“Do Marines like cake?” “Does God have a butt?” Conversations with a five-year-old

“Do Marines like cake?” “Does God have a butt?” Conversations with a five-year-old

“Mommy, you’re a hippo.”
“I’m a what?! Why?!”
“You’re a mommy hippo. Because I want to be a baby hippo.”
“Oh.”
“I’m a baby hippo, but I’m also Denzel.”
“So like a baby hippo whose name is Denzel?”
“No, sometimes I’m a baby hippo, other times I’m Denzel.”
“OK.”
“Mommy, you’re also a baby strawberry.”
“WHY AM I A BABY STRAWBERRY?”
“Because it sounds nice. Daddy is a watermelon.”
“OK.”

***

“Are Marines allowed to ride in elevators by themselves?”
“Yes.”
“Do they have guns?”
“Yes.”
“And unicorns?”
“What?”
“They wear unicorns?”
“Uniforms!”
“Mommy, you’re laughing too hard. You’ll pee yourself if you don’t stop.”
“Says the kid who accuses Marines of wearing unicorns.”
“Do Marines have to eat dinner?”
“Yes.”
“What if they don’t like their dinner?”
“I’m pretty sure they just buck up and eat it anyway?”
“So they don’t cry?”
“Not over stupid stuff like dinner.”
“What do Marines cry about?”
“Serious stuff. Probably.”
“Like when people die?”
“Like when people die.”
“Does everyone die?”
“Eventually, yes.”
“Do Marines like cake?”
“Of course they do.”  Continue reading ““Do Marines like cake?” “Does God have a butt?” Conversations with a five-year-old”

Why don’t you treat men this way? The false dichotomy of “mother vs. artist”

Why don’t you treat men this way? The false dichotomy of “mother vs. artist”

This post of on combining art and motherhood made the rounds this past winter. There were a lot of responses, public and private. Two of the more recent responses made me feel like revisiting the issue:

1. The Divided Heart is a more honest exploration of what it’s like to be a mother and an artist. I’m sorry, but I think you are over-compensating and it shows. For decades, women have been quite open about how combining great art and motherhood is almost always an impossibility. One blog post on the matter from someone who sold one play is not going to convince society.

2. All due respect, Natalie [sic], but people like you lure promising artists towards breeding, and the results are almost always disastrous. I wonder if you’ll change your mind when your kid is on the therapist’s couch, discussing the ways in which mum neglected him so she could make her Art, and he almost certainly will be.

So to address all that:

Who the hell are you to argue that women can be both mothers and great artists? You’re nobody! But it’s not about me.

The idea that you can’t reconcile being a mother with being great artist is, today, a peculiarly Western concept. In many other parts of the world, women just get on with it.

One of Russia’s greatest poets, Anna Akhmatova, was a mother. Nobody goes around wringing their hands on her behalf. One of Russia’s greatest painters, Zinaida Serebriakova, was a mother – and, once again, people really didn’t make a big deal out of it. Continue reading “Why don’t you treat men this way? The false dichotomy of “mother vs. artist””

Yeah, Patrick Smith’s latest column on air travel kind of sucks…

I get that screaming/crying children on planes are a nuisance. But in my considerable flying experience, only about 5% of them are, you know, poorly behaved and doing it on purpose. The rest can’t help it. Babies especially. Air travel can be hell on an adult body – it can also be hell on a small child’s body, and small children don’t yet possess the necessary coping skills to avoid causing a ruckus.

I feel hella bad for myself when stuck on a long flight next to a crying child – I also tend to feel bad for the child. And the parent. Because it’s not as if the crying itself is not bad enough – there’s also the dirty looks from everyone else.

There are some really awful, spoiled kids out there – but for most, irritating behaviour on airplanes, crying in particular, is not a choice.

Now here are some people who do, on the other hand, make a choice:

Pervy older guy who was a total sleazebag? Made a choice!

Dude who put his seat all the way back and didn’t want to raise it during meal-time (I was sitting behind him and couldn’t figure out how to eat, since I couldn’t unfold my tray properly. The flight attendant had words with him. Dude bitched both of us out)? Made a choice!

The people who get roaring drunk and start yelling/throwing up/otherwise being pricks? Are making a freaking choice!

Drunk woman who told my dad to “go back to Russia” after he expressed his displeasure at her nearly dropping her suitcase on him while she was standing up in the aisle? Made a choice!

People who sexually harass the flight attendant? Are making a choice!

Couples having incredibly loud, incredibly obnoxious fights on an airplane? Also making a choice. Look, I have some experience arguing with an SO while on an airplane. Screaming “FUCK YOU I KNOW YOU FUCKED THAT DUDE!!!” is kind of rude. Wait till you get to your hotel room. Really, I am sorry that she fucked that dude, dude. If it’s true and you’re not just making shit up, that is. But when you start screaming about it, it distresses me and it distresses the other passengers (and causes small children to start crying, incidentally.

People who make a horrible mess with their food and belongings and don’t bother cleaning up? Goddamn choice.

I could go on, but the point is – there’s good flights and bad flights. On the bad flights I’ve been on, kids have rarely been the problem, and even when they were, it was mostly over stuff they had no power over to begin with. And believe me, I’ve seen some HORRIBLE kids and even MORE HORRIBLE parents (and the worst, by far, was an English lady who smacked her kid around and yelled expletives at him). But they’re still a minority.

When people make blanket statements demonizing all children they’re also just demonizing mothers. Who are still primarily the ones taking care of children and who should stay at home with their brood until they’re all 18, obviously. Nothing sexist about that, right?