27 April 2015

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My husband and I are from two separate cultural and religious traditions.  He’s of Indian Sikh extraction, and I’m of Irish-Canadian Christian background.  While all that culminated in two kickass weddings that took place about five years ago, now that we’re having a baby there’s some interesting things to consider.

I love my faith.  I don’t love dogma, because I don’t think that anything can be incontrovertibly true, nor should anything be so blindly followed as to prevent questioning or challenging over millenia.  Never have, never will.  I actually love the idea behind all faiths, because I’m fond of the idea that each one is essentially seeking the same thing – to make our human experience more understandable in the greater scheme of the universe. 

My husband is probably more culturally Sikh than religiously so.  He keeps his kesh and his turban, but his leanings are more scientific than spiritual.  He, too, abhors dogma and the ignorance that results from blind adherence to codified sets of rules that don’t adapt to changing times or attitudes. 

We’ve been asked how we’re going to raise our kid, probably because people see us, don’t see an obvious outward match, and then get curious about the myriad possibilities for our plans for our progeny.  It’s an interesting question to a lot of people, and every single person who’s asked has an opinion of their own.  They’re sometimes far less interested in our response than in the opinion that they already hold.

This child of ours will grow up knowing a little bit about every faith, and a fair bit about two in particular.  He or she will say grace before dinner, and will be able to greet older Indian family members with “Sat Sri Akal”.  Baby will know the stories of Jesus and the apostles and prophets, and those of the Gurus and brave sardars and sardarnis who fought for their place in the world, because baby’s Dad and I will tell him about all of them.  I’ll probably sing hymns to the baby, and maybe my husband will sing shabads.  No choices regarding religion will be made for this child, because we believe that being born in a family like ours provides the ultimate in faith learning environments.

We will ensure that our baby grows up equipped with enough knowledge to be able to find a path.  I’m pretty sure that’s all that parents can ever really do. 

22 April 2015

All the comforts of home

If you’ve been pregnant before, you’ll know that what was previously a perfectly serviceable, even comfortable and pleasant home becomes the Source of All Discontent at some point during the 40 weeks of gestation.  I’m there at the moment, and can barely stand the sight of anything in our condo.  It all infuriates me, from the bed to the stove to the shower. 

What’s funny is I’m not entirely sure why I feel this way about a place that I heretofore considered to be a solid representation of whatever home means to me.  The world of pregnancy websites tells me that I’m “nesting”, a term that of course brings to mind all sorts of birdy imagery.  It just seems as though the magnitude of the clear up and clean out that we need to do before the baby’s arrival is perhaps a bit too much.  Instead of lining a nest carefully and diligently with feathers, I want to rent a dumpster and throw all of our belongings into it. 

Of course we won’t be doing that, and have taken a more selective approach to making sure that we have the right stuff in the right places.  The baby’s crib has arrived, but we won’t be setting it up for real until after my parents have gone home (about two weeks after the baby has made its world debut).  I’ve used the image below as my inspiration for what I’d like the baby’s room to look like eventually – it’s about as non-baby as you can get, but the colours and general sense of room zen are what I’m really going for:

We’re being really choosy about what we buy for the baby, as we don’t have any extra space at all in our 875 square feet of beautiful downtown Toronto.  We’ve agreed that the only necessary home items are this crib, bassinet, bouncy seat, and change pad.  No toys, no random accoutrements – we just don’t have the space.

We’ve cleared out our closets and made room for baby clothes, went through stuff in storage boxes and separated out stuff we think the baby will enjoy, and hidden stuff that we’d rather never be broken or misplaced.  We’ll clean our soft furnishings, move a 1930s dresser in from my parents’ place, find actual bookshelves instead of the makeshift stuff we’ve been using, and maybe then my nesting instincts will be satisfied.  Maybe.  A few extra feathers here and there won’t hurt I guess.  

15 April 2015

Apprehending apprehension

One of the strangest things that I've noticed about being an expectant mother is that a formerly perfectly rational mind can suddenly, and without warning, become the opposite of perfectly rational.  

Don't get me wrong - I've always had my moments of utter ridiculousness, but I've noticed that they come far faster now.  Take, for example, the events of last week:

1. Eat more frequently, but still very healthily, all day at work.
2. Have another snack at home.
3. Start casually looking at a couple of pregnancy-and-baby-related websites.
4. Find articles about food-borne pathogens.
5. Read articles with increasing terror, especially lists of symptoms.
6. Become convinced that at least one of the aforementioned food-borne pathogens is circulating in my bloodstream.
9. Start reading about other things that can happen during pregnancy.
10. Decide it is neither LISTERIA or TOXOPLASMOSIS but instead PRE-PRE-ECLAMPSIA, and I'd better wake my husband up to tell him the prognosis.

Of course, I have none of those things, but the high jumps my mind can take are medal-worthy. I'm lucky to have so many friends, including my mother, who have been through this process before and can, at the bing of a text message, put my mind at rest.  I haven't had to call on them as of yet, but just having them there is a significant comfort.

This is a toxoplasma cyst in a mouse brain.  Not particularly comforting, this.