1. 2 for 4

    The last two evenings we agreed to do some babysitting for friends of ours in town.  They have 3 kids (ages 1 1/2, 2 1/2, and 5), which meant that with the Minky meant we were outnumbered 2:1.  When adults outnumber the children it means there is always a free set of arms to provide additional help, or an extra person to distract a kid during a diaper change, to get things around the house done, or even to just free up a little space for one parent to take a break.  When the kids outnumber the adults, the tables are turned.

    Our friends’ kids are all pretty well behaved, and I think part of that is that they have figured out how to coexist well together in their 3-kid world.  The youngest is pretty easy-going - as long as he is fed - so sitting him down with some food is generally a reasonable solution to any problems.  Their middle kid is a little quieter and more stubborn, but plenty of fun once she starts engaging in something.  Their oldest daughter is energetic, but well behaved and has unsurprisingly taken a sort of “mini-boss” role over the other two, though not in an overbearing way.

    The first night Navyy focused on making dinner while I watched them all and let them play.  As long as they were (mostly) contained to a room it was pretty fun and easy to just engage with them and keep them entertained.  A little chaotic, sure, but not at all unmanageable even by myself.  At dinner we served a dual-meal of pizza and macaroni and cheese to appease the picky eaters of the bunch (their monster eater boy had both).  After dinner we took them all over to a park nearby and let them run off some energy.  That went over well and they all seemed to have a good time.

    Tonight things went well, but were just a little more challenging.  Their middle daughter got tonsillitis (non-contagious), and the Minky had his 15 month shots today and was running a temp of 100+ by the time we headed over…so two of the four were a little touchier all night.  It helped that their mom was over for part of the evening to prep dinner, but essentially the rest of the time we all played together in their living room and watched various children’s shows.  All in all not too bad, even with a couple tears and fussy moments.

    One of the ways that I have described parenting is “relentless.”  Essentially you are always on the job.  That is not such a bad thing, since parenting can be extraordinarily rewarding, but it does mean that if you are having an off day or need a break it can really turn into a grind.  With 4 kids, that feeling was that much greater.  It is more work, yes, but there was also a certain degree of being forced into the moment because you could do nothing but parent (in a good way).  Still I can imagine the challenge trying to get a really specific demanding task done, or finding time for self-care to be especially challenging.  I think we were both grateful that the two of us were there together watching them, and I am glad that we are not managing 4 all the time.

    Both of my parents come from families of 4, with dads who were hardworking doctors and not always present (or expected) to chip-in on the childcare.  Somehow my grandmothers managed, though I imagine that they were constantly in motion, and even then not always able to take care of every last detail.  Navyy has always wanted a bigger family and when we first started talking about having kids she was dead-set on 4, while I was leaning more towards 2.  At this I think we have compromised on 3 at this point - my “with 4 we would really need a minivan/bigger vehicle” argument was apparently persuasive.  We will see what actually happens given PCOS related fertility issues, but my hat is off to any of you who are managing bigger families.

     

  2. Brewing some coffee porter tonight!

     


  3. This is a great little article about dealing with body dysphoria using self-care.  My experience with dysphoria is a little different (particularly because it is more related to social issues than physical body issues), but the general feelings/principles remain very much the same.  And in a lot of ways self-care is often the best and easiest strategy for dealing with those rough “bad gender” days as I call them.  This paragraph above, in particular resonated with me, I know those feelings all too well.

     


  4. Anonymous asked: Just wanted to say love your blog... I have 3 kids and identify as gender fluid which I suppressed big time over the past 8 years or so but have recently "come out" and have been able to dress more masculine when I feel like it thanks to my super supportive husband. I am still working on being comfortable with myself though... Anyway I think my youngest is very close in age to your little one she was born December 5th, 2012! :)

    Thank you, Anon!

    So glad to hear about your story.  Being able to find that space and support for authentic gender expression is a huge deal.  I am so glad to hear that your husband is supportive, but I know how challenging it can be sometimes to find your own internal balance when it comes to gender…there are just so many complicating factors.  It is always exciting to see people, and in particular families, who are navigating these challenges.  We are out there!  Thank you for sharing.

     


  5. Anonymous asked: Is there really as much transphobia in the LGBTQ community as people say there is? Thanks.

    This is a very complex question, but the short answer is that the LGBTQ community has not always been as cohesive or all embracing as its unified acronym might suggest.  Specifically bisexuals, trans people, and queer identified folk have tended to receive less time, attention, and respect as compared to their gay and lesbian counterparts.  That said, things have been changing in a positive direction in recent years.

    In terms of transphobia there have certainly been issues within the LGBTQ community.  The recent discussions around RuPaul’s Drag Race have highlighted some of those tensions.  But essentially what it comes down to is that many people in the community are not especially well educated when it comes to trans issues.  Some members of the gay community still conflate trans women with drag queens, or see us as just confused.  Similarly some members of the lesbian community vehemently oppose the inclusion of trans women as women, and consistently view trans men as just really butch lesbians…rather than men.  But let me be very clear - these views are my generalizations about issues I have seen, not referring to anyone specifically here, and I would say in general the LGBTQ community has made huge strides in overcoming some of these stereotypes.

    So really, while there is some residual transphobia (amongst other issues dealing with misogyny, race, and class) the LGBTQ community has come a long way…and in general is a community that is much more sympathetic to embracing difference than a lot of other social groups I have encountered.  With more education and trans visibility these issues are only going to improve, and that is a great thing.

     


  6. Anonymous asked: Hi I'm new here and I love your blog :) I was wondering if you had a picture of your whole family because I feel like your family is the happy family that everyone want

    We are a happy family, but we are also kind of private about sharing out lots of pictures of ourselves…at least for now.  This blog is still less than a year old, and luckily the majority of our interactions with the Tumblr world have been positive.  So expect to see more of us (but slowly), for now you can see what we look like in the banner or about section of the blog.