28 February 2006

Love Story Too ~*~ A Belated Valentine

I'm mad at you. I work hard to make healthy meals, and you and The Little Boy just snuck out for Jack in the Box. And The Little Boy was excited, because he and his Papa went and got yummy things, and I'm sorry you weren't there Mama, but here I saved you a french fry! I'm frustrated with you. Because the bed is covered with laundry to be folded, because the dishes need to be done, because I haven't figured out dinner for tonight. Because the walls need to be painted from our remodeling, because the carpet is thrashed, because there are bills to be paid. And I'm already tapped out, and wondering where the treadmill stops. All I want is a nap. A nap like The Baby in the other room is having. The Baby, who, when I tiptoe in to watch him sleep, has an angel's face. Yours, to be precise. So I'm thinking of you. We have photos of us at our wedding, us on our honeymoon, hung (crookedly) on our walls. I walk slowly down that hall (which needs to be vacuumed), and I pause to touch them. For an instant, I'm on the beach in Fiji, where you proposed to me. I'm smelling the salt spray around us on the beach in California, where we got married. I'm barefoot and the sun is shining. And we're walking on those beaches, talking about our family, the family we're going to make. I am mad about the french fry. But how can I stay mad? It's from my little I Love You. The walking, laughing, playing, little "I Love You" that we made. Together. This life? This is our love story, the one we make together, the one we're making every single day, in story time and lunch time, sleep time and bath time. In hours and in minutes, in our tasks as they come to us, this is the love we've made. I can't stay mad. Not even for a french fry.

26 February 2006

Baby Clothes

I'm biting the bullet. I'm cleaning out the baby clothes. Kestrel is growing like a little weed. Just shy of nine months, he's already outgrown anything smaller than 12mos. Which means that there's a huge amount of unwearable stuff in his dresser drawers. And every time I go in there, charged with purpose, determined to clean out the clutter, I end up sitting on the bed crying. After Rowan, it was sort of like a prayer to clean, fold, and store his little things, for use again with another baby. His little shirts and pants and socks, filled with memory, put away for hope. Two little guys later, the clothes are of course stained, stretched out of shape, and not nearly so spectacularly crisp as they began; much like me, actually. I hold a tiny tshirt up to my belly, and laugh, because it's too depressing to carry the metaphor too far. But of course, once started... There's far more clothing here than we ever actually used. There are tiny things never even used, since both boys were born gargantuan. Do I keep them in hopes that a third baby might be tiny enough? Or do I give up completely, and ditch everything smaller than 12 months, on the theory that subsequent babies just get bigger? I've allowed myself one space bag for heirlooms. One small bag (shrinkwrappable, that's the thing of it) to hold the bits I cannot bear to part with, that I'll want to give the boys for when they have babies themselves. Items they wore in particularly beautiful pictures. The outfit we bought Rowan when we were in Hawaii. The jammies he was wearing the night Kestrel was born. That kind of thing. I have to keep this positive. I am giving baby clothes to people who need them right now. People on Freecycle, people who have no money and new babies who need clothes. It's silly to keep this stuff bound up in my closets forever. Energy flows best when it flows, not when it's trapped. Maybe the joy that's ground into the clothing's fibers along with the watercolor stains and the jelly streak will seep into those other children, and for no good reason one day, those babies will smile. Am I convincing you? I'm not sure I'm convincing myself... I can't separate the issue of clothing from the issue of family size. Every time I put one tiny pair of socks in the freecycle pile, I feel like I'm giving away my option for another baby. Every time I clean a drawer out, though, I can feel my energy lift, as the mash and the clutter moves on, feng shui-style. Maybe I'm clearing out the energy for another child. Or maybe I'm tidying up the energy for the two I have. Am I convincing you? I'm not sure I'm convincing myself. At all. But I'll keep trying.

20 February 2006

Children and Museums: The Crime of Babywearing

Our family attempted to visit the De Young Museum on February 15th. Midway through our visit, we were asked to leave. What had we done wrong? My husband and I were "wearing" both boys (one eight months old, one three and a half) in sling-style soft back carriers. You see.... you're not allowed to wear backpacks in the De Young. They're afraid you'll lose track of your personal boundaries, and bash into something. Doubly so with children. Therefore, they must be in strollers, or on your front. This is a deeply child-hostile policy, on three fronts. The first front is on a comfort/attention/behavior viewpoint. Parents who take their children out into the world bear, in my opinon, an obligation to keep them entertained, mannerly, and engaged. The museum's policy makes that all but impossible. The second front is a philosophical consideration. People appreciate what they know. If you're going to raise a child who appreciates art, you must expose them to it in a positive way, get them excited about it. How in the world are you to do that, if attending a museum is an uncomfortable, awkward, boring experience? Third, it assumes that the babywearing parent is somehow unconscious of where their child is. That would be analogous to banning wheelchairs, because the handicapped person might lose track of where their wheels are. It sorely underestimates the union between the babywearing dyad. The museum's current policy on back carries marginalizes those of us who are both willing and able to control our children, and want very much to introduce them not only to art, but to the art of correct social behavior in such facilities. In discussing my upset with other babywearing, museum-going parents, I've discovered that the experience, with regards to the acceptance of soft back-carriers, is inconsistent. The Metropolitan Museum in New York rents them for use. The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art consistently asks people babywearing to leave. And about half of the parents who've visited the De Young were asked to leave, while the other half enjoyed their visits uninterrupted. It's my hope that some sort of compromise, or waiver policy, may be achieved, not only at the De Young, but at museums everywhere. I also understand that there may be some sort of insurance or other complication that makes that unattainable in the short term. But as babywearing parents, I think it's incumbent on us to challenge these sorts of policies, and do what we can to educate policymakers. If you have a picture of you and your child in a back carry at a museum location, I would very much appreciate it if you'd send it along for inclusion. Should that fail to have the desired effect, next stop is a letter-writing campaign. Stay tuned, either for the Happy Dance, or the Call to Action, whichever's necessary. =) Thanks to everyone who's offered me support in this so far. I know it seems a little thing. But I fully intend to raise children who are comfortable in cultural institutions, and know how to behave appropriately, and I will not allow some poorly-thought-out policy get in my way. Stay tuned. And thanks for your support.

12 February 2006

FtG -- Quicken Smells Fear

...at least, my installation of it does. It can tell when I'm nervous, when I'm insecure. It mistakes my fear of finance for a fear of software, and it acts up. Little does it know, I've been bludgeoning software into behaving well for ages. I'm not too bad with dog training either. So as the great Lois McMaster Bujold says, we're going for best two falls out of three. I'm cleaning up my files, in preparation to send them off to The Black Dragon, my mighty Tax Goddess. I'm recategorizing stuff, cleaning out duplicates, getting accounts linked properly. Basically, catching up on a year of financial housekeeping that I should have been doing all along. Funny how the spectre of the Tax Reaper makes you get all noble and upstanding. It's tricky, though, because the software is designed, well, for people who know what they're doing with money. Back when I started using Quicken, I was basically using it as an online check register. I've come a long way since then, sure, but I still don't have the financial knowledge to deeply utilize the structures built into the program by those wiser than me in such things. For instance, I got tired of my personal assets column being all blank and lonely. I own a house here in the Bay Area, and I know that despite the fact that the majority of this house still belongs truly to the bank, it's somehow considered an asset to me. Makes no sense in the real world, but we're not talking about the real world, we're talking about the Funhouse World of Finance. So I set up the account properly. And lo and behold, not only is there an account on the asset side, there's an account on the liability side, and it tracks how dismally slowly my principal is diminishing, and how much of that montly payment goes straight to loan interest. Oi! And I get confused about where different types of accounts go. How they get categorized. How they get set up within the program... I have three new knots in my back over this. But ya know, when the program told me that it could not connect to my financial institution (three separate times!), I knew precisely what to do. I put that program in its place, yes I did. It's a small victory, but it's mine. And you have to give yourself what little credits you can along the way.

07 February 2006

Poetry, Right Now....

I found this from a link from Danielle's blog. And it was too fabulous not to repost. So I am. You can go find the original here.

God Says Yes To Me by Kaylin Haught

Taken from Being Alive published by Bloodaxe Books

I asked God if it was okay to be melodramatic and she said yes I asked her if it was okay to be short and she said it sure is I asked her if I could wear nail polish and she said honey she calls me that sometimes she said you can do just exactly what you want to Thanks God I said And is it even okay if I don't paragraph my letters Sweetcakes God said who knows where she picked that up what I'm telling you is Yes Yes Yes

Liberty, Equality, Electronically

Dear readership, I have a confession to make. I am short. No, really. It's true. I've been discussing a phenom, whereby the words I write, both in emails in my various yahoogroups, and here on this blog, seem to impact folks, whereas in my real life, I can talk about some issues until I'm purple, and no one hears me. What does that have to do with being short? I have been told by quite a few people that they picture me as bigger than I am. Apparently, my shadow is larger than I (Peter Pan had the same problem; alas, I know no Wendy to stitch it back on). And stature is related to attention. Small people are assumed to have all kinds of "issues". Thank god I'm not short *and* male; everyone assumes short men have problems with their height. But not only am I short; I'm also getting older. Study after study has proven that older (read: no longer sexually available) women get worse service, less attention, and are generally marginalized within this youth-obsessive culture. The fact, and the fabulousness, of the online world, is that ideas are presented purely, and the reader is forced to take them at their value, without having physical cues or prejudices. You don't know the physical appearance, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, religious conviction, or really, anything else about the person who wrote the words. You have to take the words as written, and evaluate them purely on their own merit. And what is it that makes it so that if you can't see me, I must be just like you and you can accept what I say, but if you can, I couldn't possibly be? They say that vision is not a pure sense, that it's the combination of the data the eyes collect merged with what the brain processes. The eyes transmit roughly ten times more data than the brain uses to create the images we see. According to the groundbreaking work of Dr. Bates, most vision malfunctions are a result of either overstress of the eyes, or of mental/emotional impacts. So is it that dismissiveness of truth that happens when the messenger is Not Like Us is a function somehow of how we see them? Could it be that prejudice isn't a social malfunction, but is actually our brain's frantic attempt to throw up another filter against the overwhelming data coming in, to process it by wholesale flinging some of it beyond discussion? Wouldn't it be interesting if, after all these years of fighting for equality, for liberty, for civil rights, if all of those things were finally found in a new age of purely electronic communication?