Monthly Archives: June 2011

Cut- that’s a wrap!

Day 28 – What size family do you come from, what size family do you want, and why?

Nutella and I both come from very nuclear families- a mom, a dad and two kids (we each have a sister), and both sets of parents are still together. That said, we feel complete and happy with our family of 3. We have no plans for another child and I don’t see that changing.

Day 29 – What do you think about giving kids an allowance, and what chores do you or would you expect your child(ren) to help out with?

I think there are certain chores that should be expected, like making one’s bed and putting away one’s clothes. Even setting the table. I think there might be an “allowance” for chores that go above and beyond, like mowing the lawn, doing the dishes, mopping the floor. I’m fine with giving Curly a set fee in the future for any one of those non-typical chores he chooses (or we ask him) to do. We definitely want to raise a boy that can take care of himself and clean up after himself.

Day 30 – What is/are the most memorable questions or reactions you’ve gotten in regards to being a two-mom family?

Two in particular stick out: 1) We were walking around our neighborhood town center when a random man made some comment about our son (handsome or something) and asked “Who’s the mom?” to which we replied, as usual, “We both are.” And then he said, “Oh, I know that! Which one gave birth to him?” It seemed like he felt bad and was trying to cover his tracks, but it was nice to see him both edit his question in an ‘oops!’ fashion as well as react in a way that made our family seem perfectly normal to him. And 2) During a conversation with a teacher of sorts, she began asking me (Strawberry) all of the Curly-related questions because she thought Curly looked like me, until she got to one inquiring about his birth, and I mentioned it was Nutella who gave birth. She was very surprised, and then began asking Nutella all the questions thereafter. Totally rude and non-sensical, like only one mother should be asked and know the answers, not both.

And THAT completes our portion of the 30 day challenge!!

I wanna be an airborne ranger

Day 25 – What did you want to be when you grew up? Why and/or how did that change over time?

Strawberry- When I was very young it was always two things: 1)veterinarian/ zoologist or 2) comic book artist. My interest in both was strong and I would vacillate between them often, voraciously gleaning all possible knowledge about animals and constantly reading comic books, drawing and making up my own characters and stories. In high school, I thought I would become a teacher of some sort, maybe English. But when I entered college, I did indeed start out with a Biology major so I could become a zoologist. That interest quickly faded and I switched my degree to Psychology, which is my useless degree today. I thought I would maybe become a school counselor, but got into research after college, and then got into database programming, which is what I do today.

Answering on behalf of Nutella, she has always wanted to do what she loves and be able to make a living from it- acting (in musicals).

Day 26 – What is/are the best piece(s) of parenting advice you’ve gotten or can give others?

We’ve often heard the advice “Do not compare your child to others” but seriously, that’s impossible. So I’m changing it to this- “Realize there is a wide range of normal.” There is always going to be a child ahead of yours, and a child behind yours. If you have no REAL reason to worry, just accept that your child is within the wide range of normal.

Also, always hold on to your receipts. And your kid will find the box is usually more exciting than the toy inside, so keep that in mind before buying expensive stuff.

And we’ll have fun fun fun

Day 23 – What are your favorite activities to do with your kid(s)?

Strawberry: In the day to day sense, I love to play wrestle with him. I’ll disclaim that by saying he’s not a huge cuddler and it seems his favorite way to be physical is by climbing on us and using us like a jungle gym. When we “wrestle” he is constantly laughing and in turn, makes us laugh…and I think giving in to his desire for that kind of physicality, which is not actually too rough, is kinda nice. Very “boyish” but that’s how he is. We also like reading to him before bedtime. Nutella adds that he is usually only cuddly when watching tv (sadly) so we enjoy that as well, although we limit it. And she loves building blocks with him. They’ve made some nice castles together.

In general, taking him to a park where he can run and play is nice…he’s got his freedom and we can relax more. He’s also great on walks in his stroller and we try to do that every day (good exercise for moms, too). Recently we brought him to our local sand volleyball court with his beach toys and he loved it. I see many more trips there in the future.

Day 24 – What are your favorite activities to do without your kid(s)? (keep it clean!)

Our favorites include going out to eat, seeing live theatre, and going out dancing or to gatherings with friends (where you can actually talk and not have to kid-wrangle). In the past two weeks, both of our steady babysitters have told us they’re moving (like, thousands of miles away), so now we have to find new sitters, sigh. Hopefully we can find a couple more good ones so our opportunities to keep doing our favorite non-kid activities still exist. We do take him out to eat every so often, but it’s never relaxing….although excellent picture opportunities often present themselves.

You can call meeee ‘Al’

Day 21.   What child(ren)’s names do you like that your partner hates and thus you could never use?

We’re sitting here together writing this one. Nutella says she likes Malachai, Felix, and Orlando for boys (every time she said one of those names, I turned to her and repeated it a few times, saying ‘Seriously? Seriously?” (and to the blogger(s) that may have children with those names, I think they are fine under the right circumstances, just not for us and with our last name, so don’t hate me). For girls she likes Viola, Shoshana and Athena (SERIOUSLY?).

As for me, I like Paige, Gemma and Vail for girls, and Graham, Julian and Gene for boys (Nutella would want Eugene and I would want Gene and we both hate the other name!). Nutella says they’re not awful names, she just wouldn’t want them for her kid.

So there you go! All gestating moms are welcome to them!

Touchy

Day 18 – How do you feel about astrology? What’s your sign, baby, and do you think it matches your personality?

I (Strawberry) think astrology is a fun little diversion and can sometimes be true. I feel like I fit my sign, Gemini, quite well. We are supposed to be: Energetic, Clever, Imaginative, Witty, Adaptable, Superficial, Impulsive, Restless, and Indecisive. See how good I was to include the bad things, too? 🙂 I can definitely be all of those things and don’t think any other sign fits me nearly as well. Nutella, on the other hand, does not seem to match her sign (Virgo) well. She fits half of it (rational, helpful, observant, analytical), but definitely not the other half (organized, ambitious, detached, conventional). As for Curly, it’s too hard for us to tell if he matches his sign of Taurus at this point. I look forward to seeing it play out though, since I do tend to like and get along with that sign. He does thrive on routine and likes having a “home base.” He’s also very sensitive, but it’s hard to tell if his stubbornness is ingrained or simply because he’s a toddler!

Day 19 – How do you (and your partner if applicable) feel about PDA?

Nutella is 100% open and comfortable with PDA- holding hands, kissing, cuddling, etc. I’m more reserved. I do like to be touching her in public, but when we’re holding hands in a less-gay environment like, say, a shopping mall, I’m on “high alert.” It’s kind of silly because we’re both so feminine and non-threatening that I can’t see it bothering people… I guess I’m more bothered by the possibility of strange stares and cat calls. I know I shouldn’t care about that stuff, but I do. That said, I don’t have a problem hugging her or giving her a quick peck in public, and I hold her hand and do my best to just get over caring what other people may think.

Just a perfect blendship

How come I did better at the blog challenge that I didn’t create versus the one I assisted in creating? Anyway, today is Nutella’s and my 5 year wedding anniversary. Happy anniversary to us! We’re going to be away this weekend (although it’s family-related and not anniversary-related) so we’re going to continue being behind on this un-challenge, but here are a couple for now…

Day 15 – What was your college experience like? Were you involved in any clubs, groups, etc?

Strawberry- I went to college 3 hours away from where I grew up, so it was my first taste of freedom from my parents. And that part I LOVED. Everything else…eh. I was pretty shy back then…timid really. I made few friends…mostly people on the same floor as my dorm room and the friends those people made. I pushed myself to go to a GLBT club meeting even though I was really nervous. I didn’t really click with anyone though. I met my first girlfriend about 2 months later- she was a friend of a friend. I was with her all throughout college and became fairly dependent on her as my social life. We did have a lot of fun times together, and I stayed over with her at her parents’ place 45 minutes away on weekends. My first dorm roommate was aloof, my second roommate was never there, then I got a place with my girlfriend and our mutual friend, and our mutual friend got very manic-depressive about our relationship and ignored us. My final year in college, my girlfriend and I got our own apartment and then our relationship began to majorly break down.

I did well in college, graduated top 5% of my class and liked my studies. Good thing, because other than my first major lesbian relationship, I didn’t get much else out of it.

Nutella- I went away to an exclusive conservatory to study musical theatre and it was a magical thing.  Suddenly, I was at a place with 150 musical theatre nerds JUST LIKE ME. That first week the 50 freshmen stayed up all night singing along with every cast album until we’d lost our voices.  But oh the politics and drama of it.   Teachers had their favorites.  Some expected to be worshipped and never questioned.  We had come to learn at the feet of giants.  I was “too smart” and I asked too many questions.  As early as the 2nd semester, I started getting cruel treatment by certain teachers and by sophomore year, it was openly hostile.  Despite earning above a 3.3 GPA, I was asked not to return at the end of that year.  I was told “you have no talent, go do something else”.  To say that I was crushed was an understatement.  Since it was already the end of June, it was too late to transfer for Fall.  I moved back home and auditioned for a professional theatre and got the 2nd lead in a show that would run all fall. So much for that “no talent” thing!  I began looking into a “make your own degree” honors program at the local university and enrolled in a community college language class since I knew I’d have to make up certain gen-ed requirements.

The following spring I started the “make your own degree” honors program and created my own musical theatre degree.  I never lived on campus and since I was making up my own curriculum, I never was part of a “class” and made few friends. I did a semester abroad in England and made some close friends in that program. I graduated a year later than if I’d done my 4 years straight through from HS.

Day 16 – How many friends do you have in real life that you talk to regularly? How many friends do you have that you feel are ‘true blue’ and how long have you known them?

Strawberry- That I talk to regularly? I can probably count them on one hand. I do think I have a good number of friends/acquaintances, and a crapload of FB relationships, but there’s room for more friends to see on a regular basis. I do feel a little lonely for friendships sometimes. True Blues…I guess that number is 2 and they’re both friends I’ve known since high school. I can tell one of them absolutely anything and she was the first person I came out to, but her schedule is extremely busy so we don’t see each other as often as I’d like.

Nutella- Theatre creates very intense short-lived friendships.  Through the wonders of the internet, I’m still connected with hundreds of those people. I’m also still friends with a few people that I was close with in HS, thought we don’t really talk on the phone, only email. I have 2 very close friends from growing up (we met at ages 13 and 14).  They’re really “family”. I don’t talk to them often but I know I can count on them no matter what.  I don’t have very many close “let’s hang out” friendships anymore and I miss it.  I’m an incredibly social person and I would have people over for dinner 3 nights a week if I could.

Jobs and Clothes

Day 13 – Tell us about the best job you ever had, and the worst.

Strawberry: I’ve never been in love with any of my jobs really. I guess my current job is the best and it shows because I’ve been here the longest. I don’t do what I love, although I like it enough. What matters more are the perks and benefits of where I work. I work at a University, so I get a ton of leave (I currently have about 5 weeks annual leave and that doesn’t include my sick bank), I get tuition remission which I am actually using, I have a nice office albeit a shared one, I am not micromanaged and am able to take breaks and go out to lunch, I work with some cool people, and finally, my boss is a really great guy. I think that makes a huge difference.

My worst job was a receptionist at a hair salon. I only did it one summer during high school. All I did was answer phones and schedule all day long. And the owner, an arrogant prick, would make inappropriate comments to me and accused me of stealing cash from the register. The environment totally sucked.

Nutella: The best job I’ve ever had was working in a dinner theatre.  I was paid to perform in the show and had the option of waiting tables.  It was very easy money, since it was mostly drink service and the patrons were advised by printed cards on each table “If the service has met your expectations, please tip 18% on your tab AND the cost of your ticket”.  I did 2 shows at that theatre, which has since closed.

The worst job I ever had was as a diner waitress.  The work was hard, the patrons were often rude and I would make very little in tips.  15% isn’t much money when all someone orders is the $5 blue plate special and a cup of coffee.  I only worked there for about 6 weeks until I got a job at a much fancier restaurant.

Day 14 – How do you typically dress? How do you (or would you) like to dress your kid(s)?

Strawberry: I dress comfortably and somewhat fashionably as far as current Old Navy or Banana Republic trends go. I only wear dresses and heels on special occasions. I’m most comfortable in jeans and a fitted t-shirt.

Nutella: I go to extremes.  I like to be comfortable, but I love to get fancy.  I prefer bright jewel tones and I’m equally at home in jeans and a tee as I am in a cocktail dress and heels. I like sparkly accessories, but I hate carrying a purse.

We have fun dressing Curly. We always try to get more gender-neutral things for him. That usually means no sports or vehicles, unless the design is super-cute. We buy a lot of stuff at H&M (European-inspired) and online at websites like Zu.lily and Tot.sy.  We love bright colors and unique designs. We tend to steer clear of commercial characters, but because he loves Elmo, we have a couple Sesame Street pieces. I’m glad we had a boy as far as clothing goes, because I can’t stand all the ruffles and pleats and lace and pinkpinkpink in the girls’ section. I’m pretty sure we’d be dressing a daughter similarly to how we dress Curly, although Nutella would definitely throw in a couple dresses.

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Your mother should know

Falling behind on our own un-challenge! Which is ok, since it’s an un-challenge anyway…

Day 9 – What is the most important lesson you learned from your own mother (or other primary caretaker)?

Strawberry: I guess I would say the most important lesson I learned is to be there….be present. My mom has been with me every step of the way and I knew I could always depend on her being there, and still can. She’s been involved and supportive. She’s been a disciplinarian and a goofball. We all have our faults, but one thing I knew is that I could count on her to be there for me, and I hope I can turn around and do the same thing for my son and let him know he can always come to me, and I will always be there for him.

Day 10 – Share your favorite recipe (or two)

Nutella: That would be my mom’s Buttermilk Pancake recipe… I have it in her handwriting in a small blank book along with a dozen other recipes that she gave me when I went off to college my sophomore year (the first time I had a kitchen).

1 1/4 C flour
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/3 C buttermilk or 4 tbsp buttermilk powder and 1 1/3 cups water
1 egg slightly beaten
3 tbsp molasses

Directions: Mix dry ingredients together (incl buttermilk powder if that’s what you’re using). Mix wet together. Add wet to dry and stir well. Using a non-stick pan, brush lightly with oil. Heat over medium. Flip when bubbles rise to the top and burst.

Sometimes I have to adjust the consistency of the batter by adding more water or more flour. This makes a slightly sweet pancake with a distinctive molasses taste.  If you don’t like molasses (like Strawberry, alas!), feel free to swap in pure maple syrup. These are wonderful cold by themselves the next day.  In fact, it’s what I asked my parents to bring to the birthing center when I went into labor.  It was the first food I ate after I gave birth to Curly (after puking my guts out all through labor).

Day 11 – In what ways does being a lesbian/2-mom family impact your experience of parenting?

Of course, we don’t know any differently, but being equally involved in all aspects of parenting (except for a few months of breastfeeding, although during the latter half we did bottles as well) and not having any sort of gender roles to fall into are the biggest differences. We also get a lot of assumptions that Strawberry is the birth mom, when Nutella is, though probably when the 3 of us are out together, many people have no idea. This doesn’t affect our parenting, but does affect how we are perceived and able to feel even more equal.

Day 12 – Tell us about the first time you got drunk (as far as you can remember…)

Nutella: I have a sadly high tolerance for alcohol.  And aside from an inexplicable desire to throw small items (spoonfuls of whipped cream, pretzels at moving cars, M&M’s down people’s cleavage from across the room), I’m not a very fun drunk.  I tend to get morbid and philosophical.  I don’t really remember the first time I got drunk, so it must not have been very memorable.  I have never thrown up or blacked out.

Strawberry: The first time I got drunk was actually on my 22nd birthday. My then-girlfriend at the time and two other friends of ours joined us at a lesbian club…or was it a straight club…I can’t remember. They bought me a shot called a ‘red-headed slut’ (har har). It was gross but I drank it, and then followed it up with a couple other drinks, including Sex on the Beach. Such a newbie. I was definitely drunk and I’m a loud, raucous drunk person. I have absolutely no filter and I have a total blast, but end up paying for it dearly. We stopped for gas and snacks when we left, and I made loud and probably rude comments about the cashier. When we got back to our friend’s place, I lay down on the couch and blacked out for a little while. Eventually I found myself in bed back at my girlfriend’s house. I’m fairly certain I threw up at some point, but definitely into a toilet. Woke up with a pounding headache the next morning. I’ve been that drunk a few more times since, but in the past several years, I’ve learned not to let it get to that point and always stop drinking when I’m tipsy (as well as drink lots of water!)

An expert on the subject I like most

Day 8 – If you had to teach something, what would you teach? (If you DO teach, when did you discover your love for teaching/the subject?)

Strawberry: I have recently, within the past few years, discovered a love for history- specifically Medieval and Renaissance European history. I might already have bored half of you to tears, but it is really interesting stuff. There’s no drama like that of European rulers, nothing scarier than the plague, not much more crazy than the Crusades, etc. I am constantly reading historical fiction and I even took a history class last year for fun ( I know!). Had I discovered my love for the subject prior to college, I’m fairly certain I would’ve gone full force and gotten a degree and went on to teach it. Sadly, my life didn’t go in that direction, but at least I can still enjoy the subject now.

Nutella: Surprisingly, as much as I love theatre and music, I have no desire to teach it.  In fact, formal teaching wouldn’t really suit me.  But I DO love to teach in a small one-on-one type way.  Really more of a mentoring or training type of set up. In fact, the times when I get to do that on the job, I enjoy it.  If I understand something well, I love to explain how and why it works and then teach someone how to do it.