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!