A Modern Girl's Musings

My earliest political memory is of my parents laughing at me when I asked if we were voting for Ronald Reagan. Even I could tell poor Carter wasn't looking so good. I was about five. I think the laughter was accompanied by something along the lines of "for crying out loud!"

Nevertheless I consider myself a Reagan Baby. Those eight years of my childhood were spent realizing that there was still a lot of work to be done, despite Dr. King, in addition to the Kennedys (a lot of them were still alive then), and hopefully including me (if my Quaker education by the hippies was teaching me anything at all).

So after Reagan, after Clinton, after hiding in those Bushes, I am still hopeful, I am still working on my addition, I'm still on my way to a new way of living in this world.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

It's Hard to Find the Food Court in the Museum of Me

Today I posted a whole bunch of photos on Facebook.  I don’t do this often.  I usually have no idea where my camera is because I have to keep it out of reach from my kids, and once I find it, then that means I must also look for the cord to upload and I am guessing you already know how fruitful that probably is.

But today I found the cord and remembered I put the camera near my husband’s computer and there they were, forty new pictures of my little darlings for my five hundred closest friends to see.

Two feelings smash into my mind when I post pictures.  One of them is that people will see my apartment and liken me to a hoarder.  While I fight the good clutter fight all day and into just about every evening, it does not look like I am winning in my photos.  A reason for this is that just about every piece of furniture we own has been, in the last three and a half years, trashed in ways that are completely horrid.  And disgusting.  The couch looks like a relief map of bygone breastmilk and snack stains.  My mother says I should nix eating in the living room, but that would mean hanging out in the kitchen almost nonstop, and the kitchen, for babies and toddlers, is basically a death trap.  We have to stack our chairs in the pantry just so no one will tip them over and land herself in the Emergency Room.  I am constantly cleaning but when I see my kids against the backdrop of my humble dwelling, it looks like A and E should be paying for my personal organizer and Oprah should be buying me shelving from Ikea.

The other feeling is that people will catch all too real glimpses into my way of parenting.  I must say, for the record, that I think far too much parenting is not glimpsed enough.  We do most of it in private.  This is why new mothers seem so crazed and baby obsessed:  new mothers are realizing, Good Lord, how do people do this?  Whether it is baby sleep or baby eating or temper tantrums, it is hard to figure out what is normal.  Good parenting books tell you there are many variations of normal.  But very few parenting books tell you which combos of not normal could possibly land your kid in therapy years from now. 

Today I posted a series of pictures of my kids rough housing on a chair.  The chair is old.  Very old.  And it looks it.  My kids are having a fantastic time.  Mostly it is my daughter pulling and tugging on my son with an obsessive love I used to reserve for ex boyfriends.  My son’s shirt is stained and he is drinking from a sippy cup and what he is drinking is not very wholesome.  What he is drinking is red juice.  If you have done your helicopter parent reading, you know that red juice is usually deemed bad.  Unless it’s grape juice, which is pretty silly to give to someone who is going to drop it more times than a drunk drops his keys.  Or cranberry juice, and I have only heard tell of one kid in my life who drinks that stuff willingly, or any other of the juices that are red you can get at Whole Foods for four times the amount you would spend on juice for your kids. 

While not everyone who clicked on those pictures sat on the other side of the proverbial glass and polished her stones, I will say that judgment seems to run rampant in the Museum of Me that is our national form of recreation.  We click on those photos and we make assessments.  They’re not all bad, but they’re not all benign either.  And they are by far the most searing on the Mother’s websites I visit.  Searing to the point where you begin to wonder whose mother’s are these?  Because when you visit the Museum of Me, you are automatically defined as you.  And you and me are not the same thing, according to Einstein, and I am apt to agree. 

There is glass between the two, and it shines with the luster of a peculiar vitriol, a melancholy panic.

A few weeks ago I clicked on the album of a girl I knew from school.  We weren’t friends really, but from visiting her Museum of Me I was able to see she was kinda more interesting than I had taken a gander for years ago.  I could deduce, from her Museum of Me, that she’d married young, started a family, and recently someone around her had begun to do very, very well for him or herself.  Part of her Museum of Me was dedicated to her new house.  This is the kind of house people were snapping up five years ago and are all foreclosed upon out in Phoenix kind of house.  Ubiquitous granite counter tops nestle chrome appliances.  Hard wood flooring stretches out at great expanses.  The kids rooms have double beds, which is often a sign of upwardly mobile wealth, unless, of course, two or three kids sleep in there together, and even then you never know, what with those rich evangelicals running about.  Sometimes it’s a lifestyle choice.  But that is not the case here.  The kids had double beds, not single twins, because their parents are kinda loaded and this recession ain’t got nothin’ on their parents.

The captions are telling.  Things are being done to this house that is already making my mouth water.  Painting and yard stuff and no matter how radical and anti establishment you like to think you are, you can tell it is a warm house, a good place in which to grow up.

But the comments are telling, too.  “It will look so good when you fill it up.” And,  “What a lovely color that will be when it’s finally finished.”  Dig dig dig with each little letter under each tiny brick of picture forming this Museum of Me.

I have done it myself, this stone throwing.  I supposed it could be called natural, and yet it does not feel like this should be so. I wish I could keep my arm from even lifting, even if I don’t actually throw and think it, never mind if I actually throw and hit something.

Because the peculiar vitriol and melancholy panic, whether it is wrapped around what we think it means to be a good parent or plain house envy, comes from instantly feeling that Me and You are not only separate, but that each is at odds with the other.  One can’t have without the other needing. One can’t need without the other resenting.  Neither can celebrate what the other has:  happy kids, a warm house, one lovely life laid out in bricks of mega pixeled color.   Peculiar vitriol wins because hunger cries louder than love, and in the Museum of Me, everyone is very hungry.  The food court is a long walk away.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Cluck Cluck--A Random Email

I am watching a show on chickens on PBS.
I turned it on in the middle.
The first shots I saw were of chickens in a chicken house?  Stacked one on top of each other, laying eggs, no room to move their wings, thousands of eggs being packaged and shipped and sold for us to eat every day and making me feel guilty that if I could I would eat KFC everyday and twice on Sundays.
This segment was subtitled and silent.  Reverent, even, of the plight of those birds nurtured solely for our enjoyment. 
Then it switched to a woman in Florida who has a pet white bantam rooster named Cotton.  Soon into her segment, there was a shot of her swimming with Cotton in her fountained pool.  Next, she washed his feathers with baby shampoo and dried him with a pink hair dryer, a voice over of her reciting a poem about chickens that had little rhyme, meter, or tone and even less style could be heard as she worked on primping Cotton up.
And I must admit, Cotton is handsome, for a chicken.  Fluffy and well mannered and cuddly looking.
She explained she leaves the tv on for him when she is out.  That or turns on classical music. He loves Pavarotti, which made me half smile and half wince because Katia, too, is soothed by video of Pavarotti.
Cotton, I found out next, also wears red satin panties this lady has designed especially for him. They slip over his wings so that he does not have any "accidents".
I am not sure why I am writing this email. 
Chickens in red satin underwear is a unique subject and, I am sure, worthy of attention.
And to be sure, I am more interested in this program than watching Nancy Grace talk about Caylie Anthony's mother or  Sarah Palin lie repeatedly about bridges to nowhere and ear marks (spread the word:  she did not give that money back when the bridge plan got scrapped...every last dime of it still when to Alaska, the very state and the very project McCain had ridiculed in speeches for the four years before he picked her to run with him AFTER those around him told him he could not pick Joe "turn coat" Lieberman).  It is also more soothing than watching McCain squawk about pigs and lipstick when he has referred to Senator Clinton with such a term over and over again.  And a hell of a lot more inspiring than watching Obama ignore the swiftboat that is riding over his ass (do something brilliant now, Obama.  Show us you went to Harvard A-SAP). But I do wonder how such a film gets funded and gets air play.  I suppose the fact that my daughter and Cotton both love Pavarotti should be enough to prove chickens should be appreciated.  But I would like to see if this filmmaker can write a grant for me.  There's a jet black squirrel who lives in my neighborhood that would look great in a thong and I think I can get a play out of it if someone were to mail me a check for fifty thousand dollars.

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Mother Formerly Known As the Hotness

So, I watch  a lot of the Today Show.  It boggles my younger sister’s mind because she finds it vapid, but I do, and I love it.  You have to navigate it though.  Emotionally, there’s the sad stories about kidnappings and plane crashes.  Intellectually there’s all the recession news and pieces about protecting your credit score and saving juxtaposed with stories about buying new clothes and cars and weekend getaways, which, I dunno, maybe you should not be spending money on if you are broke or unemployed or underemployed as the Today Show tells us each day that we are.

Last week they had on a woman who has come up with the term Formerly.  She’s in her late thirties or early forties now (she was very coy about which) and so the term refers to her “former” hot self, when she was in her twenties.  Don’t laugh. Wait for it, wait for it…cause she has a point.

She used to be young and glowing, with that glow you have when you’re in your twenties that you don’t realize is youth.  You think you’ve just grown into who you are supposed to be cause teenagedome and high school were so abysmal.  But you haven’t.  But you don’t know that yet.  Because you’re still young, yet.  Because you haven’t even turned thirty yet.  This woman used to be young and glowing but then she got married, she had kids.  All the wants we’re supposed to want, came to her.  House, car, family, career.  Fab, fab, fabulous.   And I can tell. I watch so much of the Today Show that I can scan an interview background better than anyone.  Her book cases?  Beautiful permanent structures filled with hardcovers.  Her kitchen?  Modern and family oriented which means lots of good, probably expensive lighting and terrific counter space and cabinets. But then after all that she began to realize, something was missing. Something had been lost.  That glow.  That hotness.  Lost, lost, gone, gone.  She described sitting in a subway and suddenly having men ask her the time cause they really do want to know the time, not just because they want to get her number.

And I can relate.

Not that I was so full of the hotness when I was in my twenties.  But I was a late bloomer.  I didn’t kiss anyone ‘til I was eighteen.  Don’t even ask me how old I was when I did more.  But my late arrival to being aware of how I could interact with others and exploit all that new found glow meant that I spent my twenties really enjoying that part of life.  I got bought a lot of drinks.  I spent many subway rides looking demurely at my watch and flashing cute, twenty something smiles.

But now I am no longer twenty something.

In fact, I can attest that any glow I’ve had over the last four years has been due to pregnancy hormones or the sickly, sweaty luster you get when you don’t sleep for more than two hours in a row (on average) for a few years straight.  Since I had my daughter just about nine months after eloping with my husband, it really did seem as if I went from bright young hotness to haggish hot mess almost over night.  And haggish hot mess is what you call someone who often wears the same set of clothes during the day, to bed, and through the next day, or whose daughter says to her, as mine just said to me, during bedtime kisses “You smell bad.  Your breath?  It smells.” Or who gleefully sees that another mommy in the playground is wearing her same shorts.  Which were on sale right around the time Monica Lewinsky was basking in her hotness and not even bothering to dry clean. (I was just happy I am not the only one who has not gone shopping, even for mommy clothes, since Friends was on the air).

So I can relate very much. 

And it has taken some getting used to, this realizing that when I walk down a street, and people say beautiful girl, that they are talking about my daughter, not me.  Or that when I walk down a street no one cares two shakes about me at all.  That those workmen are really, um, working, when I push my double wide stroller past them and that those boys on the corner are checking me out because they think I could buy for them, but my mommy-look means the guy in the liquor store might think I’ve already had my share today and not sell to me anyway.

I could get very sappy and say that my life now is not about me.  That in some way this is part of a beautiful cycle, where I have moved on to a less self centered way of being.  Cause let’s face it, twenty somethings have the ability to be very much that, especially in this age of I pod, I phone, I touch, I Me Me Me Me Me.  I could get very sappy and say as a woman in my thirties who is a mother, my life is now about others and this is exemplified by how sad I am about the Gulf and Pakistan and the wars, in addition to how invested I am in baby sleep, baby eating, vaccines, car seat recalls, and attachment parenting.  But. 

But the truth is, I miss me.  A little.  I am glad I’ve had the refocus experience, because how many Jack and Cokes can a girl drink in a lifetime and still be a viable member of adult society?  Even if they are free. 

And the term Formerly suggests I will always be defined in relation to that twenty something who went glitzing around everywhere.   It suggests I molted her away and molting don’t sound like the hotness.  Molting sounds disgusting.

I like to think that, in my thirties, I have earned a few things.  I have earned the right to be comfortable in my own skin.  I have earned the right to tell some loser who asks that he should buy his own damn watch.  I have earned the right to buy my own jack and cokes and not have to worry I am at a bar alone or don’t have anyone to go to the bar with me or had someone to go the bar with me but her sitter canceled so I feel a okay fine going to the bar alone.  And buying my own drinks.  If I could get a hold of my own sitter, that is,  and glowing in the ever-loving glow that comes from being a divine mixture of the hot mess and the hotness.

Not formerly myself, but everly myself.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Thank you, Dr. Laura

If being black in America has taught me anything, it is that racism is my own fault.  I should not succumb to feeling as if I have been discriminated against; after all, whoever it is who has just called me nigger or followed me through Macy’s or swept past me in traffic after seeing the two car seats in my corolla and gotten irritated that I didn’t keep my legs shut, may have perfectly valid, other reasons for getting so upset with me other than the seemingly obvious one of being a racist.

I am quite certain that I really do deserve to be treated separate and less than equal, because really I should just be grateful to live here, in this country where my relatives have lived and worked and died for centuries.

Dr. Laura is right.  I should be very comfortable with the word nigger.  Plenty of people who seem to look just like me use it all the time.  If it is used by people in my proximity, it is most likely a term of endearment I misunderstood because I am so uptight.  I can’t take a joke.  What is with me anyway?  Don’t I watch HBO and BET?  Nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger.  It should feel comfortable.  It should feel friendly.  What is with me?  What kind of black person am I, that doesn’t think it is funny?  That claims I don’t use it myself (and I don’t, truuuuust me). The definition of reverse racism is that a white person should be able to use that word.  They’ve each earned it.  They know how much racism hurts.  It hurts like not being able to use that word whenever they want.  It hurts that bad.  Dr. Laura is one smart lady, with her fingers on the pulse of every red blooded American who is just sick of these minorities whining about everything.   And those minorities aren’t full Americans, anyway.  If they were they wouldn’t be so uptight.  Real Americans get regular jokes.   This country is good.  This country elected one of us, we should all be grateful.  We should all thank Dr. Laura for pointing this out.

I know I for one am grateful for Dr. Laura.

Her psychic break has exposed what many don’t just believe, but openly blurt out more often than black people might like to acknowledge.

My husband works in a restaurant.  My husband also happens to be white.  The trick of it is that the customers my husband works with every day don’t know that his wife is not like them.  They do not know he crossed over and that his wife is like Obama.  One of the main sentiments my husband’s customers—and they are not feeling this economic depression, ya’ll.  They have accounts.  Plural plural.  With money in them.  Money money—expressed to him upon Obama’s election was “now they won’t have anyone to blame but themselves.  Racism’s over.  Obama won.”  I must say these are nice white people. They do not wear white sheets. They voted for Duval and Barack and they have black friends at work they really do like,  not just because they would feel guilty if they didn’t. But they do not believe in racism anymore.  They did in grade school.  They did in college, a little.  But not anymore; that’s juvenile.  Racism is a myth.  If you can’t make it here, it’s your own damn fault and it just isn’t fair to blame others, my kid didn’t get into Tufts because of all the black people they have to let in now.  This country is good.  This country elected one of them and they should all be grateful.

So Dr. Laura’s break with cultural reality was not surprising to me, but it did make me very sad.  Despite my body of work in the theatre, talking about racism makes me very sad.  And tired, and depressed, and angry.

Because really it comes down to empathy.  The wave of the Christian right washed over this country in 2000 and 2004 and elected a president who believed very strongly in the importance of faith, which is code for religion, which is code for Judeo-Christian religion, which is code for Christianity, which is code for evangelicalism.   This can mean many things but one of the most promising is that it means many people out there believe they believe in the Bible.  The Good Word.  Christ.  This is not bad.  This could be deliciously good, if you have ever studied the Bible. 

But I just don’t understand how so many people can say they believe, but cannot empathize with others.  Because to deny that there is racism is to deny your self the ability to feel empathy towards another person’s experience, an experience that has happened to be influenced, like many other things in this nation, by race. This seems antithetical to the Bible, to the Good Word, to Christ.

And even if you don’t believe in all that, you probably believe that anyone who professes to be a doctor, whether in earnest or just for aural kicks, should exercise some form of empathy, some form of compassion for what her patient has explained she is going through.

But if being black in America has taught me anything it is that most people are still unwilling to do this when the big R is involved.  And that must be my fault.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sarah P. and the 19th A.

I get uneasy about griping about Sarah Palin.  Every time I see her or hear about her or read about her, I have a similar feeling.  This feeling can best be described as “Oh No!”

I first felt it when McCain’s campaign announced her as his running mate.  Oh No!  Mostly because I felt that it was a cheap, sly if you are an idiot way to stoke the female vote.  And it was for a little while.  Until many people realized this woman was not an easy replacement for Hilary because Hilary has more well of everything under her pinky nail than Sarah Palin ever will.

But even as I laughed at Tina Fey and cried at Katie Couric (my neighbors have a Mercedes and I can see it from my house, but well versed in Mercedes I, as a working writer, will probably never be) I had misgivings about completely tearing apart Sarah Palin the way people love to do.  And people do love to do it.  And each time they do, they write her off in many ways that it makes me uneasy as a feminist to write off any woman, even if that woman believes whole heartedly in a way of moving through the world that I despise.

I first heard about Sarah Palin in People Magazine.  I am pretty sure it was People. It was when her son Trig was born.  It was a simple birth announcement: the Governor of Alaska had a baby boy, it’s her fifth, she’s a Republican.  When her candidacy for vice president went off the hook after her speech at the Republican National Convention (which was a huge Oh No! moment cause that speech was good.  Offensive to me, sure. But brilliant in the same way Obama’s speech was brilliant at the 2004 Democratic Convention) I began to see her in two different lights.  One had a conservative hue and I am not a conservative.  Her decrees about America and being regular and wearing lipstick while growling at detractors of her family and/or her political platform all seemed as if they thinly disguised a whole lot of hate and intolerance.  I think she is a very dangerous figure in our culture, and oh No! is a mild understatement of my feelings about her when I view her in this light.

But then there is the light of feminism; the light that shows and exposes some rather disturbing characteristics about how the public is shown this high profile figure.  I don’t remember anyone discussing McCain’s clothing.  Or Biden’s.  I do remember more than enough media coverage about Palin’s suits, Hilary’s cankles, and Obama’s jeans (the jean thing was after he was sworn in, but still).  This is what we do to “the other”.  We dissect them and cut them into pieces.  We dismantle them and by doing so are able to dismiss them.  Dissecting how a woman chooses to dress seemed, well, very wrong to me, as a feminist.

Then there were her kids.  Whose were hers, which one got knocked up, whether or not she actually drove them to hockey at five AM or had someone else do it.  And as someone who struggles to get only one kid to one lousy three year old ballet class while working and writing and dealing with just one other kid, I really did not think, no matter how much her politics seemed aberrant to what it means to be American, that these things should matter, and ridiculing her about those things seemed wrong to me too, as a feminist.

And the irony was not lost on me.  Me, sitting in Harvard’s back yard, sipping wine instead of wine coolers, pro-choice, pro national healthcare, pro having someone who seems like “just a community organizer” in charge of our country, is probably someone Sarah Palin would not appreciate in real life.  I am a feminist who believes feminism is the simple belief that women and men are equal.  Sure I read it on a bumper sticker, but it is truest definition of the term I have ever come across, and I went to Wesleyan, so I sat through more than my share of women studies courses.  As an artist and a feminist I am pretty sure most of the politicians on the right do not even have me in their mind’s eye when they talk about “regular Americans and regular families”.  So it is odd that I get a little disgruntled when Palin is ridiculed.  Because my Oh No! does not just speak to the idea that perhaps we should stop giving this person so much attention and therefore political power, but perhaps we need to start discussing her differently entirely because to ridicule her in the way we do undermines the fact that she can exist at all in this political climate.  Someone like her should exist.  She just should not be in charge of this country.  And she should exist without us discussing what she is wearing, what mistakes she’s made as a parent or what mistakes her children have made.   

So today, on the 90th anniversary of the 19th Amendment (that’s the one that allows us girls to VOTE!) I had the familiar Oh No! feeling when I read that Sarah Palin wanted in a sense to “reclaim” feminism.  No, Sarah Palin, it’s always been there for you, you’ve just got to perhaps stand in a different light to see its value. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I Spy, or, musings about my not black not white child but entirely herself child

My kid is hyper.
Always has been, and I am guessing will be for some time to come.  She comes by it quite naturally, as both my husband and I are small, frenetic people whose own parents used sports to try to wear us out back in the day before ritalin ran free in our nation's suburbs.  To calm her down, I often use my voice.  When she was a baby, I'd sing and talk non stop, which made me sound like a hybrid of Ethel Merman and Rainman.  As the parent of a toddler, I've had to up my game and create scenarios where there is enough room for audience participation so she is kept occupied, but not so much that the lunatic gets to take over the asylum.  One such game we play a lot is "I spy".  We can do it over and over again and true to three year old form, it just does not get old.  To her.  I could probably claw my own eyes out after twenty minutes, but I'l do whatever it takes to make sure she calms down.  Nicely, like a kid in a fifties movie.
So one day my daughter and I are playing I spy, which entails holding your fingers in front of one eye like a telescope, and she focuses her rounded fingers on me.  Aww, I think, she's sees ME!  "I spy with my little eye...something...BROWN!"  And a little pin pricks me in my gut.  This girl doesn't see ME!  She sees brown and she smells trouble.  Is this the beginning of talking about race or the start of her realizing we are not the same person, attached at the hip and, to a three year old, easily blended together the way other mommies and babies are.
My daughter is very light.   Light enough that when I left the hospital with her tucked into our ubiquitous Grace Metrolite carseat, a woman actually pointed at my husband and me and yelled, I kid you not "THAT'S the FATHER!  THAT  is the FATHER!" as if she had just happily connected the dots between black mom, white dad, and not brown enough baby.  My daughter is light enough that now when people ask me if she is mine I have the ability to cut off most further questioning with an icy "Yesssssss.  She isssssss!"  
So in a sense I have been armed for this moment for a very long time.  However, my daughter's birth changed how I thought I was going to talk to my children about their cultural make up.  When I was pregnant my husband and I talked about it a lot, the way many interracial couples who live in Harvard's backyard probably do:  "She'll be BOTH!" we'd tell each other.  "The brown one will be OURS!" we'd joke with (mostly my husband's) family about future family pictures.  "No Barbies unless they're BLACK!" I'd tell my sisters, who were eager to be aunties.
But after a good eighteen hours of labor and one emergency c section I can admit here and have freely admitted to anyone who's listening (and I Will talk about my c section with anyone who's captive.  I could seriously talk about babies with anyone who is not nailed down) that I was very, very surprised when they cleaned up my daughter and wrapped her in that striped blanket and sat her in my husband's arms while they stapled me shut.  "Whose little white baby is this and where did these nurses hide mine?"  Although, except for our own, my husband has professed his lukewarm feelings towards kids and babies, so I was pretty sure this one was not one he just happened to pick up in the nursery down the hall.
"She'll darken up," was what many white moms of interracial babies would say to me (and there are more than a few in our very diverse neighborhood here in West Medford, Mass).  "You can tell by the ears!"  This second refrain was more like a chorus from those moms and their counterparts, old black ladies in Target.
But she didn't.  She is utterly beautiful and completely herself, but little brown Mixed child (don't get me started on that term.  You "mix" breeds of dogs and cats.  A kid is a kid is a human and is not a "mix" of anything) she is not.  
And this made me have to rethink how I interact with the idea of "race".  Cause as a child of a teacher who also grew up in Harvard's back yard, I was raised with some progressive for the time but possibly inappropriate for an interracial child sensibilities about "race".  Black Barbies, Black books, Black Santas all over the house at Christmas time.  (But Santa is GERMAN, my husband points out.  As I pull a bunch of Kinte clothed santas out of storage bins.  The same bins that hold all my Kwanzaa stuff that I have to look up the meanings of every year).  My family was not racist.  But the conscious decision to make sure our toys and our magazines and our value were held in the same esteem as our friends, who regularly saw themselves on TV, in movies, in books, was a thread laced tightly into our childhood.  Throughout my pregnancy I thought I would do the same with my brown daughter.  
I wasn't going to go completely academic, though.  My sister babysat for a black professor and his white wife who insisted their kids refer to themselves as hyphenated Americans.  "What are you?" their six year old asked my sister her first night. "Um, black?" my sister said nervously (I must add he had, at this point, climbed up to NURSE from his mom as she got dinner ready before going out.  So that probably added to some of the skittishness, yes?). "I'm not!" He said.  "I'm Rafi-American."  Or whatever crazy first name his parents had created for him so he could truly exist as "both" in this world that often asks you to choose one or the other.   Made up first name and "American" last name.  Nutty earthy crunchies! I wasn't going to go crazy academic we shop at food coops so we're better than you in regards to race, because, I was certain, I would be raising a black kid.  Did not Malcom X and Halle Berry and Obama for goodness sake teach me ANYthing?  Black parent plus white parent equals one black kid.
Kinda?  Maybe?
With her fingers focused on me, my daughter smiled.  Then laughed.  "You mommy!  You're BROWN!"  I've read enough parentlng books to know you keep things cool and quiet when you want to keep them talking and not clam up and become some druggie cutter akin to a life time movie (the kind I used to get to watch before I had kids, happily, as I ate popcorn and jack and cokes for dinner without so much as a second thought to making my plate look like a "rainbow" or stopping my own consumption to repeatedly cut meat into tiny cubes or pick sippies off the floor).  "Yep, mommy's brown," I said oozing calm.  
"I am not brown!"  
"Dad is not brown!"
 "Nope.  But every color is good.  Whether you're black or brown--"  
"Or white, like ME and DAD".  She said it happily and with the ever so slight edge of a dare.  The dare of the interracial kid, which has, underneath it, this: I've NOTICED some things around here and what I want to know is, have you all noticed it too?  Or is this some kinda secret?  That, by the way, I've NOTICED!
And therein lies the rub, here in America, no matter how many different shades walk around our neighborhood, scoping out newborn babies' ears, there is always a divide that those of who know there does not have to be a divide are filling and refilling in.
I watch it widen in my daughter's eyes when someone asks whose she is.  And I fill it in hopefully as quickly as it does.  At least I hope I do.
"Every color is good."
A giggle as she looks at me through her fingery telescope.  I make my own fingery telescope.
"I spy with my little eye Katia Kai!"
And I do.  
Because she is completely and utterly herself and that is my job as a parent.  To make sure she stays that way.

Viva la Revolucion!

This is my inaugural post!

And I don't usually use exclamation points.

Welcome to my first ever musing.   Or, it would be a musing if this weren't my very first post.  I think this is more celebratory than philosophical.

I began this blog because I am the type of person who is always threatening to "write a letter".  In the age of the Internet this has translated into me seeing how I can fit my rants into the 426 character spaces Facebook allows me.

I also began it because for a little bit now I have been thinking about this blogging thing, as a means to replacing my urges to write letters to Target and the RMV and Foodmaster, which every two months or so sells me bad chicken on a night I can't take it back cause I've got these two small kids hanging off me most of my waking hours.

So here I am.

Just as I promised in my profile not to write exclusively about breastfeeding and the like, I will also not whine about Target and the RMV and my beloved Foodmaster, unless the revolution demands it.