8 things I’m thankful for

#8/Mama C and the Boys 2011

1.That the hanging plants that the boys each picked out are still hanging out front today.

2. That the mouse is more scared of me than I am of her.

3. That I am not afraid to write a good poem.

4. The way that little bird’s head moves when it eats seed off of my kitchen window ledge.

5. That the adoption tax credit, grandfathered from 2005, arrived in the bank. (Yes, I had it for five years, and only used half of it in that time. Single parenting has it’s privliges.) That I notice the ease this little bump allows.

6. That I have not been on Facebook for six months, and appear to still be visible, at least to a few people. (For an inspiring post, on why one would even consider such a thing, my brilliant friend Dan elaborates here.)

7. That both boys still love to cuddle.

8. That I was able to allow Sam to say; “I kind of like Justin Bieber. I mean I can see why (insert name of current favorite female friend in Kindergarten here) likes him more than she likes me..” without going into a maelstrom of unmitigated fury. That after showing him who this Bieber boy was, I realized my musical appreciation failing as a parent can and will be corrected with a mandatory rock and roll summer tutorial. Suggestions welcome. The time is now.

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.

Sammy Saturday: Flash interview with #1 son

Sam when you look at this picture, can you tell me what you see.

Grass, field, goals, and kids.

Where are you going?

I am going to Florida.

Why Florida?

Because Florida has Disney World.

What are you best at in the world?

Basketball.

What would you like to be best at in the world?

Gymnastics. Continue reading “Sammy Saturday: Flash interview with #1 son”

Sammy Saturday: Final shot of the season

Sammy Swish!/Mama C and the Boys

Here is the letter Sam just wrote to his kindergarten and P.E. teacher, who both came to watch his final game. Sammy invited them on his own. It meant the world to him, and all of the kids on the court that their teachers were there:

Dear Mr. L, and Mrs. M,

How did you like the game? It was pretty good. I liked it because I did one hundred baskets. Getting to see you on the bleachers made me laugh. Thank you for coming to watch my game!!!!

love,
SAM

Toothful of Tuesday

Smile for the hygienist/Mama C and the Boys

I don’t know about you, but wearing the shades was never part of my dentist visit decorum when I was little. The box of rings to choose from at the end of the visit on the other hand, was always a highlight after all my carrying about “What if I have a CAVITEEEE?!!”

Sam’s teeth are in super shape, filling free, and that loosey he talks about? The dentist showed him exactly which one is coming out first by showing him the others pushing on up in the panoramic view. Can you see the first tooth due to make her way to the land of porcelain? (Hint look to the lower set.)  As we were leaving Sam said it all; “What do you mean I have to wait six months before I come back? Marcel took it all this time, and his first cleaning is later this week.

Skating again

Game on!/ Mama C and the Boys

Dear Brian,*

Thank you for your letter. I understand the physical nature of the game.  I get that. I’m glad you understand that it can be a “negative experience” for young kids to see “the altercation” on Tuesday.  Yes, I look forward to coming back too, in a few years.

Sincerely,

Mama C, Mom to an aspiring future hockey player

*Brian Petrovek is the CEO and Owner of the Portland Pirates hockey team. He wrote a letter in response to concerns I brought to his attention on Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011.

Pirate Sam says Sam/ Mama C and the Boys

Don’t “just hockey” me… Mama C speaks out

Below is an excerpt from the letter that I sent the owner of the Portland Pirates hockey team , Brian Petrovek, after chaperoning my son’s kindergarten class to a “Kids Hockey Game Day” provided to Maine’s school children by his franchise. After assuring the administrators of many schools that “violence would not be part of this kids day event” permission slips were sent home, arrangements made. Continue reading “Don’t “just hockey” me… Mama C speaks out”

Sammy Saturday: On Star Charts, Rango and Oatmeal

On Star Charts:

Me: Your teacher said removing the star chart seems to have made it easier for you to be your best YOU. Is that true?

Sam: Yup

Me: How come?

Sam: Because I didn’t have to be worried about it.

Me: Worried about what? What made you worry?

Sam: I felt like I was always being watched.

Mommy’s note: the star chart’s efficacy was called into question by all involved about a month ago. After a meeting, and research, and much thought it was determined that the star chart would be removed after February break. This has proven to be a fantastic choice.  Instead of saying to me “two-stars” or “four stars” when I picked him up this week, he said; “Mom I had on some serious elephant listening ears today”. And “Mom I know how to be me now.” This is not just about changes at school. The entire house has been in a sort of “logical consequences” boot camp for about three weeks. The results have been undeniable. Obviously this demands a much longer post. Just want you all to know we are in a great space, because of some very consistent shifts at home and in school.

On Rango:

Sam: I liked the cowboy, the lizard. I liked the snake kind of.  Did you see when they were walking underground and there was that big eye? That was the SNAKE!

Me: Is it for older kids? Or kids your age?

Sam: It is for us. I would see it again! Can we go today?

Mommy’s Note: the movie is heavy in the guns and physical violence department. It is full of literary references, and philosophical musings. Animated does not a child movie make!

I would imagine it would be a great moving to go see if you just finished reading Carlos Casteneda, or Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas perhaps? I did not do my homework on this one, and felt totally ashamed with myself that I was sitting in the theater watching this with my two sons. I get so sucked into any kids film that aren’t featuring all white kids, that I leaped too quickly here. Other thoughts welcome on the film! By the way, the snake at the end SCARED me. (Sammy’s note above about the snake eye is totally cool–I didn’t get what he saw–he is right I think.)  Overall message about believing in yourself, and finding your inner hero are great for the twelve and over set?

On Oatmeal:

Me: Sam why did you put that much milk in your oatmeal?

Sam: Mom! We are not all the same. Did you forget that?