Friday, April 27, 2012

Why be normal when you could be happy?

A few weeks ago I got the most delightful email that said, "So, you like free stuff, Ben likes pink, and Birdy's a bad-ass. I'm putting together a little care package for you." [full disclosure: it actually said, "and Birdy likes to read."] It turns out that Craig Wiesner owns Reach and Teach: the peace and social justice learning company, which is a book/toy/education store in San Mateo, California. Gender, race, sexuality, class, poverty, global economic injustice, different abilities, different family configurations. . . they have all kinds of amazing stuff, about all kinds of important things. As evidenced by the care package that arrived in the mail, which included these awesome coloring books:
I love these coloring books, because they manage to be simultaneously witty and political.  Which is what this photo caption would be like, if it were witty. And political.

There's nothing that makes your kids seem more grown-up than their suddenly being *not* offended by coloring books! Mine have passed through the humiliated loathing of them and are now at the stage of ironic appreciation.

I used to have a fluorescent-green Queer Nation "Fuck the Patriarchy" sticker on the back of my thrift-store suede jacket. Sigh. Those were the days (of my badass glory).
We had a Big Gay Wedding to go to, and so I xeroxed a few pages so the kids could make their cards.

Which came out simultaneously beautiful and corny and fun. (For long-time readers: one of the brides was our friend Anni, who lived with us the year her baby Frankie was born. Ben played the Kris Delmhorst song "Birds of Belfast" on the piano during their ceremony, and we all sang and cried.)
We actually xeroxed some extra pages for kids (and grown-ups) at the wedding to color, but we were too busy rejoicing to get out the crayons.

Coincidentally--or, um, not really--the kids picked out fabulous outfits for the wedding. Birdy is so psyched about this jacket that she just inherited from Ben. And the tie, which my mom bought her after Birdy oohed and ahhed over it at the Salvation Army. 
Even Strawberry got cool and fancy in his awesome off-the-shoulder pink cashmere dress.

Ben is the kind of kid who has to politely ask the inn-keepers if they might happen to have a lint-roller he can borrow.
 
How did I become the straight dresser? I'm almost offended by myself!
Anyways, congratulations Anni and Gree, and thank you again, Craig. And I hope you guys will hit up Reach and Teach for all your social justice and coloring book needs. They are so completely awesome--and not just because they sent me free stuff. Seriously.

Have a good weekend, my darlings!

xo

52 comments:

  1. No photos of Frankie?! *sigh*

    You all look very spiffy!

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    1. Oh, nowhey, I know. Let me see if I can get clearance to post one. . .

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  2. Gorgeous, Gorgeous, all of you. Just knowing you are out there, raising your children the way you do, makes me smile. Oh, how I wish my towheaded boy would eventually have a glorious dark mane like your Ben, but he seems to be sticking with white blond...Congrats to the newlyweds! Marriage is hard, and I wish them all the grace and happiness in the world.

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  3. how is it that I am jealous of your sons hair! LOVE IT. You all looks so wonderful. Such a special occasion. Congrats to your friends.

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  4. Oh the photos of your kids just took my breath away. You have such a beautiful family.

    I'm the kind of person who asks people for a lint roller to borrow. It seems that no matter how far from them I am, I carry pieces of my cats everywhere.

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  5. The long hair and the long legs! All dressed up and looking gorgeous -- ALL of you :)

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    1. Thank you. For not mentioning my chins. xo

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  6. Just what I needed. Having a rotten day, and being reminded of the beautiful way you're raising your kids makes the world seem a lot less crappy. That's meant to be much nicer than it sounds. :)

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    1. Sarah, I hope your day got better! xo

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    2. It did, thank you! Hormonal pregnant gals and health insurance companies do not always make the best dance partners it seems. Hehehe.

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  7. Anonymous4:32 PM

    Shit. You totally made me cry. I have been following you since I was pregnant with my daughter, Zoe. She was born a month after Birdy. I needed a dose of you today and was so happy to find you posted. Thank you. You are a gift.

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  8. I'm kvelling here... So glad you all enjoyed the care package and I'm really loving the pictures. The kids really do have their own special style. Having been in our own Big Gay Wedding 22 years ago, my husband Derrick and I are not surprised there was no time for crayons.

    Thanks for bringing lots of smiles to a world that sometimes takes itself all too seriously.

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    1. Your kvelling made me plotz. Love to you and Derrick. xo

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  9. The spoon ran away with the spoon? That is rich. Also, I enjoyed the marriage is gay one. I am not quite savvy enough to share and expose to my girls but I think it's a good place to aspire to, for me. I mean I never had a sticker on my suede coat like you, baby steps.

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    1. Tia, I am so glad you're here.

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    2. Last summer I brought my 7 year old son to a local Gay Pride Fest. I had never explained to him the meaning of the word gay (not because I didn't want to...it just never came up) but I wanted him to know what it was. We live in a world where there are MANY types of people and I wanted him to be exposed to some of them. As we were walking to the festival I explained to him that there are some men who had boyfriends, and some women who had girlfriends. I told him that he would be seeing men holding hands with men, women holding hands with women, men kissing other men, women kissing women, etc. I asked him what he thought about it, and if it would bother him to be around people like that. He then said "No Mommy...why would it bother me?" I told him that it shouldn't bother him, but that some people in this world had a problem with the whole thing. With a great big smile on his face he then said "That's just silly...if a boy loves a boy, and a girl loves a girl...then it shouldn't matter to anyone else. God still loves them and so would I!" The proudest moment in my life!

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  10. Robin5:55 PM

    I've seen and enjoyed the "Marriage is so gay" text on other fun items, but the spoon and the spoon running off together was a new one--loved it. And oh, my, your gorgeous, gorgeously stylish children. Looks like a wonderful wedding. And so nice to see Craig Weisner check in to see all of your readers enjoying his gift through your post. He'll know it reached many, many loyal Catherine readers.

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    1. I know, Robin, isn't it?

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  11. I do think I need to look into those coloring books for presents. How fun!

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  12. Oh how i love Ben's hair. So long! And I love the two-tone look. My almost five year old girls were admiring a checkout girl at Whole Foods yesterday who had two colors in her hair, pink and blue...cotton candy colors. It's just a matter of time, I think.

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  13. I know I don't really know your or your gorgeous children, but having read Waiting for Birdy so many times I feel like I do. It kind of takes my breath away how grown up they're getting.

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    1. Thank you so much, Keris. xo

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  14. I've read your blog(s) for 6 or 7 years, and I've always loved you -- but I love you better un-Disney-ed.

    Also, I think you'd enjoy this:

    www.sweetjuniper.org/T2/MRTCB2.pdf
    http://www.buzzfeed.com/mjs538/mr-ts-big-gay-coloring-book

    It's not necessarily in good taste, but it is awesome.

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    1. I will look! Thank you.

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  15. beauty and humor and social consciousness? could you get any better, Catherine?

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  16. I...AM...Crying. Thank you for the best review of my books to date. You have given them breath, life, purpose. Now I know why I do what I do.

    --Jacinta

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    1. Jacinta! How lovely to see you here. Thank you, thank you, thank you. xo

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    2. Jacinta! Hi! I see you here too!

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  17. Nice to hear about Anni, and congratulations to her and Gree. But, no pictures of cutie baby Frankie?

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  18. Anonymous6:45 AM

    I love it when you let your politics mingle with your recipes and board game recommendations. The personal IS indeed political, I know (to use an over-used phrase), so I suppose it's inevitable....but I like a little marriage equality mixed in with spelt flour, bacon, and half as much table salt.

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  19. I totally agree with Hannah. I've loved you for years (seriously...9ish or so? I'm too lazy to go look) and I love you even more without a censor :)

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    1. I'd always pick love over paying the bills. I really would. Or, um, do.

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    2. And Mamalang, all I meant was, "Thank you." xoxoxo

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  20. karen8:49 AM

    I so look forward to your posts every week. I have been following you since the beggining. My daughter Ryan and Ben are the same age. I love how you raise your children...so much love, warmth and especically for the respect you give them for EXACTLY who they are. I strive for this with my child and if there is only one thing I could impart to her it is to treat everyone with respect no matter race, religion, sex, etc. Thank you for showing the world how to live and love unconditionally!!
    Karen

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  21. Hi, just found your blog! I write this with my 8 year old son sitting next to me in a pink apron! I told him your quote/post title and he loved it. Thanks for the wonderful post!

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  22. Jennie11:19 AM

    I love the books! The website is chock-full of great things.

    "No one wants to fight patriarchy alone. Make friends." Killing me!

    Your children are rad. That is all.

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  23. Birdy and my daughter would get along famously. They are the same age and mine is currently obsessed with wearing ties. We found a boy's polo shirt at Old Navy that was printed with a tie and it's now her favorite shirt.

    I love those coloring books. Very cool.

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  24. Your kids are awesome, so of course their coloring books should be, too! That song reminded me of a band I love, The Weepies. Do you know them? If not, give a listen. I think you might like them.

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  25. That picture of Ben. My God what an amazing kid. I remember when he was such a little guy, and I was pregnant with my first and I'm so grateful all over again to have you going ahead of me down this road and lighting the way. Thank you!

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  26. Thanks for the great review of the best books in the world. My friend Jacinta co wrote all of them and she is filling the world with intelligence and compassion with them. Thank you for sharing on this awesome site. Beautiful and fun kids you have!! Amy

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  27. Oh Catherine,
    I'm so glad to read about beans, and have another chance to say how much we love you. I can't imagine life without you all. xoxoxo and feel free to post any photos you'd like.
    ps. we are thinking about how fun it would be to have a anniversary-reunion next year...xoxo

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  28. Anonymous12:07 PM

    It's so cool that you're raising your kids to think for themselves and be who they are. They're both beautiful, and you should be very proud! :)

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  29. i wanted to let you know that i just discovered your blog and that i love it! as a matter of fact i mentioned it in my latest blog post at http://radparenting.blogspot.com/ partially due to the fact that i found Reach and Teach through this blog post and partially because i find your blog inspiring and refreshing.

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