Yesterday Adam and I spent an embarrassing amount of time running  around to three different grocery stores to find the most perfectly ripe organic avocado that money could buy.

We were neurotic first time parents, cast as Goldilocks. The first store had avocados that were too hard. The second store didn’t have organic ones. and I mean, this was a BIG deal, conventionally grown produce would simply not do.

Finally, happily, at the third and final store, in the bin of organic avocados, there was one single solitary perfect avocado. Not too ripe, not too hard, juuuust right.

And why, you might well be asking, why the wild-goose chase for this most perfect specimen?

Ladies and gentlemen, my daughter, little Miss Olive Grace, formerly known as the Demon Baby, she of the gummy smile and mega-sleeps, my daughter ate her very first REAL food yesterday.


It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen.

And guys, I think she liked it.




Melissa Harris-Perry’s open letter to Steubenville survivor

So much respect for that.

Just when I thought I couldn’t love her any more than I already do.

Melissa Harris-Perry is just so great.


This is one of the only Steubenville news items I’ve been able to read or re-post.

The entire horrifying saga, from the deeply disgusting behaviour of those involved, to the media’s appalling coverage of same has made bile rise in my throat and a deep, guttural fear sit in my heart.

I do not want to raise my daughter in a world where she could be that girl. It raises my hackles and my throat closes with anger.

I will not raise my daughter in a world that makes apologies and excuses and sympathies for those boys.

I don’t know what to say, I have struggled to find words and failed, time and time again.

This comes pretty close.

Dear Brenda, This Is Why My Book Will Never Get Done On Time

(SCENE: I am sitting in the living room with a coffee ( a REAL coffee!) and my laptop, writing.)
Adam: You’re not writing this morning?
Madeleine: Yeah, I am.
Adam: You’re not going to a coffee shop though?
Madeleine: *waving distractedly* Yes I am. I’m at a coffee shop right now in fact. Shh.
Adam: You’re…at a coffee shop right now?
Me: Yes.
Adam: …
Adam: OBNOXIOUS CONVERSATION! OBNOXIOUS CONVERSATION! Background noise! Obnoxious conversation!
Me: *staring at him in disbelief*
Adam: *manaical laughter*
Me: You have yogurt in your beard…stranger.


A blur of nights and days slides gently into one another, differentiated by small milestones, markers alongside a long road that we are just setting out on – feet fresh, hearts light. 

I can tell if my clothes are clean by smelling the left shoulder, perpetually soaked with spit-up where Olive’s face rests as I hold her close to my chest.    

I rock wherever I stand, back and forth, back and forth. The part of my brain that used to think critically, that used to write about the meaning of modern marriages trends, implications of social movements, and even long drawn-out posts about writing itself , is now consumed entirely with the physical state of another person. Is she hungry? When did she last nap? Is she warm enough? Dry enough? Loved enough?

Adam and I are both closer, and further apart. Seeing him as a father has been indescribable, and Olive doesn’t laugh for anyone the way she laughs for her Papa. I’ve gotten to know an entirely different man than the one I met at 18, and I love this man with all of my heart. 

But then of course, there’s also the diapers and the sleep loss and the millions of decisions that need to be made on a daily basis, and for two people who approach situations in wildly different manners, it can be a challenge to come to a consensus on, well, anything. 

We’re in a strange place right now, with me on maternity leave and Adam still looking for work. Adam’s parents are retired and we joke that we are too. But alongside these slow days hangs the sly, guilty feeling that we should be doing something, andthat makes them difficult to enjoy.

For me that something usually has a name, like writing. Or laundry. Or reading to Olive. With Adam I think it’s a wider question mark, broader and more blurry. He’s trying to figure out just what that something is and how to find it, and, in the absence of this answer lies the heavy weight of inertia.

It’s difficult for a man, I think, to not have a purpose. And it’s difficult sometimes for me to stand by and stop from taking over or trying to help, which from Adam’s standpoint sometimes looks like nagging, or worse, controlling. I’m not good at being in limbo, at waiting and waiting and waiting. And right now so many aspects of our life are undecided that I am white-knuckling the rest. Trying to grasp some things so tight that I feel like I have some control over something, anything.

There are some things in the works, some things that we are crossing our fingers on and waiting on and in the meantime we wake and sleep, and eat and take walks in the sun with our baby. I go to my mom groups and hang out with friends. And last night we bought a cappuccino cheesecake and I swear Adam and I ate more than half of it between the two of us. 

It’s a pretty sweet kind of limbo, but I am looking forward to feeling solid ground under our feet nonetheless.