Saturday, March 30, 2013

On the Job of Raising a Feminist Son


In trying to figure out this identity as a full-time mom, partner, and homemaker, I've found it difficult to fully embrace it as the incredibly difficult, exhausting, mentally challenging "real" job that it is. 

I still sometimes find myself working too hard to prove to others that I am not some uninteresting, barely educated, oppressed woman. I focus on the fact that I'm now more productive as a poet and editor than I've ever been before, or that I'm working on prepping to go into a PhD program once Emerson goes to school. Sometimes it is the actual assumptions of others I'm working against, but often it's just my own internalized crap.

What's so hard to get across is that I'm not just doing the normal day-to-day of cooking meals, cleaning messes and wiping a tiny ass--it often feels like that's all I do. But, in all reality, my very awesome, very eccentric, very expensive education is being put to excellent use EVERY.SINGLE.DAY--from linguistic theory, to botany, to yogic philosophy...all the way to Oulipian procedures. And, obviously 15 years of critical theory has done something to my parenting, for better or for worse...

Part of what I keep coming to in parsing out what it is I really do^ is that I am at the beginning of a multi-year project in raising a feminist son who is also comfortable in his own power as a (I assume) masculine being. Everything that I do, every rule/habit/tradition my partner and I negotiate into our family, every aspect of how our home runs impacts Emerson's experience of work, worth, gender, and consumerism. 

I have the opportunity to help raise not only a feminist man of strong character, but a feminist man who is also well-educated, white, and of a privileged economic class. This is no light responsibility.  

In a world where our young men--one could easily argue--are a bit in crisis, where there is a fresh round of culture war on women being waged by those who run our government, and where patriarchal systems are evolving into trixier new incarnations....Yes, I think it is safe to say that raising a child in a conscious, compassionate, deliberate, feminist manner is a lot of work, regardless of their sex. 

So....I'm working on not just knowing that being a homemaker and mom is a real job and a potential site   for world-changing work, but also feeling that this is all true. Really grokking it.

^ The murkiness, the shiftiness of this term in our culture is so obnoxious. For years now, when meeting new people, I've opted to asked the question, "What do you do with your time?" 

Friday, March 29, 2013

Unexpected Awesome Mommy Friend Moment

A kid during music class was playing a shaker that was made from a plastic orange, and my newest friend--who is super awesome--leans over and says, "Look, he's playing the orange; how very John Cage!"

Looove it!

And then I started thinking about sitting Emerson in front of toys and determining which toy when by using the I Ching.

Or, placing him in font of a piano with no sound, to be watched while pounding the keys with nothing coming out.

Or, pose a sleeping Emerson at a piano, to rest there, silently for 4 minutes, 33 seconds, his breath and the room the only sonic offerings.

So far, I've hung out with 3 mommies with whom I'd really want to be friends even if we didn't have kids...and a few others who definitely warrant further investigation.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

For Babies and Kitties: Improvised Ribbon Dancer

As a child of the 80s, I think of them as Ribbon Dancers, but it's a simple device regardless of what you call it. A wand or handle of some sort, plus ribbon(s). Babies and kitties alike squeal with glee at these things.

I am always one Hanukah away from being a full-on ribbon hoarder, and as a result, my husband is made a little anxious by the presence of ribbon (I exaggerate, of course....a bit). In hopes of justifying the ribbons I kept from 2 dozen Tiff's Treats (don't ask why we needed 2 dozen cookies between the two of us), I made a ribbon dancer out of an extra kitchen utensil, a clear elastic hair tie, and 3 thin ribbons.

Adding a contrast color and staggering the ribbon lengths, I think, make it a more interesting toy.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Food #3: Steamed Carrot

Emerson's first carrot involved about an hr of prep before getting to the eating part. I've learned an important lesson; crank food mills are the way to go. I McGyvered a system to strain out most of the carrots fibrous texture. Had I left them to steam a little longer, this would have been less of an issue, but i left them a little al dente in hopes of maximizing nutrients, color, and bright flavor. This system though involved lots of tools and about 5 steps.

The Eating:
He was pro from the beginning, but not as dramatically as with avocado and banana. He now has the habit of guiding the spoon into his mouth with each bite--wanting to take over fully, but yielding to my holding it in the end. He is still remaining rather clean through the process, not letting valuable morsels escape his mouth too much.

The kid loves food. He will fit in well with Team Excellence.

Monday, March 18, 2013

...answer is:

1,867 emails remaining at the end of that nap. but the fallen were the easiest to seek and destroy. it only gets more time consuming from here.

on a teething note:
Motrin is so much better than Tylenol. so glad he's old enough for ibuprofen now.

the race: email clutter

Today's question:

is it possible to be a mom of a teething, non-sleeping infant, and get down to inbox: zero.....when starting from inbox: 3,296?

He's asleep now.  How far can I get before he awakens...

Emerson's treacherous crib.

Sometimes I look into Emerson's crib and think to myself, "This thing is a deathtrap."

it is an elaborate system of improvised bolsters and soft things--to facilitate side-sleeping, to support his sitting and playing with the wall toys, to serve as a home for the 11 small stuffed animals. He has solid head and upper-body control, and he's (sadly) a light, I don't think he's going to smother himself. But, this reasoning doesn't keep me from waking up several times in the middle of the night and checking in on him via the Dropcam.

Still, his menagerie seems slightly more useful than dangerous at this point.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Monday, March 11, 2013

Aaaaand we're back!

Soooo much to catch up on.  I have a backlog of posts that need a touch of work (for coherence) before posting....little-by-little that'll happen, but I'm going to stop using that backlog as an excuse to put off my return to this blog!

Salient points:

  • Emerson Elijah Weisfeld was born on September 12, 2012, at 2:24am. So, yes, he'll be 6 months old tomorrow!
  • He is the perfect match for our little family--quiet, observant, happy, sensitive, gentle, funny, not very outgoing but very friendly once settled in...loves avocado!
  • As of today he: is sitting unassisted for stretches of time; has had one meal of solids (yesterday), he has been holding his own bottle for almost a month; he copies the sounds of a few phrases "I love you", "Good", "Hi", and "Yeah".
  • He consistently responds to "Gentle"....he will stop whatever rough thing he is doing as soon as you ask!
  • He LOVES music class at Heartsong Music on Anderson Lane....great with rhythms. More on that soon.

so much more to come...