Category Archives: gaybies

Second Parent Adoption

tl;dr We have a home interview scheduled for next Monday (in a week) and I have no idea what to expect. Any advice?

Way back when Lady Jr was born, we had no trouble getting both of our names on the birth certificate. Then we actually got the certificate and saw that they’d listed Dr Lady as the father. I didn’t think much of it, but then the election happened and really fucked up judges started being appointed to various circuits and Dr Lady spoke to several attorney/legal friends and, well. We decided we’d just feel a whole lot safer if Dr Lady formally adopted Lady Jr.

I’ve chaffed against the very idea the entire time because wtf, straight people don’t have to adopt their own children, but of course I don’t really have to worry about my own legal status as the biological mother, so. And said legal friends did assure us that doing so now would save a lot of potential future headache for Dr Lady if something happened to me. So, rage against the hetero-normative legal system aside, we found a lawyer, filed paperwork, and started the process.

The fun (/sarcasm) thing about adoption, even second-parent (which is what’s used for step-parents), is that they still have to over-analyze your life. So we filled out a questionnaire when we filed and now a social worker will be stopping by our home and… asking questions?

Honestly, I have no idea. I’ve tried Ye Olde Googles, but the results are heavily weighted toward straight up adoption and I don’t know if second parent is any different. Since they’ll be in the house, I’m assuming that basic safety things should be in place (and already are). Like, outlet covers and no knives on the floor. But I don’t know what might be expected beyond that. All the chemicals are out of reach, but the door to the basement remains open. I mean, we close it if she’s zipping around the house and we’re not keeping up, but there’s no gate or anything.

Mostly I just don’t know what to expect from the questions. I’m sure it’ll be fine, I can’t imagine anyone looking at my wife interacting with Lady Jr and not thinking they’re perfect, but also I don’t want to give any homophobic buttwipe an excuse to be, well, homophobic.

Anyway. Any advice/help/pointing in the right Googly direction would be appreciated.

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17 Months and Tucson

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I’m doing that thing again where I don’t post because it’s been so long since I last posted that I have like 100 things to say, so I’m only going to focus on two just now.

17 Months!

Lady Jr is definitely a toddler now and every week is doing more and more child-like things and dropping some of her baby habits. Toddlerhood is a strange transition. On the one hand, she’s very much still a baby. On the other, she understands so much.

As the baby book that we use as a doorstop says “baby says little but she understands all.”

Not wrong.

I got used to her being about as smart as the cats, but she is well beyond that and I’m not keeping up. She remembers where she left things, remembers where she usually leaves things, remembers where I’ve put things, remembers routines and other things. She brings us her hat when it’s time to go out. She points to her shoes happily and then lifts up her feet.

I put a diaper down and pointed at it and said “diaper change time!” and she stopped what she was doing and plopped down next to it.

She has said “nuk,” “cat,” “kitty,” “book,” “all done,” “yeah,” and “yes.” There are definitely more words in there I haven’t deciphered. I could’ve sworn I heard “no” yesterday, and I know once that starts it doesn’t stop.

Her walking is almost out of the stumbling-drunk stage. She walks confidently many places, but is still wary of the outside. It’s going to be 50 this weekend, so we’ll work on that.

She rarely crawls anymore.

She sleeps all the way until 6am. Which has been amazing. I think we’re done with the morning bottle. We still have one at night before bed. I’m not sure when to give that one up.

She loves water. Her favorite foods are still sweet potato, chicken, eggs, and cheese.

I can’t believe she’ll be 1.5 years in just a month.

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Tucson

Ever since we left Arizona, we knew we’d be back to visit. I’d specifically planned on coming for the Tucson Festival of Books weekend. And so we did. We flew 4-5 hours and spent a week in the desert with our friends and cacti and introduced Lady Jr to all of it and it was great.

This was her fourth plane trip: Atlanta, Germany, Minnesota, and now Tucson. I never intended to travel so much with her, but also we have purposefully not been traveling as much as we used to, so really – we just travel a lot. When our family and friends are as spread out as they are, it’s hard not to.

Honestly, these days I daydream about living in the same town/area as family. It’s probably not going to happen any time soon, but every time I meet another person here in Lansing who is from here and has lived here all their lives – I get a little jealous.

Anyway. Tucson.

Lady Jr met her first cactus and her first mourning dove and her first quail. She played with sand and she walked around the Festival of Books. She met all of my coworkers, and some of my old county coworkers. She tasted ice cream and prickly pear sauce and churros and sweet potato fries. She met a cockatoo face-to-face and… well, got a bit scared honestly.

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She did really well in the pack n play and on the plane and with all the travel and meeting everyone. She continues to be the hammiest ham, making friends wherever she goes. I’m always afraid of running into someone who absolutely hates babies, but if I have, their hate has been lost in all the love she receives from everyone else.

Occasionally I reflect on how they only love her now because she’s tiny and cute and as soon as she starts to be a Real Human Being, they won’t want to love and protect her – but that way lies anger and madness, so.

Anyway, Tucson was great. I’d gone hoping for a little closure and instead realized after seeing all my friends that I really am lonely in Michigan. And not for want of trying – boy, have I fucking reached out here – but that’s for another post.

God, the mountains, the cacti, the food, the coffee, the people, the books, the library, the endless horizon –

When we landed back in Michigan, it was 30 and snowing.

Gotta just keep telling myself that come May, it gets gross there and lovely here. And now that Lady Jr is getting better at the car again, we can actually see some of the coast and the upper peninsula this summer.

In the meantime…

heavy nostalgic sigh

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15 Months

Who even is this goose?

Someone started pulling up in November and now she’s cruising on everything. Just this Saturday she let go of the coffee table for the first time and took one, two steps before falling to her butt and giggling. Then she tried again.

She’s a nut, and in more ways than one. Truly she’s becoming a toddler at hyper speed and we don’t have long before those long arms reach the doorknobs. One recent weekend, we installed locks on the cabinets in the kitchen. The next weekend, we finished baby-proofing the noffice (nursery/office). Now we need to toddler-proof it.

The mood swings are getting pretty intense and my patience is already being sorely tested. She’s recently started pointing at things, opening her hand, and saying “da!” Which is adorable – until she doesn’t get what she wants / we don’t figure out what she wants in time. Then it’s back arching and tears and screams.

Meal times are quickly becoming a battlefield, although I suspect part of this is because she’s teething again. Half the time she’ll hit everything out of our hands before we can even put it on her plate, the other half she’ll only accept food if it’s on its way to our mouths first. And ho boy, if you use the microwave and don’t immediately give her food, you’re in for it.

And then there are the times that we play tickle monster and she just giggles and giggles and giggles. Or when we flop on mama-Sarah and she’s full of high-pitched squeals. Or when we go down the slide and she reaches the bottom and throws herself forward. Or when we open her door in the morning and she just grins around her nuk and goes “heeeeh.”

She is a handful and she is a delight. She makes me want to scream and then she puts her head on my shoulder and everything is perfect. I tell her how hard her life is and try not to be sarcastic because it’s true. I know what it’s like to not be understood, to be overwhelmed by your emotions, to not be in control. It is hard. Hard for her, hard for us, and we have to navigate this together.

Of course, that doesn’t mean I’m also not super glad she’s back at daycare today. Mama needs a break sometime.

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14 Months & 2017

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14 Months

For the most part, I just say she’s one year old. But every month she’s more capable, more aware than the one before. And at 18 months, I’ll say she’s one and a half. Every day builds on the next.

One day, she started pulling up. The next, with a little help, she was pushing one of those stand up toys. Now she’s walking back and forth across the living room, barely using the elephant walker to stabilize.

A sixth tooth broke through last week. From all the drool and whining, it seems a seventh may be on its way.

She chatters and laughs and giggles and whines and throws herself down when she’s upset and clings and rests her head on your shoulder and cackles while trying to shove her fingers up your nose. I love this age so much. I’m trying to appreciate how easy it is right now, because I know it’s about to get much harder. She has such big emotions for such a tiny body and she’s only starting to learn about them.

After a really hard week with copious amounts of vomit & diarrhea, she’s also started sleeping straight through from 10pm to 5am, and I kind of love it. Now I just warm a bottle up when my alarm goes off at 5am. She usually wakes up shortly after, takes a bottle, then goes right back to sleep. I get a solid hour, hour and a half of writing/editing in every morning. Living the life, y’all.

 

2017

This has been a strange year. Politically, it’s been a devastating roller coaster. But personally, it’s been amazing. I wrote a book and then I went through edits and just yesterday my editor accepted it – which means 2018 will be pretty exciting, too. 2018 will also be the year (more) people I don’t know read it (oh god). I met people in my field and made friends and connections. I’ve never been this excited – or hopeful! – about my career. I’ve never had a career.

And this baby – oh, this baby. She has been the joy and the adventure I dreamed of and so much more. She has taught me so much – about myself, about the world, about hope. I love watching and sharing her joy. Her sadness breaks my heart a hundred times over. And it’s only been 14 months!

Life has been so different and yet not at all. I get up and pet the cats and drink coffee and write and make breakfast and go to work – except now I also keep an eye on the baby monitor, bring her milk, open the door when she’s up and sing good morning, baby – the light’s come on and so I smile wide and say –

I was struck the other morning by how quickly this all became normal. I was sitting on the couch at 6am, reading the edit suggestions from my editor, my robe smelling faintly of the baby’s vomit from the day before, the coffee satisfyingly hot, a cat licking her paw by my ear. I have felt so much despair and hopelessness and loneliness this year, but really: I have everything I could wish for. This is the life. This is my life.

And I couldn’t be luckier. ❤

I wasn't really looking forward to 2017, but it was good for me. Now I'm very excited about 2018 – Lady Jr will be walking, talking, and growing into a Real Human Being. My book will be going out to other authors, to reviewers, will get a cover, will be in my hands. My wife will begin searching for her next job, her hopefully for-a-long-time job, and we might begin to have an idea of where we'll be in 2019.

I'm gonna cherish every minute of it.

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Overseas with a Baby

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We did the seemingly impossible. We took an 8-hour transatlantic flight and spent a week in Europe with a crawling, active, chatty 13-month-old.

And it was fine!

It was more than fine, it was fun. I spent a lot of time in the weeks and months leading up to the trip worrying about whether or not this was the Worst Idea Ever. I’d heard plenty of horror stories about babies/toddlers who’d spent the entire flight screaming or needing to be walked up and down the aisle of the plane. I’d worried about sickness and jetlag and whether or not it’d all just be too overwhelming.

What I learned is I should trust my baby. And also, everything is more fun with a laughing, giggling, wide-eyed little girl.

There were hard bits. I couldn’t sleep on the flight over, even though we had a whole row to ourselves and got to put the carseat between us. Lady Jr conked for a good 3, 4 hours, but there were other babies who had a harder time and, well, airplane seats just aren’t very comfortable.

Coffee saw me through until we could nap at the Air BnB, but it was touch-and-go. But after that nap, well, life was a lot better.

That first night was hard on us all because of the time change. Lady Jr slept for a few hours and then kept waking and crying every few minutes. Eventually, I just got up with her at 11pm and we watched German-dubbed X-Files until past 1am – which would’ve been 7pm our time, aka her bedtime. She went right to sleep after that. She pulled the same routine a day later and by then we’d figured out it was her Circadian rhythm and just went with it.

Naps were almost all on the go, in the ergo carrier, and that worked just fine.

We stayed in Air BnBs for this trip, which I’d A++ recommend. It was great having a kitchen and lots of room for her to crawl around and play. Also great: both had a place for her to sleep. Not so great: both were outside the cities we were visiting, so we ended up doing a fair amount of driving. Lady Jr is not a fan of cars and sometimes we were out for a while, so this was not ideal. Next time, I’ll try harder to find a place to stay *in* the city, even if it means finding novel places for Lady Jr to sleep.

Why did we visit Europe in late November of all times?? For the Christmas markets, of course! 😀 My mother and I had been talking about visiting Germany and their markets together for years and yeas, and I realized that if we didn’t go now, we’d have to wait a few more years and I was worried about how much older my mother would be. Also because of Thanksgiving, I could actually take a whole week off and not miss much work. Hence the timing.

We visited Darmstadt and Aachen, since their Christmas markets opened early enough. I’d never been to either, so that was fun. Aachen is gorgeous and located on the edge of a rolling, wonderful national park and now I want to live there.

I drank all the Gluhwein and sniffed all the things and ate all the baked goods. Dr Lady got to see her first Weihnachtsmarkt. Lady Jr charmed everyone.

Also: dude they’re not kidding around with baby changing rooms in Germany. When they’re there, they’re fancy and nice and clean. One even had warming lamps for newborns. So good. ;.;

Anyway, have some pictures.

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Lady Jr playing peek-a-boo at the first Air BnB.

 

 

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Darmstadt countryside.

 

 

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Lady Jr learned how to pull up on the trip and is now unstoppable.

 

 

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We went for a walk by the Rhein. 

 

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HAM

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Lady Jr was enamored with a toy in the second air BnB and also kept pushing a step stool around and around and around the house.

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The countryside outside of Aachen.

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A cute little town we discovered nestled in the hills.

 

 

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Mmm, Apfel strudel.

 

 

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*Weihnachtsmarkt intensifies*

 

 

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And then it snowed as we were leaving.

 

 

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Aachen Weihnachtsmarkt.

 

 

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Everything is Just Fine.

 

 

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Gluhweing – the Reason for the Season.

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13 Months

I feel like ever since she started really crawling and picking things up and making eye contact, I’ve been less… not enthusiastic, maybe more less surprised?… by each new milestone. They kinda smooth one right into another now. One day she’ll be knocking over the towers of blocks, the next she picks them off one by one, the next she’s putting them together one by one.

She crawls on all fours more often than army-crawling now, and she also pushes around a box on her knees more than she crawls. She occasionally does a downward dog maneuver, inching her hands in as if that might help her stand. She doesn’t pull up to stand, but she does crawl up us until she’s got one hand on a knee and is otherwise balancing on her own.

Sometimes she sleeps until 5am before crying, sometimes she wakes up at 11 and 1 and 3. More often these days she’s not ready to get up until 7am, thank the gods. I’ve reclaimed my early morning writing time and it has made me a better human being.

She hates socks. She loves being tickled. She plays peekaboo by herself in her crib. She appears to enjoy daycare. If I roll a ball to her, she’ll half-throw, half-roll it back. She likes to stand on my lap and hold my shoulders. She likes to put her blocks in her box and then cruise around the house tossing them out. We call her Baby Clause.

She likes eggs, but everything else is on a day-to-day basis. Some days she’ll eat chicken and rice and mushrooms. Some days she won’t. We just keep rotating and offering and reminding ourselves that some days, we don’t want to eat chicken and rice and mushrooms either.

She has opinions. She’s started throwing in a few “mamama”s with her “dadada”s. She holds up her hands and opens and closes her fists when she wants something. I’ve joked that figuring out what she wants is a lot like playing hot-and-cold: her whining increases the further you get from what she wants and the excited babbling increases the closer you get.

I can see why people would want more than one now. We’re starting to think about a second. Well, Dr Lady wants a second and I’m getting there.

I wish I could go back to this time last year and show past me how much better it gets, because omgoodness yes. I know we still have many backslides ahead of us in terms of emotional development, but this is the adventure I wanted.

 

Speaking of adventure, we’re going to Germany next week. Oh god.

 

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One Year Old

We have a one-year-old.

It has been an amazing year. Some of the highest highs and lowest lows of my life. Yesterday, on her actual birthday, I was thankful for all she has brought us.

Unfettered joy. Bright wonder. Sheer life. Hope.

I looked back on the older pictures of her and realized she’d been herself from the very start. Even in her newborn photos you can trace the shapes that will become her square jaw and expressive eyebrows and cupid’s bow lips. Once she noticed the camera, you can see her inquisitiveness and unabashed delight.

She is stubborn and she is persistent. She is observant and she is hesitant. She is engaging and she is curious. She is attentive and she is (just a little) mischievous. She is compassionate and she is gentle. She is strong.

She loves beets and egg yolks and bread. She’ll squawk indignantly if you don’t share what you’re eating. She loves the kitties and she loves her stacking cups. She’ll drag her elephant lovey across the room as she army-crawls. She’ll pull out all the books on the shelf and then sit and turn the pages of her favorites. She’ll spend an hour taking blocks out of a box and putting them back and then she’ll suddenly crawl over to mama and demand to be held, then just as suddenly demand to go back to playing.

She smiles with her whole body and she cries just as fully.

She likes the book on quarks. She likes to play on her xylophone. She figured out how to stack her rings and she can pull up to her knees.

Her laugh melts my heart and her smile brightens my day and her cry makes me wish I could move the heavens to make everything better.

I’m so excited to see how she’ll grow, how she’ll expand into a toddler, a child, a human being. How she’ll change. And how she’ll stay the same.

Happy birthday, Lady Jr.

 

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