Wednesday, April 25, 2012

...and I didn't think these books could get any better.

Thanks to Kent Wang for bringing this awesome into my day.

Baby Sex Revealed

It's a boy!

Vagina or Penis?

Today is the big unveiling!!! Here's hoping that TBD is in a junk-flashing mood. Hard to imagine a child of mine being shy with its body... And then FINALLY, the husband will engage in the naming conversation! Stay tuned for the big news.
(19 weeks, 6 days pregnant)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Happy Friday!

May this 20th of April be a lovely one for everyone! Go outside. Be thankful for the planet that loves and supports you.

Pick up a piece of trash.
Enjoy a flower without picking it.
Lay in the grass and find the cloud shapes while eating a whole bag of Doritos.

Photographic Inspiration

From Bored Panda...I love these images by photographer Jason Lee!
Fun, creative, full of childhood magic. I'm filing these under To Do.

And here's Jason's website.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Radical Homemaking: a beginning

Ok, I have to start this with a preface:
There are a lot of issues of privilege that come into play when talking about someone choosing to stay home instead of working for the monies. Additionally, there are currently a lot of people out there who desperately want to work, but can't find jobs or are incapable of holding a job for one reason or another. Issues of privilege and class (and race...and gender...) are incredibly important for us all to be thinking about in our everyday lives, and my discussion of homemaking is not presented without a conscious awareness of all this. But, that also doesn't mean that we shouldn't pursue ideas and choices because our culture currently doesn't allow everyone to participate in them. On the contrary, I think often change starts when people in positions of privilege start making different choices and speaking about them.

I am embarking on a new life as a homemaker. I feel a little shameful just saying that publicly. I come from a cultural milieu that demands that women pursue careers and ever-increasing levels of financial independence. I have a master's degree, I have taught at the college level, I have studied/debated/lectured on the most hardcore philosophical levels of feminism(s) since I was 15 years old. I was raised in a family where not only did my mother always work--often multiple jobs--but HER mother (b. 1920) also worked and was a savvy businesswoman. As a result of these realities, and so many more, I am currently working through the guilt of "depending on a man" for my financial comfort.

BUT...this idea that it is a weakness for one member of a partnership (regardless of sex) to depend on the other member for financial support, I believe, is rooted in an inherently patriarchal and capitalist/consumerist belief system--a system which I wholeheartedly believe is at the root of most of our major planetary ills (it looks different in different places, but the effects are the same).

My developed skills and natural talents do not make the big bucks. They are not greatly valued by our culture. My partner's skills are. It doesn't make sense for me to invest the precious hours of my day working at a job which only makes a tiny fraction of what my partner can make, and to then have 2 people in a relationship who are tired, stressed out, and only half-able to do the work of building/maintaining a home.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

In Utero Training

This kid is totally gonna come out singing the West Wing theme song as a result of my compulsive DVD playing.

What can I say? President Bartlet soothes me.

(...Really what I should hope for is a kid with an innate sense of Sorkin-esque dialogue. I can see it now: "When you say 'lunch', I think we're envisioning two different things, Mom. Here, walk with me...")

Preschools: Get 'em while they're young!

I'm told I need to be getting on preschool waiting lists NOW. Let's be clear: I am 4.5 months pregnant and live in Austin, Texas. I naively thought that mad dashes for preschool spots only existed in the largest cities like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles. Y'know, places where lots of people with too much money and too many

anxieties tend to congregate. It seems, Austin is one of these places now? Is it that there are too few awesome preschools in this lovely river city? Is it that Austin is somehow plagued by inert contraceptive pills? Is it just that all of America has been taken over by the culture of starting the road to Harvard at 18 months of age? ...I certainly hope not.

Don't get me wrong; I'm a teacher and obviously very pro-education of all sorts. Get 'em while they're young! But my fetus is barely old enough to reveal its genitals to the looming eye of a sonogram, and starting the preschool schmooze-fest seems a little silly at this point.

But, if these are the rules of the game, I shall abide by them.

I've made an impressive spreadsheet (if I do say so myself) of all the preschools in Austin which may be a good fit for our family...Montessori heavy, of course a lot of language immersion options. I've included a column in the sheet for comments on ethnic/cultural diversity info since I think the battle against a lily-white landscape must begin early. There is also a column that holds information on what age ranges they work with, in case we want to continue on at the school into elementary.

Honestly, my interest in preschool isn't focused on trying to gain an edge on academics--I could lead that process at home quite nicely--it's really about

socialization. Beyond the tasks of making friends and sharing toys, I think the lessons of tolerance, patience, self-reliance, cooperation, compassion, and living in harmony with our environment need to start as early as possible. And, I think many of these lessons are learned best when a child is working within a larger community of children.

(18 weeks pregnant)

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Cat Issue

We have a cat named Baby Starbuck (no S at the end, a la the Battlestar Galactica character, not the ubiquitous caffeine pusher.)

It took two years of a campaign I called Smitten with Kittens to convince Husband to consent to a cat...I mean I REALLY, REALLY wanted a cat for a long time. And finally when we moved back to Austin in September, I got this teenage kitty who had wandered in from the wild one day to adopt my father-in-law.

Baby Starbuck is gorgeous, on the smaller side, and has the softest short hair coat I've ever felt on a cat. She sits and lounges regally. She has bat-like ears...all meaning, her appearance begs you to cuddle with her.

But appearances can certainly be deceiving; her personality fits her name.

She isn't exactly adult-friendly, let alone baby-friendly. She bites and attacks...A LOT. She turns on you quickly. She is a vengeful kitty who pees on personal items (blankets, pillows) if you exclude her, or if you don't keep her litter box OCD clean. She wants to always have you in sight, but she doesn't want you to actually pet her or look at her too much.

After 7 months of trying to assert my dominance, I have accepted that I am not the alpha kitty in this house. I am Baby Starbuck's bitch. But I just love her so much!! ...Did I mention she has to have special prescription cat food because she has delicate kidneys?

Obviously we can't keep her once we have a new baby. It would be disastrous for TBD! Starbuck would institute daily slash and pee sessions. I'd walk away for one second and have to run back quickly to find a bloody infant doused in hateful cat piss. No ma'am.

Really, she needs to be an outdoor cat, preferably outdoors in a place where she can stalk and viciously kill a wide variety of prey. We're talking some crazy hunting instincts in this kitty. Maybe a barn cat is her highest potential.

This reality breaks my heart.