Friday, January 22, 2010

I want this...

This diaper bag sounds pretty freakin' rad. Jade and I have begun checking out diaper bags here and there, and it is HARD to find ones gender-neutral enough for moms and dad to carry. All the manufacturers seem to think that just because babies are cute, everything remotely associated with them also needs to be cute. Not so, manufacturers, not so. Don't compete with the baby's cuteness. Simply fade into the background and do your job. That's where the Kemby bag comes in. It's got all kinds of thoughtfully-designed features to help you keep your shiz organized, PLUS it turns into a hands-free baby sling, PLUS it looks like a saddle bag, especially in brown, so even no-frills moms and dads can carry it with pride.

I know this is of GREAT importance to to the one person who actually reads my blog (Hi, Emily!), but I get an extra entry in this giveaway if I do a blog entry about the contest, so here I am, shamelessly whoring out my blog already. What? Baby stuff is expensive! Don't hate. We are committed to buying used as much as possible for this kid, but I don't think I want a used diaper bag. That just sounds... unsavory.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Dear Bean, one more thing...

Whether you are a girl or a boy, we promise to never, NEVER get you anywhere near a baby pageant.

Toddlers and Tiaras

Choose Choice

So, I noted below that we'd come to the abortion politics in time, and since the annual "March for Life" in DC (commemorating the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision) is tomorrow, that time is now.

One of the best classes I took in law school was about the intersection of the law and social change. We read a book called "Lobbying for Social Change", which I now see every day as it holds up my computer monitor at work. One of the book's points is that law alone is an ineffective means for creating social change. It demonstrates this with a case history of the fight over abortion. From what I recall, prior to Roe v. Wade there was not much of an organized or motivated anti-abortion faction. The split of opinion in the populace was probably about the same, but the only people passionate for the cause were the underdogs-- those who believed that it was a travesty and a crime to force women to bear children they did not want when a simple and safe medical procedure could prevent it. The Roe decision upended the game: for the last 37 years, the anti-abortion-minded have viewed themselves as the underdogs, victims of a heavy-handed government regime and crusaders for the downtrodden and voiceless. Kind of exactly the same way the access-to-abortion activists felt before Roe.

Lots of people smarter and better-versed in this topic than I am have spent lots and lots and LOTS of time writing and thinking and talking about the merits of this issue on both sides. However, 37 years on, the pro-life-anti-abortion-anti-choice-whatever-you-want-to-call-it faction has gained unprecedented (and to me, distressing) power (often by linking up with the evangelical religious right). I'm not well-versed in the day-to-day of abortion rights, but I pay enough attention to know that a number of states have created a de facto ban on abortion through waiting periods, limiting clinics, making sure prices remain high, requiring "options" counseling, viewing ultrasounds, and even requiring the doctors to tell their patients lies about the risks associated with abortion. (South Dakota, I'm looking at you.) Further, the movement has become so radicalized that some members believe they should kill the doctors brave enough to pass the picketers every day to perform abortions for the women who seek them. And that seems to be okay with the movement as a whole. The utilitarian logic seems to be "sacrifice one to save many"-- since they believe that embryos and fetuses occupy the same plane of "personhood" as you or I.

And that's really the rub here. We have a fundamental disagreement between these camps about when "personhood" begins. I know this is no big news, but regardless of what happens in the courts or the legislature, we're going to continue to have an ugly, and even violent, battle over this until there can be some kind of consensus on that point. How do we move forward? How do we build a consensus? I don't know. I think the pro-choicers-pro-abortioneers-anti-lifers-whatever-you-want-to-call-'ems need to get just as creative and passionate about educating people on their views as the other side. They don't play with reason and they don't play fair, because they are so convinced in their cause that they believe the ends justify the means. Children are being brainwashed at 4, 5, 6 years old that God wants them to be a soldier to protect unborn babies. Women are being plied with emotional appeals and told that somehow, having less choice is empowering to them. Against that, playing to logic and fairness is a losing game.

Related: The Pro-Life Movement Is Not Pro-Woman: An Open Letter To Sarah Palin

Hi, Bean!

Well, Bean, you have been in existence (in one form or another) for 3 months now, so I guess it's high time we started documenting. It is funny how this process goes, because it's not like you just "pop!" into existence the moment sperm and egg meet. (Regardless of what some anti-choicers and the Vatican may say... but we'll leave abortion politics aside for now.) It's more like you... become. Every day, as you developed in the last 3 months, you became more real. You had a lot of hurdles to overcome-- a lot of things that could have gone wrong and made you... not be. But, from everything we can tell, you've got everything you need, all in the right spots, and now you've just got to grow and get ready to live outside of me! We think you're pretty rad already. In the next weeks you'll be big enough that I can feel you moving around in there. It is so strange to remember that I have an independent proto-person inside my body.
Your dad and I still are having a hard time believing that you're real and everything that your coming into our lives will mean. But we've seen you twice now on ultrasound, and we heard your heartbeat clip-clopping along yesterday. (Really-- it sounded just like a horse trotting!) The last ultrasound was so cool. Your face finally looked more human than alien, and you were moving and kicking! It was amazing. From what I read, you are now 3 times bigger(!) now than you were then-- you're actually the size of a lemon, and your brain is starting to develop all its creases and folds. It has been so fun for your dad and I to follow along with your development in the fetal growth book we bought. (He is very strict about not wanting to look ahead, but sometimes I sneak peeks when he's not in the room.) The next ultrasound will be very cool, too, because we will find out if you are a boy or girl. I think you are a boy, and your dad and Grandma Joan think you are a girl. We will be ecstatic either way.

We are so excited to meet you and show you all about how cool the world is. We have so many goals for ourselves as parents. We want to raise you to be a confident, independent-minded person, and we want to give you the freedom to be whoever you want to be. But we know there is so much bad in the world, too. We have been working for years to prepare for you, little Bean, and to orient our lives in a way that will allow us to raise you in the most healthy, wholesome and fulfilling ways we know. Sometimes it feels like a long uphill climb, but knowing you are coming into our lives has made me all the more aware of how important it is to live a good and ethical life. I'll be writing some future posts about things that have influenced our thinking on this, and maybe someday it will help you understand why we chose all the things we did.

We can't wait to see what you have to teach us, too. So keep up the good work, little Bean! We'll check back in on you soon.