Teach the Babies-You’re Not Everyone’s Cup of Tea

So this week the recurring theme has been forgiveness.  This is a tough lesson for many adults let alone my own son. This week for both of my older kids the trying to teach them to understand that its okay to have a disagreement with a person, work things out or decide to work things out but be cordial and not be friends.

My son who is 6 is having the hardest time which is to be expected.  I do not expect him to understand adult like themes and to me forgiveness will come to him as he grows and matures.  So the issue is allowing my kids to find out whom feels safe to them.  I even teach my kids even those closest to them can give bad vibes, you have the right to retreat.  I do not make them give hugs or be around ANYONE who makes them uncomfortable.  This means that if you come to my child and my child rejects you for whatever reason, there’s no make them give into your insecurity of showing you love they don’t feel is genuine to give. We stress to kids to be aware but then judge them for feeling ill feelings.  My husband and I don’t.  We try to help them work through these feelings.

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For my daughter she has been going to the same school for years and most of the kids she has known since Kindergarten.  At this point she is well aware of certain people’s triggers, how they act, and what they do when the teachers and principals aren’t watching.  I am not one  of those parents that push my kids into certain friendships.  If there are mean girls in her school and she identifies that is who they are, I trust that I have raised her well to this point to know who they are and if she chooses not to embrace them outside of a school setting that is fine. We really can’t push the all the kids are angels routine.  I am all for her or my son working it out but its one thing to work it out and it’s another thing to have a blind eye to a problematic child and act as if that child isn’t an issue.

So this week my son has been having an issue with one child in particular.  He has tried being nice.  He has tried having meetings with the kid etc. However to no avail.  This kid is problematic.  My advice to my son was be cordial.  Work together when you have to in the classroom because in life you can’t always disengage with someone just because you don’t care for them.  However at recess is your time to play.  You shouldn’t have to spend your time in recess trying to push back negativity from one child.  Some days he gets the message other days he doesn’t.  The days he doesn’t its a hard conversation to have.

Yes we are all for kids getting along.  Yes we are well aware that at this age kids go back and forth and are learning how to socialize. The same rules that apply to me with other adults do NOT work for kids.  However let’s also keep it real and stop acting like some of these kids already come in the door with whatever they have at home and spew the most hate, the most vile words on other kids and in the name of letting kids be kids we give these kids many chances in hopes they will fare better.  They don’t always fair well.  So we can’t just act like it’s not the case.  As a parent I would love to tell my kids that the world is awesome all the time and that they won’t have issues with other kids or other people but that is not the case.

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My conversation with my son is about helping him weed out those he thinks are bad news for him and show him how to make healthy relationships with those who want the same in return.  He needs to be cordial meaning just because there is friction, school work still needs to be done.  If his teacher assigns him to the student that he is having issues with then he needs to buckle down and get things done.

Parenting is hard and I am sure there will be someone who disagrees with my conversation but the beautiful thing about parenting is that it is an individual pathway per parent and its a collective pathways for the parents involved.  My only hope is that my kids get to the point where they don’t waste energy on those who don’t mean them well.  They learn to keep their peace with them and not get entangled with those kids who have ill intentions.  That’s my hope for adults too.  Stop giving your energy to the bad person in your life regardless of relationship.  If it doesn’t serve you, leaves you feeling less about yourself, etc then the point is moot, leave them alone and allow the right folks to come in your life. These are life lessons.  They should be taught early.  I want my kids to grow into confident human beings that know what they want, who they want, and to go where they are celebrated not where they are tolerated.  These lessons aren’t to wait to be learned.  These lessons are taught early on.


Christmas with Elmo at Sesame Place

The holidays brings on so many options in how families and friends choose to celebrate. This is the first year that we have been able to take our kids to a winter outside celebration of any sort that wasn’t indoors. The reason is that two of my children have asthma and in the winter we spend more time in and out of the hospital. The last two years we have been able to things and have a bit more fun.

This year since I am a member of Mocha Moms Philadelphia chapter we decided attend the Christmas with Elmo. It was a great gathering for the moms and their families. Being I am the biggest kid this was a no brainer!! I’ve been looking forward to this since they announced it!

We met at the Elmo’s musical which was a Christmas musical. I love Elmo but it’s like can you not?! Every kid has seen Elmo in some form since birth. Every year we used to get one of the Elmo dancing toys. Luckily our oldest are getting older and my youngest isn’t as into Elmo at this point. However when his voice start going, kids and adults alike can’t help but be happy!!

During the show one of my favorites Grover came out and I almost lost my mind. If I didn’t have kids I would still be at these type of shows. I love kid activities sometimes more than adult only ones. Well when I saw Grover it was a thing for me, I was louder than my own kids!! Screaming and waving!! Love you Grover!!

The show itself was super cute with Elmo asking the audience to find out what the holidays were about which weren’t about presents but being with friends and family!

All of us went to Cookie Monsters Cafe. Shout out to one of the moms who has season passes so we were able to use that 30% discount. It’s not cheap at these type of places. Although we got in for discount you could easily spend more money in food then you do in getting in and for a family of 5 my husband and I only heard dollars signs!! Yes dollars signs makes sound when you have to spend them. Trust me when you have a wife like me that wants to do everything and kids who want to do the same, my couponing all year long pays off!!

Then it was the time we all were waiting on and that’s the parade! You see all of the characters dancing and singing! Some of them coming into the crowd! I’m always aware of holes in crowds. These holes are the best place to catch a glimpse of everyone’s favorites! My son lost it cause the characters came and shook his hand.

Overall the experience and fun was well worth it cold and all. I would suggest that if you are attending any outside event to dress accordingly! We had layers, hand warmers, and practical shoes. I had to remind my 8 year old that we need to be warm not cute. I hope our family attends this and makes it a yearly event. I’m grateful for healthy kids that were able to attend. I don’t take their health for granted!!

Christmas with Elmo is a solid good time and the fact that it snowed the day before added another level of holidays that were nothing but magical!

My Snapchat is booming with fun!!

Oh with all the walking, two out of the 3 kids were knocked out cold! For a Mom moment that is a win!!

Sunday Message: Adults First

So all over the news lately are children taking their lines because they are being bullied. What is a child doing with this much pressure and disappointment in people that they feel the need to take their life? This saddens me however we talk so much about what to tell kids to do we forget one aspect and that is the adults play a huge part.

Now it’s not my place to judge the parents of those kids who took their life but I can encourage parents and adults now to do better. We show kids how to hate and then expect a different response. Let me use myself as an example. There are a handful of folks I don’t care for. I try my best not to speak ill of them but in addition I just don’t be bothered with folks. I know that out of sight will never take away anything that transpired but self preservation is healthy. We can’t tell kids to not engage when all we do is engage and go back and forth, argue and for what? After all of the back and forth you accomplish nothing.

They see you as a parent pop off so how can you tell them not to. I am a pop off type of person when warranted so because of that I tend to walk away. I can take a lot of digs but after awhile if I don’t walk away I would be 200% in and it’s bound to go left. I recognize in my kids that they have pieces of that. It’s my job through action to show them how to interact. I was in a store one time and this woman cut me off in line because “she was running late.” With my kids there I spoke up and of course she took it to the next level. Flames fuming in my eyes and mind I said what I needed to say and let that woman have the spot. I would have been justified if I had dug in her behind but it wouldn’t be easy to show my kids.

My kids and I had a long conversation. It wasn’t worth my kids getting scared or to be in that environment even though my mouth can be a professional roaster. Anyone who I have ever gone back and forth are usually taken back that I can hang with the best of them. I do not play. It’s important to understand that there are times to speak up, time to walk away, and a time to seek help.

If you want kids to mirror good behavior you have to mirror it with each other. You can’t always be the pull your hair in a ponytail, grab sneakers out the car parent all the time. You actually may have to find ways to end conflict instead of taking jabs to prove you aren’t a punk. When the time comes to take it to whatever level, be prepared to do all you can.

Also be careful with your internet handlings. Sometimes we tear folks down online and what have you accomplished. I’ve had one bad interaction with a family member that was a Godsend. It helped me in how I deal with everyone online. I refuse to go back and forth if the argument isn’t paying my bills, adding to my financial portfolio, or making me a better mother or wife. I refuse to engage in online banter and hand the time that’s all it ends in, banter. You haven’t changed someone’s mind, changed their life by speaking your mind. You and I both need all the mind we have and there is none to give. So save the online drama it’s fruitless. My online rule whether it be a stranger, family, or friends is that kids are ALWAYS off limits. You can speak bodily about not liking me I have thick skin but kids will today and forever remain off limits.

We need to speak more to our kids and respect them enough to ask what is going on. We got to do more listening then hearing. Just because you can repeat what your child said but didn’t hear what they said needs to be the goal. Be an active listener. When my kids say something happened, listen and then follow up. Some of these kids and what they do behind teacher and principals back can be damaging. My son told me of a situation and was so super detailed. I showed up spoke up and nothing happened. Then I walked up on the very thing that my son said and sure enough it was exactly how he described.

It wasn’t anything the teacher could say. I secured my son in the car which was semi in front of where the teacher and I was and let her know non politely how wrong she was. She was all the way wrong and it was at that moment where I learned that I too had to listen to my kids. I made sure that I went above and beyond to be in my child’s corner even more. He saw me there for him, he could trust that I was in his corner, the teacher knew I knew and from that moment I started documenting events. I still even though he’s not there have my notes and do I plan on using them? Most likely. Teachers and principals and administrators have a duty to protect. I know back in the say kids could say and do and it wasn’t nothing major but this ain’t the same day. You can’t have a closed mind with bullying and you have to be proactive. Lawsuits are real but more importantly kids are taking their lives and so the intolerance can’t and won’t continue. Any school or administrator I’ve worked with, that has a piss poor attitude regarding bullying, I’ve marked. I wouldn’t go on an active campaign against them but if asked I’ll forever give an honest recommendation.

We adults have to be there for these kids. I get so tired of older adults giving excuses of it “happened to me these kids will be okay,” “boys will be boys,” “they are alright,” or “they need to learn on their own” when it comes to bad behavior. If the climate for bad behavior will change it starts with the adults first. We must say the old way wasn’t benefiting and we must do what we can to change it. Do what you need to do to mirror good behavior. If your child is the aggressor acknowledge that too and actively work on it. Don’t make excuses. Don’t protect their bad behavior-deal with it!

We adults are all in total fault for how our own kids treat others kids. You can try that I didn’t teach them that but if you’re honest you know you do in how you talk, and interact with those around you. Kids do what you do not what you say not do!!!! Let’s step it up! Let’s make sure each classroom is a safe space. Let’s go into the classroom as parents and sit kids down and work out issues. Let’s work as a team.

Yearly Breakfast with Santa

One of my favorite things to do is to do the breakfast with Santa. It is such a great time. We have been doing it for the past 5 years and I love looking back and seeing the growth of the children in the pics.

This year as we always try to do is match. Outside of Easter what is the another time to dress alike? I personally take all dressing alike to another level. I live for these moments. Also I’m grateful for a husband who just goes with the flow. I used to only dress me and the kids but of late I’ve been making it a family affair. Anyone who knows me knows I like any personalized item.

We go to the Greater Plymouth Community Center and we have breakfast to start. At some point the Chick Fil-A cow comes in dressed in Santa gear. They have a room of activities and crafts and of course Santa Claus himself.

The kids and the parents have a blast and it always includes bingo. This year all 3 kids won prizes!!

So here’s to another year of having breakfast with Santa!!

Day Off I Conquered You

I love my kids so please don’t take this blog as a compliant because it’s not. They are the absolute best part of me. They are what I hope the future has to offer. They are amazing and really good kids. However when you work full time after years of being a stay at home mom, it’s always a mental check when they have days off. I’m always like looking and keep tapping into my creative bag to make sure I am one step ahead of them.

I enjoyed being off and not having to rush back into the office. That was a major steal. Not having to set that alarm was like having the best and biggest cup of coffee ever. I only wished that my body had gotten the memo that I was off. I was still up as if I had to get ready for work. My son is a super early riser. So that means that at 530 we were eye to eye because he enters my room making sure it’s time to get the day started. I had to convince him that he didn’t have school and a whole lot more convincing that he needed to go back to bed. Most kids like my girls wouldn’t have moved let alone had to be told numerous times to go back to bed.

As my husband got ready I could have taken the youngest to Daycare but she got wind the day before that the older kids didn’t have school and the fight to get her up didn’t make any sense. So I let her stay home. I got up with all this energy and cleaned the house, started laundry, and leaped through my to do list all before 10am. After breakfast we were headed out.

We have season passes to Legoland discovery and its days like today and having those passes that makes me want to break out into a full shout like I was in church!!

There is no way I wanted to let them conquer me today. The only way to run their energy level is to make sure they are out creating. What better way than at Legoland?! Yes for the Mom goals! I was able to keep up with them while being able to not have to pull my hair out. They enjoyed this day which in their mind they thought I was so super cool. So armed with snacks and drinks we made the best of the day. I was able to come home to laundry just about done, leftovers from Thanksgiving, and a clean house. If that ain’t winning I don’t know what is!!

Oh and as far as activities we go more than once a month and I know that we haven’t done all that there is to do. Between the building stations, the movies, and the interactive games, there’s something for both parents and kids. Come prepared to spend no less than 2 hours. You will not be disappointed!

I was even able to get 2 workouts in today!! I pressed myself to go to the gym when in reality I should have been too tired. However I have goals to crush so with that in mind instead of grabbing a glass of wine and disappearing after my husband got home, I just used my last energy to hit the gym!! So as I finish this, it’s time for me to log it off and get some shut eye!!

How to address an Elder

Respect is necessary when you deal with anyone. Elders should always have the highest respect. That is way I was taught but…….there is an addendum to respect that need to be addressed.

Elders have earned their spot in the family. However what do you do when an elder acts disrespectfully? It is a real thing. I know some elders feel that nothing that is said or done is deemed disrespectful but..I hate to be the bearer of bad news that’s not how it works. Now if a family member has a mind altering disease such as dementia or Alzheimer’s then a pass is inevitable. But there are some elders with no such illnesses but have clearly need some altering adjustments that they missed along the way.

At no time should you get into a conversation where you call anyone out their name regardless of age. Now I’m not going to act as if I haven’t allowed myself to get to that point but is it something that should be? No. In the black community any raising of your voice is disrespectful. If an elder is wrong you aren’t supposed to tell them they are wrong. If an elder is disrespectful their age has earned them this right. This is a yes and a no for me so let me explain.

I believe in giving respect that people put out. If an elder is wrong and gets loud, I may choose to let the elder have that moment. Not everything is worth a response but continued foolery needs to have a conversation or a removal of oneself from the equation until calmer heads can prevail. However it is okay to go back and address it. Sometimes you need a one on one. Once other folks get involved they add more confusion but that doesn’t need to take away from you getting your point across.

Feeling like you have to have an extra level of tact to me only gets extended to parents, grandparents and great Aunts and uncles. Some folks just set in their ways and for me it don’t be worth a lot of energy. Now to regular aunts, cousins, and siblings, we can speak about difficult situations and attempt to work it out. However talking about difficult conversation is not disrespectful. It is not, for the people in the back. I’m not going to call any of them out of their name because I don’t want the same to come to me, but we can have a heavy conversation and work or attempt to work things out. Even in my house my kids know that we as parents we can and have been wrong and we can say sorry.

I tell my kids that aunts, uncles, grandparents etc can be wrong but sometimes don’t expect an apology. Some folks don’t believe that kids can be disrespected because they are kids. I find that message to be wrong but that’s another blog for another day.

Always attempt to be respectful. Always attempt. You can’t help if the other party can go left but do not feel that a person’s title or age or stage is a welcome map for disrespectful behavior. You may have to find tact but no one is above a do better. No one. No one is too old to be wrong. No one is too (insert title) to admit wrong and apologize or to be called out. Even in tact you might find that the person is so upset that you had enough guts to call them out and in that will label you with disrespect. It is what is is. Do your best to show the respect you want to get but don’t get so caught up to think that is what is being shown is wrong because the other members you are up against you have taken a side.

Separate and know is what is being done now is from some unsettled conversations in the past. New issues can be underlying issues from the past. If you have never separated the issues and you are going off on some past hurt that you have never spoken about, calm down and make that known. No one knows what the issue is if you have held it in. Also know that after everything is said and done you may not get an admission of wrong doing. You may never get an apology.

You can proceed in life a few ways, you can continue to come around that person (s) when you’re ready. No one gets to determine the time line for you. You can forgive and move on and attempt to make things different. You can decide it’s not worth it and move on altogether. However regardless of what you do, make sure you attempt to make amends. Amends doesn’t mean your relationship will be the same. It means you walk in peace as you hope they walk in peace.

Don’t let someone you don’t deal with have so much power in your day to day that you talk about the issues, or get mad over and over again and you don’t even have interactions with them. Do you get how crazy that is? You give power to someone who doesn’t pay your bills and for what?! Learn to move as if the forgiveness was granted because you can give yourself permission to be okay.

Thanksgiving 2017: Break a Few Rules

So I really do hope everyone survived Thanksgiving especially for the readers that asked for advice. Not everyone was surrounded by love sometimes they are surrounded by dysfunctional family or friends and getting through may have been the only goal. However you spent it I hope you made the best of it.

I did a bunch of running around even though I had gotten off work early on Wednesday. Once home I started straight into cooking. Growing up my mom always cooked no matter who’s house we were set to visit. One reason is so we could always have our own personal dinner and get together and two so we could have them good left overs the day after. I kind of liked this tradition and I do the same.

So after the preparing and cooking, on Thanksgiving we decided to pull rank and do our own thing. We ate dinner for breakfast. I know a lot of folks do this the day after but we did it on Thanksgiving morning. It was fun, good and we did it while we watched the Macy Day Parade. Talk about a great day?! It was so much relieve from the norm.

After that we put our Christmas tree up, got dressed and headed to the movies. Yes the movies. I’ve heard of folks doing the movies on the holiday but I had never done it and it really came down to why not?! Why couldn’t we have a relaxed day with one another? So we did. We ended up seeing The Star which is about the birth of Jesus. I loved it. The kids were I really interactive with the movie and it made a great time. Also the soundtrack is amazing FYI!! And if you have younger kids like 3, they will be fine. It has enough action to keep them fully engaged. It also allowed my own 3 year old to ask questions afterwards too. It’s not stuffy and as an adult I would see it without the kids.

Oh and for another new thing we decided to have bacon wrapped turkey. I know a lot of folks that don’t eat pork and generally I do turkey bacon but this turkey was nothing short of amazing. You didn’t even need gravy for it!! FYI the below picture is before it was cooked before the holier than thou accuse me of not being able to cook. Don’t come for me today!!

We did go to my uncles house. This is my husband Uncle but he’s my uncle just the same. It’s always a great thing when in laws really become an extension of your own. He hosted dinner as he’s done many times before and it was a great time!!

One of the things my kids enjoyed was not having to wear dressy clothes and sit at the table. Shout out to the parents that had some of the best dressed kids including my nieces. We just opted against it this year! We instead kept it causal and cute!

We sit at the table for every last meal. We decided to have our breakfast dinner together in the living room. Why not?! The meaning of Thanksgiving is to be together and sometimes when you don’t sit at the table all year long you want to make this big production of gathering around the table once a year. Not us we do this year round so we flipped it this year. I saw some amazing spreads and beautiful tables and trust I am the queen of holiday flare but this was our casual comfy Year. I’ll hit it hard for next year….maybe.

I want to openly say how grateful I am for my own little family, extended family, amazing friends, and my followers!!!

Overall we came home and reflected and this year we really were able to combine a little of something for everyone. The kids enjoyed breaking a few rules and relaxing. The parents had great holiday drinks, good food and felt like it was the most relaxed Thanksgiving we have had in a long time. So cheers to making it our own and creating our own traditions along the way. I hope you too had a great day and a great rest of your weekend!! I know I will as I fix another plate!!

Another note if you’re able try to give unto others. I woke up to some amazing stories that I’ve been seeing online about some regulars community members spreading good cheer and love. The holidays is what it’s all about!