Monday, January 23, 2006

Parity, comity

It's funny how the homophones of these legal-ish words (parity, comity) mean something far more amusing...

I am envisioning pregnancy and labor and delivery and our new family member. It is not helping that I've bookmarked more pregnancy and mothering websites than any other kind. I've read tons of birth stories and watched L & D slideshows and daydreamed of the births I attended as a doula. As often as not, we're brainstorming (and laughing about) possible names.

By the way, if you ever need a good laugh, look up your local hospital's baby registry. There are some hilarious name choices - including but not limited to: Rowdy (two of them born at the same hospital); Lucifer (yikes); Pheaktra (pronounced Petra, and it's a boy- this one shared by a friend who's a teacher); N Dogg (seriously)...

I am thinking of having the photographer who did our engagement pictures do more family pictures for us- while I'm pregnant, possibly at the birth (if she does those live action kinds of shots) and definitely after the new family member's here. She is so talented (here's some of her work), and it would be amazing to have those moments captured artistically and clearly.

Oh, and, yes, bar studying is going well. I'm thinking of that as another little member of the family for whom I have to labor and deliver. But it doesn't make for good photography...

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

"She surely hopes for beautiful things..."

from Mudpuppy on Indiebride's blog. It is so how I feel today. But not in a shiny-eyed, breathless way. Unless you count the tears and sobs as "shiny-eyed" and "breathless." I have not been able to contain this terrible yearning to do the right thing with my life and career. Motherhood is part of it. And human rights are part of it, and writing and creation are part of it. My husband is my best friend; he is part of *me*.

That is all I know.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

"What's up?" "Oh, not much..."

How do I really answer that? The bar exam's coming, we might be trying to conceive, and (or?) I will be job hunting, and we want to think about where we'll move once this apartment gets too small. Who wants to overwhelm the casual questioner, though. So, all that merits an "Oh, not much."

I guess if I break it down, the bar's first. Who knows about how the getting-pregnant versus getting-a-job thing will go. I don't! That's somewhat scary. But I think it will all work out.

To be honest... I hope it works out better for me than it did for my mom. She had my sibling and me, and didn't really go back to nursing. She did work outside the house part time, off and on, while I was in school, but it wasn't doing anything she cared about. I know she loved being a mom more than anything else, and I can see that happening with me, but I also know that I didn't get all this education to not use it and contribute to the world in that way, too. What a struggle.

Edited to add: I just read Opinionista's blog, and there's an entry that totally speaks to this. Apparently, she had an argument with a friend of hers who, at 23, is a mother. Opinionista is climbing the corporate law ladder. As she tells it, they ended up making snide remarks at each other for their life choices, and then confessed their unhappiness and fears around their *own* lives.

Which, I think, pretty much sums it up. There's no perfect answer; there are always compromises. We make our choices, and there are always things we lose. But this is a culture in which we are trained to see what we don't have, so that we're always wanting more. It's unusual to be grateful for what we do have. Sure- if you choose the corporate law job on partner track, you're not going to be there for many important moments of your kids' lives. If you choose to be a stay at home parent, you're not going to rise in the ranks of corporate America, and you likely won't be making the money or enjoying the status that accompanies such positions. Gain and loss go hand in hand, and that's all right. People make their own choices about what's important.

I don't need to have it all. I don't need to feel guilty for the choices I make if I'm happy with those choices. I don't need to judge others for their choices.

And knowing that is really empowering. I don't have to do *everything*, I can just do what I want to create the life I want. It's definitely going to be different from others, but that's what makes life interesting, right?

Thursday, January 12, 2006

another pre-parenting thought

I was just reading finslippy's blog and it was all about what a picky eater her son Henry was.

Big Disclaimer: I am not yet a parent!! (I can see all the parents out there, shaking their heads, laughing knowingly, evilly-- she has no idea what's coming! She has all these big ideas and they're going to go down the tube! MWAHAHAHA... Hmm... or maybe people are much more supportive than that... I can always hope. Anyway!!)

Living here in Berkeley, I don't know what I'll do if I have a picky eater kid. I mean, when they're old enough to tell me that they're being picky. This would definitely have to be It, The End. Because (and we are grateful) there are a lot of choices available in markets. And as a last resort, there are lots of delicious restaurants trying to outdo each other in quality and originality and presentation and wine pairing. Not that the kid will be wine pairing. (This is a joke. We could not afford to take the kid out to restaurants every night- unless the kid turns out to be so damn cute that we get offered free meals as we pass. Hey, this a blog, with silly daydreams, not a fact-filled textbook.) But come on- if the kid can't find *something* to eat around here, the kid is not eating.

Wait a minute. That's not a bad idea. I just can't see myself doing that power struggle thing every. single. night. I'm pretty patient, but my slightly embaressing revelation is that I can totally see myself trying this out: "Eat what's in front of you, kid!" Obviously, this is reserved for when the kid is old enough to converse. (I *can* see the following (scary) toddler scenario, which is what so many other parents on finslippy bemoaned--parent: "Eat it! Please eat it! I'm begging you, eat it! I'm threatening you, eat it!" kid: (lips tightly shut, looking smug) "Mm! Mm!" (Not as in "yummy" but as in "NO NO, with every ounce of my small being, woman, I say NO!"))

Ack, what to *do*?

There were 275 comments after her post about Henry's pickiness, all mentioning their kids' rules about what they will and will not eat, and making their kids separate dinners depending on what each wants. I am also worried about their descriptions of commercials on tv which make their kids beg for the product(toys, processed "food" products, etc.).

I swear, unless they pop out of my womb with an advanced degree in nutrition clutched in their tiny fists, they are not making the rules about what is eaten in our household, and I am not making separate meals for them. (3,487th disclaimer: I mean when they're past babyfood.) I know this is where the parents reading this roll their eyes, but I'm hoping someone will write to say "We made rules and they worked! Sometimes we made rules and had to rewrite the rules! It's all good; we now have an articulate, compassionate and well-fed child."

We're anticipating/hoping that not having tv really cuts down on the whining and begging for *things.* Obviously there may be whining based on what they know their friends own, but D and I are pretty impervious to that. We don't want to negotiate on certain things with our future kids. We want to just decide what's necessary, what's fun and ok to have, and what's superfluous. And then stick with that.

Man, reading this over... D and I are very friendly people, but ours is definitely going to be a rules-based household! If you met us, you might not think that since we're pretty easygoing (so we're told!). Ah, it's all different in parenting-land.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Another two woots for my husband

There are more reasons than I can write about why my husband is SO COOL. But here's another one: he tells me that we are all made of stardust. (He was explaining how that song is true...not that we like the song. Or really, any poppy music. Why does popular music really suck these days. Where are the artists. That's another post.) The reason it's not cliche, trite or maudlin when he says it is because he's also a really brilliant physicist. And he described it to me in terms of cosmology and physics (for a layperson). We became people and they became stars.

Last night he was wrestling with Mathematica. He was writing some program to teach chaos theory to his students in computational physics. He showed me what he came up with, something about oscillation and then you change one little thing and then suddenly it's all over the place. He loved it. He stayed up until 3:00 am preparing notes and the lecture for his students.

This is why he's allowed to say things like "we're stardust!" with wonderment without me rolling my eyes. Because he's crazy brilliant and hardworking.

Also- he is SO excited to have kids because he's excited to teach them. It makes me happy that we both want to be active in our children's learning and development. Especially since they're very likely going to public schools. (Don't get me wrong- we think the public schools around here are great, many good opportunities.) The kids are going to be stimulated. He claims that by the time they're sixteen or so, they're going to have heard everything we can teach them. Then they'll surpass us and we can sit back while they give us presentations and teach *us*. (He laughed when he said that.) :) Not that they won't be teaching us the whole time...

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

thinking about parenting

Parenting can be so individual. Everyone has their ideas about what's best, and many people will start an argument based on what they think is the prevailing theory of the day. There's so much judging out there. Ok, true enough, there are plenty of inattentive, materialistic, self-absorbed or just plain negligent parents, especially in this culture which doesn't support or value the family (I'm talking about *real* family values, which generally clash with corporate America's lusty needs- and the Congresspeople beholden to corpAm.).

But when it comes to how and how much to love my babies, I'm not going to let anyone's judgment bother me. Derek and I are going to parent the best we can (and I'm deeply grateful to be partners with him in this). We've already talked a lot about some decisions: we're going to co-sleep in some form, we think attachment parenting is sensible, we've eliminated tv from our household, and we're going to eat well thanks to living next to a wonderful grocery store. It's not a chain store, so we have the freshest local organic options for cheap. Don't think we're not grateful every single day for this! We're very blessed.

And also, we were very intentional about making some sacrifices/choices to live here, to raise kids the way we think is best. We don't have much money, so we had to prioritize some things. Quality of family life is one major reason I moved back here from DC (even though at the time I hadn't met my husband, I knew I wanted to have a family here).

The kids are going to eat well (ha, back to eating) because that's a fundamental value for us- the broad politics of food are deeply important to us. I believe passionately in the principles of Slow Food. I've been reading Mothering a little bit these days- there are some really nice birth stories on there.

In essence, I want to raise my kids to be inquisitive, sensitive, rigorous and thorough thinkers. I want them to have fun and be silly and run around outside a lot. I'm so grateful that my husband and I agree on how to go about this.

I guess the bottom line is, no matter how other people choose to parent, I'm going to take responsibility for my decisions. And I'm not going to let others' opinions or guilt trips negatively affect my mothering. I'll take into account the good advice and chuck the rest without batting an eyelash. It feels really good to believe in my plans.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Remedies says, "You scratch my back & I'll...higher..."

Remedies was one of my favorite classes in law school. I even liked the title- "Remedies." It seemed to say, "You know all that crap you learned the past couple of years? All that stuff people do to each other, all the crimes and torts and breaches and whatnot? Well, I'm here to say, there are some remedies. Let me show you." I liked that. It was a class with personality.

Property, on the other hand, property had no personality. Property tried to be cool ("Look! I've got magic language! All you have to do is say 'livery in seisin!' and voila!"). But Property was not cool. Property would never, ever write poetry or even some bad fiction. Property would never try to express itself. Property watched lots of tv, kept up on celebrity gossip, and always fixed its hair according to the gospel of the biggest Hollywood actor. In other words, Property was boring as hell.

And international human rights law, and international business and human rights? They said, "Fuck all y'all. We're busy over here!" I loved them. They were totally exciting, beautiful, and fabulous, and didn't even care what anyone thought. They'd make up a song, put on lip gloss, wear a power suit or forget to get a haircut for a year. Didn't matter- they looked damn good doing it.

So back to remedies- I'm enjoying remedies today, and I've got the windows wide open, the radio on.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

heaven in the bread aisle

It's a smeary gray rainy day in the Bay Area. The patch of blue sky this morning was all the sky I saw all day. I walked out of my apartment and over to the corner grocery store, which is always packed because it is magical.

The people who work there can be really gruff, but if you ask them about which set of pomegranates are the best, or which type of potatoes are freshest (out of the 22 or so available) they will tell you happily, and make you think they've let you in on a big secret, which always feels good. Of course, everything there is fresh and fabulous, but it's never a mistake to make friends with the local grocer when you're a food lover.

So, I hit upon the bread aisle and the most delicious fragrant freshly baked bread was there, and we were there together, me and the bread, and it all made sense. Of course I had to take home the sweet baguette and three mini ciabattas to make on the panini grill tonight.

And when I walked home in the light rain, fresh baguette melting in my mouth, I felt like I'd had a little success.