How can you say you're anti-CPS and all for unlimited parental rights, as a woman who took away a man's children and is raising them with another man? How's that for meddling in family life? Aren't you the busy-body now?
Geez Louise you’re so full of so much shit I almost can’t answer you seriously.
Let’s just do some main points:
I said, “almost unlimited parental rights” with a caveat about the child’s actual safety, which obviously must be preserved when there is danger.
The situation you’re referencing involved more chances than most would have given, and still I never called the police or limited visitation. Restraining orders were suggested to me on multiple occasions, for crying out loud.
I talked over and over here about government organizations, the State, anonymous calls, etc when I discussed parental rights being infringed upon - mothers and fathers working out relationships with their shared children among themselves is in no way the same thing.
I was referring more to the fact that they all share extremely similar and in some cases completely identical mythology with Jesus. Virgin birth, saviour/king of humanity, specific miracles like walking on water and healing, execution, raising from the dead after three days and an empty tomb being found by two women... etc. Basically, historical and/or mythological proof that Jesus, well, wasn't Jesus.
Oh, I see.
Well, ok. Obviously this can be interpreted as an extremely self serving bias, but I’ve always thought that the common themes in unconnected cultures and at different times throughout history prove there must be something supernatural at work - something in our collective subconscious or at work from some kind of greater being. Like for instance that every culture in the world had a flood story, that doesn’t make me think the Christian flood didn’t happen. It makes me think that, on the contrary, clearly there must have been some kind of massive flood and the stories trickled down! I realize that the figures you referenced in your previous question pre-date Jesus, and I don’t really know what I think about that. There is a Catholic perspective that Pagan beliefs “foreshadowed” Jesus; that Truth is eternal and has been influencing all things on Earth from the beginning of time. Sometimes I feel very agnostic and wonder whether the word or name we use to reference Jesus really matters, and that is the direction my thoughts go in when I read your second question here.
What do you think about Mithra, Horus, Krishna, Osiris etc?
I find all faith to be beautiful in some ways, and myths and philosophies like the ones you’re mentioning seem very rich to me. I don’t really believe in any of them or know any followers of them, if that’s what you mean.
Did anything ever happen with Elise "walking sideways" or did it resolve itself?
We took her in about it and it was agreed by docs that she was doing it. I got some suggestions from the ped and from an occupational therapist in PATH about “bilateral” activities to do with her to strengthen the weaker side of her brain. But within a couple of weeks of noticing it, it was gone again. I don’t know how long she was doing it BEFORE it was noticed, obviously, but I haven’t seen it again while watching for it in several months.
Are you able to talk about what's going on with Isaac? I understand if you can't or don't want to, of course :) and I hope he's doing well
Isaac has always been complex and anxious and MORE to deal with, than the other kids. I’ve always worried that I’m doing something wrong with him. He has calmed down in a big way in the last couple of years, but the red flag type signs continue to multiply and not be easy to connect, for me. Some of them include:
-He was a truly miserable baby that did not sleep, and has always had nightmares
-he has major tummy troubles neither we nor doctors seem able to resolve, thus far, though certain dietary sensitivities are obvious, probiotics help and he takes laxatives intermittently
-he has always been happy to see other kids get hurt, or to cause them to be upset, and when he was younger did some kind of scary things to achieve this
-there have been some freaky instances of him hurting animals intentionally and without remorse
-he tends to smear small amounts of his poop on walls and other surfaces (like rather than washing his hands or going for toilet paper, but…any room in the house) and was even trying to poop in his room and hide it, for awhile
-he continues to get very, very upset about extremely trivial matters far more often than any of my other kids, although I observe that kids in other families are more prone to fits than mine and I may have unrealistic standards in this area
-He was carrying out some relatively minor sexual experimentation with Jake and Elise in coercive manipulative ways that really bothered them
And that last one is what prompted us to stop allowing shared baths, move bedrooms around and seek counseling. Counseling has been really upsetting at times because I’m grieving the loss of certain ideas, if that makes any sense. I have to deal with this new reality where things are not as subjective or minor or phase-like as I had hoped and something is really Going On With Isaac in a way that entails, like, qualifying for extensive free individual and group counseling and psych evals :/ I am trying to have the perspective that we are Acting and Getting Him Help and that he has a lot of really positive traits and a lot of time before he’s grown up.
He is mostly unaffected by all this, as he ADORES his counselor and counseling sessions (which have mostly been playing board games to “trust build”) and is thrilled to have his own room. We don’t talk about any of it in front of or with him (beyond obvious stuff I would, like that peoples’ bodies are their own and privacy has to be respected and animals are living creatures blah blah blah). I mean we don’t hash out our worries or make plans with the therapists in front of him, and try to present changes in a positive way.
It is somewhat ironic that I believe he is probably happier and better adjusted than he has ever been, now. Which still gives me that feeling, at times, like come on…he’s fine!
I will admit to a certain amount of eye rolly ARE THEY SERIOUS initially (and I was, perhaps, too pleased when my children planned on their own as a joke to refer to her only as “Pickle”), but it’s grown on me to the point that I like it and see it as perfect for her, now.
Also, I definitely like original names, which will always have haters, better than mispelled common names or meeting MORE Aidans and Isabellas. I feel like I’d rather personally have something unusual/eccentric than be named Mackynzie or something.
At a time when other countries are doubling down on education, tight budgets have forced States to lay off thousands of teachers. We know a good teacher can increase the lifetime income of a classroom by over $250,000. A great teacher can offer an escape from poverty to the child who dreams beyond his circumstance. Every person in this chamber can point to a teacher who changed the trajectory of their lives. Most teachers work tirelessly, with modest pay, sometimes digging into their own pocket for school supplies - just to make a difference.
Teachers matter. So instead of bashing them, or defending the status quo, let’s offer schools a deal. Give them the resources to keep good teachers on the job, and reward the best ones. In return, grant schools flexibility: To teach with creativity and passion; to stop teaching to the test; and to replace teachers who just aren’t helping kids learn.
I love this quote, too. When I tried to straight up reblog it, though, the formatting cut away most of the text into a clickable link, so, it is what it is.
I don’t understand why more gay rights activists aren’t seeing Obama as the man who repealed Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and more anti-terrorism national security people aren’t seeing him as the man who caught Bin Laden. I saw this gif the other day about how Democrats really each fixate on individual issues they don’t feel they got what they wanted out of, such that they pick apart and destroy the only hope they have. Whereas Republicans stand behind candidates and try to talk them up regardless of how many glaring flaws they’ve got.
“We’re all going to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone should make us love each other but it doesn’t. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing.”—Charles Bukowski (via immaescapereality)
“Society has a problem with female nudity when it is not … ”—Badu pauses to get her words together; she wants this point to be very clear—“… when it is not packaged for the consumption of male entertainment. Then it becomes confusing.”—Erykah Badu (via pantofna)
Are my stupidly long winded question answers bothering you guys? Sometimes I don’t get questions for weeks but other times they pile up quickly and some things take a lot to answer. I’ve considered answering other places and just linking the answer, or even skipping some questions, though. What do you think?
How far do your pro-life beliefs extend (rape, minors, incest, trimesters, you know.)?
My pro-life beliefs are in flux. I’m not even sure they can be classified as pro-life beliefs. Let me lay it out for you;
These are the ways in which I am pro-life:
-I feel like I’ve had a deep personal connection to my own babies while I was pregnant with them, even in very early pregnancies - I’ve had more vivid dreams I attribute to housing two souls, I knew their sexes instinctively, I loved them while they were still in my body. I have known 100% that I was pregnant before missing my period or taking a test, every time. This makes me feel like, for me, even extremely early abortion would be extremely Wrong.
-I did almost abort one of my kids, though, a long long time ago - like I was at the appt in the clinic to have it done - and ended up leaving instead, feeling a million pounds lighter and happily making baby plans almost immediately. It was clear to me in that situation that I had only been planning an abortion because I felt I had no other choice - relatives were pressuring me hard to do it, my doctor assumed I would want to, friends implied I should consider it. I mean, I was 18 and had an infant and a YOUNGER, ill-prepared boyfriend… Being pregnant was A Big Scary Disastrous Deal and “carrying the pregnancy” was kind of a leap. And so as I watched that pregnancy progress and Aaron be born, yeah, I was thunderstruck with horror over the almost-abortion and just overcome with how if abortion wasn’t a “safe, legal option” and third in a triad of options all responsible people in this society are expected to consider in case of accidental pregnancy, I never would have ended up at that clinic to begin with. It just is not something that would have occurred to me on my own, which made me wish it wasn’t something our society promoted or accepted, so that I wouldn’t have had to deal with that whole trimester of agony about whether or not to and could have just accepted I was having a baby again way sooner without all the SHAME of going on and having the baby. Since then, I’ve talked to a lot of women who deeply, majorly regret their abortions, and every time I’ve had those thoughts again - that if we didn’t live in a society that made abortion an “automatic consideration”, they wouldn’t be faced with that devastation. Of course, there are also plenty of women - some I know - who have had abortions they did not regret, and some who would have one even if they had to get it illegally. But traditionally I’ve held that marginalizing what I’ve perceived as the few women desperate for an abortion is better than pressuring what I’ve perceived as tons of women into having abortions they later regret.
-the procedural realities of what happens during anything but a “first couple of weeks” abortion are absolutely sickening and I feel that most people have to kind of gloss over/deny them to be on board with abortion as being an ok thing to do. Some pro-choice people I’ve come across are even against pregnancy tickers for women carrying wanted children that display fetal development, because they seem them as being pro-life sentimentality and coercively anti-choice…which blows my mind. That is just straight facts; if you can’t deal with them, YOU HAVE A PROBLEM WITH ABORTION. It’s not a “propaganda” problem (although of course there is false propaganda out there that manipulates facts, too).
-I do feel that babies are babies regardless of how or when they’re conceived, and so regardless of how tragic a conception circumstance is, it is not the fault of that baby and may only be compounding tragedies to abort.
I say “may” because I can’t, obviously, generalize about every circumstance.
Now let me tell you why I’m not sure I am pro-life, despite all that:
-I recently wrote here about how I believe strongly in almost unlimited parental rights, and am against state involvement in family life. Well, you can’t make a woman care for a born child, and some won’t. Legally forcing a woman to continue a pregnancy she does not want to seems just as unlikely and just as much a bad idea. I don’t believe you should police women’s pregnancies, after all - criminalizing risks they take or foods and drinks they consume or their medical choices. Falling in high heels is not negligence. It just isn’t right for the government to mandate things like that, and the slippery slope is truly frightening. Well, with that in mind, it naturally follows that something is very amiss if big male-led entities try to get between a woman and the body growing inside her own damned body. Not all women are going to have maternal feelings; others will be smothered in them but still feel something overrides them and mandates they won’t carry their baby to term. There are safe haven laws because newborns get found in dumpsters more often without them, after all - this shit is intense and it’s personal and so… I am never sure I’m ok with ILLEGALIZING abortion. It’s like illegalizing suicide, it’s just ridiculous in that sense. We’re talking primal biology and in nature, animals often EAT their young. If you look at history, not only is abortion something that goes WAY WAY back before any medical procedures but NEWBORNS were left to die or even killed for being the wrong sex, or unpleasing in who knows what way, or unwanted, or whatever. It’s heartbreaking, it’s wrong to me in my gut feeling sort of way, but it’s also deeply ingrained in our flawed humanity and very difficult for me to think we can somehow legislate away. Or even should attempt to legislate away. I really feel that anyone who is truly saddened by abortion as a tragedy should be engaged in work that makes women feel it’s safe to carry pregnancies, or allows them to avoid pregnancies effectively - not lobbying congress or, God forbid, screaming outside of clinics at women and putting up shaming bilboards about sin.
-Without religious beliefs factored in, looking at the pure science of conception, I would say that Carl Sagan said it best: http://www.2think.org/abortion.shtml Which means that it follows that if we make laws about abortion, we are actually turning our religions into law, which is not really advisable for many reasons.
-When I was younger, I knew two different teen girls who were desperate not to be pregnant. One of them wasn’t even pregnant, but before her late period came she had already ran as fast as she could, abdomen-first, into a jutting pole; thrown herself down some stairs; and begged her boyfriend to punch her in the stomach as hard as he could (he didn’t). The other girl went on a crazy drug and alcohol binge to try to miscarry (unfortunately, she was pregnant, and there were many complications down the line because the miscarriage plan did not work). I think in cases like this it would probably be preferable to be able to go and get the damned “safe, legal procedure” done - and I do think that girls who manage to have sex behind their parents backs, and either do themselves violent injury or go on benders behind their parents backs, should be able to go get a safe, legal procedure behind their parents backs. Again, we’re talking about someone’s very intimate business here - they had sex and now something is happening in their body that is, in effect, hijacking their entire life (far beyond the time that constitutes their parents’ jurisdiction). We may or may not have very strong opinions about the pre-ordained and sacred nature of conception, but I’m not sure we have any right at all to mandate them as law on individuals with wombs and fetuses inside of them.
-Abortion laws almost always create personhood for a fetus that directly leads to birth laws wherein a woman can be forced to do what judges want and police end up in maternity wards, because things like choosing homebirth are seen as potential manslaughter and vbac is child abuse, and I just can’t deal with that, either. They also lead directly to the kind of pregnancy policing I mentioned up there a few paragraphs back.
-I cannot fault people who choose their own lives, or the livelihood of their families, over the life of a fetus. I am actually very skeptical of, say, the canonized Catholic saint who is recognized for choosing to carry a life threatening pregnancy to term so her baby could live while she died. This is something I’ve had to think about a lot, because it would be very dangerous for me to carry a pregnancy and I have a lot of children depending on my continuing to raise them :/ I think therapeutic abortion is still sad and even tragic, but I understand that life is not always cut and dry and sometimes there just are not clear, “right” answers.
Basically, I think abortion is the end of a life, and that a baby is dying, but I do not see it as murder, because “murder” is an intentional thing and the people carrying out/consenting to an abortion don’t see it as killing or else they wouldn’t be doing it. I think it’s preferable to minimize the number of abortions through help to young and single women who are pregnant and support for parents, as well as through GOOD, real sex ed that empowers people to understand their bodies and choices before pregnancy happens. However, I can’t actually bring myself to vote against abortion, even though I’m not happy when new pro-abortion guidelines pass. And I do get very worried when the most extreme anti-abortion laws are being proposed (like the ones that police pregnancy, or could make contraception illegal).
Sorry that was so ridiculously long. It’s a complex topic, damnit.
What do you think is the most controversial opinion you hold? (Feel free to explain)
This question could also be written: PLEASE PROVIDE DRAMA, I JUST WANT YOU TO SAY SOMETHING THAT LEADS TO OTHER PEOPLE SAYING MORE THINGS! :p
*sigh* Here goes! ;)
Probably my most controversial opinion is in almost unlimited parental rights. I have always been very strongly anti-CPS in almost all cases. This is partially because of my own history: I was raised by drug dealers, I was molested as a child, I often existed in filthy houses or moved a lot, I missed tons of school and changed schools and blah blah blah…but I honestly feel like the worst thing that could have happened to me in the midst of it all would have been being removed from my family and put in foster care. When I even try to conceptualize that, looking back, it’s terrifying and confusing and just would not have solved a damn thing. Rather, it would have removed the few normative standards I assumed I could securely rely on in my life (i.e., my siblings, and my mother, and peripheral grandparents, and that however much these people sucked they were my family and would never turn me out) and unhinged me completely. This is assuming I was placed in a GOOD place, which is not a very safe assumption considering the actual state of the foster care system :/
I realize that I was not beaten, I was loved, and I did have a relatively supportive structure of caring extended relatives to help fill in some of my gaps (like buying me bras and school supplies, and making some holiday traditions). I’m sure there are some people out there who either feel CPS saved them or wish CPS had intervened.
But I really feel that the horror stories I see reported in the news, of GOOD families being broken apart and kids being taken away in the night, are just NOT OK (like, say, because some dumbass lab tech in the photo dept at CVS interprets bath pictures as “child porn”). Not ok by any stretch of the imagination. I think parents can be cult members, or hoarders, and they can still raise their kids. They can put them in ghetto inner city public schools or homeschool as young earth creationists or pay to have them in boarding schools year round in Europe or WHATEVER. I have opinions about what is ideal and what is inferior but they’re irrelevant to other peoples’ parenting.
I can understand how a Jehovah’s Witness would refuse a blood transfusion even though I would be so thankful for one…or how people who have watched their kid go through a round of chemo might justify refusing more and letting them die in peace rather than putting them through more years of agonizing suffering that only “might” save them.
I just generally think the state as a scary big entity has no place in family life, unless someone is being raped or their life is in clear danger. If the government wants to provide or even enforce parenting/anger management classes, substance abuse treatment, counseling, financial resources for the needy, free/low cost childcare, etc to actually improve kids’ lives, that is admirable and has my full support. But mandating parenting decisions, making standards about what is or is not ok barring real cruelty, and yanking kids for less than something life threatening, I cannot get behind. And I hold people who call authorities in because they see kids playing outside unattended or think they’re dirty or whatever in contempt as destructive busy bodies. If they really cared, they’d befriend the family, offer to help, try to enrich the child’s life, etc - calling the cops is not “helping”, and is quite possibly opening a can of pita worms that the parents/kids will be dealing with for years to come.
Are you ever worried that Ananda and Aaron might eventually become seriously upset/traumatised/bitter about you and Grant not ensuring they had a closer relationship with their biological father? Have you considered what you'd do if this happened, or if they rejected Grant as a consequence?
Grant and I don’t have the power to “ensure they have a closer relationship with their biological father”. I’ve always had an open door policy where he knows all he has to do is tell me he’s coming, and we’ve even always let him stay with us/eat our food to help minimize expenses - including when we were very recently split and so it was awkward as hell and I don’t think most people would have gone for that. I used to drive an hour north to pick him up whenever he came into town (the last time, he had a car and drove). I’ve always maintained a blog loaded with pics and info of them that I know he reads, and I’ve always periodically called/messaged him about significant things in their lives. I’m not gonna beat his door down/nag him to hell about it - I feel like it’s worse to force them to feel connected if he’s not gonna maintain it and be a consistent part of their lives. That ball is in his court, to be cliche about it.
I do worry, based on talking with them over the last few months, that Aaron is gonna be (not very seriously, but significantly) hurt by the lack of effort to know him. And I’ve passed that along, with suggestions of text message or email communication that wouldn’t even have to go through me.
But, when they were very young, I was honestly most worried about trauma from having a relationship with him. That’s changed as they’ve gotten less vulnerable/better equipped and he’s grown up a lot, but I was initially relieved when he moved away because it made my life protecting them as a mother seem a lot easier. I had to prioritize that first.
And, you have to keep in mind that this isn’t a traditional “baby daddy/stepdad” setup. Ananda and Aaron have known and loved Grant as Dad from the time they were babies (Aaron has never called anyone else Dad at all). Bobby doesn’t have legal rights or pay child support. And A and A have known all along that he is out there and they have inherited traits but that he was very young and very screwed up from his screwed up family life and just not ready to be a dad, and had to go work on himself and now his own independent life (including a new family). What I’m saying is that while I’m sure it still has the power to be painful, there is a lot of open communication here and they do have two loving parents in their daily lives.
Anytime any of my kids were to get traumatized by something, I would talk to them about it, give them extra love and try to help them work through it. This would be no different.
I don’t think them rejecting Grant is even a remote possibility. He’s talking to and doing things with them every single day and for the last three years in a row Aaron has said what he wants more than anything for his birthday is “a whole day out alone just him and Dad”.