Breeze Harper on the precarious balance of work and motherhood.
I‘m in the living room, on our green plush sofa, working on my MacBook. Meanwhile, my six-month-old, Miro, is sleeping in his car seat, which I’m rocking with my foot. I didn’t give my iPad to my three-year-old, but somehow, she’s gotten a hold of it. Her hair has bedhead and is locked with dried flowers and sand from having played at the park three days ago. As I frantically and desperately try not to lose my epiphany on Frantz Fanon’s theories on anti-Blackness, I say, “Kiki, I need my iPad back.”
“I drawing on it. I’m making something for you, Mama.”
“Thanks, but I need it. You can draw on your paper in the dining room.”
Miro stirs and I realize I’ve forgotten to continue rocking him. “Shhhh, go back to sleep,” I whisper. “Please, I need to finish this.”
In delight, Kiki screams, “Mama, look what I made you!”
“Miro is sleeping! Quiet voice,” I say, glancing at the iPad. She’s made a rainbow. “Thanks Kiki. That’s beautiful. Can I have it back now?”
She nods and smiles, revealing the cavities in her front teeth. (They’re always there to remind me that I’m a bad mother for night nursing, at least that’s what the pediatrician claimed it was from.)
Kiki jumps up and scurries off to the dining room to (hopefully) draw (and not bother me about stupid crap like she needs something to drink even though her sippy cup is right next to her or that the apples I cut for her are not in the right shape.)
That’s when I look more closely at Kiki’s rainbow and realize that’s it’s overlaid with fourteen crusty boogers. My tablet has a screen protector. It has handled numerous drops and attempts to be written on with pens and paper clips. Booger proof it is not. I have a high tolerance for ooze and other things coming out of my children’s bodies, but this time, it’s too much. The boogers are making it impossible for me to navigate to my Goodnotes app to look up the ideas I had on applications of Fanon in the ethical foodscape and anti-Blackness.
“Kiki, you know how to use a tissue or even your sleeve!”
“I’m not supposed to use my sleeve. You said so!” she yells back from the dining room.
“Don’t put boogers on my tablet! What’s wrong with you!?”
“They’re yellow. Yellow is my favorite color.” She reminds us all the time that yellow is her favorite color, and how delighted she is that her pee happens to be her favorite color.
I look around trying to find something close by to scratch off Kiki’s boogers.
“Do you like them? I put them on the yellow part of the rainbow. But I don’t have boogers of other colors for the other parts. I don’t know how to make my boogers not yellow.”
Dammit. I pry the case off and then navigate to my Goodnotes journal. Miro lets out a big fart followed by six thousand gallons of mustard-yellow poop. I rock him a little faster, hoping the sudden release of his bowels won’t wake him.
I wonder if Frantz Fanon wrote about white supremacy and decolonization while arguing about rainbow boogers.