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living to tell the tale - adventures of a red-headed stepchild in the house of love
mermaid on the mic
living to tell the tale
so, like I said, it's been strange days lately.

today was the first day of spring, as far as I'm concerned. by that I mean that it was the first day that it felt really good to drive around with the windows down, in a tshirt, capris, crocs and no socks, with the disco cranked! aww yeah.

I just wish Allison was around to enjoy it.

of course, this is not the first time I've wished that... the hot choccy party comes to mind, for one thing. there have been other times too.

but somehow it really seemed like if she could have just made it to today that it all would have been ok. the season has truly turned, winter is behind us. like that.

but, of course, as anyone who has been paying the slightest bit of attention is aware (and probably sick of hearing) that ain't never going to happen. homegirl is gone, and all we have left are memories, photos, and a few mementos.


it still just takes some getting used to.

I'm working on it.

though, of course, I still really miss her.


in other news, tonight Jovino took me out to a lovely dinner at La Pinata in Alameda (affectionately known to us as "La P".) we went at prime time, so we had to wait for a table. while hanging out in their rather crowded hallway, we talked to a nice couple who had three (very energetic) children. (though the middle child was on the shy/quiet side.) now, I have no illusions whatsoever about what it takes to raise children, having been drafted as an involuntary au pair by my father and stepmother, back in the '70s. (when I was in 7th grade, they had twins, already having a 4 year old. it was simultaneously as bad as it sounds, unimaginably rewarding, and a learning experience like nobody's business!) one of the things I learned was how much work it is to raise kids, and that I don't want to try that again! (ok, that's two things.)

still, it's been a while, and it's a different experience having it right in your face after so much time.

it was crazy - like if Bruce and Ninjai had a little brother, and all three of them were going out to eat with us. exhausting!

it kinda got me wondering what the deal is with people choosing to have multiple children. I'm probably gonna offend some of my friends here, but I have to say that it seems to me that it's nearly universal that the older child is happy and fine, until younger siblings come along (even when they are not drafted into a childcare role as I was) and then their world is turned around and like as not they become unhappy, competitive, etc. I have seen it again and again.

I have to wonder what is the motivation here? having one kid is hard enough. why upset the balance with a second, third, etc? it's not as if humans are in danger of extinction! (on this tip I have to say, respect to folks like the Jolie-Pitts who adopt, as they are at least doing their best to help out existing kids who need it rather than bringing more and more beings into our overcrowded world. that's kinda like getting rescue cats from the pound, in that if you didn't experience being the Only One, then getting new siblings isn't going to shatter your world because where you came from was worse than where you are right now.)

like I said, I'm sure this train of thought will offend some. then again, this is my blog and that's just how I see it. now, I'm definitely not saying what anyone should or should not do.

my friends have great kids, and I truly love and care about them. I just wonder if I am the only one who sees the toll it takes on the older kids, to have their world shaken up so completely, while they are still pretty young, without some of the skills necessary to deal with such a radical restructuring of reality (not to mention the parents, who struggle with expenses etc trying to take the best possible care of everyone.) So... what's the payoff? Maybe I'm missing something.

ANYway, enough of that.

I'm just about to turn in, having finished pulling CDs for a DJ gig tomorrow. more on that later. I'm really looking forward to this one - it should be an excellent party.

I just wish my homegirl was here to enjoy it.


I'm feeling: none, or other

11 smooches or Gimme Some Love!
From: catwoman69y2k Date: March 3rd, 2007 01:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Im not sure I understand the "need to have a whole tribe" thing either. I mean, kids take alot of time and effort and if you really want to do good in this world by having kids, you should be a responsible parent who raises their kids with your heart not with the TV, iPod, etc. Sadly too many parents do that these days and it makes me wonder why they had kids in the first place if they didnt have the time or energy to devote to something that didnt have a choice about coming into this world anyway.

I cant help that feeling. No offense.
sterlingsf From: sterlingsf Date: March 3rd, 2007 04:21 pm (UTC) (Link)

multi kids

I appreciate your comment about the multiple kids. From the outside, it looks like people who have one kid, and jobs and a relationship with their partner have plenty to handle. When you add a second child into the mix, it gets really crazy. It's also hard on the people who are trying to have a friendship with the people who are multi-parents. I feel like I lose contact with them when they have the first kid, then when the second one comes along, we no longer seem to have much in common. All the life energy goes into the family and there's not much left. It may seem selfish, but I sometimes resent my friends who have kids, becuase I feel I've lost them. It's also frustrating to me when people have badly-monitored children in public (yelling, banging, running) and that's more common when people have more than one. I see the benefit and joy of having kids, and sometimes wish I had gone that way myself, but I also regret the way it's created a split between me and people I used to see more.
luffing From: luffing Date: March 3rd, 2007 05:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hey, I hear you re: the kid thing.
Far as I'm concerned, it's sorta silly to have more than 1 kid, what with the world being so overpopulated and all.

(Well, ok, that's an exaggeration- I can't understand ANYONE wanting to have ANY kids, but I know I"m in a real minority here with my militant "childfree" status, ha)....

Hugs to you, enjoy the spring!!!
robotter From: robotter Date: March 3rd, 2007 06:21 pm (UTC) (Link)

Once upon a time...

...children were born and grew up as part of a tribe. The kids would all spend the day with each other, being watched by all the mothers and fathers. When more kids were born to their biological parents, they didn't notice as much, because they were surrounded by many parents and brothers and sisters.

Obviously, this isn't how things are in the world today. Kids are raised in nuclear families, and it doesn't work as well. I constnatly hear my friends who have strong community and are having kids talk about how lonely and isolated they feel. I also hear them talk about how happy their kids are when they get to play with other kids. That makes me sad. I really like seeing all the different familial configurations that are springing up these days.

I was raised in the ultimate nuclear family: my parents, my brother and me. My mom was an only child, and when I was 3 we left California and her parents to move to Reno. My dad had 8 brothers and sisters, but they all lived on the other side of the world and I never knew them. I know that for myself, growing up as a little freak, my life would have been immeasurably better if I had had an eccentric aunt or weird uncle to show me I wasn't the only one.

This week, there have been a bunch of studies on narcissism in the news. Have you checked out any of those? Interesting stuff.

I'm not sure what the solution is, but clearly we need some vast re-thinking of children, families, motherhood, etc. But that goes along with the re-thinking of much of our society....

One visionary novel that has some great ideas on child-raising: Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercey (Piercy?). It actually has lots of cool ideas about how to create a utopia!

chasbrown From: chasbrown Date: March 3rd, 2007 07:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
I grew up the oldest of 3. My sister said if we have kids, don't have more than 2, so noone has to be the middle child. Everyone has a different opinion about it. We grew up with many of our cousins close by that we saw once a week, and did alot of stuff like scouts and whatnot where we were with other kids all of the time. I don't think I could imagine being an only child. Mom pretty much kicked us out of the house every day so we could go play with the other kids. We were on a long leash and stayed over with other people and friends stayed over all of the time.

I liked being part of some little tribe. When we were growing up, there was of course fighting, figuring out where we belonged in the world, doing stuff together, etc. Now that we're all older, it's really cool. My sibs and I are all really close-- my sister lives near us so we see her pretty often, and if not, we talk on IM quite a bit. Lots of fun. I see why people have a few kids... it's something about them having each other to get through the world with, especially when the parents "don't know what they're going though". It means you're not alone in the world in some respects.

I guess I feel really strongly about it, even with overpopulation. If the people who have the ability to impart change on the world don't reproduce (or adopt children), who's gonna keep makin' the world better? I think if it turns out I'm infertile, I'll definately want to adopt some of them kids.
mythos_amante From: mythos_amante Date: March 4th, 2007 02:42 am (UTC) (Link)
Hugs, M.

On the kid issue, I think a lot of people seem to want to have things the way they were, if they had a happy childhood, and different from the way they were for them, if they had an unhappy one. I don't think there is any one good way to do things...everyone's got their own battles to fight depending on where they come from.

The kids with siblings whose folks treated them "normally" do tend to have self-doubt issues on occasion, an uncertainty on where they fit in the world...doubt as to where they are important. The few "only children" I've hung out with whose parents have treated them with all the upraising that "good parents" should treat their kids with had problems sharing, thought they were the center of the universe, and while they were attractive and compelling in their self-confidence, they had difficulties accepting the fact that another person's personal desires were as important to that person as their own desires were to them. Or that last may simply be my conclusions based on dating a couple of only children. XD

But I agree...it's messed up to bring another child into the world when you know you won't be able to give it the love and affection (and limits)it'll need to be a decent human being. It's annoying to see bad parenting, because I know we're going to have to share the world with the terror that that child becomes. It concerns me that my sister, for exaomple, is planning on having lots of kids with her fiancee when I already know that she doesn't spend enough time giving her multiple pets the socialization that they need. (Though, admittedly, they're not getting any MORE pets now...they've cut back or let Nature take back a bird, fish, frogs, a dog, and a couple of rats without replacing them, and now only have two snakes, one rat, three cats, more fish, two turtles, and I think something else.) But it worries me that they're going to bring more beings into the world, already strapped for time, you know?
arletterocks From: arletterocks Date: March 6th, 2007 03:57 am (UTC) (Link)

No way would I have one kid.

Omigod. Only children are from a different planet -- planet *them.* They grow up in a world where what they want goes, because there's no competition.

I came from an opposite extreme, being around many, many, many children, lots of them pretty damaged. Our parents trained me and my sister to deal with things ourselves and not ask for help unless we were truly in over our heads. But we also ended up with a kids' world of our own, instead of being treated either like 1. demanding little adults or 2. pliable little dress-up toys, the way I often see only children treated.
From: nightfurson Date: March 3rd, 2007 11:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
*clueless, second hug*
chasbrown From: chasbrown Date: March 4th, 2007 03:46 am (UTC) (Link)
Funny thing, there was an article about birthrates in the NYT:

morleyroarly From: morleyroarly Date: March 4th, 2007 10:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
Just a differing opinion for you:

Tom and I are planning to have children some day, probably in a few years.

We are hoping to have two-ish, though of course who knows what will happen. We intend to have our own children rather than adopt. We have strong genes, we want to have children that share our same genetic background (perhaps that's selfish, but it's how we feel). We also want to be able to carefully determine the health of our children through proper nutrition etc. during pregnancy and the first years of life - much more difficult when you adopt.

Why two? We both grew up with siblings. I have an older brother, Tom has a younger sister. I love my brother TONS, he loves his sister TONS. We are both very happy to have grown up with siblings, and though I can't speak for them, I think both siblings are happy to have grown up with us.

Why two - it's similar to what chasbrown said. Tom and I are both reasonably well-balanced human beings who believe in changing the world for the better. When I look around at all the fantastically creative and intelligent people I know and I realize they aren't planning on raising children, I wonder what the society of the future will look like. If future generations are all spawned by under-educated, ill-informed individuals, then what?

I don't want to get high and mighty and say it's "our responsibility" to have kids - hardly. I simply believe that replacing ourselves is a worthwhile and meaningful thing to do. I believe that Tom and I can raise children that will make a positive difference in the world. I think we (both parents and kids) can have fun doing it. I think we can create a positive home environment and give children a good start in life.

Regarding sterlingsf's comments about losing friends when they have children - this is a sentiment I have encountered many times, particularly in the bay area. I find it frustrating. It's one of the things I don't miss at ALL about living in SF. There's a sizable anti-kid/anti-marriage vibe in the bay area burner community that I was part of, to the point where if you have a monogamous relationship, get married and have kids you're almost considered an outcast, inferior, stupid or simply not worth hanging out with. Things here in Pittsburgh are far more family-oriented, and it's frankly a welcome change as I move into a monogamous-married-with-kids life.

I really hope that all my incredibly fascinating, diverse and crazy friends will continue to stay in touch when Tom and I begin raising a family. It will be harder to find time for us all to hang out, but I hope that my close friends and loved ones can bridge that gap and make the effort to get involved in our family. I fully intend to expose my children to as many freaks as I can. It takes a village, right?

Anyhow, this is all just my personal opinion and perspective, and of course I totally respect everyone's right to make their own decisions. Tankgirlh is my best girlfriend and she just had her tubes tied, and I am very happy for her because I know it's the right thing for her. Similarly, she supports Tom and I getting married and having children, because she loves me and knows it's right for me. In the end it's a decision to be made by the individual(s) involved, and there's a solution for everyone, be it sterilization, adoption, biological children, or something in between.
thecatsmeowww From: thecatsmeowww Date: March 4th, 2007 11:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
11 smooches or Gimme Some Love!