I was part of a movement of "dinosaur moms" when I lived in Maryland (Astrodon Johnstoni is the Maryland state dinosaur.) Which is nothing more than this -- dinosaur moms delight in the half-feral nature of the beasties they parent, even as they whisper Shakespeare and Kierkegaard in their ears at night.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


I have similar ambivalence toward Jones's self-declared BFF. $4,000 is the youngest child of a woman who looks to have had a hard life. That he's the youngest is significant, because, unlike his more rough-cut siblings, each of whom has a different last name, I take it he was raised in the marriage that "took," that made it out of the ghetto and into the suburbs. This is a total guess and I am probably a big fat racist for assuming, but it is a pretty common phenomenon in my neighborhood.

His disposition is sweet and helpful, but to the point of ingratiating. He offers to carry my groceries and wash my car. He is endlessly fascinated with Jones. At first I thought it was just his toys. Mind you, he IS inordinately interested in the toys. But it's more than that. He has taken to grilling me on our customs and inviting himself along on our errands, as if to study our ways.

Some of this is oddly racial, as when a group of Black kids attempted to evict all of the white kids from the back of the school bus and $4,000 protected Jones. "I have his back," he has taken to declaring. I am grateful for these reports, because both of my kids are so oblivious that I would never get the dip from them.

You get the feeling that $4,000 and his siblings suffer from association with us. That they persist in coming over to our house speaks of some vaguely creepy calculation that throwing in with us is a better bet. That maybe I have something to tell them about suburban life. In fact, I do. Which is great, except for where I'm the stargate not because I'm a nice smart mommy in the neighborhood but because I'm white.

I have tried to correct the record and make the case for our Black cred, but dood, my son is blond. They just stare at me blankly.


Dinosaur Mom said...

You KNOW you're fighting the urge to put his hair in dreds.

Astrodon Johnstoni said...

My Little Bwana.