Tuesday, November 29, 2011

girls and boys

If Mr A would have found me a few years earlier, I would have been young enough to have 4 kids. The two we have are extreme amounts of fun. Last week I looked at them and realized they are us. TR was on the computer and QT was in Mr A's chair engrossed in ESPN football recaps.

I adore how TR incorporates new words into her vocabulary. Sunday, as we walked under trees with falling leaves I told her about the fall season and leaves falling off of trees. Monday she asked me to walk under a certain tree because it was fall, the wind was blowing, leaves were falling and she wanted to catch leaves. I told her we were on a different path and the tree was off our path. This morning I told her she was going to work. (I like to mess with kids) She told me she was too little to go to work and that she did not know the path to get to work. I told her daddy would show her.

She then told me that girls don't work. I said, whaaaaa,!!!! oh goodness. I will soon make her understand that mommy works at home. Just because daddy leaves and mommy stays does not mean mommy does not work. As I think about it she see's my mother and sister working at home so maybe she thinks women don't go to work. Then she said she was taking care of her doll and would leave when she was done. Am I raising a 1950's woman? I hope someone out there is currently raising a man for her.
It has to be awful to be a woman who wants to take care of her family and being with a man who wants her to go out and earn some bacon.

QT is entertaining to observe. His favorite thing is football. He wants to sleep with his league size football, he likes to play with the football, watch the sport and anything football related. His favorite word is football. He grabs the remote, turns the t.v. on and says "football". I do NOT get it. What about this sport has my not yet 2 year old child so enchanted?

Yesterday at the park QT stood in front of the slide while TR's bff came down the slide. She flew into him and he laughed and laughed. They repeated and this time she landed on top of him. The girl is 3 and thick. My baaaaabyyyyy. I picked him up out of the sand and he was laughing even more. I tried to scoop as much sand as I could out of his mouth and off his face. I don't get it. Is that what's hot at the park?

I told Mr. A and he thought it was cool. His son is built tough! As tough as he is, he still gives me sweet kisses and hugs. I love scooping his little body into my arms and squeezing. I love his sincere kiss on my check and rub on my neck. Yummy!

These kids. They keep my smiling. Thank goodness I am able to enjoy the chaos.

Monday, November 28, 2011

living with Ants

My children are like ants, always gathering things. There is a book they read about ants and a grasshopper. It talks about how the ants work to get their supplies to a certain place. I look my kiddies, who are always moving things and I laugh. They have a mission and I may not understand what their goal is, but they clearly have a plan. Play is the work of children!

Yesterday I got to observe my kiddies at children's church. My kids are awesome. The volunteers asked me their ages, commented on how well-behaved they were, and pointed out how rowdy the other kids were.

I don't think there was much rowdiness going on but my kids are spectacular. I am convinced that allowing them to play everyday has given them high self-regulation skills. I am amazed by it.

I feel like I do the opposite of what many do. I will be corny and say I want to give them problems to solve over answers to remember. My strategy might be considered counterintuitive.

Observing how well the kids do in class settings encourages me to continue.

It's 80 degrees today. The kids and I are going to have a walk and maybe play somewhere. QT wrote letters this morning. mo. Maybe he is sending Christmas updates. He was engrossed in the activity. He wrote on the pages of my work notebook, but such is the life of a work at home mom. I haven't read his letters, so I can't be sure if he's giving my work product away.

On another note, a Soror was in town a week ago and Mr A suggested she meet his friend. She declined. She later learned more details about his from an Black Enterprise article and agreed to talk to him.

It's slightly odd to me how women date. Do details like he and his family own some franchises in L.A. and he played pro ball, have to be shared to make a single woman who is interested in marriage, willing to meet a guy? The fact that I shared he is single, nice and nice looking isn't enough?

Mr A had it easy. I liked him prior to knowing his credentials and assets. Learning his material accomplishments was a bonus but not the foundation.

Have a lovely Monday.

Friday, November 25, 2011

the in-laws

On our honeymoon, I was ready to go home alone. Mr A took a phone call and
went in on 4 of my 5 brid esmaids. His hating friend called him (you know only hating friends call on your honeymoon) to ask about the bridesmaids.

At that point I realized I needed to limit details I shared with him. My bridesmaids had always been nice to them so I am still unsure of why he trashed them to his friend. I stayed on the honeymoon.

Today Mr A told me his relatives talk about how much I am on the phone. I don't know when they would have said that since I only got a smart phone this year and have seen them once this year for about 30 minutes. In those 30 minutes his drunk azz relatives managed to throw beer on my silk dress. His father then mentioned how skinny I am. Just because obesity is normal to a subset of black folks does not make me skinny. that same subset thinks its okay to be rude to people

I told Mr A that his drunk relatives had no room to talk. If my relatives are talking about him, they don't tell me. My phone has never poured beer on a silk dress.cay, I focused hard on choosing a good father for my kids. I did not consider the inlaws. Being around that bunch is like being in a G Thang video or the back yard party from Boyz In the Hood. That was not what I envisioned for my kids but it might be what they will be around. I failed.
Mr. A told me to stop demeaning his family. If he had stopped them from talking trahs about me, we would not have been having that conversation.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Art of Mother

In my advancing age I am appreciating the pleasures of the mothering/nurturing arts.

I want to provide my kiddies with a home of warmth and calm.

The kids were a bit under the weather this week and what they wanted most was to be held by me. I had to go to work 2 days this week and leave my sickly babies at home. They actually went to the park because they aren't down sick, they have a runny nose and a cough.

I told TR I was going to work and she told me that I don't go to work, that daddy goes to work. I like that she thinks I am home for her but I don't want her to think I don't work. She already thinks that daddy buys everything, because I rarely pull out payment for anything. I told her that I work at home but some days I have to work away from home. She told me that if I am going to work, they go to work with me.

She's sorta correct. I have taken them to work with me. The court in the Bay has a child care center and they have come to court and sat in. I've also taken them and the nanny when I have hearings in L.A.

She told me she would miss me. My mom tells me how she vividly remembers being 3 and recalls sitting in the yard listening to her grandmother and great aunt talking. She remembers all the places her grandmother took her. She reminds me of this when I'm looking at nursery schools because she thinks kids should be home at that age.

I remember being 3 and drawing conclusions based on what I knew and saw. I was 3, my brother was 4 and my sister was 5. I thought that girls would always be odd numbers and boys must be even number. I concluded on my next birthday I'd be 5.

I want the kids to know I love being home with them. I also want them to know that I work. I set my schedule so that I can spend the biggest part of my time with them.
I want them to know that mommy tries her hardest to be available to them.

I planned my professional life, so that one day when I had little kiddies, I could be home with them. I'm glad/thankful it worked out. I had no idea being a stay at home/work at home mom would not be simple. If I was forced to choose, I'd be a sahm. We'd just do our expensive activities at the Y for the low low price of whatever membership is. The money I'd make would not make up for the moments I love.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Now I am headed to the park.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Reserves and coloring in the lines

It's great to have reserves but I sure do hate calling on them.

Mr. A and I pretty much have summers off. Because of the way our money comes, we have income when we're not working but because we have summers off, we're not earning. So the fall starts off with us tapping reserves.

At least we know the situation. I've been focused on some lawsuits and lawsuits don't usually pay until the end, so my regular earnings have been seriously reduced. I'm not sure why I still do lawsuits, beyond my enjoyment of litigation. The reality is, even if I get $XX,000 from the suit, if the suit takes two years, (with one year of intense work), that only works to $xxxx a month ($xxxxx/10 months). My education cases earn more per month. The lawsuit takes me away from earning the regular income. Our expenses don't get reduced so basically its on Mr. A.

I guess the solution is to make sure I get a min. 100k fees from a lawsuit. Or to have staff that can do work and share the cash. I actually have that situation occurring, but I need more. Writing this made me realize I have someone else who can do this for me. I pay very well. I think its more important to share the wealth than to be greedy and have no wealth to share because no one will work for/with you.

I needed to write that down. Sometimes getting your thoughts out and written can make complicated things seem a lot clearer. Maybe writing it down allows me to see it, as if the challenge belongs to another person. It's much easier to solve someone else problem than my own problem.

Coloring Inside the Lines

TR is 3.5 exactly. Apparently I have not been playing close attention to TR and her coloring skills. I tend to give her blank paper to draw on. Other folks give her coloring books. I don't give her coloring books or pages because I figured she would just do what I thought 3 year olds do.

We were at the doctor yesterday and a nurse gave her crayons and coloring pages. The turkey had a big feather and TR colored so neatly, inside the lines and straight up and down. I was in the 4th or 5th grade before I paid that much attention to my coloring.

The reason I started paying attention was my classmate Brenda was super neat with her coloring. She was a lefty and it looked seamless, whereas my coloring would be in a variety of directions because I just wanted to get the page done.

I asked Mr. A early this year, "when does a child learn to color in the lines?" My answer, "when you have broken their spirit." Okay, so I don't think TR's spirit has been broken. I have no idea where she learned to color in the lines. My mom said she was doing it when we were in Oakland, last month.

When we did the visit at the nursery school, the director saw her stacking a set of blocks and said 'wow, she's anal." Sure she could have used the term, a perfectionist, but I wasn't offended. (Edit: I knew TR would not be attending after 5 minutes of being in the class. No need to be offended.) The director asked me where she got it from and I told her, her daddy. Mr. A was standing there.

I am guessing her coloring inside the lines is part of that anal/perfectionist thing. I will hopefully be able to show her the relaxed part of life. The difference between me and Mr. A, he likes the things he considers important to be done a certain way whereas in most things, I like things to get done.

Edit: Mr A pays great attention to detail. He makes demands upon himself. He wants others to reciprocate but he wants it to be willing vs. because he requested. Unless its football. He does not play with those football kids. He demands that they rise to their ability. Last week I nearly fell off the bleacher in laughter. A kid had did two play awfully. Mr. A was yelling at the kids, the kid tried to go hide and Mr. A said, "you get over here too, you are going to get all of this!" The kid joined the rest of the kids as Mr. A gave them a tongue lashing.

If you make me a plate of food, I am happy to eat it. Mr. A prefers the food to be arranged with loving care and visually pleasing. TR often wants her food on separate plates. I can't let her grits touch her eggs or her eggs touch her bacon. She is neat by nature and a clean freak (she is like my mom in that).

People really are, born, who they are. I guess parents just nuture who they are.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Productivity

written Tuesday 11/15/2011

I scheduled a telephone call for 9 am this morning. Starting off my morning being productive set the tone for the morning. I did great! Next time I post a sketch of my day, I will like the way it looks. (I hope)

I had to attend a settlement conference this afternoon. I left a little before 5 and felt wrong. I am usually home to meet the kids. I don't think the kids suffer by my not being home when they arrive, but I feel like I've abandoned my kiddies.

Mr A came home early, so I was able to relax. I still felt like a bad mommy as I headed home a bit before 5 pm. Fortunately there was no traffic and I made it from downtown L.A. to home in 10 minutes. Its great to live close to work places. I also blame the time change. It feels late. The darkness makes me feel like I'm out way past a decent hour.

QT is clearly bilingual. I wonder what his first language is. Sometimes I have to say things in Spanish. TR is also bilingual but I can tell that English is her first language. I think she may speak Spanglish. I told her "venga aqui" and she got up, came to me and asked "why do you want me to venga?"

I will continue my efforts to be productive during my work day.

Monday, November 14, 2011

More on school

Last week TR spent part of the morning at a playbased nursery school. She is ready for school and so is QT. Now that I know they are ready for school, I can relax and feel confident with them remaining in their current home/park care. We have to enroll at a kinder that follows a developmentally appropriate philosophy. If we are in L.A. we have a school. If we move to the Bay (highly likely) we will have to find the right kinder or figure something out. I’ll do what a can to prevent my kids from thinking learning has any relationship to a test or a grade or memorization of facts. I love learning because I enjoy knowing and wondering about things. I want my kids to have a love of learning as well.

Watching them go to a school environment was nice. I am very pleased to know they are able to self-regulate.

TR wants to do school and the park. I don’t love the program we visited enough to consider that as an option. If we got admitted to our dream school, I would not hesitate to enroll her for 1/2 a day at nursery school.

I wonder if other mom (outside L.A) obsess over nursery schools and kindergarten. When I encounter other moms, I realize I’m not seriously obsessed. I think the difference is a lot of parents are obsessed with the school and its name. I am obssesed with finding a program I think my child will flourish in and has a philosophy I agree with and will support.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Timeline

I sorta want to do a time line of my day but 1) my day doesn't have much of a schedule and 2) I'm not sure I want to face how much time I could utilize better 3) my life in print looks dull but I'm not bored.

I'll do a sketch and hopefully I will shame myself into utilizing my time better.

Monday and Friday are kid days. Nothing is scheduled, we play by ear and have fun.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday

6:30 a.m to 7:30 a.m.: kids get up and get in our bed. We play and watch t.v. The kids will have a snack and drop crumbs in bed.
7:30 a.m. I start breakfast
8:00 a.m. Kids eat, nanny arrives. I squeeze in a shower.
9:30- I've hopefully started work by this time, I waste time online, watch t.v., make phone calls, pay bills, handle personal business. Talk to my momma.

12:30 to 1 p.m.- I may walk to the park or somewhere. Talk to Mr A on the phone.
1:00 to 3:00- work

5:00- kids are usually up from their naps. We play, I finish up some work because I'm a workaholic.

5:30- 6 pm. Anything can happen.

6 pm by now Mr. A is home, we're probably eating dinner or getting ready to eat. Mr A is probably rough housing with the kids. I'm probably relaxing. I suspect some type of sports are on and we're all engaged in a game of hide and seek. Mr A actually hides, I just duck and cover. TR is giggling and QT is telling where folks are hiding. Hide and seek has been TR's game of choice for a few months now.

8:30 we're winding down. Kids are nearly ready for bed.

I need to do better with my time between 9 and 3. There is a lot I could do that could improve the lives of the A family. My time is actually money because the nanny is being paid and I don't get salary during my slack off time.

Brighter Days

There are lots of things to want. I want some of my relatives to be alive. I can't make it happen. I can't even focus on that want. I just appreciate the times shared and the blessing of knowing them while I had the chance.

I live in an apartment in L.A. when I want to have a paid for house in Bel Air, Hancock Park or the Bay with bay views and built on flat land. I really like where we live, but I want a driveway. I want to be able to pull up, get the kids out of the car, and put them in the house or let them play in the drive while I get things indoors. That is why I want a house. The space is a bonus but it will also be extra work. A driveway will be life changing. I don't want a garage.

As I think about it, I have most of what I want. I can obtain most everything I want and don't have. I can't give life to anyone but I can work and save to get the house. It's in my reach. I have hope.

I have hope that one day I will understand why life is what it is. I will be with my loved ones again and eternally. We'll all win over death. If you have hope, then life is a different place. With hope you can have peace.

Hope is not logical, its not rational, its not reasonable, its not scientific, but its powerful.

Nursery School & Preschool

I have been googling topics around preschool v. Kids at home. The kids have a nanny because I prefer they be home and have the home experience. I have been wondering why the thought of starting nursery school has been rough for me and I think its because entry into nursery school will be similar to what I was trying to avoid.

School will begin soon enough. Even if I homeschool (unlikely but possible) they will have to be on some type of day to day schedule. Most people have early childhood and retirement to sleep in and operate their day at their leisure. If I take early childhood away, they will have to wait until retirement.

We are only interested in play based nursery and preschools. They play at home and the park, with the same group of kids. Starting a play based school seems to be my giving in to self-imposed pressure to I get a place in a good school so they can be on track to get into the next good school. I think other kids might go to to nursery school because its also childcare or so kids can have playmates.

My kids have childcare and playmates. School would only cause them to have to get up and out of the house 5 days a week. TR opts out of ballet on some mornings because she wants to stay home in her pj.s. I understand that and 3 is an age where such choices are possible.

A bit of my motivations are selfish. I work at home. If I had to drop them off at nursery school and come back home, I might as well be going to an office. I like staying home. I like missing morning traffic.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

feeding and financing a family of four

Now that we have kids and buy more organic, our grocery expense is about 45% higher. Much of the price and food increase is fruit and snacks. I realized that everything goes better with snacks. Car rides, plane rides, train rides, outings, sitting at home, snacks will keep things calm. If we weren't shopping for organic stuff the addition of 2 kids would cause about a 20% increase.

We (Mr A goes but we're the "A team", so I say we) do one large trip each month and trips every few days for small items and perishables. I took photos of this months big trip. The total was $226. Most of the stuff is from Whole Foods, we mostly get meat from Safeway/Pavillions.




Childcare is our biggest child related expense. I had not given any thought to childcare prior to kids because I planned to be at home with them and continue my business.

Infancy was an easy phase. They sleep and you get to hold them as much as you want. QT would probably do okay to be home but TR is super social and loves to see her friends at the park. QT enjoys the park but TR needs to interact with other people. QT is like me and TR is like her daddy.

Time is the largest investment. The best education will mean little if we don't get the ground laid right. We're feeding them more than food and we are investing more than money. It takes effort, energy and sacrifice to raise folks.

Sometimes we have to sacrifice our comfort or wants/needs for the sake of the kids. TR was misbehaving last week and I kept her home from the park. I had stuff I wanted to do but I felt she needed to know I was serious. Trying to teach children how to be self-disciplined and self-regulated requires the parents to refine those skills.

We went to a book discussion and the author said to "prepare your child for the path, not the path for your child." That makes sense. It's hard, Its natural to want to micromanage the path. There are choices we as parents will make, such as parks and schools and TR and QT will meet friends based off our larger choices. We have to equip the kids with the ability to choose things, activities and people wisely.

These kids mirror us, so our behavior, our words have to be things we want to see and hear when we look at and talk to these mirrors. Sometimes TR will say phrases and it makes me realize that the phrase is something I say all the time without noticing. She says, I want to ask you something, I have a question for you, awwwe that"s so nice of you, I love you. These are things I say all the time.

She will also repeat stuff I yell during road rage. I don't curse but my tongue still has a razors edge. I try to temper my tongue so I won't have to hang my head in shame when my kids repeat words I shouldn't have said.

Children are an investment. They are an emotional, financial, physical, time, spiritual investment. The best thing is parents get immediate enjoyment of what we are investing in.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Fish fry Friday- Facebook failings

Scoff at me if you desire, but I have a daughter and I will dress us alike if I want to.

A couple of weeks ago I put on a winter white dress. It's cotton, ribbed top and pleated skirt. Mr A and I went to purchase clothes for QT and I saw pink little girls dress that matched the description of my dress. Of course I bought it.

TR loved it when I put it on her today (Friday). She spun around and asked me to spin when I put my winter white dress on.

We looked adorable! I put QT in blue polo jeans, a white onesie, a light blue button down shirt and a Polo light brown zipper sweater. I think its wool. I put his flat cap on and we hit the streets. We went to visit Mr A at school and surprise QT was dressed like Mr A. It wasn't fully intentional.

We're such a handsome family!

Sometimes I look at folks facebook photos, (I rarely read status updates) and think I'm failing socially. Folks are out at all types of activities and posting the pics. I want to post photos of things I enjoy but I 1) lost my fb email to upload photos from my phone and 2) don't feel like uploading when I get home from a full morning/afternoon/evening. I do email photos to my mother and if I get the motivation to get that fb email, then I may be able to rejoin the fb photo upload.

We also had fish, hence the title. I have a mental goal to have dinner relate to the first letter of the weekday. It only works out on Friday but one day......... taco tuesday, meatloaf monday, salmon Sunday, etc. is going to happen. My kids will be asked what they are having for dinner that evening and they may not know the exact food, but they will know what letter the food will start with.

These are my confessions.

Friday, November 4, 2011

rainy day

I haven't made plans for the day. Its raining. I do want us to get out of the house. The kids like to be lazy on Monday and Friday. TR likes to spend those days in her pajamas. Since play is the work of children and she plays 3 days a week she wants to relax on her off days. We may go to a museum or we may just spend the day chillaxing.

I toured a nursery school this week. 2 of the 5 mothers complained that their kids took 2 naps a day and the morning nap was during brunch time. The kids naps made them unable to brunch. Another mother brought her kid and left a little early because it was past his nap time.

My kids do not take morning naps but if they did, I might not need the nanny. My kids wake at 6:30 am and play hard until their nap in the very late afternoon.

My mother said they were probably realizing that they'd be paying to have their kids sleeepiprong at nursery school. That makes more sense, especially since these women had husbands and nannies.

I loved the nursery school but I will probably wait until kinder to send TR. If she was in school we could not enjoy our lazy mornings at home.