SEW jealous

more later, but if I had madder sewing skillz, I would totally make this dress for myself: sundress. As it is, I will just have to settle for hoping to win it.

A Bad Mother?

I can’t get last week’s interview with Ayelet Waldman on Fresh Air out of my head. As the mother of two healthy children, I shouldn’t be able to identify with a mother who chose to terminate a pregnancy that had some bad test results. But I do. My heart BROKE for Waldman as she described her experience, as she choked back tears and apologized for doing so. I’m so grateful that I didn’t have to make that choice — I don’t know what I would have done in her position. It’s easy to say what you would or wouldn’t do in that situation without having been there. I do know that if something were to happen to one of my children (knocking on all of the wood in the house right now), I would still love them as ferociously and enduringly as I do right now, and I would do everything I possibly could to ensure that they have a rich and happy life.

But let’s consider the ramifications of carrying to term a potentially disabled/mentally retarded/special needs child:
Yes, it ends a potential life,
– but would it be fair to the two children already in the family to essentially lose their parents to a much higher-needs child?
– and would it be fair to the child to bring him into the world fully knowing that he would suffer? isn’t it more cruel to knowingly bring a broken child into the world? Then again, who are we to say that a special-needs child’s life would be any less rich or rewarding?
– is it best for the structural integrity of the entire family to bring the stress of a special-needs child into the mix? Being a family is stressful enough — dare a couple risk breaking up their family by adding that degree of stress that a special needs child would bring?
– at the end of the day, isn’t the decision made in the interest of the greater good of the family, of the LIVING, EXISTING children that have already been born and the loving parents who aren’t sure they’re strong enough to take on a sick child?
– and isn’t it disingenuous to accuse someone who made this terrible decision of considering special needs children as disposable? Or to hold every family to the same rubric upon which to make their decision?

Mostly I’m playing devil’s advocate here, because at the end of the day (<— apologies for the cliche), what Ayelet Waldman and Michael Chabon chose to do in the best interest of their family is none of my business. It just really chaps my ass when people whom I think are cruel in the name of Jesus think it’s their duty to condemn others’ decisions and value systems. Then again, that’s the American way, isn’t it?

The light

I can see it! This is the last week of classes for the semester. After this week, I will not have to stand in front of a classroom of college students until January. It sounds more dramatic when I say “until 2010!!!” I found out last week that I was awarded a semester-long dissertation fellowship for next AY. I chose to take the Fall to write for two reasons: a.) so that I could have the rest of this calendar year to focus solely on my dissertation and b.) so that I wouldn’t have to go back to teaching a class that I loathe and working in the writing center as well. I am being paid by our Asian American Studies department to teach my AA Lit class next spring, but they didn’t have the funds to pay me for both long semesters, which meant that for the fall I was being bumped back to the rhet/comp ghetto (no offense to those rhet/comp aficionados out there; i see the value in rhetoric courses in helping undergrads think critically about life, but really prefer to teach lit). So, I’ve been rescued on a couple of counts. I feel so, so grateful to be able to just focus on my writing without the demands of teaching creeping in — I feel very hopeful that this will enable me to defend and graduate this time next year.

In other news, Laurel is already six months old! How did that happen? We had been chugging along beautifully until a couple of nights ago — I think she’s going through a growth/developmental spurt of late, because her sleep has been crap the past few nights. Waking up 3-4 times, thrashing, crying, etc. Things really came to a head last night when her crappy sleep was exacerbated by nasal congestion and a persistent cough. The nightmare started around 11:30 and lasted until about 4:30, when I was near tears and begging Matt for just one hour of sleep, that’s all I wanted. Just an hour. Fortunately, that’s when she simmered down and slept for about three hours without waking.

Harrison has turned into a little despot when it comes to the TV, so we’re doing some serious behavior mod this week. No TV in the mornings before school, and he’s limited to 30 minutes in the afternoon when he gets home. There is absolutely no excuse or reason for a 3-year-old to determine the TV-viewing habits of an entire family. He’s just going to have to find something else to do while at home with no TV. Like, oh, I don’t know, play with the HUNDREDS (THOUSANDS?) OF DOLLARS WORTH OF TOYS IN HIS ROOM?!?!? I’m just spitballing here.

Ok, enough jibba jabba. Time to go write about Bobos in the Namesake. (Oh, and can I just say that having appendicitis back in February was the best thing that could have happened to my dissertation? If I hadn’t been in the hospital on the morning of Feb. 27, I wouldn’t have seen the Today Show’s salute to Bollywood, inspired by Slumdog’s sweep of the Oscars, and I wouldn’t have a way to talk about why my texts are important to this cultural moment.) Hooray for my erstwhile appendix! May it rest in peace.