King’s First Words

To my dismay King did not say Mama, Ma, Mommy are anything close as his first words. The first distinguishable word he said was STOP! I wasn’t even the person to identify the utterance as a word, his aunt had to let me know what he was saying. She has an older son. When you have to take things away from King or redirect his behavior, he tells you, STOP. Sigh. In an effort to NOT teach my son the word no at an early age, I used the word stop. Well it worked; he can correctly use the word in a sentence or as a sentence.
His second set of words did not include my title either. “Bye-Bye Daddy” he said.
The words were just as clear and audible as a grown up’s. I was in total shock and l looked and Papa Bear and then Yeye to confirm what I just heard. Their faces told me that my ears had not deceived me. I was totally excited. King spoke with words I understood! Praises Be! I spun King around and kissed his fat face. I was so proud of this milestone.
That feeling subsided and another one entered. The one I do not have a name for but the one I’m pretty sure I shouldn’t be blogging about. My mind chatter went something like this:
How dare he not say Mama first? What?! I carried you’re not so petite self for over nine months and let you distort my dancer’s figure; that I have yet to recover! I nursed you for as long as my body allowed. Then I suffered a mild depression when I dried up because I thought I was failing you in some way by going back to work. Boy! Since you’ve been born I never had a good night’s sleep. I pray over every decision I make for you. I live for you. And dude, you couldn’t say Mama first? The nerve.
But these are the conversations that no one will admit to having with themselves. Please note I know I was being ridiculous. I am glad that he is saying something and that there is no speech delay. Two word sentences are pretty advanced for my now thirteen month old. At his paternal grandmother’s house he has found other babies to communicate with. I am glad that what sounds like gibberish to me is understood by another. Once again things did not go as planned and guess what? I lived.


Date Night, Being Sabrina Fulton and Other Things

This blog entry was originally supposed to be about the importance of date night. It still is but there are a few other sprinklings I’d like to mention as well. Date night IS important. Pre-King days Papa bear and I had an established date night. It went on for a year until one day when I was feeling hormonal I told him I no longer wanted date night. I stated that they were predictable and took the spontaneity out of our relationship. Hind sight of course is 20/20 and maybe I should not have eliminated date night completely. Instead I could have suggested a variety of venues, new ideas and rotating days. Eliminating date night was wrong. Papa bear if you are reading, I was WRONG!

Post-King days I welcome any reason to put on fancy clothes, have adult conversations and balance in the air with my pretty pumps. I have reinstated date night! Our first outing was the Jill Scott concert at Wolf Trap in Vienna Va. This outdoor concert arena is in an affluent neighbor and the residents are of the majority culture. Jill brought the brown masses; it took two hours to get from the exit into park and to our seats. The parking situation was atrocious and patrons had to now park in the neighborhood instead of the lots. The residents of this community didn’t seem to appreciate the browning of their neighborhood, even if it was temporarily.

We sat in traffic for two hours and our bladders were full. On the mile hike from where we parked the car to our actual seats we came upon a swim meet. We entered the building to use the facilities. When leaving a pasty face lady said “excuse me?”

I paused. She asked if I were going to the show but it sounded more accusatory than inquisitive so instinctually I headed out of the building. To my back she shouted “this is not a public restroom!”

I said ok, and continued out the door. Then she shouted “you people…”

Everyone that is a part of a minority group knows that this is a slur. Papa bear and I gave each other knowing looks but kept walking. We were on the side-walk by the time she called us a$$holes. Papa bear stiffened but he kept walking. Pasty face slammed the doors and locked them; we had an audience by now. Emotions have been high in the brown community after the Zimmerman verdict and folks were ready. Then this silly broad ran to another door on the other side of the building and yelled “bye rude people.”

Papa bear had his fill and turned around to go back and address her. But pasty fearfully stayed behind the glass doors. I grabbed Papa bear’s hand trying to stop him from charging her which was as effective as holding back a tornado. The image of King in his mind’s eye was the only thing that stopped him in his tracks. We eventually made it to the concert, missed the two opening acts, saw Jill do three songs and left early to beat the crowd. Date night was a wash.

On the way home I finally allowed myself to process what had happened to Trayvon Martin. I am Sabrina Fulton. I am the mother of a black male child who will probably be of considerable size. I will have to talk to him about race and gender very early in life. I have no idea how to go about it. I don’t want him to live in fear but naiveté will not protect him. I am an educated very grown woman. I was dressed up, attending a concert and still baited. If this can happen to me, what about my sun?

My girlfriend Autumn* and I talked about raising black boys over brunch a few days ago. She told me she didn’t want her son to be corny but dressing like Carlton Banks instead of Lil Wayne might save his life. I’m not sure. Is the profiling really in the clothing? I was dressed impeccably and still taunted. I am prone to believe the profiling had more to do with skin tone. And we all know ladies and gentlemen, there is no changing that.

So what are my takeaways? 1) Even though the night was a bust it is important to set aside time for you and your mate. I enjoyed getting fancy and having Papa bear admire me. He looked dapper as well. *wink* 2) Racial profiling is real and scary. There are uncomfortable lessons about being black and male in America that I will have to teach King. 3) King is loved and his parents chose to come home to him instead of going to jail.
Thanks for stopping by!
~A King’s Ma