The CNotebook and NoApologyAdvocate are having a baby! Here is a letter from NoApologyAdvocate (aka Megan) to all our loved ones on Sesame Seed, our coming tiny human. – Matthew
Hello Dearest Loved Ones!
WE ARE HAVING A BABY! Well, you knew that…that’s why you are here! We are so excited about having a tiny human and how much this little creature is going to be loved and celebrated by our amazing network of friends, family, former students, and loved ones. We are so eager for you to meet them!
Registry & Support!
Many people have expressed wanting to support us during this time. Thank you. We are overwhelmed with how many people have reached out! Many have expressed wanting to know what we need or want. To be honest, we are pretty comfortable admitting we don’t exactly know what we are doing! (I second this. –Matthew) But we are excited to try. So, we gathered some ideas from friends, did a lot of research (we are academics at heart!), and have put together some ways in which we would love to be supported!!! We thought writing you all would be the best way to communicate what we think we need. While I’m writing this (Megan), this is from both of us!
Yes, there is a traditional registry attached, but the idea of community support is so much more to us than buying things for the baby. Here are some answers to some questions we have been receiving!
When is Sesame Seed Due?!
Our due date is September 24th, but who knows when the baby will come. (I doubt the baby knows. – Matthew)
We are choosing not find out the sex of the baby. About 2% of humans (the same number of people born with red hair!) are born with sex markers (chromosomes, hormones, genitals) that do not neatly fit into male or female. The sex markers of these 2% of babies can be hard to see on ultrasounds, so often, the predictions are off, causing issues when the baby is born. The parents may be told they are having a boy/girl, but when the baby comes out not fitting that description, the baby is now “wrong.” We want to put as few expectations on our baby as possible, so we are just going to be surprised and happy with the baby we get!
Are You Having Twins?
We have been using the singular “they” as a gender-neutral pronoun. No, we are not having twins.
What is your address?
Message me and I’ll give it to you!
If you are nearby and want to safely visit, let us know. We will soon type up safe guidelines for visits!
Are You Planning to Have a Shower?
Well, I LOVE parties and would be ALL ABOUT having a party where everyone bumps my baby bump and we all drink fruity, non-alcoholic punch! Unfortunately, this whole global pandemic thing has really put a damper on getting together and partying. So, we are planning to do Zoom showers after the baby comes where we shower YOU with the baby! We are working on making lists and conceptualizing how to do different groups of people so we don’t have 400+ people on Zoom at the same time. We will be putting out more information about dates and how we envision doing this.
COVID-19 has made everything about life different, and because social obligations make me REAL uncomfortable, please do not link the idea of a Zoom shower with gifts or support. If you want to support us or give us a gift, that is amazing, but attending a virtual shower does not come with a reciprocal obligation. If you want to see my big belly or have our own video or social distance shower, just contact us! We would LOVE to hear from you and connect!!!!
Should I Feel Social Pressure to Give You Things Because You are Having a Baby?
NO YOU ABSOLUTELY SHOULD NOT!!!!
(Can I comment on how long this heading is? -Matthew)
NO YOU ABSOLUTELY CAN NOT!!!! I AM MAKING A POINT!!!!
Our registry is not intended to make you feel obligated to get us stuff or do things for us. You do not need to get us anything or do anything just because we are having a baby. We LOVE having you in our lives! Full stop! This letter is because people have requested it and support during times of change is always nice.
Let us be clear, however, we want you in our life and the life of our tiny human, no matter what. You do not need to go out of your way to get us anything or do anything specific for us. Really! This is not only our Midwest niceness talking (okay, maybe a little…) but also our recognition of the existence of social pressure, class issues, and consumeristic pressure. If you do not have the time, money, energy, desire, or any combination of these to get us a gift or do something specific for us, that is COMPLETELY fine and understandable. You do not need to stress or feel bad. I have spent most of my career critiquing social practices that convince people they “should” do or be something specific, so it’s important to us that you know we do not buy into those expectations. (Also, if you want to hear my strong opinions on how we celebrate some milestones and not others, happy to rant with you!)
Please interpret support in the way that best honors our connection with you! If you would rather make Sesame Seed art, send them love letters in the mail, or even just smile at them in person or over video, that support is appreciated.
Okay, but I do want to buy you things and I’m worried we are running out of time!
(Don’t encourage Megan’s too long headings. -Matthew)
This communication and registry is later than what most people manage. I, however, needed to finish my dissertation (AND IT’S DONE! WOOOO!)! The delay serves an additional benefit: we conceptualize this support as continuing into the baby’s life. Traditionally, baby showers were done as community support for parents with the focus on ensuring they had the things they needed before the baby came. But we want you to be part of the baby’s life long term!
For more readings on the history of baby showers, check these out! (Or talk to my sister who was an anthropology major!)
How do you envision long term support working?
We want you all coming on our journey with us! Many of you have already reached out, celebrated my baby bump, or talked to us about how we are doing. We want that to continue! Plus, it will be more fun because soon you get to also see a baby! The need for things and support right away is real, yet we also know we are going to need support as we go. We are privileged people and have many of the basic things the baby needs to survive. Friends have passed to us clothes and items no longer needed. Embracing friends’ parenting advice of “less is more” when it comes to baby stuff, we are *attempting* to start small.
We would love to be able to add needs as we go and spread out this support. For example, we don’t need sippy cups right now and, quite frankly, are overwhelmed by the options and the problem of where they will go in our cabinets? We would love to add it to our registry in six months when we DO need them! So, if you would like to lie in the weeds for a bit, or you don’t see something you want to get us right now, we would love for you to wait.
Support comes in many different ways! We have articulated lots of different ways we need support. Please get creative as well. For example, used items are welcome as they are often more affordable and more sustainable! If you ever want an idea of how best to support us at any time, PLEASE contact us! We would love to hear from you!
Okay, but I just want to buy a gift off your registry and pick out something new I think you’d like! Is that still okay?
(Short. Headers. -Matthew)
Of course! Like we said above, please support in the way best for you. If all of the ideas and options are overwhelming to you or not what you want to do, that’s totally fine! We are so happy you want to support us in any way you desire.
We have been told, in many ways, this is about us and our preferences are important. Great. Thank you. This is about you too! And our relationship with you! If you have an idea that’s not on the registry, that’s great! Find patterns or themes you think we would love? Rock on! If the idea of getting us something used seems weird to you, then no need to do that. We are so happy you are here and wanting to support us. We love your support however you envision it!
What Are Other Ways I Could Support You All?
Get us food!
We love food! We hear making and finding food becomes more difficult when you are trying to keep a newborn baby alive. Here are some ways you could help feed us for the next few months!
What a treat to be able to order food guilt free! I have money anxiety and Matthew is frugal in his food choices. If we had gift cards to places, it would be easier to just order in! Aldi, Target, and Starbucks are great for basics and treats. We also live near lots of yummy places and especially like to eat local.
Not sure you can get local gift cards?
Pick a night and order us food!
Let us know what night you want to treat us so we can be ready or go pick it up. You can call and order for us, pay, and we can pick it up! If you want suggestions of places nearby that we like or want to try, just ask us. Or surprise us!
Make us food
If you live nearby and want to make us dinner, we would love that! Tasting your family favorite or a new dish you are trying out would be fun. Bonus points if it can go in the freezer and we can take it out when we need it. (FYI, Megan is NOT a fan of lasagna. -Matthew)
Help us out financially!
If giving money isn’t for you, that’s fine! If giving money is your thing, we have a lot of things we are buying or saving for regarding having a new baby that money assistance would be helpful.
The easiest way to send money is through a cash service. We use several!
Cash App: https://cash.app/$MatthewCollie
Venmo: @Matthew-Collie https://venmo.com/code?user_id=1663289436143616783
Checks work fine too. Let us know if you want your money to go to something specific!
Geoff the big beautiful chair!
My big request was we get a super comfy, rocking, swiveling chair to be able to sit with the tiny human. We stopped into Steinhafels one day just to look and FELL IN LOVE with this chair. Geoff (That is the name of the model of chair. -Matthew) does everything, is so comfortable, and feels like a big, full body hug. Even on sale, the total came to over $600. We can afford it and are so excited about it, but if you wanted to donate to it, you will being supporting us – LITERALLY – as we care for Sesame Seed!
I am PUMPED to take beautiful, artistic photos of my pregnant body. I am doing a photo shoot with a dear friend of mine who is a professional photographer. Newborn photos and new family photos will also likely be taken later. Artists deserve to be paid for their art, and art is expensive. If you want to contribute to getting beautiful photos for our home and memory, we would love that!
We are going to attempt to do cloth diapers! We have a friend who is donating us a whole tub of cloth diapers. If I learn we need actual items, I will add them to the registry. We will also probably have some disposable diapers as backups or for specific situations, but are currently unsure when and what size we need. So having extra money to help buy diaper stuff would be so helpful!
Both Matthew and I went to college and were very grateful for all the financial support we received. College is not the only path, but most paths to adulthood are easier with financial support. Whatever Sesame Seed decides to do, we will work hard to save money to help them! If you want your money to have long-term impact, let us know and we will put it in this fund (Matthew is a wiz adept at investing, so he is planning to turn our money into more money!)
All the small things
We are doing our best to plan ahead and predict what we will need, but there will be unanticipated needs. Also, I have become a pro at utilizing FB Marketplace, Craigslist, and thrift stores to find things we need. Sometimes it’s easier to find something myself than to outsource. Again, we can afford to do this, but would happily take contributions!
Make Sesame Seed something!
Many people have offered to make us things and it’s incredible. We are #blessed to have so many people with different talents and skills. If you have an idea and want to make the baby or us something, that’s amazing. Again, no pressure to do this, I’ll just continue to point out support comes in many ways! Also, I am not much of a maker (more of a talker) but I’m real creative. So if you like projects and want ideas of what to make us, talk to us!
Okay, I Get All of That, But…
I think this is justified, Matthew.
…Can I Please Have the Registry Link Now?!
(Totally justified. -Matthew)
We made a registry! The registry is purposely done on a website that allows links from all over (instead of committing to one company). We will be adding to the registry as we go! So if you don’t see anything you want now, feel free to check back in a week or two!
We added items from large corporations, and for some things that is by far the easiest. Order from the Amazon or Target links, but if you find it better, cheaper elsewhere by all means get it there!
Small support makes a big impact
Personally, the more we can support local and small businesses, the better. If you have a local business you’d rather support, that’s great! Find an Etsy store that does it? Awesome! If you are willing to do some research, we would love stuff from black owned businesses, women owned businesses, and LGBTQ+ friendly businesses. If you find reused stuff, great! Quality items come in all ways, shapes, and forms. “Responsible” consumerism can be hard under capitalism, as I am especially struggling over how to reconcile my concerns with consumerism with caring for a tiny human. Again, you do you! I have major issues with Jeff Bezos, but I LOVE getting surprise magic amazon packages just as much as the next person!
We felt it was important to let you know we are open to many ways and kinds of support! (In case you missed this point earlier. -Matthew)
You know me, I’m not much for rules. So if you want to follow our suggestions, great. If you want to go rogue and get Sesame Seed whatever you think they need, rock on!
Themes & colors
Many people have asked us what our theme for the nursey is and what colors we prefer. The best way to choose colors, themes, prints, etc. would be to think about what we like! We want to expose the baby to all sorts of choices and as soon as they start expressing preferences, we will be all about it! Until then it’s fruitless to guess, so think about us and what we would love. Let’s be real, most of this stuff is for the benefit of adults.
We are not mysteries. Matthew is a classic intelligent nerd and I am a giant 4 year old who loves things. (Example: A friend sent swaddle blankets. They had fruit on them. I SQUEALED. “MATTHEW THERE ARE KEWI’S ON THIS BLANKET! AND LEMONS ON THIS ONE! AND…” My friend was like, “yeah, I thought you’d like those!”)
The closest we get to a theme is we have a dream of lining the room with iconic album covers:
- Abby Road
- Led Zep’s Houses of the Holy
- The Nirvana baby (Nevermind -Matthew)
- Eagles’ Greatest Hits (Their Greatest Hits -Matthew)
- (Who’s Next by The Who -Matthew)
If you have or find awesome album covers, let us know (old and tattered is great!). This dream will not happen before the baby comes as they are going to hang out in a bassinet in our room for a while. We have time.
Our favorite color is purple! But we want all colors. I joke our theme should be rainbows to encourage ALL the colors, because everybody likes rainbows: Christians (Ark of the Covenant!), the LGBTQ+ Community (Pride!), Environmentalists, etc. It’s less about the rainbow itself and more that WE WANT ALL THE COLORS! (NOTE: We are not having a “rainbow baby.” Read more about rainbow babies here.)
As you know, we are not finding out the sex of the baby. This means we do not want to link stuff to the sex of our kid. I have discovered when I say this people tend to think we only want “gender neutral” colors: mint green, orange, and yellow. Those colors are fine, but we are critical of ANYTHING being associated with gender. WE WANT BLUE AND WE WANT PINK! For us, not finding out the sex allows our baby to have everything! Every baby should be able to get cupcakes, flowers, trucks, dinosaurs, animals, etc.
Gender is a construct
We know it is tempting to wait until after Sesame Seed is born to know the sex, and then buy the “correct” color. But you don’t need to! Get a cute outfit and we will put it on our baby no matter what their genitals. (Get an ugly outfit and we’ll take one picture of Sesame Seed in it to send to you and then donate the outfit. -Matthew) Also, we care more about comfort than style. For example, a lot of clothing made for baby girls is made more for looks than comfort. A ruffle or two is fine, but we would rather our baby be comfortable than look a certain way.
Studies show that adults say certain things to a baby based on what sex they think the baby is. While we probably won’t meet many random people in public during this global pandemic, it’s actually great for our baby to be exposed to all kinds of reactions and comments! So, buy what you think we would like! If you want to buy us a “girly” or “boyish” outfit, no need to wait! Just get it! (And if you do want to wait and buy for the sex, that is your choice. For every blatant gendered outfit we get after the baby is born, I’m making sure to buy one that blatantly genders in a different way!)
What to avoid
There are a few things we really do not want. We do not want anything that sexualizes our baby. Please do not buy us anything that says or implies our baby is “flirting” or is a “stud” or is a “heartbreaker.” Ew. They are a baby! Often these types of things encourage heterosexuality, and as I am not straight, we would prefer the baby to tell us their sexual preferences when they are older.
Also, please no headbands. They are just used for decoration and headbands makes me very nervous with how soft and malleable babies’ heads are. If you want to hear the story about my dad’s eye patch causing him shunt problems and my awareness of things putting pressure on heads, let me know! (Hats are fine because they serve a function.)
We LOVE books. We have made a list of all the baby focused books we have and will update it as we get more books. The list can be edited, so if you want to get us a certain book(s), add them to the list so no one else gets them (if we get duplicates, we will take them to a grandparent’s house or donate them to a good home!)
Thank you so so much! We can’t wait for you all to meet our new baby!!
OH! You need the link
(and Matthew and Sesame Seed)
(Read more of The CNotebook.)