I have been thinking a lot about what I want to teach my son. I want to teach him to be a compassionate man who stands up for what he believes in, even if it is uncomfortable. Part of his education comes from exposure to different people and situations, so tonight, despite S and me being fairly exhausted, we packed up the kid and the crazy dog and headed downtown. We joined an estimated 10,000 other people to raise our voices in unison in opposition to the archaic laws being passed by North Carolina legislators in Raleigh. (http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/08/05/3083774/moral-monday-protests-heading.html , https://twitter.com/asheville/status/364517682424471552)
I used to be a lot more political. When I had a shaved head and wore really baggy jeans (so baggy, my college soccer coach and one of my teammates each got in a leg…at the same time), I would scream loud and pump my fist for whatever cause I was supporting. As my hair grew out and my pants shrank, I still showed-up, but was maybe not as loud as I once was. Now, half the time I don’t know what I am wearing or the state of my hair, I show-up and observe. I am not often holding a sign, or speaking out. I am just there.
Brining M to these events is sometimes
nerve-wracking. There were a LOT of people today. Dogs and strollers and big signs to dodge. Counter protestors to make the blood boil. It was hot and loud and…really important. M might not know exactly what is going on, but he sees all kind of people coming together to support and uplift and to inspire change. That is why we take him.
Part of the legacy I will leave for my son is the belief that people, together, can change the world. It has happened again and again. So, even when we are tired and grumpy and whatever else, we still show up for our neighbors and ourselves.
Posted in General Parenting
Tagged asheville moral monday, lesbian, lesbian parenting, lgbt, lgbt parenting, moral monday protests, non-bio, non-bio mom, non-gestational, political activism with kids, queer, queer parenting
I made a decision the moment I looked into my son’s eyes to never lie to him. We talk about where meat comes from and what it means to die. We don’t do Santa Claus and won’t do the Tooth Fairy. I know that may sound harsh. That’s just the way it is. (Don’t worry: He finds magic in lots of other places!)
What I haven’t decided is if making-up stories counts as lying? I think not? Here is the situation: A few nights ago we three were deep into battle over flossing and brushing M’s teeth. He was yelping and covering his mouth with both hands anytime one of us came near. Exhausted, we watched as M darted for the door only to find S’s foot holding it closed. He didn’t notice her foot and just kept tugging at the door, getting frustrated and then, finally, giving up.
At that moment, it dawned on me (maybe on S…but let’s pretend it was me for the sake of the story): Here is a golden opportunity to change to game. So, I/we told him that the door had a magic spell on it and wouldn’t open until he flossed, brushed and said the magic words, ‘hocus, pocus, open the door-us’.
Can you guess what happened next? You are right! It fucking worked! Four nights running, we have not battled over his oral hygiene. There have been no battle of wills. If it looks like one is coming down the pike, we just invoke the magic spell and ta-da!
I realize that this story may have us crossing very close to lying territory. That part I am not so keen on. The lack of battles? Well, that I love.
Posted in General Parenting, Toddlerhood
Tagged lesbian, lesbian parenting, lgbt, lgbt parenting, non-bio, non-bio mom, non-gestational, queer, queer parenting, toddler boy, toddler teeth brushing battles, toddlerhood, toddlers
As my son was falling asleep tonight, green bouncy ball in one hand, he started whispering something to me. There was just enough light in the room for me to recognize the white of his teeth as he smiled. “jaja-jo” was what I heard. I asked him to repeat. It came across the same. “Once more?” I asked knowing I was now pulling him farther from sleep. “Cujo,” he said loudly with a bigger smile.
“That’s what you call our dog. Why do you call him that?”
“I’ll tell you when you are bigger.”
Their tiny brains are amazing. He sits there watching the light disappear outside his windows, running through the events of the day. Eyes wide open, his breathing deepens as he remembers walks or play dates or, perhaps, when I needed a few minutes alone and gently escorted him to his room for my ten kid-free minutes.
Despite this being my least favorite time of year (humidity+heat=VERY unhappy Betsy), we have been rather busy. New adventures, new friends. All of these new things and he thinks about ‘Cujo’ right before he falls asleep. While their brains are amazing, they are also quite strange.
Posted in Toddlerhood
Tagged lesbian, lesbian parenting, lgbt, lgbt parenting, non-bio, non-bio mom, non-gestational, non-gestational mother, queer, queer parenting, things toddlers say, toddler, toddlerhood, toddlers
M is a bright child. Yes, I realize most parents would say this about their own kids. He has been potty trained since 20 months, knows his ABCs and the location of several states on a map. He is curious and asks a lot of questions and doesn’t forget a thing. He does not, however, know how to close his eyes when prompted.
We have this sweet book about various animals closing their eyes and going to sleep. When it comes time for each animal to close its eyes, M contorts his face only reaching partial closer despite the tremendous effort. His nose travels north, his cheeks follow suit actually causing his lower eyelids to migrate, more like when you are a little constipated or dropping stuff off at the landfill.
We have shown him 10,000 times how to relax one’s face and how to gently allow your upper lid to touch the lower. It was quite comical for a long time, but now I have decided that is the reason he continues to take an hour to fall asleep. If he could only learn to close his eyes, it would take ten minutes. Ten lovely, calm, reflective minutes. Instead, his inability to close his eyes has caused countless nights of chaos.
So, tomorrow we are going to practice again. I will softly coax his eyelids together with the palm of my hand again and again until he gets it. When he gets it (because he will), then he will go to bed easy…by 8:00…and sleep until 7:00…and not make a peep in between.
Posted in General Parenting, Sleep Deprivation, Toddlerhood
Tagged lesbian, lesbian parenting, lgbt, lgbt parenting, non-bio, non-bio mom, non-gestational, queer, queer parenting, sleep issues, toddler closing eyes, toddler sleep issues, toddlerhood
Tonight, M insisted on a hard-boiled egg for dessert. He was given the choice of fruit or cereal with almond milk. He chose a hard-boiled egg. Not only did he choose an egg, but he also insisted he peel the egg himself. I pictured this before I acquiesced: huge chunks of egg going to waste along with the shell, pieces of shell everywhere, early evening chaos. But what transpired instead was a bit of a monumental moment. My son peeled an egg. My 2 1/2-year old peeled an entire egg by himself. He got all the pieces of shell in the sink and rinsed the egg off before eating it. Then it hit me (like it does from time to time). There will come a time when he leaves us and peels all his own eggs. I watched him working tonight and thought about the adult he will grow into. I thought about how his hands will be bigger than mine and how he will probably have to bend down to give me a hug (his donor was like, 6’2″). I pictured him standing at his own sink teaching his son how to peel an egg.
Time is passing rather quickly. The milestones are coming daily. I read an article on the Brain, Child website today: http://www.brainchildmag.com/2013/07/disappearing-act/. The first line, “The cruelest truth of parenting: If you do it right, they leave.” That hit me in my gut. I had to close my computer for a while before I could finish the essay.
I guess that is a harsh reality that I need another 16+ years to prepare for. I will need to experience the angst of teenagers in order to appreciate the quiet when he is gone. I will need him to stay out past curfew or tell me he hates me or whatever else it is we did as teenagers that made our parents a little less morose when we left home. I know I will miss the smell of his skin. That is for sure.
When he was a tiny baby, we would put shirts we had worn in his crib so that he could smell us while he slept. I think I will have to sneak one of his out of his stuff before he drives away and tuck it neatly under my pillow.
Posted in General Parenting
Tagged kids growing up, kids leaving home, lesbian, lesbian parenting, lgbt, lgbt parenting, non-bio, non-bio mom, non-gestational, queer, queer parenting, raising toddler, toddlerhood, toddlers
People say to my son often, “What a cute little girl!” When I tell them he is a boy, the response has more than once been, “Oh. It’s a shame to waste that beautiful, curly hair on a boy.” Really? I was walking near where I live the other day and a woman in her seventies said that in front of him, like he doesn’t have ears.
It is a curious thing, raising a child. People are so ingrained in their ideas of who a child should be. Boy is ____. Girl is ______. My son’s hair is down to his shoulders if not a little longer. The deal I have with him is that he has to keep his hair out of his eyes. Baseball hat. Hairclip. Headband. The choice is his, but he has to choose one. I know that when I put a clip in my son’s hair that this invites confusion. I really don’t care. I have told M that we can cut his hair when he is ready. He is quite attached, so we have decided to give him that choice.
I am curious to see how M is effected by other people’s comments as he gets older. I wonder if there will be a time when he decides to cut his hair to look like the other boys or if he will be like a twelve-year old boy we know who wears his hair in two braids that hang down to his waist. Will he be offended to be called a girl? Will we be able to convince him that being called a girl isn’t a bad thing?
Posted in Child's Appearance
Tagged boys with long hair, child's appearance, lesbian, lesbian parenting, lgbt, lgbt parenting, non-bio, non-bio mom, non-gestational, queer, queer parenting, raising boys