Between sleep training and having our own space, times have been pretty great lately. Of course, there’s always something with kids. Ayla — as talented as she now is at putting herself to sleep — sometimes would simply rather stay up in the middle of the night and vocalize and blow raspberries for 90 minutes. And Ali has been fighting bed time pretty hard with all the fun going on. Then he swallowed a foam ear plug and got sick for a few days (low fever, snotty nose, cough), and it may or may not be COVID…
But it has been fun. For better or worse (probably worse), Oklahoma has reopened hard despite not having good numbers to do so, so Ali was able to go to the local playground an easy walk from our place, the splash pad at the park, and our apartment complex swimming pool (until he got sick). We tried to go when it wasn’t too crowded and more or less keep him away from other kids, but he’s curious about them and they’re curious about him and it was kind of impossible as well as psychologically difficult because he’s had so little interaction with kids at all in his two years of life. I suppose it makes sense that he got sick since he hasn’t been around kids at all in about 6 months. I just hope it’s not COVID.
We were also living it up a bit knowing the Trump Plague Rally was coming to town. Thank goodness attendance wasn’t nearly as high as the president clearly hoped. But 6,000 people in one room is still a stupid f***ing idea during a pandemic, and Tulsa’s numbers were already spiking. Back to hunkering down 😦
Ayla has been scooting around on her Lovevery play mat. She doesn’t seem to move as much when we’re watching. But we can put her on her back in the middle and walk away for a while and find her on her belly spun around 180 degrees and half off the mat next time we see her.
It’s been hot but not too crazy for an Oklahoma summer, and I got a genius invention — a lightweight foldable camping stool — to carry around so I can sit down and take a load off when Ali wants to look at a dead worm for 20 minutes. Add in a new hat, sunglasses, and comfy shorts (I don’t think I’m going to lose my pregnancy / breastfeeding belly before the summer is over, and I’m OK with that!), and if Ali hadn’t gotten sick, and both hadn’t started sleeping so badly, and the f***ing bed bugs hadn’t come back, life would be pretty dang good.
Regarding bed bugs: Ali got bit in his high chair; we threw it out. Then Ahmed got bit in the rocking chair; we put the cushions in the dryer and aggressively vacuumed every nook and cranny and then called the exterminator to spray it and the bottom of our couch for good measure — we hope they’re gone, but it’s meant more hours prepping the house and then putting it back together and a lot of anxiety that the problem still hasn’t been licked and nervously looking at every speck of everything and still feeling kind of invaded and violated and unsettled plus it’s just gross that we’ve now had toxic crap sprayed in our house TWICE. Ugh. We also probably can’t give any of our newborn stuff away that can’t be put in a dryer. Our lovely bouncer and swings will probably just have to be tossed. So sad. Someone could really have used them. But who wants stuff from a bed bug house? Nobody, that’s who.
So yeah, good and bad, beautiful and exasperating. You’ll read below how I was feeling about the idiotic Trump rally and some other things. Crazy times, and this pandemic is going to get a whole lot worse in the Idiotic States of America before it gets better. So exasperated by that. So sad Ali can’t just be a normal happy two-year-old and go to day care like we hoped and keep swimming and splashing, which gave him so much joy (and an illness that may or may not be COVID) the few times we went. We also didn’t feel comfortable going to Stigler when his cousins were down there visiting because he was sick, and we were horribly disappointed by that. Ali didn’t even know, but we were still disappointed on his behalf. He would have LOVED it.
Meanwhile here are some pictures 🙂
Some captions to the photos:
Ali found some screws wedged between veranda planks. He’s using a real screwdriver to really screw them (even though they’re not screwing into anything, just turning around and around).
SHOULDER DIPMLES (Ayla’s — I’m mad for them, and her elbow and knuckle dimples)
In one shot she’s wearing an “I’m a Wild and Crazy Baby” shirt. That used to be mine 🙂
June 1: I noticed something extremely disturbing. The way some “authority figures” have been responding to (for example) unarmed protesters who didn’t immediately “comply” with their orders — the panicked rage of their “authority” not being immediately respected — I recognized this feeling, or at least a shadow of it, when I asked my two-year-old repeatedly to stand up in the bath so I could wash his lower half and he completely ignored me.
I would never shoot a man in broad daylight or run unarmed protesters over with my car. I try not to yell at my son and do not hit him. And I didn’t do anything in this instance but just wash his lower half in the water — not as effective, but fine now and then.
But authoritarianism seems to start with our first interactions with humans (generally our parents), and the results can be terrifying.
I’m really meditating today on why I felt so angry when my son wouldn’t immediately comply. It’s not his job to always immediately comply. He’s a human, too. I’m the leader in this partnership, but not a dictator. When health or safety is at stake, I will force compliance. But in other cases, by the nature of him being human, too, there will be give and take unless I’m willing to beat him into submission. And I am not.
We all need to learn to live with the fact that we don’t have complete control and we never will. Not without absolutely devastating consequences. (And not even then.)
June 3: Something that really gets under my skin: The “objective white guy.” The guy who has never faced adversity based on how he was born, the guy who sits in a relative position of power, the guy who doesn’t even realize claiming the mantle of “objective” is a power play that only he can get away with because his reality is the “default” reality, the one with the most obeisance and veneration because of its position of privilege.
This power play is particularly insidious because it renders the “objective white guy” utterly incapable of seeing his massive blind spots and biases because he genuinely believes himself to be objective.
Hot tip: Just because you can speak unemotionally about someone else’s experience and pain doesn’t necessarily mean you know more about it than they do.
And just because you get to see “white male studies” and “white male literature” as simply “history” and “literature” (and everyone else as some kind of “special case”) doesn’t mean you define actual reality any better than anyone else.
White men (writ large) have done incredibly horrible things to maintain their position of power and privilege, which includes their ability to get away with calling themselves “objective” and everyone else “emotional” (or whatever).
And now many men who’ve never had to do anything horrible — who simply benefit from the system set up by other powerful white men — all too often blithely step in and claim these powers and these mantles even as they miss so many manifest realities by miles. Their cluelessness is abundantly apparent to anyone outside of their bubble, but as long as they never leave their bubble (and dismiss anyone who challenges it), they get to keep thinking they’re objective and more logical and superior and all the rest and enjoy their cluelessness and their privilege.
It is nearly impossible to engage meaningfully with these people. It is certainly exhausting.
June 4: I’m not sure if I’ll say this right, but while very horrible things are obviously happening, it’s also a privilege and a comfort to feel surrounded by so much excellent black energy. Black lives don’t just matter. Black lives are precious, gorgeous, fun, smart, creative, hilarious, and passionate.
Anyone trying to dim any of that is impoverishing us all.
June 7: Sorry for a trivial post, but I am shell-shocked in the best way. Ayla’s sleep deteriorated steadily from the day she was born (the first month was great!) to the point where I was “managing” her sleep practically 24/7. And my “management” techniques weren’t even working anymore.
I was losing my ability to function as a human.
Finally she turned 4 months and I could sleep train — i.e., give her space to learn how to fall asleep on her own. It took about 40 minutes for her to fall asleep on her own the first night, but she’s been sleeping and napping LIKE A CHAMP since then in her own safe space. Not just falling asleep quickly but staying asleep for longer periods.
I feel like I got my life / sanity back
June 9: What the heck did you do, Ayla? She rolled over and started hitting keys on my laptop and my browser disappeared and there’s a new icon on my desktop
June 10: I know worms tend to come up to the sidewalk when it rains a lot, but why are there so many dead worms on the sidewalk on this hot, windy day?
Ali kept finding them, and we’d squat down and look at them, and I’d say, “It’s a dead worm. It dried out in the sun.”
Ali looked at it thoughtfully. “Dead worm. Sad.”
“Yes, baby, it is sad.”
“Well, I don’t know if worms cry, or if they suffer, or how…”
Wow, that turned dark fast…
June 10: Good God. Trump is coming to Tulsa — site of the Tulsa Race Massacre — during a time of historic protests against racism on JUNETEENTH.
He’s either vastly ignorant or trolling in the worst way. Probably somehow both.
ETA: Among many other (worse) things, this is very likely to be a COVID-19 super spreader event, which means Tulsa is going to be slammed with preventable deaths and/or shut down again for even longer.
I’m getting f***ing sick of (some of) my fellow Americans. Guess I won’t be doing social events again until roughly 2022.
June 10: Mother’s Day came a little late for me, but I got a new sun hat, sunglasses, portable stool for walks with Ali (he’s a long pauser and I’m not a long stander), and shorts that fit my postpartum body.
Ready for summer!
June 10: Ayla wants to crawl SO BAD. She can get her head up, and she can get her butt up, just not both at the same time.
June 12: We avoid saying the word “vacuum” in this house because it can precipitate endless requests to run the vacuum, watch Youtube videos about vacuums, etc.
If we need to mention vacuum cleaners or vacuuming, we use the code-word “Voldemort.”
June 14: So tonight I get to google “What happens when your toddler swallows a foam ear plug.”
And then talk to a triage nurse who says watch the poop and watch for signs of bowel obstruction. Nothing more to be done at this point.
And now my watch begins…
June 15: I sincerely hope I’m wrong.
But I’m willing to bet anyone $100 that even if the Trump campaign hands out masks to everyone attending the rally in Tulsa on Saturday (as they say they will), fewer than 25% of attendees will actually wear them, and at some point Trump will make a joke about how masks are stupid.
And it’s going to hurt all of us. Aside from the unnecessary deaths it will cause, it’ll likely lead to another (possibly longer, harsher) economic shutdown.
It’s just straight-up willful stupidity personified. I’m sorry, I have no way to soft-pedal that.
June 15: So glad to have these long summer evenings where I’m not pregnant and no one is cluster feeding and the weather is nice and we can all go OUTSIDE and enjoy.
Tonight Ali had an absolute blast at the splash pad. He hasn’t been around kids much (we were just about to put him in day care when the COVID hit) and he just kind of follows them around and watches them, but mostly he runs around and squeals and smiles so big.
He was finally starting to get a chill so we told him he could make one last pass through the water arch. He was looking at us and smiling, and another little girl was looking at her mama and smiling and running and she plowed straight into him, knocking him on his back. The back of his head hit the pavement. Not hard enough to do serious damage, but it’s never fun for your head to make contact with concrete. He screamed and even though I couldn’t blame the little girl for being a little girl, I felt crushed. Ahmed scooped him up and we started walking home and pretty soon Ali was screaming, “OUTSIIIIDE! OUTSIIIIDE!” He didn’t want to go inside, even after that!
But we reminded him we were still outside for the moment and pointed out every interesting thing along the way, and pretty soon he was in a hot bath and feeling better. The back of his head is gonna have a tender spot for a while, though.
(Ayla was there, too. She got her little feet wet in one of the fountains and looked and looked. She can’t wait to run around, too.)
After his bath he saw Mateo sniffing a dinner plate we’d been using to stack blocks on. I said, “Mateo is wondering where the food is.”
Ali picked up the plate and offered it to Mateo and said, “Can you some? Can you some, Mateo?”
I knew exactly what he was saying. When he wants something, he says, “Can I have some?” So he switched it around to “Can you [have] some?” meaning “Do you want some?”
I was so proud of his linguistic attempt (as well as his pretend play and generosity). It’s brave to come up with your own constructions.
June 16: So we put floaties on Ali and he walked straight into the pool and started dog paddling like he’d done it all his life. Kind of frightening to be honest. I’m going to have to take him in next time without the floaties to show him what happens if he walks that confidently into the pool without them!
A little four-year-old girl started talking to him later on and he said, “Vacuum?”
She laughed and said, “No, no vacuum.”
He said, “Lello vacuum? Scared lello vacuum?”
I suppose asking her if she was scared of the yellow vacuum?
She didn’t really understand him, so he went on, “Gamma Gamma Gampa? Gamma Gamma Gampa?” (Grandma Grandma Grandpa.)
She kind of wandered off.
Such a charmer, our little lad. But hey, he knows what he likes! He probably would have regaled her with tales of leaf blowers and hedge trimmers if she’d stuck around…
ETA: Another funny thing Ali did. We got him a big inflatable pool ring with handles on top in addition to the floaties. We were paying attention to something else, and suddenly he starting making laps around the couch wearing his floaties and carrying the half-inflated pool ring by the handles around his waist yelling, “Run away! Run away! Run away!” It took me a minute to realize he was acting out one of the lines from Baby Shark. The kids in the video have animated pool rings around their waists as they run away 😀
(Also, we were impressed that Ayla fit into a 3-month-sized shirt. Until we realized it wasn’t a shirt at all but was supposed to be a dress! Haha. We put a swim diaper on her and carried her around in the pool, too. She took it in perfect stride. Here’s Ayla in a shirt I used to wear.)
June 17: With the Tulsa rally, Trump is quite literally acting like a cult leader, telling his faithful to do something deadly (Kool-aid, anyone?) and saying, basically, that it’s not dangerous (against all evidence) and that anyone who dissents from this edict is an apostate, an enemy, a snowflake loser.
And when cases inevitably spike and people start dying, they’ll all find someone else to blame.
June 17: Daaaang, this is the best money I’ve spent in a while. I had a comfy place to sit in the shade for 30 minutes while Ali played with a discarded plastic fork, played with mulch, played with dead worms, and picked tiny dried blooms off some flowers and crumpled them on my knees.
A lot more meditative than tiredly shifting weight from foot to foot or sitting on an ant hill. (There are ant hills everywhere.)
June 18: Ali has a mild fever and runny nose. We’ve been letting him go to the local park and splash pad and the apartment complex pool because, you know, summer fun for an active boy who’s finally old enough to really enjoy this stuff. And transmission usually isn’t nearly as bad outdoors.
But he’s adorable and other kids like to get up in his face despite our best efforts and I really, really hope I didn’t expose him (and all of us) to the virus
June 19: So, the ear plug came out. An inch-long purple foam ear plug that is no longer purple at all. But otherwise unscathed. And so, hopefully, is our boy who hopefully learned not to eat ear plugs!
June 19: Can I just say how grateful I am that my second child can sleep through leaf blowers outside and her brother’s loud toy vacuum in the next room instead of waking up if my hip pops halfway across the house?
June 19: Looks like it’ll be thunder-stormy tomorrow. Come on, Oklahoma weather. You’re our last hope…
June 19: Am I the only one who, after I get a package, I go to the track package page and refresh it to make sure it says “Delivered”?
June 20: Let’s check back in a month and see where we are.
I predict Tulsa is going to be a Ground Zero in short order.
Stupid is as stupid does. What a shameful farce.
June 20: Of course no one at the Trump rally is wearing masks. Of course.
At least it’s half-empty. But they aren’t even spreading out!
June 20: We drove by the peaceful rally at Veterans Park a couple miles from the BOK Center / Trump rally. It was as packed as it could be with people still social distancing pretty well. Almost everyone was wearing masks. I didn’t join because I have a sore throat and two kids, one of them with a low-grade fever and runny nose.
Instead we went to the river trail and walked in the gorgeous sunny weather. People were playing pick-up basketball, biking, skateboarding. Just a peaceful Saturday.
I had already seen the not-remotely-full arena on the news. The overflow event was canceled because, um, there was no overflow. There were also zero masks worn that I could see. Still probably a superspreader event (groan). But not the best photo op for the president.
I flipped on the radio on the way home and heard Trump explaining in detail why he drinks water in a very weird way… except he didn’t explain anything at all and anyway who the hell cares, dude? Do you know what’s going on in the world these days? Grow up.
All in all: Proud of Tulsa. Not the leadership, licking the boots of power. The people. We didn’t take the bait.
Go home, Donny. Bye.
June 20: I really hope that was an earthquake and not, like, Trump trying to nuke a tornado to distract from his crappy rally.
June 20: I wrote this in the Peaceful Tulsa Rally group when someone asked for thoughts about today being the solstice (and I’m so relieved things turned out so peaceful in general!):
I feel like the Source of Light is watching over us. (That’s not a part of any tradition, just a personal sentiment.) It’s there for any of us who choose to open our eyes to help and guide us.
The darkness hates the light, but the light persists and shows us all what is really true.
May this rally shine a strong light on this town and show the world the difference between racism and anti-racism, between white supremacists and those who truly believe the lives of all of us matter, between bigotry and unconditional love.
June 20: The good people in Tulsa very much feel like they won and are partying (with masks and social distancing) in Greenwood now.
Take that, darkness!
June 21: I could honestly cry with relief to wake up to a peaceful Tulsa that feels like the plague rally never happened.
It was a complete flop. A fizzle. The BOK Center wasn’t even close to half full. (Fewer than 7,000 out of 19,000 seats.)
I listened to most of Trump’s speech. Seems like the Trump sideshow is losing its steam. He spent like half an hour just talking about drinking water in a weird way and shambling down a ramp.
Big yawn. That’s all you got from Tulsa, Don John.
June 21: Happy Father’s Day to a wonderful man and an incredible father. Your kids adore you. For me, the wait — for you and for our children — was so so worth it!
June 21: OK, I am embarrassed to say I did not know this.
And guess where my husband’s family is from?
Eskisehir — meaning “Old Town” in Turkish!
“The name “Tulsa” (originally spelled Tulsey or Tulsee) is a shortened pronunciation of Tallasi, which is almost certainly a contraction of Tullahassee or Tallahassee, meaning “Old Town” (“Tulwa,” meaning town, and “ahassee,” meaning something old) in the Creek language.”
June 21: And keep in mind, folks — Oklahoma was Trump’s BEST CASE SCENARIO for a pandemic rally. Most boot-licking small-time leadership willing to do anything to get him. Most opened up economy despite COVID-19 numbers still rising. And let’s face it — some of the most ignorant, anti-science people in the country.
And it was a total flop.
June 21: Why are toddler clothes so aggressively gendered? Ali would look so dashing in a pale aquamarine. But every boy shirt is either dark red, dark blue, dark green, or brown. Always with loud graphics in bright garish colors.
Meanwhile, I admit, I can’t stop buying pink stuff for Ayla. She looks like a little flower fairy in it.
June 22: It’s amazing to me how anti-maskers* claim that masks do nothing against a virus (or respiratory droplets) yet somehow manage to trap dangerous amounts of carbon dioxide (which is thousands of times smaller than a virus / droplet).
Pick one, genius.
*And yeah, I seriously can’t believe “anti-maskers” are really a thing. We are truly living in the dumbest timeline.