Thursday, April 17, 2014

QT as the Earth

QT's STEM class went outside and did a play. They have been working on the Solar System.  He loves his classes.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Raising Athletes

TR has been working on a variety of track events in her P.E. class.  I love that her school has daily p.e.  Too many schools ignore arts and physical activity and focus solely on academics.  I like programs that value a variety of intelligences and abilities.

The caterer ar TR's school had told Mr. A that TR "picks them up and puts them down.  When she was two she could run faster that some of Mr. A's football kids.  At 2 we went to a h.s. football game and at half time she took off and ran about 50 yards on the field in a big dress and fancy shoes. The field was grass with dirt patches and rough to run on.  She ran like it was turf.

Fortunately Mr A was on the field because I (a former runner) could not catch her. I was also holding an infant QT.  Mr. A was on the field chatting, he turned his head, saw her, turned back and it took him a second to realize his little girl was on the field. She ran another 10 yards or more as he caught up to her.  She was laughing and had a great time.  Afterwards parents were discussing her time in amazement.  Her form at 2 looked as if she had trained and she was fast.  

It is work to have  fast well coordinated toddlers. Where most little kids might fall and a parent knows they won't run too far,  with both TR and QT, I knew they would just gain speed and I would have to stay prepared to sprint at my top speed if they decided to take off.  I see some parents go to a light jog to catch their toddler,  that was not me.  Having my babies under verbal control was always essential.

TR occasionally runs the track with the cheerleaders at Mr. A's current school.    I know she is fast but apparently she is quite fast.  Last week the p.e. teacher asked me if I understood how fast she was.  She can run a mile in under 10 minutes.  The p.e. teacher said she knew TR had great body coordination but had no idea it would carry over to track. She said TR runs faster than many of the older kids.

The craziest thing to me is TR hates the running.  I asked her why she does it so well if she dislikes it.        I was puzzled by the idea that she would excel at a task she dislikes.  I wonder what she could do if she enjoyed it?  I appreciate her work ethic and her preference to do well at the tasks she undertakes.

I think perfectionism and competiveness is part of her personality and those traits are enhanced by gymnastics.  Gymnastics is totally aligned with her innate drive to be a perfectionist and to win. I once visited a play based preschool in L.A. and the director noticed TR trying to get some blocks aligned perfectly and called her anal.  I told her she was a perfectionist. Anal sounds negative to my ears and I was reminded why I was keeping my kids home.

I hope the personal discipline TR is developing stays with her, whatever path she chooses.  QT is much more laid back.  When he is building his Legos he turns into a perfectionist but for the most part he is happy to be in the mix.  Both perfectionists and laid back people add value.  I like both personalities and as parent my job is to make sure my kids know they are perfectly and uniquely designed.  Their traits are their tools.

So ..........Girl Scouts is having an overnight trip to Monterey Bay.  The trip will conflict with an upcoming track meet.  I asked TR what event she wanted to do and to my surprise she picked the track meet.  She is competing in every kindergarten event.  I am excited to see her run, jump and sprint. We will have to do another family trip to Monterey and next time spend the night.

I think it's amazing how naturally athletic our kids are.  Mr A pointed out that when TR was months old was wearing her at football practice and she saw/ heard him coaching the kids on running form.  He says its more than just natural.  He pointed out how the other track coach has a 7 year old daughter who runs 5ks and great running form.  I will give him that TR also learned from being around sports.

I am very pleased my kids are also bright.  They get to enjoy multiple gifts.  They are blessed to also
 have gifts in arts, I understand the musical gene is surely mine and the art seems to come from Mr.
A, although I have seen my mom draw and she is good even when she is just playing at drawing.  I
think because Mr Aand I have different gifts we have been able to foster the development of multiple
Interests and skills..

Our last nanny was also a skilled artist.  In hindsight I think introducing the kids to  a variety of things early helped them feel comfortable trying different things and thinking they can.

My personal belief is that our body/flesh is the hardest thing to control.  Once we know that our body can do what our brain commands, we know we can succeeded at any endeavor.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

'Tis the time

   TR's school has 178 school days.  They are somewhere in the 140th day.  My baby is on her way to 1st grade!  She loves school and she loves her school.  It is such a wonderful, nurturing environment.

   QT will start Junior Kindergarten next year. He just turned 4 and is too young for kindergarten, but if he does well our hope is he can move to 1st grade after JK.  It is quite annoying that the government is now regulating when private schools can accept a kid.  California requires schools to have a day care license it if takes a 4 year old into kindergarten.

   The state regulates everything and controls parts of life it should leave to families.

I want to make sure QT is in an environment that encourages a love of learning.  I am so pleased that TR got an experience that increased her love of learning.  QT is very hands on.  I think he would do great in a science based school.  No such school exists within a reasonable driving distance. He likes to participate and figure things out on his own.  

   Today I took QT to the park and realized public school is on Easter break.  I don't have an Easter break plan for our family.  I had a hearing in L.A. during TR's break but it was continued so now we do not need to travel.  QT's STEM class does not meet next week, so we cannot do that.  I have nothing formal to offer the kids.  They will have gymnastics but we will be playing by ear.

   Spring Break and summer break disturb me.  I feel the pressure to get it right.  When we lived in L.A.  I took a trip to Kmart with my kiddies and realized summer vacation had arrived.  I saw groups of teens hanging out in the Little Ceasers pizza inside of a Kmart.  The kids were well-behaved but I felt a bit hurt by the reality of it.  The Kmart was directly across the street from the Grove.  Kmart also shared a lot with Whole Foods and the distance between the two realities could have been miles and not mere feet.   Within eyes view I could see how differently people lived.

   I told myself after that Kmart run, that I would like to offer my kids more exciting summer options than congregating at strip malls.  I am sure it's all preference, but I understand wanting to hang out at the Grove, Beverly Center, Century City Malls or walking up and down Melrose.  Those places have a variety of activities and food options.  In the summer through Fall,the Grove has events and bands and people on blankets on the lawn.  I would take my kids there for a variety of kid/ family friendly events.  

    I was recently reading about achievement gaps and how many kids lose 2-3 months of educational attainment during summer break.  12 years of losing a couple of months adds up.  Those kids have to start from a deficit each year.

    So now I feel greater pressure to keep my kids engaged during summer breaks as they age.  Before they entered school, I could focus on play experiences, arts, and community experiences.  As they grow what they need also grows.

   TR will be 6 soon and will soon be uninterested in children's museums or Fairyland locations.  When we were in L.A., the kids would go the Zimmer Museum from10 am to 2:30 pm and hide when they saw me coming to pick them up. They would play at the park from 9 am to 3 when they collapsed in sleep.

   I want to provide as much play opportunity as possible because I know childhood moves rapidly.  I have to start developing a plan for bigger kids.  I am convinced L.A. is an excellent location to have young kids.  I think the Bay might be a better place to have bigger kids.  We can visit islands, forests,
 mountains, cities, rural areas and farms, camp grounds, aquariums, universities and science labs, we
can hop ferrys, trains, and more.  I think in L.A. as kids age it gets pricey to expose them. Here we
can make day trips and feel like we have left the state.


Thursday, April 10, 2014


I recently realized that I can create and maintain work-life balance.  There may be weeks I have to focus on work but that is not the majority of the weeks.  It felt good to drop TR off at school, go have hot chocolate with  QT, go to the park, story time, play Connect4 at the library and then home for a nap.  It felt great to do this and not be rushed thinking about the work I needed to get done.  I have been diligent, so I am not in catch up mode with my work.

It feels good to be present in the moment with my kiddies, not be rushed and to play and engage.

A couple of months ago, I took the kids to sell their bottles (hopefully Mr. A will stop throwing my bottle collection out.  He forgets that I collect them.)  and the man who received the bottles went on break.  We drove a block to McD’s, walked in, ordered and the kids asked if we could eat inside.  My auto-response was no.  I thought about it and wondered why I was in a rush.  We had 30 minutes and we did not need to be first in line.  We sat down and ate.  An acquaintance then came in with her son and we chatted about mutual friends, private schools and tutors.

It's nice to slow down. My goal is to get into the practice of slowing down for personal matters.  The constant rush is ridiculous..  My kiddies are used to going inside fast food spots when they are with my mother and they apparently like to sit down inside.  Fortunately for them, they have not adopted my hurried behavior.  TR gets dressed for school and eats her breakfast like she has 2 hours to burn.  She and QT sit at the table and chat and never rush.  Good thing Mr A is good with time management.  The kids relax before school while the parents move like we are prepping a race car in Indy 500.

This week I tagged along to QT's science/engineering class. Oakland is nearly evenly split by race but no matter if we are at the zoo, fairyland, Habitot, a  science museum, etc. we are the only brown
people.  At gymnastics there are a few of us and we migrate to each other.   My guess is, if as of 2008 72% of black kids are born to single mothers, my mommy sisters are either at work or if  they are
single and not at work, maybe money or desire is the reason.

I have once again sent an email to connect with the Mocha-moms.  At QT's science class I discovered that at least 4 of the moms were home schooling and had a network.  I could probably participate in
their network and maybe I will, but since my kids are black, I want them to know our family structure isn't some unicorn among blacks (although it almost is).

It is unreal to know that 28% of black kids age 5/6 and under have parents who got married before
birth.  Who will they date?  I hope they avoid the people who think their own mother was single and
they turned out fine, so marriage is not needed.  My parents were divorced and my reaction to that
was to marry I man, I liked enough to stay married to.  Being a child of divorce makes me value Mr.
A's role (to a much greater degree)?because when I see the relationship he has with TR, I reflect on how much I wanted that relationship and how I still want a father I could places total confidence and admiration in.

But my mother reminded throughout my childhood me that it is better to have a father for your kids and that though she did not want to be married to him, he  was there to make sure his kids were okay. She also let me know you marry him before having kids and I could have a lasting marriage, although she did not.

My mother did not make divorce seem like a good thing or an option I wanted for my life.  Some single mothers make single motherhood seem like a good decision and I think the children f these women, will accept and replicate the behavior.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Media Influence

Guard your heart, for the issues of life flow from it.  ...... Scripture

   I know that things I see, the things I hear, the things I experience impact my heart.  I have to guard my senses to protect my heart and the issues of my own life.

  I gave up FB for Lent.  It hasn't been hard, I have been quite productive but lots of  online news connects to FB, so I keep ending up on the FB site although I do not remain.

   Today I was on FB for 10 seconds and saw a link to Workdstart HipCrapHop.   I saw comments supportive of a boy beating up a girl. I clicked through to WHH and saw a black boy smacking a white woman.  I was wondering what I missed.  Once I figured out that the masculine appearing black girl in a white tee and jeans, was smacking on a soft, fat, round white boy, and  that the white boy then nearly choked her to a black out, I mentally agreed that he was right to defend.

Then I read the comments about black people and how animalistic we are in behavior.  I thought it looks like WHH might be the go to site for whites to support their position that we are savages and guns are required when a white person feels threatened by us.

On the other side,  I was thinking how the media spent decades and successfully portrayed black males, from birth to death as dangerous and worthless creatures and now it's accepted.   Black women are vocal about their disgust for black men and how black men are at fault for pretty much everything wrong in the black community.

I hear/read  professional/ educated black women who proudly share their husband
cannot tell them anything and that includes his inability to give comment on how
he feels about her hair, her spending and child raising choices.  I hear black women complain about their sons and brothers as if these black men are objects who only cause problems.  I believe the discord within black relationships is due to how media has sold the idea of the black man as mostly useless beyond sex.

As I watch WHH and see Sharkeisha-ish behaviors I think, black women are the next target.  Right now I believe the bulk of black men still love black women and see us through a positive lenses. Once this media campaign showcasing black women as violent, masculine, greedy whores is complete, I am not sure who will risk being around us.  I was watching the online showcases of violence of black women and becoming angry at black women and our behavior.  I have been trying to figure out for a couple of months if we are as bad as the media keeps portraying us?  In my own experiences I have faced black women who are volatile and vicious for no good reason.  Have I expanded those experiences?  I mean the vicious fighting black women are reality but they are not a huge majority.

If I as a black woman, who views myself as aware, as a lover of my people can be upset at the behavior of the rare black woman who gets online fame from her poor behavior,  how will and how does the perception of black women change or get controlled by those who seek to complete the destruction of black people?

This probably is quite incoherent but my thoughts are a maze on this topic.  I just keep reminding most black women are even tempered and not looking to attack.

I am trying to figure out why in my head a image exists?  I have seen it, I know it is real but my reason tells me it is a very small minority who exhibits this behavior.  Watching things like WHH magnifies the behavior and I find myself battling what my eyes see and what my heart knows.

  I will have to be more careful to guard my heart and ensure that my kids know black men and black women are human beings and we are blessed to have this melanin.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

discipline and sacrifice

One day during QT's art class his teacher told me she had also been a SAHM and it was worth the financial sacrifices.
I am a WAHM but there are financial sacrifices because I invest more time into parenting than I invest into work.  Once QT starts a 7 hour school day, I will shift how my time is spent. QT does lots of actitivites during business hours and I value that we can guide him and expose him to a variety of things.
Yesterday I took the kids to court filing division with me. When we left a woman told me QT is going to be an engineer. She said he was taking things apart, discussing how it worked and putting them back together. I laughed and told her, his dad is an engineer and that he takes an engineering class at a local science museum. Then we headed to fairyland to have a little fun. Strangers often tell me he is good at math or will be an engineer. He is amazing with the legos. He prefers the small legos and the things he builds are easily identifiable.
TR loves school and is doing great! She does not get report cards but she gets progress reports and in the majority of areas she is exceeding kindergarten expectations. For some reason she gets 'meets expectations' in gym. I am okay with her meeting kinder expectations in P.E.
TR entered kindergarten not reading. She knew her alphabet and most of the sounds when she entered, and she now reads at a 3rd grade reading level and she comprehends what she reads. I love listening to her read and her ability to use punctuation to indicate the type of sentence she reads. QT is trying to read to keep up with his sister and this week he sounded out and spelled 'rabbit'.
The A Family sacrifices many financial things to prioritize time with our family and to fund private
 school and keep our kiddies exposed.  Sometimes I chat with moms, who work outside the home and who have Husband's who work outside the home and they tell me how easy I have it.

I think people have things differently which doesn't mean it's harder or easier.  If 2 people are
working and earning close to $200k a year, they probably have it differently than we do.  I have never told another mother she has it easy because she has a higher family income.  

People discount the sacrifice parents make to prioritize time.  The sacrifices are totally worth it, in my opinion but each family makes a choice. Motherhood feeds my spirit, so I put my energy into that. I could choose to not work and focus 100% on parenting.  My choice however is to work so we have some extras.  

On the days that I do have to get to work at 9 a.m. or earlier,  I understand how hard it is to get everyone dressed, fed and out of the house in the mornings.  For me that morning rush creates a disconnect. I prefer being able to move at a calm pace. I enjoyed dropping TR off at school and chatting with other moms for 30 minutes or so and then taking QT to get hot chocolate and to play at the park.

Once QT starts school Mr A and I will ramp up and increase our income and work hours.  I have truly enjoyed these early years with my kids. The sacrifies were worth it and i feel rewarded.  We didn't have oodles of money but when I think back on our experiences it seemslike we have lived like the 'haves'.

My little kids are creative and can make their own  fun using something as simple as paper, yarn and a single hole, hole punch.  They do not need electronics to occupy their time.  My thought is if they can create, they will be able to create their own jobs and a means to earn as they get older.  My goal for my kids is that they are never put in a box and they know that they get to choose their paths.

Monday, March 24, 2014

5 miles to empty

Every body has a legal question, everyone has a medical question, everyone can use a little bit of advice on one thing or another.
Last week someone called me and I think they wanted something. Probably a free contract, as if i just keep them in my purse. When I didn't give the legal advice and contract, the person told me a story about people who do not help other people. She said some people want to be paid to give her a contract to use. I said gurlllll, I know, then I told the story about a freebie I asked for and did not get.
Sure it's a simple legal question. If I didn't get at least one per day perhaps I would not feel annoyed every day I get that simple question. Of course if I try to answer the simple legal question, it never ends there, because that simple answer leads to a follow up question, then a "well can you do this for me". If the question was really that simple, they would not need to ask. It is my responsibility to say 'no' and not get sucked in. I try to help but I am only one person and an hour spent on free work takes time from my family and that lost time yields no income for me
I have started charging for advice. If people value my advice, they should be willing to pay. If they do not think its valuable, they should not ask me questions. Most just want free info and would rather pay a white man and get freebies from me. It's amazing sometimes. People often get rude if I answer a question and if I do not give the answer they want. I wonder why they bother calling.
When people ask for a contract, do they really believe it doesn't require work or that if i give one they won't spend The next month asking me how to tailor it for their use? If I asked a doctor for a free mammogram, I would know she would have to peform the screen review the results, tell me the results and answer my follow up. Most tasks are part of a series of necessary steps. I am certain I sent the person who wanted a contract, a contract two years ago. I did not hear from her until this week when she wanted a new one. It bugs me how people act as if I am doing wrong by managing my personal resources. I am frustrated by takers. I am 5 miles to empty and people kep asking for rides and no one is offering to deposit fuel.
I plan to manage my time much better and schedule down time for myself. My down time will not include work!