Archive for November, 2009


ABMM in the news

Dana Rudolph, of Mombian (“Sustenance for lesbian moms”), has written a couple of great reviews as And Baby Makes More: Known Donors, Queer Parents and Our Unexpected Families, one on her own site and one for Bay Windows, New England’s largest LGBT newspapers. In sum:

From Mombian: “Bottom line: Go buy this book, along with Who’s Your Daddy?. Both are the kind of rich explorations of LGBTQ parenting we need more of today.”

From Bay Windows: “And Baby Makes More is a thoughtful, funny, and poignant volume about the variety of ways we define families today. [Coeditor Chloë Brushwood] Rose explains, “Our family is an ongoing experiment in making words and experiences line up, in finding new words, in learning how to talk.” And Baby Makes More offers other queer families a beginning grammar to continue the conversation.”


Thunder Bay launch: And Baby Makes More…

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Calling all T’Bay locals: Join us for the launch of And Baby Makes More: Known Donors, Queer Parents and Our Unexpected Families

Edited by me, and Chloë Brushwood Rose ~ Published by Insomniac Press, 2009 ~ Hosted by the Northern Woman’s Bookstore and Calico Coffeehouse

When: Sunday, November 22, 2009, 7 PM-9 PM
Where: Calico Coffeehouse, 316 Bay St.

About the book: And Baby Makes More pushes at the boundaries of current family conceptions. This quirky, funny, and occasionally heartbreaking collection of personal essays offers a front-row view into the relative risks and unexpected rewards of queer, do-it-yourself baby-making, and the ways in which families themselves are re-made in the process. The authors — donors, biological and non-bio parents, and their children — offer provocative, nuanced insights into what it means to be or use a known donor — and how queer families are being reconceived to include new roles, new rules, and, sometimes, more than two parents. For more information, and to read excerpts, please visit the Insomniac Press website.

Can’t make it? Copies are available at the Northern Woman’s Bookstore, Chapters.ca, Amazon.ca, Insomniac Press, or your local independent bookstore.


Mama has a brand-new book

HINI enough for you?

Sorry, couldn’t resist.

We’ve all had our plague over at this end: Rowan came home from a class trip to the play farm exhausted and lethargic and put himself to bed for two days. Rachel coughed approximately twice. Isaac was feverish and snotty and sleepy for a week. As for me, I developed a sudden-onset hacking cough and low-grade fever right on the tail end of the Great, Never-Ending Sinus Infection of 2009. In a fit of denial, I ushered myself into my GP’s office so that she could “rule out bronchitis.” Because, me? I don’t get the flu. The flu is for mere mortals who ACTUALLY LEAVE THEIR HOUSES. Which I, as a self-employed, home-office–based freelancer, prefer not to do. I was genuinely surprised when my doctor showed up in the examining room decked out in a hazmat suit and took my temperature and blood oxygen levels and then handed me a prescription for Tamiflu and a requisition for a chest x-ray. And a mask. I looked at the little blue piece of paper in my hand.

“You mean, like, a chest x-ray in the next few days? Like if things get bad?”

“No,” she said, looking at me as though the flu had affected my brain. Which maybe it had. “I mean a chest x-ray now. Your lungs don’t sound too good.”

I keep forgetting I have children, I guess. Children who are snotty germ magnets. Children who insist upon drinking from your water bottle and licking your cheek and coughing into your face. Children who are only just becoming adept at handwashing and coughing into their elbows. Children who go to school with other children and pick up all their germs. Before I had children, I rarely got sick. But Rowan’s birth seemed to usher in the Age of the Antibiotic, and Isaac’s arrival did nothing to stop it. Life with children seems to be a series of steppingstones from one prescription to the next: bronchitis, ear infections, pinkeye, strep. It’s a wonder we get anything done around here.

And yet, we do. I’d complain more (okay, maybe that would be difficult, but shut up) about the constant sickness, not to mention the other zillion parental things that take up vast swaths of my time and energy, except for the fact that I can’t argue that the children have somehow made me less productive. In the era BC (Before Children), when I — in theory — had all the time in the world to write, I didn’t seem to. But the Age of the Antibiotic seems to have had the side effect of writerly productivity: the novel pages are adding up, a slow series of essays have been accepted (and more than a few rejected), not to mention this blog, which wouldn’t exist without the kids. (Or, if it did, it would be kind of creepy.)

And neither would this book.

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Yes, it’s in (Canadian) stores now, and will be in the US come the spring. And, last weekend, Rachel, Rowan, Isaac and I had sufficiently recovered from our viral invasion to get on a plane and fly to Toronto for the official launch of  And Baby Makes More: Known Donors, Queer Parents and Our Unexpected Families.

I’m so glad we did. You know, I spent a lot of my 20s regularly visiting the Toronto Women’s Bookstore — a must for a downtown-dwelling women’s studies major, really. So it was a singular thrill to see my own anthology launched there. As it was to meet for the first time so many of the contributors to the anthology: Mary Bowers (who drove in all the way from Chicago), Annemarie Shrouder, Carrie Elizabeth Wildman, Shira Spector, Dawn Whitwell, Torsten Bernhardt, Marcie Gibson, Erin Sandilands, Jake Szamosi. And some of their kids. Mary and Annemarie brought the house down with fantastic readings. My doting father took lots of pictures.

 
Mary Bowers, reading from "The D Word"

Mary Bowers, reading from "The D Word"

Annemarie Shrouder, reading from "After Yes"

Annemarie Shrouder, reading from "After Yes"

My coeditor, Chloë Brushwood Rose
My coeditor, Chloë Brushwood Rose

And Rachel (who also has an essay in the book, by the way; all you non-bio moms in particular might want to take a look) brought the kids. We were a little concerned that a book launch wasn’t necessarily the best venue for them, but they held their own just fine. Rowan took good advantage of the cookies and juice, capitalizing on the fact that there was little we could do to stop him from availing himself of a sixth Oreo in the middle of someone’s reading. At one point during my reading I looked up, and he had walked down the middle of the aisle to watch me. He stood, smiling, ten feet away, as I told the story of the events and the people leading up to his conception and birth, the complicated and exquisite love that brought him and his brother into the world and that surrounds their lives. He looked at me, smiling, and I looked at him and smiled back as I read, and then, when I looked up again, he had gone, in all likelihood back to the cookie table. 

Me, reading from "Mamas' baby, Papa's maybe"
Me, reading from “Mamas’ baby, Papa’s maybe”

“Susan’s talking now!” he told Rachel. Later, he asked her, “When Susan was talking, was that from the book she made?” he asked Rachel, later. “Yes, she she was,” she told him. And that night, as I put him to bed, he told me, “Congratulations on your book, mom. It’s nice that you made a book about us. I liked the party.”

And then he coughed. Still, it’s also thrilling to know that he’s beginning to get a glimpse into what exactly it is that I do, and how he and his brother are part of it — germs and all.   

 
 
Post-reading hugs from my boys Post-reading hugs from my boys

New tricks

On November 1, Rowan came downstairs and by way of “good morning” said to me, “Candy.”

And I said, “No problem, buddy!

And then, under the tender and loving eyes of his mothers, he and Isaac proceeded to eat every single piece of Halloween candy in their bags until it was all gone.

Aren’t I a great parent?

The end.

Okay, so it didn’t go quite like that. What I actually said was, “No problem, buddy! Right after you eat breakfast.” And he did: an entire, wholesome, bowl of organic oatmeal with applesauce and plain yogurt.

And then, we brought out the candy bags. And The Wild Rumpus began.

Okay, so I should mention that the candy bags were heavily edited: the previous evening, Rachel and I had already gone through the kids’ stash and got rid of some of the particularly egregious stuff — the lollipops and Tootsie Rolls and anything else that we’d need to scrape off their teeth with a chisel. We even managed to recycle some of it immediately back out to the last few rounds of trick-or-treaters before closing up shop for the night.

But that did not seem to hamper Rowan’s spirits in the slightest. He commenced a highly ritualized Sunday service at the Church of Candy, sorting, eating, distributing and rhapsodizing about sugar, aided by Isaac, who seemed primarily interested in transferring Smarties from one tiny box into another. Rachel and I gladly accepted any and all offers of shared treats — and they were surprisingly forthcoming — shoving Nibs and mini Coffee Crisps and Twizzlers into our pockets, to be disposed of later. When Rowan went upstairs to the washroom, Rachel stood guard while I thinned out his stash yet again. But even with our subterfuge, I’m guessing he still ate upwards of two dozen individually packaged treats. At minimum.

And you know what? He was fine. He didn’t get a stomachache. He didn’t throw up. He didn’t wind himself up into a sugar-fuelled, maniacal tyrant. He just ate and ate and ate, and then he put away some of the candy, and then he went back to it, and then he went swimming, and then he came home and ate the rest, and then it was done, and then we never, ever had to negotiate with him about the candy ever again. It’s gone.

Which leaves me wondering: just what else can I let go?