Friday, May 30, 2014

50 Most Progressive Charlestonians

There was no way to copy the picture from the website,
so I illegally photographed it for the blog.
I have so many blog posts to write.  So many.  I wrote one in my head as I biked to school this morning.  The title:  Baking.

But that's going to have to happen this weekend, because today I have to feature a weird sort of thing.  I've been selected as one of the 50 Most Progressive Charlestonians by Charlie magazine.  They took a pretty nice photo of me.  I had to be incredibly insistent that I wouldn't take my glasses off--they're an essential part of how I look!--and they agreed. The article about me features Down syndrome--that's apparently the topic that got me a nomination.

Thank you, whoever nominated!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Riding the tricycle

It needs to be bigger, obviously.

She's been doing this at school, so it shouldn't be a surprise.

Her babysitter Chantelle has been doing this with her, too--again, shouldn't be a surprise. 


Yesterday was the first day I took Maybelle to the playground on her tricycle,and she can ride it by herself!

Riding the tricycle from Maybelle on Vimeo.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Alison Piepmeier's blog

In the bio statement at the bottom of my article in Inside Higher Ed, editor Gwendolyn Beetham offered a link to this blog.

She is wearing a big piece of lycra
and a hat that one of my students
gave her.  So elegant!
Well, there hasn't been much going on here except for links to the public writing I've been doing.  So in case anybody hops over here from my Inside Higher Ed article--hello!  Here's a picture of my daughter.

Now do you feel that visiting was worth your while?

Monday, May 12, 2014

SC: the state where "compromise" means "well, yeah, we all agree that LGBTQ people are pretty disgusting."

Here's my latest piece in The City Paper.  Folks, it keeps getting sadder and sadder here.  I feel less outrage than heartbreak at this point.

Legislators, can't you get it?  Glenn McConnell, come on--you're going to be a college president!  And many students, faculty, and staff members are LGBTQ!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Follow up to my crappy mother column

It's good to write a column about fears that you're a crappy mother, because loads of other mothers share the ways in which they're crappy, too!  For instance, on Facebook friends wrote:

  • "Recently I celebrated the fact that my daughter didn't have the iPad for one minute. For a whole day. Read into that the truism that usually she has it many minutes. I only started feeling better when I started practicing 'good enough' parenting. Benign neglect, baby."
  • "Mothers in the mythical 50s got blamed for coddling their children, mothers today are blamed for raising entitled children - we're pretty much damned to be doing it wrong, no matter what we're doing."
  • "Lately, one of my frequent interior monologues involves the phrase, 'there's good, and there's good enough.' It's pretty fitting for lots of situations -- house cleanliness levels, kid cleanliness levels, number of books read to children, number of minutes spent speed reading Berry Bitty Bakers, number of times I raised my voice in a day, number of times I raised my voice in an get the picture!"
  • "It's all part of the same conspiracy of trying to snow the masses into the idea that 'perfect' and 'happy' exist but it's always on THAT side of the fence. Divide and conquer baby."
Good enough.  Benign neglect.  THAT side of the fence.  These are mothers who are recognizing that there are narratives out there that are unhealthy, and that are specifically targeting mothers.  And they're developing strategies for keeping those narratives from being effective.  I soooo appreciate their strategies.  I'm borrowing them.

And on to another motherhood thing.  The other day I wrote a post where the bike riding was a simile for life. Shitty bike riding and good bike riding, and on that day I was definitely in a place of shitty bike riding.  I mentioned that one sign of a good bike day was when Maybelle sang a song she wrote with alternative lyrics to the Beatles "The End."

Here was a day of good bike riding:

Bicycle song from Maybelle on Vimeo.

(In case you can't understand:  "Oh yeah, alright, are you gonna go on the bike? Okay.  Oh yeah, alright, are you gonna go on the bike?  Good job.")

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

This is actually an example of GOOD
parenting.  She was helping me cook!
I've got a new article up in the City Paper.  This one's not about outrage or horrific political things going on in South Carolina.  Instead, it's about parenting!

A nice change of pace.

"It's Okay If Your Children Watch TV All Morning."

Friday, May 2, 2014

A lousy simile

What, Alison Piepmeier writes a blog?  I thought she only wrote outraged columns and op-eds!

Yes, yes, I haven't been blogging much.  But a lousy simile on a Friday evening really isn't good material for The City Paper, so here I am, on Every little thing.

Clever photography, right?
The simile:  parenthood these days feels very much like biking on what Maybelle calls "our new bike": the tandem bike she and I started riding in October.

There are days when the bike is easy to ride.  Birds are chirping, the sky is blue, there are egrets in the swamp we pass, and Maybelle and I sing versions of the song she altered:

Oh, yeah
We are going on our bike.
Good job.

(This is sung to the tune of The Beatles' "The End."  Maybelle really did start singing this with no prompting one morning when we were riding the bike.)

Days when I feel competent as a parent, comfortable because everything is okay (I felt that maybe I needed to make the simile obvious).

And then there are days when I can hardly balance, when the pedaling is exhausting.  Days when every movement made by Maybelle feels like the bike is swinging recklessly and I have to work hard to keep it from lunging from side to side.  Days when I feel like I've been biking forever, and I realize we're not even half the way home.  When the wind is blowing.  When I worry that it might start raining at any moment.

Days when I grieve not driving.  When it just feels like too much--"it" being making a plan for the weekend, doing my job, finding things that lift me, figuring out what I need, asking for what I need, then asking again and again and again.  Taking care of Maybelle while not crumbling.

Today was the latter.

So now I'm making myself brown sugar muffins.
We were safely stopped.  There
was no traffic.  No need to worry.