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I don’t think there’s anyone who reads this here blog who does not ALSO follow along on either Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, but JUST IN CASE, I am currently pregnant for a second time, clocking in at 27.5 weeks today. I look… more or less the same as usual, but with a basketball tucked up under my shirt. I feel like I am significantly bigger at this number of weeks this time than I was the last time, but I am too lazy to go and take a look at pictures from the last time, MY GOD those are on a whole ‘nother drive and from THREE years ago what sort of technological wizard do you take me for? Just trust.
The decision to actually have a second child was SO SO much harder than I thought it would be- a little knowledge is a terrible thing, eh? When we got pregnant the first time, we didn’t know SHIT about what was coming, and now that we do…. well. All of a sudden that “of course we want two children, life with siblings is wonderful” stuff started to sound BATSHIT INSANE what do you mean we JUST started sleeping through the night, all of us, reliably, like LAST WEEK. Over and over J and I would have the same conversation: Should we? Well, what if we didn’t? But should we? What happens if we do? And we’d always just end the conversation with “… but siblings.”
LOOK, I KNOW. Plenty of only children are perfect and wonderful and I am being 100% honest that we could have lived with an only child quite happily forever and ever. But both J and I have a sibling, and while perhaps we did not always get along with them as children, they are NOW a big part of our lives and given that we are lucky enough to be able to offer the same to our daughter, we therefore decided to have another child. If you’re interested in the HOW of lesbian child-obtaining, you may read the archives, starting in September of 2010. The process the second time around was more or less the same.
I am due in mid-June, and thus far I would categorize this pregnancy as WAY FUCKING HARDER than the first one. I mean, let’s be real. Last time I was unemployed, living in Southern California, and doing yoga every day. This time I am in Georgia (the weather SIMPLY DOES NOT COMPARE) and I have a 2.5 year old who wants things, and I am three years older. My hat is off to those of you with more children than two, because at this point I cannot FATHOM ever wanting to do this again, not even for a guaranteed baby that slept through the night at 6 weeks.
But this pregnancy is also… quieter. I am not worried about the safety of my fetus as much as I was the first time. I still drink coffee, and eat sushi, and take pharmaceuticals to ease pain and heartburn and whatever the fuck is happening in my sinuses. I have no birth plan, other than attempting a VBAC, because I’ve now lived the “worst case scenario” birth I envisioned last time, and we are all still here, happy, healthy, and thriving (and please. I know my “worst case scenario” birth is not even close to what an actual worst case scenario might be. I am… moderately self-aware). I am less concerned about breast-feeding and how it might go down this time than I was last time, and I am infinitely more concerned with how it’s all going to go down for OLIVIA than how it’s going to go for me.
I just keep telling myself that millions upon millions of people have done just what I’m about to do, and therefore it can’t possibly be beyond my abilities. And if it is… well. That’s what texting your friends at 3am is for.
WordPress kindly sends me a Year In Review document every December, so that I can marvel at my prolific blog stats and challenge myself to even greater blogging heights, ha ha just kidding, I only wrote five posts. What the document did tell me is that my most popular posts were the two posts I wrote in January about curly hair, so here, a year later, I thought I’d write a little bit more about hair, and what’s changed since early 2013 (from a hair standpoint. Lots of things have changed otherwise, but I’m saving them as topics so that maybe this year I can write SIX posts).
First of all, I have to put in a plug for going to a hair salon that’s dedicated to curly hair. Not a salon that has one stylist who supposedly took a course in curly hair management, but a place where ALL the stylists are talented and trained in the art of cutting curly hair. This may be very difficult for people to find, I realize, so I am owning my privilege in the curly hair arena, in that I live close enough to Smyrna, Georgia, to be able to get my hair cut at Curltopia. My stylist talked me through the whole thing, explained what he was doing, recommended a slew of products, gave me written instructions, and was overall a pleasure to work with. My only issue (and this might be because I was a first time client) is that he’s no Kellianne, and the resulting haircut borders on… boring. Curly, but boring.
As an American, I understand that I’m supposed to refuse to be satisfied with a product that works, as surely there is something BETTER out there, and that I must locate it, locate it first, and then spread its gospel far and wide. Until, of course, the NEXT best thing comes out. None of this is particularly true of me- I’m actually a, “hey, look, this works great! Why change?” kind of gal, so I was SURE the products my stylist recommended wouldn’t be any better than what I was currently using. But since I had sample sizes of the products in question, I gave it a whirl, and WHAT DO YOU KNOW.
The first thing my stylist (James. His name is James) recommended was that I switch from DevaCURL One Condition to DevaCARE One Condition. The “CARE” line is designed for color-treated hair, which mine is not, but it is, indeed, a richer and thicker formula that seems to moisturize better than the regular DevaCURL line. And when he rinsed my hair, he confirmed my theory about “cold shocking” the hair cuticle shut- he rinsed my hair in cold water, like “make your scalp tingle” cold, telling me that I’d just spent all this time moisturizing my hair, I shouldn’t then allow that to evaporate by rinsing in hot water. In the shower, in winter, this obviously presents an unpleasant issue, so I just get the water as cool as I can stand, and rinse only my head, in as much as that contortion is possible.
And by rinse, I mean… mostly. You know how when you first dive into a pool in the heat of summer, and you are immediately transformed into a long, lithe, mermaid? And when you surface, an impossibly long distance from the edge of the pool from whence you jumped, your hair trails, sleek and slippery behind you, like in those perfume commercials where a woman emerges from a crystal clear sea, clad only in snow-white bikini bottoms? That’s the feel you’re going for when you’re done rinsing. Slippery and soft (and, apparently, vaguely pornographic).
In my earlier posts about curly hair, I said that I run my hand over my head and squeeze out the water in the resultant ponytail after I shut the water off, but James told me to not even do THAT. My hair is literally dripping, and it’s terribly uncomfortable. I immediately wrap a towel around my waist and proceed directly to product application, the better to get this wet mess off my nape.
Whereas before, I’d been using a leave-in conditioner, James recommended I use a moisture-lock/frizz-reducer. His recommendation was DevaCurl Frizz-Free Volumizing Foam, but in my n=2 trial, I prefer the DevaCurl Set It Free. Either one, the point is the same- to reduce frizz, you have to make sure the moisture you applied via conditioning stays in your hair. While a leave in conditioner like the Knot Today does do that, it can tend to weigh down the hair- both the foam and Set It Free are much lighter formulations, and I think that allows for a bouncier curl without sacrificing curl definition.
Let me take a moment to say that I LOVE the Kinky Curly line of products. I love the price point, I love that you can get them at Target, I use them on my kid. But if you’re interested in different products, or maybe if you think you have too much money, the Deva product lines are worth a shot, even at more than twice the price (and as is typical for higher-end products, a little can go a long way).
After the moisture lock (Jesus I have typed “moisture” a lot today), James applied DevaCurl Light Defining Gel, which is again, lighter and less thick that the Curling Custard, but serves the same purpose- to form a barrier between all that moisture you’ve applied, and the environment that can’t wait to take it all away. The Light Defining Gel also comes in an Ultra formula, if the liquidy/slippery texture or weight of the Light isn’t right for you.
Finally, James sat me under a broiling hot hair dryer, that spaceman helmet kind, for 45 minutes. And while I appreciated the opportunity to really get to the bottom of the Khloe/Lamar situation, that’s not feasible for anyone I know, not least because DAMN THAT THING WAS HOT JESUS. So at home I air dry, or if going out and trying to avoid the first hour’s drowned rat look, I hit the roots with a diffuser for a few minutes. Less than ten.
As before, reading it all typed out takes longer than it takes to actually DO IT, especially if you’re already doing a similar method. I’m pleased with the look- here’s a couple pictures so you can be impressed too.
I’d love to hear about products that work for you, and AS ALWAYS, your Second Day Hair solutions, as mine continues to be “put it in a pony tail.”
PS- those links are mostly Amazon, because it’s all right there. Beauty.com and Ulta.com also carry most of the mentioned products, and might your salon.
A week ago, J and I filled the diaper bag with snacks and coloring books and doodads and trinkets and drove 30 minutes from our hotel in Long Beach to the Los Angeles County Superior Court in Norwalk to finalize Olivia’s adoption. I feel like I’m supposed to write a moving bit about how the boring courtroom (looks NOTHING like Law & Order, to my continuing disappointment) and the no-frills signing and the in-and-out-in-15-minutes was really much more meaningful than it would have appeared, and I felt a soaring sense of completion upon exiting the court, a certified copy of the adoption decree in my hand.
But I can’t write that because it’s not true. From an intellectual standpoint, I am SO VERY GLAD that J now has inalienable legal rights to Olivia, rights NO ONE, not even the back-asswards state of Georgia (that does not recognize our marriage) can take away from her. I’m also glad that the adoption order protects Olivia, in the unthinkable case that something happens to J or me, or our relationship.
But emotionally? A whole different story. I’m pissed that we even had to go through the process in the first place. J’s name appears as “Parent B” on Olivia’s birth certificate, which is good enough for every straight couple out there, but not, apparently, for us.
Aside: Ok, given the recent repeal of DOMA, maybe it would have been good enough for us, if we were 10000% sure that California was our forever state of residence. But we, like tons of other Americans, have and will most likely again relocate for better job opportunities, for more money and better real estate, and I don’t think it’s either plausible or fair to expect J to walk into her employers office and say, “Hey! That awesome opportunity in Georgia? Not gonna take it, because it compromises the security of my family.”
Aside to the aside: the way the repeal of DOMA works, from what I understand, doesn’t make me as happy as one might think on the surface. Gay couples living in states where gay marriage remains illegal aren’t reaping any of the benefits the repeal offers. We’d have to both be MARRIED IN and RESIDE IN a state with legal gay marriage for any of these benefits (the biggest one being filing taxes jointly), and Georgia, being NOT ONE OF THOSE, still does not have to recognize our legal Canadian marriage. This creates a gay ghetto in the states with gay marriage, and if something doesn’t change REAL QUICK, the fed is going to find itself in a total quagmire come April, when gays in Massachusetts are filing jointly, while gays in Nebraska are still shit out of luck. Two flavors of gay! It’s the American way!
Ok, I’m done with my asides. Fine, so J has to adopt Olivia for an added layer of protection, and I am “happy” to shell out her hard-earned money to do so, and glad we have the means to fly all three of us across-country for a 15 minute court appearance. Not everyone is so blessed, and I can’t spend too long thinking about other gay families who aren’t so lucky.
But this blog is about me, so here’s my side of the story. In the courtroom, I had to sign a paper (for the third time), giving my legal permission for J to adopt Olivia, which I did. But then, while J was trying to keep Olivia from climbing, monkey-style, over the stadium seating in the audience, the judge leaned over the table, and looked me in the eye, very seriously. “Do you understand that by signing this document, you are giving up your 100% rights to Olivia?” WELL SURE, FUCKER, OF COURSE I UNDERSTAND, BUT WHEN YOU PUT IT THAT WAY… well, I suppose I should be ashamed, but my stomach dropped. “Yes, I do,” I said, and signed the paperwork.
Like a lightening strike, it became obvious to me why I’d been a pretty rancid companion for the past few days- that’s a hard thing to hear, even when you’ve already BEEN doing just that for as long as Olivia’s been alive. J and I have been partners and cohorts in parenting since we first spotted the enlarge follicle that was to become half of Olivia. She’s been my support and my steady, my equal partner, my biggest fan. So my reaction makes me an ass, and I recognize that. But it would be dishonest to say otherwise, so there you have it.
Of course, a week later, I’m over it. OF COURSE I will share my parenting duties with J. OF COURSE she is as much Olivia’s mother as I am. And OF COURSE we will continue to be a family, legal paperwork or not. I’m glad that now I, too, can stop thinking about it, just like all straight parents. We’re covered.