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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Train Up A Child: Going in Mommy's Purse

Growing up the best candy, my long lost My Little Pony, and cool magazines could be found in the bottom of my mother's purse. It was my go to spot for treats, especially Sunday mornings in church. I never really bothered with my father's pockets, only keys, tools, and loose change there but mom's bag was the spot!

When I got a little older she would get a little more testy when I reached for her bag but still I knew what was in there. So now here's Chunks with the same thinking but now it's MY purse. I really don't mind him going in because he knows there's always some kind of treat in there (sometimes just for him) but some days are worst than others.



The other night I noticed he was chewing gum and asked where he got it, I noticed my bag thrown to the side and not just one stick taken out but several pieces and some half chewed. WTF?! I scolded him and told him not to go in my bag unless I sent him in there. My father, in the peanut gallery says "You should never send him in there in the first place!" ::heavy side eye at the unwanted piece of advice:: but when I asked why he said "Boys shouldn't make it a habit of going in their mother's bag".

I think Dad was traumatized and found some feminine things in his mother's bag as a kid lol but it got me thinking. Should kids be allowed to go in Mommy's purse? Do they ask permission or is it just completely off limits?

Saturday, May 9, 2015

More Than Mommy

Right after my 24th birthday there was a drastic change to my body. I worked third shift at the hospital and every few nights my belly button would itch and by the time I clocked out I would notice a tighter fit of my scrubs. It was body's way of reminding me I was someone's mom. There would be days I would be caught up in all that Candace had to do, had planned, was used to doing that it wouldn't be until I sat down and noticed my cankles were pushing my right foot out of my Crocs that I would realize that I needed to slow down a bit and focus on this baby growing inside of me.

I'm a mover! Always going somewhere, trying something, laughing really hard with friends, and living and so far this baby was keeping up but I could definitely feel it at the end of the day.

Then he got here and nothing else mattered. I wanted to show him everything, take him every where, and watch him try all new things and quickly got caught up in everything Chunks because, you know, that's what a good mother does. Right?! I became playground expert, mini foodie, playdate planner, quick meal scrambler, coach, and home school teacher over the years and he's thriving. I look back over these 5 years and I can say I'm proud of my mom job so far, but...

I snap easier lately when he makes what I call "foolish" mistakes that 2 steps back would just be laughed at as a boy being a boy. I don't want to read this book again! (through gritted teeth). Dinosaurs are NOT fun or cool to me, I'm just letting you babble but I'm distracted and need Instagram and he can tell. There's a Spring concert on the 22nd, we have to build a car by next Tuesday, tuition is due Monday, bake Sale on Friday, 2 birthday parties on Saturday ::SIGH::

I missed me. 

Outside of Mommy, who am I? I go to work and I'm a supervisor/problem solver, but that's not ME.  Don't get me wrong I've learned a lot about who I am, what I want/don't want. What I like/Don't like but what sets me on fire was missing. When I turned 30 in March I started journaling and started to see a pattern and decided to get back to Candace and building up and protecting her spirit better without guilt. I love coffee, Netflix binge watching, reading, traveling, photography, trying new foods/restaurants/neighborhoods, working out, laughing at inappropriate things, and dancing but I wasn't doing any of these things really.

My job as Mommy will never take a pause, it's the greatest thing I've ever done, but there will be more time built in just for me and I'm already seeing a huge change in how I deal with Chunks and my everyday. I don't have the luxury of passing him off to Dad when he gets home anymore but there are others in the village and creative ways I can make the time to check in with me. I still feel guilty from time to time in ME time but I get back to him refreshed and ready to hear all about T-Rex and friends. So, I'm encouraging all Mommies (single or otherwise) make time for YOU on whatever level that means. If that means working out, going out for coffee, taking a girls trip or solo trip (both of which I plan to do), journaling, yoga, whatever, make an unapologetic space just for you and enjoy every minute of it. It makes you a better woman, better person, and ultimately a better mom. From this our kids will see the other side of Mommy and know it's ok to have their own spaces too.

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!!

I wish you all the chance to pee and shower solo, a full plate to yourself, and a chance to breathe :-) ENJOY LADIES!!



Monday, May 4, 2015

Growth

I've had more than a few disappointments in life lately and so I've been nursing my wounds and trying to come up with the next steps to take all while avoiding the pity party I wanted to throw, complete with pulled curtains and pints and pints of ice cream. 



I took this picture early last year and in my head I had the story but it just didn't come out the way I saw it. I over processed it in Lightroom, then converted it to black and white just because I thought it sucked and needed something that wouldn't highlight that so much lol. Through the gap above the ladies, you should be able to see the Empire State Building, but was blown out. The view is so pretty from the hill I'm standing on in real life but fell completely flat in camera. SIGH

Since that day, I've thought about going back to the hill and retaking the shot but I didn't think I'd grown enough to make it any better. I've been practicing on Chunks but this shot still kinda haunted me.

Expose for the sky next time, huh?
Adjust exposure, what??
Get a zoom lens, who's got the coins??

I put it out of my mind and just never made it back over there and decided to stick to portraiture and macro. Last weekend, Brooklyn FINALLY saw Spring and naturally Chunks and I headed to DUMBO to soak up some sun and we happened to walk the hill. I saw the Empire State, got my readings right, and THIS happened!


Ahhhh I honestly only adjusted the contrast in Lightroom a little and refuse to do any more to it. It's not perfect (thank you sir for jutting your elbow in my shot ::side-eye::) Sometimes you never realize how much you grow until you've had a chance to step away from it a little while and just try to got after it another way, watching alignment and order come together is so encouraging.

This lesson applies to a few things in life right now, I'm just glad I've got the shot as a reminder I can see everyday to keep going.



Sunday, February 1, 2015

Progress Report

After a lot of back and forth in the beginning I finally decided to let Chunks skip Kindergarten and go to the first grade. I looked over the curriculum, compared it to other programs, and decided that Chunks could handle the work and he was already very comfortable in his class. He was learning and happy and everything was good, until...

Tests weren't coming home.

Handwriting was getting sloppier.

Homework was written down from the board incomplete.

Phone calls were going un-returned.

So, I popped up.

I took a day off and went down to the school after class started and requested to observe the class from the monitor rooms in the principal's office. Everything seemed fine so, I went into the class myself and took a seat in the back, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. At break, I asked her what was going on with Chunks and at this point she lays out a list of things. He's not paying attention, he drifts off, he acts sleepy...SO WHY DIDN'T I HEAR ABOUT THIS BEFORE??? Anyway, I didn't see any of those things but I didn't want to be that mom who says her kid is perfect so I got on Chunks. 

We cut out t.v, computer time, and dinosaurs during the week.

Dinosaurs were limited on the weekend.

Focus time was put in play and I printed out worksheets, bought work books, and reading books to the second grade level and we now have home-school sessions.

I need you to get this work done!

When I talked this over with his godmother who studied early childhood development she was concerned with how much the teacher was putting in. What was she doing for 2 hours while Chunks was spaced out in dinosaur world and not writing down his homework? How did she let this go on for so long? So, I went back in to meet with her again. I requested his exams and classwork, all 90s and 100s. I asked for his projects, all 90s and 100s. She then expressed that Chunks could "surpass any child in the class but he has to focus". Clearly there's an understanding of the work so what's really the problem??

We had a long conversation about ways to improve this and it comes out that she's one teacher to 16 kids. I might be a little cold but in first grade I had 1 teacher and there were probably 25-30 of us, so...I saw that she needed a cheerleader AND a coach so we met for lunch, I let her know that I am on her side because we were both on Team Chunks. There are tactics taught to teachers to combat this sort of thing especially since this is a kid who skipped that sort of training in Kindergarten, so she can't be burnt out already it's only November! HE has to succeed. When he leaves your class HE needs to be able to compete with everyone else. HE HAS TO WIN! This and only this is my end goal, so if you need to me to help, support, sit in, pop up, cheer you on, let's go because this is kinda a big deal. She saw how serious I was, Chunks saw how serious I was and I think something clicked for Team Chunks. The teacher knows I'm there for her, he knows I'm there for him, and everyone knows I'm a little batty and will pop the hell up whenever, snatching whoever needs it, so we have an understanding lol.

It's been about a month of calm, I've gotten good progress reports, he's back to being happy and the handwriting is improved (most days). Many nights I'm exhausted when I get home but we get homework done, work out of our own work books, and read a few books before bath time and it's not so bad because the end game is the goal: to produce a healthy, educated, and functioning man who can go into the world and compete and leave it better than he found it. POINT. BLANK. AND THE PERIOD.


Here's to you kid and your amazing future, no matter what we have to do. #TeamChunks

How do you deal with classroom struggles? Do you think it's important for you and your child(-ren)'s teacher to have communication outside of parent-teacher night?

So Let's Play Catch Up


And just like that January is Over.

I've been missing from this corner of the world for a little while but not because I lacked things to post but I haven't really sat still since November. Last week I completed my last med-school interview in Ohio and fingers crossed, I'll hear GOOD news in a few weeks.

I've also been working as a junior scientist on a research project that has become near and dear to me not just because it will be published but because of how I got the position, who I'm working under, and the new opportunities to grow that follow. Looking forward to the Spring!

Chunks is Chunks! Growing and Crazy!
We had a 3 month headache with him and his teacher that almost drove me crazy and made me question some of my choices but also taught me yet another thing about myself as a person and mom. You really uncover a lot your talents being Mommy, there's so my hats under that title. More on this in another post.

February, to me, means countdown. My birthday is next month and this year I turn the Big 3-0! I plan on celebrating EVERYTHING about this life so far because while it hasn't been ideal it's what I was given and my story will be amazing, you know, because I say so! I've started a bucket list of things I want to accomplish in my 30th chapter and a few things on the list scare the crap out of me but I really want them so I'll make them happen and I'll have an even greater story to tell. I'll post the list here soon too.

My love life...it's been fun but I'm really not the "dating" girl. I've accepted that I can't do half ass relationships, it's too much work to fake it and all that lol so I'm chilling. At this point I'm not dating to just be dating, if I can't see us going past 6 months, WHY ARE YOU HERE AGAIN??! I know what I like, I know who I am and what I bring, so I'm not searching. I know "I Am Single Hear Me Roar" girls use this a lot be seriously I like my company and am very (maybe a little too much) at peace in my own company so anyone invited into my space has got to be DOPE for me to disrupt that and sadly I don't think I've met him yet, I'm open to it though. Shoulders thinks I'm blind but...

I'm so in love with photography and I was watching a lot last year, trying to find my niche/inspiration. I read everyone's blog, I lurked in the background on forums, I stalked Instagram all the while shooting and practicing with Cease and not really pushing myself to get better...just looking. That period's getting stale so thing year I want to push myself to walk with Cease more, learn more about the art, and create and put myself out there.  I can already see a HUGE improvement from the pics I took a few years ago to now and feedback from some photographers I love have been encouraging. It really has become therapeutic for me, last week I hit one of those I need to get away from my child moments lol and just feeling overwhelmed with life, so I called on my father to watch him for a few hours and got a mani-pedi and took a walk with Cease and I came back like I had a full spa day. So Push, Create, Step Out on Faith, we'll see...

Speaking of photography, I've been doing great with my 52FIVE project I started to celebrated Chunk's milestone age and this month makes the half way mark! Is it crazy to have a little half-birthday party?? I try not to look over the pics too much because I want the book to be special but I can't believe how much has changed and all that has happened in this little life so far. He's amazing, loud, but amazing.


So that's about it from my corner for now, talk to y'all soon.

What kinds of things did you do to celebrate milestone years, either for yourselves or you kids? Any bucket lists?





Sunday, November 2, 2014

Mom's Place in A Father-Son Relationship

Because of situations surrounding the Wasband's leaving, I made up in my mind that Chunks and I would move forward without him and try to just make the best of it. I told myself, when Chunks was older I would just be honest with him about why his father couldn't be around and pray he would get it and not be scarred by it.

As time has gone on, I've done my share of keeping photos around him and telling him fun stories whenever he'd ask about his dad. Last year I allowed a few phone calls on birthdays and holidays and I watched how Chunks handled it all and how the Wasband behaved, too. So far he's ok, he can speak to his dad whenever he wants and for now that works.

On Saturday we went back to swimming lessons through which Chunks screamed and shivered, LOUDLY. THE ENTIRE TIME! smh did I mention my guy is a scaredy cat?? When the class was over I took him to the family pool so we could get used to the water one on one and he remembered a pic of his dad swimming in Puerto Rico and said "Will I swim like my dad?" I jumped on the opportunity and said "You've got to try to get it".

Lesson #1, Dad is always a superhero and mom's gotta be ok with that.

On the way home, he asked to speak to his dad, so I called. They spoke for a little while, the Wasband told him he'd like to see him swim soon (he hasn't seen Chunks since he was 1). After this call, Chunks is willing to go back to class next weekend.

Lesson #2, A dad's voice can get a message through that all of mom's trying just cannot ::shrug:: and mom's gotta be ok with that.

Later that evening, the Wasband thanked me for letting Chunks call, he said it meant a lot to him.

Lesson #3, Making it difficult for a Father to speak to his child is petty (if doesn't mean any harm) and since men hate confrontation, sometimes Mom has to open the lines so everyone knows it's ok.

Since this, we've discussed him coming up to see Chunks one weekend. I haven't told Chunks, just in case, but I'm also planning the day out to make sure everything is ok. Opening the lines to my son is a big deal to me and ANYONE, including his Father, meaning him harm will have a problem! But I'm open for a few reasons: Chunks is pretty balanced and isn't coming for a place of "need" or "missing out" when it comes to his dad it's kind of a "fun relative" mindset (sad, but whatever works). Secondly, because I made it a point NOT to speak badly about his dad, Chunks has no bias so while I'll be watching like a hawk and side-eyeing I'm sure, all with a smile lol, he won't know why-it's just mom being mom. Third, at the end of it all I want to know and Chunks to know, I did everything in my power to make him whole with his other parent. We have a great relationship so him having the same (or kinda close to it) with his other parent is only right, right?

Lesson #4, there's a place for dad. Them having a bond, has nothing to do with our relationship so there's no competition.

I honestly don't think this would be possible if I hadn't made peace with the relationship and owned my part in it all, I have a few friends who are having a hard time letting their children's father have their place in the child's lives because they're still mad about the relationship, even men who didn't just walk out and disappear, and it's sad but everyone has their own journey. My plan for motherhood is to release a whole man into the world for a woman to love with as little childhood baggage as possible.

Dear Daughter In Law,

I'm thinking of you.

currently


feeling: COLD! November brought winter in just the way I hate it: cold, rainy, with crazy winds here in NY. Hermit Season has officially arrived.

listening to: blue eyed soul. Sam Smith, James Morrison, and of course Robin Thicke. Great albums between all three.

obsessing over: getting gone. i've got the travel bug really badly lately, but for places like Ireland and Greece. I need some travel buddies. oh and a new camera body, there's one I've been playing with in Adorama's show room but the way this budget is set up...

loving: it's holiday season so of course, the Hallmark Channel's countdown to Christmas. Most weekends you may or may not find my snuggled up with something warm to drink and Hallmark on.

admitting: my kid annoys me sometimes. I love him dearly but OMG! LOL I know mother's aren't supposed to say this but Lord, how many times can you say "Stop that", "Let's try something else", "Get down", etc or hear "Mommy look"?? ::sigh::

looking forward to: now that it's red cup weather, definitely Eggnog Lattes.

trying: Everyday Eyecandy's #ThankfulEveryday challenge on Instagram. I always try these challenges and fall off, but better to try right?? 

thinking about: making my social media accounts public, namely Instagram. with all the crazies out there i'm leery of putting Chunks's face out there so much but there are so many photography projects I'd love to get into that I can't because it's a private account...still thinking.

reading: more photography books and quickly finding my favorites, learning to think slower and visually.

smelling: sage. a friend of mine gave me a bundle and told me how to use it, i was feeling overwhelmed and just down last week so i decided to unplug this weekend and burn it throughout my space and it really helped. The smell is relaxing.

planning: my christmas shopping, did you know Toys R Us has online lay-away?? since someone yells, "I want that" every time a new commercial comes on, getting started early will help with this year's budget.

Here's to a good week and a happy, new November!

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