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Atlas & Alice | Issue 3, Spring 2015

why I used that had nothing to do with a disease: abuse, poverty, abandonment, rage. I wanted to believe the disease of addiction wasn’t in the fiber of my being, but it is. I can see it in her face when we take away the TV. She is anguished and lost, fearful that the anchor of her world has been taken from her and now she is listing, unsure. When I learned I was pregnant, I promised I would do everything – absolutely anything – to keep my child from becoming an addict. I ate well during my pregnancy. I took prenatal vitamins with the special brain enhancing oils. I exercised, went to all my doctor appointments and read to her while she was still smaller than my palm. I thought I could stem the tide of disease that threatened her. I knew there was a chance when I conceived her, and I took the risk anyway. Sometimes I wonder if I was selfish to do it, to bring her into a world that might suck her into her addiction as easily as water down a drain. I thought I was stronger than the disease. And when she was a baby I nursed her, despite the hospital’s insistence that she be bottle fed. I hired post-partum doulas and put her on a feeding schedule. I slept on the couch by her crib night after night and held her for hours on end, to make sure she felt a sense of security I had never had. As she grew, I propped her up on pillows and read to her, looking her in the eye to mirror her responses, smiling – always smiling – laughing and cooing until I thought my mind had melted. I made her baby food from scratch from vegetables out of our garden, swaddled her in cloth diapers a friend had made from flannel. I nursed her until she was one and a half. She had a warm room, a father who rocked her to sleep more nights than not, and a clean house with a puppy and a wealth of toys. When she got older, I took her to the park, pushed her on swings, played Little People, took her on walks and hikes, carried her in Baby Bjorns, hiking packs and carted her on sunny days in strollers everywhere I could think of – nature walks, playgroup outings, made friends with the neighborhood moms, got out of my comfort zone. And here I am, looking once again at a hidden Wii remote. She’s hiding it from her brother, who will want to watch, too. My daughter cannot stand to share her beloved television with anyone. It must be her way or no way at all. If he will not watch what she wants, she will beg him until he leaves the room. He has learned to play quietly alone, or with us, while our daughter is lost inside the adventures of the Transformers. She tells me she loves Optimus Prime. She says if she ever met him, she would kiss him on the mouth. We’ve considered getting rid of the television, and I’m not sure why we don’t. Besides watching football and the occasional movie, as parents we rarely watch it. I encourage reading by getting them into bed early and reading them story after story. My daughter is halfway through Harry Potter. And she will leave the TV for reading time with mommy, which I love. We crawl into my bed and 85

Profile for Atlas and Alice Literary Magazine

Atlas and Alice Literary Magazine  

Issue 3 | Spring 2015

Atlas and Alice Literary Magazine  

Issue 3 | Spring 2015

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