I was talking to a friend of mine over the weekend. She works for a MAJOR health care company – one of the biggest in the world. One of her co-workers is about to go to Ethiopia to pick up the TWO, two-year-olds she has adopted. When she comes back to the States her company will be giving her TWO WEEKS off from work. That is right – technically 10 working days. The Family Medical Leave Act requires employers of companies with greater than 50 employees to guarantee an employee’s job for a minimum of 12 weeks if she gives birth. (Don’t have to pay her, just can’t fire her.) But Adoption does NOT fall under FMLA – disgusting. Another of her coworkers is in a same-sex marriage. Her partner is about to have a baby. She will be adopting the baby (because, you know, same-sex marriage isn’t REALLY marriage in this country.) Therefore she will also ONLY get TWO WEEKS off of work. And I am pretty sure I remember correctly – this company offers 12-weeks paternity leave. Equality? Not.
The Mouths of Babes… Say You’re One of Them, A Review
Say You’re One of Them by Uwem Akpan is apparently part of the Oprah Book Club. I think I first heard about it from reading blogs of APs. Recently I wrote about how a book can effect my mood (in this post). And if you have read this book, you can imagine what kind of mood I have been in.
Beautifully written, this book is a collection of five short-stories all set in different African countries, all told through the eyes of the children, each more horrific than the previous. Okay, I admit I read them out of order to try to ease the pain and I didn’t even finish “Fattening for Gabon” because I simply couldn’t.
I don’t understand literature that is this dark. I do not know where to go with the hopelessness and confusion it evokes in me.
Last fall, I posted here about a strange conversation I had with a Haitian adoptee. He told me he didn’t like African people and I wondered what the family had been watching on TV. Well, I think I figured it out. They have been reading, Say You’re One of Them.
My kids LOVE to wash their hands. Little Dude WANTS to use the potty standing up. Our family was in desperate need of a good, step stool. I tried to buy one online, but my crazy shopping issues set in (ah, perfectionism you are genetic). I just could NOT choose the perfect one, for the perfect price, from the perfect place. Then I thought, maybe my Dad would build them one.
My father is a work-a-holic. My father is a perfectionist. My father is retired. My father seems bored. So a couple of weeks ago I assigned him a project: Build the kids a step stool that will allow them to wash their hands.
While my mother worked the computer, I sent them links to the ones I liked on-line – all good, but none PERFECT. My father looked at the pages as my mother clicked on the links. He proclaimed that nothing he made me would look like “those” with disdain in his voice for both 1kea and all things particle board.
Yesterday the step stool arrived. It is beautiful. The kids are thrilled, so am I. Thanks, Dad. I made a video of the kids opening the box the step stool came in,
me convincing them that the popping paper wasn’t actually the gift and them climbing it for the first time. The video only includes one kid falling off, two fights negotiation sessions and four times of me begging, demanding, cajoling, reminding them to “make better choices.” Someday I will figure out how to post a video on this blog, for now a few horribly lit pics.