I’ve hired a scientist to watch over the babies

A few weeks ago, I found out that Lego was coming out with “female scientist” mini-figures. I’m not a huge fan of Lego, but I am a huge fan of female scientists. So, I ordered one. Because there is only one.

Don’t get me wrong, there are other females. There is Mermaid, Hollywood Starlet, Fortune Teller and Pretzel Girl. Wait! All is not lost, there is also Librarian, Zookeeper and Swimming Champion — all of whom are female.

When Scientist arrived, I needed a place to put her and next to these seemed like as good a place as any.

babies

I bought all these babies when I was trying to create the original banner for this blog, because when you’re going through fertility treatments you’re either going to have no babies or a whole pile of babies. Your choices basically look like this:

toomanybabies

And I know some people will be all “Jesus doesn’t make too many babies.” But Jesus doesn’t make these babies, scientists do. And scientists will be all “this is statistics, so we need to increase your odds of success by filling your body up with pre-babies, called zygotes.” It’s complicated, but that is the basic idea.

So I put my Scientist here with the babies.

chemist

According to Lego, “Thanks to the Scientist’s tireless research, Minifigures that have misplaced their legs can now attach new pieces to let them swim like fish, slither like snakes or stomp around like robots.” So, even though she looks like a chemist, she’s actually Dr. Frankenstein.

Then, I tried to order more female scientist mini-figures because one is never enough. And there weren’t any, so I ordered an androgynous-looking surgeon.  I put her next to the chemist.

surgeon

Then, I realized that I’ve turned into Richard Dreyfus from Close Encounters of the Third Kind. But instead of building shrines to aliens with mashed potatoes, I’m re-creating scenes from my IVF treatment using Legos.

Now we just need to name all these babies.

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© Sarah Ann Gilbert and Seven Little Mexicans, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sarah Ann Gilbert and Seven Little Mexicans with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Unbreakable lunch dates

This.

wynn-sippy

This grainy pic of our first-born child wouldn’t bring most mothers to tears, unless they were feeling really vulnerable about their Instagram skills. But I’m sharing the story behind my emotional reaction to this crappy photo over at Spawn and Survive today. Here’s a hint: like so many things in life, it has to do with boobs.

Spawn and Survive: When baby won’t take a bottle

 

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If you want to feel more gay, get pregnant

When I started this blog more than a year ago, I planned to write about getting pregnant and becoming a gay parent. But that story ended up being a book – a long one. Instead, this blog became a bunch of stuff about being a gay parent.

But, now I have a problem. The more I gay parent, the less gay it seems. These days, it mostly just seems like parenting, unless I kiss Pam in a public place in front of our kids. That still feels pretty gay.

And speaking of kissing people in front of strangers, we should keep doing that because sometimes it can result in national television coverage, which is great promotion for your blog if you happen to be a black, gay NFL football player. And also because people are still surprised if you’re gay and black and a football player all at the same time.

But other people don’t seem to care anymore if you are gay. Or, at least, my dad doesn’t.

“Stop telling people you are gay. No one cares if you are gay. Talk about something that matters, like the sage grouse in Wyoming,” he said.

My dad is a biologist, so his marginalized group is the sage grouse. I understand. They have rights to fight for, namely their own legitimized breeding ground. I can relate. But we are getting off track here.

My original point was about whether or not I’m feeling particularly gay. I’m not.

And as you may have already anticipated, this conversation, which was happening mostly with myself at this point because my dad is sick of talking about being gay, continued in my head. If I wasn’t feeling particularly gay right now, then when did I feel really gay? In 1997.

I was wearing men’s shoes a lot back then, and I had short hair. But then, more than 10 years later, I got pregnant and I felt super gay. I looked really straight, but I felt really gay.

This is me (right) feeling really gay. And my friend Carol (left) also feeling gay, but in the happy meaning of the word.

This is me (right) feeling really gay. And my friend Carol (left) also feeling gay, but only in the happy sense of the word.

There has been no other time in my life when people inquired more about “my husband” or searched my left hand more often for a wedding ring. But I was neither married nor heterosexual. But all of the assumptions started making me feel more self-conscious about being gay. So, I felt more like I needed to announce it to people which, I’m guessing, is around the time when my dad started feeling irritated by my constantly announcing that I was gay.

I suppose the moral of the story is that things have changed. (Is that a moral?) To feel gay, I used to need to look gay. And now it’s the opposite. If I want to feel really gay, I just need to act or look really straight. So next weekend, I’m going to have a spa day with my girlfriends, shave my legs, get my nails done and really gay it up. Just don’t tell my dad.

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If you need a reason to order an extra cake, just invent a new holiday

I’m an advocate for inventing new family traditions. I don’t write letters to congress about them, insisting that they become official holidays so I can have the day off, but I wouldn’t be opposed to that, either. As it turns out most of these invented traditions already fall on or around another recognized holiday, which I just insist on enhancing with my own, and obviously better, ideas.

Our family celebrated one of these new family traditions last month. We call it Big Sister Day. Or alternately (exactly 50% of the time), we call it Little Sister Day. Coincidentally, this day falls on the day immediately following the birthday of either the big or the little sister in our family. So, in March, immediately following Marlo’s birthday, we celebrated Big Sister Day.

marlo birthday

This tradition started the day after Marlo was born. We were worried that Wynn, formerly the Center of the Universe to parents and grandparents alike, was not going to appreciate the new member of the family stealing her spotlight. So when Pam brought Wynn to the hospital to meet her new little sister, we surprised her with a party and a new holiday. There was cake, presents and balloons in the hospital room for the inaugural Big Sister Day.

Then as soon as Wynn and the rest of the family left the hospital, she threw a major temper tantrum (her first) and refused to get in the car. But we didn’t give up. We have been celebrating Big and Little Sister Day ever since. And I like it. No, not just because it’s an excuse to have extra cake and presents. But because it gives me a minute to pause, reflect and appreciate what it must be like to be a Big Sister (or a Little Sister), which seems to have both its good and bad parts.

When you are the Big Sister, you do most stuff first, unless it means getting out of diapers, because it really is just easier to keep wearing those things to bed. And there is the pressure to do things first, like go to kindergarten, jump off the edge of the pool or spell your name. It can be frightening to be the Big Sister, but you also get lots of attention. There are big expectations and more controlling parents in your life, usually. This is no different in our house. We anxiously await the milestones for the Big Sister and grieve the same ones when the Little Sister reaches them. The exception being the diapers, of course.

And more recently, now that both sisters can talk, I’ve been asking them to stop and think about what it’s like to have a sister on Big Sister Day.

Me: What do you like best about your sister?

Wynn: Her birthday cake.

 

>>What would you celebrate on Big/Little Sibling Day?

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My list of needs: They are small but scientifically proven using psychology

I am not a psychologist, but every once in a while I remember something from Psychology 101. And soon, I may be doling out advice as a fake gay parenting psychologist of the internet. The psychologist part is fake. The gay parent part is real.

This should be fun for everyone, because I am often the most confused about what parents should be doing, and that probably means that I should be figuring it out and posting my findings on the internet where people always come to find facts and good advice. But more about that later.

In the meantime, I drew this picture, because as parents of the new millennium, we have needs. Needs that should be met by our children. And to illustrate our needs I’ve re-created Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs for parents. Or possibly just my hierarchy of needs, but whatever – this is my blog. What would you add to the list?

hierarchy

C’mon add something to the goddamn list!

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No use crying over warmed milk

Remember when a friend called me “the gay Erma Bombeck” and it made me enter a writing contest? Well, some good writers and actual newspaper columnists won it. You can read their stories, but you have to read my contest entry first. Because what exactly are you here for?  (Links to winners at bottom)

warmmilk2

The difference between a good day and a bad day at our house boils down to one drink: Warm milk.

On weekday mornings at 7 a.m. the business of getting to work and getting to daycare starts. The whistle blows and the workers -– a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old — rise from their beds and come downstairs in their pajamas. The management team, on the other hand, has been up since before sunrise.

“Can I have some milk?” says Wynn.

“Me, too,” says Marlo.

“What is the magic word?” I say.

“Please,” they chorus, lying down on the sofa and sticking their thumbs in their mouths. They’re already on break.

For more than four years and multiple times a day, it has been management’s job to provide warm milk. It’s part of the labor contract – one that was struck, incidentally, when I was in labor.

First, warm milk was provided with the help of two mammary glands. And then, to make weaning easier, I warmed up the baby formula and, eventually, the cow’s milk.

When Wynn turned 4, the management decided that this was enough. Our daughter was old enough to drink cold milk. And so, holding our breath, we gave it a try.

The result? A strike.

Placards were made. Flyers were distributed. Threats were issued: She would never go to bed. She would not put on pants. And taking a bath or brushing her hair? Forget it.

We broke, almost immediately, and began negotiations. Eventually, we settled on room temperature milk. According to the contract, room temperature milk would go from the fridge to be warmed in the microwave for 30 seconds prior to being served – 50% less time than warm milk.

This seemed to work for a few months and then it got colder outside. And management’s willpower grew weaker.

One day, as a special treat, I added 15 seconds to the warming time, making it 45 seconds total.

“Mmmmm,” said Wynn. “It’s warm.”

Later that night and just before bedtime, I went back to making room temperature milk. But the fragile balance had been upset and Wynn demanded warm milk.

Management held an emergency meeting and considered their options. What was more important: Children wearing clothing, practicing good hygiene and getting enough sleep or 15 seconds in the microwave?

It was a difficult decision because we didn’t wanted spoiled children or anarchy. The negotiations lasted late into the evening or at least until 10 minutes past bedtime. And warm milk won.

Everyone went to bed, wearing pants, and got a good night’s sleep.

And the next morning I asked “Do you want some milk?”

“I’ll have juice,” said Wynn. “Warm.”

 

Here are the winners of the Erma Bombeck Writing Competition.

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What people say is not necessarily what they mean, baby

Another cheat-sheet to print, laminate and carry in the diaper bag if you have recently given birth to a tiny human. Consult it any time someone begins to talks to you and you’re too tired to figure out what they are really saying.

You’re welcome.

WhatPeopleSay

Or you can order it as a helpful greeting card for new parents here. And special thanks to Scary Mommy who ran this graphic yesterday on her popular and hilarious community for real parents.

Find me on Twitter @7littlemexicans and #7LM
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© Sarah Ann Gilbert and Seven Little Mexicans, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sarah Ann Gilbert and Seven Little Mexicans with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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