Monday, June 18, 2012

40+Babies: Growing Pains

40+Babies: Growing Pains: Father's Day was a blast for my daughter. She enjoyed her first real movie theater experience. It was like her " first date " where she sat...

Growing Pains

Father's Day was a blast for my daughter. She enjoyed her first real movie theater experience. It was like her "first date" where she sat with Daddy (too small for the theater seats) totally enveloped by the big screen. It was nice to see the wonder and excitement in her face. Frankly I have always been afraid of the movies but she took it all in stride.

Honestly, lately I have been just marveling at my daughter's growth, the time that has passed, and where we are now. When your baby first comes you have no idea of what the future holds. Watching them grow is incredible. The stages seem like they will last forever when really they are over in the blink of an eye. At 3, she truly makes hilarious jokes. The conversations we have are smart and pleasantly sensitive.  However, recently I have had a slight air of sadness. Each day I watch my child, I realize that all this time I have spent with a baby is coming to an end rapidly. All this time living with all the emotion, love, worry and and ambivalence that has been the motherhood experience since they put her in my arms. Sometimes there is comfort in all that anxiety! Now my girl is transitioning out of "baby" and into "big girl", and guess what all new anxieties arise. She has a friends, although their status varies daily, my daughter has reached the point of discerning who she will and will not be friends with by her own standards. Of course whoever has the coolest toy helps!

Right now we are in the middle of "Mommy, I don't want to wear that!!", "Can we go to the zoo?", "Do you want your face painted Mommy-Baby?"- She is a person with her own identity. At today's pick up in school I learned that, for now, she wants to be a doctor and a mermaid! Essentially, with her own opinions and approaches to situations, its time to realize that pampers and pacifiers are a thing of the distant past. Its all sparkly shoes and tutus for now!

So many mothers have come before me and I love to learn from their experiences. Truly with age comes wisdom. This journey reveals so many things about life, and about  how a new person develops. Right now I just want to share the wonder that is the incredible person I watch bloom daily! She inspires me!


Monday, May 14, 2012

The Price of Being Amazing

Its been a rough two weeks as a parent for both of us. Clearly, its been nothing compared to what my daughter has been dealing with daily for over 2 months. So many times the desire to write out these latest developments have been quelled by the emotional roller-coaster currently my family is engaged in. Simply put, my daughter is 3 years old and she is brilliant! Always petite in her stature, she is the true personification of her name, which in Japanese means "Happy Person". We have taught her many things and so much more to come. She has enjoyed innumerable educational, cultural and social experiences for such a short time on this Earth. Started school very early and always excelling academically, without a doubt I am extremely proud of her development.

Apparently, the act of bullying can begin as early as 4 years old. When a smart, friendly, expressive (yet somewhat timid) 3 year old is immersed in a group of 4 years olds, if she is not careful her self esteem and future confidence could be swallowed up in the constant taunting, childish meanness and social ostracizing of her peers.  My daughter currently is that "different" child in her class. I have to admit I hate it on so many levels. Initially, it dampens my glow of the innocence of children. And for that I am extremely saddened.  Several posts back I talked about watching my child be "treated" a certain way and reconciling that she had some hard and fast lessons to be learned. Social lessons. That would help her grow and learn, There would be no way for me to know that I was just witnessing a window into future events. 

At this point, a once very anxious and excited child to attend school is daily reluctant and apprehensive. She comes up with different attempts to stall going to school daily. In the past she would be jubilant about spending the day with "friends". Secondly, my trepidation about having to confront  the teachers, administration and possibly the parents became a source of internal conflict. I am clear that I am a distinct protagonist. My admiration for the loud brash purveyor of all that is right and just is evident. However, it is not my style. Very much the strategist and insidious attacker, I have been compiling mental "data" since we started at this school. Many days lurking around to witness various interactions and unseen behaviors. I saw my share, my mistake was thinking the teachers saw as much as I.

Bottom-line my child has been identified as the smallest, most immature (compared to the 4s), "baby" of the class. In order to survive she has adapted to some very unlikely behavior that gets her in trouble at home. Now I have realized that she is figuring out her adapting mechanisms. A great deal of this seems almost innate to both the children who antagonize her and my daughter who navigates this daily maze. That's the Sociologist in me, studying the group dynamic!

Here is the irony, last week I had enough and decided to communicate with the school director. It was an awesome meeting where we dialogued about creative solutions to teach the children in the class to better coexist and that the current behaviors will not serve them well in the future. Our daughter expressed her concern not only for her own safety but that of other classmates and that genuinely made me proud of her as a human being. We all left feeling hopeful that this situation would be a lesson for all involved and we would grow while working together, That was last Thursday...on Friday one of her classmates bit my daughter and left an incredible set of  teeth (yes I said TEETH) impressions in her back. The best way to express how I felt when I found out was Seething Fury! I was so quiet with my fury I scared myself a little. Her teacher looked for a reaction while apologizing profusely. She got nothing except "its time we go" in a very stern calm voice.  My main thought was "why would a person think its okay to bite my amazing child". And where is this child/parent for me to totally incinerate with my $25 words I learned in all them schools I have gone to!

When you have idle conversation we say things quite flippantly without much regard. Occasionally words may resonate but for the most part folks are not listening to one another. My daughter's teacher was livid, embarrassed, ashamed, and so very empathetic. I heard none of it! She knew that somehow she had dropped the ball and now this deed was magnified by the dialogue we just had the very day before. What was even more horrifying was that the offending child's parent never stayed around to apologize or discuss the incident when I came to pick up my daughter.

Here is where I go dark....for many years I really had no desire to have children. I find this world to be a very cruel and harsh experience at times. It was much safer for me not to partake in life's endeavors and just observe from the sidelines, that hurt that fellow human beings incessantly were causing one another. Always understanding that children keep the species going and that hope always remains in the heart of a child. For my 20s and the majority of my 30s I had reconciled it wasn't for me. There would be no need for me to deal with the pain and worry of children because I didn't have the emotional bandwidth. This merciless act committed by a child onto my child just brought all those feelings back. The fact that the parent would disregard the pain of a child, not just mine but any child made me livid. 

Then Mother's Day came, and I spent the weekend truly enjoying my daughter. Her laughter, her incredible sense of humor, and her wisdom. You see these children call her "baby" which in turn she has turned into a song and it makes her laugh hysterically. They tell her they don't want to play with her and so she has no problem playing by herself and making something interesting enough that they want to join. On the day of our meeting with the school's director, I picked my daughter up and she ran over to the main bullies and said "Okay my Mommy is here, I am going and you be careful in the park, Okay?" They all held hands and said good bye. Is that resilience or is it brilliance? Really I don't know, but I am grateful that her heart and soul are so magnanimous. In the meantime, I am looking for a Karate or Tae Kwon Do class!!It is more clear to me than ever before that she chose me because she knew I would see that in her, and give my last breath to nurture and protect the fine spirit that she always will be!!!


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Busy Thursdays

"Mommy Mommy Mommy, what are we gonna do? And then what are we gonna do? What are we gonna do after that?" Those are daily questions in my house! Our children have grown accustom to ALWAYS being on the move. Going to play dates since infancy. School, extra circular activities, friends, family.. the park playground you name it. Honestly I don't remember being THIS busy as a child. They have seriously intense schedules!

As a parent guilty of this same circumstance I figure why not be yet another resource for parents to find creative ways to grow and cultivate your child's time. Okay yes, I am trying to keep them busy as well! Yeesh!!!

Great resources if you are here in NYC are:


Look for local resources in your area and feel free to share with us here! Happy Busy!!


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Mothering of The Mother

How many times have you found the love and compassion you need from your child? My daughter is 3 years old and without pause she is always saying, "don't worry Mommy, don't worry"...So now I wonder (and worry) what has she learned about me that requires her to make sure I don't go overboard on the worry? Is she parroting or am I projecting? These are the burning questions.

Oftentimes, parents feel like their children cant handle the burden of emotional outlet. In my extremely limited experience as a mother I am finding quite the contrary to be true. The unconditional love, constant observation process and expressed intuition of a child is amazing. There have been numerous times when a child has tapped right into my emotional state of being and their capacity to clue in is overwhelming. More so, I have learned to respect that it is possible that a child's gift is to be able to sense whats going on with the adults around them. Dare I say as a coping mechanism. "Mommy is really happy" so the child then acts accordingly. For me its when I am trying to camouflage a deeper issue and my daughter says, "Mommy you want me to hug you?". All I can think is "dude, you are tight with your intuituon, I DIG THAT ABOUT YOU!!!" Is that primal instinct?

It is their innocence that allows them to be so well tuned? Clearly its not learned because then more adults would have the ability for incredible compassion. If you are spiritual, its possible that angels or some unseen force require the child to listen with more than just ears. Really I do not know!

This may be the utter ramblings of a very tired Mommy but this space if my outlet for all things in my head. Lately, I have chosen to respect my child's intuition and ability to sense exactly what I need. Its to be enjoyed now because soon external factors may filter that special quality down. Lets hope not!

Check out this article and hopefully some clarity will be gained. Cheers!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Where's My Mojo- She Stoled My Mojo

Spring is here! Ideally it is always the preparation precursor time for Summer. The weather has been interesting here in NYC. In March, we had unseasonably hot weather. The panic of not having my daughter's "warm weather" gear in place loomed. True to my nature, I went into mass shop/recycle (that discussion is touched upon in the Your Journey page) mode. As the month progressed and April hit, some arctic experience that we haven't had all winter is ever-present. We literally are wearing wool coats and hats again.

As I go through the closets, my daughter's as well as my own, I realize that I can NO LONGER use the "I just had a baby" line for the state of my current outward appearance. Granted nothing fits well anymore. Thank God for the JCrew Perfect Tee shirt obsession I have had for years otherwise my wardrobe would consist of hefty bags and Ugg Boots. During the renovation of my home I had to strip my closet bare and put all of my clothing into bins/boxes where they continue to reside to this day. I have completely organized my daughter's wardrobe and sorted out she can no longer be wear. So her closet is in a good place. Hooray for that! My closet unfortunately looks like some television report about one of those bombed out countries with debris (yes I said DEBRIS) everywhere.

The interesting thing about youth is the arrogance associated with your future. When you were younger, how many of us looked at women with children, prior to having any, and said "she looks crazy, that will never be me". Hey, hey, hey now! As an admitted "faller off-er" (yes that is an actual term I made up) I see how being a mother coupled with being an "adult" can lend to a lack of regard for the superficial. Is this denial? Laziness? Or just pure being overwhelmed and tired? I submit, its a combination of many things. Kids require a lot, that is an understatement. For me its been the mental block of "getting myself together". Every month for 3 years I have been starting diet...a cleanse...the list is endless. Then I allowed a friend to convince me that I may be post-postpartum. REALLY?!?! The kid just turned 3, if I'm not over it by now I need to go see Oprah or Dr. Oz! Not to make light of those feelings of anxiety and depression associated with postpartum ailments.

Finally, last night an epiphany! As my quiet moment of solace was interrupted by my three year old crying because she wet the bed (nighttime potty training is the worst) and I haggardly ran my fat behind up two flights of stairs, only for the child to then proceed to pee on me. It came to me in a warm sensation (no not the pee pee). It was the realization that I am resenting the lost of all that I thought made me fabulous. My Mojo has been stolen! Clearly, the violated feeling that is associated with that has been extremely unpleasant. After cleaning her and everything up, I went to my Facebook page and looked at old pics. Ahh the memories of the clearer skin, a flatter stomach and tighter pants (by choice, not necessity). Making the comparison to the old me versus who I am now, I have to say was shall we say....enlightening! Yes lets be kind wont we.

Today, a bit more perspective was in order. Simply, if your mind is vacant your body and reality will show that emptiness. Comparing the present to the past is truly a worthless endeavor. Thus the responsibility for the current state of mental, spiritual and physical is mine alone to shoulder. The only person who stole my Mojo is me! Well, as I grow up just a little more, I am going to have to kindly demand it back. Dare I say an enhanced version is truly in order. Stay tuned!!!!


Friday, April 6, 2012

Sometimes 3 is just 3

Birthday season for my family is officially OVER! Daddy has the first birthdate, then me and last my daughter. We are each 7 days a part and I take birthdays VEEEEERY seriously. This is the first year my daughter seemed to really care about her birthday. Through the excitement of the upcoming party and seeing her friends, I realized that she was totally getting into it. It made me think about the dynamics of the birthday! 

The first birthday is completely for the parents, family and friends. Poor little ones just want to gurgle, take a nap, cruise or sit down somewhere. I get it, I feel that way at most parties myself! Two is about the beginning of mayhem! Watching the little ones run and crash into each other is the deal for the day. The third birthday seems to be a lot cooler. My daughter was happy to greet friends at the door. She was totally invested in the entertainment  (okay, to an extent, not really totally invested) and watching people party because it was "her fun". Being the leader that she is, (okay she is bossy) she  made sure all were playing and participating in the fun of the day. She is a hands on hostess!

As we embark on three years old, I am thinking about all the advancement we currently enjoy. Going to the bathroom independently, choosing what to eat and feeding oneself, so many strides have been made in a relatively short amount of time. However, we have all new phases to learn about. Not used to tantrums, now opinions and feelings can be verbalized. The will power is pretty much insurmountable at times. All of this physiological growth and complex personality development tends to catch me off guard. I find myself looking at my child like she is an alien being. After a really interesting, bathroom "I want to take my own shirt off" tantrum I wondered out loud, "who are you?". Yes I literally said it OUT LOUD!!!  For anyone who knows my daughter, you know she has a very old soul. Many have found themselves confiding in her and seeking advice. She is an extremely easy person to talk to and at times she has an uncanny sense of apathy. Which can draw a person to further share with her. But she is only 3!

Sometimes, when I think of how children are able to selectively express their capabilities. We see them develop with personalities, confidences, fears, friendships, and proclivities. I have said it before, but its amazing to me that these small people function totally and completely as such! I want her to explore and express her genius, while I am pushing for her to absorb every cultural and educational stimuli placed in front of her, I have to remind myself (now especially) that sometimes we have to let 3 just be 3 and love it!

Another year for us has begun...lets see what this 40plusBaby has in store!!!

Happy Easter to you and yours 

This is where we celebrated: 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Terrible Twos Meet Treacherous Threes

When you don't have children and you see them "cutting up" out in public or somewhere with their parents there are a multitude of judgmental thoughts that can flood your mind. "If /when I have a child I will not stand for that kind of behavior!"...Oh REALLY!!!! Oftentimes I admit, "my daughter did this" or "she isn't going for that..." and some of my more seasoned parents inform me that I am the adult. There is truth is that, but the child is a person as well and that has to be respected.

In a different light, for the past 2 years, 11 months my child and I have gone through many life changing events. I have watched her develop a personality from as small as 5 months. Being a responsible parent, I have tried to research and read, study and observe as much as possible in order to stay on top of parenting my child. When she turned two years old she was in school, speaking fluently with great diction. She had no problem telling me what she did and did not want, who her friends were and what she did and did not like to eat. As the months progressed, I thought..."okay maybe two isnt so terrible". We would sing in the car, she was truly a delight! Then we hit 2 and a half!  WOW! Potty training, learning to read and math, extra curricular activities all matured her is ways I could never imagine. She and I were able to talk about the stories and projects in art class. The kids in Chinese class and what they were doing. Still singing songs in the car, "turn that up Mommy thats my song"! Not much by way of stubborn behavior or tantrums.

2 years and 9 months in, she became a REAL PILL!!! I find myself saying at least once a week "who are you and what have you done with my child". No more post-school discussions, at least not until she is ready to talk. She is so obstinate. Stubborn!! A few weeks ago there was...wait for it... dare I say...A TANTRUM!!! I looked at her like "what the flick?!?!?!" She fell out in the front yard about a purple car! The other night she had a serious meltdown about me taking her shirt off for bath time. I thank God my neighbors didn't call Children's Services. The screams alone would have had me on lock down.

As is my nature, I have been in full analysis mode! Why is she acting like this? Is it the school? Partly yes, she is observing the behaviors of some of her classmates and trying to bring that mess home. I got that right away and now I know to ask her, "who in class acts like this?" She answers and then I proceed with my "be an individual and that isn't how we act" speech. Is she having some maladjustment somewhere? Is she ADD? What?!?!?! Then I reconcile that although I will continue to observe and address as much as possible. That chick is turning 3 years old and its about to be ON!!! She is very smart, she is a budding master manipulator, and her MOUTH is a force that I can only say she comes by very naturally.

The sleep-hazed days of infancy are over. The cutesy days of learning to walk sippy cups and learning to hold your own spoon are a thing of the past. Parenting is in full gear right now. Watching her learn how she is going to navigate and move is more interesting now than ever. I used to joke about when I had a child if they did something  I didn't like I would take the child in the backyard and just box with them. Now I have a child, and boxing is the last thing I wanna do but I am definitely going to have to tighten my mental sparring game up!

Keep us in your prayers!


Monday, March 12, 2012

12 yr Old Homeschooled Boy Enters Morehouse

The Plight of Excellence: Overwhelmed or Unchallenged?

My good sister-friend posted this link on FB today:

And of course it prompted an interesting discussion about how much we are exposing our children to in order to ensure making the best people we can possibly make. Another friend (this is the greatest thing about Facebook, a countrywide discussion amongst friends), who is not a parent took the stance of "why not let the kids be kids". Admittedly, when I was not somebody's mother I felt the same way. Is it harsh to have the children in music classes, multiple language classes, structure play groups, arts classes, etc. and dare I say SCHOOL when they are only 2 years old? 

The article posted is about those parents so obsessed with excellence that they are enrolling their children on the waiting list for the best programs while in the womb. Is that insanity or really smart planning? Honestly, I'm not sure. Hindsight and all, if I knew about the different activities and programs, that I didn't know about 3 years ago, how much more advanced would my child be? Who is really to say? I like to think that I expose my child to a great deal but I do know mothers who do way more than I and their children reflect their respective experiences. Is the quest for the super smart, well adapted children giving way to a society of toddlers/children that just may not be having any fun? 

Coming from a household of strict higher education, I think "fun" may have been overrated for quite some time now. Not to say that I don't want my child to have fun, be silly and do what children do. It just seems to me that to some extent, over the past 20 years, while our children were having fun a good part of the world has surpassed us on so many levels. Our public educational system has become an exercise in futility and purely classicist. There are children in both urban and suburban areas who have very limited skills and capacity. Technology, if used improperly, has paved a way of critical thinking lethargy!

For a long time I had no desire to have a child. I always considered myself too self absorbed to share my life. Then with my first miscarriage the reality of inevitability becoming a mother was intensely overwhelming. In my periphery, I started to listen more carefully to educational statistics. Closely, I watched my family and friends mature through their mothering process and observed lifestyle changes. I paid more attention with what would seem to be a very clinical eye. One conclusion made was that you really needed to have a viable working plan in order to raise a good child. It would seem that when people don't plan to have the child, the child has no plan to grow. Conversely, I did not plan to have a child but through my earlier loss I did develop a contingency plan, in the event of having a child. So far my child is doing well with the parts of the plan I have implemented thus far but I am clear that she is an individual and will definitely deviate from the plan at some point. Am I prepared? Possibly. One should always have a working Plan B! And C, or D!!!

My daughter will continue to grow into an extraordinary person, and with the Grace of God protecting her all I can ask is that she continue to be great, productive person and excel. 


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Art of Growing

"When we approach children with the awareness that they can teach us, we automatically become more present ourselves."- Daily OM

To watch a person grow is truly a wonder of Grace. When you are in the presence of a person everyday, oftentimes their metamorphosis into a completely different being goes without notice. Then there are several moments that show you that the person's life you are witnessing has changed dramatically. As well, there is the "oh my God, look how big she has gotten" moments that a person enjoys when they haven't seen first hand the daily growth occurrences.

Albeit a simplistic notion, the bottom-line is growth is inevitable. Looking at pictures from the past allows the capture of time gone by. The best advice to give any new parent is to record as many moments as possible in any way you can. Camera, video, audio, whatever your realm record your children because they are ever rapidly changing and you have all new wonders to capture and explore. 

I chose the above quote because today's epiphany was that of learning through watching my child grow. To think that just a blink of an eye ago she needed me to feed her, clean her, hold her to sit and stand...This journey moves entirely too fast and the learning curve is so overwhelming that so much can get lost of you arent recording most of it!

You can appreciate the art of learning through watching your child develop. So much they have to absorb by 5 years old. Its amazing! Its awesome when you watch them grow on a monitor. Then the grow right out of your hands and into their own space. This is an interesting time to have such a small child. At my age, friends are having grandchildren and they are learning through that experience to enjoy their children differently than they did as parents. As well I am surrounded by new parents of small children. The awe and surprise that comes with the daily interaction of small children is still astounding.

Ideally, we should always be growing no matter what the age in some form or fashion. I just wish there was a time machine form of record that would allow for past moments to be revisited! Cause I sure would love to see 24 again!!!! HAHAHAHA You thought it was gonna be ablout the little girl didn't you!  Yes, well I would love to see months 1-6 again of my little sweet sweet!!1

Enjoy the time you have because it moves to fast to can hold on! 



Saturday, March 3, 2012

An Old New Spin on Things

Sometimes when I think about all that is shared in this space I wonder if its too personal. Many late nights, this blog has been used as a vehicle of release and a source of comfort. Is there any value in the rantings of an overwhelmed mother? Possibly.... but clearly it would better serve the community to have some useful and empowering information. 

Hello my name is Chana and I am a shopaholic! All of my love of shopping has been an exercise of high and lows. I appreciate a good deal. Love a great deal! Since the beginning, I have been extremely strategic about shopping for my daughter. Typically, I shop either a season or two ahead in order to find great deals. As well, I use the old stuff to leverage the new acquisitions. This later point has been the fundamental basis for buying premiere quality items. People seem to think we are rich, when in fact I just am really good at leveraging. Literally, I bought (3) $1000+ strollers what a person would pay for 1 average stroller (under $500). Dont ask me why we had to have more than one stroller. She has had the best car seats for both cars, and lets not discuss her wardrobe.

How did we accomplish this coup de shop? Many different ways, within New York City there are awesome children's swap-meets, stoop sales, consignment shops, neighborhood parent email list servs and my all time favorite Ebay. These passed 3 years have been an insurmountable journey in finds and losses. Once my daughter grows out of a substantial grouping of items, I pick out the best and sell. Last summer we made close to $400 in a stoop sale, just on the 0-12 month clothes and shoes. Once the weather breaks we can do a larger sale because we are finally out of the "months" and have hit the "Ts". Its on now baby!

Be strategic about your purchases because what you have used and can use no more, someone else will pay for and be very happy. Some people give away and that's fine but money can be made quite effortlessly on the items you no longer need and then its not such a budget buster to get new stuff. Toys can be recycled or sold to daycare centers for a very nominal amount. Try your hand at bartering, donating, re-gifting or flat out selling. You would be surprised how gratifying the purging process can be on so many levels!

Happy releasing!


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Its A Crap Shoot! Is it?!?!

The other day I had a conversation with a sorority sister and friend whom I love dearly. She is my age and has newly teenaged twin daughters. The benefit of learning her seasoned "mothering skills" and the great advice makes for an invaluable learning experience. The first month my daughter was home she came to visit, she was the ONLY honest person with me about the challenges of being a new mother. We spoke of the overwhelming loneliness and confusion. She helped me to relate to the post fan fare and the reality of my new responsibility. My friend has always been a great touch stone of reality and support.

So when another sorority sister-friend sent out some info on advocating positively through your child's educational experience I wanted to discuss with my resident expert. As we spoke about the information we received and how it pertained to our respective situations, it became abundantly clear that although she has teenagers, and I a toddler, we were enduring similar circumstances in making sure our children were being properly educated and socialized. The interesting thing about our discussion is my friend speaks from the mindset of childhood coming to a conclusion. Her daughters are burgeoning on womanhood and moving rapidly into adulthood. Meanwhile on the other end of the spectrum I am beginning this journey into schools and teachers, friends, social gatherings and personal expectations.

My friend and I discussed how schools can offer so much or so little. The support mechanisms put in place to help your child excel as well as the pitfalls they may suffer as a result of being overlooked. She listened intently to my light rant about the challenges of preschool as she regaled me with her challenges of high school. Basically the statement that resonated with me the most was as we talked schools she said, "its a crap shoot on whether or not you are making the best decisions when you are making them"- And she is absolutely right. With all the information, research and tools available we still have to have faith that we are making the best decisions for our children. I love gleaning from the experience of people who have gone through the fire. For all of the friends, sisters, associates and organizations I belong to- the sisterhood of mothers is a power force and I am most grateful to be a member. 


Monday, February 27, 2012

Today's Hurt = Tomorrow's Strength

Went to pick the little girl up from school and as usual, I tried to go in full "stealth" mode. Sometimes I am able to walk in without her seeing me, that allows the opportunity to observe her being her "school" self. Today, as I waked in, she was at the head of the table surrounded by her classmates in their respective seats. They were playing while waiting for a birthday party to begin. Her teacher walked over, looking worn from a day of three and four year old ( and my only two) incredibly smart, precocious children. "Can you hang out for a minute, Mom, we are about to sing Happy Birthday"! At that point my daughter sees me, runs over and turns immediately into Mommy's Girl. After guiding her back to her seat and telling her that she is to stay with her classmates I stepped out of (her) sight and go back to my semi-covert observation stance.

As the methodical chaos of children stirring about, teachers setting up cupcakes and organizing for song, the birthday boy's mother and grandmother are snapping pictures and smiling. I watch my daughter interact with a two young ladies in her class. I witness one girl say something mean to my daughter and the other co-sign with her friend. My daughter comes over to me and says, "they don't want me to play with them". I say to her, "go back and tell them you want to play with them and if they say no then move on to your other friend". She complies and the girls don't want her to play.  My child goes over to her other friend and she is more amenable. My heart is broken! In her previous school we never had an issue with friends. It seemed like she was adored by teachers, students, the administration.... I stood there watching my daughter navigate between the "mean girls" and a friend in the midst of so much going on that no one saw what was going on except, her mother. 

In that moment, I realized that my child is truly a person that I can only protect to a point. She is learning more than numbers, words and sentences. Hell in the month she has been at this school she has gone from baby to little girl and really its for me to keep up. Everyday, I drop her off and her day is filled with great moments, learning moments, accomplishing moments and mean kid moments. Now that I have seen first hand, its my duty to prepare her as best I can. No this isn't bullying, its a little girl learning socialization skills and frankly some of those lessons are painful. It just so happened that on this day I witnessed her growth process outside of what she gets at home. It hurt like hell, I almost cried in the school, who could want to be mean to my daughter her very name means "happiness". 

People will be mean to her for no reason or many reason, but that child, my child, is protected on more levels than anyone could ever understand. So I am clear that with God's Grace and a little bit of Bed Stuy prep schooling, she will continue to be an amazing person and learn how to deal with the meanies. Always remember when you are cultivating amazing, mediocrity will have its jealous foot stuck out there to try to trip you. Not happening with my girl!

Peace and Be Easy

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Black History Month Toddler Style

"Mommy do you know Malcolm X? I know him and he is scrong!!" To hear those words come from a two year old is an amazing thing. Then the next day, "I heard the pointer..No Pointer"- She was talking to me about Noel Pointer, jazz violinist. In this first Black History Month of my daughter being of the age of academic learning and socialization, she has retained so much information about the heros and she-ros of our culture. Its amazing to see how the human sponge brain of a two year old works. For her to relate to Madame CJ Walker, Harriet Tubman, and Sojourner Truth as people who look like her with "really interesting stories"- (her words not mine) is not only refreshing but gives me hope that the subtle infusions of Nick Jr and Disney wont totally warp her sensibility.

We started this month reading about Martin Luther King, trying to get her to say his full name properly what the biggest challenge and the most fun. Game sites like,, and the few board games that I was able to purchase that focus on African American notable figures. My daughter has been able to view on the computer and through interactive play that people that look like her are powerful, smart and amazing!

Of course this is only the beginning of her journey through empowerment through learning. Now to be the corny mother but its awesome to be the proponent and witness to the beginning of this person's life journey. She is learning so much too fast and its a balance to revel in her greatness as well and guide her learning strengths. Keep us in your prayers and in positive light always!


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Day That A Difference Makes

Our last post  was a bit of an emotional rant about my daughter adjusting to new surroundings in her school. What I considered an overload of potty training, new sleep habit training, new friends, new school and what I consider an all around household of chaos. Needless to say it took a very good friend of mine to reel me in and told me to "relax, and give yourself a break". Definitely words and support that were needed and on time.

The day my daughter went in and gave an emotional appeal to not wanting to be in where she was truly gripping. Today, she ran into school, waving and saying "hello" to teacher and classmates. So I wondered, how a day of the same routines and people can garner such different results. The life of a toddler must be riddled with so much emotion. The constant learning, the movement of daily occurrences, so many things going on in their lives as we try to teach them.

Just a short update that today was drastically different from yesterday. When I asked my daughter last night how she felt about her school she was fine. All the fear and emotion was gone, at that moment. As she grows into new experiences she will learn that baseless fear is a useless emotion.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Overwhelming Love- Happy Valentine's Day

Today is the day in which we publicly acknowledge and celebrate love. Valentine's Day. With all the daily movement sometimes we forget that all good things come from love. This morning I take the little girl to school. She is having a very difficult adjustment period with this new school and I cant figure out why. Granted everyone in her class is like a year older and for the 2s and 3s that's like dog years. They are so far more advanced in their conversations and interactions. But academically that is where she is right now. She is an only child and so most of the socialization is at school and extracurricular activities. New school is always difficult anyway, and I notice when I see her a lot of time spent doing her own thing. However she was that way in the other school. My daughter is a person who constantly seems to roll like a lone dove. I see her at parties and in school and she is there but really not close, she is more of an observer. Yet her friends and peers really love her. Many times I dropped her off at her old school and the children would run to her screaming her name in excitement. She would stand there, allow them to adore her and go in about her business. As the children in the new school get to know her I see a similar pattern but they are still quite aloof because she isn't interacting as they are just yet. We all hoping her adjustment period comes to fruition soon.

Yesterday I realized that this is a lonely plight and it hurts my soul. Has my child, already, developed her mother's issue of feeling alone in a crowd. Always doubting her worthiness to participate where she clearly was meant to be. My daughter is extremely intuitive and I as I have said before I trust that in her. Yes it is new but she knows that she is being required to step her game up and this is a different kind of environment to get her to the level she needs to be. 

When you see your child grow from a small totally dependent person into an independent, expressive aware person you should realize that is "overwhelming love" at work. Good, bad or what have you as I witness my daughter's journey what she feels I feel even greater because I understand more about it. Watching her learn and grow, teaches me so much about life, people and circumstance. I know this isn't the fluffy hearts and flowers version for such a day but I have an exquisite love and I want to make sure I put out into the Universe that I am grateful to have this experience!

Appreciate the love that has been given to you through the angels we call our children!

Cheers, enjoy the day!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

How Can They and I Cant? Potty Blues

Two years old and we are in full potty training mode. When I first had my daughter I heard about how easy girls were at potty training. I roll with a super overachieving proactive crowd, so I heard stories of friend's kids being potty trained at 18 months and I was like "whoa" is that what we are up against?

When my daughter turned 2, I was on a mission to have her talking in full 20 word sentences, potty trained, reading Thoreau, and speaking 7 foreign languages...okay really only 3. So here we are closing in on 3 years old, she is progressing nicely. She is doing well on her 3 languages, reading Rainbow Fish, and the potty issue has become more complex than I could have EVER imagined. Someone please explain to me the 'Public" vs. "Private" potty distinction. This little girl can go to a restaurant and clearly state that she has to use the bathroom. Use the facilities and wash her hands. She is enamored with motion activated fixtures. When we are home, NOTHING!! She will go and sit in a wet Pull Up or panty and clothes forever if I allow it. Its the craziest thing.

At school, they have this regimented approach to training and I respect it. The children become accustom to hearing a bell at certain times and they know at that point they must go to the bathroom. Quite Pavlovian for my tastes but in less than 2 days my daughter already has a new level of respect for panties, going to the potty on cue, verbalizing at home the need to go, and the desire to not be wet. TWO DAYS!!!  Meanwhile, I made this fabulous potty chart, she pulled the stickers off and ripped it off the wall. For months we woke up and went directly to the bathroom, established a routine. That routine has since become me sitting on the toilet while she performs for me. Am I not the worst mother!!!!

You can either stress out on this stuff or let it happen as it will. I choose the later because left up to me the girl would be 19 years old in Pull Ups dancing while I pull my Depends up!!!!! Yikes!


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

First Day Blues- Pt. Duex, My Daughter Is Racist?

Last installment I talked about my daughter moving to a new school. So here is the interesting part, as we sat there, and she was crying beyond belief I tried to analyze this reaction. When we, initially, visited the school she was very outgoing and adapted to the environment very well. So I figured if we ever needed to leave her school it would be a good fit. Well due to circumstances, we had to change schools.

Her first school was an oasis of light, wonderful families, very culturally diverse student body. She felt safe and nurtured in that school and aesthetically the place worked for us. It is a very nice school. My daughter, clearly, loved it. But very few of her teachers looked like her. In our home I make it a point to have books, art, any kind of visual stimuli to enforce who she is and her heritage. She is a black girl in a world that does not look favorably upon us at all. Its my job to make her proud of who she is and where she comes from. Sounds good! There are so many exterior influences are working against my efforts. 

Often I wonder where this multicultural approach is taking our children. Until now, my daughter's primary teachers were mostly Latinas. She has extra curricular activities taught by Caucasians. Friends that she loves of all different ethnic backgrounds, lessons in Mandarin taught by Chinese teachers. She was immerse in a Euro-based "majority" assimilation based school environment. 'The Wheels on the train go round and round"... What must my child think of her surrounding world? She is growing up in traditionally African American based Bed Stuy but her Bed Stuy is starkly different than mine! Ironically, her school was not reflecting much of her own culture at all.

As we sat, she cried in fear, I asked her soothing questions to discern how to give her comfort."Do you want to sit with the other kids at the table?" "No!"; "Do you want some apple" "No!"; I looked around and the school continued in session, basically continuing the daily routine despite the wailing child. I observed the teachers care for all of these small children in so many ways. Caring, nurturing, and showing a lot of love to so many children. 

Then I thought about it, this school was different in very stark ways than what my daughter was used to. Teachers that looked like her, with a significantly different style and approach to the kids. I continued, "Do you want the girls to sing to you?" Now her future classmates were really concerned about my daughter and her disruptive behavior they were willing to sing to her. "Yes they can sing Mommy"- I suggest that a few of the girls sing a song to help my daughter calm down. "To the tune of the them of Spider Man, the children sang "Kwanzaa Man...."- My daughter wails!!!! Basically in her own toddler WTH fashion!!! So one very smart little girl begins to sing "Itsy bitsy Spider" and my daughter immediately calms down. 

Bless her heart, with all the teachers, African art and musical influences, the exuberant outburst of "Kwanzaa Man", I believe my child went into culture shock!  Honestly I know she is not a racist, but she came pretty damn close with her little judgmental self!!!


First Day Blues

My almost 3 year old started her second new school. She has been in school for a year but today was like Day 1 all over again. The interesting part of today was I watched her go through the emotional changes. She was cool when she walked in but a little reserved. Usually going to school is an exciting morning of singing songs in the car, talking about the teachers, classmates, and the proposed activities for the day. Just an all around colorful morning. Today she was unseasonably morose. A bit resistant and cautious. So clearly her intuition (as usual) was right on point that something was up. The best thing about that is the right now she completely trusts her intuition and goes with it and now that I know this about her I will do whatever I can to support that in her.

Once we are in the school she became very seriously aware. Then she saw the teacher writing her name up on a board, I looked at her face, "it hit her" and she was no good. Tears and tears later, I began to doubt my decision. Should we run back to the old school and beg them to take her back. How do I fix this? Her teacher came over and with the kindest face said, "Mom she will be fine and its time for you to go." REALLY!!?! Go?!?! NOW!!!!!

One thing about maturing during an era of self awareness is that we make it a point to look for anything that may cause an "issue" later in life. Upon leaving I saw my child pull it together. She realized quickly this was inevitable and crying was a waste of time. Which is one of the things I love about her. At 2 she can rationalize what is and what is not working very quickly. When it was time to pick her up, she had fully adapted (another thing I truly love about her). She gave me the "report" on everything she did and the teachers and at that point, all was well with the world.

For over two years everyday has been a mix of joy and pain, confusion and elation. Motherhood is a most complicated journey! 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Secrets of The Dark

Social media allows us to have 24/7 access into the lives of family and friends. It has allowed me to peak intimately into the lives of people I was myself a child with and watch their children be born, grow and flourish. My own daughter is a "social media" baby, as I pretty much kept myself distracted during my 30 hour labor by posting and reading Facebook.

After perusing great family shots of special events and daily life, I wondered what goes on behind closed doors. What are the lives of people REALLY like? There are so many late nights where I realize the changes of my life as a result of becoming a mother and having to care for my family. Last Friday night the magnitude of being responsible for another person's life was a bit overwhelming for me and brought me to tears as my child lay sleeping peacefully next to me. "How am I going to keep this all going?" Private school, extra curricular classes, social events, travel, a beautiful home, food, heat...yes I tend to get very granular with my thoughts. Why did I not become a mother earlier so that I could both enjoy more time and better provide for my child. My mind flooded with insecurities, doubt and fear. These are the thoughts of inadequacy that prompt parents to abandon their families. 

Then after a very brief cry, and a drink of some water, I moved her over and laid down. Through deep breathing and listening to her sleeping breath I found peace (just when you feel like they shouldn't be sleeping in your bed anymore). My daughter has the amazing quality of stirring me up and calming me down all at once. Watching her sleep gave me peace and resolve. There is an unshakable faith we as mothers must always possess. The knowledge that no matter what you will make it work out for your child/ren. There will be many ups and downs in this journey. In the darkness, we all know our truth.

It is my contention that my life would not have played out the way it has if it weren't supposed to be this way. You are responsible for everything that happens to you in your life. Selfishness precluded me from having a child earlier in life. I am most grateful to have the clarity and patience to be able to give my child all that she needs and wants. I pray that we continue to have all the abundance and more that we enjoy daily. It will forever be my intention to provide her with the best life has to offer in its entirety. My wish is the same for you and yours!


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What You Choose To Expose Them To!

Something short and sweet! Today, we started Mandarin class for kids and I met the nicest mother. Its interesting what parents decide to expose their children to, that was the focus of our discussion. Here her son is 7 years old, clearly bi-racial, and he has already traveled the world extensively. He was extremely intelligent, well mannered and I found him to be a very caring little boy. He instantly went into "protect" mode with my daughter when the kid's finished class. His mother shared her background with me and I was so pleased to learn of the differences and commonalities in our child rearing experiences. 
As for my daughter, I had to lie to get her into the class. She is two and I told the school she is three because Lord knows the child acts like she is 25. I decided a long time ago that the "velcro" approach to throwing her into as much as I can and seeing what sticks is the direction we have to go in until we have more clear focus. Whatever needs to be done to expose her to the best education and activities is the focus we, as her parents, are committed to provide. So far I am enjoying watching my little "sponge" flourish in so many directions. We have made many viable friendships and she continues to learn and enrich her experience.Tomorrow we will be in art class!

I consider it an honor and a great omen that my daughter would start Chinese School on the Chinese New Year and that this is the Year of the Dragon! It all resonates deeply in her foundation as the great person I am grooming her to be. Zài Jiàn and good night!


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Loving All Mommies

As I sit, drive, do bath time, etc. I have been thinking about all the different mothers that I know and their respective journeys. This morning, the subject of adoption stuck out for me. My good friend Julie Young is a beautiful Korean American mother of amazing twins. She has shared her story and really shed a great deal of light on the issues surrounding adoption from such and intimate and personal perspective. Check out her journey on 

40plusbabies is about the sharing of motherhood. This experience that has completely changed our lives and how we navigate. In so many ways Julie's perspective as a mother and an adoptee highlights the love, commitment, the challenges and fortitude of this life's experience. Supporting her is a pleasure I am happy to share!


2012 New Year, New Inspiration

Wow! Yes, its another wonderful year!! Mind you, the first month of 2012 is half over and I am just making the first post of the year. Chalk it up to busy mommidom! Okay so a brief recap of the last few months. My partner's daughter just celebrated her first birthday!  Happy Birthday Princess!!! Here is the most amazing part, as if turning "1" year old isnt enough, our miracle baby has breezed through the first year rather effortlessly. Her mother knows better than I, but as a close witness I have watched her blossom from an extremely tiny infant into a vibrant and robust baby girl! So proud of our 40plusbaby!!!

As for my shining star she is a world-wind at 2 years old. I simply refuse to get into the "oh she is 2 and a half now" of it all. That was so last year with the "she is 17 weeks". I dont remember being that mom, but who knows its possible that at one time I may have been that cheesy. My girl is running fast into 3 years old in a few months. She is awesome, intense, smart, and simply hilarious. I never knew a person could have this much personality before the age of 5, sin "Rudy Huxtable. If you are a friend and follow my Facebook posts you have first hand witness the antics, quips and great photographic accounts of my little "minion"!

The interesting part of this portion of the journey is the fierce independence we are both craving. She wants to do so many things on her own. I feel myself squeezing her tighter and tighter every chance I get because I see my baby growing so fast that I can't blink. As well, I am also catching glimpses of my old self. Getting a few more restful nights (this not being one of them) and feeling like I can get on back to who I am to a certain degree or explore who I have become more.

Not being one for a resolute approach, I am clear that given my age and the fact that it will continue to progress, I have a little one to keep up with. Thus the commitment to change my physical, mental and spiritual approach to it all is in progress. In an interview today I was asked "what motivates you?", my answer shocked even me. "Laziness!" I am so clear on the effects of being lazy, that I realize for the life I deserve; and to make sure my daughter doesn't inherit a century old lineage of being sedentary, laziness is not an option.

Socially, January means a new beginning. For this 40plusMommy it has to be about beginning new patterns and commitments. Kiss your babies for me!

Also check out my new sister-friend's amazing website for fabulous Moms!