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When I'm not here, you may find me wandering the pages below. (If I'm a regular visitor to your site and I've left your link off or mislinked to you, please let me know! And likewise, if you've blogrolled me, please check that my link is updated: thisroamanticlife.blogspot.com. The extra (a) makes all the difference!)

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Body: in sickness and in health

I won't lie; this body and I have had our issues with each other for many years. Body image -- sure. Physical and mental overextension -- comes with being a Type A kind of girl. I still struggle with these things, so they show up from time to time in my writing.

More recently, illness, pure but not simple, has added itself to the mix in a multi-system sort of way. And the challenges in figuring out exactly what's gone wrong are many. As problems have revealed themselves in the last few years, beginning with reactive hypoglycemia in late 2008, I've documented them here, partly to gain a little clarity on managing complex conditions but mostly to give voice to vulnerabilities I feel but don't normally share with anyone face to face. Better out than in, they say, right? (Oh yes, humor is one way I deal.)

The links below cover the different angles I've examined (and from which I've been examined) within that experience.

Travel: neither here nor there

When the person you're married to lives two time zones away, you log a fair number of frequent flier miles. And if you blog about commuter relationships, you log quite a few posts en route too.

Since we're no longer in separate places, I blog less often from airports. But we do travel -- together now! -- which is much more fun to write about. So in addition to thoughts on our years of commuting, the links below cover the places we've been as a pair and, in some cases, the adventures that have happened on the way.

Writing: the long and short of it

Why do I do it? Good question. Maybe it's not so much that I like to write but that I have to write, even when the words refuse to stick to the page. Believe me, I've tried doing other things like majoring in biochemistry (freshman fall, many semesters ago). Within a year, I'd switched to English with a concentration in creative writing and wasn't looking back.

After graduating, I taught English for a few years and then worked as an editor, which I still do freelance. In 2007, I applied and got into an MFA program at a place I like to call Little U. on the Prairie. I finished my degree in 2011 and have been balancing tutoring and writing on my own ever since.

The following links cover the writing I've done about writing: process, content, obstacles, you name it. It's not always pretty. But some part of me loves it, even when it's hard. And this is the result.

Heart: family and friends

I'd have a hard time explaining who I am without being able to talk about the family I grew up in as well as the people I've met beyond its bounds. But even with such context, it's not easy! In the simplest terms, I'm a first-generation Asian-American who has spent most of this life caught between cultures. That, of course, doesn't even begin to describe what I mean to, but there's my first stab at the heart of it all.

That's what this group of posts is reserved for -- heart. The essential parts of my life whose influences I carry with me, for better or worse. The links below cover what I've written as I've learned how these forces work within me, for me, against me, in spite of me. They anchor me even as they change me, and they keep life interesting.

Recommended reading

What do I do when there's too much on my mind and my words won't stick to the page? I escape into someone else's thoughts. Below is a collection of books and articles that have been sources of information, inspiration, and occasional insight for my own work.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Baby steps

"Would you like to hold the baby?"

It's a simple question with an ostensibly straightforward answer: yes or no. But I'm caught off guard. Lana, one of the friends D. and I are having dinner with, doesn't let on that she's noticed as she bounces her four-month-old daughter gently, but it's too late for me to cover my hesitation. Lana's husband, absorbed in conversation with the men at the other end of the table only a moment ago, glances my way with interest. I suddenly wish I weren't sitting directly across from him -- or anyone -- where the blush rising on my face is impossible to hide.

"Sure, if you want me to," I say, regretting my word choice instantly. If you're okay with that is closer to what I'd meant to convey, not this noncommittal, indifferent-sounding reply. I'm actually dying to hold this baby, to feel what an infant feels like in my arms. But the last half-hour of conversation with Lana has been all about her new-mother anxieties -- finding the right nanny, enrolling her daughter in infant-level music and dance classes, even teaching her how to use sign language. "So the baby can express her thoughts even when she's preverbal," Lana explains. A budding helicopter parent? Maybe a little. Later in the evening, when the baby is asleep in her stroller, Lana will keep one hand on her chest to make sure she's still breathing. "I'm freaked out about SIDS," she'll say.

While I don't quite get the reason it's so urgent to put a non-ambulatory child in a dance studio, I understand this last concern and, given the newness of motherhood for Lana, the instinct to hover. Which is why I initially resisted asking to hold this little girl -- I didn't want to add to her mother's worries. If it were your baby, I tell myself, you'd be obsessing about the germs she'd be exposed to from strangers. I've picked up that tendency from my own mother, always conscious of what my hands have handled before I touch anything that goes near my eyes, nose, or mouth. Unfortunately, as much as I don't want to become her, I suspect this particular disposition will be hard to suppress when it is my turn to be a parent.

And when will that be? I wonder. D. and I are at minimum several months from trying to start our own family because I'm still recovering from food allergies that played havoc with my immune system while they went undiagnosed. After spending most of the previous year systematically identifying the culprits that were making me sick and eliminating them from our home, I'm much closer to feeling at my best again, but after putting off our plans for the three years I'd been inexplicably, constantly ill, waiting even just a few more weeks for my body to heal feels hard. Suddenly, I'm unable to keep my eyes off this infant sitting happily in her mother's lap, the perfect embodiment of everything I've been trying not to want more and more as the delays have continued. Or so I think. There are still days when I'm not sure if my reasons for wanting children are motherly in nature or more rooted in the desire to have a family of ours, different from my family of origin or D.'s. After spending recent holidays with both, we are both readier than ever to make the idea of us -- whatever that may be -- more distinct.

Maybe because Lana is keenly observant -- and knows some of our story -- she can see all this in my gaze. Or I'm just doing a terrible job of hiding my longing, which, in my mind, sometimes borders on the unseemly. Either way, when Lana offers the baby to me, I feel exposed, embarrassed by the possibility that she's picked up on the thoughts I'd rather keep private. These breaches -- spillovers, really, of emotion I can't quite hold in -- happen so much more easily these days. I am as tender-skinned as the oncoming bundle of arms and legs I reach out to take.

The baby is unwieldier than I expect. Perhaps, because the only living thing I've held in the last year and a half has been our cat, I expect her to have a different center of gravity -- or at least some such sense of mass in my lap. But so quickly does she try to change position, arching her back to see what's behind her from this new perspective, that it is all I can do to keep her from launching backward, her head too close for comfort to the table's wooden edge. I turn her automatically to get her out of harm's way; still, she wriggles in her purple-footed pajamas, curious about everything but me. To my relief, she doesn't seem alarmed to be in a stranger's hands. Do I let her explore? I give her some room to peek over her shoulder at D., seated to my right, whom I don't dare to look at -- I won't be able to bear it if he's laughing at my predicament. I know my inexperience is showing, but I don't need the one person who knows how emotionally complex the idea of motherhood is for me to be amused when I am anything but.

I know I cannot know this baby's habits or anticipate her movements as her mother does. I remind myself of this as a less rational part of me waits for her body to feel less foreign in my arms, as if those storied mothering instincts every woman is supposed to possess might relax me, give me the knowledge of what to do next. To feel next. Because isn't that what I'd wanted to find out? What I might feel in this moment with not my hands but my heart? As much as I haven't wanted to admit it to myself in recent months, I fear, with every pang of desire for motherhood, that I don't have the capacity for it. That my heart isn't built to love a child -- which holding this one, I hope, will disprove.

Of course, this test is fundamentally flawed for the same reasons this baby feels so strange to me: she is not mine. Still, that less rational part of me insists on searching for just an inkling of motherly response, whatever it believes that might look like. Delight in her impossibly round cheeks? The irresistible urge to tickle her belly? Anything but this mode of intellectual observation and analysis I keep reverting to -- I'm apparently unmoved by cuteness. I let my gaze drift from the baby toward the half-eaten dinners on the table, not from disinterest but discomfort. To look at the baby directly is to torture myself with the expectation of feelings that refuse to surface. What must Lana be thinking of me? I wonder. Now that I'm past my initial panic over protecting her daughter from injury, my stoicism in the face of something biologically designed to melt me with its pheromones must look unnatural if not outright bizarre. I might as well be holding this infant on the end of a ten-foot pole, I think, afraid that if I look down, I'll find out that it's true. I stare obstinately at my water glass, desperate to find something to distract me until I can compose my interiors and hand this baby back to her mother without completely revealing my disappointment in myself. I don't want Lana to see the letdown in my expression and misinterpret it as distaste.

I don't realize I've taken the baby's hand in my own, gently massaging her palm and fingers as I do our cat's paws. It is habit, almost like manipulating a worry stone -- our cat inevitably hops onto my knees whenever I'm seated at the kitchen table, and after some time, we settle into this position. Suddenly, I'm aware that the baby's fingers are gripping mine. With surprising force, the baby pulls one digit to her mouth and gums it, exploring the texture of my skin. A pause. She draws her prize back out, looks at what she's tasting, adjusts her grip, squeals. Before I know it, she's got a second finger in her other hand, a look of satisfaction on her wide-eyed face.

There, a voice in my ear whispers. And then it is silent again.

Is that all? I ask, though I already seem to know there is nothing more to be said as the tension I didn't realize I was holding in my shoulders eases. I look again at Lana's daughter, who cannot get enough of her new discovery, reaching for a third finger, a fourth. My body relaxes more.

I am not suddenly enamored with this baby or babies in general -- and, to my relief, I no longer expect to be. But I understand what my heart wished to feel as it waited for my mind to get out of the way: connection. To know that it is possible.

"My hands are clean," I reassure Lana as the baby grabs for a knuckle.

9 comments:

Good Enough Woman said...

Wow, CT. This piece is truly stunning. Amazingly thoughtful and deeply moving. As I read it, I'm struck by the ways in which getting accidentally knocked up propelled me past so many of the questions you grapple with here.

I never was a fan of kids and babies. I didn't like to babysit. Didn't like kids all that much. Had no idea how to talk to them or relate to them. But suddenly faced with the pregnancy, I just had to "mother up." Yes, the fears were there, but, once I knew I was going to keep the baby, the decisions weren't.

Turns out, I was desperately affected by the cuteness of my own babies. I, who once hated to babysit and dreaded changing a diaper, even made up songs about my first born's poop (it shared the tune and some of the lyrics from the Beatles "Mean Mr. Mustard).

Just today, in class, we were talking about William Godwin's argument against marriage and against the privileging of our own families and children--as opposed to privileging those who are of the greatest value of society. He suggests that the favoritism for our own children is bred from aristocracy, self love, and family pride.

I think he's wrong.

Most, though, I just wanted to say how much I love your writing in this post and how amazed I am by your awareness of your own thoughts in such a moment.

C. Troubadour said...

GEW, thanks so much for your thoughtful response. It is so helpful to hear your perspective on -- well, everything! Questions we do or don't get the chance to ask ourselves, fears and "mothering up" through them, Godwin (haven't read his argument but now I'm intrigued!). It's especially helpful to hear how you felt about kids and babies before you had your own. I worry too about relating to them -- the preverbal set intimidates me the most. I retreat into logic and language when life gets me off-balance, and you just can't use those tools to understand what kids need/want when they're too young to possess either.

Regarding awareness -- I wish I could say I'd been so conscious of what I was thinking and feeling in the moment :). In reality, I was paying attention with my subconscious, but processing it all at a conscious level and coming to an understanding of what my motivations and emotions were on that evening took eleven days. Dinner was Friday the 13th! I came home too thrown by it all to get a word down on paper (though I did actually open up a blank post and stare at it). I started writing this the next morning. Slow processor and slower writer, this Troubadour.

On another note, I would love to hear the lyrics to this poop song you made up :)

Jane said...

I adore how you wrap up the plethora of thoughts/feelings/agendas that can create a moment. Pre-parenthood and post-parenthood - these moments are all too common. Get used to it, is all I can say!

TKW said...

Gorgeous, raw, honest. You wrap up a swirl of conflicting emotions so well. And yes, holding a baby that isn't yours is a little terrifying. Actually, even holding your own is, especially when they have that floppy head thing going on.

BigLittleWolf said...

Oh, this is absolutely delicious and so, so real, CT.

I was (am) an older mother. I babysat as a teenager, and then I don't think I held a baby for 15 years after that, and really had no experience of babies until my own.

Yes, connection is possible. And impossible to explain. But you've just sensed its velveteen surface.

Like you, I wanted a family, distinct from my own, but very much a part of my husband's. And for awhile, I had that, or something close enough.

Stop worrying. Be healthy. The rest will come, and you figure it out as you go - imperfectly - like the rest of us.

C. Troubadour said...

Jane -- thanks. Does one ever really get used to it, though? ;)

Kitch -- I was very thankful this baby was past the floppy head stage. Though I imagine she would have wriggled a bit less at that age ...

BLW -- figuring it out as I go, absolutely. I think I'm trying to wrap my mind around the fact that despite my need to plan, to be prepared, there will be (too many) things I cannot possibly anticipate and I'll have to just let my gut lead me instead of my overanalytical head.

Kristen @ Motherese said...

This is a delicious piece of writing, CT, and a really powerful reflection on a topic I suspect many of us can relate to. Despite growing up with a younger brother, spending my life babysitting and teaching, and now having three little kids of my own, I still don't think of myself as a "baby person" - whatever that means. I can't remember ever asking another woman to hold her baby. This dance of ambivalence, questioning, and connection that you describe so beautifully is one I still do, even today.

C. Troubadour said...

Thanks, Kristen. It is very much a dance! I never know from one day to the next which direction I'll be facing.

I, too, grew up with younger siblings -- it's so different when they're within your familial generation, though, isn't it? You don't feel the same kind of responsibility for them as a parent would, nor do you ever put yourself completely aside for them as you might for your own baby. If anything, you fight to maintain your dominance sometimes, with no qualms as a kid!

I'd never considered asking another woman if I could hold her baby until the idea presented itself last month, as if it were finally a logical thing for me to do, as if I should want to and no one would think oddly of that for someone my age. And then inside, some part of my kid self was still in there wondering why anyone would trust me to do it. It's always interesting when we find the parts of us that haven't quite grown up yet ...

Good Enough Woman said...

The beginning:

Cute Mr. Mustard, he poops a lot
He never stops, he's a BIG pooper . . .

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Baby steps

"Would you like to hold the baby?"

It's a simple question with an ostensibly straightforward answer: yes or no. But I'm caught off guard. Lana, one of the friends D. and I are having dinner with, doesn't let on that she's noticed as she bounces her four-month-old daughter gently, but it's too late for me to cover my hesitation. Lana's husband, absorbed in conversation with the men at the other end of the table only a moment ago, glances my way with interest. I suddenly wish I weren't sitting directly across from him -- or anyone -- where the blush rising on my face is impossible to hide.

"Sure, if you want me to," I say, regretting my word choice instantly. If you're okay with that is closer to what I'd meant to convey, not this noncommittal, indifferent-sounding reply. I'm actually dying to hold this baby, to feel what an infant feels like in my arms. But the last half-hour of conversation with Lana has been all about her new-mother anxieties -- finding the right nanny, enrolling her daughter in infant-level music and dance classes, even teaching her how to use sign language. "So the baby can express her thoughts even when she's preverbal," Lana explains. A budding helicopter parent? Maybe a little. Later in the evening, when the baby is asleep in her stroller, Lana will keep one hand on her chest to make sure she's still breathing. "I'm freaked out about SIDS," she'll say.

While I don't quite get the reason it's so urgent to put a non-ambulatory child in a dance studio, I understand this last concern and, given the newness of motherhood for Lana, the instinct to hover. Which is why I initially resisted asking to hold this little girl -- I didn't want to add to her mother's worries. If it were your baby, I tell myself, you'd be obsessing about the germs she'd be exposed to from strangers. I've picked up that tendency from my own mother, always conscious of what my hands have handled before I touch anything that goes near my eyes, nose, or mouth. Unfortunately, as much as I don't want to become her, I suspect this particular disposition will be hard to suppress when it is my turn to be a parent.

And when will that be? I wonder. D. and I are at minimum several months from trying to start our own family because I'm still recovering from food allergies that played havoc with my immune system while they went undiagnosed. After spending most of the previous year systematically identifying the culprits that were making me sick and eliminating them from our home, I'm much closer to feeling at my best again, but after putting off our plans for the three years I'd been inexplicably, constantly ill, waiting even just a few more weeks for my body to heal feels hard. Suddenly, I'm unable to keep my eyes off this infant sitting happily in her mother's lap, the perfect embodiment of everything I've been trying not to want more and more as the delays have continued. Or so I think. There are still days when I'm not sure if my reasons for wanting children are motherly in nature or more rooted in the desire to have a family of ours, different from my family of origin or D.'s. After spending recent holidays with both, we are both readier than ever to make the idea of us -- whatever that may be -- more distinct.

Maybe because Lana is keenly observant -- and knows some of our story -- she can see all this in my gaze. Or I'm just doing a terrible job of hiding my longing, which, in my mind, sometimes borders on the unseemly. Either way, when Lana offers the baby to me, I feel exposed, embarrassed by the possibility that she's picked up on the thoughts I'd rather keep private. These breaches -- spillovers, really, of emotion I can't quite hold in -- happen so much more easily these days. I am as tender-skinned as the oncoming bundle of arms and legs I reach out to take.

The baby is unwieldier than I expect. Perhaps, because the only living thing I've held in the last year and a half has been our cat, I expect her to have a different center of gravity -- or at least some such sense of mass in my lap. But so quickly does she try to change position, arching her back to see what's behind her from this new perspective, that it is all I can do to keep her from launching backward, her head too close for comfort to the table's wooden edge. I turn her automatically to get her out of harm's way; still, she wriggles in her purple-footed pajamas, curious about everything but me. To my relief, she doesn't seem alarmed to be in a stranger's hands. Do I let her explore? I give her some room to peek over her shoulder at D., seated to my right, whom I don't dare to look at -- I won't be able to bear it if he's laughing at my predicament. I know my inexperience is showing, but I don't need the one person who knows how emotionally complex the idea of motherhood is for me to be amused when I am anything but.

I know I cannot know this baby's habits or anticipate her movements as her mother does. I remind myself of this as a less rational part of me waits for her body to feel less foreign in my arms, as if those storied mothering instincts every woman is supposed to possess might relax me, give me the knowledge of what to do next. To feel next. Because isn't that what I'd wanted to find out? What I might feel in this moment with not my hands but my heart? As much as I haven't wanted to admit it to myself in recent months, I fear, with every pang of desire for motherhood, that I don't have the capacity for it. That my heart isn't built to love a child -- which holding this one, I hope, will disprove.

Of course, this test is fundamentally flawed for the same reasons this baby feels so strange to me: she is not mine. Still, that less rational part of me insists on searching for just an inkling of motherly response, whatever it believes that might look like. Delight in her impossibly round cheeks? The irresistible urge to tickle her belly? Anything but this mode of intellectual observation and analysis I keep reverting to -- I'm apparently unmoved by cuteness. I let my gaze drift from the baby toward the half-eaten dinners on the table, not from disinterest but discomfort. To look at the baby directly is to torture myself with the expectation of feelings that refuse to surface. What must Lana be thinking of me? I wonder. Now that I'm past my initial panic over protecting her daughter from injury, my stoicism in the face of something biologically designed to melt me with its pheromones must look unnatural if not outright bizarre. I might as well be holding this infant on the end of a ten-foot pole, I think, afraid that if I look down, I'll find out that it's true. I stare obstinately at my water glass, desperate to find something to distract me until I can compose my interiors and hand this baby back to her mother without completely revealing my disappointment in myself. I don't want Lana to see the letdown in my expression and misinterpret it as distaste.

I don't realize I've taken the baby's hand in my own, gently massaging her palm and fingers as I do our cat's paws. It is habit, almost like manipulating a worry stone -- our cat inevitably hops onto my knees whenever I'm seated at the kitchen table, and after some time, we settle into this position. Suddenly, I'm aware that the baby's fingers are gripping mine. With surprising force, the baby pulls one digit to her mouth and gums it, exploring the texture of my skin. A pause. She draws her prize back out, looks at what she's tasting, adjusts her grip, squeals. Before I know it, she's got a second finger in her other hand, a look of satisfaction on her wide-eyed face.

There, a voice in my ear whispers. And then it is silent again.

Is that all? I ask, though I already seem to know there is nothing more to be said as the tension I didn't realize I was holding in my shoulders eases. I look again at Lana's daughter, who cannot get enough of her new discovery, reaching for a third finger, a fourth. My body relaxes more.

I am not suddenly enamored with this baby or babies in general -- and, to my relief, I no longer expect to be. But I understand what my heart wished to feel as it waited for my mind to get out of the way: connection. To know that it is possible.

"My hands are clean," I reassure Lana as the baby grabs for a knuckle.

9 comments:

Good Enough Woman said...

Wow, CT. This piece is truly stunning. Amazingly thoughtful and deeply moving. As I read it, I'm struck by the ways in which getting accidentally knocked up propelled me past so many of the questions you grapple with here.

I never was a fan of kids and babies. I didn't like to babysit. Didn't like kids all that much. Had no idea how to talk to them or relate to them. But suddenly faced with the pregnancy, I just had to "mother up." Yes, the fears were there, but, once I knew I was going to keep the baby, the decisions weren't.

Turns out, I was desperately affected by the cuteness of my own babies. I, who once hated to babysit and dreaded changing a diaper, even made up songs about my first born's poop (it shared the tune and some of the lyrics from the Beatles "Mean Mr. Mustard).

Just today, in class, we were talking about William Godwin's argument against marriage and against the privileging of our own families and children--as opposed to privileging those who are of the greatest value of society. He suggests that the favoritism for our own children is bred from aristocracy, self love, and family pride.

I think he's wrong.

Most, though, I just wanted to say how much I love your writing in this post and how amazed I am by your awareness of your own thoughts in such a moment.

C. Troubadour said...

GEW, thanks so much for your thoughtful response. It is so helpful to hear your perspective on -- well, everything! Questions we do or don't get the chance to ask ourselves, fears and "mothering up" through them, Godwin (haven't read his argument but now I'm intrigued!). It's especially helpful to hear how you felt about kids and babies before you had your own. I worry too about relating to them -- the preverbal set intimidates me the most. I retreat into logic and language when life gets me off-balance, and you just can't use those tools to understand what kids need/want when they're too young to possess either.

Regarding awareness -- I wish I could say I'd been so conscious of what I was thinking and feeling in the moment :). In reality, I was paying attention with my subconscious, but processing it all at a conscious level and coming to an understanding of what my motivations and emotions were on that evening took eleven days. Dinner was Friday the 13th! I came home too thrown by it all to get a word down on paper (though I did actually open up a blank post and stare at it). I started writing this the next morning. Slow processor and slower writer, this Troubadour.

On another note, I would love to hear the lyrics to this poop song you made up :)

Jane said...

I adore how you wrap up the plethora of thoughts/feelings/agendas that can create a moment. Pre-parenthood and post-parenthood - these moments are all too common. Get used to it, is all I can say!

TKW said...

Gorgeous, raw, honest. You wrap up a swirl of conflicting emotions so well. And yes, holding a baby that isn't yours is a little terrifying. Actually, even holding your own is, especially when they have that floppy head thing going on.

BigLittleWolf said...

Oh, this is absolutely delicious and so, so real, CT.

I was (am) an older mother. I babysat as a teenager, and then I don't think I held a baby for 15 years after that, and really had no experience of babies until my own.

Yes, connection is possible. And impossible to explain. But you've just sensed its velveteen surface.

Like you, I wanted a family, distinct from my own, but very much a part of my husband's. And for awhile, I had that, or something close enough.

Stop worrying. Be healthy. The rest will come, and you figure it out as you go - imperfectly - like the rest of us.

C. Troubadour said...

Jane -- thanks. Does one ever really get used to it, though? ;)

Kitch -- I was very thankful this baby was past the floppy head stage. Though I imagine she would have wriggled a bit less at that age ...

BLW -- figuring it out as I go, absolutely. I think I'm trying to wrap my mind around the fact that despite my need to plan, to be prepared, there will be (too many) things I cannot possibly anticipate and I'll have to just let my gut lead me instead of my overanalytical head.

Kristen @ Motherese said...

This is a delicious piece of writing, CT, and a really powerful reflection on a topic I suspect many of us can relate to. Despite growing up with a younger brother, spending my life babysitting and teaching, and now having three little kids of my own, I still don't think of myself as a "baby person" - whatever that means. I can't remember ever asking another woman to hold her baby. This dance of ambivalence, questioning, and connection that you describe so beautifully is one I still do, even today.

C. Troubadour said...

Thanks, Kristen. It is very much a dance! I never know from one day to the next which direction I'll be facing.

I, too, grew up with younger siblings -- it's so different when they're within your familial generation, though, isn't it? You don't feel the same kind of responsibility for them as a parent would, nor do you ever put yourself completely aside for them as you might for your own baby. If anything, you fight to maintain your dominance sometimes, with no qualms as a kid!

I'd never considered asking another woman if I could hold her baby until the idea presented itself last month, as if it were finally a logical thing for me to do, as if I should want to and no one would think oddly of that for someone my age. And then inside, some part of my kid self was still in there wondering why anyone would trust me to do it. It's always interesting when we find the parts of us that haven't quite grown up yet ...

Good Enough Woman said...

The beginning:

Cute Mr. Mustard, he poops a lot
He never stops, he's a BIG pooper . . .