humor

Dad Puts Babies Into Moby, Struts

You need a little patience and a bit of a sense of humor to enjoy this video of a new dad putting twins into a Moby Wrap (he’s not actually going to drop them), but it’s worth it, especially at the end when he struts down the street a la “Saturday Night Fever.”  

I love to see new parents experimenting, and I especially love that he’s getting help from his own mom.

Home Birth, Barbie Style

I’m so not sure what I think of this slide show of Barbie having a home birth, with Ken and a midwife and her older child at her side.  

OT1H, some of the photos are hilariously similar to real birth pics (classically, in Black and White for additional gravitas):

barbie in labor

But OTOH, I hate the idea of the homebirth being glamorized in some Barbie-like way, (making it seem like yet another unrealistically perfectionist thing on the to do list, along with having the Barbie-looking hair, body and face), instead of what it is: one of many options an informed adult can make regarding the care of her body.  

And then, since I have an eleven year old, I immediately wonder what a Minecraft-Homebirth would look like (hopefully no creepers).  I may now go ask my son and his best friend to design that for me…

creeper

Smile At Me

Sometimes, those first few weeks of motherhood are a bleary haze of exhaustion.  Especially if the birth was hard and now mom is stuck alone, trying to get the hang of things, with plenty of diapers and burp clothes, but no company.  (No adult company.  Newborns aren’t much company yet).  It can be hard to hang in there and know that things will eventually settle down.  

Many of us have heard “it gets better when the baby smiles” or “by about 3 months there’s a real turn around.”  When you’re in the early wilderness, it can be hard to imagine how that’s even going to make a difference.  But here’s some awesome photo evidence.  This pic I just saw by my friend Marcia Charnizon totally captures what’s so thrilling about it:

marcia bf image

(if my reading of Portuguese is OK, I think this baby is just 3 months old)

And look how the baby’s reaction affects mom:

marcia bf spray

Ain’t love grand?

Sadly for us New Yorkers, Marcia’s located in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, but you can enjoy her work on her website and blog.

Happiness in 6 words or less

I’m enjoying this exercise (discussed here at mom101) where folks boil down something strange that makes them happy into six words or less.  

I’m a pretty wordy gal, but after thinking it over, my answer is “deviled eggs.”  I could give you about six thousand words on why, but, briefly, I have memories of several vastly different times in my life — in 1990, in 2003, and in 2008 — in several different relationships, where funny, loving, intimate moments coincided with the presence of deviled eggs.  I also kind of like the taste of deviled eggs, but that’s pretty secondary.

What does it for you?

Milk on Mothers' Day

It’s my eleventh Mother’s Day, but I still think of it as my own mom’s holiday. This morning, looking into her fridge, I’m laughing that my mother has purchased seven different kinds of milk for the ten people currently in her house.   
 There’s something so perfectly, metaphorically, motherly about my mom’s urge to provide milk — even the grocery store kind, even milk from a coconut, it’s still Mom Giving Milk.  Even more, she gets us each the kind we like and need, just ‘cause.  It’s not how everyone demonstrates what mothering is to them, but it’s beautiful, and beautifully hers. 
 Happy Mother’s Day to my own mom, and to all of you.  

It’s my eleventh Mother’s Day, but I still think of it as my own mom’s holiday. This morning, looking into her fridge, I’m laughing that my mother has purchased seven different kinds of milk for the ten people currently in her house.  

There’s something so perfectly, metaphorically, motherly about my mom’s urge to provide milk — even the grocery store kind, even milk from a coconut, it’s still Mom Giving Milk.  Even more, she gets us each the kind we like and need, just ‘cause.  It’s not how everyone demonstrates what mothering is to them, but it’s beautiful, and beautifully hers.

Happy Mother’s Day to my own mom, and to all of you.  

Nursing Beyond Infancy

Just so we’re clear — it’s the exploity thing, and the “lets foment anxiety and insecurity and snark among moms so we can make money” mentality that’s wrong with the TIME piece.  But if the question is, what do we think of seeing a woman nursing a kid who’s old enough to stand and grab it? Well, some pretty famous mothers have done it.

Just so we’re clear — it’s the exploity thing, and the “lets foment anxiety and insecurity and snark among moms so we can make money” mentality that’s wrong with the TIME piece.  But if the question is, what do we think of seeing a woman nursing a kid who’s old enough to stand and grab it? Well, some pretty famous mothers have done it.

Maurice Sendak, parenting expert

Maurice Sendak has died, at age 83.  Above* is a clip of my daughter, then age 2, singing Alligators All Around.  

He was one of my favorite parenting writers.

Wait, you thought his books were for kids?  

Chicken Soup With Rice is a brilliant “Playful Parenting" approach to living with a picky eater.  

Pierre is one of the best descriptions I’ve read on how (not) to deal with defiant behavior.  (I have read it aloud, front to back, to a roomful of adults taking my parenting workshops).  

Where The Wild Things Are shows us how children’s destructive impulses can find a home in fantasy, and lets us see an example of how you can both send your child to bed without supper and also make sure he gets fed.  

Bears — oh how many of us have been in that frantic search for the all-important stuffed animal who’s gone missing again!  That book is like a tiny treatise on how to play with separation anxiety and loss.

Each book is like a nugget of wisdom, showing us playful ways to cope with all that’s weird and challenging and complex when you live with little ones.  You close each one with a new idea of how to proceed.  Even poet Rita Dove famously used Sendak as an inspiration in a beautiful poem about mothers and daughters and body talk.

I love when children’s books are also for the parents.  Because reading is like nursing:  you hold your child close, you use your body and your mind to offer to your child a multi-sensory experience essential to his growth and development.  You use intimacy, touch, rhythm and warmth, to expose him of the best that the world has to offer.  It is so, so important to your child that you hold him and read to him.  

And all too often, just like nursing, we look at reading as though it’s *only* beneficial for your child, as though it’s not equally profound for mom.  But that’s wrong.  When it works, it’s for both of you — the content of the books, the experience of holding each other and sharing the art of the written word. You’re in the milk and the milk’s in you.  He’s in the milk and the milk’s in him.  There you are, learning the world together.

Read good books with your child.

*Note:  Somehow you can only see the video if you view this site through tumblr!  Well, what better reason to join tumblr and follow me (amotherisborn) there … 

"Porn for Pregnant Ladies" aka Tell Us What We Want To Hear

pregnant chicken -- jon hamm pregnancy

Here’s a funny post about what we yearn for during pregnancy — she calls it “Porn for Pregnant Ladies” but it’s totally safe for work and it’s a little hilarious — images of famously hot actors saying just what you want to hear when you’re great with child.  I think my fave is Jon Hamm:  

but this one is a close second:

pregnant chicken 2

Get Your Chick On: How Sex Is Like Chicken And How Talking Helps

 So, recently I wrote an essay about a time I was given a sex toy, instead of cash, in exchange for teaching a class.  (Funnily enough, just around the same time, there was an article on TDB about sex toys not only going mainstream but even being marketed for Extremely Religious People.  Isn’t it weird how a topic gets into the ether?

 Now, my essay wasn’t an x-rated review of sex toys, nor was it in any way explicit about my own sex life.  Really, it was about navigating the way one’s identity changes over the course of a long relationship and after parenthood.  Nevertheless, the Surprise Guest Star of the essay was a vibrating cock ring, and in response to publishing it, I got a lot of reactions that basically boiled down to:

“!!!”

One of the reactions was from a friend who expressed concern that using sex toys would “desensitize” a person to “regular” sex, become addictive, and, generally, transform something that should be wonderful and natural into something artificial and bad. 

I found I had an immediate, visceral reaction to this, which was, just, NO. There are lots of things can be used in a harmful way, but that doesn’t make the thing itself bad or dangerous. 

I said to her, “I think it doesn’t have to be that way.  Like, usually, I make roast chicken plain, but sometimes I change it up and use lemon and oregano.  The fact that sometimes I use oregano doesn’t make me not like having it plain anymore.”

My friend looked at me like I’d just thrown the easiest out-of-the-ballpark homerun pitch ever and said, “Mer.  Sex is not like chicken.”

I thought about that for a long time.

I concluded that in fact sex is quite like chicken:

  • It can be really flavorful and almost embarassingly juicy, or it can be dry and tasteless.
  • Even though it really tastes good and almost everyone likes it, it can totally turn into the boring, expected default “we’re having chicken again,” as a substitute for something more inventive.  
  • It can be prepared endless ways.  There are whole books describing hundreds of ways to make chicken.  But I think most people spend their entire lives doing it the same two or three ways and only try it, say, Polynesian Style, on their honeymoon when they’re travelling, or when they go out for their anniversary.
  • The kind you get on your wedding night is generally not the best kind you ever had.
  • Some people like it bone-in; others prefer it boneless.
  • Some people like it when it’s free-range and organic and has a really sharp, distinctive, meaty taste.  Other people want it to be as bland as possible and not really have to think about the fact that it’s flesh.  Chicken is so diverse that all of these people can be made happy.
  • You can identify the kosher version because a tip of it is cut off.
  • When you buy it on the cheap, it is full of chemicals.
  • AND, when you ask a real cooking maven how to tell if someone is a good cook, they will say that the best cook in the world makes a simple, plain roasted chicken that is transcendant.

On the other hand, chicken is unlike sex in that you don’t have to do the whole eww-y salmonella-preventing handwashing thing after touching it raw.

 By the time the final version of my essay was written, I’d written the words “vibrating cock ring” so many times that they ceased to be shocking.  I had told versions of the cock ring story to many of my friends and a group of us started jokingly referring to it as a “VCR.” In fact, by the end of the revision, it was hard to remember what had been outre about it to begin with.

At one point, I confessed to my editor that I was worried that I sounded like a big rube, and that no one would get what had shocked me about the cock ring anyway (she laughed and said she didn’t think so, and she was right). 

Here is what I conclude from this:

1.  You can get desensitized to a word by using it.  That word could be “cock ring” or it could be something pertaining more directly to motherhood like, “breast-milk” or “breast” or “nipple” or “poop” or even “Mom” – all of which are words I’ve seen people flinch at in the early days. 

2.  You get desensitized to the idea that something is outrageous when you get familiar with it.  This could be a change in your sex life.  Or it could be the very idea that your sex life changes over time.  Or it could be something much more mundane, like the initially outrageous idea of a baby sleeping in your room, or milk in your breasts, or a pump that removes the milk, or that you’ll cope patiently with colic, diapers, tantrums, or the notion that you’ll survive not having time to blow your hair dry or get to the gym every day.  Familiarity makes things seem not strange anymore.

3.  Talking to other people makes even weird, crazy things seem a lot less weird and crazy. This is also a kind of desensitization.  I think it’s desensitization to your own ego, and its so important.

But no, I don’t think that a sex toy is going to desensitize you to sex if you liked sex in the first place.

Now, go subscribe to Brain, Child:  The Magazine for Thinking Mothers.  And register for a new moms’ group, where you can come talk about this kind of thing.