Joy, pt. 4: Vacation!

A and I went on vacation this week with my family. We went to Cape Ann in Massachusetts (a place I have been going my whole life and my mother before me). Unfortunately, my husband had to work, but A had aunts, grandparents, and extended family to keep him occupied. He got to ride on a boat. He got to swim in the sea. But his most favoritest-favorite thing to do was throw rocks into the water. He could sit there for hours and throw rocks, just to watch them splash and hear them go ‘plop.’ So, amidst all the horror of the world, this week, I present to you: A on his first boat ride. IMG_7193.JPG

Happy wiping,


Joy, pt 3: Little Moments

It’s been intense in our house this last week for unrelated reasons, so I wanted to take a few moments to celebrate the small moments of joy that motherhood has brought recently:

A is obsessed with saying ‘happy birthday’ to everyone! Even if it’s not their birthday lol. It all started a month ago when we were in San Diego. One of the pandas at the San Diego zoo has the same birthday as A, and I must have said something about it in front of him. Ever since, he absolutely LOVES saying happy birthday. Luckily, we have a lot of birthdays in our extended family coming up so we can channel his birthday energy to making videos and sending them to people. He has also rediscovered How do dinosaurs say happy birthday? on his bookshelf, which is adding to the whole birthday extravaganza.


He’s started waking up at 6:15am again. I’m laughing at myself that I’m calling this a joy…this morning at 6:15 it did NOT feel like a joy. But what I’ve noticed is that we’ve been able to spend more time together in the mornings because of his early rising. A few weeks ago, when he was waking up at 7:30/7:45, it was a rush out the door to get to daycare in time for breakfast. But now, we get to read books and play with toys and cuddle. It’s actually great. It probably helps that its spring time, so the sun is coming up and the birds are chirping by 6:15. If it were pitch black and cold out, I would probably be less amused by the 6:15 ‘Anne! Baba!’ (mom and dad, in Turkish) screams coming from his bedroom.


The era of Dr. Seuss has well and truly hit our home. Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham are his favorite right now, though Hop on Pop and Oh, the Places you’ll go! are up there, too. (I know Dr. Seuss isn’t a perfect—some of his work is quite problematic. I gotta think through that more still)

Hope you are finding little moments of joy in your week—

Happy wiping, Olivia

P. S. See Joy, pt 1 and Joy, pt 2 here!


Using screen time with intention

Whether we like it or not, A is surrounded by screens. Any child living (in a developed country) in 2018 is. Whether it’s TV time or FaceTiming grandparents, screens are everywhere. While we try to limit his non-FaceTime screens quite strictly during the week (a 20-minute episode of something on Netflix or YouTube), we are considerably less strict over the weekends (those cozy family movie nights are just too good to pass up). I’ve now come to appreciate using the screen strategically to make parents’ lives a little calmer and kids’ lives a little richer.

So, I thought I would outline how we intentionally use screen time for both those ends.

Why and how we use screens:

  1. Rest. Obviously. Let’s be honest–When he’s being crazy or we need to get the dishes finished, sometimes flipping on the TV will do the trick. Sure, in an ideal world, he would be able to sit calmly and work on his puzzles as I clean up dinner. But LOLS, that’s not going to happen every night. I really only use TV like this when B is still at work. It gives me either a moment of rest or a moment to get something done waaaaay more efficiently than you can with a toddler hanging off your leg. (He’s taken to grabbing the knives from the dishwasher as we try to load it, so if some Elmo is going to prevent stitches, we’ll do it).
  2. Exposure to Turkish. Now, I know you can’t learn a second language just by watching TV. Research shows over and over that in-person, live interactions are what help children develop language. Turkish TV doesn’t replace Turkish conversations. That being said, A is still exposed to Turkish through the TV. And when his dad is home, too, they use Turkish TV as a prompt to start talking in Turkish. Watching Turkish shows also gives him more familiarity with Turkish culture, like kid’s songs and popular characters.
  3. Instigating color-conscious and other social justice-oriented conversations. Just like books, TV shows and movies can be a great prompt to start a conversation about social justice. One of his favorite shows, for example, features a trio of female protagonists, two of whom are girls of color. This allows us to start talking about gender and race with A from a young age.

And just as a moment of joy and for our own personal memories, A’s favorite TV shows to watch in the last month or two are:

  1. Spirit: Riding Free (I’ve talked about this one before–it’s his first love.)
  2. Planet Earth 2
  3. Canim Kardesim

Happy wiping,


Joy, pt. 2: The story of A and his neigh


“Neigh! Neiiiighhhh!”, A cried, pointing repeated to his crib.

“What do you say?”


“Alright, here you go,” I say, reaching into his crib and pulling out his stuffed horse.


A slides down my body as we walk into the house. I’m carrying my work bag, A’s daycare bag, and A’s coat, so his dismount from my hip was more of a slide then a gentle put-down. A immediately runs to the TV remote, holds it out to me, and says “Neigh? Neigh?”


“Should we race?”

A smiles and nods his head once. He gets down on his knees, holding Moon, his white plastic horse, on the ground. Then he grins at me.

I smile back and line up Spirit, his brown plastic horse. “Ready, set, go!”


A is currently obsessed with “neighs.” This has nothing to do with parenting for social justice (I don’t think—maybe there’s something here about horses being stereotypically associated with young girls? Haven’t thought it through.). I just want to write it down to celebrate the joy in parenting’s mundane moments! It all started a few months ago, when we found a Netflix show called “Spirit: Riding Free.” It’s definitely a show I would’ve loved as a kid. His obsession started growing when we found a stuffed horse at Ikea (that he sleeps with every night). It got even worse when he got *5* different stuffed or plastic horses for Christmas.


A’s favorite show ever, ever ever of his entire 18 month life. 

But I can feel the beginning of the end for A’s era of neighs. Don’t get me wrong—he still sleeps with his Ikea neigh every day and plays with his plastic horses daily. But he didn’t ask to watch his Netflix show once last weekend. Since, at the height of his obsession he was asking for “neigh” show hourly, this has gotta mean something. He did ask for “aslan” (lion in Turkish). So, we watched Lion King for the first time this weekend. Neighs will always be his first love, but we may be at the dawn of the age of aslan.

I’ll report back in a few months, and let you know!

P.S. See my first post of joy in parenting’s small moments here.

Self-reflection & Joy

I didn’t post last week because I didn’t have my shit together (read about my thoughts on self-care as a parent here). Plus, I made it to the three-months of blogging mark, so I decided to give myself a week off! I’ve been thinking about this blog in my time off. When I started it (as with any project), I was so excited—I had a long list of blog topics, and I would draft my post on Monday and edit it all week. The last month or so, though, I have been feeling uninspired about topics (though I still have that long list) and hurriedly writing the post on Thursday afternoon to meet my Friday morning deadline. Nothing’s changed except the novelty of a blog has worn off and the school year has kicked up again (the joys of the academic calendar). But I don’t want this blog to feel like a chore, so I decided that I am going to expand the scope of this blog.

Critical self-reflections on parenting with power are the heart of the blog and will continue to be, but sometimes I may throw in a post that is just about the joys (or frustrations) of parenting. I don’t sit around and stew in White guilt all day, and I worry this blog makes it seem like I do when I only post critical self-reflections. While parenting with privilege needs to centralize self-reflection & justice-oriented action, parenting in general has so much joy in it. I want this blog to represent all of that. (And to be clear, sometimes there is joy in self-reflection and justice-oriented action. But I am talking about a different type of joy).

So, in the spirit of joy:

A learned to blow raspberries on my stomach on Monday night. I laughed so hard that he would come back every few minutes and do it again to make me laugh!

My husband and I took A trick-or-treating for the first time this year. I tried to dress A up as an adorable fluffy llama, but he screamed every time we put the costume on him. Instead we got a Dracula cape and covered both him and my husband in fake blood…seems appropriate for a 15-month old’s costume, right? 

My husband had to go out of town last weekend, so A and I made a spontaneous trip to the zoo by ourselves. We’ve been so many times before that I thought it would just a way to spend an hour or two (it’s a free zoo, so you don’t feel guilt for going for only an hour!), but we somehow found all of these exhibits we’d never seen before and it was so much fun! A specifically asked to see the ‘maymun’ (Turkish for monkeys), so we spent lots of time in the Primate House. He also would not leave the Children’s Zoo goat area …. 

A is obsessed with blowing kisses! Anytime I ask him to say thank you or I love you, he blows a kiss. Plus all of the other times that he just wants to give people kisses. We facetime my family a lot, and he leans down and gives the screen a kiss over and over when we are talking to his aunts or Nana & PopPop.

Til next week—Happy wiping,