Friday, February 25, 2011

Parenting: Super-Serious

Molly and I took the babies to IKEA today. I did not buy anything. Aren't you impressed?

We were in the cafe and a couple walked up to us and asked how old our babies were. It's scary to think that they're eight and ten months old now.

"I have a five-month-old," said the lady. "A girl."

"Ours is in the car," said the guy. We all laughed. Molly said, "I hope you cracked a window!"

I tell you this story because I want to relay the importance of laughter and occasionally inappropriate joking to raising a child. You can't take everything seriously or you'll go insane. I love meeting people who can laugh at comments like that rather than going bananas over the very idea of leaving your child in a car while you shop.

My parents are coming to visit tomorrow! I'm excited.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Planned Parenthood

DISCLAIMER: I am in no way qualified to talk about this, having never actually been in a position to utilize the services of Planned Parenthood, but I have great respect for the organization and I just have some things to say. That's what a blog is for.

"Planned Parenthood" is a phrase that goes right along with "Family Planning"--you know, that aisle in Wal-Mart where they stock the condoms, lubricant, and other birth control. Somehow, Family Planning always gets shoved in the same aisle as what I still think of as "feminine products": tampons and pads and, occasionally, adult diapers, though those are not in that category. Family planning, and to an extent Planned Parenthood, is not about planning for parenthood or a family; it's about preventing it. Not indefinitely--just until you're actually prepared to have one.

In this aisle at the store there are condoms, which can be seen as a male responsibility (although I know many women who carry them in their purse for when their partners inevitably forget to purchase them), as well as many types of female "protection" in the form of spermicides. And of course, we're the ones who get the pill, the patch, the shot, the ring, or whatever newfangled method of prescription birth control is available. (The little under-the-skin implant is creepy. I have a skin thing.) We are responsible for our bodies, at least when it comes to how they interact with other bodies. We get a cervical cancer vaccine because there's this extremely common disease called HPV that, in some cases, can turn into cancer. If we mess up and miss a pill, we either hope like hell that there's a morning-after pill available in our area or we agonize until our periods come and we can visit that aisle at the store for more tampons, because we've inevitably run out and forgotten to buy more and RUINED another pair of underwear.

I did not intend to get pregnant last year, but I was in a position where it was okay that I did. It ended up working out really well. I can't imagine what would have happened had I gotten pregnant in high school or even college, and as a teacher I interacted with students who were managing to balance their children and their schooling, or failing miserably at one or the other, and the biggest game-changer was whether they had a decent family support network or a loving partner. Sometimes the responsibility of parenthood forced them to drop out or miss out on many of the moments of high school that define the experience; sometimes they started slipping and had to try again; and in a very few cases, I might not have even known that they had a child had I not shared stories or seen photos.

So many of the girls that got pregnant told me that they had either been using protection sporadically or not at all, and the most common reason was because they didn't want their parents to know they were sexually active. I was lucky enough to have a mother who was very up-front and nonjudgmental about sex, and started telling me at age 14 that if I was going to have sex, to get her to make me a doctor's appointment and get the pill. We had the kind of relationship that, at 17, I did. But here's the conundrum: unprotected sex is risky, and there's a damn good chance that something will happen and then they're going to know anyway. Like getting pregnant. Or getting an STD. It's tough to hide things like that.

That's why Planned Parenthood is important. Yes, one angle of family planning is abortion, but it should be a last resort in a lot of cases. Planned Parenthood provides a lot more than just abortion. It provides a place for girls who can't talk to their parents to get information, learn to protect themselves, and make responsible decisions. As GI Joe says, "Knowing is half the battle." And if you don't know how to protect yourself, you're taking a big risk.

And that's why I'm disappointed that Planned Parenthood is, itself, at risk, as a result of a House resolution that strips it of all federal funding. I have a feeling it won't become law, or at least I hope that it doesn't. Women need Planned Parenthood. It's already been neutered by protesters frightening away women who are there just for routine medical care; it doesn't need to be euthanized.

I promise not to skew into the political often on this blog, but I really do feel strongly about this, and this is as much a women's issue as a political one. Thank you for reading, if you still are.!/event.php?eid=189887001044118

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

February 22, 2011

Dear Calvin,

If it were not for the calendar on my computer I would have forgotten that today you are eight months old. I am losing track of all the new things you are learning to do, but my favorite is the backward crawl. From your position on your tummy you push up, lean back on your knees, and then...plop back onto your belly and kind of inch backwards deceptively fast. It doesn't even look like you're moving, but you are, and when I turn back you've gone eight feet. You also may have sat up on your own in your crib, but I missed it. I can't remember if I had sat you up before I left the room or if you had been on your belly.

Anyway, we didn't get you the helmet, so I hope your lopsided head resolves itself and you don't have reason to resent me for the rest of your life. It doesn't look bad except from one angle, and even then it's not too bad, and when you have some hair it'll be fine.

You love music, and especially drums. I drummed on the couch today and you and Jack just laughed. So I know what to do if you need to be entertained later today. There are also toys and tickles and hanging upside down. I love watching you play with Jack, because the two of you interact and it's hilarious. He gets too close to the jumpy and I have to move him away because you jump so violently you could give him a concussion. Your leg muscles are insane. The two of you talk to each other and laugh at each other and mimic movements and share (or steal) toys.

You can also stand against the couch now, which is scary but cool. You've learned to feed yourself (sometimes). You just got over your first real illness, a stomach bug that tore up the whole family plus Jack and Molly. You took it like a trooper and got better quickly, even though it messed up some of your pajamas. That's OK. You'll be out of 6-9 month clothes within the month--the pants are already getting too short and I can't button a couple of your pajamas. You're taller than Jack, and growing CONSTANTLY. I can barely remember when you were too small for newborn size clothes.

I love you, munchkin. Thank you for being such a good baby.

Love, Mama

Monday, February 21, 2011

Spencer Reid

Hi, Spencer Reid. I know you are a fictional character and all, but can we be friends?

The other day I caught the old episode of Criminal Minds where the good Dr. Reid gets addicted to Dilaudid after Dawson Leery holds him prisoner because he's schizophrenic and thinks he's his father. (I love explaining things without context.) This is not the first episode I've watched, and every time I see it I can't help but want to give him a totally platonic hug and go out for coffee. I have a soft spot in my heart for awkwardness, and he embodies it. This is also why I want to hang out with the guys from The Big Bang Theory. Smart people who are just a little off the social grid. That's the group I ran with in high school and the type of people I'm closest to now.

My friends are computer programmers, video game designers, engineers, teachers, and all-around intellectuals. I like them.

All day I kept thinking of smart things I wanted to blog about, and then I forgot them all. Tomorrow is Calvin's eight-month birthday. I guess whatever awesome things I've thought of will have to wait.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Sons of Mothers

My baby gets a lot of compliments when we go out in public. People comment on how cute he is, how well-behaved he is, and how toothless he is. Yes, he still has no teeth, and very little hair, but his eyes are starting to develop a little burst of brown around the pupils like mine have, which is cool. And he is very cute and very well-behaved. I love him more than I could possibly express.

But I've been thinking today about what's going to happen when he gets bigger. Jack is mobile, and crawls like a caterpillar on speed, not to mention creeping along anything he can get a handhold on and trying to climb over the back of the couch. Babies is dangerous. One day Calvin will be at that stage. And then he will walk. And then he will run. And then he will run INTO things. And around and over and under things. And he will climb and flip and wrestle and jump and do all kinds of stupid ill-advised things (because I can already see shades of my brother in him) and I will patch him up and assure him that I love him and he's going to be fine, there's a reason your head is so hard.

I'm terrified of my baby becoming a real child. Right now he's in his crib NOT TAKING A NAP LIKE HE SHOULD BE, but eating his feet and rolling around and yelling at the mobile and probably pulling the blanket over his face because that's what he does. I love watching him interact with things and people, whether it's strangers or his daddy or other babies or his own reflection. He's awesome. But he's still little and very easy to control. And thank God for that, because if I had a difficult baby I might not be thinking of having another one.

(WHAT?! Thinking of having another baby? Have I gone completely insane? Have I forgotten the pain and nausea and fatigue and swollen feet and high blood pressure and sleepless nights and constant need to pee and cravings for weird, random foods and bed rest and labor and bleeding and pain and recovery time and more sleepless nights because the baby doesn't have his clock set and constant diapering, feeding, soothing, and myriad other tasks that constitute the process required to create and maintain a baby?!!)

No. I haven't. But I want my children to be close in age, and it would be nice to take all my mommy time at once. I'm reticent to go back to work because I don't want to leave Calvin. I want to stay home with him every day and snuggle and play and argue about naptime and even change diapers and go to the store and make him laugh and play and so on. His laugh is hilarious and I've found consistent ways to bring it out. And I might not be the world's best mother, but he's my baby and I want to spend as much time with him as I can before he becomes this child I'm so afraid of. Fortunately, I don't have a lot of valuable, breakable objects, or we'd be in REAL trouble.

Someone is hammering somewhere around me and I don't approve. I'd like to take a nap, please.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Bombs Away

Anna Lisa got married last week and I went. It was my first wedding with the baby, and he was a bit louder than I had hoped, and also spit sweet potatoes on my dress. Not cool, baby. Anyway, we ended up having to cut out right at the start of the reception because he was tired and it was past his bedtime, so that was a bit of a bummer. The wedding was lovely; she made paper flowers for the bouquets and centerpieces, which was cool, and they had cupcakes for the guests, and they walked in to an Owl City song that I had forgotten existed and have since been listening to on repeat because I love it. I need to update my iPod so I have it on there; I had to steal it from Brandon's computer. I also need to make room for my other movies.

I would like to get an iPhone. This is not something new; I've liked them for awhile and I've heard a lot of good things about the iPhone 4, and now that it's coming to Verizon and I'm getting close to upgrade time (assuming they still do that--I've heard they don't do New Every 2 anymore, and that would be a giant drag) I want to upgrade to it. Brandon might since he's actually eligible, but I'm not until September or something. Even though we upgraded at the EXACT SAME TIME.

It's still been snowing and icy and gross for the last week, and our snow accumulation is at like 60 or 70 inches...I don't even know. I just know that this has absolutely ruined me for snow. When we move back South and get three inches, I will no longer be amazed and excited by it. Because it's snowed almost constantly here. A foot of snow feels like nothing. This depresses me to no end.

And while I'm at it, Massachusetts NOW HAS SUN DROP. I AM SO EXCITED. This makes New England suck a little less. The other thing that makes it not suck is having friends. I love our friends.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The baby that makes people want to have babies

I'm spending the week in Gastonia with my family (although not that much, since my parents both have full time jobs and are working all this week) and on Tuesday I took Calvin to Mom's work and introduced him to everyone. Even Kristine, who doesn't like children, thought he was adorable, and he even drooled on her--she doesn't like drool--and did his weird little froggy-swim-crawl thing that he's been doing lately. Let me tell you about this crawl: He gets down on his stomach, pushes up on his arms, then throws his arms out to the side and kicks violently in midair. He kind of scoots backward a little bit.

Dad's actually been home the last two days because he's been working nights on something that isn't working properly, but it got fixed so he's back at work today. Calvin and I have hung out and played most of the day, and we took a nap a little while ago. He also kind of scoots, rolls over, pulls himself forward, flops onto his back, repeats. He was doing that on the bed and grabbing my face.

Yesterday I bought two pairs of jeans that fit me better than any pants I've had since I had the baby. I am pretty sure that my hips changed shape after I gave birth, but I'm also still heavier than I was, and working on losing the weight.

Since I started writing this last week I have gotten back to the frozen North, where it is thirty degrees colder than it was down South. It is currently snowing. I am cold.