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racism, racism at school, students, Donald Trump

What do you do when your child comes home from school and tells you about all the blatant racism she experienced at school that day? Racism is nothing new but I’ve never had it directed so closely at my children. Wait, let me clarify, no one called my daughter a “Beaner”, “Wetback” or “Spic”; none of the common slurs you get when you are a little Mexican kid. No, my daughters, like myself, are very fair skinned and they actually look more Nordic than South American. They have blondish hair and blue eyes. Nothing about them screams, “I am Mexican hear me roar.” But they will tell you, in no uncertain terms, “Yo soy Mexicana, escuchame…..ROAR!!!!”

The thing is when you look Caucasian, people don’t worry about what they say around you. They think that you shouldn’t be offended because when they are insulting your culture and your race, they are not actually insulting “YOU” because to them, you are different (you get a pass) because you look the same as them. Let me tell you what, that’s even worse. Casual racism where you tell me that I shouldn’t be offended because you weren’t referring to “my kind of Mexican” is beyond insulting. People always expect Latinos to be “more Latino” or, in my case, more obviously Latino.

I’ve experienced this kind of attitude my entire life due to my white skin. My mom is Caucasian, so technically I am half European Caucasian (with a twist of Cherokee) but I am also half Mexican. And, as anyone of color will tell you because we know this firsthand, if you are brown or black in any amount, to most Caucasians, you are “other” because you’re not 100% Caucasian so I’ve always just embraced it. I refuse to deny who I am, where I come from or the fact that on my dad’s side, I am first generation Mexican-American. That makes my daughters with their alabaster skin, blue eyes and blonde hair, second generation Mexican-American. We are proud of this, as we should be but then, every once in a while, especially in today’s politically charged, infused with extra hatred and bigotry environment, we are slapped across the face with the feeling of others trying to make us feel small and less than. Yes, even today in 2016.

racism, racism at school, students, Donald Trump

Not to bring Donald Trump into this but honestly, he has broken the dam of the shame of racism that most polite societies had been adhering to. He has come in like a hurricane and ripped all politically correct walls down and made it not only acceptable but in some cases even applaudable to be prejudiced. Racism, xenophobia, and bigotry are running rampant under the guise of national pride and patriotism. I’m here to tell you that it’s not acceptable and never will be. It’s still just as disgusting as it ever was and now that the Trump trickle-down effect has directly involved my children, we have a problem and I’m ready to fight.

Which brings me to a couple recent situations that happened to my daughters at school recently. I’m pretty tolerant. I know that children sometimes regurgitate things they’ve heard at home without knowing what it really means. I also am painfully aware that hatred is taught not born. My girls know this as well and they readily afford their fellow students the benefit of the doubt but when they hear a prejudiced joke or comment made they also readily volunteer the information that they are Mexican and that those particular comments are offensive to them. In my house, we always think to ourselves, what would we allow someone to say to Grandpa Manny? If it would hurt him, it hurts us.

Last Wednesday, my daughter came home from a field trip, that my husband attended with her, and told me that the other kids in our car were telling her and one another that they were “voting for Donald Trump” and “Hillary Clinton wants to kill babies.” They went on to say that they wanted Trump to win so he could build a wall and “keep the Mexicans out!” Before my husband had the chance to say a word, my 9-year-old informed the children, “You know that I’m a girl and I’m Mexican.” (My 9-year-old doesn’t understand why anyone would vote for a racist misogynist, especially other women.) To which the kids answered, “Well, I knew you were a girl but I didn’t know you were MEXICAN!” My daughter’s answer, “Well, now you do.”

I don’t know about you but I find it very disturbing that parents are at home telling their kids that Hillary Clinton wants to kill babies and I’m personally offended that these children want to keep Mexicans out like we are some kind of criminal, lower life forms. It also disturbs me that my children are surrounded by such blatant racist every day.

On Friday, my daughter jumped in the car at pick-up and told me another disturbing tale of fourth-grade racism.

A group of children was talking and said that they hope Trump wins so he can keep the Mexicans out because they (Meaning Mexicans) are part of ISIS and the part of the reason the Twin Towers were attacked. What? Has the world gone mad?

racism, racism at school, students, Donald Trump, Ann Coulter

Take a moment to soak that last statement in. Does it disturb you to your core too? Because the sheer magnitude of the ignorance of that statement frightened me. If these children think Mexicans are terrorists couldn’t that prejudice them against the Latino children at the school? I know there is only a handful of but still. My point is this, the entire discussion was inappropriate and factually incorrect. Mexicans are not Islamic terrorists. All Muslims are not terrorists. And it was Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden who were responsible for the twin towers and 9/11, not the Mexicans; not a race or a culture but a group of terrorist extremist. Why are these parents teaching their children to hate people who don’t look, act, and talk exactly like they do?

Apparently, these children have confused Mexicans and Islamic terrorists. I know the skin tones can be a little confusing if you are not exposed to a diverse group of people but either way, these children are regurgitating racism and xenophobia; neither of which I feel are appropriate or should be tolerated in life and certainly not at the school.

I’m not normally one to email the school with every single infraction or indiscretion. I am an active parent volunteer at the school and I support their mission, that’s why I enrolled my daughters in the school, but this kind of behavior cannot stand. I had to say something. There has to be a zero-tolerance policy for this sort of behavior. These situations warrant a discussion with the children and they need to know in no uncertain terms that prejudice and hatred are not okay on any level. We need to teach the children tolerance and acceptance of differences, not persecution and prejudice.

This election has given people a false belief that it is their right to be judgmental and a false sense of justification in racial profiling and it’s become uncomfortable on a very personal and basic level. I don’t want my daughters thinking there is something fundamentally wrong with being Latino nor do I want them to feel ashamed or like they are being judged or put in danger simply for being born with Latino blood in their body.

I realize that my daughters look Caucasian and may not experience blatant racism as frequently as some other children who have more obvious Latino features but it is sometimes just as uncomfortable being the whitest Mexican in the room, especially when racist comments are being thrown around and you know all the people that you love most in the world are being denigrated. I don’t want my children feeling ashamed of who they are because other children are being taught racism and hatred at home.

I don’t know about you but I have a pretty thick skin when it comes to myself but if you insult or injure my children, you will have me to contend with and I won’t let it go because it is my job to protect my children. If that means I have to hurt someone’s feeling by pointing out that their bad behavior will not be tolerated, then so be it.

What would you have done if your child was experiencing racism at school?

 

 

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spring break, budget, kids, Land of Nod

Our life is always hectic and spring break is one of those times of year that I prefer to NOT go running off on a family vacation to some place awesome like Disney World because, you know, the rest of the world is doing that. I just want to sleep in and enjoy not having to be anywhere. I want to actually enjoy just being and giving our minds a break.

I like to take the time to relax and enjoy my kids. Granted, we get bored so we need to do more than just sit around staring at one another and it wouldn’t be right to make the kids clean the entire break, ahem, right? Yeah, no. I know it wouldn’t be right.

So here are a few budget friendly ideas for your next spring break.

spring break, budget, kids, Land of Nod

Indoor camping

There are so many great things you can do just by staying put. We live in the suburbs so first on our list is indoor camping! The girls got an amazing tent, constellation nightlight and sleeping bags from the Land of Nod this Christmas and I know they love camping out. So, one night (or maybe two) this spring break we will pretend we are camping. I will put up the giant tent, lay out the sleeping bags, we will have hot dogs on the grill and s’mores ( in the microwave because it’s snowing today), tell some ghost stories and let our imaginations go wild. This is one of the perks of small children, those imaginations can take you absolutely everywhere without ever leaving the house. The best part is that all play houses and tents are on sale for 20% off through March 23rd.

Local waterpark or hotel

For the last weekend of spring break we are surprising the girls, meeting their cousins and spending a couple days at the Great Wolf Lodge. We’ve never been so we are super excited and by arriving early, staying only one night and leaving late, we are maximizing the fun on a minimal budget. Also, I searched out an awesome discount and that made it even more affordable. We live in the Midwest and unless we drive or fly a few hundred miles south, we’re going to be surrounded by snow and/or wintery weather mix. I hate the cold but if we go to an indoor water it is a balmy 80 degrees. Now, I was not a fan of indoor waterparks until I had children. I prefer the beach but I have found that at the waterparks, it’s always warm and there are so many different slides, pools and activities that no one ever tells me, “I’m BORED!” You may even want to meet up with a group. We are meeting my sisters and their kids and husbands and celebrating a couple cousins’ birthdays while there. We can’t wait! The 7-year-old is marking her calendar. For an added bonus, take Grandma and relax a little. If you want to get out of the house but don’t want the hassle of added cost of a waterpark, you can always just stay at a local hotel with a pool. The kids will love it.

Visit Family or Friends

If you are watching your budget, why not go visit family or friends? You save yourself the cost of a hotel, you get to spend time reconnecting with the people that you love the most and your kids have a blast hanging out in a new city. I’m lucky my family lives in Chicago and it’s only a 3-hour drive, so it’s an easy couple day trip and the city is full of places to go, foods to eat and people to see that my children don’t get to usually do so everyone wins.

Explore Your own City

Whether you live in a big city or a small one, there are always things to do. Check out a new restaurant that you’ve never tried or visit a boutique or shop that you’ve never been into. There are all kinds of hidden gems that most cities have and no one has the time to try new things because we always do what we know because it’s easy. For instance, there is a wonderful art museum right across the street from my daughter’s ballet school. We never go in because we are always going to ballet. During spring break, we are going to check it out and try a new restaurant downtown. If you want to kick it up a notch, get a play date group and do local scavenger hunt in your own city.

Take a vacation from your regular life

If you ask me, the best thing about spring break is not having to be anywhere so why not just relax. Have a pajama movie day. Spend all day coloring in a coloring book with your kids. Have an at home spa day or give each other makeovers. Just do something that you don’t get to do every day like breakfast for dinner or pizza for breakfast. Most of all just try to enjoy your time with your kids because, as I keep reminding myself, they are only little for a little while.

Bonus: We are getting to test drive a Mitsubishi Outlander for the week, so I’ll be completely taking a vacation from my regular life. Can’t wait to tell you all about it.

Disclosure: While all opinions are my own, I was provided product for review purposed from The Land of Nod.

What is your family doing this spring break?

 

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Seussical, Chicago, Shakespeare Theater, Dr.Suess, Review, arts, culture, kids

Chicago Shakespeare Theater Presents Seussical A whimsical adventure through the world of Dr. Seuss July 5–August 17, 2014.

Do your kids love Dr. Seuss? Do you? I grew up reading Dr. Seuss and now, I read Dr. Seuss to my girls. They love the Lorax, the Whos in Whoville and especially the Cat in the Hat! Well, guess what? The awesomeness that is Dr. Seuss has been made into a musical, perfect for kids of all ages to enjoy this summer.

Chicago Shakespeare Theater is bringing the humor and magic of Dr. Seuss to life onstage this summer for young audiences and their families in the Broadway musical comedy Seussical. I hear that it’s playful, energetic and full of whimsy and Seussical engages the imagination with clever lyrics and melodies, unforgettable characters and the colorful world of Dr. Seuss. I don’t know how they will top last year’s production of Shrek the Musical but I can’t wait to see them try.

Seussical will be performed July 5 through August 17 in CST’s Courtyard Theater with a run time of 75 minutes.

Every performance features special opportunities for audiences to interact with the actors for one-on-one conversations and photo opportunities. On Wednesdays and Thursdays, CST partners with the Chicago Children’s Museum (CCM) to offer hands-on craft activities in CST’s Lobby. Tickets start at $18.

My girls can’t wait. They look forward to our annual family trip to The Shakespeare Theater. It’s become quite a tradition. We walk along Navy Pier, have lunch in the city, ride the merry-go-round, munch on some Garrett’s popcorn and just go where ever the day takes us. The best part of the entire weekend is that we make memories; just the four of us and that makes me look forward to it too.

Aside from getting to spend a beautiful Saturday afternoon in Chicago with your family taking in the arts I get to giveaway a family 4-pack to the 2 pm shows this Saturday, July 12th, to one lucky reader. Simply leave a comment naming your favorite Dr. Seuss book and/or quote below and 1 winner will be chosen randomly. But hurry. The contest ends on Wednesday July 9th at midnight. Good luck.

I can’t wait to tell you all about Seussical and our weekend in Chicago this weekend!

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peanut, dads, things kids say

“Mom, Dad’s a boy, he has a peanut!” What you may ask yourself is my 2 year old talking about? Well, lets just say our 2 year old, like all 2 year olds I know,likes to follow us absolutely EVERYWHERE we go. This includes the bathroom, the shower, the closet… you get the picture, there is no hiding anything from this kid. SO, today I just need to take a second and share some of the Gabi-isms that make her so special. I may even make you privy to some of our Bella-isms.

Here are a few from today.
“Mom, Dad’s a boy, he has a peanut!” this was told to me after walking in on Daddy coming out of the shower.

“Momma, GYNE(JI-NEE) Plié!” This was said when I was rinsing her off after her shower. This came about because, if boys have a peanut ; girls have a (JI-NEE)/ the “Plié” comes from the fact that her 4 year old sister takes ballet and she knows what that stance looks like.

“Oh SHit” yes this nugget came from an unfortunate run in with a Fergie song.

“Momma, me Love you!” this is my favorite, except she was saying it to her 4 year old sister, who was playing the role of Mama in their imagination play time.

“Dad….DDDAAAAD….DAAAAADDDEEEEE……………Come wipe me!” Hey, better him that me:)

Those were just a few of the words that flew effortlessly out of her mouth today.

Now, here are few of Bella’s that I have to share.

“Honey, dreams don’t come true…dreams are for sleeping” she says this as she grabs me by the chin,and oh so seriously informs me of the ways of the world, while looking me directly in the eye. I think she was trying to break it to me gently, my little cynic.

“Why do you make my life so miserable,” this was told to me, with all the theatrics of a teenager being told they can’t date, when I told her that she could not wear her dress up tutu to bed.

“Mom, well, its OK..if you die (WTH!) take this (She hands me the keys to her Happy meal diary) and you can come back to me” Wow, I had no idea it was so easy. My bigger concern is why is she not very concerned.

“Its OK if you die Mom,( its a recurring theme. WTH are they teaching her at preschool? LOL) I’ll just go stay with Sarah or Nicole (my friends, the mothers of her friends)! I think I really need to explain what the word “die” means! I think she thinks it means some kind of a night out:)

Well, that was today. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings. My girls, revolutionizing my life, 1 moment at a time.

What’s the craziest thing your kid has ever said?

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Road Tripping with Toddlers

Road Tripping with Toddlers  is not for the week. We are on a mini vacation/ look see around town for my husbands potential new job, in Virginia. First, let me start by saying, this is one of the most gorgeous parts of the country that I have been to thus far in my life. The weather is awesome, the foliage abounds, large cities are concealed by an enveloping plethora of greenery. Essentially, you have big city life with the look of the country and all the amenities of a Beaches all inclusive resort. So, that is where we are Today!
On Saturday, however, we were road tripping with toddlers for 12 glorious hours. Yes, that is correct, 12 hours with a 4 and newly turned 2 year old.Can you say a little touch of hell on earth. My ,otherwise, sweet loving girls do not like to be confined in those 5 point harnesses on a good day on a trip across town. So, imagine their state at taking their very first long drive trip imprisoned in those wonderful harnesses.

My oldest, rambunctious as ever, insisted on asking, every 20 minutes or so,”Are we there yet?” I always thought that was a funny spoof on parenting but now I realize that it is, in fact, the truth of traveling with children. I never realized how frazzling that could be to me as a person. I thought “those” moms have no patience. Just say ,”Not yet, in a little while.” Why all the overreaction? Then I realized that it can actually bring you to the brink of insanity and make a grown woman, such as myself, cry, almost inconsolably, if asked in the right voice and enough times over a 12 hour period.

While the oldest was hitting us with the barrage of “Are we there yet”s the youngest was freaking out of her ever loving mind about a gnat. Yes, a gnat, that supposedly must have been the scariest, meanest, baby eating gnat you ever did see because , god bless her little bitty heart, she screamed bloody murder for at least 3 hours of the trip.Oh, the humanity! So, to sum it up, my 4 year old is wondering if we are there yet, every single second of every single minute we were on the road, my 2 year old is being terrorized by a gnat and screaming so highly pitched, that all the dogs of the world were seeking her out to eat her and end the misery, I am at the brink of insanity on the verge of losing the battle and my poor beloved husband is trying to plot his course to the nearest gunsmith to rent a gun and buy a bullet.
Then I pull out my bag of tricks because obviously the 1200 DVDs that I brought are not holding their attention. First , we color ( you know those Wonder Crayola colors that magically appear on the special paper but nothing else..that’s what you think, but that’s another story entirely), then we color the glittery ones, then we color My little Pony. We sing, only the songs that they know so we had Bella’s favorites, “Twinkle ,Twinkle” and “Mary had a little Lamb” and Gabi’s favorites “Happy Burtday to you!” and ” Five, Five DOlla..Five Dolla foot long!” Yes, my 2 year old is obsessed with the Subway commercial jingle. Have you any idea how many times they play that thing? I do , because she sings it incessantly. Don’t get me wrong, in the right context, it is absolutely adorable. She is the cutest thing that has ever walked this earth, besides her sister, of course, but everything in moderation. Interrupted only by the “Are we there yet?” inquiry of her sister. OK, so brink of insanity on way to gun shop, we stop at lunch and we try and let them stretch there legs at some wayward Wendy’s in West Virginia. Not my idea, have you seen Wrong Turn?
We get lunch, they have ants in their pants and can’t keep still. We get the food, the chicken flavored whatsamanuggets are not done, still doughy,”EWWWW, gross”, as my daughter like to say. I return them. We wait, I return with nuggets, all is good in the land.

Road Tripping With Toddlers

Road Tripping with Toddlers is Hell on Wheels

A ‘fly” dares to descend upon the table. All hell breaks lose. Toddlers jumping everywhere, screaming, crying, running away in terror. I did mention it was a fly and not Godzilla, right? Not a horsefly, just a regular old house fly! In true fix the situation fast fashion, I take off my flip flop and the untimely death of one unsuspecting fly ensues. All is good in the land, and then Gabs, because all of the attention we just received was apparently not enough for her, screams, at the absolute top of her lungs “EWWWW, FAARTED.Stinks”. Absolutely, mortified , I say ” OK, honey, it’s OK.” Then I realize, amongst all of the commotion, she did not have any kind of flatulation incident. Apparently, she just thinks it’s funny and likes to take credit for such occurrence. She is really better than the dog. This is a quirk I am hoping she outgrows.

Bella, my older one starts asking, “Mom, what are we going to do on our vacation?” I say, because I am out of the car and somewhat rational and overly sweet because I am trying to gain redemption from being “Crazy Mommy” from in the car,
“Well, sweetie.we’ll look around the town and eat out, maybe go to Busch Gardens, and we will take you girls to the pool at the hotel.” She look at me with wide eyes,” Even you, Mommy?”

First lets put this into context, I am a Mommy in my mid 30’s, I am a little over weight and a little out of shape, and I hate swimsuits with a passion. I have since I was a teenager. It’s like a taunting suit, it takes every possible flaw you can possibly have and flaunts it to the discriminating eyes of the world. But I do occasionally wear these horrible contraptions to play with my children and because I am determined not to pass my body issues on to them. In response to my daughter, I say “yes, sweetie, even Mommy.” I look at my husband and say ” What the heck, I don’t know any of these people.I’m going swimming!” To which my daughter responds in her most defiant voice “Yeah,I don’t know these people either, so I’m going swimming too!”

How funny, she has no idea about the context but dammit, she’s going swimming!! I’m still in the throes of this mini vacation that teeters between heaven and hell, I’ll post more when we all arrive safely at home, by passing any and all asylums and gun shops…save for that poor Godzilla fly at the Wrong Turn Wendys. The only thing more difficult than Road Tripping with Toddlers is road tripping with TWO toddlers.

How have you survived road tripping with toddlers?

Road Tripping with toddlers Only the Strong need Apply

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