Rainbow Books

I’ve learned there’s always something different each time I read with the kids at the library.  I have 2 students in back to back sessions.  The second girl usually picks her own books from the stacks and is waiting for me when I’m done with the first girl.

The first book she read was about a Teddy bear.  One day, the Teddy bear was sad.  The young boy who was his friend could not cheer him up.  The boy asked him why he was sad.  But Teddy didn’t want to tell him.  He was scared his young friend won’t be a friend anymore. Teddy tells his friend that he doesn’t feel like a boy Teddy but a girl Teddy.  And he likes to be called Tilly instead of Teddy.   The young boy assures him he doesn’t care if he is a boy Teddy or a girl Teddy.  Assured of his friendship, Tilly became happy again.

I wasn’t expecting a book like this.  I asked my student if she liked the story.  She said it was a good story.  She grabbed the next book and read the title out loud.  She was about to open the book but then she reread the title again “Heather has 2 Mommies.”  She looked at me with her eyes wide open.

“Matt – I think they are lesbians.”

It was Pride month and the library probably had a lot of LGBTQ friendly books up on display in the children’s section.  When I used to select books with my student, she chooses books because of the graphics and then checks to make sure it’s easy to read.  I’m pretty sure she just grabbed a handful of books without really checking out the content.

I asked “Do you want to read it?”  She nodded and quickly opened the book.

In the story, the main character Heather has two mothers.  During a class discussion, she was asked by a student what her daddy does.  She said she doesn’t have a daddy.   She then wonders if she’s the only one that doesn’t have a daddy.  The teacher decided to use that moment to illustrate a point.  The students were asked to  draw their family.  Every family was different.  Some had single parents, one of the kids just had a grandparent, one had a daddy and a papa, one had a mom, stepfather and a dad and so on.  The message was that families can be different and as long as there is love, it doesn’t matter what it looks like.

My student didn’t say anything when she finished reading.  She didn’t object nor did she have any questions.

The next book was called the I Love My Purse.  A boy named Charlie decides one day he’ll bring a red purse to school.  At first my student thought Charlie is the spelling for Shirley.  I didn’t pick up on this because she likes to read fast.  Then I heard her say Shirley and told her it’s Charlie.  That’s when she understood it was a boy.

Charlie’s dad tries to talk him out of bringing a purse to school.  But Charlie just wants to do something different.  He suggest to his dad maybe he should wear a Hawaiian shirt to work one day.  At school he’s asked about the purse and also teased.  I was surprised that my student got into the story.  Soon she started chastising one of the characters.  “He’s stereotyping!”.  I was surprised she knew the word.

The next day, everyone Charlie has met the previous day decides they too will show some individuality.  His dad wears his Hawaiian shirt to work.  A crossing guard wears his sparkling shoes.  It’s another happy ending.  My student seemed to like the book.  I asked her if there was anyone in school that seems to be different.  She thought for awhile and nodded.  But she didn’t go into details.

She was hesitant to read the last book because there were so many words.  She said it was the toughest and she likes to leave it till the end.  I think she hopes we’ll run out of time so she doesn’t have to read all of it.  I told her we could share the reading.  The book was  One of A Kind Like Me / Único Como Yo.  It’s the first time I’ve seen a bilingual children’s book.

“What is this?”  she asked and pointed to the page with the Spanish words.

“It’s Spanish.”

“How do read it?”

“We can stick to the English part.”  I did manage to read 1 line although I’m sure I mispronounced every word.

The story is about a boy who wants to wants to be a princess for his school’s parade.  His mom is supportive and together they rush to find materials in a thrift store to create his costume.   At the end of the book, the author said it’s based on a real story about his son.  There’s a picture of his son dressed as a princess. My student saw that too but she didn’t say much.  Our time was also up so we didn’t get a chance to talk about all the books.  But she didn’t complain it was boring or bad.

Sometimes I’ll ask my students what they think will happen next in the story or what would they do if they were one of the characters.  It just gets them thinking a bit more about the story rather than just reading the story.

I walked home with my spirits a bit higher. I thought about LGBTQ parents and how these books could help them.  I think it’s important that children are exposed to them early in their lives.  I’m glad my library had the foresight to get them.  And I hope other parents seeing these books won’t feel scared or resentful.



A Silent Back

I’ve had this habit of cracking my fingers since I was a kid.  Then it gradually expanded to my toes. My mom was always annoyed and warned me about painful and swollen joints.  As a teen, I started to crack my spine.  Eventually I figured I could crack almost every joint in my body.

A few years ago, I stopped cracking my neck.  These past few days, I’ve stopped cracking my back.  The easiest way for me to crack my back is to simply lean back over my chair and with my arms behind my head, I pull it forward while pushing against the back.  I’m pretty sure this isn’t healthy for my muscles, ligaments and tendons.  But there is a satisfying release of pops that follow.

Here’s the odd thing.  When I see my chiropractor, the only joint that makes any sound is my neck.  My back only makes a wimpy pop when when it’s being adjusted.  It’s nothing like the loud pops I get at home.  I’ve mention this to my chiropractor.  He’s not sure why.  Maybe my back is so intimidated by this young, very handsome, muscular, Asian chiropractor – it’s just very quiet. Or maybe I’ve hyper extended my joints so much that it can’t crack normally.

I think I’ll have to slowly replace this back cracking with stretches.

My back seized up on Saturday morning.  I was just getting ready to head to J’s place when everything just tightened up in a knot.  I had to hold on to the counter when I brushed my teeth.   My chiropractor was fully booked that day and the earliest I could get in was today (Monday).  I managed to do some stretches to ease the pain.  I knew I had some Ibuprofen.  But it’s harder to find it when you’re in pain.  Eventually I did and quickly downed a pill.  I had another one later that day.

That was it for me that day.  Stretching, sitting, walking around in slow motion and Ibuprofen.  Yesterday was better.  I could walk around in my condo and didn’t need Ibuprofen.  What is worrying me is I have an 8 hour car trip coming up in the weekend.  It’s for a wedding so I can’t get out of it.

And to top it off, I woke up with a bit of a stiff neck today.  I can’t wait for my chiropractor  to “crack” it.  You know what’s strange?  Whenever my chiropractor manipulates my back, there’s no cracking or popping noise.  I crack my own back (I know it’s a bad habit…) and have been doing that since my teens.  I told him that and I think it has probably messed up my back by overextending it or something like that.

I watched the Anthony Bourdain special on CNN last night.  It was a bit cathartic for me.  Today, the sky is blue and the sun is flexing its muscles.  I have a ton of things to do today so I hope I can get to those.


Tough Morning

It’s a tough morning.  I went to bed hearing that the current right wing populist party has won a majority government in our provincial election.  A party that used to be center right but now shares nothing with that heritage.  A party that didn’t disclose how it will pay for its election promises.  A leader that was muzzled from the press so he won’t say anything embarrassing.  It’s a crazy how people vote.

And this morning, I woke up learning Anthony Bourdain committed suicide.  I’m reminded that everyone has their own burdens to carry.  And sometimes those become too heavy.  He was a wonderful storyteller who was able to unite people around his virtual dining room.

Sad loss.

For readers in the Toronto area that need help, please click on this: Crisis Resources in Toronto

Cherry Blossoms

I took these a few weeks ago when the cherry blossoms were blooming at a nearby park.  But I didn’t upload them to my laptop until yesterday.  All the pictures were under exposed.  I have no idea what I did.  I got so carried away I didn’t check my pictures after I took them.  I had to use my Apple Photo software to brighten it up.

Dear fictitious and non existent sugar grand daddy – please send a nice full frame camera to Matt.

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