Monthly Archives: January 2013

“Is he yours?”

I decided it was time to find a doctor in my new home town.  I am rarely sick enough to need a doctor, but I am getting older and need to start thinking about being connected when things on my body start to break and breakdown.

It was a two hour wait.  “No!  This never happens.  She is usually right on time,” They assured me.  The nurse took me back and explained that there had been an emergency.  He didn’t introduce himself, but was pleasant enough so I asked him his name.

“Scott.  She’ll be right in to see you.”

After another fifteen minutes, she came in and was as sweet as pie.  She was wearing a HUGE diamond cross around her neck, so I immediately felt a little reserved.  I told her about S and that we have been together for more than 16 years.  Then she noticed we have a son but I have never been pregnant, “Is he yours or did you adopt him?”

“Well.  Both, actually.  He is mine and I did adopt him because the archaic laws in this country make me have to take extra legal steps to prove my relationship to this being I helped create.  Breathe.  And, even if we had not created him together and he had grown in a stranger’s womb halfway around the world, he would still be mine,” I thought to myself in the nano-second following her gaffe.

It is always interesting how it is the little things people say, often well intentioned, that seem to trigger the deepest reactions in me.  I don’t care about vocal opponents to marriage equality or about those stupid people who picket soldiers’ funerals.  What hurts is opening yourself up just a little and having someone not really see you.

“He is ours,” I say.  “My partner gave birth to him.”

“OH!  That is so COOL!” she exclaimed as if the idea had never occurred to her.

A few awkward questions later (awkward for me, not her), we had moved on to other topics.  She really was very nice and seemed to be trying really hard.  I guess I just look forward to the day when people don’t have to try so hard.

-Betsy

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Mini-me

I have a mouth like a sailor.  This is not conducive to raising a socially acceptable child.  So, I have changed my go-to phrase from “mother f***er” to “come on” (which actually gets drawn out so it sounds more like “coooommmmmme ooooonnnnnnn”).  Last night, as M was trying to slide my phone open to no avail, he said, “Coooooooommmmme onnnnnnn!”  At that moment, I felt AMAZING relief at my decision to give up my potty mouth for something a little more tame.

I have a very distinct memory of being 4 years old and going to see Santa at the local mall.  I was in line with a million other children dressed to the nines in their winter best while I was wearing a white button down, jeans and rainbow belt.  Foreshadowing? Perhaps.  Once I got the chance to sit on that strange man’s lap, I took as much time as I wanted to tell him all about my brother and my toys and my just about anything else I could think about.  When I was finally done and beginning to walk away, I realized I had forgotten something, “Oh shit, Mama!  I forgot to show Santa my new belt.”  Audible to all the parents in line and their little girls in their frilly dresses, my mother must have been just a little mortified.

That memory, along with my mini-me repeating everything I say, has solidified my decision as the right one (though I miss saying a good ‘mother f***er’ when the appropriate occasions arise).

-Betsy

Light at the End of the Tunnel

Last night, my terrible sleeper slept from 7:30pm until 6 a.m. OH MY MOTHER F***ING GOD!  Really!  He did that! For the first time in his life, my son slept through the night.  I know I shouldn’t be writing about this because I am sure to jinx us, but I couldn’t help myself.

The irony in all of this is that I have had more consolidated sleep the last two nights than I have had since he was born and I feel exhausted.  It is like my body now remembers what it is missing and it is pissed.  Last night I was asleep by 9.  Tonight, I am writing from my bed and it is not yet 8.

Tonight is night seven of sleeping training.  While I have been the trainer the previous six times we have attempted to trick our son into sleep, S seems to be the one in charge now and I like it!  I can sit back while she makes him cry.  Sometimes I put headphones on, just because I can.  That way, I can detach myself from his angst.  Tonight, after S moved further away form his bed as he attempted to put himself to sleep, he became very upset.  He was jumping in his crib and yelling for ‘Ima’.  After a couple minutes of hootin’ and hollerin’, he says, “I am very frustrated.”  My two-year old (just turned two, by the way) identified that he feels frustrated.

He is just about asleep now, if the damn squeaky door hinge would stop waking him.  Right now, I feel proud.  Proud of us as parents for listening to our son and to our guts all those other times we tried to sleep train and it felt like too much.  Proud of my baby who can tell us how he is feeling, in a full sentence no less.  Proud of myself for surviving up until now.  Just proud.

-Betsy

PS. Please remind me to grease that hinge tomorrow!

That Feeling In My Stomach (not the preggers type)

My little girl is sick today.  Nothing that won’t be cured within a few days, but the poor thing looks awful.  She went to bed seeming fine last night and woke up this morning with a nasty case of conjunctivitis and an ear infection.  It happened that fast- went to bed healthy, woke up touched by the hand of yuck.  By the time I got home from work this evening her eyes had gotten so bad (yes, she went to the doc’s this morning and is now on antibiotics) that not only were her lids puffy and swollen looking; her eyeballs red and all sorts of goopey; but she also had these racoonish, red, rash-like marks under her eyes from rubbing at them so much. Luckily that little spark plug doesn’t let much break her stride.  She was marching around the house wearing a mismatched pair of PJs; a white, scratchy Easter type of hat that is meant for her teddy bear (so it’s a size too small); and a pair of old school, strappy roller skates.  She looked like an elderly drag queen.  Still, when I took one look at her my stomach did that thing.  Parents, do you know the thing I’m talking about?  Does this happen to you?  Ever since that little peanut crept into my heart I have had this thing happen when I even think about her being hurt or sick or in discomfort, never mind when she actually is, my stomach does an uncomfortable dropping thing.  It’s weird.  It’s a visceral response to this awful feeling that as much as I want to do everything humanly possible to protect this small person I love more than almost anything else in the world, I can’t.  It makes me sick.  Tease me all you want for quoting what might seem like a cliche, but I really do get this particular one since she entered my life: “Making a decision to have a child is momentous.  It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”* Hell yeah.  It’s like having your heart when it’s head over heels in love walk outside your body and into a six lane stretch of rush hour traffic on the beltway and your brain is on the side lines screaming, “Be careful!  Watch out!  Be careful!!!”

Sometimes I worried before my daughter was born that I wouldn’t feel this deep attachment to her because of our lack of biological, genetic or gestational connection. Yet when I have that feeling in my stomach- as uncomfortable a reminder as it is- I also take a tiny bit of solace in knowing that she is so much a part of me that I feel her in my body.  And that makes me realize the power of our bond goes much deeper than any trace of biology.

– Charlotte

*quote by Elizabeth Stone

Twins

twins-Schwarzenegger-DeVito

My son and I are twins who were separated at birth.  Well, maybe not.  But we do tend to dress alike more than once a week.  This might have to do with the fact that I dress us both: blue and white stripes, jeans with brown boots, gray hoodies.  Whatever.  While this used to be just by accident, now I think my subconscious makes me do it.  It tricks strangers into seeing the similarities in our facial features, “He definitely has your eyes.”  I have heard that more than once.  Each time, I smile and say thank you, feeling victorious inside.  I know it was the matching pea coats and Raybans that fooled them.  If we are able to have other children, it is quite possible they will inherit S’s olive skin and black hair.  Will people think I am the nanny?  Or just watching my kid and his friend?  I must start scheming now on new ways to trick people into seeing our sameness.  Just in case.
-Betsy
(P.S. That’s me on the right.)

The Saga: Continued…

When I say ‘saga’, I am referring to the inability of my young son to sleep a reasonable amount.  We are back to sleep training.  This must be the eighth time.  And, once again, I am exhausted.  Now, he is going to sleep easy, but waking at 4, 4:30, 5, 5:30. HOLY SHIT!  Will it ever end?  I assume it will.  In the meantime, I hate everyone (especially aforementioned crappy little dog) and want to crawl into one of those sleep caverns that only happens when you are an adolescent.  You know, the ones where you wake up at 1:00 p.m. having to pee, then promptly get back in bed until just before the sun starts to set.  I think I am having a craving for adolescence.  THAT is how you know the delirium is starting to set in.

-Betsy

Looking for Guest Contributors

Hello Everyone!
While Charlotte and I like to write and tell our stories, we would LOVE to get some other perspectives on being a queer, non-gestational parent or parent-to-be.  Interested?

Are you or your partner trans?  Are you biologically related to your child whom your partner birthed?

Anyone from outside of the U.S. want to tell us about being the non-birth parent in your family?

We’d love to hear from you!  Send us a message indicating your interest along with a couple lines telling us what you would like to write about: turkeybasterandwine@gmail.com.

In solidarity,
Betsy