Velocitoddler || Unisex Baby and Kids Clothes || Made in USA

clothing for young terrestrials

Family/Life

I Have a Him--Unless He Tells Me Otherwise

Family/LifeTabatha HansenComment

My partner would tell me I was being rude whenever, during pregnancy, people would ask me what we were having and instead of saying, “We don’t know yet,” or “We’re waiting til they come to find out,” I would reply, “A human.” I’d offer nothing else, almost like I was trying to circumvent the discussion of my kid’s genitals altogether. . . because I was, and for me there was no more polite way of having that discussion. “A human” is what I would muster instead of saying, “Does it matter to you?”. That would have been rude.

Besides the fact that my job is to consider and separate how capitalism has constructed color palettes to correspond with genitalia, yesterday I got the birth certificates for both of my kids and that meant filling out paperwork. Filling out paperwork means scrutinizing and editing to make it more inclusive. First, I crossed out “Father” and wrote “2nd Parent” (on the actual birth certificate, Father is listed as 1st Parent, like the one who incubated and birthed the kid is an afterthought. . . but I won’t get into that now. Let’s just say I’m not surprised). Then, I crossed out “Gender” and wrote “Sex.” Sex is biological, gender is cultural. Get with it, 21st century paperwork.

When I refer to Felix as he/him, I am talking literally about his biology. What is in his underpants. Had we had an intersex child, we would probably raise them as they/them until they decide. One could argue that we are making mistakes all over the place, like if we would, hypothetically, raise a biologically intersex kid as gender neutral, why don’t we raise all of our children as nonbinary, they/them kiddos with non-gendered names? This is where I loop back around to the part that when I refer to our kids as “he” and “her,” it’s literally about their sex. Their gendered names are things they can change if they identify differently as they get older. Chastise me, praise me, none of this affects people outside of our own family, so please respect our parenting decision and take comfort in knowing if we fucked something up, we will listen to our kids when they tell us we fucked up. My point here is that for this first part of my kid's life, we are calling them him/he because Felix was born with a tiny penis. As for Felix’ gender and his own chosen pronouns, he can figure that out later. Iris did.

We work at a farmers’ market every weekend, and I encourage use of they/them pronouns when I talk about my own kids as well as others’ kids. Or at least I did with Iris until last year. Two of our closest friends are nonbinary. My own pronouns are she/her they/them. Iris decided, one day when a stranger asked me if she was a girl or a boy and I responded, “A person,” that she prefers she/her pronouns. She identifies as a girl. She was four years old. Half of her head is shaved, she loves glitter and reading about space, and now when I refer to her as she/her, I’m talking about her gender. How she personally identifies.

So, we’ve got two kids: a boy and a girl. We’re raising them the same way. They get to share toys. Iris asked to keep her old dresses in case he wants to wear them. We’re growing out his hair until he chooses a haircut (though we do maintenance on the initial toddler mullet phase). He’s wearing all of the colors. We avoided ruffles with Iris and we’re avoiding ruffles with him. We avoided “pretty girl” clothes for her and we are avoiding “strong boy” clothes for him. We’ve lobbed off the end of the gender spectrum for this initial part of our babies’ lives. As they enter toddlerhood and begin picking what appeals to them, we go with it. As Iris entered childhood, she decided she’d like me to call her Iris, not them Iris. My partner has slightly different views on this (I’ve never heard her refer to Iris as they, but she does refer to kids we don’t know as “they/them” and encourages Iris to ask if they are a boy/girl if she is curious), and that’s totally fine.

Why are we raising our kids without pink and blue and trucks and dolls? We’re not. They each get all of it and everything in between. We just hope those we love support our decision to raise our kids without gender roles, and if not support it, at least respect it. Cue my favorite cliche Dr. Suess quote, “Be who you are and say what you feel, because in the end those who matter don't mind and those who mind don't matter.”

Birth Plan/Birth Reality

Pregnancy/Birth, Family/LifeTabatha HansenComment
fullsizeoutput_a0f8.jpeg

Labor can look like this

<—That kid was born after gardening, too.

Get through the really fucking painful back contractions while be able to talk to cutie pie Iris in between.

Have a birth tub with hot hot water here to help with those contractions.

Have a short enough labor that I don’t need to go to sleep and wake up multiple days in a row with escalating contractions that eventually slow down and deprive me of all energy, leaving me to have the kid on my bed.

I don’t want another on-my-back labor. I want to have enough energy to have this kid on my own feet or in water. I want to not feel the back pain I felt last time that extended for over six months. I want to not end up with a yeast infection that makes peeing feel like my crotch is being torn open.

I want to have the energy to hold my baby after I have them. With Iris, I couldn’t lift her for days. I couldn’t pick her up because it hurt my back too much. She latched from an upright position and from a side position.

I want to get a nap with Christina and Iris. I want Iris to be there when tiny person is born, and I want her to get to help cut the umbilical cord and look at the placenta and wrap up a new baby and I want her to feel good about the new person in our house.

My people and I got new life in the ground before kid came.  Spring solstice.

My people and I got new life in the ground before kid came. Spring solstice.

We had the kid! I PUSHED ANOTHER PERSON OUT OF MY BODY.

Above is my wishlist for this birth. A second birth at home. How did it compare to my “birth plan”?

  • Getting through the really fucking painful back contractions. I did it, and I figured out how to do it much more gently this time. Last birth, I got through them with pelvic massages while leaning forward onto a wall and then eventually was asked to lie down on my side to get through them since our labor had been so long and I was so exhausted. This time, I did a thing that didn’t seem intuitive: I labored through them with my pelvis fully upright, my body upright, no tilting, no leaning over. Some of them, I sat upright on the toilet for. Others, I knelt and put firm downward pressure on my hips. I also knew from the last birth that my body wants to yell but it also needs to breathe. Breathing in a long, low hum like I’m in theatre camp made it easier to push babe lower into my body and made it possible for me to get through what I remember being the most difficult part of labor.

  • Have a birth tub with hot hot water here to help with those contractions. Had birth tub. Didn’t end up having the baby in the birth tub, but I did get to labor in there for a while in nice hot water. It didn’t slow down my contractions like last time, but I ended up hopping out when I felt too much like I needed to poop** and walked over to the bathroom between contractions. I had a few contractions on the toilet until that became painful, and then I decided to stand totally upright for a while like a crazy person. **side note my wife found it amusing our midwife used a fishnet for to collect poop. ahhh poop.

  • Have a short enough labor that I don’t need to go to sleep and wake up multiple days in a row with escalating contractions that eventually slow down and deprive me of all energy, leaving me to have the kid on my bed. This one didn’t happen. I was in on/off labor from March 18-March 26. Over a week. A couple of those days, absolutely nothing happened, but most of those included about 12 hours of increasingly painful, real contractions that would start in the evenings, stop mid-morning. I fell apart on March 24th from exhaustion and stress. Put self back together, had some orgasms, and kept a thing our midwife said in mind: “Labor needs oxytocin to start and to keep it going.” Rested all day, watched a bunch of Veep in the evening (laughs! oxytocin!) and when I woke up after midnight with no contractions at all, we kicked out Iris to her bedroom. I got some foot rubs, walked around, leaned into yoga ball, and once contractions started regularly happening, my wife and I went into the living room to play Pandemic. Played the entire game hugging into the yoga ball, and by 5AM I started having the urge to push at the tail end of contractions. I called our midwife and had to throw the phone to go hum through another contraction. While my labor did go on for days with me half-dilated (many more days than when we had Iris), when the second half finally happened, it happened in about 6 hours. Kid also didn’t happen on the bed.

  • I don’t want another on-my-back labor. I want to have enough energy to have this kid on my own feet or in water. I want to not feel the back pain I felt last time that extended for over six months. I want to not end up with a yeast infection that makes peeing feel like my crotch is being torn open. Pushed the kid down into my pelvis “I’ve got the weird head lump in my crotch!” while standing up. Labored until I could no longer straighten my legs because said head in my pelvis. Labored more on my knees until I felt the amniotic sac coming out of my body. Held onto the cold edge of the bathtub and forgot how much burning happened as kid’s head came out. Asked if someone was going to catch the kid because I had no plans on catching the kid. Our midwife had to gently ask me to push the kid out because I stopped moving to get over the burning and enjoy the nice temperature. Christina caught kid. Kid born in amniotic sac. Water never broke. Mermaid baby.

  • I want to have the energy to hold my baby after I have them. With Iris, I couldn’t lift her for days. I couldn’t pick her up because it hurt my back too much. She latched from an upright position and from a side position. I could hold my kid. I held him. Couldn’t lift myself, but I could hold him. 8lbs.

  • I want to get a nap with Christina and Iris. I want Iris to be there when tiny person is born, and I want her to get to help cut the umbilical cord and look at the placenta and wrap up a new baby and I want her to feel good about the new person in our house. All of this, but the nap just happened with Christina. Iris hung out with grandma. She was there while I was in the birth tub, giving me a kiss occasionally. She was there when I pushed him out onto the bathroom floor. She was there to help weigh him and she was there to cut his cord and she was there when I got stitches and she has been there for every single diaper change as diaper change helper. She observed that, “We only have one baby but you have two nipples. I think we can have a second baby.” She still feels good. It’s only been a week, but new human week is a hard week.

Felix was born at 7:14AM after what probably wasn’t that much pushing in what our midwife called a “gentle birth.” I said, “Holy fuck it’s a person I can take a nap now.”

Our midwife and our spawn.

Our midwife and our spawn.

I thought, “Oh, we never took pictures of the kid living in my body. Done!”

I thought, “Oh, we never took pictures of the kid living in my body. Done!”

Here’s some dried blood and clots from my insides that didn’t make it onto towels. It’s not that bad!

Here’s some dried blood and clots from my insides that didn’t make it onto towels. It’s not that bad!

Next birth? I am hoping for less days of prodromal labor. Now that we know boardgame-playing and dry comedy and foot rubs up my oxytocin to labor levels, we can just start there and maybe skip the compost-schlepping. Also for some type of relief like a hot compress for my crotch during that head-crowning couple minutes of labor egads that was painful. And legitimately the only pain that happens during labor, too—all other “pain” disappears between contractions, it’s really just incredible pressure. But the crowning, that tore my body a little bit. Compress! Compress! Compress!

Postpartum, Day 6.5

Family/Life, Pregnancy/BirthTabatha HansenComment

Yesterday was the first day in a long, long while stills from my adolescence resurfaced.

It’s likely because I no longer reject the identity of parent, yet the identity of kid doesn’t seem that far off. A half of my lifetime ago. I met my wife at the beginning of adulthood, just as I was saying goodbye to recklessness and half-patched relationships. Before I knew her name, I said to her, “I can look at you,” in the middle of Satellite Coffee, her waiting for a hot chai. I was still attached to my best friend, Steven, I was in a reheated relationship, I texted strangers and I envisioned myself becoming an artist. An art artist, mixed media. A writer. A songwriter. An actor. A creator. I was a mess and I wanted to stay a mess. My wife was still a student and I considered her my equal. We stayed up through the night. Her and my grandma had the same little green car. She knew my counter was a broken bookshelf turned sideways and my car was bumblebee yellow and I knew I would love her the first time I saw her.

The moon during our last labor in 2014

The moon during our last labor in 2014

Felix was born at 7:14 AM last Tuesday. This time around, we played Pandemic. Iris slept until the very end of labor. Christina stared into my eyes again. Iris kissed my forehead. They caught him as I pushed holding onto one of the most familiar comforts of my life: the side of the bathtub. He was born en caul; his amniotic sac never broke and he said hello to the outside of my body still inside of his personal ocean.

We are moms with two kids.

One of them is sleeping sidecar next to our bed, three pairs of socks on to not get cold. The tiny one is wearing a Mumford and Sons t-shirt I cut and sewed into a nightgown. He smells like rotting flesh, his umbilical cord still hanging on and I can smell it through layers of blankets like I can smell the blood coming out of my body. The last time I wrote about birth, I wrote that I felt high for the week after.

I’m still in that week. It’s almost midnight and the tiny kid projectile pooped in the middle of a diaper change, after peeing in the middle of the same diaper change. Iris rolled around on the floor laughing and declared Christina should have been up to experience the poop rocket with us. Come next week, I might be miserable, but this week we learned that cleaning a small squishy penis is way more difficult than labia and I’m just fine with it.

Today, I said, “If the argument is about cleanliness, getting rid of the testicles seems way more clean than getting rid of the foreskin.” Today, I also said, “Soon, that umbilical cord is going to fall off and get lost behind his balls.”

Iris and I baked parmesan buttermilk biscuits today. Felix and I napped three hours today. Iris and I made black bean sweet potato soup today. I wondered where that person is today, the one who wanted to create and not just clothes for kids. It’s April 1st, mine and Christina’s 10th anniversary. One out of three days of my life have been spent with her. What are the things I wanted to do that I still haven’t done? What haven’t I created? What do I still care to create? Do I care about writing, or would I rather read others’? How has my predilection towards self-sabotage shifted my path? Do I care to get back on it? What makes my heart thwap outside of my humans?

DSC_0329.jpeg

It’s Day 6.5.

My heart thwaps from the mess of charcoal.

Crispy paper.

Sauteeing onions.

Pouring moka pot coffee into warm milk.

Miranda July writing about literally anything.

Remember that I Love You, full album.

The soundtrack to Juno.

My heroes make my heart thwap.

The end of my teenage years.

The last ten years.

Goodbyes.

The shorts I regret not getting.

The shorts I regret not getting.