TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS

We woke up at 7 o’clock in the morning. She jumped in the shower, brushed her teeth and got ready. Packed herself an apple, blueberry muffins and grabbed water. We got in the car. She was one of the first children to check in at her Taekwondo tournament.  She went down on the floor, looked at where the judges were sitting and immediately started practicing. She came back, went to the potty, put on her uniform, went back on the floor and practiced again. They called all the participants to ring number five so that they could go over the rules with them. I cannot sit with her but was comforted by the older children from her school surrounding her. Her master’s son was right next to her so that eased my mind since she loves him. I saw her lift her hand and ask a question. I saw the master answer her back, but I could not hear what she asked. My eyes started to swell but with tears… my mother looked at me and said, “Don’t worry she’s going to be OK.”

I’ve shared with you guys before that I suffer from anxiety. I just didn’t want my little girl to be disappointed in herself. After they read the rules, she came back and sat in my lap. She was happy and confident. I asked her, “Do you want to rehearse again?” She looked at me and said, “No, Mom, I’m good. I got this”.

A few minutes later, the lady with the microphone said, “Five and under to ring number five. My family got up and we moved to ring number five. We were right ring side in the front. They called her to come line up and my heart started pounding almost out of my chest… she was cool, calm and collected. She looked at me and gave me the thumbs up when she saw who she was competing against.

It was my little girl and three boys. There’s no way that one of those boys was five years old, he had to be eight easy. My daughter is tall for her age, but he was huge. Two seconds into the competition starting, my mind was eased. She had it in the bag and they could not hold her or outperform her. They gave her scores and all we heard was 9.9, 9.9, 9.9!  It’s the highest score you can get. Not only did she win a medal, she won a grand champion belt and a trophy bigger than her last trophy. Our baby brought it home. Grandma who was cool as a cucumber busted out crying.  She was so proud, trying to play it cool at first.

What an amazing way to spend our weekend. I’m telling you; Taekwondo is taking my baby to new heights. I am so excited to see where her future is going to go. She is one belt away from her black belt.  I know she’s going to get it. We will be sitting there, screaming right in the front all the way through her ride called life. I have never been so proud! Quoting her father, she is in Beast Mode!

24- Hour Handcuffed Challenge

I don’t do social media challenges, but I am all for challenges that make my child happy.

Be careful what you agree to. So, my daughter watches these YouTube shows, like probably many of the other children out there. She got this crazy idea that it would be fun to be handcuffed me for 24 hours. Stupidly, I told my daughter, “Fine with me, we can be handcuffed for 24 hours but you have to win a trophy at your Taekwondo tournament.

Not only did she win a trophy, she won a belt and a medal. So as soon as we left the competition, I drove to the dollar store. She was so excited to get home and handcuff herself to me.  At first, yes, it was an inconvenience. I couldn’t really use my phone. I was trying to cook dinner and guess who was attached to me. But then I gave myself a reality check how cool is it that my five-year-old wants to be handcuffed to me for 24 hours. I will never get this time back in her life. Pretty soon, she’ll be off with her friends and probably wanting very little to do with me. So, I looked down at her and smiled, thankful for this moment. In the end, it is our duty as parents to make great childhood memories with our children though she never sat still so that 24 hours was very challenging for me. I made the best out of it for her so it’ll always be something positive that she can remember. I know I’m thankful 24 hours is over. I’m sure, it’s something both of us will look back on and giggle.

I love my baby girl.

GUEST POST: SEXUAL ABUSE CHRONICLES

Warning: For sensitive readers, this guest post was written by a sexual abuse survivor and some readers may find the details to be upsetting.

My name is Infiniti, I’m now 22 years old with a 1-year old child. I am a survivor of sexual molestation.

I am remembering my life based off elementary school, to middle school and high school because I can’t remember my age at these times in my life. I tried to forget honestly, but I can’t. In elementary school my stepdad touched me, he would wipe his penis across my butt back and forth while gripping on to my waist. I was just a young girl, but I knew it was wrong.

When I was in middle school my mother met my second stepdad. He was beyond disgusting he would wait until my mom would leave and answer her room door naked intentionally. He also touched me and showed me his penis, he walks in the kitchen and swiped his penis on my butt, he use to look at my butt and his penis would get hard, he tried to get me alone with him multiple times but I never would and then he brought me my first phone and started texting me at night asking me to come out my room. Every time I knocked on my mom’s door to ask her for something, he would answer naked.

He tried to rape me while home alone with him. It’s something I don’t think I will ever heal from. It’s hard to digest because today she’s (My Mother) is married to him.  My own Mother didn’t believe me. When I tried to tell her what he did.

Then there’s my dad… I used to live with him one morning before school he told me to lay with him until it’s time to go and I’ll never forget what we were watching Sponge Bob he laughed and reached his hands inside my shirt then squeezed and gripped tightly on my breast and brought me closer to him and pulled out his penis. He placed it on my butt then he pushed me off the bed and took me to school. He tried to bribe me with $5 not to tell I didn’t take the money and I got out the car and ran.

I acted out in school that whole day as a cry for help and the school called my mom and told her I was acting up. She beat me!  I told her why I was acting the way I was, and I could still feel those welts on my arms, legs and back. I told her that dad touched me, she called and asked, he lied. He lied to me, he lied to himself, he lied to my mom, he lied to god, he lied!  He said he didn’t do it and for me not to talk to him ever again. It hurt my soul cause I always wanted a bond with him.  I always wanted to be daddy’s little girl. I deserved that. I didn’t do anything wrong. I was a child.

Still to this day, I always felt like I messed that up by telling my mom what happened when I should have kept my mouth closed.  I still feel the same way I shouldn’t have even said anything.

 

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Note from Cherie: Reading this story broke my heart. I met this beautiful, talented young lady earlier this year but never knew the struggle she was living with. I need you to know telling was the right thing, love! I apologize your mother went into denial and didn’t have your back. Unfortunately, we see this cycle time and time again. Mothers internalize the situation and instead of defending their child they get defensive against the child and refuse to believe they could have made a bad choice in men.

60% of all black women are sexually abused by the age of 18! That means that there is a LARGE PERCENTAGE of predators in this world!

Infiniti, I need you to know first, I believe you! Second, I love you. Third, you are not alone in this world. Your hurts will be forever scars you will carry that will one day make you into the resilient Warrior Queen you are becoming! Stay strong for your child and let’s be the generation who breaks the cycle of abuse. Thank you for sharing this story. I know there is a reader out there who has lived the same reality with you. Many Blessings, Cherie’s World loves you!

YES, I COOK BUT I DON’T ENJOY IT!

Being a mother, it’s my duty to make sure my child eats and eats well. So, I cook but it doesn’t mean I enjoy it. Yes, I have a beautiful kitchen but it’s not my favorite room to spend time in. See I am used to working long hours, eating whatever has been provided and had no problem spending most of my money ordering takeout at the Cheesecake Factory, lol!

3 times a day 7 days a week, I am tryna think of things to feed my mini me. I know it’s every mom’s favorite thing to do right….wrong! I notice my weeks go by better when I meal prep and think ahead! I have a 5-year-old so keeping it simple is always a plus. I’m going through a phase where I am fresh out of ideas about what to cook. I’m on the hunt for some yummy things that are also healthy. Calling all Moms help me out, please share. What are you cooking tonight?

HOW TO PROTECT CHILDREN FROM SEXUAL ABUSE

Approximately 60% of Black girls experience sexual abuse by age 18. Every 92 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted. And every 9 minutes, that victim is a child. 60 percent is huge! So, when they say our community is broken, it is. Broken hearts, broken morals and broken spirits!

If we want to build our community to be stronger as a whole, let’s start with protecting our children.  We live in a broken society that is “okay” with raping children. If it were NOT okay the sexual abuse numbers wouldn’t be so high! This is NOT an opinion, it’s a fact! I’m not saying everyone is okay with it but what I’m saying is a LARGE number of predators are sitting right in your face and many are doing NOTHING about it!

For every African-American woman who reports her rape, at least fifteen African-American women do not report theirs. They go unreported because when women tell, they aren’t believed! Nobody does anything about it! Families stay quiet and want to pray about it! Prayer doesn’t fix the hurt and damage that’s been done, sorry, and neither does NOT dealing with the predator!

Here are some great tips parenting tips by www.aap.org

Tips that can minimize your child’s risk of molestation:

  • In early childhood, parents can teach their children the name of the genitals, just as they teach their child names of other body parts. This teaches that the genitals, while private, are not so private that you can’t talk about them.
  • Parents can teach young children about the privacy of body parts, and that no one has the right to touch their bodies if they don’t want that to happen. Children should also learn to respect the right to privacy of other people.
  • Teach children early and often that there are no secrets between children and their parents, and that they should feel comfortable talking with their parent about anything — good or bad, fun or sad, easy or difficult.
  • Be aware of adults who offer children special gifts or toys, or adults who want to take your child on a “special outing” or to special events.
  • Enroll your child in daycare and other programs that have a parent “open door” policy.  Monitor and participate in activities whenever possible.
  • As children age, create an environment at home in which sexual topics can be discussed comfortably. Use news items and publicized reports of child sexual abuse to start discussions of safety, and reiterate that children should always tell a parent about anyone who is taking advantage of them sexually.
  • If your child discloses any history of sexual abuse, listen carefully, and take his or her disclosure seriously. Too often, children are not believed, particularly if they implicate a family member as the perpetrator. Contact your pediatrician, the local child protection service agency, or the police. If you don’t intervene, the abuse might continue, and the child may come to believe that home is not safe and that you are not available to help.
  • Support your child and let him or her know that he or she is not responsible for the abuse.
  • Bring your child to a physician for a medical examination, to ensure that the child’s physical health has not been affected by the abuse.
  • Most children and their families will also need professional counseling to help them through this ordeal, and your pediatrician can refer you to community resources for psychological help.
  • If you have concerns that your child may be a victim of sexual abuse, you should talk with your pediatrician. Your physician can discuss your concerns, examine your child, and make necessary referrals and reports.

PARENTS, WE ALL HAVE TO DO A BETTER JOB AT KEEPING OUR KIDS SAFE!

FUN FOOD

My daughter brought it to my attention that I no longer make her fun food! She was right, she’s only 5 so food should still be fun! Only problem is she now eats a lot so the cute little plates I used to make her would now be an appetizer. I had just brought all of our Halloween decorations inside from the garage, so I figured what better time than now to make some spooky pancakes! Lol, look I’m no food designer and they aren’t Pinterest worthy but the great thing about kids is they aren’t judgmental. They enjoy and appreciate the effort. She giggled with every bite! Keep your kid’s food fun! It’s a great way to make memories…

GUEST BLOG: AN AUTISM JOURNEY – WHY I CHOSE TO HOMESCHOOL

My 13-year-old son, Johnny, was diagnosed with autism when he was 4-years -old. Johnny started Pre-K and attended the brick and mortar school until the second grade. By the second grade, I was done with both schools! They were doing the most {messed} up in school! My son was secluded from the kids in his classroom and wasn’t allowed to sit at his desk. His teacher was allowed to decide if she wanted him as a student in her classroom after he was already assigned to her class. He also wasn’t allowed to play at recess with his peers. He was placed in a storm shelter that the school used as a classroom for him along with his special education teacher. I sat inside the Individual Education Plan (IEP) meeting fighting for my son to be able to be in a classroom with his classmates and I was told, “No!” I refused to sign an IEP! Parents, please be aware that it is your legal right to refuse to sign an IEP! Do not allow the school to bully you into signing something you don’t agree with. They will be upset but who cares?! Their reasons for being upset are because most of the time they don’t like doing the work that is required in the IEP because it is too much like asking them to do their ACTUAL job! I thought that my IEP team would be more supportive and knowledgeable about what we needed to better serve my son. The lack of support from both schools proved that I was the only advocate for my son. Dealing with the school system was extremely overwhelming. I even found us as an autism advocate, who like myself, the school hated to see coming. She would attend all of my son’s IEP meetings with me and would speak on my behalf we would have a list of things that we thought would be beneficial to Johnny’s education. The way that she fought for my son’s rights was admirable and I will never forget her. She was my inspiration to become an autism advocate!
The school called the Department of Children and Families (DCF) on me and opened a false case against me stating that I was “neglecting” my son because I decided to take him off of his Attention Deficit Hyper Disorder (ADHD) medicine (the meds were causing him to grow female breast and it started to become difficult for his teacher to wake him up from his naps). They also stated that Johnny was seen walking on our main highway at 3:00 am. SMH! The lies that were said about me were outrageous and for months I was investigated DCF would do random pop-ups at my home. She took us to the autism center where he had to be retested for autism for her records. She also took us to the JD McCarthy treatment facility for children with autism to see if he could be accepted for a 30-day “monitoring” I had already decided against that as I wasn’t leaving my son in a facility. I cooperated with the caseworker. I had nothing to hide nor had I committed any crime. I was doing what I thought was best for my son. My caseworker was extremely resourceful and begin to point me in the direction to link me to services that were beneficial to us. I was investigated by DCF for months before the case was closed due to a lack of evidence that supported their claims of child neglect or abuse.
I took back the reigns of control and unenrolled my son out of school in October of 2014 – he had just started the second grade. The principal bought the forms to our home, I signed them and that was it! Johnny currently homeschools with me and he attends Epic Charter School an online academy that we love! He meets with his teacher once a week here at our local library and is getting ready to go into the 7th grade! He receives occupational therapy once a week and speech therapy twice a week through teletherapy which is convenient because it’s done through the Zoom video chat app, it also saves us a drive every week to Oklahoma City. His teacher is amazing! And so is our IEP team. This is the first time where I have felt like our team cares and we finally fit in somewhere. Homeschooling and autism are challenging because of the way that Johnny learns I have to always come up with ways to fit his specific learning style whether that is cutting his school day from two hours a day back to thirty minutes a day or using counters to help him learn addition and subtraction. But it is not the end of the world or punishment to any parents because I have spoken with parents who blame themselves for their child’s autism. Keep fighting the good fight for your children as you’re their biggest advocate!
                                                                                                                       Lashanda Wallace, Inc.
                                                                                                                             Autism Advocate

IT’S 3 A.M. AND MY FIRST THOUGHT IS…

It’s 3 a.m., I am 43 years old. I just woke up out of a sweet slumber and my first thought is:

“Tonight
I just want to take you higher
Throw your hands up in the sky
Let’s set this party off right

Players, put yo’ pinky rings up to the moon
Girls, what y’all trying to do?
24 karat magic in the air
Head to toe so player
Uh, look out!”

Yes, I literally woke up to sing Bruno Mars! I cannot be the only one who has music in their head at the most random times. No, I didn’t’ listen to the song before I went to bed or even yesterday. LOL. My subconscious mind wants to party. (I think?) Why fight it? I am having a dance party alone in the middle of the night. I snuck out of bed, played on IG, cleaned my daughter’s fishbowl, got her schoolwork laid out for the day, made homemade pizza dough and dough for a loaf of rosemary bread. Now I am sitting here waiting for my dough to rise wondering WTF is wrong with me, LOL. Is this normal behavior? For me, it is. I realize I accomplish way more in the middle of the night than I do in the daytime. My old night owl ways just won’t go away and let my days be great.

Problem is by 7 a.m. I’m always exhausted and by 7:30 a.m. my daughter will be ready to party. SMH.

Is this mom life? Will I be forever sleepy?

Guest Blogger: Tia M. Ivy

My name is Tia M. Ivy, around 2010/2011, I begin to notice nodules in my armpits then later in other areas of my body. It was not until 2017, that my Primary Care Physician diagnosed me with Hidradenitis Suppurativa. My Primary Care Physician did a physical examination, prescribed antibiotics and advised me to follow up with a dermatologist. During my dermatology visit, a boil was swabbed to rule out any other skin conditions or infections. Hidradenitis Suppurativa is a chronic inflammatory disease that causes painful lumps and nodules to develop in the armpits, groin, breast, thigh and anal regions. It is believed that the disease is caused by an obstruction to the hair follicles and inflammation of the sweat glands. Hidradenitis Suppurativa is  more prevalent in women and African-Americans. Some studies have found that 30 to 40 percent of affected individuals have at least one family member with the disorder. On the average there is a 7-year delay in diagnosis.

Hidradenitis Suppurativa usually develops around puberty because this is when sweat glands are activated by hormones called sex hormones which increases during puberty. I believe I have had this disease my entire life. Around age 12 or 13, I began to have issues with deodorant. My underarm perspiration was stronger in smell than most young girls my age. There were many years of trying to find deodorants that would prevent or reduce perspiration to help with the odor.

Hidradenitis Suppurativa affects every aspect of your life. I frequently deal with bouts of depression, anxiety and severe pain due to the lumps and nodules. There are days when I do not want to get out of bed or go to bed around 6 p.m. and not wake up until the next morning. Going to the grocery store and shopping for groceries is difficult. Running simple errands is exhausting.

While there is no cure for the disease, there are treatments which help manage pain, reduce and prevent the formation of lumps and nodules. In September 2015, the Food and Drug Administration approved Humira for the treatment of moderate to severe Hidradenitis Suppurativa. Other treatments for Hidradenitis Suppurativa are antibiotics which help to reduce inflammation and stop new breakouts; corticosteroids that are injected into the lumps; pain medications that help relieve discomfort and surgical excision that removes the area affected by Hidradenitis Suppurativa. In October 2018, I underwent surgical excision to remove Hidradenitis Suppurativa from both my left and right thighs. In August 2019, I will undergo surgical excision to remove Hidradenitis Suppurativa from both my left and right underarms.

My advice to any that is suffering from Hidradenitis Suppurativa is to be hopeful and maintain a positive outlook. Learn everything you can about Hidradenitis Suppurativa, just maybe you might be able to help someone get an early diagnosis. Get emotional support for yourself, seek out other individuals who are also dealing with a chronic disease and find a new hobby.

WE ALL HAVE THINGS TO DO!

We all have things to do! We all over book. For the life of me I can’t understand why people are okay with being late? Or okay with notoriously being late. I have no tolerance for it.  Once or twice, I will give you a 15-minute grace period, after that I am finished. The reasons why are 1. You are not professional! 2. You don’t respect my time. 3. You will end up costing me money. (Because my time is money)

Professionalism starts at the top! A lot of people don’t understand this. When the CEO of a company calls for a meeting and he or she is late, it gives a picture of how the overall company is run. When you see a CEO, who is the first there and the last to leave, they usually have employees who are also on time and willing to go the extra mile above and beyond their job description.

Tardy seems to be a habit that is hard for adults to break but studies show children and young adults who grow up involved with extra curriculum activities are more likely to have a higher level of professionalism and take their responsibilities more seriously as adults.