a must-see film for every parent

This week, for a quiet night at home alone, I rented Deliver Us from Evil, a documentary about the sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church that was released last year. Let’s just say, I didn’t sleep much that night.

Deliver Us from Evil is one of the most powerful films I have ever seen. I sat on the couch, frozen, hand over my mouth hanging agape, at what I was watching. The film chronicles the long and varied molestation career of Father Oliver O’Grady, an Irish priest who, each time his abuse of children was discovered, was quickly shuttled to yet another parish so he could abuse yet more children. His total number of victims, by his own estimates, numbers in the hundreds, and the youngest was a baby just nine months old.

The most compelling part of the film are the extensive interviews with O’Grady himself, who claims to want to make a “full confession” and yet is completely disassociated from the enormous evil that he has done. Full of equivocations and euphemisms, he clearly doesn’t get it.

But what affected me most as a mother was an interview with the father of one of O’Grady’s victims, recounting his reaction when he found out how his now-adult daughter had been violated. He asked her why she hadn’t told him about the abuse as it was happening. Because, she said. You told me if anyone ever hurt me that you would kill them. I asked another little girl what would happen if my dad killed someone, and she said you’d go to jail forever. So then I knew that I could never tell.

The father was racked with sobs as he recalled this part of the story. “I never, never should have said that,” he cried. His pain, his feeling that this had all been somehow his fault, is what has stayed with me most clearly from this deeply disturbing film.

My son Cooper is like that victim as a little girl. He listens to everything I say. Too carefully. And he takes it literally. I know I have to be careful with what I say to him, but hearing that story really made it hit home. Stephen Sondheim said it best: Careful the things you say. Children will listen.

Make it a point to see this film.

well, at least she’ll never have to go by Taa-Jah M.

According to Celebrity Baby Blog, Sarah MacLachlan has named her second daughter, born June 22nd, Taa-Jah Summer.

Now, honestly. I kind of liked Apple Martin. I even gave a pass to Helen Hunt when she named her utterly WASPy looking daughter MaKena lei Gordon Carnahan. But Taa-Jah? Wow.

I’m wondering if Sarah cracked under the pressure that all us moms feel nowadays to come up with that REALLY cool and unusual, but not too unusual, not trying too hard name for her baby. Back in our parents’ day? If it was a boy, you had like four choices: Jimmy, Bobby, Tommy, or Mike. Girls, you had maybe ten choices, but one of your daughters had to be named Jennifer or Amy, so if you kept it to one daughter, the work was pretty much done for you.

These days, your baby’s name, like everything else in your baby’s world, is something you just have to overthink. And the harder you try to come up with something unusual, the more likely it is, seemingly, that everyone else will have the same idea that year.

My first son’s name is Cooper. It’s my grandmother’s maiden name. My husband and I thought his name was so cool, so unusual- and then, a month after he was born, the Laci Peterson case broke on CNN, and her unborn son (to have been named “Conner,” with the irksome “e,” like Bart Conner, the male gymnast) inspired thousands of moms across this great nation to go with Conner for their son (or Konor, or Kon’r, or various abominations I won’t get into). “Cooper” is now the 13th most popular name for boys in the United States. And although my son is the only Cooper at his school, in his soccer class, at camp, it just kills me that I picked a hack name when I tried so hard not to.

My second son’s name is Fergus. It was part of his grandfather’s name. After the “Kon’r” debacle, I was determined that my second child’s name really would be unusual. And it is Fergus was the 986th most popular name for a boy in the United States last year. As someone who has had to be Amy W. throughout my life, to differentiate myself from the other three Amys in the room, I was quite happy with that statistic. But we may have overshot our target and gone too far into Taa-Jah territory.

Now my husband and I are discussing names for our imminent third, and we’re hitting some roadblocks. I like “Declan.” He feels that we can’t go even further afield with the Irish thing than we did with “Fergus.” My husband likes “Matthew.” I absolutely cannot get past the idea that it was the 4th most popular name for boys in the US last year. For me, that makes it a non-starter.

But why? Maybe I should reconsider that. Was it really so bad to be Amy W. all my life? Wouldn’t my kid rather be saddled with “Matthew F.” than, say… “Taa-Jah Evensong”? Isn’t it sometimes easier to hang with the pack, rather than have to repeat your name three times to each new person you meet?

If it’s a girl, we’re thinking “Mairead.” Rhymes with “parade.” Beautiful Irish name. Or maybe we’ve really lost it.




officially in the third trimester!

So as of today, I’m 27 wks pregnant with number 3, and have entered the third trimester! I am thrilled about this. Thrilled to be almost done. Thrilled to only have… 13 weeks left. Oh crap.

Pregnancy is so long that any time you feel like you’ve gotten somewhere, you just have to look at it from the “time remaining” vantage point to realize that you still have oceans of time before you. 13 weeks? That’s enough time to write a freaking novel or train for a marathon. And I have already been at this since JANUARY.

On the other hand, I am in no hurry. As an BTDT (“been there done that”) mom, I know that no matter how much of a pain in the ass pregnancy is, this baby is most certainly easier in than it’s going to be out. And I’m not really ready for three kids. Really, I’m not. I need every day I have left of these 13 weeks. 91 days.

Hmm. 91 days. When I think of it that way, all of a sudden, it feels too short. Only 91 days left to sleep through the night? Not that I am, but at least it’s a possibility. Only 91 days of having a mere two children to get in their car seats and hoist into their beds. Only 91 days left to get this blog going before I don’t even have time to brush my hair. I will look back on these as halcyon days.

So maybe an interminable 40 week pregnancy is exactly the right length. Any longer, and the race would die out. Any shorter, and we’d say, “I need more time!” This way, at 40 weeks, you’re at that perfectly fed-up stage where you welcome labor, delivery, and sleeping in 90-minute snatches, as long as you don’t have to have an anvil in your stomach anymore.