Thursday, May 20, 2010

a race-y post

I can honestly say that I am a prejudiced person (and I hate it about myself). I can honestly say that I believe everyone is (because we are all so incredibly flawed). But I can honestly say that I have never ever ever been racist. I seek to love all people as Christ loves all people--equally and with a servant's heart. I can honestly say that I fail at this regularly, as my heart often chooses to believe lies instead of Truth.

I have been so very bothered about the video included in this CNN article.

Bear with me, here, but...where is the control group? To what are we comparing these children's answers? All I see here is a study on color. Not skin color, mind you, but color. The child in this video, as admitted by her mother, has not been exposed to much ethnic diversity in her short life. She probably has, however, watched hours upon hours of Disney princess movies and the like, wherein darkness is always, always associated with evil. What conclusion must she draw?

This study is reality. People with dark skin have a plight, and this is it: since the beginning of history, obscurity is bad and light is good. If the study had shown children pictures of identical children wearing dark clothing versus light clothing, I venture to guess the results would be the same.

There are also emotions associated with every color of the rainbow (anyone who has taken a marketing class has been taught this basic idea). Yellow is happy and blue is calm. Perhaps CNN should do a study showing identical children with skin tones or clothing of every color, and asked the questions, "Which is the happy child?" and "Which is the calm child?" I imagine the results would largely reflect how each child's mood affected by the colors represented.

I think I am most bothered because this little girl is Rachel. She's fair and innocent, about the same age, and having lived in a sort of protected bubble so far in her sweet little life. I felt preyed upon by CNN. This mother--presumably intentionally chosen for the interview because of her blond hair and southern accent--was upset to the point of tears, and then badgered (in my opinion) about her daughter having a "healthy ego." She was put on the spot and made to feel as if her child is racist--race being a subject that has probably never even occurred to the child.

I can't quite get my bearings on what point CNN is trying to make through this study. In the article, it seems as if black families talk with their children about race--because they have to. Their children automatically face obstacles that white and fair children do not--the darker their skin, the bigger and more frequent the obstacles. How can white people help? I think we must give our children opportunities to interact with people of other ethnicities. We must find ways to build relationships and to love them and serve them as equals and superiors. I truly don't think just talking about it will remedy much, because everyone has a fear of the unknown. We can talk ourselves until we are blue in the face (ha!), but until our children know through experience that it's okay, they will fear other races.

Practically, this can be challenging. Most of us live and work and play and socialize with people who are like us. And that's understandable. I think minorities do the same thing. It's comfortable. It's easy. The plight of dark-skinned people will never be reversed, in my opinion. But those of us who don't experience it can surely do something to remedy the problem, to aid in their course, to help them overcome--obstacles and fears of their own--and to display love and compassion, understanding and empathy. These are people, who live with a sort of inborn oppression that I can never understand. I simply pray that I don't add to it, and that, most of all, they see a glimpse of the character of Jesus in me, so that they will be drawn to a Savior who cares and understands and wants to carry their burdens for them, and who ultimately died for each and every person: "...and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation" (Revelation 5:9). Praise and glory to the One who is the very embodiment of unconditional, unwavering LOVE.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

she's eighteen...months

Oh, sweet Carly. I have so much updating to do on her growth and goings-on. She adores her big sister, and she's learned to push Rachel's buttons, too. She's opinionated and full of personality. Life is so much more fun with her around.

Last Monday, I started her in big girl undies. ...well, to her, they are big girl undies. They are really the teeny tiny padded Gerber training undies, but they are definitely not diapers, which is the key. My plan was to wait until the weather got warm enough, and then let her run around in undies and a tee for a few days until she figured things out. Thankfully, I don't have to worry one iota about poopy, because she hasn't done that in her pants in MONTHS...I honestly cannot remember the last poopy diaper I had to change. So, I've waited on the peepee. I started Rachel in undies much earlier, and it resulted in much frustration. Looking back on our EC experience with her, it was just a silly mistake on my part--I needed to be comfortable waiting until the child could clearly communicate her needs. With Rachel, I was left guessing (does that mean potty? does she need to go? is she going to go in her pants??). Carly can say everything that needs to be said, and clearly has a grasp of all of it: potty, diaper, undies, dry, wet...she gets it.

So last Monday and Tuesday were full of puddles. She did immediately start telling me when she had wet (she was always so concerned with "peepee...floor"). By Wednesday, we could have let ourselves become quite frustrated, but, I held onto hope that she'd get better. By the weekend, she was making it to the potty much more often, and yesterday, we were accident-free! AND, the best part is that we aren't having to prompt her at all--I think that is key to knowing she understands (I remember constantly asking Rachel, mostly out of fear that I would miss her cues). She even woke up Monday morning, calling "potty, potty, potty" and her diaper was DRY! That hasn't happened again, although her morning daipers have been significantly less soggy. I'm certainly okay with that taking a little longer (Rachel was almost 2 1/2 before she stayed dry at night).

At any rate, it appears we're pretty well there--with a potty-trained baby turning 18 months old yesterday. And I could not be more pleased with our journey this time around. We started on Day 1 with EC (Elimination Communication) this time. It sounds like a long time to work on something, but it has become a lifestyle around here. Was it worth it, knowing that I might could have gone this route (that is, potty training by way of training pants in 2 weeks or less) even without all the preliminary pottying that happened over the last 18 months? YES. A thousand times--YES. I cannot ignore the fact that she has always pooped in the potty as the rule, not the exception, and began doing so consistently around 7 months (whenever solid poop showed up and she began sitting up). No, she didn't tell me, and yes, I changed many poopy diapers too. But what mommy wouldn't give up a little extra effort to have to deal with LESS poopy?? By about 10 months, I probably only had to change one poopy diaper a week (give or take), and by 12 months, hardly ever. For THAT, and that alone, it's worth it to me. And I can't help but think that our week-in-undies has been made easier by EC.

Other things I love about Carly:

  • She loves hugs, and, although she's on-the-move all day, she regularly checks in for a good snuggle.
  • She also loves to snuggle with stuffed animals, and, anytime she snuggles, she says, "awwwwww" when she hugs one of her little friends, or one of us. It's very cute.
  • When she's having fun, she says, "BEEEEEEEE" instead of "weeeeee!"
  • She says "peeba" for "pizza" (which she loves).
  • When she nods affirmatively, her entire torso nods enthusiastically.
  • She LOVES to communicate, and gets so very excited when we understand her. She has lots of words, and sometimes will rattle them off, just to hear herself be understood ("knee...knee...knee..." "Yes, Carly, that IS your knee." ).
  • She's very ambitious, and is into climbing, jumping, and running. She is expressive when she falls ("woah!" she squeals).
  • She thinks Rachel is funny, and she seeks her big sissy's approval. She also knows how to get a rise out of Rachel, which is funny to watch, but it quickly creating points of contention throughout the day. Rachel's a tough cookie, but it appears that Carly will be giving her a run for her money. I love that.
  • She is the easiest to laugh. Just a tone in my voice or a sideways glance can get a giggle out of her. And she has the best giggle I've ever heard; it's impossible not to smile or laugh along with her.

There are so many things, every day. I can't count how many times I whisper under my breath, You are so stinkin' cute.. The twinkly in those clear blue eyes, and those squishy chubby, thighs and the little curls that are growing in the back of her hair...her random assortment of teeth, the way she'll crawl or scoot on her bottom just to be funny, the way she's beginning to pretend and form her own opinions. I think we'll keep her.