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.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Quidditch at Middlebury

I have never been so nostalgic for small liberal arts college life as when watching this quidditch match

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.

Flower in the Attic

Girl's BFF in the neighborhood is a precocious, home-schooled little blossom. She watches the news on pretty much a constant feed and doesn't see the sun. Sometimes she goes on jags where she calls our house a lot. For instance, she was beside herself when Girl was getting ready for her trip to China. It was during all of those lead paint recalls and she was convinced the Chinese were trying to kill us.

She called just now and asked if she'd reached Hilary Clinton's headquarters. Something wicked in me made me give the child the number. Let them hear her theories on campaign strategy. "I like that Obama," she says, "But I worry that he just doesn't have enough experience." All seven and-a-half.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Hillary to speak in Laveen

Hillary Clinton will be conducting a free town hall meeting re: her economic stimulus package at our local high school at 7:30 p.m. tonight. People interested in attending are encouraged to RSVP here.

Dialogue a lot

I got this e-mail from Stepmother today. It was sent to me and my sister.

"I am going to start a tradition of writing to the two of you for 1 purpose and 1 purpose only -- that the two of you know a little more about your Dad and me over the course of the year. Although I have been part of your lives for the past 21 years I know you don't know a quarter of what I would like you to know about me. Some of that is due to distance, both objectively and subjectively, and in a lot of ways I don't think you know your Dad, especially as he would like you to.

If either of us would die today, and you reflected on your relationship with us, what would you think? and how would you tell our stories to your children? Your children, and their children behind them, are the only evidence that your Dad and Mom walked this earth and made a measure of contribution. How would that be played? Well the only way to find out is to dialogue and dialogue a lot.

I see a lot of your Dad in each of you, but in very different ways. Which is a helpful piece of information because you can't go forward without knowing where you come from. Likewise, before I "Cross over Jordan" I want you to know me and I you. There are many things I would like to say to each of you that I think can help you in your journey as women and, instead of not sharing, I am taking the first step.

This is my 1st week's attempt and the good Lord willing and the creek don't rise each week I will share more!

Have a GREAT day and talk with you soon!" and then she signs.

Now, I am trying not to be cynical about this, but you can imagine some baggage has accumulated over those 21 years. I don't know how to take an invitation to dialogue that so obviously doesn't invite dialogue.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Every Child Our Child

For MLK Day we had speakers in from UU at the UNO, who talked about this awesome program in Ghana. Having already stolen from Girl's girl scout cookie money to buy fair trade coffee from the bookstore, I thought better of attending the briefing, knowing they'd hit me up for a donation. But I did resolve one day to be the kind of person who can and does donate to such things.

B in P.E.

Girl has been down lately because she got all A's this quarter but for a B in P.E. I am truly torn as to how to approach this:

On the one hand, I don't want to play into any brains/ brawn baggage where I discount the P.E. grade.
On the other hand, the P.E. teacher seems like kind of a neanderthal. There seems to be LOTS of dodge ball and not much else.
On the other hand, this might be a good opportunity to practice the "I see that I keep getting B's in your class. How could I be doing better?" speech.
On the other hand, she's already prone to anxiety and I don't want her to get hung up on that kind of perfection.
On the other hand, there is a pizza party if you get all A's. This last seems an unworthy point, except that there are so few perks at our school, that I just feel like someone should throw her a bone.

Sooo, that's a lot of hands.