Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Childproofing your home…for other people’s kids October 24, 2011

When I saw this article about how to childproof your home for a visiting friend’s child, I had an instant and visceral reaction.

On the one hand, I would never want anything untoward to happen to a child in my home (or anyone else’s home for that matter) and I consider myself an accommodating host, but on the other hand I thought, “Childproof my home? Is she flippin’ kidding me?”

The article offers suggestions to plug electrical outlets and invest in some toys and books, as well as other inexpensive items, such as a highchair, play yard (aka fence), and baby tub. I tried to imagine buying these things to accommodate a visitor, and frankly, I couldn’t. Again, not because I wouldn’t want a houseguest to feel welcome, but because I couldn’t imagine having these items in my home – for someone else’s baby.

I had an experience a couple of years ago where Mr. Fab had guests with a baby stay for a few days when I was out of town. I returned to my home to find plastic plugs in all my outlets, baby wash and baby shampoo in my bathroom cabinet, and a portable highchair in my closet. There were baby wipes under my kitchen sink and a baby cutlery in with my knives and forks.

I remember feeling, not exactly violated, but certainly intruded upon. It was a strong and surprising reaction, and when I remember it, I try to figure out why I had responded that way. It was more than just having baby items in my home, because they’ve since been removed one way or another. I’m not even sure it was about feeling disrespected that my obviously childfree home was changed to suit someone else.  I’ve even wondered if was just plain jealousy.

I wish I could put my finger on it, because I felt that same reaction again when I saw this article, and I still don’t fully understand why. Any suggestions?

 

Just when you thought it was safe… September 12, 2011

…I’m back! Refreshed, revived, and raring to go!

My vacation flew by and I didn’t do half the things I’d planned, and yet it feels as if I’ve been gone for months. How’ve you been? How was your summer (or winter, if you’re a southern hemisphere reader)?

My trip was wonderful. As always, it was so good to be home (home, meaning my birthplace), back to everything that’s familiar and back with my family. It was good to see everyone and spend time doing the things I love­–hiking, biking, running, (eating), and catching up with old friends.

There’s a familiar pattern to my trips home. For the first week, everything is a novelty and it’s fun to observe my people and the places I know well, but with a foreigner’s eye.

By week two, I’m thinking of moving back. I’m looking longingly at the countryside and envisioning how I could spend my days hiking and running. I’ve bought some gardening magazines and I’m fantasizing about the incredible garden I would have. I’m thinking about what it would take to be able to support myself there.

By week three, I’m ready to go home. I’m thinking about work and I’m missing my routine and my cat. And inevitably, I have an encounter with friends or family that makes me realize that I am now an alien in my native land. I’ve changed; I don’t fit in any more, and, even though I’ll always refer to Britain as “home” I know that California is my real home now.

So I pack my suitcase, throw in some chocolate and tea, kiss my mum goodbye and leave home to head home.

And here I am.

Of course, I’ve been gathering material on my travels, so I’ll have plenty to write about for a while. I’ve also been giving some thought to the future of this blog, so look out for what I hope will be some exciting changes in the coming months.

To kick things off, Kathleen’s It Got Me Thinking… column will be moving to Tuesdays and I’ll be inviting some other guest bloggers to share some of their thoughts. If you’re interested in writing for Life Without Baby, drop me a line, or stay tuned for more information coming soon.

It’s good to be back and I’ll hope you’ll tune in. I’ve missed your company.

 

Nieces and nephews August 5, 2011

I have just booked my flight to go home to England to see my family. I am counting down the days. I am long overdue for some time off, but more than that, I want to see my nieces and nephews.

I’ve been writing on this blog lately about the role we can play in the lives of other people’s children and how valuable that can be for us and them. The problem is that I’ve lived away from my family for 20 years. I have a niece and a nephew already out in the workforce, three more in college and another three growing up way too fast. My circle of influence over them, or even my participation in their lives at all, feels so insignificant.

Now I don’t have children of my own, I wish that I could have played a bigger role in their lives. But that’s all water under the bridge, as they say, so all I can do now is make an effort to spend some time with them, which is exactly what I plan to do. Soon.

 

Jail time for growing vegetables July 23, 2011

Filed under: Current Affairs,Fun Stuff — Life Without Baby @ 6:00 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

I love to garden, but I rent my home, so my grand ideas are limited by my landlord’s wishes, my unwillingness to invest in someone else’s property, and my propensity for abandoning overly ambitious projects.

Our house has a fair sized lawn in front, but because we live in Southern California, it’s green of its own accord for just a few months a year. Last year we were under water restrictions that limited the watering of lawns, and regardless, I have a hard time justifying pumping gallons of water onto something that isn’t supposed to be there in the first place. We live in a desert for Pete’s sake.

I’ve long harbored dreams of ripping out the lawn, terracing the slope, and planting a verdant vegetable garden. Yes, that will take water, too, but it will be a lot more productive and environmentally savvy than grass.

So, I was stunned (but not ultimately surprised) when I saw in the news this week that a woman in Michigan could face jail time for planting a vegetable garden in front of her house.

Apparently a neighbor complained that the woman’s new landscaping “disrupted the look of the neighborhood” and the city has taken it all the way to the courts.

Contrast this with the many cities, such as Long Beach, CA, offering their citizens financial incentives to convert their water-guzzling lawns, and Sonoma County’s iGrow program that encourages everyone to grow their own food.

Of course, this story make me want to go out and start digging my lawn up immediately, but knowing myself as I do (see last week’s Craft Nerd post) I know I’d get complaints, and well-deserved, about my half-finished project.

 

 
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