Monday, November 29, 2004

Happy Birthday!

To my two brothers. They're 60 years old today.

Imagine that in dog years.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

A Barbie iPod?

One of our best gay-male-friends (I'll call him Male-Role-Model #1 or MRM1 for short) lives vicariously through Maggie.

And she adores him. Whenever we are all together (MRM1 is in a 14 year relationship with Male-Role-Model#2) he devotes all of his attention to her. They play Barbies together and he often paints her toenails the color of her choice.

For his birthday last year we even gave him a Barbie Townhouse. (MRM2 frantically worried about where to store the monstrosity. The townhouse, in all of its pink plastic glory, was an eyesore in their fastidious apartment with its Room and Board attitude. It came as no surprise to us, the next time we were over and Maggie requested some Townhouse playtime, that MRM1 was gone for several conspicuous minutes in the process of fetching it from some dark, far-away cupboard, deep in their guest-room closet).

Anyway, MRM1 called the other night to report his recent hilarious Maggie observations after an evening spent together as BioMom and I were otherwise occupied with our sordid careers.

MRM1: She actually said: "When Mom goes maybe we can have some ice cream action"! Can you believe that? Ice cream action!

(Italics in original.)

MRM1: Then, when I was putting her to bed, I said to her "Well, I guess I'll have to get you something for Christmas. What do you want?' And she said: "A Barbie iPod!" Can you believe that? A Barbie iPod? If I can't buy a Barbie iPod, I'll figure out how to make a Barbie iPod. With stickers or something.

He was joking of course. Not about the Barbies or the stickers, but about a four-year-old asking for a $400 gift.

Not that he didn't yearn to give it to her. MRM1 has an addictive penchant for technology. That and an addiction to pleasing Maggie.

In today's New York Times article "Babes in a Grown-up Toyland" author Benedict Carey discusses how companies are marketing video games and iPods toward increasingly young consumers.

"A recent Kaiser Family Foundation survey found that half of all 4- to 6-year olds have played video games, a quarter of them regularly. Game makers are aggressively marketing to children as young as 3, while researchers report what parents already know: that children as young as 8 and 9 are asking for adult toys, like cellphones and iPods, rather than stuffed animals or toy trucks."

The jury is out on the long-term effects of technology in kids toys. One one hand some researchers argue that kids do not develop strong imaginations without their dolls and Erector sets (clearly those researchers haven't seen the stuff I've seen on the effects of Barbie's dimensions on young girl's psyches).

Young children who have active imaginary lives tend to be adept reasoning about unknown situations and taking on another's perspective, studies suggest. 'I think there are deep continuities between the functioning of the imagination in early childhood and its functioning later,' Dr. Paul L. Harris, a psychologist at Harvard and author of 'The Work of the Imagination,' wrote in an e-mail.

On the other hand, such toys could help kids in their future endeavors. Technology is a part of nearly any career. As I write this, BioMom and I are literally sitting next to each other, completely absorbed in our respective laptops.

Pathetic, I know.

In any case, BioMom has already put the kibosh on getting a game cube for Christmas. Maggie couldn't care less. Activating her imagination is not on my 'to-do' list as she is virtually always in imaginary land.

Its me who mourns the game cube. I long for those days of yore with my quarters stacked up on the Donkey Kong game, waiting for my chance at breaking into the top three high scores. (Thanks to A Random Walk for the link).

Saturday, November 27, 2004

The Babysitter

BioMom and I are actually going out on the town tonight!

We've hired a newly sitterified kid to do the kid-watching for a us for a few hours.

This kid is really interesting (for lots of reasons other than what I'm about to say). His parents are heterosexual (that is to say that he has a mom and a dad), however, while his background is different from our Four-Year-Old's, his experience is similar. His parents are extremely liberal and have exposed him to all sorts of families from early on. For example, his parents hosted a dear friend in their home during his struggle with AIDS.

At one point in his early years in defending his desire to eat at McDonalds despite the fact that his mother is vegitarian, he claimed that he was a "bi-vegitarian."

Is that as opposed to a bi-carnivor?

Upon entering the public school school system, he was actually surprised to find out that there were more families like his: with a mom and a dad!

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Its Not Always Rainbows and Butterflies

Today Cousin has the day off. After about a gallon of coffee, she packs up the two kidlets (3 and almost 1) into the Jeep for some pre-Thanksgiving errands.

They pass a car with a rainbow sticker.

Cousin's Boy:Let's get a rainbow for our car!

This is only funny if you know a little background about Cousin and I.

We have always had a hearty laugh at the rainbow stickers. (For a little more on my opinion about these bumper stickers and others, see my post "Bumper to Bumper" on A Random Walk, November 10th). Once on a trip to Manhattan we saw an Asian male driving a Honda Accord that was literally covered with lesbian propaganda; a rainbow sticker, an Equality sign (the Human Rights Campaign's logo), and various stickers claiming the driver's alumnus organization (you guessed it... Smith College). Anyway, the only reason the man's national origin comes into the story is that we created an entire fictionalized account for how he had come to the point of driving this clearly previously-owned-by-a-lesbian automobile. Maybe he didn't know those cultural cues? Maybe he didn't realize that Smith was an all-women's college? Maybe he didn't put two and two together and realize that the seller was a lesbian who felt the need publicly announce her sexual-orientation-and-therefore-political views through the vehicle of her vehicle. Maybe he figured, "I, too, like girls! And heck! This car's a good deal!"... Maybe he just hadn't gotten around to taking the stickers off? Maybe his daughter or wife was a lesbian?...

We howled all the way to Penn Station!

The other reason its funny is that when we're together, we often are mistaken as a couple. And we never dispute the stranger's misunderstanding. The latest occurrence of this phenomenon was this past summer at REI. (Okay, okay, not a good test-case for this phenomenon given that it is probably the second leading retailer to lesbians aside from Home Depot).

I was holding the baby and our checkout gal said:
Are you having fun wif your two mommies?

(imagine Dori's voice in Finding Nemo "Mister Grumpy Gills!")

Cousin and I nearly burst out laughing.

I think I know what to get them for Christmas!

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Incredibly Innocuous Or Incredibly Inappropriate?

While parenting a girl in this country, it is hard not to obsess about the messages being sent to her about body image and weight. I'm sure you've heard all of the feminist rants about Barbie and her impossible-to-attain measurements (one estimate gauged the vital statistics as 36-18-33).

The most recent barrage of media body propaganda has come from my beloved Incredibles. Maggie came home last week after a trip to McDonald's* with Gramma hauling the remains of the kid-luring (and arguably falsely advertised) Happy Meal. This month's 'treasure' features plastic Incredible's characters and game cards. On the cards, you can read about each character including their specific super-powers as well as their height and weight.

The two women in the movie are outrageously thin.

My newest cartoon crush, 'Elastigirl' is purportedly 5'8" weighing in at 135. Furthermore, it is a wonder that her daughter, Violet, can even stand up, let alone perform any superpowers as she is a whopping 5'4" and 85 pounds.

While Elastigirl is thin, she is within normal range according to one Body Mass Index Website, as well as by WeightWatcher's standards (which roughly correspond to the BMI tables).

However, according to the same standards, Violet is hideously under-weight. Her BMI is 14.6 with categories as follows:

Underweight = <18.5
Normal weight = 18.5-24.9
Overweight = 25-29.9
Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater

If Violet doesn't start eating at McDonald's soon, she'll never menstruate and we can probably kiss a sequel good-bye (let alone hearing the pitter-patter of little Violets on the Big Screen).

You're probably saying: "It's just a doll/cartoon for Pete's sake! Lighten up!"

And thinking to yourself: GEEESCH! Feminists DON'T have a sense of humor!

But all these images do translate into a social problem. One piece of evidence is that it is estimated that 25% of college women experience anorexia.

For now Maggie seems to be able to absorb our strange culture relatively unscathed. While she has a few inherited Barbies, she regularly asks for seconds on ice cream. I just hope we can counteract all if this media tripe and encourage her to love her body in whatever form it grows up to be.

*Note that even prior to the release of Supersize Me McDonald's has been a battle with the four-year-old. Like most kids, she learned to recognize the brand name at an early age and associated that with toys and a supposedly kid-friendly atmosphere. As it stands, she only gets to go there on special occasions with Grandma and Grandpa. As a reflection of our on-going battle, she came home after one visit to the fast-food paragon to say that after eating there Grandpa was, in fact, not "big as a house." Lesson learned in watching what you say around the little parrot. Apparently she heard me say that I'd be as big as a house were I to eat there.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Baseball, Apple Pie, The Fourth of July, and Thanksgiving

On topics like gay marriage and parenting, I find myself (and observe others) making the argument that "gay people are just like everyone else." In a letter to our local Tribune's editor in response to a particularly homophobic letter about gay marriage last year I wrote:

Committed gay and lesbian couples in the United States are not unlike the rest of the world's couples. They love, they fight, they are employed, they buy houses and plant flowers, they contribute to the GDP, they have kids, they don't have kids, they celebrate 50th wedding anniversaries, and they split up after 3 years. They are Americans and they deserve not only the same legal benefits as heterosexual married couples, but also the support and stability of our long-held social customs like marriage--whatever we decide to call it.

The Human Rights Campaign (a very mainstream political action group for glbt rights) takes the same position: we are just like you, so we should get the same rights as you.

This sort of argument bugs many glbt activists and it sometimes gets to me as well. In particular, some argue that the HRC depicts all glbt people as upper-middle-class, highly-educated white people with bourgeois goals like attempting to get the right to marry. They claim that this organization does not come close to representing the diversity within this minority group or, therefore, its needs. Others argue that the organization is particularly materialist. The 2000 march on Washington was followed by a huge street fair which charged people $10 upon entry. The message seemed to say "I'm gay and I consume!" (I found a wristband on the street thereby subverting the dominant paradigm... Of course, my desire to enter was purely on grounds of research and observation.) Inside you could buy all-things-rainbow ranging from gay-themed dvd's and dining guides, to dog leashes to, well, I'll let your imaginations fill in the blank.

The fact is we are not "just like you". We face discrimination in the workplace, at home, in our communities and sometimes within our families. That can create instability in our relationships and our personal lives. One clear example of a result of such discrimination and social scorn is that gay teens, have a much higher suicide rate than other teens.

Having said all of this, our family is roasting a huge turkey this week, with all the associated carbohydrates. I guess we're really not that different.

Friday, November 19, 2004

A Resource for ACGPs

Abigail Garner (who spoke at our University a few years ago) is a very brave young woman who grew up with a gay father. She decided to start an organization that provides resources, and connections for other Adult Children of Gay Parents. Her Website Families Like Mine has a wealth of information and resources.

Thanks Abigail.

Assessment: How do ACLP or "Queer Spawn" Turn Out?

So this is the question of the hour when considering this new social phenomenon*of glbt folks rearing kids. The Vatican publicly noted in 2002 that gay parents are performing a 'violence to children'.

Fortunately, there has been quite a bit of research performed on the subject:
The American Psychological Association claims that there is no scientific proof that glbt parents do any harm to children. On the APA Website, Charlotte Patterson has written a summary of the research along with an annotated bibliography.

Another cite developed out of concern with Florida's adoption policy provides more background as well as another review of existing studies.

The most interesting possible problem from my perspective was mentioned in the New York Time's article and that is that the kids might feel more stress at school or be more likely to take homophobic comments seriously than their heterosexually parented counterparts. That article said that the kids were more likely to try to protect their parents by keeping the comments to themselves. It seems to me that this is more an issue for society than because the parents are somehow doing violence to their kids.

More to come on "living in two worlds."

*Many authors have observed a recent increase in childbearing among lesbians—the
"lesbian baby boom" (Mitchell, 1996; Patterson, 1992, 1994a, 1995a; Patterson, Hurt, and Mason, in press; Polikoff, 1990; Riley, 1988; Tasker and Golombok, 1991; Weston, 1991).

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Price Discrimination

In economics, the practice of price discrimination occurs if a seller charges different prices for the same product that are not justified by cost differences (Tucker, 2003: 210).

In order for this to occur, three factors must be in place:
First, the seller must have some control over the market price (i.e. have some monopoly power (be the only provider of the good or service, or one of a few providers); second, the seller must be able to distinguish between consumers willing to pay different prices; third, it must be impossible or too costly for customers to engage in arbitrage (the practice of earning a profit by buying a good at a low price and reselling the good at a higher price).

There are loads of examples in the real world of price discrimination. One is that airlines charge "business travellers" more money for their tickets. How do they do this? Well, by offering lower priced flights to people willing to stay over on a Saturday night, they presumably weed out business travellers who want to get home for the weekend.

As it turns out, the said sperm bank in the previous post also practices price discrimination. They charge $195 per sample for most donors and $235 per sample of their "professional" donors. Professional donors are "Donors who have completed or are completing a Professional Degree i.e. Medical, Dental, Optometry, Law, MBA., Ph.D., etc."

While "shopping" it is difficult to resist purchasing the "professional's" sperm. Heck, you want a smart kid, don't you?

Upon closer examination, however, this seems rather preposterous for several reasons. Firstly, you have the self-selection issue. Many of the donors are poor college kids. They donate because they need the money. According to the Bank's own literature: "All of our donors are high school graduates with some post-high school level education. Our Semen Donor Catalog, Donor Profiles or Donor Portfolios offer specific levels of education. A majority of our donors are college students and professional men." So its not that the non-professional are a bunch of homeless men in need of a little cashola for their next pint. Its just that the guys are too young to have even gone on to professional school.

Secondly, if this good were truly priced in an efficient way, you would expect the cost to be linked to productivity. The Bank has a lot of information about the productivity of this good. It is measured in various ways from the number of sperm per sample, to the motility of the sperm, to the ultimate outcome: the number of pregnancies resulting from this sperm. Interestingly, these productivity variables do not seem to factor into the cost.

Taggert over at A Random Walk hypothesized that the cost difference is based on the opportunity cost of the donor. "Opportunity cost" is the "best alternative sacrificed for a chosen alternative." O.k. what the heck does that mean? That means that in order to entice the professionals to take time out of their busy (and more lucrative) schedules, the Bank will need to offer them more money for an hour or so of their time than they would need to offer the college kids.

The problem with that is that as far as I can tell, donors don't get paid different rates.

It seems that the markup is due nearly entirely to the technology of cryogenics. Not productivity however measured.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

There's a Market for Everything

I sent my intro to microeconomics students the following link as an example of markets and how markets spread to everything.

In considering markets, Karl Marx foresaw the effects of gobalization as markets spread across the globe like wildfire. In speaking of the growth of markets and capitalism, Marx asserted that the

[C]onstant revolutionizing of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation distinguish the bourgeois epoch from all earlier ones. All fixed, fast frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away, all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned… (Marx and Engels, 1848, 1983).

Speaking of markets...

Today BioMom ordered sperm off of the Internet.

I wonder what my students would think about that.

In deciding which donor to use, we narrowed it down based on a few obvious criteria as well as the desire for a healthy mix of genomes. It is a bit awkward, however, given the limited number of "banks" providing the service. Some friends of ours, for example, casually mentioned that their donor was an economist. Being an economist myself, I had noticed the economist (not surprisingly given the demographic, they, apparently, had similar criteria in mind in choosing their donor). Aside from not wanting potentially two economists in the family (imagine the dinner table conversation!), we wouldn't want to choose the same donor as our friends.

What a strange world we live in.

When thinking about this subject, its hard not to get existential. Of course, many heterosexual couples use sperm banks in their attempt to conceive, but its hard not to personally address that nagging question:

Is this natural?

Of course, natural is a subjective term but its hard not to wonder what the creator (God, Abba, Budda, Mohammed, whoever) had in mind when he/she created couples that cannot procreate. Is that some sort of sign? Are we using science toward a productive and appropriate end? Do the ends justify the means?

I give BioMom the green flag on choosing the actual donor (out of our Final Four). Today she employed the opinions of a coworker in making her final decision.

Coworker: If you can have Brad Pitt [apparently one donor was described as looking like the famous actor] its a no brainer!!!

Let's hope Brad's swimmers survived the long winter.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Letter to the Editor (not accepted)

In my newly overturned leaf of optimism, I am going to assume that the following letter to the editor of the New York Times regarding the article referred to in previous posts was simply too long (as opposed to poorly worded or not accepted due to its tone). I will reiterate my argument (in hopefully better ways) in later posts.

In the article Growing Up With Mom and Mom, author Susan Dominus wasted a great opportunity to deeply and analytically probe the issue of how adult children of gay parents (ACGP hereafter) turn out. While Dominus mentions the literature and brushes over several interesting themes, she squanders the forum and wastes our time by never really making a point or really highlighting what's interesting about this newly emerging phenomenon.

As a lesbian parent of a 4 year old (she would correct me: four and one-half), I think the article touches on, but misses the main point on at least three issues. First, the article (not unlike most research that has been performed on the subject) focuses on the effects of the gay parents on the children rather than the effect of a homophobic society on the children. In other words, it is a social disease. From the article, it seems that one factor that makes ACGP different is not so much that they have gay or lesbian parents, but that they face homophobia more intimately and at a younger age than their heterosexually-parented counterparts. As such, they seem to feel compelled to protect their parents by not telling them about homophobic comments that they received or other things that they experience. This seems to be a factor that could put undue stress on kids, but has more to do with society than the parent's influence.

Second, the author focuses on the scanty research (25 lesbian couples! Any statistician worth his salt would say that you need a sample of at least 40 to make any meaningful generalizations) that claims that ACGPs are more likely to explore their own sexuality and therefore may be more likely to be homosexual than other kids. Of course, this research does not attempt to tease out other biological and social factors that might make kids more likely to explore their sexuality (like being the first generation to see Ellen come out on national tv!). Also, it begs why we even ask this question when most gay people were spawned from heterosexual parents in the first place. If we think that gay parents are likely to rear gay kids then where did gay people come from to begin with? This seems like a ridiculous line of thought.

Lastly, the article discusses the difficulty that ACGPs face living in two worlds: the heterosexual world and the homosexual world. "You know, I feel like I'm somewhere in between queer and straight culture, wedged in this strange place, this lonely place, Ry told me. I can relate to both cultures, but sometimes I feel like I'm not belonging to either".

This is obviously not a generalizable observation and depends on how involved the parents are in the gay community and how much the gay parents emphasize their sexuality and its relationship to their community and family. Our family has both gay and straight friends alike in near the proportion that they exist in the world. And while we do not shy away from the issue (we are both completely out in every aspect of our lives), we do not focus on it either. We hope that our daughter will grow up happy, tolerant and strong in herself. And that her parent's sexuality will be but one small aspect of her amazing self.

Big Truth and Little Truth

I guess it will come to no surprise that I was the only person on the panel doubting his or her belifs. I shouldn't say only one. BioMom and I have endless discussions about what it means to be Catholic and religious, and spiritual. But, effectively, she seems to somehow get more out of Catholocism than I do, and well, she has more of a strong, positive base than I do.

Maybe its just that she is able to be more optimistic than I. See the glass as half full, as it were.

Seeing the half-empty part, I focused on the less-than-supportive few of the rather huge audience.

When we got there, the front row was filled with a group from Catholic Parents Online praying the rosary (presumably for us sinners). While their Website seems fairly innocuous, they are a strong anti-glbt group pushing the Vatican to desist support to catholic glbt groups and progressive churches in the area.

We each said our little spiel. A gay may couple who had gotten married in 1986 was all "HUAH" (in Westpoint language) about the church. BioMom talked about her extensive Catholic background (see previous post). I didn't know this but at one time ALL of her aunts were nuns.

Then there was me. I grew up in Omaha Nebraska in a strong catholic family. I was the first of four kids to not go to catholic school. One of my brothers was a Christian Brother for 15 years before he came out and eventually escaped to more politically aesthetic ground in the Episcopalian Church. I recalled naively exploring the issue of being gay in the Catholic Church when I was coming out in college. I sought council from our family priest Fr. Quinn and my brother. My brother eloquently told the Church's position through a metaphor: The church considers you an Eagle, but you can't fly.

Of course, afterwards, the CPO members flocked to the doubter (BioMom expertly focused her attention on the more supporting people coming up to us after the talk while I got cornered by the CPO group).

Their leader implored that I seek The Truth.

That implies that I am seeking The Truth.

That I even believe in A Truth.

That's the trouble with being an academic: its hard to even talk to such fundamentalist-faith-based people. In my opinion, the church is a political entity and a social construction. The fact that there is a Vatican II implies that humans felt that something needed to be changed.

Its like talking to a wall though as these people think that any change is divine providence.

In an attempt to see the event through BioMom's lenses, I recognize the strength of the more supportive group; also involved in their own struggle with the Church. One woman, the mother of a gay man asked if she was betraying her son by remaining in the Catholic Church. She admitted that she comes and goes, waxing and waning in her faith with her personal struggle.

The room was also filled with people wearing anti-war buttons and other symbols of social justice.

If I can hope for anything, it is to learn from BioMom and be able to share in this strong, but struggling community rather than focusing on the ever-increasing fundamentalist mini-majority in this country.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Isn't it Ironic?: Part One

Tonight BioMom and I are going to be panel members on the topic of homosexuality and Catholocism at some crazy-liberal catholic church.

I don't know how I get myself into this stuff.

BioMom seems to be at the forefront of this particular social movement as she is committed to sending Maggie to catholic school (!?!). As this blog will show, this is one major topic of conversation whithin our little alternative family. BioMom grew up Catholic herself and attended catholic school all the way through college (she would have attended a catholic law school had her LSAT been higher).

Anyway, after reading a Newsweek on the topic of "mean girls" that was quite popular a few years back, I was persuaded (if not entirely convinced) that participation in a religious group helped teenage girls to navigate their way through adolescence without doing themselves (or their peers and parents) too much damage. Since that time BioMom has been in search of that elusive thing: the liberal parish (and by 'liberal' I mean one that would openly accept gay and lesbian individuals) with a corresponding school. Due to that pesky economic law of scarcity, few churches have the money to have both an active social justice element and a school. So, the liberal churches tend to focus on the social justice arm. Alas.

BioMom has actively been interviewing the principles of various schools pointedly asking: "At your school, will Maggie be told that her family was created in the image of God?"... wow. She has guts. One story she likes to tell (repeatedly) is of one principle who's eyes literally bugged out in response to the question. That has lead us to believe that few catholic lesbian and gay parents actually send their kids to catholic school. Hence the pioneering aspect of this project.

Anyway, back to tonight. A few months ago I got a call from someone asking us to do this. Basically come and talk about our experience with the church. (Of course, I never actually expected that November 15th would arrive, assuming that the world would somehow end November 2nd.) I admitted my relatively ginormous reservations. BioMom, on the other hand, treats the church like a mediocre cafeteria plan; picking and choosing the beliefs that suit her while ignoring any, say, major political, social, or emotional inconsistencies.

I'll let you know how it all goes.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Girls Can't Marry Other Girls

Here's a story I wrote about gay marriage called "Girls Can't Marry Other Girls".

Background: The New York Times' Piece

Growing Up With Mom and Mom by Susan Dominus.

Just don't call me "late for dinner"

You might be wondering about the URL of this blog.

On the way to her new preschool this year Maggie pointed out a cyclist riding around Lake Harriet. She exclaims: "Look at the biker! She looks like Lisa!"
BioMom: "Yeah! And he even has a bag like Lisa's!"

They travelled on quietly.
About half way around the lake:
Maggie: "I call her John."
BioMom: "Who do you call John?"
Maggie: "Lisa."
BioMom: "Why do you call her John?"
Maggie: "Because she's my dad."

Clearly there's cognitive dissonance going on here. I guess I'm butchy in an urban-thirty-something sort of way. But not manly. I hate football and have an embarrasingly small tool collection (literally one screwdriver and a couple of hammers).

The transition to the new school had been noticeable. Maggie had regressed somewhat in the peeing-her-pants arena (more blogs to come on that, I'm sure. Conversations about potty training do wonders for the love life) and her exhaustion by 5 p.m. was palpable.

I figure she's negotiating a new environment. Gauging other kids' reactions to having two women pick her up from school rather than the usual mom/dad set. I imagine kids saying "Who's that? Is that your dad?" As far as I'm concerned she can call me whatever she wants. I'm lucky to have been called at all.

What This Blog is All About

Consider the planning necessary for two women to have a baby. . . How can you ever really know if you are "ready"? (I have always been perversely jealous of what I call the "oops!" factor.) And because I had never been in a successful relationship, this seemed like an even more enormous barrier to entry into parenthood. If pressed, I remember saying something like: maybe I'll meet someone who already has a kid! In fact, during my last year or so in graduate school, I remember perusing the blade and finding an ad to which i seriously considered responding for a woman-with-child, written by her friends.

I suppose life does this sort of thing purposefully to us, somehow giving us glimpses of insight into the next chapter.

I met Biomom when our now eldest was 16 months old and started this blog in November of 2004. Here is a clip from the introduction that I wrote then:

"While I have been actively parenting a precocious four-and-one-half-year-old-boy-crazy-only-pink-wearing-cinderella-watching-girlie-girl for the past three years, and writing intermittently about the experience, i only felt the need to 'go public' after the New York Times' piece "Growing up with mom and mom" (10/24/04) missed the point (and, well, the whole [2004] election/moral values thing)."

Since then, Biomom and I took our own fertility journey with the hopes of adding a sibling to the family. After one miscarriage and too many months of trying, she got pregnant in the spring of 2005 and she gave birth to a generous 9lb, 3oz baby boy that December.

This blog is about opening up dialogue and hopefully creating a better world for our two kids: future adult children of lesbian parents (ALCP). And the hope that they won't need too much therapy.

My posts will focus on my perspective of parenting: the non-biological mom--or, as coined by other bloggers like me: the "lesbian dad" or the "other mother" just to name a few. In his memoir Paris to the Moon, Adam Gopnik justifies his subject (the personal experience of parenting as an expatriate) by saying "yet since raising a kid is the one nearly universal thing people do, and since doing it in foreign parts is the one time when you get to see most clearly all the bits of doing it that aren't universal--that are inflected and shaped by the local geography and mood and playground equipment--it is in its way, I hope, still a not entirely interior subject."

This topic is similar in that my "project" of parenting is not unlike anyone else's except that our 'foreign parts' aren't geographical in nature. We're not in Paris, but sometimes I feel like I'm on the moon.

The "lesbian baby boom" (coined by Arnup (1998) and later expanded upon by Tulchinsky (1999) and Patterson (1995)) is a legitimate phenomenon and worth careful consideration. I want to think about possible differences between adult children of lesbian and gay parents and their heterosexual counterparts: their experience and the results of this relatively new type of family. I will also focus on differences that we face as parents who are members of a minority group that faces some degree of degradation in our society. My personal perspective is even more unique because i am not the biological parent, which brings on its own set of quirks and idiosyncrasies. What may be surprising is the degree to which the whole thing isn't any different than a 'leave it to beaver' episode sans the clean home with the dinner-on-the-table (oh, and the bepearled-skirted wife serving the meal. Alas.).

I will also digress. You will see blogs on the humdrums of my life; writing papers, rewriting papers, re-rewriting papers, grading student papers, feeding my cats, reacting to popular culture, political rants, and whatever else comes to mind. Again, quoting Gopnik "what then, the journalist and scholar ask tetchily, what then is exactly the vice of the comic-sentimental essayist? It is of course to believe that all experience and history can be reduced to him, or his near relations, and the only apology i can make is that for him in this case experience and history and life were not so much reduced as all mixed up, and, scrambled together, they at least become a subject. The essayist dreams of being a prism, through which other light passes, and fears ending up merely as a mirror, showing the same old face. He has only his self to show and only himself to blame if it doesn't show up well" (p. 15).

Where to start?

The very beginning.

Arnup, k. 1999 "does the word lesbian mean anything to you?" lesbians raising daughters. In s. Abbey & a. O'reilly (eds.), redefining motherhood: changing identities and patterns (pp. 59-68). Toronto: second story press.
Gopnik, adam. 2000. Paris to the moon. Random house trade paperbacks: new york.
Patterson, c. J. 1995. Lesbian mothers, gay fathers, and their children. In a. R. D'augelli & c. J. Patterson (eds.), lesbian, gay, and bisexual identities over the lifespan (pp. 262-292). New york: oxford university press.
Tulchinsky, k. X. (1999, may 8). Two moms, better than one? Staking claim to mother's day: once we decided which one of us would bear the child, our little family adventure was underway. Vancouver sun, pp. E5. Retrieved august 21, 2000 from the world wide web: