Archive | January, 2007

Note to self re: LDC and sleep deprivation

The lesbian nation may not have civil rights protections at a state or federal level; we may be grasping at essential family protections via marriage rights at a state-by-state level. In the rare cases where we do get them they’re under attack the moment they become established, and probably will be ’til the generation that’s now running around the playgrounds comes of age and runs the country. But sisters, we do have the Lesbian Double-Cross, and they can’t take that away from us.

Don’t play dumb; you know what I’m talking about. I like to call it the LDC for short: the scam pulled when the more numerically, logistically, or bureaucratically adept of the two of you calls the phone company, or the credit union, or the insurance company, ostensibly “on behalf of” the less adept of the two of you. Okay, “on behalf of” may be a little delicate. “Brazenly impersonating you” is a more accurate way to put it.

But who’s to blame us? My beloved was driven to this initially because, as an unmarried partner to me, she didn’t have access to some vital record, or decision-making capacity, or what have you. So she hung up the frickin’ phone, waited a beat, tweaked her voice, and called again “as” me. After that, the LDC became a habit. A matter of expediency. Micro-payback. They’ve driven us to it. I’m sure the brothers have the Gay Man Double-Cross, or GMDC, and who’s to blame them? I sez we’ll all stop when we get the frickin’ legal protections and access we deserve as god-fearing tax payers, and ’til then, it’s frontier justice.

Meanwhile, back in babyville. Here we are in the process of adding on the little peanut to our exceedingly exorbitant health insurance. The beloved began the process yesterday, being forced to employ the LDC to “be” me on the phone, since the health care is in my name, having originated with my job. Oh, and also since I have fractional marginal infinitesimal eptitude in these matters. So this morning — after we each had been awake nearly as many hours of the night that most people sleep — someone at the health insurance office called back, and she answered. The voice on the phone asked for me, and the beloved hazily said “Yes, just a moment, here she is.”

As she stretched the phone out toward me, she realized it was the health insurance people calling, and knew I would have absolutely no idea what the hell they were talking about; might even contradict random things she’d said the day before, to our certain doom. She thought fast, but not fast enough. She held the phone at arm’s length for a moment, composed herself, and returned the phone to her ear.

“Yes, this is she,” says my beloved, in a pinched, helium-high, Lily Tomlin-as-Ernestine kind of voice. At which point I double over in the kitchen and then try to remain out of sight, lest I botch the whole charade. Less than two weeks after blowing a nine-and-a-half pound child out her nether parts in under two hours at the hospital, my beloved went on to conduct the whole conversation this way. Is it any wonder I count myself lucky?

Granted, had she been less sleep-deprived, it might have occurred to her to have dropped her voice a little, which would have (a) created a better approximation of me, and (b) been vocally easier to sustain over the course of a conversation. Or she could have adopted some kind of accent, for entertainment value (Californians do have accents, even if we protest we don’t). But instead somehow she panicked and went high.

Regardless, she pulled it off, being after all a professional theater artist, and therefore in possession the requisite poise and focus. But we have each made a note to self: the LDC and sleep deprivation don’t mix. You TTC* gals and those en route to adoption out there, take note as well. As a safeguard, and to preserve the power of the LDC.

*TTC, for the uninitiated, stands for Trying To Conceive.

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Happens one, maybe two hundred times a day. Forehead, wink of eye, cheek, chin, fingers. If kisses were graffiti he’d be a piece, bombed, top-to-bottom. And sister would be king.

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Weekend bonus shot, 01.27.07

Brother nursing, sister drinking, Berkeley, CA.

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Little dickens

It was the best of times,


it was the worst of times.


It may be that she’ll forget he wasn’t always in our lives, sooner than it’ll take for us to make it through the last of the copious Post-Partum Dinner Brigade leftovers. But it’s heart-tugging to see all the feelings pass through her.

It’ll take me a lot longer than the last of the leftovers to forget the look on her face when she saw me dancing with him in the living room to Edith Piaf. “Et tu, Baba?”

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One nightstand


A guided tour of Baba’s nightstand, nearing the end of week one of kidling #2. Otherwise known as What’s Really On My Laptop.

1. Phone stand, empty due to the fact that the beloved is on the phone that it cradles, telling The Tale to yet another dear friend from afar. Or maybe fine-tuning tonight’s dinner order.

2. Books currently being read or on deck. Will now be staying on deck until such time as Baba can manage to read more than a paragraph without falling asleep, because she is now caught up on her sleep debt. Am calculating this will be circa 2009.

3. Photograph of self with nephew, the first infant I held and diapered, now and evermore in the ether (in the photo we’re hiding behind a tree). Will be on my nightstand into the forseeable future.

4. Alarm clock, perpetually set to three hours from when the last time we fell asleep. So’s to wake the wee bundle and feed him yet again. We yearn for the time when we can chuck it out the nearby window. The alarm clock! The alarm clock!

5. Mini flashlight, for use in (a) re-setting frickin’ alarm clock, and (b) tip-toeing next door and peering at kidling #1 for some reason or another, usually related to administering a dropperful of cough medicine, it being winter & all, even in sunny CA.

6. Fancy Chinese cough medicine, a gift from the downstairs sis-in-law — “Natural Herb Loquat Extract” — for self to take slugs from throughout the night. It being winter & all, even in sunny CA.

7. Standard issue baby books, recently pulled down from the shelf and dusted off. The upper book is a hand-me-down issue of the Sears classic, useful for many things medical, such as reassuring one that maconium poop is supposed to be the color and texture of blackstrap molasses. But we only read the physiological stuff. Much of the sociological stuff we find sorely lacking. The stuff for fathers, for instance, is often utterly appalling.

The “For Fathers Only” sections in the chapter “Postpartum Family Adjustments” made me want to chuck the book out the nearby window. Subsection titles include gems such as

  • “Keep the nest tidy” (duh!),
  • “Be sensitive” (what else are you going to be?!),
  • “Guard against intruders” (must use martial lingo! must! this is manly business!),
  • “Take charge of the siblings” (I say again, duh!), and
  • “Become a shareholder” (this is to remind Dad to actually hold the baby, yep, actually hold the baby).
  • Is anyone this stupid? Could this actually reflect any facet of reality? Don’t answer that! If the answer’s yes, I don’t want to know. Okay, one last look at the accident before we drive on past. From “Be sensitive”:

    Dads, be aware of your wife’s needs. As one mother confided, “I’d have to hit my husband over the head before he’d realize I’m giving out.”

    Don’t even let me get started on the “More Keys to a Better Marriage Adjustment” section.

    The most articulate response I can muster to most all of the “For Fathers” material is: What the fuck? If I’m living in a wacky, Northern Californian, left-wing, feminist-liberated, queer-friendly haze, then lord love me and leave me there! Because none of that stuff, but none of it, would do anything but patronize and insult any men friends of mine. If it doesn’t, it should! And woe betide the wife of the man who is genuinely enlightened by any of this.

    If kidling #2 tends towards the ladies, and odds are he will, then lucky will be lady that is partnered up with him because none of this material will do anything but appall him, too. I can be fairly certain of this on account of my first-hand observation of another lesbian feminist-reared man, the Know-It-All-Brother-In-Law, who skipped that balderdash entirely and went on to read the material on postpartum nutritional needs or what have you. By the time our son’s of spawning age, I hope it appalls the rest of his generation, too. As they swaddle and cuddle their newborns with one hand and whip up a healthy meal for their healing sweeties with the other.

    The Penelope Leach book beneath it we love, partly because we like a lot of what she says, partly because our dear and hecka smart friends Ayelet and Ofer gave it to us so it must be right. Also, Leach is a crisp, tart Brit with a crisp, tart Brit style, and I fashion dreamy images of Julie Andrews as Mary Poppins when I’m reading it.

    8. Finally, we arrive at the laptop itself. Whose primary purpose these days is not to facilitate reading or writing or analyzing or informing, but to play and replay the pictures of the kid when he’s asleep and we’re not. Because that seems to be all the edification we need. For now.

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