Jan 22 2008

Baby Blues

So, this is going to be another one of those not-all-sunshine-and-roses posts.

It’s true that caring for the baby has mostly gotten easier, that we’ve found a workable routine, that his smiles in the morning are pretty much the best thing ever.  Some days, most days, I feel incredibly lucky to have my life.

Other days I feel so pathetically sorry for myself.  Tired, isolated, incredibly irritable, yearning for adult interaction or maybe just something to punch.  I feel jealous of Sam for sleeping through the night, for working with grown-ups who use language, and for getting an hour to himself on the train every morning and evening.  Some part of my brain knows that going to work and having a long commute are not really things to be envied, but when I’m sunk in self-pity it’s awfully hard to hold that in mind.  I’m having a hard time feeling the partnership right now: Sam kind of blindsided me with something bad the other day, and despite his demonstrations of love and best efforts to make it right, I’m still feeling very fragile and mistrustful.  But at the same time I’m disgusted with myself for playing the suspicious, bitter, nagging, resentful wife.

I feel like there’s something I need, but I don’t know what it is or how to get it.

I’m not looking for advice or pity.  In fact in my state of mind right now I’d bridle at either.  I love my baby, I love my husband, I’m very happy most of the time: I’m only posting this because I kind of promised myself I’d be honest about recording my experience, and it’s been a pretty tough week.

Jan 19 2008


We were getting ready to go out for breakfast this morning when we realized Robin had kicked off his shoes! I thought he looked adorable with just his head and his little toes peeking out from Sam’s jacket.

Jan 16 2008


So I’ve had a chance to do the exercise DVDs I mentioned in my last post a few times each, and while I’m not blown away, I don’t want my money back either. “Dance Baby Dance” is the cardio routine, “Baby Reps” the strength training one. It probably says something about my lifestyle that I found the first one quite easy and the second one pretty hard. I do get a fair amount of light exercise every day just from walking around the hills of San Francisco with the baby: we don’t have a car, so I make a trip to the grocery store almost every day. This is probably why my blood pressure and cholesterol have remained very good even as my butt has steadily expanded. But I’ve never done strength training.

“Dance Baby Dance” is definitely the best one for bonding with your baby. You basically just bob around to some catchy tunes while holding your infant. Robin likes it a lot; I suspect almost all babies would enjoy it. I like the music—a lot of it is sort of rockabilly—and the instructors with their kids are of course very cute, although my liberal weenie self is bothered by how whitebread they all are. There’s one (my favorite, incidentally) who might be of Latina origin, but all the others are very very white, and the filming is done in their perfectly decorated nurseries or on the patios of their McMansions. This causes some cognitive dissonance when one is dancing to, say, the bluesy “Railroad Man.” But the video succeeds at providing a very gentle workout that’s fun for the baby.

“Baby Reps” is a little misleading, because the majority of the exercises don’t actually incorporate the baby. They’re broken out into three groups: prone, supine, sitting & standing exercises. The prone ones and most of the supine ones you do while your baby lies nearby—your basic crunches and push-ups and so forth. I’m dismal at some of these. The sitting & standing are the fun ones where you’re lifting the baby into the air, and again, Robin does seem to like this.

I’m going to keep doing these programs, but also look for other exercise options: I think I’ll want a more challenging cardio program pretty soon.

Jan 9 2008

A Typical Day

Me and the baby have fallen into a pretty good routine. Here’s what it looks like:

6:00 AM: Baby wakes up, but falls asleep again right after nursing and a diaper change. Sam generally gets up at 6:30, so we mumble our benedictions as I’m climbing back into bed and he’s climbing out of it.

9:00 AM: Baby wakes up for realz. He’s generally all smiles in the morning, so even if I start by moaning “ten more minutes, Baby,” we’re generally both in a good mood shortly after I fully open my eyes. It’s hard to be grumpy when you’ve got a smiling baby cooing at you.

9:00-10:00 AM: After changing him and nursing him I usually put him down on his playmat for a bit, while I fix myself a cup of coffee and check my e-mail.

10:00-11:00 AM: We chill. Usually this time is spent with Robin on my lap while I surf Teh Intarwebs.

11:00-11:30 AM: Robin lets me know when it’s time for him to be changed and nursed again. Sometimes he goes right to sleep after this nursing, and sometimes he’ll stay up for a while after, but he gets progressively fussier until it becomes clear that it’s time for his morning nap.

12:00-1:00 PM: While Robin’s sleeping, I have lunch, get dressed, and pick the house up a bit. This is also my best opportunity to get some writing done.

1:00-2:00 PM: As soon as he wakes up from his nap, Robin gets changed and nursed. The after-nap window is also a good time for doing tasks with the baby, like giving him a bath. Today I’m going to try the new exercise video I bought, Dance Baby Dance! The idea is that it’s all cardio exercises you can do while holding your baby. Supposedly they really enjoy it, and the clever thing about it is that if you stick with it, your exercise routine gradually gets more challenging as your baby gets heavier. I got the strength-training “Baby Reps” video too. I’ll report back here after I try them out.

2:00-4:00 PM: Errand time. I figure out what’s for dinner, and put the baby in his sling for a trip to the grocery store. We also swing by the bank/post office/etc. as needed. The baby really likes walking around in his sling; in fact, he gets cranky on the days he doesn’t get to go out. Invariably at least three people stop me on the street to make a fuss over him. It’s really nice. I feel a little bit like a queen, benevolently receiving the adulation of strangers. I don’t know if this happens to all new moms, or if it’s just that there are so few babies in San Francisco?

4:00-4:30 PM: Back from the store, Robin gets changed and nursed again.

4:30-6:00 PM: Robin hangs out in his chair (actually the car seat, but it makes a good baby-carrier too) while I make dinner. Generally he gets fed up with the chair after about twenty minutes, so the next hour is spent alternating between meal-prep work and soothing-the-cranky-baby work.

6:00-9:00 PM: Somewhere in here there will be another changing and nursing period, the exact timing of which is dictated by Robin. He usually also takes an evening nap for about an hour. I generally spend this time in front of the computer, moving the baby around from my lap to the playmat to the chair in an effort to keep him amused and happy. I usually also read to him from at least one of his baby board books, because they say it’s never too early.

9:15 PM: Daddy’s home! We are all very excited. Generally I hold on to Robin while Sam has a chance to settle in and eat his dinner, and then he’ll take over the baby-minding so I can goof off for a bit.

10:00-12:00 PM: Often we’ll watch a video before bed. Robin usually drops off for the night around ten-thirty, after another changing and feeding.

1:30 AM: Robin almost always wakes up sometime in the middle of the night to be fed and changed, but occasionally he’ll sleep through this one.

I’m writing this during Robin’s morning nap, which according to the schedule will soon be over, so. That’s what an average day looks like—not too strenuous, really. If I could get better about using the nap times to get some writing done, I’d be completely happy with myself.

Jan 3 2008

Coming Out Day, a Little Early or a Little Late

National Coming Out Day is October 11, so it’s come and gone for 2007 and it’s a long way away for 2008. It’s been a while since I felt any need to mark this holiday. But I recently got into a conversation about gay marriage on a mailing list I frequent, and I realized: for a lot of people, I’m in the closet. I’m a wife and mother, and some people—the people I’ve met recently, including my husband’s wonderful family—wouldn’t have any reason to realize that I’m queer.

So here we go. I’m a bi woman. I’m one hundred percent monogamous and one hundred percent devoted to my husband, but in the past I’ve had girlfriends as well as boyfriends. Not at the same time—that’s called being polyamorous, and it’s a different thing from being bi—I’m bi and I’m monogamous. But I’ve had girlfriends, at least one who I deeply loved, and she’s still important to me. I would never repudiate that part of who I am.

The way the dice fell for me, my soulmate is a man, and so I could marry him. But they might have fallen another way. I could have ended up in love, forever, with a woman. That’s why the issue of gay marriage is so very important to me. And also, of course, some of my dearest friends are gay, and I witness the very real and ongoing harm that our country’s unjust laws are wreaking.

I get a ton of legal benefits from being in a heterosexual marriage. That’s actually why I don’t talk more about being bi. It seems presumptive to claim a queer identity when I’m enjoying so much heterosexual status and privilege. But I came out to my friends and family a long time ago, and I’m not willing to go back into the closet.

Hearts and minds are changed when people realize that “gay” isn’t some scary person they see on TV, it’s a real person they know and love. I’m a faithful wife and a loving mother, and I’m bisexual. If you didn’t already know that about me, surprise! Maybe it won’t make a difference to you and maybe it will, but it’s something I want everybody to know. Happy Coming Out Day, late or early, and God bless us every one.

Jan 1 2008

Me and the boy

My mom took this picture at Thanksgiving.  You can tell from Robin’s expression that he loves his Nanita!