Crawling

Edith still hasn’t figured out how to crawl, but she’s working on it really hard. Because I watch her all day, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to learn to crawl. Persistence! Coordination! Strength! She has figured out how to push the front half of her body up. And she has figured out how to push the back half of her body up. She has figured out how to push off with her feet and legs so that she would be moving forward were the front half of her body not on the floor. She has figured out how to barrel roll around. She has figured out how to push herself along the floor backwards, and does that pretty regularly. Today she did downward-facing dog on the porch for probably thirty minutes, smushing her face directly into her play mat and displaying her diaper to the gods.

But no matter how hard she tries, she cannot seem to figure out how to push up AND forward at the same time.

“I never realized how many ways there are to not crawl,” I tell her. “You are really good at being bad at this.”

Really, I’m in no hurry for her to figure this out, because the last thing I want to make time for right now is baby-proofing this house.

SB8

I don’t usually write about highly politicized issues on my blog, for two reasons: first, I love many people who are all over the political spectrum and they enjoy reading my blog, and I don’t want to alienate them. And second, while I don’t write much about my job here either, I’m in a position of high responsibility in a team of hundreds of people from all walks of life with every conceivable background and belief system, and I would never want for anyone I work with to think that I might have trouble being respectful of them or fair to them at work (or even just that I might dislike them) due to differing moral or political beliefs.

I wouldn’t, in part because I believe that most individuals have a reasonable moral code and reasonable political beliefs when viewed through the lens of each person’s understanding, background, and life experience. I obviously do not agree with everyone, but I usually can at least understand where people are coming from. I do not, however, believe that all politicians, political parties, governments, lobbyists, corporate firms, activist and religious organizations, etc etc are reasonable or honest about their agendas and their aims. I believe many of them manipulate their constituents and supporters and hide their actual goals. (Note that I say “many” and not all; it’s part of the work of being a responsible citizen to look into things and determine who/what you can support.)

On this particular issue, I think it’s reasonable for people to believe that human life might begin at or near the implantation of an embryo. However, this is America: we are not supposed to get to control other people’s lives based on our own personal beliefs. Regardless of when life begins, I do not think that it is reasonable or moral for an embryo or a fetus to be given legal rights that trump the legal rights of a living human being.

I support completely unfettered abortion access for everyone for any reason at all, and I believe all insurance plans (including Medicare) should cover it. Abortion rights are incredibly important to me and it’s impossible for me to talk about anything else today. I’ve volunteered for a local abortion fund here in Texas for about three years although I’ve taken a long break since Edith was born, and I have talked to many women seeking abortion through all kinds of circumstances, throughout the pandemic, and through any number of legislative shutdown attempts and last minute saves. Today is the day we’ve been fearing and have known was coming since 2016, and its inevitability does not make it any less horrifying. Least surprising of all to me is the complete lack of media focus and the fact that Biden and Harris (not to mention Congress) said and did fuck all about this in the run up or even as it unfolded. Frankly, I do not think SB8 represents the actual goals of even most pro-life citizens, and I believe that if more of them truly understood what is happening here and what is at stake, they would not support it.

If this is something you care about, the best thing you can do right now is to donate to an abortion fund. I can vouch for all of these:

  • The Lilith Fund: this is the fund I volunteer for. We provide funding for abortions to anyone who calls us, without asking any questions and without gating their access in any way.
  • The Texas Equal Access (TEA) Fund: TEA funds abortions in North Texas.
  • West Fund: funds abortions in West Texas/El Paso.
  • Fund Texas Choice: provides funding for lodging and travel.
  • Jane’s Due Process: in Texas, minors must get parental approval to have an abortion, so JDP helps those whose parents won’t consent to obtain a judicial bypass.
  • There are more funds listed here.

I feel guilty that I tapped out of this fight at such a crucial moment. I’m going back to work soon, and between that and single parenting, I don’t know how much I’m going to be able to do, but I’m going to try to get involved again, and I might also blog more about this. I’ll make it very clear which posts will be about reproductive rights, so if this topic is upsetting to you, you can skip them. Although I hope you will instead keep an open mind — there are a lot of misconceptions about abortion because it’s something that many people would prefer not to think about, but you do love someone who has had an abortion whether or not you know about it and/or want to think about it. And as is always pointed out when the government comes for our rights: you might support their overreach on this particular issue, but the precedent it sets will apply to something you don’t support eventually.

Lanes

I had the misfortune of spending a great deal of today driving, and much of it in stopped traffic due to a combination of necessity and poor judgment (did you know there are schools that let out at 4:30pm now?), and as I sat there, I was thinking about the lane I habitually use.

I drive in the middle lane pretty much all the time. If you’re some sort of weird driving purist, you’re going to say that no one should drive steadily in any lane but the far right; that the other lanes are passing lanes and should be used only for passing. But if you are a human who actually wants to get somewhere when you drive rather than constantly leap-frogging in and out of the right lane, you probably drive in one of the other lanes most of the time.

Now, I recall at some point someone telling me that the middle lane is the most dangerous lane to drive in because people are merging into it from both sides, and that most accidents happen in the middle lane. So you would think that I, a driving coward, would avoid the middle lane as much as possible.

But here’s the thing: the right-hand lane is full of stoned people or big tractor trailers going 45 mph on the interstate, and the left-hand lane is the Autobahn. So the middle lane is the only lane where a person can actually drive at a reasonable speed.

In addition, the lanes to the right and left are forever turning into exit-only lanes with very little warning and no one will let you over. I’ve driven miles out of my way before because I accidentally exited onto a flyaway that then turned into some sort of freeway with no exits that terminated at the national border.

So the middle lane is the only logical option as far as I can see.

Nursery Wars

Yesterday, I noticed that Edith’s Big Bunny (care of Zandy) had been blackballed by the other animals and was feeling, as the kids say, some type of way about it:

Jeremy Bearimy is obviously the instigator here, along with King Baby. They are the mean kids of the group. Bowie the Octopus looks remorseful and is subtly attempting to reach out. This is likely because Bowie is another Zandy special and so he and the Big Bunny are siblings of a kind. Fudge the Fat Pony is the sort of utter loser that no one even bothers to mess with because he isn’t even worth manipulating; he is too stupid to notice that he is being slighted. And Hubert the Elephant is an incredibly dull individual, and has decided that palling up with Fudge is better than being fully alone, so the two of them are full followers and only care about their own interests.

I sent in Agatha the Sheep to mend things. As the most senior of the group, Agatha is more respected although less feared than King Baby, and she is something of a diplomat. She is far too mature for this sort of high school bullshit and had she not been off attending to something else elsewhere in the nursery, it probably would never have happened to begin with.

At this point, Edith insisted that she be carried over to dress down the whole group, and I was surprised when she went after, of all people, Hubert. She pulled him off his shelf and began to beat him and scream at him in front of everyone. Now, making an example out of the weakest member of the group (always excepting Fudge) is not how I would have managed things, but I didn’t want to undermine Edith in front of her team. She’s got to develop her leadership style through making her own mistakes.

On another note, it’s entirely possible that I’m still not getting anywhere near enough sleep.

Sleep Screaming

Last night, my mother shook me awake around 1:00a.m. and told me I had been screaming bloody murder and had scared the crap out of her.

This was upsetting news!

I remember what I was dreaming — I was not having sleep paralysis, but I was dreaming that I was telling someone about a time I had had sleep paralysis (in the dream world; not an actual time), and as I told the story, dream-me was also me in the story having sleep paralysis, and this nested me was attempting to scream myself awake in the story in the dream about the story.

Except apparently I was also screaming in actual real life.

Edith sleeps right next to me, and although I was screaming loud enough to bring Mom running from across the house (closed door and white noise machine notwithstanding), Edith slept on, unbothered. “Not my problem,” I imagine she thought, if she noticed it at all.

Meanwhile, at any point in the night where she so much as clears her throat slightly, I am up like a shot and preparing her a snack. It’s very apparent who the alpha is in this house.

Lizards

My favorite part of the new house is the back porch, which is shady and big and mostly private (except on one side, which looks directly onto the neighbors’ porch and pool such that we have to wave at each other or it’s awkward) and looks out over a big back yard with lots of scrubby Texan struggle trees, and some rock features. Edith and I hang out on the porch for a large part of each day. I got her a baby mat she can loll around on and some citronella candles that don’t work.

Now, one thing about me is, I love a lizard. And there’s a great one that lives near a sideways plant pot in a rock feature just in front of the porch. This lizard is exactly the color of the ashes from an extinguished campfire — silvery white belly and darker grey markings along the back. The first day, I watched it sun itself atop the plant pot and various surrounding rocks, as well as do pushups and execute some frantic laps into the surrounding grass and back.

Today, I didn’t see it, although I looked for it all day. (It’s a sloppy digression from this story, but in case it comes up later, I feel the need to point out that there’s also another lizard that lives on the back fence, but at this point, it’s so far away that it’s simply a mysterious black lizard shape that migrates up and down the boards throughout the day; I don’t feel attached to it yet.) Eventually, I saw its little head poking up tentatively on the far side of the rock feature. I guess maybe Edith and I had made it feel less at home.

Then, all of a sudden, I thought I saw it scurry underneath a rock and onto a fertilized bit of soil, but when it came into the sunlight, I realized that this was a miniature version of the initial lizard! A tiny mini-me of it! A baby!

The lizard has a baby!

I also have a baby! We’re two moms with our babies just hanging out in the yard!

What a thing.

Blackout

Edith will not go to sleep if there is even a sliver of light anywhere in the bedroom, by which she can stare, rapt, at the ceiling fan. So several months ago, I procured some blackout curtains and my mom and I tried and failed to hang them by way of putting up curtain rods. We called my dad for help, and he explained by speakerphone that it really wasn’t that difficult and was surely something we could manage to do, and then he continued to detail what seemed like a twelve step process that required such things as hand-eye coordination, arm strength, and an attention span. While he was talking, Mom mouthed “staple gun?” at me, and I nodded excitedly, so then we had only to finish politely listening to Dad.

“Sounds great!” said Mom. “We can for sure do that.”

Then, we hung up and stapled the curtains along the wall. This worked a treat, but when we moved to the new house, the windows were too high and the walls were too…nubbly or something for the staple gun to work. Plus, I had bought thicker curtains. We thought about cutting cardboard to fit, but that also seemed time intensive. Then, Mom thought of the perfect solution:

These two little windows are in between two regular big ones, which got the same treatment, only those have blinds also on the inside, so it’s not as apparent. I can highly recommend this DIY method: installation was dead simple and very fast, and it fully blocks all light. People who live in their vans know what’s up.

Transition

I used my own furniture for staging my old house, which means we don’t have any furniture here, and won’t for about a month. We have twin beds to sleep on, and the washer and dryer, but we don’t have a fridge. Also, the dryer just broke. Also, a hornet is loose in the living room somewhere, hiding in amongst the labyrinth of boxes. Also, the cleaning woman we hired to clean this house before we moved in apparently spent a full day and a half scrupulously washing every single door in the place, but she didn’t clean the bathrooms or the kitchen or the floors?

And I’m not even going to begin to list all the shit that’s gone wrong with fixing up the old house, which I now have one week and one day to try to sort out. Luckily, it only takes 90 minutes each way to go up there repeatedly when it’s not rush hour, so not a huge deal to, for example, go up there to manually pay someone in cash who (just as an example here) can only be there to receive it at 8:00 a.m. on a Tuesday morning. Then, the new nanny starts the following week (I hope she isn’t expecting furniture), and then I go back to work.

I’m fine with all of this, though, because I’ve decided that now that I’m a mother, I’m going to have a complete personality transplant and just be a very chill, easy-going, one day at a time kind of person. It’s working great so far. Just ask my mom.

Only Child

Today I was lying on the floor with Edith playing with some plastic stacking cups. She was gnawing on one of the cups, so I picked up another one and began to gnaw on it companionably, whereupon she snatched it from me and hovered possessively over both cups at once. We repeated this maneuver until she had a whole pile of slobbery cups guarded between her fat little forearms and I had nothing at all.

I recall my mother saying that when I first started trying to make friends, it was unsuccessful because when other kids came over for playdates, I thought the point was for them to sit there and watch me play. I wasn’t trying to be selfish; I simply didn’t understand playing with other children as a concept.

And if I’m being honest, that general pattern of relating to the world as performer to audience has pretty much persisted in every facet of my life. Most people seem to like me well enough despite my limitations, but still, I don’t want Edith to be self-centered, so I hope everyone gets their shots so I can socialize her early and nip this in the bud.

First Night

We’re officially in the new house. Edith is asleep for the moment, but I’m sure that won’t last much longer, as I haven’t been able to hang blackout curtains yet, and this room is bright as midsommar. I don’t know how I ever lived with only a single shower head like a damn peasant. I wouldn’t say the AC here is exactly working? But it’s not entirely not working. I say this every time I move, but this is the last time I’m moving.