First Time I Saw Me… Hasn’t Happened Yet

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Mindy Lahiri - #FirstTimeISawMe Indian American Woman - The First Time I Saw Me Hasn't Happened Yet

Did you see the “First Time I Saw Me” campaign on Twitter a few months ago? Black Girl Nerds and Netflix collaborated earlier this year and started a campaign centered around diversity and representation in the media, and pushed the use of the hashtag #FirstTimeISawMe to collect stories from people sharing the first time they saw themselves. (Two of the most popular videos/stories came from Ava DuVernay and Spike Lee. Also, here are some great videos.) It got me thinking about my own experience with the “first time I saw me” on television or in pop culture. And I realized that the first time I saw me… hasn’t happened yet.

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When you Know More than your Boss

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Have you ever worked for a boss who knew less than you about your area of work? Or, how do you deal with a boss who knows nothing about the area in which you work?? (If you have any actual advice for dealing with a bad boss, please leave a comment!). My cousin N.* found herself in this exact position. (*She’ll be saying some negative things about management at her current position, so let’s leave some mystery around her name.)

N. is a recent graduate with a degree in Physics, and a background teaching Astronomy, and she’s basically a genius. Her plan after graduating was to do something cool at NASA (where she interned), or head into a Ph.D. program right away (related: here’s a post on pursuing a doctorate in education). But, as she put it, “the reality turned out to be quite different for me and not at all how I planned.” Instead of starting a Ph.D. program, or working for NASA — “a dream I’ve probably mentioned to every person in my family at some point since 9th grade,” she says — my cousin took on a position doing K-12 science research and developing and writing science assessments for various states (clients).

At this job, while she was struggling with the conflict between her expected career path and the reality (as she put it, “who really plans for things to go unplanned? I certainly didn’t.”), she also found herself contending with another major struggle everyone has probably contended with at one point or another:

A boss who knows much less than her. Here, she chats about her experience working for a boss who knows less than her, and how it contributed to her leaving that position this October. Here’s her story.

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The Problem with Apu

Punita RiceCulture

The Problem with Apu is a Problem with America

The Simpsons is a great show. But Apu sucks. For a variety of reasons — including the fact that there’s so little representation of South Asians on tv in the first place, and that the depiction of Apu as simultaneously the perfect model minority and immigrant, and the depiction of him as a joke that encompassed all stereotypes about South Asians popular in the early 90s — I have problems with the creation of Apu. With Hari Kondabolu’s new documentary The Problem With Apu coming out, I found myself thinking about my own personal problems with Apu, and wrote a bit about some of these problems for The Establishment. Some (paraphrased) snippets from my piece for The Establishment are below, (or you can read the whole thing here) if you’re interested…

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Night Weaning My Toddler: How I Night Weaned in 3 Days

Punita RiceLife

Night Weaning My Toddler - Nursies When the Sun Shines

Hi all. This is a post about night weaning my toddler. I’m sharing this personal story in the hopes that it might help another exhausted or otherwise ready-to-night-wean-mama, because when I was preparing to night wean my son, I found it really helpful to read other mamas’ stories and tips. If you’re a mama contemplating night weaning your toddler, I sincerely hope this post is valuable to you. That said, it should go without saying that what worked for me and my family may obviously not work / be a good fit for you and yours. Cada loco con su tema! Here we go…

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Pronouncing Students’ Names Correctly Should Be a Big Deal – EdWeek

Punita RiceTeaching

Dr. Punita Rice for Education Week Teacher

I wrote an essay for Education Week Teacher about why pronouncing students’ names correctly is — and should be — a big deal. In the piece, I spoke about why mispronouncing students’ names is problematic (and can be a kind of microaggression), what my own experience has been with my own name, information about the ISAASE Name Pronunciation Guide, and actionable tips for teachers to improve their name pronunciation.

A brief excerpt from the piece (about how many South Asian Americans — myself included — already simplify our own names for the benefit of others, thus emphasizing the importance of teachers making the extra effort to get it right!)

I am South Asian American and spent over a decade mispronouncing my name for my own teachers to make it easier for them to say. My name is pronounced Pu-nee-tha; but for years, I said “Puh-nee-da.” I’m not alone in doing this; a lot of South Asian Americans I know offer an Americanized pronunciation of their names (Unn-jal-ee goes by “Anne-julie”), if not another name entirely (Sanket goes by “Prasad”). In spite of offering teachers what I imagined was an easier version of my name, most still pronounced it wrong (“Poo-needa?” “Paw-needa?”).

In fact, my own frustrating experiences informed the work I’m doing now: I founded an outreach organization to improve South Asian American students’ experiences in schools. When I spoke with South Asian American students about their experiences, many indicated in interviews that they didn’t feel teachers understood them or their cultures or knew how to say their names. And the importance of pronunciation goes beyond any one background or culture—it’s important for all students, no matter where they’re from.

(Excerpt from article that first appeared in Education Week Teacher on November 15, 2017. Reprinted with permission.)

If you’re interested, you can read the whole thing here.

P.S. – Segments of this piece were first published in a blog post for ISAASE, which you can read more about here if you’d like.

Babywearing and Bedsharing: Why I Babywear and Bedshare

Emily di FeboLife

Babywearing and Bedsharing

My friend Natalie, who previously shared her experience of being a mother and a teacher, introduced me to her friend Emily di Febo, a mother of two kids, a teacher of almost 100 high schoolers, and a self-described imperfect parent, who thought she was already the “perfect mother” — until she actually had her first baby, and discovered that parenting in real life is actually all about messing up. 🙂 Here, Emily shares her thoughts on babywearing and bedsharing.

Since attachment parenting and babywearing and bedsharing (and anything on the internet related to parenting styles in general) tend to be somewhat controversial, I want to include a little disclaimer: Regardless of what style of parenting you believe in, I hope if you read this post, you’ll do so with an open mind (as my friend Priska likes to say, there are #SoManyWaysToLive), and if you choose to comment, that you’ll do so with civility. In any case, I hope that this post on babywearing and bedsharing is interesting, inspiring, and informative for anyone reading. Here’s Emily…

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Holiday Gift for Her: Candles

Punita RiceMiscellaneous

The perfect holiday gift for her: Candles. Who is “her” you ask? Your mom. Your significant other’s mom. Your sister. Your significant other’s sister. Your co-worker who’s having that dinner party you’re going to in a week and you don’t know what to take with you. Your friend who’s impossible to shop for. Your kid’s babysitter/nanny/teacher. Your colleague who you’re exchanging gifts with but you’re not super close so you’re not sure what to get. Whoever the her is, the perfect holiday gift for her = candles.

You can usually find pretty candles that smell good at Target, HomeGoods, TJMaxx, Marshalls, etc. But if you’re addicted to online shopping and are feeling splurgy, I’ve rounded up some REAL FANCY ones below. I wouldn’t be mad if someone got me any of these…

Holiday Gift For Her: Candles (Pretty Ones!)

If you prefer to buy ugly candles (and it’s ok if that’s who you are; I’m not here to judge), here’s last month’s post on hiding ugly candles in pretty hurricanes.

P.S. – Here’s a post about the Proust Questionnaire from Le Labo. Also, here you can see our holiday card from last year, and here’s the post on pretty hurricanes for hideous candles.

(The featured image is Jonathan Adler’s Muse D’Or Candle – which I’d be so pumped to use as a planter once the candle was used up. This post includes affiliate links, which means we may make a small commission if you end up buying something you found here; you can learn more about how this works here. Thanks for supporting Punlearning!)

A Trick for Ugly Candles (Plus Help Me Find a Dupe for Feu de Bois!)

Punita RiceMiscellaneous

A trick for ugly candles

This probably won’t blow anyone’s mind, but I wanted to share a trick for ugly candles. (Yes, this is a thing. If I have to look at it every day, I’d like it to be pretty). You know how the best-smelling candles aren’t always in the prettiest containers (and sometimes the prettiest containers don’t have the best-smelling candles)? After like three years of not knowing what to do about the ugly-candle-good-smell situation, I finally figured out a trick for ugly candles:

Buy whatever smells good, and stick it into a hurricane.

Alternatively, you can fashion some kind of disguise for the candle (or for the hurricane), like Brittany from the blog A Bit of Bees Knees did (in the featured image):

  1. Find a glass or hurricane for your candle
  2. Cut lavender stems so they’re the same height as that container
  3. Tie the lavender stems around the glass with twine
  4. Put a candle inside (Plus, the heat from the candle should also help carry the scent of the lavender!)

If you’re not feeling crafty, here are some gorgeous hurricane options…

Beautiful hurricanes for your ugly candles

More (but less lovingly curated hurricane options here, here, and here.)

Also, while we’re on the topic of candles (though this candle I’m about to discuss is not an ugly candle), does anyone know of a dupe for Feu de Bois? Diptyque’s Feu de Bois is my all-time favorite wintertime / holiday candle. It’s… amazing. It smells woodsy, and slightly masculine. It’s the candle equivalent of a thick plaid blanket wrapped around your shoulders, as you sit in front of a roaring fire, while snowflakes land on the tip of your nose. It is also, however, expensive. (It’s $64 here for the full size, or $30 here for a mini.) And since I’m literally going to set on fire, I’m now on the lookout for a less expensive dupe. So if you happen to know a reasonably priced dupe for Feu de Bois, please leave me a comment below!

P.S. – If you aren’t craving an oddly specific candle smell, some appealing holiday-ish options are here, here, and here. Also, this Basalm & Cedar one looks like a good option for bringing in the scent of pine/woodsy/greenery (we do a faux tree, so this seems like a good idea for us). Also, here’s our holiday card from last year. Also, here’s a post on pretty and nice-smelling candles.

(Featured photo edited from an image from this post from A Bit of Bees Knees. Also, this post includes affiliate links, which means we may make a small commission if you end up buying something you found here; you can learn more about how this works here. Thanks for supporting Punlearning.).