Monday, January 18, 2010

Today's story brought to you by the letter J.

Today I was going to post a long, hopefully thought-provoking, totally navel-gazing piece about why Martin Luther King Jr. Day is so important to us, and how we're trying to raise our kids to be color-blind yet at the same time aware of their ancestry and the struggles our people have had over the years, and maybe throw in a little story about how I was a first-generation college student and the only black person in my vet school the entire four years I was there, and how awe-inspiring it is when you're raising African American sons to see Barack Obama running sh-- even if the tide seems to be turning against him...

But instead today's story is brought to you by J. It all started back when we were in Denver for Thanksgiving and hanging out in a hospital parking garage waiting for TH (who was visiting his mom but the kids couldn't go in because of H1N1 regulations). J was getting super antsy, so I said, "Let's make up a story." He loved the idea immediately, and for the next hour we developed what he calls "The Space Story." It's a great story, that changes every time we tell it. He's so involved in this story now that more often than not he wants me to lay down with him and do The Space Story at bedtime instead of reading a book.

(I tried to copy this down as close to verbatim as I could).

Once upon a time there was a family. A mommy, a daddy, a little boy, and a little baby. They lived in a house at the Las Vegas Airport. One day the little boy said, "I don't like watching this movie anymore. I want to go see outer space."

"That sounds like a plan," the Daddy said.

So they went outside where they had their big white spaceship. They got in their car and drove to the spaceship. They had to put on their special spacesuits and their special space helmets. That way they could breathe in the car. So then they counted down, "10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1" and when they got to 19 they said "Blast off!" Then the spaceship went up, up, up, past the clouds and the sun and the stars until they went into outer space.

"Let's go to the yellow Animal Planet," said the baby. "Okay" said the Mommy. This time it was the nice animals. So then they landed on the planet and when they got there they saw all the animals. Nice animals, not bite animals. There was all kinds of animals like a tiger, a lion, a bear, a jellyfish, and sharks swimming on the planet. Then a big green truck came and it was the tiger's truck and he said, "You have to climb up over the tall, tall wheels and get in the tall, tall seat so I can drive my truck." Then when they got in the truck they had to ride on a boat to the tiger's house. And he had a birthday party there, with a pinata, and a birthday cake. And Santa put a bunch of presents by their Christmas tree too. So then they ate all that cake. Then they had to pull a string on the pinata, and the baby didn't get to pull the string. Then a bunch of cars and trucks fell out so they could play with them.

After that they all got tired so they had to go back to the spaceship and take a nap. First they had on their pajamas and then they went back to outer space. Now maybe they should go to the purple carnival planet. That's where they had the slide thing. So then the spaceship flew around and then they got to the purple planet. Or green, or blue, or yellow. Blue means azul. Then they saw all the carnival things like a big slide, and a basketball thing, and the horse thing. Then the Daddy was strong so he could hold their big bag of candy. Then they had jumped! kind of like that (jumping around) and then he had the fighting thing (making fighting motions) and the tiger was biting the other animals.

So then they had to go back home again in the spaceship. When they got to their house they had to put their pajamas on again or else they don't have their clothes on. Because the baby was crying all the time for his pajamas. Then the Mommy said, "Do not get out of your bed!" and there was more presents under their Christmas tree, all the trucks for the little boy and everything. And the baby was growed up and had some trucks, too, so he could play with them.

And that's just the end of the outer space.


Maria said...

Great story, very creative, and I love the part about the mommy saying, "don't get out of your bed!".

Joanna said...

LOL, I noticed the same thing Maria did "Don't get out of your bed." It's so funny what important things come out when little kids tell their stories.

As for MLK Jr day, I really can't wait until Michael is old enough to do the MLK day Day of Service. Is that a nationwide thing, or just a Philly thing? If it's not nationwide, it should be. Maybe next year he'll be old enough to get it.

It's really challenging, as a parent, to figure out how to raise a child that treats all people equally. I like the idea of being "color blind" in that everyone should be treated the same way no matter what their differences. What I don't like about it is that it fails to respect the differences that various races/religions/cultures experience. People should be valued for who they are, and until society is truly colorblind, an individual's race will play a role in shaping their experiences. As a woman, I know I've had to work harder than men with equal skills to get where I am, just as I know that you have had to work harder than men and white women to get where you are. I'm just afraid that all of the extra challenges you have had to overcome could be dismissed under the guise of being colorblind. I guess I've just seen too many examples of people using "color blind" as a subtle form of racism where people are expected to conform to white cultural standards to be accepted. Maybe what I want is unconditional colorblindness.

OK, I guess I'm starting to ramble. I spend a lot of time trying to figure out the best way to raise Michael. I think we have seen a great deal of improvement even since I was a little girl. I want to continue that trend. I just need to figure out how best to do that.

Julie said...

I LOVE it! I read it aloud to Lana and she was riveted. She even asked me to read it again--LOL.

I love the Christmas influences and the pinata, plus the inclusion of the baby--awww!