Trump’s first action as President confirms my fears as a mother of a Black son

Unlike many people I know, who understandably turned their backs on it, I watched Trump’s Inauguration this morning. I sat there with Miles and we watched it together. (Well, he sorta-kinda watched it while playing with his trains.) I felt the need to sit through it, though, to experience the excruciating reality of this new era we are embarking on because Miles cannot–my family and so many others cannot–escape the consequences of it.

At one point, Miles asked me who Donald Trump was. “Who that, Mommy?”

I cringed as I replied, “That’s our new President.”

“I want a present, too,” he said. He’s been obsessed with presents ever since Christmas.

“No, I said President. Not present. This man is definitely not a present.”

That was the sum total of our conversation because he’s only two and totally oblivious, but it saddened me that I was not watching the inauguration of a President I could be proud of and whom I knew had the best interests of my child, and all of our children, in mind.

Because I have absolutely no faith that President Trump will do anything positive for Miles at all. Within minutes of being sworn in, WhiteHouse.gov removed all mention of civil rights, LGBTQ rights, Climate Change, and any mention of Black people, minorities, or people of color. Totally wiped, and replaced with minimal content that expressed support for higher numbers of police, untrue statistics about crime rates in inner cities, and incredibly frustrating statements about how the Climate Act is bad for America. And, unbelievably, WhiteHouse.gov now features promotional statements about Melania’s jewelry line. Her freakin’ QVC jewelry line.

If nothing about this campaign and ensuing presidency has worried you, this should. Sure, it’s just a website but also a sign of what’s to come: Trump seems to want to erase all of the positive progress that we have made for racial justice, environmental science and conservation, and equality. And why not? None of those issues have ever been issues for him as a white, unscrupulous, over-privileged, greedy conman who’s cheated small business owners, blue collar workers, and hundreds of others out of money that he owed them.

I worry today for my son. I worry today for all children, for our planet, for our future. I do not for one moment think that Trump is going to deliver on any of the promises he made to people who believed him when he said he cared. I do, however, think that he will do his best to deliver on promises to further destroy our planet, further divide people along racial lines, and to create a police state where individual freedoms and diversity are not valued unless they somehow happen to be in line with his personal, political, or business interests.

I truly hope that I am wrong. Because it’s terrifying, really. Absolutely terrifying.

 

Life Lately

It’s been an exciting start to 2017. We recently moved into a new place and have been having a lot of fun exploring the neighborhood. We’re in the Pacific Northwest and of course it’s been raining… so we’ve been puddle jumping!img_7061

And finding all the good places to rest while we’re out on walks. The fluffy moss on this treed makes it especially nice for sitting.

img_7284

We found a fantastic new barber just a couple of blocks away from our new place, so we went and got Miles a fresh line-up. He’s still not sure about the clippers being that close to his head, so we had to bribe him with Red Vines. That did the trick!

img_1288

Miles was excited to travel to Tucson to visit family for Christmas. He’s such a good traveler. He loves watching the planes at the airport. He had a lot of fun when we got a surprise upgrade to First Class (!). Free movies, warm nuts, and a big, comfy chair! Traveling in style…

img_7938

Though we were a little tired on the return flight when we got delayed for several hours at Sky Harbor International…

img_7948

Before we left for Arizona, we went to see Santa here in Portland. Miles was too scared to sit on his lap, but was happy enough to sit next to him as long as I stayed close. I was thrilled to find an event with a Black Santa. There was only one in town, which I think is a shame, but at least there was one.

img_1286

We’ve had several snow days lately – the most recent one being yesterday. It turned out to be mainly an ice storm, so we were pretty cooped up. But we found lots of fun ways to enjoy ourselves. We worked on puzzles…

fullsizerender-4

And we did arts and crafts… and, no, we didn’t get out of our PJs much…

fullsizerender-5

And then because it was so gray and cold, we went to the store and bought some pretty yellow flowers to brighten up the room.

img_8081

Hope everyone has a great week!

A new year, and my 2017 parenting goals

The end of a year is always the perfect time to reflect on the successes, failures, and misgivings of the prior year and to make goals for the shiny, sparkling promise of a brand new spin around the sun. Now that I’m the mother of a precocious nearly-three-year-old, my parenting choices, strengths, and weaknesses have moved to the top of my year-end self-eval.

img_1195

In summary? Strikes and gutters. I’d say that I did pretty well as a mother this year, overall, and maybe even had a few stellar super-mom moments. But there are decidedly a few areas in which I need to improve.

To make myself feel better, let’s start with love. That I’ve got covered. I love this little kid with all I’ve got and shower him with affection on a continual basis (while I still can and before he starts to get embarrassed). I tell him that I love him a thousand times a day and am always sneaking kisses and cuddles in. He says ‘I love you,’ back to me now, which is just about the most adorable thing I’ve ever heard in my life. Okay, it’s absolutely the most adorable thing I’ve ever heard in my life. And when he gives me an impromptu kiss on the forehead, my heart melts into a gooey little puddle inside my chest. (Awww, he loves me, too!)

It’s no secret that I adore him… look at this huge eclair I let him eat.

img_1289

Moving on to learning and education. I think I’m doing pretty well in this arena, too. His dad and I have always read Miles as many books as he can handle, so he is an avid bookworm. It’s really showing because he knows all of his letters and would rather sit down and look at a book than watch television. He can also count to thirteen (new today!) and his teachers at the Reggio daycare/preschool he attends say that he knows more than many of the four-year-olds. Yes, I’m one of those dorky parents now that thinks their child is a genius. But, clearly, he is.

15822918_1065321493613250_5725411033158109142_n

Okay, so I have love and learning on lock-down. Now let’s talk about something I’m not so great at: discipline and addressing problem behaviors. I readily admit that I have been entirely too lenient with him and that he kind of owns me. Wrapped around his little finger, I am. He knows exactly what to do to get what he wants: cry. I know, I know. It’s the cardinal sin of parenthood to give your kid what he wants when he cries. Or to pick him up every time he demands it. I’m trying to get better about these two things… but that little face and those big brown eyes filled with tears, though! Make it stop! Even when I know that they’re crocodile tears, they get me every time. I can’t handle it. But this is definitely something that I will be working on in the new year: toughening up and not giving in to his whimpers and whines.

Another thing that I need to work on this year: food. Miles is super picky and I’m so terribly uninspired in the kitchen. I’m not the best cook in the world–I’m not even a mediocre one–and I severely lack culinary intuition. I can’t just throw ingredients together and produce something delicious. If you can, I’m eternally envious of you. I need help here, people. And I need it badly. So, one of my resolutions is to invest time into learning to make delicious healthy food every day that even my picky little eater can’t resist. Still working on how to make this happen, but it’s on my list. Open to recipes and advice.

Another thing I want to work on is being more present and mindful. I think I do a pretty good job of this, but I know I can do better. I could put my phone completely away when I’m playing with him, for example. I always do that at first but then we’ll get into the second hour of playing trains and… well, I don’t love trains as much as he does so my thoughts wander to the news or Instagram or work or basically anything to distract me from the second hour of playing trains. I don’t like that I do this, and I want to stop. I am admitting to the problem, though, and so for that I will congratulate myself.

All in all, my parenting this year was a mixed bag like everything else in my life. He may be an ever-so-slightly malnourished cry baby, but he’s a smart, beloved one who knows his letters!

Happy 2017 to you all – may this be the year that all of your dreams come true.

 

Future adoptive parents: How can I best help you?

I’ve been receiving emails from potential adoptive parents (which I absolutely love) asking different questions about the adoption process or our agency or my thoughts on different things. I’d like to compile answers so I have somewhere to point people when they ask, but I’d love to hear exactly what you’d like to know so I don’t leave anything out.

How can I use my experience to best help you?

What specific questions do you have at this point in your journey?

What do you wish you could ask me over coffee?

Leave a comment or email me directly at: myrealkid@gmail.com

Thank you all, and Happy New Year! May 2017 be the year all of our dreams come true.