February 11, 2016

An Impassioned Plea

Earlier this week there was a bomb threat at a Jewish preschool, at which my best friend happens to be the Director. My first thought was -

What. The. Entire. Fuck.

Then I thought - I'm so glad they are all fine.

Next I thought this (I'm about to get a little taller, standing up here, so get ready)

We need to do better.

I saw the writer, Elie Wiesel, speak at Ball Sate University when I was a senior there a million years ago and he said two things that I scribbled into the back of my copy of his book Night. One of them was this:

"Human being in not a state, it is a goal."

Right now, as Americans, we are not coming even close to reaching that goal. Everyday the media sprays the hate speech that current presidential candidates spew (ahem, Donald Trump) and people are eating it up.

Let me be clear this is not a Democrat vs. Republican thing. I have my own political views and you are entitled to yours. This is about something more sinister, another group that is trying to fit themselves into our political landscape, but they are not leaders. They are fear spreaders; fueled by hate and misinformation, their followers are scared and uninformed (if I'm giving them the BOD) and in my opinion this has no place in our political landscape or our country. This carving out of what it is acceptable to be and what it is not - this color, that religion but not if you're from this country or that one.

Be political, not hateful. Until we all realize that reaching the goal of humanity is a package deal and trying to intimidate, hold down or stamp out any group within it will be to the detriment of us all, we will continue to fail.

Black, Christian, Gay, Hispanic, Republican, White, Muslim, Wealthy, Trans, Refugee, Feminist, Democrat, Straight = People. If you must hate, hate hate. Love the rest.

Let's work hard toward the goal of human being. Do better.

Upworthy made this awesome video that seems to get at the crux of the matter.


Post Script: There was no bomb in my friend's school, it was the threat of a sick, angry person against innocents. The bright side is this sentiment from my friend and it's a great example of doing better: "I could not be more inspired by our preschool family. Roughly 30% of our families are Jewish. Yet every family has shown unconditional support. It has truly left me humbled."
February 10, 2016

Barbie Bodies

I've taken a pretty firm stand with my family regarding Barbie gifting to my daughter - when she gets to that age - and that stand has been: please don't. But I have to say, I'm changing my tune a bit with the introduction of different body types to the Barbie repertoire. In addition to regular (aka completely unrealistic proportions) Barbie is now available in petite, tall and curvy. I will of course, request that Lo get a mix of skin tone and body types to round her imaginary doll Universe.

I am a little bummed, however, that my doll of choice, Lammily, will probably take a hit from this decision by Mattel.  She's a doll based on average proportions of young women. In early 2014 Lammily was put into production after a Kickstarter campaign, which I happily supported and have a first edition doll waiting in the wings for Lo when she's a bit older to show for it.

It's always been important to me that the toys my kids play with represent the values that my husband and I hold dear and a healthy body image, which Barbie has traditionally not promoted, is one of them. Lammily is a great Barbie alternative or addition to the now more diverse world of dolls.

Regardless of her future, I think Lammily and her creator deserve a big thanks for bringing around this positive change at Mattel, because I have a feeling it would not have come about without her. 

February 7, 2016

Learning to Love Lazy

These first winter weekends of the year have been very low key for us. In fact, you could say, down right lazy. And I kind of love it. I'm an expert at relaxing. Many times I've thought I should be one of those people who are always running around accomplishing things. They have sparkling homes, their kids make educational art projects and they  go around saying things like, "Oh it's no big deal, I just have a hard time sitting down for very long..."

Never in my life.

I should teach classes in frittering away a day. I pretty much invented Netflix and chill - if by that you mean eating a pint of ice cream while binge watching Gossip Girl.

I don't ever go into the weekend thinking that I probably won't get off the couch until Monday. Usually I have pretty big plans about tackling one project or another. But when the Littles say, "Hey mom! Let's stay in our pj's all day and snuggle up in front of a movie," it's really hard to turn them down. Especially when the alternative is putting the books on the shelves in the library in color order.

So I'm soaking up the cozy snuggle time. Because as soon as spring hits life shifts into warp drive and it's hyperspace straight to Christmas. So the books can wait.
January 18, 2016

Taking A Moment For Dr. King

We try and do screen free Sundays. The kids are screen free Mon-Fri afternoon, but on Sunday Hill and I put away the phones and we have a big old family bonding fest. We do TRY. Some days by 3:00 I am wrapping my son's hot little hand around the remote control, duct taping them both to the sofa, pouring myself a giant glass of pinot and staring at my Twitter feed for an hour.

But yesterday, we had a planned interruption of screen free Sunday. Beck has the day off from Kindergarten today in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., as do most kids. To their credit his school did a unit on him and Beck was talking about why he had the day off. Which sounded like:

"Mom! Did you know that people used to be separated because of the color of their skin?! That doesn't make any sense!" No, kid, it doesn't.

I didn't want it to just be a day off for him, so I decided to supplement what he learned at school a bit. Naturally I did what anyone looking for materials appropriate for young children on the Civil Rights movement would do. I checked Pinterest.

I found two short YouTube videos that I felt were right for our situation. They talk about MLK and his life and accomplishments, they don't gloss over the hard stuff, but explain in a straightforward, matter-of-fact way that I've found works well with young kids. Could I have done more? Yes! Probably like printables and art projects and themed sensory play. But that's not really my style. I do want to use the holiday as an opportunity for volunteering in our community when they are a bit older and I feel like I have my shit together a little more. Right now, these short videos were a great way to dip their little toes into a whole ocean of conversational material.

 First this -


Because LeVar Burton and Reading Rainbow can tackle any topic - no matter how weighty or complicated.

And then this -

Because...Kid President. Enough said.

I sat on our sofa with my 2.5 and 5 year old children as we watched these well said, hopeful and even a little funny videos and sobbed. Even Beck got a little choked up at the story LeVar read us. But I'm not entirely sure why I was crying. Perhaps it was just that the emotion of this story I know so well came across new to me as I heard it told through new voices. It was probably a little because of all the ugliness in the world my kids are just starting to learn about. And I think a lot of it was because of the two vessels of hope for our messed up world that were sitting on either side of me and the weight I felt from the responsibility of making sure that they are part of healing this crazy place.