Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Hard Knocks

Tallu celebrated Memorial Day by getting a busted lip.

We were at our friends' home for their bbq Monday. Their son and Tallu were playing in the kitchen, where a shiny balloon was on the floor. Tallu wanted the balloon, but her little friend, who is seven months older than her, didn't want her to have it. So, he kicked it out of her way. Unfortunately, Tallu was diving head-first for the balloon as it moved from under her, and she ate the floor. There was blood, there were tears, Daddy cleaned her up. I felt bad for letting her hit the floor, but I caught everything at the last second. (At least I saw her fall, and I saw why she was bleeding.) Yes, she did go back and play with her little friend a few minutes later, and we did stay for hot dogs. We had another party to attend, and by the time we got to that one, Tallu's top lip was swollen.

Tallu played with her cousins from Wisconsin and NJ Memorial Day weekend, too. Her cousins are 3, 2, and 18 months. None of them drew blood. I can hear my husband now: "You should let this go. Children get hurt playing all the time." I'm trying very hard to let it go...

In other, happier news, Tallu had her first bike ride this weekend. Her dad bought a bike seat that sits in front of the adult. I stayed home while they biked around the neighborhood. He said she had a great time. I worried the whole time they were gone, but I had to remind myself that Tallu's dad can be trusted to keep her safe :-) They both wore helmets, he obeyed all the traffic laws. They both came home in one piece.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

I figured since I have some time before church I'd say a generic, blanket Happy Mother's Day to all you maternal-type peoples out there! Tallulah is gated off in the parental bedroom, while I am down the hall typing. She's actually sitting at the gate playing with some junk mail. Shows you what an attentive parent I really am, huh...

Anyhoo, your little friend Tallu is growing up. She's using the walls, chairs, and adults to stand up and walk around. She's not taking steps without assistance, but that's fine with me. She's also loving her sippy cup and watered down juice, and eating anything that's on someone else's plate.

Tallu also does not lay still for diaper changes anymore or much else. Her pediatrician said at her last visit that I am no longer allowed to come to any doctor's appointments alone (Tallu's too fussy, which is exactly where she should be developmentally). We got her ears pierced two weeks ago, and she fights to let me clean her ears. It's very frustrating.

With that having been said, pretty much everywhere we go, I am complimented on Tallulah's even temperment and well-behaved-ness. (It's Mother's Day, let me make up words, okay?) A woman said to me "Whenever I see a well-behaved child I always compliment the parent because that is her hard-work coming through."

Church is in an hour, gotta get both of us ready to go. Peace of the Lord be with you.
I'm out :-)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

How very inappropriate, thank you

I'm on a writing roll, since my husband has taken the reins of watching Tallu, and since I will be blogging for an upcoming arts festival. I've gotta get in the habit of writing more often, so you all get the benefit of me posting three times in one day. You also get the benefit of my political incorrectness, as I have spent the last week watching the original Bad News Bears, Richard Pryor Live, and simply being Samuel Green's daughter.
This picture is of Tallu and her dad on a tractor at his grandparent's house, which is a 12 acre farm. It hasn't been a farm in many years, but it's in the process of becoming one again. When I saw her on the tractor this memory came to mind.
My maternal great-great grandfather was white (so miscegenation seems to run in the genes...)
My dad loved to kid my mom about my grandmother and her siblings working on her white grandfather's plantation. Dad would cackle every time he said this, and he said it a lot, and I would giggle to myself (more because my dad's laugh was contaigious, not because I wanted to laugh at my grandma, plus the mental image was funny.) As my husband put Tallu on his lap, I could her Dad cackling in my ear. I smiled to myself and thought, oh lord, this poor child is gonna be running through these fields picking weeds and shit like gramma!
I ran into an acquaintance, Gil, just outside the supermarket yesterday. A woman walks past us, but stops when she sees Tallu in the stroller. The lady looks down at Tallu, then to me and says: "Is that your baby?"
"Yes," I respond.
"She's mixed, isn't she," stranger accuses. I affirm my daughter's mixed-ness. Madame Clairvoyant continues, "Her father's white, isn't he?" "Yes, he is." Conversation over. Lady walks on to the supermarket. I looked down at Tallu and said, "Sorry, kid, for the rest of your life people are going to be asking you that question."
Gil was taken aback, and asked me if that happened often, and if it bothered me when it happens. I said it doesn't happen often, and that it doesn't bother me, because her father is, in fact, white. I said to him: "Hell, I know who her father is. We're married, in a loving relationship. It's cool."
When I related this story to friends (both of whom are white) at dinner that same evening, they asked if that happened often, and I had to admit it doesn't. What does happen is people- black people- will stare at Tallu, then look at me, then stare at Tallu. That pisses me off more than the question. What I want to say is "Don't stare at my child. You got something to say, speak up, punk. Otherwise, move the fuck on, cuz we ain't bothering yo stank ass! Don't be mad cuz we're both cuter than you!" But I don't want to infuse Tallu with that chip-on-the-shoulder attitude. So I just make direct eye contact with the starer, blank-faced.
I have not been asked if she's mine, or how long I've been a nanny, as my friends said their friend was asked about her child. A stranger even asked the mother if she was sure she was the child's mother! (I'm still waiting for that question to come up. I should start carrying around the picture of Tallu's placenta on the hospital tray, just in case someone does ask for proof.) Then the husband said: "It's 2009. Seriously. Are we still having this conversation?"
Yes. Yes, we are.

Cruising for Moms

Tallu and I were walking down Germantown Ave a few weeks ago when we ran into a mom and daughter who looked around our ages. The mom (I'll call her Lana) and I exchanged pleasantries, gushed about how cute our daughters are. The next words from Lana's mouth stopped me:

"So, do you wanna get together sometime, to talk and for the girls to play?"

My head was spinning between the heat and this being the longest conversation I'd had with another human being all day, and I heard myself saying "YES!" The next thing I knew we were exchanging cell phone numbers. We spent a good portion of the afternoon together at the lawn next to our local library, where another mother and her two older children stopped to play. Lana struck up a conversation with Jill, while I sat back, ate my banana, and watched Tallu crawl on the grass. I didn't join their conversation, because I was tired of networking- collecting one stranger's phone number was enough for one day.

I did see Jill at the free day of play at that cafe. I said nothing because I was there to play with Tallu, not pick up moms. A week later I saw Jill at Mt. Airy Day- we were in the same food line- and we acknowledged each other, introduced ourselves, and said we'd hope to see each other again soon. Meanwhile, after much phone tag, Lana and I did meet up yesterday. We had a great time, our daughters had fun playing with each other, and I've invited them to join Tallu and I at the zoo and the Please Touch Museum.

So, what's the difference between Lana and Jill? Here's the ugly truth. Lana is a young, newly-married biracial woman, staying at home with her 19-month old. Jill is homeschooling her children, and is an older, white mom. I came a conclusion that I would have more in common with Lana than Jill based on visuals. Is that fair? No, it's not. But that's what I did.

Women of all across the spectrum need a community that reflects them. That day I decided I needed to reflect the melanin. Frankly, I do have a diverse community of young mothers I can call on, and meeting Lana and Jill reminded me: I don't need to cruise the streets for young moms. I have them in my cell phone, on Facebook, in Philly, in NY, in Seattle. I just need to reach out to them more often.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Free is a four letter word

There's a place in NW Philly where parents can bring their children to play, as the grown-ups have coffee, read the news, and update their Facebook status. The new location opened yesterday and it was free to the public, so Tallu and I went to have fun.

It's a great concept- one open room, tons of wooden toys and oversized plush animals, a cafe with healthy snacks for big and small, plus coffee for the big. I took off Tallu's shoes, found a spot in the room that was not swarming with kids, and set her down. I was not far behind her, because she is 13 months. I kept wondering if I was being a little overprotective. She was free to roam, but I was there to swoop in if she was in harm's way. Like when one kid nearly ran over her little fingers with a push toy. Or when she started crawling in the midst of women who were drinking coffee near their children. Fortunately when the food ran out, the crowd started to thin. I don't think I'll be attending anymore free indoor events for children with Tallu, not until she can be the child on the pushing end of the toy.