Monday, April 12, 2010

Wit's End

On my birthday (back in February), J's parents and Pop-Pop came over for dinner. We ordered burritos (have I mentioned that every time they come over on a weeknight, we're ordering take-out? Dead-beat daughter-in-law, I know.)

That night we talked pretty openly about parenting. I love these conversations with J's mom and dad. I adore how thoughtful they are about parenting and parent-child relationships. Sure, everyone makes mistakes; but they have certain convictions that I agree with today. It certainly helps that they are delightfully liberal, loving people; when we have conversations like this, I get the distinct feeling that though they had their babies 30+ years ago, the chasm that separate the generations is not so vast.

I wish I could say the same for my side of the family. Sometimes? When I talk to my mom? I feel like we were raised on different planets, and that no matter how delicately I phrase things, we'll never cross that divide.

I have always been fiercely independent. I suppose that's putting it mildly. The bottom line is: I trust myself. I trust that I know what is right for me, and what is wrong for me. With my advancing years, I've also learned to forgive myself. Sometimes I make bad decisions. I choose to learn from those mistakes. I never blame anyone else for them (well, sometimes these days I'll blame J when I forget something that he never reminded me to do, but that's totally justified. PREGNANCY BRAIN, y'all. Do not fuck with it.)

J and I make a lot of choices that, I think, confound people. Like, we get on our sustainability high horse, and we talk about our decision to eat organically. To buy organic items for our Ninja. To use low VOC paints in the Ninja nursery. To use - wait for it - cloth diapers.

There is not one, single solitary person that I have spoken with that understands our decision to use cloth diapers. Most people wrinkle their noses and tell us we are nuts. That we'll change our minds.

And other than my mild exasperation at this thinking, I suppose what confounds people the most about us? Is that most of the time, we just don't care what other people think. We make decisions that work best for our family. And we make them together. We talk through them. And when our decisions feel good, we feel good; and then we hold hands while we walk down the street and giggle at our good fortune in this life. Seriously, we are pretty happy people. Why you tryin' to bring us down?

I just wonder... on the cusp of parenthood... if you had one wish for your children - what would that be?

I ask myself that question everyday, and I always come back to this. I want the Ninja to be sublimely happy in life.

If that means that the Ninja needs to move to Equador to build orphanages, and J and I only see him/her once a year? That's what it means, y'all. That doesn't mean that we don't secretly want the Ninja to live next door to us for the rest of our lives, but we want our baby to do what makes him/her happy (you know, as long as that is not selling meth from a trailer park, or serial killing).

So since I am no meth-dealing, serial killer living in a trailer park, and am sublimely happy most of the time, I wonder... why isn't the one who raised me happy for me? Why isn't she somewhere sighing with contentment that she raised a daughter who is confident and clear-headed (except for the pregnancy brain)?

I wonder.

11 comments:

Sarah Mahalo said...

here, here!

I'm scared of cloth dipes. But interested. I think I need to know more.

Homevalley said...

I re-read this a lot to remind myself that I can do it:

http://www.alphamom.com/smackdown/2009/03/cloth_diapering_101.php#more

There is also a lot of great pregnancy/baby advice on the site too!

Homevalley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

first time parents are so cute. cloth diapers ? and how long do you think you will be able to do this ? (not as long as you think) there are dreams and then there is reality. ya made me smile though. so cute.

Koos said...

You will be able to do it. My sister used cloth diapers with her TWINS I think. Not for too long, but she was hopping from west to east coast and back again, so that is pretty understandable.
I think its great. And when my two children are still in their diapers and Ninja is potty trained, I will be super jealous and stealing your diapers!

Meaghan said...

We decided before our first child was born that all we wanted for him was that he grew up to be happy and kind. When he turned 2 1/2, he started saying "I'm not happy" in a pathetic voice- mostly when he was trying to get something on the forbidden end of the spectrum. Oops. So now my wish for him (and my daughter) is that they will be kind, and that they will have the ability to find and embrace happiness in their lives. (Btw: my response to "I'm not happy"? My job is to keep you healthy and safe. I can not make you happy- only you can.)

Homevalley said...

Oh, Anon. You are a gem, which is why you comment anonymously. You'd be wise to realize that first-time moms need support and encouragement, not smug condescension. Good day to you.

Meaghan - I love that last line! So true.

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Anonymous said...

Myself and siblings were all raised on cloth diapers and we are the same age range as you guys...keep in mind that in the grand scheme of things cloth and disposable diapers work exactly the same way. They carry poop to its final destination, toilet or landfill...with that being said, it is not like a disposable diaper limits any exposure to the great baby-goo, and plus they sit in those little towers and that whole mess just scares me...

I support the cloth diaper move, you really just understand that there is nothing to fear but pooh itself. However, I can tell you that cloth diapers will not make your baby liberal and it will not make them rush off to rebuild the third world...it will lower your baby budget though, while slightly increasing your water bill.

All I can say is congrats, buck the trend and do what you like, handle the pooh personally. I personally don't understand the disposable benefit really, outside of lazy America and their lack of really looking in to the truth of the alternative, but who am I to judge.

Allie said...

i think u guys are great and are already great parents!!! i love the cloth diapers, donna used them on 4 kids and all went well!

KB said...

If you care about cloth diapers, do it. You might invest in a service for them though in case you don't like it or it irritates the Ninja's skin or the poop burns your hand off. There are a billion, million experienced mothers out there who are going to tell you they know better and judge you for it (that's right, I'm looking at you all you people who look down on moms who either work or stay home, breast or bottle feed, depending on your inclination).

Parenthood is far from a one-sized fits all approach so give it a shot so try what interests you. Then go back to you meth lab.

And Anon, you are indeed a gem. Nothing like the internet to bring out the closet judgers.