Monday, January 21, 2008

Blog For Choice Day 2008

This year, on the 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, I am blogging because I have a whole new reason to be pro-choice -- my month-old daughter.

While Gabby was growing in my womb, her own tiny womb was developing inside her. She has milk ducts in what will someday be her breasts, and more than a million eggs in her ovaries. This reality came home to me in an immediate way shortly after her birth. Apparently it's common for newborn girls to bleed a little bit -- it's a result of sharing hormones with their mamas. Our pediatrician commented, "That's good! We know she has a uterus, and it's working!"

Holy @&$. My daughter has a uterus. I mean, of course she does, but wow. She's going to be a sexual being some day.

My daughter has a uterus, and it should be up to her to decide what grows there.

I have had the benefit of reproductive choice. Had I not, my life would have been very different, and Gabby would not exist. I want my daughter to have the same freedom, the same basic right to bodily integrity, the same ability to shape her own life. And I will fight for those rights with a ferocity far beyond that which I would bring to the defense of my own rights.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Parental Pop Quiz

1. After a sleepless night and a fussy morning, the Munchkin is finally asleep. What do you do?

(a) Take a super-efficient power nap and emerge energized and ready to face the next onslaught;

(b) Leap joyously into the bathroom for your first shower in days!

(c) Throw in a load of laundry, empty the dishwasher, write out a few thank-you notes, feed the cats, fold, sort, and put your maternity clothes in bins, and start dinner;
(d) Strap the wee one in a carrier and go for a power walk -- gotta get serious about losing that pregnancy weight;

(e) Break out the breast pump -- it's never too early to start laying in an emergency supply;

(f) Sit around grinning moronically at your sleeping darling while half-assedly updating your blog.

2. As you gaze at your three-week old daughter and stroke her face, she suddenly locks eyes with you and spreads the corners of her mouth wide. What do you make of this?

(a) You believe the parenting books, your friends, family, and all the experts in the world when they tell you it's just a random movement of facial muscles, devoid of any emotional content;

(b) You're convinced that your child is a prodigy, that she loves her mama deeply and has just bestowed upon you a heartfelt and authentic smile.

3. Your "prodigy" has a blowout on the changing table. How do you react?

(a) Move in with clean diapers and ninjalike swiftness to contain the damage;

(b) Calmly proceed to change the diaper, clothing, and changing pad cover while patiently explaining to your little one that Everyone Poops;

(c) Stand by and giggle helplessly while your grumpy husband wipes down the walls, the furniture, the baseboard heater . . .

4. Your sanity requires that you leave the house and get some fresh air. It's 55 degrees and mostly sunny outside. How do you dress your newborn for this jaunt?

(a) Pants, shirt, socks, and bear cub fleece with hood and feet;

(b) Same as above plus an undershirt and a hat;

(c) Footie pajamas and a swaddle blanket;

(d) Depends on whether she's traveling by stroller or sling;

(e) Whatever's cutest/has the least amount of spit-up on it.

Scoring: Give yourself five points for each answer, no matter which one you choose. Bonus points if you're wearing underwear, and if said underwear is clean, you are officially Ruler of the Universe and I bow to you.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

The Magic of the Mundane

Our lives have become a sort of twilight haze. One day runs into the next. I figure I'll know when it's Sunday because that's when the fat newspaper arrives.

The numbers on the clock tell me how long Gabby's been nursing, but not whether it's day or night.

Gabby eats, poops, sleeps, spits up rather spectacularly, and cries. Sometimes she cries for what seems like hours, impervious to our manic and often comical attempts to comfort her. Sometimes I cry, too, out of frustration, exhaustion, joy, or a combination of all three. It's a good thing I don't have anywhere in particular to go, because the few clothes that fit me (mostly pajamas) have milk, spitup, and lanolin stains all over them, despite my mother's heroic attempts to keep up with the mountain of laundry.

"Normal" life seems like a distant memory. What did I used to do with my time? Work? Sleep? No idea. It all seems irrelevant now.

Meanwhile, our little one is changing and growing every day. She's already an ounce heavier and an inch taller than when she was born. She's grown an extra chin and chubby cheeks. She inexplicably smells like sugar cookies. When she's asleep, she looks like a cherub. When she's awake, she grunts and makes all sorts of faces. Sometimes she looks like an elf. Sometimes she looks like Robert DeNiro.

She's a pretty funny kid for someone who can't talk.

She's a ton of work. She's a miracle. She's the best thing that's ever happened to either of us.