Monthly Archives: September 2009

And then I thought about the game

Last questions (and we mean it this time) and then back to your regularly scheduled Vermillion blog…

Two Moms, Two Monkeys asked: So, what are your thoughts on meeting donor siblings, the donor himself, or other relatives? How much would you like Curly to be involved with any/all of them?

We purposely chose anonymous donor swimmers so that there would be no possibility of meet-ups, now or later. It was out of our comfort zone, plus we don’t see the donor or donor siblings as “family.” We are grateful to our donor for doing what he did, but it was his wish as well as ours to remain anonymous. We do know that there are donor siblings out there but are not comfortable making contact with that family. It is something we’ll obviously have to discuss with Curly when he’s older…we’re not sure how much of an issue it will be for him, but he has a family and extended family that love him dearly, so hopefully if it does present an issue, he can overcome it.

Cindy asked: Is there one thing (activity/ hobby or whatever) that you picture taking Curly to do when he’s older?

Nutella says that she can’t wait to take Curly to children’s theatre. I look forward to taking him to the zoo/petting zoo/aquarium and teaching him about the animals. I also picture the very cliche tossing of a ball back and forth. lol. That one is entirely up to me though, since I agree with Nutella that she’s completely hopeless when it comes to anything athletic.

Who wants to be…a ‘MILLONAIRE’!

Tui asks:

1. How difficult/easy was it to decide on a name for Curly – did you have it picked out in advance or did it come to you when you met him?

We had potential baby names picked out far in advance of actually getting pregnant. In Jewish tradition, babies are often named after deceased relatives. We each have a grandmother that died when we were little and so we knew that we would use their initials for our baby’s name. It was nice having a starting point. The girl name was super easy for us, but the boy name went through a number of evolutions before we settled on one.

2. Where would you like to travel to most in the world?

Our dream vacation is a long cruise of the Mediterranean with onboard historians and archaeologists that lead small groups to historic sights and offer their expertise (a la SmithsonianJourneys). Stops would definitely include Grecian islands, Turkey, Cypress, Italy, Spain, Egypt, etc.

3. If you won a million dollars, what would be the first thing that you would splurge on (no house, no car, no debt paying – the first purely luxury item).

Travel (see answer to number 2!)

Angela asked: What fields do you work in? How did you decide the field was for you?

We unfortunately do not work in the fields we wish to work in. I’m a trained actress and singer, but to pay the bills, I work for a very large corporation coordinating a client training program on medical software. I got this particular job after working for the same company as an executive assistant. Strawberry has a degree in Pyschology, but she is now a database programmer for a large university.  She began doing research studies after school, but quickly got sucked into the data storage and analysis part of it…eventually leading to database programming and a different career path altogether. We both agree that it’s worth it to have the benefits we do and live in comfort. Thankfully I can still perform as a hobby because our city has a thriving semi-professional  and amateur theatre community. I’m on hiatus from theatre while Curly is small. Strawberry is hoping to win the lottery.

Never discuss politics or religion

Ooh, the questions keep on coming and we love them!

A. asked: “Have you encountered any situations where Strawberry has been given a hard time because she’s not the birth mom?”

Thankfully, no. The nice thing is that we all share the same last name, so that helps. Our pediatrician’s office has always been cool with it and either of us can sign any forms for Curly. We recently travelled via airline with him and had no problems going through security either (with Strawberry carrying Curly through the metal detector and onto the plane). Hopefully this will continue to be the case, but we always have a set of original adoption papers in the diaper bag if there’s ever a problem.

Poppycat asked:

1. What is the one sweet treat each of you cannot live without?

After thinking long and hard (and separately), we both decided that we just can’t live without ice cream. For Nutella, her favorite flavor is Breyer’s Mint Chocolate Chip. Being the Gemini that I am, meaning I can never decide, my favorites are coffee chip, chocolate with cherries, or chocolate peanut butter. Anything chocolate.

2. Who is your favorite celebrity/famous crush on?

Nutella says Alicia Witt, because well…just google images of this woman. And I say Padma Lakshmi because well….just google images of this woman. Plus she’s so much fun on Top Chef.

3. Describe your favorite pair of shoes and tell us why you love them. Nutella’s favorite pair of shoes are her black leather knee-high platform boots by John Fluevog. She got them for free from a crazy, middle-aged art student/trophy wife at the college she used to work at. They make her feel sexy and powerful (insert tiger growl here).
I, on the other hand, am a boring, stereotypical lesbian when it comes to shoes. I like Clark’s which are fashionable enough yet comfy, and sometimes reminiscent of cool shoes you can find in England. I have such a pair of black flats with exterior stitching that I love.

4. OK, maybe just one Curly related question. I know you are from different faith backgrounds, how do you plan to address/celebrate the faith issue as you raise Curly?

You picked a really tough question as this is something we are still trying to figure out. For those that don’t know, while we were both raised as reform Jews, I am agnostic and very anti-religion in general and Nutella still practices and would like to raise Curly as part of the Jewish community. I am relieved that at least, if there is to be religion in our household, that it is reform Judaism. It is a very liberal and welcoming faith. But I don’t find any meaning in the rituals, so it’s difficult for me to imagine Curly being indoctrinated so. Nutella finds real value in the theology and the ritual, and cherishes the community that she was raised in. In fact, although it is an inconvenient distance from our home, she still travels to the synogogue in which she was raised to observe high holy days. I’m actually giving in to this a bit tomorrow when I accompany her and Curly to a Yom Kippur service (that’s mostly music 🙂
So…only time will tell what happens. Both of us agree that religion and observance are personal choices to be respected. We hope that Curly finds the path that’s right for him, whatever it is, when he’s older, and we’ll both be sharing our viewpoints with him.

Who’s your mommy?!

Here are the final three answers unless anyone has any more questions…

KraftyKay asked: Have you come across any, “No really, who’s the REAL mother?” questions and, if so, how did you answer?

Actually, we’ve never been asked this. But we have been asked “Who’s the mother?” lots of times. And we always answer “We both are, but she (pointing to Nutella) gave birth.” Most of the time, people either smile, say something along the lines of “Oh ok”, or continue to ask other questions in response. One time, a woman that was chatting us up about Curly immediately clammed up and went back to what she was doing. She obviously was either completely thrown off, in disagreement with our “lifestyle”, or both, but thankfully she held her tongue. Let me add though, that we live in a very liberal area. Most people have gay friends and/or family, or at least know of them and accept them, so it’s not a huge deal when they receive our answer. And it makes our hearts float when people let us know how cool it is that our son has two moms.

Monica asked: “What music does Curly seem to really love?”

As far as we can tell, Curly doesn’t seem to have a preference. He loves being sung to though, and will give us lots of smiles when we do. Nutella prefers showtunes, 60’s, 80’s and folk music and I like classic rock, indie rock, and dance/electronica…so obviously Curly is getting exposed to a huge variety, but it’s anyone’s guess at this point what he’ll be drawn to.

Two Moms, Two Monkeys asked: “How about a family pic?”

I think you tuned in a little bit later, but we do have some family pics in a password-protected entry from when Curly was 2 months old. Please refer to this entry and I’ll e-mail you (and anyone else who wants it) the password:

Let me count the ways

Keely asked “Did you discuss in advance how far you would go with IUIs- how many, and when, if ever, you would consider IVF or other alternatives?”

Yes, we did discuss things in advance of beginning TTC.  I had been lurking in the lesbian TTC blog community for about 2 years and so I was somewhat aware of the bumps, twists, and turns that might lie ahead.  I am severely needle phobic and I knew that I would never agree to injectables or IVF.  I don’t think I ever decided about the possibility of needing a trigger shot.  Our long range plan was to do 6 unmedicated IUIs, then an HSG, then if all clear, 6 more tries with Clomid.  We also decided to switch up donors every 3 cycles.  At the end of 12 full cycles, we would take a break and reassess.  Our babymaking savings would certainly have been gone by that point as well.  Had we gotten to that point, Strawberry would have taken a turn in the stirrups after we had regrouped and perhaps saved a bit more funds.  Had we not been successful with Strawberry’s uterus, then I think we would have given up on TTC.

We feel incredibly fortunate that our journey was fairly easy.  Statistically, based on my age and other factors, we were led to believe that we had 75% chance of getting pregnant in 6 cycles and a 90% chance of getting pregnant in 9 cycles.  However, we have seen too many friends fall on the other side of these statistics to escape feeling just a tad guilty about how it played out.

Olive asked “When do you fit in blogging and commenting now that the wee one is here?”

We are both fortunate/cursed to have jobs where we sit in front of a computer most, if not all of the day. This means there is plenty of time between work to read and comment on blogs (or is it, plenty of time between reading and commenting on blogs to do work?) Curly also goes to sleep at 7pm, and since we don’t typically go to bed until 10 at the earliest, there is plenty of time for web surfing. It was definitely harder in the beginning though, when his needs were often and completely unpredictable, and we were very worn out. But we wanted to keep a good record of what we were going through, so we still pushed ourselves to blog about it. Finally, Strawberry has been on FMLA for the past 10 weeks, but Curly takes quite a few naps in the daytime so she’s able to be online a lot.

Take a chance on me

Jessie asked: How did you meet?

Back before such a thing was commonplace, we met through online gay and lesbian personals. We both posted profiles on PlanetOut (back when it was the place to be surfing…not like it is now), and I responded to Nutella’s ad. She had a cute picture posted, and what I saw was a soft butch with a great smile, short brown hair and a plain white t-shirt. What she saw (and I’m cringing as I write this) was “a goofy picture where you were leaning over a chair” lol. Personally I thought it was a nice picture, but apparently it didn’t come off the way I wanted. Anyway, we chatted via IM for a week during work hours, since we both were in front of a computer 8 hours a day. Nutella told me she was performing 7 shows a week at a dinner theatre, which made meeting in person a bit challenging. We also happened to live about an hour apart…each of us living 30 minutes outside of our shared city, but in opposite directions.

We flirted some online and got along pretty well. Nutella said she found me really easy to chat with, and while I found her to be REALLY open and “out there”, I was intrigued. We decided to pick a public place to meet, and ending up making a brunch date in the city. She had an evening performance later in the day. Apparently her friends all thought she was crazy and warned her to be careful because no one is truthful about who they are online. I remember her standing outside the restaurant when I arrived. She was WAY more feminine than she had advertised…wearing a turqoise low cut v-neck shirt and carrying a little sparkly purse. She told me later that she had just cut inches of her hair off since she was wearing a wig in her show. Thankfully, I’m more into feminine women anyway so I was happily surprised. She told me I was way cuter than my picture- ha! And she always had a thing for redheads.

We had a great brunch…talked non-stop, although there were mimosas present 🙂 Our conversation just flowed so easily and both of us were sad when we had to part. However, we each had plans that same night to go out with friends and it just so happened we were going to the same club (although that’s not much of a surprise when you consider the lack of lesbian hangouts in our city). Our brunch date ended with nothing but the expectation of seeing each other later that night…no hug or anything (how sad!). I think it was nerves.

Fast foward several hours, and I remember sitting in the lounge area of the club watching the staircase that led up to the room…when in she walked. She bought me a drink and we alternated between cozying up on the couch in the lounge and dancing. At some point near the end of the night, I asked if I could kiss her and she said “Sure!” I can still remember the way that kiss felt over 6 years later. It was a chilly night and we walked to Nutella’s car arm in arm. One more kiss goodbye through her open driver’s side window and the rest is history!

The answer, my friend

Thanks for the great questions everyone, we’re going to split up the answers into a few posts.

Jen asked “How did you decide who was going to carry Curly and are you planning on having more children?”

This was a pretty easy thing for us and we are very lucky that it all worked out as it did.  I have always wanted to have a baby;  Strawberry never had the desire to carry a child.   We have always been in agreement that we only wanted one kid.  And having been through the first few months of parenthood, we are very happy with that decision!

Calliope asked “Have you ever made a nutella & strawberry cupcake? and if you ever make them again will you send me one?”

I have never made nutella and strawberry cupcakes, although my mother has and she served them at our family baby shower.  I would LOVE to take a stab at them and have lots of lovely ideas on how to maximize the flavors.  Unfortunately, cupcakes don’t ship very well, especially in warm weather, but I promise to try and bring some to the next IVP gathering.

Calliope and Suze wanted to know “How is it parenting a son? Do you find that it has been different than how you imagined it to be?”

At this point, we both feel that there is very little difference in parenting a boy versus a girl. Of course, we only have our own experience to go by so far, but the biggest difference right now is simply plumbing…and while that plumbing is fairly foreign, it was quick and easy to get used to. Beyond that, there’s not much “boy” versus “girl” stuff to deal with for an infant. We imagine that later on, when he’s older, starting with toddlerhood, there will be more issues to deal with. But those issues will most likely come about because of the messages he gets from the world around him. What we imagine is that he will be inundated with messages about what he should be like as a man, and we expect to have to combat those messages with the fact that he can be anything he wants to be, and as sensitive to boot!

Oh, one big difference has been the clothes. We’re pretty turned off by the massive quantities of pink, ruffles, lace, dresses, etc in the girls’ section and are glad we don’t have to dig through that stuff. But we also don’t like the constant sports, vehicles, and rough housing references we see in the boys’ section (not to mention “daddy’s little whatever”). Just as we’d try to keep a girl in less gendered clothing, we try to keep Curly in inoffensive clothing. Of course, when he starts being able to pick out his own clothes, we’ll most likely have to accept some choices we don’t particularly care for.

As far as being a lesbian couple raising a son, we feel fortunate to be one of many such families, especially in our own neighborhood. Hopefully these boys will find comfort in the sameness of our families. It’s quite common for us to hear “Oh, he’s going to need good male role models,” but a girl would need that, too. It’s important for a child to be in contact with good role models of both sexes. Our fathers are both involved in Curly’s life and we have several men that we are good friends with, so we don’t think he’ll be lacking. If other issues come up, we’ll have to deal with them as they come.

Pop the question?

We’ve seen a few open question blog posts around these parts and thought we’d open up our blog for your questions.  So ask away!  Is there anything you want to know?  Any pictures you’d like to see?  You know that we’re pretty open and up front, but we will try to protect a little bit of our anonymity in our answers.

4.5 months old/20 weeks

What Curly has been up to lately:

  • Babbling up a storm (vowels only so far)
  • Rolling both ways and ending up a couple feet from where we placed him originally
  • Doing mini push-ups and wishing he could crawl
  • Smiling and laughing
  • Wearing 6-9 month clothing (!)
  • Bearing his weight on his legs/practicing standing
  • Continuing to sleep 11-12 hour stretches at night and still requiring many naps during the day
  • NOMMING toys to death (evidence below)
  • Being heartily amused at the antics of the dog (evidence below)

Out of the hat

First off, I would like to wish my darling wife, Nutella, a very happy birthday today. I consider myself one of the luckiest human beings alive to have found such an incredible woman who makes me smile every day.

Next, it’s time to announce the winner of the Taggies sleeper contest! We let Curly pick and the result appears below…

Thanks to everyone who played, and congratulations Martha of We’ll be e-mailing you for your address and can’t wait for the picture.