Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Day one of Hawaii

After being up at four am, Ziyan crashed hard. Repeatedly. 

For our first morning in Oahu, some amazing old friends showed up at our hotel with smiles, kid-friends, carseats and leis. My lei smelled so spectacular that I cried a little. I think the pressure of the week, mixed with a long distance retreat away from real life and into the arms of a mixy/Muslim family just pushed me to my limit. Most of America (49%) may not be "my people" but my people exist and they make a nice little bubble that I can surround myself within.

If you are going to do one thing as San Antonians in Hawaii it's compare your local raspas to the best shave ice this island can offer. Off to Matsumoto's!

And after all of that sugar, we decided to hike to a waterfall in the beautiful Waimea valley. Zahra has never walked so much but sheet had inspirational friends to keep up with. 

We ended the day on the idyllic Three Tables Beach with insanely huge (dangerous!) waves and  thick white and black (lava!) sand.

Monday, November 14, 2016

The depth of my despair

Tomorrow will mark one week. I still can't believe that the country I love and the country I've served these past eleven years elected a demagogue as our next president. I cannot understand the appeal of a man who's disparaged all of America's diversity in an appeal to the subconscious bias and outright racism of (white) America. I didn't understand the tenuous position of "me" in this nation. I didn't know how little my children matter in the grand American plan half of the electorate has been hatching.* I am floored, devastated, angry.

I had, still have, no idea what America actually stands for. But I thought I did. And the fall from my ideals to discovering this new sad reality where we collectively advocate for deporting children, banning refugees, registering Muslims, and stopping and frisking young men just for being black, has been traumatic. It supersedes any notion of politics.

*There are multiple non-white/straight/Christian subgroups I could choose from when describing those cast aside through this election. I've chosen those which are me, about which I know I have a right and responsibility to speak to.

A Waikiki Morning

Yesterday we flew for nine hours with three of the best behaved little travelers ever. I know I'm biased but I was so so proud of my Zs. (And I told them profusely, don't worry, mom.)

A day that started with a tiny sedan taxi to carry the five of us, our luggage, stroller, and car seats pulling up at our house at 6:40 could have completely derailed us. Especially after the taxi looked at all of us and or stuff, proclaimed we wouldn't fit, and just drove off!! But it worked out. My kids (and I! And Sam!) were awesome.

They played, they read, they watched movies, they held it together. They said please and thank you and they were still sane human beings as we piled into the taxi.

I'm sorry. The limo. We enjoyed a stretch limousine for our taxi to the hotel.

Ziyan and I were up at the pool by four a.m. but I figured that's my normal Texas schedule with an extra four hours of time change, so who's complaining!

By six, we were all raring to go. So we headed to the beach to play in the sand during sunrise. It was a wonderful family moment. One that will stick.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Zayd's Chill Day and the art of going back and forth

As Sunday came to a close, I wearily looked over to my chickadees and told them to get their jammies on. It was then that we realized that Zayd was still in his pajamas. He been in them all day. He'd been in them through the trip out for breakfast tacos. He'd been in them when Nani and Mommy and Zahra went to get our nails done.  In them when he played Legos, during dinner, watering the backyard, and while eating as many pieces of toast and cream cheese as Nani could make for him. He had had a chill day.

Slow down for bed together so I could ask them about their favorite parts of the day is a different question that night. I asked him if he liked having such a relaxing day. And here's what he said.

"Yes. I don't like doing so many things. I like to play a little bit but then relax myself and then play a little bit and then relax myself and then play a little bit and go back and forth and back and forth like that. You always like to go go go do everything. I don't like to do everything. Sometimes I like to do nothing. But Zahra is like you. But then... He doesn't even play he just does nothing all day! Mommy, when you go go go and do everything then you're always tired. Today I was not tired. If you go back and forth you don't get so tired mommy."

I don't know how I got so lucky to have a son who tells me how to parent him with the wisdom of a grandmother. But I did.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Zahra can read

About a week ago, Zahra started interrupting me during story time to sound out random words. Below is a video of one of those first times.

I took the video and put it on YouTube but didn't put it here. I didn't think it significant enough for the blog at the time.

Today, on the drive home from school, Zahra was playing our daily letter finding game and said "E!". Great, I told her, what word was it in? I asked almost by mistake but she answered "East!" And she was right. She followed up with "East like Easter. Almost like Eid." And then she seemed three again. Adorable and a little mixed up.

Tonight, Zahra read many words during story time. She read almost every word she attempted: fin, an, not, big, dad. Then we got to the end of the Cheetah book where they advertise for their other eight books in the big cat series. She knew Tiger, Lion, Jaguar, Leopard from the pictures, I presume. Then I quizzed her and she deftly sounded "B-ah-b-cat", because apparently she knows cat by sight. After running the sounds together three times she proudly exclaimed "bobcat!" And with that, she convinced me that she can read.

When I asked her what her favorite thing about today was, she said when I was trying to sew and Zayd was climbing all over my machine asking, "What's this button do? What's this button do? What's this thing for?" She mimicked his fervent questioning. When I asked her why that was her favorite moment of the whole day (including the sweet lovely conversations and reading we has just finished up), she said, "I just like it when people talk a lot." And she beamed with those big joyous eyes.

She and I are going to have the best conversations together for decades to come. I can't wait to learn more about my dynamic amazing little lady.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Finding our Grove

After seeing all of our neighbors over the past Halloween weekend I was left feeling mostly sad. As is typical, I've been going one million miles an hour for... too long. The month of October was a blur of work, visitors, PTSA, running, and the lentil, lolly, and lamb. And more work.

Seeing everyone made me just miss that I hadn't seen them in those many weeks. I'm sure the festivities were supposed to be a place to catch up and reconnect but it more felt like a giant highlighter on the disconnect. I didn't know what they were planning for Halloween and everyone's costume was a surprise. I somehow missed that one of my favorite little ladies had undergone and already recovered from surgery. I was bummed, frankly.

So, though Monday and Tuesday had skipped me by, I was determined to connect my kids and myself with some of our favorite people today. One text turned to an impromptu playdate for my kids. The big kids played in my backyard and laughed and discussed their varied kindergarten experiences while I fed the baby and calmly prepared dinner. No one watched any TV and everything was so much calmer. When the kids were back inside, sweet Lilah asked for a tea party "like we always do". Yes. Like we always do. I was moved that she hadn't noticed the crazy couple of months. Or that the months were insignificant in the face of "what we've always done". I smiled because my sweet little Mahncke moms community and I have an "always". I smiled knowing that I'm the tea party mom, because there's no other mom I'd rather be!

And, biggest news, Ziyan attended his first Mammen Tea Party.