Walking back from dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe, K and I saw the home where Lincoln died. I used it as a teaching moment to talk about how all brown people were originally born in Africa, but that mean people brought them here and treated them mean and…well you know where this conversation is going…
Homeless Man: Hey lil man! Your ole lady teachin’ you about slavery?
K: My name is K. Nice to meet you (shakes hand).
HM: (looking at me) He from Ethiopia?
Me: Yes. He was born there!
HM: I can tell. Them Ethiopians got THAT look.
K: I don’t have a Daddy!
HM: (Looking at me) Well that is a shame! How about we make a deal!?
Me: Thanks, but um…
K: Hey Mommy, he’s brown like me!
HM: Yeeaaahhhhh Mami! I’m brown like him. I can tell you down with the brown guuuurrrrlllll!
You know it's rude to speak in a language that people don't understand
If you have been following my ratings for a while, you know that I speak Amharic to K. Even though he only speaks English now, I want him to still have an ear for his native language. I use Amharic as chastisement and terms of endearment. I also utilize it when he isn’t listening to me in English. He knows I mean business when I make the switch from English to Amharic.
Walking through the airport today, a woman asked me what language I was speaking. When I told her, she said, “You know, it’s rude to speak in a language that people can’t understand!”. Since I wasn’t expecting her to say something like that, my manners weren’t in tact. My quick response was short of polite when I grabbed K’s hand and said, “then it’s a good thing I wasn’t talking to you! Cuz he understands me just fine!”
Good thing we were near our gate and were able to walk away from her. Good thing my kid was with me, because she might have gotten cussed out. Don’t mess with a Mama who is traveling alone with a toddler, on less than 4 hours of sleep. UH, heffa, I work very diligently to respect all people—so when you, who, live in Los Angeles where we have pretty much every race and language within 10 minutes of the airport, come at me with that crap. Expect the rude version of K-man’s Mama!!!
So, this week, K and I are on our way to DC for an orphanage reunion, and I promise to talk about that later. This, oh Lordy, this post will be about the horrible bratty bothers who sat across the aisle from us on the flight over. Actually, I am typing this while trying NOT to give them the evil eye or discipline them. My mantra so far has been, “not my kid! Not my kid!”
When we got on the plane, I was glad to see that there were kids across, in front and behind us. As a parent who has flown, you know how tough it can be when your kid wants to talk the whole time or kick the seat in front of you or…whatever. It’s nice to have people around you who feel your pain.
Well, not 20 minutes into our flight, the brat brothers started going at it. Their parents are sitting on the aisle—one seat in front of them and one seat behind them. They both have iPads and clearly want what the other one has. When “Mom” asked them to keep it down, older brat brother slapped her hand away and proclaimed, “Shut up! You’re bothering me!” Um! Really? She just weakly/clearly defeated smiled at me and turned around. Their dad just laughed. When I looked at him with an “um, you gonna tell them not to speak to their Mom that way” look, he chuckled and put his headphones back on.
They haven’t stopped arguing and slapping each others hands away from their iPads. Just 5 minutes ago, their dad asked them to keep it down and younger brat just simply said, “shut it!”.
Now, granted, I KNOW my son is far from perfect. I know he can be sassy and has his moments of not always using his manners, but I double dog dare him to tell me to shut it MORE than once. All it takes is one time and things will be handled. Um, forget him talking to me that way—if he has the audacity to think that it’s ok to talk to me that way, then he sure will think it’s ok to talk to other adults that way and that is NOT ok.
So, since our flight started 2.5 hours ago, they have told their parents to shut up at least 3 times and smacked their mom at least the same number of times. Neither of their parents have even slightly reprimanded them. Well, i take that back—their father threatened to take away bigger brats iPad if he didn’t keep it down and bigger stated, “yeah right!” sarcastically and kept right on playing his game. So clearly, this is how these kids act on a regular.
Somewhere over Kansas, both brothers ordered their dad to get them cup-o-noodles and he did. No thank yous were expressed. One complained that his wasn’t hot enough but kept right on eating it.
It truly was at this point, that I expected people for punk’d to show up and reveal that we had all been part of a plane experiment. Let me also add that I am not the only adult in our vicinity who is HORRIFIED.
We have less than two more hours left and all I can say is, “Not my kids! Not my kids!” over and over and over again.
In an attempt to get K to answer his own question and critically think, K has decided that I, clearly, don’t know anything. When he asks me a question like, “Where does a whale live?” My response is usually something like, “Why don’t you tell me?”
This tact backfired on me the other day when K asked me, “Do you know what spiders eat?” My response was consistent with what I usually say, “What do you think they eat?” He retorted with, “Mommy, do you know ANYTHING?” All I could do was laugh, because it was partially true. I never know how much I don’t know until I because responsible for this little brown guy. I never realized how difficult it was to explain things to someone until I became his mama! I love that he is inquisitive and asks questions! I love that we are learning all sorts of things together—things I truly don’t know the answer to.
I think he will quickly realize the pattern that happens when I don’t know something (and neither does he). He will see that when he asks a question and I am clueless, that is when I whip out the iPad and we Google it to discover it together.
I feel like I get my best ideas while in the car. I don’t know what it is, but revelation and clarity seems to come while I am driving. I love how I can ponder something for hours, but it seems to become clear for me once I get in the car. Well, lately K has been having the same kind of thing (well kinda). Recently, he has been sharing his deep, random, awesome thoughts with me—while in the car.
We will be driving along and say, “Mommy, please turn down the music. I had an idea…” and proceed to share about the cure for cancer (NOT) OR how he doesn’t understand why Thor is just Thor when Spider Man is Peter Parker! And for a 4 year old, these are legit concerns, right?
Just the other day he mentioned that a Komodo dragon is a big lizard but not a snake. The direct quote went something like, “Snakes slither on the ground like this (showing me with his arm how they ‘slither’). A Komodo dragon has legs. Hey, my arm doesn’t have legs. It can slither like a snake. My arm is like a snake! Look Mommy!”
Or, on the way to school the other day he randomly exclaimed:
K: You know what Mommy? Rex is really stronger than Buzz.
Me: Why do you think that?
K: Mama, you are so goofy. Rex just uses his tail to re-feat Zurg and he doesn’t even have a laser. I’m jus sayin’!
*True story son!
So… I see a pattern. It’s clear that the car and driving is going to be a revelation spot for everyone on Team Williams—I’m jus sayin’!
What is the difference between happy people and unhappy people? Of course, it may be very obvious, happy people are happy while unhappy people are unhappy, right? Well, that is correct, but we want to know what are the things that these people do differently and that is why, I have put together a list of things that HAPPY people do differently than UNHAPPY people.
1. LOVE vs. FEAR. Well, I can tell you for sure that those people who are really happy, FEAR less and LOVE a lot more. They see each moment, each challenge, each person as an opportunity to discover more about themselves and the world around them.
2. ACCEPTANCE vs. RESISTANCE. Happy people understand that you can’t really change a situation by resisting it, but you can definitely change it by accepting that it is there and by understanding that there might be a reason for its existence. When something unpleasant happens to them, they don’t try to fight it, knowing that this will make the situation even worse, but rather, they ask themselves questions like: What can I learn from this?How can I make this better? and they go from there, focusing on the positive rather than on the negative. They always seem to see the glass half full no matter what happens to them.
“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”Buddha
4. TRUST vs. DOUBT. They trust themselves and they trust the people around them. No matter if they talk to the cleaning lady or the C.E.O. of a multi billion company, somehow they always seem make the person they are interacting with feel like there is something unique and special about them.
They understand that beliefs become self-fulfilling prophecies, and because of that, they make sure to treat everybody with love, dignity and respect, making no distinctions between age, sex, social status, color, religion or race. These are the great men that Mark Twain was talking about: “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” Mark Twain
5. MEANING vs. AMBITION. They do the things they do because of the meaning it brings into their lives and because they get a sense of purpose by doing so. They understand that “Doing what you love is the cornerstone of having abundance in your life” like Wayne Dyer puts it, and they care more about living a life full of meaning rather than, what in our modern society we would call, living a successful life.
The irony here is that most of the time they get both, success and meaning, just because they choose to focus on doing the things they love the most and they always pursue their heart desires. They are not motivated by money; they want to make a difference in the lives of those around them and in the world.
6. PRAISING vs. CRITICIZING. Happy people would probably agree with Carl’s Jung theory on resistance: “What you resist not only persists, but will grow in size”. They don’t criticize the absence of the behavior they want to reinforce, but rather, every time the behavior is present, even if it’s not that often, they know that by praising the person and the behavior, they will actually reinforce the positive behavior.
When a parent wants to make sure that his 7 years old boy will learn to always put the toys back in the box after he’s done playing with them, he will make sure not to focus on the many times the child won’t do it, criticizing him and his behavior, but rather, every time the little boy does put the toys back, the parent will praise him and his behavior and that is exactly how he will reinforce the positive behavior, and in the end geting the wanted results.
7. CHALLENGES vs. PROBLEMS. Happy people will see PROBLEMS as CHALLENGES, as opportunities to explore new ways of doing things, expressing their gratitude for them, understanding that underneath them all lies many opportunities that will allow them to expand and to grow.
8. SELFLESSNESS vs. SELFISHNESS.They do what they do not for themselves, but for the good of others, making sure that they bring meaning, empowerment and happiness in the lives of many. They look for ways to give and to share the best of themselves with the world and to make other people happy.
”Before giving, the mind of the giver is happy; while giving, the mind of the giver is made peaceful; and having given, the mind of the giver is uplifted.”Buddha
9. ABUNDANCE vs. LACK/POVERTY. They have an abundant mindset living a balanced life, achieving abundance in all areas of life.
10. DREAMING BIG vs. BEING REALISTIC. These people don’t really care about being realistic. They love and dare to dream big, they always listen to their heart and intuition and the greatness of their accomplishments scares many of us.
“Dream no small dreams for they have no power to move the hearts of men.” Goethe
11. KINDNESS vs. CRUELTY. They are kind to themselves and others and they understand the power of self love, self forgiveness and self acceptance.
12. GRATITUDE vs. INGRATITUDE. No no matter where they look, no matter where they are or with who, they have this capacity of seeing beauty where most of us would only see ugliness, opportunities, where most of us would only see struggles, abundance where most of us would only see lack and they express their gratitude for them all.
13. PRESENCE/ ENGAGEMENT vs. DISENGAGEMENT. They know how to live in the present moment, appreciating what they have and where they are, while still having big dreams about the future.
“When you are present, you can allow the mind to be as it is without getting entangled in it. The mind in itself is a wonderful tool. Dysfunction sets in when you seek your self in it and mistake it for who you are.” Eckhart Tolle
14. POSITIVITY vs. NEGATIVITY. No matter what happens to them, they always seem to keep a positive perspectiveon everything and by doing so, they tend irritate a lot of negative and “realistic” people.
15. TAKING RESPONSIBILITY vs. BLAMING. They take full ownership over their lives and they rarely use excuses. Happy people understand that the moment you choose to blame some outside forces for whatever it is that happens to you, you are in fact giving all your power away, and they choose to keep the power for themselves and taking responsibility for everything that happens to them.
I really appreciate you inviting us over to “hang”, but I must decline yet again. I promise, it isn’t anything really personal, it’s really about logistics. Let me explain, your house sooooo not kid friendly. Let me elaborate a little bit more.
First, I truly do appreciate you making the effort to keep in touch and maintain our friendship. But coming to your house just isn’t an option—after the last time, and here are just a few of the reasons.
You, my friend, have tchotchkes all over the place. All of your diminutive trinkets and tiny figurines are like catnip to my 4 year old son. You have tons of things taunting him on your coffee table, shelves and mantles that are within his reach or within the reach of his need to climb. Not only that, you have a ton of plants on minute tables that look more like trees he can climb on than interior plants.
I must also say that you don’t have any toys or kid friendly things at all. I certainly don’t mind being the BYOKFT parent (bring your own kid friendly things), but you don’t want me bringing the whole house, right? I am all about you not feeling like your house needs to be like mine, but please know that my son doesn’t sit still in his chair for the 3 hours that you want to visit/catch up with me. Hell, I would be stoked to get him to sit still for 3 minutes.
Please know that at our house he is allowed to roll on the floor, zoom his cars across the floor, sit with his feet on the couch and jump off the stairs. He loves to jump and bounce and act like a T-Rex with the roaring and all. He loves to pretend he is Hulk or Darth Vader or a jet plane/rocket taking off. He loves lasers and swords—all of which include sounds such as “hai ya!” and loud “vroooooooom’s!” At times, he likes to be a monkey, elephant or tiger—all of which have loud sounds. No telling when and where he will have a hankering for such shenanigans, but I don’t hinder it at our house.
Granted, when we are at a restaurant, I remind him to use his restaurant voice. He is well trained for public behavior. He knows that at Disneyland or a park or at Nana and Grandpas or at our house, he can tap that imagination and creativity. On a plane or at a restaurant, not so much.
Yet your house is like the off limits Chuck E. Cheese. You have “adult” toys that make cool sounds, fluffy cousins on furniture that he isn’t allowed to touch much less sit on or make a fort out of, and little figurines that would fit so perfectly on his hot little hand.
I am not even going to talk about your model car, train or plane collection(s). That should be self explanatory to you. Again, they mock him—call to him to touch them, play with them, crash them and carry them around your house and probably lose them somewhere in your cushions or under a bed; never to be seen again.
So, thank you for the invite, but spending 3 hours yelling at my son and worrying that he is going to break something isn’t how I want to spend the afternoon. Please let me know if you have any questions!