Friday, June 15, 2012

Why I Love Doc McStuffins

When I was growing up, I wanted to be a veterinarian. Even though my family are true blue, University of Michigan Wolverine fans, I was afforded the opportunity to visit one of the best veterinary schools in the country at our rival campus, Michigan State.  After discovering the mass quantities of math and science classes that I would have to ingest to make my dream a reality, my dream changed.  I just didn't believe that was something that I could do, partially because I was not exposed to women of color who had completed a doctoral career path.  Although I am happy with my life now, I often wonder what it would have been like had I chose a career in veterinary medicine.

Since my childhood, I have been a big Disney fan, even though, there were not images on the screen that looked like my family.  There is something about Disney that magically pulls you in and never lets go.  After becoming a teenager, I would drive my little brother and I an hour away to the best movie theater around to see the new Disney movie on opening night, then months later race to the local store to buy it on VHS tape just to hurry home to see the previews for upcoming movies.  In the back of my mind, I always hoped that the main character would one day look like us.  

Now, with one adorable little black girl in tow, and one on the way, I am always looking for different things to expose my children to so they understand that the sky is the limit for them.  When my husband and I learned that the title character in "The Princess and the Frog" would be black, our excitement could hardly be contained.  The movie was released when our daughter was just over three months old.  We were there opening night to make sure it was the very first movie we took her to see.  Even though she will never remember it, we will, and there are ticket stubs in her baby book to prove it.  Besides race, I share Tiana's attitude of hard work, determination and love of cooking.  Couple this with the fact that her best friend and I share the name Lottie, (I know her name was really "Charlotte" but they called her "Lottie" most of the movie, so her name is "Lottie!") makes this one of my favorite movies of all time.

While watching Disney Junior with our daughter, we saw a preview for Doc McStuffins and my eyes lit up.  Could it be? Knowing our children would be able to identify with a main character, on regular television, at an early age, was overwhelmingly good news.  Not only are Doc and her purple stethoscope impossibly cute, but she wants to be a doctor when she grows up and lives her dream now by healing sick toys in her very own backyard clinic.  Doc lives with her brother and both of her parents, one of which (her mother) is a doctor.  A few episodes into the series, the mother is finally seen on camera, and my daughter asks, "What's wrong Mommom?" while I'm pregnant, jumping up and down and screaming excitedly at the TV screen.  Disney Junior has a character on a TV show who has a professional career and hair isn't overly processed, permed and weaved; she's flaunting her natural curls, just like us.  I want our daughters to love themselves, inside and out, and I am teaching them that this love includes their hair, which many black women torture themselves to change. Creator, Chris Nee, is my new hero.  

Even if you somehow can't understand my tears of joy, hop on over to Disney Jr., and check out this show.  It's refreshing life lessons, positive imagery, encouragement of imagination usage, and cute story lines, make it a treat for all who watch.  With the show been renewed for a second season and toys being released later this year, character interactions at the parks can't be far behind.  If we see Doc during the Disney Junior character meal at Disney's Hollywood Studios this fall, I think I'll scream and faint like a Justin Beiber fan.  For now, I'll be content with cracking a little smile every time I hear our daughter sing a song from the show.  I'll even hum a couple bars myself..."I feel better, so much better..." thanks to Chris Nee, Disney Junior, and Brown Bag Films.

Stay crunchy, friends!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Pregnancy Rant

I am beyond irritated.  Maybe it's because I can't paint my toenails, comfortably get out of bed, have a margarita, pick up my daughter or drive a car.  Maybe it's because I'm constantly awake, perpetually hungry, and always looking for the nearest bathroom.  Whatever it is that's causing me to be so totally and completely irritated in the final days of this pregnancy led me to blog about the things that have me walking around with blue flames shooting from my scalp.  I am certain that there are readers who will sympathize.  Since I like lists, this is another one.  Enjoy!

  1. If one more person asks me when my due date is, especially if they see me on a regular basis, I think I'll just make up something totally random, like June 32.  When people realize that my due date is near a very important day in their life and ask me to wait until that day to give birth, are they expecting that I will hide myself in the forest with three fairies that will take care of my every need and then emerge triumphantly, with child in arms, after slaying the dragon of child birth, on a date that I somehow chose?
  2. Being pregnant somehow allows people to say all sorts of random comments to me.  What is it about being around a pregnant woman that makes normally smart people lose their minds?  Do people really think that it's OK to share with me the details of their child's birth or random parenting stories in the produce section of the local grocery store?  As far as I know, you could be telling me to comb my hair with a fork.  We know the anatomy behind our impending event and have already researched and planned accordingly.  
  3. I stopped to get some gas and the attendant nearly jumped over the counter and began to rub my belly. How is it possible that my growing belly is community property? Would he have touched me otherwise? Will The Genie pop out and grant him three wishes because he rubbed my growing belly?  If that were the case, my husband would have tried to wish for more wishes months ago.  Don't touch me.  I understand the appeal, but if you must touch, please ask first.
  4. Don't scowl at me or act surprised when learning of our parenting choices. When will people understand that natural isn't archaic and artificial is not necessarily better?  We will cloth diaper our daughter until she is toilet trained.  I will breastfeed her past the first year of her life.  I will wear her like Chicha wore Yupi in "The Emperor's New Groove." Chicken nugget kid's meals from prominent fast food chains will not be a part of her diet.  This is a lifestyle we've chosen, not a passing fad.  Please don't tell us how soon we'll give up in favor of convenience.  Even better, we are not continuing this parenting style because you say we can't.  We believe this is what is best for our family.
  5. Commenting on how small or large my belly is, or telling me that I'm still high or the baby has dropped does not make me feel better.  Every pregnancy is different. Every woman is different.  Every pregnant woman is beautiful.   Just tell me I'm "the fairest of them all" and I won't ask the hunter to follow you into the woods and bring back your heart.
  6. Contrary to popular belief, I really do like being pregnant.  Feeling her move around inside me is probably one of the things I will miss most.  I will also miss the ability to unbashfully eat as much as I want, whenever I want.  (Put the ice cream on the table and walk away slowly!)  Please don't criticize me because I want this to end.  I understand that there are women who try desperately to conceive a child and would gladly be in my shoes, but give them 38+ weeks of this and they, too will feel as I do.  We want to meet our daughter.  We want to see who she looks like.  We can't wait feed her, change her, and take her to Disney World. 
  7. Yes, we are taking her to Disney World.  If she decides to be born on her due date, she will be just over three months old on a trip we planned after finding out that we were expecting.  Our family loves the parks and we go every year, sometimes more than once.  I am an obsessive trip planner, and we know what to expect, so this trip will be easy.  Yes, I worry about germs, but we'll take the same precautions on protecting her as we would visiting church on Sunday and the shopping mall on Saturday.  Call the Mythbusters team; I'll wager that they find Disney World to be cleaner than most places people take their children on a regular basis.
  8. "Text me/call me when you go into labor!" Um, no.  We aren't telling anyone when we are headed to the hospital.  Birth is a very private time, and we don't want people in the delivery or waiting rooms, playing Statler and Waldorf (the balcony gents on "The Muppets") while we bring a new life into the world.  We will let you know when she is born.
  9. Telling us that we must have a third child because the first two are girls, before I've given birth to the second girl is not cool.  Girls are awesome.  If we decide that we aren't Pongo and Perdita, and two children are enough for us, that is our decision.  Don't look at us like sympathetically because we aren't having a son this time.  We are fine with two happy, healthy girls.
I'm sure this isn't the post you expected, but I'm 9+ months pregnant, irritable, hungry and tired.  "Beautiful, kind and gentle, and loving and softness and sweetness, and candy and gum" type posts will return after our baby arrives and I have had the chance to get a little bit of rest.  Until then...

Stay Crunchy, Friends!