Year Reflection 2014 – Practicing Motherhood

I’ve started this blog in February 2014 for the purpose of self therapy in this journey of motherhood.  It’s also a relief to find out that the struggles of motherhood is not mine’s alone; that other mothers  I’ve encounter whether by reading other blogs or comments to blog post on Practicing Motherhood share the same or similar joys and challenges I face as well.  This help me realized that maybe I’m not doing such a bad job after all.



I’m Reflecting

Since the start of Practicing Motherhood, I’ve written over one hundred post about the joys and challenges that I faced being a mother to two boys and outside influences from society, racial issues, in laws and parents that help or hinder the way I raise my children.  These posted showed my most vulnerabilities and fears while showing the joys, victories, and crazy sense of humor I also have while I “practice” being a mother.  I wish my post could be “feel good” post and step by step guide post but in reality, motherhood isn’t a step by step process nor there always “feel good” moments. 

So in year 2015, I’m sure I will face new challenges and victories of motherhood as my boys gets older and smarter and I’m sure it will be fun and frightening at the same time.  I realize in this practicing of motherhood that there will always be new things to learn and I will never get it right the first time every time so I need to take it one day at a time. 

It was great sharing my post with you and I thank you for all of your support and comments.  I hope we can learn from each other knowing that we are not alone in this journey of motherhood. We are practicing motherhood because who know the answer to raising children…I know I don’t. I’m just trying not to screw up my kids…one day at a time.

Have a happy a safe New Year!

Happy New Year from The Don and Bam Bam!

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He Needed Mama Today

Toddlerhood is an age where you see the true innocence of the child emerges.  You can see the wonder, amazement, and the adventure that your toddler is experiencing and the small steps they are taking towards independence…literately small steps.  You also notice that your toddler doesn’t need you as much as he use to and it’s great and scary at the same time for the both of you.

Bam Bam on the move

When Bam Bam reached toddlerhood about a month and a half ago, I saw that my little baby was leaving and a toddler was striving forward. He didn’t want anyone to get in his way.  I was prepared to let go as I had with The Don at that age and knew that the inevitable would come; the part of Bam Bam not needing me as much.  For starters, he weaned about three months earlier than The Don (The Don was sixteen months; Bam Bam was a little over a week ago at thirteen months). Bam Bam doesn’t want to be carried too much, he doesn’t want to wait to climb the bars in the park or slide down the slides, he wants to be stronger than everyone else and would try to pick up heavy things and do things himself.  Maybe he feels he has to be stronger emotionally and physical not only to keep up with his big brother but according to him, he’s behind and he needs to catch up despite his physical and emotional development.

Toddlerhood also comes with mood swings and temper tantrums and the child becomes one angry little monster.  Sometimes they even become very indecisive.  One minute they need you to do something and the next they do a “Sike Naw” on you and make you wonder “Ok”.  Bam Bam would come to me with his hands out like he wants me to pick him up.  As soon as I pick him up, he cries and wiggles for me to put him down.  Being a parent to a toddler is a push and pull relationship. 

Yesterday morning however, my little pint size tough guy turned into the fuzzy little baby he once was.  Bam Bam’s first molars are starting to come in and he was moody most of the morning.  I gave him some infant Advil to see if it would work.  It worked but the little guy was still a little fuzzy.  I took him upstairs to get ready for his nap.  I usually would play with him and tickle him before he’s put into the bed and left to fall asleep.  However, I didn’t just put him down.  I put his stack blanket on him, pick him up and started to twist my waist to rock him to sleep.  I know some doctors may feel that I should have left him but my instincts told me otherwise.  As I rocked Bam Bam, a calmness came over me and him. He didn’t fight me to get down so he could play.  He laid his head on my shoulders and the rocking motion sent him to sleep.   I guess he needed his mama today.

Bam Bam sleeping on mama 🙂
 

The Christmas tree

This pasted Saturday, The Don, hubby, and I decorated the Christmas tree.  I’m glad that The Don is at the age where he can appreciate this holiday tradition without breaking too many ornaments.  The Don said to me on that day, “We’re putting the tree up today.”  At this age, children tend to repeat the same sentence over and over again until they get what they want.  I said to him, “Yes, we’re putting up the tree day.”  In Christmas past, The Don would be amazed at the lights, flickering and flashing

 

not really understanding the beauty of the Christmas holiday. Since then, with the help of television, The Don is excited to decorated the tree.



The Don at the tree

The Don help hold the Christmas tree lights for the hubby so he can put them around the tree.  The Don also throw tinsel on the tree and helped me put up some ornaments.  He broke a couple of ornament because he was being a three year old pushing and banging them together but I think the tree came out pretty good.
About forty five minutes later, Bam Bam woke up from his nap.  When Bam Bam seen the Christmas tree lighted up, Bam Bam immediately walked over to see the pretty lights and of course, to pull down some ornaments.  The amazement in Bam Bam’s eyes as he gazed up at the Christmas tree for the first time was a beautiful thing to see.  It doesn’t take much to make him happy.



The Don and Bam Bam

As my three men laid under the Christmas tree, it’s makes me feel lucky to have them.  It makes me happy to see my husband being a good father to his sons. I love to see the innocence and wonder in my children’s eyes. My family is all the present I need.


Hubby, Bam Bam, and The Don

Early Morning Awakening

The Don has been waking up really early in the morning around four o’clock for about two months now.  This past week, we decided it was time The Don used the big boy potty so I wouldn’t have to clean the little potty in his room.  Combining these two situations is causing disruption in the quietness in the middle of the night because The Don is playing in the hallway instead of his bedroom.

The purpose of The Don’s door being cracked is to have him to easily open his bedroom door to get to the bathroom and then come back in his room.  For the past few days, The Don decides to take his early in the morning play time into the hallway.  Or he would open the door more and loudly play in his room; I guess he wanted the whole house to know that he was awake and we should be awake too.  I would speak through the monitor telling him to go to the potty, come back in his room, and then close the door and play quietly until I come down to get him.  I remember this past Saturday, I went downstairs around five thirty in the morning to tell him to go to the potty, showed him to come back in his room, and to tuck himself in and go back to sleep.  I even turned the light off manually so he wouldn’t be tempted to get out of bed; The Don got back up an hour later anyway.

This past Sunday, I woke up around four forty-five to go to the bathroom when I hear The Don waking up.  After I was done in the bathroom, I came back to the bedroom to watch what he was doing through the monitor.  He was rocking back and forth on his legs as if he had to go to the bathroom.  So I spoke through the monitor, “Go potty.”  The Don went potty.  He came back in his room jumping loudly leaving the door open. I spoke again, “Please close the door and play quietly. It’s still dark and mama’s trying to sleep.  I’ll come and get you later.”  This lasted for about a half an hour.  I was finally drifting off to sleep when I heard banging in the hallway.  The Don was banging his toy hammer in the hallway.  I couldn’t see if he was banging the wall or floor but it was annoying.  I spoke through the monitor, “Come back in your room and close the door. Mama’s trying to sleep.”  The Don said, “Mama, wake up.”  Nevertheless, I went back to sleep. 

It was quiet for about an hour then The Don started crying.  I thought that the crying could be that he was hungry.  He didn’t eat much the night before and his stomach might be growling.  I finally got up about seven fifty, went to the bathroom and brushed my teeth.  I came downstairs and walking towards his bedroom.  The Don came to his bedroom door and said, “Mama will go and get it.” 

The Don’s Heating Vent (fixed)

“Mama will get what?” 

“Mama will get it.”

“Get what?”

“The key.”  The Don was walking towards his wall where the heat vent was attached to it.  The vent was partially off the wall. I turned to the door where he got the key from and it was missing.  It was the key to the door that was left open so he could go to the potty.  I tired not to get dramatic when I said, “You threw the key in there”because it sounds like I’m damning him but it still came out that way anyway.  I corrected myself and said, “Why did you throw the key in the heat vent?” 

He couldn’t answer but he said, “Mama will fix it.” 

“Mama doesn’t know how to fix it.  The vent is pulled out half way and mama doesn’t want to make it worse.  We’ll tell daddy and he’ll fix it.”

Needless to say that my husband was not happy about The Don half way tearing out the wall vent and warned him not to do it again. 

I don’t know what to do about The Don getting up so early in the morning.  I don’t know if it’s because he doesn’t need that much sleep or he’s having bad dreams and wouldn’t go back to sleep or he’s afraid of the dark period.  I understand that I have to teach him that when he wakes up to tuck himself back to sleep but until I find out what’s causing him to wake up, all I can do is to see if he’ll go back to sleep.  Asking him why he gets up early really doesn’t help because either he wouldn’t say anything or he’ll repeat what I’m asking him.  I don’t want him to be destructive of his room because he is bored.  I want to feel that he is safe in his room without him doing something he shouldn’t and might get hurt in the process.  I’m just going to take it day by day and hopefully whatever troubling The Don will manifest itself to me so I can get a good night sleep.

The Don Learns To Ride a Trike

One of my worst childhood memories was when I was in preschool.  I was about three years old when the class had playtime and the activity was a tricycle race. I never rode a tricycle before and it looked like it would be fun.  I remember the race took place in the church hallway; I wasn’t sure if we were in the basement or not, but I remember it wasn’t much lighting. I was sitting on the tricycle with two other kids next to me. I was nervous because I never learned to ride a trike but I thought, “How hard could this be?” 


When the teacher said go, the other kids sped quickly down the hall.  I was trying to push the pedals as hard as I could, but it felt like I wasn’t going anywhere.  I don’t remember if the teacher was coaching me on or not but it didn’t matter because I felt alone. The two kids that were beside me came back down to the finish line and I recall the next two kids coming up beside me as I barely made it to the end of the hall.  The other kids swerve back around to the starting line as I turned around to make it slowly back.  The next set of kids came up and then came back to the starting line.  My legs were getting tired and I remember the tears streaming from my eyes as I was trying not to be the last one to finish. Every kid had their turn racing their trikes and I was the only one that the teacher was waiting for.  I started into a panic cry because I felt defeated and embarrass because I couldn’t ride a trike. Why didn’t my parents teach me to ride a trike?  I promised myself that I wouldn’t shelter my children so they can experience the joy of childhood.  One of those experiences is riding a tricycle. 

The Don started to learn to ride a tricycle when he was two years old.  My husband and I tried showing him how to ride it but he was more interested in the wheels and how the bike worked instead of how to ride it.  When The Don turned three years old, his interested peak and he wanted to learn how to ride a bike.  Yesterday, we were at the Smith Memorial Playground where they have an indoor play area and in the basement they have tricycles and push scooters for toddlers.  The Don got on one and started to ride it.  When he tried to turn, he would stand up and turn the bike himself instead of using the handlebars.  I showed him as he sat and use the pedal and guided him to turn the handlebars to turn corners.

This was the result:

 

 

 

I’m very impressed how The Don caught on so quickly.  It’s like he’s been riding a trike for years.  I don’t want to think that I’m living through my children.  It’s just I don’t want them to experience embarrassment the way I did and I think it helps his confidence to know that he can tackle a challenge and be a kid at the same time. It’s good that he learns to be a kid and do what kids do.  I’m trying not to shelter my children the way my parents did me.  I can’t be afraid that my children will get hurt because there are lesson to learn in getting hurt too.  It teaches them what you can and cannot do.   I grew up being fearful of the unknown; I want to teach my children to never fear the unknown.  The Don took that first step to learn something that he didn’t know and it made him more confident in the end. That’s the important part.

 

Potty Removal

It’s been long overdue.  We have decided to removal the small potty out of The Don’s room.  I was hesitating to take it out of his room because of the thought of him roaming around the house without supervision is a little disturbing.  But, I wasn’t too worried about that because The Don is afraid of the dark and won’t travel outside his bedroom door alone.  However, last Saturday sealed the deal for me.

Before The Don would take his nap, I make sure that he goes to the potty so he doesn’t have to go in the little potty in his room.  I tell you it’s a pain to clean especially if The Don pooped in it.  I’ve asked The Don did he go pee and poopy.  The Don said, “I went pee.  No poop.”  So I assume that he didn’t have to poop.  So, I sent him upstairs to do some quiet time.  Sometimes The Don would stay awake for the full quiet time, which is about two hours, or sometimes he would fall asleep.  This day, he fell asleep.

About a couple hours later, I woke Bam Bam up from his nap because I didn’t want him to sleep too long and then I got The Don.  I’ve smell a familiar smell as soon as I opened the door.  I immediately put Bam Bam down, and called The Don to wake up.  Then I proceeded to the potty and you’ve guess it, a heap of poop in the potty.  I was upset with The Don for not going to the big potty as I requested before he went upstairs but realized maybe he didn’t have to go at the time. With this in mind, my husband and I decided it was time that The Don uses the big boy potty from now on.

We’ve explained to The Don that the little potty would be used by Bam Bam when he’s ready to use the potty and he has to use the big boy potty.  We told him that his bedroom door will be cracked and the night light will be on in the bathroom if he has to go potty in the middle of the night.  The Don seemed fine with it. For the passed couple of days, The Don is doing well with going to the big boy potty but if he hears one of us upstairs, he would open the door and shout for us.  I think the next thing we need to teach The Don is patience to stay in his room until my husband or I call for him.

I’m very proud of The Don making strides to impendence.  My baby is growing up.

What color is Daddy?

I was told that children don’t see color; people teach children about color.  Well, who ever said that never met The Don.  I understand that children see people as people and judgments based on a person’s character by the color of their skin is taught but to say that children do not see color is farthest from the truth. Children see color very well.



My Family

Here’s the back story of my family if you’re not familiar with my blog.  I am African American and my husband is Caucasian.  We have two sons; The Don (who looks more African American) and my youngest Bam Bam (who looks more Caucasian).  The Don is a very smart child.  He noticed that the members of his family are different not only by sex but by skin color.  I didn’t realize how much he noticed until yesterday night when The Don came into my writing room to say goodnight.

The Don came into my writing room followed by my husband.  The Don asked to sit on my lap so he can give me a hug and kiss goodnight.  As I was hugging and giving The Don kisses goodnight, my husband asked The Don, “What color is daddy?”

“Daddy is white,” The Don giggles.

I looked at my husband and said, “Did you tell him you are white?”

“No,” my husband said shaking his head. 

“What color are you?”

“Brown.” My husband said he said black at first but told him to look at his skin and he saw his skin was brown.

“What color is mama?” 

“Mama’s Black.”

“What color is Bam Bam?”

“White.”

My husband decided to test to see what color he knows in our extended family.

“What color is grandmamma?”

“Grandmamma is white.”

“What color is grandma” (My mother)

“Brown.”

“What color is Uncle Dan?”

“Uncle Dan is white.”

I decided to ask, “What color is grand pop?”

“Grand pop is black.”

Then my husband said, “What color is Elmo?”

“Elmo’s red.”

Then I asked, “What color is the cookie monster?”

“He’s blue.”

This just blew my mind.  He was never taught about skin color yet he understood who in our family was black, who was white, and who was brown.   The beautiful thing about his observation of his family is that there was no evidence of hate or superiority towards any family member because of the difference in skin color.  He’s innocence is beautiful.  I wish we all had that indifference when it comes to people; to see people as people first instead of skin color first.  Knowing that skin color exist but it’s irrelevant because as long as the person is a good person that matter’s more that their physical characteristic.  I hope The Don will still feel this way as he gets older even if there are people in the world who will just see him as a black boy and nothing more.  I hope he still will have the innocence to forgive them.