Dear School System

•January 20, 2016 • Leave a Comment

My son is three and a half. He may be entering a public pre-K school next September.  Please don’t fuck it up.

By that I mean, please don’t destroy his natural love of learning – about the hawk in the sky we saw this morning on our walk to the bus, about the snow, about where he was before he was born.  Please don’t destroy his love of books and narrative and rhythmic language by making him read shitty things because someone told you kids should read it, someone who hasn’t actually worked with kids in decades but decides policy from their office.

My son would like to go to “soccer school” and I’ve tried to prepare him for the reality that most likely, he can do soccer or baseball or whatever other sport he wants after school but he’ll have to learn reading and writing and things like that as well.  Please don’t make him sit still for 6 or 8 hours a day, that’s not natural even  for me, much less a three year old.

My son is a black boy.  But that doesn’t mean he’s going to go on to play basketball, or that if he expresses a feeling he’s dangerous or explosive.  Please check your implicit racial biases at the door and don’t project them — good or bad — onto my son.   My son also has two white Jewish moms, so please don’t assume everyone in your classrooms is Christian, or has a mommy and a daddy.  Most kids these days don’t, and contrary to what the right wing would have you believe, that’s not necessarily a defect or a failing.

Dear school system, I am scared to enroll my son. I am excited and happy for him, because he’s growing up and becoming an interesting and interested young boy, but I am scared. Scared that the bright, happy, empathetic boy he is will be squashed out of him by your standardized testing and your rules.  Please help me keep this from happening.




Parenting fail 

•January 15, 2016 • Leave a Comment

This week has been really hard on my mornings, and not just for me. My son usually sleeps in till eight am and then we leisurely get up, eat breakfast, get dressed, read a story, watch an episode of Peppa pig while I pick out his hair. But this week, he’s had to be woken up early so I can get him to day care in time to make it across town to get to this class by nine am. It’s been tough. Doesn’t help that he’s finishing up a treatment of prednisone for another out of cold-related asthma symptoms. He really needs his rest. Doesn’t help that his best friend Garvin hasn’t come back to day care since his trip to Ireland and he really misses him. He’s a little more reluctant to move in the mornings anyway. 

 This morning, our third morning of this, I kind of lost my cool with him and yelled and picked him up and carried him down the stairs. He was doing that thing that three year olds do, which is take an inordinately long time to get anywhere, whether because they don’t want to go or because they have a very specific order that other things need to happen first and you just at don’t understand, you stupid adult with your stupid timeframes for everything. I yelled. He cried when I picked him up and moved him. And I realized it’s really not that important, even though it is, so I apologized, about five times. 

He moved on, because the most wonderful thing about three year olds is how forgiving they are when we screw up. When I left him at day care he was in a heated argument with Nathan about whether his mask was Donatello or Donny, and neither would be convinced by my very rational, ridiculous argument that Donny is just a nickname for Donatello so they were kind of both right. I think we’re better now. But I still feel bad. How do I learn to be as forgiving as he is, only with myself?  

Day 365 

•December 31, 2015 • Leave a Comment

I sort of petered out at the end, but here’s my final thoughts for the year: 

Today is the  the sixth day of Kwanzaa, which focuses on Kuumba, or creativity. Tomorrow is the seventh and final day of Kwanzaa and focuses on Imani, or faith. For me these two concepts are intertwined. In order to be creative we have to have faith – in ourselves, in the process, in our materials, in so much. And to have faith we have open ourselves up to our instinct to be creative, which is the same instinct in us that wants to PLAY.  

Oppression in all forms stifles our creativity and challenges our faith. 

May 2016 be a year of creativity, of faith, and in which we challenge some sort of systemic oppression in the world.  

Day 347

•December 13, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Ugh lost a lot of time, and then even more because somewhere along the way I lost count of challenge. Gah.  I’m glad to be blogging again but I’m not sure how successful the challenge has been in actually getting me to write more. Mostly it’s felt like a chore.  Perhaps in 2016 I will try something different, like to write one poem or story per week.  

Finished week 2 of the Couch to 5K.  It got harder this week, I’m not feeling confident about doing week 3.  I may wind up repeating week 2, we shall see.  But I’m sticking with it.  

Day 335

•December 3, 2015 • Leave a Comment

So I completed day 2 of the Couch to 5K program I downloaded as a free app.  I have been frustrated with my weight plateauing – I lost about 35 pounds when I went in my “no whites” diet (no white sugar, rice, or flour)  it haven’t lost any more.  I desperately want back under 200 pounds.  I got down to 194 and now I’ve floated back up between 205 and 210.  I also would love to be off medication for high blood pressure, and my father managed to do it upping his exercise regimen.  And other health reasons…

But my father is a jock, and retired, so he has more time to get exercise.  Moreover, I hate exercising.  It’s not that I hate being active – I hate exercising for the sake of exercising.  When I lived in Portland I biked so much more, but now I live in a very hilly party of a city that is frankly a little scary to bike in.  I love to go hiking, but who has time to do that during the week.  Also, there’s just a million things I’d rather do than working out,  like seeing friends, movies, writing. Making art. 

So this week, I canceled my gym membership and started the couch to 5k.  Why?  Because I already walk to work.  It’s .7 miles and I need to go about 1.5 miles to get in the minutes.  So rather than figure out how to squeeze in a two hour round trip to the yen, I can just add on a 10 minute loop to my commute home, and call it good. I think it can commit to doing that 1-2 times a week, and then 1 weekend run is easy to do at nap time.

Basically, I need to make “working out” take as little extra time out of my life as possible.  It’s taken me 42 years on this planet to figure this out.  Hopefully this is the insight I need to make a regimen stick.

Day 334

•December 2, 2015 • Leave a Comment

My 3.5 year old is excited about Hannukah. Maybe it’s just the pile of gifts waiting for him in the living room, but he says he likes the decorations we put up too. 

If you were raised Jewish you probably don’t need this spelled out, but getting Jewish kids excited about their own holidays when they’re constantly bombarded with Christmas this time of year feels like a major accomplishment.

Day 332

•November 30, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Decided to try the Couch to 5K.  I’ll explain why later.  


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