Saturday, January 31, 2009

1 year and four month old CinderAva gets to work

I gave Ava a feather duster to play with. 

Here she is dusting and recycling. Next up? A little game called "Put all these bowls in the lower rack of the dishwasher." 

Actually, she ended up helping me load the washing machine too. 

Just imagine the possibilities when she can manage the broom and dustpan on her own! I'm kidding (sort of), but I'm really glad she's eager to "help" and figure out how things work, including the running of a household. And I mean that in a very gender-neutral way. Every kid, male or female, should know how to manage household tasks like dishes, laundry, and cleaning the bathroom (hello, most guys), , whether they live alone or not.

J. and I both recall being taught at a very early age how to wash clothes, iron, and do general household cleanup that would be necessary when we got out into the world on our own. J. says his mom taught him to iron and do laundry at age 7, and to this day I am grateful she did because I've never had to iron his clothes, do his laundry, or as I've heard some friends relate, ever found him sitting on the edge of the bed in his underwear, unable to get dressed because a particular item of clothing he'd planned to wear was in the dirty clothes basket or wrinkled. Wow, talk about man child.

I remember meeting and feeling sorry for people at college who showed up with impressive SAT scores but no understanding of how to wash their own clothes or pick up after themselves, leaving a mess in their wake, both in the dining hall and in the dorms. First off, how rude for those around them. These were often the one instigating food fights or leaving tables filled with overflowing, food and napkin-strewn tray messes for the dining staff to clear. Anyone who's ever cleaned up after themselves or others is less likely to create that kind of work for others. Needless to say, when it came time to choose roommates for the coming year, the mess makers often found themselves matched up with similarly slovenly classmates - the only ones willing to put up the mess.

If we are blessed with a son some day, I will play these same "cleaning" games with him because as I was reminded once, I'm not just raising a child, I'm raising someone's future spouse or partner and they should be able and willing to share the household task load, whether they work in the home or out of it. After all, those clothes and dishes aren't going to wash themselves. To read about the resentment that can pile up when dads don't share the load, read author Martha Brockenbrough's piece Mad At Dad on or the NYTimes summary article here. Now I'm off to find a tiny set of rubber dish gloves.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Dog day afternoon

Isis in a bed of ivy with her tennis ball. It's kind of a leisurely day for a change.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Social Media Seattle event

After calling in patriotic and taking the day off to fully revel in all the inauguration grandeur, I went to a Social Media Seattle networking event to meet some other locals using social media tools.

Nice bunch, good food, chatted with several folks about what they do and how social media fits in. Some are just getting their feet wet after hearing the buzz. Others were clearly early adopters.

It also gave me an opportunity to spread the word about the work my boss is doing with social media to engage more residents in government. Well worth the time and money spent.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Black Iraqis make Obama a model to follow

I saw this and at first thought, "There are Black Iraqis?!" Then realized that of course there are, because the African diaspora was worldwide. Not surprisingly, although the outcome was different for Blacks who ended up in Iraq vs. the U.S. or Europe, the stories are similar: brought in as slaves to build the city (draining marshes and building Basra in southern Iraq, doing the same across the U.S., including construction of the White House), their descendants faced discrimination and second class citizenship and exclusion from civic participation. Now Pres. Elect Obama's election has given them new hope. Fascinating read.

Black Iraqis make Obama a model to follow -

Monday, January 05, 2009

Aquarium visit

At Seattle Aquarium for 1st time w/daughter. Most of the things in here can be described as "tastes good w/butter." 

Running around in the big domed underwater room.

One of those weirdly cool fish balls of salmon overhead. There was a giant sturgeon ball in the Columbia River last summer.

The Aquarium had lots of kid-friendly displays set up at their eye level and with touchable elements, which were major draws for all the toddlers and parents throughout the facility. The open starfish tank even invited you to touch - one finger only though.

This was one of several octopus displays. Ava was a little freaked out when it slinked along the glass right in front of her.  Not surprising considering it was larger than her. And has tentacles.

The Seattle Aquarium has undergone a major overhaul in recent years and the changes are great. I overhead another visitor saying she's been to aquariums all over (Hawaii, Vancouver, California) and she thinks Seattle's is the best because it has displays that are good for both kids and adults, which is why she comes regularly even though she doesn't have kids. I would agree with her assessment.

It had been years since I'd been to the Seattle Aquarium but the new, inviting displays, clear signage, neat factoids posted about the various species on display, and even the circuitous path through the facility that makes it seem like a journey all combined to make it well worth the $16 fee (free for kids). Next time I'll bring snacks, as I saw other families doing, so we can pause for a mini-picnic and spend more time in the facility without fear of snack attack.  I'm adding it to future my family outings list and expect to go back more often. All in all, a good mom and daughter day out. Next time, we're bringing J.