Wednesday, August 17, 2011

End Days

Summer is now officially in its end days. S. has returned to the classroom to clean up, the tomatoes are starting to come in hard and heavy, which means canning them is inevitably right around the corner. And I've had a nervous lump in my stomach for the past few days, as my first back-to-school anxiety dream has seemed to set off waves of anticipation of the coming school year. This will be my 9th year teaching high school, a feat that was occasionally unimaginable when I started this profession, but am now proud of. It seems like I have myself a little career--so strange.

We had an amazing Rhode Island vacation this year. We went down there with a baby and came back with--a different baby, one that crawls everywhere, pulls himself up to standing, and has 5 (!) teeth already. Seriously kid--well, at least he's not attempting to take any steps yet. You can imagine that the last month has been full of fun with all these chompers breaking through, but we seem now to finally be getting settled down. Sleeping though--still for the birds, thinks Max. For that matter, Theo also rose at a sunny 6:30 every day of vacation--lordy. They were just getting us ready for the school year, I suppose.

Another amazing development? Theo actually started playing with Max! Well, kinda. But it is adorably amusing to watch them together now. If Theo's in the mood, he'll scramble all over the floor on hands and knees and let Max scamper after him. They'll sit on the floor playing (Max chewing on) with Matchbox cars together--which is just fine and dandy until Max crashes an intricate parking set-up that Theo has been working hard on. I love watching these brothers interact and grow and change with each other.

Now, vacation, a fleeting memory now as summer is dwindling:

Up a tree

By the end it became futile to try to keep him on the blanket, so in the sand he went!


T. swimming at sunset

Twinsies--which is like, really ironic, right?

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Daddy Dearest

Well, I suppose that no matter now much you mentally prepare for the day when your fatherless son will start talking about having a daddy, it still catches you off-guard. Recently, Theo has been noticing daddies of all kinds---mostly because on his favorite show, Caillou, "Caillou has a mommy and a daddy." S. and I are straightforward, simple, and direct answerers of kid questions, so we simply said, "Yes, Caillou has a mommy and a daddy. You have two mommies," and go on to explain how some families have a mom and a dad, two moms, two dads, etc. Now he seems accepting of the fact that he has two moms and Caillou has a mom and a dad. (He also makes sure to mention that besides a "Mommy" and a "Mama," he also has a "Maxie-Jo" to throw into the mix.) Thank goodness we know other two-mom families so I can reference "so and so has two mommies, too." Of course this just reinforces the fact that we ought to make much more of an effort to make play dates with other queer families with kids that we know.

But the dad thing is stuck in his mind, you can tell. He mentions other people he knows who have daddies (us, for instance, or his cousin Jackson). I know it's natural and I know that the more direct we can be about this now, the more prepared we'll all be to tackle different questions later, specifically about donors, but still. We know he couldn't go on living in his little two-mama bubble forever, especially since he's going off to pre-school in the fall. But this marks a pretty significant step forward in Theo's consciousness of his existence in the world.

I am consistently in a state of wonder about how much children pick up from their environments without us never having directly taught them. It is so true that children are natural learners.

So, everyone--who has dealt with this issue? What did you say to your child?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

three. which will probably be the amount of times i post this summer.

I would be quite remiss if I didn't take a second to reflect on the fact that the reason we actually began this blog turned 3-years-old yesterday. Three. Years. Old. Three, and the few weeks preceding it, have been challenging. Theo is growing, changing, exploring, and becoming more and more independent each passing second. "No, me do it" is our new favorite phrase. "I help you, Mama?" a close second--in the kitchen, the garden, the playground. Potty training---oh yeah. We're still very much in the "training" phase of it. Pee in the potty? No problem! Poop has been much more elusive, as he still prefers to poop in his, ahem, pants. (Any solutions for that? Anyone?)

Ah. He exasperates us and amazes us all at once with this growing up business. He loves his little brother (except when he borrows his Matchbox Cars to chew on), singing, cars, puzzles, Caillou...the list goes on. But lists are boring. And since my blog is St. Nowhere lately, I guess I'll continue my trend of photo posting interspersed with occasional ranting by showing you what three looks like around these parts:

Happy Birthday Theo!

Flying kites in RI

Oh, brother


Guitar hero

Thursday, July 07, 2011

The Big Breastfeeding Post

I've talked about breastfeeding here and there, but it is about time to talk about it for realz.

Max is 7-months-old. I never gave myself a limit, minimum or maximum, for how long I would breastfeed him. I figured, if I was able to do it, it would happen. If he still wanted it, and I could still do it, it would continue to happen. Now that we're on the other side of six months, we figure, let's make it to a year, right? Sounds like a good, round amount of time to be able to say, "I breastfed my son exclusively for the first year of his life."

Except, breastfeeding is really, really difficult for me, and maybe not in ways that other people have difficulty. Or maybe my experiences are common and people just don't want to talk about it because it's supposed to be all natural. But the truth is, I do not love to breastfeed a lot of the time. Since the beginning, I have had issues, be them oversupply (and a Max who isn't really hungry), undersupply, or most often (as in, every other week practically) plugged ducts and nipple pores and infections. Right now I am nursing a double-breast infection and a serious supply drop and a baby who apparently hates the taste of the antibiotics I have to be on because he hasn't nursed well in two days. Yet, he has not tasted formula. While this is a point of pride for many mothers, for me it just is what it is. We even tried to feed him formula once and he would have rather sucked on my empty boob, so that was that.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, I have bfing issues but I've worked through them. I pumped religiously at work and at home to freeze enough for Max and even enough to give away to a mom and baby in need. I hope in the end I will be proud of all this, because right now, all I feel is annoyed at the whole process. BFing is supposed to be so beautiful, so natural, so lovely, but I have a hard time seeing that from this place I am in.

And yet, look what my milk has done. Oh, he does make my heart melt sometimes:

Monday, June 27, 2011

So I just deleted this hugely long post whining about what Max cannot currently do. I fell into the all-too-easy mompetition trap--comparing Max to other babes of bloggers who were born around the same time he was. It's not good for either of us. Max is an individual who will do things on his own time. So, enough of that.

We're in the thick of potty training Theo. Oh, man. Okay, it's not as bad as I thought it would be, but not as good, either. What was I expecting? Ummm..maybe I didn't think through what a poop in underpants would be like. Or, cleaning pee off of the family room rug. Yeah. Gross. But...he is definitely getting better at "recognizing the feeling," as his Sesame Street potty chart that we read every single time we go into the bathroom says. Sigh. Hopefully we'll just get the whole deal over with shortly.

Now, boys, boys, boys...
With an ever-present truck

Earning his gymnastics medal

Max loves Sophie


Thursday, June 02, 2011

5 Seconds

I have 5 seconds to spare--before folding up diapers and filling up water bottles and such for the next day. S. has strep throat and is tucked up away in bed, babies are sleeping, and I am watching "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" on VH-1 in an attempt to turn my brain off temporarily. We have been..busy. I can't even begin to describe the business. The end of the year is always like this. We take a deep breath, runrunrunrunningrun, and then--poof. It's over. You know, until summer school starts.

I have over 200 unread blog posts in the my G*ogle reader. WTF.

Tomorrow marks 6 months in the life of Max. His tricks are certainly not as advanced as other babies his age--he is a bit on the slower side of big physical development, but has superb fine motor skills, expertly gripping things in his tiny fists, bringing them to his mouth. He finally flipped from back-to-front, but he prefers sleeping on his side, snuggling his little blankie. Oh, my goodness, it is so cute. He can sit like a gorilla for a few minutes at a time, and is eating up a storm--huge bowls of rice cereal mixed with pureed squash or peas so far--yummy yum.

We started "sleep parenting" in earnest last week (sleep training sounds so awful) by letting him fuss in 5-minute intervals, not feeding him every single time he woke up, and doing a dream feed with rice cereal before midnight. It worked after a couple of nights, and last night? He slept through the night. Good stuff.

Mind you we never had to do any of this with Theo, so this not-so-sleepy baby is seriously new territory for the both of us.

Now, what I'm sure you've all been waiting for--updated pics.

P.S.: Ferris Bueller is kind of a bully to his BFF. What kind of message was this movie meant to send anyway?! Still love it, though.

Memorial Day red, white, and blue baby with Meme on the porch

Theo with his awesomely cheesy grin posing for Mommy's new iPhone camera

Friday, May 13, 2011

Pride and Prejudice

A rant, if you will.

This past weekend was our local Pride. I've gone to it nearly every year since I've known S., and it was in fact the first Pride I ever attended - even before the big hoopla that is NYC Pride. I remember how happy I felt the first time I went--seeing others like me, seeing women with babies and dogs and being so happy together. It felt blissful there being with my (then) girlfriend, pondering the future when we would have kids of our own to shuttle to and show off at Pride (insert lesbian stereotype here).

Then I got old. And had kids. And quite frankly, Pride is not my thing anymore. I more often than not feel myself being annoyed by Pride instead of being "proud" at Pride, and I am usually left wondering why I bothered fighting the traffic to find a far-away parking space, only to sit for a short parade and go walking around a glorified parking lot looking at people selling gay crap I will never buy. I will also add that we honestly do not have many gay friends. We have a couple we hang out with sometimes who I work with and who have similarly aged children, and we often see their gay friends at their house, but that is it. We love when we do hang out with them, because it's important for us to have our children see families like ours.

But I often feel like a minority at Pride. I feel like I have no big gay rights agenda, that I don't own a single item of rainbow or HRC clothing, that I have somehow assimilated into straight culture and feel like an outsider amongst the many wonderful gays and lesbians who live in my neck of the woods. Part of this is my own doing--lesbians love drama, and I do not, so I guess unconsciously I tend to stay clear. The other part is--I guess I just feel like a woman who happened to fall in love with another woman. Is it part of my identity? Sure. I knew as a teenager I was partial to women. But, is gay even a top-five adjective I would use to describe myself? Nope. S. feels the same way. She once told me she'd say she was a "gardener" or a "flea market junkie" over a lesbian.

I'm sure next year I will be at Pride again-for my kids. It is important we let them know how many other gay families and gay people live amongst us. I feel lame sometimes, knowing that people elsewhere don't have the option of being so blase about their gayness, or their "alternative" family, and that I probably take for granted that our families and friends and state are for the most part so supportive of us that we never have to feel like outsiders. And I guess in the end, I am grateful for that.