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Archive for July, 2006

Caretaker…

Bald Man and I have a “divide and conquer” mentality now that we are the parents of three (how DID we allow ourselves to be outnumbered?). He had a doctor’s appointment Saturday morning, and I had to take our daughter to swim lessons. So I said, “I can take ONE boy to swim lessons, but not both.” I could envision one of them running into the pool (Jake) while I tried desperately to wrangle the second and keep HIM from crawling into the pool (Luke).

So anyway, Bald Man says, “You can even pick which one you’ll take.” Easy. I’m taking Luke. I can still put him in the baby backpack carrier and work with Samantha hands free. So we told Jake he’d be going with Daddy in the morning.

Jake wakes up Saturday morning, “Daddy! I hafa take you to the docors for your booboo!” He so wants to take care of everyone. 🙂

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What?!

Okay, guys, cover your ears. Done? Alright.

Ladies, have you seen the new tabs on the Always pads’ wings? You know, the little paper thing that keeps the wings neatly tucked together until you’re ready to let them fly. So they don’t get all bunched and stuck at funny angles in your Hanes Her Way (because you gotta save the fancier undies for the days when you don’t need Always. And why do they call them “Always”? Wouldn’t “Sometimes” be a better name for them? And did I just steal that line from some comedian? Because now it’s starting to sound really familiar.).

Anyway, back to the stupid tab thingies. Why am I calling them stupid? Well, glad you asked. They are stupid because they now have a little message on them. They say, get this, “Have a Happy Period.” Yes, they do. No, I’m not joking. Why are you asking ME why? I didn’t write it!

Who thought this would be good idea? Seriously. I can’t imagine that a man in a boardroom full of women would suggest this and still be alive. So, that leaves a woman to be the brains behind it. A woman who’s never had a period? Possible, I guess. But seriously? That’s like telling someone, “Have a wonderful root canal!” or “Enjoy your vasectomy!” or “Hope your colonoscopy is great!”

How dumb. (And yes, go ahead and blame the tone of this post on hormones. Not like I can deny it. But it doesn’t make it any less dumb!)

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Okay, we’re all a little sleep deprived here, so keep that in mind.

Lately, our one year old has started repeating words and sounds quite often. (His only words so far are: Dada, Momma, table, diaper, and done.) The animal sounds are the trick of the moment, so Bald Man says, “Luke, what does a froggy say? Ribbit, ribbit.” And Luke repeats. “And what does a Doggy say? Ruff, ruff.” And Luke repeats.

So, as Bald Man was going up the stairs tonight, carrying my mom’s dog who we’re watching for a bit (she’s old and blind and can’t climb our wooden stairs—the dog, not my mom, although…no, no, my mom’s not old), he’s saying, “Puff, what does a baby say?”

He’s silly.

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Yesterday I asked why all my friends are white. I promised to come back today and answer, which I will, just a little less eloquently than I’d hoped. I am tired, and I don’t see being any less tired any time in the next few days, so bear with me, please.

All my friends are white because I’m lazy. Or afraid. Or comfortable. One of those things, or maybe all.

True integation, sharing of daily life and authentic across-the-color-spectrum relationships are going to happen when someone is willing to be the minority. I don’t mean the minority in a culture, but minorities in situations. I mentioned in my other blog that I grew up, for about 6 years, in a town that had no black people. Actually, there was one black family that I remember living there. They left (were run out of town) after about a month.

That left my brother, me, and the Italian family of boys as the darkest people in town. (My sister is as alabaster as my kids.) So, I was one of the 4 kids in school that made up the minority. Because, in this school, you were white or you weren’t. Four of us weren’t.

Now, I’m not going to claim major atrocities were committed against me, because they weren’t. I actually have many good memories of living there, and one of my closest friends to this day was a friend I made there (though she got out of that town pretty quickly). But I can’t say that a day went by that I wasn’t aware of my status as a minority. A few days because some kids chose to point it out. Most days because it just wasn’t easy to forget.

My point? True integration is going to happen (I think) when I am willing to make myself a minority in specific situtations. Yes, I am generally an ethnic minority in situations already, but my life is very similar to the friends I spend time with. My life is comfortable, safe, predictable, and easy.

I mentioned looking for an integrated church (which we really couldn’t find around here). Well, I may have to be willing to integrate a church by being the minority. Social groups, mommy groups (okay, I really wish this list of places I could integrate was a lot longer, but there’s really not much else I’m doing these days!) are places that I have to be willing to step into, knowing that I’m going to stick out for a while. And the schoolgirl in me who lived that for years is a bit wary of it. But the adult in me who tries to imagine what it was like for Ruby Bridges to walk the walk she did, and tow the line for so many, says to just suck it up and get on with it.

And why does it matter? Because I’m trying to teach my kids love, respect, and value for people of every color, origin, nationality. Love, respect, and value for others comes out of experiencing life with others, out of relationships. I need to live the values I’m trying to teach them. True living takes purposeful action. It’s time to get off my butt.

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Yesterday I asked why all my friends are white. I promised to come back today and answer, which I will, just a little less eloquently than I’d hoped. I am tired, and I don’t see being any less tired any time in the next few days, so bear with me, please.

All my friends are white because I’m lazy. Or afraid. Or comfortable. One of those things, or maybe all.

True integation, sharing of daily life and authentic across-the-color-spectrum relationships are going to happen when someone is willing to be the minority. I don’t mean the minority in a culture, but minorities in situations. I mentioned in my other blog that I grew up, for about 6 years, in a town that had no black people. Actually, there was one black family that I remember living there. They left (were run out of town) after about a month.

That left my brother, me, and the Italian family of boys as the darkest people in town. (My sister is as alabaster as my kids.) So, I was one of the 4 kids in school that made up the minority. Because, in this school, you were white or you weren’t. Four of us weren’t.

Now, I’m not going to claim major atrocities were committed against me, because they weren’t. I actually have many good memories of living there, and one of my closest friends to this day was a friend I made there (though she got out of that town pretty quickly). But I can’t say that a day went by that I wasn’t aware of my status as a minority. A few days because some kids chose to point it out. Most days because it just wasn’t easy to forget.

My point? True integration is going to happen (I think) when I am willing to make myself a minority in specific situtations. Yes, I am generally an ethnic minority in situations already, but my life is very similar to the friends I spend time with. My life is comfortable, safe, predictable, and easy.

I mentioned looking for an integrated church (which we really couldn’t find around here). Well, I may have to be willing to integrate a church by being the minority. Social groups, mommy groups (okay, I really wish this list of places I could integrate was a lot longer, but there’s really not much else I’m doing these days!) are places that I have to be willing to step into, knowing that I’m going to stick out for a while. And the schoolgirl in me who lived that for years is a bit wary of it. But the adult in me who tries to imagine what it was like for Ruby Bridges to walk the walk she did, and tow the line for so many, says to just suck it up and get on with it.

And why does it matter? Because I’m trying to teach my kids love, respect, and value for people of every color, origin, nationality. Love, respect, and value for others comes out of experiencing life with others, out of relationships. I need to live the values I’m trying to teach them. True living takes purposeful action. It’s time to get off my butt.

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Guy Kawasaki has recently written a post entitled “As Good As Steve Jobs.”

Now, my first question was, “Steve Jobs. That’s the Mac guy, right?” Yes, it is. Okay. So, who’s as good as Steve Jobs at what?

In his post, Guy says:

Now I’d like to specifically suggest that you watch the video of Majora Carter because there’s a lot we can all learn from this magnificent performance.

She is every bit as good as Steve Jobs. (Maybe better when you consider she doesn’t have a dozen minions supporting her.) Heck, she’s even a MacArthur Fellow (aka, “genius award”)!

Okay, so now you’re asking me, “Who’s Majora Carter, and why do I care, Kerri?”

Well, you can link here to find out more about her, but this is why I think you should care. Watching the video of Majora speak at TED (just link there if you’re curious, I don’t know, either), you witness a pure example of one woman living, breathing, oozing her passion. And being able to do it for an audience.

Now, I could also point out that she’s a black woman, and I could ask, “How often do you see a black woman having a stage from which to share her passion?” And you might answer, “Oprah. That’s all.” But, I could also ask, “How often do you see a woman having a stage from which to share her passion?” and I don’t think the answer would change much.

And so, here is a woman who is given a stage and who does not waste what she’s been given. She shares her story, she shares her goals, she shares her successes. And when she shares her hopes, the look on her face is of such joy that you believe in her mind she is seeing those hopes as a reality.

And you should care because, as women, we are not often given such honest, raw, real examples of women having success living their passion. Let me tell you something, I think it took such courage for her to get up and speak, and to call Al Gore out on a statement of his (he’s in the audience at the time. It’s worth it to watch it all just for that, plus all the rest 🙂 ) It took courage. And courage needs to be applauded. And when courage is applauded and recognized, it spreads.

Now, many of the commenters on Guy’s blog “disagree” with his assessment of Carter being as good a speaker as Jobs. I can’t speak to that. I’ve never witnessed a Jobs presentation, can’t see a time in the near future where that would be necessary to my life. The general consenus of those disagreeing seems to be a lack of polish to Carter’s speech. And the fact that she was obviously reading it instead of memorizing it.

Honestly, I’m okay with that. I’m not polished, either. She was real. She was alive. She was enthusiatic. She was engaging. And she seemed to relate to the audience, which I can’t imagine was easy being a young black woman from the Bronx speaking to a mostly older white group of people from, well, probably not the Bronx. And as far as reading her speech? Name me one President that wasn’t obviously reading from a teleprompter since, well, the invention of the teleprompter. If it’s good enough for POTUS, why not her?

And my favorite was the end, when she was asking to be used. “Please don’t waste me.” You get the picture that, when her life is over, it’s because there was nothing left to give. She will have spent every ounce of life achieving her hopes. It was a great challenge to me. What is that important to me? To my life?

How ’bout you?

Final note. The video is almost 20 minutes long, but worth it. There is a pause button in case you need to use it about 5 times during the speech (like me) to attend to the kiddos!

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Got your attention, huh? But really, it’s just an honest question.

And let me start off by saying that I love white people. In fact, of the 5 people in my immediate family (husband, me, kids), I’m the only one who people wouldn’t automatically assume is white (I’m more tan, with both maternal grandparents born in Mexico). In the winter, the other four are positively alabaster, though my genes (oh, Hsien would have died, I almost typed “jeans”) allow for beautifully tanned babies right now. Actually, I don’t know if it has anything to do with my genes or not. Now I’m rambling.

But seriously, all of my friends (that live near me, I mean) are white. (Sorry, there is one that is not. So, out of the many, there are two of us that have the blessing of the “perpetual tan” look. But that’s all.) And I love them. There are days I would not get by without them. Certainly, activities that I would not attempt without them. And, yet, I still can’t help but wonder where all of the Black, Asian, Hispanic, Indian and other moms are.

I don’t live in a white suburb. I live in a city. It is, sadly, a very segregated city. Still, you think city living would make a difference. It hasn’t.

We attend a very white church. While looking for a church the past few years, we purposely looked for churches that were racially mixed. They aren’t out there. At least not around here.

Before I was a SAHM (stay at home mom), I worked downtown. The company was very mixed racially. And even there, white people lunched with white people, black people lunched with black people.

Yesterday, I wrote a post for Play Library about ethnic choices when picking out toys for our kids. And maybe that’s a start for teaching kids about different types/colors/nationalities of people. But when do we actually get to have them spend time, become friends with, share lives with people who look different from the way they look?

Where do I go to find friends that are different from me? I’m not walking up to someone and saying, “Hey, I’d like to be your friends b/c you seem different from me and I think that it’s important to have a variety of friends. Please come be a case-study.” Isn’t that exactly what it would sound like?

And, yet, I long for a life where my kids never question what life would be like if they were surrounded by all kinds of people. They wouldn’t question it, because it would be their reality.

And, of course, now I think I know the answer. I’ll write about that tomorrow…

BTW-the second half of this thought actually ended up coming two days later.  You can find it here.

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I ask my kids this question often. Just to make sure they know. I’m sure Freud or some other psychoanalyst would have a field day with this. Maybe I feel guilty that I don’t show love. Maybe I feel guilty that I’m not spending enough time with my kids. Maybe I’m overcompensating for under engaging. Maybe Freud and his ilk would think none of these things, and I’m just making stuff up. Entirely possible.

Anyway, I do ask it often, and the response is usually, “Yes, Mom. I love you, too.”

Recently, though, Jake has started to remind me of a post my friend Hsien wrote about a month ago. Her son was (is?) going through an, “I don’t like you” phase. Jake reminded me of this because he started to think that it was funny to answer my, “You know I love you, don’t you?” with “Nooooooooo” and a big smile. Now, he was trying to be funny, but it still hurts, ya know? One of my responsibilities in this lifetime is to make sure these kids know that they are loved and cared for. So even jokes about whether or not they know that do sting a little.

Then today, he upped the ante even a bit further. Today when I said, “You know I love you don’t you?” he came back with, “No, and I don’t love you.” Still with a smile on his face. The little stinker knows what he’s doing, and I try not to encourage him with a big production over it. Just a, “That’s not nice and it hurts Mommy’s feelings.” And not what I’m thinking, which is, “You’re crushing me kid!” followed by the diatribe of events that it took to get him into this world!

Anyway, it passes quickly, and then, as he’s sitting next to me playing while I write this he says, “Mommy, I love you” right out of the blue. And, for a moment, all is right in my world.

Side note:  As I’m working on this and head over to Wikipedia to find the link for Freud, Jake sees his photo and says, “THAT’S NOT MY DADDY! Who’s daddy is that?” I say “I think his little girl’s name is Anna.” Which, further down the page at Wikipedia, I find is correct. Why is that useless information still in my head, but I can’t remember why I’ve walked into a room from one moment to the next?

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My daughter is almost 3 years older than her nearest brother. If you ask him, he’ll tell you that, “I two and a half.” (Plus 3 months.)

He is two and 9 months, and for some reason it’s taken me that 9 months to remember what it is that makes a two year old’s mind tick, and how to get him to do what I want. And then, the other day, it clicked.

He was poopy, as is often the case. Although when you ask him if he is, he will run the in the opposite direction from you yelling, “I not poopy!!” Which is why he’s not potty-trained yet. If he’s not even going to fess up to it when I can smell it across the room, what makes me think he’s going to tell me before he goes? Nothing. So I’m not doing it yet. (Leave me alone, Mom.)

Anyway, back to the story….He was poopy. And I was trying to corner him to change him. (He has, at least, stopped kicking while I’m trying to change him. He’s passed that torch to his younger brother.) But while he’s running from me, he is screaming, “I want apple juice!” And then it clicks. The bargaining chip.

“Okay, Jake? You can have apple juice if you lie down for your diaper change and ask nicely for the apple juice.” And he quickly goes to the couch, lays down, and asks, “Mommy, pease I have apple juice, pease?””Yes, you may.”

So now, whenever he asks for anything, I have to quickly remember what it is I want him to do, so I can bribe bargain with him. And hopefully in 10 months when his brother turns two, I’ll still remember how to get my way with my 2 year old!

Disclaimer: Results not typical. Individual results may vary. Any child at any given time may or may not respond in the manner indicated in this story. No guarantees.

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My daughter is almost 3 years older than her nearest brother. If you ask him, he’ll tell you that, “I two and a half.” (Plus 3 months.)

He is two and 9 months, and for some reason it’s taken me that 9 months to remember what it is that makes a two year old’s mind tick, and how to get him to do what I want. And then, the other day, it clicked.

He was poopy, as is often the case. Although when you ask him if he is, he will run the in the opposite direction from you yelling, “I not poopy!!” Which is why he’s not potty-trained yet. If he’s not even going to fess up to it when I can smell it across the room, what makes me think he’s going to tell me before he goes? Nothing. So I’m not doing it yet. (Leave me alone, Mom.)

Anyway, back to the story….He was poopy. And I was trying to corner him to change him. (He has, at least, stopped kicking while I’m trying to change him. He’s passed that torch to his younger brother.) But while he’s running from me, he is screaming, “I want apple juice!” And then it clicks. The bargaining chip.

“Okay, Jake? You can have apple juice if you lie down for your diaper change and ask nicely for the apple juice.” And he quickly goes to the couch, lays down, and asks, “Mommy, pease I have apple juice, pease?””Yes, you may.”

So now, whenever he asks for anything, I have to quickly remember what it is I want him to do, so I can bribe bargain with him. And hopefully in 10 months when his brother turns two, I’ll still remember how to get my way with my 2 year old!

Disclaimer: Results not typical. Individual results may vary. Any child at any given time may or may not respond in the manner indicated in this story. No guarantees.

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