Becca Wilhite Blog

July 31, 2009

Kid 2 is Awesome

Filed under: familyness,rambles — becca @ 1:39 pm

I just kicked Kid 2 and her violin out of here so I could write about her. Do you think that could cause anxiety?*

What I want to say is that this is a great kid. She got her 11-year-old (for 3 more weeks) self out of bed and on her bike to work before either of her sleep-in-till-6:30 parents were even awake. **
Then she grabbed her violin and practiced her songs (she’s learning Vibrato, and it’s not killing anyone). If you are a mother of a violinist, here’s a hug for you: OOO. It gets better. Or they take up archery or something.
She borders on idolizing her older sister. She takes good care of her younger sibs. She rarely talks back. She gets good grades. She loves shoes. (Who doesn’t?) She likes to cook – alone or with me. She reads the books I love, and the books I write.
This is a great kid. Who is turning into a great young lady.***


*Answer: In this kid, who has her father’s and her Grandmothers’ Ulcer genes, anything could cause anxiety.
**She cleans at a restaurant, and I recently discovered that they feed her and the other employees pancakes (white!) with butter (!!) if she’s there at a certain hour.
***Maybe someday I’ll tell you about her first 18 months. Let us just say that if I could have read this post ten years ago, agony may have been spared. A little.

July 30, 2009

Spilled Milk

Filed under: familyness — becca @ 12:29 pm

Once, before I had any children, I heard this great story. I’m way too lazy to look it up, so you’re getting the 15+ years later version out of my memory.

It seems that once upon a time, long ago, but not too long, there was a little boy who wanted a drink of milk. He was old enough to want to help himself. So he reaches in to the Icebox (see? I’m making it all old-fashioned-y) and pulls out a bottle of milk, which promptly slips out of his chubby little fingers and crashes to the floor in an explosion of glass and butterfat. The mother, upon hearing this Most Favorite Sound, rushes to the kitchen to find her little guy, an island in a sea of milk.
What would you do?
She says to her little guy, We should probably clean this up, right? And he says, *sniffle* yes, Mother. And then she says, But don’t you think we should play in it first? ** And she gets down on the floor with her boy and they experience the wonders of milk puddles.***
Moral? The kid grew up to be some Important Science Guy, because he had a mother who helped him 1. look at things in a playful way, 2. explore and delve, and 3. clean up his messes.
Before I had kids this was a terrifically inspiring story.
Maybe even for a little while in the life of Kid 1 I had moments like this – motherhood at its finest. But it didn’t take long to recognize that spilled milk smells bad. That cleaning it up myself is not only faster and easier, but much more effective. That some games sound like a good idea until you try them.****
Even though I know that they need that kind of nurturing, teaching, gentle parenting, I’m okay with the fact that they’re much more likely to get it when they’re visiting Grandma.

**Please ignore the fears of glass shards that are running through your head. For all I know these were fictional glass shards to begin with.
***Maybe this story explains why I don’t drink milk.
****Let us never again speak of Tattoo Parlor or the Home Surgery Kit.

July 29, 2009

Breakfast

Filed under: Uncategorized — becca @ 2:47 pm

Mmmm. I’m eating breakfast. Yes, right now. Yes, in front of the computer. * Here’s what I’m having:

Delicious, crunchy homemade granola layered parfait-style with Amaretto Cheesecake yogurt** and fat, sweet blueberries.
Mmmm.


*Don’t tell Husband. He’d freak. And don’t tell Kids, either, because they’d tell Husband.
**It’s a Weight Watchers thing. I’m not on a diet, but I’m sort of off sugar for another month or so, and this has “Crystalized Fructose” instead of your garden variety refined white sugar. It’s my first yogurt in several weeks (and I really like Good Yogurt – normally defined by high fat content, see LaCreme) and I’m rather enjoying it.

July 28, 2009

Serious Silliness

Filed under: rambles — becca @ 1:03 pm

Netflix delivery came – and it brought a barrage of ridiculous 80s comedy.

Spies Like Us, anyone? “I have no feeling whatsoever in my left hand.” “Doctor.” “Doctor.” “Doctor.” “Doctor.” “Doctor.” “Doctor.” “Doctor.” “Doctor.” “Doctor.” “Doctor.” “Doctor.” “Doctor.” “Doctor.” “Doctor.” Am I the only one who loves, loves Chevy Chase still? He can make me laugh delivering the stupidest lines (“we’re just a couple of wild and crazy guys!”). And I love the scene in Three Amigos where he sings Ned to sleep. And Dan Ackroyd is just funny. Crazy. Weird. Ghostbusters is a longstanding favorite, and I can usually win that game where you give a line from the movie, and I tell you the next line. Because I’ve seen it that many times.
Netflix also delivered Scrooged. I saw this once (Bill Murray – okay, I love him, too), but all I can remember is the fabulous Carol Kane and the ghost of Christmas something-or-other saying, “Frank, we’re fighting. Let’s not fight anymore!” and then cold-clocks him with a toaster.
So just in case life gets too tame and boring around here, nights will light right up with all the finest 80s comedy. And I will feel old, because I’ll flinch at every curse (and in 80s movies there is SO MUCH CURSING) and cringe at all the innuendo.
But I’ll still laugh. Because that’s the kind of girl I am.
The kind who will still laugh.

July 27, 2009

Monday Musing

Filed under: musings — becca @ 2:04 pm

Thanks for great comments about the “whitewashing” covers problem. It’s a start, talking about it. And opening eyes in general. I find my eyes only half open sometimes, and I appreciate people pointing out to me so many Important things I may miss.

I went for a little jog this morning sans-iPod. Just letting thoughts run around in there, unblocked by Husband’s eclectic music tastes. (The jogging iPod is his Shuffle, with seriously strange combinations thereon. Such as Johnny Cash singing “Brightly Beams Our Father’s Mercy” and a 10-minute extendo-techno-dance-version of The Thompson Twins “Hold Me Now” – which I love in its normal, four-minute originality.)
And what was I thinking, in all these three miles of music-free-ness?
Not much. I thought about the people who live in our neighborhood, and the pleasure it is to be able to count on so many of them for whatever. I thought about having lived here for almost 8 years. That’s Eight Years, people. When I was a wee Army Brat, we moved many, many times. When I was slightly less wee, we lived in one place (Batesville, Indiana – no, you probably haven’t) for eight and a half years. I think still that that is a very long time. Husband and I moved here to this house when we’d been married seven years. In those seven years, we unpacked our kitchen into eleven different houses/apartments. Yep. Eleven. So it really feels like we’ve been here a long, long time.
Sometimes I think we need to get out of here. Mostly not, though. For its faults (like a mediocre school district and a 6-month winter) this is a nice place to live. We have mountains outside every window. Birds live here. People are friendly, and understand about things like having kids and staying home with them. There is family close by (but not close enough to expect anything weird like babysitting favors). There’s a little diversity here. Some ethnic, some religious.
So we’ll stay. Because Kid 1 starts High School in 5 weeks. And Husband’s job is one canyon-drive away*. And all the kids have nice friends. And Kid 2 has a job (at age 11) that she can ride her bike to a couple days a week. And Kids 3 and 4 were born here, and they know it’s home.
And over all, it’s good to be home.

*See how I didn’t mention that he got a speeding ticket in that canyon this month? Because that might seem like nagging, not to mention ironic?

July 24, 2009

Covers

Filed under: writing — becca @ 5:29 pm

So there’s a big, roaring talk-thing happening right now across the inter-ma-net about book covers. I don’t know when it began, but I fell into it yesterday morning when reading Justine Larbalestier‘s blog post about her latest book, LIAR.

I just borrowed this image from her website. The cover in front, which I think is gorgeous, is her US cover (done by Bloomsbury). The one behind is her Aussie cover (by Allen and Unwin), which has a cool, arsty, graphic rendering of the word LIAR all warpy and moved around. Very cool. She has said several times how much she loves her Aussie cover (I don’t actually speak with her – I just lurk daily on her blog) and I was a little surprised that she didn’t go gaga over the photo one, because I think it’s brilliant.
Then I found out that her protagonist is black. Yep, her main character is a black girl with short, nappy hair, and apparently black doesn’t sell books.
I am appalled, in my quiet way. I am ashamed, too, even though I’m not quite sure why. I haven’t read LIAR yet, so I couldn’t really know Micah was black. Seeing the photo on the cover, I assumed that the girl in the story was the girl on the cover.
And according to much discussion going on in the world of Kid Book Bloggery (see Sara Zarr, E. Lockhart, and Ally Carter for jumping off points) the practice of “whitewashing” covers (and picture books, and film renditions) is common. And, apparently, a self-fulfilling prophecy in publishing: black covers don’t sell books, so we don’t do black covers.
Clearly there are some exceptions. Christopher Paul Curtis‘s books are gorgeous and sell very well, even in very white communities (and yes, maybe most strongly during February – Black History Month, but that’s someone else’s rant). And ask anyone in their middle thirties to tell you their ten favorite children’s books from their own kidhood, and I guarantee most of them will name “The Snowy Day” by Ezra Jack Keats.
But the issue is out there. And it’s not a mistake, and it’s not an accident. It’s a choice, being made by publishers. So what do we do? How do we react? Is it proper to get angry? (Is it proper for me, a privileged white lady, to get angry?) Do we stop buying? Do we write letters? Do we (gulp) just continue to write our white characters and mind our own business?

July 23, 2009

Insecurity

Filed under: Uncategorized — becca @ 2:37 pm

I know it’s nothing earth-shattering. And it’s better than it used to be. Being in the thirties has some powerful compensations. But still…

I wish I could just feel confident. I wish that I didn’t fret. But I do, like an old woman, flitting from one unfinished project to the next, worrying.
About what someone thinks.
Or many someones.
Recently I’ve been assigned a new church job. We get these changes every couple years, and everybody gets an opportunity to help out. The job becomes official Sunday, and I haven’t yet heard if the ladies I’ve asked to serve with me are willing. That was a very ugly sentence, but the gist is, I haven’t heard anyone say, Yay! Thanks for asking for me!
So, naturally, I assume that when they met with the Bishop (pastor, minister, whatever you want to call him) they said, Well, we’re always happy to serve, but does it have to be with Becca?
Most of me knows that is ridiculous.
But there is that other, non-most part. That part that says I’m more pleasant from a distance. That part that reminds me how infrequently the phone rings. That part that reminds me that when anything important happens, I’m among the last to know.
And I can go a long time not caring about that other part. I can be fine about it, mostly. Until I really need something. And now I really need something. I need those women to want to do what they’re being asked to do. I need them to love the idea, or at least see the possibility of loving the idea (which, honestly, is where I am). I need them to say (or think) this thing is hard, but together we can handle it, because we are a group of capable, good women.

Hopefully soon, either I hear it, or I realize I don’t really need it. But I hope I hear it, because right now I”m pretty sure that’s what I need.

July 22, 2009

Isn’t She Lovely?

Filed under: familyness — becca @ 5:19 pm


I have that Stevie Wonder song in my head as I stare in awe at my very own Kid 1. Husband is a good photographer, sure, but when you have material like this, how could you go too far wrong?

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