Drifting childhood

This. P1030630


This is, almost literally, the flotsam of last night's kid baths. This is what I get to look at, circa 11:13 PM as I sit on the toilet before heading off to bed, except that I delay sleep a few minutes more to find my camera and document the Pokémon figurines lined up on the side of the tub. To document what may be some of the last vestiges of pure childhood.

We're in what all the parenting books and magazines call the Golden Age: when your kids sleep through the night and no longer need you to accompany them to the bathroom, but they still want to talk to you. They still want to read you every joke from their Big Book of Jokes and Laffs. They still tell you everything — consequential or not — that happens at school, converse freely with their friends in front of you, make up silly songs in the back seat of the car. This is the age when they still sit in the back seat of the car, climb in automatically. It's just occurring to them that they won't always sit there.

This is the age where they are still completely happy to carry stuffed animals and security blankets through airports, where their pajamas still have trucks and space aliens on them (actually, that's only Isaac now — already, Rowan has the logos of sports teams emblazoned across his sleepwear). There's very little that they declare themselves "too old" for, but it also never occurs to me to, say, pack up a Tupperware container of Cheerios for a car ride.

One day soon, my nine-year-old will take showers instead of baths, will no longer wage sincere imaginary battles between Pokémon figures in the tub and then line them up before saying goodnight. One day, he’ll floss his own teeth. Or maybe he won't. One day soon, he'll lock the door to the bathroom.

Queer parenting and the tyranny of choice


I remember sitting on the couch next to a napping Rowan. He was maybe a month or so old, blissfully unaware of the voices in my head duking it out:

“You’re such a good mother, staying right next to him while he sleeps.”

“What kind of mother are you, letting your baby sleep on the couch? Do you know that he could roll off and die? And he’s sleeping ON HIS STOMACH! Don’t you know that he’s way more likely to die of sudden infant death syndrome if he sleeps on his stomach?”

“You’re staying right by him while he sleeps, so he’ll be safe. Too bad that you have to pee.”

“If you really loved him and wanted to promote his healthy attachment, you would let him sleep RIGHT ON YOUR CHEST so your heartbeats could sync. What kind of unfeeling monster are you, putting your baby down to sleep?”

“If you really want him to develop good sleeping habits, he should be sleeping in his crib by himself so that he could learn independence.”

And so on. Fun times.

I won’t sugarcoat it: I had a rough time after my first son was born.

You can read the rest over at Today'sParent.com, where I ponder the irony of my choices to become a (queer) parent in the context of Jennifer Senior's new book All Joy and No Fun.

Daylight saving(s) grace

I used to hate Daylight Savings Time. By which I mean, I used to hate Daylight Savings Time as a parent. Before kids, who cared about an hour more or less in a given night? But AK, it was just one more thing to screw up the scant amount of sleep we didn't get in the first place. It was an hour gone that we could've used, or, worse, that so-called "extra" hour that our childless peers spent having sex or going for an energizing, early-morning run, or — God forbid — sleeping in. Asshats.

But now, in a house where, most of the time, everyone sleeps just fine, my hatred of the timeshift is fading.

Last night was a mediocre night, by the way: Rowan up once and Isaac twice, me already sleepless for much of the night, my brain working overtime on All the Tiny Little Details. I realize how much this blog used to be about sleep deprivation, sleep strategization, and how that phase of my life has more or less disappeared. After a bad night, I remember that sluggish, hung-over feeling and how it used to feel like that all the time, how rare it is now, and it feels almost good, a reminder of how far we’ve come.

(If Rachel reads this post, she’s going to point out — rightly — that the kids wake up plenty; it’s just that I manage to sleep through most of their wakings while she springs out of bed and snuggles. And I thank her for that. I really do.)

So, Daylight Savings Time. Like the Halloween candy free-for-all, it ends today. I won't be sad to see either of them go, but neither has scarred my soul this year, and for that I am grateful.