Today I read a piece about Sylvia Plath (today is her birthday) and went down the rabbit hole of the Plath/Hughes relationship. Reread some of their work and felt like writing a thing, which hasn’t happened in many years.
21 to 17, they dwindle
in amber ooze
again the shining stick
my heart with it
and there are two
a blaze, a spark
they drop onto
the viscous sand, moon
again the shining stick
my heart with it
the number holds
the fragile core
is riddled through
not meant for you
again the shining stick
my heart with it
it’s shaken loose
once was aloof
now all I am
Monkey started at his new school 8/29. It is on the way to work for me so I’m now doing the drop offs. It’s been awesome having that extra 15 minutes together at the start of the day. It took a couple of days walking him in to his classroom until he felt confident that he could find it himself. His teacher is new to teaching and to the school and seems very excited and motivated. So far, homework seems to be less than in Kindergarten, which I’m happy about, but I’d still prefer no homework in these low grades (aside from reading). Unprompted, Monkey told me recently that he, “Really likes [new school].” Yay! His school is also very diverse, which we are thrilled with and we feel confident that any issues he may encounter having a two-mom family will be dealt with swiftly.
On that note, I had both boys at the local park with me Sunday and there was a party in the rec room there for a church. All of the attendees were black, which whatever but it is a critical part of the story, so I mention it. Monkey was swinging and there was an older boy swinging next to him. I noticed a few younger boys about Monkey’s age come onto the playground and said, “Hey, look! Those boys look your age. You should go play!” To which he responded (to my absolute astonishment and HORROR), “But they all have brown skin. I can’t play with them.” OMFG I wanted to slink away, especially with the older boy sitting RIGHT THERE. I quickly told Monkey that that didn’t matter, of course he can play with them – they are kids just like he is! Since then, we’ve had more pointed conversations about race and diversity and OMG. I have no idea where it came from and it made me feel like we have failed on some level. I’m now on the hunt for books to talk more about this topic. DW and I are still a bit shaken!
We finally converted Monkey’s carseat to a high-backed booster (he’s been in the 5-point harness). When the MM is with him in the car, we feared that Monkey would be tempted to move in ways that would make it dangerous. I’m still not totally sure he is ready maturity-wise, but he’s excited about it and so far, so good. We tell him that if he’s unable to sit in his seat properly, we’ll have to go back to the old seat and that is working for now.
The MM started preschool yesterday (sob). I couldn’t be there as both boys have to be at their respective schools at the same time, so that pretty much sucked. DW reported that there were no tears and he immediately started playing trains and was fine when she left. When she picked him up, he told her he was sad to leave, so I’d say it’s going well. Today he was a little clingy but still managed to get down and play and shed no tears.
It really hit me yesterday that we are pretty well out of the baby years. I’m feeling rather sad about it, but I’m also excited to see what the next stage brings. If I weren’t an old woman, I might very well have pushed for another, but it is not to be. DW says she would NEVER have let that happen, so I guess we were always done at two. Those who’ve been with me for a long time know how difficult it actually was for us to get to number two, so she’s probably right. It’s so hard to believe that the whole TTC/pregnancy/newborn/nursing stage is truly and finally over. It was so all-consuming and now it seems so distant, you know? When you’re in it, you feel like you’ll be there forever. Sigh.
DW is heading to Los Angeles to visit her mom Friday-Thursday. My mom is coming to help with the kids and keep me company. I told her she could come Sunday afternoon/evening and she was like, “What? I’m coming Friday!” LOL. I expect a lot of HG.TV will be watched and family gossip exchanged. My dad took a trip to Ireland last week, so I’m sure I’ll hear all about that. Can you believe my good ole boy dad left the US? Only took him 64 years – lol.
I’m super happy to be heading into fall and to be somewhere that actually has a fall! Ready for boots, sweaters, pumpkin patches, costumes, candy and turkey dinners! Happy fall, y’all!
As we near the end of my oldest’s first year of school (sob), I thought now is a good time for an update!
You all may recall that there was some concern expressed about how Monkey would do in school as he attended a play-based, unstructured preschool (our beloved co-op in California). I am proud to report that our boy has done GREAT! He is reading, writing, excelling in math and he even won a character award this year for Respect. His teacher reported at every parent-teacher conference that she was impressed with how respectful he is, which kind of shocked me as he is an unruly wild man at home. He is an enthusiastic learner who asks a lot of questions (“What is before 0? What is infinity?”) and shows special interest in math and science (like many other 5-6 year olds on the planet, he wants to be an astronaut).
Monkey also played baseball on a local team and has shown great improvement in his abilities. This was coach pitch, and Monkey consistently hit the ball (didn’t need to use the t) and paid a lot more attention to the game in general. The league he’s on is pretty serious and competitive and he will have to try out to make the team in the Fall. Whether he will make it is anyone’s guess, but I think he’s got a shot and that’s not something I necessarily would have said 6 months ago 🙂 If he doesn’t make it, there is another local league he can join.
Monkey continues to make friends easily and is typically the kid who gets all the kids playing when he’s at the playground, ball game, etc. If running and playing is happening, he is right in the middle of it. He’s super affectionate, which sometimes gets him in trouble at school (unable to keep his hands to himself, but the teacher always says it’s not in a malicious or hurtful way).
Monkey’s last day of school is June 30 (year-round school leads to a late last day). He will be attending a local magnet school next year and we are all excited about it. It is an International Baccalaureate school, which stresses global learning. When you enter the school, there is a huge map of the world painted on the floor and a bunch of clocks set to various times across the globe. Monkey will take Spanish from first-third grade, and then has the option to continue with Spanish or take two years of Japanese. We attended a family picnic/orientation in May and Monkey absolutely loved it. He asks all the time when he starts at his new school. Another bonus? Siblings automatically get a spot, so there’ll be no lottery when the MM is ready for Kindergarten.
It has been an exciting year of growth for our boy. Still can’t believe he’s a rising first grader. Where does the time go?
EDITED to add <male co-worker’s> response and my response to that below.
By now, I’m sure all of you are aware of the awful discriminatory piece of garbage the NC govt. pushed through recently (HB2). The company that I work for is open and inclusive and values transparency. To that end, there are many (MANY) email lists on which all things are hashed out and then hashed out again and again and again. You get the point.
In such an environment, you can imagine the internal threads on HB2. There have been several, with the vast majority of people speaking out against the new law and promoting rallies and marches against it (#WeAreNotThis). That said, there are some who support the law and jump in with both feet to defend bigotry and discrimination. I’ve jumped into the fray on a few occasions, when the tone of an email just does not allow me to sit silently. Following is the worst of the worst from yesterday. Text in italics is from the original email.
Hi, <male co-worker I do not know>. I took a stab at going through your email point by point in as factual a manner as possible. I may have failed there on a few points as this is an issue that I am very passionate about. I hope that it helps to illuminate the issues I had with your original statement.
Person A believes that HB2 is good and it protects the rights and security of some people.
Fallacy: Transgender folks have been using the bathrooms for the gender they identify with for years and years and years. Criminal activity perpetrated in public restrooms by transgender people has been nil.
Person B believes that HB2 is bad because it is discriminatory towards some people (transgender folks)
Fallacy: HB2 is bad for many many many people. Have you actually read it? It allows discrimination against just about everyone – black people, pregnant people, people who are encountering harrassment in the workplace. The transgender part of this bill is a trojan horse – government drumming up and then preying on peoples’ fears to push through a bill with many other dangerous provisions. And look! Right before election time. Hmmmm….
Person Z is any transgender person (I am excluding the LGB part of LGBT because I honestly don’t see how this law actually applies to them, perhaps I am not familiar with this lifestyle enough be 100% accurate on this, if I am not, my apologies)
The use of “lifestyle” here is problematic as it implies being LGBT is a choice. Also, btw, my personal beliefs are that even if it were a choice, it does not affect you or me or anyone outside of that person’s sphere. I believe that everyone should be treated with respect and dignity whether they are like me or not.
Statement: Person B believes that it is discriminatory for person A to believe that HB2 is good and act upon it because it infringes on the perceived rights of Person Z
This is not a belief, it is a fact. HB2 takes away a right that transgender people had (to use the restroom that aligns with their gender identity).
If Person B holds that Person A is being discriminatory by imposing their beliefs on someone else:
Imagine replacing “transgender” with “blacks” or “women” or “Muslims.” Discriminatory, correct?
then Person B cannot impose on Person A their beliefs because that would be discriminating against Person A’s beliefs
No one is imposing anything. Again, transgender people were already using the restrooms that align with their gender identities, without issue.
Person B cannot hold that Person A is discriminatory because by holding this belief they are not holding to the same logic they are holding person A to in the first place.
I am not sure what you mean here, but see above re: beliefs.
Therefore: If person B believes that Person A cannot impose their beliefs on Person Z, then Person B cannot impose their beliefs on Person A.
See above re: beliefs.
Therefore: Person A is free to believe that HB2 is good and that it protects the security of some people
Fallacy: The Charlotte ordinance was created to protect the security of transgender folks. It is these people whose security is now jeopardized. Again, trans people have been using the restroom alongside you and me and everyone else for decades. It has not been a problem, but it will be a problem now for transgender people.
Therefore: Person B, by their own logic, can believe that HB2 is bad but CANNOT impose this belief on Person A unless they agree that it is ok for Person A to impose their beliefs on Person Z.
See above re: belief.
Remember- Person Z made a choice to change something about themselves in a biological manner. No one made them do this.
Just to illustrate a point, when did you make the choice to be straight? Did you worry about telling your family that you were straight? Did you lose sleep and contemplate suicide because you were afraid people you love (and people you don’t know) might reject you or even try to physically harm you because you are straight? Do you frequently have to defend the rights of straight people? Your statement implies that transgender people should live a lie. What for? The comfort of others (notice I said COMFORT, not SAFETY)? What about their comfort?
Person Z is expecting everyone to accommodate them for their preference based on a choice they made. Why does it make it ok for someone to require everyone around them (e.g. a whole city) to change because they made a personal decision to change?
No one has been asked to change anything except for transgender folks, who have now been placed in harms way as women who present as men are now expected to use the womens room, and men who present as women are now expected to use the mens room. Not to mention, who is going to enforce this rule? It is sheer silliness.
By this reasoning, I should be able to expect cities of people to change the way of their life to best suit my personal preferences.
Let’s get real: As a straight white male, our society was created by and for you. I’d imagine there is very little that you feel strongly should change to “best suit” your “personal preferences,” except perhaps that LGBT folks stay in the closet for your comfort. You see how wrong that is, right? Let me take it a step further. Why do LGBT people pay taxes if they are not extended the same rights as every other citizen? Do you see how that is discriminatory?
I’d also like for you to imagine a transgender <company name> employee reading their pro-HB2 co-workers thoughts (there are some, btw). How do you think they feel working for an inclusive company like <company name> but watching their co-workers support trampling on their rights and discussing their sexuality as a “choice” or “lifestyle?” It’s heartbreaking.
I used this to prove a point. If someone cannot talk about ideas without attacking a person, then there is very little reason for someone to want to listen to what you are so passionate about in the first place. I used syllogisms and statements made by people that I have heard say things concerning this matter. All I did was create the reasoning and rationale behind those statements to connect the points. It amazes me how you are personally attacking me and yet you do not know me. The reason for me posting this is because people should be able to talk about hard subjects without being attacked. Isn’t that the whole “<company name> way”? Talk about things, disagree about things, and let the best ideas prevail?
You took it upon yourself to assume many things and rather than asking questions, you blasted away. Truth be told, the reason I was wanting to talk to people about this logic is because I do not know where I personally stand. I know what I have heard but I think it is always best to talk to people who deal with these things before making my own conclusions. Though, you make it very difficult to want to listen or talk to you about this when you say sexist comments like, “Let’s get real: As a straight white male, our society was created by and for you”. That shows me an awful lot of what you think about me without you knowing the first thing about me. You have stereotyped me and placed me in a bucket in your own mind for no reason. Not only is that sexist, that is directed against my sexuality personally. According to your logic, that is the very thing you are fighting for in the first place. Interesting how you are attacking me on a personal level about the same thing you are so passionate about for yourself and other people. I think I have a good understanding of where you stand on me as a person and your scope of wanting to talk to people about this issue. Thank you for your time but I do not need any more of it.
AND ME AGAIN
“Let’s get real: As a straight white male, our society was created by and for you. I’d imagine there is very little that you feel strongly should change to “best suit” your “personal preferences,” except perhaps that LGBT folks stay in the closet for your comfort. You see how wrong that is, right? Let me take it a step further. Why do LGBT people pay taxes if they are not extended the same rights as every other citizen? Do you see how that is discriminatory?”
I’m sorry for assuming your position on LGBT folks – I was offended and insulted by your original statements and I took this stance based on that feeling. That is the only area where I can see a glimmer of a “personal attack.”
In terms of being sexist, I was merely stating a fact. This society privileges white men above all others. I have privilege as well being a white female. The conclusions that I came to were based on statements in your original post. I have also been offended initially when confronted with my own privilege. Then I learned to stop, listen to the other person’s point of view and reflect. I’ve learned a lot by taking what others from different backgrounds than mine have told me – even when they’ve told me in anger. I hope that you are able to do this as well.
I am allowed to be offended and insulted and not obligated to put that aside to make a nice statement to those that would deny me and my fellow citizens rights. Yes, I am angry. I will not calm down about an issue like human rights to make anyone else comfortable. That is not my role in the world.
I wish you well and sincerely hope that with time, my words might have an impact on your view.
Last fall, we signed up Monkey for baseball. We were thrilled with the organization, the fields were close to home, loved our coach, and Monkey enjoyed himself immensely. Monkey’s game improved and he developed friendships with his teammates. DW took photos at every game and shared them on the team site, much to everyone’s delight. (Her photos are practically pro level at this point.) When the season ended, the team was invited to the coach’s house for a BBQ and awards celebration and it was great. DW asked at some point toward the end of the season if the team would be together for the next season and the coach said he couldn’t guarantee it, but he hoped so.
Fast forward to spring ball. We signed Monkey up and discovered he had a different coach. DW took Monkey to his first practice and noticed that all the kids already knew each other – it was obvious they were all on the same team last season. Hmmmm…
Last Saturday was Opening Ceremony. DW sees our old coach and notices that the team is made up of EXACTLY the same players – minus one, of course. Now, we hate to go there, but the only possible thing we can figure is that they wanted the lesbian family off their team. I suppose it’s possible there was some sort of glitch in the system or something, but really, what are the odds?
Monkey has expressed sadness several times at the loss of his old teammates, though he has already found buddies on his new team (as is his way – dude is one of those “life of the party” types that kids are typically drawn to). Prior to last Saturday, we just explained to him that they switch teams up and while we’re sad we don’t have the same team, we are really happy with the new team we’re on (and we are – perfectly nice coach, kids, etc.).
Now we know there will come a time when Monkey’s current team plays his old team. Kid’s pretty sharp and I’m sure will notice it’s the same team – minus one, of course. I am so pissed off. I’d really love to say something to the coach, but this is totally one of those things where he’ll never admit it even if it’s true. You can’t prove it.
It’s just so “Christ-like” to hurt the feelings of an innocent kid because you don’t approve of his parents’ “lifestyle.” I’m really furious, even though I’m really trying to just assume the best – it was something out of the coach’s control, a glitch, something. If we end up getting passed off to yet another team next season, we’re out. I’m just sad for my boy and have to come up with something to tell him when he encounters his old team on the ballfield and wonders why he isn’t with them.