Friday, June 30, 2006

Vacation All I Ever Wanted

So the SYO and Big have the greatest grandma.

And she doesn't even know the URL for this blog, so this post is not just sucking up to the MIL.

Every week or so the SYO gets a letter in the mail from said grandma. Lately, it has contained this cool thing from their local rag. Every week the rag publishes two very similar photos. The purpose is to identify the 8 or so differences in the second photo as compared to the first.

We LOVE this game. The are very subtle differences and often I have to look at the clues before finding all 8 differences.

The most recent photos were of two kids in the back of a car clearly loaded for the family vacation.

On the sheet grandma had sribbled a little note that went something like this:

[SYO], I think that this week's is easier than last's. What do you think? Have a great vacation!

A couple of mornings later I found myself wondering what she meant by "Have a great vacation!" We aren't really going on vacation any time soon, although we are heading to visit Cousin et al. Her sister is coming in from Greece for the month with her family and we haven't seen them in years. But I wouldn't exactly call that a "vacation" in the strictest sense of the word. . .

Was she sad that we were going out of town? That she wouldn't see the kids for a few days?

I wondered this aloud to BioMom and the SYO one morning as we were waking up slowly, the boy in the bed and the girl in the rocker, reading.

Me: What do you think Grandma meant by "Have a great vacation!" on the puzzle she sent.

SYO: Oh! That was a little "joke". . . [She actually put her fingers up in the universal sign for quotation marks] . . . You know. . . VACATION . . . like the kids in the picture.
She said this matter-of-factly.

BIOMOM: What little note?

This simple interaction goes a long way in exemplifying the intricacies of each of our personalities. Me, aware of the little communication, but unable to identify the subtle humor; SYO aware and in complete understanding; BIOMOM oblivious despite the fact that she had focused competely on finding all 8 discrepancies with the SYO.


Monday, June 26, 2006


I wonder if the act of resistance is, somehow, inherent in all sentient beings.

The SYO and I often get into little battles that bring to mind something I learned in the one judo class I had in college: that it takes effort on both sides to hold up a wall. In other words, if one person were to stop resisting, pushing, whatever, the wall falls.

Note: this may be an obvious lesson to the more mature parent.

I was surprised, though, to see how fast Big learned the art of resistance, and have come to wonder if it is some sort of survival instinct ingrained in us.

Putting pants on his chubby little thighs sometimes becomes a battle of gladiatorial proportions. To do so, I first get one pantleg all ready. Like a woman putting on nylons, rolling them down to the toe and then carefully pulling upward so as not to put a run in the hose. Once I switch to the other leg, I'm doomed as his little wheels kick and drag as if he were attempting to treadwater in the midst of a hurricane. No matter what attempts I make with my paltry two hands to keep the one leg on while putting on the other, he nearly always wins and wins big. Not only does he get the original off, but more often than not, he dismisses any progress I've made on the second leg with a little half-smirk and a giggle as if to say in his best "W":


Friday, June 16, 2006

The Dialectic of Parent Names

The other day in the car, Cousin's four-year-old boy asked me:

[Blogauthor], are you a 'Mom' or a 'Dad'?

He had been curious about this issue during the past week asking questions along the same lines such as:

Does [SYO] have a 'Dad'?

Hegel's dialectic would serve me well here. If "mother", for example, is the thesis, creating its antithesis, "father", this results in a synthesis of the opposing assertions or "at least a qualitative transformation in the direction of the dialogue."

I just finished Polly Pagenhart's essay "Confessions of a Lesbian Dad" in the recently published edited volume Confessions of the Other Mother.

It was excellent.

LesbianDad: Email me when you get a chance. I can't find a way to communicate with you directly, but I'd like to express to you that we seem to be living paralell lives in many ways.


She tells a story toward the end of the essay in which her nephews inquired as to the status of her parenthood in a manner similar to Cousin's boy:

"So, Polly? Are you going to be a mama or a papa?"

I had read this essay only a couple of nights before I was posed with the same question and so it was only out of respect that I essentially plagiarized her answer (I must say that I have never been asked that particular question before. Sure, I've gotten the "are you a boy or a girl" from the curious toddler, but never the Mom/Dad question. In fact, I've mostly had the "Mom" label plastered on me out of politically correct sympathizers--especially since Big was born and, especially on Mother's day).

I'm going to be a little of both

These were Polly's words. Early blueprints for our non-biological lesbian parenting handbook in the making.

Something other than mother, but other than father too. I'll be the best parts of a mama, plus the best parts of a papa. Which, is called a baba.

I held my breath and drove us the rest of the way home.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Kids at Kamp

With the big kids off at day camp, Cousin and I, left with the little ones who a) don't talk and b) take regular naps, are enjoying a bit of respite.

Of course, when they come home exhausted, starving, cranky, filthy, and finding it irresistable not to push each other's buttons, we pay for it in spades.

But the quiet, in the meantime, is lovely.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Big's Bi-Annual Newsletter

In following the footsteps of another, more ambitious blogger, with her "Monthly Newsletters" to her little one, I decided that at this six month mark--this strange place where we have a six month old, a six year old, and, of course, it being the sixth month of the sixth year--well, all the stars seems to have come into place for me to write such a newsletter. So, here goes.

Bi-Annual Newsletter No. 1*

You're sleeping-in right now, Big. Its a thing that we hoped would happen because we're a sleeping-in sort of family. 8:36 a.m. and you're snoozing away. I see you turn your head and wrinkle up your face once in a while and I think that maybe you're about to wake up, but then you roll over again and drop back into the subliminal.

Let's see. How do I summarize the last six months? Impossible, and now I'm regretting not incorporating the Monthly Newsletter into my blogging repertoire.

Weeks One and Two: Once BioMom got out of bed from the C-Section, we were up and running and you were the sweetest, smallest thing. At first, your face was so serious, and you would look suspiciously back and forth with your eyes as if you were just airlifted into Lebanon on some Mission Impossible quest saying to yourself "Okay, am on the ground, orienting myself to the surroundings. WHOA! Who are these HUGE people in my face? Where the hell am I?"

BioMom and I really took advantage of the time together--she with her FMLA leave, and me, conveniently, between semesters--to enjoy you and each other. It was wonderful. We oooed and aahhhed at you. We went out for lunch. We saw movies. Oh, we saw movies. For the first time, both of us were truly ready to watch the Oscars. Your first movie ever was Brokeback Mountain. I was so worried that we'd ruin the movie for everyone else that I could barely concentrate, focusing on your needs and making sure you were comfortable and quiet. During the "I can't quit you" scene, I was in the bathroom, changing your diaper. But I didn't care.

Weeks Three through Fourteen: Collic sets in. Between the crying, the books about sleep that BioMom was devouring and a self-esteem rocking failed interview process that I went through that month, we're just lucky we survived.

Months Four to Now: It feels like we got out of this strange black hole. As the doctor reminded us: It is YOU that remembers the collic. HE doesn't.

You are a "normal" kid now. You smile and giggle like crazy. You adore your big sister and literally light up when she walks in the room. In just the last two weeks you have:

grown two teeth
begun to roll over both ways at will
sit--sort of
learned to fall asleep on your own
begun to take long morning and afternoon naps
smile when we put you in your crib
learned to push the musak button in your crib
begun to REALLY sleep through the night
learned to squeel like a baby eagle when you're happy
tried: rice cereal, potatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, carrots, oatmeal and . . . watermelon!

You love to play. Especially at your sister's soccer games where I sit with you on my lap with someone rolling a ball in your general direction. With my hands over yours we hit the ball back and you burst with laughter every time you "hit" or kick it back.

Sometimes, while giving you your bottle, your eyes close drowsily and you reach up with your free hand and explore my face as if it were a message in braille. This melts my heart. I can't tell if you're doing it to a) see if I am still there, b) to explore me or c) because you're bored and in need of constant stimulation. In any case, it is darling. In any case, the message would read, I'm here for you sweet-potato. Not going anywhere.

You seem to have an unusual penchant for words with the hard "c" or "k" sound like "kick." And you have a deep little giggle that squirts out of you when we say them: Heh. Heh heh heh.

BioMom and I have officially traded places in terms of being the full-time breadwinner/caregiver, and it wasn't an easy transition. In fact, we're still navigating our unforeseen-expectations potholes. But so far, it has been incredible to get to know you so well and be so close to you. Given my life history, I am not one to take things for granted, but as far as this time is concerned, I approach with heightened awareness of its fleeting nature and with the knowledge that you are the first and last baby that I will care for from day "one". This is to say that given the stroller or the Bjorn, I'll take the Bjorn until my back gives out with your weight any day just to be that close to you.

You're beginning to grunt now in your unique vernacular that tells me that you're awake and open for business. So, I'll close for now. The past six months, while not the most challenging of my life, have been some of the most rewarding, interesting, and refreshing. Thank you.

*Caveat: Despite the hopeful title, this may or may not be followed up with another Newsletter at 1 year or sooner.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Happy Half Mr. Big!

Cousin and I decorated this lime chiffon cake (from this month's Cooking Light if you're interested) with blueberries and mint sprigs after a glass (or two) of wine.

Needless to say, we weren't very centered either.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Feingold: My Hero

Senate Rebuffs Same-Sex Marriage Ban

"All over the country, married heterosexual couples are shaking their heads and wondering how exactly the prospect of gay marriage threatens the health of their marriages," said Senator Russell D. Feingold, Democrat of Wisconsin.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Sperm Regulation?

See this this interesting New York Times article, As the Use of Donor Sperm Increases, Secrecy Can Be a Health Hazard by Denise Grady.

Monday, June 05, 2006

For Cousin

Can't wait to see you all on Thursday!!

Friday, June 02, 2006

Q & A

BioMom is out for the evening (some moms at the SYO's school are hosting a fundraiser: Mommy's Margarita Night), and the SYO and Mr. Big are snoozing it up in the other room.


I was just poking around some of the GLBT Blogger Day's blogs and ran across this story over at Two Real Mama's.

I always forget about the healing nature of commiserating (and that reminds me to go out and get the book Confessions of the Other Mother for more of the same).

Two related notes.

The first relates to the event at which BioMom is currently enjoying. Due to some unexplained tipping point, we became overwhelmed with the following question:

We see that you only bought one ticket to the event. WHICH ONE OF YOU WILL ATTEND???

It was actually very sweet and all in good nature. We wondered if people were just curious. Or trying to be politically correct. BioMom wondered if it was an ice-breaking conversation for people who didn't know each other: Which 'mom' gets to go to the mom's night out???

Mr. Big and I went to an end-of-school picnic for the SYO today and we were confronted again by the hosts of the event: Why don't you come too???

I insisted that BioMom enjoys her time away.

I tried to explain that we do a sort of Mom/Dad thing. . . That it wasn't my sort of event anyway.

I don't think they really got it.

The second related note has to do with the questions people are willing to ask. I guess this is more related to the Two Real Moms post. The other day I was at the local corner grocer. The little store that has four isles; just enough room for the preservative-laden essentials.

Anyway, the guy at the register with whom I am not on a first-name basis but have seen on many occasions (the SYO, when she was a FYO used to go in and get bubble gum on a regular basis after preschool) notices the new baby (he's hard to miss):

You had another one?


Awkwardly: Um. Are you the lesbian?

He actually said "the". I'm not making that up.

Um. Yeah. I am.

So, um. Can I ask you a personal question?

You can imagine the rest of the conversation.

Its the same sort of thing. I got no creepy vibe from this guy. Just curiosity. It is not offensive in the least. Just a bit awkward and strange. Like those people that ask: Is he yours? A question that often catches in my throat. Yes! Um. No. Um. Sort of. Um, well, to the extent that anyone is anyone else's. . . ?

The best was the interaction I had with the grocery ladies (a different grocery store than the one mentioned above). Background: the first time I brought in Mr. Big, they asked if he was mine and then I had to go into the explanation about why they hadn't seen me pregnant in the weeks leading up to the obvious recent birth (BioMom rarely does the grocery shopping, and we even more rarely go together). Anyway, the other day I went in with Mr. Big strapped into the Bjorn. The gals went on and on about how much he looks like me.


Incoming: Tooth No.1

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Blogging for LGBT Families

Mombian declared June 1st as Blogging for LGBT Families Day!

She says:

Why June 1st? This date falls exactly between Mother's Day and Father's Day. As such, it honors mothers and fathers equally, but also conveys that not all families fit into the traditional structure of one mother and one father. June 1st is also the start of Gay Pride Month.

I am retro-blogging because I missed the actual day (i.e. I am WRITING this on June 2nd but POSTING on June 1st. Cool, eh? Too bad we can only retro-blog, not pre-blog and see how the stock market is doing!).

In any case, the event was a resounding success!

Here is a list of bloggers who participated!

Lesbiandad has a great post in honor of the day.

Mombian also posted some information about Same-Sex Parents, including a study on the cost of marriage inequality to children and their same-sex parents by the Human Rights Campaign.

In honor of the day, I will re-post a story that I wrote titled "Girls Can't Marry Other Girls" which is forthcoming in the Journal of Feminist Family Therapy.