Monthly Archives: March 2012

Paying for Childcare

This article at Kindred Community raises a question I’ve wanted to know the answer to since forever (emphasis mine):

Our society needs to recognise the far-reaching developmental importance of breastfeeding and close, responsive mother-infant relationships in the early years, along with the close involvement of fathers, and aim to create social settings that facilitate and support them. If we are going to pay for quality infant care, why not support mothers to do it? Infancy cannot be re-run later.

Why would the government be willing to pay strangers to watch a baby but not the mother? It has always struck me as a punishment for poor people who dared to reproduce when they “couldn’t afford it.”

The underlying attitude of the family-values-right-wing policy makers has always sounded to me like: “Stupid poor people, having offspring in accordance with their animal urges. They’re just lazy and trying to get out of work! We’ll show them. You get a couple weeks off and that’s it! Back to the factory! Pop out another one and see what happens!”

I’ve always been violently disturbed by the fact that we in our supposedly civilized society allow conditions under which people “cannot afford” children. I believe that children are the only true wealth, insurance policy and retirement plan.

I’m not saying people should have to have children. I believe it should be entirely optional. If a person would rather completely dedicate themselves to a career, hoard money, invest in an IRA account, buy property and make investments, that’s one way to shore up resources for the future.

But when you’re old and you slip on one of your wads of cash and fall and break your hip in the middle of your castle, who’s going to come wipe your wrinkly butt and spoonfeed your shriveled mouth? Oh right, you’re going to hire a stranger to do that. That’s much more pleasant that having someone you love, who actually cares about you, treating you tenderly.


And shouldn’t a baby have the same courtesy, of having the person they love and need more than anyone else in the world be the person who wipes their cheruby bum and nurses them lovingly at the breast?

But if you can’t afford such an idyllic life, then forget it. Park the kid at the licensed facility and punch that time card, or you’ll be under a bridge faster than you can say, “Subsidized childcare.”


A Trip to the Dentist

So Gwen (almost 3) got some happy juice to help her cooperate with the dentist while he filled a couple of cavities. She was loopy as all get out and didn’t squirm or make a peep.

When we got home she couldn’t even walk and was laughing at everything. I’ve never seen a small child wasted before, but I admit I was a little jealous that it was only 9:30 in the a.m. and she was already feeling so good, and I hadn’t even had a chance to have my second cup of coffee.

And the worst part? It’s some kind of memory eraser so if the dental work ends up being traumatic, they will never remember. So all her loop-de-loo fun with me and Rose (her 19 year old sister) this morning was wiped clean.

Good times.

Thoughts on Hand Quilting

My grandmother-in-law pays a lady to finish her quilt for her. She’s earned it — she’s been sewing and crafting forever, and there’s a point where, hey, I did the quilt top, the rest is really monkey work and why should I be bothered when I can help support the local economy and get on to the next creative project?

She’s also done so many amazing projects in her time that she is lightyears away from feeling that she has to prove her abilities.

But for me, I still feel like I have to do the whole thing myself, from picking out the pattern to presenting the final product. I’ve only done about 7 quilts (one of them was a baby quilt that I hand sewed completely, having no machine at the time) so I still want to prove to myself that I can do it all.

I was going to try machine quilting this one (which I’ve only ever done once before) but then I realized I was supposed to buy a special foot, and I was supposed to roll it and reroll it and all kinds of craziness so that it would work out okay.

So far I’ve already ripped out an entire row because it was too bunchy.

But sitting there with needle and thread, taking tiny steps along an immense path toward the destination, there is something awesome about it. Every show I watch or music I listen to or conversation I have somehow gets stitched into the blanket, and my life becomes part of the life of the recipient.

One of these days it will be done, the weight of three (four?) years of working on the project will be lifted off my shoulders, and I can start something new.

A Child’s Disappointment

I say child, but she’ll be 20 years old in a couple of months.

After waiting FORVER to find out if she got into the nursing program, she got a notice saying that she is on the alternate list.

At my age, with my level of experience, that isn’t bad news. It isn’t the good news she wanted, but I don’t think she realizes how often people drop out, leave town, take a job, get married, or whatever other life-changing event comes along and poof! you’re in.

I don’t want to get her hopes up again too much by saying all of that. I understand that she feels crushed, and she just wanted to know what the hell is going on in her life. That would be pretty comforting, and I can see having the school say, “Maybe…” again is not at all encouraging. Waiting some more is not at all fun or helpful.

But they didn’t say no, so that’s not completely terrible.

It’s hard to watch her go through all this. I want life for my children to be a satisfying challenge with a happy ending. I know we all learn from heartbreak, disappointment, that when one door closes another one opens, etc. etc.

But this is my baby we’re talking about!


Portrait of Life

If I had to describe what life looks like, I can’t think of a better image than the bright fresh vibrant green of spring leaves shining in the sun with the immense dark promise of rain in the background.

Baby Birch in Spring

Unless maybe it’s the same scene with cherry blossoms:


There’s something seriously magical about plants volunteering in the garden. Especially when you kinda recognize them, but they could be any number of varieties, such as this little guy volunteering in the middle of my row of carrots, who looks like some kind of squash… but is he a pumpkin? A spaghetti squash? A zucchini?

Some of his pals are in my row of chard seeds.

What a delicious mystery!

New Tattoo

Here’s the tattoo I got last night (on my forearm, in case you can’t tell which hunk of flesh that is in the close up):

It’s never going to be in anyone’s top 100 favorite tattoos, but it specifically is not for anyone else, so that’s fine with me. The sun is more in the “folk art” style than I’d imagined, but since this is fresh, maybe it will fade and blend to be more like a sunset glow.

I like having the road coming off from the side rather than straight ahead as I’d sketched it, because now I feel like I have a choice to get on the freeway or not. It feels more like an onramp I can take rather than just being constantly on the road. She had some nice curvy ones sketched up but it’s supposed to be a freeway so I had to keep it straight.

I really wanted the sunset because it reminds me of the trip in which I realized how sharply my enthusiastic response to freeway driving contrasts with my pathetic panic in regards to every other challenge I encounter in life. It reminds me of when Gwen and I were flying home and after we took off, I could see the sun setting over the Pacific, and I could see “my homeland,” so to speak, fading in the distance. I was saying goodbye yet again to my Grandma and my past.

In addition to a reminder of real things, I feel like it also has a lot of symbolism. All roads lead off into the sunset of death. The trip will be beautiful, but it’s all gonna end.

But the whole journey of life can have the stamp of the Nimitz Freeway/Interstate 880 on it and the fearless enthusiasm it inspires in me, if I can just change my attitude and perception.