Tuesday, February 16, 2010

PantheaCon Wrap Up

This is from my previous, now defunct blog.
Original post date: Tuesday, February 16, 2010

So O’bee, Rowan, and I spent an extended weekend at PantheaCon, the largest pagan conference in the US. We hosted a Feri hospitality suite that had a couple events, attended workshops and rituals, and introduced Rowan to the larger pagan and Feri community.

Many thought that we were nuts bringing a newborn (and me) to the Con so soon after birth. I am still recovering, and Ro needs to be fed at least every 2 hours. But I didn’t think it was that big of a deal- after all, at home, we have to juggle the parrots’ needs with the baby’s- and that prioritization would not be necessary in the hotel. We only had to care for the baby, and we had help with the suite events we hosted. When he was sleeping, we could attend workshops and such with him in tow. When he was hungry or fussy, we had baby time in the room. It went surprisingly well.

I attended much fewer workshops and events at this ‘Con than any of the previous ones that I went to, but that did not bother me in the slightest. There is a level of sacrifice (and here I must note that this word’s original meaning is “to make sacred”) that comes with being a parent, and oddly enough, it is not one that I resent (at least not this weekend, anyway!). Before Ro was here, I may have guessed that I would be slightly resentful or at least wistful to be “missing out”. But to be honest, I was getting something waaaay better staying in with my baby.

O’bee kept checking in with me about going to things and switching off parent duties. We did that really well. But often, I was just fine staying in the room with Ro and letting him go off and do something at the ‘Con. The first day, we arrived in time for the 1:30 programming, but I wanted to get everything settled in the room (and get the limited edition books from Harpy Press as soon as they were available). So O’bee went to Morpheus’ workshop while I attended to Ro and did the vendor room with Ro in tow.

I did not get to an event until 9 pm that evening- The Red God Revel (an ecstatic Feri ritual). O’bee saw me off, then went back up to the room with Ro while mama got some woo time. It felt so good to dance the whole thing! The God was present and palpable, and I was lost on a wave as I danced around with a few hundred others.

On Saturday, I went to a pagan parenting panel (with Ro in tow) and was delighted to meet others in my situation. It became clear that more and more parents are bringing their kids to P’Con and raising them in different pagan/pan/polythestic/magick traditions. There are people to meet up and share ideas with right in my backyard! The panel talked about issues that are brought up being a religious minority (esp. one that is demonized), teaching sex positivity to our kids and the consequences of that (CPS is often called if kids know the names of genitalia or talk to other kids about sex or masturbation, for example), teaching kids your religion or no, etc etc. O’bee joined me towards the end of the panel and we headed up to the Pagan Alliance suite where they had said they were holding a kid-friendly space for parents and their spawn to meet and get some lunch. We met some other parents we didn’t know before who also live in Oakland, and will be getting together sometime soon! (editors note: I lost the contact of one couple that I really wanted to meet up with and sadly have been unable to connect with them since!)

I was going to attend another Feri workshop after that (Anaar’s Mana and the Witch’s Cone of Power), but Ro decided to fuss a bit, and I decided rather than stress him out by testing the limits, I would leave before it started. He was ready for more boobie, so upstairs we went.

That was the last thing I did publicly on Saturday- I was quite content to camp out in the room with Ro and watch Bill Maher on HBO.

Sunday, I made sure I fed Ro early so that I could get to a 9 AM workshop on public service in the pagan community, a panel featuring Macha Nightmare, Ivo Dominguez Jr., and Sam Webster. I was glad that I went- I promoted my elder project, PEARL, and got a few good volunteer leads and also connected with a few people that will help further the project as well.

That night, I went to the Feri Tent Revival with O’bee and Ro. He breastfed as we sat on the periphery and did quite well. One thing Ro does when he is startled is that his arm flies up (even though he stays asleep)- and when people shouted “blessed be!” and “halle-fucking-lujah!” at the revival he did this more than once. It looked like he was testifying! LOL

We did try and push doing two things in a row- after the tent revival, we tried to do the “Yes, They Are! The Queerest of the Gods” ritual play. We got through about half when I personally had to leave. Ro would have made it through- he had access to boobie and was covered so the lights did not bother him. But Mama was sore. I am still in recovery, and my perineum, which is stitched up and cut by how fast Ro came out, was aching after last night’s dancing and that days walking. I was done.

The last thing that I attended was a dream workshop with Anne Hill, and I took notes. She approached the workshop not only for dream analysis for yourself, but also as a tool for clergy to help their congregants. Very informative and helpful!

We saw so many Feri folk who were so happy to meet Rowan after getting the play-by-play his whole pregnancy. Many of these witches did spells and prayer to help us with problems in the pregnancy and with the birth. I am so grateful to them for their care and concern and effort. it was wonderful to be a part of a larger community that embraced my son even before he arrived.

We headed back north and stopped by DRGN’s for an hour or so for his birthday celebration before picking up the parrots and heading home.

I learned more about my son over the weekend. He knows how to ask for what he wants- he does this through fussing noises, looking toward me, sending mental images to me, and finally (if I am being dense or slow), crying. He is not quick to cry, but it is his last line of defense.

He is REALLY upset when someone else is in control of his body. He hates being changed, whether it is clothes or diaper. He also does not like abrupt position changes. I suspected that his first bath was going to lead to tears, and it did (that happened today, our first day back from the ‘Con, since his umbilical cord had fallen off). Boy, was he upset about bathing. I think this indicates a spirited independent child who is going to be quite the handful!

We were worried because the day before the ‘Con and the first day of the ‘Con Ro had not pooped. I called my midwife panicking, because according to WIC, he should be pooping 4 times a day! I want him to thrive and put on weight. Was he not getting enough? Was he constipated or worse? We quickly ruled out constipation (or worse), as he would probably be miserable and crying. Judi (the MW) asked me to measure my breastmilk to make sure I was making enough. I recently bought a tincture to help me make more if I needed to. She reassured me and said that he may be one of those babies that poops less. As long as he was getting 2 oz + at this stage, he was probably fine. We would know for sure when he was weighed again.

Thank the gods that the next day, he pooped. And when it arrived, it really arrived! The first poopy diaper was like 3 poops in one. Then he pooped twice more that day. Since then, he isn’t up to 4 per day, more like 3, but I am less worried. I think he is starting to normalize.

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