Cut It Yourself Edition

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S1: This ad free podcast is part of your Slate plus membership, the following podcast contains explicit language.

S2: Welcome, the mom and dad are fighting Slate’s parenting podcast. For Thursday, May 7th, the Do It Yourself edition. I’m Jimmy Little. A writer contributor to Slate’s Karen Beating parenting column, noted Millennial, according to The New York Times and mom to Naima, who is seven. And we reside in Los Angeles for you. I was going to say New York because I forget it says I am.

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S3: I’m Elizabeth, New Camp. I write the Home School and Family Travel Blog, Dutch Dutch Goose and the mom to three boys, Henry eight, all of her five and Teddy, three. And I’m located in Navarre, Florida.

S1: And Dan Coates, I’m a writer at Slate and the author of the book How to Be a Family of the Dad of Lyra, who’s fifteen, Harper who’s twelve. And we live in Arlington, Virginia.

S2: This week, we’re answering a listener question from a mom whose step mom wants to be called grandma. And while the letter writer is happy, her stepmother wants to be so involved.

S4: How should she explain to her kids that their quote unquote grandmother is not her biological mom who passed away for all ages? Everyone is spiting now segment.

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S2: How are you taking care of your hair when your family can’t go to the salon or the barber? Well, we’re going to talk to someone who’s figured out a way to make it work. Jay Graham, Henry’s COO at nine years old, just might be the world’s youngest female barber. She and her mom, Jamie, will be giving us tips on how to cut and manage your hair during quarantine. We’ll have a timestamp in the show notes so families can find the segment. And as always, we’ll have triumphs and bills and recommendations. Let’s start with you, Elizabeth.

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S4: Do you have a triumph or fail for us this week?

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S5: So I have a gardening triumph, but a life sale. I unintentionally led a sex education class in my garden with my children. So as part of home school, we have like a garden. The kids asked if they could let a pumpkin from Halloween rot in the garden over the winter. I said, sure. Like thousands, a little seed. Let’s came out by pruned a bunch of them. Now we have these three enormous pumpkin plants that has been growing here in Florida since like March. So the pumpkin plant has only been giving male flowers. And so, you know, the kids want a pumpkin. So I am like Googling what to do. And it says you have to go out there and basically make the plant believe that it’s being pollinated. So I’ve been out there with, like a paint brush, having the kids help me, like, swish on the male with a paint brush on the male flower. We finally get a female flower, but there’s no pollinators. So, again, the children and I watch a video on what to do. And there’s like a little, you know, in the bottom, the YouTube, like, I print out exactly what to do. We go out there and my Henry, the eight year old, reads out loud as we do the following steps. So the female flowers must be pollinated early in the morning when they choose to open. So we go out there and we’re like looking. There’s one female flower she chooses to open, like around 10. Then you have to remove a few of the male flowers from their stems, then actually peel back the flower to show the little statement.

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S6: And then you have to rub the center of the against the female flower center to transfer the pollen on to the female ovaries. This is too hot for radio. Yes. So my children, we all go there. We all get a male flower. We all peel it back. Do you know what it looks like in the center? It looks like a penis. And all of my children are like, this looks like our penis. And I’m like, yes, yes, it does. And it carries the pollen. And we are going to put this into the female flower. My kids, you know, grew up in the Netherlands. They had more sex education than a child here might get. But I’m not really sure that they ever covered like they covered parts and they covered kind of generally how things work.

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S5: But the actual action of how to insert, like, the male part into the female part was never covered. Well, we have now covered that because each of them needed to take a turn pollinating. And as this happens, I just completely lose track. I’m like, realize that I’m teaching the sex education class. And then I become very uncomfortable because we have all these lessons that I think should be attached to that. And they are like comparing this to their penis.

S6: Anyway, I end up kind of talking about consent with this flower and we’re like all holding the male flowers and and we’re all taking turns pollinating the same female flower. And then step three says, tie the female flower shet to ensure that hand pollination remains uncontaminated. So I think everyone left confused. I’m confused. We asked the flower for consent to give it a pumpkin.

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S5: It didn’t give consent. I mean, no, you did not speak to me. We pollinated. Anyway, I will be untangling this for years to come, but I hopefully will be growing pumpkins. So. Gardening success. Life failure.

S7: Those pumpkins will be the children of sin, Elizabeth.

S6: Well, yes, I mean, the one flower with pollinated by at least three male flowers that we know. So it’s anyone’s guess.

S4: All I can think about is like I just know Elizabeth is going to send me some pumpkin bread. I just know that’s where this story ends. It might be six months down the line, but I’m getting cranky and I will.

S6: I will. I’ll send you some pumpkin bread and you will know the pumpkins origin story.

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S4: Yes. Very close to these. Yeah. Thanks, pumpkin. That’s wonderful. Dan, what did you feel it this week?

S7: This week, I failed at nutrition. It was Lyra’s birthday last week and her two best friends did an extremely sweet thing, which is that they came over in the morning and stood at a far away distance from Wira in our backyard with a bucket of water balloons. And so they were like in a triangle right in our backyard. And they surprise Lyra. Wish her happy birthday. And then did a water balloon quiz in which they asked Lyra questions. And then if she got them right, she got to hit them with water balloons if she got them wrong. They got to hit her with water balloons is very charming. Lyra was delighted by it. At the end of it, they gave her her present, which was just a just a case of dots that they got at Costco, you know, dots the movie theater, Candy, that no one over the age of, I guess, fifteen likes. But Lyra loves them and she really likes that truly terrible candy, even though she has braces and is not actually even allowed to eat them. She loves dots. And so we said, you know what? It’s your birthday. You can have these dots. It’s fine. But, you know, you just need to be really careful. Please brush your teeth really while you eat them. Please, you know, don’t eat a lot of once. Ration them out. Make it last. That was last Wednesday on her birthday. And on Sunday, we found in the garbage can of Lyras Room all twenty four boxes of tots because she’d been all 24 of them. Oh my God. In five days.

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S6: No, never eat one again. This is good. I was going to say it’s over.

S7: I mean, it’s remarkable to me that her jaws even can open, that they’re not glued shut by dots or just like the pain after you’re too far away like that for so long. And I thought this would be like, oh, you’re going to smoke a cigarette. I’m going to make you smoke a whole pack of cigarettes situation. But it wasn’t like that at all. She would eat 20 former boxes of dots right now if we got them for, like, really happily. She has suffered no ill effects whatsoever. She’s completely happy. And she, like, didn’t. And I guess this is great that she didn’t even have any shame about it to try to hide the evidence. You just put it all right in her garbage can. And then when we saw it, we were like, what? You eat all of those? She goes, Oh, yeah, they were great.

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S4: So her birthday dreams came true. They really that they really. Every time I’ve been on any food like that, it’s been the end of me in that food at the very least for a long time. Like we’ve definitely eight at least.

S8: 80 to 100 half ounce bags of pirates moody in the first month of the quarantine, like we were responsible for it not being in stock in place, like we got a box of like 30 to it, a little tight. You know, they have the one ounce bags. We went through a bunch of those and then we got the half pounds bag. Like, I got like a thirty two bucks and a half pounds bag. And like, I didn’t even tell my team they were here for a long time, like, I don’t know, they’ll ever eat pirates again. And so the liar could still eat dad’s.

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S4: I can’t even eat. That’s after hearing that. Aside from being over. All right. I’ll never, never touch them again. Aside from going over 15. What’s funny is that when you were talking, I was thinking, you know, Lyra is my favorite. And there is a old black tradition of having a auntie who is better equipped to take care of your kids, like take your kid.

S8: So you let Lyras friends or Corona virus water balloons at her and she age twenty four boxes of bets. So I think the give me a break reboot is going to be you sending Lyra to Inglewood for a few months so I can protect her until it’s safe for her to return to school.

S7: Don’t worry. She’ll just overdose on Pirate’s Booty at your house.

S9: We at least have gotten our house on our lease.

S4: My house is child proof. It’s not teenager proof because there’s things. The kids and teenagers. Very quickly. They’re little sobriety. Tensas will feel like. Wait a minute.

S7: You know, Jimmy, what about you trying for fell asleep this week.

S8: I have a fail, as always, in great part because there was a car that I had my eye on and it slipped through my fingers. I’d send a query to the dealer and it was available. And I kind of hesitated and they were doing online delivery. But I’m just like, really? Is this how I’m going to have to buy a car? I’m trying to wait. But then I’m also like, you very easily could, like, waste the money you saved for a car on Pirate’s Booty if you don’t like, buy one now. I would feel better having a car, you know. And also, what if I do spend my car money on Pirate’s Booty? And so the car slips through my fingers. So are there any sponsors that are out there? Like, Man, I’ve really been trying to figure out a way to make a car commercial work for mom and dad or frighting. I’m going rogue. No guy at Slate that has approved this. But I mean myself, Jameela, know people here. And I could ask them, if you have your car commercial and all you have to do is pay for the car commercial ad space and also give me a car. So just something to think about. But I really like this kind of bummed out about it.

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S7: Do you think the lesson is like don’t hesitate next time, like next time? Are you just gonna get the car? I don’t know. Are you still gonna be worried and nervous about it?

S4: I’m still gonna be worried and nervous because another one that was like similar and similar price bracket, like went like a week later and I was like, wow, it happened to me again. So this is going to keep happening. But the other one I’d watch for a while.

S5: But like, you kind of need a car now more than you did before. Right. Because, I mean, like your options for you to feel safe to get out and. Yeah. Things relax are less.

S4: Yeah. No, I definitely don’t want to have to like over. I mean I could say I’m going to just take a day and go to it. You know, I mean like identify few cars that I wanted to see. And this is just a day I go out and see cars. But I think I am going to end up having to get something done here unless I manage to just wait until never.

S6: Don’t get a car. Yeah.

S5: I mean, the two options here are get a car. Don’t get a car.

S4: Yeah. Like name is that had to take me to CVO. Didn’t have to but I asked him to take me to CBS the other day to pick up prescriptions. I had to go into a brick and mortar store that was going to be my bail. So I was just like man. I was like, I didn’t have a choice. Like they wouldn’t deliver their prescriptions, so they had to pick up after me.

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S7: Yeah. Biochar.

S5: OK, I agree. It’s gonna be OK.

S7: This week, biochar can try really hard.

S6: It’s gonna have a warranty or something like, you know, or something. I know. I know. It’s just like.

S5: And once you get used to the part of your car and it’ll be fine, you know, you can do it.

S7: You can do it. Isn’t it really like a real vibe of an age old dad or fighting episode where Alison’s fail was about how she just hated opening the mail? She hated opening the mail so much and so did her husband, John. And so they just let the mail pile up for like months on their table. And so, like, they learned that they like best their child’s graduation ceremony. And, you know, all this should happen to them. And the solution is so obvious, which was just open the mail. And I inspired her on the show by yelling at her to just open the mail for, I think, like even a month that made her life so much better before she fell back. But if I can inspire you, Djamila, to just buy the car, I’ll have really accomplished something this week. OK. I will buy the car within a fortnight. All right. When it goes bad, it’s not my fault.

S5: Just send us a picture of what you’re buying and we’ll tell you. Oh, yeah.

S4: Yeah, maybe. Dan, can you help me buy it on Zoome? Because the whole point was that I need.

S6: Because, listen, this is actually a great idea because that’s a good idea.

S4: I plan all along was to bring a guy with me, you know, like I went to one dealership to check some stuff, Max. I was thinking at that time I had a different make a model in mine. And I was like, okay, I’m going to test drive it, but I’m not going to buy it from there. Let me just. And so I turn into such a television stereotype of a woman at a car, it’s like the only thing I could come up with, just like pure aggression, like, you can’t play me. But like, I just sounded like a person who knew nothing. After months and months of researching, I just turned into a. So it’s got one, two, three, four wheels. This is nice. You know, like it was so bad. And so I was I can definitely bring a guy with me because I just like the idea of being taken advantage of by a used car dealer is just so deeply ingrained in my head from every 80s and 90s sitcom ever. That was just such a thing. Used car dealers, right? It’s just in my head like they are there to take advantage. You that’s the only thing we know how to do. They’re gonna mess you up somehow. You don’t have some help. So if I can zoom in, not just any man, but a white man.

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S7: I would be happy to. But the thing I will warn you is that I also in car by and experiences revert to the stereotype of a woman in the car.

S6: You did in the book. I forgot about that. You totally like that. Yes. You read a whole book. How about. Completely. OK. To me. I volunteer my husband.

S5: We bought our van used and he walked out of the dealership and the dealership had to pay to find his phone number to call him back to offer us a lower price because he walked out after, I think, doing some of the paperwork and then just deciding. Yeah. You know, I should get this lower. So I’m totally serious.

S7: I mean, he’s also like an aerospace engineer.

S6: Yeah. He’s he’s and he has you know, he just he believes that he is right a lot. So he he’s the guy for you. We’re gonna get you across. It’s great. How does it feel? Yes. I’m sorry. I’m so serious.

S5: Yes. We’ll report back.

S4: Yeah, I’ll pick out the car and just stimulate. And he can like it, he will be one. This to be so great, like he could just send the email and make the inquiry and like, talk to once they’ve agreed on a price. He’s like, OK, my business manager, Jimmy was gonna take care of all the details.

S6: And a business manager, Djamila know he’ll probably say I work for her, my boss. So I lost. Who’s gonna come pick it up? I like. I’m serious, though. Well, let’s talk off line car. I love this. I cannot wait it off. I’m gonna go try out. This will be the biggest try and it won’t be mine other than volunteering help.

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S4: I appreciate how you keep your family engaged. Like last week you had your little kotlin and then you were like, hey, that nice.

S6: This is great. I was offered Jeff, I guess like I said, I’m totally serious. Let’s do this.

S4: I’m with it. This is great. I can’t wait. I endorse this. Let’s move on to some business and then wrap up this whole podcast. Thanks. I’ll get my car. Slate’s parenting newsletter is the best place to be notified about all of our parenting content, including mom and dad are fighting and beating and much more. Sign up late. That crime backlash parenting email. Also, check us out on Facebook. Just search for slate parenting. It’s a really fun and very active, very supportive community, at least of me. Thank you. Plus, we moderated so it doesn’t get out of control. It’s a safe space. As long as you’re nice. And we also have a new weekly care and feeding live show with Nicole Cliff. It’s on Slate’s Facebook page every Tuesday, live at 11:00 Eastern Time. If you want to go watch past episodes, you can find them on Slate’s YouTube page.

S7: I’m not interrupted replaying to say that the show is hilarious and great. Nicole is a natural at the weird art of being on video and just talking non-stop and better not being entertaining. I watched this week’s episode was great. Check it out. We’ll also post that not only on the Slate Facebook page, but the site purging Facebook page.

S4: OK, so this week’s listener question, as always, is being read by the incomparable Shasha Leonhard.

S10: Dear Mom and Dad. Eight years ago, my mother passed away from cancer. Eight months ago. I gave birth to twin BP girls. My dad and stepmother were very excited to be grandparents. We had conversations about what they would like to be called, you know, grandma or Nana, Grandpa or Pop, etc.. When having this conversation with my dad, my stepmother chimed in and said she would like to be grandma. I am happy for my stepmother to play a big part in my daughter’s lives, to be a grandmother to them. But it got me thinking about how to explain to my girls that their grandma is not my mom. How do I explain to them about my mother without overloading them with the concept of death at a too young age? I don’t want to forget her. We raised her from history and I don’t want to pretend to them that my stepmother is my mother. I know it’s a long way off, but how do I have this conversation with them and when? What’s in a name?

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S7: Damn, what do you think? I think you are worrying way too much about this. It is going to be OK. And here’s why. From day one, you will call your stepmother, grandma. When you talk about her to your daughters, as soon as they can talk, they will call their. Grandmother, which is what she truly is, grandma. And at some point well down the line. They will just basically have absorbed that this is the relationship between all of these people and it will be completely natural. And then also at some point down the line, maybe you will hear three, maybe one. Therefore, you will mention for what seems to at the moment like the first time. Oh, you know, I you know, your grandmother is my father’s wife. Unfortunately, my mother died before you were born. But she loves you so much. And she’s a part of our family, just the same as everyone else. And you will discover that, in fact, that information has always been encoded into the structure of your family. I think that you’re putting a lot of focus on there’s going to be a moment of revelation in which your daughters received this information with the same kind of shock and sadness with which you are still processing it. Understandably so. But to them, it is just gonna be another piece of information about the way that your family works and has always worked and the relationships they have with people who are here and who aren’t here and that they’ve always had with people who are here and who are here. People have this conversation about death with their kids all the time. I think it’s always very, very fraught and and worrisome for parents. But I think the first version of this conversation with the kids is almost always much smoother and much easier than parents are worried it’s going to be. You can be this information. You don’t have to go into great specifics about it, but you simply tell them what the situation is and they’re going to be so young that it’s not going to be scarring or upsetting. It is instead going to just be another piece of information about the world that they take in and process. Do you guys think that I am underestimating how difficult these twins might eventually find this conversation to be?

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S5: I don’t disagree that the conversation is not difficult because like you, I think it comes up naturally, like even when everyone’s alive and you have, you know, two sets of married grandparents. What happens is that kids ask, like, well, who is grandpa again? Or who is open? And you’re like, oh, well, Opah is your dad’s dad. And I think that in that conversation, it’s very easy to say, you know, grandma is married to my father. My mother has passed away. We made our children what we called their baby face books. And we just printed photo books with pictures of all the people that we felt like we would want them to see their faces. And I think that something like this is a great opportunity to include a photo of your mother and to be able to say this is grandma or whatever. You decide to call your mom and also include a picture of your father and his new wife and be able to say this is whatever you’re calling them. I do, however, think that thinking about what to call your step mom can be very upsetting to you. And I think it is okay to feel like I don’t want her to be called grandma. And I can’t tell from the letter if if that is the situation or you’re OK calling her grandma, but you’re more upset about, like, how to place your mom. But I think that it sounds like you have a whole bunch of people who love you and love your children. And if the situation is one in which you are uncomfortable with her being grandma.

S3: What I would do is ask the step mom’s advice and I would go to her and I would say, I want to find a way to honor my mom with the kids. And I would like you to help me do that, because I think that brings her in on the conversation. She wants that, too. She is not attempting to take the place of your mom. And I think bringing her into come up with a solution that could be that, you know, they’re both grandma and you’re doing the Facebook thing and you’re talking about them. It could be that you make them grandma first names. So there’s grandma, who’s your mom, and then, you know, Grandma Pat or whatever. She may have another solution to that. If it is a issue that you don’t feel comfortable with it. That is an okay way to feel. And that if you have a conversation about it in a way that is like I want to solve this so that my kids feel loved and I feel loved and we’re honoring her memory.

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S5: I also think you should keep in mind that there is a chance that your children will choose to call these people something that you never thought to call them. We have definitely had that happen. One of my children called my dad grumpy for the longest time. He is not a grumpy man, but that is what they decided to call him. And, you know, my youngest also called both parents grandma for a long time. Like, no matter who you were, you were grandma. Sometimes you don’t get to make those choices. But there are ways to incorporate your mom. And I think, Dan, like you said, that talking about her will be so natural. There are photos of her. There are things of her. But I also think it’s OK to say, like, this name is reserved and it hurts me to have this other person called Grandma and and to figure out a solution to that. I don’t know. Jamila, what do you think?

S4: I think that that’s great advice from both of you. And I love the idea of every. And the stepmother, you know, taking her console. What’s the best way to proceed? I think it is allowing her to do the work of her grandmother in that moment. And that’s the word that you’re able to connect with her as she does grandmotherly deeds, because she is going to be the person who’s performing the role of grandmother in the earthly sense. It’ll be through your stories of your mother, through those photo projects that she lives in the minds of your children as your mother. So they won’t experience her as a grandmother, unfortunately, but they will come to know of her as someone who cared for you. And they will come to understand, hopefully, who she was through her influence on you. The story she told the perfume that she wore, the places that you all went together.

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S8: Right. That is going to establish her identity and their connection to her, the things they have in common with her.

S4: You know, like maybe you they have the same eyes or they like wearing, you know, similar type of lipstick or any number of things that can connect them to this person. And it’s OK. It’s actually it’s really great that your father has so and to care for and that, you know, your children have someone to play the grandmotherly role. You know, as somebody who lost some of my grandparents pretty early in life. And I see my daughter, who’s seven, interacting with my mother and her father’s mother and her step grandmother on her from her step mother. You know, I just hope that she gets to have that experience as long as possible because so many kids don’t have grandparents at all or completely disconnected from them. So I’m I’m sorry that your mother’s not there physically to be a part of this process in this way. But it sounds like you’ve got a really beautiful situation with somebody who’s able to be a surrogate in many ways. And as long as you’re open with her about any discomfort or, you know, awkwardness that you’re feeling, I think you can take it on together. Thank you so much, letter writer. We appreciate you. And, you know, we’re always happy to have an update. So stay in touch and let us know how this works out. Other listeners, if you want to have us, consider one of your questions on air. Please help us help you by sending your conundrums to mom and dad. It’s late. Well, right now it’s time for our All Ages segment. Everyone is fighting now. So there has been one minor thing that pretty much anyone can bond over during the pandemic is the lack of access to the things we usually do to keep ourselves up esthetically. People are letting their road show professionally done. Nails have either come off or guided shipped. I have gel polish left on two toes because I ran out of nail polish remover while I was trying to take it off and I can’t get it shipped to my house, so I just have to let it come off on its own. It’s terrible. Perhaps most commonly people are talking about how long their hair has gotten. Some of us are just toughing it out, while others have decided to shop it themselves. Elizabeth, you almost had a self haircut situation in your household last week. Tell us about it.

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S5: Yes, my three year old got a hold of the haircutting stuff that was left out on the counter. And luckily, one of the other children alerted me. So I came in and he was holding all of any haircut stuff and I lost my mind on him. It does turn out that Jeff had cut his hair. So the hair that I had found on the ground leading to believing that it was sad. But I mean, the situation could have been so much worse.

S4: That definitely could have gone down much, much worse. So while most of his parents would be pretty nervous about letting our kids cut their hair, let alone anyone else’s. Today we are joined by Miss J. Graham Henries, who is nine years old and is the world’s youngest female barber, apparently, as well as her mother, Jamie Graham. Welcome to the show, A.J..

S11: Jamie, hi. Hi. Thank you for joining us. Thank you so much for having us.

S4: Can you tell us about how you got interested in is it called Barberi or barbering? Barbara Barberi? Yeah. OK. Tell us how you got started.

S12: I want to be a barber to my man because that makes sense. My brother was a barber orientation. He didn’t want to do it. My mom showed me some pictures on IJI Instagram. And I asked if I can do. And she said, yeah, that’s awesome.

S4: So what did you have to gather to get started? Did you get like a book? Did you learn on YouTube? Like, how did you learn how to cut hair and stretch.

S12: And can you and your cat.

S4: Oh so you went to the Barber Academy instead of your brother instead. Wow. And I take it. Were you the youngest person in the class? Yes. How often did you have to go to class?

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S12: About every Saturday.

S4: Every Saturday. That’s a very impressive commitment. I don’t even want to share you. I want to just talk to you all day long. I’m going to allow. So I also asked questions about your Barberi work any day.

S5: I have three little boys plus my husband, who all need their haircuts and I’m not very good at that. Do you have any advice for me? So my husband’s in the Air Force that we do buzzcut and my boys just have wild hair now. So how can I get started when I can’t take them right now to the haircut place? What can I do here at home?

S12: You could watch the video.

S5: I should go to YouTube. Is that my best bet? Yes.

S12: Or maybe just like schedule an appointment with the instructor that can help you with the Skype. Or just trying to do it yourself the best you can.

S5: OK. So when I’m trying to do it and I use the guards on the Clippers. Right. If I wanted to kind of like a fade, I feel like that is what they all usually get. So am I going to use like a a shorter one on the back to guard a two guard on the back? And then am I. What am I using on the top?

S12: Well, you normally don’t really want to do the top. Oh, get messed up more.

S5: That would explain a lot of the problem I’m having. OK. So a two on the back kind of leave the top and around the ears. Do you have any tips? I’m so worried about cutting their ears. And you know, you never want your barber to be nervous. So hold back the. OK, so fall back that year and run that to kind of around it. Also, you want.

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S12: Oh, OK. So basically in the back. So the first one you used as well to me, he’s a one and then a two for the middle and then three. And then for the bottom. E’s easy zero. And then just like. Oh OK. Always keep coming and keep the comb in my hand.

S5: OK. To keep the hair kind of down. Is that the world.

S12: You just get like that extra parts that you like didn’t get or it won’t.

S3: This is very helpful because I feel like I thought I was supposed to just run one kind of all the way around and achieve that like fate. But you’re saying I should use the different guards and get a nice a nice faded look on the back?

S12: Yeah, just sculpt layers like one like at a time. One, two, three, one in the first, the two in the metal industry for the last part and the last part you just for uses zero and you just flip it around and get a nice little line there.

S5: A nice like tidy. Yeah.

S7: So NUJ. Hi my name is Dan and I have a question for you. I know that before the coronavirus you were cutting the hair of a lot of adults in your community because you do free haircuts in your community in Philadelphia. I’m really curious if now that you are stuck in your home, if you have been cutting the hair of any people in your home, either your mom, Jamie, is she cutting your hair or or anyone else in your house? No. It sounds like you’re not happy about that.

S13: Well, you know what? I like to live with everything that’s going on. I might just give her an opportunity to shave all of my my hair. I’m just go to start from scratch. But these I did have an opportunity to cut her grandfather’s hair this past Sunday. So that was quite interesting. And we’re hoping that within the next couple of days that my son and his brother will allow her to cut his hair. He’s 18. So you know how a two year old can be NESA.

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S9: Do you ever feel nervous when you’re cutting adult’s hair? I think a lot of people who are listening, who are kids, who want to cut it all tear might be sort of nervous about, well, what do I do with this big person’s head that’s in front of me? Now, how do you get over that nervousness?

S14: I never get near perfect.

S9: Why is it because you just you know what to do? Yeah, I love it. I think that worry that some kids have is that they don’t know what to do and they’re worried they’ll make a mistake. Have you ever made a mistake while you have been cutting someone’s hair?

S14: To be honest, yes. So what do you do when you make a mistake? Mr Booth. Configure instructor. Yeah.

S9: I think one thing that I sometimes do if I make a mistake, and I think it’s not that big of a mistake, is I’ll just maybe tell the person, oh, you can hardly see it. Have you ever done that?

S15: No, I mean. You’re too mad. Big deal. She’s the haircut.

S7: Yes, that is exactly what I think.

S4: That’s a great idea to have. I think more of us should have that attitude.

S7: I mean, especially now, right? It’s it’s just hair.

S11: It’ll grow back, right? Yes. What do you like about being a barber? Doing like to shape up the fake NESA?

S7: Can I ask you a question? And what you’ve practiced. Have you only practiced cutting men’s hair?

S14: No, I have. I see them before. How did that go and how is it different?

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S15: Well, it wasn’t really it was the same thing because she had the same wide textured hair texture, but as she say, had the same species of men. Men’s hair. So I did a Mohawk for the first time.

S9: Oh, that’s so cool. What did you learn about doing a Mohawk? Because I think that’s gonna be a very popular hairstyle for kids to do right now.

S15: Well, I just have to say, the size of this, like. While you’re in the middle will be.

S7: Did she seem happy with her Mohawk when it was over?

S15: Yes. But I’m expecting it to be like Curly. But it wasn’t. Her hair was curly. So, yes.

S5: Jamie, I have a question for you. You seem like such an amazing mom. Like encouraging her to pursue something she was super interested in or even just express a little bit of interest. Do you have advice for other parents who, like their kids, take an interest in haircutting, like how to get them started and that?

S13: Absolutely. I think it’s so important to kind of really study your children and see what they’re drawn to and to also if you can expose them to different things. Just to kind of see where their mind goes and then kind of nurture that. Because if you don’t, you’re going to wound up pretty much having to struggle with your child. And that’s not something you want to do. Like, I’ve learned a lot in this process with my son. Normally, I would have said, listen, now you’re going to do this. But for some reason, I just said no. OK. You don’t want to do it. That’s fine. And I was looking at pictures from the barber orientation on Instagram and Mesia. I showed her the pictures because she was drawn to the pictures because her brother was in them. You know, that opened up dialogue. And, you know, actually, when I signed her up, I didn’t even tell the instructor how old news was because I didn’t want to kind of put that barrier there. So we just showed up. But, you know, I love that so much. Yeah. Study your children. See what they’re not going to like everything. But at least if you can kind of expose them to different things, I’m sure there’s something that they’ll like.

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S5: I think it’s so wonderful to be able to nurture that and that you were open to her like interests, because I think, you know, a lot of times we think like, oh, you’re too little or you don’t understand or are there. So I just love that you signed up and you opened those doors for her.

S13: Right. Because my thing is this, OK? She was seven at the time. Of course, she’s not going to take it all in. I mean, we just can’t expect that, you know, most trained barbers is there still, you know, in the process of learning. But just having her in certain environments has really benefited her because all of the information that she’s taking in goes into her subconscious. So, you know, at some point she’ll be able to pull on that information. Even if she’s not able to apply it now, she’ll be able to apply later on in her, you know, development. And not only that, this particular industry has helped are in her personal life as well, because with barbering, you have to focus. You know, you have to start what you finish. You can’t start a haircut, not complete it.

S7: I have one last question for you. OK, let’s say that my daughter, who is only a little bit older than you. What’s to cut my hair? I also have a buzzcut. Can you just sort of tell me step by step, how should she start? Where should I sit? Should what should I have on my shoulders? How would you do that if you were cutting and burn up, sir, in your house?

S15: Well, it depends what kind of hair it is. First, the law. What would you going to be giving me?

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S9: Luckily, she’d be giving me basically a buzzcut in my kitchen. What tools would she need? And what wouldn’t be the first thing that she would do?

S15: OK, first off, you need like couple supplies to first apply to these things. Of course. You also need your cake. It say it’s colored also. Next, next. So the next trip is basically for your deck. So, like, you will get like hair split.

S9: What could you use for that if you don’t have, like, a real barber’s next trip, like a piece of paper, a paper towel.

S15: If you didn’t have the cake, you would like use a blanket maybe, or something like that.

S14: That’s good. Maybe a towel.

S7: OK. So she puts those on me and you offer me the pope and then you just you have the common one hand.

S15: Yeah. Whatever shade you write, would you put the Clippers in that hand and you put the covers other hand. So basically right handed it. I use my right hand and I put the Clippers. Are they right hand and I use the cold for my left hand and you go opposite of your left hand and you want the hand to be created, the Clippers and you need like a spray.

S7: What is the Queen and the Clippers main Clippers side?

S15: Yes. Is the cold drops. You need this light blue take. You put the Kobe. That is, you have another call day, you pick that out. Just wipe it a little bit, undercount that one.

S7: What if you don’t have that in your house? Could you do that with water?

S14: Yes. OK, good. That’s soapy water. And so.

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S4: You are a treasure. Thank you so much today for coming on this show. Thank you. Like, wow, I just. I’m inspired. Also a treasure. Also a treasure. And do my co-host. But my kid is getting a job to night when she comes.

S13: Thank you guys so much.

S4: Well, the show isn’t over yet. It’s time for recommendations. Dan, what do you have this week?

S7: This week, I am recommending a Slate piece, a Slate cover story, which ran this week. On Tuesday, it was collected by Laura Bennett, who I don’t mean technically, she’s my boss, but that’s OK. I’m not just brownnosing. It’s a really great story, which I think that any parent of a college student or someone who is soon to be in college should read. It’s called Zoome Pranks on Professors, Wild PowerPoint Parties and a billion meems. We ask students all around the country how they’re recreating campus life from afar, and it’s just a collection of stories from students at a bunch of different colleges around the country, one at Spelman, one it. And why you wanted Arizona State, one Michigan State, just about what college life has been like in this crazy, misbegotten spring semester of 2020 and how they have managed to sort of create for themselves the fun and love and mischief of the college experience, even though it’s a shit show, even though they have to do their classes on Zoome, even though they can’t be in their dorms because kids are amazing and because kids find a way, they have still managed to create a memorable and great college experience for themselves. And I just found this article so heartening and it found the voices of these kids so engaging and fun. I just loved seeing the crazy shit that they’re coming up with and just made me feel so much better about how people can really make this time, which seems so hard. Still seem great. And a lot of ways that I love this piece. So we’ll put a link on the show page. Great. And Dan, what about you, Elizabeth?

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S3: I’m recommending an activity and sort of service project that you can do as a family, and this is sending cards to senior centers. We did do our research and the CDC, World Health Organization and the surgeon general have all indicated that there is currently no evidence that the covered 19 is being spread through the mail. So you can send in your cards and not worry about making anyone unhealthy so that they can just receive the lab without any of the germs. We started by just using our neighborhood group to find out who had people that maybe needed cards and making art as family. And then Jeff and I and also our eight year old writing little letters and sending them. For the past few weeks, we’ve been doing this now through a charity called Love for the Elderly. And you can make a bunch of cards and then they are sending the packets to nursing homes that are affected or have people in lockdown. We’ve heard back from a couple of the people there, which is super fun, sending us letters and just hearing from the staff, too, that they’re hanging them up. And it’s just a fun way. We’ve been doing it on Sunday just together as a family. Like I said, painting the cards using arts and crafts like even the three year old draws on the front of the cards and then we take the time during the week to write the letters. But it’s a really nice way, especially if you’re a family that got out and was doing service and now you feel like there’s not a lot of opportunities for that. This has been a fun little way for us to try to brighten someone else’s day.

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S4: And it’s a great idea. It’s super beautiful, isn’t it? I love that. And I think a lot of us have been trying to think of ways to be helpful and supportive of other people while not being able to get out and do that sort of set face to face. I love that. All right. Well, I’m recommending. I don’t want to die poor. It’s a new book of essays from The New York Times best selling author Michael Arceneaux, who is a brilliant writer. He’s a very, very funny guy. Michael’s first book, I Don’t Want to Date Jesus, is actually slated to become a television show that Michael is developing with Lee Daniels and Jerry Carmichael. So happy and proud of his success. My Herrod University, my son, brother and friend. So please check that out. And I want to die for awesome, awesome book. I just started. But I believe that it’ll be awesome all the way through, just like dance. But then I promise I was going to have a Facebook conversation about those, like I just enjoyed it. I don’t really know how to lead a book discussion. Absolutely terrible. But I did enjoy it. So I’m also forgiven as you’ve plugged it thoroughly. OK. Thank you, Adam. I just want to make sure Lara has some nice things when she comes to stay with me. She’s got, you know, nice sneakers and a backpack. So plenty of dog plenty. That’s right. It’s going to bring so many dogs. This is very St.Louis. Oh, my gosh. She’s making my daughter.

S6: I’ve got to finish him on the plane. That’s what we learn. You’re right.

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S4: And they don’t get a negative go to giving food on the plane. It doesn’t have to eat like. Like, I was just hungry. Says five hour flight. They didn’t feed us. So what do you guys do? Maybe I’ll pick her up at the airport on your new car and I’ll take her in my new car that Elizabeth has been. All right. Thank you so much for listening to Mom and dad are fighting. God willing. And the creek don’t rise. You will be here next week. And as a reminder, if you have a question for us, shoot us an email. Mom and dad, it’s late that come and join us on Facebook.

S2: By searching for slate parenting and asking our permission. Mom and Dad are fighting is produced by Rosemarie Gosden Burleigh’s with new camp and then Bob and Jimmy Little New Lows Slate plus listeners.

S4: Thank you so much for supporting Mom and Dad are fighting. It really, really means so much to us, especially right now. Today, we’re excited to be joined by Marcia Chatillon. She’s one of the co-hosts of The Waves and an associate professor of history and African-American studies at Georgetown University. Welcome, Marcia. Hi.

S16: Good to see you again, Jamila. Good to see you again, too.

S4: How are you making it?

S16: Oh, it is good. I mean, I think it’s so hard to talk about recent events without first doing the caveats. I’m healthy. My family’s doing well. I have everything I need. But this has been quite a life moment. I joked that in the indie film about me being middle aged. This will be the part of the movie that is most gripping. That’s where I’m at to crisis.

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S4: This is that when I go to crisis, to say the least.

S8: So in the last show, before the Waves hiatus, you write up a really fascinating New York Times article by reporter David Dadge about coronaviruses impact on systems like adaption, foster care and surrogacy. So we’ve had the mom and dad are writing. Listeners would be interested in this, too. Could you tell us a little bit more about what’s going on in regards to those things right now?

S16: Well, one of the complications that has arisen for waiting parents are people who want to become parents. Is that with massive shut downs and the changes not only in the health care system, but in social services systems for people who were embarking on the journey to parenthood? Things have really been disrupted. And so I know that in my immediate circle, I have friends who were about to start fertility treatments that have been put on pause. Folks who needed minor surgery in order to boost their fertility has also been on pause because elective surgeries have been canceled and a lot of places for me and for my husband. We are waiting parents for an international adoption. And so the restrictions on travel, the restrictions that have emerged with an even slower immigration system, as well as some of the requirements needed to be certified as potential adoptive parents. All of those systems have kind of grinding to a halt. And so I was really actually pleased that The New York Times spent a little time focusing on this, because I think a lot of the coverage, rightfully so, is about how parents are managing the lack of childcare and being at home with kids. But there’s a segment of us who are in a real limbo as a result of this process.

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S7: Seems like it’s not just parents who are in limbo, but it’s these kids who are presumably waiting for adoption opportunities. And do you have any sense about what we know about how life is going for kids in foreign countries who are maybe in the first stages of this process of finding eventual adoptive parents, but who now are also trapped in this limbo?

S16: So one of the complications of what’s happening right now is in March, the State Department had issued some guidelines about if you are currently in country and you are in the process of certifying your adoption in that country. There were some mechanisms to try to fast track your process so you can get home. But there have been some cases of people who are adopting in China who arrived as different provinces were shutting down. And so I think a lot of the anxiety that emerges from that scenario is you’ve gotten so close to a very long process and now you cannot care for your adoptive children and making sure that they are in institutions that have the resources to keep everyone safe and fed and cared for during a lockdown adds another level of stress. And so anecdotally, there have been stories of people who are in country and are trying to get out and their travel process is disrupted. And also in some parts of the process. You have to appear in court in that country in order to complete the final step of your adoption. And if those courts are closed down, you’re again in this limbo as you’re trying to complete your adoption process.

S5: I know that’s not a problem in my foster care system as well. And we have friends here who foster and they were waiting for a child and now with the courts closed. And they’re very concerned about those kids like where they are and if the situation they are in is getting worse. And do you have any sense about the foster care system and how it’s, you know, adapting to this?

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S16: So I know that in terms of if you are in the process of being approved to be a foster parent or adoptive parents, you have to go through something called a home study. They come to your house, they interview the family members. It requires a lot of background checks and a lot of document collection. They’ve eased some of the rules about notarizing. I’d like an expert on every notary within 10 blocks of my home. I can tell all of them are because so many of these documents need to be notarized. And then if you’re using them overseas, there’s an additional process. And so we’ve been getting notices that some of the renewal paperwork that we usually have to do every year as we’ve been waiting, they’ve relaxed some of those rules because some of these items you have to get in person or you have to get a notarized letter to get them. And so social workers have been really helpful in helping people adapt. But the reality is that the actual placement process of having a child in a home is the process that’s been most disrupted by this. And I think it helps illuminate not only the bureaucratic systems involved in these various different ways to create a family, but I think that as a result of the economic challenges that people are going to face, the number of children who are in a vulnerable position, who could use the support of foster care or the families that have to consider decisions about the size of their family.

S4: I have a feeling that over the next few years we’re going to see more need if there is a family that was considering taking on an adoption journey. Do you think there’s a timetable at all? That’s reasonable, I should say. I know we don’t know when this is going to be over, but just in your opinion, what do you think would be a reasonable goal here, saying, OK, we can start this process officially in six months or we can, you know, spend this time period doing research, but we shouldn’t be putting any paperwork or year. What would you be?

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S16: So for any family that’s discerning whether adoption is how they want to expand their family, if it’s something that’s been in the back of your mind. This might be a really wonderful time to learn about the process. We have been waiting. What is it, 2020? So almost four years. This upcoming fall. And I think that unfortunately, so much of our public knowledge about adoption comes from really bad movies. And they’re always about either catastrophic experiences or experiences where adoptive parents are saviors. And I think, like probably most parents, having children is complicated and gratifying in some moments and infuriating and others, I’m assuming, based on feedback my mom has given me picking up. And so I think that if this is something that a family is considering, this is really the time to get good information. Try not to spend too much time on blogs by people you don’t know information. I know adoption agencies learn the various laws about different ways of family making, because I think that for some people, this is not the first option that they want to exercise. And so when they’re in the process, their anxiety and their exhaustion kind of takes over. And sometimes it’s hard to get clarity. But this might be a really good time to just learn what it’s about. And I think that there’s so much popular culture misrepresentation that spending time actually meaning adoptive families and and learning from them is sometimes the best thing that you can do with this time while things are on pause. And if you are at the start of your journey and it got interrupted, I highly recommend that you learn all the notaries in your neighborhood. Find your birth certificate. Find your marriage certificate. Try to remember all of the addresses you ever lived in. You know, I say this not to not to boast, but to really show, like, how intensive the program is. I have a page. I kid you not. It took me five months to do the document collection. It is like not for the faint of heart. It’s just hard to do. And so those are those like bureaucratic bogans that make you feel so overwhelmed like cat. Kid, when I can barely, like, notarize a document properly. But I think those are the things that are the unexciting part of it. But also is a lot of this process. And so this is the time to kind of learn how to do those things.

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S7: I’ve heard it just tried by someone. It’s like getting a security clearance. Exactly. But you’re doing it for a job. You’re doing that to raise a child. Which honestly probably is not a terrible thing.

S16: And the other thing I think is also really interesting about this process is that, again, this is such a wonderful time for people who are considering adoption or who’ve had their adoptions put on hold to think about those little things that were not as important before. So like my husband, I have different conversations now than we did before because it was about the paperwork and the timelines. And what do you think about this? What’s going to happen? And now I think we can just kind of talk about some of the things about parenting that are not on our adoption checklist, but are just really about our excitement about kids and our feelings about it. And so I think that this is such an awful time. But I think to reduce the stress, the anxiety of the waiting, you have to kind of see it as giving you an opportunity to reflect on parenting outside of the context of the requirements to become a parent.

S4: That’s great advice. Rashid, thank you so much for joining us. This was such an informative moment. And best of luck to you and to your husband, your family, and I hope. Thank you. Everything works out as soon as possible. And you have a beautiful story to share with us the next time we see you.

S16: I hope so, too. Thank you so much. This show is so helpful. We like, love listening to the topics now. And also, I just think it’s amazing for people to just be open about like what people are such liars because of like Instagram and Facebook. And everyone’s a perfect parent. And I just appreciate that, as you’ve shown us by everyone. Thank you.

S4: Thanks again, Slate plus listeners. And we will talk to you again next week.