Nakedness


I’m going to start with the nakedness. We’ll call it the state of nakedness in parks. Public parks. Little Naked in the Big City. Lately I’ve been living in Central Park.

They have this fantastical program called Sandbox Music. (Shout out to NYC Taught me blog for the heads up.) Music is played for children at playgrounds through out Central Park. It’s a nice, free way to be outside and since there are little water features in the playgrounds, it’s also a nice way to cool off, too.

So yesterday? I was in the park. Fine. I’m feeding Scooba when I see this dad wrangle his kid. I burst into laughter because said kid is butt-ass naked. Just flapping in the breeze naked. it’s funny. I didn’t see him remove his clothing and evidently, neither did his father. So Dad is trying to at least get his underwear and shorts on him. I laughed a good laugh and continued to feed my son. Kid got hot. No big. Dad fixed.

You might be asking yourself, “Is that the naked? Big whoop. Disappointing, Harlem Mommy.” Let me finish. I look up three minutes later, and a completely different kid is naked. And no one is trying to clothe him. He is maybe 3 and just playing around the park naked. Nakedly? His mom even let him go down the slide. I’m not a prude. Kids are playing outside in just shorts. Just diapers. They’re kids. But naked? Is this okay? How old is too old for public nudity? How young is too young?

I know in Europe kids run around naked and it’s no big deal. Maybe this was a mom’s way of Europeanizing a little slice of the park. What’s funny is no one batted an eye. But I can’t have been the only one that noticed, right? So now I’m wondering what we’d do if Scooba wanted to play naked. Forbid it? Only at home? What’s the official party line on nudity? Right now, we all get naked in front of each other. I imagine at 5 I’ll have to cover up more? 7? Does Husband just get to be naked when ever? That sounds unfair, but I’ll get the naked whenever privileges with a girl, hopefully.   Or maybe we’ll just be the naked family that’s super cool with nudity. We only put on clothes for company. Hmm. Whatevs. I guess we’ll see. Since Scooba isn’t potty trained yet, we’ll at least keep him diapered. In a year or so though, that naked kid you see could be mine.  Is that cool with you?

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Springtime!!

I love the Spring. Husband doesn’t. He does well in cold weather. he finds it brisk; invigorating. He’s from New England. Spring makes him sneeze. A ton. And blow his nose. Loudly. He’s miserable and I feel for him. But how can you not LURVE Spring? The flowers? The breezes? New shoes! I also have allergies, but I brush them aside to enjoy the warmth in the air and the budding of the trees. Even the rain doesn’t bother me. I like it. It makes the allergies go away for a bit and I just kinda love the rain. I have lived in a rainy climate, and as long as there isn’t too much of it, I love the rain.

 

This is all preamble for my point. Life is sweet. Not candy sweet, but sweet like water. Pure, necessary and affirming. Yesterday I was walking home and was struck how good life is. The sun was out. Beautiful. It wasn’t warm, but the so being out is a terrific start. I was going home to see my beautiful, smiling boy. He’s fantastic. He claps now. He is ALWAYS standing and climbing. (Luckily I still find this adorable.)  He’s still got his two teeth, but those work for him. We have a baby-sitter that likes him and he likes her. My husband is rocking. He is an amazing husband and Dad. It’s funny to watch him and the baby. The baby lights up when he gets home. They rough-house and read stories and it’s crazy to see someone else love the person that I love so much.

To top it all off, I get to read on my commute home. That is not something I do a lot of these days. I used to read All. The. Time. Once the baby was born, I read like one book in three months. Or four. I forget. Anyhoo, with my train ride, I can read for long, uninterrupted stretches. And today I got two new books to read! Two! Even after I read the first, I have one in reserve. This thrills me.

There are so many times I get stressed, or competitive about the baby’s milestones or a messy house or where we’re going to send the baby for pre-K or what I’m going to cook for dinner or why is the baby crying or why is husband sleeping and not me or whatever, that it was nice to feel at peace. There’s always a reason to be crazy or charged up and breathing heavy. So when a time comes where life seems unbearably sweet, I try to savor it. And encourage the feeling to come again.

So walking home, I felt very happy. I rolled my happy around in my moth like a lemon head. (I love those.) I thought to myself, “There’s lots of stuff wrong in the world, but right now, my family is safe and happy and I’m going home.”

And it’s Spring.

Segregated Schools

My son is biracial. He is Black and White. Ahem, African-American and Caucasian. We live in New York City. The funniest or perhaps most tragic aspect of living in NYC is the vast disparity of wealth. We have some of the best apartments, and some of the most filthy, piss-smelling domiciles in the country. We have some of the best schools and some of the worst. You can pay through the nose for just about anything, but school tuition will make your head spin.

I’m smart. So is my husband. Our kid can crawl and has two teeth, so he is clearly a genius. Now we just need to find a school to help him excel. We really want an integrated school for our son. I do not want him in a Black school and have him uncomfortable around whites. I certainly don’t want him at a white school where he is a mascot or marginalized or feels the, “soft bigotry,” of lowered expectations. Which leaves us in a predicament in the city. Even more than finding a “good” school, finding one that is integrated is the straight, Black guy at a TFA conference. Where do we send our son? Tuition in $30,000+ for a diverse private school. Each year. Who can afford that? The public schools seem to be comprised of mostly one ethnicity. The charter schools have great auxiliary programs and some have good test scores, but it’s all black and brown kids. I love Black and Brown kids, but I want my son to be exposed to  lots of different ethnicities and colors.

How is that supposed to work, NYC? Only extra rich people can afford an integrated education? Everyone else can be in schools segregated like it’s 1950? I realize housing has a lot to do with districting, but at a certain point, start a school that is divere in terms or race and income and that people don’t have to sell a kidney to attend. Yes, there’s fiancial aid, but we’d still have to pay liek ten grand a year. In 13 years that is $130,000. And then college. Crap.

 

I attended a Teach for America conference this weekend. It was inspiring and and reinvigorating. I attended a session about segregation in schools and was left wanting. The consensus seemed to be that something needed to change, but no action we could take. No, wait. I could start my own integrated school. Lame. I want a good school that has a variety of children that I can afford. I don’t have time to start a school. Luckily, my kid’s only eight month old, so I have some time. What do other parents do?

Ahhhhh! New Year?!

I cannot believe it is 2011. I’m still behind on blog posts! I have one from November, and I need to write about Christmas and one about traveling with the baby, and one about going back  to work. Life is hectic, but sweet. Sometimes Life is so sweet I just want to bask in its goodness. We had a pretty uneventful New Year’s Eve. We arrived in town around 9pm and came straight home. We started unpacking and opening mail. We ordered dinner and watched CNN with Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin. They were hilarious. I feel bad for poor straight-man Anderson. He is so serious. Then we switched to CArson for the New Kids on the Block performance. Win! They did the Right Stuff and that little back and forth leg move. We loved it!

Baby boy fell asleep around 11:30. We toasted in the new year and took some pictures. Vacation was thankfully uneventful. We hung out, saw family and relaxed. My brother came over and so did my nephew. Baby boy also crawled forward for the first time, causing my surprised husband to curse in front of my mother for the first time. (Oh shit!)

We tried more solid foods. My son finds them lame. We did carrots: Messy. He spit them out. My brother chimed in, “Who likes carrots? He’s not gonna eat those. Carrots are gross.”

Thanks.

We tried bananas. The kid acted as if the were poison. He actually gagged. Bananas? Kids LOVE bananas. I mushed them and he refused them. I was more for baby led eating, but my mom and husband were afraid he’d choke, so I used a spoon with the bananas. Still no go, but cleaner than the carrots. After to carrots we had to give him a bath. This was my fault, I guess, because I let his feed himself using his hands. Oh well.

We tried sweet potato. Come on? It’s delicious and packed full of vitamins. I even moxed it with milk so he’d be used to the taste. Still nothing. He gagged just bringing the spoon close to his face. (He loves spoons by themselves, though.) My son is seven months old and doesn’t like solid foods yet. We’ll try again next week.

RIE

So I was reading a motherlode post about RIE and how it’s the newest thing for cool parents. It’s all about independent play and building focus and not pushing kids. It sounded hokey, but what’s an internet for if not to search out topics you don’t know much about? So I did. It’s not so hokey.

It’s not so new, either. By giving kids independent time, they entertain themselves. This is a skill not too many kids have these days. I remember my sister and I would play by our house in this little woodsy area. We would cook. We did not have that huge play kitchen set, but we had leaves that we used as taco shells and filled with dirt and grass for the meat and lettuce. Yum! Between video games, AIM, phones and music players that go with them everywhere, kids today rarely have to make their own phone. Not a knock on them, because I don’t even wait in line without checking my email or playing a podcast. However, I would like my son to be able to come up with his own fun when he’s little. Or if his phone ever breaks.

RIE is like any parenting philosophy I find. I take some and leave other stuff. I like the independent play. I like talking to my son during his diaper change, narrating the action. RIE seems to not really encourage singing though. I GOTTA SING. As a bonus, my son adores it when we sing to him. So ixnay on the no inging-say. Old MacDonald and I have a thing going on. (Now “Me and Mrs. Jones is in my head.)

Me aaaaa-aaaannnnnnddd Mrs. Jones, Mrs. Jones, Mrs. Jones…