Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Too big for his britches...

...or, at least for his carseat.

This week has seen many milestones. Bigfella experienced the wheels of democracy by attending a nominating caucus for our US Congressional seat. I am so torn, since I would love to get the stinking republicans out of office, but I struggle to cast a vote for someone who is nominated simply because he is considered electable. Electable to me means most like a republican. So, the old guard dems in our district stood up and asked us to vote for the guy who is "electable." A guy who basically said that social justice and civil rights should be limited to health care, and not gay marriage. A guy who said he knew how to get the message across to the blue-collar dems in the south of the district. Hmmm. Why is it better to elect someone who compromises my principles in order to get elected and stay in office rather than the republican who openly disagrees with my principles? The end result is the same: my principles get swept aside and ignored. But, Bigfella looked adorable in his new Ergo carrier (thanks jennimac for giving me the justification to spend the $$$) and his cute little t-shirt that said, "If I could vote, I'd vote democrat." Brainwashing begins early, eh?

We also attended the elected officials reception hosted by the local chapter of the GLBT-rights group. Again, Bigfella looked smashing in his khaki shorts and golf shirt, though he spent little time in the Ergo, since Grandma and both moms were there, along with a host of Grandma's political friends. Bigfella was passed from hand to hand, and the politicians couldn't help themselves, and had to pose for pictures with the lesbians' cute baby.

Then, this morning, we headed over to our firehouse, and got his new carseat installed Bigfella is officially out of the baby bucket, measuring in at 25.75 inches. He now rolls in a Britax Roundabout. (and, looks like a prince in his throne, I must admit). He fell asleep in the three minutes it took to drive from the firehouse back home. He woke up as soon as I lifted him out of his seat and shifted him into my arms. Our days of using the car as a baby-soothing machine to induce napping are over. However, because the Roundabout doesn't require the same clearance between the back of the carseat and the back of the car seat (see the difference? see the importance of proper spacing?) he is now properly ensconced in the center of the back seat, rather than behind the passenger seat. And, the front passenger seat can once again be used to hold a passenger, rather than being pushed up to the dashboard to make room for Bigfella's Snugride. Dyke Two and I can once again travel sitting next to each other in the front seat, rather than in the weird configuration of boobmom in back, burpmom in front. Dyke Two always said she felt like Morgan Freeman in Driving Miss Daisy when she drove the family around like that. I think Bigfella's napping is a small price to pay for not only improved side-crash safety but also racial equality and family harmony.

The carseat installation man told me to keep him rear-facing until he is at least 18 months or 30 pounds. How much you want to bet he hits 30 pounds long before August 16, 2007? I'm crossing my fingers that he doesn't hit 30 pounds before his first birthday. Forget about making it to 18 months.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Welcome to the world, baby girl...

Bigfella is no longer the baby of the family. Joining him on the planet is Smallcousin, born this afternoon via c-section, weighing in at 7 pounds and change. I have my issues with why she was born via c-section, but since her mother isn't upset, I need to get off my soapbox and just be happy.

Smallcousin is the second child born to my stepsister and her husband. Their first was born via surrogate two years ago. Smallcousin is named after the surrogate who carried Drooly, her older brother. Smallcousin was a complete and total surprise since my stepsister was told she would never get pregnant, even with assistance.

The beauty of the whole experience was that when the new parents arrived in Labor and Delivery this morning, they learned that the OB on call was the doctor who originally worked with them before referring them to their RE all those years ago. He was honored to be part of Smallcousin's birth, and they were thrilled to have the same doctor who started their journey be there as their journey to parenthood ended.

Monday, April 17, 2006

How does Bigfella measure up??

Well, according to his doctor, he is the size of the average 5 month old. So, now we have an explanation of why my back hurts. Between the enormous boy, and the enormous girls he frequently attaches himself to for nourishment, my back muscles are working more than usual.

The final stats:

weight: 16 pounds, 4 ounces
length: 25 and 1/2 inches
head circumference: 16 and 3/4 inches

And the boy is two months old. Two months, people. Two months. Seriously. Two. Months.

Another family member...

...that Bigfella will never meet.

Last week, we had a wonderful visit with my maternal grandparents. At 87 years old, they made their annual Trip South last week. We spent two wonderful days with them: they watched me and mom play soccer, they doted on Bigfella, they helped my mom set up her woodshop, and we went for a couple of nice walks in the woods. We took pictures. Lots of pictures. And we talked of Uncle B, Grandma's older brother, who was recently moved into a nursing home. Already nearly blind and almost deaf, Uncle B had been experiencing muscle deterioration. They left Tuesday morning, with a promise from me to visit Uncle B when Bigfella and I take a week-long trip North next month.

When they returned to New England, Grandma called my mom to tell her that Uncle B was really failing. Apparently, he had begun to refuse to eat. Whether this was due to a medical issue, dementia or simply a willful act to exert some control over his life and surroundings we will never know. Uncle B died Saturday night.

He was a stubborn man, strong in his convictions, confident in his beliefs, yet gentle and willing to take a supporting role to his wife's dramatic, sometimes overbearing, presence. Uncle B had been the only father figure my grandmother knew from the time she was 6 when their father died unexpectedly. He took on the challenge gamely, and "fathered" his sister for the rest of his life, despite there only being an 18 month age difference between them.

I think he would have liked Bigfella.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Race, Class, Power, Privilege, Sticks, Balls and 2 Exotic Dancers

I have the Duke lacrosse team on my mind recently. I am disgusted by the stories of their behavior at that party. As a mother, I have spent hours thinking about what I would do if Bigfella is ever involved in a situation like this. I trust that if Bigfella ever finds himself in such a mess, it would be as a bystander, not a perpetrator. But, of course, there is no guarantee. And, despite what the DNA is showing, I believe with all my heart that a crime did, in fact, occur. Frustratingly, I have heard many people lament the fact that the lacrosse team was subjected to unfair treatment since all white members were subjected to a DNA test, regardless of whether or not they were at the party.

As a woman, I believe accusers. Too many sexual assaults go unreported for me to believe that anyone would gain anything from a false accusation. Especially in this situation. If I were a single mom, stripping my way through school, why on earth would I open my life, my children's welfare and my education to the scrutiny and judgement that comes with such an accusation if it were not true?

As a mother, I want to believe that *my* son will never be capable of such things. *My* son will be a kind, sensitive, emotionally aware young man with strong feminist leanings. But, I do know that all of those lacrosse players are somebody's son. At some point, all of them had mothers who nursed them at their breasts, wiped their little bums, snuggled them close in the pre-dawn twilight, cried when they were injured, and nurtured them to become the boy-men they are today. I doubt any of those mothers thought their sons were capable of such monstrosities either.

As the white mother of a black male, my confidence is shaken. I know that my son will be viewed as a sexual predator by many misguided, hateful, ignorant racists. I fear that he may one day be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and he will not have the same experience with the criminal justice system as those lacrosse boys.

In recent years, I remember seeing a story on CNN about a college town quite similar to Durham that is facing a decade of rapes, all connected by DNA. The serial rapist had been described as a "medium complexion, average build African-American male between 5'6" and 6'2"." In their quest to capture this man, the police had been stopping all African-American males who fit the description, and asking them for a DNA cheek swab. Despite the fact that approximately 95% of the black males in the town fit this description, the police were stopping college students, folks who had not been in the community at the time of the first attack, folks who were 8 or 10 years old when the first attack occurred. There are marked differences between how the lacrosse boys were treated and how the black male students at the second campus were treated.

There are so many intersecting issues here: race, class, sexuality, power, privilege. I am not sure what the final resolution of this investigation should be, or will be. I just know that the team should be glad that the only thing that has happened is the cancellation of their season and the resignation of their coach.

As this story unfolds, my heart goes out to the accuser. I hope she finds the strength she needs to continue raising her boys, going to school and healing so that she can put this entire disaster behind her as she emerges a stronger person.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

5 more things I learned this weekend...

1. If I cut all my hair off to avoid post-partum hair loss, it really does slow down the loss.

2. When my hair is short, I look freakishly like my older brother.

3. Even though URS medical records won't tell me if they have my shot record without a release, and even though my shot record is not in the student health computer, it is, apparently, in the computer at the registrar's office.

4. My pre-pregnancy jeans fit better now than they did pre-pregnancy.

5. Bigfella is larger than most of the 4 month old babies in our moms' group.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

10 things I learned this weekend

1. Playing soccer for the first time after taking off 10 months to have a baby makes you hurt. Bad.

2. The pain is not worse than what you feel recovering from pushing said 10 pound baby out.

3. It is possible to melt a breast pump if you let the water boil out while sterilizing it.

4. Medela makes really nifty bags for sterilizing breastpumps in the microwave.

5. Bigfella, if properly swaddled, will sleep for 7 straight hours in his crib without waking up.

6. After 7 hours without breastfeeding, I wake up in a puddle with leaky boulders attached to my chest.

7. Melted breastpumps can't be used to relieve engorgement.

8. Bummi Super Whisper Wraps work better on linebacker Bigfella than Proraps.

9. sunshine diapers is having a sale on Bummi Super Whisper Wraps.

10. When taking Bigfella to a black tie dinner, no one will notice what you are wearing, because they will all be focused on his cute little shoes.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Stupid, stupid bureaucracy

We are still dealing with some insurance stupidity for Bigfella. It is very nerve-wracking to not have his insurance finalized, and have bills be arriving without knowing who is going to pay them or how much our co-pays are going to be. We are still waiting to hear which state-sponsored medical insurance programs for low-income families he qualifies for. Stupid state with their stupid laws against same-sex marriage, second parent adoption and domestic partner benefits. Stupid, stupid bureaucracy.

And, I decided to finally try and track down my vaccination records for student health. Stupid woman told me that the form I need isn't available yet.

Me: Really? The form on line that says that it is due by Aug 1, 2006 for fall admission is not the current form?

Stupid woman: No one told me it's on line yet, but that might be the form you need.

Stupid woman, open your stupid web browser and look. So, she said that my shot record from my last enrollment at University of Red State is not in the computer, but "off site" and asked me to call my regular doctor to see if he has it. So, I called my regular doctor, who told me I had to call URS hospital medical records.

Me: I am wondering if you have a copy of my shot record.

Stupid woman: We can't look in your file without you filling out a form.

Me: So, I need to drive across town to fill out a form so you can tell me if the information I need is available?

Stupid woman: Yes.

Me: That's really stupid.

Stupid woman: Let me give you to my supervisor.

Me: Hi, I was a student at URS before being a patient of a doctor in the system. My doctor was supposed to have requested my records when I was a new patient. Do you have a copy of my shot records?

Stupid supervisor: Did we give you the shots?

Me: No.

Stupid supervisor: Then we probably don't have them, but you could come over and fill out the form so we can look.

Yeah. A six week old and I are driving across town to a germ-filled hospital to fill out a form so that some idiot can look in my file to tell me if the information I need is in the file. I don't think so. The record clerk from student health can go "off-site" for me. Apparently, URS needs me to sign a form to release records to URS. Stupid, stupid bureaucracy.

And then our car insurance people called to ask for information about my husband.

Me: I don't have a husband.

Stupid woman: Well, your form has a second driver listed.

Me: Yes, HER name is Dyke Two, and she has a policy with you too.

(Don't even get me started that we have to have separate policies because our relationship is not legal).

Stupid woman got all confused, but thankfully, she transferred me to the agent, who laughed and said that he would just transfer her stuff to my policy and my stuff to her policy. Stupid, stupid bureaucracy.

Stupid insurance companies.

but, I do love me some pediatrician right now. Saturday I was having excruciating indigestion. Like, "is it a heart attack or indigestion?" type indigestion. I sent Dyke Two to CVS to buy me something while I lay on the couch crying. She came back with pepto bismol (but she bought the liquid, not the tablets, which pissed me off then because who wants to drink that crap when they can just chew on some tablets?) and I opened it only to then read, "If pregnant or breastfeeding, consult a health care professional." So, we looked at each other at 7:30 on a Saturday night, trying to figure out who to call. My doctor was closed. My OB was on call through the hospital. The pharmacy? The ER? Who? Then I remembered that our pediatrician is open 7 days a week, 365 days a year until 10 pm. So, I called, and thankfully, stupid woman does not moonlight at the pediatrician's office, so the triage nurse looked in her book, and didn't see anything so she called the pediatrician on call to make sure I could take my pepto. And I could. So I did.

See? No bureaucracy there. That's why I love the pediatrician.