Baby V started crawling this week. We knew it was coming, but it’s still kind of a shock. Our house was already pretty baby-proof, since we had to get baby gates, cabinets locks and so on in order to be certified as foster parents. But of course there’s still plenty for them to get into. Already I’ve had to get rid of a few top-heavy items, like plants on plant stands, that V had already tried to topple over on herself. We had also been half-heartedly looking for the perfect baby gate for the top of our stairs leading from the living room to the garage. None of the standard baby gates fit well there, due to the height and position of the bannister, so we’d been making do with a simple tension gate. But the moment V started crawling, I realized that I had to kick the search for the right baby gate into high gear. Within a day I’d found this one. It should be here tomorrow, so soon we will be prepared for having two crawling babies to deal with.
Baby S is not quite there yet, but she’s on the verge. As I’m typing this, I can see her working on it in the play area. Oh boy.
National Coming Out Day was started by the Human Rights Campaign, an organization to which I used to donate, but with which I have recently become disillusioned. They’ve ceased accomplishing anything of note and stand in the way of real activism. They do things like inviting Senior White House Staffer Valerie Jarrett to the be guest of honor at their annual gala. HRC is so desperate for the president’s ear that they don’t even complain anymore when he fails time and time again to take any actual steps to end DADT and DOMA.
But I think National Coming Out Day is a really good thing. The first time I came out to a family member was on National Coming Out Day, and I remember it well. I picked an easy target, my cousin Vicki, who I knew would be supportive. I called her on the phone, and told her that it was National Coming Out Day, and that I was calling her to tell her I was gay. Her response was an enthusiastic “I love you!”
I came out to the rest of my family the following spring. I did it via email, which most people find sort of chickenshit when I first tell them, but I think it is really is (or was for me) a great way to come out. Email is fairly immediate, unlike postal mail, so you can be fairly sure your message will be read soon after you send it. It also gives your reader time to react to the news somewhat privately before responding. Gay people have often struggled with being gay privately for years before coming to terms with it, and I think we often don’t give our families and friends enough time to react to what can be shocking news. Since there’s a good chance that the initial reaction will be negative, it is good to prepare oneself for that possible reaction, knowing that it won’t necessarily be their lasting opinion. I knew my parents would not be quite as enthusiastic about my coming out as Vicki was, but they were really great. My dad called me soon after he’d gotten the email and said that they’d gotten my email and that they loved me and that we’d talk more in a couple days. My brother and sister-in-law were out of town for the weekend, so they missed the email for a few days, but called as soon as they got it and were very supportive.
Back at the time, I thought that once I’d come out to my family, I’d be OUT, and that would be the end of it. Little did I realize that coming out is a lifelong process. That’s become even more true now that I’m a gay dad. I’m constantly evaluating whether to come out in a variety of fairly benign situations. When our server at a restaurant asks us where the moms are, do we give a benign answer to the innocent question or explain the situation? When the taxi driver asks me if I’m married, what’s the right answer? I hate turning smalltalk into a political act, but sometimes it needs to be done. It’s nice that the girls are too little to understand right now, as I figure out the balance between our family’s privacy and being proud and public about our family.
I just heard about Brain, Child magazine from a Facebook friend. So far it seems like the best parenting magazine for me, despite its subtitle: the magazine for thinking mothers. I think I’m asking for a subscription for my birthday.
An interesting article I found there (which I can’t seem to find at the moment…), mentioned a blog by dads called Daddy Dialectic that I’m really enjoying, too.
I’ve also been reading Dr. Spock’s Baby and Childcare, which I’m really enjoying. It’s got exactly the right tone for me. It works a lot better for me than Dr. Sear’s Baby Book, which I like but frequently irritates me, especially when he writes things like “…even fumbling fathers can manage the new easy-to-put-on-and-fasten diapers” When I read something like that I want to throw the book across the room.