And then you remember why you stay in Maine

For the lupine in your garden/Mama C and the Boys
and the friends you adore/Mama C and the Boys
For the light on the water/ Mama C and the Boys
and the islands that are yours/ Mama C and the Boys
For the room to take up all the space that you need/ Mama C and the Boys
and all the ways you are loved/ Mama C and the Boys
For the wisdom and beauty that is you, mirrored in the majesty around you./ Mama C and the Boys

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Recently a discussion with an incredibly dear friend about why her and her TRA family left Maine had that cannon ball-crashing-in-the-middle-of-my-chaotically-pristine-lake effect on my parenting heart. Then a car crashed into my house. Then magical yesterday kept becoming more and more magical.

Each picture and line in this  post is about all of that, and none of that.  More on the sometimes daily, monthly, and yearly choice to stay in Maine to come. It is a balancing act, consumed with questions of race and place.  It is not something I could ignore, ever. In choosing to stay, like many other multi-racial families we know here, we are trying to co create a world infused with color, and to mine every possible opportunity for racially varied friendships, and world view shaping experiences.

Is that enough for my family? Today? In ten years? That is what I/we wonder and wonder over and over again. But, that is another post. And another. And then another. For as long as we are calling Maine home. A post has been brewing in me, and as soon as this school year closes, I will feel much more able to tackle that in the way that I want to. Like her, I think about race all the time. Like many of the readers here, we think about race all the time. Is it enough? Yesterday I was very at peace with the life we have here. Yesterday.

In the meantime, so that the rest of the world can continue to enjoy my mad skills with an i-phone, my wildly photogenic offspring, and maple syrupy caption poetry please vote for this blog by clicking here now. THANK YOU.

Once a day. Please. What are you waiting for? Five seconds. That’s all. Five seconds will keep us on the top 25. We’ve lost a little ground in this techno-popularity contest. Show ’em what their Mama C fan base is made of!

Tricks, skills and ah-has over here!

Sammy's new trick/ All Rights Reserved Mama C and the Boys

When you have the kind of growth curves we’ve been having around here, coupled with a few trips to the emergency care, and about nineteen thousand practices, games, and lessons all in the same day, you become less of a ponderer, and more of a survivalist. You inch your way to that cup of instant coffee on Sunday, eying your keyboard wistfully. Can you claim it, before the Yo Gabba Gabba DVD in the laptop hour? Continue reading “Tricks, skills and ah-has over here!”

Planting this transracial garden (Last day to enter TAC giveaway)

Sam's growing peas story board from school/ Mama C and the Boys

One of many reasons that I love Sam’s kindergarten teacher? Her appreciation of color. I don’t just mean the lack of white space in a drawing and the relationship of that to “quality work”. I mean that almost every photocopied activity she offers allows with ease for a child with dark skin and/or curly hair to color the image to look like them.Sam derives so much pleasure from making EVERYONE look like him.

A friend of mine recently asked her classes of over seventy plus 7th graders to draw a draft picture of themselves doing a random thing they loved. They were asked to put in as much detail as possible. Crayons and markers of every color and hue were provided. Out of seventy students, two choose to color in their skin brown. Over thirty children would have identified as Black or Mixed or Biracial in her class.

She followed this up with a discussion that included explicit instruction to color in their skin to reflect how they saw themselves, modeling how a few students had done so. She praised these few examples. The students were then asked to redo their images for the final draft (they were practicing their figure drawing skills for some project posters coming up the next week). The second time around the results shifted dramatically. The hallways were covered with images of brown skinned children in the final posters weeks later. This happened after students were GIVEN PERMISSION to do so.

Sam is learning from age six that his skin color is the desirable outcome for success in a school project. He is being given explicit praise for placing himself in the world. His teacher was incredibly “with it” from the beginning. But, I still initiated conversations having to do with issues of race, and picture books, adoption, and how important it was that he be allowed to express his own story from day 1. The coloring piece–was all her. I have been so impressed with her attention and intention all year.

Next the family is planting the pea plants mentioned above in container garden this morning along with several other seedling, herb, and perennial plantings. This followed by two soccer games (Marcel is going to try once more), and a baseball practice. What’s on your first Sunday in May agenda? Or second, or third?

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REMINDER: Today is the last day to enter to win one of two free subscriptions for you or a friend to The Adoption Constellation magazine.

Mixed Nuts: Lunacy reigns

two square in the basement/ Mama C and the Boys

This is the basement.

This is the two square court (masking tape on carpet).

This is a game I can not only play, but can smoke Sam in.

This is what we renamed the winner square: Queen’s square.

This is what Marcel says when he gets one in: This lunatic can play. Uh huh. Uh huh.

This is Sam’s reaction to my victory dance; That is so annoying of you.

This is the Mama C machine feeling the benefits of creating more time to play.

Adam Pertman, Adoption Nation, book giveaway

I received an invitation to review Adam Pertman’s updated Adoption Nation last month. They wanted a transracial adoptive single mother’s point of view added to the mix. In exchange for my promise to participate in the blog tour of the book (a new concept for me-where have I been?) on a given date (today) I received my own copy, and two to give away.

The amount of work that went into this book, is rather mind blowing to me.  I am sure you can scour the net for countless reviews lauding it’s comprehensive scope and broad historical focus.  I felt a rather ominous pressure while reading the book as “reviewer” and not just as consumer. (My previous reviews here of books have always been after the fact of books I read and was charmed by. Now I realize that is just a sales pitch, not a review!) I wanted to make sure that I was reading the book through the lens that my audience have come to expect of me (even if I am not sure what exactly that means).  I wrote down moments in the book that caused me pause for one reason or another, and asked Mr. Pertman to address them directly.

Continue reading “Adam Pertman, Adoption Nation, book giveaway”

Sunday in the balance

Sam findinghis balance / Mama C and the Boys

I’ve been called driven before.

Last week several people who love me large have been coming out of the woodwork to drive this message in; “you are doing too much.”

I am listening.

How do you determine what is and what isn’t too much?

This post about Five Common Regrets of the Dieing is a thought provoker on the subject. Well on the subject of listening to your heart’s path. It was called to my attention from this fellow transracial adoptive parent advocate Ann Becker-Schutte.

So how about a little poll, to see what kind of company I’m keeping here.

On Co-Parenting Matters (tonight)

I'll hold your hand Uncle!/ Mama C and the Boys

Tonight (9:30 E.S.T) I have the honor of being on Co-Parenting Matters to talk about how my brother Marc and I go about our version of a design it as you go, co-parenting relationship. A little over a year ago, I wrote about the topic here on Mama C, and over at Moms of Hue (now We of Hue).  I am super excited to be able to talk about the path we are blazing here in our own way. A sibling co-parenting model is not often talked about  in this society to my knowledge. But I can see that this would be a direction more families work towards as economic and environmental benefits of co-housing and co-parenting become more appealing to many.  I would love to know if others have seen one in action, currently or historically?

I imagine that we have evolved a bit since last yer when I wrote those pieces. Probably much of what we do looks the same too. (If the boys were older I’d love to have them on too.)  Marc and I checked in the other night on what we both think co-parenting means. He had some great thoughts and insights that I had never considered.   A few of the topics we hope to cover tonight include:

Why and when did I decide to formally enlist my brother as a co-parent?  What is different about your arrangement now than before you made this decision?

Do our parenting styles differ? And how have our roles evolved/changed over time?

How do the kids benefit from our co-parenting partnership?

What challenges do we face as co-parents?   How do we manage conflict?

If you can listen in do, otherwise, stop by here in a few days when I figure out how to embed it. Just for the record I asked Marc do take the boys out this morning for a few hours so I could post, I mean rest. There was a lot of waking going on around here last night due to stuffed up noses, accidents, and scary dreams. Lights out for mommy (and sister) for a little nap…

 

Runaway Sam’s not so reluctant return

In a blur/Mama C and the Boys

I could not take a picture of Sam rollerblading yesterday, that captured him face on, in the frame. Talk about an omen. His brother on the other hand, was easy to snag in his roll as the ever cautious “CAAAAAAAAAAR” caller. Continue reading “Runaway Sam’s not so reluctant return”

toot tooooot toot

My kids are rocking their worlds. I am feeling damn near accomplished these days as a result of their success and mine. I have a piece (that previously appeared here) over at the redesigned Single Mothers by Choice website today.  I’m tickled about that. Continue reading “toot tooooot toot”