September 30, 2011
she’s not (visibly) pregnant!
A practically skipped out of there and her first words were, “whew! well, we at least have another 7-8 months!”
How funny are life’s twists and turns? Years spent praying and begging for a pregnancy and now praying for no baby bump.
As for Sprout, he did just fine with the meeting. I told him all about it, answered any questions he had, and in typical child fashion, he summed it up with a shrug and “whats for dinner?”
All told, I know this is going to be a very good and healthy thing for him.
September 29, 2011
I had never met her, never spoken with her, but I just knew. Based in nothing but faith, I knew that she was a good person. A person who laughed, and struggled, and dreamed, and loved her children.
Yesterday I came face to face with what I’ve known all along when I met my children’s mother.
I couldn’t eat a thing that morning…my stomach was full of nerves and I was too busy deciding what in the world you are supposed to wear for this type of thing. A and I drove there together hardly talking – mostly trying to brainstorm things to talk about at the meeting. Why oh why couldn’t I come up with anything good??
Through the glass doors of the building, I saw her before she saw me. I recognized her instantly from the shape of Sprout’s face, Rosebud’s eyes, and Daisy’s nose. Beautiful, like they are.
We walked in and she greeted us with a big smile. In that instant, my nerves disappeared. It no longer felt like two worlds were colliding. It didn’t feel strange or uncomfortable. It felt right. After all this time – I was right.
She was easy to talk to, kind, respectful and appreciative. We hit it off even. We laughed about Rosebud’s silly escapades at dance class and shared pride in Sprout’s school accomplishments. We smiled the same smile as we talked about chubby Daisy baby and that sweet twinkle in her eye. She talked about how their personalities were similar and different to their siblings. How when Sprout does this, it’s so very similar to that brother and how Rosebud’s spunk surely comes from this family member. She showed us pictures of the people Sprout still often talks about. My knowledge of the three children I live with every day became richer and deeper. Such a gift. Just 3 moms, enjoying the chance to talk about their kids.
The meeting ended just as naturally as it started. She thanked us – for everything. We thanked her – for everything. And we hugged.
September 28, 2011
As a parent, Kindergarten is such a different experience than preschool. In preschool I saw the teachers daily. I got a behavior/nap/eating report every day. But in Kindergarten the rules have all changed. I go weeks without seeing the teacher. His backpack comes home filled with books, art projects and worksheets…but no more daily report on behavior. Its been freeing on some levels (oh man, how I came to dread those bad day reports), but it’s also left me feeling uneasy. Sprout says he’s been good, but how good? Good all day or just most of the day? Only two trips to the “thinking chair” or none? It can’t be that bad or she would have had to send a note. Right? Right?!
So I walked into my first parent-teacher conference with Mrs. M holding my breath. She started out positive (they always do…) she said Sprout is very bright. A good learner. Picks up on new concepts quickly and easily. He’s well prepared academically for school. [Hmm, just well prepared academically? Does that mean he’s not well prepared in other ways?] Great pre-reading skills and a zest for learning. She expects he’ll do great in school. ::pause:: Any questions?
Any questions?! umm, yes! How is his behavior? Is he making friends? Any fights? Is he sitting in his seat? Talking back? Pushing? Running in the hallway? Climbing up the slide the wrong way? Not listening? OMG, how is his behavior??
Behavior? Oh, he’s doing just fine. He’s busy and we are working on focus issues, but I wouldn’t expect anything less for an enthusiastic 5-year-old boy. He’s making tons of friends – we all love him. His big personality is such a joy.
I could have kissed that teacher on the lips.
Not once did she say, “He’s doing well considering his situation.” or “He’s managing his obstacles as best he can.”
Nope, he’s just a typical 5-year-old boy. I’ve never heard more wonderful words. Amazing, amazing, amazing.
September 24, 2011
Despite Sprout’s hesitations, we are scheduled and looking forward to meeting the much discussed BM in a few days. Some of you asked if his response would change our decision to meet and the answer is no. Mostly because it’s an adult decision. Though I value his opinion and feelings, my intent was never to ask his permission but to respect him enough not to do it behind his back. Thankfully, he gets that. And the good news is that after time and discussion, he’s on board with the plan. It was a good opportunity to explain how tough decisions can be made from a place of fear or one of hope.
I have no idea what to expect from the meeting but I am glad we are here after so much time. In his usual too-wise-for-his-years way, Sprout has gifted me a very important piece of advice: “Do not hug her. And remember, she’s going to feel nervous.”
Seriously. What would I do without him?
September 23, 2011
“Hey Sprout, what would you think about me meeting mommy someday soon?”
“Hmm, those are strong feelings. This meeting wouldn’t change anything, we just want to get to know each other. Why do you think that’s a bad idea?”
“You two are just…[long pause] different. Very different.”
September 19, 2011
that I will teach my children about being black.
- Never assume you are not welcome somewhere before assuming that you are. Give people an opportunity to surprise you. Give then an opportunity to surprise themselves.
- You count. Your vote counts, your presence counts, your dollar counts. Don’t support something you don’t support. Don’t like something? Change it.
- Your difference is the greatest gift you’ve ever been given, even on the days it will feel like your curse.
- If people hate you, its only because they don’t know you.
- Your best angle is with your chin up. Your smile is most radiant when it isn’t hiding a thing.
- The best way to combat stereotypes is to defy them. The best way to combat discrimination is to live your life well. Never let hate disturb your grace.
September 9, 2011
I noticed early on that it was very powerful to say to Sprout, “I am glad you are here.” I told him over and over and over again – sometimes 10 or 20 times a day. “I’m glad you are here.” “I’m so happy to know you.” “You are welcome here.”
For the first 6 to 9 months, he would respond by shouting “Don’t say that!” or “I aint tryin’ to hear you!” But regardless of his words, his voice would soften and the tantrums would calm.
After that he would mostly ignore me or respond with an oh-so-pleasant eye roll and “I kno-wah. You said that before.”
Last night I was tucking him into bed and whispered into his ear the things I always do. “You are important. You are kind. You are sunshine. I’m glad you are here.”
I thought he was drifting off to sleep. I thought he wasnt really listening. But as I made my way to the door I heard a little “mommy?” I turned to find his bright eyes and awesome smile. “I like it when you say that. Do it again?”
“Oh sweetheart. I’m so glad you are here.”
September 8, 2011
I’ve been overweight – significantly over – my entire life. I’m an adult now and the bottom line is that I’m the one that controls what I eat and how physical I am. There is no one else at fault for my weight, but there are a number of things I could point to in my childhood that have contributed.
The weight issue has been my constant struggle. The thing I just can’t seem to beat. The thing I dislike most about myself. And it is the thing I’m going to try my damndest to change for my children.
So this summer we put quite a bit of energy into creating a healthier family lifestyle. First up was joining a local crop share where we “bought into” a farm in the spring and were able to take home a box of local, fresh, beautiful produce every other week throughout the summer (and they are still coming!). Here are two examples of the boxes we brought home:
The kids loved going to the farm! It was a lot of fun to see what was in the box and find recipes to try out new veggies or those we don’t eat very often. The kids happily chowed down on eggplant, kale, squash and many others they wouldn’t have touched previously.
Then I wanted to tackle exercise. I was a member of a gym…which mostly just meant that I had the scan card on my key ring, not so much that I actually ever went… It was just so hard to leave the kids after working out of the home 45+ hours a week. So I found a local stroller fitness class which allowed me to work out while spending time with the babies. Win! Until the class got canceled… So then I implemented family exercise nights. We’ve always been very active (walks, bike riding, hiking, you name it) but I don’t know that I had ever really introduced the term ‘exercise’ to them. Well, as it turns out, kids LOVE exercise. Running laps, jumping jacks, lunges, they like it all! And watching them be silly and enjoy it makes it that much easier for me to get in a few more reps. Sprout especially likes when its his turn to be the “instructor”. That kid is tough.
“Another lap?? really buddy??”
“Yes mommy! You can do it! Come on!”
Now the goal is to keep up with these changes and that’s all on me because the kids will happily continue for as long as I offer. This is the bottom line: There is no reason for my children to be an excuse for poor eating and not working out, unless I want them to be.