Monday, March 27, 2006

Rad Dad #3 is out!

My cyber buddy and fellow pirate papa Tomas down in Berkeley just got the 3rd installment of Rad Dad printed! Shoot him off an e-mail and he'll tell you how to order some copies to distribute in your community. Ideally getting more physical papa zines such as this one out there in circulation will eventually influence more and more fathers to talk about their lives openly and begin to help heal the disconnect we're all feeling.


Thursday, March 23, 2006

My daughters make faint marks in their little collaged scrap paper art books from auntie Em

outside the roosters crow in the gray of day
as little shoots inch their way up into this March light
in little planters filling our laundry room

fir crackles in the wood stove
pitch spitting in defiance of combustion
Lyli wobbles around the living room chanting 'appy 'appy
scarleht signs hurt by touching her index fingers together several times
as we discuss last night's hair combing adventure

we work on signing 'today' 'tomorrow' and 'yesterday' as I explain to them
that time does not have to be linear

take me for example, to whom time has become a folded sheet I sometimes shake the dust from

Our children's development mirrors Stephanie and my difficulties in ways which are hard to explain. As our daughters learn to speak it is as if Stephanie and my ability to do so has devolved, hopefully only temporarily. Perhaps we have gifted those energies in our own beings to our girls to quench their aching thirst. In this transition time before spoken language takes off like a jumbo jet it often feels at the end of a day spent mostly teaching them to talk, it often feels as if my faculties of thought and patience have dried up, expended and withered against their absurd sponge-like enthusiasm and boundless energy. Maybe I've just lost the ability to interact with anyone beyond drunks and small children... which still leaves a lot of people to talk to at least.

But mostly around adults I just feel tired and out of place, as if the cumulative weight of their years oppresses me somehow. At the same time add to this mix a bit of youthful idealism and energetic pride to be doing all that I am doing so young, to garner the respect of this tired old club dreaming down dead-end streets.

Around those my own age I still feel that same anachronistic awkwardness... having grown in ways unbeknownst to my peers but also having a piece of my own growth stunted, those few limbs which shoot for the sky before they know not to try, that reckless selfish coming to terms with ones fantasies and fictions before sitting down to tell a tale.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Ronin, Daniel, Lyli, Scarleht and myself at this year's Synergy Conference at The Evergreen State College. It's nice to see another pirate papa every now and then, hopefully this summer we will become a better networked little South Sound tribe.

Monday, March 20, 2006

the concept of two, tools and talk of an injury

four days old now: Scarleht backed into the door of the wood stove boomshika first and has a nice oval slightly larger than a silver dollar burned into her left 'shika-cheek. Over the past few days she has started showing more interest in the hand signs for today, yesterday and tomorrow in association with the pain she is feeling and her memories of the event itself. very interesting. she and lyli also said 'two' today in reference to their socks and appeared to fully understand the difference between one and two of something for close to the first time (other than knowing that there are two of them). Steph brought home a toy shovel and rake so that the ladies may join us working in the garden together tomorrow.

twenty-two months on April 1st, hard for me to believe that almost two years have gone by since my daughters entered this world. i wonder where some parts of me have gone this past span of time's trail. figured out today that when my girls turn 34 months old my father's bookstore will be 34 years old... just another strange coincidental bit of synchronicity to help tell me subliminally that I am on the right path.

Friday, March 17, 2006

The words just keep flowing

out of Lyli and Scarleht as their ability to mimic noises improves exponentially every few days. Today's new or newly enunciated words: Diapie, yodel, Rob(Rah), Uncle(Unck), Sock (zzjah), hi (Hieeeee!), Moon (Mao), Raw (as in foods). I've started perusing How Language Comes to Children by Benedicte de Boysson-Bardies who is a director of research in the Experimental Psychology Laboratory at the Centre Nationale de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris, France. Wish I had time to give it a solid read, sigh. For a change of pace I've picked up Andre Gide's The Immoralist and am still slowly plowing through A Book of Readings for Men Against Sexism published by those pioneers at Times Change Press back in 1977.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

i assert that our primary partnerships are the key to family success,

and even though arrangements don't all have to look the same, i am of the belief that the overall health and stability of that main bond in our lives as papas is essential. i am curious what you might have gone through/are going through in your primary relationship that has you concerned/hopeful etc. much of my relationship work i wear on my sleeves, because that is my magnum opus in my life at this time.

i am interested in what other papas are experiencing when it comes to maintaining a healthy partnership. what do you know about successes in polyamourous relationships with kids involved? what are papas most common triggers around jealousy/loss/security concerning our partners? where does getting our intimate needs met intersect family life, and busy young families? do you play footsie in the middle of the night, only to find that you wake up the 3 year old? does your partner seem like they have nothing left for you after burping babies, and doing poopy diaper laundry all day? is this true also for stay at home papas? if you are a new papa, how are you sleeping? how are you solving love life issues, and what are they?

-Erik of Radical Shift brings up a few solid questions. I think it is important that, as fathers, we learn to continually question our own feelings and thoughts and share ideas with each other in order to escape the patriarchal power dynamics that have pushed our world in poor directions. I am just learning how to do this sort of thing myself, not to mention trying to talk to others about it, shit, it's hard enough to just have these thoughts alone. As for your questions, the only thing I know about polyamorous relationships is that they end up hurting more than just two people. Not that I find monogamy any more appealing... I'm actually dredging up my childhood love of the whole monk-in-high-snows/hermit-in-deep-woods lifestyle. Your other questions require more deliberation. - Sky

*Read more about Erik's alternative relationship building exdeavors:
I have an amazing new friend

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

A few new links and a black hole

Slowlane - The Online Resource for Stay-At-Home Dads Mediocre but some solid info, including a nice links page of stay-at-home dads all across the country.

Daddy Stays At Home

Mother Anarchy - An excellent mama blogging the parental countersphere

Rice Daddies - Great Asian Papa Blog!

Monday, March 13, 2006

PIPPIN - Investing in Fathers UK Project

Why doesn't big brother launch something like this? Could it be that they're afraid of the societal changes that will occur if men start unbecoming or god-forbid, stay home with the kids and do all the housework? Why the walls would just come tumbling down! Leave it to the Brits to one-up us once again on common sense.

The aim of the PIPPIN (Parents in Partnership Parent Infant Network) ‘Investing in Fathers’ project (a three year project funded by the Home Office Family Support Unit) was to create the right environment for supporting young fathers. We want to achieve this by really listening to young fathers.

PIPPIN is a national charity whose main aim is to maintain and improve the emotional health of families through one of the most critical stages in their lives - the period surrounding the birth of a new baby.

Few fathers attend conventional parent craft classes, and those that do frequently feel out of place.

PIPPIN programmes welcome fathers as a vital element in the new family, and those that attend are helped to feel very much at home.

To date our courses have been designed to support couples; to help both parents understand and communicate better with their baby and between themselves.

Ensuring that fathers become more confident, more involved, less isolated and excluded, `Investing in Fathers` adds an important new dimension to Pippin's work.

`Investing in Fathers` is a project funded in 1999 by the Family Policy Unit for three years, and to be active in seven counties within that time.

The aim of `Investing in Fathers` was to find out what it is really like to be a young father (under 25 years) who is not living with his partner or baby, once we have found that out we need to find the best way of supporting young fathers through the pregnancy, birth and the first few months of fatherhood.

Preliminary findings from the 'Investing in Fathers`project are available on request by calling our office on 01727 899099 or by email from

All too often young fathers, simply because of their age fade away into the background. They tend to be an `invisible` group, receiving little encouragement or acknowledgement by others.

Society often sees young fathers in a negative light; they feel undervalued, disregarded, excluded.

Not surprisingly, they often react by withdrawing, losing self-esteem and confidence and as we have mentioned already, this is a similar reaction other fathers have within this transition into fatherhood.

It may be more extreme than other fathers, and many young fathers play the uncaring, uncommitted role, which society seem to cast them in.

`Investing in Fathers` also recognises there are many men, young men included who become ` serial fathers`, that is men who have short relationships where the girl/women becomes pregnant, the relationship ends, he moves on to the next relationship. These men need support from a different source.

There is another type of young father however, who we recognise wants to be there for his partner and baby, who wants to be a father for the `longer term` to `stay the distance`, yet he cannot for whatever reason live with them.

Our research suggests that:

• Many young fathers want to become involved with their children right from the start, rather than waiting until the child is older.
• Many young fathers are denied access to their baby for reasons such as personal relationships with partners and families.
• Many young men find the transition to fatherhood confusing, they lack clear information and support from family and professionals, and this increases their sense of alienation from their baby.

Many young fathers are teenagers and continue to deal with the effects of the process of becoming a man, a natural process that is confusing in itself.

At this time the body is flooded with the hormone testosterone causing many changes, preparing for the change from boyhood into manhood, which includes his feelings about many things, especially about sexuality and relationships.

There is a national and international drive to support and recognise fathers of all ages, they play a major part in the future generation, you and your children's generation.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Real Anarchists Don't Breed

I don't agree with most of this article but it's an interesting perspective and one I'm getting sick of hearing half-assedly espoused so I thought I'd chuck this up here so we can dissect it, digest it and spit it back out as some better assemblage of ideas for the future.

Brought to you by the interesting wackos at the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement
By Les U. Knight

We anarchists have many reasons to avoid procreation today. Our redundant breeding feeds the very forces we are trying to counter, and prevents us from living as freely as we might.

Capitalism is dependent on a growing population and an expendable work force. Labor gains power when the need for workers is higher. As demands for supplies are reduced, and markets cease to grow, economic changes we aspire toward will more easily be achieved. Sustainable economic systems could replace out-dated "slash and burn" methods when consumers are fewer in number.

Society's institutions are dependent on our producing families. Churches, schools, and social services, all need fresh supplies of human bodies to exist.

Business applauds births. As if to celebrate each new North American life, a multi-passenger vehicle rolls off the assembly line to join it.

Anarchists generally oppose the culture of work, production and consumption. Breeding increases participation in these institutions. Workers with children are more dependent on their jobs and less likely to strike. Anarchists take risks which parents can't.

Thinking about not producing more offspring is difficult for most of us. It's a freedom that we guard fiercely, even though, with the exception of China's government, no one is trying to take it away. The establishment is certainly not trying to talk us out of reproducing. Governments have traditionally been natalist and often subsidize procreation. Disorganized masses are easier to control than small unified groups.

If each of us produces one less pupil for the schools, one less soldier for the military, one less wage slave for industrial exploitation, one less consumer, and one less pawn in the government subsistence trap, we will help the old system fall. And when it does fall, it won't be landing on any children we chose not to create.

Anarchy includes taking responsibility for our own lives. Creating a dependent which "takes a village" to raise, forces others to share responsibility for a couple's free choice. Breeding. especially insisting on extra services for breeding, shirks personal responsibility.

Anarchists eschew hierarchy, favoring interactions among equals. Parent-child relationships are hierarchical, not consensual. Children don't choose to be born, but parents do choose to breed. Creating a dependent child also creates an authority figure for many years. Couples who breed "accidentally," have not taken responsibility for their fertility.

Anarchists and environmentalists understand the biosphere is in danger, and that six billion of us is far too many. Taking personal responsibility, we eschew breeding for the sake of both humankind and the Earth. Earth's biosphere will benefit as every demand humans place on Nature is reduced. Human society will benefit from an improved birth rate, as shortages of food, housing, and resources are potentially lessened. Existing children could be better cared for in the coming weird times if there are fewer of them. By not breeding, we'll have more time and energy for promoting social change.

Anarchists seek neither security nor stability, understanding these states of illusion are not compatible with real social change. Parents seek both security and stability, for the sake of their children. Good parents make bad anarchists.

When thinking about improving our density, many see death as the only means of achieving it. Actually, death has had little effect on global population. A million deaths are compensated for in less than a week. High death rates cause high birth rates.

Giving up the fantasy of raising children which are biologically ours can feel like a major sacrifice to many people. However, if we are willing to risk our social status, jobs, and sometimes our freedom, surely we can consider giving up something that doesn't exist yet.

Some say we need to breed more anarchists, but how many of us come from anarchist parents? You cannot make someone an anarchist: it's up to them to decide. We'll likely have more luck influencing other people's children. Anyway, this would be expecting our children to do what we should be doing, with a 15 to 20 year delay. Anarchy happens right now, if we choose it.

Voluntarily choosing to not add another human to the existing billions is the greatest gift we can give the planet and the most severe blow we can strike against the New World Order.

Real anarchists don't breed.

Fascism and Anarchy: Our Density Factor

One major factor limiting our freedom often gets ignored: the sheer number of us sharing a space.

As the number of people living together increases, restrictions on activities must increase for the sake of fairness and order.

The number of possible interactions determines the level of anarchy possible, or the degree of fascism necessary to maintain order.*

When we live alone, few if any rules are required. Peaceful anarchy reigns. With two, simple agreements are sufficient. However, when more than a few share a kitchen and bathroom, some well-defined rules must be established and adhered to -- voluntarily or not.

This is also true on a larger scale. Archeological evidence from around the globe and throughout our existence reveals that the lower a society's population density, the more equally members are treated. As egalitarian tribes grow into chiefdoms, hierarchies develop. Cities evolve into empires, subjugating more and more people, enlarging the gap between top and bottom.

As our density increases, regulations are becoming more plentiful and more strictly enforced. In denser areas, we can't even cross the street until a signal light gives permission.

China has about the same land mass as the United States and four times the population. Their society has to be more than four times as repressive just to keep order.

A future of peace and freedom in a more equal society may be possible if enough of us accept responsibility for our growing numbers, and voluntarily avoid adding more of us.

*Formula for finding number of interactions: n(n-1) over 2. n = number of people. As n increases arithmetically, the number of interactions increases exponentially, as does the need for control.

Natalism vs. Freedom

Out of the mouths of babes come some of society's strongest indoctrinations.
First comes love,

Then comes marriage,

Then comes (your name here),

With a baby carriage

Maybe if we question everything we learned in kindergarten, we'll get to the roots of all that prevents an anarchistic society from emerging.

Procreation automatically entangles us in government bureaucracy. That fresh social security number is only the beginning. Required immunizations, mandatory education, and suspicion of child abuse or neglect may be used as excuses for interfering with our lives.

Fear of our children revealing confidential information at school may restrict our freedoms at home.

"One child can raze a whole village." ~Anon

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Parenting for Youth Liberation

an interview With Cynthia Peters

By Tim Allen

How can parents behave in a non-oppressive way?

There is no getting around -- nor should there be -- the fact that parents have a lot of power over children. We exercise the greatest power of all, which is deciding to bring children into the world, or, as in the case of adoption, deciding to bring children into our families. Once I bring a child into my family, I continue to exercise a lot of power over her. I decide where she will live, what her name will be, who she will live with, whether she will have siblings, which community subcultures she will experience, what language she will speak, what she will eat, how often she gets a bath, and how much she will be held.

Not all of this power emanates directly from me. I am influenced by other institutions in society. My salary will help determine where I live, and therefore what community I raise my kid in, for example. How I was raised will affect how I raise my own child. My access to privilege or my sense of what my child can expect from the world will affect what I communicate to her about what she should expect. Etc.

So, as a parent, I experience many social and economic and cultural pressures which significantly affect the options I can make available to my child, her opportunities, and values. Making these institutions less oppressive is probably the single most important thing we could do to influence parents to be less oppressive towards their children.

For example, removing the stress of poverty and of living in a culture that emphasizes marketplace values would liberate parents and children to create families outside the confines of financial concerns. When my daughter breaks her arm, my first thought should be concern for her well-being, not dread at how much it will cost and anxiety about how to get time off from work in order to fit in all the Dr.'s appointments. It would be nice for parents and children if we could significantly reduce the amount of time we spend negotiating the pressure to buy Disney products, conform to Disney values, and consume various forms of instant gratification. Parents would be less oppressive with children if they did not have to pass on oppressive behaviors that come with living in violent neighborhoods, near toxic landfills, and in poorly designed cities and suburbs that create overcrowding and/or isolation rather than community...Read More...

Friday, March 10, 2006

Transformation - A Radical Shift

From my friend Erik's papa (& other stuff) blog.

There is a dynamic in my primary relationship in which a seemingly normal conversation begins to erode into angry fencing.

What i know is my own experience. I begin to feel defensive. My blood pressure must rise, because my skin feels a little tight, and hot, and i get a prickly sensation. I feel attacked. Most times that i feel attacked, i really am being told that in one way or another i am the problem.

my intention is not usually to further complicate the situation, but i suppose that my next move is to stand up for myself, and point out the unfairness of the statement. but by this point, i am in defense mode, and am not thinking clearly. all the blood in my head is being forced into the reptilian part of my brain.

what i really need is not the cognitive, intellectual conversation, but the calm down, and hold hands. i need reassurance to bolster me in my insecurity. when i feel at odds with my partner, i need to sit quietly together, and old hands. if i rush to solve problems through thinking, and talking, i make rash statements, and further entrench myself in verbal warfare.

"talking it out" isn't always the most productive activity for me.

Wednesday, March 8, 2006

New Links on Pirate Papa!

Found a plethora of new sites for your perusal. The new links are right where they damn well belong in the column to your right. Let me know what you think! A few choice sites include:

Rebel Dad: A Father Puts the Stay-At-Home Dad Trend Under the Microscope.

Rude Cactus- An excellent blog by a father, not specifically a father-blog per se but solid.

Being Daddy- No longer in service, but the archives are fantastic.

Tuesday, March 7, 2006

Scarleht is running now, no doubt about it. Lyli looks into my voice recorder and says 'Gallut' for 'Scarleht' - they'll both say that but neither will say Lyli as of yet. Lyli manages to squeak out the 'li' part after she says 'Gallut' sometimes. Other new words: door, up, dradle, go, apple, shoe (as of 10 seconds ago when I asked). Potty is becoming more distinctive, 'manima' remains the catch-all possesive, chicken and sister still sound exactly alike. In the last few days both Scarleht and Lyli have started using the word 'No' for what it is intended for occasionally, rather than their happy little no dance of the past week and a half.

The sponge that is their little language acquisition portion of their brain is going great guns right now. What little bits my distracted sense of attention notices blow me out of the water. I hear them try to say at least 20 new words a day and work on perfecting the words from the day before. I have been trying to instill a sense of time through signs these past few days, having learned the signs for today, yesterday and tomorrow. Soon I will begin using a voice recorder and our polaroid camera to make a little guided tour of the past week that we can sit down and go over and talk about. I really enjoy asking Lyli and Scarleht what they remember from the past. The other day Scarleht came up and smelled my coffee and I almost lost it. Six months ago (maybe more) she wanted a drink of my coffee and I said no but I added that she could smell it if she wanted. I haven't been drinking much coffee for the past year or so and so it didn't come up again. But the other day we were selling books at Evergreen and my friend brought me a cup of coffee and sure enough, Scarleht ran right up and leaned over and sniffed very daintily but assuredly. How long do these sensory memories remain in the forefront of their consciousness, I wonder. And when do they begin to fade to make way for the more regimented, delineated and sorted memories and experiences of our lives as we grow older?

Sunday, March 5, 2006

Must Green Parents Be Poor Parents?

Thanks Raj & Miah of Green Parenting! I enjoyed this post so much I excerpted the entire thing! Keep up the excellent work, it's good to be working with folks like you. Please visit Raj and Miah's site and validate them for what they are doing.

When I was twenty-one, much to the dismay of my family and friends, I quit medical school. I had just come back from working on a public health project in the poorest region of Peru. After two months among Quechua-speaking people in little Andean towns like Huascahura and Huayopuqyo, I made the break from medicine, a decision I had long considered but never built up the courage to do. Rather than spend my life focused on a particular disease or set of diseases, I wanted to devote myself to considering, encountering, and changing the way we think about justice, wealth, and living meaningful lives. Instead of studying a protein in a tapeworm, I wanted to ask why the native peoples of Peru didn’t have the kind sewage systems that would eradicate tapeworms? Why are they poor? What is poverty? Why did my life seem less meaningful than the life of a guy who makes less than $2 a day? I thought the writing life would be the best way for me to explore those questions.

The most common response to my decision from family and friends was, “How are you going to pay for your children’s college education?”

Maybe I wouldn’t be able to pay for my child to attend a private school, I thought. Maybe my future child would not want me to sublimate my ideals and desires in order to save up a three hundred thousand dollar college fund. Maybe my child would want a dad who was actualized, took risks, and lived fully. If I made my career choices based on the college-fund concept of parenting, I was worried that I would become too busy and well-paid to be physically and emotionally present. I asked myself, is a childhood good only if it culminates in attending a US top twenty college like Northwestern or Duke?

After quitting medical school, I worked for a year in publishing. Then I went to graduate school for writing and literature. I made about a thousand dollars a month teaching freshman at the University of Houston. My classes were about analyzing the language of advertising, war, colonialism, and trade agreements. I met my wife at that time and she did the same kind of work. I took a semester off to work for a feminist NGO in India. When I got back, Miah and I organized anti-war protests. I felt that I was doing my part in the struggle for global justice. I had to teach myself to live on an extremely tight budget. I bought clothes secondhand, scavenged for used furniture, and cook my own lentils, rice, and vegetables.

As soon as Miah and I started to think about having a baby, my mindset started to change. It’s all fine and good to subject yourself to poverty, but doing so to your children is another matter. Accumulating wealth is essential to weathering the big shocks that life inevitably throws at a family like illness, natural disasters, losing your livelihood, or whatever other unspeakable things. We don’t live in a country with a decent safety net. I absolutely don’t want anyone in my family to go through the humiliation and forced poverty of Medicaid, disability, or what’s left of welfare. Forget an Ivy League education without debt, what if we can’t even afford to help our child obtain a decent education at all? Also, I don’t want our child to be burdened with fiscally caring for us when we are elderly.

Miah and I, as parents, feel an obligation to build wealth, but at the same time we do not want to abandon our ideals. We will not buy mutual funds that include weapons manufacturers like GE, companies that attempt to patent seeds like Monsanto, or multinationals that rely on sweat-shop labor like Nike and Walmart. Investing in those types of companies will not help create the kind of world I hope our child inherits. We don’t want to hinge our family’s fiscal security on global inequality. Ever since I learned that the East India Tea Company was the first multinational company traded on a stock market, I have refrained from buying any stocks or mutual funds. The East India Tea Company impoverished India, reducing it from one of the wealthiest places on earth to one of the poorest. How can I willingly take part in that system?

We do have one strategy in place. My parents helped us buy a duplex with two apartments in the back. We live in one of the units and rent out the other three. We are providing decent housing to people who make steady, but limited salaries – an electrician, a caterer, a newspaper reporter, and a webmaster at a pipe company. The rental income goes towards our mortgage payments and helps us live in the center of the city. I can bicycle to work and build equity. But our entire financial security cannot depend on one piece of real estate.

My job at Rice University working for the journal Feminist Economics has allowed me to build some savings, but I’m not sure what to do with it. They’re sitting in a savings account that earns less interest than the inflation rate! Miah and I are reading Co-Op America’s Guide to Green Investing, which came with our membership to Co-Op America. It lists mutual funds like Domini and Calvert that have social justice and environmental criteria.

Green parents do not have to be poor parents. Some of the people I lived among in Peru were demoralized and resigned to their pitiful lot. Most of them, however, were striving for dignified lives. They tilled rocky desert soil, spun wool, wove rugs, and built their homes from mud. They organized as communities along political and religious lines. Miah and I are striving for the same dignity for our family and communities, but we refuse to get a leg up by stepping on those below.

Saturday, March 4, 2006

sky - thanks for your blogging. i really enjoy coming into contact with folks who care, and are trying to improve things. i like michael(tiger in my tree), and have been following his posts. i see a lot of possibility in the greater community. we are all one. i appreciate the opportunity to contribute writing to the common good of expression. as we share from ourselves, the possibilities we share grow, and become more viable and real. goodwill spreads like a disease. the infection kills resignation, and complacency. namaste