Think Before You Speak – Questions That Erk Me

In honor of Mombian’s 9th annual Blogging for LGBTQ Families, I am writing up a post I have been meaning to write for some time now. As always, my goal of this blog is not only to document our lives and the growing up of our Punky Monster, but also to get the point across that we are just like everyone else.

Yes. We are atheists.

Yes. We are lesbians.

And Yes. Our daughter is still healthy, loved, and nurtured.

So, I wanted to pick apart the questions I get asked pretty regularly. I’m an open book. I have always been an open book.

**See Unconventional Conception if you don’t believe me! I tell that story – in person, without hesitation to anyone who might be curious enough to get into the gritty details of our conception story. (You’d be surprised how many people want to know the details and then regret it when they learn them!)**

Which means that I answer cordially pretty much any question about our family, our parenting styles, our religion, or our lives in general without much hesitation. That doesn’t mean I don’t get annoyed by the frequent questions that are bordering on over the line, I may not voice it, but perhaps, there might be some tact that people could exercise before asking these types of questions.

1. Who’s Mom?

Look, I try real hard not to make this awkward. It always ends up poorly. The very definition of ‘lesbian mom’ means the kid has TWO moms. I also attempt to really think about the fact that its probably really intended to be “Who carried your daughter?” which may be a valid question, it’s still presumptuous that the mom who carried Punky is her “real mother”, which is not the case.

No matter the law, no matter the tradition or the ideals of the world around us, we are always both her mothers.

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2. Does She Look Like Her Dad?

Well, again, I will define “lesbian mom”. Two moms. No dad. I mean, I know there are plenty of lesbian moms and families with two moms that do have contact with their donors. The donors are called all sorts of things, including Dad or Father in some family dynamics.

But, we really shouldn’t assume that. For my own family, we have contact with our daughter’s donor. He is and always will be a very special man in our life. We aren’t super close, in that we visit or hang out regularly, we don’t even talk on the phone or text message in regular intervals, but he will always have given us a gift we can’t ever thank him enough for.

He is still … not her dad. To most people it seems harmless, it seems like its no biggie, a slip up, not offensive. But … it is offensive. To my partner, to my daughter. It overshadows the very definition of my daughter’s family dynamic. The family she knows.

He’s wasn’t there holding my legs as I was pushing her out of a small hole. He wasn’t up with her at 3AM singing a made up lullaby in those first few weeks, so I could get a little sleep. He’s not catching her as she jumps without warning towards his arms. That’s Kim. And much more.

Basically, while it may seem harmless, it confuses my kid and I anticipate it will confuse her more as she starts to understand that some kids have dads and she doesn’t. When she really notices that she her family is different from others. Do me a favor. Its already going to be a weird conversation for me to have with my kid, don’t confuse her more.

(And if you ask anyone, she really does look just like me. I got myself pregnant is the joke around our family and friends!)

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3. Aren’t You Worried About Her Not Having A Father Around?

You know, I had a dad around. I still have a dad around. I love him to pieces, but he hasn’t always been the stand up dad that traditional June Cleavers are married to. Frankly, my dad has helped mess me up and I’m still in therapy working through the issues I have because of actions, a result of emotional distress in my childhood from having a father.

Do I think having a father is a bad thing? No.

But, do I think Punky absolutely has to have a father? Absolutely not.

We have discussed it before – Punky has more role models than a little girl could possibly had! She has one hell of a godfather in her life, who loves her to bits, like his own kid I would surmise. He is already planning on taking her hunting (which I will probably fight when the time comes), fishing, and teaching her how to do things with cars.

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I have no doubt my brothers will teach her all about comic books, video games, badass underground, never discovered local bands, and how to take the perfect picture of her poop (yes, that’s a thing).

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Kim’s brother is sure to bring a culture of motorcycles, tattoos and fast cars.

I know her grandpas have a wealth of knowledge in work ethic, humor and silliness, and overall doting and caring for her.

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And all the men in her life are sure to teach her how a man is supposed to treat a lady and she will be able to raise any man she dates to the standards they set in her eyes for her future mate. And should she, (personally, I hope not) be a lesbian, she will learn how to treat a lady right as well.

4.  Isn’t Punky Confused About What To Call You?

Okay, so this is a valid question. However, there is a much tactful way to ask it. Perhaps something like, “What does she call you? What does she call her other mother?” I have been asked, “Who’s Mama, Who’s Mommy?” That’s also acceptable. Some lesbian families have all sorts of different ways we help our kids distinguish between two moms.

We decided to sort of guide her in the process of picking a name, but not choosing the name for either of us. She just settled into Mommy for me and Mama for Kim. Both of which we are thrilled with. She’s not confused, because she doesn’t know anything other than having two moms and calling us what she calls us.

Its normal to her, no confusion – thanks for asking!

5. Isn’t It A Concern That She Will Be Teased Growing Up?

This is a very good thing to be concerned about. I don’t know if all lesbian or gay parents are worried about this. I know I was. I still am. I have been concerned – sometimes that we actively thought to have a child, in a world where having gay parents, being gay in general isn’t completely accepted (check out the states still banning gay marriage, HELLO MISSOURI.)

And then I remember that there are several states striking down the bans on gay marriage and it means that acceptance and tolerance is coming around. I put into perspective that Punky is only 2, she’s in preschool, where kids don’t care if she has two moms, her teachers are incredibly supportive and all my mommy friends want to meet Kim and if she wasn’t agoraphobic, they would with no issues.

So in the end, by the time she is school, real school, my hope is that kids will be taught about love and acceptance. That their kids will taught by parents the different ways to make a family, the different kinds of parents and family dynamics out there.

I am getting less worried and more optimistic. This question is a well meaning question, but it can be seen as presumptuous. It could be interpreted by some that you think I’m selfish for ‘daring to bring a child into an intolerant world, just to get bullied.’ I’m sure that’s not the intent, but it sure can be misconstrued.

**

These are my five pet peeve questions. I will always answer them, and they aren’t altogether offensive. But when I answer them everyone is then made to feel awkward. I’m uncomfortable, the person asking is uncomfortable because they made some ill-conceived, usually well intentioned faux pas.

So in the end, I’m more annoyed by the uncomfortable air around the question and the answers and the awkwardness that ensues around the whole thing.

Think before you speak, think about how your words may be interpreted. I won’t ever say out loud that your questions are offensive, stupid, or hurtful – but rest assured, I’m probably thinking it.

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Punky’s Awesome Cars Second Birthday Party

Last year was Punky’s one year Dr. Suess Extravaganza, because she and I spent a great deal reading books before bed and spending time hanging out with each other with our noses in books.

I got this from Baby Center this afternoon. Way to put me in a shock for the day. It went from Baby, to Toddler, to Preschooler in a span of time that feels like overnight!

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This year, Miss Punky has gotten really into all things cars and trucks. Kim found some really neat things on Pinterest to make an awesome cars themed party. So, as usual, I ran with it. I’ve been planning more parties and setting up more parties lately and I do love every minute of it. It’s different when it’s your own kid!

Then it’s all the more special!

So, we started with the racecar theme. I incorporated the Cars Movie theme because its trendy right now and the decorations were easy to find and I didn’t have to make everything myself.

So, I made the invitation, and this is the one I’m selling in the shop, it’s not my original, because that has our identifying information it, but this is what it looks like. I’ve shown it before, but I’m so proud of this design, made from scratch, so I wanted to share it again!

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Then came all the ideas that were going through my head. Originally, I was going to have cupcakes and put toppers on them with racing flags and Cars characters. That idea was scrapped when Kim came up with the idea of making the cupcakes like stop lights. Red, green, yellow frosting! So we went with that instead. The food was going to be simple anyway, a small cake in the center for her to blow out her candle, and cupcakes for everyone else. Finger foods and no need for utensils means less clean up!

The night before, we all headed over to Punky’s Grammy’s house to make 100 cupcakes (we still have a ton in my kitchen right now) and help start the cake that she would blow out her candles with. Punky made an excellent taste tester when it came to cupcake batter and the ‘dirt’ for the trimming of her cake.

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It was a pretty awesome experience to make her stuff from scratch as a family. I really have to say, her Grammy did an excellent job with this, I originally asked if she could help us with the project and she took over like a pro. I just love all the things she did with it! The cupcakes and the cake were both a hit at the party and everyone kept asking me where I got them. They were astonished that I didn’t get them done professionally, because they looked so awesome.

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The rest of the food was pretty much finger foods. And a little bit of a wacky array of foods, I admit, but it all went with the theme!

We had Luigi’s Spare Tires (Miniature Chocolate Covered Donuts), Guido’s White Wall Tires (Miniature Powdered Sugar Donuts), Tow Mater’s Tow Cables (Chocolate and Strawberry Twizzlers), Nuts and Bolts (Chex Mix). We set it up like people were eating at Flo’s V8 Cafe to re-fuel and hang out.

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There were four stations through the party venue; Flo’s V8 Cafe, Ramone’s House of Body Art, Sarge’s Surplus Hut, and Tow Maters Photo Booth. I got the inspiration and a few of the signs downloaded at this site which I found through Pinterest and put my own spin on some things.

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The kids had a blast with the temporary tattoos. I just cut out each tattoo individually and then set up the station with a little ‘drip pan’ and sponges for parents to help apply the ‘paint job’ to the kids. It was pretty convenient that the area had a nice sink area to refill the water and make less mess.

The food made up most of the awesome factor as a visual, but I did spend a lot of time on the tables and the decorations. So, we turned a boring clubhouse room into a party room in about 5 hours.

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The tables were set up to look like roads, with black tablecloths and white address labels down the center of them. I got two Cars party theme kits at Walmart for about $7 a piece, they had the cardboard centerpieces and cones in the packages. I bought a miniature helium tank to blow up some balloons that had Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater on them to attach the cones in the center of the tables.

Centerpieces

Walmart had a ton of decorations and party favors fit for the theme, since it’s so trendy right now. I got a couple packages of activity books and a large box of crayons since we were dealing with a bunch of little ones in attendance. I made some custom chocolate bar wrappers with the cars characters on them and set the candies out on the tables too. In the end, there were three die-cast cars running up and down the roads on the table as well, just for an added effect to go with the theme.

Party City had a great scene setter that I put up on the wall, 6ft plastic puzzle I had to piece together on the wall. Punky’s godfather made an awesome little car cutout photo booth with a poster board and acrylic paints. It was way  more awesome than I expected it to even be!

The banner for the entrance was also another find at Walmart and I set out the Cars rug that Punky got for her half birthday and a crate of cars for the kids to play with. They really got a kick out of the cars and driving them around on the roads.

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I recently just learned about Spotify and I’m in love with it. I didn’t really listen to music that much before it, but in my down moments, it’s been a real lifesaver to helping me really get through this anxiety and depression I’ve been in lately. With that said, I was thrilled when I found this playlist for a Cars themed birthday party! So, I uploaded the songs and played it on repeat at the party.

playlistMy mom came up to celebrate Punky’s birthday and she doesn’t have internet, let alone Facebook, so I put together a video of all of Punky’s last two years. I put together a slideshow of her pictures, some of my favorites anyway. I turned it on and let it play on repeat as well, for people to watch and remember and to see how much she has grown and changed in the last two years.

We had a pretty good day yesterday, celebrating our little one’s second birthday. Kim had a small scare for all of us towards the middle of the party. She hadn’t eaten anything because she was feeling good and she sort of fainted on the porch of the clubhouse. The ambulance and firetruck was out there helping with her vitals. In the end, they recommended she go to the hospital, but she was feeling better, so we got her something to eat and she’s been feeling better, as much as she can, since she ate.

Otherwise, we were surrounded by so many family and friends and Miss Punky has so much love in her life and I am so grateful all the great people in her life that love her. As a parent in a ‘non-traditional’ family setting, it is always the one thing that scares me that Punky will be rejected because of her moms. That’s the last thing I want, but it’s always in the back of my mind. I’m so glad, so far, that we haven’t had to deal with that.

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We had the cake, and that was great. I expected her to cry and get upset about the singing and clapping, but she was eating it all up. It was such a 180 from last year!

When everyone was done singing, I had to whisper a reminder to blow out her candle. It was kind of cute to watch after the fact, as I had no idea we were being filled, thanks to Punky’s godmother who had my camera at the time 🙂

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Presents were hilarious with Miss Punky. She would open one present and then get preoccupied with opening it right away and she said “Thank You” over and over. It was kind of awesome. She’s really quite adorable!

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Our Punky is a great mix of all sorts of things. She likes babies and dolls and high heels and she likes tools and trucks and balls. She really is the perfect mix bag for a child. Especially for two moms with completely opposite interests – we suit her interests well, I think.

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Do you see that giant Radio Flyer, with the 6-foot ramp? Yea, that’s from my dear Mama. Can you also notice my face in reaction to this. Punky thinks its awesome, Mommy is trying to figure out 1. how we get it home, and 2. how we fit it in the apartment. LOL. It’s an awesome gift though and she will get so much use out of it this summer!

So, our daughter turned 2 this last week and it was pretty successful, minus the small ambulance snafu, which I am currently keeping an eye on now, taking the day from work to make sure my dear love is okay.

So, the party was a hit, the baby was spoiled rotten, and I am exhausted!

If you are interested in using the printables that I made or acquired for this party, please feel free! They will be at this link for the next few weeks 🙂

I’ll leave you with this day in history for Punky’s birthday on March 7th that I found on Baby Center Birthday Time Machine. Try it out, it’s kind of neat!

History