Wednesday, January 31, 2007

What it means to be a boy

I never realized how into gender people were until I had a baby. It starts in utereo. Once word got out that I was having a boy, my house started to fill up with baby blue onesies with footballs on them.

Now that he is a little older and beginning to show interest in things, I can’t help but feel that serious gender molding has begun. For instance, he is very interested in wheels of all sorts. He’s fascinated by them. If there is a toy with wheels on them, he crawls over to it and immediately starts maneuvering it. He likes to see things move. He turns the toys over to observe the wheels. He seems to be doing mini experiments like blocking the objects path to see what will happen.

Family and friends have observed this and delightfully exclaimed, “Look at that. He loves trucks!” They have shown their support by filling our house with plastic dump trucks.

However, I really think it’s the wheels and not the trucks that he is interested in. I think he would be just as fascinated with a pink Barbie convertible as with a Pick up truck. I have a friend who is in a wheelchair, and he seems just as interested in her chair as he does his trucks.

But boys liking trucks is socially acceptable, and I can’t help but wonder if he doesn’t respond to their approval. I also have an inkling that our family and friends are relieved that a couple of lesbians are raising a boy who likes boyish things. I wonder if this is how gender imprinting starts.

Friday, January 26, 2007

My life isn't so bad...

Robin at the Other Mother is sort of my blogging idol. She is always coming up with creative ideas from her blog, which I relentlessly rip off. I have wanted to copy her booklist for a while, and have finally gotten around to it.

So you, lucky reader, can now see what is currently off the bookshelf and on my nightstand.

I am reading a very interesting book titled “We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families”. It’s about the Rwandan genocides. Its hard to wrap you mind around an entire country shutting down in order to extinguish a minority population. Nearly a million people were hacked to death by their neighbors in a matter of weeks.

What was really interesting to me was the response of the UN and other relief agencies. By having a policy of neutrality in the face of unrelenting evil, they became enablers of the killing. Not only did blue helmeted UN soldiers stand by while with loaded guns as people were being slaughtered, in some cases, they ended up aiding the people who had perpetuated the genocide.

You might be wondering why I am reading something like this. It’s because my sister has spent a couple of years in Africa. She is now in grad school at Columbia, and has left a bunch of boxes in my basement. When she was here for lil’ guys birthday, she encouraged me to read this book, and so I am.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

As interesting as watching paint dry, but...

I am having a lot of anxiety these days. I really didn’t sleep at all last night.

Meanwhile, our money problems persist. One client of mine made out the check to the wrong name. Another sent out two checks by accident, and then cancelled one. Of course, I deposited the wrong check.

I’m sure this is pretty boring to you out in blog land, but it’s what’s on my mind.

Furthermore, BU has told me I should file my FAFSA. But I am confused about my taxes, and of course, I haven’t received my W2s yet. So I am stressed that my chances for financial aid are slipping away daily.

Plus there is all of the stress around getting my boy into day care.

This would be a pretty convenient time to believe in God.

I do have one funny thing to share. I have a second interview with the DOD funded place. And you will never guess what the gentleman’s first name is – Dyke. That’s right. The dyke has an interview with Dyke.

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A million things to do, and I am updating my blog

Blog for Choice was very exciting. I found some new blogs, and was delighted that a couple of new people stopped by.

Also, Mrs. Happy Housewife found her way to my site as well. As you can see from her comments, she is lovely and gracious. Her post reminded me of when my son was just born. My wife would play Sinead O’Connor’s My Darling Child as I breastfed.
I got the pictorial year in review idea from Madd Babies, but I added my own take on it.

Here are some of the lyrics:

My darling child
My darling baby

My darling child
You gave life to me

My darling child
My darling baby

My darling child
You came and saved me

My darling child
My darling baby

My darling child
God gave you to me

Me little ninja
My little dancer

Me little streetfighter
Me little chancer

Me lovely boy
Me lovely babby

My pride and joy
Me little puppy

Monday, January 22, 2007

Why I am Pro-Choice

Blog for Choice Day - January 22, 2007Growing up, my mom’s best friend was from Manchester, England. Carol seemed exotic with that British accent, yet still familiar.

My mom and she would visit nearly every day. They would drink tea, smoke cigarettes, and roar around the house in laughter. She wasn’t religious or particularly conservative, so I am not sure what she thought of my mother’s proclivity for Limbaughesque monologues.

As I have mentioned before on this blog, I was raised in a steep ideological environment. Only Catholics went to heaven. Women who had abortions did so because they were selfish and could not control themselves sexually. Men never stayed with woman after having sex with them, and certainly not after an abortion. I was sent to a Catholic school, and lived in a Catholic neighborhood. The gardens of our neighborhood were graced with statues of the Virgin stepping on a serpent. I was surrounded by people who believed, more or less, the same thing. I never had any reason to doubt what my parents were telling me.

When my parents would go out of town, Carol would baby sit us. She had kids of her own. I am not sure who was taking care of them when she took care of us. I was in junior high when we got to talking one night while my parents were away. We were standing over the kitchen sink while I did the dishes and she smoked. She confided to me that she had an abortion. Actually, I think she told me she had three. There were illegal. She went to a woman who pounded on her stomach until she aborted.

“Don’t tell your mother,” she commanded, “She’ll pray for me.”

Of course I wouldn’t tell my mother. The experience was remarkable. It was the first time in my very controlled environment that I got a glimpse outside of my parents’ reality. Carol wasn’t selfish. She didn’t seem particularly sexual either. Moreover, it was her husband who had impregnated her before they were married.

I’m not saying that I changed my mind about abortion then and there, but it gave me pause. My vision became a bit wider than it had before. Also, it was strange to have a secret from my mother. I kept Carol’s confidence, and never told my mom about it.

Today, there are a host of reasons why I support choice. Mainly, I believe that the anti-abortion position is fundamentally a religious one. It relies on a belief that life begins at conception. However, there is no scientific agreement on that question. The constitution guarantees us separation of church and state, so I don’t think one religious view should constrict other people’s choices. Also, now that I am a parent and know how much it changes your life, I really believe that it needs to be a free and clear choice.

I think the episode with Carol was seminal. I was struck with how physically painful an illegal abortion must be. Somewhere in my indoctrinated brain, it occurred to me that anyone who would agree to something like that must be desperate. The thought flashed across my mind that their might be substantial reasons for wanting to terminate a pregnancy.

Having been brought up in the Pro-life movement, I have respect for people who are anti-choice. However, I am proud of my support for Choice. And I will fight tooth and nail to keep that choice legally available.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

The Happy and the Pissed Off Housewife

First off, I am not mocking you Pissed Off Housewife. I read your posts because I think you’re awesome. AND, it takes more than a Republican voting record and an NRA membership to scare me off. I am from Arizona. However, tell me you are into Precious Moments figurines, and I will start to back away slowly.

Second, by reading POH’s blog, I have a new obsession in my life. This woman:
Mrs. Happy Housewife

Mrs Happy Housewife is my polar opposite, and I find her fascinating. She is a pro-life, Christian Homeschooler who posts pictures of her craft projects and daily schedule. Her schedule is peppered with “tidying up” “daily chores” and “Bible reading”. My schedule is punctuated with watching The View and daily readings of the Anarchist Cookbook.

She has her house separated into zones which she rotates cleaning. She seems interested in Victorian literature.

I kept wondering why I was so drawn to her web site. I even tried to sign up for her members only section, but her web site smelled an imposter and wouldn’t let me.

Then I realized, she reminds me of my mother. In fact, she is exactly like my mother, only my mom was Catholic. One big difference is that my mom didn’t homeschool, but other than that, they are really alike. My mom was pro-life, Republican and anti-feminist. She spent her days organizing the house, the kids, reading Jane Austen and sewing.

So this got me to thinking about my mom who died ten years ago. When I was growing up, my mother was against:
Women who worked outside of the home, abortion, birth control, gun control, Democrats, Protestants, Feminist, Liberals, divorce, sex on television, sex in the movies, sex on the radio, gays and atheists.

She cried uncontrollably when Reagan was shot.

Then after 5 kids and 20 years of marriage, my dad divorced her. You would have thought she would take it hard, but she took to divorce like a fish to water. She got a job and quit going to church. We stopped having a curfew and could watch whatever we wanted on T.V. She was a teacher and she worked in a poor neighborhood. She accepted that two of her daughters were gay. She voted for Clinton, twice. Before she died, she confided to me that she was sure God was woman.

She what is real? Was she really a pro-life Christian woman, or was that an act for my Dad? Did divorce free the real her? Or was a matter of her thinking evolving due to her life circumstances? There was one constant however, to her dying day, her floors were immaculate and her sock drawer organized.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

First Birthday

I have been away from blogging because we had a busy weekend. We had a 1 year party for my little guy. That means dealing with the in laws. Honestly, they are a great family, but they are cut from an entirely different cloth than my “get drunk and let everyone know what you think about them” relatives. They communicate in a waspy code I haven’t yet been able to decipher. They tiptoe around making seemingly mild statements. I later learn that these gentle musings are packed with layers of meaning. For instance, my mother-in-law will say innocuously, “The baby is getting so good at walking.” I later learn from my wife that translates to, “Your son is not wearing appropriate shoes. And why not? Because you don’t have a job and can’t afford them. I know you want to stay home with the baby, but I want a straight daughter. Looks like nobody is going to get what they want.”

I have a hard time navigating this world. I should have paid better attention in English Lit when we were reading Edith Wharton. Part of the reason I have a hard time is that I don’t know when to shut up. And there are a whole host of things that shouldn’t be talked about. My wife forgets that I don’t speak Wasp, and forgets to warn me not to talk about certain things. For instance, law school. Apparently, we were supposed to keep my law school attendance a secret until I graduated. Boy, wouldn’t they have been surprise.

Another secret? Chili. My wife and I love my chili. I was brought up in the Southwest, and I can make a bowl of chili. But my father in law has a recipe as well. Its heart healthy, and doesn’t taste at all like it should. I’m sorry, but if there is no bacon grease or beef, you don’t have chili. You have some sort of northeastern bean stew. So when I was talking to my mother in law about the party, she asked me what we were serving.

“Cold cuts,” I said, “oh, and chili.”
“We can bring the chili,” she said.
“That’s ok. We can make it here.”
“Everybody loves Warren’s chili.”

And I knew I had lost.

“Why did you tell her we were having chili?” my wife asked.
“I didn’t know it was a secret.”
“Now we have to have their chili.”
“I just want to be able to talk to them honestly. You know, tell them we prefer our chili.”
“Sorry, it’s complicated.” Translation: “My mother wants a straight daughter, and she’s not going to get that any more than you are going to get to eat your own chili. Looks like nobody is going to get what they want.”

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Figure it out

My life has become a Rubriks cube, of sorts. If one part of my life lines up, then all the other sides get jumbled.

Right now I am not working, and am able to spend a lot of time with my son. That makes me happy. However, this has been accompanied by a lot of hand wringing over money. My wife is a dyke of the Waspish variety, and it is not like her to come out and say what she thinks. So every month, I hear some variation of, “I just wanted to let you know that we aren’t going to be able to pay all of our bills this month.” I have been married long enough to know that means, “Would you go out and get a job already, you’re KILLING me.”

If I get a job in my old industry, it would probably solve our financial problems, BUT it means working long hours. I won’t be able to see my son much, and that’s not ok. If I get a part time job, I will make less money, and I am not sure the expense of daycare would be justified. However, if I don’t work at all, we continue to have financial problems. See what I mean? I can’t get the situation to work!

I was so desperate that I actually called up my last employer to inquire about getting my job back. This is the job where I dragged my humongous, pregnant belly out the door, spitting and screaming, head turning a 180, spewing venom. I was a little pissed because I was pregnant, and they were doing construction on the building. I was genuinely afraid of lead and asbestos, and maybe being a little dramatic for affect. At any rate, they wouldn’t hire me back. Go figure.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

First Year Check Up

My tough guy didn't even cry when he got his shots! He doesn't get his stoicism from me. Here he is with the pediatrician.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


There is something whacked about blogger today. Half my template is gone and Madd Babies is totally MIA.

BTW, pissed off housewife, I put your link up in my blog roll. I am a little nervous that you might piss off some of my readers. I was worried about that with Tricia Shore's Comic Mom's blog as well.

I guess this is a good of time as any to say that I don't agree with everything that is said in the blogs that I have linked. Actually, I almost completly disagree with everything that Comic Mom has to say. However, all of the blogs in my links are blogs that make me think, and that I visit nearly every day. The only time I take off a blog is if it appears that the it has been discontinued (I am looking at you Left O Center).

You, gentle reader, can visit them and make up your own mind.

Spiritual Beliefs other mumbo jumbo

Over the last couple of months, I have met more than one person who tagged themselves as spiritual. It irritates me. Probably because I haven’t quite come to terms with my own beliefs, and the spiritual moniker strikes me as a little presumptuous. I think the term spiritual should come with some sacrifice. Go walk around with a hair shirt and live in a cave, and then maybe.

At the same time, I have felt pressure to come to terms with God. I have a kid, and I am going to have to tell him something. Right now, my religious/spiritual beliefs are this mixed bag of wishy washy mumbo jumbo musings. It would be a whole lot easier if I were religious. However, I can’t stand the idea of telling him something I don’t 100% believe in.

When I was growing up, I desperately wanted to be a nun. This strikes some people as odd, but in my Catholic neighborhood, the nuns had the most exciting lives around. They went off on missions to places like Africa and Australia. I contrasted that to the women in my neighborhood that had 8 kids and were beaten on Saturday nights. Joining a convent sounded pretty good.

Alcoholism runs in my family, and by the time I was in high school, I had developed a fine case of it. Along with that, I became, how shall we say this, sexually adventuresome. The convent idea was becoming less viable.

By the time I hit my twenties, I was very sick from drugs and alcohol and entered recovery. By this time, I had no beliefs at all. I wasn’t an atheist. I just didn’t think the question was really important. I was told to pray for a day of sobriety in the morning, and say a prayer of gratitude at night. I was told that it didn’t matter if I believed it or not, to just do it. Remarkably, this worked. I haven’t had a drink or a drug in ten years.

You would think this would be the end of it, but yet, the doubt had never completely vanished from my mind. I was raised Christian, and the whole drama, the virgin birth, the miracles, the rising from the dead, just seem so unlikely.

However, I am a foxhole believer. When things get tough in my life, I do revert back to my childhood faith. I have to admit that things have always worked out, the last Con Con not withstanding.

So where does this leave me? And how do I communicate to my boy that there may be a God, and if there is, surely it is the most important fact of our existence. However, it’s hard to know?

When I was newly sober, an old timer said to me that it isn’t so important whether there is a God or not. What is important is my willingness to believe. I think that this is one of the most profound things I have ever heard. Maybe it’s not so important whether or not Jesus was the Savior, as the idea that we can be Saved.

And these are the two who saved me.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Speaking of staying alive

One of my wife’s favorite uncles is in the hospital. He had a heart attack. Normally, I would be pretty upset about this. However, after last week’s Con Con, I decided to go over to Know Thy to see if I knew anyone who had signed the petition to ban gay marriage. I hadn’t really thought through what I would do with the information. And wouldn’t you know it, this man who had always been so kind to us, had come to our wedding and wished us well, had signed the petition. Its true that there has been some fraudulent activity. But I talked about it with my wife, and she thinks he probably did sign it.

I was going to confront him on it, but then he had triple bypass surgery. Even my wife says that what he gets for signing that petition.

Staying alive

After little guy hit his first birthday, more than one person said to me, “Congratulations – you have made it for a whole year without killing your baby!” I thought it too. On Friday morning, I mused, “how bad of mothers could we be, he’s still alive.” In fact, I think keeping your baby alive is one of the main skill sets of being a mom. And it’s not a sure thing either.

It starts in your pregnancy when you start reading those “What to expect books”. They should really be called, “Everything that could possibly go wrong.” I used to be a girl who smoked two packs of cigarettes a day, and could stay up for days at a time doing shots. Suddenly, I was terrified of brie.

Once the baby is born, there is the scariest of all possibilities – SIDS. You make it past the first six months, and you feel a little bit better. Maybe you don't have to check their breathing every ten minutes. Then they start moving around, and the potential for fatal accidents is increased. It took a long time to get it through my head that my little guy has no reasoning abilities. I thought he would stop crawling at the edge of a bed, because obviously there was no bed there. There have been a few trips to the doctors.

So through luck, wisdom and a hard head, we are all still alive. I am grateful.

It is getting harder to take pictures of him, because as soon as he sees the camera, he tries to grab it.

But what’s more fun than a camera? A stove, of course.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Thursday, January 04, 2007

This time – a year ago today

I was in the outpatient maternity ward. I had been put on bed rest because of preeclampsia. I was having my blood drawn every few days. On this particular day, the doctor came in and said that my protein levels were abnormal. She said I had three choices: 1. Just wait to have the baby naturally 2. Have the baby tonight (induction) 3. Have the baby tomorrow (induction)

So I said, “If I were to wait to have the baby naturally…”
She cut in, “That’s not a good choice.”
I said, “Ok. If I were to have the baby tonight….”
The nurse cut in, “That’s not good choice. You will be up all night in labor. Why don’t you go home, get some sleep and have the baby in the morning.”

So I didn’t really have a choice, after all. We went home, I didn’t sleep AT ALL, and the baby kicked all night. I couldn’t wait to meet him.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Didn't pray hard enough

Guess we will have to see what happens next legislative session.

My thanks to Blue Mass Group for Blogging the convention. Bay Windows kept crashing, so your blog was the only way to follow what was happening.

Con Con Confusing

I am very confused about what is happening at the Constitutional Convention. I thought we were dead in the water. Now it looks like they took a vote to reconsider the last vote.

This is embarassing, but I actually am praying this ammendment dies. Got down on my hands and knees and prayed. I know the other side is praying too, but I am asking God to please, listen to me. Don't listen to them, their butt bags.

(I assume this is theologically indefensible, but I have a pretty conflicted relationship with God. He is pretty used to this from me.)

Monday, January 01, 2007

Eve of the last day of the legislative session

I am bracing myself for bad news. They only need 50 legislators to approve it. Then they vote on it one more year, and if it passes, it goes on the ballot. It will be a couple of more years of campaigning to keep it from becoming law. A couple more years of treading through attacks on my family.

The baby’s godmothers wanted me and the kid to show up at the state house tomorrow. I didn’t like the idea at all. It brings out all of the homophobes, and if they lose, I think they could become hostile. I know that he is too young to understand, but I didn’t want him exposed to that. Right now, there is nothing in his consciousness about hate. He has no idea that people hate his family. I am sure someday we will have to deal with it. Right now, I just want his mind free from it for as long as possible.

Good night sleep tight

My son woke up after I had put him to bed. I was holding him in the dark, and he was making these soft cooing and singing noises trying to get back to sleep. It was so sweet, and I really felt like a mother. He laid his head on my shoulder and closed his eyes, but if I put him in the crib, he would scream. It reminded me of how much I like being physically close to my mother when she was alive, even though she wasn’t the cuddly type. Even when she was dying, my sisters and I would climb in the hospital bed just to be near her.

I was talking to a friend of mine about him. I wondered out loud when he would want to sleep by himself and not with us. She laughed and said that she was 41 and still wanted to sleep with her mother. She had plastic surgery and her mother was staying with her. They had to share a bed and she was thrilled. She said her mom had a “mommy smell”. Apparently, her mother smells like Nantucket (yes, we are talking about a well off family). She was like “Mommy!” I guess her mother was a little freaked out by her enthusiasm. Her mother said, “Honey, I got to go put on some lipstick.” And got out of bed.