24 March 2008

protector of laboring women

a few months ago i was on the phone with Troy and he was telling me about yet another woman whose pregnancy ended in a c-section. and he asked sort of off hand if i was going to be a midwife when i grow up. i blew him off, but as often happens with him, his comment stuck with me.

no, i don't think i want to be a midwife. at least not at this point in my life. well, how about a doula or birth assistant? i'm not much interested in helping mitigate the awful things that hospitals do to women, not interested in bucking that tide. and women laboring and birthing at home usually have found the support they need. so where does that leave me with my experience--attending 2 births (thank you for the honor, J!) and reading 50+ books on birth and breastfeeding?

from the bus one day i saw the sign for the International Center for Traditional Childbearing. ah! a little research and i learned that the organization has worked with midwives in Africa and the U.S. to help improve infant mortality rates. african american babies die at a rate almost triple the national average. that is ridiculous. and here are women in my neighborhood who are working to change that. ICTC offers childbirth classes and doula services. they run a high school mentoring program called Sistah Care. and they train midwives and doulas. well.

here was an organization doing real work, good work in this world. and they were offering doula training in my neighborhood. and AP was off for Spring Break, so that i could be away from the little one for 25 hours with a minimal disruption to her life and routines. sounded just right.

the most impressive thing that i have learned about ICTC is that every Wednesday they host Celebrate Your Pregnancy Day. any woman can come and share a cup of tea and talk to a doula about birth plans or nutrition or breastfeeding. and it's FREE. Mabel and i got to sit in on a meeting where we watched Birth into Being, the amazing story of waterbirth in Russia, and talked to a woman giving birth to her second child in a month. what an honor. what an opportunity. just the kind of work i would like to be involved in myself.

so at the end of this week, i'll be becoming a doula. think good thoughts for our family as i'm away. and for the group of women i'll be learning with.

22 March 2008

spring has sprung

the calendar says it's spring time even though the weather is mostly cold and grey. to celebrate the day, we all rode the bus to Grand Central. the first hot Americano we've had in this city. come on, Portland! we read a little Thursday Styles, sipped our coffee, and ate our jammers. it was nice. but we've been up to a few other things besides coffee out.

we joined Zipcar, a car share program. this little silver number lives 3 blocks from our house. we can reserve the car by the hour. then our magic card gets activated and the doors pop open. the keys are inside along with a gas card in case it needs a fill up. her name is Yelena. we three like her.

the first place we went in the car was out to Swan Island to visit Metro Paint. we painted the living room using recycled paint. some very smart, creative person started using up all the odds and ends of paint that gets disposed of. you can get 7 or 8 different colors. but ours isn't one of the standard mixes. we choose Potpourri 31, a color that got mixed up in a very small batch. only a few 5 gallon buckets of this exact color exist in the world. and we've got one. we only used a little bit, so if you need some paint, i might be able to get you a deal!

this is a fair picture of the color. not intrusive or busy. not hard to get used to. not white. we like it alot. still nothing back up on the walls yet. it takes me so long to put stuff on the walls. soon, soon!

14 March 2008


Originally uploaded by one deep drawer

look what i found while poking around...you are beautiful!

AP took this picture in the week just before we left San Diego. i knew it must be a part of something bigger. and so it is! look around the site; people do crazy, beautiful, incredible things in this world.

you are beautiful.

our tricks

Originally uploaded by one deep drawer

when the little one is sad or hurting or tired, we each have our different ways of helping her feel better. my go to move is to offer to breastfeed. sleepy? have some milk! upset? sad? no matter the ailment, nursing will help. but what about Andy? he doesn't really have that option. and still he finds ways of helping her relax.

when she is beside herself and just won't settle, he often wraps her tight in the soft green blanket given to us by Mrs. Cully. then he bounces her on the red ball. and if she still doesn't quiet he'll play "Little Bird." he doesn't sing or play on his guitar, though we often do both of those things. his trick is to look up Elizabeth Mitchell and listen as she sings with her daughter. it might take a few times through, but soon the cries stop.

you might try it yourself.

by the by, the top picture was taken by her aunt Jessica when she was 11 days old. the bottom was a few weeks later when she was baptized by her grandpa. the little bird? she came to us from our sweet friend Jessica in Yakima when the girl turned one.

04 March 2008

on my way

a few weeks ago my friend Troy came for a visit. when i walked into the kitchen where he was shredding cheese for our burrito dinner he said, "do you know about godly play? you need to read Sofia Cavalletti." the sweetest words ever spoken. i just love book recommendations. and especially personal ones...you need to read this book. sadly, the library didn't have anything on godly play and nothing by Cavalletti.

and then i discovered inter-library loan. books brought from any library in the world to your little branch. and usually it's free. can you imagine?

i'll just quote you one little gem from The Religious Potential of the Child. it is a quiet and profound book applying some of the ideas of Maria Montessori to the spiritual formation of children. listen:
the receivers of the Word are the child and the adult: they are
simultaneously announcers and listeners.
our job isn't only to teach our children. we too are supposed to listen and be transformed. and often the proclamation comes on the lips of our children. if we have ears to hear.

and so with all these thoughts swimming around in my head, we went to church on Sunday. happens almost every week in this house. the priest shared a sermon for children about what lent is for. and she got it all wrong. (except for the part about drawing a picture of her family and lining each person up tallest to shortest! i loved that detail.) her story was about how she colored on someone's paper in grade school. and she should have made better choices. and that's what lent is all about--learning how to make better choices. yes, historically lent has included some piece of self-denial, a way of bringing discipline to our days. but it's not primarily a self-improvement venture. bringing that sort of moralistic pressure to kids and telling them that's what God wants just seems wrong to me.

the message of lent and the coming season of easter is that Jesus died, was buried, and on the third day rose again. rising from the dead is a bit more radical than self help. and it's not cool or fashionable or really even palatable to talk about resurrection. but the power that is waking our earth up after the cold winter, the power that makes seeds buried in the ground rise up and grow to bring beauty and nourishment, that power brought Jesus to life again. and it's the same power that is in us. it's the power that brought our children into our lives, the power that is growing them up day by day. and if we will welcome this fiery power, we will be transformed. from glory to glory.