Wednesday, July 13, 2011

What we want for you…

There’s a passage in my daughter’s Baby Book that is headed ‘What we want for you in this world’. It’s still blank because there’s so many things we want for her that I haven’t been able to articulate them.

I want Millie to grow up in a world where she has choices. A world that is free from poverty and disease. A world where she feels she can make a difference. Heady stuff. She’s already got a great start on this. She was lucky enough to be born in Australia, a first world country with many things. Federally funded health care. Work equality. Freedom to speak her mind. The freedom to make choices about birth control. Running water in her house. A non leaky roof over her head. Parents that love her. Freedom to marry whom she chooses, for love is all you need. Wait one minute.

Before I jump on in, let me begin this by telling you that I am married. And when we married last October, the non-removable part of our vows was along the lines of ‘In Australia, The Marriage Act defines marriage as the union between a man and a woman.’ Because right now that is how our country defines marriage.

Now let’s rewind a bit. The big issue when my baby boomer mother was in her formative years was women’s rights and equality. The big issue when I was growing up was homosexuality. In my household it was no big deal. We spoke about it and my parents went to pains to make sure my siblings and I knew it was okay. I vividly recall a conversation between early teenaged me and my father - ‘What do you mean he’s gay?’ ‘Yep. He’s gay.’ ‘Oh. So <insert name here>’s his boyfriend then?’ ‘Yep.’ ‘Huh.’ And that was it.

It wasn’t like that for a lot of people, and when I was growing up to be called homosexual was still an insult. I can’t imagine that in many schools today that it’s still an insult and for this I rejoice.

It never occurred to me until years later that same sex couples were not allowed to marry. I’m proud that Millie will grow up in such a household where homosexuality is not a big deal. We may not speak about it, because it’s not a big deal.

Back to marriage. I cannot buy into the idea that same sex marriage devalues a traditional marriage. I cannot understand it. Why, on some level, are we still comparing ourselves as superior to others? It’s like saying African Americans can’t patronise the same bar as Caucasian people. Or saying Aboriginal Australians can’t vote. Thankfully we don’t advocate these backward ideals anymore.

I’m constantly avoiding arguments about same sex marriage within social & traditional media because I can’t believe it’s an issue. I don’t care if couples of the same sex get married. I simply don’t. I care that they can’t make a choice to, because I love the country that we live in and part of that love of our free country is the choices you can make.

Vegemite or Promite? (As if that’s a question anyway. Vegemite always wins.)
Buy a house or rent?
Have more children or only one?
Go to work or stay at home?
Regular unleaded or premium petrol?
Openly practice a religion or state your atheism?

These are very basic choices. Followed on by a choice that only straight couples can make… to marry or live in a de facto relationship?

I’m baffled by the time and energy expended by both non religious and religious folk in making sure the government decision for same sex couples to marry will be still a ways away yet. I’d like to know why other’s decision to marry offends your sensibilities. How does another’s expression of love change your expression of love? If it helps, my husband and I are not religious. We got married. And I was pregnant when we did. Does that offend your sensibilities? Why? What does it make you feel about yourself?

I hope we live in a time where my daughter grows up and feels confident about stating her sexuality and is able to marry whomever she chooses. And that should she choose to marry, she will not be applauded or made an example of, because I wish for anyone’s decision to marry to be a joyful one that can happen any day, to anybody.

That is what I wish for my daughter. Choice.

(There’s information over here, but the best way you can help is to talk about it. Start conversations and talk away.)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

From the kitchen…

This is Chris. He lives in the paddock directly behind my house. I’m often startled by his intense staring into our windows as we are down the slope from his paddock. It’s not that he’s rude about it, it’s more that one never really expects a massive horse to be peering in your windows.

He belongs to my neighbour’s grandson and is living out his golden years munching on grass and staring into my house. Until I found out otherwise I called him Javier, because that’s an appropriate horse name for a noble steed his size. Then my neighbour said ‘Chris the ‘orse’ and my romantic visions of a Proud Stallion were replaced with those of a Standard Country Horse. Chris is a gentle soul who adores rubs and carrots. I’m surprised the boundary fence has held up to his crushing weight as he leans into it to nibble on that elusive blade of grass ever far away from his paddock. He and Lucy often have little love stares at each other through the spare room window, and I can’t bring myself to tell one the actual size of the other. Love, huh?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

This is the face…

That keeps me up all night. I hear you saying ’Well duh Amy. Of course a baby will keep you up all night.’
And it’s true. But not with her sleep resistance, all singing, all dancing tap routines. She keeps me awake with her SLEEPING.
Rustle rustle. Snuffle. Snort. Fart. Rustle rustle. Sigh. Snuffle. Poo. Lather, rinse and repeat.
Since 5ish weeks she’s been a champion nighttime sleeper.* We got with the program at around 10 weeks and started putting her to bed by 7.30pm instead of 8.45. Then we tried for 7pm. I almost threw the towel in because my beautiful 7-9hr stretches baby suddenly went to 5-6 hours. And when you go to bed 3 hours after your baby, that’s not a lot of sleep. But we persisted and now she’s regularly sleeping 7-9hours at a time again.
But I digress. My fellow Mummy friends tell me that Oxytocin is the most wonderful natural hormone ever.
‘I just go straight back to sleep, it’s GREAT.’ says one.
‘I never woke up for the baby, my husband would bring them over to me.’ says my mother in law.
Not I. I toss and turn. Too hot. Too cold. What should I do tomorrow? I’m so tired. Why am I not asleep? WHY AM I NOT ASLEEP? Alternated with WHY AM I AWAKE ALREADY? THE BABY IS NOT AWAKE!
After the 3am feed Andy rolls on back to sleep with nary a sigh** and Millie snuffles for about 5 minutes before carrying on with her snoring. I look at the clock.
I took myself to the local naturopathic shop yesterday and they were reluctant to give me something to knock me out prescribe anything for fear I ‘wouldn’t hear my baby in the night’. That’s precisely what I want.
Until then I lie in bed with the bags under my eyes getting progressively bigger whilst listening to the two people I love the most in the world sleeping peacefully.

*before you murder me, you need to know that Millie is strictly anti-daytime sleep. I swear she whispered in my ear yesterday ‘Day sleeps are for losers Mum, and I’m so cool I’m ice cold.’

** I can trade this off by the giant sized strong cup of coffee he brings to my bedside whilst I feed Millie first thing in the morning. I will keep him.

(If you’ve read to the end I need to confess. I wrote this last night, then had a cup of herbal tea from the naturopathy shop w/two ibuprofen and took myself to bed. M slept from 7-4.45 and I slept from 9.30-4.30. Thank god.)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

So… hey.

Where did my new (not so) tiny baby go? Who is this big girl? I can’t believe you’re 14 weeks old now.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Legs Eleven! Legs Eleven!

Eleven years ago a gorgeous man took me out to dinner. He didn’t tell me where, so I wore jeans. He wore a suit and tied his hair back to meet my father. Who didn’t show him the gun rack.*

He took me to the fanciest restaurant in town and kissed me goodnight on the front path of my parent’s house.

Ten years later I married him. Eleven years later we have a daughter.

Happy First Date-iversary Andrew. I wouldn’t change a single thing.**

*There was no gun rack. Andrew just feared there was.

**Okay, a tiny lie. I would have dressed up more.

(photograph by Matthew Tighe)


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