Of Boogers and Low-expectations

The other day I heard IP’s little two-year-old voice pipe up from the playroom. She loudly announced, for all the household to hear:

“I don’t have a booger on my finger!”

Once I realized she was stating the negative, rather than the affirmative, I was thrilled. You see, what often occurs is that little IP will parade up to me, hold out her finger, and proudly pronounce “I have abooger on my finger!” I will then gently reminder her that we don’t use fingers to getboogers out of our nose – instead we are supposed to use tissues. We then go off and get her a tissue to wipe up thebooger and throw it away. There are also times where I catch her in the act ofbooger mining, and bring her a tissue to blow her nose with. She likes blowing her nose, and she likes getting to throw the tissues away, so this is a relatively painless process, but it seems like nothing can get her to give up the enjoyment of thatbooger-mining.

Adorable kid with stuffed animals

Adorable kid with stuffed animals

So, for her, being proud that she didn’t have a booger on her finger was a milestone. Maybe this shift in booger-related pride has to do with LP teaching her how to properly get a booger out of her nose. One day when she was picking her nose, LP chimed in with my demand tha IP use a tissue. “You see IP” he said, as though he was a professor of booger-picking, “you put the tissue on your finger and THEN you get the booger.” And IP, who can barely bring herself to pull her finger out of her nose under my instruction said “Oh!” and the proceeded to follow her big brothers instructions. I commended LP for his help, and told him I was impressed with how good he was at showing his sister what to do. He said “I know. I am good at using a tissue to get boogers. I dream about that a lot.”

I have many hopes for my children. I hope that they grow up mostly happy, with a desire to learn and grow. I hope they find a passion (or more than one) of some kind when they start their transition into adolescence and adulthood.

ANOTHER adorable kid with stuffed animals!

ANOTHER adorable kid with stuffed animals!

I have hopes for myself as a parent. I want to be kind and patient, even when it is hard. I want to make the time to play with my children, even when there are household chores to be done and papers to grade. I want to also be able to let my children do things on their own while I pursue my own work: writing, cooking, etc. Often this feels like too much. There are too many days when I lose patience with my kids and snap at them, or days when I make waffles for dinner because that is all I can handle. But on days like that, it’s good to remember the little things that go right. On days like that I hope to celebrate the moment when no one in the house has a booger on their finger.

Thoughts on Ferguson

As I have been thinking about and grappling with the situation in Ferguson the last week (in light of the non-indictment of Darren Wilson in the shooting of Michael Brown) there is so little I can say that hasn’t been said better by someone else. So, I would like to link to three pieces that I think share insight about this issue far better than I can in this moment.

“Telling My Son About Ferguson” (a New York Times Op-ed by Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow). In this op-ed Alexander shares her painful struggle when explaining Ferguson to her 10-year old son.

“We Weigh Their Lives Too Lightly” (a blog post on The Stage Coach Road by Sarah Courchesne, New Hampshire blogger and mother). In this poignant piece Courchesne shares her thoughts about white privilege and how that plays out has she considers her own children. Her writing really matches my own experience and perspective.

Finally, I will link to this post I wrote when Trayvon Martin was shot, entitled “Not-so Invisible White privilege in the Era of Trayvon Martin.” As I was re-reading it in preparation for this post, I was saddened by how incredibly relevant it still is.

Please read these pieces. Please stay engaged and aware, especially if you also benefit, unfairly and problematically, from the white privilege that continues to pervade our world.

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