I need to just commit to sitting down and writing more.

Zephyra had her last at-home OT appointment this Wednesday with her speech pathologist and it went amazingly. She’s made so much progress in the last few months, it’s really incredible. At this point she has normal speech and oral development and near-normal movement of her tongue. We cancelled the follow-up swallow study, as we don’t see a reason to repeat it with this much improvement, but will keep her files open for the next year to follow her development and ensure everything continues to go well.
She’s down to one bottle a day, sometimes she’ll go a day or two without one, and she nurses really well… though very often. Given her improvement we’re all wondering if she actually had a physical tie, and instead had a functional one. At this point, after months of OT/PT and suck training she has normal-to-near-normal tongue and oral movement, and has even stopped clicking while nursing with the exception of the height of a powerful letdown (ie. if she hasn’t nursed in quite a few hours).
With this in mind, aren’t we lucky we didn’t drop 5k to travel to New York and have completely unnecessary surgery done, or get all the away there and miss all that work only to be told that the guy couldn’t do a goddamned thing?! Mother’s instincts are good, ya’ll.

Her speech milestones are all passing right on time, which is fantastic news that suggests she won’t have any trouble with her speech development as she grows. Her physical and mental milestones are all on target, if not ahead, which means that there’s no reason to suspect her oral problems are related to something neurological. Also good news. We’d already pretty much ruled this out but it’s still good to have it confirmed by her recent months of development.
She’s six months old now which means we’re getting the, “she needs solids” and, “Why haven’t you started her on iron supplements?”, which is annoying as all fuck. There’s no way we’re going to start her on solids yet as it’s quite clear she’s not ready. She can sit quite well but not completely unassisted for long periods of time, nor can she use a pincer grasp (her palmer is fine), nor has she lost her tongue thrust. I’ve given her a taste of celery and carrot (as in a lick, not physically putting it in her mouth) which she enjoyed as an experience but had no desire to pull it into her mouth further. We’ve always had our kids start on solids once they could feed themselves and I see no reason to push it with her. Given her limited interest I think she’ll probably be at least 8 months before she even has her first real tastes.

Her crawling though… that’s another story. At six months she’s up on all fours doing that rocking back and forth thing. When she’s naked she moves around by using her head as an extra appendage and can actually propel herself pretty far, though it’s a very gradual means of locomotion.
This burst of new desire to crawl has inspired in her an equally profound lack of sleep. Every time I try and put her down for a nap she starts getting her butt all up in the air, waggling it around and trying to move up and down the bed. I start wanting to throw a leg over her back and say, “DOWN. LAY DOWN.” She’s kept us up until 1-3am every single night, and gone through day after day without more than a single 20 minute nap. Right now she’s sleeping next to me only because I remain here. As soon as I leave to go to the bathroom or take some Tylenol or something, she’s instantaneously awake and will be awake for the next hour grumping about. Ugh, child, please get your sleepy self back quickly before we all go crazy. This is seriously affecting my ability to get laid. Or knit. Or like… do anything even remotely enjoyable.

Speaking of remotely enjoyable, I have had a few sessions in the last little while. So that’s something. At this point I’m beyond the point of realizing this is over, but it’s dying a slow lingering death where I keep feeling like I’ve got a little bit of hope back that it’ll go somewhere.

On that lovely note, here are some pictures from some of the mini-sessions I’ve done this weekend and the last.

This is baby Sophie, who is now A YEAR OLD, Brother and Brother’s Wife. It’s actually an out-take but I enjoyed Brother’s sarcastic expression so much that I kept it.

An out-take from another mini session with one of my favourite families, where a three month old Lennox was very grumpy and unimpressed with his mother’s kisses.

We’re into December now, which means the weather is dark and gloomy and it starts to feel like there’s little to be jolly about regardless of the upcoming holidays. Tempest brought home a very Jesus-centric worksheet from her class the other day that taught her all about the “first christmas” and the nativity and such. We were decidedly unimpressed with it, and I think we’re going to write a polite letter to the teacher and ask what Christian worksheets are doing in the children’s curriculum. We have enough trouble with the Santa indoctrination every year; I am so not willing to go in circles with the Christian hellfire and damnation shit in my kids schoolwork.
Related to that incident, during a lesson about Christmas and all its wonders the teacher talked about how red and green are “Christmas colours” and Tempest asked her why. She apparently answered, “because they are” and didn’t expand on it any further, so when she came home she asked me instead. I told her the mythos that ancient people used to believe surrounding the holidays and Yule, about how the Solstice was the longest night and they believed it marked the birth of the Sun God (the return of sunlight as he grew), so Yule and the solstice were celebrations of his return to the world. The returning sun meant that the Earth would become fertile again, and that the mother had just birthed her child, so the colours associated with the holiday were green (for the earth’s fertility) and red (for the mother’s lochia) and that’s why the colours persist today. She was very happy with that answer and asked me, “Why didn’t the teacher just tell me that?”. Good question, Tempest. PROBABLY BECAUSE SHE HAD NO IDEA ABOUT ANYTHING OTHER THAN JESUSSPEAK. Fuck, see now, this is why religion is not a good idea in schools. You cannot, cannot, cannot do a complete an unbiased education on religion in a child’s curriculum, so let’s just avoid that dangerous water all together, shall we? I don’t want my kids indoctrinated with the stories as truth, and while honestly we don’t mind the kids being taught about other religions (and are doing so at home) it’s kind of offensive to have them come home after being presented religious things as truth and actuality over, and over, and over again when that’s not what our family believes. This isn’t a religious school, this is a normal public school, with many families of all different nations and creeds. And that’s not cool.

The holidays also brings the awkwardness of forced family interaction. Curtis’ parents have not spoken to us since the “you’re selfish assholes for putting your children’s comfort first” conversation, which has been months. The kids have started asking about them; we give them neutral, loving answers because I don’t want to drag them into our arguments… but I’m incredibly hurt that they are ignoring our family as a whole. I’m hurt that no one has asked how Zephyra is doing, or if she’s improving (in actuality I know they haven’t even paid attention to what we’ve said and probably don’t even know there was anything ‘wrong’). They haven’t asked for updates. They know nothing about the newest grandchild and really don’t care to even ask. If the kids aren’t dolls they can pose to their will, they pretty much don’t care about them, and it infuriates me.
A few nights ago the phone rang at 8pm and Curtis and both looked at each other and just got this weird feeling it was his mom. I can’t explain it, it’s like it hit us both at once. It wasn’t actually his mom, it was a telemarketer, but it was still bizarre for us to get such a strong feeling…
However, the following night at 8pm the phone rang and it was his mom. That made the whole thing even weirder. She talked to him for all of six and a half minutes and it was this long, passive-aggressive play on his emotions. Like, sniffling sounds followed by, ‘how are you?’ and ‘your aunt has CANCER you know’ more sniffling sounds. No, we don’t know. We probably would have known if you had fucking told us though. The whole thing was ridiculously awkward, she offered no apologies for his father swearing and freaking out at him on the phone, and eventually ended the conversation by wailing and hanging up.

Sorry, but I’m not going for the bait this time. I just no longer have the patience. YOU gave US the silent treatment for months and now you want to give us melodramatic phone calls where you wail into the phone and wait for us to lovingly kiss your feet and beg for you to come back to insult our parenting some more? Because that’s awesome.
The only reason Curtis continues to even bother is because I’ve convinced him it isn’t worthwhile to cut them out of his life. Fucking christ.
Newcomers may feel like this is a bit of an overreaction, but there’s about 15 years of history behind this bullshit so it’s not like this is the first time. This is the tip of the iceberg, my friends. Just the tiniest tip. There was once a time where I was trapped in the driveway of their house while a relative screamed and shouted at me about how I was unChristian, a devil-worshiper, tearing the family apart, leading Curtis around by his dick, destroying their peace, doing horrible things to them and was generally the worst thing to ever happen to anyone… ever. All the while they just sat there quietly approving.
No one ever said sorry for that either. The closest thing I got was a letter to Curtis after Tempest was born that said, “Tell Heather she’s forgiven”. Though she still didn’t speak to me until about six months before she died, where we had a strained conversation in a restaurant about lack of accessibility for people with mobility problems.


Today has been a shit day for a variety of reasons. I am really, really looking forward to just laying in bed this evening and watching X-Files with Curtis while enjoying some Smirnoff. Also: to be laid. Probably impossible given the baby’s recent sleeping habits, but a girl can dream.

A baby in a basket. This is like the ultimate playpen. I love it because it prevents her from falling over when she gets too excited and she’ll play happily there while I fold clothes for up to 25 minutes.

Bath time.

Related: who does she look more like? I’m definitely thinking Tempest, though many of her expressions are totally and completely Xan.

Also, I’m finally close to finishing the Hell Dress of Doom. I tried it on Tempest the other night just before finishing up the skirt and it’s actually looking pretty good.

Since then I’ve done the trim on the bottom and redone one of the sleeve caps. I don’t like how the fuchsia band seems to ride up on her shoulder, so I ripped back the cap and added an extra 1.5″ of light pink to the sleeve before beginning the cap shaping. I’m also conflicted on whether or not I’m going to add a crochet ruffle to the bottom of the skirt underneath the banding. So far I haven’t done anything but I’m considering it.
I also have yet to do a collar. The pattern calls for a pain ribbed collar about one inch tall, but that seems really boring… it might look better with something a little nicer, but I’m not sure what. Maybe something a little ruffly? If anyone has a good idea for a nice collar, let me know. I might as well change everything about the pattern, as I’ve already changed the skirt, the bodice and the sleeves to fit my needs (and get as far away to the BULLSHIT ERRORS as possible. Fuck this pattern, seriously. I cannot believe I paid $8 for it).
Oh, I’m also going to add a cabled belt to it to cover up my spastic decreases at the waist. Tempest likes that part as it’ll be long enough to tie into a bow at the back.

Quotes of the Day:
(This one was already shared on my Facebook account, so any followers there probably already saw it).
Xan: “What was Crazy Grampa’s name before he was grampa?”
Me: “Grampa’s name is Michael. His name is always Michael, you guys just call him Crazy Grampa”.
Xan: “No, I think he was Michael only before we were born, but after we were born he went really crazy, so now he’s Crazy Grampa”.
Followed by…
Xan: “What’s his mother’s name?”
Me: “His girlfriend’s name is Beth. She is a mommy, but she’s not Grampa’s mommy. She’s his girlfriend.”
Xan: “Oh okay. Is she a grandma?”
Me: “Not yet.”
Xan: “What are we supposed to call her?”
Me: “Beth.”
Xan: “No. I think it’s Crazy Beth. If she’s living with Crazy Grampa, she must be Crazy Beth.”

A few days ago we asked Tempest how she’d feel if one day she had another little brother or sister. She said she’d LOVE more little brothers and sisters.
Me: “Are you sure? Some kids don’t want to have little brothers or sisters and enjoy being on their own.”
Her, legitimately horrified, “That’s so mean! Why would anyone not want brothers or sisters?!”

Links of the Day:
African portraits by Mario Gerth – Amazing, beautiful portraits of men and women (and some children) mostly from tribes in different regions across Africa; countries such as Namibia, Niger, Kenya, Mali and Ethiopia.
Free Harvard online courses – Exactly what it sounds like.
Meringue snowflake recipe – Super easy, fast and adorable recipe to make little meringue snowflakes for the holidays. I’m putting this here so I’ll remember to make them too.
The difference between good dogs and dogs that need a newspaper smack – This isn’t actually about dogs, it’s about people. Most specifically, people with privilege and what that really means. This is very much a “Privilege 101” link and isn’t specifically about racism or anything… just an intro to the concept and why it’s sometimes hard to understand. It’s VERY good, the language is non-threatening and it’s very neutral while also giving a lot of fantastic information. This article is a PERFECT link for people who butt into a conversation from a place of massive privilege and seem to have no idea how people not in their situation can feel differently.
I do not like these shoes, but maybe you do – Hat tip to Nettie. A fantastic little article about the price of hand-made goods, people who pay for it, and why you should appreciate it if it calls to you.




  • chem_nerd says:

    Speaking as a devout Christian – teaching Christianity as fact in public schools REALLY pisses me off. I never noticed it in elementary school, being young, naive, and Aspie, but when it hit me in high school (I was past the point of it being an issue in my classes, but I was working with a nearby kindergarten class as part of an educational studies class, and seeing a kid get chewed out for not knowing about Christmas because his family was Hindu made my blood boil), I was beyond being merely pissed off. What I teach my own eventual kids as religious truth is our family’s business – but I expect them not to be taught any of it as absolute truth within the public school system. And I can’t help but wonder how many kids this has confused over the years. My (Very small) high school deep within the Bible Belt had several students who were Jewish, a couple of Buddhists, two girls who were quite obviously Muslim, as they wore hajib, and a guy who most people assumed was Catholic, because his last name was Hernandez, but was actually Muslim as well – his Dad was Mexican, but his Mom was Turkish. And they all came out of the same elementary school system I did, probably with the same Christmas parties, Santa worksheets, and Easter egg hunts…

  • altarflame says:

    You and your clone kids and your fabulous crafts and your hilarious stories, I swear!


    • altarflame says:

      Also re: Privilege. The other evening Grant and I were riding our bikes to the store, and talking about how dumb it is that everyone drives their cars everywhere, when we saw what was obviously a tired immigrant field worker cutting home through our neighborhood from the farming area, to the shitty apartments a couple of miles away. He was riding a kids’ bike, as if often the case, since those are widely available at yard sales and flea markets. After a quiet moment, Grant was like, “Wow, yeah, pip pip cheerio it sure is great to take the ol’ $200 bikes that rust on the deck out every now and then and get some excercise, eh? Good for the soul, the fresh air after a hard commute in the vehicle! Now let’s get these smoothies home and see if we can queue up something on hulu before I have to put in another hard day in the air conditioning.”

      I think the main reason people don’t want to confront their own privilege is because it’s so awkward to KNOW but not know WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT, and just kind of not do anything. Also it’s really inconvenient, to do something.

      • admin says:

        I also found it kind of embarrassing to really get into it… like all of a sudden it was, “Holy shit, I did that? I said that?” and now I have to take ALL THIS HUGE RESPONSIBILITY for being a huge asshole. And you kind of don’t want to, because society doesn’t make you. And the worst part is that if you really don’t want to, you can just go back to being totally blind and it’ll never hurt you. And that sucks. It makes it way, way too easy.

        That’s why, (imho), it’s really important to be aware of how your privilege seriously hurts people and take responsibility for that. you don’t have to be covered in white guilt and kissing everyone’s feet, but simply being aware that you have the capacity to be a HUGE ASS even by total accident is important. You don’t get off with a free pass simply because it wasn’t your intent, you gotta learn to say, “Jesus, I’m sorry, that was racist. I will do everything I can not to do that again” and then accept that you probably will do it again, and again, and again… and keep working at culling it.
        I hate hearing from people how you should just sugar coat everything and be ~*’super*sweet’*~ to everyone who is being an ignorant, racist prick (regardless of their naïveté). Because if white people need anything, it’s more coddling, right? You don’t have to be a raging asshole, but you do have to be up front about the fact that someone said something offensive and ignorant. This isn’t like getting a question wrong in math class, these are people you’re hurting and judgments you’re passing on. One of the most important things I’ve learned so far is to try not to let shit go and to call it when I see it.

  • Anonymous says:


    I very much enjoyed the article about privilege it brings such a large concept down to such a small scale.

    I am petite, and every time I go to the store I have the hardest time finding pants that will fit me without alteration. I asked my husband who is average height / weight what it was like to be able to go into any store in America and find pants that would fit him, his answer to me, “I guess I never really thought about it… nice I guess”

  • bluealoe says:

    I’m so glad Zephyra’s tie has improved so much. 🙂 And it sounds like you know ezactly what you’re doing with waiting to introduce solids.
    Sidenote: Six months old? Good grief, where did this year go??

    Sophie is adorable. A year old already? Wow. And your bother looks really happy, that’s nice to see.

    The photos of grumpy baby are wonderful. Those are the type of photos that make true keepsakes, showing real life rather than posed portraits with fake smiles.

    I have mixed feelings on teaching about holidays. On one hand, it is part of th culture, for better or worse. I usually do Christmas-themed lessons with my students in Japan, because part of learning a language is learning about the culture, too. But you have to be very very careful not to teach it as THE truth. I always present it as “some people believe this” rather than “this is the way it is”. Actually, I try to avoid any reference to religion at all, except when it relates to culture.

    I had no idea why red and green were “Christmas” colors. Thanks for the information. 🙂 Related, I’d love to read more about the mythos and stories surrounding Yule and other ancient holidays. Do you happen to know any recommended links? I’ll definitely look it up, of course, but I figured I’d ask in case you had anything handy.

    Ugh, family interactions. Good for you for not going for the bait. Those melodramatic guilt-tripping phone calls are just…yeah. Given your history with Curtis’ family, I’m impressed you can talk to them at all.

    The Helldress! Wow, you’re really stubborn with that thing…it will get finished no matter what. It looks gorgeous on Tempest.

    Crazy Beth….*snort* That’s awesome.

    When I was a kid, I really wanted a little sister…but only so I could have someone to boss around. I’m impressed that Tempest is much more open-minded than I was. 🙂

  • Anonymous says:

    Girl, can we have coffee talk somewhere someday or what! You are AWESOME! It’s nice too hear that your precious one is doing so well! The one thing a lot of people just don’t do anymore is WAIT. How many problems would just work themselves out without scrambling and freaking out. I have A LOT of work to do within myself to get to that place. I’m Kak by the way. I had mentioned my daughter was just diagnosed with mild autism this past summer. I am still fighting HER and I need to stop. It’s hard right now, but I’m hanging in there and shuffling through all of these gazillion resources that can help us learn to communicate more effectively with her. I am a Christian as well, and I stopped buying the Christmas story a looong time ago. I choose to worship because of what He has done and continues to do for me. He did not tell me to worship the day He was born, and I know why…because the date is not known! He just makes me better, and whenever that comes out in whatever conversation I may have, great, but I am ashamed that my fellow followers scream damnation, condemnation, and cram it down everyones throat. And yep family can be REAL f’ed up in doing that as well and I am so sorry that they are treating y’all this way. I’m still reading through your cloth diapering post, and I really want to try it with my second child now since she’ll be the last one according to my husband who wants to get ‘fixed’ LOL! I think it will GREATLY help with the budgeting right now. I just tried my hand at doing enough grocery shopping to last for 3 weeks and buying that big box of diapers for the great low price of 18.99 for ‘card members’ HURTS. I couldn’t even buy all of the meat I wanted after that! Ok let me shut up now 🙂

  • So often I find myself writing out responses to your posts and I realize at some point that I’m pushing my opinion on you, and I just shouldn’t do that, so I delete the comment and go on my merry way. I guess what I’m trying to say is that your journal is very thought provoking and I always look forward to your posts. Thank you for being so open and expressive.

  • yelmorbllen says:

    I stumbled across your blog the other night while searching for “no poo” and found myself going back 2 years into your journal!

    I hope when I have children I am half the mother you are. I really admire you and your beautiful family.

  • azdesertrose says:

    On the topic of Zephyra’s sleep, have you heard of “Go the Fuck to Sleep”? There is a mock children’s book (aimed squarely at adults and older teenagers who’ve had to get children to go to sleep), and the audiobook version is narrated by Samuel L. Jackson. It is HILARIOUS. Your tales of trying to get Z to sleep and stay that way reminded me of it.

    I love the Tempestism. That’s too cute. I always wanted a younger brother or sister but I’m the baby of my family. 🙂

  • thehobbit says:

    This entire post makes me happy my kids are so small. I’m a Christian in a non-religious household with atheist family who still supports bizarre religious rituals despite their lack of religion and it just confuses me because I have no idea what to even tell my kids.

    Unrelated to everything, the hours at night that I spend awake are now filled with “reading” your tumblr. I stayed up all night one night unable to close the computer. Damn your tumblr! 😀

  • syrup_tea says:

    It will be interesting to see who Zephyra looks like more as she gets older! She has the most amazing eyes 🙂

    So does your family not ‘do’ Santa? We like the idea of explaining the origins of the Santa story along with ‘this is what some people believe’, but we’re not going to be pretending he is an actual person. I find the story of Yule much much more interesting than the Christian stories of Christmas that I’m more familiar with! I’m feeling inspired to research more now.

    • admin says:

      Yep that’s exactly it. We talk about it as a mythos, and as something that some people choose to believe and that they feel it’s important to them so it isn’t their place to say that it isn’t true because it brings them joy.

      The other day Tempest said Yule was way better than Christmas because it comes first and it lasts longer. lol

  • I’m sorry if this comment is too long!

    I think Zephyra looks more like Tempest. I feel like she looks much more like Curtis than your other three, too.

    Do you think having a child has changed your brother for the better? As an only child with only one child, I’m fascinated by your relationship.

    I posted the dog article on my FB the other day, and got into a conversation with a girl who basically said that monopolized people need to ‘be more understanding.’ Here’s an exerpt of the conversation:

    ME: So women shouldn’t fault men for being treated as less-than? PoC shouldn’t fault white people for their being treated as less-than? GLBTQ folks shouldn’t fault hetero people for being treated as less-than? People with disabilities shouldn’t fault people without disabilities as being less-than? I feel like you’re putting all the responsibility on people who are marginalized, basically saying privilege is a fact of life and they should just deal with it. But what in the world will ever change then?

    HER: Basically, yes. Not so basically, mutual understanding and patience need to be had by both. People don’t change over night. Respect should start as indifference. No respect; No disrespect. Is it fair that certain people start out at a lower level of respect because of a stereotype? No. But as long as you stand there yelling “Stop being an asshole” no respect is gained either. It’s about understanding the opposing team and dealing with them with tact. Basically, Don’t spend too much time worrying about what’s wrong with the world and take the time to enjoy what’s right with it. I’m not saying it’s easy to see the other side and I’m not saying agreement is expected. Understanding the other side doesn’t mean you’re agreeing with it.

    I resisted the urge to link her to Derailing for Dummies but I was curious of your thoughts as this is a new territory for me and I ‘feel off’ about this but can’t articulate it yet.

    • admin says:

      Re: I’m sorry if this comment is too long!

      I’m with you on that. Sometimes I feel completely helpless in conversations like that because I lack the appropriate tools.

      Everything about her response is a shining example of privilege. And it’s gross, and offensive, and hurtful.

      • Anonymous says:

        I have a question

        Okay So I have an honest question and I can’t figure out a way to ask it that’s not going to sound white and bitchy. I’m sorry, I’m not trying to start an argument, I just really want to know the opinion on this from somebody who isn’t, well…white and bitchy.

        Anyhow, so…who gets to decide when it’s all equal? And by that, I mean, when and how do we decide “well, we’ve done enough that the disadvantaged are no longer disadvantaged so the playing field is level?” Is it, you gained equal rights 100 years ago so you’re on your own now? Is it when there are no more minorities and majorities (which tbh probably won’t ever happen, just from a demographic standpoint). Basically…when will it stop mattering that you’re black and female instead of white and male? And who gets to determine that? It’s obviously NOT going to be the white males, I can tell that much.

        I realize this question is “privileged”, I’m really sorry. I don’t want to tick you guys off. It’s just really on my mind right now because my husband just put in for a promotion at work (one that would allow me to quit the job that’s been destroying me for four years now), and his supervisor said “we’ll let you know, but you’ve got two things counting against you…you’re white, and you’re male”. It looks like he’s likely to get it anyway (there are several positions open), because he works his butt off and he’s actually overqualified for the job he’s doing, but just…that one comment really burned my biscuit. I realize it’s been going the other way for a LONG TIME and we’re just trying to make it right, I understand that part. But that’s what made me wonder…when is it “right”? When will there cease being such a thing as “reverse discrimination” and just start being “discrimination”, plain and simple?

        Please don’t yell at me :/ Everybody has to start learning somewhere.

        • admin says:

          Re: I have a question

          Okay. So. I have to try and take some breaths first.

          First of all, you should not be asking me this question: you’re asking a white person in a white community, and you should be looking for the answers yourself, written by POC people. There are plenty of wonderful resources out there for you to start with.

          Secondly, there is no such thing as “reverse discrimination”. If your husband was told that, it was racist. Your husband is white and male – THE ENTIRE WORLD IS SET UP TO CATER TO HIS EVERY WHIM AND GIVE HIM EVERYTHING HE WANTS since his birth. For anyone to say that to him, that means THEY ARE being racist and are then trying to seed his racism. It’s false, it’s gross, it’s racist, and it’s wrong.

          If you want to know when it’s equal, ask the oppressed. And listen to their answer.

          Giving someone “equal rights” doesn’t make things equal. It probably never will be. You started this game 150 points ahead, and then suddenly let them start accumulating points… while the world continued to accumulate with them. You’ll forever be 150 points ahead. Always.

          • Anonymous says:

            Re: I have a question

            Please don’t discount the value of your perspective! So you’re white and have never experienced/never will experience racism as PsOC do. It doesn’t mean what you’ve learned isn’t valuable. Yes, whites should learn from PsOC and from personal research. I’m not saying you should go around pretending you’re an expert or a champion, it’s just that the more people who open their eyes to a problem, any problem, the better. I would think that white people respectfully spreading the seeds of education and tolerance to other white people who may not ever have had any contact with racism/privilege is not a bad thing. It’s not your job either to educate the masses, but dialogue with an educated person is usually very helpful. Start the ball rolling, so to speak. You’ve certainly sent me on many other education rides in the year I’ve been reading your blog!

          • Anonymous says:

            Re: I have a question

            Thank you very much for the links. I will get to reading them. I asked you because, from what I’ve seen reading your blog and your Tumblr, you seem to know a fair amount about it. I preferred to start small than to bust into something I don’t know a damn thing about, full scale, and piss off lots of random internet strangers. I’m an extreme introvert and (I’m sorry to say), the opinion of others really gets to me. It would make me sad to really anger you because I enjoy reading your blog, but you’re just one person, not a chat room full of strangers. Does that make any sense? Basically, I’m a coward.

            (He works in law enforcement. In his department there is no clear majority of white men. The ranks of officers, especially, are predominantly black and/or female–apparently the sheriff likes to be able to say “look how many of my supervisors are minorities!” (despite the fact that he himself is a white man). The person who told him that may have just been trying to warn him, and not being racist? I don’t know. I guess I’m so used to being on the privileged side that it’s a shock when it happens to me?)

            I’m sorry I upset you.

            • admin says:

              Re: I have a question

              I’m moderately irritated at the line about reverse discrimination, but I’m not going to flip my shit at you. Trust me, this is not me angry. If I was genuinely angry I would have told you to fuck off or just not bothered at all. I’m not exactly a beat around the bush sort of person. 😉

              The guy who said that to him was being racist. Anyone who tokenizes his employees is being racist.
              If you’re worried about what you’re saying sounding racist, that’s probably a clue that it is. There’s a big difference between BEING racist and SAYING SOMETHING that is racist, so understanding the difference is key to communicating with people. If someone says, “Wow that’s racist” they’re not saying, “You’re a cross-burning, black-person-lynching KKK member!” they’re saying, “Uh, you said something really offensive and/or privileged. You might want to check that”. Racism is subtle and painful and it runs through pretty much all our interactions, our culture and our society as white people… it’s unfortunate but it’s true. Once I opened my eyes to it I felt like I was living in the Matrix. It was always there, I was always a part of it, but now I can see it… and it’s everywhere.

              • Anonymous says:

                Re: I have a question

                1. I wanted to make some Matrix joke but I got nothing. I didn’t pay enough attention the one time I saw the movie.

                2. Memo to self: don’t ever make her angry. Got it.

                • admin says:

                  Re: I have a question

                  My anger over racism will probably not be as big as my anger over homophobia or religious intolerance or ableism simply because of my privilege. Even if I try and push it higher… I haven’t experienced racism, and it doesn’t *hurt* me the way the others have. So I’m much more likely to be reactionary with -isms that directly affect me, as are most people. That’s also why someone who wants to know about these things should ask those who are victims of it rather than those who are oppressors. It’s always, always, always better to hear it from THEIR voice.
                  If you don’t feel ready to have a conversation about it (and that’s fair), read! Go to sites on the subject, there are tons of them, and just start going down the chain. Sometimes it’s hard to take it all in at once if you’re new to it, so take a break and let it sink in… then come back and read it again and again. The blog “racialicious” is one my favourites, and it’s taught me a lot. So has the blog “angry black woman”. Or simply watching the conversations that go down at the Tumblr, “Dumb things white people say”. While DTWPS can be brash and crude, they rarely say something I truly disagree with and they make great points.

                  • Anonymous says:

                    Re: I have a question

                    Your first paragraph probably sums up why I have a hard time with of this–none of it really affects me. I don’t mean that in a stuck-up sort of way, I just mean…it’s out of the realm of my experience. I’m white, I’m straight, I’m Christian (nominally), I’m able, and I’m lucky enough to be married to a man that makes enough money for us to have our own house and cars (even if we are paycheck-to-paycheck right now). Okay, yeah, I’m a woman, I’ve gotten skeezy glances and comments from time to time. But the biggest experience I have with discrimination of any sort is working in a service industry, and I do that by choice. I can only be so angry when somebody treats me like I’m inferior because I’m a barista, because I choose to do it. Being looked down upon for a choice can’t be anywhere near as painful as being harrassed (for lack of a better word) for an inborn trait.

                    Back before the last election one of my husband’s (black) coworkers tried to explain to him why it meant so much to her to have a black president and it makes you realize, yeah…you really don’t have a clue what it’s like. I want to understand but it’s a foreign concept.

                    • admin says:

                      Re: I have a question

                      … and that’s exactly why it’s important to go out of your way to understand it. Because you being able to walk above it means you’re unknowingly benefitting from all those things every day. The reason you have a good job, and a house and two cars? Probably because of racism, ableism and so on. Because your parents were picked for their job over someone else. Because your husband makes more money at his job than literally ANY ONE ELSE (be them women, POC, people with disabilities)… and so on. That’s benefiting from racism, from sexism, from ableism and homophobia every day. You can’t change the world, but being aware of your privilege and trying to lesson the impact of your footfalls as you walk around up there is a good thing.

                    • Anonymous says:

                      Re: I have a question

                      It’s a long shot to call $8.25-an-hour-after-4-years-with-the-company a good job…but I get your point. I have a job, period. (And if you *really* want to know, I got my job through nepotism; my sister-in-law used to work with my manager.) I cannot say as to how my husband’s salary compares because he stumbled into his job in an odd way and he’s gotten career development (essentially, raises) twice based mostly on the fact that he has a college degree in a job that doesn’t require it. But yes, he was lucky enough to go to college (doubly lucky, I guess, because he failed out the first time and was later readmitted), and yes, it was a mostly white college. I see your point.

                      Anyhow, I just got bogged down in that second link you suggested and realized I was reading the same sentence over and over again. Thank you for “talking” to me, I appreciate it. I think it’s time for a shower and bed. I’ll have to try more reading tomorrow.

                  • Anonymous says:

                    Re: I have a question

                    Thank you for saying this. The Matrix is my top movie by the way. You SEE it. I’m not angry black woman all the time, until let’s say I hear some totally blind privileged white woman like Michelle Bachman say to Black and Hispanics that the Presdident has failed us like she can identify with us or something. For someone with such huge crazy eyes, she cannot SEE it.

                    • admin says:

                      Re: I have a question

                      Welcome. 🙂 I’m still VERY MUCH learning, I don’t think I’ll ever not be learning, but it’s good to know that I can occasionally hit the target!

                      (And ps. I don’t think there’s anyone that doesn’t go fucking batty over Michelle Bachman and her ridiculous… argh. ARGH! See now I’m doing it).

                    • Anonymous says:

                      Re: I have a question

                      HA! Yeah I do it myself too 🙂

        • Anonymous says:

          Re: I have a question

          It’s pretty fucked up that people who say they want to fight the privilege gap scoff at other people who say they want to help by learning more about the issue.

          I really would not advise asking for help with understanding privilege issues from Heather. Any time anyone says they genuinely want to learn, even in the apologetic, I’m-so-sorry-I-got-born-in-a-white-body way that you did, all you will get from her is scorn and blame. You want to learn? Sorry, not good enough – don’t you KNOW that you’re asking the wrong person!? Your husband got told he might not get a job because he’s white? Uh, sorry, but that’s racist against non-whites and not relevant at all to your white husband because OBVIOUSLY he’s white so no harm can come to him! (Because losing out on opportunities due to skin color does not happen to white people ever at all and anyone who has experiences that are not sanctioned by this worldview must be lying/crazy/consumed by hate.)

          So, yeah. It’s good that you want to learn, but people with superiority complexes like Heather’s will not help you. Everything you say, ever, will be wrong on this topic. They want you to remain part of the problem so they can castigate you and consequently feel better about themselves, as they belong to that enlightened tribe of people who realize that anything that happens in the world is a result of an -ism. If you’re a white male, you’ll have a good life, if not, it’s the fault of the white male.

          Note: yes, privilege is a huge problem, and yes, white males have more advantages than other groups. But not ALL the advantage. I am sick of blogs like this throwing hate at people who genuinely want to change. How does that help anyone? Heather, do you have any thoughts on how that helps anyone?

          Class isn’t the whole story (a la Marxism), and neither is color/gender/orientation/ability privilege. People are more complicated than that. Environment, parents/guardians, extended family, community, culture, education, intelligence, aptitudes, preferences, skills, life choices – all these things PLUS demographics combine to make people’s lives.

          • admin says:

            Re: I have a question

            Troll harder.

            • Anonymous says:

              Re: I have a question

              Nope, just truth. Is anything I have said incorrect? Can you logically rebut any of my points? Is it actually OK to act pissed-off and blame-y when someone says they want to learn, and then relates a real-life incident that doesn’t happen to conform to your worldview?

              I once dropped by your blog when you were bitching out some girl who said that *gasp* she ACTUALLY LEARNED SOMETHING from the Facebook child abuse icon thing. It prompted her to educate herself. Again, this did not fit your worldview, so you poured hate on her and tried to invalidate her experience. You thought that icon campaigns/etc did nothing to help or educate anyone, she came along with an actual experience to the contrary, and you flipped out.

              You say you’re still learning and that you didn’t used to see privilege in the way you do now, but all you have is scorn for people who are in a position of ignorance, as you once were.

              • admin says:

                Re: I have a question

                The worst I said was, “I have to take a breath first”. That’s hardly “pissed off for not fitting my worldview”. It’s just irritating to see people repeat the same racist tropes over and over again after you’ve heard it 40 times that day.

                It’s pretty cliché to go the, “You don’t want to engage with my trolling? THAT MEANS I’M RIGHT HA HA HA” method, don’t you think?
                As I said: troll harder.

          • Anonymous says:

            Re: I have a question

            Yeah. You know, I came back on here to tell Heather I was disappearing for a bit because her last reply really kind of hit a nerve and I needed some time away from the issue in general…but dude. Butt out. This is my freaking argument/discussion/let’s drive me nuts all day thread. Nobody asked your opinion. I can form my own, thankyouverymuch.

            That being said…Heather, thank you for the resources, I’m disappearing for a while. I’ve learned it’s not good to “discuss” while angry and I’d like to continue following your blog eventually, so I don’t want to burn any bridges. Back in a month or so, I guess. I’ll read up while I’m gone.

            • admin says:

              Re: I have a question

              Don’t feed the trolls, they fap to it.

              (PS. I didn’t realize you were angry, nor that upset. I’ll hear from you later, I suppose!)

            • Anonymous says:

              Re: I have a question

              I replied as much for the benefit of others who may be lurking as for your benefit. This is the internet. If you don’t want people ‘butting in’, converse privately. Heather’s attitude on this subject is frankly bizarre, and if you spout bullshit online, people will respond, especially at this level of wtf-ness.

  • Do you and your brother have the same dad? You do, right? He looks like your dad to me.

  • Anonymous says:


    Holy shit, it is so nice to finally hear someone say they are so over religion in the schools. My (non Christian) five year old is coming home every day irritated because he feels completely singled out by the teacher. They made the kids raise their hand if they don’t celebrate Christmas…….and my kid was the only one who did. I give him credit for actually outing himself, but what the fuck? Who thinks that’s going to help anyone by ostracizing a minority? And then there’s all the gingerbread crap and Christmas trees and nutcracker worksheets. As a nearly thirty year old woman, I’m appalled that things haven’t changed one bit since I was in elementary. No one else I talks to gets the “big deal.” Today they start a holidays around the world unit, which I’m dreading. Considering their (American) Thanksgiving lesson was all about Indians and pilgrims being friends. And yes, they used the term ‘Indian’.

    Ah, thanks. I feel better now.

  • I thought sarcastic when I saw pic of Brother before I saw your comment. Like you said, “Say monkeybutt” or something before snapping the pic…so funny.

  • Anonymous says:

    Write to the school board

    Please, if you are to write to the teacher it will be for not. Trust me on this, go directly to your superintendent of your school board and write the letter to him. here’s the link http://www.sd61.bc.ca/message.aspx this will get his attention. The teacher isn’t allowed to talk about any religious matter. This is the very issue why I have problems with the job action. Parents are expected to pick up all the loose ends, parents are supposed to volunteer in the class room and now even do a lot of the assignments, not shitting you, I have to provide shit for ginger bread houses because the teacher wants it done but she isn’t allowed outside monies to fund it. Fuck, double fuck. I almost want to say “fuck you, and your job action” but I’m a nice mom and I treat them carefully.

    ok sorry for my rants. But yeah bottom line, do write the letter.

    • admin says:

      Re: Write to the school board

      Thanks for the push, I will.

      • Anonymous says:

        Re: Write to the school board

        Please talk to the teacher first. She may not realize what she is doing is not okay, especially if she’s been teaching since things like this were common in schools, and if nobody has ever complained before. I completely agree that the worksheets have no place in a public school, but give her a chance to correct her mistake before putting her reputation and career on the line. If she won’t budge, talk to the principal, then to the school board.

        The previous commenter sounds like she has had a terrible experience, which is awful, but she really has no idea whether talking with the teacher will produce results or not.

        • admin says:

          Re: Write to the school board

          I wasn’t going to come in guns blazing or ask for her firing. I was going to write a very polite letter about how problematic it might be to include papers in the curriculum that encourage religious truth in one way or another.

  • comitto says:

    Wow, I’m so glad Z has progressed so much! It’s hard to believe a few months ago people were flipping out about the surgery thing.

    What about a peter pan collar for Tempest’s dress?

  • ryissa says:

    I’m so happy to read each time how much Zephyra is improving. 🙂 I keep meaning to comment about this, but I have a friend who now is a healthy 27-year-old with an uncorrected anterior tongue tie and I never would have known if he hadn’t been “Oh hey, check this out!” one day. No speech problems or any other problems now, but he literally can’t get his tongue past his lower lip. So every time I read about Zephyra I kept hoping for good news – that she would turn out like my friend had with no need for anything major.

    And on another note: Sometimes I swear it’s always the holidays that brings out the worst in families! All I will say is thank you again (thank you VERY much!) for the name of the Canadian immigration lawyer you gave me because oh boy could he end up my savior.

  • Anonymous says:

    Don’t feel bad about not updating. I think my last blog entry was October 18 or something like that. It just makes it all the more exciting when you DO post.

    Every December my college had a Yule Log ceremony. I’m sure it had grown more complex every year, and by the time I attended it was so politically correct that it was painful to stand through. The president read “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”. We heard the Biblical Christmas story. And the Hannukah story. And about Kwanzaa, and Ramadan (I mean, seriously? Not even the right time of year), and some Hindu festival I can’t even remember. What was notably NOT included, that I didn’t realize at the time (I didn’t have any pagan friends until after college)…was Yule. It strikes me as extremely ironic that we have to include everyone except, you know…the people to whom most of these holidays belonged in the first place.

    Also, ironically enough, red and green are not Christmas colors, liturgically speaking. In the Lutheran and Catholic churches (those are the only two I’m familiar with), Advent is blue and purple, respectively. Christmas is white and/or gold. You will never see the inside of a church decorated in red and green for Christmas. Kind of makes you wonder how mass-market Christmas came to be red and green in the first place.

    Sorry for the book I just wrote. I had a nosy question to ask but decided against it. Thank you for the new post, you’re helping me procrastinate 🙂

  • re: meringue snowflakes

    I tried making these but they didn’t look very pretty so I made thick candy canes and snow men instead. They turned out great!

  • Wow Zephyra is the cutest baby ever!

    I don’t see religion being the problem in schools or anywhere else, its the lowly developed fundamentalists who can not articulate or see multiple perspectives that stunt growth.

    Have you heard of the Gut and Psychology Syndrome diet? We are on our second week, I thought you would find it interesting because I know you have noticed the relationship between food and behavior in the past. Bone broths and fermented things for the win!

    • Also I am so glad Zephyra has improved with therapy! Your blog has been mentioned frequently amongst the moms in the local ICAN and parenting groups 🙂

      • admin says:

        Really? Crazy! 🙂
        I’m really glad she’s improving too. And I’m glad that we trusted our guts. Her tongue tie didn’t present like a normal posterior tie, and with these dramatic improvements it’s unlikely it was a “true” tie and more a functional one.

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