Friday, June 30, 2006

Breasts and Bottles

I remember when I was pregnant feeling like my body had become community property. I had wild cravings for junk food. People had a lot to say about this. Everyone from co-workers, friends to people I didn’t even know wanted to tell me about what I should be eating or not eating. I finally came up with a rule that I used in response, I told people that the non-pregnant were not allowed to tell the pregnant what to do. It was surprisingly effective. And then I had the baby, and once again, everybody in the world has an opinion.

Of course, I am not complaining about people who offer to share their experience if you ever need it. Those gracious people are life savers. My sister-in-law is like this. She has plenty to say when asked, but never butts in. But there is a whole army of others who want to tell you all about the best sleeping arrangements, baby carriers, toys, television shows, you name it.

I have been thinking about this because I am thinking about weaning my six month old son off the breast. Truthfully, we have been moving in that direction for a while. I have had repeated problems with thrush, which made feeding painful for me, and eating painful for him. Now, he is beginning to teethed and has been gnawing on my breast. Do you know what it is like to put your nipple someplace knowing it is going to be bitten? It’s a little nerve wrecking.

I have mixed feelings about this because I don’t know if I will have another biological child, so this may be the only breastfeeding I ever do. Despite all of the problems, I do think it helped me bond with my son. He is so cute when I feed him too. He looks up at me and smiles, and it just kills me.

I am also not looking forward to the Breastfeeding Nazis either. These women really have their scorn down to a science. Half the time, they don’t even have to say anything. They just give you a look, and you know they disapprove. But like I use to say when I protested in front of abortion clinics, it’s my body, my choice. I wish people would have a little more respect for women’s bodies. Even with a child inside or outside of them, these arms, legs and boobies are private property.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Baby Food

My wife and I have two sources of stress in our lives when it comes to parenting advice. First, we have her family, who practice a very conventional, mainstream type of parenting. They think we are really out there with our co-sleeping arrangements and our slings and such. But living in Hippie Dippyville like we do, we also have a lot of attachment parents as friends, and they are another sort of stress. We have friends who breastfeed exclusively, imply letting your child cry it out is child abuse, and even some who practice elimination communication. We seem so mainstream to them. The baby sleeps with us at night, but during the day, he takes his naps in the crib. We even let him cry before he sleeps. Also, we breastfeed about 50% and bottle feed the rest of the time.

There is a lot of internal pressure resulting from parenting choices. It is such an important job, and you really want to do the right thing because you know the stakes are high. Most of the time, you try a lot of different approaches, and you make a decision on what works. You just forgot the parenting philosophies.

In order to avoid criticism, we end up lying a lot to both groups. This is silly, I know, but it can make life a lot easier. We don’t tell my wife’s family that the baby sleeps with us, and we keep the feberization on the down low with our hippie friends.

My wife and I have decided to make all of our baby’s food instead of buying it. I enjoy being in the kitchen, and I feel like making the food helps me to make more intentional choices. Most of all, I don’t want him to ingest pesticides, so we buy organic fruits and vegetables that I mash up in the food processor. We definitely thought this would send her family into fits of eye rolling and elbow jabbing. But it turns out, her mother used the exact same process to feed my wife when she was a baby. She would mash up the food and then freeze it in ice cubes in the freezer, just like we do. So you just never know. The organic rice cereal, however, we keep to ourselves.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Brains vs. Brawn

One thing that I have noticed with my lesbian mom friends is that we love to talk about our sperm donors. Actually, I think my straight friends are pretty interested in this too. Some of them will come right out and ask about the donor, while others are more hesitant, perhaps fearing to be rude. I don’t mind. I love talking about it.

We ended up with #3672 at the California Cryobank. You can’t get any more of his sperm, he has been put out to pasture. When we decided to get pregnant, my wife and I had really different views about what kind of donor we wanted. I wanted a really good-looking donor. It has been my observation that beautiful people sail through life. My wife wanted a really smart donor. She comes from a very intelligent family, and I think brain power is the main way they navigate through the world.

I actually found my beautiful donor. He was an Italian donor in a Virginia cryobank. The nurse’s notes said that he was as good-looking as a movie star. I was beside myself. This was the one. However, when my wife heard his taped interview, she thought he sounded lazy and unmotivated. I argued these were environmental traits and not genetically linked. Meanwhile, she found 3672 at California. He was an electrical engineer with fantastic SAT scores.

I really don’t know how she won this. I think it may have been due to a rounded chorus of our friends chiming in. The overall feeling seemed to be that going with the smarter guy was the right thing to do. Why that is, I still don’t understand. But the long and the short of it is, we went with her guy.

Now, I have to say, my baby is really cute, so I got what I wanted. Every time I go out, I hear the phrase “Gerber baby” sent my way. But the thing that I didn’t realize, you love your baby no matter what. He could have been born with two heads, and I still would have loved him.

A therapist I was seeing at the time suggested that when choosing a donor, to focus on health. His reasoning was that there is a lot of debate about what is genetic and what isn’t, but they know that health has genetic factors. I think that is pretty wise. We only have five more vials of our guys, so we may have to go back to the sperm store. Though, knowing me, I will be looking for the movie star again.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Cookies and Dykes

This post is dedicated to Anna Ginsberg. She is this year's winner of the Annual Pillsbury Bake-off. She won a million dollars with her Baked Chicken and Spinach Stuffing recipe. I saw her on the food network. She bakes cookies every day, and she uploads a picture of them to her blog. I thought she was pretty cool.

So I decided to bake cookies and upload a picture of them to honor her. These are Paula's Loaded Oatmeal Cookies from the Paula's Home Cooking Show. They are great, and boy, was my wife surprised when she came home. Thank-you yo-yo girl for the link! Here is Anna's Blog

On another note, I wanted to say hey to all of the dykes in this year's Dyke March. Normally, I go to the march. They pass out stickers to wear at the march, and I was remembering when I was a young baby lesbian, and I wore a sticker that said "Single Dyke". Then, last year I went when I was pregnant, and I wore a sticker that said, "Dyke Mom". This year, I can't go at all because its past my sons bedtime, so now I really am a Stay At Home Dyke.

Have fun tonight everyone.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Macy's buckles to bigotry

This is a little bit of a cheat, but here is a letter I wrote to Macy's this morning. They took down portions of a Pride display due to pressure from MassResistance, a fringe anti-gay group. Here is my letter:

To Whom It May Concern:

I am a frequent shopper at your store as well as a Macy’s card holder. As a gay person in the Boston area, I am distressed to learn that your downtown Boston store succumbed to pressure from MassResistance and removed portions of your Pride Week display. According to your spokesperson, your store is trying to “strike a balance” for your customers. The choice of words is interesting since the balance you are trying to strike is one between tolerance and intolerance or a balance between bigotry and justice.

I have read many postings online from people who have said they will no longer shop at Macy’s. If I said that, I would be lying. I like your store too much, which is why I hope in the future you do not listen to these fringe groups when trying to decide on your displays. And I want you to keep one thing in mind. No matter how much money members of MassResistance have spent at your store, they cannot possibly have spent as much as I have over the years. My entire closet, shoe collection and kitchen have been furnished by Macy’s. All I am asking in return is that you show a little backbone.


Like I noted in my letter, I did actually see quite a few posters comment online that they would no longer shop at Macy's. You might be wondering why I will continue to do so. I use to work for the Episcopal Church during an interesting time. It was right after the ordination of Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop in the Communion. There was a lot of talk about staying in Communion with people we disagreed with. That was because several powerful bishops were decidely not wanting to stay in Communion with the US church. But the feeling was if we all stayed in communion with each other, it could be a growth experience for everyone.

So I have decided to stay in Communion with Macy's. I would like to think they will stop being such cowards given a little support, and it will most definitely be a growth experience for my shoe collection.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Mercury rising

This is more of a public service announcement than a blog entry. But I was reading the Boston Globe and they had an article by Robert Kennedy Jr, on the effects of mercury based preservatives in children’s vaccines. He believes that studies show a correlation between the rise in autism and other brain disorders with the introduction of these preservatives in children’s vaccines. Most distressingly, has been the dramatic increase in autistic rates among boys. Ten years ago, the rate for autism was 1 in 2,500 children. It is now 1 in 80 for boys.

Fearing lawsuits, manufactures of vaccines have now removed the preservative Thimerosal which contains the mercury from most vaccines. However, it can still be found in flu shots and tetanus boosters. I remember when I was pregnant I was repeatedly advised to get a flu shot. The reasoning was that I didn’t want to have the flu when I was pregnant or when I had a young child. I don’t know the exact reason I refused to get one, I just felt uncertain about having a shot when I was pregnant.

Needless to say, this all makes me very angry. I remember what a maniac I was when I was pregnant. I wouldn’t touch fish because I was afraid of the mercury content of fish. I wouldn’t stand in front of a microwave. I argued endlessly with my employers about the lead content of the paint in the office. It would have been something if after all of this, my doctors turned right around and shot my baby up full of mercury from the moment he was born.

I have to admit that I always thought the anti-vaccine people where a little wacky. I thought it was probably a group of people who were on the natural child birth continuum, so I really didn’t give it much thought. Turns out, they have a point. Need I point out that it is not ok to poison the brains of 1 in 80 boys? I see the brain like the hard drive of a computer, if a virus is introduced to the hard drive, the computer can be irrevocably damaged. This is a horrific violation to the children who received vaccines with this preservative and some may never be the same.