My Parenting Resolutions for 2018

‘Tis the season for making new year’s resolutions. And since parenting is a practice that requires self-reflection and self-improvement, I thought I would outline some goals for how I want to parent in 2018:

Resolution 1: Get off my phone!
I’m on my phone too much when I’m playing with A. I want to be present and joyful during the hours of the day I get with him, but that compulsion to pick up my phone is so strong sometimes! I’ve noticed that I’ll just scroll through instagram while I’m playing with him. Don’t get me wrong–I think sometimes we all need a little mental break (and it’s good for A to learn to play by himself). But I don’t want that to be a daily habit. My resolution is to put my phone on the other side of the room during playtime. Simple.

Resolution 2: Talk to my husband about my blog posts.
In the first month or two of this blog, I would have in-depth conversations with my husband about that week’s post. Not only did it improve the quality of the post, but it also improved our co-parenting. We are a team and taking some time to chat explicitly about our parenting philosophies and practices is really helpful. My resolution is to talk to him every Wednesday about what I’m posting that week.

Resolution 3: Don’t criticize my husband’s parenting. 
Don’t get me wrong–I’m not PARTICULARLY critical of how my husband interacts with A. But I’ve noticed that I correct my husband’s parenting sometimes. For example, if my husband and A are roughhousing (which A LOVES), I will tell my husband to be careful or to stop. Or if my husband is doing bath time or bedtime, I tell him exactly how I do it and expect him to follow that model. But there’s not ONE right way to do bath time and bedtime. My husband has his own rhythm as a parent, and that’s ok. When I feel myself having an urge to correct my husband, I’ll talk a deep breath and walk away.

Resolution 4: Encourage A to clean up after himself.
Now, this one is actually something I think we do quite well. He has been really interested in cleaning up his dishes after dinner. He will help clean up his toys when we ask him to. But I want to make that a daily habit. Currently, we ask him to help clean up his toys no more than once or twice a week. My resolution is to have him clean up before bedtime every day.

I’m taking next week off, so I’ll see you in 2018!

Happy New Year,

Storytime & Poop: Everyone poops by Taro Gomi

New favorite book alert! New favorite book alert! A has a new favorite book, and I’m loving it, too. I’ve done a mini-series on this blog called ‘Storytime & …”: Storytime & avoiding colorblindness, Storytime & decentralizing manhood, and Storytime & naming Whiteness. Well, today, we’re talking about Storytime & Poop.


My husband went to a library book sale (the kind when all of the old books are 25 cents), and came back with Taro Gomi’s Everyone Poops. It’s literally a book about pooping, complete with illustrations of turds hanging out of people’s butts. And animals’ butts. To be fair, I think that’s part of the reason A likes it: there are lots of animals. There are one-hump camels pooping; two-hump camels pooping; gorillas, pigs, pelicans, and bugs pooping. As the book says, “all living things eat, so everyone poops.”


On Thursday morning, as I was reading the book to him (trying to calm him down because he woke up in a FOUL mood), we got to a page when it talked about how “different animals make different kinds of poop. Different shapes, different colors, and even different smells.” At that last part, he wrinkled up his nose and pretended to sniff the book, then he turned and grinned at me. This is one of the things that makes this book great: it teaches A about his body. About how he uses his nose to smells things. About how pooping is natural part of being a human. And ultimately, about how he is a biological creature that has autonomy over his own body. I’m not sure if this is a chicken-egg scenario, but since his obsession with this book started, he’s even started telling us when he’s trying to poop or just pooped. That might just be a coincidence, but it also might not be (every parent thinks their kid is a prodigy, right?? Maybe mine’s a pooping prodigy!).

The author is Japanese and draws characters that are Japanese. I haven’t been explicit about talking about race in this book with A. That’s something I can add into our conversations in the future.

The one social observation I have made to A about this book regards gender (and it’s my only critique of the book). All of the humans in the book are male. They have male genitalia and/or have clear cultural symbols that represent manhood. None of the animals are gendered, but given what we know about the centralizing of manhood, many readers may refer to the animals as male (though maybe that’s not true in Japanese culture). Since we are reading it from an American perspective, though, I want to be very explicit with A: GIRLS POOP, TOO! Here’s an example of something I have said to him while reading this book:

That little boy is pooping. All the people in this book are boys actually. But girls poop, too! Mommy poops sometimes.


Happy wiping (and pooping?),



I hate clutter. It honestly is one of the biggest triggers of stress in my life (apart from the whole writing-a-dissertation thing). I get rid of my clothes so much and so often that I sometimes regret it—I am TOO overeager when it comes to throwing things out. This morning, I thought, ‘man, I wish I hadn’t gotten rid of all but two of my earrings.’ Sometimes, you just want to wear a nice gold hoop, ya know? But, apart from those fleeting moments of regret (which really are fleeting—I’m sure I won’t think about gold hoop earrings again for a year), I’m really happy that I’m not a packrat.

What does hating clutter have to do with parenting for social justice though? TOYS and consumerism. They creep in, and YOU CANNOT STOP IT. If you don’t hear from me in the next few weeks, its because I’m drowning in a terrifying tower of toys. My husband loves buying A toys, so it seems like every week, a new Amazon package shows up at our door, adding to the pile of toys in the corner of our family room (not to mention the section of the basement of toys he’s already grown out of). You know that scene in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, when they are in the vault in Gringotts, trying to get one of the horcruxes (Helga Hufflepuff’s cup I think?), but the other objects are magicked so that they multiply every time they are touched, which means that Harry, Ron and Hermione almost drown/get crushed to death by shit?? That’s me, just with toys. Every time I turn around, it’s like they multiply.  (was that Harry Potter reference lost on everyone but me? Lol)

harry potter.jpg

Look at poor Ron and Hermione, about to get crushed by the ever expanding pile of toys gold.

NOW, if you’ve ever given A a toy or present, THANK YOU. I am not complaining! (though it sounds like I am, doesn’t it? Need to work on the tone of this post…) And if A were old enough to understand, he would say “ANK U’ in the nasal-y way that he says ‘thank you’ right now (its adorable, btw). I am not ungrateful for your gifts or ignorant that my privilege has brought us to this moment. Drowning in a toys is related to our family’s class privilege: we have the means (and our friends and family have the means) to buy presents for A when they want to. Obviously, I am so grateful for that. I am grateful for the enrichment and entertainment the toys provide. I am grateful for the love for A that these gifts represent.

But at the same time, toys are inherently linked to capitalism and consumerism: I don’t want A to think he needs THINGS to be happy and to have fun. Ever since I got pregnant, I have been brainwashed into thinking I need all of these THINGS in order to have a safe pregnancy/be a good mother. The purchasing of things does not define the quality of a childhood. Even apart from toys’ consumerist essence, I think a decluttered space leads to (1) a more appreciative attitude towards what we DO have and (2) a calmer and more mindful outlook. Gratitude and mindfulness are two of the most important mental strategies I want A to cultivate.

For now, though, I’m too tired at the end of the day to deal with all of the awesome, fun, and colorful toys we’ve amassed. Consumerism in a capitalist society is nearly impossible to avoid, so I’ve learned to live with some clutter in my life. I will write in the future on my experiments in cultivating A’s gratitude and mindfulness despite (because of?) consumerism.

Happy wiping (and hopefully decluttering),



Thanksgiving and Matt Lauer

Ok, there are two pressing—but completely unrelated—topics that I want to tackle this week: Thanksgiving and Matt Lauer. Forgive the disjointedness!

Thanksgiving: I love food. I love being with my family. I love Thanksgiving. I get to enjoy the company of my cousins, who I only get to see once or twice a year. I get to carbo-load HEAVY (gimme that stuffing, mashed potatoes, and biscuits, please). Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays. For those of you who don’t obsessively read social justice family blogs like me (lol), you may not realize that Thanksgiving—despite the warm and cozy and family-centered associations that I have with it—is not the most culturally sensitive (word choice—anti-oppressive? anti-racist?) holiday. It comes with a host of culturally appropriative and problematic narratives of pilgrims and ‘Indians.’ At only 16 months, A is too young to have gotten any messages about the ‘first Thanksgiving’, where ‘Indians’ and pilgrims came together to eat in peaceful harmony. Next year—or maybe the year after that—A is going to start hearing this narrative and being exposed to stereotypic and antiquated perceptions of Native Americans. And I need to think of a strategy to talk with him about that narrative that doesn’t engage in stereotyping or romanticizing or other-izing Native Americans.

How do we ditch the stereotyping of ‘Indians’ and erasure of Native American genocide that goes along with Thanksgiving, but still maintain the celebration of family and gratitude?


Matt Lauer: These men keep falling. The entertainment and news world is in a reckoning. And only the men who aren’t abusive assholes/sexual predators will be left standing, thank god. My thoughts turn, of course, to how to raise a son who doesn’t become an abusive asshole, no matter how powerful of a position he finds himself in. What did Matt Lauer’s and Harvey Weinstein’s parents do? I don’t mean to scapegoat parents for their sons’ actions exclusively—I think that is unfair to the parents (there’s a whole host of other socializing factors in a child’s life—school, media, peers, other family, etc.) and removes blame from the perpetrators themselves.

But I have to hold out hope that parents have a role in either fostering toxic masculinity in their sons or discouraging (destroying? Dismantling?) it.  I’m hoping that all of this empathy-building and explicit conversations of (and displays of) emotions are developmentally appropriate ways to start preventing that toxic masculinity mindset. Obviously, I can’t tackle sexual harassment and predation with a 16-month-old. But the actions of Matt Lauer and other men are rooted in the whole jumbled-up, clusterfuck of normative masculinity and power. And preventing that starts in infancy.

Dang, I really, really hope A isn’t an asshole when he’s an adult.


My disjointed, but topical, thoughts for the week.


Happy wiping,