CHILDREN ARE SO SMART UNTIL WE DUMB THEM DOWN!

I was in the bathroom with my daughter changing her earrings and cleaning the holes in her ears. I was taking her rubies out and putting her diamonds in.

“Mommy, what are diamonds?” my daughter asked.

“Stones, baby,” I answered.

“What are rubies, Mommy?” she asked. I could see her thinking.

“They are stones baby,” I said.

“I have stones in my room, Mommy,” she said sweetly.

“Yes, you do baby,” I said.

“They lied to us, Mommy,” she said.

I giggled and said, “Who’s they baby?”

“Those men, who took over our land,” she said seriously.

“They are precious stones, baby,” I said.

She left the bathroom and came back with one of her rocks that she had in her room.

“Mom, look?” she said, oh so seriously.

I looked up and she handed me a rock.

“I’m an archaeologist mom. Stones aren’t precious. I get it now,” she said seriously.

“What do you get baby?” I was hesitant to ask.

“They tricked us, they lied and called them precious. Diamonds come from Africa, right, but so many black people are poor, and they stole the diamonds from them,” she explained.

My 4-year-old just told me precious stones are a sham. LMFAO. She is 100% right. I wasn’t going to be a fool and try to convince her any differently. I took the time to explain to her material things in the big picture hold no value. Not clothes, shoes, cars or homes. True value should be placed in yourself and the people you love. Material is all replaceable, but real family isn’t. I also explained to her family isn’t just the people with the same blood as you, family are the people who don’t turn their backs on you when you need them most. You can lose your house, a building doesn’t make a home, A home is made by the people who live inside it with you. You can lose your jewelry, your clothes but you can’t lose your self-worth! The only true thing you own in this world is your joy! Never let anyone steal your joy!

She gave me a big hug. I really hope she remembers this conversation when she grows up. She really has taught me so much about life and love…I was raised around some really unhappy, materialistic people. It made me think. I thought about the people I know who grew up with the bare minimum, they were full of life, happiness and love. Walk in a wealthy person’s house, you might be offered a bottle of water. Walk in a not so wealthy person’s house you are offered food till your tummy burst and a place to rest your head if needed. Makes you wonder what true wealth really is.

They tricked us, don’t allow them to trick your children!

MY GUILTY PLEASURE HAS BECOME COMPARING CURRICULUM!

I was the kid who hated school but loved education! Those two things were misunderstood by my authority figures growing up. I wasn’t able to articulate it, and nobody listened enough to try and read between the lines and understand. I loved to learn and research but hated the instruction I was given, and the guidance was misleading. The techniques were outdated, and the misinformation was sickening.

I was being taught so many lies. Sitting in a room full of peers who were all white watching them soak up the fact that the only history my people had in this country was slavery was disturbing! It was a lie and every time I spoke on it, I got in trouble. My grandmother armed me with the truth at a very early age. So being taught lies, misconceptions and stereotypes didn’t fly for me.

I was not a child who needed repetition: it bored me to DEATH, it turned me off and made me shut down! I felt stagnate and like I was stuck from progressing. (I see the same thing in my child.) I know the technique works well for many, but the truth is EDUCATION IS NOT 1 SIZE FITS ALL! Many teachers fail to care, and do not listen. They teach what they know and what worked for them.

The idea of alternative education hit me through a conversation with my lifelong friend, Andrea. (Hi baby, thanks for always reading my blogs.) Andrea is young, hip, innovative and is also a teacher. She taught me I don’t have to do exactly what everyone else is doing as long as I follow the FRAMEWORKS. Researching frameworks was the start of my daughter’s homeschool journey. I found that there is no solid curriculum I love through and through. I tend to mix and match a lot! Andrea has become my guidance counselor on this homeschool journey.

We are halfway through 2nd grade and I am already starting to look at 3rd grade curriculum! There are some things that we are doing now that I will need to change up for next year because they simply aren’t working. School should be fun and interesting not a drag or a fight.

I won’t let her start 3rd grade until 2020. I feel it’s moving too fast since she’s only 4, so I am just going to add on unit studies about things that interest her when the fall hits. My daughter has become amazing in guiding her own education. I am still looking for a great math curriculum that will keep her interest. While she is very ahead of her time, she still loves colorful pages and artwork on her work sheets. (That’s the key to keeping her engaged at this moment.) I’m flirting with the possibility of using “MasterBooks” 3rd grade. Right now, we use their social studies “My Story 2” and I am in love with it, because it seems to be her favorite workbook. She also enjoyed “My Story 1”. They take the children all over the globe. It’s a mixture of Social Studies, Culture, Languages, and Vocabulary all in one. Their history programs at first glance don’t seem to be a turn off either but haven’t tried them yet. Until she is of school age, which is like 6 or 7 years old, I am only going to teach her Black History so by the time she learns what’s required, it won’t be a play on her self-esteem. Right now, we are using “Blessed Heritage Our Story-History” and we like it a lot, mixed in with her “Urban Intellectuals Black History flash cards” and “ABC ME Flashcards”. I love Abeka’s health curriculum, it seems to be my favorite Abeka pick for now, but I still mix in their health with an anatomy book because my daughter loves the human body. She also likes to watch My 600 Pound Life, breast implants and butt implants. (I may have a plastic surgeon on my hands.) Her YouTube time is spent on plastic surgery, but she says she would never do that to herself which I love! I am also on the hunt for a new language arts curriculum, it would be nice for my daughter to see her own likeness in some of her required English work. So, if you know any language arts curriculum with little brown girls in their stories and on worksheets, please share it’s worth a look.

If you are a homeschool parent with a child who has gone through 3rd grade, I would love to know your curriculum picks. It takes a village please share with me.

Also, if you interested in the Urban Intellectuals Black History flash cards, here is my affiliate link: https://store.urbanintellectuals.com/aff/CherieJ75/

DEATH BY TINY TOYS

Death by Tiny Toys: that’s the headline I hear in my head at least once a week in my house. How many times do I have to scream, “Pick up your toys?” Last night I rolled over and a Littlest Pet Shop was in my ribs. I just damn near died from these Cutie Cars being left in the middle of the kitchen floor. I was tryna be the good mom and make homemade pizza bagels, baking sheet in my hand, pulling the fresh baked bread out of the oven. I turned around to take my oven mitts off and sat them on the counter. Next thing I know, I step on something little and hard and the damn thing has wheels! After my ass road it 5 feet, I hit the floor! As I lay on the floor, I look over… my daughters face is beet red, her eyes were wide, and she had her hand over her mouth. I know she wanted to laugh but was 2 scared. At this point I was tired and pissed! I didn’t even have the strength to yell. I looked at her and said in almost a whisper tone, “Pick your toys up off the floor.” She jumped up really fast and said, “Yes, Ma’am”, and off she went running with her Cutie Cars in her hand, into her room. Her little feet pit pattered like she was running some kind of race. I heard her mumble, “I am in big trouble.” At that moment I realized getting off the floor at 43 years old wasn’t as easy as it used to be.

Who invented these tiny little toys, they hurt when you step on them? I know whoever sits in an office and thinks these things up they don’t have children of their own. If they did, they would realize it’s one thing to fall over a big toy it’s a whole other thing to step on some little shit that pierces your feet!

I can’t be the only parent out there who doesn’t love these tiny toys, right?

WE HAVE A BLUE BELT

7 minutes and 14 seconds: I felt like I held my breath while my 4-year-old took her test to move onto her little champion blue belt. I was nervous for her, but she was full of smooth confident moves. Her Master was standing 6’6” inches tall over her little 3’8’’ self with a smile on his face as he asked her to do different stances and kicks and she was nailing each one. After she was honored with a blue belt, he sat her down and explained to her, “With this Blue Belt comes great responsibility. Blue Belt is considered advanced in little champions. I ask that you are a leader, so I need you to always be a leader. As a Blue Belt, you come to class focused and are ready to go. The other kids will now follow you. You now have more responsibilities in class and at home. You have to help your mom out more and do better with your schoolwork.” Then, she jumped up and hugged him and said, “Deal!”

This is the perfect example of it takes a village. Her Master is a huge part of her village! He truly cares and takes extra time out to show her daily.

My daughter is determined she will get her little champion black belt by the time she is 6 years old. (I pray she does.) She started TaeKwonDo at 3 years old. Her master told her that only 2 other children in his 26 years of teaching have ever received their little champion blackbelts. The children happen to be her Jr. Instructors, whom she adores. That day he gave her a goal. She doesn’t want to miss a class for any reason. My family was planning a trip to Disney World and she wanted to make sure it wasn’t going to be during the days she has class. She cried, expressing how important it was for her not to miss class. So, we made sure she wouldn’t miss a day. Disney World and the child was worried about TaeKwonDo. What a wonderful lesson in making a commitment and sticking to it, I couldn’t have planned a lesson like this.

I knew nothing about martial arts before fostering my daughter’s interest but I am truly thankful I trusted her to make a choice for herself so young.

Blue Belt

KOOL-AID

Grandma gives Kool-Aid in a Goblet. Let’s first start with the goblet.  Mom’s gonna kill me but the truth is in my mom’s house as a kid, it was paper or plastic. You did not dare touch a good glass or some crystal. I dunno what’s going on with my mother but now the kids are given glass, crystal and real plates to eat on. NOT everything has changed. All I can do is shake my head and laugh. I grew up on Kool-Aid but it’s not something I give my children. Shit, it’s not something I drink myself. Sugar water as we call it. Her father said, “Look how she leans back and turns her foot in, that’s how you know it’s good! She got that from me.” It’s true when he drinks something he likes, he leans back and turns his foot in. All I could do is laugh. She closed her eyes every time she took a sip. Mouth bright red with a huge smile on her face. How could I not just smile back at her?

Yes, I hear you granola moms cringing. As a certified nutritionist myself, part of me cringes as well and another part of me giggles and says, “Oh, let her be a kid and live.” If it wasn’t sugar, it could be dirt. Yes, I’ve seen my kid eat dirt too. Do I freak out every time? NO, I just encourage her to drink water and brush her teeth just like I will after she finishes this goblet of Kool-Aid. LOL.

Often childhood memories revolve around what we drank and ate as children. Because we are using all 5 senses. Right now, if I close my eyes I can smell and taste my grandmother’s spaghetti. Now that my grandma is gone, the memories are all I have to hold onto. Food memories are so nostalgic because there’s all the context of when you were preparing to eat this food, so the food becomes symbolic of other meanings. Life is about memories, make the best of them. 40 years from now our daughter may be sitting around talking about Kool-Aid at Grandma’s house. Who am I to stand in the way of that?

SHE GOT HER 1ST TROPHY AND IT’S 1ST PLACE

2 months ago, my daughter went to her instructor and asked could she be in the tournament. She overheard the older kids talking about it. He looked up at me not knowing how to respond. I smiled at him. He had a long talk with her about how she would have to learn a form and perform it in front of judges. He asked her if she was committed to doing it. That day I signed her up by her request and she was then taught a form. She practiced every day for 2 months. Her Master, the other instructors and her two favorite junior teachers also were big helps to her these 2 months prior to the tournament making sure she knew exactly what she needed to do and prepare.

The day came and we woke up early in the morning to head to some rec center downtown. When we arrived 2 of her instructors were outside greeting people and giving them directions to the registration desk. She walked up like a big girl and handed them her slip. After being signed in, we walked inside and got a front row seat on the bleachers right behind the ring she was going to be in. This was my first tournament I had ever been to, but it reminded me very much of the original Karate Kid. (I haven’t seen the remake but it’s on my to do list with my children).

We put on her uniform and she began to rehearse her form in the ring she would be preforming in, with her Jr. Instructors right there assisting her. Her whole school was there, and she was the baby. I didn’t realize so many adults took class and would be competing. Not in her division but still…I was overwhelmed. She was the most focused I had ever seen her and in her zone. She was comfortable and in her element. She wasn’t looking back at the bleachers looking for me, she was concentrating on her goal.

Tae Kwon Do is an individual sport but her whole school was there to support and encourage her and they really made sure she was ready. When they called all competitors to the floor to go over the rules she was right there listening. I was majorly impressed and thankful how her fellow schoolmates all kept an eye on her and with the group, so she didn’t get lost in between all the people there. I was proud, I knew she was exactly where she was supposed to be.

When it was time for the competition to start, 15 kids lined up in her ring. I started to feel panicked because they were all bigger than her and only one other boy was her size. It was supposed to be 5 years old and younger but NO WAY IN HELL WERE THESE KIDS 5. One boy was damn near 5 feet tall.  No, she wasn’t sparring but I was still nervous as can be. I was thankful they were white belts. I was trying my best to be calm. There was a whole conversation going on between the judges and some coaches. It took them 15 minutes to start. It felt like an hour and a half for me. My mom leaned over and said, “They are taking too long, she’s not going to be focused anymore.”  I looked at her sitting in first position perfectly posed and smiled. She was meditating. Her father and I had a conversation with her about envisioning her performance of her form in her head. We both told her if she could picture herself doing it perfectly, she would. I knew that’s what she was doing.

Finally, they started. One after one, I was starting to relax. These children were going up 2 at a time so they could copy each other. They may have been 9 years old, but they had no idea what they were doing. She was called up second to last. She marched front and center introduced herself, her style, her school name and then asked for permission to start. The judge smiled at her because none of the other competitors had done this. I was so thankful to her coaches. I knew right then she had it in the bag. She got in her zone and did her thang. The 3 judges all gave her a 9.9. score. Her Master was beaming and her whole school and parents erupted with cheers. I was so thankful and proud I couldn’t even feel myself breathing. I looked over and saw tears flowing down my mother’s face. She sat back down with such grace. She did not gloat as the other child went. I don’t even know if she understood what happened. When they called her back up with 2 other children, she stood there at attention. I couldn’t see her face just the back of her, but she was holding so still. The other children were handed their trophy’s and she was given hers last. That’s when we saw excitement as she jumped up and down. Her coach picked her up and gave her a big hug and brought her over to us so we could all take pictures. 1st PLACE! MY LITTLE BABY TOOK 1st PLACE! She held onto her trophy all the way home. I am shocked she didn’t sleep with it! I love the fact she knows her family is proud of her, but I am elated she is proud of herself.

I don’t know if I have ever been so excited in my life. April 20, 2019 will always be special day in my house. It’s the day my little ninja won her first trophy!

EVERYONE DOESN’T AGREE WITH MY CHOICE TO HOMESCHOOL & I’M OKAY WITH THAT!

Everyone doesn’t agree with my choice to homeschool and I am okay with that. I am not in a place in my life where I have to please anyone except my child.  As long as I do right by her, that’s all that matters. She is 4 years old and extremely above average. She always has been according to her pediatrician. (It’s not just a mother’s love.) She is reading at a 2nd – 3rd grade level, doing fractions, bar graphs and 3 digit adding and subtracting. The kid can tell time, count money and speak Spanish. So, I don’t feel right putting her in preschool so she can “socialize” is the right choice for her. In fact, I feel it is an injustice. Her learning will not grow in a school environment. She will be stuck in a class with a group of children saying their ABC’s. FOR WHAT TO SOCIALIZE?  Socialize is the most common thing people love to bring up, as if she is a hermit with no friends, who I don’t allow out of the house. The kid has a slew of cousins, she takes Tae Kwon Do 4 days a week and has a much better social calendar than I ever have with weekends full of play dates and birthday parties.

I understand some adults live for the weekend and their time to socialize with friends. I hate to break it to you but that’s only the working class. The employees who spend their lives making other people’s dreams come true. No offense, but I am tryna raise a C.E.O, a boss, doctor, entrepreneur or an astronaut. I want my little person to live a life that is all her design, full of possibilities and opportunity. I want her to know you can live every day of the week, not just on the weekend.

Let’s face it… it doesn’t take 8 hours in school to complete the work they assign. Most of it is fluff. I cannot send her to school where she will read the words, SLAVE AND WETBACK in her school books but NOWHERE will she read the KLAN or KKK or the fact that white people were her oppressors! I am just not comfortable with the idea of her never understanding the true history of this country until she goes off to college and takes an awakening African American Studies class that turns her head around like it did for so many of us. I will teach her who she is before the world tries to tell her who they want her to be. 

I cannot leave her education in the hands of people who look at her as a number or a check instead of a person!

If your child is average and you are okay with sending them to school to learn the same bullshit you were fed, that’s okay with me. I am not going to try to talk you out of it. If school was great for you, I pray it’s great for them. Me…myself I wasn’t challenged! School didn’t teach me shit but to read a chapter and answer the 6 questions at the end of the chapter. It taught me that even my own teachers were racist, and I was just someone they had to put up with. My saving grace was my tutor Mrs. Ruthann-Crudup Brown. That 5’2” beautiful chocolate tyrant stayed on my ass and went above and beyond what the California school system had set out for me. I’m going to let you go now because I am starting to ramble. I BASICALLY WROTE ALL THIS TO SAY EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT. I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN DIFFERENT AND THAT’S OKAY.  STOP TRYNA PUT PEOPLE IN A BOX BECAUSE YOU WANT TO LIVE THE COOKIE CUTTER LIFE. It simply doesn’t work for everyone.

SOMETIMES I WONDER WHY MY DAUGHTER WAS BORN WITH NEGOTIATION SKILLS

School was not my thing. Kindergarten was a total drag. I didn’t understand why I had to sit in class for hours while people learned their ABCs and to count.  It all seemed like a major waste of my time. At 6 years old, I thought I had better things to do. My teacher got on my nerves. I remember this one time she wanted me to color Christopher Columbus and I refused. I thought it was stupid to spend all day talking about a man who supposedly discovered unknown land. You can’t discover anyplace where there were already people there. I chose to spend my coloring time with my head on my desk. My Grandma taught me about Native Americans, and how they were the first people here. I wasn’t about to participate in a celebration that honored the man who instigated the genocide of the indigenous peoples of North America. I got a chance to explain my view to the class and my teacher. Instead of my teacher respectfully challenging my views, all she said was, “Just color it,” in a stern tone.

I remember thinking to myself, “Talking to me like that is no way to get what you want from me.” I shut down completely. I pushed the paper to the side of my desk and put my head down. I wasn’t disruptive or rude, but I was frustrated and angry that she was teaching 16 young minds distorted facts. I mean, I had to be in that place 5 hours a day. And for what, to learn the wrong stuff?  At that moment, I didn’t care how my teacher felt, and I doubt she cared how I felt. I knew I wasn’t going to color because I didn’t want to. But I was even more peeved that she sent me home with a note.

I locked myself in the bathroom while my mother read the note. I was too scared to come out. She spoke to me through the door for a while until I felt comfortable enough to come out. When I got out, she sat me down at the kitchen table and asked me again if I wanted to color the paper the teacher sent home or get a bad grade. I told her, “Mommy, I just can’t do it. I don’t believe in it.” She said “Well, you’re never supposed to do anything you don’t believe in.” She kissed me on my head and got up out of her chair, while she was pushing it in, I said, “Mommy, I don’t want to do the Pledge of Allegiance.” “What’s wrong with the Pledge of Allegiance, Cherie?” she asked. “It’s just lame, Mommy. We are not one nation under God. If we were, people wouldn’t kill people and hurt children. I believe in God, Mom, but everyone doesn’t.” She just looked and me then finally said, “No, Cherie you do not have to say it, but you have to stand up with the rest of the class, ok.” “Ok, Mommy but I’m not putting my hand over my heart either.” “Fine, Cherie,” she said as she walked away to make dinner. I felt like I won! That is the earliest memory I have of negotiating.

Maybe some things are in your genes….

MY DAUGHTER DECIDED SHE DIDN’T WANT TO ACT BAD ANYMORE, SO SHE BAPTIZED HERSELF

You read it right. My 4-year-old baptized herself. It seems I don’t get PMS anymore but the week before I start my period, my daughter seems to really have a hard week. Well, after getting punished for talking back during math, saying the answer is, “Eiiiiggght,” real sassy and having a hard day in Taekwondo, we were both happy the day was coming to an end. We started our night time routine by getting her in the bath. At this point, I was quiet and so was she. We were both irritated with one another and ready to go to bed. While soaking, she looked up at me and said, “Mommy, I am ready to wash all my sins away,” very matter of fact. I said, “Oh, okay are you ready to wash up?” I got on my knees in front of the tub ready to assist her washing up. She then said, “NO, MOMMY.  I’ma baptize myself!”  I said, “Oh, okay.” Just like that, she grabbed her nose and dunked her head under water.  When she came up, she had both her hands straight up to the sky, like an old lady in a black church.  She screamed, “My Sins are washed away!” I was in shock and trying everything I could to hold back my laugh. She then looked at me and said, “Nope, I need to do it again.” Lol.  She held her nose and dunked her head, then came up on her knees with her hands once again pointing to the sky. Then she said, “It worked, my sins are gone and from now on Ima be an angel because God lives in me.”

I paused and giggled and said, “Yes, he does boo…yes, he does.”

Smh, just like that I was over it as she was. I giggled and washed her up. She wanted to hug snuggle to sleep so we did…that was days ago and so far, so good. She’s been my angel on earth. Hahahaa.

What it taught me is Baptism is a personal choice, if, when and where is totally up to your children, not you. Lol. I am NOT baptized myself. I’m saving that for the Nile River…but that’s a totally different story about my personal goals.

Not only is being baptized a choice but she has figured out misbehaving is also a choice. Hahahaha.  Aww, 4 years old. One day soon, I’m sure I will miss 4.

7 THINGS I DO DAILY TO LET MY DAUGHTER KNOW SHE IS SPECIAL TO ME

1) We cook together.

I make 3 meals a day and snacks. For at least 1 of those meals, I recruit a little helper. I notice giving her jobs that have to do with the family meals gives her pride. She loves feeling a part of the process and being a helper. She eats better when she has helped make the food as well.

2) I tell her I love her.

Not a day goes by without me saying, “I love you!” I never want her to have any doubt in her mind how I feel for her, so every chance I get, I let her know. I tell her, “I’m really proud of the way you did your school work today or put away your socks.” I notice this kind of praise leads her to doing more positive things the next day. (Works most of the time.)

3) Children love hugs and to be rubbed.

Give lots of hugs, rub their back. Kids never get too old for a positive physical touch from their parents. Always hug your children before you or they leave, when they come home and before bed.

4) We don’t watch much TV. We read together.

Since the day I found out I was pregnant I have been reading to my daughter.

We read for fun just as much as we read for school and she loves it. Instead of making it a chore, we go on shopping sprees to the bookstore where she goes in and picks out her own books.

5) We use technology as a teaching tool. We limit YouTube.

Electronics can be a huge distraction not only for my daughter but also for myself. For 1 week stay conscious of your screen time. You will be surprised when you realize how much time you could have been spending with your kids.

6) Listen to your children when they talk.

I have a daughter that runs her mouth all day long, even when we are trying to homeschool. I know firsthand it’s hard to actually listen to everything that comes out of your child’s mouth, but I try really hard to pay attention because children are so pure that they speak from the heart. So, you get to learn their desires, fears and about their mental health daily if you just take the time to listen.

7) Make bedtime special.

I do my best to keep our routine. It allows for extra time to chat, catch up on feelings, read a book and pray. This is the time my daughter will open up and say either today was a good day or sometimes, “Mommy, I am sorry for being bad. Tomorrow will be a better day.” I don’t have to prompt it. Bedtime is her reflection time of the day. Since I homeschool, it’s often the time when I ask her what subject she would like to start with in the morning. I have noticed when I let her pick the subject, there is less resistance.