their own blogs, comment on forums etc. It is a HUGE undertaking.
The entire project was prompted by our publisher Focal Press. Instead of having a CD in the back of the book they are moving to providing files to the book buyers online. So months ago we knew what we needed to do. INTRODUCING ….. Digital Sculpting.net
It has taken a tremendous amount of energy this weekend to get this up, but we are there. Still some tweaking and we will be adding a ton of content. So if you get a chance come on over, drop in, become a user, set up a blog and say hi! It will be great to have a legitimate post. I’m fighting spam bots!
If you are at this part of Ms. Mongeon’s web site you are probably considering a sculpture to honor someone that you love or admire. A sculpture that captures and expresses the incredible magnitude of not only a person but a life lived. Posthumous or memorial sculpture is one of the artist’s favorite sculptures to create.
“The process of remembering and creating is not always an easy subject for individuals to broach. I understand all of the nuances involved and would be honored to create this work of art with you. To not only lovingly guide you through the creative process and the recollection of the loved one, but also to celebrate this life with you. Thank you so much for considering me. I am truly honored.”
You can see some of memorial sculpture work on the gallery pages. Ellie, shown on this page, has her own page discussing the process that the artist and her parents went through in creating the Ellie memorial. If you would like to talk further about a project please fill in the artist’s contact form and she will be in touch with you.
The following is an excerpt from the artist’s upcoming book Bringing to Life the Spirit of the Deceased- A Sculptor’s Journey Chapter One- Why I Am Drawn to Posthumous Sculpture.
“I have always been intrigued with the story that I heard about elephants, marveling at the bones of their ancestors that they never knew. I remember seeing an elephant documentary that said that elephants that came across bones of their ancestors would pick them up and caress them, passing them from one to another in a respectful but mourning ritual. By doing so, it helped them come to terms with death. I feel that this action, this simple action by a wonderful and majestic creature is what I feel when I create posthumous portraiture. When the box of personal affects comes to my studio and I examine its contents, from that day forward until the day that the sculpture is complete, I have spent time lovingly caressing the life that I have had the pleasure of being introduced to. I turn that life over and over in my hands and in my heart as lovingly as those majestic elephants did with the bones of their ancestors. It is through this ritual and my art that my experience is enhanced and the healing process and letting go occur for my client. “
Created for Best of Artists and Artisans Website.
By Bridgette Mongeon © 2009
When apprentices enter the studio it’s not long before they gravitate to my bookshelves searching for resources on further education, or books that will inspire. I am quick to pull a couple of favorite sculpture books from my bookshelf and comment, “You must look at this book,” or “Every sculptor should have this on their shelf.” Though I never have enough art books and am always open to reviewing new books, I thought I would take some time to share with you a few of my favorites, those that I share with my students and apprentices.
Modeling and Sculpting the Human Figure by Edouard Lanteri
It is my opinion that no sculpture studio should be without Modeling and Sculpting the Human Figure by Edouard Lanteri. The author, Edouard Lanteri was a British sculptor 1848-1917. “The book is a gold mine of technical information, the kind of reference work that should be a lifelong studio companion to the figure sculptor,” as described in the introduction by sculptor, Nathon Cabot Hale. The first of the Lanteri volumes was printed in 1911, my copy is a reprint with a copyright notice of 1965.
Using this book as a study guide will offer the sculpting student a wealth of information that would only be attained in many years of study. Modeling and Sculpting the Human Figure covers portrait busts, full figures, measurements, building of armatures, scales and proportions, poses, and much more. I have especially appreciated the section on draping cloth. We all know that muslin, velvet and silk look different, but how does a sculptor portray the material in clay? No beginning sculpting student or established studio should be without this book.
Modeling and Sculpting Animals by Eduard Lanteri
Accompanying Lanteri’s book on Modeling and Sculpting the Human Figure is another book that was an original part of the 1911 edition—Modeling and Sculpting Animals. This book, with a forward written by friend and fellow sculptor Augusta Rodin covers what is in the Modeling and Sculpting the Human figure but in association with animals. Comparative measurements, construction, anatomy, armatures, and much more are featured with a bull, lion and horse as the subjects. Modeling and Sculpting the Human Animals is another book that should be on every sculptor’s shelf.
Modeling the figure in Clay by Brunno Luchessi
For another self-taught study on the human form, a book that can’t be beat is Bruno Lucchesi’s Modeling the figure in Clay. In this book master sculptor Bruno Luchessi takes the artist through the entire process of creating a human form from skeleton to skin. Building the sculpture on a wire armature with bones, and then adding on the muscles and skin. I have often thought that this type of book and training would be of considerable importance to massage therapists as well. What better way to learn the anatomy and muscles of a client then to create the form from inside out in clay. A student wanting to hone their skills in artist anatomy would find this book a valuable resource.
From Clay to Bronze by Tuck Langland
For those sculptors who are working toward casting their artwork in bronze, and who may want to understand the process of bronze casting, Tuck Langland’s book From Clay to Bronze is another essential reference book for every sculptor’s bookshelf. Tuck takes us through every portion of bronze casting and even includes a section on the history of bronze casting. The idea that bronze casting has changed so little over such a long period of time, never ceases to amaze me.
Though Tuck does designate some chapters to such things as materials, armatures and modeling, most of the book focuses on the process of reproduction. In-depth segments on making molds, casting, and even using other materials besides bronze for casting your artwork are covered. Then Tuck takes the reader through the entire bronze process of waxes, investment, burning out, chasing, and even patinas and mounting. I especially appreciate the color pages on the process of creating patinas. Coloring a bronze using chemicals is called patination and is a true art in itself. With a copyright of 1999 you know that the resources that Tuck lists are problaby still available and his suggestions of further reading are a way to continue your sculpture library.
For the small investment of $60.00 from Amazon (this could be less if you are buying used books), and the commitment of time and study of these materials, a beginning sculptor could, upon completion know that their study was at the same level as working under a master in a four year university. The only thing missing is the feedback from the master.
Created for Best of Artists and Artisans web site
By Bridgette Mongeon © 2009
Camille Allen from British Columbia, Canada loves babies. She learned the art of making dolls from her husband’s grandmother, Clara Allen. Though her dolls are life-like, they certainly aren’t life-size. Instead, they are miniature babies created in clay.
Her first creation was so small she found it would fit inside an egg and now she has a line of “Egg Babies.” She says, “I think the fragile newborn baby is complimented by the egg shell, reminding us of how fragile new life is and how gently they must be treated and cared for.”
Later she put one of her miniature babies in a sea shell. “The shapes of and textures of different seashells either echo the soft curves of babies, or they provide an interesting contrast to emphasize them. Some “Shell Babies” have pearls in their navels or are holding a pearl, like two little treasures found in one shell,” states Camille.
The miniatures babies are made of polymer clay. Camille explains, “It is soft, but it can hold the tiniest detail, even fingerprints. Once I have completed a sculpture, I then fire the clay with heat to harden it. Sometimes the babies are cast into a mold and made into other materials like Resin or Porcelain or Silicone.”
Camille does not take commissions, instead shesculpts limited edition or one of a kind miniature babies that come from her heart instead of a photo. She has sold to people all over the world, and has even had her babies featured on the Montel Williams television show.
Some babies are available for sale on her website: www.camilleallen.com. All babies vary in price, but here is a rough estimate of the price ranges: Resin Limited or Large Edition Babies: $99 – $400. One of a kind: $1500 – $4000+ (US dollars). She is expanding to different lines of babies that will be available in more price ranges. She also has an email list for anyone who would like to see photos of new babies as they are created.
I asked Camille for some tips on sculpting as well as more about the process.
“Starting from a lump of clay, and tiny tools including toothpicks, sculpting a life-size or miniature baby begins. It takes many, many hours of patient concentration to form a realistic baby and finish with fine details – including wrinkles and fingernails. The babies have soft English mohair to imitate fine baby hair and are blushed with paints for realism to enhance their tiny wrinkles and creases.
A life-size baby takes me months to complete. Miniature babies take several days to several weeks, depending on how complex the sculpture is. It depends on how patient I am feeling, and how long I can concentrate at a time. Sometimes my eyes get tired sculpting in miniature, so I take many breaks. It is very time-consuming work.
I work with “Prosculpt” almost exclusively now. It has a good consistency and blends well. I try not to overwork the clay’s “skin,” trying to push the masses instead of dragging the skin layer very much. This helps keep a nice smooth outer layer. I use a 3 in 1 tool from www.artdolls.com for almost everything, except the baby’s nostrils, which require a toothpick or a needle if the baby is very tiny.
Troubleshooting babies faces: If the baby looks “old man-ish” the eyes are too high up in the face, also probably the upper lip is too long. If it looks like an alien, the eyes are probably too far apart, or too big. If it looks like an animal/dinosaur – like it has a muzzle/snout – then the nose/under the nose area is too big or protruding.
That is the process in a nutshell or should we say an eggshell or seashell. Her work touches the heart and fascinates the eyes while evoking an element of awe.
It was the day before Mother’s Day, 24 years ago when the little sweet child was handed to me. Throughout her life my daughter always had a hard time getting out of the house on time, and that first day was no exception. Fourteen hours of labor, and four hours of pushing, I thought it would never happen. It was my wedding anniversary when I went into labor. I delivered her at 5:00 a.m. on Saturday morning. The next day was Mother’s Day!
I remember that first feeding, it felt so blissful, until…horrors upon horrorsI fell asleep. When I awoke, I remembered I had a baby, I remembered I was feeding her, but there was no baby in my arms. Yes, I actually looked over the side of the hospital bed, each side, and then under the covers. I was terrified, how could I be a fit mother if I would let my child fall on the floor the first day. There was no child. I rang the nurse. “MY BABY IS GONE!” I screamed. The nurse entered frantically, ” It is o.k.” The nurse worked hard to calm me down. “She is in the nursery. When we came in to check on you you were fast asleep, no one could wake you, I think that long and difficult delivery finally caught up with you, and so we brought her back to the nursery.”
I was crying.
I thought the nurse must think I was horrible, How would they ever let me leave the hospital with her? I certainly did not feel much better with her reply. I might not have let her fall on the floor crashing and causing irreparable brain damage, but I did let a total stranger take my child from my sleeping arms. What kind of mother was I? I know the nurse meant well but I was humiliated, and I simply blurted out, “I don’t believe you.” I said, “I want to see my baby.”
The nurse was smiling when she came back into my room, how could you not smile when you are carrying such a beautiful child. She put my bundle back into my arms. I should have apologized to the nurse, but I was still mortified and embarrassed by my own behavior and my apparent neglect.
I examined my Mother’s Day gift again. After the nurse left, I whispered to my baby, “I know you are my baby, they did not switch you.” Why I would think they would switch my baby, I do not know. Perhaps I had seen too many movies. “I know you are, not by the bracelet on your wrist, but because of those horrible marks on your head from the forceps delivery.” I stroked the marks, thankful for their identification, afraid, that adding to my chance of dropping my child, and having a stranger take her away I might also add not being able to recognize her to my list of horrors in those first hours of being a mom. “You sure were stubborn.” She sure was a sight with those red marks. But a beautiful sight. This sweet bundle just looked back at me, assured that I was the perfect mom. She trusted me, and she had this incredible ability to make all of my fears fade. At that moment, the room, the hospital, everything, even my husband, everything out of the small circle of her and I, the entire world simply disappeared. It was the strangest experience that I have ever had, I have never had one like it since. Everything simply disappeared but her and I.
Prior to this delivery I prayed at the church alter. I looked up at Father Lon and said, “Would you please pray for my baby?”
“For a healthy baby and a safe delivery,” He stated.
“Yes, that would be nice, but would you also pray that my baby, and my labrador retriever Conan, will get along? He is really a member of the family and I’m a little worried.”
“Hmmm,” Father Lon said, “I think there is a prayer about the lion laying with the lamb, let me see what we can do.”
We called our new baby and first child Christina. The name was picked by Conan, that same labrador. While reading baby names out loud, Conan’s head tipped to the side with intrigue as we read that baby name from a book. This was probably more due to the fact that the dog’s best canine playmate was named Nina, and this name sounded close to Christina, but the name took.
That first day in the hospital I saved her baby blanket that she had been wrapped in, took another from the supplies under her bassinet and sent the “smelly” one home with her father. “Let Conan smell this,” I said. “They say it might help introduce the baby. Tell him she is coming home soon.”
We were alone again. My favorite radio station played big band. I phoned them, ecstatic that it was going to be Mother’s Day, and it was my first day with my baby. “I’d like to request a song please.”
They asked, “What would you like?” I hadn’t thought of what song I wanted, I just said, “Anything that you want, as long as it is dedicated to this sweet thing in my arms.”
Not long after I heard the announcer. “Here is something for a special little baby that came into the world just in time to make her mommy a mother on Mother’s Day.” I listened intently to what they had chosen for my child.
“Aint she sweet, see her coming down the street. Now I ask you very confidentially aint she sweet.” It was the old song “aint she sweet?” by Gene Austin 1927. My toes wiggled under the sheets. I looked at her beautiful eyes, lips and nose, as I sang her song along with the radio, one of the many songs I would sing to her throughout her childhood. “Just cast an eye in her direction, Oh me oh my, aint that perfection? I repeat, don’t you think that is kinda neat, I ask you confidentially aint she sweet?”
I’m happy to report the lion did lay down with the lamb or should I say that the cherished family pet soon learned that his nose was an equal height to the high chair, and this new smelly, squiggly family member loved to throw food over the side of her high chair and giggle when Conan would quickly retrieve it and then, as if on command, he would put his nose back up, barely resting on her tray and look at her longingly. It caused an instant rapport. Yes, there was a period of time when Conan had a regular diet of Cheerios and baby food.
My baby was married this year, and I’m sure her husband agrees with the song that was played on her “birth” day. I can’t help but think it won’t be long before she is having a baby of her own, and Mother’s Day will become something that she no longer celebrates for someone else but is celebrated for her. Until then, I still find her incredibly sweet, and confidentially, she is still my baby girl and perfection.
Mongeon is a writer, sculptor, and speaker https://creativesculpture.com