Seven Things I Wonder About, Some Trivial and Some Not

1. Is the use of the term “monkey” in children’s clothes and toys offensive and/or hurtful to African-Americans? Examples off the top of my head are companies named Cotton Monkey and Little Monkey. I use the term monkey all the time in my home as a pet name for the dogs, the baby, and even C-Man, but I would never use it around an African-American because boy howdy does it mean something different in that historical context. But company names, books, even the designs on onesies are in the public sphere. I started thinking about this after reading What should I do about nursery rhymes with a racist past? at Anti-Racist Parent.

2. Why is Dog Two afraid of plastic bags outside? Did it start when she reacted to the vinyl shower curtain we had hanging up to dry in the backyard (used as a dropcloth, $2.00 at Goodwill) because it flapped in the wind?

3. You know those people who research what babies know? Like, babies recognize their mother’s voice by a certain point? How do the researchers figure out how to test their hypotheses? How do they know what the babies’ signals mean? Our baby reacts differently to different stimuli all the time, depending on whether he’s tired, wet, hungry, cranky, etc. Do they just wait until the baby is rested, dry, full, burped, and seems reasonably happy and then someone yells “NOW!” and they hurry up and do a bunch of experiments?

4. How long will it take people to realize that most large companies could triple what they pay their overseas workers and still make a profit? How long will it take us to be so embarrassed about supporting their behavior that we stop buying goods from them? On a related note, why isn’t there just a big website I can go to where all the goods are responsibly produced and environmentally friendly, like Target for people who give a damn? And while we can’t consume our way out of the environmental and sweatshop crisis, wouldn’t it actually make the world better that if you’re going to buy something anyway, you buy a sustainable version? If it wouldn’t, how should I approach getting curtain rods for the downstairs windows? DIY?

5. What did people use as nicknames for their babies before the term “bobblehead” was invented?

6. What is it that’s toxic about plastic? When did we know this? What am I supposed to do? The baby gets a bottle (pumped, not formula) every couple of weeks, is the bottle going to make him sick? We got rid of all our non-stick except the crock pot, but the plastic thing is kind of blind-siding me.

3 thoughts on “Seven Things I Wonder About, Some Trivial and Some Not

  1. The Princess

    Katrina: I’ve seen those, definitely worth investigating.

    Grace: Yes, but don’t expect it in 2007. :)

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