Earlier this week, I got a call from the office of one of our Senators, inviting me to be one of thirty activists from BlueState to attend a “roundtable” discussion about LGBT issues.
After the discussion, we are invited on a VIP tour of the Capitol, followed by a “VIP Holiday Tour” of the White House.
When I got the call, I told the guy that I needed to let him know two things, and make sure that he was okay with them.
First is that “I’m not currently doing any political activism, LGBT or otherwise, because I’m taking a break to concentrate on my baby,” to which he said, “As you should!”
He’s fine with that, because he says that I “know the politics of the state” (I hope so – I’ve been pretty disengaged lately!) and that I will “bring a welcome perspective to the conversation.”
I have to agree with him about that. I’m sure that as a lesbian mom in one of the most conservative parts of the state, I probably look at things a little differently than the twenty-something single gay man from the CapitalCity or the middle-aged full-time activist from BigCity.
The other thing I told him is that I can’t be away from Peeper for a whole day, so I couldn’t do it unless I could arrange for her and Shrike to go with me to DC, and for me to check in with them between events, so that she can nurse and have some Mama-time.
He said that they are welcome to join us for the Capitol tour (although, I think we will bail on that, in favor of naptime) and that, although there wouldn’t be room for Shrike, because there’s a strict limit on the number of people they can take, “I’m pretty sure I can get the baby in the White House.”
As it turns out, she does count against the number, but he is giving up his own spot to allow her to attend. How sweet is that?
He did say that three other kids will be going with our group, but she will be by far the youngest.
I am pretty much freaking out about the whole thing – from the logistics of making the daytrip to DC with Peeper, to the distinct possibility of making an ass of myself at the roundtable, to the fear that my toddler with cause some sort of national security incident, or break something that once belonged to Abraham Lincoln.
At least hourly, I consider chickening out and blowing off the whole thing, but really how can you turn down an opportunity like that?
I mean, I know it’s not exactly a state dinner, nor hanging out having a beer with Barack and Michelle, but I am pretty sure that they’ll be there, and at the very least, surely a “VIP” tour gets to go places and see things that normal people don’t.
I’ve been googling around, trying to figure out what to expect, and have found a few stories about the White House’s holiday plans:
- White House Holiday: Feeding 50,000 Guests
- Obama Holiday Season Kicking Off: 28 Events
- Local Official To Attend White House Reception
I’m kind of guessing that the event I’m going to will be similar to the one that the lady from Louisiana is attending, a few days earlier, but I really don’t know.
I’ve spent the past couple of days obsessing about wardrobe and logistics and the like, and that’s starting to come together.
We’ve decide that instead of taking the Metro and hoofing it, as we usually to, we will drive and will get a hotel room for the day, so Shrike and Peeper have a nice warm place to hang out while I’m in the meeting, then we all have a place for a nap and to change clothes, and Shrike can hang out during the reception.
(I really, really wish that she could go to that with us. It’s just not fair that she has to do all the pain-in-the-ass part of the trip, and doesn’t get to share in the payoff. I feel like rather a jerk to drag her along, make her deal with the kid all day, and then leave her behind while we go hobnob with the muckity-mucks.)
Although we’re not thrilled about the additional cost, the hotel plan does make me feel much better, because I was worried about the cold (it’s forecast to be in the upper 30s that day) and how they’d entertain themselves, and where she’d hape, and how I’d either carry around a change of clothes or keeping my one outfit in Presidential condition all day.
Speaking of clothes, I went and bought a couple of outfits today, at a local thrift shop that specializes in dressy things.
There might be a few tweaks, but at the moment, the plan is that for the roundtable, I’ll wear a pair of black wool slacks, an off-white button-up shirt and a red blazer. Then, for the reception, I’ve got a pair of velvety black pants, a shiny white shirt with ruffles down the front and a red and black vest.
Peeper will probably be in her black velvety pants and red sweater, and I’ll be wearing her.
(See above re: Toddler and fear of national security incident.)
That’s a whole ‘nother thing I’ve been trying to sort out – how to wear her, because our blue batik religions of the world (although perhaps appropriate, in a way, for the holidays) wrap just isn’t very dressy and is very “Hey, everybody! Check out this weird hippy thing tied all over my body!” which is not the look I’m going for.
Last week, before all this came up, I was talking with DoulaK about babywearing options as Peeper gets bigger (need to look into a woven wrap for back carries) and she suggested I try a hip carry with the ring sling.
That seemed to work okay, for practicing around the house, so I was going to try to borrow a black sling from someone.
Then I tried carrying her in it at the grocery store last night, and we didn’t even make it out of the produce section (where we’d started) before I switched it out for the wrap. It was okay, but not real comfortable, and I kept having to adjust it and never did quite get happy with it.
I talked to DoulaK today, and she said that she can get me a black ring sling if I want, but see above, or she might have a black sleepy wrap, which is like mine but more of a tshirt material, or suggested that I check with OtherLeader about borrowing her black water wrap.
As the name implies, it’s designed for use in the water, and is made of a swimsuit-like material, which would ironically, probably be dressier than the sleepy wrap, because it’s kind of shiny and such.
The only concern is that it’s much stretchier than what I’ve got, which might be a problem because, although she’s still pretty small for her age, Peeper is getting close to twenty pounds, so it might not be supportive enough to keep her nice and snug and secure for the whole time.
I talked to OtherLeader this evening, and Peeper and I are going to stop by tomorrow to test it out and see what we think.
One other possibility is that someone on Twitter, who lives in the DC Metro area, offered to let me borrow either a black wrap (not sure what type of fabric) or a black and white sling.
So, I’m sure I’ll find something that will work, and I think I’m leaning toward a wrap, just because that’s what I’m most used to and most comfortable with.
I figure that I’m going to be uncomfortable enough at this thing as it is, that I need to be as physically comfortable as possible!
Now, I just need to see if I can come up with some sort of winter outerwear that’s alot classier than the jacket I’ve got, and figure out how I can
smuggle in carry a spare diaper or two, especially if bags aren’t allowed.
I might have to just double-stuff her, like for night time (if I can in those pants, they are none too loose in the booty) and hope that she doesn’t poop!
Speaking of rules and reguations, before we could be approved to attend the White House event, both Peeper and I had to go through a security clearance, which required our full legal names, dates of birth and social security numbers. I had to vouch that we are both US citizens, and for myself, I had to answer two additional questions:
- Have you ever advocated the overthrow of the United States government?
(Um, does working for the Democratic Party in 2004 and 2008 count?)
- Have you ever said anything in public that could be embarrassing to the President or the Senator?
And that, dear reader, is why I blog anonymously.