Wednesday, December 28, 2005

A new way of doing things

will grace our doorstep next week as Steph leaves her Americorps job (woo hoo!) and my days as full time domesticated papa change into more of a 3/4 time work-at-home papa. Hopefully it will be a welcome change and one that will ease the pressures paining Stephanie and me. If there is one thing that becoming a parent teaches you it is that things are constantly changing and just when you've settled into one rhythm it's time to leave for the next or some little detail changes and the rest of your world rocks, a little paper boat in a pond that looks like the ocean.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Translating for mama and other tales of trying times

Spending the bulk of time with our girls has made me somewhat of a resident expert on their indiosyncratic language traits and signs and squeals and sounds. I even have to act as interpreter for Stephanie from time to time and have been unsure as to how to approach this. I don't want to be nit-picky and butt in every time she doesn't understand what they're trying to convey but what am I supposed to do? I know the answer to the problem and can solve the tension with a few words but I feel like Steph needs to build her own understanding and relationship with them. But then it starts driving me subliminally crazy and I end up just blurting out the translation in the form of an almost-order sometimes: "I think she needs a diaper change honey." We only say honey when we're mad or dripping with sarcasm. So oh well, playing catch-up is a part of life when you have to sacrifice one thing to gain another. And we all learn our lessons the hard way sometimes, walking a path before we realize we don't belong there.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

back across the state in our rented cadillac tomorrow morning
to yakima and barns of books and printing equipment!
then on to olympia.

it has been fun here, though stressful. i am tired from working on so many books with so little time. grandparents are great when they're around and not stressing. the girls have been very receptive to them this trip. if one of them is in the room my job is done as they virtually ignore me and spend all their time with my parents. They are starting to call my Dad 'poppy' and my mom wants to be called 'gramma.' i'm glad they get to spend some time together, it makes my parents very happy for a short period of time before they slip back into their haze of routine.

a brief respite tomorrow night and then x-mas eve at Last Word with Rob. steph resigned her americorps job today so we're gonna figure a few new things out over the next month. adios.

finding another ship in a storm

is comforting. but yer still in the storm matey.

my friend and fellow parent libby came over this evening with her two girls: Makayla (age four) and Emily (18 months). we had a marvelous time talking shop/home/parenting and politics and life and our humble distant walla walla pasts. we were never incredibly close friends growing up here in this backwoods farm town with a libertarian kick but i feel like now that we share this most common of grounds there lies a lot of opportunity. readers of this dear blog may visit Libby's online presence via Being Mommy where she does a fine job navigating the rough waters of being a live-at-home mama and a military wife. cheers libs. let's take this storm head on, batten down the hatches, break out the spiced rum and save the best stories for fifty years from now.

Being Mommy is now Diary of an Air Force Wife...

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

me play all day and me work all night

scarleht swept the kitchen floor with my mother this evening. lyli wore a dastardly pink collared button-up tee. i drank some moosedrool and pored over old books when i wasn't reading goodnight moon for the twenty-thousandth time.

time here at "home" is strange. my folks work most of the time and my mother is obsessive compulsive enough to waste what little time she has cleaning instead of hanging out with her grandchildren. my father is tired and detached. one of my dogs is dead and my old grey cat is on her last leg. it is as if the sand inside the hour glass has eaten away at the mummified memories I left here entombed in a self i thought i past.

a tiny cry from the basement rouses me from reminiscing. that room down there filled with the trinkets i infused with meaning once, now less. i thought that maybe i could escape the cliche, you can never go home, but it seems that even i must fall victim to time's ambiguities. i, who used to scoff at schedules, am now wrapped tight amidst them.

like a pair of pancakes i flip my girls and they fall back to sleep. two wrinkles ironed out in the clothing of this night.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

I have been spreading the Pirate Papa word amongst the brave peoples of Olympia these past two weeks. Overall response has been excellent. Several staunch republicans shook my hand today before we debated our differing viewpoints of war. Many fathers have thanked me and promised to write something but I have yet to receive any submissions. I am very glad to see a few comments popping up here and there, even if I do know the commentators. I really believe strongly in this project and wish I had more energy to devote to it. But that's why I need submissions! So please, get the word out to any fathers you may know, old, young, the whole gambit. I want to make this site a solid resource for any troubled fathers seeking answers to their questions or support for their conflicting tangled emotions.

Tomorrow I will drive across Washington state to Walla Walla with my girls in a fat lincoln continental courtesy of an inside hookup at Enterprise. Definitely not my style. I may dress up for the occasion. We will spend three days there working on books and playing at my mother's house and father's bookstore. I love going there with them at this age because we just walk around and I tell them stories about the place and show them the things I remember from my youth and adolescence. I know that not all of it is sinking in but the practice for later feels good. Driving long distances with Lyli and Scarleht hasn't presented much of a problem yet, they seem to settle into the rhythms of the road and relax and look out the windows. As long as I am attentive to their basic needs, diaper, food, water, etc., everything's peachy. Hope White Pass is passable.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

If anyone reading this blog happens to know of some solid alternative anger management or anarchist anger management exercises or resources please let this troubled administrator know. even the home lives of the most stable families appear more stable than they are. like a river, beneath the surface lies tumultuous currents. and even the strongest need help every now and then.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

mama's job stress, a live-at-home papa, a cold beer and daily life

steph is stressed out by her job and the fact that she only sees our girls for a couple hours a night. as soon as she walks through the door they turn from angels into little whirlwinds and all the patience and process and progress I have helped them foster these past 18 months goes out the window. it's hard for me too even though I try not to show it. Even though they've been cooperative with me all day long it's tricky, part of me gets instantly fed up with both them and stephanie for their lack of patience and understanding with each other. i know it comes down to a simple time thing and the mere fact that i have spent a much more significant amount of time with them shines through in the relationship we have. and so, after taking care of them for 10 to 12 hours straight i usually opt to postpone my break a little longer and help steph slog through the rocky evening.

my days are long, 16 to 20 hours on average. lyli and scarleht usually read anywhere from 5 to 40 books a day, so sometimes my eyes are swimming by 2 pm. we've been trying to make the switch from one long nap to two medium length naps and have been fairly successful with only a couple slip-ups. it's strange being a live-at-home papa in a society that totally supresses and rejects fatherhood but i also like the fact that I am having aunique experience and value the time I am investing with my children. sometimes it feels like i am a single father being magically assisted economically by friends and family and businesses. selling books online is an excellent way to work out of your home by the way and a topic for an entire essay on how more radical fathers could get away with living and working at home. alas, the unnecessary separation of labor from love in this world is devastating across the spectrum.

i do have fun but i also get absolutely worked. from chasing twins to washing dishes & floors to splitting wood to the chainsaw and stroller and other random chores coupled with carrying multiple 50 pound boxes of books every day from here to there and back again... by the time 11 pm rolls around I enjoy settling in to a movie and a little book-looking-up. steph usually falls asleep with the girls and sleeps until morning. i guess she just requires more sleep than me. i've always been able to sacrifice that for productivity or personal space and relaxing time. who knows? maybe in 30 years it'll come back and bite me in the ass and my health will go down the tubes a touch too quick. but i don't think so. faith in oneself is the most important part.

Thursday, December 8, 2005

forgiving our fathers

by dick lourie

maybe in a dream: he's in your power
you twist his arm but you're not sure it was
he that stole your money you feel calmer
and you decide to let him go free

or he's the one (as in a dream of mine)
I must pull from the water but I never
knew it or wouldn't have done it until
I saw the street-theater play so close up
I was moved to actions I'd never before taken

maybe for leaving us too often or
forever when we were little maybe
for scaring us with unexpected rage
or making us nervous because there seemed
never to be any rage there at all

for marrying or not marrying our mothers
for divorcing or not divorcing our mothers
and shall we forgive them for their excesses
of warmth or coldness shall we forgive them

for pushing or leaning for shutting doors
for speaking only through layers of cloth
or never speaking or never being silent

in our age or in theirs or in their deaths
saying it to them or not saying it -
if we forgive our fathers what is left?

This powerful piece is excerpted at the end of Sherman Alexie's movie Smoke Signals.

Monday, December 5, 2005

Punk Parenting: The Future Generation Interview

by Jeff Bagato

As with other aspects of underground culture, “punk parenting” has caught on as a hot topic, most prominently in Bust’s motherhood issues, Ayun Holliday’s East Village Inky, and the print and web zine Hip Mama. But back in 1990, these resources weren’t available to a young, single welfare mom named China – if they had been, she never would have started her own zine, The Future Generation (TFG), to create a network of like-minded parents. She couldn’t have known back then that her need to document her own experiences as a mother and to share parenting resources would lead her on such a long run through the underground press – an accomplishment that makes her a kind of grandmother to lots of new punk mommies.

When I first found The Future Generation in Normals Bookstore in Baltimore, I was initially attracted by its crayon-colored cover. As with LPs, zines with handmade touches seem to be made with an extra bit of love and commitment that nearly always shows up in the quality of their contents. TFG was no exception. When I flipped thru it, I was blown away by the dense offerings of personal experience, excerpts from alternative childcare sources, photos, children’s drawings and poems – articles focused on raising a child from a punk or anarchist perspective. China’s writing went well beyond platitudes, ideological ranting, self-pity or dogma; instead of bullshit, her writing was always honest, reflecting her struggles to raise a daughter on her own while keeping her ideals intact. Because she was so honest, you found out what worked and what didn’t, where compromises were made (like when she enrolled her daughter in public school) and the delicate issues of being responsible for a child’s safety while allowing them freedom to explore.

As a new stay-at-home dad trying to balance my show-going nightlife with a freelance writing “career” and changing diapers, TFG was just what I needed. I immediately struck up a correspondence with China, visited her at her home in the Stony Run neighborhood near BWI airport which she would document in TFG, contributed to her zine, and shared the stage with her at readings in Baltimore, where she now lives. From my perspective, TFG is one of the most committed, radical and inspiring zines ever produced, anywhere. Read More...

And check out this history of mama/parenting 'zines also written by China Martens.

Sunday, December 4, 2005

What methods of child rearing do anarchists advocate?

Anarchists have long been aware of the importance of child rearing and education. As such, we are aware that child rearing should aim to develop "a well-rounded individuality" and not "a patient work slave, professional automaton, tax-paying citizen, or righteous moralist." [Emma Goldman, Red Emma Speaks, p. 108] In this section of the FAQ we will discuss anarchist approaches to child rearing bearing in mind "that it is through the channel of the child that the development of the mature man must go, and that the present ideas of. . . educating or training. . . are such as to stifle the natural growth of the child." [Ibid., p. 107]

If one accepts the thesis that the authoritarian family is the breeding ground for both individual psychological problems and political reaction, it follows that anarchists should try to develop ways of raising children that will not psychologically cripple them but instead enable them to accept freedom and responsibility while developing natural self-regulation. We will refer to children raised in such a way as "free children." Read More...

A Project of the Anarchist Action Network

Friday, December 2, 2005

Why Men Leave - A Hidden Epidemic

A solid article on a topic that needs to be addressed in a constructive manner.

"Assertion: Modern culture is in the midst of a hidden epidemic of fathers leaving their families - usually around the time when the first child is born. Men leave their families in a multitude of ways. Even if they remain in the home, many fathers are often emotionally absent - through depression, workaholism, violence/aggression, physical or emotional abuse, or a retreat into addiction to substances, media, consumer goods, sports, food or sex.

Most men in the "developed" nations today never bonded (or very poorly bonded) with their mothers. Most people don't even notice how disconnected modern people are from each other, compared to cultures where the bond is still intact.
Yes, we talk of alienation and notice how much people in Mediterranean cultures touch each other, but we make no connection between these phenomena and how our bonds among people, with nature, and with the divine have been torn asunder. I propose that this unnoticed, silent epidemic of disconnection/alienation is the source of most societal ills. Fathers leaving their children and their families is only the tip of an iceberg."

article courtesy of:

Thursday, December 1, 2005

a day in the life and some sign language links

today we played in the snow for the first time
hands got cold pretty quick

upon returning in we discover that snow is
in fact

and delicious

they are both wandering around trying to say 'hermana'
and signing up a storm

I highly recommend signing with your child as early as they will pay attention. My mother was a sign language interpreter while I was growing up. I was fluent until age six when I stopped using it. Now, at 23, I've picked it up again in order to communicate with my children. Lyli and Scarleht just turned 19 months today and know upwards of 50 signs apiece. Children can sign long before they can speak and many of the early frustrations of parenthood can be easily bypassed by means of this method of communication. Plus it's fun for you and your child, gets those rusty neural networks tickin' again and has been proven to increase the development of your child in some astonishing ways. Language, critical thinking, problem solving, everything is sped up due to the acquisition of a language at such an early age.

I wish there were better resources out there but this will have to do:

Sign With Your Baby - at least they're Seattle-based, I can't vouch for their business practices other than that but they've put together a decent program. I'd just keep the book and maybe find a few other decent sign language dictionaries and go for it. It's not like you're going to be signing with many deaf people and need to be fluent or precise. It's the principle which counts here and the effects will be the same regardless of the quality. You can even invent signs of your own or better yet listen to your child and let them invent their own. It gets tricky sometimes trying to decode their little twitching hands and so many signs look alike (sorry and please; thank you and hot) but you'll get the hang of it.

God, I've been looking at some of the baby sign websites out there and they look strange! DON'T DO SEE-SIGN I BEG OF YOU. Stick with American Sign Language, here's a basic online video dictionary and here's another one: Handspeak(I haven't investigated the quality very thoroughly). There are also a few forms of international sign but I don't know much about them at all. Please feel free to contact me regarding sign language as I still have many resources available through my mother. Good Luck!

alas, it has been another long day. and i am a tired papa.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Rad Dad 'Zine Fills A Much Needed Void

Giving a voice to the voiceless. It is virtually impossible to find any solid, anti-corporate, anti-establishment advice for a young father in this society. Yet in minutes online one can find thousands of resources for young mothers, holistic, anarchist, vegan, you name it. Why such a shocking disparity? And we wonder why our culture is the way it is or why there is such a rift between genders. By the time the average American child is six years old they have spent more time watching television than they will EVER spend one-on-one with their father. This 'zine, like this blog, is for all the fathers who don't want to be a part of that statistic as well as the ones who are stuck into the system and don't even know it. From Papifesto:

"This is long overdue, and I fight the urge to just not do it at all. Sometimes I feel that maybe the new fathers should be the one to start this. Or that I, having been a father now for fourteen years starting when I was twenty-one, am too old, too complacent. Well, perhaps this will get me off my ass. I'm thirty-five, a father of three and ready to get this party started. Here's one of my stories: as a young father I realized very quickly how isolated I felt on the playgrounds of San Francisco, how little community there was for us. Now playgrounds have long been revolutionary breeding grounds for women and other caregivers, to sit and talk, to bond, to laugh, to find support, to pass on information and education; I can’t tell you how many times I have found peace of mind hearing someone tell me that what my daughter has was just like what hers had and that if I do this or that things would be ok. Sometimes empathy is the most revolutionary thing. But I was a guy, and I was welcomed and am grateful for that, but I still felt on the outside, not really part of that oh so tight inner circle. Damn my cock! Although I know cocks don't always make men and men don't always have cocks, but that's an essay for another time.

Where were the men; there weren't that many that seemed to hang around playgrounds, but by looking around at all the kids there certainly were a lot of men doing a little somethin, somethin . . . but again -- where were they?

It was around this time that someone, again on the playground, showed me a copy of Hip Mama. Wow! Immediately, I wanted one for dads. Now the problem with me is that I tend to think that others will do it better than me, that if I’ve thought of it then at least twenty others have probably done it already. So I did nothing, but waited for it to fall in my lap.

It never did, and I went on to father two more children with a wonderful partner, to begin a teaching career, to discover anarchist theory that helped me challenge myself and my politics and values, to reconnect with chicanismo and with my own father locked up in la pinta for most of my teenaged years; I struggled to incorporate feminism, environmentalism, and activism into my life and my parenting, to explore unskooling and discipline, to watch as other men became fathers. At some point, I finally picked up the pen to take my writing more seriously, to trust my voice and my experiences, to write for myself in other zines and journals. But during all that time, I never ever discovered that magazine for dads. Until now.

But this project seems daunting. I fear people will think I'm being narcissistic: like who does he think he is callin himself a rad dad; I also worry that there is too much to say, too may important issues about race, about class, about patriarchy to address and that this can only be a failure, so why say anything at all. And well all of this might be true. But fuck it; here it is, read it to your kids (I did), your friends, give it to the men in your life as well as the women; forget gender and just give it to everybody. I give you rad dad as a proto-type hoping that it will lead to that community I still long to be a part of, those circles where us fathers can chew on parenting that isn’t based in sexist, out dated gender biases, and yet that can be honest and open though about those same pressures and images we face daily. I hope this continues with me and other fathers. Because I know there are so many fuckin cool dads trying to parent in these dangerous times in loving, meaningful, authentic, and ultimately revolutionary ways. This is for you."


Tomas is seeking submissions for issue #3 from any and all papas out there! He may be contacted thusly:

tom_moniz (at)
1636 Fairview St.
Berkeley, CA

Thanks for the info Hip Mama.

Tuesday, November 1, 2005

News for a Surly Crew

  • Rose Colored News
  • Pacific Views
  • In the Course of Events
  • Open the Future
  • My Buffalo River Home
  • Parents Behaving Badly
  • Clipgator news for Parents
  • The Green Geek
  • Anarchist Television
  • ParentDish
  • Big Green Blog
  • Grub & Grog

  • Full Bellies - Excellent Recipes!
  • Vegan Lunchbox
  • Olympia's Garden Raised Urban Bounty!
  • Vegbox Recipes - UK
  • Foodhacking
  • Wild Oats recipes for kids
  • Green Chronicle
  • Sustainable Table
  • Help, I Have A Fire In My Kitchen!
  • Fine Mama Lassies

  • Dooce
  • Childbearing Hipster
  • Literary Mama
  • So Close
  • Islamic Parenting Blog
  • Indigo Girl - Multiple Baby Blogroll!
  • Girls Gone Child
  • Queen of Spain
  • Quiet Life
  • Diary of a Pregnant Anarchist
  • Addition'o Papa Blogs

    Check Me Hearties for other parent-blogger links!
  • Honkey Tonk Dragon - The Parenting Division
  • How About Two?
  • L.A. Daddy
  • DadCentric
  • Where Boys Fear to Tread
  • Cameron's House of Fun
  • Dadventure
  • Daddy 'Zine
  • The Blogfathers
  • A Family Runs Through It
  • No Ma'am, This Is My Job
  • Rice Daddies
  • The Other Side of Straight
  • Daddy, Papa & Me
  • Letters for Zac
  • My Confessions
  • Guy Dads
  • Cynical Dad
  • Ninja Dad
  • Moby's Musings
  • Creative-Type Dad
  • Plunder!

  • Plunder!
  • Anarchist Guide to Raising KidsTowards an Anarchist Education for Children
  • Green parenting: 20 small steps that make a big difference
  • Radical Parenting Reading List
  • a-parenting -- Libertarian socialist forum on parenting and child care
  • Baby Bloc
  • The Green Parent
  • Green Baby Blog
  • Un/Homeschooling Course
  • Geek Dad
  • BabyGooRoo
  • Rebel Dad
  • Talking with Toddlers
  • Hip Mama
  • Panarchy
  • Polyarchy
  • Families Rising!
  • New Mexico Young Father's Project
  • Infoshop's Radical Parenting
  • Parenting & Homeschooling Links
  • Mama & Papa 'Zine Links
  • Radio Free School's Blog
  • Fertile Ground 'Zine
  • GirlMom - Support for Young Mamas
  • Resources for Gay Dads
  • Sharing Sustainable Solutions
  • Labour of Love - Conscious Parenting
  • Organic Family Magazine
  • Dangers of Vaccines Info
  • Grassroots Environmental Education - Info on Toxins
  • Holistic Pediatric Association
  • The Natural Child Project
  • Seattle's Booty Land & Radical Mamas & Papas
  • Alfie Kohn
  • The Green Tit
  • Revolutionary Anarchist Mom and Baby League
  • Radical Unschooling
  • Anger Management Blog
  • Slowlane - Online Resource for Stay-At-Home Dads
  • Daddy Stays At Home
  • Attachment Parenting Blog
  • Rosenberg Fund for Children
  • Male Care - Men's Cancer Resource Site
  • Consider Homeschooling
  • Cotton Babies
  • Fathers At Work
  • Infoshop's Radical Parenting Links
  • DaddyTypes Gay Dads Info
  • Blogging Baby
  • Disenfranchised Father
  • - Left well, matey!
  • Father's World-Generic but Decent
  • FatherVille-See Above
  • Father's Direct-See Above
  • Progressive Parenting BlogAds
  • Skip-Hop- innovative products for moms and dads
  • Parentography
  • for Kids
  • Great Green Baby
  • The Father Life
  • Roald Dahl Club
  • Eric Carle
  • Cool Stuff for Dads
  • The Visible Embryo
  • Dr. Greene
  • Little Hippie
  • Paternity Angel- mediocre
  • Capitalism Bad, Tree Pretty
  • Me Hearties!

  • Peanut Gallery
  • Sarah & the Goon Squad - More Twins!
  • Diary of An Air-Force Wife
  • Green Parenting
  • The Tiny Revolution
  • Transformation - A Radical Shift
  • Stanselen
  • Honky Tonk Dragon - Scooters, Comix & More!
  • L'Immoraliste
  • Primitive Images - Sam Dillon's Blog
  • Earthlight Books Blog
  • Last Word Books Blog
  • Olympia Online 'Zine Library
  • Postcards from Gravelly Beach
  • Robbing the Sky
  • Hobo Radio
  • Flailing My Arms
  • OlyBlog
  • DaddyTypes: The Weblog for New Dads
  • Daddy Chip
  • Patriside
  • At Home Daddy
  • Dave R - Sometimes Ordinary SAHD
  • Mother Anarchy
  • Not Your Mama's Mama
  • Cubicle Dad
  • The Jasper Chronicles
  • Paxye's Rant
  • i hate snaps
  • Mama's Big Ol' Blog
  • Jen's Ramblings
  • Rural Dad
  • Embassy of Arcturus
  • Dad2Twins
  • Mom's Daily Dose
  • Clare's Dad
  • Wes Unruh
  • Anti-Racist Parent
  • Philosopher Dad
  • Subject A Obliterates
  • Human Iteration
  • Who Broke the Beaker
  • Sarah's OlyBlog
  • Olympia Dumpster Divers
  • Blog Green
  • College of Mythic Cartography
  • Two Okapis - More Twins!
  • Earthlight Books Dot Com!
  • Last Earth Distro
  • Last Word Press