Mother's -- and father's -- days

Saying goodbye to babyhood and hello to family life, this week in Table Talk.


Salon Staff
May 12, 2006 2:59PM (UTC)

Families Who Think

Going from Child to Children -- adding a second, third, or more kids to your family

M Crawford - 12:10 am Pacific Time - May 11, 2006 - #1555 of 1559

When I was pregnant with Small all the baby books said not to get a bassinet so I wasn't going to get one. We discussed it and agreed on that. But Mr. Crawford kept absently throwing it into our mental list of stuff to buy. Diapers, baby clothes, bassinet. Right, right, no bassinet. Diapers, baby clothes, onesies, bathtub, bassinet. And so on. His little brother was born 6 weeks premature and rather ill when Mr. Crawford was 10, and he remembers someone saying something in that anxious time about the bassinet not being ready. And I guess it really, really took. He had to have a bassinet, it was this elemental need for him. He couldn't have a baby without one.

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So I very carefully chose a cheap bassinet, and bought it used on eBay (no pets, non-smoking home, natch). It came and we set it up immediately and it was darling and we took pics of me hugely pregnant next to it. And we put Smallie in it and then Tweeter. And I got terribly attached to it in my turn (once the kids were actually there Mr. Crawford wasn't nearly as tender towards the bassinet and even tried to sell it).

Tonight it's empty, though the basket is still all crammed with receiving blankets. Because Tweeter is past the age limit and nearly at the weight limit and she's in the crib in Small's room tonight. And this is just killing me, that our last newborn period is over so soon. I was going to treasure this newborn period properly this time and I still couldn't bottle every minute. And the bassinet was just hitting its stride!

And of course, now Mr. Crawford is going to sell the bassinet. And get a vasectomy. He got me hooked on the babies. And the bassinet. And now he's done.

Private Life

The Male/Female Question Box

Macdaffy - 12:43 pm Pacific Time - May 8, 2006 - #8150 of 8255

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I was raised to be a married man. I'm African-American and the knock on us is that we just don't (read: can't or won't) do kids and family, so the pressure to get it right is enormous. My father died at the age I am now, head of our house and a beloved man by everyone (except -- at times -- my mom, who had the blessing and curse to know him better than he knew himself). My mother died fifteen years later and, now, my brother is replicating our home life in a new house on the very same spot -- two boys, a wife and a pillar of the community.

But we live in a society that militates against traditional marriage unless you're in it for the reasons I mentioned. Even then, it's difficult: Even if you find the right person in the beginning, people grow and change. And you wake up one day with the children grown and the house paid off, and your job crushing the life out of you and you roll over and -- as Richard Pryor so famously said -- "there that mother----er is again!"

If we see things clearly, we realize that this existence may be the only one we get. Just dealing with the terror and awe of that is enough to deal with without having to consider someone else. We have to accord our own lives the measure of respect they deserve. Then, maybe we have enough perspective to "get" what relationships and family really mean.

But we're pushed into it at the time when we're least able to appreciate it, when our hormones and our parents are telling us REPRODUCE! Some of us shouldn't. But I ramble. I am in love and I have work I like and I treasure my life in a way I was unable to when I was young. I've had a great time, all in all, and I'm one lucky bastard.

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Salon Staff

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