Thursday, July 21, 2011

Laundry, toilets, and persistance

My son loves to play games where he takes objects in and out of containers.  A perfect opportunity for him to play these is when Bonnie Jean sorts laundry.  As a standard part of laundry clothes are taken out of the dryer, put into a basket, removed from the basket, folded, and put back into the basket.  If he's lucky Bonnie Jean will even put him inside the laundry basket as she empties the laundry from the drier so he gets to enjoy all the warm clothes as they come down and she'll let him ride inside the laundry basket as it moves to the living room for sorting.  Laundry, from his perspective,  means put things in, take them out, wave them around and rumple them, and put them back in the white plastic laundry basket.

So Bonnie Jean was doing laundry and he was doing his best to participate in the general taking in and out and waving around involved.  He noticed another white plastic container in the room that he hadn't ever used in this game before.  Mommy almost never made a fuss about him playing container games with the laundry, so it was a perfect opportunity.  He grabbed my white Sunday shirt and proceeded to try to stuff it into the kitchen trash can.  Bonnie Jean tells me he was being quite persistant on this point and really really wanted to stuff my white shirt in the trash.

Then again, Bonnie Jean often is telling me these days about how persistent he is.  One of his favorite things is running splashing water.  When we start running his bath water we can hardly keep him out of the tub.  I've given up and started putting him in the tub while its still filling so he can admire how water comes out of the facet.  I have to get him most of the way washed while the water is still running because as soon as its done he'll probably decide its time to get out fairly soon afterwards.  This is all fine and dandy, but we use a diaper sprayer to clean the poop off the cloth diapers into the toilet.  This means that several times a day we make running water spray and splash into the toilet.  Very few things rivet his attention so well.  Since he can pull up on furniture now and is learning to climb it can be a struggle to keep him out of the toilet water.  A while ago Bonnie Jean tells me  he learned he didn't have to give up just because she was between him and the toilet.  He even decided he didn't have to give up when he crawled around her and she blocked him with her leg.  He climbed into the tub, explored a bit till Bonnie Jean had forgotten to watch out for what he might do next, and climbed over the edge of the tub on the side near the toilet to splash in the toilet water.  Just like Mommy, who was still trying to squirt the poop off the diaper.  I got home and Bonnie Jean told me "Your son is very persistent."  Whenever she says that, I know I'd better ask what he did this time...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Happy 4th

Bonnie Jean and I celebrated the 4th by setting off our own fireworks.  I'm guessing we set off about 25 all told.  Not the up in the air kind that were just legalized here, but the cheaper smaller ones that stay on the ground.  Or, at least they are supposed to stay on the ground.  There were a couple that were supposed to spin more or less in the same place on the ground that decided to shoot off side ways and one which levitated onto my neighbors balcony (or at least that's where we think it was headed, never found it again afterwards).  It was fun.  Setting off their own fireworks was a family tradition for her growing up and I had never done it before.

This fourth hasn't felt as sunshiny for me as some in the past.  I've been studying American History post civil war and its harder to talk about being the land of the free when you understand just how recent our understanding of the idea of freedom actually is.  I read a document written by a black man looking back on world war one when he complained about facing the enemy guns abroad and the lynching mobs at home and how tempting it was to simply sit the war out and try not to commit to a nation that hadn't committed towards their safety and freedom.  Or the history of the migrant workers who faced violence, restricted civil rights, and absurdly dangerous working conditions.  Its one thing to speak nostalgicly about all the ethnic minority immigrant groups making up our melting pot nation and another entirely to read about how only about half of the melting pot people stay since they by and large came as migrant workers looking to save up some money to take home to europe.  They weren't very melty and its only later looking back you can talk about how wonderful their integration and naturalization went when at the time depending on the group, place, and time there were mobs that would form to drive ethnic minorities out of town to keep the land and the work available for the 'pure' white race.  Laws were passed so that these ethnic minorities sometimes couldn't vote, couldn't own land, couldn't testify in court, weren't allowed to intermarry etc...

Now, based on my studies the Holocaust completely changed our views of human rights and what was right and wrong concerning racial evaluations.  But once you know all the nitty gritty about how we got here, the surprising thing isn't that its a land of the free.  Its traditionally been a land free for specific groups at specific times.  There are other places you could say well if you only look at the empoered group then sure its a land of the free.  Closer to the truth I think is that the US is one of the first places were certain kinds of thoughts entered human consciousness about human rights and that those ideas have been expanding over time.  And that's a very different from saying it a land of the free.