September 2007



I haven’t talked much here about the story of Emma’s birth. It was the most affirming and powerful experience Mike and I have ever had and also the most disappointing and enraging. The positive parts of the experience for us came in spite of the way the medical establishment treated us and the whole thing has made us wonder what we will do if there is a next time.

Which brings me to a movie I am very interested in seeing – “The Business of Being Born”. The movie reportedly looks at the process of birth in our country and how, in spite of it being a natural part of life, it is also a business. Ricki Lake, whose home birth is the focus of the film, discusses in this clip that the film isn’t about everyone having a home birth, or hating hospitals, but it is about women being respected enough to be given a choice in their birth process and being educated enough to make that choice. Sounds good to me.

The international premiere is September 30 at the Zurich Film Festival and according to the film’s website it will be screening in the DC area at the Arlington Cinema and Draft House, the Washington Ethical Society, The Family Room and the Thurgood Marshall Center. Check this list for screenings across the country. In November you can rent it from Netflix and the DVD will be released in March of 2008.

Just watching the excerpts from the film on the website made me tearful. If you have ever given birth, think you might ever give birth, or know anyone who has ever given birth you should see this movie.

ArrivalEmma’s teeth have finally arrived!!! We had a rough weekend, but the teeth are here. Pretty much every symptom of teething you can think of, Emma had. The drooling has not slowed down though, leading me to think there might be a few more pearly whites where these came from.

Meeting the SenatorOh and also, Emma met Barack Obama! And she definitely did NOT burst into tears when everyone around us started cheering and screaming. And he did NOT look at me and saw “awww!”.

Poppy and EmmaOh and also, Emma got to hang out with her Poppy – who looks an awful lot like that Captain K2 guy. Which would be cool. To have a pirate for a grandpa.

I have a question for the more seasoned parents out there. What exactly are the rules of etiquette for the park? I have many years of dog-park experience under my belt, so I thought I would be fine at the kid-park once the time came. I find that is not the case.

My experience at the dog-park is that most owners tend to be extremely friendly, happy to make eye contact and say hi, if not strike up a conversation. In fact, there have been times when I have NOT gone to the dog-park because I didn’t feel like being sociable. This, however, is not my experience at the kid-park. When I go to the kid-park there are usually groups of parents talking amongst themselves and I am never sure how to break in and say hi. So Emma and I do our thing – usually swinging – and go home.

Really, Emma is really still a little young for the park. She can only truly enjoy the swings right now, although she is starting to dig the little slide, as long as I hold her while she goes down it. So, maybe as she gets older and can appreciate the park a little more, we will start to meet and hang out with parents whose kids are Emma’s age?

Am I going about this the wrong way maybe? Is this more like junior high than I wanted to think? Am I supposed to actually be IGNORING all of the other parents thereby solidifying that I am, in fact, one of the cool kids? I wasn’t any good at that in junior high either.

Or, is breaking into the whole kid-park culture more difficult than I had originally anticipated? Am I doomed to a life on the periphery – watching all the other parents become BFF’s?

Any insight from anyone would be appreciated.

Emma and her teeth are NOT getting along.

Back when she was a wee thing at about 4 months she started producing so much drool that we considered building a small dam as protection for those of us who had to live with her. Around the same time she had moments where she was less than cheery and would grab her mouth while screaming. “Oh, she’s teething” we said.

Then once, at about six months, she screamed for two hours straight. A bloodcurdling scream that was accompanied by frantic pulling at her mouth. Around the same time she had a terrible diaper rash. “Oh, oh, NOW she’s teething” we said.

For the last few nights, she has woken up whimpering. The whimper eventually develops into a full blown cry, requiring parental intervention, and usually a hearty dose of tylenol. “Here we go, now she is REALLY teething” we have said.

Back when she was four or five months old and I talked to the pediatrician about the whole teething thing, I was told “Nope, research says they only feel pain from teeth for a few hours, when the tooth is actually erupting.” Uh huh.

So here is what I know about teeth, teething and my daughter:

  • I hate teeth. I have always hated teeth. I had 16 of mine extracted when I was a kid and ever since have avoided the dentist like the plague. Just thinking about it makes my jaw twitch. (please no lectures about the importance of the dentist…yadda yadda yadda. I go, I go, but there is not much else in my life I hate more. Except George Bush.)
  • The impending appearance of her mandibular central incisors has been causing Emma huge amounts of pain. The pain hasn’t been for a few hours, it has been for a few months. There is no study in the world that could make me think otherwise. I know my daughter and I know that for about 6 months now she has battled an evil worse than Frodo and Sam ever faced.
  • All kids are different. I once spent the afternoon with a friend and her 8 month old twins who were perfectly delightful and unfussy. She wrote me that night to say that one of the twins “got her first tooth” when they got home. At the time I was still in the “All kids are the same” stage and thought that I was making up the things I was seeing her do. Now that I am getting to know her a little better, I can say with confidence that she was and is, in PAIN.

I don’t know when these suckers are going to make an appearance. Once they do, I can only hope that the ones that come after are less painful. Otherwise it’s going to be a long few years.

Learning about leaves
This weekend my sister Emily came down from NYC to visit. We had a family dinner at our house on Saturday night and spent most of the day on Saturday preparing for it. I worked in the kitchen preparing dinner for that night and watched Emily and Emma hanging out in the backyard. They spent two hours exploring the yard and getting to know each other. Then Emma’s Aunt Jocelyn came over and the three of them hung out while I finished getting ready for the party.

It was sort of a surprise to feel so completely content as I chopped onions and watched Emily and Emma play. Maybe this is what being a grown-up is – finding peace and happiness in the quiet in-between moments of everyday life. I looked out the kitchen window at the two Em’s, took a deep breath and wished the moment would never end.

Thanks for coming down Emily – we miss you already!

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