textualdeviance: (Thunderstone)
Say hello to my son Terran! Born 1/27/13, 2:13p. 9 lbs, 5 oz, 21". Brown hair, blue eyes. Birthmama had a rough time and needed a c-section, but she's recovering, and the Niblet is healthy and has been eating and sleeping well.

textualdeviance: (Can't Talk)
The Niblet hasn't yet decided to show up on his own, but there's an induction scheduled for tomorrow morning, so within the next ~24 hours or so, he'll finally be in my arms. Whoa.

I have a zillion and one feelings about this, of course, but the biggest is just being overwhelmed: So much to do, so much to learn, so much to think about now that I'm going to be responsible for the health and happiness of a tiny, helpless person. There's a chance that person may have some special needs down the road, too, so I need to be prepared for that as well (and am, mostly.) The house is close to baby-ready, the car seat is installed, we have plenty of supplies, and a go bag ready to take to the hospital. It's all going as it should. I think I can do this.

But one thing that's become clear in this is that the bandwidth I'm going to have available for anything other than my kid is going to be very, very small indeed for the foreseeable future. Obviously, M's going to be helping out early on, and the housekeeping and stuff will be managed. I also have some good local friends who can help in a pinch, and if all else fails, we'll find a way to afford a nanny or au pair to help here and there. But mentally and emotionally, my days of devoting a lot of energy to things outside my family are pretty much done for now. I'm going to keep writing, of course, and hope to find a way to sing again sometime, but most everything else will have to go by the wayside.

To that end, I've realized that I need to shrink my monkeysphere. It's something I've been thinking about for a while anyway, as I've felt increasingly overstretched, but now it's a lot more critical that I be careful about lending emotional energy to others when I'll have so little of it available.

FSM knows I love social media and fandom and knowing people all over the world, but one drawback to that is that I simply can't really be capital-F friends with all 200+ people I "know" from various places. I see their lives go past here or on FB, Tumblr or Twitter, and my instinct is to care about what's happening to them. The reality is that I can't, at least not in anything other than a truly superficial and therefore unsatisfying way. After years of trying to keep up, it's backfired: I now don't spend nearly enough energy on the people I'm closest to because it's getting sucked away by people I barely know. It's not a slight to those acquaintances, mind. They're perfectly nice people. But in order for me to be a good friend--and to have good friends of my own--I'm going to need to prune some folks from my everyday life.

This is frustrating, of course. I know so many lovely people I'd like to get to know better, but I'm just one person, with about 70% of the energy of an average one. I can't really keep up now. Keeping up when my life necessarily must revolve around my kid just isn't going to happen. I'm not, of course, going to be one of those diaper-brained Mommy sorts who has no life at all outside of her kid, but when I do have to make choices between him or other things, well, it's a damned easy choice to make.

So if I unfriend or stop following or don't acknowledge or respond to posts much for a while, please understand that it's not personal. Anyone who's kept up with me for long knows if I have a problem with someone, they hear about it. So it's not that at all. I just have to do some judicious editing in order to give the most important people and things in my life the attention they require. I'll still be posting somewhat here and there, of course. Hell, folks are probably going to get sick of my blathering on about my kid. But I'll basically be in broadcast mode, rather than interactive mode, except for the people I'm closest to. I need to focus on quality over quantity for now.

And mostly, I need to focus on my son, whom I am absolutely dying to finally meet.
textualdeviance: (Babies R Us)
We're in! Of course, it's nearly two months past when I thought it would happen, but we are, finally, in the adoption pool! We had a little conference call with our agency counselor to tie up a few other things, and she said we'd actually got in as of Monday--she'd just been out of office and hadn't got the info until late.

It's amazing how freeing this feels. We've spent nine months just getting this far, and even though a lot of that was waiting, it was anxious waiting: wanting to be sure we had all the paperwork right, and that they'd approve us, etc. There will be waiting now, of course--probably a year of it, at least--but we don't have to actually do anything until we get picked by birthparents, so it's a lot less stressful.

Actually, I take that back: we do have a couple of tasks ahead of us in the short term: getting together a pile of emergency baby gear, just in case we get a last-minute placement, and getting M (finally) snipped. But beyond that, we really don't need to do anything else but wait and hope that someone out there thinks we're awesome enough to raise their kid. We're somewhat restricted in what we can do during the wait--we need to keep any traveling within a short flight away from home--but beyond that, we can just go about our business, now.


At the moment, of course, the majority of my business is working on novel revision and thinking a bit about what else I might want to write for the proper NaNo coming up in ~6 weeks. I finally completed an overhaul of Harper that I've been meaning to do, and I feel pretty good about that. Also got another beta reader lined up for that, and I'm interested to hear what she has to say about it, since she's very familiar with the market I'm aiming for.

The other one, the one I just finished, does need some major surgery. I ditched the first two (grossly infodump-heavy) chapters, but it didn't quite feel right. Three hours of banging my head at it last night, and I finally fixed it: Same scene, different PoV character. Made all the difference in the world. Will probably spend much of the next week going over the rest of it and expanding where needed. I know M and D want to read it soon, but it does need quite a lot of polish before I'll let that (beta) wordbaby out into the world.


Other than the writing and the adoption stuff, though, I'm not doing anything special. Still mucking around with my container gardening. The tomato plants are scaring me with how huge they are, and I seem to actually be growing artichokes and Meyer lemons, which is kind of astonishing. I guess we've just had enough hot, sunny weather for them to grow. Not complaining! Also need to figure out bulb-planting stuff, since it's about that time. We don't have much of that already planted, and I always forget to do it in the fall, so I'm going to try to remedy that this time.

Amazed it's Seoptember already, though. Need to think about my plans for fall--the usual house parties, holiday stuff, of course. Also in a nesting mood, now, so there will be things like cleaning out freezers and general tidying, plus scheduling some regular house-maintenance services we need, like roof cleaning and such.

Or ... I may just spend what pre-parent, non-writing time I have left watching trashy TV shows, playing video games and doing dorky fan shit. :)
textualdeviance: (Andrew Whee!)
Hallefreakinlujah: I'm unemployed! Today was my last day--almost exactly three months since I started--and I've decided I'm never, ever going back there again. The people are nice, but the actual work itself has been miserable for me. I need out. And thankfully, I AM.

Have also decided that I'm going to stay unemployed for quite a while, unless we suddenly need the money or MSNBC has a gig I want. As I mentioned a couple of posts back, I've been mommy-tracking my career for years, now. Time to stop doing that, do the mommy thing, and then get started back up on it again once the kid's ready for day care. I've wasted far too many years in jobs in which my education and skills were utterly useless. If I go working again, I want it to be in something where I'm valued and useful and, I hope, can make a positive difference in the world. What I've been doing for the last five years? Not that. I think I burned out on this on my last go. These last three months have been excruciating. Yay that they paid for London, but still. Enough.

Near-term post-job plan is to dive back into the writing, and start pushing hard to get at least one of my novels sold. I'm not certain that'll happen, of course, but I want to at least try. Given that I've also already written a chapter on yet another new book, I think it's time I consider myself a serious writer. I'm always looking to improve, of course, but I think I'm at least as good as many of the published writers in my genre. All that's left, really, is people paying me for the pleasure of reading my stories, which is more a business effort than a creative one--and one I think I can handle.

So, yeah. I'm going to do that for the next several months--however long it takes to get picked by a birthfamily. Then I'll spend a year or so with the sprog while it's tiny and needs constant attention. Once that's all done--two years and change from now, prolly--I'll take a look at circumstances and decide then what to do about getting a proper paycheck again.

As I mentioned on FB, I don't want to go too long without having some sort of resume fodder--I'm far too practical of a person to screw myself over like that--but yes, I am going to take some time off for now. Honestly, we don't need the money. We DO need my sanity, and that was being sucked dry by that horrid job.


The only downside, of course, is that it means we have less money for travel. I think I'm good on that front for the time being, though. As I mentioned, London took a lot out of me, and I think my days of hardcore traveling like that are done. Definitely a few other things we want to do--New England, Mexico and of course some regular Hawaii and Florida jaunts--but the long, transoceanic flights to cavernous airports? Not so much. Oz and NZ will have to wait until I have more bandwidth. Which prolly won't happen until the kid is travel-ready, which will be a while. I know I'll get itchy feet again--soon, even--but I think I can keep them satisfied on this continent for now.


Speaking of the kid thing ... we're alllllmost done with the first half of the process. We've written the (enormous) check for the pool-entry fee, and tomorrow is the last of our home-study interviews. All that's left after this is getting a photo collage together and getting in a few reference letters, and we're good to go. I'm guessing another couple of weeks, tops, before I can point y'all to our profile page on the agency's waiting-parents site. I'm nervous as all hell, but also really looking forward to being done with this part of things. Idle waiting I can handle. Seven months of paperwork hell? Driving me bonkers.


Have to remind myself: with at least a year of no real responsibilities, I don't HAVE to do everything on my to-do list in the next 48 hours. But oh, so tempted. The back yard, for one, has been begging for all sorts of attention. It's gotten some--there's a new batch of birdfeeders and a bunch of container garden stuff--but still needs more spiffing. It's rapidly becoming my favorite place to be on a nice day. It can be a bit noisy at times. There's all the games at the park across the street, a tiny bit of freeway noise from the 405 down the hill, and frequent Cessnas overhead (there's a small airport nearby.) But beyond that, it's actually very peaceful. Everything's green and lush and the birdies absolutely love it. We've had tons of hummingbirds this year so far, and I've counted every single kind of bird we've had back there before, plus a few new ones. Love it!

Also have some gaming to do, some fandom stuff (a few fics and vids) and a LOT of reading and movies/TV to catch up on. Also want to properly cook again. Planning to conduct the writing thing in a professional way--making sure I meet a daily wordcount--but beyond that, I'm squirming about having more freedom.

Honestly, this feels like I'm getting back to my real life--back to me. I think I've more than paid my working-world dues at this point. I want to work on the rest of who I am, now. I'm not getting any younger, and my health means I probably won't have many retirement years to do all this in. I'll be damned if I'm going to let any more of my life slip away in a tiny, flourescent-lit box if I don't absolutely have to.
textualdeviance: (Default)
Avoiding going in to work, even though I have to. Have already put in a request to terminate the contract. Will see how that pans out.

Realized something sad, though: part of the reason my career hasn't taken off like I'd hoped is that I've not been fired up to get a better job. Why? Because for the last five years, I've been thinking I was going to become a parent within a year or so, and I didn't want to commit to anything long-term or intensely involved if I knew I was going to be taking a year+ off to wrangle a little one. Had the attempts at making a tiny human on our own worked out as I wanted them to, the kid would now be in pre-school, and I'd be pursuing something far more rewarding than button-monkey contract work. I chose contract over permanent because it was flexible enough to allow me the time off I was going to need.

And as each year has gone by without that tiny human showing up, I continue to be stuck in limbo, not able to find something better because I have to wait.

If there were any way for me to make the kind of money M does, he'd be happy to take the parental leave instead. It's not like we're married to the idea of splitting parenting duties by gender, after all. But practically speaking, his paycheck is absolutely necessary, and I can't make even half that, even if I did get a better job, so I'm the one who gets to stay home for a while.

For the record, I'm not opposed to people who choose daycare, either because they have to work or want to. I'm also not opposed to people who have nannies or au pairs around to enable them to work as well. I'm not planning to be around my kid 24/7 until she starts school. Hardly. But we can't afford a full-time in-home nanny, and since I don't have a truly fulfilling, well-paying job right now, there's no point in blowing 80% of my paycheck on daycare just to enable me to go to a job I'm not excited about. That and really: I've waited this long to have the experience of being a parent. I may as well actually have that experience, y'know? I want to get to know this new little person, not spend 40 hours a week in an office wondering what she's doing. M's already done the parenting thing with his siblings, so he's not as jazzed about that--though he is looking forward to having his own kid. But yeah. I do want to be more directly involved while my kid's little.

The only thing I worry about is whether I can light a fire under my career when the time comes again. I'm guessing my only option is to do whatever I can to get one or both of my books published, so I at least have that going on to fill the gap, and make certain that I have something more on my CV for that time than changing diapers.

Which leads me to a final thought: Ages ago, someone asked me when I was going to have kids, and I told her, "Oh, not for a while, yet. I want to make some contributions to the world, first." She glanced over at her kids and said, "Those are my contributions to the world." I get that I kind of offended her, but honestly? I think she was full of shit. It is of course a difficult and laudable job to turn a tiny human into a functioning, self-sufficient adult, but if that's the only thing you've ever done, you've not actually made something of yourself. Living your life through another person--partner, child, etc.--isn't making your own mark.

If you have dreams of what your children will be when they grow up, and those visions include something besides parenting, why don't you have those dreams for yourself, too?

Frankly, I've not achieved nearly the amount of things I wanted to before I became a parent, but time's too short now to wait any longer. So for now, I get to put aside the development of me in favor of the development of a tiny human. I'm doing this voluntarily, of course, but it's still kind of sad.
textualdeviance: (Default)
Back from London, which was awesome (pics/report later), but good gods, I'm exhausted. Even though this trip was half as long as the first, it was hotter/more humid, and I did a lot more walking, so I'm just wiped. We went to bed at 8:30 last night (got up at 4--ugh) but I feel like I could still sleep for two days. Needless to say, being back at work today is extra miserable. Bleh.

Much as I hate admitting it, I think I'm going to have to cut back on hardcore trips like this. My body's just not up for it anymore. I'm still up for smaller-scale stuff, but I think the big cons, weeks spent at amusement parks, etc. just aren't going to happen. Even ended up cancelling our Comic-Con plans for that reason (also realized that the only few Famous People I still want to meet won't be there, so there’s pretty much no point to braving the heat/crowding/walking.)

This is, of course, depressing. I deal with my physical limitations every day, and I know very well my lifespan isn’t going to be huge, but I've sort of been in denial about exactly how much I'm going to be limited/slowed in this last ~20 years. I have planned for some of it--delaying parenting, for instance, so I could travel while I was still young/healthy enough--but facing the music now still stings. There's just so much more I want to do before I die, and knowing I won't be able to because of my stupid body really sucks. Theoretically, I could skip the parenting and squeeze in more of this stuff, but as parenting is also a huge entry on the bucket list, I'd rather not. It's not ideal, but I can always do some sort of creaky person's round-the-world cruise or something later. Best spend what energy I have left on the high-bandwidth baby-and-toddler stuff.

Will say though: seeing this quote from the recently late Ray Bradbury while I'm feeling like this really hit home:

"Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there."

… and this is why I write.

Being keenly aware of the ticking clock now means this is a lot more important to me. I get that some people are content to merely live on through their families, or don't even think about things this way at all, but for me, it's really important to have at least some little bit of myself that will continue on long after my body is dust. When I was younger, I figured that would happen with performing of some sort. Now that that's not really possible, all I have left is the writing. Yes, I'll have a kid who remembers me after I'm gone, but I need something more tangible than someone else's memories. I need something more than just a bunch of blog entries and photos as the residue of my existence. With so little energy for anything more elaborate, writing it is.

But! In order to do that--in order to do what I need to prove that I was here--I need to have the temporal bandwidth. Which in this case means I need to get rid of this horrid job. I have enough experience/resume fodder at this point to get a paycheck later if I really need one, but the huge things I needed to earn money for--travel, house, kid--are basically taken care of, now. It’d be nice to have more gravy, of course, but not at the mental health cost that this gig is charging me.

All that's left, I guess, is trying to figure out how to leave without burning bridges. So I think that's the challenge remaining for me for the rest of the week.

Well, after I've had more sleep. Eesh.
textualdeviance: (Button Monkey)
So, since I haven't updated about this since my last bellyaching ...

I first sent mail to my teammate, confirming that it wasn't just me--there's really next to no work for us. In the middle of that, I also discovered something else that's a roadblock for the team, with larger-scale potential repercussions. So, I broke down and wrote a long mail to my boss about it all late last week.

Things post-mail are still settling out, so I don't really know what's next. But it does seem like our workload is slowing down to a trickle--and a trickle of stuff I really don't want to do. I already suggested that if this really is just a one-person job, then I'm happy to train my teammate on the stuff she doesn't know, and let her have it. Having my position go away due to budget reasons would be the best course of action, I think. It'd mean I wouldn't lose brownie points with my agency for quitting/breaking contract (and thus can get another one later if I want) but it'd also get me out of this mind-numbingly boring and degrading position I'm in now.

There is still a dilemma, though, and I've come to realize that it's why, despite the adoption process going well, despite the upcoming London trip, despite the great weather and everything else, I'm actually kind of miserable right now.

Downwardly mobile dog )

It's weird to look around and see how much I have and yet still feel so desperate. I'm sure people look at my life and think I have it all, and wonder why I worry so much. But that's just the thing--I don't have it all. M does. This stuff isn't mine. It's his. And if we split up, it'd all go away. I'd keep some of the material goods, and we'd split whatever pittance we could get from selling the house, but that wouldn't last. He'd be perfectly fine--financially, at least--if we split. I'd be fucked. This is not how my life was supposed to go. I did well in school. I went to college. I worked like a dog as soon as I could, stopped only when my stupid body told me I had to, and started again as soon as I was able. This shouldn't be happening to me.

I suppose this is probably why I have so much sympathy for other people who are on various forms of public support. I know very well that but for the grace of my husband's paychecks, I'd be one of them. Not through any fault or laziness of my own, but just because this is how things are sometimes. Where you get in life is only about half what you put into it. The other half is where you start and fate. People who are fucked on that other half shouldn't be assumed to have fucked off on the effort part. Unless you're lucky enough to have 30 years of living expenses set away somewhere, anyone can come to ruin at any moment--even M could, if he lost his job. Sure, we could've lived closer to the edge all this time and saved more rainy-day money, but it wouldn't be enough to make that big of a difference, long-term (and the mental health benefits of travel, the safe, comfortable house, etc., go a long way to making the rest of it possible anyway. I don't regret what we've spent so far--it's been its own investment.)

So, no. It's not weird that I'm so worried about my future survival when my ability to support myself is so fragile.

At the moment, all my hope lies in one thing: being able to sell at least one of my novels, and write/sell more while I'm home with the little one. That doesn't pay a lot, either, but it's at least possibly steady work if I'm able to sell enough of one to get contracts for more. It's also something I could do while doing paycheck-earning work of other kinds until I got better established as a writer. Best of all, it would be something I could take pride in, rather than something that made me feel like a particularly technical worker bee.

But that's hardly a guarantee. And with the current gig having hit the iceberg, just waiting around for that lifeboat to maybe show up so I don't go down with this slowly sinking ship is agonizing.
textualdeviance: (Babies R Us)
(Fair warning that I probably won't respond to comments--not up for a debate. Just need a rant.)

So ... that Time cover, with the breastfeeding toddler? Ugh. Ugh in itself, yes, but also ugh for the shitstorm it launched (as they knew it would--way to up circulation numbers in a declining market, folks!)

This is one of the reasons I'm dreading becoming a parent--especially an adoptive parent who won't be breastfeeding, and who will be working at least part of the time while her kid is still pretty young. The Natural Parenting!!! Brigade is downright viral at this point, and it's virtually impossible to avoid them. Breastfeeding is the most visible of their wars, but they're all over everything related to kids, from conception to birth to grandparenting. According to them, if you're not a biological mother physically attached to your kid from (at least) birth to kindergarten, you're a Bad Person.

Which, of course, is bullshit. Bigoted against fathers, adoptive parents, same-sex parents and mothers who have no choice but to work, yes, but also bullshit, too. Yes, there are some benefits to breastfeeding, baby wearing, etc. ad infinitum, but they have yet to produce any reliable, peer-reviewed studies saying kids who aren't constantly attended like this are suffering.

And in fact, looking at the college-age kids who were raised like this 20 years ago, a lot of them ARE suffering. They're so used to having mom (and occasionally dad) holding their hand 24/7 that they don't know how to do anything on their own. They don't know how to find information on their own, they don't know how to get a job or do their own schoolwork or pay their own bills or do their own taxes. They sometimes don't even know how to travel around their own city. When I did my recent college thing, I was absolutely astonished at the number of kids there who didn't even know how to do basic research, and whose attitude toward education was that it was just a piece of paper so they could get a job outside of the service industry. They're so pampered that they're actually offended by the idea that they should expend any of their own effort to get something they want: they're plagiarists, pirates, etc., and actually get upset when told that no, you have to work for that, and don't get to crib off of someone else's work. (And don't get me started on the ones who think that people who worked hard to get an education don't deserve more respect--including more respect for their opinions. Yes, kiddo, that dude with the geology doctorate DOES know more than you or your high-school dropout Aunt Sadie about carbon dating. STFU.)

I shudder to think that these kids might someday be running the country (or, as is more likely, that my own generation and the one before it are going to be stuck wiping their asses when we should be retired, because they're incapable of taking on the responsibility.)

The entire goal of parenting is to produce a healthy, sane, self-sufficient adult. Yes, that means being there for your infant when she needs you, but it also means teaching your little bird how to fly on her own. If you're not letting her fall sometimes, and learn how to pick herself up and start over again, you're not doing your job. Absolutely, you need to protect her from serious harm, and if you're too busy fucking off on your own whims to notice when your kid really does need you, you're not doing your duty. Parents who ignore their kids or let them come to major harm under the idea that they're "toughening them up" make me want to scream. But if you're playing human hamster ball for your kid, trying to ensure that she never even skins a knee, you're doing her a grave disservice. Your job as a parent is to teach your kid to fish, not just hand her a rod and expect her to know how, and not just give her fish so she never needs to learn.

Some of the problem here, of course, comes down to essentialist feminism. It's one of the few areas in which hardcore religion and hardcore hippies come together: the idea that a woman's natural purpose is birthing and raising children. Women raised to believe this also come to believe that being a mother is the core of their identity, and when they start sensing that their kid doesn't need them as much anymore, they panic, and start getting clingy. Some of them react by having another kid--making sure they have a dependent babe in arms as soon as the older one is walking and talking. Some of them react by trying to keep their kids as dependent as possible for as long as possible.

And no, this is not good for the kids, no matter how they try to spin it. More than anything else, kids need stable, adult role models in their lives. They need to see examples of people who are self-sufficient, fully formed people. If your entire life and identity is centered around them, and you have nothing else, then they're not learning that. (Not to mention that you're also setting yourself up for a serious crisis should you ever lose your source of financial support. If the only thing you know how to do is raise babies, you're completely screwed if your meal ticket goes away.)

One of the other things that irritates me about their justification for this is their citation of the practices of "traditional cultures." OK, 1. Cultural appropriation sucks, and 2. You don't live in that culture. You're not training your kid to hunt and gather. You're supposed to be training your kid to do the modern, urban equivalent of that. Kids in traditional cultures virtually never go far from their families/tribes of origin because they don't need to. Kids in the modern first world aren't going to have their families within reach every time they need something. If you want your kid to eventually have her own job and apartment and to pay her own bills, then she needs to start by learning how to walk and talk and feed herself on her own.

As we've been preparing for the adoption, I've run across some pressure to adopt special needs kids or ones who have other challenges. I've been told that if I'm not willing to raise a kid who needs constant attention for years on end, then I shouldn't be a parent at all. I've even been told that because I eventually want to kick my kid out of the nest in 20 years, that I'm probably not suited to be a parent. And that's just ... mind-boggling. Martyrdom through parenthood is NOT a noble, morally superior thing, and wanting to be a separate person in addition to being a parent doesn't mean there's something wrong with you. On the contrary: it means you're mentally healthy. Living your entire life through your kid? Yeah ... not so much.

Right now, I'm watching my mother-in-law slowly dying because she sacrificed her own health for the sake of getting pregnant 10 times, and raising a bunch of kids. I've watched that family suffer because she had no job skills and didn't work and therefore can't get social security and had no health insurance of her own. I've watched HER suffer because she bought in to her religion's insistence that she submit to her husband's decisions, and therefore didn't know how to cope when he turned into a raging tyrant. I'll be damned if I'd even consider ruining my life--and my KID'S life--by doing that shit.

So, no: I would never have done natural childbirth, because it would've put my health and safety at risk. I won't be breastfeeding (even though it can be induced), because I'd have to go off critical meds to do it. I won't be co-sleeping, because there's a high risk of smothering my kid, and because I want to actually have sex with my husband in that bed. I won't be baby-wearing all the time because my kid needs to have some time on her own to do her own thing--and so do I. I may at some point use the services of a nanny or au pair because I have somewhat limited energy, and it's not fair to my kid to be cared for by a zombie, plus there will likely be times I'm working from home, and need someone to mind her so I can focus. I will be--gasp!--leaving my kid with a sitter sometimes so we can go out to nice restaurants and R-rated movies and other places where squalling little ones don't belong.

Of COURSE I'll be feeding her and loving her and being there for her when she's scared or confused or just needs to cuddle. So will M--hi, she'll have another parent! He counts, too! I'll even be staying at home for the first 6-12 months, when she needs that kind of constant attention. But I won't be living my entire life as if my kid is the only thing in it. I want my kid to eventually have her own life that doesn't center around being a baby machine. I'll be damned if she's going to see her mom do that.
textualdeviance: (Default)
Way too many maudlin, self-pity-riddled navel-gazing posts here lately. Keep meaning to get back to this as a proper, far-more-diversified blog space instead of the endless whinefest it seems to be turning into, but I keep getting distracted by other stuff. Just don't have the daily bandwidth for anything other than burst-spewing on Twitter (and occasionally FB) so it's only the long-form bellyaching that ends up here.

So! To try to remedy that, here are some actual recent highlights of the Marvelous Life of the Texty:


Started the new job: About five weeks into it, now. It's boring. Rather more so than I expected. I'm also doing a lot more of the same button-monkey stuff I did before. Kind of feel like there's been a bait-and-switch, in that I expected more content generation and editorial decision-making than has actually been happening.

That said, what I'm doing is just different enough, and my duties are just interesting and few enough, that I think I can tolerate it, at least for the short term. It's a 12-month contract, and I'm not 100% sure I can finish that out (or at least go until I'm on family leave) but I think I can at least stick with it through the summer. Which will be useful in terms of money. Which, really, is the reason I took the job in the first place (that and plugging a growing CV gap.)

The money, of course is going to help with three big things ...


Random health stuff: Got my hearing aids this past week, and have been adjusting to them over the last few days. I can't say as I actually like them just yet, since they're a really abnormal feeling to wear, but I am seeing an improvement. Actually asked M to turn down the TV today. Whoa.

Have a bunch of other little stuff that needs taking care of soon, though. New glasses. Dermatologist. Some other bits and bobs. Need to go back to the periodontist soon to get my bone graft done. By the time I get the actual implant (about a year from now) I'll probably be completely used to the giant space where that molar used to be.

The bone graft is going to cost us about $3k, and I'm sort of wondering how long I can put it off, because I'd much rather spend that money on ...


Travel: Hooray for my paychecks, because it means we're being naughty and going back to London at the end of May. Holy carp. Have been wanting to go back since the moment we left, and when it turned out that a couple of my lovelies are doing a fan event (plus the play) ... well. I kinda had to. Yes, it's not the most responsible thing I've ever done, but dammit, I want to, and I can (if barely) so I'm gonna. Yes, yes, I should sock all this money away in retirement or college funds or something, but life's pretty damn short (and my available time/energy for travel even shorter) so I may as well.

It's a much shorter trip this time--nine days as opposed to three weeks--but it'll be 90% London, with perhaps a side trip or two to Brighton and/or Cardiff (and the con, which is in a small town about an hour-ish to the north.) Very, very much looking forward to being back, and getting a little more in-depth to the things we'd only skimmed over before.

Also hitting Comic-Con this year, though Dragon*Con isn't happening, due to my missing the hotel reservation thing, plus remembering how miserable I was last year in the cloying Atlanta heat. It just completely drains me, and I end up not having any fun at all. At least with San Diego, there are some nice ocean breezes. That, and I expect Game of Thrones people to be at SDCC, and I'm dying to meet those folks.

We might do more travel after that. Not sure, yet. If we do, it'll be domestic--something where we can hop right on a plane and head back at a moment's notice if we need to. Which could, theoretically, happen, due to ...


Adoption Stuff: Hooray! We're officially on to the next phase! We have our first home study visit scheduled for mid-May. This will be the in-home thing where the social worker gets to know us better, checks off the "safe for kids" list for the house, and generally gets more of a picture of who we are, so we can start building the family profile that gets handed out to the birthfamilies. After that first meeting, there are individual meetings with each of us, then one more in-home followup. After that, assuming all the paperwork and such is in, then we finally get to enter the waiting pool!

Then starts the interminable wait. Last we talked to our counselor, she said the average wait was actually getting just a little longer, too: about a year for most, and 14+ months for same-sex couples (I assume we'll be on the far end of that, what with the openly queer thing.) Eep. Still, I'm guessing we'll be in the pool by the end of June at the latest, and might well be in adoption planning a year from now. Really, it all comes down to whether we look interesting enough to a birthmom. It's kind of like matchmaking: never know if you're going to be sitting around forever because no-one wants to dance, or whether that one, perfect mate is going to show up right off the bat.

Still, knowing that we're qualified, and just waiting to be picked--which will happen eventually--will be very nice. And I can certainly keep myself busy in the meantime, what with the job--if I can tolerate it that long--mucking around in the back yard, and maybe more ...


Writing: Still waiting to get feedback from some beta readers for the novel, though M and D both loved it. Once I hear back from more folks, I'm going to work in whatever suggestions they give me, and then get it polished up for agent shopping.

I'd been considering shopping the first one around, but the more I think about it, the more I like this one better. Have more ideas for sequels, too. Also like its publishing chances better. No clue, of course, whether it'll get picked up, but I hope so. I'd rather have the resources of a proper editor and publisher than to try to self-publish and market it on my own. Self-publishing is easy, but rarely lucrative, because it's so hard to get your book noticed when it doesn't have the resources of a proper marketing team.

Have also been writing quite a lot more on my quasi-legit blog, including a piece on online socialization, and a bunch of yammering on about TV shows and social responsibility. Do similar stuff over on my Tumblr these days, but with more shameless fanthing drooling over picspams and other general flailing about ...


Fandom life: Pretty darn busy right now, actually. In addition to my barely-coherent glee now that Game of Thrones is back on, I've been watching Eureka, The Borgias, Grimm, Fringe, Lost Girl and Criminal Minds. The big portion of my fanthing time, though, is going toward all the news and such for the Primeval spinoff that's filming in Vancouver right now. Got a chance to go up there for a con last weekend and see a panel with the new cast. They all seem like really nice folks, and I'm hopeful that the end product for this will be worth it for us fans of the original show. I think it's in good hands, at least.


... and that's about it, really. Sleeping, working, writing, cooking, tending to the critters and the house, watching dorky TV shows, reading ... The usual. It's been pleasantly calm this month as opposed to the giant shitstorm from the end of last month. Hoping May is equally bland-but-satisfying.
textualdeviance: (bi slut)
This whole chorus drama thing is reminding me that a lot of people think I'm Not x Enough. Which is pissing me off. It's also especially pissing me off because I've had some moments recently that remind me that there are all sorts of uniquely stupid fuckery that we bi folks face that the Gs and Ls don't.*

To wit:

I'm sure they mean well, but I'm getting quite tired of folks acting surprised at the fact that we're being open about who we are for the adoption. I've actually had several people now wondering why we even bother telling anyone about it (one even used the "it's none of their business!" argument.)


No, really. WHAT?

It makes me wonder if the same people would argue that a single gay man or lesbian ought to hide that fact in order to adopt. After all, it's not like they have a partner they'd have to squirrel away. They can just pretend to be straight, and no-one will ever know the difference.

You know, like closeted people have done for hundreds of years?

Welcome to being an invisible minority. Baggage Claim is to your right AND left )

We are queer identified, and given my gender stuff, we're actually considerably closer to a pair of gay men than we are to Ozzie and Harriet. Do most of our neighbors and co-workers and distant relatives think we're straight? Sure. Because that's not a subject that's all that simple to bring up in a conversation about the weather, and we can't just prop up Convenient, Same-Sex Partner at the annual office party to instantly and non-confrontationally disabuse people of that notion.

But we are NOT straight, and when we have the opportunity to inform people of that, we do. Especially when said people are potentially going to be entering into a lifelong family relationship with us. We're not going to lie about being atheist or growing up poor, either, even though those things aren't readily apparent, because those things are important parts of who we are as well. I'm not interested in carving off parts of myself in order to impress people, and if I can at all avoid that, then I do. Maybe some people like the idea of pretending to be something they're not. Me, I find the whole idea abhorrent.

* )
textualdeviance: (Default)
Haven't done one of these in a while!

Digest version, for those in tl;dr mode: I wrote another book, our adoption process marches on, I have yet to get an offer for a W2-earning job and I'm dying for a proper vacation.

The long version:

I wrote a book! Now, bring on the revision/publishing angst. )


I wrote another book. A while ago. And am also angsting about it. )


On to other things which are just as fraught with Social Bullshit angst, but a different kind, at least.

Adoption process update )


Not going back to chorus )


Still unemployed. Now slightly annoyed by that. )


I just need my own private jet so I can go whereever I want. )


Other than all that, life goes on. Still playing video games, hanging out in various fan circles, grousing about politics, getting annoyed at the cats, blah blah. Getting things together for spring back-yard mucking, too. Slightly angsty and irritated at the world for big meta stuff, but otherwise in good nick.
textualdeviance: (Babies R Us)
Seeing a friend's link to this piece about French parenting got me to thinking about the rampant parentfail I see all the time.

Reposting what I commented, plus some other thoughts:

I don't have a lot of room to talk, yet, but I find many parents have one or two fatal flaws (or both): 1. They want to be their child's best friend, rather than their child's teacher. 2. They take emotional comfort from their child, rather than from the other adults in their lives.

A parent is a child's first teacher )

On the flip side of this, of course, is parents who think their job boils down to keeping their kid in line. They don't establish themselves as authorities by virtue of being a grown-up who knows better, but as a means of pulling rank and maintaining control. At the end of the piece above, the author relates how she taught her son not to do something he ought not: not by physically harming him or raging over him so much that he was terrified, but merely by being firm, and setting a clear, consistent boundary.

Psychology 101: Fear is a shitty motivator )

The bottom line is that it's all about teaching: people with established knowledge and skill conveying that information to others with a sense of respect for their ability to learn. If you look at children, or patients, or the poor as clueless idiots who either need constant minding or the fear of god in order to make them behave, you're robbing them of their humanity, and you're not actually going to get anywhere with them.

As the proverbial wisdom goes (teaching a man to fish and all that): give him the fish, he'll never learn how to feed himself. Threaten him with starvation if he doesn't figure it out on his own? He'll just die. The happy, most-effective medium is taking responsibility for being a guide--not a crutch, not a boss--for those who have less information than you do, and showing him how to fish.

And frankly, if you can't be arsed to do that? If you think you should micromanage your kid or only teach her how to obey you? You really shouldn't be a parent.
textualdeviance: (XKCD Complicated)
Agonizing a bit about difficult life choices. For those who've not followed this saga elsewhere: I'm trying to decide whether to go back to work, and if so, which job and when. There are some big concerns with mental health, bandwidth and money involved:

Job A and B )

Now, in an ideal world, here's what would happen: I'd get Job B, and they'd be fine with me starting in February, so I could survive January's nightmare schedule. I'd work there through our waiting time in the adoption pool, and then either quit entirely or take leave when the baby shows up, or maybe even only take a couple of weeks and then go back, as the schedule is childcare-friendly enough. And if the job turned out to be hell, I could find a way to leave without burning too many bridges. Ditching a contract before its end is bad form, definitely, but not unheard of, especially for parental leave.

Theoretically, I could also leave Job A at any time without too much drama--the open-ended contract helps a LOT with that---but the time/mental-health drain of it in the short term would make doing everything else really difficult. Really, the biggest reward of Job A comes down to one thing: Money. Quite a lot of it. And fast.

The dilemmas:Money vs. time/mental health )

Or, in summary: We don't absolutely need money from me working in order to make this all happen. It would just make things easier, faster and more secure.

Summation and decision making )

The Bottom Line:

The next phase of my life, in my ideal world, will consist of five things: Kid, writing, singing, friends/family and travel. Anything that doesn't fall into furthering one of those five categories is something I don't want to have to spend time/effort on.

I realize how very lucky I am to even have this choice to make, and I'm grateful to M's brain and the luck of the stock market from 15 years ago that made this happen. But I do have this choice, and I don't like feeling that I'm being selfish or irresponsible if I choose to do what will make me happy over what will fatten our bank account. Money for its own sake doesn't interest me. We have enough of it to have and do the things we want, so long as M keeps working. More of it isn't nearly as necessary to me as feeding my soul. And stuff that will take away my bandwith for singing and writing, without giving me anything in return but a paycheck, is actually starving it instead.

A footnote about M )
Nov. 11th, 2011 01:31 pm

Blowing in

textualdeviance: (skwirls)
Got a little spoiled with how gorgeous it was the last week or so. The cold, gray, rainy stuff is kind of sad. Not entirely, though. It's adding to my nesting jones. Feel as if I must Bake All The Things! and make the house pretty. Also looking at holiday plans. We currently have no T-day plans and are open to options.

Also, consider this a call for card addresses (comments are screened.)

Spent yesterday tidying up the back yard, putting patio furniture away, etc. Am feeling it, today. Some of that stuff is way heavy. Ow. Glad I did so, though, considering today's storm. The birds seem to be happy as well. We've had a never-ending swarm of sparrows and starlings gorging themselves at our feeders the last several days. Also still have some finches, juncos and a few flickers hanging out, plus the usual black-cap and chestnut-backed chickadees.

Have gotten into birding so much these days that I now want to go to Oz/NZ expressly for that purpose, considering the freakyass birds they have there. Sigh... :)

Khaleesi is still terribly shy with the other cats, and Otter's still being a shit to her, dangit. She's also been meowing her head off, apparently looking for her lost kittens. Not entirely sure what to do about that, though we may intro a new little one and see if that helps.

First adoption meeting this week went well, but I'm not sure we'll be going with that agency, as most of their placements are foster-to-adopt, or otherwise come with a lot of baggage. Drama is inevitable no matter what we do, but I'd rather not have that kind. So we're reconsidering the open agency, and have a seminar with them at the end of the month. We'll see.

Up to ~18k words on my NaNo project. Hope to cross 20k today, and 25k this weekend. Plot pushing is happening a lot faster than I'd thought. Suspect some of the last bits of it will be going back to fill in gaps.

Managed to get a screenshot of the 11/11/11 11:11:11 thing. Feel proud of myself for it. Because I'm dorky that way. :)
textualdeviance: (More You Know)
I can't help but think that so many cultural and economic problems would evaporate if we simply got rid of the idea that the best caregiver for children in virtually all cases is their biological mother, and that they need her to provide 90% or more of their care.

Think of how much easier it would be for fathers to care for their kids without having it called "babysitting" or otherwise being denigrated as unmanly.

Think of how much easier it would be for same-sex couples or single gay folks to be considered good parents.

Think of how much easier it would be to get children away from abusive or neglectful parents.

Think of how much easier it would be for women to get better education and job skills, and therefore financial independence.

Think of how much easier it would be for people dealing with infertility to get the services they need, including egg donation and surrogacy.

Think of how much easier it would be for adoptive parents to be considered a child's "real" parents, and for adopted kids to understand that they weren't abandoned or unloved by their bio mothers.

Think of how much easier it would be for a mother to be considered a good parent even if her partner or daycare provider is caring for the child for several hours a day.

It's not just sexist, but bad for children and families in general to keep clinging to the idea that the mere act of incubating a fetus makes you the world's best parent, and that that should subsequently constitute the entirety of your identity and sense of self. Not all women were born to be biological mothers, and not all biological mothers should be primary caregivers or parents at all. This has been borne out time and time again by solid research. So why do we still hammer on it under a completely false ideal of a woman's natural purpose?
textualdeviance: (Babies R Us)
This rant about abortion rights is well worth a read.

I do have to quibble a bit about the adoption thing in it, however.

Most adoptive parents are pretty much exactly like us (on the surface): Infertile, childless, middle class or more, and yes, white. The race issue is a separate thing (and largely connected to issues of class and secondhand teaching of cultural identity) but I think the rest of it is key to understanding why healthy infants are the most wanted by adoptive parents. Simply put: Most of us are rookies, and we have no damned idea how to handle a kid with special needs. Giving one to people who are that clueless isn't just cruel to the parents, but to the child as well.

I have no doubt that some adoptive families want perfect designer babies. But most of us just want a kid who isn't going to die in five years, need constant care, torture the cat or never be able to leave home. Parenting is never easy in the best of circumstances, and throwing people in the deep end of Advanced Parenting just as a matter of principle strikes me as, frankly, pretty stupid. If the goal is for the child to be in a safe, healthy home, giving her to people who don't know how to handle her needs is probably the absolute worst thing you can do.

Do I know how to handle a baby born with drug addiction? No. Do I know how to handle a baby with brain damage? No. Do I know how to handle a four-year-old whose father raped her? No. Do I know how to handle a kid who's autistic, can't move or feed herself or will never learn how to spell her own name? No.

Could I learn these things? Possibly. Should I learn them on the job when doing that job well is so critical? Fuck, no. There are a ton of things that I could and likely will pick up as I go, including handling some mild special needs. Hearing impairment? Dwarfism? Club foot? Needs daily meds of some sort? Bring it on. I can handle that. Fetal alcohol syndrome? Severe attachment disorder? Not so much.

As I've mentioned before, I have a great deal of respect for those experienced folks who are not just willing but able to care for kids who have these needs. I ain't one of them. And neither are a heck of a lot of other adoptive parents. That doesn't mean they're selfish or vain. It means they're realistic. I'm not against taking on a child like that because I'm lazy or afraid she won't go with the drapes, but because I'm not so damned full of myself as to think I can take on anything and do a good job of it. I'm going to screw up enough as it is with a relatively healthy and resilient kid. Screwing up when the kid is already fragile to begin with would be disastrous. Not gonna go there.

Two other notes: )
Oct. 17th, 2011 04:32 pm

Baby steps

textualdeviance: (Babies R Us)
Well, we're stuck. I thought we might've had a solution with an agency in Portland that looked good, but I just heard back today from them, and they said they're unable to work with folks this far away. Dammit.

So, given that we can't afford international or a surrogate, and we won't qualify for the religious agencies because we're damn dirty atheist queers, we're left with two options: The one that primarily works with foster-to-adopt, and the one that requires adopting the entire birthfamily along with the kid.

We've decided to go with the former. It will probably take a long time to get a placement, since we're hoping for a < 12 m/o kid with no mental, emotional or serious health issues, but they do have at least some that fit that description on occasion. And I'd rather wait longer for the right situation than to let impatience lead me into one that's going to bring a hell of a lot of problems with it. And who knows? We may luck out, and find a kid who's basically healthy, and is only up because her mama's in prison or something.

I admit that I'm sort of pissed off about all this. I know for a fact that there are other agencies elsewhere that do things the way we were hoping for--that one in Portland, for instance--they just aren't here, for some reason. It's really odd that the primary private agency in the state is so hardcore about the blended-family thing. I've seen tons of agencies elsewhere that encourage openness--or even require it--but not to the creepy degree that this place does. Kinda makes me wonder what happens with birthmothers here who don't want that much contact, either.

Anyway ... we're going to the next available info session thingy on Nov. 8, and will probably get the application and homestudy process started shortly thereafter. I'm guessing we'll be in the waiting pool sometime early next year. How long it takes after that? No clue. I spect we'll know more soon, though.

Oh, and for the record: Once we have the homestudy completed, we'll be available for anything--even if we're still waiting at this agency. We can still do an independent, private adoption so long as the homestudy people have signed off on us. So if you happen to know of any available birthmoms--anywhere in the country--holla. Frankly, I'd prefer a situation like that if it came up. Much less muss, fuss and expense all the way around.
textualdeviance: (Babies R Us)
This is actually kind of funny, in a screwy sort of way.

So, over on FB, someone linked me to this site, which is an aggregator of all the DSHS departments in the entire US plus territories.

Out of ALL of that, there are only 11 children younger than 2, and all of them have severe disabilities that require constant care.

Now, of course there are more kids who go into state care. These listings are just the ones they're actively trying to find homes for. But it should make it clear that no, there aren't tons of happy, smiling babies just waiting around for some family to take them home.

The rare few young kids in state care who are healthy get taken almost instantly because the competition for them is so intense. Yes, even non-white babies and ones with mild issues. It shouldn't be surprising that it can take a year or more from filing the first bits of paperwork to having a judge sign off on the finalization. The kids are NOT out there.

So yes, there's a reason people spend gobs of money and time on international adoptions, infertility treatment and even surrogates. They're not selfish people looking for designer babies and turning up their noses at some sad little orphan. They just want a kid who's eventually going to become a relatively well-adjusted adult. Just like any other parent.
textualdeviance: (Babies R Us)
Really quite sick of the whole beggars-can't-be-choosers attitude.

Also quite sick of the implication that we're morally bankrupt if we're not open to a special-needs child.

1. The fact that we're not physically able to make our own biological child from scratch does not mean we're less deserving of a relatively healthy infant that will be solely our child.

2. I think pretending we could properly care for a special-needs child when we actually can't would be a far greater moral failing.

Yes, of course nature occasionally randomly delivers a special-needs baby to his or her bio parents. But that's a lot more rare than you might think. Assuming a healthy, first-world pregnancy with no genetic weirdness or teratogens, the chances of having a kid who can't eventually be turned into a self-sufficient adult are infinitessimally small. In our case, since we were genetically cleared and I don't drink/smoke, etc., the biggest risk we'd have had would've been Down Syndrome, and that's still less than a quarter percent of all births.

So, yes, if I'd been able to carry to term, chances are excellent that we would've had a perfectly healthy baby. So why shouldn't we have one now that we're adopting?

Again, I am way happy for people who want to take on those challenges and are able to do so. But I don't, and I'm not. If my otherwise-healthy kid had some horrible accident and needed care, of course I'd deal with that. But I'm not going to go voluntarily taking on that kind of misery if I don't have to. This doesn't mean I'm spoiled or selfish. It means I'm realistic.

I'm already dealing with a ton of social bullshit implying that I'm less of a person because I can't make my own kid. Dealing with even more of it when I'm trying to buy someone else's? Is pissing me off.
textualdeviance: (Babies R Us)
So, we're finally ready to start the adoption process, and were all set to fill out paperwork. And then we found out that the coordinator we wanted to work with isn't taking new clients.


That means our options are now really, really limited. Problem is, there are only two agencies in the region that affirmatively support queer families. One primarily works with state adoptions, the other only does open. All the rest are international, religious, etc.

The problem with state, of course, is that virtually all of the kids are special-needs, which we're not equipped to handle.

And the problem with the open agency is that they heavily promote ongoing visitation with the birthmother (and even her family, in some cases!) Not just contact and communication, which we're OK with, but actual, in-person visits several times a year. Ack.

I'm up for adopting a kid. I'm not up for adopting her entire birthfamily, too. If I wanted an extended family to come along with the baby, I'd ask one of my fertile friends to have one for us. At least then I'd already know and like the people who'd want to still be a part of her life.

I think the thing that really makes me uncomfortable about this is that it doesn't seem like the birthmothers really want to give up their kids. It seems like adoption in these situations is more like extended foster care. And I just don't want to do that. I don't want to be made to feel like I'm stealing her baby; that she's only giving it up because she's too young or poor or whatever to raise it herself.

And I really dislike the impression that we poor, barren people are subordinate to the queen of fertility who's deigning to give us a gift, for which we owe her hosannas. Not that I'd want the opposite, of course. I don't like the idea of agencies that make birthmoms feel like dirty Jezebels who should be grateful that someone else wants to clean up after their mistake. I don't think either party has moral high ground, here. Hell, I don't think there's a moral ground in the first place.

Ideally, I just want this to be sort of a business transaction. She has something she doesn't want, we want something she has, the agency does the paperwork, and then we all move on with our lives. We'd stay in contact, of course, especially in case the kid gets curious and wants to meet her someday. But we wouldn't be trying to make the birthmom part of the family--because she's not.

All I want is what fertile people get solely by virtue of their functional reproductive systems: A child of our own, to whom no-one else will lay claim except the kid herself.

Is that too much to ask?


textualdeviance: (Default)

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