Parenting

Share your calm not your crazy!

We all hope to pass down the best parts of ourselves. I hope that King develops my love for reading. Although I don’t have much time for it these days. I hope that he has an appreciation for the arts and is creative in some way. We never intend to pass down our challenges or bad habits. I have had some challenges with depression and anxiety. Now my child is exhibiting signs of anxiety. You can’t out smart genetics and energy.

Up until now my son has been a very gregarious child. So much so, that sometimes it made me uncomfortable. My child is cute and likes to talk to strangers. Which in turn requires me to be social. I have learned to just smile and nod and then push King forward so we can continue doing whatever we were doing before he decided to make a new friend.

He is not that way anymore. This year I changed my child’s preschool because I didn’t feel like they were preparing him for kindergarten. At his new school there are fewer students. As an educator I know that the ratio for teacher to student should be low so that children can get more individualized instruction. Also his teachers look like him which I think is important in the formative years. I think I change my mind, more on that later.

King is being pushed academically. This is something he isn’t used to. King also inherited his father’s competitiveness. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but when it is paired with his mother’s perfectionism things can get tricky. He has homework every night except on the weekends, his teachers are as stern as Catholic nuns and he has only one other male student his age to connect with. The other night while doing homework King asked, “is this perfect?”

WTF? Danger! Danger!

After I freaked out in my head, I calmly responded “It doesn’t have to be perfect son, just do your best.”

I was looking into a mirror, with the light shining brightly on my shadow self. Instead of learning my child, I was dictating who I wanted him to be. Unintentionally, I may have triggered the anxiety. I’m sorry King, mommy is doing the best she can.

To help him cope I started putting Rescue Remedy in his water bottle. Every morning he asks me a million times who is going to pick him up as if the certainty of this helps him get through the day easier. Sometimes he says he doesn’t want to go to school- this shreds my heart. And he asks what time is he being picked up. He can’t even tell time. Poor baby.

I can’t front, the academic gains he is making are impressive. But at what cost? But, I also want to raise a resilient child. I don’t what to rescue him every time things get hard. But, he is only four. Oy vey!

We also do yoga together. I introduced yoga by using this book. We practice breathing exercising as a way to manage when he is feeling nervous or scared.

I took pics of all the brown children in the book because that matters to me.

I also give him lots hugs and kisses. I tell him I love him all the time. I want him to know he doesn’t have to earn my love. It is here for him just because. I also want him to enjoy academic rigor-I know that sounds crazy as I talk about Pre-K, but that is a pitfall of being an educator. The husband and I are discussing moving him, again. (judge yourself)
I want him to reach a few more bench marks before we do but his happiness trumps all of everything. I will fill in any academic gaps and King can get back to being himself.

Meanwhile, I’m doing my best to share my calm and not my crazy. Namaste.

Hi sister, it’s nice to meet you.

I feel like I need to add a new tab to my blog called healing daddy issues. This is important work especially for those of us raising boys. I do believe King was sent to me to initiate that process. An unexpected consequence of fostering a relationship with my father is developing new relationships with siblings.

Surprise! I have two sisters. I met one this spring at her high school graduation. I was hesitant to go because I didn’t want to ruin her day. My father encouraged me to go. I wasn’t convinced that this was a good idea. You know me, I had a few questions. Would she be willing to meet another time? Does her Momma know I’m coming? Would meeting me make he anxious on her special day?

The baby bro calls asking me if I’m going. I started in with my questions and he promptly interrupted me by the second one. He suggested we call her and ask directly. Baby bro is a genius. Little sis followed up with me asking for my mailing address to send an invitation. It was settled. I was going.

I planned on meeting her after the graduation but fate would have it that we bumped into to each other during a bathroom run. She was sweet and embraced me. She looked very pretty. My dad makes good looking kids.

After the graduation there was a bunch of hurry up and wait. Dad tried to find little sis in crowd of people to take pictures. Baby bro and I hung around telling bad jokes. Here is an example:

Baby bro: If we grew up together you would be more fun.

Me: If we grew up together you would be more responsible.

The best humor stings. We all ended up at the graduation party which you know had me nervous. Then I found out it was out doors. It’s not that I don’t like nature, I respect mother earth and everything. It’s just that I don’t respect the mosquitos who feast on my body. I always leave outdoor events itchy and swollen. It was a lovely event and baby sister’s mother was especially kind to me. She asked about King and asked my opinion on the college little sis  was attending. By the end of our pleasant convo I promised I would keep an eye on her for the next 4 years.

Baby sis has sisters she grew up with. Of all the things I made up to worry about, I never concerned myself with the personalities of my sister’s sister. Big personality asked in a very loud voice if little sis wanted to help her STEP sister get some food. Both my father and little sis corrected her to say “half”. The odd thing is that big personality and little sis are also half sisters. Why did BP make such a big deal about that? I didn’t know but I took note.

While seated at a table with baby bro, dad, his wife and my husband; BP once again starts to loud talk. She turns around a points to baby bro and says to a guest “and that’s little sister’s brother.”

She turns back to her guest but not before making eye contact with me. Baby bro chuckles and says, “I see you have a fan.”

The husband was being super sweet and supportive or maybe he was just making sure I didn’t show out. Pranayama is a magical thing. Thank everything thats holy I have been doing my work. My little sister will be an hour away from me starting in September. I’m looking forward to getting to know her.

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How to survive a road trip with a 4 year old.

My first road trip with King occurred when he was a toddler and we travelled from Virginia to Kentucky. This is a ten hour drive. With the short person it was fourteen. After one of the stops King refused to get back into the carseat. His back stiffened refusing to move. Then his entire body went limp. I couldn’t blame him, we were ill prepared.

My mother, King  and I just got back from a road trip. Based on this experience, I have figured out that the trip should correspond to the child’s age. King is four so roads trips including him should be no longer than four hours. Now enter Big momma, yemoja energy into the room. Yeye bullied me into taking a 6 hour trip to Charolette, North Carolina to visit my great aunt. My great aunt is the oldest living relative out of the 9 children my great grandmother gave birth to. She is 89; she can out walk you, will fight you to wash the dishes and expects to be carried to the hairdresser every two weeks to cover her gray.

For this trip I tried to be a little more prepared. We still had to make more stops than usually making the trip 7 hours instead of 6.  First tip, pack snacks! This seems obvious but being trapped in a car with a short person who is confined to a car seat will require food. Lots of food! If you think you have over packed, pack some more. I made turkey sandwiches, packed apple sauce, oranges, graham crackers, carrots, yogurt, granola, juice and water. That was for King alone. Then I packed snacks for Yeye and I. We had two bags full of snacks.

Invest in electronics. More than one option is preferable because kids like options. Again for emphasis, it is necessary since they are trapped in a carseat. King had his personal ipad kindle and we bought a portable dvd player. Also make a child friendly playlist so that you can sing songs together to past the time. King’s favorite song right now is “Larry Boy”. It’s very catchy and reminds me of a show tune but after hearing it for the 413th time, I’m good on family road trips for the rest of the summer.

I also recommend buying a backseat organizer so that your backseat won’t end up looking like the inside of a dump truck. I still haven’t figured out how to NOT have french fries buried in every crevice. Not eating in the car is not a reasonable option when you’re stuck in traffic with a hungry and tired child. To remedy this King vacuums my backseat every weekend. He thinks its fun and I revel in it. I know there will come a time where he will abhor doing any chore I request of him.

 

Also, make frequent bathroom stops. Even if the short person says they don’t have to go, insist that they try. I guarantee you that ten minutes after you leave the rest stop your child will start whining that they have to go pee. For my very trill parents bring along a portable toilet if you wish. That life is not for me. I have a boy so he can piss on the street if I’m under pressure………. judge yourself!

Thanksgiving will probably be the first time King travels on a plane. Moms (or Dads) out there do you have any tips? Leave them in the comments. And remember, I love you and want the best for you. Namaste!

 

 

But are you having fun though? 7 ways to add more fun into your life.

Hey Party People,

I am officially on summer break. Thank ya! The good Lawd ended the school year right before I passed out from exhaustion. I don’t appreciate being dragged to the edge like this! This school year we buried a principal and a student. I spent so much time taking care of others meanwhile I was being held together with cheap scotch tape. Ole church people teach you not to question God but that has never made any sense to me. I got questions, lot’s of them! Why lawd?

In an effort to fill the holes that were poked in my spirit I am being deliberate about having fun. Everyday this summer I am waking up with the desire to find more joy. You know I’m a social scientist and I love being my own guinea pig. You know I am a social scientist and I love being my own guinea pig. Click To Tweet Here are seven ways that I plan on having fun this summer, on purpose.

  1. Taking dance classes. Dance reminds me of my childhood. Growing up I took classes and performed. Dance allows me to be free and creative. It is also a beautiful place to channel my fire. Raqs shaqui aka belly dance, is a style of dance that I discovered as an adult. I have practiced off and on for years. This dance allows me to celebrate myself. In belly dance class I smile at myself in the mirror moving in the most natural feminine ways and having the best time!
  2. Yoga in nature. The emphasis is on my own personal practice. I know that placing my feet in grass is very grounding for me. The vitamin D is the best medicine for my depression. Early morning yoga in the park is a great way to start the day.
  3. Going to the pool more with the short person. I love spending time with the short person. At the pool King can practice what he is learning at his swim classes. I can stare at him in awe as his makes friends quickly and easily with other short people and adults. It is fun to play with your kids.
  4. Family field trips. We are going to the beach. The guys can build sand castles and I can sip adult beverages while catching up on my reading. Big fun!
  5. Grown up time with the hubby. Gets your mind out of the gutter, but you can leave your body there. Ha! I don’t necessarily mean doing the grownup although that is always a bonus, I simply mean dating. I want to go out with my husband and have a good time, doing things that we like to do without the short person. Sorry King, you can’t go!
  6. Playing in makeup. My look is flawless natural. This look requires makeup. Never mind the contradiction. I have been having a ball finding which concealer, foundation and lipsticks look best on me. I am learning what my facial assets are and where I need to embellish. This summer I am going to try different highlighters. When the sun  hits my face I want to shimmer and catch your eye. Make you look again! LOL, such foolishness, but that’s the point!
  7. I’m going to create more content! Blogging is fun for me. Yes, it’s a tool to journal my healing and a place to offer tried and true resources to help mothers stay sane while working fulltime. But it is also a place where I get to try new things, take chances and improve. That’s fun for me.

Shakira, my belly dancer sister sums it up best:  “If I can contribute to people having fun, I would feel very fulfilled as an artist.”

Start watching at 2:23 for the hot dance sequence. This video is dated and the old technology may annoy you. The the choreography will last a lifetime.

I love you and want the best for you. Namaste!

~Thembi