Why Aren’t People Talking to Me?

A couple years after we moved to a pretty White Boston suburb, my bi-racial 5th grade daughter shouted to a Chinese boy while biking, “Well, you know I don’t have any White friends!!”Frankly, she had almost no friends since moving to town.  I attributed this to her extreme shyness, introversion, striking prettiness (shy+quiet+pretty=girls think you’re stuck-up), and moving after most girls already made their friends.But she clearly thought it was her race.  She saw herself as the only Chi … [Read more...]

Who Works the Hardest Around Here?

“Oh RIGHT,” said a kid when asked to finish cleaning up the kitchen.  With a scorn only raging adolescent hormones can generate, “Why does the hardest working member of the family always get asked to do the most work?” I thought, “Wow!  My child has finally recognized what I do around here!”Then I realized my child was NOT referring to me.Now, our kids work, often quite diligently, especially in school.  They’re incredibly helpful when babysitting or volunteering or even camping with you … [Read more...]

Midterms and Catastrophic Thinking

A couple days ago, I read a great blog by Adele Calhoun, An Invitation from God:  Healing from Catastrophic Thinking.  It came at the perfect time, because it’s high school midterm week and my daughter's living my recurring nightmare.  The one where I forgot to attend math class all term and have to take the final.  Or the history nightmare where, I also forgot to read all the books.In the seconds I’m capable of reason, I know her situation isn't close to my nightmare.  She's most probably no … [Read more...]

Am I my Greatest Love of All?

Last night, along with the parents of 400 other students, we attended the middle school Choral Concert--not because we have a child who sings in a chorus, but because my 6th grade son was picked to accompany the chorales on some sort of percussive gourd thing.For one song.The second to last song no less.Earlier in the day, my 8th grade daughter told me she wanted to go because she had listened to her friends practice.  She had been surprised by how many songs were explicitly … [Read more...]

Reflections on Tiger Moms, a year later

Years ago, my Indian-American friend, the mother of a toddler, said she wanted her daughter to grow up knowing herself, her own desires and experiencing a secure identity rather than the foreboding that the only way she could ever succeed in life was to be a doctor.“Yeah. . .” I said, trying to sound healthy and wise.  Pause.  “But I also want my kids to be smart.”She laughed because she knew.She knew academic achievement was the #1 god in my family growing up.  OK, maybe Chinese ethn … [Read more...]

New Year’s Transformations instead of Resolutions

With trepidation I stepped on the scale this morning and sure enough, learned that I’ve gained 4 pounds in the past five days.  That’s what I get for feasting with 33 of my relatives over Christmas as we celebrated my uncle and aunt’s 50th wedding anniversary. Like so many others, my New Year’s resolutions should include losing 10 lbs and exercising more in 2012.  Yet after spending 5 days with 3 generations ranging in age from 7 months to 79, I’m struck by how much more than New Year’s Resoluti … [Read more...]

Why Santa Comes to our Home and Brings my Kids Crap

Back in 2004, my first-grade daughter had to write a “book” on famous people for homework.  She threw the papers on the kitchen floor and wailed, “I can’t do this!  I don’t know any famous people.”The 2004 election was just weeks away so I said, “There’s John Kerry or George Bush.”“I don’t WANT to do George Bush!”  She stomped out of the room.Awhile later, she came back happy.  “I figured it out.  I can do Santa Claus, and the Tooth Fairy, and Mickey Mouse."“Do the famous peop … [Read more...]

Singing the Down on Myself Blues

“I’m feeling sad,” I said to my 13 year old daughter when she asked why I heaved a deep sigh.“Why are you feeling sad?”“Because I feel like a failure as a daughter and a mother.”I had just dropped my parents off at the airport.  Even though I wanted them to come, even though I miss them terribly when they’re in Hawaii and I’m in Boston, even though a good Chinese daughter should selflessly serve her parents and declare there’s always room for family. . .It’s been a tough four week … [Read more...]