Say you were a parent of a smart, active toddler, and were looking forward to probable but not definite homeschooling. Let's assume from the very start that you are a strong-agnostic queer-friendly household and would rather not promote homophobia or discrimination against queer people.

Let's say you really believe in Girl Scouts and think they rock, but assume that your kid is not going to be within that gender range by the time he's the right age.

Do you consider Boy Scouts for a few years down the line?

I have friends who would never consider them because they still don't allow queer people to be leaders at least, and because they still have loose rules about God.

I have friends who point out that some troops are liberal as far as those things go and think it's more important to get involved as a liberal, queer-friendly parent and change things from the inside.

I have friends who think that what the BSA offers as an organization and what troops offer on the ground level are more important than the BSA's problems, and can't be easily gained elsewhere.

I'd also consider Navigators (which would probably mean starting a group) and less likely, Spiral Scouts. Campfire has changed a lot since I was in (what was then) Campfire Girls when I was little, it's more after-school oriented like the Y now than it is like a scouting group. (That was a vital need and I'm glad someone filled it, but it's not what we're looking for.)

What social, extracurricular, nature-and-service oriented groups would you consider for your kid? Gender-specificity is both okay with us and not essential.


Dreamwidth allows openID posting, so if you don't have an account, you can still respond here, but if you saw my link on LJ, G+, or FB and want to answer there, feel free. And that leads me to another question: I'm pondering changing platforms to something like wordpress and just linking that to places like DW and those above. Opinions? Alternatives, better ideas, etc.? Which platform might engender more interaction? (Yes, I know writing differently and more often would help.)

Also, Owen turned one a couple of weeks ago, I want to make a post about that, and have had a million distractions and time-eaters (including the boy himself comprising about 500k of those) in the way of doing it "right." I'll do it by the end of this weekend, though. I want to make a nice post and all. ;)
owenIMG_0259 by marymactavish
owenIMG_0259, a photo by marymactavish on Flickr.

Owen was born six months ago today, by calendar month, and of course, that's now a bit more than 24 weeks.

Except for size, he's mostly right on schedule, and given his genetic background (Casey's big-boned and somehow, at the same time, lanky; Audrey's not petite) Owen's size is unsurprising. Currently he's in the 90-95th percentile for height and creeping up fast on weight and weight-to-height. His head size is off the chart but healthy, “It could just be a growth spurt," says the doctor. At any rate, he's in anywhere from 9month to 2T clothing depending on whether the shirt has neck buttons, crotch snaps, or is in a brand that tends to run small. I'm loving 2T, he is a wiggler these days, so those are easy for me to put him in.

Owen babbles like a babbling fiend, and can say “Obama" now and then, but of course, he fits “da" and “geh" and “bagabah" and blowing raspberries all in exactly the same context – but then, so do I.

His smiles still light up a room, and do so often. We say he has a little jar with which he collects souls, and when someone notices him in public and he beams at them, and you can see them melt a little, the jar goes “ka-ching" and he collects a soul. Yesterday, he collected the souls of two rather burly firefighters at the supermarket, and I caught them making goochie noises from the next lane over.

He's also more easily frustrated than ever before. He seems to set goals high for himself, and though he can flip over and get most places fast on his belly, he wants to move, to crawl, to walk, right now. Like many babies his age, he likes to have his hands held for support as he slowly walks around the room. Mostly we let him do things along the lines of Magda Gerber's theories, just in that we think it's fine for him to be frustrated and figure things out or be patient while we're nearby so he's safe and feels supported, and sometimes he even does and is, but we also just have fun with him trying out the walking around. I don't think any single development theory has all the answers.

He's clearly happy and thriving and we're not worried.

We've moved to a new home (that post is coming in a couple of days) and he's got his own room now, and has just started sleeping all night there, or nearly all night, waking up now and then for a feed or a diaper.

He adores DJ, and he is her puppy. She's mostly patient with him, and we're teaching him to pet gently, but of course, at his fine motor stage, sometimes a fur-grab is all he can do, and she'll just get up and move away – her teaching method is probably at least as good as ours. Sadly, we're almost down to one dog – Sadie died last month, and Zoe's cancer will take her very soon, but for Owen, DJ has been the go-to dog anyhow. I hope that she lives long enough for him to remember her, as they've really got something going already.

Our new place is a block from a wonderful park with wonderful playgrounds, and it's got baby bucket swings that he loves. I sit on the ground in front of him and push gently, and he squeals … until he sees something, anything, more interesting, children playing, geese squabbling, it doesn't matter. Everything is interesting. He's not done swinging, he just wants to stop to focus. He also enjoys just lying or sitting (he can sit upright for very long periods but can't get to sitting himself just yet) and watching the kids in the playground. He seems to be studying them.

He is eating some solids now: a little cereal, also blueberries, strawberries, bananas, mango, grapes, watermelon, canteloupe. We feed him squished stuff off our fingers, or sometimes a spoon, but mostly through mesh feeders. He starts kicking when he sees the mesh feeder arriving, he is a huge fan of food.

All in all, he's so much fun, and also exhausting, frustrating, and fun. I love his naps, and I love seeing his smile when he awakens.

I so very love being part of this family, the people who love Owen together, the people who get along. We take care of each other, our extended families take care of us too. I feel rich.

Owen is a protogamer

With the dogs being sick and dying, and the big move to this new place, and my RA flaring up big time, I've been a bit overwhelmed for even thinking about blogging, but I've got a few posts queued in my brain. Mostly, I want to write about moving to our new place, having it become a basic suburban house-with-baby, fitting into the new (lovely, friendly, but somewhat old-school familywise) neighborhood, and feeling like family; and I want to write about how I've had to modify my attachment parenting expectations (which were already modified for realism on my part) to suit both a multiple-parent household and my chronic pain escalation. As usual, sometimes your questions or interests help guide how I write, so if you're wondering anything specific about either of those, or anything else, please ask: I'll answer what and how I can.

owenIMAG0667 by marymactavish
owenIMAG0667, a photo by marymactavish on Flickr.

Today, Owen turns three months old, or fourteen weeks. He was conceived almost exactly a year ago, coincidentally on solstice, coincidentally on the weekend of his other parents’ commitment ceremony. So tonight, while those parents are off on a celebratory anniversary date, I will sit down and write a note about how things are going for Owen, and for us.
(I fully intended to write this on June 21, but was attacked by a nap, succumbed, and didn’t wake up until almost midnight.)

I know I should be recording Owen’s milestones, but “shoulds” aren’t doing very well by me, and I haven’t much been. But let’s see: He can say a hard G now! He learned, just today, to grab the ring on his beloved hangy-things toy, and shake it to (almost) make the bell jingle. He has a mirror, and can talk to mirror baby for an hour at a time. We visit the library now and then, he looks around and I browse. He's got books at home but hasn't yet been fascinated by them. I picked out an oversized board book today and we looked all the way through it twice. I wished for a camera in someone else's hands, it would have been lovely to document.

Right now, he’s lying near me asleep, giggling. He is so happy. He giggles and smiles easily and often. It’s like we’re trained monkeys around here and his smiles are peanuts. We will do whatever is necessary to keep those peanuts coming.

He is strong! His neck is mostly stable now, considering his age. He is playing a new game with me where I’ll sit him on my belly, while I’m on my back, and he leans back against my thighs, then he’ll pull his upper body toward me like he’s trying to do a crunch. I help him shift his balance very gently with my legs and stabilize him with my hands, and as he sits up, he beams. He can do this over and over until he’s exhausted, somewhere between five and ten times in a row. I’m not sure I can do ten crunches right now.

He is GigantoBaby, long and lean, in size 6-12 month clothing depending on whether the item snaps at the crotch and how the neck opening is built, at three months old. He sucks on his fists a lot, finds his thumb now and then, and we've started to wonder if he's in the earliest stages of teething already.

I’m starting to notice something I don’t like in myself, and I think it’s just about years of conditioning, in that though Casey and Audrey both clearly identify me as one of Owen’s parents and though I often see myself that way superficially and act as Mom, my subconscious leaps out now and then. I will say something like, “Let’s get you home to your mama so you can have lunch” or most telling, recently, when a woman at the hardware store asked us, “Is he yours or hers?” about Owen. I answered, “Hers,” without a moment’s hesitation, then corrected it quietly, “Um, ours.” In the correction, I don’t think I was trying to appear not-gay so much as that I didn’t want to invite questions. But the initial “hers” was straight from my deepest insides.

But really, nothing else has been an issue. Everyone who needs to see us as a family does. We spent Father’s Day -- all of us did -- with Audrey’s parents, celebrating her own father, and Owen’s father, and it was good. We are good. We’re a family in ways I never dreamed even up until Owen’s birth, and I love it. I’m happier than I’ve ever been before.

IMG_0793 by Kimberly Jennery
IMG_0793 a photo by Kimberly Jennery on Flickr.

A couple of people have asked why I haven't updated this blog since the Big Change, and I'm sorry, but I'm just so tired.

It's amazing how tired I am, considering there are three of us and I didn't do the hardest work.

The sweetest baby on the planet was born yesterday at 5:35 in the afternoon.

He is calm and sleepy, but when he's awake he's bright-eyed and curious. He eats like a pro and poops like a pro, and we love him like crazy.

Audrey, who had no experience at all with babies, suddenly Became A Mom, and is intuitive and natural with him. I just adore watching them together. Well, we all love watching Owen, I also love watching Owen-and-Casey and Owen-and-Audrey, and Owen-and-Audrey-and-Casey.

There's so much more I want to include, like who, at the hospital, we explained our family structure to and why; and how and why I was careful not to put my foot down about expected roles for me and Audrey with regard to the baby early on; and the value of community in this endeavor, or ... well, a lot of things. But I'm so tired and having trouble organizing coherent thoughts. That said, if you've got questions, ask away, I'm happy to answer anything, though there might be some hedging where the privacy boundaries for individuals in our family are getting bumped against. (Remember, you can use OpenID if you don't have a dreamwidth account.)

May 2015

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