Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Raising an Activist

Our family has a lot of privilege.  A lot.

We're white, heterosexual, married, cisgender, and college-educated with no remaining student loans.  Chris is a man.  We were raised in still-married two-parent households. By and large, we are not targets for discrimination.

However, especially with the new administration going the way it is, we can't stay silent.  So, as a family, we participated in the Women's March in San Jose.  It was Everett's first peaceful protest, but it will not be his last.  Grandma and Grandpa Thoma were also in town for a visit and we are proud they marched along side us.

Marching in San Jose at the Women's March on January 21, 2017.  Everett was sleeping.

Of course, Evie is too small to understand protests, discrimination, and sexism.  That doesn't mean it isn't time for us to start instilling in him the important values that drive us to protest (and take other actions like calling our representatives, donating to legal action organizations, and volunteering).
  • Compassion.  Even though most of the issues don't impact us directly, they do impact other people.  We stand with them and we support them.
  • Privilege.  We have it and Evie has it.  How can we be good allies?
  • Knowledge.  We don't automatically know things.  We need to learn - by talking to people, by listening to experts about their research and learnings, and by recognizing things we experience directly.
  • Action.  It's one thing to think about the world and these issues, but nothing changes if people don't get off their butts!
How will we do this day-to-day?  Of course we will learn as we go.  In the spirit of learning from others, we found some fantastic resources and jumping off points:
  • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's 15-point guide to raising a feminist.  This is lengthy, but so worth it.  It is addressed to someone raising a daughter, and an Igbo daughter at that.  Even the specifics towards raising a girl and someone with African tribal heritage are illuminating for these boy parents.
  • 9 Tips for Raising a Socially Aware Child.  This list is practical, which makes it very helpful!  It also linked to this meaty (and link-filled) blog post about talking racism with white kids. 
  • How You Can Raise an Activist Kid: A Teen's Perspective.  It is what it sounds like and offers practical advice from the child's point of view.  Our favorite quote is this one, "Tell them they will be good at the things they value because they will put more time into them, not because they were born smart or gifted."
We're planning on participating in the March for Science in April, and we'll be keeping our ears and hearts open for more opportunities to get out and speak up.

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's a Social Justice Warrior!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

527,040 Minutes

Holiday festivities weren't the only things worth celebrating during our Michigan trip, someone was about to turn one!

Everett on his birthday, 1/7/2017

Since Evie's first birthday was right around the corner, we had an early celebration in mid-December.  We booked a Gymboree (thanks, Grandma F, for the assist!) and are so glad we did.  Evie loved it.  He had huge smiles crawling around on the equipment and especially when doing the group activities.  He loved the group activity which involved shaking maracas so much, that he refused to let go of the maracas for the next half hour (and screamed if Mommy tried to sneak one away).

Gymboree birthday party, 12/18/2016

He had his first taste of cake (didn't care), watched his cousins and friends play (totally loved it), and his first attempts at present opening (not into it).  We were so touched that our friends and family made time during this busy time of year to come visit and play.

We took advantage of Everett's aunt, the photographer, and booked a cake smash photo shoot.  In order to get Evie to interact with the cake, we had to put strawberries on it.  Don't believe everything you see, that baby was tricked!  We were prepared for a big mess, but that just wasn't his style that day.

On Evie's actual birthday, we had plans to go hiking but the weather did not allow it.  Northern California got some much needed rain leading up to, during, and after Everett turned one.  Good for the parks we love, but not good for getting out of the house that day.  Instead, we spent time as a family, gave Everett his gifts from us, and relaxed.

Hanging out with the birthday boy, 1/7/2017

The big party was the day after Evie's birthday, and it was better than we ever expected.  Despite the rainy weather, lots of our local friends made the trip over.  Everett got to play with LOTS of little kids including babies, toddlers, and a few bigger kids.  He didn't get too overwhelmed until the very end, and luckily stranger danger isn't a huge problem for us.

Party time - 1/8/2017

It was an awesome day, filled with amazing and supportive people.  We're so glad we bit the bullet to have a birthday party that Evie won't remember, but there will be pictures of and we can tell him all about it on future birthdays.  Plus, we found out that he greatly prefers chocolate cake (takes after Mommy).

More first birthday party fun - 1/8/2017

Now, on the other side of 1-year-old, things feel a bit different.  Easier, maybe.  We catch ourselves using the word "baby," knowing we can't use it much longer.  Evie is growing up, just as we hope for our children.  We are so excited seeing him learn and figuring things out.

The past year seems both short and long.  It seems like a lifetime ago that Elizabeth was pregnant, that we were up every 2-3 hours with a newborn.  It seems like a hundred years since we held Oberon, and that stings.  So much has happened.

We'll keep on keeping on, enjoying the time we get with Evie and trying to limit frustration, keeping it in perspective.  Evie has started shaking his head, and we know that N-O is just around the corner.  There is so much more excitement than trepidation as we head into toddlerhood.  New challenges will come up, keeping Oberon present will require balance and flexibility, and more smiles and moments will fill our hearts than we could ever imagine.

Our family - January 14, 2017 - photo by Abby Alger Photography

*A note on the title.  Since Everett was born in a leap year, there were 527,040 minutes in his first year.  Not quite as catchy as the non-leap year total.