Wednesday, February 29, 2012


It's 11:13 in the am here in the Rocky Mountain empire, and I have showered, blown out my hair, read 12 board books aloud (including Dora's optional Espanol commentary on the Three Little Pigs), written one overdue article and fed my supremely attention-lavished toddler a fully balanced lunch including hummus. And two different kinds of vegetables. Which are now on the floor beneath his high chair...because you never know, he might want them later.

p.s. Lunch was at 10 am. I am a ravenous gestation machine and the exterior baby doesn't mind one bit when mommy happily chirps 'time to eat!' and pulls ranch dressing out of the fridge before noon.

The good news of an early lunchtime is it is usuallybutnotalways followed by an early naptime. The bad news: an early wakeup from naptime. Sooooo, I've stolen from Peter to pay Paul, and I know Paul is totally going to bang down my door at 2pm and demand restitution in the form of ohGodit's3hourstillDavemightevenTHINKaboutleavingworkandIhavenostrengthlefttofinishthisday...

But I digress.

The thing is, I gave up 'social media' as one of my Lenten sacrifices, which is basically a euphamism for stalking friends and distant acquaintances on Facebook in between frantic rounds of Pinterest maintenance. (You know, Pinterest, the online fantasy world where you are a competent, impeccably-accessorized mother who makes homemade sidewalk chalk and feeds her offspring according to strict Paleodiet standards. And own a 3 million dollar beach house decorated exclusively by Williams Sonoma.)

So with all this unprecedented 'bonus time' on my hands, (read: time I've been checked out of reality) it seems I'm actually quite able to check my way through most-if not all-of the 'ol daily To Do. Shocking, really. Especially coupled with my involuntary coffee fast. (coffee without cream is a fathomless void of disappointment which I cannot tolerate in my mouth.)

The truth is, I have apparently ALL the time I need in my day to accomplish each and every little item I've been tasked with as wife/mother/editor/freelance writer/exercise aficionado. And the only thing keeping me from my appointed rounds all these months has

I love Lent for its ability to provide a kind of spiritual 'do over' for the year, for the chance to turn a new leaf over and inspect it in the gentler, brighter light of spring rather than the harsh, hung-over glow of New Year's Day.

Yes, everything outside is mostly still dead and it's cold and sometimes gray, (not here in D-town, mind you, but I've heard tell of overcast skies in flyover country) but even as the Church waits in repentant, alleluia-less anticipation for the death and resurrection of Her Groom, Jesus Christ, there is a tangible undercurrent of relief, a feeling that at last we've collectively pulled up our bootstraps and started in the right direction.

Or maybe that's just the way I feel, having slogged through January and February on nothing but halfhearted resolutions and poorly-executed attempts at organization.

On a closing note, may I just share with the world that yesterday, at 8 months pregnant, I had something of a highlight experience in my personal life. Having locked myself and the toddler out on the front porch with nothing but a laptop, a glass of water and baby gate, I proceeded to frantically IM my husband (yes, we IM all day sad, so 2001, so...convenient) our dire predicament and solicit step-by-step instructions for breaking into the bathroom window. Because this also happened last week. And it was my fault then, too.

His first reassurance to me, unsolicited on my part, was that he was 'sure I would fit' through the window. A generous observation on his part, though perhaps a tad ill-timed. His careful instructions included the use of a snow shovel to pop the lock on the back gate, (as observed by a frantic, penned-in 17 month old locked in babygated prison) a snowy trek to the shed in the backyard to procure a hammer and an igloo cooler (to stand on, of course) and a crash course in window screen removal by said hammer.

5 minutes later as I was dangling from an insubstantial window opening, I realized that a complex half twist maneuver was going to be necessary, lest the entire weight of my body crush interior baby against the window sill. Summoning all my womanly courage, I twisted, grunted and slid into the bathroom, covered in gross window sill dirt and laundry detergent. (I hope the baby was taking notes, because mama is NOT doing sunnysideup back labor again. And I believe my maneuver could be successfully replicated in the birth canal.)

So that was yesterday.

Today, we're going to the chiropractor. Luckily, we have the time.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Contraceptive 'medicine' and other ironies

Now, before anyone gets too hot and bothered over the topic du jour of contraception and whether or not the government (ahem, the taxpayers, aka you and I) should pony up the cash to make it free for all, let's take a moment to examine the science behind that wonder pill that has freed women from the tyranny of childbearing and the slavery of motherhood...and ask ourselves frankly, "has it all been worth it?"

I've seen more passion on Facebook in the past 3 weeks over bedroom matters than can be contained in the entire Twilight series...and then some.

It would seem that the argument, rather than being framed as a matter of religious freedom, (Should the Catholic Church be forced to violate her own beliefs and recount her stance on a major moral issue at the behest of a civil government?) has become something more of an entitlement issue (Do American women have the right to demand, from their fellow citizens, a subsidized supply of contraceptive drugs or devices in order to manage their sex lives?)

The real issue - freedom of religion - is being lost in a hormonal scuffle of epic proportion, as everyone from the major news networks' talking heads to the ladies in my yoga class argue over whose bill the Pill is to foot.

And to that I must simply ask...really? Really?

Call me insensitive to the sufferings of the First World, but it would seem that if we are going to start demanding that the government (read: the taxpayer) fund free medical care for the masses, we should perhaps start with a nobler goal. Perhaps chemo? Or at least insulin?

For me personally, as a woman of normal health and childbearing age, the most difficult and frustrating aspect of this entire debate boils down to this simple truth: if you're able to get pregnant as a result of having sex, something is RIGHT with your body, not wrong.

I have many, many friends who would love to have a biological child of their own, but who, for whatever reason, are physically incapable of conceiving or sustaining new life. That is, by definition, an example of a medical condition: something ain't working like it's s'posed to.

So to hear the plaintive cries on MSNBC and the like clamoring for 'basic medical care' and 'women's rights' is, quite frankly, a little insulting. There is actually nothing wrong with my body; it's functioning in tip top condition, thankyouverymuch...and by the way, my fertility happens to be an intrinsic part of who and what I am as a woman.

One of the greatest fallacies of modern feminism is the idea that women, in order to be equal to men in all respects, need to (wait for it) ... become like them.

Feminism as a movement has spent the majority of its energies convincing women of their basic inferiority to men. And contraception has been the most effective and powerful weapon in the arsenal.

We were told, with the advent of the birth control pill, that we might at last grasp and achieve 'equality' with men. Put another way, once we could no longer 'fall pregnant,' we might have access to the same opportunities which our feminine bodies had, for thousands upon thousands of years, denied us. At long last, a level playing field...except, it hasn't proven to be the smoothest turf.

For most forms of contraception, and certainly the most popular ones, the entire burden AND risk of use falls upon the woman. And should the mighty Pill fail...the burden of aborting the unwanted child is also hers to shoulder.

Those who call for government-subsidized contraceptives are no more freeing women from this burden than is the misguided parent feeding sweets to an overweight child  soothing the feelings of exclusion and loneliness after a day of playground torment. Contraceptives are not the solution: they are themselves the problem.

As a culture, we've been led to believe that in order to be 'free,' we as women need to be
1. available for sex at any given moment
2. protected from the 'consequences' of sexual activity so as not to be a burden to our partners and
3. repaired and remade in the likeness of the male of our species, as we are by nature 'broken' and in need of 'fixing' because we are capable of getting pregnant.

Are these truly messages of empowerment? Messages of equality and dignity? Messages we hope to instill in our young daughters as they mature into adult women?

But what about the woman who wants to be on the Pill? Who cares little for her increased risk of cancers or heart conditions long term, because she lives life in the here and now, and 50 years old is a long, long way from here?

What about the woman who enjoys a lifestyle free from the burdens of parenthood and the specter of pregnancy, either before or after marriage? What about the woman who has become so accustomed to suppressing her own fertility that to think of allowing her body to function according to design is tantamount to contemplating suicide?

Well, to her I would say one thing: you, my dear, are missing out on real freedom. It's not always easy, and it's certainly not always glamorous, but there is an unimaginable joy that comes in being true to oneself and living in accord with one's nature. I was made a woman, and I won't let anyone - even myself - try to make me into something else.

P.s. If you're still not convinced, at least don't make me pay for it.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's day

In which I bust out the pipe cleaners and start crafting some terrible, terrible homemade goodies 'from' Joey to his loving parents.

Is it ever too early to start depriving your children of time-honored social customs which will inevitably lead to their stigmatization in grammar school?

I didn't think so.

p.s. Get up, get up and get Downton.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Ode to Naptime

Scorned in childhood,
Oft-maligned and put aside
Feigned in college, aided by drink
Or study sessions past the midnight hour

Now in motherhood,
Finally returning to my senses
And watching the clock

And if he sleeps,
Then all is well
And sometimes
I'll sleep

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Food for (political) thought

Remember, Martin Luther King Jr. was an ordained minister, Abraham Lincoln invoked a solemn oath 'made before God' to preface the Emancipation Proclamation, and Benjamin Franklin led prayers 'imploring the assistance of heaven' before each of the final sessions of the ratification of our Constitution. Anyone who claims religion has no place in this nation's politics needs to brush up on their US history...

Friday, February 3, 2012

Cowardly (al)lience

Hot damn, that was shorter than a Kardashian marriage. Guess some leopards really can't change their spots...