parenting Tag

Black to School Night


Coming at the ends of this month I’ll be talking with some educators and parents for the Black Teachers Project. We’ll be talking about parenting during a pandemic and other tings. Tune in. 

If you’re not familiar with BTP, check out this video 

Daddy Thoughts 22- Dreamt of arguing, listening

I just woke up from yet another dream that me and my teen were arguing about something. You see, I have some righteous (or so I think) concerns for my boy. One, bee a critical thinker. So, both me, my wife, and his mom often engage him in discussions about race, politics, class, gender, so many things. If I’m being honest though, part of it is because I grew up talking that way with my parents and I’m familiar wit it. I do truly hope that from his family het gets points of views that are different than what main stream movies, media, etc are saying. And I’ve told him I don’t want you to think like me, I want you to take what Im saying and form your own opinion. Having an informed opinion is important, i think.

Two. I really want him to know what it means to work hard and sometimes this desire overlooks the hard work he does do and the fact that the nature of work is changing. I’ve had him cleaning the bathroom, the living room, his room, doing his laundry, taking out the trash, I’ve given him jobs where he can earn money or pay me back for something I bought that he wanted. But sometimes, I can be a little too pushy and demanding. And I’m trying to do better. He sometimes bitches or moans at some extras I make him do and I have to remind myself I did too when I was a kid.

Three. I want him to choose a path forward (after high school) that he’s passionate about. I know at times he’d rather just play video games and stay in his room. And sometimes I forget what it was like to be a teenager and press upon him, adding to the pressure he must feel from all of us and all of it. I don’t want him to serve the system of exploiting people though. I’ve been very vocal about that. Be aware of this or that, challenge this or that. But even I get bored of hearing myself repeat things so I know he must.

I haven’t been complete drill sergeant or a stoic figure who expresses little emotion, comfort, or love. But I have to remind myself to not get too angry when he refuses, gets annoyed, pulls away, or resists; and tell him. Tell him I’m proud of him, that I care for him and that I love him. I want to dismiss the myth that all teenagers are jerks, because they’re not. I do believe they are going through a lot during those years. I remember hormones raging, feeling self conscious, afraid to speak up, and just wanting nothing more than to hang out with my friends, my guys, to laugh, have fun, and make and see dope art in the form of music, graffiti, djing, paintings, so many things. I remember short answers with my parents and just wanting my own space to be free of rules and responsibilities. So I get it. I have to confess that I have let my frustration at perceived inaction get to me at times, and I’m trying to listen. That is ultimately what my dream was about. Forcing him to do something, and instead listening to him tell me how and when he wanted to deal with it. The issue I was mad about was not big, his words were/are.

Ooh, my toddler is awake and she’s demanding attention. If you’re a parent who’s been there or afraid of going there, what are your thoughts or advice? Like when do they start eating breakfast again, lol.

Last Daddy Thoughts on Father’s rap songs
If you’r new here, this is a series I’ve been writing for several years off and on about being a dad, co-parent, struggles, triumphs, mistakes, and more human shit. I’m trying every day to be a better dad, husband, co-parent, and human.

Old Art 4 – Treadmill


Here’s a throwback from this old show in Brooklyn. I feel like the treadmill is not at quite as steep an incline, but still there. This is when I was heavy getting into ink. So much of what we go through in this country as working people is about keeping capitalism going and fighting for the almighty dollar. Sometimes it makes me imagine what would I do if I (we) didn’t have to live this way.
If you missed the previous Old Art post, here it is: Big Daddy Kane
Here’s an old ink drawing I did of an Afro Pick.

Daddy Thoughts 20 – Other plans

I think there was a saying that if you want to make god laugh, show her/him your plans. I’m probably getting that wrong. But it seems like this entire year has other plans for our plans. Sure some people may just be coasting along like nothing has happened but I think a good majority of the worlds population is adjusting, pivoting, changing, etc.

Take for example my baby girl who is now 20 months old. From the time she was born up until about the age of 1 I stayed home to care for her while Mama worked. Of course I still worked doing what I could at night, in between naps, etc. But she is a fully formed toddler now, asking for things, expressing happiness and discontent. She walks, runs, eats food and spits it out. I thought at the beginning of this year I’m about to make all kinds of new projects in addition to client work, but with childcare closed and our family distancing the time to create and work was cut in half. We’re blessed though, making it work. Me and Mama take turns from 8am-5pm. I’m on morning shift, Mama’s on afternoon. Trying to work and care for bebe girl has lead to some hilarious moments. Especially since we’re potty training. The other day I was answering emails, watching my girl like a hawk for any sign that she might go pee (she had no pants for the first 10 days), all the while making lunch for me and my wife.happened the other day. And as soon as I look away to turn down the stove, season that, she pooped. Haha, right in the middle of the kitchen. So I took a breath, cleaned her, the poop, the floor, my hands, and proceeded to make lunch.

But for my teen, I can’t imagine how hard it is. I talk to him regularly and ask him how he’s doing. I make sure to check on him and he’s in good hands with his Mami. But, leaving the normalcy of the last 12-13 years of seeing other children in school came to a screeching halt. Sure, there’s so much that happens nw days over text. I know kids message each other sometimes more than they see one another and that he plays video games and talks to friends via games. But, it is still quite anxiety inducing; this whole culture. I’m lucky he still opens up and shares what makes him happy. We’ve got a book club going on where we read together. And I try to honestly check out some of the things he shares with me even if I don’t understand. And despite all this, he’s still doing great on his assigned work. I’m just glad its not his graduating year, or the prom he’s missing. I do wish I could encourage him to have his friends over though. Maybe in a few months, I hope.

Me, I’m tired, horny, feeling a bit overwhelmed at times, hungry, contemplative, robotic, and blessed all at the same time. Give thanks that I still have a roof and that there are so many stepping up. Thats it for today.

Here’s the last Daddy Thought-Twist and Repeat

Daddy Thoughts 19- Twist and repeat

Happy New year to all you reading this and all my parents or caregivers of little ones. I regularly write 2-3 posts a year on parenting, fatherhood, co-parenting, mistakes, or triumphs. But last year was a blur of raising baby raising. My daughter is now over a year old and in childcare so I have a bit more time to get back to work. So here are a couple of observations going through the baby stages again.

Twist and bend!
I forgot how much you have to twist, turn, and bend to care for little people. Sometimes that is because they cannot move on their own and need your help to get that bottle, nipple, snack, or to burp. I started to remember that certain parts or sides of my body got a lot of use to hold my daughter and my son. When my son was born I actually started stretching regularly because my back got sore from picking him up or holding him. I’m better at it now, but I still feel it now with the new baby.

The other side of twisting and bending is the manipulation of your own body to catch them so they don’t fall. It’s the twist to get their shoes on or their diapers off. It’s also the movement and turning to feed them. It’s really funny to see them squirm and turn away when begin to do it. Then, its like bending and twisting to get them to eat. Some. Thing! How many of you are going through this or remember what it was like? I hope you and your body get some rest this year! If anything this teaches us to be flexible, no?

Repeat because kid is tuned out, eat chips for dinner, don’t notice me, littlest effort as possible
Ok with my teen there are a different set of challenges and I would wager to say that this ranges from kid to kid and in no way represents teens. What’s up with mine? He is excelling in school and shared a moment that made me proud. I’ll come back to that.

Repeat, force,
Lately the challenge has been repeating myself and getting him to listen. I think this is a really tough time because with my teen he’s big! But he’s still a kid so I have to remind him to do things like be quiet so his sister can nap, close the bathroom door so she doesn’t throw stuff into the toilet, etc. Beyond that its the normal stuff like washing dishes, greeting people, and the almighty screens. I have relaxed my rules on screens but I still feel like they still need guidance. It is so easy to spend an entire day staring at one as we as adults know this. It’s also easy to forget about real life friends, nature, going to events, and socializing. And I feel like I have to keep trying to reinforce this. Even if it means I am not his favorite person because I made him go outside.

What else? I’m noticing just how much responsibility and pressure is placed on girls and young women versus the freedom to chill and just play that boys have. This is a broad generalization but I see things my mom or family let me do like waiting to make plans, not cooking, or not planning. Planning is such a big one. So, while I don’t want to force him to do too much before he’s ready I am encouraging him to make plans ahead of time and trying to teach him to cook because he’d eat an entire bag of chips for dinner if I let him.

One things for sure, big brother loves little sister and she is fascinated by him.

That’s it. What parenting things are happening for you? Fails and triumphs welcome.
Daddy thoughts 18- Reset button 

Podcast Interview- Papa Culture Pod!

Yo! Been listening to this laid back podcast run by two fathers. They talk about hip hop, sports, pop culture, dad fails, and dad triumphs! I was lucky enough to be a guest on their show. Check it out on Itunes, Stitcher, or whatever podcast app you listen to. 
Here is the link if you want to listen to it on your desktop. LINK
If you’d like to hear another interview check out The Stoop Podcast where I talked about Black Hair and kids books.

Character Collage (7) 2017-2018

Here is my 7th annual collage of character’s, this time with some typography that I felt went with the feeling. For this year I wanted to go with a theme for once and might play with that again. The theme? Analog sound! I wanted to remember what it was like as a kid to listen to hip hop, soul, jazz, funk, etc. And I’m also thinking of young kids and parents trying to introduce their kids to music.
1. Digging– Young sis digging for 45’s 2. Youth Sound-Sis wearing the headphones 3. Walkman-Turn up the bass boost 4. Boombox-Tapes & the box 5. Play that Beat – type! 6. Percussion-Drum & banner 7. Headphones – meditate w/ sound 8. Listening– next to the record player 9.  VINYL Type 10. Dad’s – who dig 11. Stereo-Remember this? 12. Turn it up!-Type 13. Lyrics – still matter 14. Speakers -Paying dues 
You can see the previous years here too: 
If you are interested in more information about any of the characters or type in particular, or a print just email me at

Character 145 – Dad’s who dig

This one is for my Dads or fathers who dig, especially my vinyl junkies. I took my son to the record store a few times and although he wasn’t as excited as I was, I’m happy I got to do that. I will leave my records for him one day. Is there a record that comes to mind when you first started digging? Did your parents take you to look for music at record store, swap meet, convention, or thrift store? Who is a dad you know of that still digs? You want a print of this?
The LP the dad is holding is a remix of the record “TAXI” by Sly & Robbie; a record I grew up hearing in the house.

Daddy thoughts 15 – Me too/ Patriarchy

Ok, got to get some stuff off of my chest. My name
is Robert Liu-Trujillo. I’m a 38 year old cis-gender man, husband, father, and I’ve been writing about my experience as a Dad
/parent for several years now (My son is 13). The mistakes, the screw ups, the great times,
and more. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately , but that Junot article
recently made me think I should share this. I’ve spoken to my son about
consent, sex, and respecting women and this will be an on-going conversation. I
also spoke to my wife about the sadness this experience brings up for me and
for male dominance/ patriarchy that is in me and others. I am complicit and have played a part in it.

Ever since the “MeToo” movement started I have been reading
articles, testimonies, and experiences. I have been denouncing things on social
media here and there and having an on going conversation with my wife and my
son. I have been battling with the thought that I am not free from this
criticism. As much as I’d like to be forgiven (selfish) for behavior that is
what women are calling out, it is not about me. It’s
about changing how people treat one another, specifically how men and boys treat women an/or female identifying folks. Its about teaching
my son and the next generation that consent, respect, and standing up for women is hella important. And if young boys
don’t hear it from us they’ll think it doesn’t matter and that if the person in
question is not their girl,mom, or sister, they don’t matter.  This is about harassment by words,
touching, violent behavior with words or domestic abuse, rape, abuse of power,
and saying nothing when someone else does this.

So here are a couple of experiences.

As a boy, maybe 9 or 10, I listened to a much older group of
men (some family, some not) talk about a time when they were out drinking,
hanging out with girls. Partying, all that. They described getting so faded
that some of them passed out and some went home. Some of the girls stayed with
them at their spot or hotel (can’t remember) and some went home. One of the
dudes describes how the next morning a girl says to him “did you penetrate (&*%#) me last
night?”. He laughs, pauses and says no. She then says why is my vagina (&*$%^) sore
then?” and all the guys start laughing, cracking up. I don’t remember laughing. I was
trying to put two and two together because although I was taught about sex from
a very early age I hadn’t had any very few sexual experiences. I understood that this was wrong. I didn’t know if the girl in question was
his girlfriend or not, if they did that regularly or not, etc.  But that does not matter. I just
remember thinking, that’s fucked up. It sounds like rape. I wish I as a child
had the courage and the words to say “fuck that, that is wrong!.” But I just
stood there (Enabling or approving of behavior can be silent). I have not
heard another guy say this to me as an adult or an adolescent but I’m pretty
sure some guys have said this and this is a point where we can say, “NO, what you’re
saying or doing is wrong”. It ain’t about “if that was my sister, or mom, or
cousin I’d…..”. No it’s about all women. ALL women and female indentifying
people. All of them deserve to be treated with respect. Guys, what do you think about this? Be

Now, something I did as a 20 something. I once went home
with a young woman. We hung out, talked, and I told her I was attracted to her
and that I liked her. I was super nervous, she probably was too. She told me
she liked me as well. We kissed and made out. At the end of the night we had
sex, protected. We even had sex again on another day after this encounter. But,
in looking at what women and some men are saying about honest self-reflection,
and self-criticism I don’t think she enjoyed it. And I don’t mean, having an
orgasm (Guys often cum, she sometimes cum’s) . I mean, the first time she “allowed”
me to. And to be straight up I’ve heard a lot of women say that they have done
this too. Allowed. Either, because they felt pressured to, they feared for
their safety, embarrassed, or some other reason. Now, I did not threaten her
physically or verbally, or try to embarrass her but I think she felt pressured by me. The second time
we had sex (after that) she wanted to know what we “were” (relationship?) and was clearly
interested in more than just sex. I had just recently gotten out of a long
relationship and told her that after thinking about it; I enjoyed time with her
but just wanted to remain friends. And we did, we corresponded as friends
after. But, in thinking about
consent, reading body language, and just taking things slower for christ’s sake
I regret doing that. That’s some punk ass shit if I’m being honest with myself.
I did that. Guys, have you done this? Be honest. 
Edit: June 2018- I’ve since spoken to this young lady and apologized. She did not feel it was warranted or necessary, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I wished I’d have taken things slower, done thing differently. 

Ever since the call outs began I found myself really happy
that it was happening and I also started to critique myself. How have I
contributed to this behavior women and female identifying folks are coming
forward with? How have I done something fucked up? How can I make it better? In
the past, if I did something knowingly I apologized to that person and tried to
right that wrong by reflecting on it and trying to change my behavior. But I’m asking
boys, guys, and myself to reflect on what women and female indentified folks
are saying. And inspect your own behavior, not only towards women but towards other men and boys (whole other part of this conversation) I believe the calls of Me Too
whether you believe they are serious or trivial are all relevant and that we as
guys, boys, or male identified persons need to be introspective. We need to
take it in and honestly think about it and how we may have contributed.

Women are speaking up and we
need to listen and we (I) need to unlearn any patriarchal, macho, male
dominant, dismissive behavior and teach both our sons, daughters, and gender non conforming kids to call it out. It is oppressive and unhealthy for people of all
genders and for the next generation. In speaking to guys or boys – I’m talking about self
proclaimed nice guys, jerks, allies, women haters, authors, husbands, boyfriends,
brothers, movie studio owners, rappers, actors, business men, students, to the
damn president of the United States. Are you paying attention? Can you call it
out in you and others? What has struck a cord with you?

Guys, there has been a lot of women who’ve come forward and shared a story. Who do you know who is male who has come
forward sharing theirs in some way who is a guy/male? I will read it and read it with my son. I think
we have only just begun to see the stories and that although it may be
uncomfortable it is necessary. And my next question is one many women have been asking, once folks have come
forward and shared all of it, how do we heal from this? Do we throw these men away? Do we call them in? Thoughts?

If you haven’t seen these films yet guys check em out and study them. I’m in them. We are in them.
-Beyond Beats and Rhymes
The Feminist on Block Y
-I also heard “The Mask you live in”  is a good flick too