My wish for everyone is a best friend, an enduring friendship.

I have so much to say about this article– as a wife and as a mother of a son.
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Why Do We Murder the Beautiful Friendships of Boys? by Mark Greene, Author REMAKING MANHOOD-Senior Editor, Good Men Project

 
My instinct with both my son and my husband is to nurture their friendships- their relationships other than their relationship to me. I neither want a monopoly on their affections nor wish them to be dependent on me as their sole source of emotional support.
 
I encourage my husband to maintain his friendships. I facilitate it when I can. I consider it a priority. I feel happy when he leaves for a game convention with his dear friend. I shoo the kids out of his office when he has game night with his friends that always start with catching up, jokes, and life updates. I’ve never once begrudged him his time with his friends. That is important.
 
For my son, he is facing separation from his best friend. They love each other, clearly, and are each other’s favorite person. But they will be starting kindergarten in different school districts. The parents are already laying plans for how to maintain their friendship. Plans for karate lessons together. Playdates and sleepovers.
 
When my son tells me how much he loves his friend I reply, “I know you love him. Doesn’t that make you feel good?” Just the other day he told me that during a sleepover he hugged his friend and his friend didn’t even wake up! It was adorable to see how happy he was, to know he’d been so overcome with love and affection for his friend that he just had to hug him.
 
I know how important my friendships are. I love so many people, and am loved in return. It never occurred to me to think it was different for male friendships. And actually, this piece makes me wonder about platonic friendships between opposite genders, or between two people who are seen as potential romantic partners. (The article discusses homophobia, but seems to assume there are no friendships between gay boys that remain platonic, or at least doesn’t address them).
 
Just let go of worries of convention. I have had moments with my son where I feel uncomfortable- like when he wants his nails painted, or when he says he wants to marry his best friend, but I stop myself. I realize that the feeling of discomfort is not because I think something is wrong, but because I know others would be critical and find it wrong for a boy to paint his nails pink or marry his best male friend.
 
As long as I can I will protect my son (and my daughter) from the horrors of social pressure. They are too young to understand romantic love. They haven’t had a crush yet. They think (rightly so) that gay marriages are just as normal and common place as heterosexual marriages. They discuss marrying their best friend (my daughter has already picked out names for the daughter she plans to adopt with her best friend). IT IS FINE! They are children! Let them be!
 
My wish for everyone is a best friend, an enduring friendship.

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Why are they immune? #BlackLivesMatter

When scientists are wrong or commit fraud, other scientists speak up, point it out, correct it. Science has its flaws, that’s why it is crucial to be self-correcting. Peer review, transparency, sharing data, independent confirmation, etc.
 
It does not diminish science to have fraud or misconduct recognized. It strengthens science to self-correct.
 
Plenty of venerable professions are similarly held accountable for their actions- medical professionals responsible for malpractice, for instance.
 
It’s in the failure to recognize, the failure to correct, that trust and respect are destroyed- the Catholic Church protecting child molesting priests, for instance.
 
Why are police venerated to the point that we, as citizens, cannot speak out and recognize the problem of police brutality, particularly how it harms black men and people of color, without being labeled anti-police? Why isn’t the law enforcement community themselves leading the charge to address this issue? Where is the recognition that this is a problem? Where is the self-correction and transparency that builds trust?*
 
We have a serious issue, one that is eroding public trust. The data are clear, black men are disproportionately killed by police, even when you correct for crime rates and all the other confounding factors. It comes down to race. It is time we as a nation, for once in our history, agree that #BlackLivesMatter and are deserving of our action and attention at this critical moment.
 

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Science proves becoming a parent sucks the happiness out of life

Someone recently told me I changed 5 years ago, for the worse. I wondered what could have happened that would have turned me into a horrible person, when it dawned on me- 5 years ago I had a kid!

The reality of parenthood, taken 30 seconds after the first, Thanksgiving 2012

The reality of parenthood, Thanksgiving 2012

That was the end of sleep/sleeping in/getting enough sleep, having nice things, cleaning only your own poo, leisurely meals, peaceful car trips, etc. The lack of sleep alone is enough to make people irritable and irrational, never mind the crying. I think most parents would agree that having a kid was a profound, and possibly irreversible, life change.

Et voila! Science proves it.

It turns out parenthood is worse than divorce, unemployment — even the death of a partner

Life has its ups and downs, but parenthood is supposed to be among the most joyous. At least that’s what the movies and Target ads tell us.

In reality, it turns out that having a child can have a pretty strong negative impact on a person’s happiness, according to a new study published in the journal Demography. In fact, on average, the effect of a new baby on a person’s life in the first year is devastatingly bad — worse than divorce, worse than unemployment and worse even than the death of a partner.– The Washington Post

Parenthood is, in its way, worse than getting divorced, losing your job, or the death of a partner. Read it and weep (or perhaps I should say keep weeping if you’re already there).

I can’t imagine being a single parent, or not having the choice whether or not to have a child. Even at the lowest points, at least Mac and I could fall back on, “We got ourselves into this mess.”

It may be a choice to procreate, the end result may be positive, and parents may not choose to change anything, but parenting is freakin’ hard. Especially that first one.

So, on behalf of parents everywhere, apologies that we couldn’t be sunshine and roses when sleep-deprived and devoid of free time. Sincere thanks for folks who tolerated us and supported us during that transition.

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Crisis

The image of 3 year old Aylan laying face down in the sand. It broke me. I saw my 3 year old son. I imagined the desperation of his parents to flee.

I watched the videos of families laying in the streets of numerous cities with nowhere to go. I wanted to climb through the screen, find a displaced family and bring them home with me. Keep them safe. Give them comfort. Instead, I immediately went online and looked for ways I could help.

I signed this petition urging the British government to act. I signed this petition urging the US government to act.

I made a donation to the UN Refugee Agency, and another to the Migrant Offshore Aid Station. I filled out the paperwork to ensure my employer matched my donations.

It did little to quiet my conscience. It did nothing to erase the image from my mind every time I looked at my own son.

This morning I saw this poem.

Mermaids by Hollie Poetry (Source)

Mermaids by Hollie Poetry (Source)

Just heartbreaking. See below for info on more ways you can help the migrant crisis in Europe.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/5-practical-ways-you-can-help-refugees-trying-to-find-safety-in-europe-10482902.html

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Wordless Wednesday: Credible Hulk

Credible Hulk

Credible Hulk

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Reading

This morning Nemo woke me with this book in his hand, asking me to read it. He climbed in, snuggled up, and we read.

We usually reserve reading for bed time, but perhaps because I was out last night and wasn’t home for bed time, he thought this was a good make-up session.

I do love reading to my kids. The cuddling, the funny voices, the read-alongs to the books they’ve mostly memorized, love it all. Even after an ordeal to get them ready for bed, we can set aside our differences and enjoy a story together.

Later in the day I read this interesting article from the NY Times Well Blog about the benefits of reading on young minds:

The different levels of brain activation, he said, suggest that children who have more practice in developing those visual images, as they look at picture books and listen to stories, may develop skills that will help them make images and stories out of words later on…

Dr. Hutton speculated that the book may also be stimulating creativity in a way that cartoons and other screen-related entertainments may not.

“When we show them a video of a story, do we short circuit that process a little?” he asked. “Are we taking that job away from them? They’re not having to imagine the story; it’s just being fed to them.”

So enjoy reading to a kid! You get the quality time, the laughter, the snuggles, and they get all that and some brain development too.

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Wordless Wednesday: GMOs

Encountering a lot of people who ‘believe’ the science on global climate change, but reject the science on GMOs. Not sure what the disconnect is. There is no ‘belief’ in science- either the data support the conclusion or it’s not true.10440909_1045963868757957_6873704695044085609_n

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