Category Archives: niece

marxist in the making


We’re  watching our niece for a couple of days this week while my sister attends a conference nearby, and she has quite an obsession with our bookshelves. So far, she has explored the spirituality shelf (she likes the Tao Te Ching and some meditation guides), the memoir shelf (David Sedaris seems to be her favorite), and, today, the philosophy and history shelf. For nearly half an hour today, she was working on pulling just one book from under a couple of others.

And then she showed us:


And she crawled across the living room to show it to me and share with me and J some of her favorite passages:


Her ultra-conservative father would be so proud! The shelves at her level that she has yet to discover have a bunch of lesbian and feminist literature. I’m so glad we get to have an influence on this baby.


Filed under books, niece

our houseguest

(Now with photos!)


A lovely little light is shining on our home this week in the form of our eight-month-old niece. We get to have her to ourselves all day today and tomorrow while my sister attends a conference here. Her broad gummy smiles, enthusiastic waves, and big open-mouthed kisses are filling us with all kinds of happiness.

We have deemed her our practice baby, and she is also our cats’ practice baby. They will all go near her when she is sleeping to sniff her, but our boy cat, Pierre, is the only one brave enough to let her touch him. She is obsessed with him, and she calls him something like “dee-duh.” Her mom says this is the first she has ever associated a “word” with anything. It’s delightful.

But there is nothing in the world like waking up in the morning to this wonderful little girl who now lights up when she sees me.



Filed under niece

babies, babies everywhere

We’ve had opportunities to spend a lot of time with babies lately. Our neighbor has a lovely little girl who is four or five months old, and she smiles everytime she sees me and J. We spent last weekend at my parents’ place, and we all babysat my two-month-old neice for a day and a half while my sister worked (look for a password protected post on this soon). We haven’t had babies this present in our lives in a long time, and while it’s nice, it’s making me long for this feeling we used to have.

Before J and I started down this path of making our family, we would sit and baby watch at the farmer’s market and tiptoe through the baby section at department stores with this feeling I can only describe as a craving. We WANTED a baby of our own, and any time we could spend with babies was a religious experience. Baby clothes were sacred. We didn’t have many babies around us in our academic world, and when we did have time with them, it was brief. As a result, babies resembled celebrities to us; we were their biggest fans.

I have to say, as painful as it could be sometimes, I loved that feeling. It propelled me forward through weightloss and healthy lifestyle choices. It gave me crazy hope and reminded me what all of this was for. As you can see, I’m speaking in the past tense. I don’t have that same feeling anymore, and I miss it.

Instead, I have this weird numbness when I see babies. Sure, they’re cute, and I love being with them. It’s great to see J with them, but I don’t have that crazed baby fan feeling. I can see baby clothes and I don’t even come close to melting into a pile of goo. This is not to say that I’ve lost my desire to have a child. Perhaps I’ve gotten to a point that it’s not so much about a baby but about a family, and I can’t help but think that’s far more healthy. It’s more long-term, holistic even.

But I’ve been feeling lately, as I snuggle these two different baby girls and watch them grow that I wish I could have that same enthusiasm–that naive eagerness to hold a baby in my arms. It infuriates me that this process takes that away and replaces it with things like anxiety, depression, and desperation. What’s odd is that I’m in none of those places right now. I’m in a place of near apathy, and that feels dangerous. This break hasn’t turned into the healthfest I imagined it to be. I’ve not lost weight, not made any major psychological growth, and while there are glimmers of hope when we think of new possibilities and techniques, it typically fades quickly to be replaced with more mundane everyday thoughts.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not in a bad place. I’m just missing those old feelings and missing the woman I used to be. Is there any chance of finding her again?


Filed under childlessness, niece, ttc

Isn’t she lovely?

We’re recovering from guests in our home today with movies and popcorn. We had a good time, some intense coversations, and lots of good baby bonding. More on all of that later.

For now, a photo. Our niece is lovely, isn’t she?

We’re smitten.


Filed under niece

a fake post

I just realized I didn’t post today, but it’s been a big day. I’ve been at my parents’ house doing some house sitting and helping out with the niece. It’s horribly smoky here from some wildfires, and it’s been unbearably hot–107 hot. Blech.

I did, however, get to go on an outing with my sister and the baby today. She had her first shopping trip in a big box store. I would like to share with you a quick story from that outing.

Upon entering the store, people began staring at the baby. An older couple (in their 60s maybe) came up to us, and the woman was ogling the baby. After a few minutes of this and talking with my sister about her, she looked at me and said, “So you must be the proud Grandma!”

I’m certain the wide eyes and open mouth clued her in, or perhaps she looked at me and saw a THIRTY-TWO-YEAR-OLD woman, but she quickly started apologizing telling me I looked young.  Honestly, I didn’t know whether to be offended or to laugh. I chose the latter as I mentioned I was her aunt and not her grandmother.

This just tells me it’s time to get a new piercing, a new tattoo, and maybe a new haircut. It’s time I strive for a slightly more youthful appearance again. Holy shit. Someone thought I was a grandmother. When I told my own grandmother about this, she nearly fell out of her seat laughing.


Filed under niece, Ramblings

home again, home again

We’re back home again! I’m going to be leaving again in a couple of days to go help my sister out with birth announcements and holding her baby. It’s so nice to be home just the two of us though. We still have a hard time with the father of the new addition. He’s just so daft. I’m not going into detail because I need not to dwell on him, but damn. The guy is–oh, nevermind. Let’s just say that I have to shut my mouth when he is around for fear that something nasty may fall out. That’s all I’m going to say.

Did I mention I adore my niece?

In fact, J and I are both smitten. This is her on J’s lap. She’s awesome.

As for food? One of today’s adventures was heading over to my grandmother’s house for lunch. My sister met us there with the baby. My grandmother had purchased some culinary lavender at their little farmer’s market this morning, and I made lavender lemonade. I wouldn’t add as much sugar this time, but it was lovely and refreshing. The recipe is as follows:

  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup lavender buds, crushed

Bring the water and sugar to a boil. Turn off the heat, and add the lavender. Allow this to steap for a few minutes, then strain out the lavender. Place this mixture in a pitcher, and bring it to room temperature.

Add to this mixture

  • 1 cup of lemon juice
  • 2 1/2 cups water

Serve it all over ice.

Again, I think I would reduce the sugar (and I think I did here, but I’m recalling this from a slightly hazy memory–I’ve only made this once), and I might even increase the lemon, but I like my lemonade more tart than sweet. Still, it’s heavenly.

That’s enough disjointedness for me today. Hope you all are having a great weekend!

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Filed under family, food, niece


J and I are at my parents’ house. We dropped them off at the airport early this morning for a cruise they’re taking. Now J and I are housesitting, enjoying some private 4th of July celebrations like drinking our favorite Mexican beers, grilling, sitting in the hot tub, and loving the peace and quiet that oen can only find in the country. It’s lovely.

We met our niece last night. Little B. stole our hearts. Here she is with her stressed out face. My step-dad is convinced that her last life was a rough one:

The visit with my sister and her baby was bittersweet in some ways. I mean, we loved seeing my parents with their first grandchild. They both are so happy and in love with this baby. It was great to see my sister making her way with her daughter, and it was beautiful for both J and I to see one another with the baby. But then we also both felt our own desire for our baby that much more. These were some tough feelings to reconcile. There is no doubt, however, that we both love this little girl, and we look forward to being her aunts. We just hope that we can provide her with a cousin very soon.

We’re off to the cute little country store for a few finishing touches for dinner. I’m making my basil and red pepper potato salad. Mmm.


Filed under family, new beginnings, niece


Thank you all. Your outpouring of support has really helped me today. Why can’t you all move into my neighborhood? I would make delicious coffee and tea every morning, and we could sit out in one of our gardens and talk, and it would be lovely.

I spoke with my sister just a few moments ago. She’s exhausted and scared and emotional, and she needed me. I’m sort of known as the Vice Mom in our family as the oldest child/daughter, and so I’ve often filled this role for my siblings. When I called, my sister needed that, and she needed her older sister. I told her I was proud of her, that I loved her, that we would all be there for her. It felt good to be in that role and not in the childless mother, cry my heart out, jealous bitch role. That’s my ugly side, and it’s a side I’d rather not bring out into the light of day again. The sister is a better side. I’m generally a good sister, a good daughter, a good friend, even a good partner, but I have my ugly side. She can stay away for awhile.

One of the many things that made yesterday so difficult was that J brought up adoption before we even got out of bed. She suggested that we start trying to adopt while still trying to get pregnant. My warped little ears heard, “Let’s give up on getting you pregnant–since you’ve clearly failed–and try this other thing.” Of course, this is far from what she said, but it’s what I heard. This (rather, I ) started an argument and a very bad day. Ultimately, she’s just feeling the urgency of needing a child. The pain of not being pregnant and having this break and the birth of the niece overcame her. In case you were wondering, my reaction and warping of her words didn’t help matters. Ugh.

So it only made sense that my niece would be born yesterday because I was already a wreck, J and I weren’t getting along, and there was no way I could have handled it gracefully. Stillness was our solution for all of it, and it worked. We each had a beer, watched So You Think You Can Dance, and ate spring rolls and rice for dinner. Then we snuggled on the couch with cats draped over us. Good medicine.

Today I am better. We both are. Today, J and I are close and understanding each other. We’re preparing for our ladies’ poker group to come visit (and play cards!) for the weekend and getting excited. Today we are continuing to figure out our next steps toward getting me pregnant. But more importantly, today I am looking forward to meeting this (apparently) gorgeous, big, long baby (8 lb 4 oz, 21 inches long) with the beautiful head of dark brown hair whom I get to call my niece. I won’t get to do that until next week, but it’s going to be good.

See? I’m better.


Filed under coping, crappy days, family, ladies' poker, niece