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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Nick brought home ten unisex outfits the other day and hung them in the nursery closet. I’m not sure why he bought them when we’re sure to get plenty of clothes at the baby shower next Spring, not to mention all the hand-me-downs we’re sure to get. On the one hand, I want to be prepared now, but then we need to see what gifts we receive first. We’re discussing furniture and a theme for the nursery, so I see painting in my future!

Last weekend I received a call from my parent’s house, so my first thought was that somebody died or was near death. My mom called, “just to see how you’re doing”, which is the first time I ever remember her calling just to ask about me. I hadn’t spoken to her since telling her about the babies in early September, when she told me this was “a sign of the end times”. Anyway, after about a half hour of her going on about herself and her church, she asked how the babies were doing. I suspect this was the real purpose of her call. Apparently, the realization of actually becoming a grandparent has made her happy after all.

I’m sure it’s not easy for my parents to be “out” about the babies. To my knowledge, no one else in the family knows I’m gay, so explaining grandchildren to other family members will require explaining my situation. We don’t have a large family and I’m not close to any aunts, uncles or cousins, so I never found it necessary to come out to other family members. I only see them at funerals and my parents made it clear they didn’t want the rest of the family to know. I could care less, but they’re the ones who interact with everyone else, so I let it go. It’ll be interesting to see how this evolves.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and we have plenty to be thankful for. We only have one guest coming for dinner, but we’ll probably have enough food to eat leftovers for the next week. I’m looking forward to four days off work, plenty of rest, and time spent with friends.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A Quick Update

Sorry no updates for the past week, but we’re somewhat in a “holding pattern” at the moment. Our surrogate just hit the 11th week, so we have one more week until the first milestone – the beginning of the second trimester. The highest risk of losing a one of the babies is during the first trimester, so it seems to be standard practice that couples wait until the second trimester to begin preparations. But the babies are fine and growing by the day.

Some days I think about what it will be like to care for twin babies, how exhausted I will be, or how many diapers we’ll go through in a day. All that work sounds very daunting to me! But then my thoughts change when I realize I won’t just be a sleep-deprived babysitter, but a father raising my children – my family.

This will probably be the biggest change in my life and sometimes, change can be a little scary. The dynamics of my relationship with Nick will change too, as we double the size of our household. I’d like to think our relationship won’t be stressed in the beginning, but I’m sure it will. I’ve been watching the TLC show, “John and Kate Plus 8” lately for some reason. Maybe I think if I watch them handle sextuplets and twins at the same time, one set of twins will seem easy! But they seem to be great parents and I love Kate's organizational skills. They don’t hide their stress, but through it all they love each other and their lives.

After the beginning of the second trimester, the next big milestone will be finding out the sexes. We’ve picked out one male name, but will wait until we know before picking more. I’m wondering more and more what they’ll look like, what their personalities will be like, and how they’ll grow and change with time. I can’t believe that a year from now, they’ll almost be 6 months old!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Babysitting - A Little O.J.T.

We babysat a seven-month-old this weekend, which was good on-the-job training for me. His parents are neighbors and friends of ours. They haven’t been out together sans-baby much at all since the birth, so they got a break and I learned a little about what it feels like to be responsible for a live baby. While changing a poopy diaper, all I could think was, “I’m going to have to do this for more than two years?” He just laughed and giggled, as if this were something funny! We enjoyed taking care of him and he seemed to like the attention.

We had a man come to measure for closet organizers, our fist step toward preparing the home for twins. We’ve decided not to prepare too much until we’re into the second trimester, which will be next month. Our surrogate will be visiting sometime around Christmas, so we may begin the nursery prior to her arrival.

From what I’ve read about surrogates, even though they aren’t biologically bonded to the baby, they do tend to feel a bond and have a concern for the child beyond birth. We’ve agreed that we’ll send our surrogate updates on the babies after they’re born and maintain contact with her. Some couples and surrogates I’ve read about became great friends for years. Our surrogate wanted to come see where they’ll live, which makes sense to me. Having our surrogate so far away, we feel like we’re missing the experience of the actual pregnancy. This will give us a chance to bond more with our surrogate and feel what it’s like to have our babies alive and kicking in our home. Hopefully the visit will give our surrogate a sense of comfort with us and the home we’ll provide for our children.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Debunking the Anti-Gay Parenting Myth

Recently I did a little reading about the opposition to gay parenting online out of morbid curiosity, I suppose. I read an article by Glenn Stanton, “Why Children Need Father-Love and Mother Love”. Mr. Stanton stated, “Much of the value mothers and fathers bring to their children is due to the fact that mothers and fathers are different. And by cooperating together and complementing each other in their differences, they provide these good things that same-sex caregivers cannot.”

The article goes on to quote Dr. Kyle Pruett of Yale Medical School who has written a book, “Fatherneed: Why Father Care is as Essential as Mother Care For Your Child”. Dr. Pruett states that, “fathers do not mother” and that a father brings unique contributions to parenting that a mother cannot, and then the opposite for mothers. Some of the other claims I found in this article were:

  • Fathers Push Limits; Mothers Encourage Security
  • Mothers and Fathers Communicate Differently
  • Mothers and Fathers Play Differently
  • Mothers and Fathers Parent Differently
  • Mothers and Fathers Discipline Differently
  • Fathers and Mothers Prepare Children for Life Differently
  • Fathers Provide A Look at the World of Men; Mothers, the World of Women
  • Fathers and Mothers Teach Respect for the Opposite Sex
  • Fathers Connect Children with Job Markets

    The article concluded that children need access to the different and complementary ways that mothers and fathers parent. It also claimed that children of same-sex parents will suffer from a lack of confidence, security, and independence, among other preposterous assumptions.

    I agree that two heterosexual men with the personalities and characteristics of my own father raising a child would not be a good thing. The child would live in squalor, eat nothing but fast food and junk food, be poorly clothed and probably grow up to be an insensitive sportsaholic!

    But these “studies” are completely off base because they assume that homosexual parents have strictly heterosexual characteristics and personalities. It seems that gay men and lesbians are stereotyped as sissies and bull dikes by the anti-gay crowd, but for this argument, we suddenly all take on the characteristics of heterosexuals. So which is it?

    If they would have examined gay and lesbian couples, they would have seen that masculine and feminine elements provided by heterosexual parents are present in gay relationships. They’re just not defined in the traditional, heterosexual way and may not be limited to one partner or the other. One partner doesn’t necessarily play the feminine mother role while the other plays a masculine father role, but feminine and masculine elements are represented just as well as in the average heterosexual couple.

    I also didn’t see in this article any mention of heterosexual parents who don’t play traditional parenting roles. I know a couple where the mother is the aggressive and competitive primary wage earner for the family and the father stays home with the children, cooks, cleans, and does the laundry.

    In our relationship, for instance, Nick is athletic and will teach our children sports. He’s also highly competitive and successful in the business world. He’s a great cook and a nurturer. I’m creative, keep a clean, well-organized home, and am likely to play more of a typical heterosexual father’s role with nurturing.

    As far as teaching respect for the opposite sex, I don’t understand where this claim came from. I assume that this relates to the stereotype of man-hating lesbians and woman-hating gay men, but there were no facts to back up the claim that gay parents cannot or will not teach their children to respect the opposite sex. I’ve personally never encountered a disrespect of the opposite sex in the gay community and certainly wouldn’t teach it to my children.

    Nick and I are not two identical personalities who will be two-dimensional parents. Our personalities complement each other and I have no doubt that we’re well-equipped as a couple to provide our children with a well-rounded childhood that exposes them to a healthy dose of femininity and masculinity. If neither of us had nurturing tendencies, we wouldn’t want to have children. Both of us will mother and father our children, as is fitting with our unique personalities. Anti-gay parenting claims are based on flawed thinking, prejudice, and fear. Only time and demonstration that we are capable parents will cause people to think for themselves, challenge prejudice and bigoted teachings, and eventually change negative attitudes toward gay parenting!