Tuesday, December 23, 2014

liam in pyjamas

Before Liam was born, I had the best of intentions to document his early years but life seems to have other plans for us! And sometimes I find that sad because honestly, so much is changing in his world, on a daily basis and it's so hard to remember it all because things change so quickly.

Right now Liam loves playing phone and can say eyo (which we think is Hello). He says this on a regular basis and it probably was his first word (though sometimes it's admittedly hard to tell). He points to everything and says it. He also says ight (light) and a myriad of other hard to decode words. Whichever way you look at it, he's communicating more and more with us. From the unclear words, to his head shake and arm waves saying no/all done.

He loves climbing the couch and his rocking sheep. I am getting greyer with each passing day (literally though unfortunately I probably can't blame it all on Liam).

He stacks blocks and builds towers with them. He runs and is mastering his hop/jump. At this point he has actually made it too a tiny little hop, which is a source of great amusement to him (and us too).

He's learning to throw a ball and push cars. He walks on his tip toes all the time and is crazy strong for his age. He loves climbing into our laps to read books. He loves books right now.

He understands words and will run the stairs when we say it's time for bed or to the books when we tell him to get a book. He can eat with his fork and spoon, and when he wants to, not get any of it in his hair. He throws his head back and cackles and gives big open mouth cheek kisses.

He loves his blankie and curls up on pillows when he's tired (but don't even think about sharing one with him, he'll push you off).

I could go on and on.

I think honestly, it's amazing to watch all the little things he learns on a regular basis. It's actually kind of awe inspiring. Last year this time, we were working on rolling over and tummy time. And now... it's insane what he can do, from walking (not crawling) up stairs to moving all the cans out of the cupboard and stacking them on the floor for us (he's very helpful in the kitchen).

At the end of the day, I realize that all of his little joys and discoveries probably aren't as exciting to others, but for me they might just be the best part of parenthood. I think that this might be part of the reason that I don't write about it much because I just think that my excitement over him just isn't the same or interesting to others. I mean, I might find him adorable sleeping, but not so much for others. But then again, that picture of him sleeping represents more than just sleep to me: it represents a shift in our day to day life because he's sleeping better, thus I am sleeping better.

Truth be told though, it's hard to keep track of all these little moments, milestones and transitions, no matter how noble my intentions are, because it just feels like there's less time for it or when there is time, I'm too tired to think of it.

Here's to hoping that in 2015 I'll be better about writing down these little moments more.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

why is there such a lack of diversity in children's literature

I don't know if you've noticed this or not, but a lot of the books out there that we read to our children are pretty problematic in regards to diversity and it's starting to REALLY bother me.

I want Liam to read stories of same-sex families, adopted families, bi-racial families, different cultural identities and practices and well... add a kazillion more isms and ologies and so forth to the list and you'll start to get an idea of all the things I'm looking for in my kid's literature.

Because right now we have 2, yes only 2, books geared towards toddlers (in other words a board book that he can't tear apart) that hint at a reality that is different than an all white majority. One measly Thomas the Train book that has 1 black passenger on the train (one book out of a set of four, with one passenger) and one Polar Bear, Polar Bear, which is mostly animals until the very end when a bunch of kids wearing masks have different skin tones.

Ironically, I think that many authors/illustrators try to get around the diversity question by using animals instead of humans.

And I think that this is pretty damn unacceptable. And that it doesn't reflect the reality he is growing up in at all. On our street alone, he experiences more diversity than what is shown in his children's literature. I can't help but wonder, what is the impact of this? What narrative does it tell him, and other children for that matter, if white stories are the only ones that matter enough to get air time?

In fact, after scrolling through 10 pages of the Amazon site of baby books, board books, etc, I only found 2 stories that had a bi-racial narrative that seemed to be featured in the tale:

What about all the other stories out there? What about the babies of my friends who are not white, blonde and blue-eyed like my son? What does it mean for them that they don't seem themselves reflected back to them in constructive ways? Why does it require a special search query to find alternative (but very modern, every day) narratives for children?

I don't know about you, but this really upsets me. So if you have some great suggestions of publishers or books that will teach my son about different lifestyles, cultures, skin tones, etc, etc, etc, please let me know because I'm now on a mission to diversify my son's library so that we are already starting a dialogue on privilege, reality, and diversity in our home, right from the get go.


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