The Picking Fights With Your Kid Edition

Listen to this episode

S1: The following podcast is for parents, maybe not for kids. Welcome to Mom and dad are fighting Slate’s parenting podcast for Thursday, July eight, The Picking Fights with Your Kid edition. I’m Dan Boyce. I’m a writer at Slate and the author of the book How to Be a Family Man. The dad of Lyra, who’s 16, and Harper, who’s 13, live Arlington, Virginia,

S2: Aymann Jamilah Lemieux, a writer and contributor to Slate’s competing parenting column Aymann. Tonight, Ismail, who is eight. And we live in Los Angeles, California. I’m Elizabeth New Camp. I write the Homeschool and Family Travel Blog. That’s the excuse. And I’m the mom to Three Littles, Henry who’s nine, Oliver who’s seven, and Teddy who’s four. And we live in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Advertisement

S1: On today’s episode, we’ve got a listener question from a concerned partner is sick of watching a significant other pick fights with their kid. It doesn’t know how to step in or if to step in. And then we’re welcoming back Rachel Hampton and Madison, Malone Kircher for a new edition of In Case You Missed It, Mom and Dad, this week they’ll be explaining what the deal is with someone your kids probably know, but you might not. YouTube star James Charles and his return to the platform after sexual misconduct accusations on Slate. Plus, we welcome brand new dad Ayman Ismail to talk about his great piece and giving his son a Muslim name. But let’s start off the show as always, with some triumphs and some fails. Jamilah, you first. What do you got?

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S2: So I guess this is the culmination perhaps, or maybe the latest installment in my now three part series of triumphs and sales that all began with me, my mother being here and getting her out of here safely. And so Naima went out of town with her dad for six days. They went to Arizona. Her other grandparents were there. It was really nice, I’d imagine. And she came back yesterday. And so I had six days to myself. Now, Grandma, where 50 50 custody arrangement. Naima is here half the time, but it’s not usually like five or six consecutive days. We’re usually doing three or four. So, like, it’s not that these are breaks, right? These are times. But she’s here in times and she’s not. And I do things when she’s not here, I can’t do it. She is here, which is something I have to explain to her a lot because she was a little frustrated when my mom was here because she was here more than 50 percent of the time. But I had to still do those things, which meant sometimes I was leaving and taking time away from them. And so now that she’s coming back and I kind of needed a little like six weeks of having not my house to myself after a year and a half of like half the time I have nobody and that’s it. I needed a little bit more time to just I need more time. I maybe needed, like, eight days, nine days to myself to just kind of like bounce back and recover. But it’s fine because I know one wants to come back to me and she’s here. And so I guess my fail is that in these six days, I don’t know, it’s half trying to fail. I have big goals for writing and getting things done around the house. I did a little writing. I did some things around the house. But in my mind, I was going to write a rom com and finish my pilot script and just do all the things. And so what I did manage to do was checkoffs the sex, drugs and rock and roll back a little bit. Then joked last week that twenty somethings and I are having a girl summer. And it’s true, this was definitely a girls summer week for me. So it’s have triumph have failed. The Triumph is that I did have some fun. The fail is that I did not write the great American novel and a movie and completely turned my life around in the five and a half days that my daughter was born. That’s every mom ever. When the kids leave, the house is likely to be good for you. Don’t feel guilty about it.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S1: I mean, I didn’t write the great American novel, like, come on, I am proud of you for checking off the boxes. You checked off Jamilah as always, you’re living for the rest of us. Great job, Elizabeth. What about you?

S2: I have a classic new Can’t Fail. We went camping this weekend in the part of Colorado that’s up by Wyoming in the aptly named State Forest State Park. I didn’t even realize that was actually the name. I thought it was Lake Forest State. It’s called State Forest. State Park. Do they know what it is? I don’t know. But it’s the moose capital of of Colorado. Did you know they had one of those? I didn’t. So we booked this back in February when we first thought that we would be coming here. We were like, let’s grab a campsite for July 4th with some friends. So we did that. And a few weeks ago they emailed us and said that the reservoir that we would be camping next to has been drained to do some dam repair. So did we want to cancel? We were like, now that we’re Newcomb’s, we don’t cancel, we just go. So we go out there. It’s like four hours. And we is a

Advertisement

S1: lakeside

S2: campsite. A lakeside campsite. Yes. The longer a lake, the lake is gone. The lake is totally gone, but it’s still the moose capital. And we thought, well, this will still be a nice camping. We’re camping with friends. We get up there. And I actually initially thought, well, great. Now I don’t have to worry about any of the water safety stuff. Right, because the campsites are right on the edge of the reservoir. So when you first get up to camping, it’s like insane because you need to set up the camp and you to get everything out of the car. But you also have these children that need supervised. And we had twice as many kids, so we had to sign them all jobs. And they’re all like sort of half doing the jobs, but eventually kind of drift off into this, like, kind of woods area that’s between us and where the reservoir should be. And when we realized that they were all gone, I went down there and I gathered them and I was like, look, this is totally fine. You don’t have to help, but do not go near the water. And they all like, look. And I’m like, yeah, see this this should be filled with water. Do not go near that. And they’re like, OK, OK, cool. So we get our tents set up and then all of a sudden we hear all of our like screaming, screaming like I’ve been injured screaming. So we Jaff goes like just drops the tent pole is putting together and like runs down the hill. It hits turbo. Yes. TurboChef all the way and out in the middle of the dry reservoir. Our children there’s a little lake that a little river. You know that because of course the reservoir works by damming up the river that’s there. So the river’s still running, but it’s very small. All the river has like old school movie sunk into the quicksand waist deep. It is just Oliver’s torso and his little they all I make them all wear these bright hats so we can see them. This is why just his little hat and he’s screaming and the other kids are trying to approach him, but their shoes are getting sucked in. And so just like, you know, mud, they are stuck in mud. But Oliver is like I’m not even exaggerating legitimately above his belly, but above his pants line. He is into mud. And so Jeff, like, is finding a way out there. The other dad, Ryan, is running down there, the mom, we’re like trying to gather the other kids. And he’s, like, not in any danger. Like, I know he’s not going to get sucked under by this, but it’s terrifying to see you have your child. So just like extracting him in the extraction, we lose a shoe. His pants are just like covered in this very thick mud. Jeff is like going to pry out the shoe because leave no shoe behind. So I take Oliver and I’m like, OK, we need the showers. And Mikhail is like, oh, that Ismail said the showers are down to. And I’m like, OK, well, I just need some running water. And so we’re like walking around the campsite looking for running water and they’re like, oh, there’s no running water here either. You have to drive over to the cabins. There’s like one spicket there. So I’m like, OK, well, I don’t want him to get this car seat because he’s like, cut even after we’ve gotten the pants off, he’s like covered in mud. And Jeff is like, you know, I got the shoes are Jeff like, just throw him in the back of the minivan and drives down a little rock to the he gently place. I mean, throw him but he puts them in the back of the minivan, like wrapped in the blanket that we use to cover all the stuff in the back of the car. And they get over to the spicket and it is like ice cold mountain water for which we had to shower for Oliver and all of his, you know, things. He comes back like in just his underwear. He’s so embarrassed. Now, you would think this would keep the kids away from that area. But now, two or three times we found them throwing as large of rocks as they could find. They wanted to see how much weight would actually sink in there. And they kept telling Oliver, like, well, you’re so lucky without your shoes, it would have taken you under. I don’t understand why the shoes were wrong, but you know how kids are not scared of quicksand. Now, my children are Oliver at least, is now terrified, terrified of quicksand, dark, thick, muddy quicksand. I didn’t even know that that stuff really existed, but it did.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S1: That’s an amazing fail. Losing half your child.

S2: A quick second half my child, the quicksand. I mean, did you even know that happened anymore? I thought that was like a thing of black and white movies.

S1: I happily Slate published once a 7000 word story about quicksand that is fantastic, about its use in movies and TV shows and how it actually works in the real world. And I can’t recommend it enough.

S2: You should read it a week ago. Would have would if I could have had a triumph. I could have known to warn my children of the quicksand. I just wanna say my favorite part of this is the kids take away being. Thank God he had his shoes on. We asked for explanation numerous times, no one could really explain, but that was definitely the takeaway. Do not approach quicksand without shoes

Advertisement

S1: right through the magic talisman to keep you half above half above quicksand, apparently.

S2: Apparently.

S1: I also have a fail. It’s a truly Bujji fail, but it also comes with its own business proposal so that I’m very excited for you guys to hear. So this past week, I have been trying to go out a bunch of the nights after dinner with Laura to ride our bikes somewhere. I like to just go for a ride. We have to have a second bike. And so Laura and I can ride together and it’s hard to get her to agree to do things as always. But one thing she will always agree to do is to go get ice cream. And so the weather has been beautiful. It’s really great to go out for a ride. So I really genuinely love ice cream. So this has been a great thing for us to do. On Thursday night. Last week we ride out at like eight fifteen or something and we’re headed for this neighborhood that’s about a mile away from us that has like ice free standing ice cream parlor and then also like a little gourmet grocery store that has a very tasty gelato counter in it. So we get to the neighborhood. It’s a great ride, beautiful night, and the gelato is closed. I guess the store closes at eight. That’s just the way it is. That is obviously annoying. It’s a beautiful summer night. We would like to purchase their gelato or whatever. It’s a gourmet grocery store, so I guess they can close whenever they’re going to close. So that’s fine. So then we go over to the ice cream shop, a couple of doors down and there’s a sign on the door that says sorry, out of ice cream. Good, so it is a summer night if you are an ice cream shop, in my opinion, you should contain ice cream on hot summer nights. I’m just going to put that out there. So now I promise if I get ice cream and I not deliver the ice cream and she’s like, well, so why do we even do this bike ride? And I’m like, for togetherness. And she’s like, that’s bullshit. And I’m like, OK, well, let’s go to Harris Teeter and buy a pint of ice cream. So that’s what he did. So then the next night, I think. All right, well, we better leave earlier. So they’ll still have ice cream and the gelato place will be open. So we leave at seven thirty. We ride our bikes the mile to this neighborhood. It’s a beautiful night. Great ride. We get there. The little grocery store is still open at seven forty five. We we walk in, we lock up our bikes, we walk in, we go to the gelato counter and all the gelato bins are empty and scraped clean. And I’m like, wow, did you run average? Well, I don’t like the ice cream place out of gelato and the guy behind the counter goes, no, we just always shut down the gelato counter 15 minutes before we closed the store. And I think it’s seven forty five on a perfect Friday evening in the middle of summer, that’s insane. So we go to the ice cream shop. The ice cream shop this time is open and has ice cream. So we did get ice cream that night, but still my local ice cream parlors failed to satisfy my ice cream needs 75 percent of opportunities they were given on consecutive days. And that seems shocking to me because it is summer and getting ice cream after dinner during the summer is like extremely basic. That’s like it’s like that should not be confusing.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S2: That’s literally their whole purpose. For example, if you

S1: choose to open an ice cream establishment, you’re making a kind of promise to the community that you will serve them ice cream at times when people want to eat ice cream. So I don’t think I’m being that unreasonable to feel somewhat disappointed that my local ice cream parlors failed on this front. Right. I know this is Buji, but still

S2: I mean, were there other people there getting ice cream? Maybe. And they were also mad. Yeah, yeah,

S1: I mean, there appeared to be yes. Other people. Yeah, parents and kids.

S2: So, yeah, I think that, you know, in a way. I mean, someone needs to tell these business owners, hey, perhaps I’m going to buy

Advertisement

S1: a distributed podcast. Yeah, and I’m not even going to mention the third ice cream place in our neighborhood, which only sells rold ice cream, that ice cream where they roll it up and then give it to you in a dish that has no flavor and they charge six dollars for a small we don’t even go there. That’s just straight up bullshit. But so anyways, all of this is to say that I’m now completely determined to open my own ice cream parlor in our neighborhood. I even have a name for it. Elizabeth, you will love the name. It’s doughy, normal. That’s Dutch for be normal. I’m calling it that because it’s just a normal ice cream place.

Advertisement

S2: But like, are you just going to be open? Like after dinner? You’re open all the time.

S1: It’s our competitive advantage. We’re normal. We sell normal ice cream, not rolled bullshit. And when people ask what time are you open, we’ll say the normal times, the people on ice. So if you’re a wealthy venture capitalist who wants to invest in this project, please send me.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S2: What are the normal times? You I get soiled because like over here, like ice cream shop, I think the one nearest to me is open until ten or eleven. And then there’s another one that’s open. And so like 12 that I drive to and this one closes like we need we need ice cream at night.

Advertisement

S1: If it’s a hot summer night, you should be up until at least eleven. That’s my firm belief and I will stand by that.

S2: I don’t for sure. Yeah. Need to be open while there’s light because people always want ice cream. Yes. All right. I don’t think you’re crazy, but yeah,

S1: investors let me know. All right. Before we move out of the rest of the show, let’s talk business, the first and most important business. Subscribe to the show. You’re listening. You like it, you’re enjoying it. Wouldn’t you like to just have an episode drop into your lap every single week instead of having to constantly search the Internet for it, you know, overturning couch cushions of the Internet and looking under the bed of the Internet until finally you find the show? That’s what subscribing does. It also helps us out, obviously, but it mostly it helps you have the show automatically shows up in your feed. So it’s a win win. If you want even more of the show, you should become a member of Slate. Plus, you’ll get a whole bonus segment every single week, us talking about a new topic or a new question or with a new guest. Here’s a sneak peek of what you could hear.

S3: Today, I started to think about how my name was ended up being very consequential in my life and how I felt and people just couldn’t pronounce my name. So I wanted to give him a name that people can pronounce. But at the same time, I wanted to give a meaningful name. And a lot of the more meaningful names that I liked had that it was just impossible for non Arabic speakers to pronounce.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S1: Not only will get fun extra segments like that, but you’ll get bonus episodes for shows like Slow Burn and Big Mood, Little Mood. Plus you’ll get to read everything you want on the Slate website without hitting paywalls. So support US Support Slate, sign up for Slate. Plus, it’s only a dollar for the first month. Just go to Slate Dotcom slash mom and dad plus sleeth parenting newsletter is the best place to be notified about all our parenting stuff. Mom and dad are fighting care and feeding and much, much more. All in a handy email to you every Thursday or Friday. Also, it happens to be a personal email from me where I just write up what’s going on in my life. So maybe that’s an incentive to or maybe you could just skip right past that to all the content. Sign up at Slate dotcom slash parenting email. All right, we’ve got a listener question to answer this week, it is being read, as always, by the Fantastique Cicily and our

S4: dear mom and dad, my partner and their kid fight. I know that’s normal, but probably 50 to 60 percent of the time, whether I’m in the room or hearing the story from my partner, it sounds like my partner is picking the fight instead of letting it go. I often observe situations where just standing up and saying, let’s figure it out together would go a really long way to avoid conflict. But I also truly believe that my partner doesn’t have the capacity to do that right now, especially under the current circumstances, parenting and the pandemic, etc.. What do I do, I’m fairly new to this relationship. I think my gut says not to say anything, but I hate watching it unfold, especially because I think they’re doing a really good job, all things considered. What I be picking a fight with the grown up. If I pointed out that they are picking the fight with the kid, is there no good way to say it? Is it ever appropriate for someone in my position to step in? Does it ever become appropriate to say anything? Thanks for picking fights.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S2: So first, I want to brag a little bit, because the first iteration of this letter was somewhat vague to my co-host. But I knew exactly what you were saying. Letter writers such as know that not everyone needed clarification, exactly what you were trying to say the first time that

S1: the first letter was like, can I say something? Can I do it? Can I. Are you allowed? And Jamilah was sincerely like, Oh, yeah.

S2: And she was like, this is a great letter. We need to take it. Yes. I was like, this is the one. You know, the idea of someone criticizing your parenting is one of the most frightful thoughts. I think for most people, it’s not something that parents really enjoy, especially coming from someone who doesn’t have children and even someone who does. But there are times in which we may need someone to tap us on the shoulder and perhaps help us see something that’s not going super great within our parenting. And that message can come from any number of sources sometimes that your kids self, it’s sometimes it’s a loved one. And perhaps in this instance, letter writer, this could be you. It may be that and I don’t know the age of the child involved, but it very well could be the case that your partner has gotten into this really bad cycle where there’s a behavior or series of behaviors that they want to correct. But instead of coming up with a productive way of doing it, they’re leading to bickering and then they’re coming to it themselves. And I’m just bickering with my kid and upset that my kid is bickering with me, but not realizing that I am the one who has started the bickering. Right. Maybe it’s my language. Maybe it’s my approach. I would perhaps start with saying with asking some sort of questions, maybe about your observations as opposed to nothing that feels like a value judgment. And I think it feels like criticism, but just kind of. Asking questions and offering support. You know, it seems like you and Robert have really been having some issues with the video games. What do you think is at the heart of that? Right. Like maybe asking why do you feel, you know, what do you think is going on here as it relates to this thing that’s got you all engaged in that way? I don’t know if there’s anything you’re able to observe about the child’s behavior. I’m thinking since you’re saying you feel like your partner is the one picking the fights, that it could be that, you know, there’s something in terms of language that could be different. So maybe it’s perhaps to say, for example, if your passive aggression. Right. Like, do you think that perhaps you’d feel comfortable talking about your own experiences and say, you know, when I was his age, I oftentimes felt attacked when my mother would say X, Y and Z like this. You know, it sometimes know perhaps he may be a little bit more receptive if you present it in this way. Or do you think that he’s feeling OK? Let’s maybe not do the perhaps the let’s just start with questions. I want you to ask a lot of questions of your partner about how they’re feeling, about what they’re thinking, about what they want this relationship to their child to look like and to use that as your entry point to kind of help try and nudge them towards something that feels more peaceful. I think that you can be a mirror perhaps to some things that might not be working, but you have to be really careful about pointing a finger and showing up is that, hey, I figured this out and I know what’s going on here is what you need to do. But I think that you can’t help them to see that there may be a better way to because it sounds like a language thing. It sounds to me like the kid is doing something that needs to be addressed. But instead of approaching it in a productive way where the kid can recognize the mistake and of course, correct, instead they’re being led into an argument. So I think you helping her or him to understand that part is very feasible, but you have to be so sensitive about it. I agree with you, Jamilah, that the key here is really to be empathetic, because I don’t think that it’s necessarily your job to turn to your partner and say, like, you’re causing these problems and you even say in your letter like that they’re doing a really good job given the situation. So I think one of the things you can do is praise your partner every time they do do a really good job. So when you see them doing that really great parenting and that really hard parenting, just giving them a nudge, you’re saying like, wow, you did a great job handling that. You know, once the situation is resolved and really building up the good moments, I think, is something that you can do that feels good for everyone. It sounds also like your partner invites you, at least in terms of like venting to you or telling you about the things that happen when you’re not there. And I think that is such an open door to the kind of questions that Jamilah is telling you to ask is use those moments to ask those questions, but also say, like, that seems really hard or that didn’t seem to go the way that you wanted to go. Like, how can I support you in these moments? Because maybe what they do need or what your partner wants is for you to step in and help, or maybe they don’t. Maybe they really just want you to listen. And I think as adults, one of the things we can do is ask and say, like, you know, after the thing happened or when they’re relaying this information to you, being able to say, like, I would love to be there to support you in this in the future, but it’s uncomfortable for me because it’s not my child. I mean, all of that are things that are probably not that’s not news to your partner, right. That you are not the parent and that you stepping in in this situation is difficult. So saying like, how can I support you in this moment? Because maybe then they’re going to open up and say, I get so angry, I don’t know how else to react. Or like this is the same interaction I always had with my dad, mom, whatever. So I think those moments are the moments in which you can talk about this and offer to be there. But it’s really more your job to support your partner in the good parenting that they’re doing. And I’m assuming that this is all kind of basic picking fight stuff and nothing that feels like anyone’s safety is at issue. But I think just being that other adult and even though it’s a child, you can think about how you would want a friend to help you in a sensitive situation with another friend or with something like that, and how it doesn’t feel great to have someone come in and say, you know, it seems like you’re always picking the fight. And if you just did this, but instead being there to say, hey, like, how can I help you in this moment? And these are the times where you’re doing things like so well and wow, that took a lot of courage or way to handle that. Great. Like that. Almost blew up. But you really tone that down by doing acts like bringing up those moments when it is handled well. How do you think this is hard, whether you’re like even if you’re married and it’s your shared kid, like parenting with someone else is is difficult. And when you are not the person interacting with the kid, it is so easy to be like, why are you going down that path? Like, come back. So I think you’re in a spot where, like a lot of people are with their partners, whether it’s their child or not. And and the more you can just be there and try to be, you know, the love that parents get a lot of opportunity to say you’re not doing this. Right. And here’s a different way to try. But if you can be there in the moments that they are doing well, I think that will help in the moments that are hard. But I don’t know. Dan, what do you think?

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S1: I want to expand on something that you said. Elizabeth, I get a lot of difficult conversations. You can think of your entry point as far as either the picture or the frame. Either you are talking to someone immediately about what you see and what you observe and trying to lead them to the conversation by just launching right into it, which is sort of Jamilah. I think what Jamilah is getting at by gently asking questions that lead you there without necessarily letting the person know. I’m trying to have a big conversation about this thing that bothers me. Or you can start with the frame, which is to say, I think as Elizabeth was sort of suggesting, I see something happening here and I would like to support you, but I’m not quite sure how to do it. What are you interested in talking about this and what can I offer you that will be helpful? Different conversations, different work, different ways. And different people are receptive to different methods. But this really feels to me like a conversation we’re starting with. The frame is really helpful because it allows your partner to feel like an equal with you in this conversation. It doesn’t make them feel like they’re being, you know, gently eased into something that you’re afraid they’ll blow up about. Even though that is true. You are afraid they’ll blow up reasonably so, because as Jamilah and Elizabeth have both correctly said, this is such a touchy subject for people. But delivering the frame first and saying this is a thing I would like to help with, but I don’t know how. And would you like to talk with me about how I could help allows the partner the opportunity to either take that or say, no, thank you, but you then have to observe and it allows them to feel like they are working together with you on an equal level to start to begin addressing this problem. And as you both have noted, when you’re a parent so often you do feel judged and the experience of feeling judged always makes you feel like you are not on an equal level. With the person who’s doing out of that can be at the heart of what is so hurtful or frustrating about that experience. This letter really fascinated me because of the sort of greater questions that it raises about when does a person have a quote unquote, right to step in or address these issues that they see at a family that they are late to, that they’ve just started to have a relationship with or that they’ve had a relationship with only for a couple of years, which in the context of the larger family isn’t that long. And it seems to me that probably the answer is a very unsatisfying. It depends. But do you to have any sort of rules of thumb for the way that this letter writer, but also other people in the situation can think about? When am I a part of the family such that even in the moment of a debate, I have the right or even the responsibility to try to help solve these problems?

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S2: I think that making it clear that that is the role that you want is one good place to start. You know, that I am you know, like I know that you all are dating, but I’m not really clear what I guess it’s not clear. Like, are you all angling toward marriage or are you seeing this as a situation in which one day you may be a step parent or, you know, just someone who you’re dating, who happens to be a parent, and these things are taking place in your presence and you’re kind of at a loss about what to do. But I think it’s important you let your partner know that you are interested in being as your partner. I am interested in supporting you. And part of what’s supporting you means supporting you in within the context of your parenting and your family. And so that I, I care about what’s going on here. I have care and compassion for your child, and I want to be helpful to you insofar as I can. I understand that I’m not a parent and you know that I don’t want to overstepping boundaries, but it’s that I know you are willing to allow me to do to be that for you, that this is a way in which I would like to be a support system to you. Yeah. I think it’s so important to know exactly Jamilah you summed it up so nicely, but knowing where your comments are coming from, like, am I got checking yourself to say, like, am I offering this because I have this care and concern for the whole unit? Right. Do I feel that this comment that I have at this moment will make this situation better, you know, or is all I’m going to do is pile on something else for someone to think about, and that’s not the right time for that moment. And that comes from a place of, like respect and loving someone. And I mean, you can think about your friends even and the friends in which you have reached that point in which you are parenting their children when you are with them because of that relationship that you have with their children and with with their parents. Right where you are part of that loving structure to support those children as opposed to just like seeing someone in the grocery store and feeling like, well, I could do this better than you. So here’s some advice. So I think gut checking yourself to say, like, am I offering this shit why we might? Because we always all think we could do it better than what we’re watching. Right. But you have those friends like I have those friends who it is not offensive if they say, have you tried this? Like, I notice you’re having trouble. Have you tried this? Because once it’s done over coffee away from the fight. Right. It’s not done in the moment or right after it happened. In those moments, those people are saying like, hey, are you OK? That was really rough. Like, you’re such a good mom. These are the things you did really well, right? Like those are the things you need then. But in a calmer moment when you have someone that you fundamentally believe cares about you enough that they’re offering this advice not to be right, but because they want to see you be happier or be more successful, those are two very different spaces. And I mean, to me, I think your point about like is this the role you want to have is so important because you are saying, like, I’m willing to insert myself in this and develop these relationships. Right. If that’s not what you want, then you better just stay quiet and stay back because you’re not just offering advice. You’re also offering to be part of this weave that is happening. And once

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S1: you’re making a kind of promise to this person

S2: by doing, yeah,

S1: and if you’re not prepared to back that promise up, then you should not be making. Exactly. All right. This is such a good question and such a good conversation. Lissa’s, I would really love to hear what you have to say about this. If you have been in a situation like this, where you’ve been the parent, where you’ve been the quote unquote interloper, the new person in the family, I love to hear your experiences. Please drop us a line at mom and dad sitcom or possibly parenting Facebook group when we post this episode on Thursday. I find this really interesting and we’d love to hear more and maybe talk about this a little bit more and listener picking fights. Thank you for writing this letter. Thank you for writing the follow up letter when only Jamilah understood what you were talking about. And we hope this is helpful and we’d love to hear from you and hear how it’s going. Drop us a line as well. All right, we are very, very happy to bring back the host of Slate’s podcast about Internet culture. I see. Why am I Rachel Hampton and Madison Malone Kircher, welcome.

S2: Hi. Thanks for having us back. Hi, sister. So this will become relevant, I promise.

S1: I am already nervous. All right, so once again, it is time for in case you missed it, mom and Dad, the segment where Rachel and Madison explain an Internet thing that I am simply too old to understand, but which my kids know all about. Today, we are talking about YouTube star James Charles and the allegations of child sexual misconduct. He’s facing some listeners. If you want to skip that discussion, time to hit that fast forward button. But I do not want to skip it because I need to know what the fuck. Rachel, this is clearly the perfect topic because the absolute first time I ever heard this person’s name was when you suggested it for the segment. But my kids do know who this person is. So who is James Charles? What’s going on?

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S2: I would just like to say this is not the first time you’ve heard his name. I feel like at one point when you were editing me, I was like, we should do a James Charles party Westbrooke explainer. And you were like, I don’t know who that is. So I feel like we’ve come full circle and then I am now explaining it to you.

S1: Really have. Yeah. Finally getting a

S2: chance of getting a chance to explain it to you. Yeah. Dan, how familiar are you with the world of hair growth gummies? Because that’s where we’re headed.

S1: Well, I’m I’m familiar enough to start Googling them now.

S2: James Charles is a beauty. YouTube, who I think first went famous because of his yearbook photo, went viral. He had like this incredible highlight on the streets. And everybody was just like, wow, look at this kid who knows how to do makeup from there. He is like just exploded. I think he has somewhere around like twenty million followers on YouTube, like thirty million on Tic-Tac. He did a collaboration with Morphy. He’s kind of just one of the most prominent beauty influencers in the space right now. And he has been embroiled in controversy since. I say it leaves twenty seventeen. That’s correct. I think the thing I would add is that James Charles burst onto the scene because he posts this tweet where he’s got like a full beat and it’s my yearbook photos didn’t look good. So I brought a ring light and asked to take them again. And everybody goes nuts for this kid. He gets a covergirl. I think he becomes the first cover boy officially. Anyway, a year later, somebody else tweets about this is like, you all know, that was a lie, right? He made the whole thing up. So so this is a man whose entire career is based upon this very savvy Internet life. I didn’t even know. He sounds like a genius, evil genius, although he’s twenty two in twenty twenty one. I’m not great at math, but that was. Five years ago, so an evil genius teen at that point. Simply incredible. So the reason that we’re talking about him today is because he took a three month break after these allegations came out of him, basically grooming teenagers. These allegations have been coming out about James Charles since, I would say at least twenty eighteen. The first one was with Gaige Gomez, who is another YouTube. You don’t need to know who that is, but they went to Coachella together and Gomez was underage at the time. And there were just allegations that he was grooming him and that he was trying to convince him to be gay. And this that’s how that works. That’s how I can confirm. That’s how that works. Madisen, the expert, this again comes to light when Tartu icebreaking James Charles have their huge blow up in twenty nineteen. I think that was and this started because of back to the hair growth Gambia’s tattoo as big as another beauty influence and the space. And she has this line of hair growth gummies. All of these are scams. They don’t actually do anything. But what happened is James Charles did a promo for her competing brand. And so it all started in this weird moment where in which tattoo is like, how dare you use another Byatt’s and hair gummy? And then in the same video she was like, do you are like a groomer and a harasser? So very different charges being levied in this video. And these were like forty five minute videos. She did one, James Charles did one, so then did a second one. It was like hours worth of YouTube fights in twenty nineteen.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S1: So I find this fascinating for a bunch of reasons. And one is that like the, the you’re turning this person gay is like a classic bullshit thing levied against gay people all the time. And so it’s very hard for me to judge in any way the possible credence of these allegations. Do you guys feel like there’s evidence out there that we should be weighing as we decide how to feel about James Charles, or is it still way too muddy to really have any real sense

S2: prior to this three month hiatus that James Charles just returned from, he posted another apology video. James Charles is always posting apology videos, posted another apology video in April where he apologized to, quote, two different people, both under the age of 18, who had come forward about interactions with him. So there has been some recognition on his part about some of the behaviors he’s been alleged of doing, of having is the three month hiatus like he opted to just take three months off. The apology didn’t work. So James Charles in the past has always been able to just, like, sit in front of the camera, sniffle a little, say I’m listening and learning and growing and then continue laughing, presumably. Exactly look great. He’s like usually like putting on a full beat as he talks to the camera, which is just like a feat of hand ibrain coordination that boggles the mind my mind specifically. But he wasn’t able to get away with it in April for possibly the first time ever. You know, he lost his television show, Instant Influencer. He winds up getting his channel demagnetized by YouTube, which is huge because that’s how you make money on YouTube as a YouTube. Ah, Morphy like the influencer makeup brand eventually. Sort of wishy washy does say it’s going to part ways with him, like the consequences were very real and I think that’s what drove him to be quiet for longer than usual. And so then he comes back, but with another apology. Is that kind of how he comes back onto the scene? Yes. So he comes back with this video where in which he is doing his makeup. And at the same time of offense, he takes down. Yeah, he takes down the April 20, 20 video. That’s like something along like I’m taking accountability for my actions. And so then he believes that video comes back with this new 30 minute video. That’s just basically an update on the situation. It’s titled An Open Conversation, where he’s kind of addressing the allegations, but not really. It’s very ham handed self-defense. And I think the best way to understand that is the comments on this video are truly hilarious. Me and my sister explaining why we deserve a puppy. When you don’t understand the essay prompt, you still have to write ten thousand words trying to convince your parents you weren’t on the phone during your school online like no one is taking him seriously. See you trying to explain why she had to swim to the chandelier.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S1: I like the notion that kids basically are dealing with this as farce, which seems like the healthiest way to approach this entire situation. Whereas, of course, my response is instant panic and to feel as though this represents everything that’s wrong with the world, even though I don’t understand it.

S2: Yeah, I wouldn’t panic, yeah, it’s like this is I think this is an instance of the kids being all right, like they seem to really. Not be fucking with James Charles anymore, which I feel like is the accurate. I mean, I think a lot of it is that the people who are accusing him are also like teens themselves. And a lot of them, in fact, most of them are teens themselves, which is the entire kind of dicey ness of the situation. And a lot of them posted videos on to talk like showing screenshots of inappropriate messages he had sent. And so allegedly. Allegedly, allegedly. Thank you. Just seems litigious. The man seems litigious here. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean, he also brought a lawsuit currently with his former assistant for like back wages. So there’s also that undercurrent of a lawsuit happening at the same time. So I think that largely the kids seem to know that James Charles is full of shit. Allegedly. Allegedly, allegedly. Well, that no, that’s Aymann allegedly. He is just full of shit that I feel confident in that fact. Yeah. I think the other thing that helps here is that we have undersold the laundry list of beefs this person has been embroiled with. He has been in a one sided fight with Ariana Grundy. He has come for Alicia Keys because people who look great without makeup shouldn’t make makeup. He has had trans phobic tweets, tweets about Ebola that I won’t elaborate like over and over and over again. James Charles has seeded into his impressionable viewers minds. I fucked up. I’m sorry. Here we are again. Yeah, he’s often compared to Shane Dawson, the other king of fucking up, and they have also fought like had a feud at some point. So next time. Yeah, it’s interesting. Like even though he is know he’s fallen from grace and he doesn’t have the following or the influence that he once did. He’s still, you know, I guess was for quite some time and perhaps maybe again, we’ll we’ll soon see, like a visible person right. In like my daughter’s eight. And so she’s into Tic-Tac, she’s into Internet shit. So, like, she’s aware of people like that, you know. And he was one of the weird ones where I was kind of put in this odd position, like, well, how much do I share? You know what I mean? Like, how much does she need to know? She needs to know about the Ebola tweets. Do we have to talk about, you know, like the how do I talk about like this is somebody being accused of growing, you know, like it it gets tricky. And it’s like it made me think of, interestingly enough, Chris Brown of all people. Right. Like just like a guy who was present and all this stuff is there. But if you’re eight or 11, you might not really be able to understand what it means if this person is both loved and reviled and that you have a decision to make. And it’s like choosing to support them is making a choice. Mm hmm. As a non parent, I cannot imagine the same, and I was like, I can not imagine, like trying to explain this down to the level of an eight year old, because, I mean, so much of YouTube is like the of social relationship. But all that has been called into question as grooming and specific situations where, like, you were constantly kind of pushing the envelope of what your audience expects and kind of, I guess, lowering their bar for what they expect. To be bad, and so in doing that, you’re kind of opening up a door to grooming and so I just I cannot this is why I don’t have children. The only reason James Charles and Shane Dawson, the dividing line I would I would attempt to use when talking to an eight year old who I would assume is more Internet literate than I am, frankly, is that I think you can still, if you wanted to, not my not my Internet pool, but if you still wanted to watch James Charles is old make up videos or Tutera, you know, there’s some skill and some artistry there that I think could still be enjoyed by a kid watching these YouTube videos in tandem with. A conversation about who he is as a person offline to a varying and age appropriate degree.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S1: All right, well, I now feel like I have even a tiny bit of understanding of the situation, so I feel like I’m way ahead of the game. Rachel. I look forward to you pitching me a year from now me being like James Charles.

S2: I cannot wait to be in this time loop with you again. Surely, though, if you want to blow your kids minds, just high sisters in the most chipper, creepy voice you can muster,

S1: please do it right now so I can just imitate you.

S2: Hi, sisters.

S1: I don’t know if I have the guts to do that to my kids, but I might be worth a try. I hope our listeners do, though, and I hope they write us and tell us what happens. Everyone should please. If you listen to our show, you should also be listening to see why am I a Slate podcast with Madison and Rachel? It’s fantastic. We’ll explain the Internet to you. Even if you don’t have time to experience 100 percent of the Internet the way that they do, you are always welcome on the show. We love having you. Thank you both for joining us.

S2: Thank you. Thank you so much for having us.

S1: All right, now comes a part of the show where we recommend some stuff, it’s called recommendations.

S2: Elizabeth, watch. Glad I’m going first this week with my igloo cooler from last week. So much cooler than we give it credit for. And I saw the show and I know have been set one as part of the influencer kit. And I was legitimately jealous like two days after we talked about

S1: over the weekend. A friend of mine bought one of those. And I was like, oh yeah, it’s because of the podcast.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S2: I was like, oh, there you go. All right. Well, good. Well, I just feel like going first. The bar is so much lower, I don’t have to compete with their view. So here we go. I am recommending the book that we’re reading out loud right now, which is called The Burgess Animal Book for Children. And I pair that with this coloring book called Small Animals of North America. So we read out loud and the kids have the opportunity to like color or do some other project. But this one has been going really, really well. And these books are set up as kind of like you are. Peter Rabbit is the main character and he is finding out information about different animals around the forest. And he hears some from Jenny Wren, who’s a wren, and some he is now venturing to talk to old Mother Nature, who describes each animal but about their coats and their why they have why they’re patterned, where they live, what their babies are like. It is just a wonderful way. If you have kids that are into animals to kind of learn some stuff about the animals. This book is specific to the animals in North America. But we’ve done the Burgess Bird book and there’s a couple others. But it’s great because it gives the kids the tools within the story to identify these animals when they’re out and about, which I just think is like a great thing for kids to know. And they now know whether they’re seeing some kind of, you know, in the rodent family. That’s what the kids are into. Like, this particular became important on our road trip when they were identifying the, like, kill on the road. You know, Jeff was like, oh, it’s a beaver. And they’re like, that’s not a beaver. It’s a Marmot’s. You know, Jenny Wren told them about the the coat of this or the tail shape. So it’s just really fun because it’s something you get to see them apply. And as we’re reading, they find the animal we’re reading about and and colour it. And it’s just been a really nice kind of summer experience. So that’s the Burgess Animal Book for Children and the Small Animals of North America. Coloring book.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S1: A great way to distract them from the fact that the animals lying dead at the time of the year. That’s fantastic. That’s a great recommendation. I love it. Jamilah, what do you have?

S2: So I offer this with the acceptance that for some of you, particularly those you’ve never seen me before, that in your head you’re constructing like a black version of Virginia. George, Mom, I’m not that. But I have I guess I am adding yet another cool thing to my life’s arsenal. I am recommending now the streets are starting to open back up a bit. Many of us are going back to in person fitness classes for the first time in over a year. I’ve started my first in person fitness class since everything shut down and I’m taking pole dancing. Of course I am such a fucking so typical. So I’m grand and it is so much fun. I’ve done two classes and I guess I did one. I’ve done two in the past week and have another one on Friday. I’m all in and I took the class once, many years ago. It is very hard. It is intimidating. It’s a great workout and if you are looking for something to challenge yourself and so maybe just feel really silly and conspicuous, surrounded by a couple of twenty two year olds, got a pole dance class. Do it. Your Instagram posts all make sense now. You looked awesome now in your last in your last one about being at your second class. So whatever you’re doing, it’s working totally fantastic.

S1: If you’re pole dancing studio is not advertising on this show in a month. I will my. All right, I am recommending something that is not pole dancing, if you are not aware listeners, I just want to call your attention to the fact that it is currently cheap cherry season in many parts of this fine nation. America’s grocery stores are overwhelmed with cherries. They are selling them for like four bucks or five bucks less than they usually cost per pound. In my hair here right now, cherries are a dollar ninety nine a pound as a dollar, ninety nine a pound. And they it’s like Christmas underneath those like piles of cherries as far as the eye can see. Now, this will only last like another week or two. So I encourage everyone if you live in a place where this is happening, get your ass to the grocery store, buy as many bags of cherries as you possibly think you could eat in a week, then buy one more bag and then just make cherries the only thing you eat for as long as possible. I have determined over the course of many years that if you really focus and bear down, you can eat cherries nonstop through an entire workday from 9:00 to 5:00, pausing only to dump your bowls of pits into the garbage and then also for lunch. So do not miss cheap cherry season the best part of the year. All right. That is it for our show one last time. If you have a question for us. Email us Aymann at Dotcom or pose the question to the Slate Parenting Facebook group. Just search for Slate parenting and you’ll find Aymann after fighting is produced by Jasmine Ellis for Elizabeth’s new campaign. Jamilah Alemu. I’m Dan. Thanks for listening.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S3: Shout out to all the plus members. We love you.

S1: That message from Ayman Ismail, our guest for Slate, plus, let’s keep it going, Slate plus, listeners, we do love you. We love your membership. We love the support you give the show and Slate dotcom. So thanks for that. So we’ve got a bonus segment for you. We are joined by a brand new dad, Slate staff writer Ayman Ismail, to talk about his great piece from a few weeks ago, My quest to give my Muslim baby a name that won’t make his life harder. So welcome, Aymann, and thank you

S3: for the introduction.

S1: Yeah. When you wrote this, you are not yet a dad, but now you are. So congratulations.

S3: Thank you. Newly minted. It happened.

S1: It was terrifying in your three weeks in and so far it’s gone flawlessly and you’ve got to completely figure it out right

S3: flawlessly with air quotes flawlessly.

S1: Let’s go back. All right. So let’s talk about this piece that you wrote for Slate just before your baby was born. And at the center of the piece was this color coded spreadsheet that you made when your wife was pregnant. Tell us about the spreadsheet and why your wife thought you were crazy.

S3: OK, so it started out with just a just as a normal list of names that I liked. Right. I wasn’t sure where I was going to land on the spectrum, but I had like I feel like that’s a normal thing to do. I don’t think that’s crazy that we all do this.

S1: We make the list of names and then we share the Google doc with our partner. If we’re if we have a partner that we’re naming with and then we go from there. Yeah.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S3: Which is fine. Then I started to think about how my name was ended up being very consequential in my life and how I felt and people just couldn’t pronounce my name. So I wanted to give him a name that people can pronounce. But at the same time I wanted to give a meaningful name and a lot of the more meaningful names that I liked had it was just impossible for non Arabic speakers to pronounce. And then there was also the mom factor where I needed to pick a name that my mom would be happy about. She would think that that might factor. And then there’s like references and what people will find when they Google. And so I thought, oh, my God, there’s a lot of variables here. I need to get a little bit more organized. So I made I made some columns, started with the name The Origin. I gave everything a pronunciation score. I gave everything a meaning score, a references score, and I tallied it up. And, you know, just normal, normal dad behavior, I think. Yeah, just all that stuff, none of that stuff. I, I have reached out to a handful of my friends who don’t speak Arabic and ask them to just pronounce names that I gave them. And I would try and transcribe the way that they pronounced it, the way I would pronounce it in Arabic and compare the two and then gave it a score from zero to 10.

S1: That was a very interesting aspect of the story to me. What did you learn when you were doing that about the way that certain names sound in the mouths of non Arabs?

S3: You know, I used to think before working on the spreadsheet that if they couldn’t pronounce it perfect, I was a bad thing and they needed to fix it. But then there were some Arabic names that sound cool and it might even sound better. And when an Arabic person spread them, like, for example, there’s this name Yahaya, which I like a lot of means, like their legacy lives on. And I had one of the one of the producers that read the name Jeff Blumer, and he called it Yahaya. And I was like, that’s cooler. I like you more than I like you here.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S1: I can just imagine Jeff, who works at Slate and now saying, yea,

S3: I’m actually I’m just I’m going to do something I haven’t done before. I’m just going to share this spreadsheet with you guys because I’m curious to think am I crazy or. Or is my wife just

S1: opening this

S2: up? Well, what did your wife just say? You’re crazy.

S3: She looked at me and she thought to herself, What have I gotten into? And like having a baby with me.

S2: What is your sign?

S3: I’m a Virgo.

S2: I knew it, I knew it when I saw the spreadsheet, I was like, oh, he’s a virgin. Oh, really? That’s why he did so.

S3: So it’s normal for Vergos then. OK, that gives me some some relief.

S1: I would like to note that we don’t have full agreement across the board of how this spreadsheet is beautiful. I’m looking at it now. It’s we have a column for names, a column for the origin, whether it’s ancient Egyptian Arabic. Smutek, you have your pronunciation and then Jeff bloomers pronunciation. You’ve got the meaning and sources for it. You’ve got references. So like you have. I mean, where, you know, there’s also a right wing anti-Muslim commentator which ruins

S3: the name perfectly ideal, but I like the name.

S2: As I say, at least four of these names are somewhat common amongst African-Americans. My name is Jamilah, which is an Arabic name that is also considered to be a Swahili name. But obviously it came to Swahili speakers through Arabic. And there are a whole lot of us that have these names, so much so that sometimes, of course, depending on the last name, which might not be the case, we wouldn’t be the case for your son. When I see an Arabic name, I don’t always assume that this is going to be a person of Muslim faith or from an Arabic country. You know, sometimes I think it’s going to be somebody who looks like me. And so I was curious to know, especially thinking of the celebrities that you mentioned in the piece, Idris Elba and Yaya, I’m blanking on his last name, the actor. But Abdul Abdul-Mahdi. Yeah. And so that a lot of folks in public with these names are not Muslim and or or they may be Muslim, but they’re African-American. I was curious to know, was that anything that you thought about at any point that this name may also find him being mistaken for a brother?

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S3: I thought it gave the name more credibility and that if somebody had recognized the name before because there was a celebrity or somebody else who had the name, they would know how to pronounce it or not know how to pronounce a version of it. So if anything, I should have had a column for that to like if a celebrity had the name, it would raise it in the score points, but also the kids growing up in Newark, New Jersey. So most people he’s going to go up around are going to be of color, so. Yeah, I mean, if anything, it gives the name more clout because he won’t be the elephant in the room where people just can’t pronounce his name, so they just give him a nickname. Like for me, nobody could pronounce Aymann because they never heard of Aymann before. So most kids just called me Egypt. You know,

S1: as a kid, chart an

S3: Egypt play ball with us. That was it. They didn’t try any harder than that. But if they if I name this kid Rahim and they would know like Rahim, who works at the store or something like that, or their uncle’s named Rahim, it wouldn’t be unusual. So if anything, it would give him more credibility. But when I’m thinking about, you know, like what I’m what I think is more of a risk that I’m taking by giving him a name like this, it’s not about how other people are going to be interpreting the name. It’s more about people in authority. So I’m thinking about what a cop will do when he gets pulled over and looks at his license and has a name that he can’t pronounce or what a judge will do when he’s trying to win. I mean, God forbid if he ends up being arraigned, what the judge will make a conclusion based on what his name is or even teachers who don’t care about this kid because they don’t know even know how to say his name. So there’s all this calculus. It’s all like shuffling in my head and I’m trying to figure out what do I want to do? Do I want to give this kid a name that he can be proud of that is unique, that will connect him to this culture that I’m connected to or don’t want to give him a name that everybody can say that’s to be considered normal. So if anything, it’s a blessing that there are so many African-Americans who have like Muslim derivative names because it gives it a little bit more of a foothold in this country, like Kareem Abdul Jabbar, one of the most amazing basketball players ever gave, the name Kareem, a huge boost in this country.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S1: And I grew up in Milwaukee and that was for many white Milwaukeeans. I was the first Arabic name they’d ever heard that changed his name just before he played for the bucks.

S3: And they had to know they can’t not know Kadeem or pretend to not know how to say it. So, yeah, shout out to all the teams out there.

S2: Well, how did your wife want to so I know we joked about her thinking, this is crazy, but I all the reasons you did this seem very like something worthy of discussing and important when you’re giving a name. So, I mean, was she looking more at just like did she feel very strongly towards the sound of a particular name or because I you know, naming a baby is a big, big part for all the reasons you said. And just because it it’s like kind of that first thing you do as a parent. So how did she want to solve the naming issue?

S3: So very early on before she even got pregnant, we had agreed that if it was a boy, I would name him. That would be my responsibility. And if it was a girl, that would be her responsibility. Right. We had veto power. We weren’t going to give the kid a name that the other hated. But it was my job to come up with names and pitch it to her. And she would like we would have to agree on something. So she knew that I was going to come to her with a list. She just didn’t expect it to be a Google Sheets document with links and colored and scores. He was like math

S2: and science and math. So certainly it was firmly in your court to start out with. This was your duty and you took it extremely seriously. I mean.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S3: I think this is a normal a normal thing to do. I plan on doing this for everything, like we’re not going to just send this kid to school. I’m going to need to do the math.

S1: Dad, what are we having for breakfast this morning? Hold on,

S2: let’s get out the spreadsheet. Let me

S3: call it just real quick,

S1: and you’ve been winning a lot of prizes recently. I don’t know if you noticed, but each time I see your name on a list of nominees or prize winners, I smile and you talk about this a little bit in the piece. And it’s not just because I know you, but it’s because often your name is so apparently different from the other names on the list. And you talk in your piece about the pride that you have felt carrying your quote unquote difficult name along with you as you’ve become more accomplished in this field. That to me, sort of seems like a little bit of an argument for not giving your kid a name that’s accommodating to not Arabs, that you give your kid a chance to then bring a difficult name with pride out into the world. Did that influence your thinking at all?

S3: Yeah, of course. I was extremely close to giving him the name. But which where did it rank? It ranked number five on this list. Bedros has a significant meaning to me because my nickname, my mom’s always called me Moon because it’s like a man. A moon is just called me Moon and money. So I thought it would be really cool to continue the lunar theme and and give him the name bed, which means moonlight or full moon and. I love the fact that it’s a very uncomfortable name for non Arabic speakers to say, because it’s two consonants at the end is bad, are bad, and I think Jeff pronounce this one better. Define how I would say it. Yeah. And I think for a while I thought that stuff like people would have to pause and think to themselves, OK, let me let me try and pronounce it, because I never had to pronounce two consonants like this together. And my my wife vetoed it because she thought it sounded like pancake batter. She thought people would call him like. So I thought, OK, fine, fair enough. But there was something really attractive about bringing a name to the forefront that people would be uncomfortable around at first, but then be forced to have to work around, you know, and depending on how. But here’s the catch. Twenty two. It’s like I can feel this way, but I don’t know how my son’s going to feel about this name. You know, it’s really hard to gauge how he’s going to feel when he’s in first grade trying to make new friends and and whatever, whatever first graders are up to and kids just right.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S1: It’s like if I think of the cutting and and Muhammad Ali making those name changes for themselves as specific. Where their goal was to to change the way people thought about them, but that was their decision, not their parents decision. And you’re right that you don’t know how your kid is going to feel about it.

S3: Yeah, yeah, exactly. And it’s it’s really hard to to to think of, like, the ripple effects that’s going to happen because you don’t really know what’s going to happen and how that anyone’s going to feel about it. It’d be a name that I thought was awesome. But does that really matter? I don’t

S2: know. I was curious to know, was your wife also going to choose a Muslim name for the baby, an Arabic name?

S3: Yeah, yeah. We’re pretty we’re pretty adamant about that. And we won’t even send this kid to Islamic school. One of the things that we’re really worried about is like first generation Americans are Arabic. Both of ours is like trash. It’s like very watered down. We can talk about food because we talk about food with our parents and our families. But anything else, it falls apart, hurts a little bit better than mine. But mine is trash. So we’re thinking, OK, so if we speak about a third of the Arabic that our parents spoke, they’re going to learn a third of what we speak, which is nothing, you know. So, yeah, more math for you. It’s just I need to figure out a way to get them to speak as much Arabic, if not more Arabic than I speak. So we thought, OK, cool Arabic school, school, some of the girl names that she picked because before we started thinking about what name we wanted to pick, before we knew the gender and the ones that the one that we both like the lot, maybe guys can bleep it out because I want anybody to steal it. But it’s which is really it means went and that’s another name that’s like really popular in the African-American community. So we thought this would be like the perfect, perfect name for Arabic girl.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S1: It’s already an extremely popular name, but you want us to bleep it out so no one steals it.

S3: Yeah, somebody is going to listen to this and think, oh, I got the perfect name Susan or somebody, you know, and then they’re going

S1: to say, take it. That is a beautiful name. It’s such a shame. Our listeners will never hear it.

S3: You’ve got to just take dance word for it.

S1: All right. So, Aymond, thank you for joining us in the piece. You say that you and your wife chose the perfect name. You say it’s easy to pronounce, but unmistakably Muslim, but you don’t say what it was. But now the baby is born. Yeah, he’s real. Will you reveal the name to Slate plus member Slate plus members?

S3: You heard it here first. It’s Moussa Moussa Ismail.

S2: Must be the

S3: only name they got a 10 at a 10 and both pronunciation and meaning. And it’s the only name right there is the top of the list, ancient Egyptian, which is really cool.

S1: All right, and this has been super fascinating. Thank you. Everyone should read the piece. It’s called My Quest to Give My Muslim Baby a Name That Won’t Make His Life Harder. Congratulations to you and congratulations to your wife. And congratulations to Little Moossa.

S3: Thank you. Thank you. Love it. Qassar Slate. Plus members. We love you.