I guess she was paying attention after all

My sister-in-law has been out as a lesbian for as long as I’ve known her (going on 14 years now). Emily started asking questions about her aunt’s relationships when she was in Kindergarten (she’s now in 2nd grade). She has understood for a while now that some girls like boys, and some girls like girls. Her aunt is one of her favorite people in the world. She doesn’t care. She won’t know there’s anything wrong with it until someone tells her. That someone won’t be me. When someone says something bad to her about homosexuality and it bothers her because she loves her aunt, and I know it will happen, we’ll deal with it.

Laini (4th grade) never asked or seemed concerned. She has some challenges that are along the autism spectrum. For sensitive topics, I read Laini very carefully. When she doesn’t fully understand something, she tends to fixate on it…talking about it nonstop and not always at appropriate times or within the appropriate context of what is going on around her. I don’t introduce topics halfway with her and I follow her lead on what she’s ready to understand.

One thing that is quintessential Laini is that she will appear to be off on another planet, when the truth is that she is picking up every word and then some. She doesn’t read nonverbal cues well, and she doesn’t use body language to show that she’s engaged when she really is. I’m used to it. It drives her teachers a little crazy. Her whole world lately has revolved around the Nintendo DS she hoped she was getting for Chanukah (she did). She never discusses real-world events with us willingly. Emily is the one who will read and ask questions immediately.

So Sunday night we’re in DC at my sister-in-law’s home celebrating the first night of Chanukah. Laini was sitting on my lap and she said to me, “Lara (my SIL’s partner) is here a lot, isn’t she?” I said, “Yes. She’s your aunt’s girlfriend.” Suddenly, it dawned on her that I wasn’t talking about “a friend who is a girl.”

She wasn’t upset or concerned. Up until this point, I had no idea what Laini knew about homosexuality, she never brought it up before. I certainly wasn’t going to make it a “big talk” or a “by the way, your aunt is gay, what do you want for lunch?” which would have been a disaster. I can see the email I’d be getting from her teacher the next day as Laini processed the information in her own time and in her own way…didn’t matter if it was in a one-on-one conversation or while she in the middle of a presentation on American history. 

I knew this moment would come and I was ready to answer honestly and simply any questions that she might have. Most of all, I wanted her to believe that there was nothing “wrong” with her aunt. Everyone is different, and this is just another color on the rainbow. I waited for Laini’s next response.

Laini processed for a moment, and then she said matter-of-factly: “If they get married I guess they have to move to Massachussets.”

Panexa: Laugh of the day

Eric sent me this link this morning:


Panexa. (a parody site from the folks at StayFree!)

PANEXA is a prescription drug that should only be taken by patients experiencing one of the following disorders: metabolism, binocular vision, digestion (solid and liquid), circulation, menstruation, cognition, osculation, extremes of emotion. For patients with coronary heart condition (CHC) or two separate feet (2SF), the dosage of PANEXA should be doubled to ensure that twice the number of pills are being consumed. PANEXA can also be utilized to decrease the risk of death caused by not taking PANEXA, being beaten to death by oscelots, or death relating from complications arising from seeing too much of the color lavender. Epileptic patients should take care to ensure tight, careful grips on containers of PANEXA, in order to secure their contents in the event of a seizure, caused by PANEXA or otherwise.

My new state is looking for a slogan

We got here just in time. New Jersey is looking for a new slogan and they’re asking for the people’s vote. The Trenton Times (along with MSNBC) has had some fun publicizing some of the suggestions that the state rejected, including one of my favorites, “New Jersey: It’s Not as Bad as it Smells” and “Most of Our Elected Officials Have Not Been Indicted.” I came from Connecticut after all…I think my kids think all Governors have to resign in shame in between elections.

I can understand why Codey rejected “New Jersey: We’ll Win You Over” at the last second. It makes it sound like you already had a negative opinion of New Jersey and the reality of the state will change your mind. Well….

So after considering thousands of ideas, some of them serious, Codey has decided on 5 that he is putting to a public vote:

  • New Jersey, Expect the Unexpected
  • New Jersey, Love at First Sight
  • New Jersey, Come See For Yourself
  • New Jersey, The Real Deal
  • New Jersey, The Best Kept Secret

I voted for “New Jersey, The Real Deal.” It’s a little bit in-your-face and plays up the part of the state we’re most known for (Atlantic City, of course).