Wednesday, December 20, 2006


I had another "dad" experience last weekend. I sat on the bench outside the maternity store in the mall while Amy shopped for new clothes. This was the only sensible place to be, since trying to negotiate your way around inside a small store full of pregnant women is a nightmare.

Although in my opinion the mall is a nightmare on a good day, and a Saturday 10 days before Christmas is definitely not a good day. But, we were both desperate for clothes, as my only jeans are ragged and Amy's expanding belly is, well, expanding. We haven't even thought about Christmas presents yet. Crazy, I know, but we're hoping that if we just ignore the holidays maybe they will go away.

Oh, and another thing. Mookie will NOT BE ALLOWED to become a teenager, at least not the type that hangs out in the mall. Yech.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Tinky Winky!

Someone gave Amy some purple fuzzy button-down pajamas with legs and arms (there's a name for those things, but I don't know it) and with her big huge belly she looks just like a Teletubbie in it. Seriously, all she needs is a purple handbag and a triangle on her head.

I got the bookshelves about halfway up today. Not bad for a day's work. Well, ok, it's pretty bad, but I got 26o or so words out of 307 on today's Babble game. And we bought a freezer! You know, a put in the garage and store lots of food in it freezer, because once we have a baby we'll never be able to go out of the house again. I hope it can hold 18 years worth of meals.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Getting ready

We're signed up for some sort of birthing classes at Kaiser in January, but Amy's decided that three 2-hour classes just aren't enough. So, after reading up on Lamaze and someone called Bradley* and a bunch of other childbirth "experts," and doing quite a bit of agonizing, she's decided that she likes the "Birthing From Within" approach. I have no idea what that means**, but I'll learn, since we're now signed up for three 4-hour sessions.

In other baby preparation news, I really am going to get those bookshelves put up in the baby's room this week. Really I am. And I'm going to finish putting the crib together. Notice how I, the mother who all my friends say doesn't need a qualifier of any sort but am simply Mookie's mother, seem to be doing all the "dad" things.

That doesn't actually bother me too much. In any random group of people, I'm usually the one who puts up the bookshelves. It comes of having a physics degree. People assume that that makes me "mechanical," and therefore capable of building rocket ships, fixing dishwashers, screwing nuts into bolts, repairing the plumbing, putting together Ikea furniture, and all sorts of unrelated activities, none of which I know much about, and certainly none of which I learned anything about in physics school.***

Physics ain't gonna help with getting this baby born, though. It's certainly not going to help me get through the process. I just hope there's not too much in the way of, you know, ick. I hate ickiness. I had to take introductory biology in college and I chose a much harder class than I could have, just because it didn't have a lab section. No way was I going to cut up dead things. I hate the Squishy Sciences.

OK, I admit it. In some ways I'd prefer to pace in the waiting room, even if I had to smoke cigars with the other dads.

Not that I'm scared or anything.

*a friend of ours kindly did some research, and thought Bradley's approach sounded like homespun wisdom gleaned from watching cows.
**my father pointed out that it does sound like the right place to give birth from, anyway.
***in fact, I remember in thermodynamics class when we were talking about refrigeration cycles one student asked "How do refrigerators work, anyway?" and the professor looked at him in horror and said, "This isn't an engineering class."

Sunday, December 3, 2006

What child is this?

Amy's sister and two kids came to visit this weekend, and I spent some time wondering if Mookie would be like either of her cousins. I know that Mookie will be her own little person, but it's hard to imagine a person you've never met. I really want to know what she's like already -- I've lived with this little girl for months; it's time for her to start asserting her personality. All I know so far is that she's pretty wiggly. Will she be musical? Will she be athletic? Will she like to read? (It's hard to imagine she could grow up in a house with me and Amy and not like to read.) My little baby girl, who will you be? Whoever you are, I already love you.

Oh, and Amy's developed that pregnant women's waddle when she walks. It's really cute.

Saturday, December 2, 2006

Whadda you, some kinda queer?

Some of the differences between my experience and those of the women in The Other Mother is that they are all (presumably) lesbians, and I am bisexual. I'm not going to go off too much on a tangent here, since this is a baby blog, not a bisexuality blog, but I need to kvetch a little.

The bisexual experience is different than the gay or lesbian experience. I never went through that "realization of being different because I like girls and not boys" or worried about how I would have a normal life. Not that all lesbians have the same coming out experience, but there are differences in the process you go through in coming out, and while the lesbian experience has been explored quite a bit, the bisexual experience has not. In all these lesbian parenting books I've read, I never seem to read anything that really speaks to me.

Although, actually, the thing that bugs me about this particular book, now that I think about it, is maybe not the bisexuality issue at all. All the women in that book seemed to be either women who couldn't get pregnant and were jealous of their partners, or women who thought of themselves as "boyish" or "somewhere between a mother and a father" or "male-identified" or something like that. And that's totally great, IMO. I like it when people explore these (artificial) boundaries we have that define what exactly women and men are and should be and should act like, etc. But it made me feel like there was no room for a woman who simply doesn't want to have a baby Not someone who is exploring her gender identity, not someone who always related more to traditional men's roles than to women's, not someone who considers herself to be outside traditional gender descriptions. None of those is a path I've ever been on. Just a woman who doesn't think having a baby is something she needs to do. I know I'm not the only one; I've met women a lot straighter and more conventional than I am who feel the same way.

OK, enough kvetching for one day. I'll try and be less whiny tomorrow. (Always a good goal.)

Friday, December 1, 2006

Mookie has two mommies

I am preparing myself for other motherhood. I am trying to remember that just because people are nosy about us -- wanting to know which of us gave birth, where the sperm came from; and will use expressions like "real mom" and "daddy" -- that it doesn't mean they are necessarily bigoted and hostile. Adoptive parents get those horrible "real mom" comments all the time; single moms of all varieties have to live with the "where's daddy?" question. I will try to develop stock answers and offer them in a civil tone of voice. OTOH, I will not punish Mookie when she smacks the little brat on the playground who says that I'm not her real mom and that she is a fag and that we are all going to hell. I will hug her and hand her over to Amy, who will explain gently that violence is not a good solution, and should be avoided whenever possible, even when dealing with little brats who desperately need to be smacked upside the head. I will say, "Yes, of course your mama is right," and enroll her in karate classes.

I am preparing myself for other motherhood. I am wondering if I will feel the jealousy, ostracism, and loneliness that I've read about, while Amy and Mookie bond in ways that I can not share. I don't think I will. One thing that separates me from a lot of the women I read about is that I've never wanted to give birth to a child. I spent most of my thirties in (what seemed at the time to be) a stable relationship with a man, so I could have had a baby then. I kept waiting to get that urge, to hear that biological clock ticking, but instead I just kept getting older and having kids kept seeming really unappealing. If I had gotten pregnant by accident, I would have survived, I’m sure, but as for actively seeking to be pregnant? No, thanks.

After Pete and I broke up, I thought about adopting kids. So many of them needed homes and families and love, and there I was thinking only about myself. It made me feel selfish, and I started looking into it. Then I met Amy. It was clear from the start that if I got involved with Amy the result would be lifelong commitment, marriage, and kids, and an end to my grumpy hermitlike existence. Oh well. I really didn’t have any choice in the matter, since there was simply no way I could live without her. And, well, lifelong commitment, marriage, and kids aren’t that bad, as enjoyable as a grumpy hermitlike existence can be. Besides which, as Amy pointed out, hermits have notoriously lousy sex lives. (Then again, so do parents.)

So, here I am, me, the one that doesn’t want an alien being growing inside me and then tearing my body apart in screaming pain and then sucking and chewing and grabbing at my boobs like a little leech for the next year. I don’t think I’ll feel jealous at all. I think I’ll be happy to be the other mother, the one does half the diapering and feeding and shopping and worrying, but not the nursing or the bleeding or the stretching.

But the reality is, I don’t know what it will feel like. It is all new to me. I know I can feel great love for children, a love that is different than what I feel towards adults. I know that I am excited to be embarking on this new adventure, in equal partnership with Amy. I know that it will be very hard but very rewarding, because that’s what absolutely everyone says, and absolutely everyone can’t be wrong.

So, I am preparing myself for other motherhood. Not fatherhood, but still parenthood. Not one kind of motherhood, but another kind of motherhood. I am terrified and happy, worried and excited, hesitant and delighted. I’m probably as prepared as most people who set out to explore this strange new world, not knowing what I will find hiding around each bend. Wish me luck.