Monthly Archives: January 2017

The parenting is political.

So, you know, the world is shit. (At least here in the U.S.) This post is about that.

  1. Gus asked us this morning what we wanted to do today. We said we were going to a rally, like the march last weekend. He asked why and Lesley muttered, “This is how we spend our time now.” I don’t think he is old enough to be making permanent memories here but there is a part of me that is kind of happy he will grow up going to protest. marches, and rallies. It’s a pretty small part of me, clearly.
  2. Lesley and I had a conversation where she asked me what we would be doing right now if we didn’t have a kid. I said I am not sure I would feel the same sense of urgency. She said she would be chaining herself to shit. I am normally the more fired up person so it is interesting to see her as worked up if not more.
  3. I am a part of a big mom facebook group that has a political subgroup. I am part of the political subgroup, too. It’s one of my favorite places on the internet. It is mostly liberal and has smart people in it – lobbyists, former conservatives, average folks. On Friday the subgroup got kicked out of being associated with the main group for some super bullshit reasons with a claim of not being tolerant enough of other’s opinions. It’s all weird and strange and surprisingly emotional. It’s brought a conversation into both groups about whether or not parenting at it’s core is political (subgroup says yes, most of main group says no) It’s honestly a question I had never considered. Of course parenting is political. The existence of my family is political. The existences of so many families (queers, immigrants, POC…) are political. This has made me so angry at people who don’t care about politics.
  4. We have family members who voted for Trump. They have not told us but we have a small list of folks we know did. This includes some of our parents. Some of these are people who not only supported him but by no means would denounce a single thing he has done. We’re kind of at a loss. At what point in this do we say that their support for them will not be tolerated by us? What is tolerating it? They do not speak of it (we mainly see things “liked” on facebook) but will there be a line where it severely changes or ends our relationship with them? We don’t know. We are in the midst of planning a trip to see all of our family this summer. It sure puts a damper on it. (Not all of our parents voted for him and a few are unknown.) We’re not sure where to go from here.

So yeah, there is no real end to this post – this is just the stuff I keep thinking about without any real answer. This is why I am 4000 years behind at work.

Conferences

Yesterday we had our first parent teacher conference. They were by no means required but we had the option and we took it. We love the two lead teachers at our daycare and it was an opportunity to sit with them and chat about Gus. Why would we pass that up?

Mostly the conference confirmed what we knew. He’s a great kid and while they are not suppose to have favorites he is it. They also confirmed something we knew and I often talk about – he just has a lot of energy and doesn’t settle his body well. He has improved since being at daycare. He used to need a teacher to sit with him at circle time just to help him sit down. Now he does a bit better but he sits right next to the teacher so she can help him with reminders. Daycare has a PreK class and the only thing keeping him out of it is he can’t sit still.

All in all this is okay. Gus won’t start Kindergarten until he is almost 6 so there is really no rush for any of this and in some ways we are lucky that he has extra time. We talked about ways to help him with this (setting a timer) and how they will help ease him into more formal “lessons”. We talked about our concerns for when he is school age and the need to find a teacher who is understanding of where he is at and what he needs.

Gus really loves to learn and that shines through. He is so excited to do new things and fully experience everything. He is extremely caring and aware of other’s emotions. He has a good retention for knowledge and makes good connections between things. He asks complex, well thought out questions and talks about things that I wouldn’t expect him to know. (Currently we are talking about engines a lot. What engines do. What has an engine.) I asked about where I feel he doesn’t know stuff. He has some colors but they aren’t catching on as fast as I would have expected, for example. They reassured me that at this point there is no value in him knowing those things. He should have exposure to lots of that kind of stuff but until he is 3-3.5 it is not important. That put my mind at ease a bit. I look forward to him learning those things but I also appreciate that his social/emotional knowledge is so good.

I’m glad we scheduled the conference. I spend a lot of time worrying about if we are doing the right stuff with him or if he is on track in certain ways so I will never skip an opportunity to get feedback on that.

Invisible

I’m not sure if any of you have noticed but the state of affairs in the US is a bit bleak right now. Some folks elected the most awful awful dude and here we are, living it. I’m guessing y’all knew this.

In response to this there has been organizing and big conversations. I see them happening everywhere through memes and chat groups, especially centered around the Women’s March. There are good, difficult conversations happening about race and I have been reading what I can when I can and exploring my thoughts. I have had big conversations with friends and listened to what others are saying.

But in listening I am noticing that people are left out of the conversation. Conversations about the impact of T and T’s America have mainly been centering around people of color and trans folks. Those are important conversations to be having, I don’t disagree with that. But it’s hard for me to never see the word “lesbian” mentioned. The other group that I am seeing left out in a major was is folks with disabilities.

The National Women’s March released their platform which included stuff about trans rights and gay marriage. Gay marriage is not the only issue for gay folks. Their planning committee had no one representing an LGBT organization. It included Janet Mock but nothing that represented lesbians. The march in the big town north of us has been having really intense conversations about race. After failing to address race a queer woman of color took over the planning. It opened great conversations about race but still, never mentioned lesbians.

I see this in memes and stories explaining how to be an ally. Race. Nationality. Trans Folks. Stop. It’s not that I don’t understand the need to talk about those things and work on them. I hesitate to write this blog because I don’t know how to express it well enough and don’t want to convey that I don’t think those are important. It’s just hard. I see all of these conversations about Intersectional Feminism happening but it’s not including everyone.

I’m not sure why this is. One reason I think is because now that the hip term is queer all us LGBT+ folks get grouped together and Trans folks appear to have the most pressing needs. I’m not sure if folks don’t think there is stuff at risk for lesbians. (There is. Not just marriage too. Stuff comes with marriage like family security and the ability to visit our spouse in the hospital but it goes beyond that. Housing discrimination. Employment safety. Conversion therapy. Bullying.) I’m not sure if folks realize that some of these things are different from what Trans folks or other women experience. I’m not sure if people just don’t think lesbians exist anymore.

I don’t know why I am having such big feelings about this. The day T took office and his new website took over all mentions of LGBT folks were gone. I realized we are invisible to our government and I feel invisible to it’s citizens, too.

The house on the hill

On weekends we normally drive Gus around to fall asleep for his nap. He transfers from the car to the house pretty reliably if we time it right and the whole process takes 20 minutes while trying to get him down inside in his bed will take 45+. (Don’t you worry, he naps like a dream at daycare…) We know many good routes but often we just go somewhere in the morning to be wild and he falls asleep on the way home. Occasionally we need to do a big lap around the neighborhood to seal the deal.

This weekend we took a bit of a drive up through the hills behind out house. It was snowing up there and we drove through the slush listening to Neko Case (Gus’s calm down music) and pulled in the driveway thinking he was asleep. We had something we wanted to do that afternoon and worked hard to time it right and were annoyed when he was wide awake in the back seat. Lesley went inside and I did the lap again where he promptly feel asleep, took a long nap, and we were a half hour late for our afternoon engagement.

The drive up through the hills has us pass by our old rental house. We lived there for two years right before we bought our house three and a half years ago. Both years we lived with roommates – first a good friend who is no longer a good friend. She was an easy roommate as she was at her boyfriend’s 95% of the time. Our next roommate was our dear friend K who moved from Canada from grad school, lived with us there (thanks craigslist!), moved with us to our current house when we bought it, moved into her own place when I was pregnant, and then went back to Canada. (This is a lot of information that doesn’t relate to this but she is temporarily moving back and arrives Sunday and I CAN’T WAIT.) We paid something like $650 in rent, called our landlord when there were problems, and had no major responsibilities.

The house had many drawbacks. It was likely not insulated. Mold grew out of our floor. It was impossible to bike to and from it unless you were in much better shape than I will ever be. But life was so simple and easy. We thought we had no money but we paid $650 in rent and did not have a toddler. We did whatever we wanted when we wanted. We went out for beers and bike rides and binge watched tv. It was super great.

Life now is good but different and when I drive by the house on the hill with a toddler who won’t nap unless being driven around (and that’s iffy), a toddler I screamed at moments earlier for never not touching things, it seems so simple there. Retrospect life seems so amazing and I feel a twinge of something that is more jealousy than regret. I’ve lost good friendships since having Gus and while those weren’t because of him I wouldn’t have lost them without him coming. I’ve made new friendships but they are not as close as old ones. I have a group of mom friends that are wonderful but don’t feel like home. I have a life that I never feel I can control. I want to get my shit together and I just can’t. I didn’t have it together before but I really want to now. I want to show up somewhere on time.

It’s so easy to find the negative in life with a toddler. But while looping around, listening to baby snore over the sounds of Neko Case I remembered that that day, last Saturday, was three years since I got pregnant. I got pregnant three year ago on New Years Day. So much changed in the time around that. We had bought a house 7 months earlier. Our relationships with people changed in the year after. Our lives are so different than they were when we lived in the house on the hill. They are better. We have less time to drink in the sun. We ride bikes less. We are always late. But life is so much better. And you know what? In a few years we’ll be able to do all the things that we can’t do now. He’ll hang out with us when we ride bikes to a bar in the middle of the day. (We do this now with him but it will become more fun.) We’ll get places on time. It will all be okay. This is just a small part of our life that is fantastic and really fucking hard. But realistically – isn’t all of life fantastic and really fucking hard?

Also, after we moved out there was a murder/suicide in the house on the hill. Definitely makes it seem less awesome.