where the writers are
06/15/08 It's a Lovely Saturday Morning.

What a lovely treat this morning has been so far. KidOne gone to her boyfriend's last night, KidThree off at her grandmother's for the night, so I was on my own. This morning there are no kids here. All doors and windows are wide open to catch the cool air from outside and bring it inside, and I'm sitting here in my chair with coffee and the computer. Four loads of laundry this morning. Half of it is hanging up now in the doorways and the rest is spinning around in dryers as I type. In another hour and a half, it will be time to go to the Senior Center for my day with the old folks. That is such an enjoyable way to spend a day; I always have a lot of fun with them and the day goes quickly.

No new news from KidTwo. I hope she is managing okay down there. Dealing with her father can be tremendously frustrating and KidTwo has not gotten to the point where she knows the limits of what she can do to help. KidOne and I got to that point long ago, but KidTwo just hasn't, not quite yet.

Last night I finished Ben Fong-Torres' book. It was terrific. So many of the places he writes about are familiar to me, as my family is from the same area. Now I want to read a lot more autobiographies or memoirs but unfortunately can't, as the library wants me to pay a fine before we will be friends again and I don't have the money. Same song, different verse. Somehow that is always the case. Oh well, one at a time, little by little, things are getting caught up. With the gifts from KidFour's father and KidTwo herself, the rent check cleared without overdrawing the account and I was able to pay the entire cell phone bill.

Next week will be busy. KidThree has an appt with a new psychologist (new because of the change in insurance) on Tuesday and then we have the support group on Wednesday. Friday I babysit BabyJ. I may also watch him on Tuesday, if his mama can get the hair appt she wanted. That isn't much money coming in. Drat.

The woman who answered my craigslist ad didn't respond after I called and left a message in response to her email. That was two days ago. I wonder why? Maybe she found someone else. Sometimes it's hard to tell just what turns someone off--just a turn of phrase can be enough. For me, I tend to be wary of all ads that mention the poster's religion. It's not that I mind their religion, but by their mentioning it, I get concerned that they will be pushing it on others. Of course, they could be mentioning it as a screening mechanism, to try to get only like-minded people to respond. It can be tricky to read between the lines. I'll just keep posting ads and hope to get another client or two that way.

My client list right now may be down to only two families: BabyJ's and MissA's. I've probably lost the AmazingA's family, which I regret quite a bit, as those two little girls were such a pleasure to spend time with. The issue with the AmazingA's family may involve racism. One day, in accordance with prior arrangements, I picked up her sister, the MarvelousM, and brought her here to my home to crochet and play in the kitchen. When her mother came to pick her up, she appeared very uncomfortable; we think it was because she was taken aback by the sight of KidThree, who is not the same ethnicity as I am. (We do have good reason for attributing her response to racism; KidThree, KidFour, and I all noticed her extreme surprise when she came through the door and her resolute avoidance of looking in KidThree's direction after that initial glance.) Since that time, the mother has been so adamant that the girls not be allowed to come here that she has even taken days off work rather than have me watch the girls here. That is a woman seriously determined to keep her children out of my home (which was quite clean and presentable when she came over).

A similar thing happened with another client several months back. This couple had had me babysit for their child, BabyD, when they encountered a temporary gap in their usual childcare arrangements. They liked my care of BabyD enough that later they asked me to commit to watching him for several months. By that time, this apartment was ready to have children stay (it was before the arrival of KidOne--we were temporarily box-free in the living area). BabyD's parents and a grandmother came over to see the apartment, walked around and said nice things while BabyD explored, then later I had an exchange of emails with BabyD's mother in which she said they had decided they only wanted BabyD watched in their home and could I accommodate that. In this case, again it appeared that the appearance of KidThree was very distressful to them. All three adults literally averted their eyes and did not engage her in conversation at all. I declined to watch BabyD in their home: too much time away from KidThree and I didn't want to facilitate bigotry.

In both those instances, the parents were immigrants. My best guess is that they were crippled by the racism so common in their own ethnic communities, racism fueled by negative stereotypes in our media and kept in place by insular lifestyles. It is too bad; it would have been good for all of those kids to be around my lovely little family, which encompasses three different ethnic groups. When the MarvelousM was over, she didn't appear taken aback by KidThree at all, and later asked just a few questions that showed she was just arranging the mismatched mother/daughter situation in her mind to her satisfaction. She was just curious, and happy once she understood how it had come about. She certainly didn't mind in any way.

Enough ruminating. Time to go get the dry clothes, then time to shower and get off to the Senior Center for my lovely, lovely day with the old folks.

A

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