This is Jack, who rolled out of bed at 4 a.m. ready to party.
Okay, maybe that's not entirely accurate. He screamed from his crib at 4 a.m., so I ran out of bed (like a bear runs, a bear who cusses a lot) and snatched him before he woke up Harry. Only I was too late, and Harry popped up from the mound of blankets in his fire truck (where he now sleeps with a huge brown teddy bear he named Noah) and said, "I'm not tired."
"Yes you are," I growled, and he laid back down.
Jack, though, came back to our bed. He is not a good cosleeper. Not at all. Every time I drifted back to sleep, he cracked me in the head with his head, or rolled feet first over the side of the bed, or broke into hysterical cries for DADA! He eventually crawled across my face to Ben's side of the bed and snuggled up with him and snored. Ben and I finally closed our eyes and fell asleep only to be awakened by my alarm four minutes later.
I was really annoyed from the second I brought Jack in. Yesterday morning, Harry sprang out of bed at 5 a.m. and woke everybody the hell up and cried like a crazy man when we made him go back in his bed, which made Jack shriek in his crib, and Ben and I laid resolutely under the covers pretending to be immune to the noise until 6 to prove a point which is a really stupid thing to when the people you want to show up are 22 months and 3.5 years. So this morning, I practiced my deep breathing techniques.
(The ones I learned from the nice therapist I saw when I lost my shit after Jack was born, and it seemed like a good time to dust off these techniques because I could feel my shit slipping away again as I laid there awake at such an unholy hour. This worked okay until Ben wagged his finger at me while we were both crammed in the bathroom getting ready shoulder to shoulder because Jack was still snoring it up in our bed and said I shouldn't get so tense about sleep. I screamed at him that of course I know that already or I wouldn't have been doing relaxation breathing! He looked at my sweaty red face with an eyebrow cocked as if to say "yeah, that's working out real good for you, huh?")
I tried to remind myself that this extra ninety minutes of cuddle time with my thrashing, screamy toddler who did not want any covers on himself and did not seem to want us to use blankets either even though the bed is right next to a wide open window (cracked open, really-- we like a cold bedroom, what can I say? Also we are very wasteful.) was a special treat-- the gift of time to enjoy my fragrant baby, who gets bigger every day. I inhaled his sweet hair and kissed his fat fingers when they slapped my face again and again and again with surprising force. I counted five breaths in, held my breath for a count of four, and blew out six breaths. I did this 100 times, until I could feel myself relaxing, but it was hard to unclench my jaw and believe the bill of goods I tried to sell myself.
I know that I will spend very little of my life as the mother of a small child. These stubby toes and curved cheeks and tiny, urine scented bodies will not always be pressed against me in the dark. I have year and years to sleep late and sleep soundly all night long. But shit, I'm tired.
Who's not tired? Mr. Freaking Bright Eyes at 5:45. Although maybe he is because he seems to have some under eye shadows. Which could be fixed with MORE SLEEP. Also, Benefit Eye Bright is not too bad.
Woo-hoo! Diaper change!
Corrine wrote a lovely post about looking back on awful days and seeing that they were actually beautiful. With her words in mind, I took some pictures of Harry and Jack playing yesterday morning because they looked cute in their winter sweaters that we're trying to wear as much as possible before spring sneaks up on us and renders their wardrobes unwearable.
Jack needed a break mid-change to read a few books. Look at his long baby legs.
I love Harry's blurry hand-- he's never quite holding still.
I wish could describe the noise that comes out of this thing.
I am giving a talk at the law school next week, and I need to work on it, or else I am just going to walk up to the front of the room and stand silently for 45 minutes, which would be some nifty performance art, but wouldn't say a lot about race and reproductive rights in the 20th century. I am a little nervous because the subject of the talk (not chosen by me--that's what the group asked me to speak about) corresponds to the chapter of my dissertation that my committee liked the least. Also? They want to know about history, and I am going to tell them about rhetoric, a distinction I often had trouble maintaining in my text.
In addition to the Planned Parenthood documents I use in my diss, I am also going to talk about some letters Margaret Sanger received from desperate women in the December 1917 Birth Control Review because they are so heart rending. Like this one:
"I'm a poor married woman in great trouble and I'm writing to you for help. I was married in June 1915, and I have two children little boy 21 mon. & a girl 4 mon. and I will be only 17 years old this month and Im nearly crazy for when my husband finds out that Im going to have another baby he will beat the life out of me."
The point I want to make is that when you are talking about birth control, the notion of "control" is never cut and dried. While it is true that racist, classist, and eugenicist ideology permeated the national birth control movement since its inception, it is also true that women of all races WANTED to know how to control their fertility. I feel like because we are so used to the modern reproductive rights movement (which is just a nice name for the abortion debate), we don't always think about how we got here and the kinds of rhetorical parallels that exist between birth control at the turn of the last century and reproductive rights today. Desire for access is still, I think, a unifying theme. Feminists in the 1920s were also saying the same kinds of things about women's roles and the role of the economy in shaping reproductive choices that anti feminists (or at least really conservative feminists) say today, which is another similarity I want to highlight. My students this semester think Margaret Sanger was the (racist, classist) devil, and I want to offer a more nuanced reading of her activism, too. There were important ways in which eugenics helped credential women as mothers (although the ideology could never be feminist because women were, at the end of the day, just around for breeding) and Sanger's partnering with eugenic interests was about more than racism and shrewd politics (but it was about those things as well, of course).
Cool. I'm going to get to work while my coffee buzz lingers.