My Love/Hate Relationship With Play Dough

For almost three and a half years of Cookie Monster’s life, I banned Play-Doh from our house. The only time he or Gamera got to play with it was when we were at other people’s houses. Anytime someone gave us Play Doh as a gift, it mysteriously disappeared. You see, I hate Play Doh. It crumbles. Gets all over the floor. Ends up on my carpets no matter how much I tell my kids to only play with it in the kitchen. It dries into hard, sharp chunks that gunk up toys. It smells funny. And it dries all too quickly.

I tried to make play dough a few times, but they always turned yucky really quickly (either getting super wet again or getting too clumpy). I gave up on that idea after wasting several cups of flour and salt.

I felt mildly bad since the kids kept watching YouTube videos on various Play Doh sets and how to make fancy ice cream cones or whatever. But I certainly didn’t feel bad enough to give in and buy them any.

However, Cookie Monster’s preschool teacher had the most awesome home made play dough. It was nice, clean smelling, didn’t clump, and had a great texture. I kept putting off asking her for the recipe because I didn’t want to bring play dough into the house. I knew once I did, I would never get rid of it.

Well, one day in the summer, when I was hugely pregnant with Glow Worm, somehow we ended up with a bunch of play dough Cookie Monster’s teacher gave us. She also lent us a bunch of play dough toys (eg: rolling pins, knives, stencils, cookie cutters, scissors). Cookie Monster and Gamera were occupied for hours. HOURS. I couldn’t believe it. I thought it was a fluke but it wasn’t. They played play dough for HOURS at a time every day and did not stop.

I would overhear Cookie Monster quote the YouTube videos he watched, saying, “Remove the excess.” “Use the molds.” And watch him know what to do with certain play sets because he’d watch the videos over and over again.

It was amazing.

I immediately asked for her recipe and started scavenging craigslist for play dough toys. And now, I make a new batch of play dough every month or two. The kids love it and I don’t hate it quite as much. (Nor do I feel bad about throwing away old play dough because it was cheap to make.)

If you hate store bought Play Doh and don’t mind about 15-20 minutes of work, here is The Best Play Dough Recipe Ever. The secret ingredient is cream of tartar. I have no idea what people use it for other than for play dough. Pro-Tip: after you make the play dough, put it in a ziplock bag unzipped overnight. That way, it doesn’t re-condense and get all moist and yucky right away.

Enjoy!

Why I Am a SAHM

Sometimes, I think I am damaging my children’s understanding of what women can do by being a SAHM. Are my boys going to look for wives who will only be homemakers? Will my daughter think her career options are limited? Am I reinforcing gender stereotypes?

Of course, I know intellectually that the whole thrust of feminism isn’t to force all women into the workplace and devalue motherhood and being a homemaker. The point of feminism is to give women and men equal rights and opportunities so that if I want to work, I can work. If I want to stay at home, I can stay at home. (Same goes for my husband.)

Hapa Papa often jokes that I pulled a Bait and Switch on him. I looked good on paper: graduating from UCLA, working in marketing then becoming a financial advisor. And then, BAM! I popped out Cookie Monster and decided I never wanted to work again. (No, this is not a discussion on whether or not caring for children is work. Yes, it is. But I am merely referring to “work” as in an occupation for which I am paid taxable dollars.)

I always assumed I would work after I had kids. My mother worked and my brother and I turned out fine (dare I say, AWESOME?). But I do know that as much as I appreciated the freedom of being a latch-key kid and the hours and hours of TV we’d watch after school, I envied my friends whose mothers were home. Part of me longed for someone to welcome me home when I got back from school, perhaps with snacks.

Please don’t misunderstand me. My mother never missed a concert or school event. She always knew the gist of what was going on at school. (This is especially impressive since she was an immigrant and this was all PRE-internet!) She knew who my friends were and was incredibly strict regarding who I was and wasn’t allowed to hang out with. I am incredibly grateful – especially now that I realize just how easily influenced I am! (I am no stalwart independent. I am quite the follower and easily misled!)

At any rate, as soon as I took one look at Cookie Monster, I knew I would never work again. I didn’t want to miss a single moment of his little life and the lives of his siblings. I wanted to shape my children, for better or for worse. When the kids eventually go to school, I want to be there at pick up and drop off. I want to know their teachers. I want to be involved in the PTA and their classrooms. (Ok, I take that back. I definitely do NOT want to be Room Mom. NOPE. Not for me.)

But mostly, I want our home to be a sanctuary. A hub. I want the kids to bring their friends over after school, play, hang out, do their homework, eat, and bask in the inanities of life. I want to be in the background or foreground (depending on what is needed). I want to be the constant heartbeat of their lives until they launch themselves into college and young adulthood. I want to be their security. Their home.

I want to provide my children with the stability I never felt when I was growing up. I want to be their rock.

Of course, many parents provide these things even while working. But to me, I want to be home full time. Even when all the kids are in school, what place of work would have me work from 10-2? No one in their right mind would hire me unless it were shift work. Plus, I am more than certain those precious child-free hours would be quickly eaten up by the millions of little things it takes to manage a family of several children.

I am just so grateful that Hapa Papa’s job makes enough money so that we can live comfortably on one income without hardship. I am grateful that Hapa Papa supports me being at home. I am grateful that I get to be present for almost every glorious, boring, mundane, infuriating moment with my children. It is an incredible honor.

Things That Make Me Happy

I have several inchoate posts in the queue and I just can’t seem to sit still long enough to write something coherent and meaningful. (Truthfully, I can’t stay away from the interwebs because, hey! Email! Quizzes! Wikipedia! Facebook! Random articles! Apparently, they are all more interesting than writing a blog post.) So, instead, I’m going to just list a bunch of things that have made me happy lately.

So, here they are in no particular order:

1) I love watching my older two kids interact. They are such good buddies and even their arguments are hilarious. Some examples:

a) Inevitably, the first words out of whoever wakes up second are, “Where’s Gamera/Cookie Monster?” 

b) G: “Top [Stop], Cookie Monster! You listen to me! You have to listen to me!”
CM: “No, thank you! I don’t have to listen to you!”
G: “Top [Stop], Cookie Monster! LISTEN TO ME!”

Mostly, I find this amusing because they sound exactly like me yelling at them to listen to me.

c) CM: “Come play with me, Gamera!”
G: “Okay!” or, “NO!”

Gamera never asks to play with Cookie Monster. She just follows him everywhere and does whatever he does. It’s super cute.

d) Every time we drop Cookie Monster off at preschool, Gamera is sad and begs to join her older brother. She asks every time if she can go to school with him and I have to break her heart every time. She gets super happy when it’s time to pick him up.

e) Gamera plays with trains, reads, and does everything EXACTLY like Cookie Monster. Clearly, I’m not teaching her anything. They even talk and tell stories exactly the same. It’s clear from syntax alone that they’re related.

2) Even in sleep, they are close. Their interactions are particularly amusing since one or both of them are asleep.

a) I often find them snuggled together in bed, or alternatively, squashing the other. I have watched Gamera sleep crawl over Cookie Monster’s face and settle on top of his head with her stomach. I have even found them holding hands.

b) When Cookie Monster sleep talks, he usually says, “More!” or “Cookie!” When Gamera sleep talks, she yells, “MINE!” or “No, Cookie Monster!”

c) One time, Gamera rolled over and found herself pushed up against Cookie Monster’s feet. In her sleep, she started yelling, “Top [Stop] kicking me, Cookie Monster! Top!” All the while, hitting Cookie Monster in the face. He was so confused, even in a dead sleep. I couldn’t stop laughing but eventually, separated poor Cookie Monster from his unreasonable sister.

3) Since my college friend, DS, has been visiting this past week, I’ve had the opportunity to catch up with an old friend who’s life is completely different than mine. It’s been awesome to get to know him a little better, as well as have deep conversations (like the kind we used to have in college – even if he did go to USC). My kids are going to be SO SAD when he’s gone.

4) Glow Worm’s random noises crack me up. He’s taken to growling after nursing. Clearly, he takes after his big sister.

5) I caught up on all my TV shows.

6) I made some progress on my 2014 Goals. Incremental steps, but hey, progress nonetheless!

7) Hapa Papa is back from his business trips and as a result, I have ceded all parental duties to him. This past weekend, he took the older kids to two parks each day. That’s three more parks than I took the kids to all week. (Hmmm… wait… that’s FOUR more parks than I took the kids to all week.)

8) Cookie Monster recently told me he loves the song, Counting Stars, by OneRepublic. Hearing him sing along to the song on the radio (and mangling most of the lyrics and surprisingly getting a decent amount of them correct), seeing him glow as he grins and sings enthusiastically, watching him dance along to the music, it is so precious.

9) Glow Worm attacks all the activity stations on his exersaucer. He gets even more excited when he sees his big brother and sister. He wants so badly to be big.

10) Cookie Monster has been really good about speaking more in Chinese after a few months of speaking more English. I’ve been making more of an effort to force him to speak Chinese and pretending not to understand him if he speaks to me in English.

11) Because of my pretending not to understand English and forcing the kids to speak Chinese, Gamera has made up a language. She knows she can’t speak English, but for some reason (either because she’s not sure how to say it in Chinese, or she’s just stubborn), Gamera now either mimes what she wants, or she speaks gibberish such as, “Hee hee ha ha hoo?”

12) I haven’t yelled much at the kids ever since I started trying the techniques in Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood (affiliate link). Although very cheesy and seemingly stupid, the techniques have been working really well for me. I especially love giving my kids choices for incredibly stupid things, as well as having set things to say when I’m frustrated or mad so that I repeat those phrases like a mantra and refrain from screaming at my children.

13) My food restrictions have eased up a bit (due to Glow Worm’s allergy doctor saying I can have some egg and dairy in baked goods even though Glow Worm is allergic to dairy and eggs). So, every now and then, I sneak a food item that makes me feel normal again. Today, I had 2.5 chocolate chip cookies. They were AMAZING.

14) My acupuncturist says I only have to go to a few more sessions. Then it will be mostly on an as-needed vs weekly basis. My Saturdays are going to be free again! (Currently, I drive three hours round trip for the sessions every Saturday.)

15) My mother is finally not sick and healthy again (after being sick for at least a month). So that means my kids can finally hang out with her (and I can have a small break when she comes over). YAY!

16) Hapa Papa. Sometimes, I get a little entitled and become a bit resentful, but when I remember all the things he does for us (especially the kids), I am so grateful. He is a fantastic and involved father and my kids are so entirely spoiled by him. Plus, he really does go out of his way to make sure I am taken care of and happy.

I want to make sure Hapa Papa knows that if I went back in time to tell my college aged self what to do differently, I would ALSO be very upset and sad if the altered past erased HIM from my timeline. He came home Friday night and grumbled, “I noticed that you only mentioned you’d be upset if you erased the babies, but made no mention of me. I noticed because you only included the ENTIRE FAMILY EXCEPT ME. I’m not upset, you know, but it did come to my attention…” Oh, Hapa Papa. You are adorable.

Even coming up with this list made me smile. What is making you happy this week?

My Children Keep Me On My Toes

When Gamera was almost two weeks old, Cookie Monster locked himself in the nursery. Since it was the kind of lock that requires a key, he was in there, with a dirty diaper (of course) for over 30 minutes. (This was the 2nd time he’d done this, by the way. The first time, he managed to unlock the door – also with a dirty diaper. Cookie Monster liked to run away from the changing table and go into his old room). Poor boy was screaming and weeping the whole time. It was unawesome.

Cookie Monster banged on the door, tried to claw his way out of the room, and kept trying the door latch. It was very traumatic. I was totally trying not to sob!! I did start crying a little bit, but I didn’t want to freak Cookie Monster out so I tried to stay as calm as possible. Plus, it’s hard to pick a lock when you’re weeping hysterically. Finally, the last 5 minutes or so, I just stuck my hand under the door and told him to hold my fingers. It was so sad. Thank God the locksmith came in 20 minutes and charged us $100 for it!! He broke the lock (even he couldn’t pick the lock) and got Cookie Monster out.

I eventually changed out most of the locks to ones that he could easily unlock. I was not about to go through that again!

Of course, my favorite was when the locksmith asked, “Why didn’t you just ask him to unlock the door?”

I looked at him and said, “He’s under two. Don’t you think if I could’ve gotten him to do that for the last 30 minutes YOU WOULDN’T BE HERE RIGHT NOW???”

Cookie Monster recovered quite quickly though. After all, nothing a lot of ice cream, milk shakes and fries didn’t immediately cure. He had nothing of nutritional value that night for dinner.

Fast forward to this afternoon where I am nursing Glow Worm in the nursery and the older kids are playing in the guest bathroom. Next thing I know, Cookie Monster comes to me and says Gamera won’t open the door. I hear her trying the handle repeatedly but to no avail.

I think to myself, “Wait! Didn’t I change all the door handles last time?” A quick check on both the doors of the guest bathroom suggests that I did not. I keep trying to get Gamera to unlock the door. After all, she is a lot older than Cookie Monster was when he locked himself in the nursery.

She is not having it and begins to cry. As I am trying to pick the lock (with Cookie Monster running around, getting in the way and Glow Worm wiggling on the hall floor, I try to comfort Gamera as best as I can. I completely fail at describing how to unlock the door.

My friend, DS, who is staying with us for a few days tries to help me remove the lock. Unfortunately, the screws to remove the handle are on the other side of the door. That seems ass-backwards to me.

Gamera is still crying. Cookie Monster leans his head against the door and asks her repeatedly if she wants to build a snowman.

The locksmith tells me it will be twenty minutes and $120 (inflation much?). Thankfully, Gamera finally figures out how to unlock the door (after my friend and I have completely mangled one of the locks). The locksmith arrives minutes after she self-liberates so I still have to pay him $50. *sigh* At least she’s out.

Tomorrow (or maybe Friday), I will have to switch out the remaining four door handles for the ones with a push button lock so small children can open the door easily. I can’t believe I didn’t learn my lesson the first time. I’m sure when Glow Worm is older and I have Baby 4Glow Worm will manage to lock himself in somehow with a lock I thought I switched out. That would just be my luck.

On a different note, this morning, Cookie Monster’s preschool teacher told me that yesterday, some twins were visiting class to check it out. When she told the class the twins were in their mommy’s tummy at the same time, Cookie Monster jumped in to tell everyone that he came out of my tummy (I had a C-section with him) and that his Gamera came out of my “gagina.” (She and Glow Worm were VBACs). His teacher was just relieved no one had follow up questions.

How I Know I’m a Parent Even When I’m Alone

As a SAHM, it is very rare for me to be without one or all of my children. So, when I am out by myself, it’s really weird. Of course, I revel in how simple and quick it is to do ANYTHING. And then, I run into the problem of not knowing what to do with myself.

Anyhow, here are some signs that remind me I’m a parent even when my kids aren’t around:

1) I have the urge to point out every single firetruck, police car, garbage truck, BART train, turkey, cow, horse, WHATEVER that would interest Cookie Monster or Gamera.

2) I don’t have any chapstick, hand lotion, wipes, snacks, water, or anything useful on hand because I was so excited to use a tiny purse that I barely remembered to pack my wallet and phone.

3) Instead of buying what I need for myself, I wander toy aisles, buy their favorite snacks and drinks, and look out for snacks and stickers and candy I can score for free. For the kids, of course.

4) The doctor’s office know me by sight and by my children’s names, but not by MY name so when I go for myself, they are somewhat flustered and have to ask me for all my insurance information and have me sign all these forms because I haven’t been in to see them for myself in over a year.

5) When I go to the grocery story I go straight to the bakery for our free cookies until I realize I am an adult all alone so I can’t get one.

6) Every task and errand is light years faster and I find that I have allotted myself way too much time. I find myself wandering the aisles just to bask in all my free time.

7) I am constantly checking my phone for updates about the children from Hapa Papa.

ETA: 8) Swaying and rocking the following (but not limited to): nothing, books, groceries, my purse, food, a tasty beverage. While waiting in line. While standing. While breathing. With no baby.

What about you?

The Myth of Meritocracy

ETA: Apparently, this post has attracted a lot of attention. (Much to my surprise although Hapa Papa has graciously mocked me with, “Do you NOT know how the internet works?”) At any rate, if you are new to my blog, might I kindly steer you to my Site Disclaimer & Comment Policy? You don’t have to read it, but you are responsible for adhering to it. I don’t mind if you disagree with me – that is totally your right. Just like it is my right to not allow any personally insulting or attacking comments. Free speech is guaranteed by the government, not my blog. 

When Hapa Papa and I were first dating, he used to mock me for using big words in common, every day speech. He told me that I was being an elitist and that no one normal could understand me so I should stop showing off. I was greatly offended. I told him, “I had twenty SAT words drilled in my head every week from the 7th grade through Senior year in high school. I read over a hundred books a year. These words are a part of my vocabulary. What the hell were YOU doing in high school? Didn’t you study for the SAT?”

Hapa Papa just shrugged and said that he took the SATs once during his senior year. He didn’t study for it. Didn’t really know he could study for it. He just showed up to take the SAT his senior year. His parents had never spoken to him about college other than telling him he couldn’t go to an expensive one. He assumed he’d attend a community college or something like that. His parents didn’t encourage him to go to college. (ETA: For those of you who are new to my site, Hapa Papa is half Japanese and half German. I am Pro SCA5 even at the supposed detriment to my own children.) He knew nothing about college applications. No counselors told him what to do. He only took one AP class (he can’t remember which subject: English or History) and applied only to one school, Cal State LA (CSULA), and got in (along with some scholarships). That’s it.

I was astounded. More like incredulous. I thought his parents and school were horrible.

“They didn’t tell you anything? You didn’t study at all? You just, ‘showed up’ one day to take the test?”

“Yep.”

“Did you go to school in the inner city? Are LA schools really that bad? How is it possible you did not know ANYTHING?”

My sheltered little brain couldn’t conceive of a world in which the parents and teachers did not provide a united push for the sole goal of getting their kids into college. The thing is, Hapa Papa actually went to a pretty good school in LA. (The school where they filmed Grease.) College just wasn’t a big deal for him or his parents. Even now, I still have trouble processing this fact.

This scenario of his would have NEVER occurred in my family or my friends’ families. NEVER. As in IMPOSSIBLE. ZERO% chance.

By the time I was in 7th grade, the next six years of my educational life were geared solely to get into college. I had tutors. Bought SAT books. Took as many AP classes as possible. Joined extracurricular activities in order to look good on my college applications. Took summer school for “easy” throw away classes so I could make room for more AP classes. I had piano and voice lessons. I was in choir and marching band and the Colorguard. Took the SATs (both the original SATs and then the SAT I and II) multiple times in multiple years. Took PSATs. Took assessment tests for the standardized tests. Took multiple AP tests. Went to college fairs and information sessions. Our classes were geared to getting us into as well as succeeding at college.

All my friends were like me to varying degrees. My best friends made up the top 5% of my class and I rounded it out, the dumbest of all my super smart friends. And even then, my weighted high school GPA was well over 4.0. (I’d tell you the exact number but I really don’t remember.) College was NEVER not an option.

Another time, we were hanging out with Hapa Papa’s CSULA friends, (who incidentally, were mostly Latino), and they started reminiscing about college. Wanting to contribute to the conversation and bond with them, I started talking about the dorm life and how the cafeteria food was amazing and like restaurant quality when I realized his friends had all fallen silent and just kind of gave me a blank stare. Embarrassed, my voice petered out and never finished what I had started to say.

Later, Hapa Papa gave me shit for being completely tone deaf to the situation. His friends worked through school and either lived with their parents or in the super cheap fraternity house. Their dorms weren’t fancy and they didn’t have amazing restaurant quality cafeterias. He called me a spoiled little rich girl. I felt foolish and ashamed.

I remember a Latino friend at UCLA telling me how angry he was when he realized just how different his schooling was from the majority of other UCLA students. He felt constantly out of place and kept thinking he didn’t deserve to be at campus even though he was in the top of his high school. He had started to think he was stupid and slow at picking things up when he realized it wasn’t because he was stupid. It was because the other students had ALREADY learned these subjects in high school and were taking them again for an easy “A.”

I remember a black friend at UCLA who was clearly smarter than me, worked harder than me, came from a similar socioeconomic background and completely deserved to be at UCLA and yet, people always assumed he got in because of affirmative action. Even back when I was at UCLA, a time before Prop 209 killed affirmative action, at most there were one or two black students in my classes of three hundred. There were so few black people on campus, even though the student population in the late 1990s was approximately 35,000, they knew all the other black students by sight if not by name.

Where am I going with all this?

This past week, I have seen many of my Asian friends post “No on SCA5” on their Facebook feeds, linking articles on how the bill is racist and discriminatory and how it is a new version of the Chinese Exclusion ActSCA5 would repeal provisions of Prop 209 and allow the State of California to deny an individual or group’s rights to public education on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin. In layman’s terms, SCA5 would re-allow CA to use race as admissions criteria for UCs and CSUs. Basically, to re-allow affirmative action in UCs and CSUs.

According to UC data, the UC’s 2013 freshman class was 36% Asian, 28.1% white, 27.6% Latino and 4.2% black. At some campuses, including UC San Diego and UC Irvine, Asians are more than 45% of admitted freshmen this year. As of 2010, Asians made up only 14.9% of CA’s population.

If SCA5 passes and UCs and CSUs want to increase Latino and black student populations, due to the immutable properties of math, Asian and white student populations will decrease. And since Asians make up the predominant group, it is highly likely Asians would be the most affected. Understandably, many people (especially Asians) are up in arms over this.

I get why my Asian friends are angry and upset over SCA5. When I was applying for colleges, I remember debating whether or not I should tick off “Asian” when applying. After all, that could hurt my chances to get into school. And now, if SCA5 passes and isn’t repealed, when it comes turn for my children to attend university, their chances of getting into their colleges of choice will also be impacted.

It doesn’t seem fair. Why should blacks, Latinos, and heck, whites, get my kids’ spot just because of their race? They should work hard, get good grades and EARN their way – just like the rest of us.

But what is fair? On the surface, merit-based ONLY (the status quo) seems fair. But is it?

I want meritocracy to be true. I don’t want to admit that I did not get to where I am by myself – that I had help. But truthfully, I did. I benefited from tutors, better teachers, schools, and environment. I grew up without the expectation of violence. I had trusted advisors (who had already gone to college) show me what I needed to do in order to get into UCLA or similar institutions. Many of my extra-curricular activities were possible because my family had enough money so that A) I could do these things and pay for the materials they required and B) I wouldn’t have to work because I wasn’t expected to contribute to the family income.

In addition, I grew up in an environment where attending college was the rule not the exception. Being Taiwanese and the daughter of two MBA graduates makes it assumed that I would make good grades and go to a good school. Whatever you think of the “model minority myth,” society constantly reinforced the idea that I was smart, great at math and sciences, and would likely become a doctor.

I want to believe that I am singularly awesome and responsible for my success. I don’t want to believe that the black or Latino student who didn’t get into UCLA likely could’ve gotten in and done BETTER than I had they my advantages. Who wants to think that of themselves?

But when I honestly look at myself and my work ethic (or complete lack thereof), if situations were reversed and I was in an environment where succeeding at school was considered being a “race traitor” or I had few examples of academic success or all of society was telling me that I could only be successful as either a rap star or an athlete but never an intelligent human being and that I was most likely a thief, a thug, or a drug dealer and going to be knocked up at fourteen or incarcerated, I really don’t think I would have the mental fortitude or personal strength to overcome all of that. 

Even just from the anecdotes I included at the beginning of this post, without doing any research at all (which also backs up what I am saying), it is evident that there are huge differences in student backgrounds.

Money, neighborhoods, schools, race, and cultural expectations make it impossible to have a level playing field. 

Obviously, not ALL blacks and Latinos grow up in poverty. That is clearly false. However, at 12.6%, Asians have half the poverty rates of Latinos (23.6%) and African Americans (24.2%) in California. (Whites are at 9.8%.) So, even though not ALL blacks and Latinos have to overcome immense hurdles, many do. Besides, I’m not worried about the rich and middle-class black/Latino kids. They would get into the UCs and CSUs without affirmative action. But this helps blacks and Latinos who may not have the same grades (especially weighted grades) or access to AP classes, tutors, etc. and had to overcome overwhelming odds to get the opportunity to attend school.

Furthermore, even though Asian households have the highest median income in America, that fails to distinguish between different ethnic groups with different histories. When divided up by ethnicity, the majority of economic and academic success is concentrated in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Indian Americans. Cambodians (14.6%), Hmong (16%), Laotians (13%), and to a lesser extent, Vietnamese (26.1%), have college graduation rates lower than the US national average (28%). Additionally, one in five Hmong and Bangladeshi people live in poverty.

These are the Asians most likely to be hurt by SCA5. (Not the vast majority of Asians who are protesting on Facebook.)

There are no easy answers. There are limited spots. But sometimes, people in privilege have to give up some of theirs in order to allow other people a seat at the table. That is the burden and responsibility of being in a “majority” or in a seat of privilege. And in this case, I would consider Asians to be in the majority since they occupy a huge portion of spots at the UCs and CSUs.

Remember, Asians benefited greatly from the advocacy and rights of blacks and Latinos. We benefit from their fights for racial equality yet rarely do anything to help out their causes when we could. We Asians think that we achieved all our successes by ourselves when we wouldn’t even be in the conversation if it were not for blacks demanding their civil rights. We can’t have our cake and eat it too.

How hypocritical for Asians to demand opportunities in situations where we clearly benefit but not offer others that same opportunity where we would NOT benefit? Where would we be in other areas (bamboo and glass ceilings) if many whites did not give up some of THEIR privilege? Where would we be if blacks and Latinos had not fought for equal opportunities in employment, housing, and education?

Though much of our personal successes are due to our hard work, how much of that would have mattered if our rights were not secure in the first place? We Asians forget that we stand on top of the backs of our black and Latino friends as they paved the way and fought for our right to be here. 

What good does it do us if we succeed at the expense of blacks and Latinos? Who will come to our aid when we need it? (And believe me, we will need it.)

We are too afraid and pinning too much of our hopes and dreams on getting into certain schools. The truth is, there are so many opportunities out there. It SEEMS like a zero sum game where there is one pie and fuck it we’re losing some of our slice to blacks and Latinos. But in reality, our kids who would succeed at UCs and CSUs would succeed in many different schools. They will be fine. There are SO MANY pies. (Mmmm… pies…) UCs and CSUs are NOT the only game in town. There are many ways to succeed.

We do not need to fear.

Ultimately, is SCA5 fair? I don’t think so. But until I see Asians rallying with equal fervency against the unfairness of impoverished schools, the many Latino and black kids in underperforming school districts, living in areas of violence, drugs, broken families, and hardship, which, unsurprisingly, leads to it being much more difficult to do well in school (especially if you may be the first kid in your family to go to college), I am going to vote Yes on SCA5.

Suggested Reading:

Top 5 Anti-Affirmative Action Myths About SCA-5

NY Times: Asian Americans in the Argument

Civil Rights 101

14 Important Statistics on Asian Americans

Poverty in California

Reflections on the Rise of Asian Americans or Don’t Believe the Hype

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Myths and Realities of Affirmative Action for College Bound Students

Minorities and Whites Follow Unequal College Paths

A New SAT Aims to Realign With Schoolwork

Can You Get PTSD from Taking Your Kid to the Dentist?

You stand there, feet rooted to the tiles of the lobby floor. Your eyes are watching events unfold in all their insane glory. Time slows down and the whole while, your brain is stunned and stuttering, “What. The. Fuck. No. Wow. OMG. Is this happening? OMG. It is happening. It is happening to ME! Fuck!”

Ladies and gentlemen, this was all before 9:45am this morning.

So six months ago, I thought it would be so efficient and awesome if I scheduled both Cookie Monster and Gamera’s dental appointments at the same time because hey! Who doesn’t love efficiency? Turns out, Cookie Monster doesn’t love efficiency!

Erroneously, I thought that since it would be Gamera’s first time at the dentist, she would benefit from watching Cookie Monster go first. Clearly, I have no memory because WHY WOULD I THINK THAT? There has been no evidence during our previous two visits for Cookie Monster that this would be: A) a good idea and B) ever going to happen. I blame it all on a completely unrealistic hopeful optimism that has resulted in three children.

Fast forward to this morning. We start off pretty good. That is, until Cookie Monster gets wind that we are going somewhere after breakfast. He comes upstairs asking me where we are going. Because I have a stupid policy of never lying to my children (sometimes, I really hate this policy), I tell him we are going to the dentist. He is not happy. I make a classic parenting mistake. I tell him if he doesn’t go, then his teeth will rot and the dentist will have to pull out his teeth. (WHY WHY WHY DID I FUCK MYSELF IN SUCH A ROOKIE AND STUPID STUPID MANNER? I DESERVE ALL THE BAD THINGS!!)

As you can imagine, that went over well. Instead, I should’ve just said, “I love you too much to argue.” (I’m trying out a new parenting method and the hardest part is for me just to STFU. Clearly.)

Cookie Monster starts to whine and cry and hides himself behind the rocking chair. I wrangle him downstairs while he kicks and screams, all the while saying, “I love you too much to argue.” Hapa Papa somehow forces Cookie Monster into the car seat. (This is a Herculean task. First, Cookie Monster is very strong for a four year old. Second, when he’s pissed, he’s even stronger. Third, have you ever tried to force a small child into a car seat? How can they simultaneously be so rigid you are afraid you will snap them in two while being so limp that you cannot get a decent hold on them to smoosh them into the car seat? I just. Fail.)

The whole car ride there, Cookie Monster begs, weeps, and screams, “Let me out!! I want to go home! Get me out!” We arrive at the parking lot and Gamera is very excited and comes out of the van like a normal child. Somehow, I remove Cookie Monster from his car seat and continue my tenuous hold on his writhing body and exit the car very carefully. The Asian dude in the car next to mine just stares as this drama unfolds. (Incidentally, I hate the random side hand holds by the door on my minivan. What is the point of them except to provide easy handholds for my hysterical child to grab and prevent me from walking away from the vehicle?)

I stumble the hundred feet from the lot, through the lobby, and into the office. Cookie Monster sees Tangled on the TV and calms down somewhat. Gamera is busy playing Legos in the corner with another little boy. Every few moments, Cookie Monster whimpers and cries and demands to go home. The receptionist asks me to fill out paperwork as she watches me try to get a handle on my son. I resist the urge to smack her in the face because OMG DOES SHE NOT HAVE EYES?

Somehow, we make it to the moment where the dental assistant asks us to go in. This does not go well. I carry Cookie Monster who is of course, screaming and kicking and weeping, and Gamera, who is two compared to her brother’s four, walks in calmly of her own recognizance. The next thirty minutes are a blur of Cookie Monster throwing a tantrum, begging to leave, screaming, “I want to go out! Take me home! Take me home!” He asks for water. He drinks water. He says his tummy hurts. He trembles and shakes. He storms into the reception area. He storms back. I have to juggle holding him and answering inane questions from the dental assistant.

I put Cookie Monster down because I have to hold Gamera as the dentist looks at her teeth. She cries a bit, but overall, lets the dentist (who is AWESOME) do what needs to be done. She is calm and mostly, Gamera just wants to watch Tangled and have a lollipop and take home a purple balloon. Her teeth are fine. She is a fucking baller.

Finally, the dentist looks at Cookie Monster’s teeth and I use all my strength to hold him down and she tries her best not to get bitten by my rabid four year old. His teeth are fine. All she does is look at his teeth and gives him a goody bag and a balloon. I don’t know why he is ballistic.

We leave and I apologize profusely to all the staff and traumatized parents in the waiting room. We are now in the lobby and I am trying to tie down his balloon when Cookie Monster stands stock still and starts to vomit yellow acid all over his pajamas. (Did I mention he was still in his PJs and pullup and also, BAREFOOT because Mom of the Year here couldn’t get him to change or put on shoes?)

It just doesn’t stop.

He just stands there, mouth open, an arc of bile continuously spewing out of his mouth. (An ACTUAL ARC. Like a FOUNTAIN.) It spatters yellow and bubbly all over the nice tile floor, creating a slick puddle all around Cookie Monster’s bare feet. He vomits straight down his nice, white, bulldog pajamas. And he just stands there.

Thank God he didn’t eat breakfast and just had water at the dentist.

Gamera doesn’t move and stares, stunned. 

I freeze. I don’t know what to do. I run to the bathroom and grab paper towels. I throw them on the rapidly widening pool of gastric acid. I do this repeatedly. Cookie Monster takes off his shirt and uses it to wipe his feet, the floor, and steps on it. I valiantly refrain from yelling at him and tell him to stop that. I put his shirt in my purse. He walks to the door and lays down on the ground.

I go back to the dentist office and ask them to call a custodian because my kid has just vomited all over the lobby. A few minutes later, two nice dental assistants in their pink scrubs and face masks come out to clean the floor.

They tell me to go home and assure me that this happens all the time. (Somehow, I highly doubt that but I desperately want it to be true.) One of them gamely says, “At least there are no chunks!” Bless her heart.

I immediately drive to McDonald’s and binge on orange juice and hash browns.

It occurs to me that I forgot to make our next appointments. I think I’ll wait a few weeks for them to forget us and become anonymous once more.