LD is two

All parents know that “the terrible twos” is a misnomer. The hell really hits after three, but none of us can come up with a word that starts with a “t” that packs the same kind of punch as “terrible.” (Follow the asterisk* for a Roget’s download.) Be that as it may, I sincerely hope that this upcoming year, the third one on my blogular journey, won’t be appalling or revolting or offensive or vile or any other synonym for “terrible.”

The first year was action-packed (about which more here); the second one was, too. Chock full of plenty of fine highlights (a personal thrill: the nod from Kathy Belge at About.com). But most of this past year has been filled with the beloved and me staggering under the weight of our first year with two kids, which, while an enormously fulfilling undertaking, has also been Heck on a Stick. This year’s blogiversary post will reflect that Heck on a Stick-like year, and so will forgo the well-researched annual review in exchange for some quiet reflection.

Whatever the next year has in store, I am committed to continuing to check in here, thinking out loud about the triumphs and tribulations of parenthood generally, of lesbian parenthood in particular, and how (in my experience), being a non-biological and genderqueer parent colors things. I think of these topics as the thematic core of this blog, even though I also do a lot of other cliché parent stuff, like foist pictures of my kids on a hapless and unsuspecting public. And bloviate about issues of broader concern from time to time, as the mood strikes. And meditate, sometimes in an oblique way, sometimes directly, on the deaths that frame my children’s births. Because we don’t talk about death and grief enough in this culture, and because, as I’ve written here before, my parenthood has been as influenced by these things as it has by my being a mannish lesbian.

As I say in the second sentence of my About blurb, I don’t think my own observations about these matters are particularly unique. I’m just willing to make them in public, as something of a public service (at least that’s my intent). Other parents, lesbian and otherwise, do a better job of their work than I do (read more, go to more workshops, contribute more to their community; you name it). Others with older kids certainly have already slogged through what I’m slogging through now, and have already garnered their own insights. Plenty of them have their own blogs, which I hope you read. I suppose, though, that anyone might gather something useful from the account I’m setting down here, insofar as sitting down next to any energetic, chatty person on a bus for a few blocks might yield something. Whether that something’s What to Avoid or What to Emulate or simply What to Chuckle and Shake Your Head About.

I do sincerely hope that gals like me feel less alone. I will never forget a moment I had a number of years back. My beloved was pregnant and I was pondering how few people I knew who were in my parental position. Not a birth parent, not sharing the experience of adoptive parenthood with my partner, not comfortable with being a “mom,” “other” or not, despite being female: it seemed there was no end to the things that isolated me from other people’s parental experiences. I had the distinct feeling of being very alone on a very important journey, and I vowed to myself, in that moment, to fix that, not just for my own benefit, but for others. If I’ve done any of that, simply by being willing to carry on like this in public, then this little project will have been worthwhile.

As a birthday present to this blog, I want to thank all of you who read it regularly. Well over a thousand folks check in daily, from coast-to-coast in North America, and abroad as well. A fraction of that number have registered to comment, and a fraction of that group chat back regularly. In descending order — from those of you who have taken it upon yourself to say a little something back here, to those who think they might one day, to those who know they never will, but read regularly anyway: I want to thank you. There are plenty of ways you could while away the several moments or several minutes it takes you to stop by here for a visit, and I’m the better for your having chosen to while those moments away reading this stuff. If you weren’t reading it, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be writing it. Or at least, not like this.

I think about you whenever I write, whoever you are — I wonder whether the content is going to be worth your while this time around, whether I should leaven things a bit, if I’ve been dreary for a number of posts in a row, whether I should try to make time to actually write something, if I’ve been serving up fluff and pictures for days. Needless to say, as a primary caregiver parent and part-time self-employed one, most of the time I have to write is in the wee hours, when my fingers may be capable of moving on a keyboard, but my mind is dangerously untethered. Slash asleep. So I put off actually writing something on a regular basis. And then I hope you are forgiving. Whoever you are.

As another birthday present to this blog, in fact, I’ve launched a little LD Reader Survey. This way I can put an end to the wondering about you and what you think. It’s just a few pages long, and shouldn’t take you any more time than you might take reading an average post. But two years is way longer than I’ve ever gone, doing anything, without any substantive, directed feedback. I’m thinking about working some aesthetic and content changes on this blog, but would only do so with a better idea of what works here or doesn’t. I’ll leave the survey up for a while, and share the results back with you when I get enough in to constitute a statistically significant chunk of responses.

1stgraderBefore I sign off, I feel compelled to note that today is yesterday was the last day for voting in the Lesbian Blog of the Year thingy. I am quite smug in the knowledge that I will NOT have to be publishing my femmed out senior class photo, as I threatened long ago, should I have shocked myself and all around me by polling in first. So certain am I of my status as non-winner that I will go ahead and post a picture of me taken about a dozen years before my senior class photo, and about a half dozen before orthodonture (note urchin at right). Consider this a little somethin’-somethin’ in gratitude for the votes I did manage to scrounge up.

I showed the picture to the lil’ monkey and asked whether the girl looked familiar to her. She looked at the photo, looked at me, looked at the photo, looked at me. Narrowed her eyes. And then gave up and said, “Who?” The face looked vaguely familiar, but there was no reconciling the two beings, youngster and full-blown grown-up. I can’t blame her. I barely remember that girl myself. I just know that if I saw her today, I’d probably think: “Scrappy little bugger! I wonder if she knows she’s a lesbian?”

* Here’s what Roget has to offer in the synonym department (not a one a “th” word): abhorrent, appalling, atrocious, awe-inspiring, awesome, awful, bad, beastly, dangerous, desperate, dire, disastrous, disturbing, dread, dreaded, dreadful, extreme, fearful, frightful, ghastly, gruesome, harrowing, hateful, hideous, horrendous, horrible, horrid, horrifying, inconvenient, loathsome, monstrous, obnoxious, odious, offensive, petrifying, poor, repulsive, revolting, rotten, serious, severe, shocking, unfortunate, unnerving, unpleasant, unwelcome, vile. After carefully reviewing these words, I feel pretty confident that I could say that, in her third year, our daughter has lived up to each one at some time or another. Except for maybe “harrowing,” “repulsive,” and “revolting.” Scratch that. She revolts on a regular basis.


23 thoughts on “LD is two”

  1. LD – Happy Blogversary! And, besides feeling smugly confidant of my own non-first place position at the end of today’s voting, I am glad I had the opportunity to explore your blog and hear your voice.

    It’s tough being a parent even in the most common sense of the term. We each bring our own experience and upbringing with us. I like that my kids are getting all kinds of parenting in their lives. All of it unique. I wonder every day how it shapes them and what it will all mean for the generation beyond. Perhaps a world quite different – and better.

    Congratulations on your Finalist selection – it was well-deserved.

  2. I love it when you make me go look up a new word (“bloviate”), especially when that word sounds like exactly what it is!

    But I have to take issue with this sentence: “Other parents, lesbian and otherwise, do a better job of their work than I do (read more, go to more workshops, contribute more to their community; you name it).”

    You and your Beloved put your WHOLE SELVES into the work, and are more articulate about and mindful of the stresses/strain/joys/gifts of the whole crazy ride than most parents I know. And as for “contribute more to their community?” Excuse me? What about this blog?? Honestly, I am temped to ask you to strikeout that whole sentence for inaccuracy!

    Happy Blogiversary, P!

  3. that same realization, after Klove was pregnant, that I knew NO ONE in my position, and had NO BOOKS to read (really the most distressing thing for a bookworm like me) to help guide me on my journey toward the particular position of parenthood that I’ve come to inhabit, was what drove me to start my blog as well.

    While I do firmly consider myself a mama instead of a baba, your musings and theorizings have been so useful to my own formulation of parenthood. Thank you. And happy birthday lesbiandad.com!

  4. Many thanks, Lori! Finding out about you was one of the niftiest hostess gifts I got from the Lesbian Blog of the Year Awards party. And thanks, too for the parenting insights from further down the road. Of the parenting in your kids’ lives, you say “I wonder every day how it shapes them and what it will all mean for the generation beyond. Perhaps a world quite different – and better.” I am there with you, wondering, and hoping for better.

    Vikki, I thank you, and also need to tell you that my lawyers are still working on the wording of the document that will accompany the femme-bot photo of me at my first commitment ceremony (yes: a gay divorcee!). I have to be able to heave the full weight of libel law on your @ss if I ever see that image in print.

    Annz, your generosity is matched only by your enthusiasm (for mots juste and just about everything else). Thank you.

    I very much appreciate your camaraderie along the journey, Chicory. It’s an amazing thing — quite a stroke of wonderful serendipity — that the advent or widespreadedness of blogs coincided (within a year or so) with the advent of our parenthoods. It feels like many more of our sistren at least now have voices to listen to, or disagree with, or ponder. That is, if they have access to a computer, and can start to wander around following search engine leads. Now you go write yourself a book, gal! You got lots to tell us. When you’ve finished cleaning up the Utah legislature.

  5. Happy Blogiversary, Polly! Stumbling across your blog shortly before your youngest emerged was one of the best things that’s happened to my Google Reader account since I started reading blogs years ago. Thank you for continuing to blog, for foisting photos of your kids on us (my favorite posts are actually your Weekend Bonus Shots…), and for bloviating to your heart’s content about life, loss, and the meaning of it all from your position on this planet.

    Off to take the survey….

  6. Happy Birthday wishes LD, and many happy returns. I agree with annz about striking that comment. I know you can polish that up with one of your (in)visible edits. Ahem. Love the World War 1 Flying Ace alter ego there on your turtle neck. So tough and valiant, like your blog. Just be careful, in a few years Monkey and Peanut will have blogs of their own and might be posting lovely pics of You dancing around the room to Carmen. Can’t wait.

  7. Librarygrrrl, thank you. What a wonderful compliment. And missbritt, thank you for joining the salon here, and solidarity forever! Vikki, don’t send that prom picture unless you’re willing to see it PhotoShopped and somehow slipped into a blog post. I’m just saying.

    And finally, shit, violetta! I never thought of that!

    I feel like I’m leaning underneath the kitchen sink, and my love handles and booty crack are already showing. Mmmmm.

    I’ve always considered their eventual reading of this, if the blogosphere perseveres in any kinda way, and I continue to either keep writing or keep the place as a sentimental archive. I picture either of them, circa twelve years old, hunched over a computer with a New Best Friend, reading this stuff. Or even some of it. God forbid, using the search engine for Naughty Words. That’s all I need to keep from dropping their pants down to show a booty crack. Okay, well I do show a booty crack or two, but I try to keep them in the realm of the univesal. If that makes any sense.

    But the thought of them actually taking pen to computer screen, or what have you. Yak! I’m done for!

    Okay, and also: Eeek! You noticed! I was hoping all the little invisible edits snuck under the radar. (Har! Did a bunch on this comment, even! Can’t help myself!) At least I’ve covered my arse and admitted to as much in the About page thingy.

    Speaking about invisible edits. I was just about to link to a proper version of Carmen’s “Habañera” on that post a few days ago, since I allude to it but don’t actually remind anyone what it soulds like. That hand-fart version of the Torreador song (gracing the comments) doesn’t really help. Here’s what I’m linking to, and what I hope they photograph me dancing around the room to, when Baba’s Blogular Payback Time comes:

  8. Happy Blogiversary. Here’s to many more years. For she’s a jolly good fellow, for she’s a jolly good fellow…..I hope all your Blogiversary wishes come true.

    Roget would appear to omit Scots from his compendium. Wifey assures me that ‘thrawn’ could be just the word you’re looking for: the thrawn threes. Google doesn’t quite seem to capture how it’s used. Pressed for a definition (translation) wifey suggests ‘torn faced’ meaning difficult, oppositional and most of the other words on your list.

    I hate to think how many daily views I’m responsible for, often reading one line or two at a time. Constant interuption of everything and concentration of Doree counts for many hits just to read one post. And yet it’s always worth it. You’re right it is like public service broadcasting. Your insights and reflections continue to enrich my parenting journey. Thanks and er thanks!

  9. Let me say with all sincerity that your blog is the only blog I continue to read regularly even though I don’t know what half the words you say mean. Well, yours and I Can Has Cheezburger.

    Happy Anniversary and may there be many, many more to come.

  10. Uh-oh…the LD terrible twos are coming our way! What will the tantrums be about? One thing we know for sure: it will be a well-narrated and poignantly rendered rumination on the doldrums of asserting independence, finding some limits, and developing a little come-back (or three!). And besides, the speeded-up-timezone of Blogland might mean that two is the new sixteen!

    Thank you, LesbianDad, and thank you to your family, for living with such thoughtfulness, taking the time to wrap it in beautiful language, and then the extra-extra effort to actually get it all down here for us – with regularity, good humour, an amazing attention to the local (and general), the personal (and political), the right now (and the long ago) — and then calling all of those silly categories into question themselves. Your words stay with us long after they roll of the front page, and I can honestly say you have entered into our conversations of family- and baby-making more than a few times. You don’t know me from Eve (I’m not that worried about Adam), but your project here escapes its own confines on a regular basis. That’s community-making at its best, and this little place of yours is just getting its party started.

    Now, where is the cake? And ice cream?

  11. Wow. I feel like Wilbur the pig looking up at the word “Radiant,” just artfully spun by Charlotte. Speechless.

    Also compelled to cough up some kinda cake, which the only kind I have on film is the following (a joint cake for the lil’ peanut and his grandma, with whom he celebrated this year):

    Taken in the privacy (and mild flamability) of the kitchen pantry, before dramatically sailing out into the room of gasping family members.

    Thank you so very much for such a thoughtful accounting. I will do my durndest to live up to it!

  12. A lurker for months, I felt compelled to finally post a comment. My partner and I are expecting our first this summer and while she has books and magazines and family members galore giving her advice and recounting stories of their own pregnancies, I’m left somewhat in the dark. Not comfortable as a “mom” and not quite socially sanctioned to be a “dad,” there just wasn’t anyone around to tell me tales of their own adventures in my position. Finding this blog has provided me much needed guideposts as I begin my own journey to non-bio mom-hood. Thanks for sharing your life and thoughts with those of us just starting out, and of course Happy Birthday!

  13. psledge, are you piper from wes? I had to register and delurk just to find out. If so, I’d love to catch up again. I’m in NYC now, thinking about kids with my partner but knowing she needs to get through grad school and I law school before anything, really.
    Sorry ldad for hijacking your comments, but if this is the person of whom I am thinking, then wow! Piper was my rugby captain/role model when I was a frosh in college, and I’ve wondered what ever happened post-graduation.

  14. i am indeed piper from wes:) i still use the same old wesleyan email. get in touch! i’m honored you delurked to find me– and LD my apologies too for hijacking your comments.

  15. Are you kiddin’? Hi-jack away. What a thrill to be witness. Says the former jock, but nary quite jock enough to go the whole enchilada and like do RUGBY. ¿Quien es mas macha? Not I!


  16. O could this be more thrilling I think not.
    Livingstone, I presume? Etc.
    Now what?
    How do I put you two together? I know! I’ll send you both your emails? Big thinker, me.

    Later note: Small thinker, me. Or rather, hasty thinker, with a tired boy very audibly needing a nap, whilst gnawing on one of my typing fingers. I see now that the studly rugby role model just said she is still using her old college email “handle,” which of course is the very thing that tipped off the young rugby ward. And which, one surmises, the young rugby ward would be in possession of. A child of three could have seen all I needed to do was sit back and watch the magic happen. Problem is, the child of three I had to hand, who could have helped me, was demonstrating a need for anger management therapy at that selfsame moment. A backseat driver of any age could have seen that what I needed to be doing was paying closer attention to either or both of them, rather than moderating comments. Multitasking. Can’t be a good parent with it; can’t be a sane parent without it. A conundrum for the sages.

  17. 1)I completed the survey and 2)Wow…that picture makes me REALLY miss rugby. Seriously. If only I wasn’t so darn old…and hadn’t developed that pesky desire to have all my limbs in working order for as long as possible…

  18. Thanks for doing the survey. It’s been such a raging success I’m sure I’ll make it an annual blogiversary present to myself (and anyone else to whom the results would be of interest).

    Now here is my prescription for keeping limbs in working order at a rugby field:

  19. This is the perfect opportunity to post my first comment. I love your blog – it’s one of the first that I open when I’m mining through 100 unread in my google reader. Your posts are always inspirational and so well crafted. I love the pictures and the stories. Thank you for putting so much of your life out for us to read.

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