Thursday, January 23, 2014

That's not how biracial works.

One of the things on my to-do list for the past few months has been registering Vivian for Kindergarten. It wasn't urgent, but I wanted to get it done before I forgot. Registering her required finding her immunization records (which were on the computer, I just had to log-in to the site) and coming up with two address verification documents (again, sitting right in my desk, just too lazy to look for them).  I just hadn't gotten around to it, until Monday when I realized that Daniel was sorting through all the bills and organizing them and could get me the two documents. And I also realized that I needed to print out the kids' immunization records anyway, since they were switching to a new pediatrician this week.

Anyway. All that to say that on Monday, I finally was ready to fill out Vivian's registration forms. (I didn't go through this with Ethan, since he has been in the public school system for several years now and was automatically registered for K).  I have a weird love for filling out forms, so I was zipping right along, filling in all the answers. And then I got to this form, which stopped me in my tracks.

I've filled out lots of these forms before.  I know that gathering demographic data is part of the whole experience for a lot of things. I have no problem with that. I will happily answer the question about whether or not my child is Hispanic, and I have no issue with checking boxes to say which race(s) my child is.  I'm happy that there is now an option for more than one answer and that I can indicate that my child is Caucasian and Chinese.

But do you see the sub-question under "What race(s) do you consider your child?" The one that says "Check all that apply." (fine) and then "Please circle your primary choice."

Excuse me? My primary choice?  I was unaware that I could just pretend that half of my child's ethnic background doesn't exist.  And why do I need to make such a choice? If I consider my child to be primarily Chinese, does she need to be educated differently than if I consider her to be primarily white?

Truth of the matter is that when my kids get older, they very well might identify more with one race than another.  Right now Vivian looks much more Chinese than her brother does. With his glasses on, he's barely identifiable as biracial. Maybe Ethan will grow up and want to embrace his Asian side and identify with that. That's fine. We're trying to raise the kids to appreciate both parts of their heritage and teach them as much about both sides of the family as possible. When they grow up they can identify themselves as being from the Purple Heffalump race for all I care. BUT I AM NOT CIRCLING MY PRIMARY CHOICE on a form for my 4-year-old. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Brain dump

1) January in Seattle. Possibly one of the most depressing places to hang out. It's not particularly cold. No snow or polar vortex. It's just grey, drizzly and I don't remember the last time we really saw the sun.  It's just energy-draining, no matter how much coffee you drink. I almost never nap and yet I fell asleep on the couch this morning while Vivian was watching a show.  Right now I am considering curling up on the floor under the dining room table and napping some more.  But the floor is dirty because I am too unmotivated to clean it, so possibly not.

2) Ethan went to school with his hair sticking up in about 15 different directions. I just couldn't bring myself to care.  Given the number of other disheveled kids and the number of families running to school after the first bell, it was about par for the course today.

3) The kids' room has no closets, so Vivian's dresses (of which there are MANY) have been hanging in Daniel's side of the wardrobe or on the back of the kids' door. This weekend we bought a mirror/clothes hanging combo thing at IKEA, so now the kids have a full-length mirror in their room. Vivian has been spending much time admiring herself in front of it.  Our stupid cat is convinced that there is now another cat in the house and freaks out whenever she walks past it.  Our smart cat already likes to sit on counters in front of bathroom mirrors and admire herself, so she falls into the pleased camp as well.

4) I'm wearing one of Vivian's pink princess crowns right now. It really seemed like the logical solution for this Monday.

5)  My grad school class is off to a rousing start. And by rousing I mean- all but three people appear to have dropped the class. Which makes group discussions very challenging.  I can only dispute my own point of views (points of view?) so many times. 

6) Daniel's new job is great and so  much less dramatic and stressful than his old job.  I'm so glad he made the switch. Even if he is now home at 5:30, requiring me to remember that dinner exists before 7 PM. 

7)  Football. This city has gone nuts.  There are flags and banners and last week one of the dads at Vivian's school colored his beard in Seahawks colors and I have no idea what's going to happen if they lose this week.  (See point #1 above.  Football is the only thing getting us through).

8) I need a nap.

Friday, January 3, 2014

We survived Winter Break

People. Winter Break has been simultaneously a blur of activity and SO LONG at the same time. Finding ways for Ethan to use up his almost boundless energy has been a challenge, but at the same time we've had so much going on that we haven't managed to connect with any friends for playdates.  Last weekend was a whirlwind trip to Portland in which we visited 4 museums in one day, caught up with our friend and saw my grandmother and aunt and uncle as well.  Later this weekend we head to Canada to celebrate the 50th wedding anniversary of Daniel's parents. Then it's back home to prepare for school.

I'm back in school as well on Monday and it should be an interesting term.  Less reading this term but more writing and more discussions online.  One of our papers is based around a semester-long correspondence that we are supposed to develop with several death row inmates (studying public policy and death policy this term).  I wrote my intro letters this week and am trying to figure out what exactly is appropriate second letter etiquette for this type of letter. 

We have an appointment at Children's Hospital this week for Ethan's medical issues and a meeting at school this week with all his people (therapists, nurse, teachers, special instruction people) to discuss all his other stuff, so that should be fairly depressing. 

But in good news, I finally got to see my niece again today and take these pictures:

Both of my kids did so well at sitting and holding the tiny baby. Vivian was terrified to move and was a trooper while we took pictures with multiple cameras and iPods and was happy to pass off Baby C when we were done.  Ethan said C made him itchy, but smiled better for this picture than most I get of him. I know all three kids are going to be great friends when C gets older. Seriously, I cannot believe that my kids were both tinier than C at birth and now they're real little people! Life is amazing...