Plane Talk with P’ito (updated for KB)

June 29, 2009 at 10:22 pm | Posted in M'ijo | 2 Comments

Pili: Where is your airplane going?
P’ito: (zooming airplane overhead) Guatamale!

AS: Where’s that plane going?
P’ito: That not a plane, that a helicopter! (puts down copter, picks up plane) This a plane, Mama!

Ducks, Cows, Bikes, and Gender Roles

June 27, 2009 at 8:47 am | Posted in All Consuming, Raves & Rants | 9 Comments

P’ito and I were reading on of our old favorites this morning – David Shannon’s Duck on a Bike – and as I read it, I started to get a queasy feeling in my stomach.  For those who are not familiar with the story, a duck (male) sees a bike, climbs on it, and rides around the farmyard, interacting with various animals as he goes.  When a bunch of kids come by on bikes and then leave them outside, the whole farmyard gets to join in, pedalling around with great glee and then putting the bikes back so that “no one knew that on that afternoon, there had been a cow, a sheep, a dog, a cat, a chicken, a goat, two pigs, a mouse, and a duck on a bike.”

Seems harmless, no? But let’s look at the gender of the animals and the way they react to Duck riding the bike:

Animal Gender “What she/he thought was…” Reaction Category
Cow Female “A duck on a bike? That’s the silliest thing I’ve ever seen!” Critical
Sheep Female “He’s going to hurt himself if he’s not careful” Critical/Cautious
Dog Male “That is a mighty neat trick Active/enthusiastic
Cat Female “I wouldn’t waste my time riding a bike Critical/Passive
Horse Male “You’re still not as fast as me, Duck! Critical/Active
Chicken Female “Watch where you’re going, Duck!” Critical/Cautious
Goat Male “I’d like to eat that bike!” Active
Pig and Pig Undefined (they) “Duck is such a show-off Critical
Mouse Male “I wish I could ride a bike just like Duck.” Active

When you see it laid out like this, what does this book tell you about the differences between boys and girls? And is that the message you want your kid to be learning?

I still read it to P’ito – because it’s a fun book and he loves it. I’ve just started swapping the genders around. But it’s a reminder to me of how unconsciously these messages slip in…


June 25, 2009 at 8:00 pm | Posted in M'ijo | 5 Comments

Writing this mostly for myself, to remember it, and also to remind me that there is so much more to m’ijo than his mindblowing tantrums.

This morning I bumped my funny bone while walking with P’ito.  He asked “You get a boo-boo on your elbow Mama?” and when I said yes, he very sweetly rubbed it and said Sana Sana all the way through.  “You feel better Mama?”

After school today, we went to the library.  The librarian was super nice and helped us locate P’ito’s beloved Red Truck even though it was about two minutes after closing.  I prompted P’ito to thank her, but he was sulky – no! no say thank you! He read Red Truck to himself in the car and when I came around to get him out of the car he seemed very quiet and then said: Library lady help me – I no say thank you. I asked him if he wished he had said thank you, and he said yes, that he felt sad about it.  He asked if we could go back and say thank you and agreed that we would do it tomorrow.

I’m so bad at remembering the exact words of these exchanges, at capturing the tone of voice that makes it clear to me that he’s really thinking and caring about how other people feel. But moments like these make me feel like we’re on the right path.

The Myth of Fingerprints

June 22, 2009 at 9:10 am | Posted in AdoptThis!, M'ijo | 4 Comments

One of the mixed blessings of biological parenthood, it seems to me, from my non-biological parent perspective, is seeing your own traits or your partner’s traits emerge in your child.  Your smile, your stubborness, your depression or diabetes, your eyes, hair nose anger.

Today was one of Those Mornings.  Mornings (or afternoons, or evenings) that leave me worn out and weepy from a series of violent tantrums that seem impossible to predict and that frighten me with their intense physical ferocity – throwing, pinching, hitting, biting…

I find myself wondering Where It Comes From (Probable but not Satisfying Answer: Mostly being 2.5).  Who are P’ito’s biological parents and does this propensity to physical aggression come from them? That’s the nightmare adoption myth isn’t it? You don’t know who those people are.

I handle that thought gingerly, aware of my own tendency to turn there when I’m at a loss, aware that I don’t go there as often as I should when P’ito awes me with an act of tenderness, a clever thought, or his amazing athletic grace and self-awareness.  That’s as much of a possible inheritance as is aggression, but how often do we think – I wonder from where his gifts come? Why do I so often go there when I’m worrying about the parts of him that are hard to parent?  If he had come from me, would I more easily see both the positive and negative possibilities of genetics?

Captive Audience

June 17, 2009 at 9:04 am | Posted in Political Animal, Raves & Rants | 6 Comments

Dear Mr. President,

You know there’s no way in hell I am going to vote for a Republican, so you think you can take my vote for granted?

Throw the gays a bone – say that you’re going to extend federal benefits to partners – but oh, DOMA says you can’t offer them health or retirement benefits.

And the justice dept doesn’t have a problem with the constitutionality of DOMA?

Eff you, and your little dog too.

xo Art

Fun with Potty Training, part 1 of many

June 10, 2009 at 9:04 pm | Posted in M'ijo | 9 Comments

P’ito will do almost anything for sweets.

We know he CAN pee in the potty, he just doesn’t usually want to.

So the other day, Pili made a bargain with him: 1 m&m for #1 in the potty, 2 m&m’s for #2 in the potty.

He immediately and unsuccesfully tried to up the ante to 2 for #1 and 4 for #2.

This morning, Pili noticed him hiding in the corner and making his poop-face.  She asked him if he wanted to try and go on the potty… 2 m&ms…

With great ceremony, he sat upon the can and demanded Privacy.

We turned our backs and heard some promising sounds, however upon inspection the bowl was empty.

Pili asked if he had gone, and he replied “No, just a fart. M&ms? You tell me m&ms.”

We explained that m&m’s were for actual, um, production. In order to stave off the looming meltdown, I offered him a sticker for all his hard work trying.


When we got to daycare, we ran into “Sally” – the daycare director – in the front vestibule.  “Sally,” P’ito informed her “I got a sticker!”

“Did you go to the doctor?”

“No, I farted.”

Dear Accountant, now with bodily fluids

June 4, 2009 at 12:58 pm | Posted in Bringing Home the Bacon, Raves & Rants | 1 Comment

Because I cannot complain about this at work and my skull is about to explode.

Your boss has asked you to handle grant $ in a specific way.

Yes, it is makes more work for you.

I understand that you think it is totally unnecessary and “I haven’t seen an auditor in 30 years of doing this work and 100K is nothing to the feds.”

Times change. The new buzzword is accountability.

Her ass, and my ass, are on the line for what happens with this money.

Please just do your fucking job and stop whining. If you spent half the time you are spending bitching about this situation on solving it, you’d be done already and I would not have a hole in my tongue from biting it.

Off to go actually DO my job, while I’ve still got it…

p.s. You are the only male in the building.  Therefore when I enter the bathroom and the light is on, the toilet seat is up, AND there are fresh dribbles on the floor… it is pretty clear who did it.

p.p.s. I do not want to do your job.  I simply want YOU to do it WELL.  Had you bothered to look at the forms I had filled out previously, you would have seen that the totals are cumulative.  The correct response to “Hey, Chuck*, I’m sorry, but these forms aren’t filled out correctly” is not “Okay, you do them then,” it’s “Okay, what do I need to change?”

* Obviously, not his real name.

P’ito Needs a Penpal (and a response to a question)

June 4, 2009 at 11:31 am | Posted in M'ijo, Political Animal, We are Family | 4 Comments

I have gotten sucked into doing this stupid My First Chain Letter thing with P’ito, wherein you send a pack of stickers to one person and a letter to six and then eventually you are supposed to wind up with 36 packs of stickers.

If you have already done this and your kid didn’t get any stickers and got their poor itty bitty heart broken, please shut up remain discreetly silent.  If your kid you are willing to give it a shot, would you please send me an email with your address: artsweets AT gmail DOT com.  I need four more victims participants.

On a totally different note, Sarah asked:

Here’s a question for you: what is good etiquette for going to a gay pride parade if you’re straight? I’ve got a hand-tie-dyed rainbow shirt and a need to do something positive for gay rights – any suggestions? I’ve only recently (last couple of years) moved to [midsized Midwestern city] and haven’t made many friends yet gay or straight.

First of all, thanks Sarah, for being a friend and ally to the gays 😉

It sucks trying to make new friends in a new place.

I think that just going and clapping and cheering and pumping your fist in the air when the gay vets go by adds to the supportive ambiance.  You don’t need to haul out the rainbow tie-dye, although if you wear your I heart Sarah Palin shirt, you may get some strange glances.

The one thing that straight people at gay pride do that gets on my nerves is to make out all over the place.  It’s pride – shouldn’t I get a break from your conspicuous display of heterosexuality for one day? That, and holding up protest signs, but somehow I don’t think you’re going down that route.

If you want to you, you can make yourself a sign that says something like “one more straight person for gay rights” – it’s nice to know that we have allies amongst the general public (it also makes you less likely to get hit on, if you’re concerned about that, although honestly, I’ve never been hit on at Pride, even when I um, wanted to be.)

Anyone else have any advice for Sarah?

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