New Year, New Haircut, New  President – and the Racial Mirror That Was

January. A new year. Everyone is all excited about kicking goodbye the dumpster fire year of 2016. But are we actually excited to welcome 2017? It is now the month and year that we will inaugurate … that guy. I can’t seem to remember his name.

No matter what your political leanings are, you can certainly understand that any mother of a Black boy will be saddened to see President Obama leave the Oval Office. My son has had a racial mirror in the President of the United States of America for his entire life. I absolutely cannot stress to you how important that has been for our family, and probably for millions of other families. I am overcome with emotion.

(When he was born, his grandma took one look at him and said, “My little Obama!”)

wp-1483411314734.jpgToday was haircut day for my oldest son. For certain sensory reasons, it’s not easy for him. He says he is not ready for a barbershop, so, as always, my husband was cutting our son’s hair in the upstairs bathroom. I thought my twins were playing in their room, but as I reached the top of the stairs, I saw Twin A perched on the toilet lid, holding my oldest’s hand. He was offering his hand of comfort to his distressed brother. No one asked him to do that. A fat little four-year-old white hand holding the shaky brown hand of his six-year-old brother. My heart melted.

The steady hand of his brother calmed my son, and the rest of the haircut went smoothly. They sat like that for about ten minutes, no one saying a word as the clippers buzzed.

There is a now-iconic image of a five-year-old Black boy touching President Obama’s hair in the Oval Office. Have you seen it? President Obama, the leader of the free world, is leaning over to let the boy touch his hair.

Photo credit: Pete Souza / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

I don’t know if the significance of this image can truly cross the racial parenting divide. I am no expert in Black hair, not by any means, but as the mother of a little boy who looks like the one in the picture, I weep every time I see it.

(I was thinking of printing that photo, to hang in our home, but what if I cry every time I walk by it? Hmmm.)

“I want to know if my hair is just like yours,” he told Mr. Obama, so quietly that the president asked him to speak again.

Jacob did, and Mr. Obama replied, “Why don’t you touch it and see for yourself?” He lowered his head, level with Jacob, who hesitated.

“Touch it, dude!” Mr. Obama said.

“So, what do you think?” Mr. Obama asked.

“Yes, it does feel the same,” Jacob said.*

Even if you are staunchly anti-Obama, can you see how important this image is to us? Can you walk with me for a moment and feel this? More importantly, can you walk with my son, who sees only white faces in his very own home? Can you imagine what it’s like to be him – or any other Black boy in America whose ancestors were probably slaves – and know that the most powerful man in the world has hair that feels exactly like his?

For eight years we’ve been able to hold up that mirror to our boys: The President of the United States of America looks like you.

And now, in this new year that is supposed to be new and fresh and better, we get to hold up … a man who… not only doesn’t look like our boys, but … nevermind. I can’t.

It was not just hair. It was hope.

 

***

*Source: Calmes, Jackie. “When a Boy Found a Familiar Feel in a Pat of the Head of State.New York Times. 23 May 2012. Accessed via Web 2 January 2017.

And the Washington Post says it better than I can: Photo Speaks Volumes About Obama and Race.

 

 

Four-Year-Old Kid Quotes

First I brought you Two-Year-Old Kid Quotes, then Three-Year-Old Kid Quotes, then Three-Year-Old Kid Quotes Part 2 (goodness, put a cork in it already), and lastly, my personal favorite, Momma Quotes. Now it is time to continue the tradition.

wpid-wp-1425383170841.jpeg…Awesome One-liners…

I will fight your foot. I will fight your head. I will FIGHT YOUR PENIS!

Momma, do you have your penis yet?

Momma, you’re making me crazy.

My hair hurts so I can’t go to church.

I’m not hitting them. I’m petting them.

Please, we buy another baby?

I forgot to remember.

I’m hugging you because I want lunch.

After you’re done cleaning the dishes, will you clean this bleed?

I’m not happy. I don’t want to have fun.

We’re holding hands. Like friends!

I’m a naughty man. Because I have a gun.

Daddy, I will catch it to ya! [throw]

Momma, stop talking please. I’m looking at my blankie.

With the windows down in the car:
Momma, you need a haircut because your hair is blowin’ out.

We have to buy a sister.

The policeman said we have to sleep. It’s the rules.

We should go outside. That won’t make us fussier.

Yay! We don’t have diarrhea anymore. Heavenly Father made us better! And bananas made us better!

Daddy, I want a piggybank ride. [piggyback]

This cape helps me be naughtier.

I want to watch Elmo so we can calm down.

…Weird Conversations with Momma…

Me: But there are no more dinosaurs.
R: Where they go?
Me: They all died.
R: They in heaven?
Me: Uhhhhhh…. Yes?
R: THE DINOSAURS EAT GOD?!

Me: Good morning. I love you.
R: No.

Me: Where are you taking baby Jesus?
R: To the Christmas tree farm. Jesus needs a Christmas tree. We are going to look at mountains. Look at mountains like Grammy does. Did you hear me? LIKE GRAMMY DOES!!!!

R: Who gave you two babies?
Me: Heavenly Father
R: Why?
Me: To give you brothers.
R: I don’t want brothers anymore.

Me: You will be fine.
R: I will not be fine.

Me: Don’t jump off that.
R: I’m not jumping. I’m flying like a bird.

Me: Where is your pee-pee? Where did it go?
R: I’m holding it out. [holding it in]

The first time he told me a tale:
Me: Who opened your closet and spilled all these toys?
R: The Open-The-Closet Man. He’s real. And he opens closets.

…Strange Religious Stuff…

On the way home from church:
Me: How was your first day of Primary?
R: [Thinks] We be so noisy.

In his bed, in the dark (the only place I’m allowed to sing):
R: Will you sing me a song about Jesus?

Prayer:
R: Please bless the quinoa.

After church:
Me: Did you sing ‘I am a child of God’?
R: No! I hope not!

Me: Your brother has a fever.
R: Don’t worry. I will pray on his head.

…Brother Problems…

To his brother:
You better not do that or I will hurt your penis! [?!]

About his brother:
Can we take off his head?

I’m gonna give G a hug. Otherwise he’s my favorite.

Momma, G is playing with a cord. G, you can’t play with a cord. Now you have to tell Daddy and Daddy will be so sad.

R: Get out of here!
Me: Talk nicely to your brothers!
R: Get out of here, OKAY?!

My brother won’t hug me! [cries]

Why my baby brother have little hands? And a baby doll head?

Me: Did you miss me today?
R: No, I missed my brothers.

G is noising. [being noisy]

What you doin, sleepy-pie? [sweetie pie]

G has a penis! [hysterical laughter] Like me and Daddy do!!! [more laughter]

…Dog Problems…

Me: Do you wanna go ride your bike with Cleo [the dog]?
R: No thank you. Cleo doesn’t know how to ride a bike.

R: Can we please send Cleo to heaven now?
Me: WHAT?!
R: She be naughty and ate E’s bread and now she has to go to heaven.

Me: Oh, poor Cleo just wants you to pet her.
R: NO! I will be poor R.

Wait! Don’t let Cleo in! I need to get my underwear on. So she doesn’t sniff it.

After we took Cleo to the kennel before vacation:
Cleo’s not here to sniff my underwear. Oh well. [big sigh]

R: G is deaf like Cleo.
Me: No, he just doesn’t listen.
R: Ohhhh! He doesn’t listen!

I prayed on Cleo’s head so she wouldn’t get old.

I want Cleo to die now.

…And Some More Stuff…

While in time-out:
I’m trying to pee in my pants.

While riding in a cart, shouting to other Target shoppers:
Whoa! My momma goes so fast!!!!

To his cousin:
R: Hey, you can sit on my daddy if you want to. My daddy’s good at that. Not your daddy.

When I put lotion on his bottom:
Momma, stop it! Stop being a good helper!

While filling two cups in the bathroom:
Look, Momma, I’m saving these for the power.

At bedtime:
I need a lot of sleepies. A lot of sleepies because I wake up so late. [early]

Uncle T: What’s your favorite girl name?
R: Momma!

In a dressing room:
Momma, put your pants on PLEASE!!!!!!!

On Christmas Eve:
Let’s go nite nite cuz Santa Claus is coming to town..

To his brother:
Tomorrow I will be five. You will be five another day, ok? SAY OKAY!

…And the Scariest Thing I Heard All Year…

Momma, I tried to baptize the babies.

***

It’s getting harder to publicize funny quotes as he gets older… I don’t want to embarrass him too much! I left out most of the potty ones, although they were hilarious, and of course, most of the references to penises (penii?). I  also left out most of the adoption ones, because they are too private and precious.