Her Bad Mother

Friday, July 6, 2007

So, How Dilated Are You?

... Fifteen centimeters? Ten? When was the last time that you checked?

I'm standing, clutching my club soda and lime, facing down a total stranger who has just asked me when it was that I last peered down between my legs to see if the baby delivery system was opening up on schedule.

I haven't checked myself, actually. Can't get past this gigantic sphere that's blocking my view. Would love to check it out, though.

She sips her wine and doesn't blink. It's an open bar - a pre-wedding reception at a well-heeled downtown restaurant - and she's clearly been enjoying the flow of Chardonnay. But she's keeping her wits about her. Well, your doctor should be able to tell you. (Pauses, sips drink.) Or you could get your husband to look.

She's in her fifties. Well-preserved, with the polished look that wealthy older women have, the kind that haven't had work done but who go to the spa weekly. Buffed and plucked and dry-cleaned. That look. She's a piece of work. And she's clearly relishing chatting about my cervix.

Oh, I say. Well. He doesn't go down there much anymore. You know, since the baby could slide out anytime. You don't want that mucus plug hitting you between the eyes.

We stare at each other over our respective glasses. I'm determined to not let this bitch win. If she thinks that she can fluster me, she's got another think coming. You can't fluster women who are going on 11 months pregnant. I'll show her how much I'm dilated before I'm going to blink.

She smiles. No, darling, you don't! But you shouldn't let that stop you. Intercourse is the best way to bring on labour!


I smile. Oh, it's not that he isn't ever down there. He just doesn't go head first. We're doing everything we can to get this baby out.

Parry and thrust.

Well, just be sure that he gives you an orgasm.

Return and thrust.

Oh, I always make sure!

A weak return. She sips her drink and looks away, searching, no doubt, for some virgin that she can grill about hymens. I have, it seems, begun boring her.



It occurs to me that this is the hottest conversation that I will probably have for a very, very long time. And I'm having it with a fifty-something Jewish woman in an Italian restaurant while very possibly going into the early stages of labour. The nightmares, I realize, are going to be horrendous. Or, at the least, confusing.

I consider faking a big, dramatic labour pain, just to freak her out.

I consider spilling my drink and saying that my water just broke.

I consider telling her that I need to excuse myself to go have sex with my husband, to see if we can't poke that baby out for once and for all.

I do none of these things. I rattle the ice cubes in my empty glass and look around anxiously for my husband. I shuffle my fat, bloated feet and say, weakly, well, it's been lovely speaking with you. If the baby doesn't arrive tonight we'll see you at the wedding tomorrow.

She raises her glass to me and grins, wickedly. Make sure you get someone to measure that cervix!

I put my thumb and forefinger together and make a big circle, the universal symbol for "A-OK!" and "Hey! Big Vagina!", and hold it up in front of my face, and smile and nod at her from behind the hole.

I regret to this day that I did not stick my tongue through, and waggle it derisively. Except that, I'm pretty sure that she would have waggled back.

In which case, I would never have recovered.

(I would say, with the rest of the PBNers, that I would have rather just handed her THIS, but that's not true. I would rather that I had had the nerve to say something really, really dirty to her. But I do wish that soemone would have handed this book to me. Then I might have understood better what a cervix is.)

(What would you have said?)


Are you all still thinking about how to change the world? BlogHers Act is still gathering up suggestions for the global blogger activism initiative, and BlogHers Act Canada (check the new page at MBT!) is looking for suggestions that are specific to Canada. Think big. Write a post (write write write!). Put up a button. Spread the word.

Get in on the action.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

File This One Under "UNDERSTATEMENT"

Overheard, Her Bad Father to Her Bad Mother:

"Do you ever get the feeling that we're just rodeo clowns in one long WonderBaby Stampede?"

She's a cowboy, baby.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Did Iron John Do Plumbing?

I love my husband for many reasons, but chief among those reasons is this: he's a manly man.

He's the kind of guy who you know could totally protect you in the wilderness, or in the aftermath of a nuclear attack (which you survived because he's the type of guy who could build a bomb shelter, by hand, if there were any real threat of nuclear attack, which there's not, so stop giving me nightmares already. I lost enough sleep in the eighties, thank you very much.) He can guide rafts through white-water rapids, he can fight forest fires, he can building a cabin, he drinks scotch and beer and mixes obscure cocktails involving onions and tabasco. He drives an old Saab that he loves because it has rocket engineering. He knows how to tie complicated knots, the kind that you need to know how to tie on boats, and dreams of sailing around the world on a tall ship. He gets his hair cut by a Portuguese barber, the kind with a really sharp razor and an attitude. He likes attitude, but only in old men from old countries, and not from disaffected youth, who he thinks should just pull up their saggy pants already.

There's not the faintest whiff of metrosexual about him (okay, maybe a wee poof around the designer eyeglass frames), even though he works in television, which should give him a free pass to be as fussy and glossy as he wants to be. But he doesn't want to be, not at all, and I love that about him.

What I'm not loving so much, right this minute - though I hasten to add that this unlove is not directed at him - is the fact that my manly man decided to rip apart our bathroom this weekend and not put it back together again. Because, you know, he didn't sign up for the plumbing and now the weekend's over and hey! Look! Over there! Isn't that a commercial that needs shooting? Exit Her Bad Father, stage right, leaving his tools and pipes and miscellaneous man-crap in a manly death-trap behind him.

Now we have this, where my bathtub is supposed to be:

And instead of a toilet:

Which means that our ablutions look something like this:

Which is - however convenient for photo opps - annoying in the extreme.

To be fair, he has called a contractor, who will, sometime this week, restore our bathroom and liberate us from the buckets.

In the meantime, I am reserving the right to love the man and disdain, for the moment, the manliness. Because you just know that if he were a metrosexual, and understood the joy of bath products (and, let's face it, baths in general. Real men prefer showers, but will make do with buckets) this never would have happened.


See below - and here, at BlogHer - for info about BlogHers Act Canada - and check out the cool button! (steal steal steal!)

Monday, July 2, 2007

Doing It

(One very important edit, see below...)

We talk a lot, in the momosphere, about empowerment. About how blogging has, quite literally, changed our lives. About how we've found strength and inspiration in other women (and men) who are struggling and cheering their way through the incredible and incredibly challenging experience that is parenthood. About how we've found our voices.

When MBT launched its BlogHer Or Bust! contest, the writing prompt that we chose for that challenge was, we felt, in keeping with the spirit of blogging, and of BlogHer more specifically. How does (does?) blogging empower women? we asked. We asked this because we believed that if you're participating in this community (and especially if you're participating enthusiastically enough to want to join a gazillion other bloggers in person in Chicago to celebrate blogging) you'd probably have something to say on this topic. And, hooo boy, did you ever. (Find and read - read, read! - the full list of posts HERE.)

You talked about how blogging gives you an outlet for all the rants and raves and reflections that crowd your hearts and minds, even if you never end up putting those rants and raves and reflections on the screen. You talked about how blogging makes you better feminists. You talked about how blogging makes you better humanists. You talked about how blogging kept you sane during some really, really rough times (I gave Miss Robbin a Perfect Post Award for her post about blogging through the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, because it made me cry). But you also talked about how you worry, sometimes, that blogging might become, as Moondance put it, "a ghetto of self-expression." And our own Sandra expressed such concerns most forcefully when she said that "the statement that 'blogging empowers women' implies that we are talking about all women. Which couldn't be farther from the truth. Because that statement cannot even be applied to most of the world's women."

If we want to talk empowerment, she said, we should be talking about how we privileged bloggers can help to empower those women who are less privileged. We should be talking about how to make a bigger difference. We should be talking about how we can act.

She's right.

We remind ourselves of this pretty regularly - remember late last summer, when Gloria Steinem insisted that we remind ourselves? And my own mother (no Gloria Steinem, but awesome in her own right) keeps pestering me to remember that *blogging* in and of itself is not *acting,* regardless of how many Call To Action or Mommy Blogger Love-In round-ups I organize or how many posts about privilege I write. We beat our collective chest and we write and write and write, but where's the action? Real action, not just the action of putting pen to paper and fingers to keyboard (which is not to be discounted - who can deny that the Just Posts, with all of their heart and soul, make a difference? - but still.) Shouldn't we be acting?

Well, BlogHer is acting, as most of you probably already know, through the fantabulous initiative that is BlogHers Act, which is encouraging women bloggers to come up with global and US-based plans for action on causes to be decided upon at the conference. And, now, MBT is teaming up with them to spearhead a Canadian version of this initiative.

That's right. We're getting in on the action, Canuck-style.

Our immediate goal is two-fold: to come up with a list of causes that women bloggers (not just mom-bloggers) from around Canada want to get behind, and then to narrow down that list to at least one cause (maybe more? can we do it?) that we will act upon directly over the coming year. The long-term plan? To bring Canadian women bloggers together to take real action. To effect real change.

Check out MBT's Mama Karma page for full details, and have your say. What action do you want to take? How do you want to change the little corner of the world that is Canada? Go, speak your cause in the comments at Mama Karma, or write a post and leave a link. You know the drill.

And the rest of you? What do you think? There's no disputing that action is good, but does our own empowerment - does empowerment in general - require that we put feet to pavement and placards in hands and that we march and protest and lobby and fight? Can virtual action (see, for example, what a lot of love and a little auction can do to help save the lives of little boys) be as powerful as real action?

We do better holding hands.

*(cross-posted with some amendments at MBT)

**EDITED TO ADD: Some of you might not know WhyMommy of Toddler Planet, but you totally should. Because she's one of the nicest ladies around, and, now, because she needs all the love and support she can get. She was recently diagnosed with breast cancer, and she's blogging through it with grace and aplomb, but she could still use a virtual hug or two. Also - BIG ALSO - she's giving away her BlogHer registration, and her reservation (just the reservation) at the now-totally-booked-up-you-can't-even-lick-the-windows-W-hotel. She has chemo that weekend, see, and can't go. But you could go, and join us while we raise our glasses to her and send her our biggest bloggy best wishes.