Sunday, November 28, 2010

Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Tomboys

**UPDATE** My mother just bought Caroline a "Say Please Tea Set" designed to teach manners and, apparently, waitressing. Facepalm.

Before Carrie came, I was so excited about all of her tiny pink outfits and the adorable headbands that came with them. I couldn't wait to read her books like "Polite as a Princess" and I was going to tell her everyday that she was beautiful.

And then I realized that I'd been ruled by hormones and I didn't actually want any of that for her. Well, at least not exclusively. Really, what I want is for Caroline to be herself. She might turn out to be super femme and she might also be a tomboy like I was (for a while anyways). But the million ways in which gender roles are reinforced will play a huge part in who she is and, frankly, that pisses me off. Don't get me wrong, I still think she's absolutely beautiful and I'm not just saying this because I'm sick of looking at pink - although I totally am.

It just seems so ridiculous to me that we start indoctrinating our children into gender roles before they can even focus their eyes. Putting aside how ridiculous the gender binary is in general, it's especially useless for babies. Gender is a combination of several factors including sex, social role and gender identity. So, I ask you: how can a tiny human with no physical self-awareness other than that hands are fun have a social role or gender identity?

Also, baby boys clothes are freaking adorable. So it frustrates me when I see something cute that I'd like to buy for Caroline and I debate if it's cute enough to justify me fighting with my mom over it.

I guess what it really comes down to is that I want the best for her. And I'm not gonna lie: sometimes it sucks to be a girl. I mean we can create life and "the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world" and we've got the Girl Scouts and we're completely equal to men and yay feminism. But, still. Sometimes it's hard to remember that you have to be docile to get ahead and not to chew with your mouth open. And it sucks to accept that you'll get paid less than the moron in the next cubicle reading FHM while you're working twice as hard. And it hurts when you realize that girls really can't be anything they want like your favorite childhood book told you. So I'd rather raise her in a world relatively free of those stereotypes and unfair expectations and just let her be her. And the adorable boys' and gender-neutral clothes are just a perk :)

Thursday, November 25, 2010


I am thankful for surviving Caroline's first illness this week. She and I both had a terrible stomach flu which really knocked us down a peg or two. Plus side? I ate four plates of food today and probably won't weigh more this Sunday than I did last :)

So: a real post is in the works for the next few days. Right now, I'm going to cast off this scarf I'm knitting (broke-ass Christmas, anyone?) and go to bed. Because your child sleeping through the night is even more awesome when compared to the midnight vomiting parties.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Well, drench me in patchouli and call me crunchy granola mom.

Ok, not to obsess over this whole diapering thing, but I need to obsess over this whole diapering thing.

Everyone's asking what Caroline and I want for Christmas this year (let's put aside the fact that I actually celebrate Solstice) and all I can tell them is: "we want cloth diapers!" I mean, sure, Caroline could definitely use other things. But it just kills me to use disposable diapers on her. Every time I change her diaper, I think to myself "this diaper will still be in a landfill when she graduates college." This is seriously breaking my heart. Everybody complains that there won't be any nature left for our children, and disposable diapers are part of that problem. I recycle, I try to re-use and upcycle things. I bring my own tote bags to the grocery store, I only do laundry when it's absolutely necessary, I unplug my cell phone charger when I'm not using it. If I'm doing my part, why do I feel so terrible about using disposables?

Maybe because "disposable diapers are the third largest single consumer item in landfills." Estimates state that disposable diapers can take up to 500 years to decompose fully. That's just ridiculous, people. If the rule of thumb states that there are about 20 years between generations, Caroline's diapers will still be in a landfill 25 generations from now.

And that's not even the half of it! I could save a metric buttload (yes, that's technical term) of money over the course of her diapering life by using cloth. She would potty train earlier. She would have less diaper rash. Plus, her butt would look even cuter than it already does if it were covered in an adorable diaper!

So, if you're reading this and you want to get us a holiday present: put back the toys that take batteries (no, seriously, Karma will get if you make me endure that) and get us the gift of a more sustainable future.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

"I'd call that sound pollution."

Someone actually said that to me recently in reference to my use of the word "fuck" in the context of facebook. "I hope you don't use that kind of language in front of your child," she said, adding the aforementioned comment. I have several things to say to this woman:
  • The term is "noise pollution," and it doesn't really cover this. But total A+ for effort, really.
  • My 4-month old actually isn't on facebook, can't read, and doesn't understand language at all. So I'm pretty sure her virgin psyche is intact. Except for that part where she's scarred for life from my throwing her into bed.
  • What the fuck, lady?
And she's not the only one! My own sister harped on me about using the same word (Fuck. There, I said it again. Dammit.) in a different post on facebook. It went something like this:

Me - "One of the ads on my profile is for Mederma for stretch marks. Fuck you, facebook."
Sister - "Heyyyy, language. You're a mom now!"
Me - "Right. Cause moms don't ever use curse words. Or poop. Or get angry. Or have sex. Basically they're just less human than everyone else."

I really shouldn't have made that last comment, but I just couldn't help myself. In what crazy universe does pushing a child out of your uterus occasion a mandatory change in your behavior? I mean, here are some key points in my defense:
  • I'm not cussing out loud in front of your children.
  • I'm actually a pretty rocking mom.
  • My child is happy and healthy and way smart for her age (the pediatrician says that; it's not just me pulling a Glenn Beck and making shit up.)
So, why exactly is it inherently wrong for a mother to use a curse word? And, in a bit of a broader context, why is it inherently wrong for a mother to have tattoos or piercings or hot pink hair or wear a short skirt? Basically, what's wrong with a woman making informed choices about her own life and behavior that have no negative impact on her children?

I'm not saying I don't judge. I do, even just a little bit. I heard about a woman who got a new piercing while she was pregnant. That's pretty messed up, in my book, because of the risk of infection and the compromised state of the pregnant woman's immune system. Drinking heavily or doing drugs while your child is in your care or there is not a sober adult to tend the child? I wouldn't do it, that's pretty wrong to me. But, seriously you guys, all I did was say "fuck." I mean, really? So here's today's lesson, brought to you by "Free to Be You and Me": parents are people.

We curse. We shout. We have tattoos and piercings, among other things. We like hard rock (and so do our kids). We feel things: anger and joy and hope and fear and passion. We wear the clothes we like, and sometimes very little clothing at all (gasp!). We have sex, and we make out and we want to feel attractive. We love our kids, but we aren't defined by them. We have lives outside of diapers and bottles, chicken nuggets and bedtime stories.

And it's not your fucking place to tell us we can't do these things, so back off.

Friday, November 5, 2010

My Child Is Possessed.

Seriously. There cannot possibly be another explanation for this behavior. "But that's just silly!" you may protest, "Surely you're overreacting." All I can say to you is: "Shut up and stop poking holes in my logic."

Ok, fine. Maybe she's teething. But, then again, maybe she's not. I get the feeling I'm viewing a lot of behavior that could by signs of teething, but could also just be the way a baby learns. I did this when I was in labor. We went to the hospital twice, with me convinced I was in labor. The contractions were regular and getting more frequent, increasing in intensity, etc. And I was miserable and convinced that this baby was coming. And then I really went into labor and what I experienced made those other instances pale in comparison (and also made me feel pretty foolish).

So am I just jumping the gun here? Am I so eager to see her grow beautiful, tiny, pearl teeth that I'm reading too much into this? Is she just going through the four-month sleep regression?

I guess regardless of the cause, the main symptom remains: my sweet Care Bear is now a demon. She's stopped sleeping through the night, she will hardly go down for a nap and she's been fussy on and off for a few days (with a huge blow-up today). This just isn't my child.

My dad said "Maybe you need to watch that PURPLE crying video again. Babies just cry sometimes." Yeah, here's the deal, dad: 1 - the period of PURPLE crying should have peaked like a month ago (when she was still a little angel) and 2 - not my baby! My girl just doesn't cry for no reason. She's almost always satisfied by either a change of scenery or a change of diaper. Clearly, she is now possessed.

Or she's teething. Oh dear, this could get circular...