Spring break and getting out of town

The kids are on Spring Break so the first part of it was spent out of town. Naturally.

Yep, we headed to Seattle and spent the long weekend with my brother and Lily and doing fun tourist-y things like MoPOP and the aquarium and Pike’s Place.

Oh, and hotel swims. We had lots of hotel swims.

No Prasil trip is complete without a sick child or two, right? So we had that, too. But our kids are troopers extreme and they powered through.

We went to a transgender support group for children ages 3-9 and it was pretty incredible. Working with Willow Center, I know how important it is for children to not feel like they are going through something difficult alone. That they aren’t the only “weird” one, that there are all types of people. And when you’re with a bunch of people who are navigating something similar to what you are, you don’t feel so alone, so judged, and so lonely. We left the support group and Luke was smiling so much he was almost laughing. I said, “So did you meet people like you? Who people thought was a girl when they were born but is actually a boy?” He looked up at me and laughed and said, “I don’t even know! I couldn’t tell!” And I might have teared up.

But the ice in my heart quickly froze all emotion and things were normal. Phew.

We had lots of delicious meals, both with kids and without. We went to Pie Bar which was so delicious and I want 10 more chicken pot pies and 5 more berry pies stat. We went to Top Pot donuts and El Borracha and we watched the Zags lose and played at parks and walked all over and it was really, really fun.

But we were exhausted by the end of it. So now we’re just home, hanging out, enjoying no-school days. Working from home and watching so much Netflix. The weather is beautiful and the kids have been outside so much. We have a busy month with Green Apple Project fundraisers and events and work and doctor’s appointments and school and………but you are all familiar with busy lives!

Happy Spring.

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Name change parties and a happy boy.

Kids are funny, yeah? Unless you teach them something isn’t quite right, they roll with it. Unless you teach them that one is better than another, they think everyone is equal. Unless you teach them that a little girl who never felt like a girl at all, but more like a boy who is now living his true self is sick and wrong, they’ll think it’s the most logical thing to do. Be who you are, don’t worry about what others think.

I asked Luke what he would say to someone who didn’t support him, who thought it wasn’t right for someone with girl parts to really be a boy and live like a boy. He said, “I would tell them that it’s okay to be who you are and you should just accept people for who they are.”

Kids get it.

So when I went to Luke’s school and spoke to the principal, the school psychologist, and his classroom teacher, we all pretty much agreed that this would be a smooth transition, that children would be accepting. Because that’s how things should be. Treat others how you would like to be treated. Call me crazy, but I think maybe that even includes transgender children and adults. So imagine my surprise when one of the teachers refused to be supportive (not Luke’s classroom teacher and not the school psychologist or principal…they were and are so amazing. My kids are so lucky to be at that school). She refused to take this as an opportunity to teach her students that Alice isn’t transforming into another person completely, she’s just changing her name to Luke and would like to live as a boy…that same friend is still there, just with shorter hair and a different spelling of the name. Imagine my surprise when she not only put his name change party invites into a sealed white envelope for her class, but also posted about it on Facebook, telling parents that the kids have no idea what’s in the envelope and she wanted them to see it before making a decision. The invite literally just said, “name change party.” I didn’t use words like transgender or queer or go into detail about our situation.  There wasn’t even a rainbow on the invite for God’s sake. It was a simple invitation to all of Luke’s friends to come and celebrate this huge change.

I shouldn’t have been too surprised. Some adults will make a big deal out of things no matter what. Even when it makes it harder for children, harder for families, adults still feel like they  need to insert themselves into every situation and try and take charge. This isn’t something that anyone can really take charge of. It’s not something that can change. This is just the way it is, and if you know Luke, you know it’s exactly how it’s supposed to be.

This weekend was Luke’s name change party and how lucky are we that so many people came?

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All these people were here for Luke. Parents I had never met, close friends, kids from the other class, siblings…all of these friends were here to tell Luke that he’s great. That this change is one that will be met with love and support more often than judgment and hate. These are the people who will be his allies, his helpers, the people he can go to when things get hard.

Oh, these friends of ours (and so many that weren’t able to come and aren’t pictured, too!)

I think I took more Polaroid photos than I did normal ones, but this is a pretty good representation. Luke’s face never quit smiling.

We had food and goodies and such a great time.

Gifts. People brought Luke gifts.

What’s one way that someone can show you they love you? By traveling hours and hours for an event that they know is almost as important as a birth to you. (It was. That might sound crazy but this was so important.)

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These guys know life isn’t easy and they know it’s going to be even harder for Luke. They know that the one teacher who isn’t supportive is just a tiny taste of what we’ll be met with for years and years. They know that one thing that a child can never get enough of is love. My kids have no doubt about who they can turn to when they need it.

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These are my people. And all the ones on the other side of the camera. And all the ones to the side and behind us. All the people who see Luke for who he is, what his heart shows, how he treats others, how he loves and how we love him. These are our people, whether they were at the party or not, those who show us love and respect and compassion – those are our people.

 

There’s a song in Hamilton (I know, I know) and the lyrics make me tear up every time.

 

“…you will come of age with our young nation.

We’ll bleed and fight for you.

We’ll make it right for you.

If we lay a strong enough foundation,

We’ll pass it on to you,

We’ll give the world to you

And you’ll blow us all away

Someday, someday.”

Every time I sing this song, I think of what I’m doing for my kids. How hard I’m working, how hard my family is working, how hard my friends are working. It’s not always easy to speak out when you know something is wrong. It’s not always easy to be who you truly are, especially when so many people so loudly disagree. It’s heartbreaking to see someone hate your child when they don’t even know them.

But if we lay a strong enough foundation, we’ll give the world to our children. And they’ll blow us all away. That, I know, and that’s why I’m willing to fight and make it right.

12.

Today Maria is 12. I could say that 12 years ago was the scariest moment of my life, when at 19 and unmarried, Danny and I had our first baby. But that’d be a big fat lie because I’ve always known that Maria was meant for us.

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I use a lot of hypotheticals in my writing as it pertains to my children. My children WILL BE the ones who help others, they WILL BE the ones who change the world, on and on. But with Maria, in her short 12 years here, nothing has been a hypothetical. She’s done it. She’s been the one who invites the ‘weird’ kid to sit with her at lunch and then proves to everyone that he’s not weird, he’s different, and different is awesome. She has stood up to bullies both to defend herself and to defend her friends and her siblings. She’s given her own money and her own time for people in need. She is willing to have uncool beliefs in the eyes of her peers if she believes them to be true and right and just.

I have truly, honestly, never met a soul quite like Maria’s – adult or child. She’s a rare one. She has a way about her that, even though she’s a much better person than you, she’ll make you feel like you’re the one doing good. She helps subtly, not for show. She’s empathetic and will cry for you, cheer for you, and just be with you. She’s wittier than most adults I know and has a quick comeback for everything.

She knows the world. She knows that there are lots of different people with lots of different opinions, lots of ways of expressing themselves, lots of religions and beliefs and ways of life. She knows about struggles, about drug addiction, alcoholism, mental illness, tragedy and loss. She knows that all of these people in our world are important.

She knows Trump is an dipshit and knows our world needs change.  But if she knew I said that in my blog about her, she’d agree but be very disappointed in my choice of words.

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And there’s a million things she hasn’t done.

Just you wait.

Just you wait.

 

Happy Birthday, Maria ❤

 

 

Lewis and Snark is the new _______

Here are some things I know:

I like to laugh. I like to laugh at myself because I’m so embarrassing and dumb. Television was a gift given to us by God. My friends are legit and funny and really smart. My laugh is ridiculous and annoying but I don’t give a ________.

You guys, you will learn to know all these things to because guess what? Jackie and I have launched a podcast and it’s freaking cherry.

 

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Here’s a bit about what we talk about in the latest episode:

  • the fact that my hair is greasy and I pretend it’s not
  • Hannah on Girls (SPOILER) being pregnant (sorry Josh, I bet you read that even though I said spoiler)
  • Fighting with my kids
  • Instant Pot — not mary jane fyi

We also talk to a real-life attorney (at-law) who discusses the legal episode of Bob’s Burgers with us but then offends us and gets hung up on. And we can do that because this is our show. Boom.

I forgot to tell you we have giveaways. Now, actually, we’re running a giveaway for this:

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Straight from Momofuku in New York. All you have to do is comment on our FB or IG page about your favorite part of our podcast. IT’S THAT EASY. And since I have an issue with buying things and giving them away there will be lots of fun things like this.

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I forgot to talk about the genius that is Jackie who came up with the name Lewis and Snark. DUUUUDDDDEEEEEE. She’s clever.

 

SO, if you like listening to me butcher sayings like “forgive and forget,” talking about quality television (Teen Mom2, GIRLS, all things Bravo) or you wanna get in on this podcast and plug an event you’re a part of or a tv show you love and wanna share with our listeners, hit us up!!

It’s hard launching something new, and something that takes a lot of time and effort but it’s easier to do it with a friend and when it’s something that makes people laugh. We’re slowly growing our audience and I thought you’d want in on it. Check it out below:

 

Pies, history and hailing cabs

Danny and I rarely get one on one time with the kids. We try, but it’s just very hard with so many kittens. For Christmas this year, though, we decided we’d give them each a special trip. The little girls went to Disneyland, Jamie opted out of his trip, Lucian is going snowboarding with Danny and Maria? Well Maria and I went to NYC. My mom joined us and it was, in one word, incredible. We saw two broadway shows (Waitress and Hamilton), ate delicious food, went to the Central Park Zoo, visited a museum and cabbed our way around the city.

 

  1. Waitress was awesome. Jessie Mueller played the main character and her voice is so great. We bought tiny pies in mason jars and wine in tumblers to enjoy during the performance. Of course Maria, my emotional one, cried during several parts. It tackles some pretty grown-up stuff and she handled it like a champ.

 

2. We visited the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

3. Food and Museum

4. Central Park and the Zoo

5. The Room Where it Happens

 

I still cannot believe I saw Hamilton on Broadway. I know, some of you won’t care at all but my kids and I have been listening to the music for months and months and are utterly obsessed. To see the dancing and acting that goes along with it was insane.

Now all I can listen to is the Mix Tape (immigrants happens to be my favorite track right now…).

 

The Danish Way

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I’m particular. Shocking, I know.

I know exactly the type of people I want my children to be (not specifically, like their professions, looks, sexuality, that kind of thing — but generally). I want them to be loving, kind, patient, accepting, helpful. I want my children to be freaking happy.

In my constant quest for my children’s happiness I come across lots and lots of parenting books. This isn’t fair for me to say and there’s no reason really that I should think this, but any American-based parenting guide or book is something I walk right past. Why? I feel like America, as a culture, doesn’t do the very best in raising happy, empathetic, well-adjusted kids. Don’t confuse this with me saying I don’t know any Americans who are great parents. That’s not true at all. I know lots and lots of really great American parents. But like I said, I’m particular. We all look for things that tailor to our own belief system and when it comes to parenting books, I tend to lean towards un-American. I did it, I said it.

Before reading this book (“The Danish Way of Parenting”) my favorite was “Bringing up Bebe” by Pamela Druckerman. She’s funny and real and I loved how she gave real-life experiences with French mothers to back up what she was saying. I loved it. But then I saw this book at Book People in Moscow and didn’t even read the back cover before putting it on the checkout desk. I read it in one sitting and it’s now my favorite.

The Danes are happy and there must be a reason why. It’s not just a coincidence that all the happiest people were born there, am I right? I am, I’ll answer that for you. I’m right. The Danes know how to parent and now that I’m privy to some of their secrets  parenting ways, I feel like a dumbass. It’s all so obvious. It’s so common sense and easy.

Don’t resort to automatically telling your children they are the best and smartest.

Teach empathy.

Look on the bright side of things.

Help your child find their own solutions to their own problems, don’t do it for them.

Let kids play – imaginative, fun, creative, non-electronic play.

These are all things I know but have a hard time executing. I don’t spank, but I do sometimes yell. Not good. I turn the TV on when I just want peace and quiet. I sometimes dwell on things I’m bad at, not the things I’m great at. I force my kids to share their toys at the first hint of another child’s jealousy instead of letting them figure it out for themselves and coming up with a solution.

You guys, buy this book. Or borrow it from me. Or check it out from the library. Just get your hands on a copy and read it.