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Category Archives: babies

Saying Yes Even When It’s Scary

by SweetMidlife

Lynne here! Today’s post was inspired by a blogging link-up (where bloggers share their favorite posts as a way to network and whatnot) called “That’s What She Said”. Every week, they give you a quote and ask you to write a piece inspired by it. This week, we are to write on this..

Pretty powerful, right?

I am very very loud. And I have been adventurous. But I am also an over-thinker. A mulling-over-thoughts-ad-nauseum person. I am not saying that you should leap off of cliffs without looking. That can literally kill you. But I have found that over the last several years, I tend to toss thoughts back and forth, over and over, until the indecision torments me. And that ain’t good either.

I got married at 39, and had my son at 41, so I spent the majority of my life thus far as single and not a mom. And I don’t know how you can be sure of something but also worry at the same time, but that’s me. And before my wedding, then 2 years later when my son was a newborn, I felt God tell me that He had this, and that He was going to give me everything that I needed to be a wife, then a mother. That didn’t mean that it would be easy, and that I wouldn’t have moments when I wanted to run away from everyone who lives with me, or that I wouldn’t have moments when all of it is hard, when the tantrums seem unending, and I can’t seem to remember to change the laundry and have to rerun the loads over and over, and I feel that all that I do is apologize for things that I have neglected, moments when I have dropped every ball I was trying to juggle. But in those moments, under all of the noise, I remember that God promise, because in those whispers He was telling me just what the brilliant Miss Fey said above: that if I said “yes”, we would fill in the blanks. Because for every doubt, there are a million moments that confirm that I am actually not doing a bad job. Dare I say it, I am actually doing a good job. Because we laugh, and we smile, and we eat, even if it is later than I thought it would be. We thrive. And that’s worth all of it.


Five reasons your toddler needs a job. Like now.

by SweetMidlife

baby area

This is Leslie, writing from what’s left of my living room after the toddler we live with tornado’ed through it like a giggling brushfire this morning. I had heard tales of tiny humans and their destructive capabilities for eons – and had observed the evidence in many a friend’s bright colored plastic-covered backyards, the sippy cup farms in their back seats, and the Stockholm Syndrome look the parents have when they get out of the house for an hour, like “I really like wearing clothes with zippers, but isn’t there somewhere I should be?”

I now have those things – the  sippy farm, the living room-turned-Chuck E. Cheese. I also have some stuff that used to work that doesn’t work. The person responsible for that is adorable, the light of my life, and unemployed. Because he is less than two years old and McDonald’s frowns on employing toddlers – his verbal skills wouldn’t cut it in the drivethru. But here are five reasons I wish they did:

1) Because he breaks stuff: As part of his development, Toddler is an explorer. He’s a pioneer. He’s all about figuring out stuff with his hands, and we encourage things like opening and closing doors, knowing the difference between up and down, in and out. But that’s become an exploration in taking the remote from UP on the coffee table and throwing it DOWN on the floor, or taking the expensive iPhone charging cable OUT of the computer and then shoving it back IN, causing it now to charge like snail juice. If he were a teenager, this would mean his allowance. But he doesn’t get an allowance. So…yeah.

2) Because he can’t drive: The closest thing Toddler has to a workplace is Baby School (otherwise known as day care), and he has set hours, just like he would if he were a Wal-Mart greeter. And if those hours, as well as his doctor’s appointments and such, conflict with that yoga class I wanted to go to, or a Happy Hour invitation…Well, he can’t drive. Or afford a cab.

3) Because he can’t stay home by himself: and babysitters won’t just come to your house and watch your cable. They likes cash.

4) Because he won’t stop growing out of his clothes : And Gymboree won’t just come to your house and watch your cable.

5) Because he’s a picky eater: Brother eats a lot. All I’m saying.

Why does YOUR toddler need a job? Tell us below!!


Five lines from ’90s Westerns I’ve said to toddlers

by SweetMidlife

1) “I’m your huckleberry!” (“Tombstone): Uttered during standoffs where the toddler is looking for a fight, and although you weigh more than him and can just snatch him up and put him to bed, you make eye contact and explain that you’re up to the challenge. And can also just snatch him up and put him to bed.

2) “You called down the thunder and now you’ve got it!” (“Tombstone”): Actually said by me, yesterday, to the wriggling little spider monkey in my arms who found out what happens when you test the “I swear if you throw that remote one more time, you’re going to nap time” rule. (I don’t bluff. Go and tell the other toddlers.)

3) “Tell them the law’s coming. Tell them I’m coming! And HELL’S COMING WITH ME!” (“Tombstone”) : I did not actually say that to a toddler. I said it to my husband after the “You called down the thunder” incident, because it’s the next line in the speech and I felt like a baller.

4) “You call yourself the scourge of New Mexico? By God, I am New Mexico!” (‘Young Guns 2″) This was a thwarted attempt to get said toddler to stop throwing my pot lids around. He thought it was hilarious. Was not taken seriously. Burned by a toddler. Not a good look.

5) “You killed the boys, Patsy!” (“Young Guns 2): OK, so the stuffed turtle and bear weren’t dead. But he did throw them off the couch, and then looked at me like “Why are my friends on the floor???” Umm, cause you rude?


5 Things I Drew For My Kid This Week

by SweetMidlife

Lynne here!!

Okay, so this has been an emotional week, with some sadness in it, but also joy. And a lot of that joy comes from time with my husband and son. And since I spend most of my time with the little boy, that’s a lot of joy. Currently, he loves crayons, and drawing on paper and also walls, but he also loves handing us crayons and pens and requesting that we draw things. Now, I am not a good visual artist. I am a pretty bad one. I can draw an impressive bunch of balloons, because circles and strings and colors and they look awesome. But that is most of my bag of tricks. Somehow, though, my son thinks that I have skills, and requests things both simple, like rainbows, but also Batman. I cannot draw Batman. But he gets all giggly and happy when we try so I put crayon to paper and something comes out, and he loves it, even though these things look, to my 40-something eyes, a bit whackadoodle. But what do I know?

Here is some of the artwork commissioned by my toddler client. It looks like he drew it. But I did. But he loved it, so that is what matters, right? Stop laughing.

1. A Firetruck20141203_103004

This one actually looks decent. I followed a YouTube video called “How To Draw Fire Engine”. I actually looked at this later and it still looked like what it was supposed to. I can’t say that about everything I draw.

2.  A Bunch of Stuff20141203_102506

This is a buffet of weird draw-rings. I said “draw-rings”.You remember Mike Myers on “SNL” used to do this sketch called “Simon” about a little boy who liked to draw, based on a British show that Captain Kangaroo used to show? He used to say “draw-rings”. That was funny. But anyway, back to this picture. From left to right are: A bumblebee, balloons, a robot, and Iron Man. The bee looks confused. The balloons are a masterpiece. The robot is scary. And Iron Man looks like he is melting. And sad. Sad Melting Iron Man.

3. A Choo-Choo Train20141203_103358I looked up another You Tube video, and found one of this lady drawing her son a simple choo-choo. That kid loved his and so did mine. Thank goodness. Below that my son added what I will call “Squiggle”. Looks good.

4. A drummer playing drums. 20141203_103839My son loves the drums, and asks to see “Eela E” videos (he means Sheila E) and he asked for me to draw some percussion. If the cavemen drew a drum set, maybe it would look like this. I dunno.

5. Bubbles and a trash truck20141205_091622Those circles at the top are supposedly bubbles, although I thought they looked like a disease. Below that is a trash truck. I will say that it is carrying paper. Or a dragon.

So, I am not the best artist. But toddlers have big imaginations and bigger hearts, and this kid clapped and grinned at what I saw as pitiful, because he loves ME. And because he was into it, I was into it, so he loved what came out of it. Accept that people who love you see past what you see as lack, and just want your time. They just want YOU. Draw on.

Linking up with “Oh Hey Friday” and September Farm, as well as 5 on Friday

 

 

 


Boy, that’s a large mouse: Our kid’s first Disney trip

by SweetMidlife
"You see, little boy, this big white glove is magic. I wave it and a gazillion dollars appears. I got it like that.

“You see, little boy, this big white glove is magic. I wave it and a gazillion dollars appears. I got it like that.

Leslie here! So my husband, mom and the kid we hang out with made an important American childhood pilgrimage that has no significance whatsoever at the moment to that kid, as he is 14 months old and hasn’t quite mastered forks yet- We visited Walt Disney World over the Thanksgiving holiday, specifically Epcot Center and Disney Hollywood Studios, because it’s not far from our house, because close friends were staying in the area from out of town, and because nothing says “holiday” like trying to figure out how close you can get your kid to the giant, giant rodent in the Santa suit before he or she loses their crap completely and starts desperately trying to escape.

Donald and his handler navigate the paparazzi and the over-sugared kids trying to hurl themselves at him.

Donald and his handler navigate the paparazzi and the over-sugared kids trying to hurl themselves at him.

Honestly, it went a lot better than we’d imagined – Kid is fairly chill and social if you give him food, and the parks, while crowded, weren’t the insane asylums of over-sugared tiny demons and disappointed parents determined to wring every magic moment the second mortgage they took out for this vacation that we’d expected. Sure, we saw some of those folks, but we had enough space to steer clear. Kid is just figuring out who Mickey Mouse is – we have a relatively large one in our living room – and again had no real idea of where he was other than a large, loud place with lots of colors and music and people who can’t stop gushing about how cute he is (he gets this a lot.)

sergio

So is he silent…in Italian? How would you know?

So what did we get out of it, besides lighter wallets, sore feet and the irrational desire to belt the next person who sings “Let It Go” at me? (OMG but are they ever overdoing the “Frozen” thing up in there) We got to shamelessly dive headlong into giddy sentimentality, to wake up our own inner goofy kiddies who can’t get enough of this stuff, to have some surprisingly good Moroccan food at Epcot, and to know that one day, we can show Kid the photos and tell him he got to meet a nine foot-tall Goofy and he barely flinched, because he’s awesome.

Somewhere, hidden behind the fake English village, Lady Gaga is planning her Father Christmas costume, although hers will have a rhinestone staff and a muuch shorter coat.

Somewhere, hidden behind the fake English village, Lady Gaga is planning her Father Christmas costume, although hers will have a rhinestone staff and a muuch shorter coat.


Kids at a restaurant? Yay or nay?

by SweetMidlife

rice dish saia

Leslie here! As a professional food and cocktail writer and gal about the Internets, as well as someone who is semi-newly hanging out with a loud one-year-old person, two stories recently caught my attention. Both were about the politics of taking a little person to an eating establishment not specifically meant for them.
My husband and I have a pretty standard rule – we take the munchkin to nice but not incredibly fancy places, and the moment he gets loud, we plug that pie hole with a binky or a sippy cup. If that doesn’t work, one of us takes him out. And if that doesn’t work, we get the check, get some take out boxes and get the heck out. Nobody wants to be around a culinary cryfest so we treat them like a chemical spill – contain, contain, contain.

Though the stories are written from two extreme (and both entitled) positions, they make me replay every dinner I’ve ever had in my mind and wonder whether I should be hiring a food taster to guard myself against servers irate when they see a stroller.

The first was a clearly ridiculous story on Salon.com http://www.salon.com/2014/10/11/fine_dining_with_my_infant/
about a writer who took his young daughter to Michelin star-rated restaurants in London, while on a work trip with his wife. It’s self-absorbed navel-gazing disguised as social experiment, because while he’s aware of the potential annoyance to other diners paying upwards of $100 for their meals, to the staff and even to his sometimes irritable daughter, he goes anyway, mostly because he wants to go, and because that’s more important than anyone else’s discomfort. That guy sucks.

On the other end of the spectrum are some of the comment writers on Jezebel’s story about whether you should bring babies to bars or brunch. http://jezebel.com/when-can-you-take-your-baby-to-brunch-or-the-bar-a-gui-1649061833

The bar thing seems to be self-explanatory – if you’re at a restaurant that has a bar, and you’re sitting at a table and your kid is well-behaved and there aren’t crazy drunks about, I don’t think it’s a problem. If it’s a bar, bar, like you’re sitting at the bar with your baby and you could sit elsewhere, or there’s no food and you and Junior are just drinking…well, don’t do that. That’s bad.

The brunch thing is funnier – Jezebel’s readers tend to be young, and seem to believe that brunch is exclusively for the hungover and sexy whose heads can’t take the noise your baby might make. And that’s hilarious, because brunch is also the provenance of the after-church crowd, or people taking their grandmas out, or just hungry people who like omelettes. Look, Drunkity McGee – we’re already keeping the babies out the bars. You don’t get to claim another meal. You chose to be in public hungover. Not my problem.

I understand that some parents suck as much as that guy who took the baby to the five-star restaurant, in that they refuse to discipline their kids. The complaints in the Jezebel comment section were about not wanting other people’s rugrats kicking their chairs, or running through the aisles acting stupid, and I agree. But there are adults at that same place doing the grown-up equivalent – talking really loud on cell phones, blocking the aisles and being jerky. Why don’t they get the automatic stinkeye?

A few months ago my husband and I were invited on a culinary walking tour of a local shopping area. I asked the coordinator if we could bring the kid, and since she’d met him and knew he was chill, she said OK. But when I rolled up with the stroller, I got some outright nasty looks – one particular couple wouldn’t even meet my gaze when I tried to smile at them. And in that moment I wanted to smack people like Five Star Father who foist their ill-behaved offspring on everyone else, because they make it harder for us non-idiots to do anything.

The evening went pretty well – Kid is usually awesome as long as he’s eating and occupied, and the couple of times he even looked like he was going to blow, one of us rushed him out of there. We got to the next to last tour stop and decided it was bedtime. As we got up to leave, Mr. Stink Eye come over to me to shake my hand.

“I have to apologize,” he said sheepishly. “When we saw you come up with the baby we were like ‘Oh, no! The rest of us got sitters so we wouldn’t be around our own kids, and now we have to deal with someone else’s?’ But your baby was really sweet and quiet, so we’re sorry about that.”

That was really nice of them, but it made me a little weary, because why wouldn’t you think my kid was a jerk, if you only run into other kid jerks? Then again, are you going into this assuming that my kid is an interloper?

What do you guys think?


Say What? Saturday: The five things I swear I’m getting done today

by SweetMidlife

Leslie here!

It’s Saturday, the one day no one really wants to have a “to-do” list, but whose scheduling fluidity lends itself to doing stuff. And not the stuff I like to do on Saturdays, which include eating leftovers and watching “Blue Bloods” reruns.

OK…I admit it : I’ve already done those things, which leave now the non-fun stuff. So in the tradition of accountability, here are five things that I need to get together today. I want y’all to hound me about this and say “Leslie, did you deal with that well-dressed teddy bear yet?” And hopefully I won’t say “Yes” and be lying because y’all don’t live with me and how would you know?

dishes

1) Calling the dishwasher repair guy. To avoid this situation.

boca

2) Evicting some of these unemployed animals from the “gated community” of the kid who hangs out with us, because of overcrowding.

scarf bear

3) Putting away my laundry and random clothes that are squatting on my couch, including this scarf I just bought, modeled by the lovely and talented Sweater Bear.

rental car

4) Cleaning out this rental car so that I can return it to the shop where my husband’s car is sitting all ready to bring home, so I’m not throwing stuff in bags at the car lot because tacky.

me

5) Going to my Crossfit class so I can keep looking like this and not like a black Oompaloompa.


Dear blogging model: Your dating life is not over at 30

by SweetMidlife
Taken from XOJane.com

Taken from XOJane.com

Leslie here!

If the woman pictured above thinks that she’s an old unlovable hag at 30 who should just stop dating because all the good catches want women younger, less demanding and “less impressive” (her words) than herself, then the rest of y’all might as well pack it in and back your UHauls up to the local pet shelter, because you’re gonna need some cats.

I came across an XOJane column titled “30 Is The New 50: ‘Old Age’ Is Killing My Dating Life” by model/writer Jenny Bahn and was intrigued, because I did a lot of dating between the ages of 15 and 38, when I got married and never, as Carrie Fisher says in “When Harry Met Sally,” never have to be out there again. But I needed to know why a gorgeous young woman living in New York would believe that her age is a problem. Of course, her experiences are her own, and who am I to say she’s making it up, but it didn’t make sense to me. I had to know more.

She tells the story of a disastrous conversation with a 38-year-old upwardly mobile dude she’d dated a few times, where he explained that he was also dating a 23-year-old because she was undemanding and wasn’t looking for anything serious, unlike 30-year-olds like Bahn whose biological clocks are ticking so loud that they’re harshing his fun buzz. (Boo-hoo dude.)

This douche that she calls Alex, who says douchey things about how Bahn is unloveable, speaks a sad truth – women who think they might want a biological family do face time constraints that men who can keep making babies into their dusty dotage do not. And sometimes those men do want to date younger women because they might not want those things yet, or because by the time those men do want kids, the women their age might not be able to. Boy that sucks.

The thing that struck me about Bahn’s reaction to this – that she’ll maybe never find anyone if 30 makes her too old to be desirable by the kind of successful guys she sees herself with in the “brutal” NYC dating scene – was that I kept looking at her photo, where she’s posed melodramatically in a nasty-looking bathroom in front of the serial killer-looking words “Love Me OK Don’t” and thinking “What the heck are YOU complaining about?”

That’s because she’s beautiful, looks five years younger than she is, and would appear to check all the boxes that the average dater, certainly the ones online, seem to be looking for. (I also get itchy because that’s a really nasty bathroom and I worry that she needs a tetanus shot, because if dating doesn’t kill her, them germs might.)

Again, her experience is her own, and I don’t mean to tell her she’s lying. But it made me sad that she seems to have given up at her age, because those of us who have never looked like Bahn and dated for a lot longer than the relatively age of 30 somehow found a reason to live. Bahn admits that she is looking for someone as successful as she is, and, I imagine, on par with her attractive-wise. What I started to wonder is if she’s only dating douches and might want to expand her dating pool. Like, out of Douchetown.

A lot of the comments on the site were from women like me who were older than 30 and didn’t deserve into Spinster Dust the minute the birthday cake was finished, who advised her to take a deep breath and move forward. She also got some nastiness from women in their 20s who took umbrage at her inference that their age automaticaly made them less smart, mature and impressive, as well as a few so-called Men’s Right’s Activists who lurk on women’s sites like this just to remind the readers that yes, they’re undateable hags and no one wants them. Oh, those guys.

I come from the demographic – black women – that is least searched for on dating sites ( ) by men of any race. And when your inbox is collecting dust stats like that can make you feel extra lonely, particularly when you are getting older and do want to have kids, and when you don’t look like Jenny Bahn, or Olivia Pope.

I understand that since I am not a model, whose career depends on people wanting to look at her and think she’s pretty, it wasn’t the end of the world to assume that I couldn’t get every man I wanted. But The thing that I want to tell the Jenny’s of the world is that a) Don’t waste time on people who don’t want you, because they’re not for you and probably dumb and b) you don’t have to be awesome to everyone in the world. Just the right someone.


The “On the next ‘Mad Men'” treatment on my life

by SweetMidlife
Their lives are glam and “Mad.” Mine is random and has cereal in its eyebrows.

If you’ve ever watched “Mad Men” (and I can’t assume that you have, because you gotta do you), you have seen the purposely cryptic previews, which show disparate clips from the next episode over super-serious music that are mostly one line snippets with no context, providing no clue to the next week’s plot. I think they’re kind of pretentious, like “Other ordinary shows actually tell you what’s gonna happen next week. We’re not gonna do that. Losers.”)

Bur the randomness resonated with me this week, as I found myself in weird conversations with my husband, the baby we’re hanging out with, my cat, that were so strangely funny that they bear repeating. They’re weird. But funny.

“I swear to God, you’re going in this carrier….Cat…Cat…No, seriously. Give up….Oh, Lord.”

———————————————————-

“How did you get prunes in your ear?”

——————————————————————–

“Should I put the baby in pants?”

Husband: What do you mean? Of course you should put him in pants! He can’t just go out in a diaper!

“I meant, just a onesie or jeans over the onesie. Geez. Have I ever taken him out in just a diaper?”

Husband: “No! That’s why I thought it was weird!”

———————————————————————————–

“How did you get pee in your socks?”

————————————————————————————

“You are taking this pill, Cat. I swear…you are taking this pill.”

———————————————————————————–

“Oh, my gosh, how are you hungry again?”

——————————————————————–

“No, in fact, I am NOT awake. Leave that baby in his crib. He’s still asleep. Do not bring him in here…Hi, baby!”

——————————————————————–

“How did you get cereal in your eyebrow?”

———————————————————————-

“Cat, do not poop on my floor…do not poop on my floor….Oh, man…”


Stuff I’m learning: My kid-related first judgmental stranger moment

by SweetMidlife

Leslie here! I am an expert on judgment, being a professional columnist, blogger and judge of things. And I expect blowback sometimes, even with the judgement it warranted, because that’s just how it goes. But that’s when it concerns stuff I think or feel, that has to do with my decisions about “American Idol” or Oprah or whether Denzel Washington is the best whatever there ever was (He is.)

Now, I know what it’s like to be judged, by a complete stranger, about a decision I made that, in that judgey stranger’s mind, would endanger a child. And I have been told to expect this, now that we are hanging out with a baby for the time being. But it still made me want to punch somebody.

Let me set the scene. I am standing at the counter of the local outpost of a huge drug store conglomerate, having placed baby wipes, an ear thermometer and a bottle of wine in front of the cash register. The friendly cashier informs me that I could not buy the wine at this time, as Florida laws prohibit the sale of such things before noon on Sunday. OK, I say, happily putting the wine behind me. I’m not a wino, so I don’t go “What?” or try to hide it in my baby bag.

This may have been the start of the judgement – I think it was – because I appear to be a mother buying alcohol while holding a baby. And I admit I thought “Is that weird?” before I went to the counter, but then decided that it didn’t matter. It’s not like I was drinking it there, or that I’d bellied up to the bar at Blue Martini and ordered a Cosmo with the baby on my hip. It’s legal (after noon on Sunday, anyway), they sell it and I was gonna try to buy it. So I couldn’t, so I cheerfully give her my credit card and rewards number, and waited for her to finish up.

And then she judge-slaps me.

“Is Mommy hurting you?”

I have only been hanging out with this kid for a few weeks, so I still take a couple of seconds to remember that people are talking about me when they say “Mommy” and that my own mother didn’t sneak behind me and was not, in this case, sticking me with a straight pin from behind. Then I realize “Oh, snap. She’s talking me….Accusing me.”

“I’m sorry?” I say. But she keeps staring at the baby, who is happily sucking on his pacifier and smiling at her because he likes attention, and addresses him. Although she is clearly addressing me, as the only person who understands English on this side of the counter is me.

“That bracelet,” she coos, in the most chillingly fake-cordial manner, like I’m on idiot. “She looks like she’s hurting you.”

The baby she is “speaking” to continues to stare and smile contentedly, not like someone being hurt. I look down at my bracelet, which looks like metal spikes but is really just cleverly-engineered plastic, that pulls apart, is not sharp, is quite dull and most importantly not hurting the baby only slightly leaning against it. Because this is a talky expressive boy who would not be shy about telling you he was being impaled. Or at all uncomfortable. Or wondering why you’re not sharing whatever is in that bowl with him, like, right now.

“Oh, no! It’s not sharp. It’s plastic. He’s fine, see?” I say, snapping the elastic on it so she sees it’s all a clever fake. And you know what she does? Are you ready for this, y’all?

SHE KEEPS TALKING TO THE BABY.

“Well, it looks sharp,” she says, her voice now condescendingly saccharine and pointed, now full of sour grapes as if I was the person who’d made an assumption about her and her character. “She looks like she’s hurting you.”

And I want to say “Bisnatch, if I was really impaling this child on my arm, I would want you to call 911 or whatever. But I showed you it was plastic and not hurting him, he is telling you it’s not hurting him because he’s smiling like you’re made of Similac and peaches, and you’re being really condescending, so you need to give me my bag that does not have wine in it and instead is full of things that prove I am taking care of this boy rather than stabbing him with fashion, and keep that mess to yourself. Or at least talk to me like an adult and not like a stupid child.”

I do not say that, of course, because I am not crazy, and because she didn’t deserve my dignity. I take my bag and go home. Here is the thing – I have seen parents and guardians do things in public that made me suspicious, and I have wanted to say something, but don’t, because I don’t know that family’s life and unless it is very obvious that they’re pushing the child down the steps, or forcing them to eat paint in the checkout line at Target, I am not getting involved.

I am reminded of my mom’s story about being in the supermarket and telling us, her twin three-year-olds, that Superman could fly “because,” because even though she and my dad were stalwart in always coming up with answers for us about everything, at that moment it was after work, she had two toddlers pestering her about some nonsense, she wanted to go home and she was fresh out of creative, you dig? But a woman in the aisle who was listening frowned at her and said “You never tell those babies ‘Because.’ You give them an answer” as if she knew that my mother was a neglectful stupid person and not a then-current Masters in Social Work candidate who knew all about what to tell her kids. You know why she didn’t know?

Because she didn’t know her. And because it wasn’t her business. My mother wasn’t cursing us out. She wasn’t beating us or impaling us with dangerous accessories. She was just trying to get us to shut up long enough to go home and keep being an awesome mom, because she was and is awesome.

But this stranger saw fit to butt in and assume things about her based on one tiny exchange. I suspect that it may be because she, as I am, is black, and people seem to assume that black women are inclined to be bad mothers unless someone corrects them.

(And before you think I am “bringing race into this,” a phrase which makes me giggle angrily like I WANT people to act like I’m a neglectful wretch in a Lifetime movie, consider this. The day my husband and I flew back with the kid, the nice women who had helped me in the bathroom by finding my wipes to help correct a baby butt explosion saw me a few moments later meeting my husband in the terminal with the baby carrier, because as a man he could not actually come into the bathroom with me. They were visibly shocked that I was not alone. “Oh! You have a helper!” one woman said, only half trying to hide her surprise. Not, “Oh your husband or partner is here! Great!” Nope. “A helper.” Lady. It’s my husband. But we don’t have the same skin color, so he must just be a stranger or, I don’t know, the guy I hired to carry the diaper bag for today. I mean, I’m 42. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a single mother. But I am not one, and I don’t think that at my age, were I not black, that you’d assume that. Also, I have this ring on my finger. It should not surprise you that I am married or partnered. And yet….)

I have told this spiky bracelet story to many mothers, of every race, and all of them have similar stories of nosy people who don’t have a good reason to tell them they are mothering all wrong. Here is the thing. If you see my endangering this or any child in my care, like danger you can prove, do something about it. I know you’re trying to help. But don’t be cute about it. And then don’t get snippy with my when you’re wrong.

And don’t tell the baby about it. He doesn’t speak English yet.

 


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