Monday, March 28, 2011

to be butch with a baby at a mall

I’m sitting here streaming college basketball and loving the delicious sound of swish.
The moon is in super mode; my two loves are relaxing in the living room, and I am living this full life with tired eyes, a heavy, happy heart and a mind that reels madly through the thickness of too much to think about and analyze and then act upon.

In all of this calm and turbulence, I needed to make sure to sit down and write about my day at the mall. I walked as tall as possible through the stares and dirty looks and all together strangeness that my non-conformity to gender norms conjures in the worlds of people so steeped in their own hetero-normalcy and non-fluid/dualistic/binary gender roles that they can barely breathe without making sure to make the people whom they otherize feel their disapproval.

Today (well a week ago now as time slips away due to being overly busy), I walked my daughter around twelve oaks mall in her stroller. K had a facial with her good friend at the salon in Macy’s. And, since Willa is in deny-the-bottle-with-all-of-her-might-mode, we went with her to the mall. I then proceeded to walk with willa in her hot blue stroller all through the mall.

I know I live in a bubble within our state. Ypsi/ann arbor is full up of queers and working class folks (well ypsi is) and genuine difference and good weirdness.

Whereas, Novi (the place where the mall is located) is surrounded by wealth which sometimes takes any racial or cultural differences and coats the masses in sameness. I know this is not a very deep analyses of race, class, gender, etc. But, I just want to get to the point of my day: I felt like a fish out of water, times ten, walking my child through the mall today. Had k been by my side, it might have been better, but she was not.

The main characters: will and me.

The costumes: willa, purple pants, dinosaur onsie, white bambi hoodie, and bald ness. me, gray khaki pants, black t-shirt, red and black flannel, some hot red wing boots, and short hair with small hawkish mullet in back (got barbered last saturday; hair is currently very short on sides; short but thick on top, and the bit of mulletish stuff on neck).

The prop: will’s super fly (but exceedingly yuppie) uppa stroller with carriage mount ( it was the thing we asked money for our shower/gifts).

The setting: scary as hell. malls scare me to begin with, but the parking lot should have been warning enough for me to stay in the car because we had to park a mile away it was so packed. The economy must not be too fucked, since people were out in hordes buying lots of stuff. 600 dollars worth of pool table stuff, 2500 dollar riding mowers, etc...make-up, and fancy clothes (you catch my drift).

The plot: There really was none. I was just planning to blow an hour walking willa through the mall. I did this, but I really did not foresee the climax.

The climax: The stares, dirty looks, and befuddled looks of mostly woman as I walked through the mall with my daughter. And, Ultimately, an escape to the hardware/fitness/outdoor equipment of sears.

I consider myself a pretty subtle person. I am not soft-spoken. Nor am I loud in appearance or demeanor. I wear men’s underwear and try to keep my breasts from standing out. I keep short hair and do not wear a stitch of make-up except lip balm (clear) in order to keep my lips from cracking off my face. I drift. I get loud when injustice surfaces in my sphere, but I always get loud with strategy behind my voice and actions.

However, on this day, I felt like a rhino on the loose amidst florescent lights and too much stuff. I really did get scowls and disapproving stares.

I escaped to sears. We walked in circles looking at tools and weight benches. And, finally, I ventured to the men’s clothing dept. of sears and found some underwear on hardcore sale.

I walked back to the hardware check-out and purchased a precision screw driver set for kk and the pack of briefs for me. And, then Will and I set out to find her mama-ma in order to escape the oppressive climate of commodities and stares galore.

The security that k brings to my butch step is profound. she helps me feel invincible to the judgment of others. She makes me sure-footed and strong. She heals the scowls with some kind of salve that creates gentleness on the eyes. She is a good deal of my strength.

So, we left the chaos of striving for sameness and entered the calm of the chilly sun-filled afternoon. Our queer little family; comfortable and in love with one another.

she is now four months old...

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Um, ya. All I have time for right now is cuteness. See below.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

deeper sleep

I have been relegated to the bed in the downstairs back room. A cough has found my chest and will not let up. It has a stronghold on the area below my neck at the top of my rib cage and it shakes fierce and wild in the night hours.

So, I’ve been banished from the family bed.

Obviously, this banishment has occurred for good reason.

I can’t keep the other members of my household up with my deep, hollow, non-productive coughing.

But I miss my dear ones.

And their absence during my dark hours makes me think a lot about how we came to this place of sharing our bed with our wee one. Before Willa came to us, I really did not read much about what to do after she was really here with us. Then she was born. This little, little being cast down to us from some star that finally decided to give up a small piece of the glitter, light, and energy that makes it a star. And, when she fell from her mama’s womb onto our dingy sheets, I knew she could be only there with us, on us, between us in our bed when we slept.

Of course, at that point, I had to consult some books and our midwife and our doula to make sure we were sleeping with her safely. But having her with us in bed and then having her with us in a sling or in our arms as we work and go about our living, well, it all seems so right and perfect.

I did not consult tons of books. The ones I did kind of made me pissy. i.e. dr. sear.s heterosexist extraordinaire. While I think he has a lot to share about a lot of things, I am not some big barreled daddy with a low voice who will accidentally roll on my daughter due to lack of hormonal connection (dr. s says for co-sleeping heterosexuals to put off having the male part of the relationship sleep closely to the infant cause he might smoosh the baby since birth-mothers have all of this hormonal and regular intuition they should be the ones to have the wee ones close by). I could accidentally roll on her, but so could k and we have set up perimeters to keep that from happening.

Willa’s been sleeping in the crook of my arm since she was 8 hours old.
Not every night. But many.

The point of this post is to say, thus far, I am very fond of our family bed. I love it. I love my daughter being close to us. I love the fact that k can side lie nurse and get better (if not still vague) sleep through the night. I love reaching out to feel my sweet willa near by. I love learning her idiosyncrasies. My child is a fidget. She squirms and twists and flails like a worm over flame.

She is also incredibly particular. There have been nights when she wants to just be flat on her back on my chest. I’ll put her next to me on the bed and she will fuss. Cause, see, she knows what she wants. Other nights we hold her tight and close and she calms her fidgeting and falls fast to sleep.

The family bed brings this kind of intense insight into our own selves and to our little one. We know more about each other as animals, as creatures, as our vulnerable selves. I know it will not last forever. It may not even last for many more months. But, this time so far has been precious and enlightening and I would not trade it for anything, not even deeper sleep.