Saturday, January 6, 2018

Parenting Around The World

A blog I follow named Cup of Jo hosts a wonderful series of posts by Americans raising children abroad. The authors share what has most surprised them about parenthood in the foreign cultural context they call home. I love the diversity of approaches and ideas the series captures. 

In the Congo, "gripe water" contains 4.4% alcohol. 

In some Norwegian pre-schools, kids only go out to play if temperatures are below 14 degrees Celsius. 

Sleeping in the same bed as your child usually lasts until around six or seven years old in many Indian families. 

Strangers have no issues parenting your children in public in Northern Ireland. 

In Japan, there are no pressures placed on pregnant women to restrict their diet. 

Mexican children can expect to be graded on their personal hygiene in school.

In some Swedish towns, you can elect to send your child to a gender neutral pre-school. 

Turkish playgrounds tend to include exercise equipment for parents as well. 

Every pregnant woman in Germany is assigned a midwife who cares for her before, during and after childbirth. 

In Cuba, it is common to reuse "disposable" diapers. 

Public breastfeeding is the norm and encouraged in Kenya, especially whenever a baby is fussy. 

Friday, December 29, 2017

In Honor Of My Puddled Body


white-knuckled under the snow moon
the ebb tide took your tautness.


melted in that midnight forge
you became a softer nest for laughter.


the universe broke you open
all exhale and spillage.


a spent and undone pilgrim, you pause
ever a vessel awaiting transformation.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Giving Birth Is Batshit Crazy

Transitioning from this...

to this...

is commonplace. It happens all the time. That's nuts. 

Here are some true things:

Evan sat with me in a 103 degree poop soup for around five and a half hours. 

As I flopped around like a seal, I left nearly ever surface in our house covered in bodily fluids.

At one point it felt like I vomited out of my vagina. Mucous plug? My water breaking? No idea. 

It felt better when Evan compressed my upper pelvis with his knees, so he basically did Thigh Master exercises for ten and a half hours straight.

I lost my voice bellowing in an attempt to drown out the pain.

My butthole turned inside out from the pressure and resembled a sea anemone-- a sight that I, unfortunately, can never unsee thanks to photo documentation. 

We got a gravity assist from an uber full moon called the Snow Moon, one of only three supermoons in 2017.

I thought I would feel relief after the baby was born, but instead I was completely unaware that he had been delivered.

My first words upon seeing our child were, "Is he dead?" because he was so blue, limp, and quiet. This was purely information gathering on my part as exhaustion had drowned out other feelings at that point. Spoiler: he wasn't.

Our child was born at home with a doula (Anna Hulme) and two midwives (his aunt, Heather, and Heidi Stearns) in attendance. Heather coached me, Evan held me, Heidi took medical lead, Anna held down the fort, and the baby under-excelled in all the right places (99th percentile in height; 90th percentile in weight; 7th percentile in head diameter). Throw in a whole lotta luck and the end result was no tearing, no hemorrhoids, minimal bleeding, a healthy baby, and two exhausted parents. 
Teamwork makes the dream work. 

Many of the meals kind friends have brought us in the wake of our child's birth have included game meat, proving that this is after all a Wyoming birth story. 

So all that happened. And we have an amazing little human to show for it.  

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Precious Child

And this tender photo essay where the photographer edited himself into his own childhood photos to keep his younger self company. 

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Systemic Misogyny

Allegations of sexual predation against men in positions of power across America has given rise to a hashtag and some cutting pieces that vent pent-up rage against our cultural machine.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Week 37

Hands-on parenting? An inbound reality at 273 Amoretti Street any day now for the next five weeks. Such a bizarre concept for us to wrap our heads around.

I can't breath much, eat much, or move much, but it seems like the baby and I are right on schedule in that regard.

Thank heavens for all the support and guidance we've received. I have a whole new level of appreciation for the concept "it takes a village"-- so many books, so much gear, so many words of wisdom.

Here are some go-to parenting phrases that came across my radar recently (parenthood being a world that, let us remember, is wholly theoretical for me at this point):

"I am sorry you're upset. At the same time, I can't let you hurt your cousin." rather than "I am sorry, but I can't let you do that pitifully misguided thing."

"I need you to get dressed, please." rather than "Let's get you dressed before hell freezes over."

"I see two children who want the same toy." rather than "If you stole that toy, you are your father's child."

"Tell me about your drawing." rather than "What an incomprehensible, yet oddly compelling picture."

"I love listening to you play piano." rather than "Nice job on that abstract piano piece."

"What do you think you could do to make your friend feel better?" rather than "Go apologize, punk."

"How can I help you understand this homework?" rather than "I can explain that to you, my poor lamb."

"What I know is there were three cookies on this plate before I went to the bathroom." rather than "Not true, you guilty little monkey."

"Help me understand what happened." rather than "How in god's name did poop get all the way up there?"

"I'm sorry I lost my temper." rather than "Let's agree that the last five minutes never happened."

"Thank you for cooking dinner." rather than "The chicken is a little dry."

"I love you, kiddo." rather than "I rue the day I met you, sweet child o' mine."

Seems pretty straightforward.

Friday, October 6, 2017

I Don't Even Know

This fucking administration.

I just... [words fail].