On wanting to eat cake, magic pee, fairies, adult temper tantrums, and sub-performing grey matter


Flora: Blow out your candles, Ender, blow them out and make a wish! … And what did you wish for?

Ender: I wished that I could eat some cake!

See? Wishes do come true. And I suppose this is the point at which I should make the obvious sappy comment about how maybe happiness is just about … wanting what you can get.

Maybe. But how incredibly boring and safe would such a life be? If all you ever wanted was the cake that was put, that moment, in front of you?


“To ensure peak performance, your mom needs eight hours of peaceful, uninterrupted sleep each night. This will never happen, but it’s important to set goals.”

“Remarkably, despite their size, moms can sleep on as little as three inches of bed. Science has no explanation of this.”

from M.O.M.* (Mom Operating Manual),
written by Doreen Cronin and illustrated by Laura Cornell
*batteries not included


Flora: I really hate the people who think science explains everything.

Jane: Really? Why?

Flora: What about all the things science can’t explain? Like unicorns? And fairies?

Jane: Um… well…

Flora: Don’t you dare give me another evolution lecture. I WILL believe in fairies.

All right, my beloved. Believe. Believe.


My brain is slow. The hamster that operates the wheel is lazy. The machinery is worn out. I’m grasping for words, simple words, all elusive, out of reach. Clumsy sentences. Awkward paragraphs. Lack of motivation, desire, ability to finish, to start. Nothing is working. Nothing is right. I’m stupid. Incompetent. I poke at the keyboard. Stare at the screen. Howl.

Cinder: See, and this is why I don’t think it’s fair when you lecture me about getting mad at the computer when I play Minecraft.

Jane: I want you to be better disciplined and better behaved than I am.

Cinder: Probably not going to happen.

Probably not. But. We always hope, don’t we. We always want them to be better than their imperfect parents.


“Should your mother be experiencing a minor malfunction, your best option is simply avoidance. Tiptoe quietly to another part of the house until the coast is clear.”

“If you cannot leave the room, camouflage can be very effective during minor malfunctions. Silence is key. … Take your surroundings into account. If you are behind the sofa, a tall leafy branch is probably not a great idea.”

from M.O.M.* (Mom Operating Manual),
written by Doreen Cronin and illustrated by Laura Cornell
*batteries not included


Ender: Mama, I did it! I peed in the potty!

Jane: Oh, Ender, that’s… there’s nothing here.

Ender: It’s imaginary pee. Flora can see it.

Of course.


I do all the things that need to be done. Always. I force that goddamn hamster in my brain to perform, no matter how lazy he’s feeling. Meet every deadline. Then, do all the things that didn’t get done while I was doing all the things that had to be done. Well, maybe not all of them. But—a few.

And now, I’m trying to get hamster to get this post across the finish line—even as he tries to convince me that his higher purpose right now is to have a nap. And that while he naps, someone—the fairies, maybe?—will come and oil his wheel and the rest of my machinery, and everything will magically work better soon.

I scowl at him. Eat cake. But then—choose to want more. Always.

Because life is supposed to be full. Interesting. Hard.



photo (11)

P.S. M.O.M.* (Mom Operating Manual), written by Doreen Cronin and illustrated by Laura Cornell is a brilliant picture book, targeted I would say at four to six-year-olds, but my entire crew howled as we read it. Check it out. If you’re in YYC, we’ll be returning our copy to the library shortly. But you probably don’t want to wait for that. It’s $14 and change at Chapters-Indigo.

*batteries not included

19 thoughts on “On wanting to eat cake, magic pee, fairies, adult temper tantrums, and sub-performing grey matter

  1. My daughter has me convinced that fairies and unicorns are real…we have matching t-shirts that say “I shun the non-believers” with a unicorn on it. My daughter has told me she twilights as a fairy…I believe her because it makes me happy to think so too!

  2. “I will believe in fairies.” I love it. Sounds like my little girl. And maybe I can start getting my son to work on invisible poop, as a step toward real poop? Maybe he’ll be potty-trained before age 5? hmmmm……

    • Sarah, Sarah, two days of intermittent into-the-toilet releases! Yes! I would do the dance of joy, except that I know I will be swearing and washing disgusting laundry and mayhaps soiled furniture tomorrow…

  3. So the invisible potty thing. My son, just this week, started locking the door when he pees. Privacy and all, which I’m totally supportive and encouraging of. Except he comes out, tells me he pooped in the potty and wants a high-five. He usually forgets to flush. um…
    What’s in the air or the atmosphere or the water or blog groups that makes us all so bleh right now anyway? Today, I did a post I’m not even admitting to, especially after the one that I did on Thursday that I actually loved. My hamster may be hibernating. Or in a cake coma. Cake?

    • The psychic who lives next door would blame the Mercury Retrograde. I think maybe just the fall-is-coming-it-s-getting-cold blahs? Maybe we need a party. Oh, I just had the most brilliant idea…

  4. Iliana: Mom, I really want to be a princess when I grow up.
    Me: Oh honey….princesses are not real. They only exist in fairytales.
    Iliana: Ok, mom, then I will be Rapunzel when I grow up.

    Loved Ender’s imaginary pee thing!

    • Get her a copy of Nathan Hale’s Rapunzel’s Revenge. Rapunzel as a kick-ass heroine. She might be a little young for it, actually… it’s a little dark… get yourself a copy of Rapunzel’s Revenge. 🙂 xoxo

  5. Oh Jane! You are my guru of momdom. Really, even when you are stressed you seem to be able to make me think. A ha! That’s how to do it! And invisible pee?? PRICELESS!

  6. Lazy hamsters? Bwahahah!!! My son believes that his two dollar Tom & Jerry stuffed animals (my husband won out of those toy claw machines) are real. Tom has a girlfriend. He creeps me the fuck out.
    It is true that we want our kids to be better than us. Or just at least have my perfect hair 🙂

  7. Imaginary pee. That is perfection. And I adore Flora’s tenacious belief in fairies. Lovely. The book sounds fantastic…I may be pondering the concept of happiness being wanting what you can get for a few days now…

  8. As always, the conversations that occur in your house make me smile. Kids are such fantastic beings, and you remind me time and time again that I’m not the only one out there who isn’t the Pinterest parent.

    And the imaginary pee? I totally guffawed at that one…

Made you think? Made you laugh? Made you scream? Tell me.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.