Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Twisted

This morning TR told me she wanted to be white.  I managed to remain standing but I am ripped to pieces on my inside.

She said everyone at her preschool is white.  I told her the various kds who are brown.  I then told her she is fortunate to be brown because the sun can make white skin sick. It may not be the best response but I was not prepared for that conversation.

I asked her why she thought about being white and she said the white girls in her gymnastics class could do more leg lifts and pull ups. She said she wouldn't be able to go to the Olympics. She is actually one of the strongest in her in class.  She also has great skill.  Her coach tells me how strong she is and her great her skills are.

I plan to ask her coach if the team discuss the Olympics.  We have never mentioned Olympics.  TR is the only chocolate girl in the team.  She is the youngest  and when they can do a skill she struggles with, she may think color is the difference between her and her teammates and not age.

In L.A. one of her favorite playmates was TR's shade of brown.  Her other favorite playmate was white, blonde and blue eyes.  The other kids were white but I think the nannies kept things very caring.

At TR's preschool, it's school.  Most of the kids knew each other from last year, and I think she feels like the new girl and she may associate that with a color.

I hope things go better at her kindergarten. I hope there are at least one or two full black kids.  If not I am prepared to homeschool.

Days like this make me miss the park.

I have been developing an increasing dislike of formal education.

 I do not agree with homework in kindergarten.  I don't like grades in kinder. Kinders are learners.  The practice of rating the quality of the work when a young child is learning, seems wrong. I do not need grades.  Show me the work.

 I think assessing progress and strengths and weakness makes sense, but focusing on what is right or
wrong and grading it, turns love of learning into a desire to be correct.

I am not interested in looking for a preschool based on racial makeup.  I like what her current
preschool offers and I like that it is part time.

The school we have applied to does not give grades or homework until 3rd grade.  The educational philosophy aligns with ours but I need to avoid a placement that will do emotional damage.  I don't mind my kid wanting to be rich, they can get that.  But I need my kids to love their skin, because they will be in it for life.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Two Things

   I had a dream about TR's school last night.  This entire process is rough. My kid is 4.5 and we have been in this school admission process nearly 3 years!

    In my dream I found a day/boarding school and we moved so she could attend.  I could not figure out why we did that because our goal was to be near family.

   When we get our admissions letter I can use this energy for something different.

    It was interesting meeting parents at the kindergarten screening.  I think it's really a parent screening, because they put parents in a room and see what we do.  Mr A and I ended up chatting with three other sets of parents.

     Quite a few parents were considering both public and private.  I think all the parents I spoke to who considered public, lived in the same part of the city.  One mom told me how high the API was and I told her API scores that high scared me away.  A volunteer parent who has a kindergarten already in the school, agreed with me.  That was nice.  It's nice to have different philosophies.

   The parents who were considering public and spoke of the high API were a Stanford grad and lawyer and a Princeton Phd in computer science and they were both black.  Good stuff!  When the Phd wife finished explaining her job, no one else wanted to tell their profession.

    She designed programs to date fossils and other interesting things.

     I would like my kids to be educated in an environment where high levels of  achievement is the normal.

    I am not focused on educating my kids for future employment. I want them to be thinkers and feel equipped educationally to attack challenges they may face.

       Back at One

   In law school I wanted to be a tax attorney and focus on estate planning.  I started out at an accounting firm doing real estate tax accounting, not tax law. Estate planning was not the work that kept finding me.  I found myself working with disability law and now I keep getting referrals to do, special needs trusts. The trust work has started finding me.

      It finally clicked, that I can marry my disability law work with estate planning work.  Not sure why it took so long for that button to click.

      I always try to think of ways to weather potential future law changes that might ruin my business. Special needs estate planning is a great direction to grow and increase stability. Now I shall get myself retrained in estates and such.  Whohoooo!

   



 
   


Saturday, January 26, 2013

Jambalaya

Travel

My goal is (was) to save up x amount of dollars and take a luxury family trip to NYC.  We will stay in a 2-bedroom suite, with great views or maybe a one-bedroom suite.  Mr. A thinks the kids won't care about not having their own room, and will be fine in the sofa bed.  I feel like I will need a travel agent for this. I am so excited I can barely look at hotels online. I want a spacious apartment with great views, not a hotel room. Traveling with small kids requires lodging with space to move.  I also want a boutique hotel.  Chains are great but I like the vibe of  boutiques, it seems less tourist like.

I would like to see a kid-friendly broadway show.

The kids are young. QT may not remember the trip, but he will enjoy it while we are there.

. I think L.A., NYC, Miami, SF, are cities where you splurge to get the full experience.

While I was talking about the trip to NYC, Mr. A commented if I really wanted us to do both Virgin Islands and NYC this summer.  He mentioned the islands in passing, but apparently I missed hearing him saying he wanted us to go.

I am sure the kids will love the beach.  I think we'll be staying in a house while there.  I need to work on airline tickets.

So we'll save NYC for Christmastime. That will be great and the kids will be a little older. TR will be able to share her holiday excursion with her classmates. I expect those kids will probably take
vacations at holidays. (in jr. High a girl told me off and part of her speech said her family didn't take yearly vacations.  It was then I realized some families don't  vacation during summer breaks or holidays.  I also realized that in some circles kids resent other kids telling stories of family trips .)

When we were in L.A., most of TR's ballet class mates went to private and I would hear the mothers discussing planned trips to Europe or Israel for Thanksgiving or Christmas.

I do wonder where folks get so much money.  I want to have some too!  The side of L.A. we were on kept me insulated.  Now that we are back in Oakland, I have been slapped in the face with the reality that things got much worse for black folks in the 6 years I lived in L.A.  It is unreal.  Thank goodness I moved and was able to build my business.

On our Martin Luther King Holiday, we took a family trip to Fisherman's wharf.  I felt like a Jersey person driving into NYC as we crossed the bridge.  We usually take Bart so driving felt like a tourist. I usually go to S.F. to work or see a doctor, its rare I go there just to experience the city, so it was
different.

That San Francisco Sourdough bread is superb! *kissing my fingers*.  I think I could live there, if I
can get over the uber- liberals and the taxes.


In other things, these governments are crooks trying to tax me on my gross income.  Gross income is not what I get to keep.  Tax me on funds I hold, not on what passes through my hands and I have to pay to others, who will also have to be taxed on it.

Small business really does have it rough at tax time.  I really think these burdens are created to benefit large corporations.  Once small business dies, big business controls. Small is usually local and big businesses aren't accountable to communities.


Have a lovely weekend!







Monday, January 21, 2013

School Screen

I have shared my level of excitement regarding TR's kindergarten visit.  I was looking forward to the day and hearing all the details and her impressions.
When she completed her visit, we asked details but she was not willing to share. She returned jumping and smiling, said it was fun, but that was all we got.
Later that day TR quizzed us on opposites, rhyming words and she piled her books up like stairs and rolled a slinky on them. I figured that was part of the visit.
The next day she said they had sung songs with the teachers. She has been asking when she gets to start at her new school.





I took a few photos of her in the classroom.

I teared up when we got out of the car to go into the school. The reality that my little baby will be starting school fulltime hit. The baby I used to wrap in a sling and walk around the neighborhood was visiting a kindergarten.

This time from infant to school-age has went so fast. Before I know it, she will turn 5 and be going to school 5 days a week.  While I feel a bit nostalgic upon entering this new phase, I am excited about my future volunteering at school, being on committees and supporting my child's education and school experience.  My mom was the parent on every field trip and organizing schoolwide career days, and other enrichment activities. I am going to be that mom.

My mother was a classroom teacher before, she was a SAHM. She took her role as primary educator of her children seriously. A huge reason we like TR's preschool is because it is a parent co-op. The parents have to work in the classroom a few times per month.  I think everyone agrees that level of parent involvement is what determines the school environment and student success.  100% of the parents who choose her school, agree to be personally involved.

Mr. A has suggested letting QT start at TR's preschool. He doesn't have the park, so TR is his primary 
playmate. QT will be 3 soon and because his birthday is early he will be 5.5 when he starts kindergarten. If he starts school this fall, he will have been in school 2 years before kindergarten. I don't want that.  Maybe we can do a trial day so I can see his response. Once he starts school, he will have to be on a schedule until retirement. If I can give him a extra year or two of enjoying home, I will.

But I will get busy on getting him consistent playmates. A mother's work is never done.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Fun Field Trip

TR's class took a field trip. The kids found themselves in the woods and instead of doing the easily identfiable activity, the kids organized themselves and started doing something.


It was nice to see what I been reading about. Play is the Work of Children.   The kids did not have adults guiding or directing.  They had an idea, they organized as a team and  implemented the plan.

I have no idea what their goal was but they got together and lifted a small tree. They gathered other materials and seemed to be trying to build something. It was great to watch. I think giving kids nature allows them to use their full brain power. They can create and imagine. When they are given things that have specific uses, they usually get limited to that use.

QT and Mr.  joined s and it was a fun family day.


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Life and Laundry

This morning, after my visit to the loo, I handled a bit of laundry. It's quite convenient that the laundry 'room' is across from a bathroom. I turned the washer on and took items out of the dryer.
As I peeked in the dryer it occured to me that my life includes a great deal of laundry. My life and laundry. I stay cleaning, straightening things up or having something to clean.
As soon as I got married, I realized that I also took on a career as a laundress. I like clean, freshly folded, neatly organized clothing and linen so I cannot muster up a laundry complaint. I don't hate laundry. Dare I say, I like it?
When I was a kid my mother kept a washing board in our laundry room. I know what washing used to be. I know where my roots are, and putting clothes in a machine is nothing worth a complaint. As I think about it I need to get that wash board because I keep buying TR pretty dresses that say 'hand wash only". I usually wash those in the shower. Those clothes require cold water, so that becomes torture.
Speaking of dresses......
The A family hosted 2012 Christmas. During holidays the offspring of my maternal great-grandparents get together, it's usually a larger gathering.
TR loves to be hostess so I wanted to get her a dress worthy of the occasion and her first time as hostess in our new home.
Mr A and I went to Nordstrom and I spotted a gorgeous ivory dress with gold brocade. It was befitting of a 4 year old who loves to twirl and watch her skirt float. I love little girl dresses. I remember being 10 and having my mother take me to countless shops because I wanted a petticoat slip to make my fancy dress even bigger in the skirt.
Mr A had purcased a pair of slacks and shirt for QT which the clerk put in a smallish bag. When I went to purchase the dress, Mr A tried to hand me the bag and said to have them put her dress in it.
I gasped. I was speechless. Who was this man? This man who suggested I fold my daughter's fancy dress? I told him her dress might fit in that bag but you don't fold it. (can you feel my pulse picking up as the memories return while I type?) breath in, breath out, breath in, breath out. I think I must have looked at him in complete horror because he shook his head, took QT and went back to sit in the kids shoe area.
I went to the clerk and the ladies next to me and the clerk commented on how pretty the dress was and how pretty TR had looked in it. We had a discussion about little girl dresses. It was the children's department so that was not unusual.
Then the price rang up and everyone nearby, including me and the clerk, gasped. literaly everyone nearby gasped. The dress did not have any tags and was on sale. The fabric and detail made me think it would be $100 or so dollars. I suspect the other shoppers expected a higher price as well.
The dress was maybe $40 or $50. It was cheaper than QT's pants. My smile was huge. The clerk put the dress in a plastic dress bag and gently placed it in the big bag.
When I returned to Mr A, I showed him the bag. His response was something like, just because they waste a big bag on a little dress doesn't make it right.
Whatev..
... This is apparently why I go without him, when I buy fancy dresses for TR.
In other sad but true news......
Mr A's witch mother filed a missing person report on him. She lives in Kern County but drive over 100 miles to make a report in L.A. County. She told them that I had kidnapped him, he was in a cult, that he lived in the area and she had not heard from him.
It seems the male officers weren't buying the story. One told me she had come to him but the story did not sound right. She found some idiot female detective who called Mr. A's job and told them he was missing.
Mr A works at a posh private school. He is a black man, who has the police calling the school looking for him. I suspect that won't help his coaching career.
I tell you that heifer really thinks I took her husband. I think what has had her angry these many years is that when we got married Mr. A told her, he was going to cease paying her bills. The love of money is the root of all evil and she is dangerous because of her greed.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Competitive-Generations

TR is in competitive gymnastics. It's called pre-team. She does not compete because she is 4 years and a child has to be 6 to compete. TR is the youngest kid in her pre-team class. Her coach told me that TR is one of the strongest in the class.
The coach gave them a challenge and said the kid who could meet the challenge could choose the last activity or choose to watch the big girls. The challenge was 15 pull-ups and 15 toe touches. TR won the challenge!
I tried to do a pull up 2 weeks ago. I had no idea they were so hard! TR chose to do front flips into the foam pit.
Last week I was chatting with the mother of a 4 year old who wants her daughter in pre-team. The coaches have told her that daughter is not strong enough. The girl's age should have her in the pre-school class but the girl is in class with 8-12 year olds.
The mother says the class is recreation and she wants her daughter in competitive. She has the girl in 2 classes per week in an effort to get her stronger and she is doing exercise at home.
This week the mother seemed to request a new evaluation. I wasn't looking but it did not seem to go very well. I heard another woman telling the mom that the coaches probably understand that 3-4 years olds often freeze under pressure. Competitive gymnastics is all pressure. The coach usually describes the skill once and the kids have to do it and the coach will assist in positioning their body and then the kids have to do the skill alone.
In recreation, the coaches demonstrate a few times and guide.
I had no idea that people pushed their 4 year old into competitive things. I am the 'do your best' parent. I will support my kid in doing their best but I lean toward developing naturally and identifying their natural talents I don't think most 4 year olds have the strength required for the competitive team and because pre-team is so physically demanding, I would prefer my kid develop first. 6 is not old to start pre-team.
Last week the mother asked me how TR got so strong. I told her TR was born strong. She was a pre-mie and was scooting in her incubator. Mr. A told the woman that TR had been playing at the park 5 days a week since she was a baby, and climbing across the bars, building up strength.
I still say she was born strong because her park playmates had also been at the park and could not use the equipment like TR.
A few of the coaches have said they want QT in competitive and while he is strong, we can tell that he does not love gymnastics like his sister. When TR was newly 3, I put her in ballet and she asked to return to gymnastics. I enrolled her in both because I had a dream of seeing my daughter in ballet. But gymnastics has been her love. QT loves football and when he tells me who his friends are, he names the kids on the football team. Mr A says the kids love QT and I see QT loves them.
On New Years Day, the head coach came by for gumbo and football and QT walked me into the room and introduced me to his friend 'K'. I laughed so hard!
Generations
My mom's uncle is said to have just days to live. This makes me sad for a variety of reasons. My late maternal grandmother has two surviving siblings. When I was born all 9 were alive and young.
I remember my grandmother's aunts and uncles being in their 70's when I was a kid. I recall them getting to 80 and then slowly dying until my grandmother had no living aunts or uncles. Now my grandmother's generation is down to 2 living siblings. I know this pattern.
This pattern is a blessing. It's a blessing when people can live into and beyond the years God promised but it still hurts to see your loved ones leave and be reminded that this life is very temporary.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Flash thoughts

-I understand wanting side income, but once a blog turns into a page of Posts selling products I am done. Everyone does not have the skill to monetize a blog while retaining the original vibe of the blog. Whatever happened to ads on the side of the page?
- A blogger used to write about her marriage and the importance of being financially compatible. I am pretty sure she said she exchanged credit reports. She also wrote about marrying a man with some means.
Anyway now she is divorced and I feel like she owes readers something. If she and her ex-husband were financially compatible as she claimed, then why not acknowledge that money may not be the ground to build a marriage on. If a person gives a bad prescription, the person should let folks know they were wrong and recall the product they were selling.
I do not know what makes a marriage work. I can speak on why I believe my marriage is a good place. I sorta think marriage takes 2 committed people. If one or more people thinks compatibility is more important than commitment then it may be trouble. I watch Tia and Tamera and they shared a womb and are not compatible in every area. Their commitment to the relationship is why they work, IMO.
- I think some competitive person was nosey about my business and instead of just asking, the person did unnecessary, time wasting actions. Insanity is real. A person has to be crazy to pretend and create a scheme just to prove or disprove my business success.
This nosey person is actually the person who drove me to find my area of practice. Since that experience I don't get mad when folks try to throw up road blocks or throw me off my course. I take it as notice that I had gotten too comfy where I was and God either needs me elsewhere or has something greater for me. Maybe both. Back then I was substitute teaching while trying to build my practice. A few months later I was able to be a full time attorney.
-folks can have all the ingredients but if they do not know how to put those ingredients together, they can waste the ingredients. Some take time to learn the order or best way to design something others, some others get the ingredients without taking time to learn the best way to make something. Sometimes the right person can do more with wrong ingredients than the wrong person can do with the right ingredients.
-I just learned that lunch at the school we want for TR is $5.50 per day. Wow! I need to get my lunch packing skills perfected. The school is close enough that I can drop a hot lunch off most days.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

House without a wife

To be a housewife is... a difficult, a wrenching, sometimes an ungrateful job if it is looked on only as a job. Regarded as a profession, it is the noblest as it is the most ancient of the catalogue. Let none persuade us differently or the world is lost indeed. • Phyllis McGinley
Friday was a hectic day and it is nothing I would want to do on a regular basis.
Mr. A and I both had to work away from home on Friday morning. Mr. A dropped the kids off at my mom's home that morning. He returned home and I gave him a goodbye kiss while he showered. The morning happened so fast, it's a blur. The kids were up, dressed, they had fruit, we got them in the car and they were off. It actually makes me sad. I like to drink in moments as they occur, and I was too focused on the day ahead and being to court on time, to focus on those family moments.
I am sure we would be organized if this, get out of the house thing, was our daily routine - but the brevity of time in the morning and my inabilty to really tune into the kids as I like, is hurtful.
Most mornings the kids awake and climb into our bed. We exchange hugs and kisses, QT tells me he has to go potty. We go in the bathroom, I watch him do everything himself, because he throws a fit if I try to help. I watch as he lathers soap on his hands and plays in the soapy water. I eventually do the count for him to leave the sink, He climbs down the stool, he runs to dry his hands and we leave the bathroom.
While I am making breakfast TR enters the kitchen, with either paper and a writing utensil or a toy. She slides her back against the counter, down the cabinet and onto the floor. We chat.
The kids stay in pajamas until 9 or 10 am. Even when we had their nanny, the morning moved slow and I got time to tune in and focus on the kids. I keep mornings full of hugs, kisses and I love you. There are plenty of stop that, don't do that, come HERE now!, HERE,...... but I find fun in that because Bill Cosby's standup was right on. Kids need "come here" reinforced.
I enjoy our days. Now that the kids are getting older, and I am not needed to handle every detail, I realize how fast the baby days went.
QT has been dressing himself since before he was two. Now, at 2, he can zip and button his clothes. He will let TR button him up but if I try, its battle. He is independent on the toilet. I let him handle number 1 but I demand to wipe after number 2. He wants to do that too. Sometimes he tells me to leave the bathroom and give him privacy. I comply and hope for the best.
TR was a few months old when I realized that I had never given thought to child care. Probably because I worked from home, I didn't figure it would be needed. My mom told me kids like to be home and don't want to commute. She also said she remembered being 3 and spending her days with her grandmother and aunts and those childhood memories are important to children. My mother still tells stories of those days.
My mother did not mention that these days with my babies, are also my memories. Sometimes things get are busy but I remember to pause and observe. These moments with my babies are also my memories. I will remember their childhood better than they will.
I enjoy being a mother. I enjoy knowing that my kids can use scissors because I taught them. They can add and subtract because Mr. A taught them.
Kids allow me to know Mr. A on a different level. He is my husband. He is also a well-loved father. He has many important roles that aren't centered around me.
I want to be a better wife for him to give him support and strength to continue as a great father.
TR will begin school and our calm, relaxed mornings will change. She will have to get up and out of the house for 6 hours, 5 days a week. As a person who has made decisions that would allow me to operate from home, I feel bad for her. She will probably enjoy herself until she realizes that she has to attend each day and her freedom to choose her activity is no longer an option. I am pleased that we have gotten these first years to just relax and ignore clocks and just enjoy each other.
I am grateful she got to spend 3.5 years going to the park and playing with her friends each day. We were fortunate to live in sunny L.A. where winter and rain are strangers. These are my memories. Had she spent these years in a different care situation, she would not care as it would be her normal.
The kids earliest years, matters most to Mr. A and I. We had a vision of how we wanted our kiddies early childhood to be and we were blessed to see that vision carried out.
Well this has gone on for too long......... I just wanted to express that I am pleased with the choices we made that gave us the opportunity to spend so much time with our kiddies. Our choices may not have made us oodles of cash but I have felt wealthy and we have not been in need or want. I pray we will be blessed to spend many decades watching our children grow further and following their own paths.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Gifts of PrAyer

I was 7 years old  in the 4th grade.  I was one of two 4th graders in my sister's  5th grade class.  So I was 7 in a class of 9/10/11 year olds.  My sister was 9.  At that age, 2 to 3 years is a big age difference.

One of my sister's friends asked my mother to pack her a lunch for a field trip.  The little girl had come to our house early the morning of a school field trip to get her lunch and I overheard.

Sometime later in the year, the girl upset me and I told her, in a few words, that her mother wouldn't or couldn't make her a lunch.  The girl broke down and cried.  I don't know if her mother had a habit or just had a financial situation that prevented her from packing a lunch for her daughter.

I knew my words would hurt the girl, but I was not prepared for her response. (My mother was the go to mom in the neighborhood. If a working mom forgot to pack a lunch or if a kid needed something they would tell their kid to go to my mother. Asking my mom was not unusual) Even at 7, I recognized my gift.  I could read people well.  I could sense things about them.  My curse was my tongue and how cruel it could be. Fortunately I also had the sense to apologize and not revel in being nasty.

I was 7 when I called my grandmother and told her I wanted to be nice and did not want to use my words to hurt people. My grandmother told me God could deliver me.  She told me that many people had natural inclinations that were wrong, but God could deliver.  She instructed me to talk to God and tell him what I wanted to change about my ways.

After that I still had the gift of a sharp tongue but I had the sense and the restraint not to use it.  I would rather someone say something crazy to me and I ignore it or deflect versus my responding with cruelty and living with regret of saying unkind things.

I still feel bad about my comment to the little girl in elementary. I was never a name caller. I identified a weakness and hit there.

There are times when I make a decision to strike where I know it will hurt.  It's wrong but it's controlled, and limited. Other times I may offend without intent to offend. I don't like to hurt feelings but I can live with myself when people find offense where none was meant.

My gift of sensing folks emotions works great in jury trials.  I think TR shares that ability but she currently uses her gifts for good.  She is a nurturer by nature.  Perhaps it's the nature of eldest siblings.

I thought about my grandmother tonight/ this early morning as I showered. Did she know how awesome her gift of prayer was to me?  I was 7, yet she did not baby me or tell me I would grow out of my ways nor did she tell me I was required to exist in my ways.
Her gift to me was manyfold. She acknowledged that my behavior was wrong. She let me know that I could change and that I could be better in anything. She let me know that people have things they need change. I wasn't an anomaly.
I am grateful that God granted me control over my instinct to use my tongue to hurt. There is life or death in the tongue and that lesson was easier learned at 7 years old, than as an adult who speaks cruel, unkind words and does not know it, does not care or cannot control it. I feel bad for adults who intentionally try to be mean or hurtful. There are better ways to express hurt, frustration or disagreement.

I am blessed because at 7, I knew being verbally cruel was not anything to admire. Social media has shown me that many, many adults think being unkind to others is fun and admirable. What others do, does not alter what I know to be right. Thank God for deliverance and the ability to identify my own faults.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Do It!

In 2013, I will remain on top of my work.

I work so I might as well be consistent with it.   I won't be a last minute, in a rush worker.

I have families relying on me and staff who have expectations that I am training them well.  I have to respond early because it's easier to get things down now ad it's hard to save things for later and have a pile.

It's going to be good.  I am motivated.