BOOKS ARE TRULY MAGICAL

I just read a post by our homeschool advisor, Andrea. It said if you read a book to your child everyday by the time they are 5 years old, they would have read 1,825 books by the age of 5. I wish I would have kept count! My daughter has a love affair with books. In fact, one of her favorite hiding places is in a hallway linen closet that I have turned into her personal library. LOL. The comforter bags at the bottom have become her couches that she lines up and lays on as she reads, LOL. From a very early age, she has had an infatuation with getting lost in stories. She reads them, then plays them out, as if she is those characters.

Books are truly magical when you help your child find the magic in them. Parents that read have children that read. It’s really that simple. There’s no better way to broaden their vocabulary and tantalize young imaginations. 

My daughter surprised us when she started reading at 2 years old. Now at 5, I still read to her daily and point out the words as I am reading, which helps her read along and sound words out with me. So, every day she’s getting at least 2 books in. 1 book with me and 1 book she reads on her own. 

Books do get expensive, so the library is one of our best friends. I admit we spend hours in Barnes and Noble where we read many books for free and end up buying one we didn’t read while sitting there. Books can take you anywhere you want to be! 

Happy Travels!

IT’S PUMPKIN SPICE SEASON

I had to be ashamed of myself but I’m not. I walked into Walmart and begin laughing hysterically. They had pumpkin spice everywhere. Now I’m a give you a little backstory: my friend, Shawn despises pumpkin spice, pumpkin spice season and everyone who loves the taste of pumpkin. He thinks it’s the most ridiculous thing in the whole world. And because I pictured his face when I walked into the store, I began laughing so hard I was crying.

Let me explain this pumpkin spice thing to my white friends. Never bring a pumpkin pie to the cookout. Black people’s thing is sweet potato. Sweet potato pie is like our national apple pie. And it doesn’t matter how good you think your pumpkin pie is, it’s never going to measure up to a sweet potato or bean pie. 

Oh, this Walmart haul is ridiculous. They got pumpkin cupcakes, cookies, rice crispy treats and ice cream. I even bought pumpkin hand soap. (So far, the ice cream is my favorite.) 

My initial reaction was to call you for something stupid and ask you to come over. Then, I realized I moved to a whole different state so in the middle of trying to annoy you, I have a whole bunch of pumpkin spice stuff that baby girl and I are going to be eating in honor of you because nobody else in the house will eat it. They all looked at me like I was crazy and turned up their noses.

Just the image embedded in my head of your turned up face brought me so much joy. I love you with all my heart. Let me go drink this latte…Pumpkin Spice Latte, that is. LMFAO 

(I hope the kids at soccer will eat some of this pumpkin stuff I bought.) Lmfao

LIL CHERIE DRESSES HERSELF NOW HAS A UNIT TO GO WITH THE BOOK!

I wrote Lil Cherie Dresses Herself because I wanted my daughter to be able to see her own likeness in a book. Being a homeschooling momma, of course we don’t just read books, we turn them into adventures and units. With the book being bilingual, it’s full of lessons. So, about a year ago, after my daughter and I played with the book for a while I got the bright idea to develop some worksheets and make a unit around some of the ways I had used the book to teach my own daughter. Only thing is, I am not a certified teacher and wasn’t 100% sure if what I had taught was correct. Also, computers are not my thing, so the project was basically put on the back burner until one day I was having a conversation with a lifelong friend and confidant who just so happens to be a teacher! DUHHHHHH, Cherie! The teacher overseeing my daughter’s homeschool education.

It started with a casual question. “Do you know how to make worksheets?” Cherie asked me, almost hesitantly. I laughed to myself as I answered because as a teacher for over 15 years, I’ve made a lot of worksheets. To make sure we were on the same page, I emailed some old worksheets to Cherie.  Her next question was more specific, “Can you make boxes on worksheets?” she asked. After some sketching of ideas and a chat, we felt we were talking about the same idea and I started on the worksheet that required boxes. I quickly emailed the rough draft to Cherie, who confirmed that those were, indeed, the type of boxes she had been picturing. One idea at a time, one page at a time, with each chat and every ongoing email, we began to create a noticeable pile of worksheets to go with Cherie’s children’s book, Lil Cherie Dresses Herself. Suddenly, we had something to share! 

We have created a homeschool curriculum pack designed to be used with Lil Cherie Dresses Herself, but flexible enough to change up and use in other ways and with others texts. The curriculum is primarily used by students in Pre-K to grade 2 and again it is flexible – we encourage families and educators to make any adjustments necessary for the curriculum to best fit your learners! 

If you want help with Lil Cherie Dresses Herself Curriculum or have other education related questions, please email us at Lilcheriehelps@gmail.com

If you would like to purchase the curriculum, please visit: https://adviceformysistas.com/product/lil-cherie-dresses-herself-educational-learning-unit/

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.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

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