Delurking for a quick veggie dance for my fellow alumni, KnittingTigers! Whoo hoo!
That is AWESOME! You three must be so excited! Have you told O?
Stick, baby, stick!
A couple of people asked what our family life looks like with our kids at four year spaces. The gaps actually keep getting bigger 3.5 and 4.25 years and this one will be 5.25 years. We really like the way the elder one is independent and keen to help out when the new one arrives.
Our eldest (12) loves his sibs but I think would have thrived as an only. He loves luxury and undivided attention. Number 2 (8) is a snuggly guy and really great with his little sister (4). Only the 12 year old knows about the new one, we'll tell the others when we get past about 13 weeks. Miss 4 has had a few cries recently after some friends with a baby came to stay and she thought we should have one too. She will be very excited but I suspect a little put out when the bubba arrives.
Our eldest was born at 28 weeks and I think we would have had them closer together if we had not had that experience. We also took a while to be sure we wanted a fourth (that is I was completely convinced and my partner was less than...).
Cananny we have lesbian friends who have triplet sons, they had a 1 year old and a 3 year old when their boys were born (at 35 weeks). Their boys are 11 now and all good. They were pretty incredible toddlers because they worked as a single team - very cute and very busy!
Take care all
Thanks, everyone, for the welcome! I'm getting excited.:)
Starling, we have not told DD yet (it's so early, and so many things could still go wrong), but I think she's on to us. Out of nowhere she has started talking about "the baby," as in, "Mama, if the baby comes, he can have my twisty straw and sleep in my room with me." It's pretty adorable (and the relinquishing of the twisty straw is probably the greatest endorsement she can make right now:).
I haven't had any real morning sickness yet, which has me a little worried, though I know it's super early still (18dpo). My boobs are sore, and I have been tired, though.
Desert, I hope you guys are holding Everleigh in your arms soon!
NZMum, I like hearing about other families with longer spacing. We will be done after this baby (#2), but our children will be around 5 years apart. I didn't really intend for it to happen this way, but we just weren't ready until now. I hope that our children have a strong relationship in spite of the age difference.
prettyisa - our guys have some shared and some different interests, the boys are both into minecraft recently - they only get computer time friday pm and saturday so they get right into it then. They are quite different, the 8 year old loves lego and art whereas the big guy would be found reading more often. The 8 and 4 year old do play lots together, lego, and lots of outside play - we have about 4 tree houses now (of the kid made not designer variety).
We really notice that when we do more as a family the kids all really get on well. We try and have a family day every Sunday and hike or picnic or something similar. We just had two days away ski-ing and the boys really like ski-ing together - their ability is similar. Miss 4 learnt and mastered it really quickly which was great.
We have had some awesome family experiences that I think really bind the kids together. We have spent two years in outback Australia where I worked as a family / emergency physician. For one of those years we homeschooled. We also spent 10 months in 2010 doing a round the world trip together, with a month in Kenya and a month in Cambodia doing volunteer work, then time in Egypt then campervanning around Europe and then a month in Canada and USA. Since only we share those memories (and three weeks eating nothing but cabbage and rice in Kenya is unforgettable) they tie us together as a family. The youngest was only two but we have several photo books of our adventures so she feels like she can remember it all. Not sure how that will pan out for the new one since they haven't shared that. The kids are clear that they want to go back to Cambodia - they loved the cosmopolitan food and friendly people. The boys are also very keen on Greece because they are in an ancient mythology phase. Financially we won't be going far for a few years due to new house and new baby, but I'm hoping we will manage one more big adventure before the eldest leaves home and when the baby is 3 or 4.
Cananny - I can relate to the fatigue and I only have one on board. I just had a wee sleep while the kids were at school / kindy, nothing is getting done round this place lately! Which is a problem because August is the month to plant all our summer vege seeds and August ends in 4 days... My partner is away every 2nd week this month for her studies (Masters in Psychology) leaving me to wrangle 3 kids and a very excited 8 month old Border Collie with really overwhelming nausea from midday till bedtime, I'm looking forward to 2nd trimester when I'll be a bit less sicky (and we can tell the little kids!)
Isa- We had a wonderful time with all you ladies at the zoo!! We are so glad you enjoyed meeting little J he is adorable!!! Can't wait to hangout again soon.
Desert-How is you DW feeling?!...Bet you ladies are ready to meet your little one soon!
Cananny- How is everything going with your foster sons?
Afu -Very very busy with our little ones L is pulling up to stand lets go to free stand for about 5 seconds!
A is in school doing very well.
N starts school the 30th.
J eating alot and rolling every where.
So yeah!! very busy
Hello to all the newbies everybody else.
Hi, Ellie. Congratulations and welcome! Did you give birth to your 2-year old, as well? Tell us more about your growing family!
NZ: Crazy jealous of your family travels. Wow. Wrangling three kids and a dog alone while in the first tri sounds seriously difficult. Yikes.
Cananny: Congrats on the minivan purchase! We've been tempted but resisting for financial reasons. But you've got a super great excuse to go for it. Glad you found something you love for a great price. I can only imagine how everything starts shifting under you when you find out you are going to have three kids. I know exactly how hard it is to leave the Bay Area, but living near family and much more affordably brings some real relief in certain ways. Such a hard call. What are your thoughts about your career? Do you see yourself continuing to nanny even after the babes are born?
Isa: The zoo was great! Thanks so much for organizing (and fielding everyone's texts about being late ;-). Edie is getting so big. I'm sorry that I didn't get to hear her zombie noises in all the chaos.
Mami: All three of us (ok, probably four, but Lilah can't tell me yet, so I won't speak for her ;-) REALLY enjoyed meeting your whole family on Saturday. Looking forward to some pool time together sometime over the weekend if weather permits.
AFU: First day of classes went well, and I'm slowly getting back into the rhythm of things. Lilah is drinking all the milk that I can pump. I'd like to up my supply a bit, but I'm lazy about pumping. Which I should do now. But I'm at a coffee house. Ugh. I took her to Trader J's this morning and put her on my back as usual, but she started signing and begging for food and samples and trying to grab everything. So much for easy grocery shopping. I had to keep shoveling organic raspberries into her mouth or she'd frantically sign "eat" and yell "no, no, no!" at me until she got another one. She is signing a ton. She learned "train" yesterday and is putting signs together now (especially more drink, more eat, more milk, all done milk, etc.). She won't do "please." I think it isn't clear what exactly it is for, so she's not interested. She hates diaper changes and so asks for milk as soon as I take her in her room; then she gets really mad when I tell her that she can have milk once her diaper is changed. What a firecracker!
Cananny: I'm sorry that you and DP are struggling. I'm sure the intensity right now has to do with pg hormones, but if you do have ongoing challenges/obstacles with communication and intimacy, now might be a good time to devote some time and energy to those (rather than after the babies come, that is). I'm a believer in a good couples counselor, esp. since there are a million or so in the Bay Area. Hugs to you!
In fact, I happen to know of a very lovely one who focuses much of her practice on challenges that come up between couples as they become parents, though she's in Marin. Let me know if you would like her info. (She shares a name with us too, so clearly is awesome haha.) I agree that BEFORE the babies come is a good time to focus some energy on your relationship as it will probably be infinitely more difficult once you have three small needy people around. :)
NZmum - um, WOW I am insanely jealous of all your family's travels!!! Holy crap. We're lucky if we go to California for a weekend every other summer... Congratulations on your newest addition!
KnittingTigers - I laughed out loud that your DD would be willing to share her twisty straw with a baby. So cute.
Isa - ZOMBIE NOISES!!! Fantastic. Feel free to start bugging us about the baby now - I've been bugging DW since she was 37 weeks. Poor DW. Your night last night sounds a bit harried and not ideal, that sucks. I'm sorry. Hopefully it'll get easier soon.
Cananny - I'm so sorry things between you and DP are difficult. I agree with other posters, that getting it worked out now before the babes arrive is for the best, but the best way to accomplish that is... difficult, at best. If there's anything we can do to help, please don't hesitate. Did you guys make a decision about staying in the Bay Area or moving to AZ?
Welcome, Ellie! Congratulations on your pregnancy! We're glad to have you.
Mami - your house sounds amazing and chaotic and busy! DW is feeling okay, we're still trucking along. See below for more!
Amanda - Lilah's signing sounds so fantastic! DW was an ASL interpreter, and I took several years of ASL in high school so we're excited to use sign with our little one, too! Glad first day of classes went well.
QOTD: We tend to just kind of go out and if it becomes apparent that someone is trying to figure out our relationship, we say something to make it pretty obvious. Barring, "We're freaking lesbians, figure it out already!" of course. That would be rude. I know the baby will out us more, but a pregnancy outs us pretty effectively as well. We are out in our community - at work, in our neighborhood, at our Birth Center, of course with our families and friends. But there are times when we're in the store and I have that little niggle of concern that someone is going to do something totally stupid, like haul off and hit one of us or something equally horrific. Nothing like that has ever happened to us before, but I always wonder. Typically, everyone is positive when they figure out we're together, and if they aren't positive they're at least neutral. Let's hope that continues.
As for us! Still pregnant. I seem to be much more impatient than DW is. She thinks maybe it's because all this is happening in her body and she gets to be with Ever all day every day. And I don't. Who knows. She's gotta come outta there sometime! DW has, in the past few days, gotten an incredible burst of crazy energy. Load after load of laundry. Cleaning the kitchen. Doing yardwork. Tonight alone, she organized our carport, laundry room, and freezer. It seems to me like she's got this compulsion, she cannot sit still! I am certainly not complaining, since she's got more energy than *I* do right now, but it is kind of overwhelming.
She gets contractions several times a night, but they never are regular or end in a baby. Obviously. The babe spends a lot of her time grinding her head into DW's cervix, often making her gasp sharply and freak me out. DW reported today that she had several bouts of period-like cramping this morning, and we had a debate on whether or not those could be considered contractions. I said they were, she wasn't sure because they had a definite beginning but the end was vaguely decreasing in discomfort until it was gone. She also says she's got increased watery discharge happening. For whatever that's worth.
So yeah. Tomorrow night is the blue moon (second full moon in a month) and we're really hoping Everleigh will decide to be born then. How cool would that be? Everyone keep your fingers crossed.
Desert, I hope you're holding a baby. Those crampy contractions marked my babies' imminent arrivals (start of labor). O was born within 24 hours of the start of watery discharge. If you hadn't thrown that part in, I was going to tease and ask you how she could be doing load after load of laundry if there are only 2 of you, soon the phrase "load after load of laundry" will take on new meaning (I'm thrilled with how low our water bill is for all the laundry we do with 6 in the house and 2 in cloth diapers).
AmandaHope, in the next few weeks, when I get un-busy, I need to PM you about 9 year olds and anxiety.
NZ, wow travels.
Hi Chicago friends!
Hi everyone else.
AOTD: Becoming a parent made me come out much more often and with more regularity. I only travel in the US and I've never had problems (when I came out, right before Mathew Shepard's murder, my mom was terrified for my safety and asked that I not come out until after I went off to college because she's afraid of the mentality around here. Fortunately we have never had issues). The most frequent reaction to my coming out is something like, "I met a lesbian once." When traveling with kids, I don't get a lot of questions anymore. I suppose I look too busy to question (and most people still seem to think that queers can't get pregnant, because if it comes out that we're gay, the next asssumption is that the kids were adopted). I have no desire to travel anywhere where homosexuality is a capital offense.
I hope all is well, we're getting ready for the boys' first camping trip.
Dessert ...If you have a blue moon baby can you stick "Blue" or "Luna" in there as one of the names? Apparently Selena means something to do with the moon too.
NZ ... Welcome! If ever you want to do a house exchange in beautiful Vancouver, BC, Canada, we're totally in! We live in a queer co-op two blocks from the funkiest part of Vancouver. And I'm not kidding ... we'd love to do a house exchange! We have three bedrooms and a car!
Seraf ... Have a great time camping! H has never really worn shoes, but I'm glad I thought to bring them when we went camping. My one piece of advice! Not that you need any, you ol' pro, you.
QOTD: Travel is our passion. On our third date we headed off on a road trip and did 4,000 miles in about a week, covering California, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and such. We've been to Costa Rica a few times, another road trip from Ottawa to Key West, Florida. Yet another road trip up to northern Quebec, down the east coast and back up to Ottawa through Maine and Vermont. We're planning a big trip to Europe for my 40th birthday, which is 2.5 years away. When we travel, we like the backroads and unsung towns, the sweet spots off the beaten path. So, not gated resort travel, not in the least. And we love meeting the locals wherever we go.
As for being out queers, yes, it has been an issue. More than once, and in a dangerous way a couple of times. The most trouble we had was waiting for a bus in a slightly dodgy part of Las Vegas at night. I was dolled up and in the light, and a carload of guys pulled up and started hassling me until DP emerged from the bench in the shadows and lost it on them. They redirected their efforts in her direction and were getting out of the car as they yelled homophobic slurs and threatening to sexually assault both of us when the bus pulled up and they took off. Phew.
Another time was in New Mexico, with a parking lot situation. Again, carload of sketchy young men headed in my direction, and then they saw DP, etc.
I think if you are two women who look like two women, it can be safer if you're only outed if you out yourself or if people think really long and hard about you.
I think if you are two women who look like a couple of lesbians, that might be a bit trickier as you're going to be out just by being yourselves.
I think if you're a butch/femme couple, it can go either way. When DP gets read as male, no problem. E calls her 'baba', which confuses some people but other people just hear it as 'papa.' When she gets read as female, especially if it's after she's initially been read as male, then that's often then people get irked. I think they get embarrassed that we 'tricked' them, and then some of the men get pissed that my DP 'stole' a 'real woman' from the mating pool (We've heard variations on this several times, kindly and unkindly, even though I am a gold star ... not that I'm going to get into that with strangers).
In our case, if there is trouble, the aggression is always directed towards DP. Thankfully, she is very diplomatic (except when those guys were soliciting me in Vegas) and has talked her way out of numerous situations. Both of us are funny and friendly and never shy away from meeting new people wherever we go. Often we attract the lone rural queers wherever we go, and sometimes people come out to us as they pour our coffee or bag our groceries. That's been very special.
Our daughter is also very outgoing and friendly, and she makes friends of the most reluctant homophobes everywhere. And even if people are thinking rude thoughts, most are decent enough to keep them to themselves. We have had a couple of incidents where people have scuttled their children away from us, not wanting them to play with E, but she hasn't figured that out yet.
We get looks. Lots and lots of looks. Sometimes people ask to take DP's picture, even. But we don't mind. We're a couple of heavily tattooed happy smiley queers with gorgeous kids, so who knows why people are staring ... because of the tattoos? The adorable kids? The queer factor? We always give people the benefit of the doubt. Until things feel unsafe.
Since Vegas (our third date) we stick to well lit heavily populated areas at night, and since kids, we look for where the families are ... parks, playgrounds, beaches, etc.
We adjust our PDA accordingly, wherever we go. We are big on holding hands and being affectionate with each other, but we keep that for proven safe areas, and not small town Nicaragua or Costa Rica or North Carolina.
We both dream of going on a safari in Africa, but we think that might not be a good idea ... time and research will tell.
starlinganddiesel - Vancouver was one of the places we loved on our world trip. We spent two weeks staying at the Sylvia Hotel and meeting up with queer moms I know from an email list I've been on since before we conceived our first. It was great! We plan to go back to Canada to ski one day so maybe we'll meet up or take you up on the house swap!
As for homophobia while travelling, we are out and proud at least partly by virtue of travelling with 3 loud kids who live with their normal being two mums. We were cautious and worried about a couple of countries. Kenya was top of the list, as homosexuality is illegal there. We had to put either our husband or fathers names on our visa forms on arrival. I filled in Leah and I's forms with our Dads' names and then was staring at the kids' forms trying to figure out what to write - we had their birth certs right there with both our names on them! Then this kind woman saw me looking stressed and said "Oh don't worry about forms for the kids, we'll just stamp them, you all look so tired". She had no idea how relieved I was!
Some people in rural Asia and Kenya simply could not understand that we were a family, most thought we were wealthy wives travelling while the men stayed behind to earn the cash. We didn't hide things, but if they didn't get it we didn't push it either. In Kenya we were such a hit because the 2 year old was breastfed all day and carried on my back - never mind that the kids are blonde and blue eyed. Kids are such a good communication assistance - I think people who would have treated us badly if we were just two women said nothing because of the kids.
I find as prettyisa said above that we are often "invisible" queers because we have kids and so pass as straight. We try to have rainbow badges and things because we love the opportunities to meet other queers while travelling.
There were places I felt unsafe as two women without a man (Egypt really) but not because of our sexuality. If we were to travel again with the kids it will be quite different in that our 12 year old is now taller than me and looks more like 16 - I think even now if we were in Egypt that would keep the lecherous men off.