Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A difference of opinion

In light of my earlier post, I want to pose a question about the pro-life/pro-choice debate.  I want to begin by saying that I am not anti-live, although I am pro-choice.  I hate this rhetorical distinction.  I mean, I'm against the death penalty, but I am for a woman's right to govern her own body. I digress.

Here is my question: why is it that most members of certain political party are pro-life, yet they often do not support programs (like Head Start, Welfare, Medicaid, etc.) which would improve the quality of life for the babies they so desperately want to be born?  As a good, good friend of mine once said, "Many Republicans care about babies, until they're born." 

I have a new hero today, and her name is. . .

Wendy Davis.  I am in awe of what this woman did last night.  And I'm even more in awe that the American people were actually paying attention.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


Bear turned 4 this past weekend.  I am equally sad and elated that he is growing up.


I've been having a rough few weeks.  One minute I'm fine, the next I want to cry.  Most moments I manage to keep it together, but there have been a few days in which I've just cried for a while.  I am, as I've blogged before, a crier, but it isn't like me to sob for an entire morning.  Archer asked me how I was doing yesterday, and I said, I feel like I'm having good days and bad days.  He asked if he could make an observation, and I said yes.  He said that my cycles are more regular following George's birth than following Wild Man's and Bear's.  He has noticed that I am more uneven than usual about a week before my period starts and at least three days into my period.  I immediately knew he was right, and now I'm trying to keep track of my cycles.  Prior to having Wild Man, I was on the pill, and I was also on the pill immediately following his birth as well as Bear's.  While I primarily took the pill for birth control, I found that it helped regulate the hormonal shifts I seem to be experiencing lately.  I told Archer I may go back on it for that reason, but then I don't want to do that.  So I started doing some research.  Now I wonder if I don't have a late-onset PPD.  I know that mothers can experience PPD up to a year following the birth of a child, and I'm still within that time frame for George's birth.  But honestly, all the descriptions are so different.  Do I have the Baby Blues (a term I hate, by the way, as it is just so dismissive) or more severe depression?  Or am I just tired and struggling to compensate for a lack of sleep?  Most of the time, I feel like myself.  I feel good.  But several times a week I have an urge to just cry.  But then, so do most mothers I know.  I mean, parenting is a hard, hard job.  It is exhausting and draining, and it can be demoralizing.  It's full of high-highs and low-lows.  Mothering is an emotional roller coaster in and of itself.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


As I've written, George is now in childcare three days a week.  This has been a hard transition for both he and I.  So hard, in fact, that Archer was surprised.  After all, I have transitioned two other children into childcare, both of whom flourished with their respective caregivers.  He was not prepared for me to cry every day we dropped George off during his first month in care.  As I told him, though, I had to put Wild Man into childcare when he was 3 1/2 months old.  I had to go back to teaching and finish my dissertation.  I was able to work out a part-time schedule for him, but he had to go into childcare.  With Bear, I was back in the classroom when he was 10 weeks old.  Archer was able to take 6 months of family leave, but by the time we put Bear in childcare, I was accustomed to leaving him for most of the day.  George, however, had never spent more than 4 hours away from me, and only then a handful of times.  Those times he was in Archer's care.  I have been with him a significant portion of every day since he was born.  Putting him in someone else's care, even for 6 hours a day, 3 days a week, during the summer, just seemed, well, wrong.  I'm managing, but after almost 6 weeks, I'm still a bit upset every morning.  I'd rather be with him. 

It hasn't helped that George finds childcare a bit daunting.  He loves his brothers.  He loves their noise and their mayhem.  He actually crawls around the house to find them on the days he's home with us.  But he doesn't really like babies, it seems.  He finds them noisy and irritating.  He gets easily overwhelmed in childcare, and he refuses to take a bottle (he will, however, drink water from a sippy cup throughout the day).  He is hesitant to nap in his crib there, and he is struggling to bond to the caregivers.  He does love the room and the time outside on the playground.  He especially loves lunch, and he really loves it when he is the only baby awake in his room.  He is having a rough time adjusting to everything else.  I know he'll be settled in by September, when he starts going full-time, but his rough transition has made my transition a bit rougher. 

Our little family is going through lots of changes right now (Wild Man is finishing up first grade; Bear is leaving the childcare center to start some day camps in preparation for JK; George is starting childcare; and I'm back in the office), and all of them have me feeling more than a bit emotional. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Yetta arrives tomorrow.  Those three words have the power to completely disrupt my life.  I'm not mentally prepared to deal with Archer's mother.  Most days, right now, I'm barely keeping it together.  I'm still adjusting to putting George in childcare, to being back in my office, to having to prep courses for the fall.  I have not had the mental space to prepare myself for 6 days with Archer's mother.  Oh, and her friend.  Because she refused to fly. And she won't travel alone.  She is bringing a friend.  And while I really love this particular friend, I do not need to add 2 people to the chaos of my daily existence for an extended period of time.  I just don't.  I'm sorry that I can't be more gracious and welcoming right now, but really.  I. don't. have. the energy. to entertain.  I care a great deal for my mother-in-law, and I do appreciate that she wants to be here for Bear's birthday (the ostensible purpose for her visit).  I do wish, however, she could be more thoughtful about when she plans her visits.  You know, bringing a friend to my two-bedroom, 1800 square foot home, while the basement is under construction (as in Archer is hanging sheet rock and rewiring the basement as I type this), isn't the easiest time for you to come.  Vent over.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A sleepless night

George is teething.  My easy-going baby isn't so easy-going right now.  He has cut four teeth in as many weeks.  Some days and nights he handles it well, others not so well.  Last night was a not-so-well night.  He was restless, which means I was restless. 

In addition to being unable to sleep because of George's restlessness, I was unable to sleep because I read Eli Saslow's article "After Newtown shooting, mourning parents enter into the lonely quiet" yesterday evening.  By the end of the article I was sobbing.  I felt compelled to check on my children, even though I knew each of them were soundly asleep in their beds (until George woke up 30 minutes later, that is). 

I've written about Newtown before, and I think about the families who are still struggling to get through the most horrific of experiences every day.  Last night I dreamed about them, about meeting them, and hearing their stories.  That dream was oddly comforting.  Then I dreamed that Wild Man was one of the 20 children.  I woke up crying, sweating, and almost hyper-ventilating.  Luckily George was stirring so I could focus on getting him back to sleep; without that task I think I would have had a full-blown panic attack, something that hasn't happened to me in years. 

The thing is, I had one sleepless night as a result of a young man who felt compelled to commit an unfathomable act of violence in a place that is meant to be safe, to house the innocent, and to help them grow.  I cannot imagine how the parents and siblings of those 20 sweet children and the families of those 6 amazing teachers sleep at all. . .

The Market

Archer and I are currently in the midst of deciding whether or not we will go on the market this year.  In many, many ways, I want to go on the market.  I want to see what will happen.  I want to try to get a job in a department where I can teach literature, not just theory.  I love teaching, but I can't see myself being completely fulfilled professionally if I can't teach the things I got into this profession to teach.  It is, of course, much more complicated than that.  As I told a friend this morning, the pros and cons are infinite.

  • teaching what I love
  • being in a location we like better than CU Land
  • potentially being closer to family and friends
  • having my teaching and research intersect in more clearly defined ways
  • having easy access to materials in my field (the ILL librarian and I have become really tight in the 5 years we've been here)
  • being closer to locations I need to go to do archival work
  • being able to teach our children about their home country without going out of way to do so (this seems like a little thing, but we've already had to start giving Wild Man mini lectures on American history)
  •  being able to attend conferences with more ease
  • I could go on and on.
  • moving
  • starting over
  • leaving our house
  • leaving our network of friends and colleagues
  • learning another university/college system
  • being closer to family (yep, this is both a pro and a con)
  • going on the market (it is such a time drain that it is a con in and of itself)
  • interviewing (it's not my favorite thing)
  • the negativity that comes out of the experience
  • the guilt that I will feel (we have jobs; going on the market means we may be taking jobs from people who don't have them.  Yes, I worry about things like that.)
  • leaving a unionized system (it comes with lots of hassles, but we have recourse when things go badly, as they often do in academia)
  • Again, I could go on and on.
We haven't yet decided what to do.  I want to give it a go, but Archer is more hesitant.  Neither of us is 100% happy here (nor are we naive enough to think that we would be 100% happy anywhere), but it's familiar.  He is close to tenure, and he'll get it.  He is also being "groomed" for an administrative role, which means more money and lots more headaches.  Currently we're in a liminal space and trying to figure out what the best step is for us professionally and for our family.

Monday, June 03, 2013


In the past 3 months, Archer and I have started taking our boys to church.  I haven't attended church regularly since, well, ever.  My father is a lapsed Catholic, and my mother was Presbyterian.  We didn't go to church unless we were visiting my mother's parents.  Even attending church then was a big deal, at least for my mom.  My dad never went, not even out of respect to my grandparents, which was upsetting to everyone.  My mom went occasionally, but her visits were usually prompted by lengthy guilt trips on the part of my grandmother.  As an adult, I would go with my grandparents when I visited them.  It meant a lot to them, and as it was really no hardship to me, I went.  I rarely discussed religion with my grandparents though as it was hard for me to explain that I see religion much differently than they did.  It was easier just to go than to debate the finer points of theology.

Recently, Wild Man has started asking questions about religion, questions that Archer and I are really unprepared to answer.  We can't answer, in part, because we're not sure what we  believe, and we can't answer some questions because we simply don't know enough about Christianity to answer.  So we've started attending church to give our children some sort of religious grounding, to combat our own ignorance, to feel more connected to our community, and to figure out what we believe in.  I know there are lots of people out there who will likely be offended for our reasons, but I can't honestly say I feel called to go to church.  I haven't been divinely inspired or anything like that.  I really just want to learn more, and I also want to be able to help my children find their way.

You see, I feel like my parents did my siblings and I a huge disservice by not educating us about religion.  We never discussed religion in my house when I was a child.  If religion came up, it was only when my father openly derided anyone who was religious for his or her hypocrisy (he never explained how religious people were hypocritical, just insisted they were).  What I know about Christianity, Islam, and Judaism is what I've gleaned on my own. I've read some religious texts, and I am familiar with the Bible (I have to be given the period that I study).  I took a few religious studies courses in college out of interest, and I read a lot.  By virtue of all that I am not completely ignorant about religion.  But I don't feel like I can adequately answer my children's questions about religion.  I want my children to have a religious background because I want them to have something to reject.  I want them to be able to say, with confidence, I believe in X, but I don't believe in Y.  I want that, in part, because I can't do that.  I know so little about theology and doctrine that I don't really know what I believe.  So we're going to church and I've been reading some spiritual narratives.  I'm still not sure what I think, but I find comfort in knowing what other people believe, in knowing that I'm not the only one with questions.

I am also really enjoying the church we're going to.  It was recommended by some friends, and the congregation and ministers (they are a husband and wife) have been really welcoming.  They have also given us a lot of space to get used to things.  No one has called us at home or tried to visit us.  Both ministers have offered to talk to us "when we're ready," but no one has pressured us.  That has been nice, comforting even.  I appreciate that they recognize that we're trying to figure this out for our family and not trying to strong arm us into anything (which has been my experience with very religious friends in the past).  It also helps that we've specifically chosen a denomination that is very liberal and open-minded.  This specific church is also very welcoming of children. No one cares when George starts jabbering during the middle of the sermon--and I mean he jabbered so loudly that he made the minister laugh mid-sermon.  No one cares if Bear comes to church in his slippers--seriously, I have bigger battles to fight than getting the kid into "real" shoes.  And no one cares when Wild Man stops the ministers during "Children's Corner" to ask a doctrinal issue--why can't I take communion yet?  I don't know if this church will become my spiritual home, but I do know this church has welcomed me and my family while allowing us to get acclimated and to determine how involved we want to be.  For that, I'm grateful.

I am still here. . .

barely.  Blogging, it seems, has become increasingly less important to me.  I still want to blog, but I no longer think in blog posts, if that makes sense.  Perhaps that will return once I am in my office every day, but I don't think it will.  Things have shifted for me, although I'm not sure I can put that shift in words.  I am just starting to understand how deeply the events of last spring affected me (I know, I know; I need to shut up about it already. So a bunch of academics screwed me over.  I still got a T-T job out of it.  Who am I to complain?).  While I do recognize how fortunate I was to have come out of all of that relatively unscathed professionally, I was not unscathed personally.  I find myself less willing to talk about projects with colleagues at CU.  I'm more wary.  I don't trust people any more, which is sad as we're being encouraged to build collaborative projects across the faculty (whatever the hell that means).  But even after being encouraged to reach out to several people for various reasons, I still feel uncertain about it.  It's really hard to put into words as I am just allowing myself to process those events.  With that I will end this rambling post. . .