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Posts tagged ‘parenting’

Holding My Breath

I was never the mother I was told I would be.

I was told that I would have this baby that I would be gushing over, and while things were gushing, indeed, I was more on the terrified and relieved end of emotions than fervent love.

Love came, as I adjusted to this stranger in my life, who brought mixed emotions slamming to the forefront for me to deal with, but it came with the time it takes to meet any person in my life whom I must grown to love.

I was told that I would want to stand and watch her sleep, holding my breath to make sure she was breathing.

Instead, I swaddled her, nursed her, kissed her, laid her gently in her bassinet or Pack N’ Play, and for some reason I was perfectly trusting that she was fine. I was calm, I was at ease, and thankfully, that trust was rewarded. Motherhood wore on me as easily as a broken in hoodie. I had my doubts … (Am I nursing enough? Why isn’t she pooping? Do I rush to her too soon when she cries?) but I was relaxed. It felt casual. Apart from exhaustion and lack of sleep (and an issue with some cracked body parts), I felt like this was going to be OK. Her life was solid in my shaking hands.

I was told that when she was learning to walk I would try to pad my whole life with protective barriers, put all my dear treasures away for twelve years, and hold my breath as she learned to walk.

But the most vivid memory is of her standing against the wall, screaming at me, because she learned how to walk along the wall, but couldn’t figure out how to get down to the ground to crawl, or away from it to walk to me. She would stop, look at me, and then scream. I sat two feet away from her, gently encouraging her to do one or the other. Eventually, she dropped to her butt and did her signature “butt scoot”, but she stopped yelling at me to solve her problem, and figured out how to solve it herself. I didn’t worry about edges of coffee tables or nick-knacks on shelves. We worked together, and worked within life as we knew it, instead of changing our life. If we didn’t teach her boundaries, and just removed everything from her reach, when would she learn? I think my grandparents new favorite phrase became “taa-taa” (some word passed down in my family for “bring that thing you shouldn’t have to me!”) as we pulled together to keep the learning environment secure.

I have been told that as she grew she would pull away from me, that I would hold my breath back from silent tears that would fall. That she would talk to me less and less, because I couldn’t be parent and friend, and that she wouldn’t share with me.

That one, granted, made me worry a bit. Being a bonded unit for so long, I worried that some unseen force would undo what I worked so hard to establish. The sense that I don’t control her, that I guide her through things, try to show her the choices ahead of her, and try to provide her with a secure environment to make them herself, even if she chooses a wrong one once in a while (we learn from mistakes, after all) reassured me that I was doing right by her. I could, in theory, force her to choose the things I want her to choose, but that won’t help her to grown into a person in her own right. All I can do is talk to her about all of the choices in front of her, give her room to talk to me about them, and how the situations surrounding those choices make her feel (there is a great book called How to Talk So Your Kids Will Listen and How to Listen So Your Kids Will Talk that I recommend, and have taken parenting classes based on it. I can’t say enough how helpful it is!). As hard as it is sometimes, I keep my own opinions to myself (as much as some will be disinclined to believe this), because, I want more than anything for her to form those for herself, with the information laid out for. And so far, it has worked. And I have breathed more easily for it.

But every now and again, now that she is older, now that she is asserting her physical independence, I hold my breath. Letting her out of my sight, letting her go around the corner to a water fountain at the hospital while I sit in the waiting room, letting her go to the car to get her book from her seat, letting leave the PX to use the bathroom in the mall plaza alone … I hold my breath. I don’t know when I began to worry, or when I stopped being so relaxed. When the fragility of her tiny body became less, and my panic became more, but at some point one smoothed into the other, and I have found myself an outsider to my own rationale. I want to hold her hand crossing the street. I want to keep her close to me. Sometimes when I see her arguing with kids on the playground I want to run in and break it up. She stopped needing me to be a shield and I suddenly have an urge to provide it. Sometimes even letting her run inside the school to grab her forgotten backpack alone makes my heart stop a moment.

It’s odd.

I suppose it is part of growing up. For me, not for her. Or maybe for both of us. We have done so much growing up together already, me being so young when she was born.

Part of it for me, at least, will be remembering how to breathe, as she learns how to take her wings.


Some blogwhoring…

johnn depp and orlando bloom
see more Lol Celebs

I haven’t done one of these in a while … there has been a lot going on.  Apologies if I have missed something awesome that you did, and please share it in comments.

Cara at the Curvature: Not the Man I Know:

It’s not a musing about how violent people are generally capable of hiding their violence in certain contexts. Nor is it even usually an attempt to justify one’s relationship with a violent person. It’s just a flat-out denial. Perhaps even worse, it’s a dismissal.

He’s not aggressive. He respects women. He’s very sensitive. He loves children. He gives back to the community. Once, I saw him do this thing that I consider to be the opposite of the accusation.

Chally: Limits:

You need to approach me as limited because you need someone to be less than you. It is a relief to have someone to compare yourself with and think that you’re doing better than me, at least.

The next two I found via the Sixth Carnival of Feminist Parenting, which is really great and worth checking out.

Ruth Moss: Dear Kate Harding:

You don’t mind those children who are controlled by their parents, or at least, the ones where the parents try to control them. You realise it’s difficult to control them (in the same way it’s difficult to control weight: clue; in both cases, control is the wrong approach). But at least try, come on! And as for those parents who take some kind of pride in not controlling their kids at all (and is it just me, or do I detect the tiniest hint of classism there too?) they’re the lowest of the low.

Umm, did you know Carrie Fisher has a blog? And that she is still awesome (like I had any doubt)?

You see, I was hot when most people are hot—- in my fucking 20’s & part of my 30’s……THEN, in an effort to imitate humans, I had a child &, to further maintain my life like disguise, I took medications for about 9 thousand years, &, despite all my efforts, I continued to get older & older——inadvertently, I assure you———-I tried to arrest my development physically as WELL as emotionally, but unfortunately without as much success. I also must confess that I ate food. I’m sorry….. I realize that I promised never to eat anything but lettuce & sun flower seeds, but tragically, I was unable to keep my promise.

s.e. smith: The chemical coshing of sexuality:

Make no mistake: disabled persons who want an independent sex life are routinely denied lives as sexual beings. Whether they are sterilised in institutions, forced to take medications in exchange for being allowed to live independently, or not informed about the sexual side-effects of medication, their voices are left out of the treatment decision-making, even when treatment has very real – and sometimes deadly – side-effects.

Liss:  On Carrie PreJean:

To make an issue out of these tapes, to endorse or encourage their release for any reason, is to perpetuate the rape culture. Despite our collective refusal to regard them thus, celebrity sex tapes released without the participants’ consent is sexual assault. Consenting to the sex act, even consenting to its being filmed, is not implicit consent that images of the act be publicly distributed.

From Change.org:

(That by-ling is not a mistake, that’s me!)

Unfortunately, the intersection of feminism and the military receives limited coverage in womanist/feminist circles unless the discussion centers around rape. Don’t misunderstand me: Rape is a serious issue in the Armed Forces.  In weekly posts to come, I fully intend to discuss military rape and sexual assault, the ways it is being addressed (or not) by Upper Brass, how awareness is being raised, and the effectiveness of training geared toward preventing assault. Yet if we, as feminists/womanists, feminist allies, and other women’s rights advocates, focus only on rape and sexual assault, then we are dismissing the positive experiences and achievements made by women every day.

There is a ton more that I haven’t remembered to bookmark, shamefully.  Some of the FWD/Forward team is also doing a stint at Bitch as the Transcontinental Disability Choir, so please stop by and show us your love! Drop your links in comments, and show some love to the peeps who worked on these pieces (and me!)

ETA: I am ashamed to say I forgot to bookmark and link to Quixotess’ Boycott of Feministing.  Read her post for why, because I appreciate her boosting the signal.  Can’t stop the signal, Mal. Also, see Meloukhia’s Open Letter if you need a brush up.

Sweets, Treats, and Other Goodies!


The Seventh Carnival of Feminists is up at Shut Up, Sit Down! Go show them, and all the contributors some love (Hey that’s me too!) on the work they did!


Co-Contributors Rawk!

Assorted truffles wrapped in red tissue.


Thank you, ever so much!  It made my day to find these in our APO box!


I made these Worm Infested Dirt Cups for The Kid’s class for Halloween:

Chocolate cupcakes with faux mud topping and gummy worms

Ewww! And also: NOM!

For the Averted to Chocolate for any reason, I made one dozen in vanilla:

White cupcake with faux sandy mud topping and gummy worm.

I used a “cheat” recipe that cut a lot of the time for me (which I posted at BaCaW), which is a good thing.  It was given to me by another mum, and when I looked it up b/c I forgot the proportions, I found out that it is a Weight Watcher’s recipe (or, supposed to be), but because diets are crap, and don’t work (even “lifestyle changes”), I made sure to use the real, full sugar soda.  Yum!  More importantly, this is a great vegan alternative recipe, since it cuts out the egg, and easier because it doesn’t need the extra oil or applesauce.

Now, I need a nap.  Because, as I have discovered, if you keep borrowing tomorrow’s spoons to accomplish today’s tasks, it is going to catch up w/ you…in a bad bad way.

This Moment’s WTF?

When The Kid was born she was 7 lbs and 14 ounces.  Not huge by baby standards, really.  She was 21 inches long, and had a perfectly round head*.  I nursed exclusively until I had my wisdom teeth out after she was almost five months old, when I had some trouble transitioning back after the pain medication left my body (and OH the shaming from the WIC nurses about the pain medication).  On demand feeding from 45 minutes after she was born, and The Kid was steadfastly in the 98th percentile in height and weight pretty much forever.  She is still about the 97th in height, and for her height she is “normal” weight, the doctors tell me (boy do I love that word), even if I do not remember the numbers off the top of my head.  She is a great and healthy kid, and always has been.

Kind of like this kid, who apparently, as a healthy and happy baby, is too fat for health insurance.  If you haven’t already read amandaw’s post on the extreme bullshit that is insurance companies and their pre-existing conditions, please please run over to her blog or to FWD and do so right now.  A perfectly healthy baby, in a home where the parents did what any parent would try to do, take care of his basic needs and feed him when he needs to be fed.  10,000 fat shaming points to the journalist for selecting the photo that positions the slender mother as far back in the shot as possible to make the baby look as ginormous as can be.  WHEEEEE!

What breaks my heart the most is that the parents of this little Alex Lange are already making jokes about the various diet plans that they surely put him on as soon as possible, such as starting him on Slim Fast as soon as he is ready for solid food, or about putting him on a treadmill.  This incident is probably going to be a family joke for years to come, and that won’t affect Alex’s self esteem.  Nuh-uh.

Obviously our health care system is broken when we allow companies to deny coverage to healthy babies.  We let them cherry pick among people who need it the most, we allow them to deny coverage just because someone can’t pay, making health care a privilege and not a right, we set up pre-existing conditions on everything from childhood asthma to C-sections, then even if people get coverage we still enable companies to practice rescission, and now we let them deny coverage to a kid who is young enough to still have vernix behind his ears for being happy, healthy and well nursed.

It’s broken.  Why ain’t we fixin’ it.

I mean, WTF?

*The Perfectly Round Head is a long running joke w/ us.  Kid’s head did not mold when she was born, and because her delivery was just so darned fast (I know some of you hate me right now) I tore.  Pretty impressively, too, I was told as the doctor was stitching me up.  I have long joked w/ Kid that her head has always been Perfectly Round, and apparently she told this story to her Kindergarten class.  Oops.

ETA: Crap.  This was found via Shapely Prose.  I had the frackin’ tab open all day and all night so I would not. forget. to. link.  Gah!  Many many apologies.


Katherine Heigl, Josh Kelly, and their new daughter, Naleigh.

Katherine Heigl, Josh Kelly, and their new daughter, Naleigh.

To the newly expanded family:

Katherine Heigl and Josh Kelley have adopted a 10 month old baby girl from Korea. Katherine and Josh have named their daughter Nancy Leigh and she will go by the nickname Naleigh.

May they be blessed with many wonders and joys.

That little girl is so cute I could just bite her.  NOM!


Important Announcement

feministcatThis post brought to you by Teh Feminist Kitteh Collective.

PS:  I use adult language.  Nyah.

If you read this article, and the only response you have is:

“Japanese Bitch”


“Stupid Slant Eyes”

and are called out on your shit, and all you have to say is:

“OK, I am not a racist…”, and proceed to defend your racist and misogynistic bullshit, while failing 100% to see how you are, in fact a racist and misogynistic ass hole, then I can not help you.

The linked article is awful.  That poor father.  I can not express enough how I ache for him.  I would be beside myself if that happened to me.  Is that a shitty situation?  Yes.  Do I think that something needs to be done to fix this?  Absolutely!  And as soon as we can make that shit happen.

Is throwing around gendered slurs and othering an entire race of people, or using hateful and bigoted language against a specific nationality going to fix a damned thing?  Nope.  Not going to happen.  In fact, it’s probably also not going to help matters, whatsoever.  In an international situation insulting the other person is probably not the way to go.

I’m just sayin’.

But, hey, keep it classy.

Oh, also, shit like that will get you “unfriended”.  Especially if you can’t even have the courage to own your bigotry.

But don’t worry.  You won’t be lonely.

Gift Giving

I once (twice, but who’s counting?) had a boyfriend in what was, to make a long story short, a long distance relationship.  Once during Christmas while I was visiting I received a beautiful gift from his parents.  It was a glass, Tiffany-style pineapple shaped tealight candle holder.  Given that I love pineapples it was a wonderful gift.  I loved it.  It was beautiful, and the tealights smelled wonderful.

Since my life was in a slightly different place with different plans at the time, when it was time for me to fly back home to Hawai’i I decided that it was best to leave the candle holder there rather than risk it getting broken in my luggage or carry on on the flight.  It was no big deal.  I left some heavier clothes in the closet, and some other personal items in the master bathroom.  At the time it was likely that I would eventually be living at his apartment full time, so my leaving things there was not an issue for either of us. (more…)

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