I started this blog in 2011 to come to terms with motherhood and parenting. What material forces shaped parenting and how did such materiality in turn shape our affective universe? Was it easy to parent in America? Was it easy to be a mother?
I realized quickly, however, that parenting was not just about parents and their children. It was about an entire life: how much money one earned, how much leave one got to be with their child, what race they were, what kind of schools they could afford, and so on.
So the blog morphed.
And now it is a blog about everything. And that is the way it should be.
A local journalist wrote to me this morning about my views on "free speech," "safe space" and such terms that have recently lost their previous historical banality and acquired some political meaning. Here I reproduce, in full, our conversation that will soon appear, in some form, in the local paper.
There is snow on the ground, it covers everything. And through the snow, crunch crunch crunch, goes a little boy in a bright red snow suit.
Sometimes he walks with his toes pointing out, sometimes he walks with his toes pointing in, making little footprints on the white, untouched snow. The little boy is Peter and he walks a lot on this Snowy Day— all the way from the book to your home and the homes of several thousand children in America and the rest of the world.
My child asked me before I came here why I was so angry: I wasn’t always enraged. In the beginning I too was perplexed-- but then I was only 7 years old when I heard of my first Israeli bombing of the Arab people. I am a child of Israel’s Operation Litani of 1978 when Israel’s bombing of Lebanon killed more than a thousand civilians and tens of thousands of war devastated families were left homeless. Since 1978, I have grown up alongside of countless other Operations by Israel on my Palestinian sisters and brothers: Operations Summer Rains, Autumn Clouds, Hot Winter, Cast Lead, Returning Echo, Pillar of Defence and now Protective Edge.
You know you are in the global south when -- the old homeless man on the street wears a T-shirt proclaiming “Extreme Skater” with the image of a skateboard. He does not know what a skate-board is, or what Extreme Sport is. He does not speak English. He picked up the shirt from the rubbish or bought it cheap at some point at the many second hand clothing heaps that exist on the roadside selling this stuff for very little, funneling yet more first world rejects into his city.
I wake up in the middle of the night to go check on my child. She breathes, she makes little sleep-noises. I leave the room. Again, half-an hour later I go back to check if she is alright. If she still breathes. I go back again and again through the night because instead of sleeping I have been watching the news coming in from Gaza. This is the seventh day of bombing in Gaza, ten children are dead and 140 wounded.
The Chicago Teachers Union went on strike on Monday, September 10, 2012 to defend public education. That sentence alone should be cause for celebration, since according to most reports strikes have been decreasing steadily for the last 30 years. But wait, the CTU won! And they won against the most powerful and toxic brew of political forces.
This is a blog about children and how we as parents, caregivers and general putter-uppers relate to them. This is why we have to talk about the Chicago mayor, Rahm Emanuel, for Rahm is all about the kids. Rahm has uttered the words “It’s for the kids” almost as many times as he has slashed budgets for social programs; and if you know Rahm that will be many times.
Let us admit at the outset that I have not always spoken in my inside voice to my child. And let us also admit that people have commented on certain similarities between Amy Chua’s ideas about parenting and mine. And now gentle reader, those of you who have fought the urge to call Child Services, read on.
My three year old came home from preschool yesterday and said “Mama, Miss Tara twisted my arm today at naptime and it hurt me”. These are words that scaffold every parent’s nightmares. My failure to have protected my child from pain/harm does battle with my immediate blinding rage. What is the due process in this case: should I dialogue with the school or should I ask for a public square and some rocks? What could possibly make the 45-year-old Ms. Tara hurt my child? As my sleepless night abdicates for a resigned morning there is another drama unfolding across my small town. 43-year-old Bethany Warner is fired from her job as a school bus driver by the local school board. She fell asleep at the wheel while driving the children back from school. Eight students were sent to the hospital with minor injuries.