Archive for the family Category

child hatred, parent policing, and the end of my patience.

Posted in family with tags , on Friday 30 July 2010 by amanda

So – you may be aware that there have, over the past several months, several blog posts that have elicited positively vitriolic 600+ comment threads over kids and public spaces.  On Feministe, there were 2, here and here.  Renee at Womanist Musings posted a response here.   Jezebel re-posted the Feministe post that led to a horrifying thread that I am NOT going to link to.  There are also been other conversations lately, all of which seem to devolve in to an “I hate kids and they all suck!” v. “kids should always be allowed anywhere!” shouting match that ignores the needs and issues of most parents and children, as well as child-free adults.   And now, in my own personal space, I would like to lay out some of my thoughts on these conversations.

1.  Feminists.  Hm.  I’ve always considered myself a feminist, but as a largely privileged white cis lady, I’ve never been faced personally with many of the issues that have driven so many away from feminism as an idea/institution.  I was aware of the exclusions and seriously bothered by them, but I have to say that having some of these exclusions directed at me because of who I am (a mother) is a whole new experience.  This is really the subject for another post, because I could go on, but I certainly got a first hand experience at some of the seriously privileged exclusion that feminism directs at people who don’t fit the “right profile”.

2. Children as people.  For me this is a no-brainer.  However, I’ve seen several comments that seem to be asserting that if children are equal to adults, they should have the same responsibilities – getting a job, same jail time and criminal justice system for the same crime, etc.  I cannot fathom what short-sighted non-rational person thinks that this would be a good idea.  Children are human beings who do not yet have the capacity to rationalize, reason, look ahead to consequences, etc. that adults have.  Children are NOT the same as adults, that does not mean that they are LESS than adults.

3.  Children are already undervalued in society.  Kids aren’t able to lobby or advocate for their education or well-being if the adults around them don’t take care of it.

4.  Socialization.  How are kids supposed to learn how to interact in positive ways if they aren’t supposed to be in public?  What do you think that kids learn when you glare at them?  They learn that they are bad and people don’t like them.  What a great way for kids to grow up!

5.  Don’t confuse parents that don’t know when an upset child needs to leave a venue to calm down with thinking that children are bad.  If you’re irritated with a child’s behavior, look to the adult.  Are they TRYING to remedy the situation?  Attend to the child’s needs?  Are they in a position where the adult CAN remove the child?  Are you in a place/situation that it’s appropriate to have that expectation?  There ARE parents who think their kids can do no wrong and they are freaking annoying.  But there are also a lot of adults that just don’t want to accept that fully able, privileged adults sometimes need to share public space with kids.

6.  In a feminist/womanist space, I think it’s a little narcissistic to expect a pat on the back for choosing not to have children/remain childfree.  I think that being childfree is a totally valid choice that not enough people are comfortable making.  I do think that many people end up with children (for a variety of reasons, I’m not trying to make this a judgment) who if they really got to choose, probably would not.  But in a space that actively supports those kids of choices, and, as I’ve learned over the past week, often puts up with derision and dismissal of women who DO choose to keep/have children, I fail to see how things like “my vagina is a child-free space!” really furthers the conversation.  (mentioning you don’t want kids or that you are child-free does not fall under this criticism, just seeming to want a medal for it; same goes for parents – mentioning that you have kids is fine – acting like you should get an award for it is another situation).

Queer women: this was not a seriously addressed issue in the posts/threads, but there did seem to be a lot of exclusion of queer bodies in this conversation.  I feel like a lot of queer folk get shut out of a lot of feminist discussions, esp with motherhood – it gets so gendered, and I’ve seen active exclusion of women because they cannot themselves bear children (and other things too).

So – what do I as a mom want?  It seems that there should be some constructive feedback here after all the complaining 🙂

Can’t we women support each other in the choices we make?  for better or worse, isn’t the feminist movement supposed to be about women’s right to choices about our lives?  Those choices sometimes include children, and throwing us out of the club because we make that choice is hypocritical.  (also, see above for the fact that it is not always a choice)

Second, who do you think that these kids grow up to be?  Adults.  Adults who have been told that they are not valued.  Fabulous.

Third, I can only speak for myself here, but generally I don’t need a whole bunch of help and support.  I would appreciate, though, if you choose to interact with my kids, please be positive.  If you need to ask them to stop a behavior, ask them in a polite way, understanding that children don’t usually react well to being yelled at and that positive reinforcement of good behavior is much healthier and more effective than negative reinforcement of “bad” behavior.  If you don’t want to interact with my kids, don’t.

Finally, please don’t assume that I had kids and got stupid.  I know what’s dangerous.  I know what’s annoying.  I bend over backwards to try to NOT annoy all of the adults going about their day around us.  If Kieran throws a fit in the middle of the grocery store and is laying in the middle of the floor screaming, please be aware that I did not know that he was going to do that.  I wish he would stop.  I did not arrange it for your personal irritation.  If I had known/thought he’d do that, we never would have gone to the grocery store.

Liam Aidan Adeyemi Aganga

Posted in baby, family with tags , , on Saturday 9 May 2009 by amanda

Liam was born on Tuesday 28 April, 2009 at 7:43 PM.  He was 21.5 inches long, weighed 8 lbs 14 oz, and has a headful of black hair and beautiful brown eyes 🙂  We came home last Thursday and have been settling into a convoluted but nice routine since then.  

Ola’s home until the 18th, but I have finals on the 11th and 14th, so we’re keeping busy.  Kieran is doing really well with this strange new little creature in the house – he likes to touch Liam’s hair, and generally poke at him.  Otherwise he ignores him.  Kieran has taken this opportunity to leap forward developmentally in some ways…he’s chattering and talking more, and the other day added “ball” to his vocabulary.  Still not too many words, but he’s slowly adding them!  Kieran is also starting to “help” with laundry, loading the dishwasher, and putting things away.  It’s incredibly sweet and *very* helpful to mommy!

Liam is still sleeping most of the time, except at night when he wants to eat every 2 hours and then sometimes hang out…silly babies – they get so confused 🙂

Pics are up on the Flickr site and on FB, and I’ll post some here soon.  However, I’ve been so delinquent in putting his birth up here at all I figured I should do it without pics before he turns 1 🙂

first ultrasound :)

Posted in baby, family with tags , on Wednesday 19 November 2008 by amanda

here’s the pics of our first ultrasound of the new little peanut 🙂  these are actually from 24 Sept, so hopefully I will in fact have new ones before Christmas!  We don’t know the sex yet (by Christmas we’ll know) and we’re due 5 May 2009, just in time for finals for me!  Yes, I’m still doing spring semester law school, and yes, i’m probably nuts.

 

also, my family is the cutest.

Posted in baby, family with tags , on Saturday 25 October 2008 by amanda

some cute cute shots of my amazing baby and husband!

eating healthier because of kieran

Posted in baby, family with tags , , on Thursday 2 October 2008 by amanda

i AM eating healthier because of my baby.  Kieran is LOVING solid foods, which can be tricky to fix for him as he’s not yet on milk, eggs, or milk products (including yogurt and cheese).  so it’s really a vegan diet for my munchkin.  a challenge.  factor in how much time i generally have free to be spending on meals, and we have a real dilemma.  i do have some frozen pureed veggies in the fridge, but he really loves to feed himself with his fingers, so that has limited use.  i’ve been buying some soy chik’n nuggets for him, which i can microwave in a minute and cut up.  i’m also going huge into frozen vegetables, and simply microwaving them until they are quite soft, and giving them to him to pick and eat.  he had 1/2 bagel today, which he really enjoyed, and lentils are always popular, although he can’t eat them himself because he can’t get them in his fingers.

i focus quite heavily on making sure he has a balanced meal, with LOTS of vegetables, some protein, and at least a little carbs.  he gets fruit at breakfast and that’s often the only time.  since i’m taking so much care with HIS balanced diet, i’m just helping myself as well 🙂  make some extra carrots, and mommy gets some.  make an extra chik’n nugget, mommy gets it.  you get the idea.  of course, this isn’t my whole meal, but i am making more of a point than i used to to not just have cheerios for lunch if i’m not feeling up to making something more.  i try to at least heat up some veggies – hey, if i can do it for kieran, i can do it for me, right?

i will say that frozen veggies have saved my life.  i get to go to the store less often, they take less time to cook (and to reach the necessary mushiness that a 10 month old needs) and they don’t have salt etc added. 

he’ll need more complicated meals soon, but soon we’ll be able to give him more of what we eat, because he’ll be able to have things that contain eggs, cheese and cows milk.  most of our meals contain at least trace amounts of at least one of these things (korma, for example contains yogurt/milk, lasagne has cheese, etc).

if you have any great ideas or baby/toddler food receipes, please let me know!

Kieran’s going mobile!!!

Posted in baby, family with tags , , , on Wednesday 2 July 2008 by amanda

Kieran’s been spinning in circles and lunging at stuff for months, but we finally have some evidence that we need to finish baby-proofing the apartment, like, SOON. 🙂  hurrah!  See below for last nights evidence that he’s going to be getting into everything soon…

 

 

 

moved to maryland

Posted in baby, family with tags , , on Wednesday 25 June 2008 by amanda

i officially no longer live in new york.  we moved to maryland a little over a week ago.  Ola will be working as a fellow at Hopkins in B-more and I’ll be attending American University for an MA starting in August.  For now I’m at home with the Munchkin full-time, which is nice 🙂  It’s a huge adjustment being here…we bought our first cars – I’m driving a Honda Fit 🙂  I love her – her name is Sade.  It’s weird though – I miss the trains and the walking…I can no longer walk to the supermarket or the pharmacy, or anywhere really…and Kieran’s not crazy about all the car time.  But we’re adjusting.  There are pluses.  We’re living in a big apartment complex, and there is a pool and a workout center at our disposal.  Also, our back balcony looks out onto a wooded area with a stream – amazingly beautiful.  One of our downstairs neighbors put out birdhouses and feeders, so we see bluebirds, cardinals, ducks, squirrels, and Ola even saw a beaver the other day!  It’s so nice to hear bird calls all day instead of horns honking to get past PS 187!  

Ola starts orientation tomorrow, so it’s my first day on my own with Kieran…more soon!  I also have some videos of him…see below!