A Moment of Silence
“That Justice is a blind goddess
Is a thing to which we black are wise.
Her bandage hides two festering sores
That once perhaps were eyes.”
— Langston Hughes, “Justice,” 1923 (via harriettumbles, via itsmemo)
Those who know me well, know that my silence following the trivialization of Trayvon Martin's murder is an unusual one, pregnant with despair and anger and helplessness. I'm having a difficult time searching for The Solution; there are no rainbows over there, my smile doesn't shine in my eyes, my heart doesn't envision a bright side. I have no words that make sense of it all, no thoughts on how we can change this country into a land that values the lives of Black children, no rallying cry to spur you to action. I can only pray that the hope I see in my child will be birthed into the world, whole, healthy, and screaming for all it's worth, forcing this country to attend to it.
B+G M Featured As One of Red Tricycle’s Favorite DC-area Blogs
“Mom Kenrya spent so much time waxing poetic about the virtues of pocket diapers and why she can’t live without her baby carrier that she decided to compile her thoughts and tips into one handy eco-minded blog. She feels that being a Black mother who has worked in media for more than a decade gives her a unique perspective on the green movement and she strives to help others realize their “hippie” potential. She hopes you can pick up a couple tips to make your parenting journey easier, healthier, greener and more fun.”
Thanks, Red Tricycle!
Unexpected Treats: Non-toxic Nail Polish
While I’ve always been a throw on a dress and go kind of girl, I’ve never thought of myself as girly. I’m not huge on makeup, or heels, or pink. But I am raising a daughter who thrills at the sight of nail polish—which I never put on her, because anything that smells like that can’t be good for you.
But I like giving her little surprises. So before we ventured to Mexico earlier this year (all my friends are getting married, nearly all at once), I went in search of a safe polish I could put on her tiny nails. After digging a bit, I found Piggy Paint. This non-toxic, eco-friendly polish is water based and free of Bisphenol A (linked to allergies and immunotoxicity), formaldehyde (cancer), phthalates (developmental and reprodcutive toxicity) and toluene (developmental and reproductive toxicity), which are all commonly used in traditional polish. It’s three main ingredients all score a zero on the Skin Deep scale: water, acrylates copolymers an melia azadirachta (neem oil).
I went with the Birthday Bash Gift Set, ordered from Amazon to take advantage of the free two-day shipping. When she went down for her nap before the wedding—after a long day at the beach—I polished her toes with the purple polish. She noticed it as soon as she woke up, and spent the next hour showing everyone. It was a hit!
It scrapes off pretty easily; don’t think your little one’s manicure will last more than a day or two, though pedis hold up a little better. I loved the teal color so much I did our fingers to match one day, but I looked a mess by day two. Oh, and it comes off with a bit of alcohol, so no need to order the Piggy Paint polish remover.
Hot As Balls
We’ve been having 100-degree days in the DMV, so this happened. Yes, Babygirl is in a sprinkler in Baltimore harbor, wearing nothing but a diaper. No, it wasn’t my idea. I packed her bathing suit, a swim diaper, and her swim shoes. But someone made me downsize the bag before we left the car. And another someone had to get in the water. This was the solution. But the fact that it wasn’t all on me didn’t stop my BFF from saying, “Your Cleveland is showing!” when I sent her this picture (no Instagram filters here, btw, there was just gorgeous light). Whatever. Let’s just blame global warming, shall we?
How do you help your little ones cool off? Show us!Tweet
It’s A Good Thing
Babygirl is a big girl now.
June 29. After two years and about three weeks, Babygirl is off the boob. Long ago, I thought I would have mixed emotions on the day that I got my breasts back, but there’s nothing at all conflicted about the way I feel: happy that we’re moving into the next phase of our relationship, proud of her for being such a big girl, proud of myself for going so long, relieved to be done.
I truly loved breastfeeding the kid. It was magical from the beginning. I loved that there was something that only I could give her. I loved how her little eyelids fluttered then quickly closed after she latched, the warm milk like a sedative she was powerless to fight. I loved how happy (and fat) it made her. I loved how quickly it calmed her when her world seemed crazy. I loved seeing her little hands frantically sign “milk” at just seven months (fittingly, it was the first sign she replicated). I loved that I was doing something that, while it was definitely difficult, was great for her health, general well being, and even future success.
But I’d be a lie if I said I wasn’t ready to stop. In the last couple of weeks, I’ve remembered that I’m a woman. I actually polished my nails (toes and fingers). I worked out three times last week for the first time since I gave birth (I used to do it five times a week, but it’s a start). I bought red lipstick. Word.
And Babygirl made it. She didn’t keel over from thirst. She didn’t cry herself to death. She didn’t turn on me. And she has a new measure of freedom that she doesn’t yet realize. She can stay out all day with Daddy without needing to check in to the boob. She can sleep through the night in her own big girl bed (!) without waking to get a taste. She can brag to her friends about moving on to the next big challenge (potty training!).
So it’s a good thing. On to the next…
Streets Is Watching | Clutch Names B+GM One of “5 Underrated Blogs You Should Read”
The always fab Evette Dionne at Clutch Magazine turned her light on our little site earlier this week:
“All mothers aren’t created equal, but all mothers need support and guidance. Black and Green Mama offers an equal balance of both….We don’t often read or see realistic images of motherhood. Black and Green Mama fills that void.”
Aww, snap. We love you, too.
How We Weaned From Breastfeeding At 25 Months
Success! (Actually, this is a picture of Babygirl dancing to Sade in the car, but whatevs, it works.)
On April 23rd, I set the goal of having Babygirl completely weaned from breastfeeding by her second birthday, which gave me seven weeks to get ‘er done. I missed that deadline, lol. But I made the second one, which was for the end of the month, just under three weeks later. Here’s how we did it.
I had been putting it off for a while, actually. Though I was ready, I wasn’t sure how to start, and there is a definite difference, to me, between weaning a six-month-old (what many folks deal with, and many authors have written about) and a stubborn, firmly attached, nearly 24-month-old. My first step actually came before the 23rd: I stopped nursing outside our home. No more pulling out my boob in The Home Depot, or sitting in the back seat with her before we could head home from the mall. It was a good start, and one that felt pretty liberating, but I had a lot more work to do.
So I reached out to a friend who worked with lactating moms (and had nursed her three kids into their first year) for advice. (Hey, Vickye!) She suggested that I create distractions and new routines, then step down the number of feedings gradually to avoid stress (both of us) and engorgement (me). It sounded like an excellent plan, so I started that very day.
A list-maker by nature, I used the Notes app on my phone to keep track of each time she fed. That did two things: It allowed me to see patterns in when she wanted to latch (so that I could break them) and motivated me to cut them, because I had to physically log each one, forcing me to really think about whether I was nursing her because she “needed” it, or if I was just hoping to calm her if she was whining. While I had never really counted how many times she nursed each day, I know it was 10+ before I started the log.
I was able to get her down to nursing six times a day within five days: when she first woke, mid-morning, nap time, during her nap, once in the evening, and at bedtime (and of course a couple times at night, hence the “-ish”). Then every five to seven days, I dropped one: waking, mid-morning, mid-evening, mid-nap, in that order.
The entire time, I told her what we were doing, that she was now a big girl, and big girls don’t need as much breast milk. I also reassured her that she could have a cuddle any time she wanted, that it didn’t just have to be tied to milk. She would say, “Okay, mama,” and nod her head each time, while reaching for my shirt.
Because she’s ridiculous, she quickly realized that it was easy to trick me into nursing her. By the time we got down to only nap and bedtime, she knew it, so she would pretend to be sleepy to get it. I’m talking full on, rubbing her eyes, turning herself horizontal in my arms, fake-sleepy. And I’d fall for it, thinking she was really ready to go down. Chile. She’d suck me dry, pop off and up, and hop down to the floor to go play. I started noting those in my log as “fake outs.” There were lots of them, until I got tough and only nursed when I knew she was truly pooped.
We were going strong until we went to Puerto Rico for a wedding, and she ended up with an ear infection. I went back to on-demand nursing while she had a fever, then quickly got back on schedule when it broke. But we missed the June 10 deadline. A week after her birthday, I realized I was stalled, afraid of the crying that would come with expecting her to nap without milk.
Which led me to the worst day of the process, the day that I cut nap time. Read about that here. I still shudder. But we got through it. She tried to wait me out that first day, and finally fell asleep in my arms. On the second day, we were in the car at nap time, so I just let her sleep. The second day involved me rocking her and singing her bedtime song, which works like Pavlov’s bells on my child; no joke, her head instantly starts to droop. (I’ll share it in another post.) I kept that up for nearly two weeks, and it got easier each day.
Then came June 29th, which I had targeted as out last night with milk. I was worried, because she still associated sleep with nursing. But one of my girls (Jaida Potata) reminded me how effective a new routine could be in getting Babygirl to move on. Up until then, when she was sleepy, I’d either ask her if she was ready to go to bed, or she’d say, “I’m tired,” and we’d go upstairs and get in bed. Easy breezy. But I decided on a new bedtime routine: bath (she used to take showers with me in the morning), pajamas, book, prayers, sleep.
That morning, I told her that we were almost done, that the milk was almost gone, and that night would be the very last time she would nurse. “Okay, mama,” she said.
She nursed at bedtime and during the night, and I reminded her that it was the last time. “Okay, mama,” she said, before she drifted off.
The next morning I told her that we were done, that she wouldn’t be getting any more milk at bed time. She didn’t even answer me, just started jumping on my bed, like I hadn’t said anything.
That night, the 30th, we started her routine. after her bath (I put a couple drops of lavender in the water to help her wind down), pjs, two books about going to sleep, and prayers, I switched off the light and laid down beside her in her big girl bed (yes, that’s how I put her to sleep, don’t judge me—I’m just glad she sleeps in her own bed). When she turned toward me, I said, “Remember our talk this morning? The milk is all done. There is no more, you drank it all. Now you’re a big girl, and you don’t need any more milk.”
She let out a little sigh, stuck her left thumb in her mouth, rolled back toward me, and when to sleep. Finito.
No crying. No begging. Just the final stage of grief: acceptance.
And we’re done. On the second night without milk, she slept for eight hours, which is the longest my child has ever slept since she was born (I woke up at 6:10 a.m. worried, and crept into her room to be sure she was breathing). Since then, she has also slept the entire night in her bed without waking once, from 10 p.m. to 8:30 a.m.—I did not check on her that night. Progress.
She still asks for milk, especially when she’s sleepy. She likes to fall asleep with her hand wound into my shirt, if she can’t fit her fingers into my bra. But she understands that there’s no more milk, and she seems to be okay with it. And so am I.
Any questions? Shoot, and I’ll tell you what I know, and ask other folks what I don’t.
McDonald’s has partnered with Visa to make a website dedicated to showing its employees how to properly budget their meager peasant salaries. However, what it actually does is illustrate the fact that it is nearly impossible to get by on minimum wage, as shown in this “example” budget chart:
Yeah– now, when I first saw that, I assumed that the top line was for a part-time McDonald’s employee. Then I got out my calculator– that is actually what you would make if you were working full-time at McDonald’s. 1,105 dollars a month.
Now let’s say that the “second” job that they budget in here (feels like cheating, but OK) is also minimum wage. That would mean you were working about 62 hours a week, on average. Oh, wait. That’s if they live in Illinois where the minimum wage is $8.25. The national minimum wage is $7.25. That translates to 74 hours a week. That’s almost a whole other full time job.
And what do you get for working 74 hours a week? Well, you don’t get heat, clearly. There’s a big ol’ zero next to the heat in that chart. In my building– we have separate checks for gas and electric– that would mean that not only do you not get to heat and cool your home, but also that you do not get to heat your water, or cook on your stove, if you have a gas stove (I do).
Also noticeably absent in this budget? Food. And gas. There’s a line for a car payment, but not for gas. Which is suspect, because if you’re working two jobs it’s possible you will pay more for your gas than you’d be paying for your car.
Also… health insurance for $20 a month? There is really no such thing as health insurance for $20 a month if you’re buying your health insurance on your own. I think the least amount is going to be about $215 a month– and that only covers hospital emergencies.
The minimum wage in this country is reprehensible. If the minimum wage had kept up with inflation it would be over $10 an hour. If it had kept up with productivity? It would be $21.72.
Right now, we have people in our government saying that we shouldn’t even have a minimum wage. That employers should be free to pay people whatever they can get someone to agree to work for. If they can get someone to work for $3 an hour, then it should be allowed.
There are people who comfort themselves by telling themselves that poor people are only poor because poor people are lazy. Pretty sure someone who works 74 hours a week isn’t lazy.
You may think that most of these minimum wage earners are teenagers. Well, 87.9% of minimum wage earners are over the age of 20. 28% of those people are parents trying to raise a kid on this budget. That is not a good thing for our future and it is not a good thing for our economy. In order for the economy to thrive, people have to be able to buy things. All the money going to people at the top does not help us.
I don’t want to live in any kind of dog-eat-dog Ayn Rand erotic fantasy. Human beings are worth more than that. Anyone who works 40 hours a week (nevermind 74 hours) ought be able to take care of all the basic necessities in life. Corporations shouldn’t be able to pay their workers nothing, keep all of the profits to themselves, and expect taxpayers to make up the difference with social programs. It’s not fair to the workers, and it’s not fair to any of us.
This teacher needs to be terminated immediately….at LEAST.
This bitch needs physical violence. LOTS OF IT.
Wow. What would you do if it were your child, humiliated in front if her peers?