Thursday, December 10, 2009

Guess Where Peeper and I Are Going Next Week?

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:

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.


  1. Wow, that is exciting! Thank goodness for anonyblogging. :D

    Surely there is an expectation that if someone brings an infant in they might need a diaper change. Is there any way you can take a small bag with a couple of diapers and wipes, maybe a change of clothes, even if you have to check it in somewhere? Do they not allow purses at all? What do people do with them? (See above check them question.) Where does one keep their wallet and keys for an event like this? Or their tampons, inhaler and epi-pen?

  2. Oh can you take your CAMERA? 'Cause you know we want pictures of this. You could get Michelle to take one of you and Barack, Peeper playing with Sasha and Malia, etc. ;D

  3. I'm hoping the rules are different for VIP events than for general public tours (One of those articles mentions people at receptions sneaking appetizers into purses for souveniers - that's promising.), but says:

    Prohibited items include, but are not limited to, the following: handbags, book bags, backpacks, purses, food and beverages of any kind, strollers, cameras, video recorders or any type of recording device, tobacco products, personal grooming items (make-up, hair brush or comb, lip or hand lotions, etc.), any pointed objects (pens, knitting needles, etc.), aerosol containers, guns, ammunition, fireworks, electric stun guns, mace, martial arts weapons/devices, or knives of any size. The U.S. Secret Service reserves the right to prohibit any other personal items. Umbrellas, wallets, cell phones and car keys are permitted.

    Please note that no storage facilities are available on or around the complex. Individuals who arrive with prohibited items will not be permitted to enter the White House.

    The event-specific information I've received doesn't say anything about prohibited items, but does say that all participants, including children, must have government-issued ID.

    I've emailed back to find out what Peeper needs. I'm guessing her birth certificate and social security card?

  4. I also asked about cameras.

    If you read the articles, it says that they are not doing photo ops at all the events this year, so no idea if we'll be able to get a good one of us with them or not.

    I do think that if there's any opportunity for scoring photos "unofficially," that having a baby strapped to me should up my chances.

    After all, I will remember this, but she'll need proof that it happened.

  5. Maybe you could get some sort of very small purse size tote thing that could just hold a couple of diapers and wipes. I'm thinking a very simple "bag" without a lot of extra seams and such where they might worry that paraphanalia could be hidden and a shoulder strap to wear it. Is there anyone you can ask if you can take an extra diaper or two with you?

  6. Oh, and you should have had your local newspaper go shopping for clothes with you like the other lady.

    Hey, after this is over you could write some sort of "recycle, repurpose, reuse" piece on going to the WH in resale shop clothes. (You're not cheap, you're PATRIOTIC.)

  7. I've emailed the guy coordinating it all to ask about cameras and bags. I mentioned that I'd like to have at least one diaper on me.

    It's the bag that's a problem, not the diaper itself, so I suppose I could probably tuck one, rolled or folded, under the wrap, beside Peeper, and it wouldn't make a big obvious lump.

    I probably wouldn't change her unless she pooped (after all, she goes all night in a wet diaper) but if she did, I think I'd have to just throw the dirty one away, I can't see tucking it back in the wrap and walking around with it!

  8. I kind of thought about seeing if Shrike's paper was interested, but on the other hand, I am SO glad there wasn't a photographer from the paper there while I was trying to find an outfit this afternoon, discussing my flabby arms and nursing access and "are these pants too baggy in the butt?"

  9. Oh, and speaking of nursing access, when I was talking to DoulaK this evening, she said, "You are going to have to breastfeed her while you're there."

    I said, "Well, it's two hours, so it's likely, but I'll tank her up before we go and . . . "

    She said, "No, you HAVE TO!"

    She's right.

    How often do you get that opportunity?

    Come to think of it, I just might show up with her hungry....

  10. And THAT can go in the article you write about it afterward for LLL. :)

  11. Is Kennedy's rocking chair still there? ;)

  12. Oh, the logistics! I'm sure you'll figure out how to manage everything, but I agree, it sucks that Shrike has to stay in the hotel. I assume that you still use washable diapers, but maybe a few disposable ones, which are a lot flatter, could fit down inside the wrap with Peeper, without making too much of a bulge. If anything's going to get broken, it won't be Peeper's fault. The older kids on the tour would definitely be far more of a threat to precious White House mementos.

  13. If she were walking much more it would time for that leash. ;)

  14. A Mei Tai would probably be comfortable for the event. I have found a very reasonably priced one online that I really like a lot and is very very comfortable for both me and my 1 year old to wear for a long time. is the one I like best of all the ones I have purchased and she has solid colors. You may not have enough time to get one though.

  15. Kbethlee here. The black wrap is knit, but not too stretchy. I'll try to tweet a pic to you :)

    I also have a mei tai that is black on one side, white/blue/grey pattern on the other. You could use that on the black side :)

  16. Does this remind you of a teenage girl going out on a date and all her friends kicking in to loan her stuff to wear? Except you and Peeper have the whole internet hopping on board. ;D

  17. It sounds so exciting. I have done some lobbying from congential heart defects but have never got to do anything as cool as go to the White House. Here is a blogging that went to the whilte house you could ask her your questions.

  18. Thanks, all! DoulaK says she can hook me up with a black ringsling or mei tai, or a stretchier-than-I'm-used-to wrap. I'll test out the water wrap this afternoon, and if it won't work, will try the sleepy wrap or she said her mom can whip one up out of a gauzy material, which would be less stretchy. Hmm, maybe that would work for the back carries that we need to move to soon?

    I had a brainstorm earlier today and realized that my coat (assuming I wear it, altho it's not dressy) has huge pockets, and I can easily put a diaper or two in there.

    Assuming there's a coat check and no one would really see it, I can do that, and if I need it, I'd think I could get it out of coat check.


What say you?