BABY OFF BOARD

BABY OFF BOARD -

Where the Hells Has Aurora Been?

by Aurora Bordeaux

Elizabeth Taylor lipstick quoteUm, hey guys. Remember me? It’s Aurora Bordeaux.

Oh, come on. You remember me. Right? We sat next to each other in sixth grade social studies, and no, I have totally not been stalking you on Facebook this entire time. Although your wedding photos were lovely and I like your new haircut.

Just kidding, peeps! It’s me, your old friend Aurora Bordeaux! You remember, the intrepid once-suburbanite and krav maga enthusiast who started blogging one day out of the blue about not wanting children, only to later learn there is a word for this (“childfree,” who knew) and accidentally collect more than 380,000 page loads plus a treasure trove of online buddies from all over the globe.

Oh, and then there’s that Childfree Forum you guys asked for, which has blown the Hubs and I away with more than 111,000 page loads since November of last year. Please visit the forum. I think a combination of SLLLS (summer la-la land syndrome) and possibly me being such a slackaroonie on posting blogs has made it lose a little pep. There are cool and interesting people there. Go meet them. Shoo! But please read this first.

So, okay, I love you guys so much. And I missed you. And I only feel it fair that I owe you an explanation as to where the hellsbananas I went.

This is what I’ve been doing since January:

One: I’ve, like, been super busy.

house-of-cards-francis-underwoodI have been growing my hair out again. I mean, that’s a lot of work. I totally understand what these pregnant ladies are talking about now, because growing stuff from your own body is, like, exhausting. Some days, it was everything I could do to juggle a full-throttle work schedule, make or buy and then eat food, go for a leisurely bike ride, attempt to maintain a blossoming social existence in the new city we moved to just about a year ago, and marathon House of Cards while sipping bourbon. (That show is so crackalicious I can’t stand it. It’s like looking directly into Satan’s cornea, mesmerized as you watch the iris expand and contract in splinters of genius evil.)

Two: Font sentimentality can be the enemy of production.

I have been trying to figure out how to do my blog pictures the way I want to, because now I have a shiny Mac and the art programs don’t have the comfortable, rudimentary controls my clunker Windows PC offered in the 1992 classic Paint program. This may sound like the dumbest reason of all to procrastinate on a blog project I am passionate about, but I get so many giggles out of the photos and captions, and I like the old format. Then I realized I needed to get over it and figure out how to start over with a new program. Maybe Skitch? Who knows. It’s sentimental, because sometimes I get attached to the little things, like my favorite font for blog photo captions. (PS, Sincere thanks to The Hubs, who after reading this installed “Paintbrush,” which gave me back my Goudy Old Style.)

Three: I wasn’t sure I had anything left worth saying.

the killing netflixSince moving to a new city, I’ve gone from pseudo-freak-of-nature status to artsy darling amongst peer groups. It’s funny, because I have hardly changed a bit—in fact, I’ve given my many freak flags full permission to unfurl and fly strong since relocating a year ago—but where our fellow country folk once found me tolerable at best, now people we meet seem to find me funny, engaging, intelligent, and even endearing. This all sounds terribly narcissistic to my anti-me-me-me ears, and I hope it’s not. It all boils down to the fact that one of the reasons I took a break from the blog was because I no longer needed to desperately vent and find sustenance in a world where I was not considered a massive, tumor-like anomaly for not having children (and not having the decency to be devastated by it).

Back in the ‘burbs, I was a lonely, shivering chicken with few folks to cluck along with. Here, I’m a peacock amongst a clan who loves color. Basically, for several months I took a pause to wonder if I still had anything to say. Baby Off Board has been such a tremendous, frankly life-changing project that I didn’t want to spoil it just because I was afraid to let go.

So, does the appearance of a fresh swatch of words in your browser mean I’m back?

Yeppers. I realized I have a lot to say about life in the city—and how fun it is. I realized I still bump into funny, awkward, and sometimes uncomfortable situations because I have opted out of people-parenthood. And I realized I missed this, and I missed you guys.

So I’m not sure exactly what direction Baby Off Board may veer going forward. It might be little stories about things that happen to me (or that I happen to) in my daily city adventures—aka, the “childfree lifestyle.” It might be a commentary about what it was like to have my baby niece sleep in our bathroom. And oh, the inlaws? They’re still very much around.

So, my dearies, I’m back on the radar with Radio Free Bordeaux. Echo back!

Love,

Aurora Bordeaux

PS–I forgot to mention, I’ve been trolling around the swamp in outfits that advertise only my intelligence like a hot, bored alligator, then dancing in the desert like a dog that has to pee. Like I said, city living is different.

 

Things in Common: Coloring

by Aurora Bordeaux

zombie teddy bearRecently, I spent time with my darling little niece and nephew at their house. (Plus my youngest niece crawling under the table who I accidentally stepped on. She didn’t even seem to notice; being the third child is rough.) As a childfree woman, I often get confused and disoriented when playing with children because their games don’t always follow a discernible plot. Plus I got in trouble with my sister-in-law one Thanksgiving for taking the game to new and evidently unsavory heights…

Here’s what happened: The kids and I were playing cars, then it became cop cars, then it became a zombie outbreak that involved green-eyed deer and launching a huge teddy bear down a long flight of stairs multiple times. Problem was, the contaminated bear kept coming back to life, so we had to keep throwing it down the stairs (letting it roam free would have been irresponsible). Leading the game into dark territory may not be my proudest moment as an aunt, but it was lots of fun, and the kids liked the zombie romp so much they still talk about it. I guess Presbyterian households don’t play zombie often and they got a taste of something they liked. Oops.

When I was invited over to help prep for my niece’s birthday party, I was so glad my sister-in-law wasn’t still miffed about the zombie episode that I was ready to be her full fledged birthday party bitch. Harrowing interactions with swarms of children aside, being asked to help plan a birthday party is fantastic because I love arts and crafts. I mean, effing love them. (I recently read the Brick Bible’s Revelations chapter, and it terrified me, so I’m trying to eliminate foul language or at least save it for special occasions. It’s not going well.)

zombie bear

Prep for party decor didn’t take as long as my SIL anticipated, and she seemed open to me hanging out until the kids came home from school. I was cool with that—I like these kids. After we picked them up from the bus stop and they took their shoes and socks off and went through the entire contents of their backpacks, we sat down to color. And that’s when I remembered something I had completely forgotten: I love coloring.

There is something so absolutely zen about washing coats of color over paper, filling in lines that were meant to be there, and ending up with something that, though it is mass produced, is completely yours in every way. I am obsessed with color and doodling is like taking a bath in it. Coloring is all about making choices that don’t have dire consequences while having a chat, listening to a book, or just letting your mind flatline. Meanwhile, you watch an empty image mutate into something lovely.

So as an aunt, I figured enjoying coloring with the kids couldn’t go wrong. And yet, after not too much time and despite my solemn promise to myself that I would be on my best behavior, I appear to have taught the children naughty tricks all over again. I drew a mustache on an evil character in the Disney coloring book, and the children were aghast. How could I so deface the image? Didn’t I know I was just supposed to fill in the blanks?

adult coloring

“It’s okay because Jafar is evil, see?” I said. They chewed on this, and agreed that Jafar was indeed evil. “Watch.” I drew lightning bolt eyebrows, a curly beard, black fingernails, chunky jewelry, and a big clock necklace. That got them giggling.

I got up from the table to help with more party prep, and when I came back, I noticed more of the characters were sporting mustaches, although the kids had drawn them upside-down because they were new to defacement. There were pages and pages and pages of mustaches. Next to a fat facial-haired bear from Robin Hood, one of them had scrawled “I’m a girl” in hot pink.

“Did you write that?” I asked, aghast. Who were these little churchlings turned urchlings?

“Yeah,” their shoulders sloped and they covered their mouths to mask the giggles.

Like I said, I effing love these kids.

adults who love to color

PS, If you want to color along with ‘Ole Bordeaux, here are the coloring themed gifts I gave myself for the holidays. I am having a giggle of a good time working my way through them! I spent eons researching these and am tickled with my choices.

If you have a favorite coloring book and want to share it with fellow adults who love to color, leave a comment! I’m going to be through with these books soon and I’d love recs.

I’m the Only One in the House Who Isn’t “Fixed”

by Aurora Bordeaux

birth control baconOur Labradoodle, Charminator, was spayed recently, making me the only person in our condo who isn’t fixed.

Bosco is fixed. Charminator is fixed. The Hubs is fixed.

I feel a little left out, sure, but not enough to fork over thousands for an invasive surgery that insurance won’t cover. Plus, I still heart my quarterly birth control, nevermind the incredible skin clearing properties. My bacon (adapted from the abbreviation “b-con” that I use in my daily phone alarm) and I are in it for the long haul. Bacon bacon bacon!

The Hubs said I need to start mixing in some shorter posts since the long ones take awhile to put together, so since it’s Thanksgiving this week in the U.S.A. and we are gearing up for some major in-law time, here’s a poem instead of a longer eulogy of three fourths of our family’s reproductive skills. It was supposed to be a haiku, but I decided to give up counting syllables and drink box wine instead.

      Three Out of Four      

      Everybody’s fixed

      except me

      …

      Good enough.

Happy Thanksgiving to all the wide and wonderful world!

Love,

Aurora

Do You Celebrate the Anniversary of Your Sterilization?

by Aurora Bordeaux

disney childfree vacationLately, I’ve been thinking about the approaching first anniversary of the Hubs’s vasectomy. It was a major day in the history of our childfree freedom, but it’s a day I never really thought about celebrating. I mean, isn’t it weird to celebrate a surgery? Yuck!

But then our good friends from our old city, Allie and Billy, told us they were getting a vasectomy, too. We were giddy, not just because we finally had offline friends who were officially childfree like we were, but because we were delighted they had made a huge choice about their future. I felt that it should be celebrated in the same way a pregnancy announcement should be celebrated. I sent them a cutesy baby card, crossing out the “baby” in “congratulations on your baby” and writing “vasectomy” in red permanent marker. Inside, I listed a few of the awesome things they had to look forward to as childfree folk. They loved it.

childfree disney vacations

Instead of a shower gift, I told them once Billy was feeling better, or whenever we saw them next because we moved away, we wanted to take them out to dinner to celebrate.

It makes me so happy to feel like we have a little bro and sis in the unofficial childfree fraternity. And it does feel like a fraternity, because even though we can be candid with Allie and Billy other, our official status is private from the world at large. People online congratulated us when the Hubs was sterilized and that meant the world—it really did and still does—but it’s so cool to be able to do that for someone in offline life. To treat their decision with the same level of celebration we would if they had chosen to have a child. I really think rooting for them made their experience different. Isn’t life better when you have a few cheerleaders?

mickey and minnie childfreeI texted Allie on the day of Billy’s procedure to say “happy baby-free birthday!” and realized that maybe there’s something to that idea. I later spent 45 minutes on the phone with her so she wouldn’t be alone in the waiting room. I have never been more honored to be there for someone, especially since when the Hubs had his procedure done, nobody was there to hold my hand. Yes, the decision to have a procedure causes butterflies, but all said and done, I wanted to help Allie feel like it really was something to celebrate. And it was.

As childfree people, we don’t celebrate kid birthdays, but since I love holidays and celebrations, maybe I should start celebrating the day we became a childfree couple. Or, if not the day of the surgery because it feels a bit morose, just pick a random day and pretend it’s the day we decided, then start some traditions to go along with it. (“How are we celebrating tonight, Brain? The same way we do every night, Pinky–by getting takeout and streaming Netflix.”) Who cares, I just like holidays, and you can’t have too many.

Then again, I have to be honest—celebrating a specific day feels a little superfluous, since every day is seriously a celebration. And I’m not kidding. We love our lives that much.

childfree disney

A personal holiday honoring our non-parenthood makes sense, after all. There’s a Mother’s Day and a Father’s Day, so why not a ChildFreedom Day? (If you have a better idea for the name of this new holiday, please, please leave a comment!)

So, fellow childfree by choice adults, do you celebrate the anniversary of the day you officially joined the childfree club, or the day you medically said c’est la vie to your ability to procreate?

Update: Now that Allie and Billy have gone through their vasectomy, we have all decided to skedattle off to Disney as a Fearsome Foursome next year. We are celebrating milestone wedding anniversaries, milestone birthdays (30 is coming up, Aurora!), and our milestone decisions to be childfree. Now that I think of it, were Mickey and Minnie childfree, too? Mind. Just. Blown.

Childfree Couple Friends: We Got One!

by Aurora Bordeaux

childfree cheersFolks, I am bursting with excitement because today is a special day in the lives of our very best couple friends, Allie and Billy. Today is the day Billy gets snipped.

It’s weird to feel excited that a doctor is going to be rummaging around in your friend’s balls, but that glaring statement aside, I choose to turn a blind eye to the ooey gooey of it and focus on the main fact: We finally have offline childfree friends.

I’ve blogged about our lack of childfree friends before. We just couldn’t find any, and every time we thought we had found someone who chose to be in the same boat, they popped out a baby. We were thrilled for these people in the way we will always be happy when friends get what they want out of life, but facts are facts, and in modern American culture, parents generally dump friends-without-kids in less than a year and a half after their child’s birth date.  Think I’m being harsh? This professional confessional from a parent backs me up.

One beloved couple even went so far as to make it to their 40th birthdays before going baby bananas out of the clear blue sky, pushing their bodies past  the limits of health and wellness for years until they had In Vitro twins. Now that the twins are here, in my mother friend’s own words, she is pretty much drowning. She’s sailing on another course now, and I can visit, but she can’t look back. Her time is spent keeping the kids alive. Mine is evidently spent blogging about it.

how i met your mother childfree

So anyway, after years of making friends who said they didn’t want kids and then had twins, we couldn’t believe it when Allie and Billy broke the news they were making their childfree status official. They said “childless” because they didn’t know they’d just joined an international secret society, but little did they know they were in the best of hands. After all, I, Aurora Bordeaux, am apparently a global voice in the childfree movement. Lucky them! Lucky me!

Oddest of all, these nice folks were our nearby neighbors back in the suburbs. We never would have met if we hadn’t attended one of those lame-o community meetings where people bitch about other people not mowing the lawns, and suddenly, there Allie and Billy were. We instantly bonded over a shared weakness for Indian food and the fact that we didn’t have kids. But most friends always started out that way, then two years later—bam—kids.

Allie and I had more and more in common the more we got to know each other, and I really liked her. We found we could share truthful thoughts the way we just couldn’t seem to with other people. So, gradually, I began to make it more clear that our no-kid status was the real deal. And she, gradually, began to share her conflicts about what she really wanted for the future of her family. She was the second of only two living souls I ever told about the Hub’s vasectomy.

childfree winner

Over the winter and spring, Allie and I spent a lot of time talking about being childfree. The poor gal was at war with herself. Billy had become clear about not wanting children, but Allie was on the fence. It was almost obvious from the outside that she didn’t actually want kids, but the shadow of needing to please others was obscuring her view of her own desires. She was scared of regret, she was scared of letting her parents down, and she was going through the same cycle of self torture I put myself through when I was “trying to decide” but felt obligated to second guess myself.

I didn’t tell Allie what to do, I just advised her to stop thinking about other people—her parents, her family, her husband—and ask herself what she wanted. I made it clear that I would support her whatever she chose, and I meant it. If she could silence the other voices in her mind and make it only about herself, what would she choose?

Four weeks later, the day she and Billy helped us load our moving truck, Allie told me that Billy had made an appointment to get snipped. She was happy. Really, truly happy.

childfree lifestyle

I was overjoyed, but not just because we finally had officially childfree couple friends. It’s because Allie had made a decision and was at peace with herself.

I’d like to wish Allie and Billy a very happy baby-free birthday, even though they don’t know I have this blog. To Allie and Billy: We wish you a quick procedure, a speedy recovery, and a blessed life of childfree bliss. Even though you don’t know the childfree club is out there yet, well, welcome to the club.