Friday, August 26, 2011

hair power

I've been feeling my parenting status dwindle. First, the power of the boob went up in smoke. And then I found myself cold in bed alone at night.

For a moment I felt desperate. I've felt sad.

But then there's hair.

My hair. -- If the breast is empty, at least there's still a head full of hair.

One of the mamas I interviewed for my sleep question book told me that all it took for one of her kids to fall asleep, was holding on to "a wad of hair." It could be hers or her husbands, and eventually even the child's own hair, soothing himself to sleep.

This is where I find my power these days: in my hair. Be it before nap or after, it's the hair she holds on to. In the morning, still in that vulnerable not quite awake state, it's the hair she needs. And even if she can't hold onto it as I brew that coffee I so desperately need to wake up; she needs to see it there. In fact, I cause a scene if I put my hair up to avoid getting any in my food. The important thing is to let it all out.

Many parents can relate to their little ones' clutching at their hair, like baby monkeys. But this feels different. This is hair adoration; all she wants to do is run her fingers through my hair.

I do get her thing with hair; I love hers just as much.

Friday, August 19, 2011

holding on and gliding

As summertime is waning, I find myself holding on. The stuff on my list of summer things and other things-to-do slide. My head flooded by thoughts, I let them swim. In a meshed lost-in-thought state of combined absentmindedness and acute presence, we forget about time and savor the sweet last days of summer.

"Let's make a big mess and see what we can make of it," a person once advised me. As I find myself gliding, sliding, barely holding on to everyday, I return to that sentiment. -- If I can let it all flow and float around me and in me for now, then at one point, maybe it will all come into place.

Friday, August 12, 2011

different people

"Wow, people are really white around here!" exclaimed my friend. She'd driven all the way down from the cities to join Lilly and I at the City pool, the idea being our three-year-old kids could play in the water while we got a chance to catch up. I realize I can be a bit slow at times but my first thought was, "they're tanner in the cities?"

We actually have a sizable Latino/a population in our small college town but you won't see many of them at the pool. Perhaps partly due to the obscene cost of the pool passes. But I think it has more to do with our town's segregation of "different people" to the outskirts of town. The heaviest Latino/a inhabited neighborhood is a mobile-park located on the northeast side of town. Our City pool, on the other hand, is situated smack in the middle of the well-kept houses and gardens of white upper middle class families who also happen to live close by the golf course. Sadly, I can't think of one child of color among Lilly's friends.

Laura Baker Services Association, the school and home of many children and adults with developmental disabilities is located close to one of the colleges in a very nice residential neighborhood of historic houses, but while efforts are made to integrate with the community, this population remains on the outskirts too. Originally a school for people with developmental disabilities, it now also offers services to families in the community, including respite care services.

Friday, August 5, 2011

equally shared parenting hurts

Equally Shared Parenting: Rewriting the Rules for a New Generation of ParentsAs a feminist and equal rights advocate, I was surprised and slightly disgruntled to experience how hard it was to let go of my position as the "primary-parent." I'd been with Lilly 24 -7 that first year of her life so you'd think I'd be ready for a break. Which I craved, but the transition still took some time. And arguing.

Equally shared parenting. It's actually a term and now there's a book for it too. In it, the authors stress that moms must relinquish "primary-parent status:"

If you want lasting and happy equal childraising with your partner, you will need to:
  1. Stop thinking of babies and children as your territory.
  2. Quit taking on more than half the childraising work and responsibility.
  3. Give up the right to be your child's most important parent. (60)

And that second year of Lilly's life, we did it, Leighton and I, sharing our days writing and being with her, playing, cleaning, shopping, cooking.

Correction: the sharing was never equal. I still nursed her day and night. And up until only a couple of weeks ago, I've been the one sharing my bed with her with her body next to me / on top of me.

I am still slightly resentful for how Leighton and I stuck to a schedule where we'd each get a couple of mornings to write (seeing that's the preferred writing time for both of us). On the days when it was my turn to write in the afternoon, I'd still linger after lunch, trying to nurse her down for nap. Which would ultimately eat up half my writing time, leaving me brainless for the rest of it.

I don't know why we held on to that arrangement for so long. The idealism of it. Why I could never suggest we change things up a bit.

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