Tuesday, January 10, 2012

What She Looks Like

I worked too much in the Fall. I was working more than 35 hrs a week at a new job with a big commute. I was also teaching at the university at night with all the marking and course prep and a big co-teaching collaborative footprint.

My family gave a lot to make it all work out.

I know when I work like that the kids need to see reason. Often they get the money angle, I'll be honest, so I decided on a sad night when my g'nigh came to an already sleeping face.. again... we would go away. The kids and I would spend some of the money on a little vacation. We went to Victoria.

For this trip we travel from our house for a couple hours. Bye-bye Daddy. Lunch with my parents in Ladner nearby and then the kids get to see their uncle in Victoria. A nice getaway, for sure, a simple trip.

We took the ferry and there Miss Fancy made a friend. Her friend's name was Lillian and I have a little story about it.

We met up right away at sailing. Lillian and Miss Fancy playing with Boy-o in the kids' playspace. We quickly went outside. Not. A. Playspace. Fan. I had a nice chat with Lillian's Mom. They were en route to see Lillian's grandparents for Christmas, for them from Australia. They had come via Beijing where they met up with Lillian's uncle and aunt and her 4 year old cousin. They had also said bye-bye to Daddy.

The children played and played. We mothers talked. I snapped photos with my blackberry, Lillian's mom with her iphone. As we neared the shore we exchanged emails, we'd be in touch. "Thanks for everything!" "Merry Christmas". So on and so on.

By this time the kids had taken to the floor to draw. My daughter's bag of supplies being shared, papers askew. Our new friends were setting off quickly and we were running late. They would walk off and their time was more flexible. I needed to muster to the car deck. C'mon! What is the delay?.. N. was slow. She was drawing over which she does often dawdle.

"Mom I am drawing." ..
"What are you drawing?"..
Silence. What is she drawing? I am wondering.
"I HAVE to finish this."
In my mind, what is she drawing (still not peeking) is she drawing something for Lillian?
Lillian is wandering away.
"I have to finish this."
"Finish what"
"I am drawing Lillian. I want to remember what she looks like."


Isn't that interesting? (I mean is that interesting?) We have these devices, their ubiquity to record and there my girl 7 years old knew and to here it means little (or nothing). She wants her picture. She replaces that -- I know her -- what I have with what she might select from her mind. Her idea under the work of her own hand is what makes the memory. It is what she will trust. Somehow I really loved that.

It was a good trip and that was the best story.

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Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Gendrefication or power up the Cloaking Device

This morning in the race across town to my now distant cushier job I steal a peek @suefisher and @bonstewart. An excellent dialogue on gender and lego; a happy little mind bending to incisive people I have never met. I reach and think a fine few minutes of those I weave some affinity with -- the luxury of it.

Anyway.. the dialogue.. Gender to lego, enough! Damn how can lego have gender? Well too much has gender now. It is what - or it is one more thing -- that is eating away at childhood in my mind. I think one tweeter put it out as market forces. B*%lsh@t! No I know it is not. Not market forces but the aggression of corporations over childhood.

Remember I have one boy and one girl. I learned early what would and would not go both ways -- toys, clothes even books. It is something I have bucked, if you will pardon the pun. My son wore plenty of track pants just a little bet scalloped on the edge. The kids have abided the rants that there is not such thing as girl music.. even if there is.

I do believe I have become a rantafarian. I freak that we are holding onto childhood by our fingernails that the mania for industrial child corps to extinguish the ambiguity of children in favour of the profitability of mini-adults is winning. Remember I was an administrator for schools so impoverished for resources, begging, brokering and selling to make learning happen. It was a part of my work for a tough three years sick to see the Matrix of learning devices and 'free' software pin kids from the youngest possible ages in a dataset of self that will set them for harvesting for sale in perpetuity. I can't help often to see the black patent swish of a Trinity trenchcoat in each 'it will save us' post of the graces to Ipad in education.

I say this with the intense vulnerability of this space do I? That I have done as much to pin my own children (thinly veiled) on a blog? I don't think so. More than once I thank the test space of this parenting dialogue to allow me to want to hack parenting and fight and differentiate. I have said it before it is the dialogue in these distant spaces that have fueled my (hard come by) commitment and fitting in to to IRL action of being mother-woman. I am not here to tell you how this will end...

So you see I was biting my tongue just a tad....

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