The Graeae Sisters and My Two Boys

August 29, 2013 at 10:24 am 4 comments

When I was a young girl, I loved Greek mythology. There are things in Greek mythology that could be considered disturbing– a father eating his own children (Cronus); a great and menacing beast devouring young men and women trapped in a dank, dark maze (the Minotaur); and good ole wholesome bestiality (Zeus and Leda, Pasiphae and the bull).

But the story that resonated with me the most, the one that provoked the most visceral reaction of disgust was the story of The Graeae Sisters. The hero Perseus encountered them on his way to kill Medusa. The Graeae Sisters were three terribly old women. Between them they had one tooth and one eyeball…so they took turns. I don’t even like seeing someone else’s used chewing gum in the trashcan. I can’t imagine sharing a tooth…or worse an eyeball.

The Graeae Sisters took the beautiful concept of sharing and made it into something really, really icky.

The Graeae Sisters (Image Courtesy of Ray Jackson)

And that brings me to my sons. The other week, I was giving infant Dyson a bedtime bath. Older brother Sagan was helping me out by supervising and pumping out the soap. Eventually, Dyson realized he was getting a bath.

“Baby crying,” Sagan announced.

“That’s right, Dyson’s crying,” I said as I picked up my pace.

All of a sudden, Sagan pulled the pacifier out of his mouth and offered it up to Dyson. SLUUURP! Dyson immediately accepted the gift and started sucking away.

Now this was an amazingly kind and thoughtful gesture for a toddler, particularly one who is completely binky-obsessed. Extremely sweet. Externally I kept my cool. But internally, my reaction was akin to the one I have when I think of those shriveled old women passing around a tartar-covered tooth and a slimy cataract-ridden eyeball:


P.S. The artwork above by Ray Jackson is available as prints and notecards at

Entry filed under: Greek Mythology, Pacifier, Parenting.

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mandy Wilson  |  August 29, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    Adam and I are with you on this. Still, I remember someone telling me some fifteen or so years ago that she would never have kids because she couldn’t handle vomit …

    • 2. tgaw  |  August 30, 2013 at 10:08 am

      Hahaha, yup that sounds familiar. I am thankful that particular bodily process no longer dictates my life decisions. 🙂

  • 3. narami  |  August 30, 2013 at 3:15 am

    Awwwww Sagan! How much I hope I do things right as to inspire this kind of behavior! I think some kids have personality dispositions that will make them, for example, not like sharing. So I’m a little obssesed about drilling the concepts of sharing, compasion, etc into baby J.

    • 4. tgaw  |  August 30, 2013 at 10:12 am

      I suspect Sagan’s experiences with the other children at daycare gives him routine practice with “sharing”. That said, I should disclose, he doesn’t always share. He is also pretty adept at saying, “MINE! MINE! MINE!” 🙂


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