Posted in creativity, kids, Yahweh's fingerprints


Last night I went with some friends to view the award-winning documentary Born Into Brothels. If you haven’t seen this heartbreaking and inspiring film, I highly recommend it.

The story is about a group of children who were born in Calcutta’s red light district, a maze of chaos, brothels, and despair. New York photographer Zana Briski lived in the red light district to chronicle the lives of the prostitutes, and during that journey discovered the children who were born into, and destined to be trapped by, that culture.

Briski said she wasn’t a social worker or in India to become a champion for kids, yet she found herself drawn to these children. She gave several of them cameras and began to teach them photography and changed the lives of many of these children forever.

Born Into Brothels is a testament that art and education can transform the lives of children destined to repeat the cycle of life they have been born into.

I could go on about this film to infinity, but I’d run out of room. I could on so many tangents, and I still might, but I’m going to focus on something someone said to me today. She said she saw this film and felt helpless. At first, I did, too. I was overwhelmed by the images I was seeing and was on the verge of tears during the entire film. My heart was breaking for these children. The streets were lined with them, and some of the prostitutes were children themselves.

I was outraged that because of their parents crimes, these children were denied quality education. Their lives were mapped out in front of them and there were no exits. Next to no choices. No hope. Briski was overwhelmed by what she saw, but instead of remaining overwhelmed and doing nothing, she focused in on a handful of children and made a difference in their lives.

As I sat there in the dark watching some of the parents willingly keep their kids in the hell they were born into and block their progress at every turn, I began to say to myself, “just save one. Just save one.” Then I realized that was what Briski was trying to do. If she could just change one life, give one of those kids a future, her journey would have been successful.

Sometimes we look at the darkness and despair of the world and become overwhelmed. Paralyzed. We begin to think there’s nothing we can do…no difference can be made… so we do nothing. I shudder to think of what would have become of these kids if Briski had allowed herself to become overwhelmed and walked away from the problem.

Just save one. Because Briski chose to make a difference on an individual level, many of these children are in good schools and plan on continuing on to university. Sadly two or three profiled in the documentary remain in the red light district, likely trapped in the same cycle they were born into, but it wasn’t from Briski’s lack of effort.

When the movie ended and they revealed a few had chosen the path of education and a way out, I was relieved, especially for Avijit Halder, the boy who was chosen to go to Amsterdam to represent India at a photography workshop. I don’t know why, but I connected with him the most. I guess it’s because he had great potential that his grandmother believed in, and potential that Briski also saw. I could identify with his struggle. He discovers he has a talent, someone (Briski) believes in him, he begins to believe life outside the red light district is possible, and then, tragedy strikes (his mother is burned in her kitchen by her pimp and she dies). In his despair, he gives up. I’ve done that myself.

Fortunately, like Avijit, I had people in my life that loved me enough not to let me stay in my miserable life (and I know, compared to him, I’ve had it easy). Ultimately, he had to choose to embrace his opportunties and his potential, and I’ve had to make that choice myself. Today, I found out that Avijit is 19 and studying in the United States. He is still utilizing his talents and opportunties, all because one person decided that she couldn’t leave these kids behind without at least trying to help them realize their potential and give them hope.

I don’t know what I will do next, or even how to come up with a plan, but as I sit here with tears streaming down my cheeks I know I have to do something, even if I only manage to just save one child somewhere, even in my back yard. Yes, the world’s problems are unfathomable and enormous, but it’s time to focus. I can’t do everything, but I can do something. If I allow myself to become overwhelmed by the weight of the despair I feel when I think of a child’s only choice in life is to be “in the line” as they say in Calcutta, or kids who don’t have enough to eat or clean water to drink, that doesn’t help anybody.

Just save one… and maybe one will become two…and two…three…

Posted in kids


…and other reasons I shouldn’t claim to speak Spanish.

Jene’ was babysitting the girls again (which means I wasn’t in charge). Jene’ asked them to sing Happy Birthday to record on her computer so she could add pictures of them to it and burn it all to a CD for their daddy.

She gets them all set and counts down, “three, two, one,” and Julia starts singing, “feliz cumpleanos a ti,” which I thought was aqui and I was thinking to myself that, “I didn’t know it was ‘Happy Birthday here’ in Spanish.”

For me it was funny she started out in Spanish anyway, but we finally got them to sing in English first, then Spanish… and it’s not “aqui,” it’s “a ti.”

I learn something new every day… but I really should stick with, “Lo siento, no habla Espanol.” (I’m sorry, I don’t speak Spanish).

Posted in kids


I babysat the girls by MYSELF on Saturday night. The only thing that worried me was the fact that usually, I am there getting in trouble with them. Jene’ is the authority figure. Jene’ is in charge.

Jene’ now works late Friday and Saturday nights.

So, as daddy was walking out the door, he reiterated that I was in charge. The almost six year old was a big help in this area, reminding her sisters often that I was in charge.

Twin M, almost four, was so in the moment that after daddy left she became the example of complete obedience. I have never heard so many thank yous, or yes ma’ams from her, ever. Almost Six relished her big sisterness, but Twin J, was, well, squirrely as ever. At one point she had every part of her body on the table except her bottom, which was on the chair, where it is stated often, that it should be.

All in all, things went rather smoothly until THE WEDDING. Twin M was the wedding coordinator who also chose this night to be married. Being wedding coordinator totally fits in with her take-charge personality. She handled all of the ordering (I do not know what exactly she was ordering, but she was on the phone bossing people around), the catering, and the picking out of shoes. Almost Six was the wedding designer of all wedding wear including my pink feather boa headdress. Twin J was the cowgirl in search of a cowboy prince to marry. It really is tough keeping that veil on under the cowgirl hat. All of us were getting married.

Twin J was very eager to say I do, so I reviewed the wedding vows with the girls, of which only Twin J was really into the words fully. Twin M was busy making sure I showed up on time and didn’t go to jail (which I did last time I was over to play). Almost Six was flitting around the room after my bridal outfit was to her satisfaction.

As I was saying, “in sickness and in health,” to Twin J, Twin M stopped me. “What’s that?” she asked. I told her that phrase was part of the wedding vows. She giggled and said, “no, silly. They don’t say that. They ask you if you want chocolate or white cake!” I could not convince her otherwise.

Twin M then tried to line us up properly, but then things turned ugly when flitting about was not allowed in the bridal procession. At that point I called off the wedding (to which Twin M reminded me there were no men present anyway and it wasn’t going to work out) and sent the brides to put on jammies. I made a mental note to again, elope, when the opportunity presented itself… well, at the very least, no double or quadrulple wedding.

Thank goodness the girls had already had their bath, because they were very tired by the time the getting ready for bed ritual had been completed. Unfortunately, Twin J was beyond tired. She was wired and getting her into bed and STILL was nearly impossible. Finally, I got her to lay still and quiet for about five minutes while Twin M fell asleep. I left the room and tucked in Almost Six.

Five minutes later, I walked back down the hall to tell Almost Six, again, that yes, she could listen to music while she fell asleep, but she had to quit turning it up after I left the room. Twin J was singing at the top of her lungs and Twin M wasn’t happy about it.

“Twin J, please stop singing so your sister can sleep.”
Twin M whines.
“Let your sister go to sleep.”
“No. I’m singing to God.”
“While I’m sure that God appreciates the song, now is not the proper time to sing. It’s time to sleep.”
Sighs all around.
“But God likes it.”
“I know. And he also likes it when you sleep.”
Twin M is asleep.
“No more singing.”

I turned down Almost Six’s radio three times, told Twin J to be quiet two more, but then, finally, all three were asleep.

Nobody bled, cut their hair, punched each other, or put me in jail.

A good time was had by all.

Posted in kids


The Roomie babysat the girls again Friday night. The older sister was out with her friends, so for a couple of hours it was just us and the twins.

First of all, these girls are very conversational now. The quiet one now makes me dizzy trying to follow all of her words. I can’t believe how quickly they change.

After dinner, the girls were treated to tubbies (bathtime) in the sink. This is something that they do just with the Roomie. Granted, they are 3 1/2 and can’t be bathed at the same time. So, Roomie took the one who had stripped herself naked after the announcement to go retrieve some jammies and I took the other one into the playroom.

I fell down onto their beanbags on purpose and pretended I couldn’t get up. Twin 1 tugged and tugged on my feet and I was laughing too hard and I told her I couldn’t get up. She said, with emphasis, that I could stay there forever… and then proceeded to cover me with every pillow, blanket and cushion she could find. Then she sat on me (I had turned my head to the side because I couldn’t breathe) and told me again that I was to stay there forever. I finally asked her to come down from Cushion Mountain, and she stepped on my face on her way down. I was still laughing.

Twin 1 went and grabbed four foam alphabet squares and hooked them together. I asked her what she was doing and she said, “I’m building a bridge of words.” I thought this sounded rather fun, so I asked her what her bridge was going to say. After she poured out a lengthy string of words spoken too fast for me to understand, I asked her what my bridge was going to say.


And that was that.

Twin 2 traded places with Twin 1 and we started our usual game of running all over the house until I am certain that a heart attack is pending. She’s like the energizer bunny, full of endless energy. While sister was in the sink, we ran all around the house. Finally, we stopped in the play room and she dropped to the floor and said, “I think I need to rest.” I’ve never known this child to be tired, but Roomie reminded me that she had about a 25 minute nap that day.

While she “rested,” I tickled her, and all the while she’s expelling some gases. Each time I remind her she’s supposed to say something and she says, “excuse me,” and we continue playing. The last time, however, the loudest, longest, most sustained burst of gas that could ever come out of a body that small, exploded out of her. It was so powerful, both of us were surprised.

Straight-faced, I asked her, “aren’t you supposed to say something?” I ready myself to praise her politeness and she looks at me and says, “Ouch!”

Mind you, I am trying not to laugh and am wondering if I should get the Roomie to check and see if the little thing injured herself, but she finally giggled. I asked her if she needed to go potty and she said, “no.”

So, Roomie finishes bathing Twin 1 and we go watch a video. Arthur, to be exact. If anyone can tell me exactly what species Arthur is, I’d be grateful. It’s sort of like Caillou’s lack of hair. Nobody will be able to explain it.

I look over and Twin 2, who is very skinny and her clothes gap on her, has both arms coming out of the legs of her underwear, waving her hands back and forth. It took me a moment to realize what she was doing. I gently reminded her that ladies did not wave from the bottom of their underwear and she complied quickly. Again, I’m torn between laughing and really wanting to know what species Arthur is and what his sister’s initials (D. W.) stand for. My mind is a scary place.

The girls go to get ready for bed. The other sister is about to come home and Roomie is trying to get the girls into bed before that happens. She goes out to the kitchen to get a milder toothpaste for Twin 1, leaving me in charge in the bathroom. You’d think 15 seconds wouldn’t be long enough for me to lose control, but Twin 2 has unrolled some toilet paper onto the floor by the time Roomie gets back. She picks up the toilet paper and when the twins trade places (one potties while the other brushes her teeth) tells Twin 1 that she can use the toilet paper she’s just rolled back up.

Roomie leaves the bathroom again. Twin 1 jumps up and does not use toilet paper. I ask her if she did and she looks at me, horror-stricken, “I forgot to wipe!” I tell her it’s never too late to fix those sorts of things and to take care of it now. She does and calms down.

The girls are about to go into their room and the neighbor who has had charge of the 5 year old knocks on the door. “Is (5 year old) here?” I nearly panicked. I wondered if he had delivered her home during one of those times that Roomie left the room and I just missed it. Neighbor sees the panic on my face and shifts his eyes to the side of the door frame and I realize the child is hiding for kicks. Relieved, I usher her into the house.

So, after the girls are in bed and Roomie convinces Twin 2 to stop trying to talk to and get the attention of Twin 1, I leave to come home.

I’m always glad to have the opportunity to play with the girls. I get to laugh and run and be silly and it’s all fun.

Posted in kids, pics

My Safari/Princess/MardiGras wedding with Princess Butterfly Bob the Builder as one of my attendants… the things I do for kids…lol — her little face is omitted because I’ve not obtained permission to post from her parents yet… Posted by Hello

Posted in kids


The roommate babysitted my favorite preschoolers tonight, so I tagged along to play. We watched a children’s animated video, “Caillou,” featuring a boy who is drawn with no hair. This intrigued me. Everyone else, including Caillou’s grandfather, had hair (or hay-ur, as Twin #1 said to me — remember, we’re in Texas). So I thought I’d ask the experts why Caillou has no hair, and here are the top answers.

“He’s a boy. He’s just plain.”

“Only daddies have hay-ur.”

“He just is. He won’t have any hay-ur until he’s big.”

“Because he’s Caillou.”

And there you have it. After the little ones were in bed, the 5 year old and I started watching, “Harvey Potter’s Balloon Field,” or something of that nature. Of course, I have no idea how it ends, because the five year old only gets to stay up about 20 minutes later than the three year olds. I have no idea the significance of the balloons and I’m sure I’ll lose sleep over it at some point.

Then the five year old announces she’s misplaced TEDDY. Teddy, who should never leave the bed, left the bed today to lay on the couch. My theory is the same twin who took the other twin’s dollbaby and deposited it in another room probably knows exactly where she cleverly hid Teddy — but alas, she’s asleep.

Remembering a frantic incident with my little brother and an object called, “bankie,” which was lost one night, I looked EVERYWHERE for Teddy… mind you, the only thing I know about Teddy is that he’s red. That’s it. I’m looking for a red bear. Must find red bear. The longer we search, the farther this child’s lip protrudes from the rest of her face. Roommate gives her permission to cry, but she’s a tough little camper.

Parents are called. They are surprised Teddy has left his permanent, never to be removed from, place. Daddy suggests she take “Magic,” a large unicorn, that when leg is pressed, makes an obnoxious magical noise. 5 year old explains to all of the adults: “If I roll over on Magic, she’ll wake me up.” She’s pretty smart. Somehow Roommate negotiates an acceptable substitute (of sister’s dollbaby that is the same size and texture of Teddy).

Whew. Make mental note to self to buy a box in which to keep duplicates of all essential nighttime sleeping buddies at least through age five.

I’m still wondering about that doggone balloon field.

Posted in kids


The girls who brought you, “Marriage Wisdom from Preschoolers,” just celebrated their 5th & 3rd birthdays at a pool party. The pool held 6″ of water and featured a mushroom shower, Noah’s Ark slide, and a rainbow slide. I don’t know how many kids were there, but there had to be 20 of them, ranging in ages from 1-6. Upon my arrival, I was beckoned into the pool by twin #1.

A total of 5, maybe 6, adults actually got into the pool. Of course, I was one of those adults, and at one point, to help twin #2 get over her fear of the “big, big slide,” I took her down the rainbow slide on my lap. After that, she decided she could go herself.

I don’t know why, but this is the first time I’ve ever been in a bathing suit and not felt self-concious. I had a great time. 🙂

One funny moment: at the girls’ house later, after opening gifts, twin #2 asks me to help put her Rapunzel Barbie in her new tote bag because…”I’m taking her to the doctor tomorrow to get her fixed.”

I don’t know either.

Posted in kids


Tonight my roomie was babysitting three darling little girls, the oldest is almost 5 and the twins are almost 3. I sometimes go with her to play. I always have fun and usually, I learn something I never knew before.

For example, tonight, one twin and the four year old decided to help me get ready to get married. The two year old put a scarf on my head and said, “Now you can get married.” At first, I thought she said, “You can be Mary,” thinking we were going to do a Bible story, but I finally realized (after a few repeats) she was saying, “Put this on. Now you can get married.”

While the 4 year old put barrettes and a flower wreath in my hair, I asked the little one, “So, what does the preacher say when you get married?” thinking she’d recently been to a wedding and that’s why all of a sudden she was talking about marriage. She looked at me and said, “he says, ‘put this on,’ and you’re married.” Then she put another scarf over my legs and said, “there. Now you won’t ever be cold again.”

Meanwhile the four year old said, as she tied a man’s necktie around my head, “the preacher says you have to be tied together or it just won’t work.”

“Really?” I ask. “What else does the preacher say?”

4 year old: “He tells you to take your clothes off. All of them. Then put on a bathing suit.”

2 year old: (He says) “Now, let’s have lunch!”

4 year old: “You really do have to take all your clothes off, but then you put on the bathing suit and it’s okay.”

2 year old (after the scarf falls off): “You can’t get married without this on!”

Who knew that if I would just put a scarf on I could get married? (ha ha)

I also learned something about the Great Wall of China. The 4 year old and I watched about 21 minutes of Mulan before she went to bed. In the very beginning there’s a scene that shows the Great Wall. She turns to me and says, “that’s the great big wall. A great wall. It goes up China and down China. It goes all over China.”

I wonder if this all means I should honeymoon in China after I put my scarf on and get married? Lots to ponder…