650 teenage girls+baby fierce=lots o’love

I teach at an all girls high school. My students provide me with much joy (spontaneous dance parties, goofy outfits during spirit week, absolutely sincere questions about the mysteries of life), frequent heart pangs (breakups, fights with parents, general teenage despair), and occasional moments of “Really???!! Why would you do THAT?” (no need for details here, just reflect back on your teenage years and take it from there). And the amount of love they’ve poured out since the news of Baby Fierce hit the streets has taken this to a whole new level. And their exuberant, overflowing desire to commune with Baby Fierce and share that love as often as possible brought me to the inevitable question–what about the belly rubs?

Now, I grew up in a pretty physically affectionate family. But I also grew up in New England. As a result, I love a good hug, but I also love my personal space (moving to Oregon where people often hug simply upon meeting you really threw me for a loop. I do what I can to cut off most of the initial hugs with a firm handshake). When I shared the news about B.F. with my TA (basically a homeroom class that stays together all four years, doing parties and service together and generally bonding to the nth degree), 17 pairs of hands immediately reached for my stomach and the wee little life inside. And in that moment, I knew–that for me–the answer was to just bask in their affection and happiness. The idea of saying no for the next 6 months just seemed crazy and totally not worth the effort. And if that results in dozens of belly rubs a day, so be it:-) I believe Baby Fierce feels the love, and there’s no way that can be a bad thing.

A couple of side notes: I’ve received what seems like a billion offers for free baby sitting. I’ve also had more girls than I can count explain how their names can be both girl names and boy names. Despite their enthusiasm for Cecily/Cecil, Anjanae/Nate, Laura/Laurence, Rae/Raymond etc etc etc etc, I’m not quite sold. But I’m all over that free baby sitting:-)


About jessicaepierce

Jessica Pierce has worked a a farm hand, file clerk, bicycle mechanic and teaching poet. After taking up space every where from the San Joaquin Valley to Arkansas to Boston to Guatemala to India to Oakland, she now lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband, a sitar player, and their two year old daughter. As the lead teacher and language arts teacher at an alternative school outside of Portland, she works with high school students at risk of dropping out. She also teaches summer creative writing classes at St. Mary's Academy in downtown Portland. Her work has been published in the Painted Bridge Quarterly, the Christian Science Monitor weekly magazine, outwardlink.net, The Times of India (Kolkata), and the Northwest Review, which nominated her for Meridian magazine’s 2007 Best New Poets anthology. She’s had the privilege of studying with Rosanna Warren, Dorianne Laux, Pimone Triplett, Sam Witt and Jorie Graham.
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1 Response to 650 teenage girls+baby fierce=lots o’love

  1. Baby Fierce will feel the love, and how rad that you’re making that personal space sacrifice. At the same time, who are these Northwesterners who hug upon first meeting? That makes me embarrassed for us.

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