Of Course I’m a Feminist

The sign Hank made and carried at the International Women's March on January 21, 2017 in Porto, Portugal. It reads: I march for my sister. We are equal.

Hank made and carried this sign at the International Women’s March on January 21, 2017 in Porto, Portugal.  It reads: I march for my sister. We are equal.


Me: Welcome home, buddy! How was your day?

Hank: Good. My math class got canceled, but they wouldn’t let any of us leave school unless our parents were there to pick us up so my friends and I had a whole 50 minutes to sit with Maria because she got her first period.

Me: Wow. Big day. Wait, how old is she?

Hank: Ten.

Me: Yowza, that is young. (nodding, knowingly, in solidarity)

Hank: Yah, it happened yesterday in the balnéario (locker room).

Me: Well at least it was in a semi-private place. Often times a girl can get her period in a very public place and is humiliated for it.

Hank: Oh, she was still humiliated, but it was an accident. She asked one of her friends to go and get a teacher and her friend opened the door and instead of leaving she yelled, so loud, for the whole gymnasium to hear that they needed the teacher because Maria got her period.

Me: Good lord, I hope she apologized.

Hank: She did.

Me: Everyone makes a mistake like that at some point. Even you will embarrass a friend someday, but the key is to always apologize sincerely and never get defensive, even if they’re angry. Just let them be angry.

Hank: Okay, but I was really shocked at how nice the boys were about it. They all were like, I feel bad for her and that sucks. No one made jokes. I was proud of them.

Me: As it should be.

Hank: I want to buy Maria a present or something. I just want her to feel good about it. She is just so sad.

Me: You have to let her process. Change is hard especially when your body changes and evolves. You will also have sad days about your body as it changes. For me, when I got my first period at 12, it felt like my childhood was over, because there is so much responsibility put on a girl when she gets her period regarding your hygiene and being prepared each month on top of all the uncomfortable conversations about sex and pregnancy.

Hank: I didn’t even think about that. That is stressful. I asked her and she isn’t in pain. She said it wasn’t painful, but that she just hates it and feels icky. I told her having your period is natural, but that I knew it was annoying and I was always there for her if she needed anything and my other friends agreed. She was so sad.

Me: Supporting her the way that you and your friends are is a gift.

Hank: When my sister gets her first period I am going to buy her a present and take her to lunch with a very chocolaty dessert.

Me: (smiling) Hank, you’re a feminist.

Hank: What’s a feminist again?

Me: A feminist is anyone who believes that there is no difference between men and women and that they are 100% equal and should be treated as such in all areas of life and finds nothing off putting or disgusting about being a woman including periods.

Hank: Of course I’m a feminist. Why isn’t everyone a feminist?

Me: Why, indeed.



capeesh -


(after a atomic meltdown over seemingly lost forever items that were quickly found)

Hank: (sniffling) I assume I’m grounded.

Me: You know what happens when you assume?

Hank: I can’t say it.

Me: I will allow the use of fowl language for this moment only.

Hank: You make an ass out of you and me.

Me: Correct, and no you are not grounded, so see what happens when you assume?

Hank: But I totally freaked out!

Me: I know I was there.

Hank: But…

Me: Haven’t you punished yourself enough? I bet you are exhausted.

Hank: I am.

Me: And I bet you were humiliated which is why your meltdown got way worse when within 4 minutes your papa and I found your school thumb-drive and your school ID.

Hank: (shoulders sunken with defeat) I was. I still am, actually.

Me: You aren’t grounded because I know you won’t let this happen again.

Hank: You told me to pack my school bag for tomorrow when I walked in the door from school and I put it off and put it off and put if off and then I was too tired and then I got so stressed because I thought I lost my ID card forever and you know you can’t get another one -ever-again-.

Me: That is a lie.

Hank: (shock and disbelief) NO!

Me: Yup, total lie your school tells underclassmen so that they DON’T DARE lose their ID card.  Your teacher asked us parents to perpetuate that lie so that y’all would be super responsible with your IDs, but you can get a new one. It costs a fair bit of money, but there are replacements.

Hank: How much?

Me: That is for me to know and for you to never find out.

Hank: Is it really that much?

Me: It’s about the same as a cartão de cidadão (national id).

Hank: So €15.

Me: How do you know this?

Hank: I went to get my new cartão (card) this summer and that is what it cost.

Me: Bolas (balls)! It never appears like you are paying attention, but you are always paying attention.  You never miss a detail, do you? Well, don’t tell your colleagues. Everyone will find out after the first kid loses their card, but let the threat linger a wee bit longer.

Hank: Okay.

Me: So to recap: you’re not grounded because you have learned your lesson never to procrastinate and to never gather your things and prepare for the next day with 15 minutes to lights out and if you prioritize video games over your responsibilities again I will throw every console in this house over the balcony.

Hank: MOM!

Me: That isn’t a threat it is a promise.

Hank: But all the money you spent?!

Me: It would be worth every penny.

Hank: You’re serious?

Me: As a heart attack. Are you listening? Do you hear me?

Hank: Yes.

Me: I love that it was your birthday and I love that you are so caring and helpful and loved that you were gifted things that you have patiently waited three years for, but real life trumps games. Handle your real life, prioritize the people you love and your responsibilities BEFORE your games and you will never have an atomic melt down over silly and minor stress again. Capeesh?

Hank: Ca-what?

Me: Capeesh, it’s Italian, it means understand. As in “do we have an understanding?”

Hank: (raised eyebrow, GEARING UP TO MANSPLAIN) Does it? Italian is like Portuguese, so like, we would say, “entendemos (do we understand)?” You didn’t say that so maybe capeesh is like saying, “entende (Do you understand)?”

Me: It’s Italian American slang… I don’t know what to tell you. We can Google it tomorrow for the etymology. I have no idea if it is really even a word, frankly. (tossing my arms in the air in surrender) You caught me!!! (swooping his ten year old body into a huge hug) You are soooo smart! You are just the smartest and most European kid ever to be born in Bloomington, Indiana that I have ever met.

Hank: (riots of laughter)

Me: (smothering him in tickles) Capeesh? CA-PEESH?

Hank: (practically purple with laughter) Capeesh!

Molly: (bounding into their bedroom like a bouncing baby rabbit) Me, too! Me too tickles! Me, tooooooooooo!


His First Rough Morning

Actual reenactment of Hank's struggle this morning. My the time he had breakfast he was perfectly fine.

A reenactment of Hank’s struggle this morning.


Me: (knocking on the bathroom door)

Hank: You can come in, but I am not in a very good mood.

Me: (entering) So I’ve gathered.

Hank: I am so tired and I have a cold and it is so early and I didn’t get enough sleep and I just think I should stay home today. I don’t think I can handle school.

Me: I hear you.

Hank: So I can stay home?

Me: Nope.

Hank: Mom!

Me: You don’t have a fever.

Hank: But my cough?! I will cough all through class and it will be horrible.

Me: I have already thought of that so last night I made you some honey, lemon, ginger tea to take with you to school. The honey will coat your throat and sooth that coughing.

Hank: But I have a headache.

Me: (wincing at the petulance) I would too if I were whining as much as you right now.

Hank: MOM!

Me: I will give you a wee bit of paracetamol to kill your headache.

Hank: AND I walk to school!

Me: Up hill both ways in the snow without shoes, no less!

Hank: You aren’t as funny as you think you are.

Me: I am sure that is true, but mind the sass.

Hank: I can’t help it. -I. Have. A. Cold.-  Colds make me sassy.

Me: You will be surprised how good you will feel after you move your body a little this morning. Best thing you can do for a cold is just the right amount of activity if dressed properly.

Hank: (whimpering because he knows he is out of arguments)

Me: You can’t just give up when things get hard. This is not an easy morning, but you are well enough to go to school and if I am wrong, because I have no problems being wrong, then go and visit your school nurse and she will call me to fetch you.

Hank: I am not happy about this.

Me: That is perfectly fine.

Hank: I am never staying up past 9:30pm again.

Me: Wise choice.

Hank: Mama, I need some space to do my hair and stop being mad about my hard life this morning.

Me: Take all the time you need.