babyNOIR explores the world - of fashion, food, new words, first steps, cool toys, baby classes, music, and lots more.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend!

It's pretty hot in NYC!  We are gearing up to the 3 days of vending this Memorial Day Weekend!

babyNOIR's super colorful cousin babySOLAIRE sundresses will be now available up to 8-year-old size!

5/29 Sat: Waverly Place Festival - north side of Washington Square Park

5/30 Sun: 23rd Annual Livable West Side Festival - on Broadway, between 72nd & 86th Streets.  We will be in between 78th & 79th Streets!

5/31 Mon: Annual Cedar Lane Family Festival - in Teaneck, NJ! we will be on Cedar Lane between Elm and Garrison Streets.

hope to see you there!!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

on spoiling the baby

I was vending today with my friends Nunzio-the-mommie's/women's-clothing-maker and Scott-the-baby-chaser-so-I-can-vend-all-day.  My baby had a great time running around, looking at other people's products, talking to passerby s, and just generally getting lots of attention and affection as a 20-months-old.

A gentleman who was selling his wares out of India next to my booth was nice, and we chatted on and off all day.  Then he said, "your baby is so cute.  She is really smart, and adventurous.  I see that she gets a lot of attention, but be careful so she doesn't get spoiled."
That comment really, really bothered me.  I felt that I had a glimpse into the source of many problems people have as they grow and soul-search.  I told him right then, "giving a child lots of positive attention does not spoil her.  It makes her strong and connected, so she will be able to learn to be a better person."

People confuse not being able to do things they want to do in the manner they would like because of a child needing attention with actually failing to install in a child the sense of empathy which translates into the socially proper behavior.  These are two different things.

A child at any stage needs lots of attention, and that's how they grow.  By "attention," I mean a certain type of attention, though attention nonetheless.  I give her whatever she wants, as long as it doesn't harm her.  She asks for it because it is age appropriate for her to ask it.  And, truthfully, she mainly wants to be and do things with me, or someone she loves.  I give her my full attention whenever I can, pushing her to... To love me, of course! And to be compassionate, to be analytical, to be curious, to be brave, to be careful, to be musical, to be physical... my attempts are endless.  I talk to her in Japanese, so she'll know my language and have a better mental control than if I didn't.  I call out the colors as I take out crayons out of the box one by one.  I give the show of enormous enthusiasm when I notice a something - a fire engine, an airplane, a dog, a book - so she would become excited about these little things.  I tell her our itinerary of the day and repeat it with much enthusiasm several times in the morning, so she will know to expect something and actually have them happen - to learn to plan.  Then at the end of the day, I talk about our day with her to her daddy, emphasizing the fun bit and encouraging her to chime in, so she will learn to recall and express herself.   It's all about having fun with her and nudging her along.  But, that means sometimes I deny what she asks - like when she wants to snatch the Thomas the Tank Engine from her friend's hands, or when she wants an ice cream from the Big Gay Ice cream Truck after she's had a few cookies, or when she asks me to open my Swiss Army Knife.

I strongly believe paying positive attention to your kids connects you with her, making her resilient, so you can (hopefully) guide her towards better version of herself.  One of my guide as a parent is Dr. Daniel Siegel and Mary Hartzell's Parenting from Inside Out.

Again, give the kids  A LOT!! of attention.  You'll know which kind, if you pay attention. We are all busy, and nowhere near perfect, but we do what we can, as much as we can. 


Sunday, May 2, 2010

Thoughts On Being An Alien Mother

 As in a legal alien.
The whole controversy with Arizona's immigration law reminds me of an incident we had in New Mexico.  In tern, I wonder about the possible future of this country my Japanese-Macedonian-Rromani-American child will be a part of.

It was 2006, we were on our honeymoon in New Mexico.  We drove everywhere in the states, hitting many of the beautiful parks and Pueblos, and stopping at natural hot springs along the way.  It was all beautiful, and so much fun.  Then we headed to the White Sands National Monument.  As we got closer to the park, we came across a check point on the highway, where an officer asked us if we were U.S. citizens.  My husband said yes, then smiling, I waved and said, "I'm not!"  We had no idea why the officer was asking the question in the first place, and well, you gotta be honest, right?  Let me remind you that we are New Yorkers.

The officer then asks me to show him my passport.  To which I reply, "WHY?!"  with the slight attitude that is always right below the surface of all New Yorkers.  The officer is a bit taken aback, but politely rallies with "because you are not a U.S. citizen."  Now this is ridiculous.  "I don't have it, because we haven't left the country. No one walks around with a passport.  I have my driver's license."  Then the officer sighs, and asks where we are from.  He sighs again upon hearing our New York origin, and asks if I am a permanent resident.  I pointedly reply that I am, then he politely requests if he may please see the Green Card.  "I don't carry that!"  The officer still politely pushes on with "uh...why not?"

Now I'm annoyed.  "Do you know how hard it is to replace it if I lose it?  Do you know how mean these people are at the immigration office?  I have it where it is safe, with my passport, at home!  Why would I carry it when I'm traveling within the country?  If you need my identification, I have my driver's license!"

"So you really don't carry your passport or the Green Card?


"Well, everyone, when you are this close to the border."

"I've been to upstate New York, and NO ONE asks for a passport!"

"... that's not the same border."   

The officer, who is not a New Yorker, still gently pushes on with the request to see my social security card, which I don't carry, because, REALLY, WHO DOES???  You have your number memorized, and the number checks out when anyone bothers to really check it, that's all it's for, right??  Now the officer writes down my social security number, takes my driver's license, and apologetically asks us to drive over to the little building on the side of the road, while he checks it up.  We do so, and see another car with a couple standing by.  The young woman is a pretty blond, and the man next to her seems to be from India or a Pakistan.  My husband and I laugh, and approach them.  "Let me guess, Massachusetts?"  They laugh with "close. Connecticut.  You?"  "New York.  Who walks around with a passport!  What-the-hell!  Right?"  "Yeah, right?  It didn't even occur to us.  We weren't leaving the country."  "I know!  It's crazy!"  The pretty blond sensibly suggests that we probably have a different reality being so close to the border.  I guess so.  But really, they should put that little fact on all the travel guides!!  I don't remember seeing that warning on my Lonely Planet!

Our active northern conversation subdues and we put on our polite faces when an officer approaches us with our driver's licenses.

"Ma'am, Your documents checked out."
"Of course they do."
"...please have your passport and Green Card on you the next time."
We wave at the other couple and drive off, talking about how crazy all of that was.

We finally arrive at the White Sands National Monument, and it was beautiful.

At the next check point, an officer politely asks if we were U.S. citizen, and we both smile and say, "YES!"

If this had been in present-time Arizona, I would have been jailed, and my husband would have had to fly back to our apartment in New York, and bring back my passport and Green Card, then pay the fine for all the trouble I caused. 

My little babyNOIR has the beauty you'd call "exotic."  With any racial profiling, she would be targeted.  I hope we will not move in that direction.  I have come to this country as a student, and became a permanent resident through marriage.  I have worked illegally and legally, and paid taxes throughout while I do not have the right to vote.  I am not applying for a citizenship, for reasons that are my own. This country was built and has been run and supported by millions of immigrants just like me.  Very funny Ms. Wanda Sykes said something really brilliant - "Why are they called illegal immigrants? They're undocumented workers. If someone broke into my house and vacuumed my rug, I might be puzzled. But mad?" 

I know many "illegal immigrants" who are hard-working people whose service we cannot do without.  Would you really work in a farm in all hours of the day and night along side an owner?  Would you really sit there and sew garments all day long, after  having to learn how to do it meticulously to compete against goods coming in from China?  Would you really work every night, cleaning offices for a minimum wage?  The whole thing about trying to eliminate the criminal activity by eliminating the specific group of people reminds me of Swift's A Modest Proposal