i am waiting for Chiam (age 3) to get sleepy. i am visiting his mom, Chanita in Manhattan. This is the first time we have ever met face to face, tho we have been talking about communities that are kid friendly for a while. She housed the group of Oakers and Cville locals who came up for the Occupy Wall Street protests last year, in her tiny apartment.
She cant make it to the first Chubby Squirrels meeting at the communities conference, which i am sad about. So we are going to take advantage of my brief time in the NYC metro area and talk about building communities which support families. What is clear to me is how her dedication to her son translates into his joyfulness and confidence.
There are some unusual parenting similarities. When Willow was younger he wanted control over his own name, which we parents granted, he went through a bunch of them including Tiger and Rocket and various Captain somethings. Currently Chiam is fond of calling himself Bouncy Firetruck. Chiam’s current favorite outfit is a dress, Willow, more in his earlier years, did not care about the gender identification of the clothes he wore.
Hopefully, one of the differences between Chubby Squirrels and Twin Oaks will be the acceptance and celebration of families. As a recruiter, i know the company line. We (Twin Oaks) want to have a very generous child program, lots of care hours for young children, supportive budgets for pregnancy and home schooling. We want to minimize the stress most parents feel in the mainstream about trade offs and attention for their kids. But because of this generous program, we have to limit the number of children we support to a 5 Adult to 1 child ratio. This means there are often not enough age peers for our kids. It also makes families a structural minority and creates some weird segregations.
If Chubby Squirrels is going to succeed, it is going to need a different model. i am not sure exactly what that model is, but i am confident that we will figure it out.
As i was driving around today the news was full of various stories on the Republican party’s war on women. Akin’s continued bumbling on rape. The RNC platform seeking a no-exceptions constitutional amendment banning abortion. Mitt Romney’s flip flopping on the topic for electability purposes. Ryan’s repeated co-sponsoring anti-women legislation with Akins.
And it seems strangely appropriate that on this day filled with national disrespect for women’s rights and threats to cut aid to especially single mom’s, that my political work is much smaller and focused and with luck and some brilliance it will be helpful.