Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Doing Nothing

A lot of people are weighing in on whether or not they think NFL players should take a knee during the National Anthem to protest the oppression of black people in this country. Some say it's a peaceful way to protest, others say they're acting ungrateful for their paychecks, others say it's disrespectful to our service men and women. Apparently President Trump has weighed in with his opinion, calling them "sons of bitches", which has led other celebrities to give their opinions.

Some people have questioned whether these NFL players have any right to feel oppressed, when they are living the good life with money and fame and royal treatment. I have never been a black man. My only experience is one of a white girl and later a white woman, so I don't know what a black man should or should not feel. Here are some things I do know.

I do know that my friend wasn't allowed to go to another friend's birthday party in the third grade because that friend was black. I did nothing.

I do know that white girls in high school said their parents would kill them if they dated a black boy. I did nothing.

I do know friends who have used the N word, either in song or joke or conversation. I did nothing.

I've had friends who've said someone was attractive "for a black guy". I did nothing.

I do know that I've heard people tell jokes about black men being unable to provide for their families. I did nothing.

I do know that I've heard people tell jokes about black women having so many children they had to call them by their last names. I did nothing.

I do know people who have suggested that black people are like animals because they saw a protest turn violent. I did nothing.

I do know friends who've said "well, was he black?" in reference to a story about someone's poor choices or questionable behavior. I did nothing.

I do know I've heard people refer to things as "ghetto" when they mean black. I did nothing.

I do know my grandmother would hold her purse tighter if a black man were walking toward her. I did nothing.

I do know that a realtor told us in college that we wouldn't want to live in a certain neighborhood because it was "getting darker". I did nothing.

I do know that my grandmother told her hospice nurse that she was pretty "even if you're black". I said nothing.

I have always had black friends, but when I was in graduate school I became close friends with all the black girls in my program. We had many conversations about race. They asked me once to tell them the jokes that white people say about black people. A heaviness hung in the air. I didn't want to do it, but I couldn't deny that these jokes existed. I couldn't deny the way that people talked about them only because of the color of their skin. At my best, I may have spoken out against some of these things. At my worst, I laughed along, or even contributed. It pains me to acknowledge this truth, but this movement is not about my pain.

I would like to think that if I'd been alive during the civil rights era, I would have been on the right side of history. I'd like to think that I would have marched and I would have protested and I would have helped the cause. But sadly my history shows that if I can't be bothered to speak out against a casual joke, I probably wouldn't have been a participant in any formal activism. Maybe I would've watched from the sidelines.

I would like to think that I am not racist. But every statement above came from someone else who also doesn't think they're racist. At my core I do not believe that black people are any different from white people, but if I'm honest we know I have a lifetime of experience that has subtly and overtly told me that I am more valued. I hang my head at the sadness of this truth and I try to do better and teach my kids better.

It occurs to me that if I can't or won't or don't know how to help, I should at least move out of the way. So while you kneel in peaceful opposition to oppression, I will do nothing. I will do nothing to get in your way. I will do nothing to criticize you. I will do nothing to assume that I know what it feels like to be a person of color in this country. I will do nothing that implies I've earned the right to be a part of this conversation. I will do nothing to oppose the idea that I am part of the problem, and part of what you are protesting. I will do nothing to suggest that this is remotely about me or my feelings or my comfort. I will do nothing to interrupt or interfere. I will do nothing but listen and learn and try to do better. It is the least I can do.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

A 3 Year Old

Today BeYoYo turned three. He is funny and inquisitive and pleasant and loves to eat. He has a hard time sharing, but he is learning to do better. He asks so many questions, about everything from tree roots to where bananas grow to how to put a saddle on a horse to why some cars are big and some are small. He loves horses, and he can tell you all about them. He likes to ride horses with his BeBe, and he likes to play horses with his many various horse figures, horse stuffed animals, and horse accessories. He also likes to play with whatever his brother is currently playing with. He loves music class, and he loves going to school and camp. 

He knows what he wants and isn't afraid to ask for it, especially if there's a song he wants to hear.  He is easy going, but if you take a toy from him he'll haul off and hit you without warning. He is more cautious than his brother, and he wants to watch something a few times before committing. He likes every food except oranges and avocado, and he plans what he'll eat next while he's eating something. When asked his favorite kind of doughnut, he said "two". Here's his very first birthday survey. 

Now that he's three he's excited he can have gum! 

When he woke up this morning: 

How old are you? 
What’s your favorite thing to do? 
pway with my horses
What do you want to be when you grow up? 
a grown up
What’s your favorite food? 
bananas and all of that stuff
What’s something you’re good at? 
What makes you laugh? 
What’s something scary?
Who’s your best friend? 
What do you like to do with your family? 
pway horses and guys and all of that stuff
Where do you like to go? 
to a meeting
What do you like to learn about? 
God's heroes

Friday, July 28, 2017

That one time, with the diarrhea, at Chick-fil-A

Tonight was Safari Petting Zoo night at our local Chick-fil-A. The boys and I went, because they had a monkey, camel, goats, kangaroo, hedgehog, capybara, and several other animals. The boys enjoyed it, and The Husband met us there on his way back into town for dinner. 

It was your regular dinner-with-kids. Eat some more chicken before you eat more fries, don't squeeze your juice, oops, you squeezed your juice? Etc. BeYoYo announced he was done and was going to the playground. The Boy said he wasn't going to the playground "because it smells disgusting". He means it smelled disgusting the last time he was there and he is a super sensitive smeller and didn't even want to risk it this time. BeYoYo played for a few minutes and then came back and crawled under the table to get back in his seat. Except he didn't get in his seat, he stayed under the table. I should have known this was a bad omen, but everyone was happy so I didn't question it. The Husband went to go get ice cream for the boys. About 3 minutes later I smelled something and panicked. I whisper-shouted at BeYoYo under the table "BeYoYo! Did you poop?" He grinned his sweetest, most manipulative grin and said no, which meant yes. I whisper-shouted at The Boy to let me out of the booth, and in one swift move, I grabbed BeYoYo carefully from under the table and scooted him out as I scooted myself out. I shifted him from holding him by his arms to strategically holding him so he was on my hip but my arm was under his legs instead of his butt. I had my hand on his leg, and I felt something squishy. "PLEASE let that be ketchup" I said to no one. 

It was not. I walked into the bathroom with a toddler on my hip and a handful of runny diarrhea. Each stall was full, and there was a line. There was a lady standing at the hand dryer, talking with irritation to the hand dryer "Everything is automated these days" she said in disgust. "You think that's disgusting?" I thought, as I waited impatiently. Finally I could at least have a turn for a paper towel, so I put BeYoYo down, I wiped my hand off and quickly washed my hands. When I turned back to deal with him, there was a small puddle of poop on the floor too. I cleaned that up with a paper towel. Three days later it was our turn for a stall. HallelujahpraisetheLord, we got The Big Stall. 

I nudged BeYoYo into The Big Stall and saw diarrhea running down his legs under his shorts. He had filled up his underwear and unable to contain anymore, it then overflowed all down his legs until it reached his feet. He looked like he had just survived the quick sand scene in Princess Bride. 

Nothing makes you feel like a grown up like knowing you are solely responsible for cleaning someone else's poop. You'll remember I can't figure out a proper poop protocol (triple P) that minimizes the mess, so my only option was to pull down his shorts and underwear, getting them further into the brown mudslide running down each of his fat little legs. That meant that his butt and legs were now exposed, and his shirt hung down and clung to the poop on his butt. Gag. I pulled off his shirt too. "Why you taking off my shirt?" BeYoYo asked, loudly. "Because there's poop on it" I told him, quietly. 

Meanwhile the bathroom was a veritable turnstile of people, thanks to Safari Petting Zoo night. Kids loudly asked "what's that smell?" when they walked in. I have a naked child, a pile of poop-covered clothes, and a muddy river to deal with. I wiped and wiped and wiped and wiped. Poop got on the floor. I cleaned it. He sat on the potty, getting poop all over the toilet seat. I cleaned it up (also, this is why I squat always). He tracked the poop from the bottom of his feet around the stall.  I cleaned the feet and the floor too. I wiped and wiped and wiped some more. He danced and sang and balanced on one foot and squealed and told stories and spun in circles in the stall. I have never in my life felt like dancing and squealing after having diarrhea, but I was grateful for his good mood as I chased him around in circles wiping him. I silently cussed The Husband for not finding this literal sh!t storm before I did. I decided that this scenario was worse than even the time that The Boy wanted to go to the men's bathroom at Chick-fil-A, but wanted me to check to see if he'd wiped good, so tried to come to the door with his pants down to just hang his butt out the door into the dining room for my approval. I declined. 

No matter how much I wiped, more poop remained. By this time his legs and butt were red from all the wiping, and there was a crusty poop outline from his butt to his feet. I snuck out of the stall to get a wet paper towel and we continued the charade again and again. Each time I would walk out to get another wet paper towel, he asked to come with me. I told him no, I'd be right back. It was three feet away. Then he would get down on the floor, naked, with his butt up in the air like Mowgli and say "I watching you mama!" as he watched from under the stall. Part of me hated that it was busy Safari Petting Zoo night because there was so much traffic coming through, but part of me was grateful because most of the bathroom patrons were parents with kids, and they would understand. 

Also, I had to make a plan. I couldn't take him out of here naked and poop stained, but I didn't have any more clothes with me. My phone was at the table with the rest of my family. I waited until I saw grown up feet in the bathroom that also had kid feet with them, then I opened the door again. A mom is what I need. I approached a stranger and said "Could you do me a favor?" She said "of course," because solidarity, and I wanted to hug her. "My son had an accident and we don't have any clothes. Could you go tell my husband, and ask him to get us some clothes from his truck?" She nodded in understanding and said "of course". Then she just stared at me. I just stared back. A third family just looked at us, having walked in on the last part of this encounter. Finally she asked "what does he look like?" Oh, that would be important information. I described The Husband and she was off on her mission, because she was the best. What if I were here on my own and this happened? I can't even imagine the craziness of potentially getting a stinky, naked child to the car on my own. Maybe you just walk out of the bathroom waving a white flag in surrender, and hope someone helps? I remember that I have so much respect for all the single parents and I continued wiping. You know, testicles have a lot of wrinkles for poop to hide in. 

A few minutes later there was a knock on the stall door. I opened it, and my stranger friend was there. She said "he said he needs your keys because he doesn't have any clothes in his truck." Lard, now she's all involved and running errands for the both of us. She stood there waiting for my keys as I apologized and thanked her profusely. She said "Do you have clothes in your car? Because if not, I probably have something." This woman was an angel sent from Heaven. I told her I thought I did, and I handed her my car keys to deliver to my husband (This is a perfect example of why I don't teach stranger danger to my kids. In hind sight, maybe we should have been focusing on teaching how to not have diarrhea under a table at Chick-fil-a instead). 

I continued operation Triple P, and there was another knock on the door. Someone said "I think these are for you?" and slid some underwear and shorts under the stall door. Hooray! Yes, a second stranger was now involved and running errands for us out of the goodness of their heart. We should totally start a drug cartel and smuggle drugs in kid clothes and no one would ever catch on.

Now BeYoYo had no more poop running down his body, though he was far from clean. There's only so much you can do in a bathroom stall- he really needed to be run through a car wash. I wrapped up his poop-overflowing underwear in 100 layers of toilet paper and threw it right in the trash, silently apologizing to whomever would empty it, and also to everyone in third world countries where they would never throw away underwear. I'm sure that's a thing. I gathered up his poop clothes in a poop-inward pile, and we finally left the stall. He balked at hand washing, but I insisted. I washed my hands for 20 minutes, at least. Then I walked out with my head held high, a crusty, stinky, topless toddler by my side, and a handful of wadded up clothes. It was crowded, but The Husband met my eye as soon as I came out with a look that said "what-the-hell-just-happened-I-bet-I-owe-you-one-are-you-okay-you're-the-best" and I loved him for it. I handed him BeYoYo, and told him he'd need to be wiped down with wipes at the car. If a woman had gone to my car to fetch clean clothes, she would have also come back with wipes, a trash bag, hand sanitizer, and a margarita for me, but I'm not complaining. I told a Chick-fil-A employee that my kid had an accident, and I was starting to ask for a to-go bag for his clothes when she casually said "I'll clean it up! No problem. Where?" Um, you are a saint, Macy. I just need a bag. But for real, what if I had said "Oh, he's in the bathroom, so if you could just hose him off that'd be great"? I laughed out loud thinking about it, because she'd probably have said "my pleasure". 

Now, I have just emerged from dealing with a mudslide in the bathroom for 45 hours, have gotten a bag for the dirty clothes, and am following the topless toddler and his father out the door when The Boy said "can't we go back to the petting zoo?" He was so patient while we were gone and he was waiting with The Husband, but I didn't have it in me to do anymore time there. I told him we would not be going back. "But don't worry" I said, "The ride home will smell just like a petting zoo." 

On the way home BeYoYo asked to listen to a CD that he loves. I turned it on and tried to tune them out, but BeYoYo was yelling at his brother to be quiet! Be quiet! Be quiet! because he couldn't hear. I yelled at everyone. To BeYoYo: "Stop yelling! You can't hear either when you're yelling." And to The Boy: "Please stop making noise so your brother can hear!" BeYoYo cried. The Boy objected "I'm not even talking! I'm just breathing!" I told him then he'd have to stop breathing. He said "I can't! It smells so bad in here that I have to hold my nose so I don't smell the stink, so I have to breathe through my mouth." I couldn't blame him, he does have a super smeller. 

Suddenly I'm thinking age two is too old for a male child to be in the women's bathroom, and I'm going to insist that his father take him from now on.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

7 Under 9

You'll remember last year's post about our beach trip. We've just come back from this year's family trip with The Husband's family, featuring 8 adults and 7 children who are now 8, 8, 6, 6, 4, 3, and 2.

There was swimming. 

There was bed head. 

There was arguing. 

There was splashing in the waves

And digging in the sand. 

There was barefooted bike riding in a bathing suit, swimmies, and backwards kitten helmet. 

There was relaxing (but not much)

There were shenanigans. 

There was crying. 

And eating. 

And more shenanigans. 

There was posing (we didn't even tell them to pose!)

There was coaxing.

There were tattoos.

Over the course of the week, we kept a running list of quotes, which I present to you here: 
Don't potty on that table. 
This is loud, plus six. 
Pull your pants all the way down or you'll pee up your nose. 
You don't have to open your mouth to see. 
If we were in Nazi Germany and we had to rely on these kids to be quiet to save our life we'd all be dead. 
My hair is crazy. 
Mommy said you can pee on the grass. 
There's a shart in the pool. 
Don't you float like that. 
Well, did you mean to hurt him? YES!
Go figure your life out. 
No tears in the pool, that's a rule. 
Do not poop in the pool again. 
You can tee, but you cannot poop in the grass. 
Keep your penis in your pants. 
I said fuh . I say that all the time to myself. 
Do you ever love your kids so much you just want to take a bite of them?
Did you eat any chips? Did you eat any chips? Did you eat some chips? Are you telling me you didn't even eat one chip? 
Hold on let me dispose of her. 
Everyone is naked under their clothes. 
It doesn't have to be fancy to be a date. It just has to be without you. 
My favorite thing is ....oh I forgot my favorite thing. 

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

A 6 Year Old

Last Monday The Boy turned six. That is the age of an old kid, if you ask me. We took him on a surprise birthday adventure trip to Six Flags on Sunday and he loved it. He rode every coaster he was tall enough to ride, including the mind bender. Twice. He has no fear when it comes to heights or coasters or physical danger. 

This is The Boy and The Husband on Battle for Metropolis. This is a new 4D ride that wasn't working too well, so we got stuck in the dark bowels of Metropolis with the ride disfunctioning for 10 or 15 minutes. The Boy thought it was a great adventure. The Husband gets sick with any spinning rides, and this was spinning in real life and virtual spinning on the screen. When we finally got back to the start, they apologized for the inconvenience and asked if we wanted to ride again without waiting in line. The Husband immediately said no while The Boy said yes. He and I went again while the Husband waited it out. 

The guys got drenched on Thunder River

...while I ordered The Boy a funnel cake. It was his first, and he approved.

 He loved Superman's Tower of Power.

I wish you could really see the grin on his face here. 

We stayed for nearly 12 hours, and he would've stayed longer if we'd let him. 

Classic late-night-post-Six Flags dinner at Waffle House. 

 After his 12 hour epic adventure, this child slept until 8:15 for possibly the first time in his life. When I went to check on him, he was getting dressed and singing Happy Birthday to himself. We gave him a bag of lawn clippings flavored jelly beans- his favorite.

He still loves his brother best of all. He wants to be with him every moment of the day, and wants to wake him up if BeYoYo sleeps late. He loves being outside, and he knows a lot about animals and nature. He has an engineer's mind, always building and working to understand how things work. I'm legitimately impressed with some of his Lego creations. He's recently developed a love for drawing, and he's really matured this year. He can now sit through an entire worship service quietly or even silently. Don't keep secrets from him by spelling out loud in his presence, because he may figure it out and he will definitely try to. 

You may remember that every year we do a birthday interview. You'll find that here: 

How old are you? 
What’s your favorite thing to do? 
get new Legos
What do you want to be when you grow up? 
A monkey
What’s your favorite food? 
What’s something you’re good at? 
What makes you laugh? 
when I get tickled
What’s something scary?
The Headless Horseman
Who’s your best friend? 
What do you like to do with your family? 
Build Legos
Where do you like to go? 
Six Flags
What do you like to learn about?