Archive for family

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.

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watermelon and hiccups

Posted in Life in general with tags , , , , , on Sunday 10 May 2009 by amanda

Kieran tried watermelon for the first time today, and loves it 🙂  of course he does…both his daddy and I love it!  he basically had no choice.  

Liam also gets the hiccups at LEAST as often as Kieran did as a newborn, which is to say daily at a minimum.  Poor kid – they wake him up, but don’t bug him too much as long as he’s being held.

Also, forgot to post this before, but Liam is STRONG.  Newborns are NOT supposed to be able to lift their heads, but as soon as he was born and put on my chest in the labor room, he lifted his head up.  Ola and I were both like…”that’s not right!”  He’s already contorting his little body around like a baby much older.  It’s crazy.  We’re supposed to be in that stage where you could leave him on the changing table if you wanted to, but nooooo we have to watch him already.  🙂

We went to the park today for Mama’s Day, which was awesome.  We chased Kieran around and held Liam…it was breezy, sunny, and perfect 🙂

Oh, and I have my Crim Law final tomorrow.  Augh!

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 🙂

off the map

Posted in Life in general with tags , , on Saturday 18 April 2009 by amanda

i’ve been pretty much off the map lately, and that’s not likely to change.  I’m trying to finish up with school (I’m writing this as I take a quick break from Civ Pro outlining), hoping that I’ll get my finals done before the baby comes, struggling to spend time with Ola and Kieran, and wishing that the apartment would get itself straightened out so I don’t have to worry about it! 🙂  I’ve also had some unexpected extra doc appointments (no worries, just extra time and energy there…) which have taken up some of the little free time I’ve been banking on to prepare for finals.  At least I’m done withe legal rhetoric, which is a huge relief, although I miss my class. (yeah, i see them at lecture but it’s not the same). 

so – we’re all fine here, and have pretty much no life outside of our immediate issues (baby, work, school).  

okay, back to work!

and another thing

Posted in Life in general with tags , , , on Sunday 22 March 2009 by amanda

if you’re considering law school (or even just grad school) with kids, it’s a huge plus to have a supportive partner.  seriously.  i can’t say enough about how much having a supportive partner has helped me keep my sanity this year.  i find it’s a very different and (for me) more difficult time commitment than working full-time with a baby.  i can’t quite say why…but I know that I have a very hard time tearing myself away from my family to go study.  I guess when I was done with work, I was done and could just go home.  Now, there’s always more to do with school.  it’s not impossible, of course, but having a good support system makes a world of difference…better yet if your partner works “normal” hours (mine doesn’t, but he still is awesome).

there’s a baby…

Posted in Life in general with tags , , , on Sunday 22 March 2009 by amanda

a few random points:

the other day ola pointed out that we already have two children.  if this little man were to be born today, he’d be alright.  

i’m getting very excited/nervous for this new child…excited to meet him, nervous about adjusting and having room and time for everyone.

i am really ready to be done with school for this term.

we have the crib, and it should be set up in our room soon.  his clothes are mostly ready to go.  i’m not packed yet, it’s a bit early yet.

people all around me are having their babies and it’s very exciting.

i’m nesting something awful.

countdown to baby…6 weeks, 2 days…

mom thought of the day…

Posted in Life in general with tags , , on Wednesday 18 March 2009 by amanda

so. you know when you open the DOOR to baby’s room to get them from their nap, and you smell nasty poop without even entering the room, that it’s going to be an awful diaper. ugh.