I’ve been going through some things. Part of it is just a really really busy stage right now. I’ve been on a plane at least once a month since April and that will continue through the end of the year. It’s a combination of fun, work, and dissertation (which I guess is work) but it’s exhausting. Speaking of my dissertation, it is really moving and I CAN actually see the end of this process.
On top of it we’ve had some family struggles which I just don’t want to post about (to all the grandparents – you already know all about it so please don’t get melodramatic). All of this means I’ve just been…quiet.
Last month my mom and sister came to visit with my niece. They had a companion flight that was about to expire, so it was the perfect last minute fun. We took the kids to the Met one day. This is the first time we’ve been where Simon is old enough to kind of get it. We made it about three hours (including an overpriced lunch) so I was impressed. We saw Egypt and a good portion of the American Wing.
Heard from Simon:
“Mom, this is the same Egypt that Sherman and Mr. Peabody went to!”
“I’m scared to touch it (one of the things you were allowed to touch) what if the mummy comes to life?
“This place is amazing!”
“Mom, mom, come look at this one. It’s beautiful.”
In one of the groups I’m in some things went down today involving a
“Statement of Diversity & Inclusion” and the aftermath of backlash involving some who have a gross misunderstanding of racism and white privilege. It’s not my place to go into specifics, but this has been heavy on my mind all day. So I share this story instead.
In my Intro to Psychology class I teach about altruism and the bystander effect. One of my few personal examples I share in class is in this module. Several years ago I was on the bus home, when I noticed a flashing “Emergency, Call 911” on a passing bus. I asked the driver, “Should I call 911?” The driver responded “He’s probably accidentally hit the switch, don’t worry.” But then I thought, how do I KNOW if it’s an accident or a real situation. The bus has the alert for a reason. So I called 911 and a patrol car pulled on at the next exit and presumably stopped the bus. I continued on my way home. The moral of the story for my class is – if you aren’t sure, call for help, what’s the harm, but it may help.
Last fall a young black man asked me: “But what if you are in a situation where you are worried that some harm could come to you for calling.”
I had no response. “You’re right, I’m a white woman. I don’t know what I would have done if I were in a place where I could put myself in danger.”
*Just had to get something out on a day my heart is heavy. These are real problems that need real action.*
***Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.
I’ve been made extra aware of the power of words over the last year. In my Intro to Psychology class last fall we talked a lot about the power of words and the meaning behind them. For example, what are you really saying when you say something or someone is “crazy” and what could be a better word choice.
I have experienced the most profound examples in listening to my children speak. When you hear yourself, it can be eye opening. Simon called Rob a jerk a couple of months ago. Simon was angry. It was not ok. But…how many times have Rob or I said one of the kids was acting like a jerk in their hearing range? Part correcting the problem language is a matter of better modeling. I’m working on it.
My latest revelation is hearing how often we say “That’s not important right now, you need to…” or “I don’t care, what we are doing now is…” Simon is a dawdler. And it is maddening. So we say some variation of this often. I’m starting to worry that what he is hearing is “You are not important” and “I don’t care what you want”. I want to get better at taking the moment to see whatever thing is so important to him he has to do it right now. But in those moments where we actually do need to keep moving – like trying to get out the door for school? Any advice on a better word choice?
I probably won’t actually write about the insanity that is entering Kindergarten in the NYC public school system. But just know we are in the middle of it and I’m trying very hard to not get crazy, because it’s Kindergarten.
I came across this article over the weekend, and it articulates some feelings I’ve had better than I’ve been able to. Namely, that if you are able to hold your kid back, they will still likely enter Kindergarten with a bunch of kids who were not held back.
I want to take that a little further though. In conducting my dissertation research in two places, New York City and Indiana, the issue of cut-off dates for entering school has come up. Here school entry is by calendar year, meaning kids are 4.5 – 5.5 entering Kinder. And it isn’t the easiest thing to hold your kid back with the public school. In Indiana, cut off dates are much earlier – in June. So my friends son was born July 2010 and Simon July 2011 and they are both entering Kinder this year with no holding back. So there is already an 18 month difference in Kinder entry nationwide! This could get wider with “redshirting” (although realistically by only a few months).
For Kindergarten at the local level at least the whole pool is in it together. But I’m working with middle school kids, so my kids in Indiana are older than their comparison sample. Which gets me thinking about how Simon and my friends son could be college roommates. There are huge leaps in executive function that happen in late adolescence and early adulthood. And I can’t stop thinking of the potential trouble that comes from one friend turning 21 more than a year before the other. (And yes, this happens anyway in college, but I wonder/worry that the potential for trouble could be greater for reasons I can’t coherently put words to.)
But in the short term, I’m just trying to get into Kindergarten.