Motherhood & Words

Thank you to everyone who submitted a toddler haiku for the annual Mother Words Haiku Contest. You can read all the entries here and here. This year, my dear friend Jess agreed to judge the contest, so I’m turning it over to Jess, who says:

I’m a little troubled by the prevalence of excretion in the haiku, and even more so by how funny I find them – not sure if that’s a testament to the general poopiness of kiddos or an indication that my sense of humor hasn’t matured much since 5th grade. Anyways, the poems were FAB! Here are my top seven:

Toddler on my lap
Can’t let me out of her sight.
Tinkle, tinkle, plop.

by Amber S.

Don’t drink that water
Your poopy butt sits in it
A shriek of delight

by Laura

You pooped in pantry
Spread and raked it with your hoe
Looky! Garden grow!

by Marilyn

thought I had a girl
but look–on top of table
it’s a mountain goat


book was his first word
but the treatment he gives them,
no book could survive

both by Stace-c

and last but certainly not least,

Oh sleep, where are you?
“I get out! Running around!”
Escapes from crib. Damn.


Little voice, so sweet
“Don’t fucks with me” says my son
All laughs and giggles

both by the illustrious Ms. R. Hopper.

So…though I was tempted by mountain goat, book abuse, tinkle tinkle little plop, and had to pass on bathwater shrieks because I know the poopy butt that sits in it, and since I’m pretty sure there is a 2nd annual haiku contest prohibition on allowing a Hopper sister to win (nepotism, yes, but also because it would be patently unfair – they’re all so damned witty), THE WINNER IS…

Marilyn! I’m sorry about your pantry, but PLEASE say that you took a photo, because that is fantastic. I mean, it’s practically the same thing as fertilizer, right?

Thanks, guys. As a grad school sufferer, I sorely needed the comic relief. Bravo!


Thanks, Jess! Congratulations, Marilyn! I look forward to more wonderful and witty haiku next year.

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I have been teaching creative writing for almost twenty years. Reading about other women’s lives and experiences has expanded my world. To be able to walk in someone else’s shoes, whether it’s for a moment or an hour or a few days, is an incredible gift, providing me with insight into the human experience. It takes courage to write your truths, especially if it doesn’t seem as though anyone cares, as though anyone is listening. Let me tell you: your stories matter, I’m listening, and I’m here to help you find the heart of those truths, to get them down on the page, to craft them, and to send them out into the world. Together, we will change the world, one story at a time.


  1. Marilyn on March 30, 2009 at 8:50 pm

    Wow, thanks, Jess! Sam, my (poopy) son, who’s now 14, is quite proud of the pantry story, and laughed very hard when I told him you liked it.

  2. cath c on April 1, 2009 at 2:39 pm

    hee-hee, congratulations, marilyn!

  3. Ines on April 2, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    Congratulations. And, thanks Kate for blogging about this. I had fun.