I haven’t written a blog entry for a while. Just before my last post, I discovered that my journey with my partner to become parents again had officially begun. To have children, we need a significant amount of medical support. I had just taken the blood tests (two blood tests and several regular impatient pregnancy tests along the way) and gotten the news that my daughter had rooted herself.
It was a time of change. I was still on parental leave, just about to return from sabbatical to direct my teacher education program for single subject/secondary teachers, more actively establishing two businesses, parenting a toddler. When I did come back to full time work, I did so knowing that I would not complete the semester. From my first classes back, I was preparing my students and my program for the day that I would leave again.
I never knew that we all would be saying goodbye to physical proximity far earlier. None of us did.
The pandemic began and we all began to consume the news. My partner’s family lives in Italy and so as an epicenter arose there and Lombardia was shut down and then all of Italy, we were filled with concern and worry. By the time that the pandemic began to arise here in the States, we knew that we would also be quarantined for a while and that so many lives would be lost. Being pregnant in a pandemic added additional layers of complexity and an exponential rise in concerns.
I’ve returned to my blogging as part of a rededication to a daily writing practice, whatever the length, topic, or genre.
In this first return blog, rather than talk about that journey of pregnant in a pandemic (those posts are coming), I want to focus on the moments of parenting joy. These many days later there have been so many. My son has offered so much of it.
Ever since he was a crawling baby, we have been surrounding him with music. When the local community and arts center, La Peña had workshops, we took a workshop series, twice, on plena, learning how to play our panderos as a family. When my in-loves came to visit from Italy, we even took them to a class and played as an extended family at home. Our home has a clarinet, various keyboards, a cello, several trumpets, panderos and various other percussion instruments, and now the full piano I bought myself when I achieved full professor (the third Black person and first Afro-Latinx to do so at my university). In thinking back, R has been shaking a maraca since he was something like 4 weeks old, and I have the pictures to prove it.
So, when he started rocking out to punk music, I wasn’t surprised.
It started with signing up for Rockin Kids Sing-a-long on the recommendation of a dear friend. After the first class, for a week, R would grab any percussion instrument or anything he could make into a drum like the two bamboo sticks and the patio furniture that was his instrument for his first son, “‘Cotto” or Helicopter in English. Everywhere there was music … and a lot of guttural screaming. It reminded me of punk. A little noise, a touch of anarchy, a lot of critique, and always a push towards freedom. As my ears would ache a bit, I would chastise myself any time I thought of dulling his shine, don’t you want him to be free? Don’t we all want to raise free children?
In response to that first week, our family music tastes have changed: punk, ska, rock, funk, jazz. We signed up for SF Jazz Fridays at 5 concert series and, as a family, watch a concert together each Friday. We watch Rockin Kids together and rock out, as parents sometimes more vigorously than R. He’s at the age when he has a lot of tantrums; he’s got a lot of big emotions, I say. He’s just developing the language to express those emotions, especially as someone who is immersed in Italian, English, and Spanish with some ASL as well all day. There’s a lot to take in, but rather than call this exponential period of change the “Terrible Twos”, I call it the “Punk Rock Twos”. Reframing how I see and engage with his behavior changes everything! My son is not terrible. He’s so sweet, giving kisses to everyone before he goes to sleep and, unprompted beginning to clean the house to help his grandmother, or pulling a blanket over his tired father. I like to think of him as a punk rock 2, deeply caring for the world and others with his mind, body, spirit, yell against … whatever urgent issues a two-year-old is against. And I’m a punk mama, emerging.
- Bad Brains
- Bikini Kill
- Tower of Power
- Kashmere Stage Band
- The Dead Milkmen, Punk rock girl
- Ramones, Sheena is a punk rocker
- Meet Me @ The Altar, Morris farm drive
- Bloodywood, Machi Bhasad
- Big Joanie, Dream No. 9
- Big Joanie, No Scrubs
- FIDLAR, Why Generation
- Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, I believe I can fly
- Big Joanie, Fall asleep
- Paramore, That’s what you get
- Motion City Soundtrack, Everything is alright
- Face to face, Blind
- Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, Over the rainbow
- The Hives, Tick tick boom
- Big Joanie, Cut your hair
- Joan Jett, Bad reputation
- Nirvana, Sliver
- TCIYF, Beds are burning
- Rancid, Time bomb
- Sleater Kinney, No cities to love
- Weezer, Undone – The sweater song
- Save Ferris, Come on Eilee
- Dan Vapid, Robot with a human heart
- The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, The impression that I get
- Ramones, Blitzkrieg bop
- TCIYF, Band practice
- The Thunderlords, I like Dirt
- Against Me!, I was a teenage anarchist
- Teenage Bottlerocket, They call me steve
- The B-52s, Rock lobster
- Ramones, I wanna be sedated
- The Sonics, Strychnine
- Kepi Ghoulie, Bye Bye Brains
- The Aquabats!, Super Rad!
- Siouxsie and the Banshees, Spellbound
- Ramones, Rock ‘n’ roll high school
- Talking heads, Psycho killer
- Ted Leo, The Pharmacists, Me and Mia
- The Offspring, Nitro (Youth Energy)
- The Clash, Should I stay or should I go
- The Pogues, The Dubliners, The Irish Rover
- MxPx, Punk Rawk Show
- Less than Jake, All my best friends are metalheads
- Fugazi, Waiting Room
- Green Day, When I come around
- Peelander-Z, Taco taco tacos
- The Distillers, Beat your heart out