Year One. Check!

I was presented with a gorgeous scrapbook at my son’s birth. Each page was expertly embellished by my sorority sister. The colors and patterns chosen just so to fit the first year of my little prince’s life.

I remember feeling the joy, excitement, and anticipation as I turned each 12×12 page. What would this book look like upon completion? I couldn’t even fathom all the  experiences it would take to create the memories necessary to fill the book.

Yet here I am 12 months later looking at the scrapbook and choosing between 4000 photos. How do I decide between smiles? And why did I take so many photos of my child sleeping? This first scrapbook is nearing completion. The final selections will be photos from his “Winter ONEderland” first birthday party.

I can only wonder in amazement as I think on this past year…what will year 2 hold for our family?

by the water.jpg

Advertisements

Nursing Photoshoot – A Must Do

One of the best things I have done during my first year as a mommy was to participate in a nursing photoshoot for Missouri moms. My son was 8 months old when we did the shoot. We are now 11 months in with no end in sight. We have plenty of “brelfies” but these photos by Allison Nichole Photography are a treasure. They capture the incredible bond I share with my son.

Have you done a nursing photoshoot? If not…book one soon! No stigma, no shame, all love.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

When it comes to my personal life, I prefer no questions. I don’t mind questions from a friend. I usually can handle questions during a conversation with an acquaintance. My husband, who loves questions, had to teach me how to accept them as a part of normal conversation. I used to feel put off by people who just met me and asked a ton of questions. Now, I try to go with the flow and I ask a few questions myself. Its probably because I dislike small talk that I dislike questions so much.

As a parent, though,question-mark-fractal I have been introduced to a whole new line of questioning. And I abhor it.

What is he doing?

Can he talk?

What does he say?

Is he walking?

No? followed by…Gasp!

What does he eat?

Are you going to have a girl next?

Is he sleeping through the night?

When are you going back to work?

When are you going to stop breastfeeding?

How will he be socialized if you stay home? Does he go on play dates?

So I have a few questions too:

Why do you think ALL babies walk by 10 months?

Is it so hard to believe that my child eats a robust variety of fruits, vegetables, lean meat and still breastfeeds?

Did you know that the X chromosome to make a girl comes from a man and that we actually have no say in what the gender of our next child will be?

How is staying home to raise my child not work but if I put him in daycare the child care providers are working?

Are you socialized? Do you go on play dates?

Or better yet, lets talk about some adult milestones:

Did you pay your rent on time this month?

When was the last time you stayed gainfully employed with the same employer for over 2 years?

Do you own your home?

Is your car paid off?

How much money do you have saved for retirement?

Are you still on your momma’s cell phone plan?

Did you vote?

 

I don’t mean to stymie well meaning people who love my son and are curious about his growth. I just want to let my child grow at his own pace. Bombarding new parents with questions about milestones is a partner to the great evil of child/parenting comparisons. No one wins at that game. I’d rather just enjoy my son and each stage of his development. `

 

The Misadventures of Travel

road-trip

“Are you going to sit in the backseat with him?”

“No,” I confidently responded.

“What if he needs to be soothed?” my father-in-law wisely asked.

“He’s been doing well sitting in the back by himself,” I said with all the naivety of a new mom.

I should have known then that the last leg of a 2 week, 2,000+ mile trip would go wrong.

Each time we travelled I carefully packed a bag with plenty of wipes, diapers, food, snacks, and a change of clothes for baby and me. I always kept this bag within arm’s reach.  But after 2 successful plane rides and many more hours in the car, I got lax. For the return trip home, I carelessly threw items in the bag. I realized I was running low on wipes and I didn’t refill the case. Nothing was neat and it certainly wasn’t easy to find supplies in the dark.

Before we got into the car, my son spilled water all over his clothes and soaked his shirt and undershirt. The luggage was already packed so I changed his shirt using the spare set of clothes I kept in my bag. Big mistake.

2 hours into the drive and the baby starts screaming. I mean  giving his lungs a real workout. I reach around to find out what is wrong and I feel something damp on his carseat. Coupled with a stench in the air, I knew it was a blowout diaper. Of course we were literally passing a rest stop as I made this discovery. We rode for a few miles before we spotted a gas station.

At the gas station, I remembered — there were not enough wipes for this job, I did not have another change of clothes for baby and I did not have a change of pants for myself. Only 2 hours away from home and I was stuck with a blowout diaper. Using a cup of warm water, soap, and a cloth diaper I washed him up on my lap. I did not make it out unscathed.

I wrapped my naked son in a blanket for a while until we found some clothes in the luggage. I used Lysol wipes to clean the carseat. Went inside the gas station to wash my hands thoroughly. Nursed my child then we continued our trip…with me in the backseat of the car still wearing boo boo pants because I forgot that I needed to change clothes too.

We are not going anywhere for a while but when we do, I’ll be sure to stock my bag appropriately.

 

Essential items to pack in your travel diaper bag:

  • Diapers (pack enough for at least 1 full day and then add some more)
  • Wipes (galore)
  • Cloth diaper or a wash cloth
  • Travel size soap and lotion
  • Travel size diaper cream
  • Snacks
  • Food pouches (so much easier and less mess!)
  • Plastic bib that can easily be wiped off
  • Small toys (pack options that don’t make noise)
  • Blanket
  • Extra onesies
  • Change of clothes for baby (eh make that 2)
  • Change of clothes for mommy
  • Plastic bag for soiled clothes or diapers (I like to have a stack of gallon storage bags just in case of …whatever)

*Tip: Place everything in individual gallon storage bags so you can reach in and grab what you need quickly.

Saved by the Bell

October was a stressful month for me. Deadlines galore. Fall Festival planning for my church. Finishing up a fundraiser for the children and youth ministry. And people keep speeding in the 4th Ward. My mind was busy. Joseph was busy. I was tired.

Then my grandfather died and I put everything on hold. I stopped planning and I stepped away from my to-do list. When I came back to my to-do list I noticed it had gotten longer. Apparently it did not get the memo that I was tapped out.

I was so tapped out that when my friend sent me a thoughtful text last week,

screenshot_2016-11-01-09-29-48-1

I didn’t respond.

Which is unlike me. Even if I respond later in the day, I try to respond because not responding is just rude in my book.

I didn’t respond because I didn’t want to send a text that read,  “I am overwhelmed. I have been in the middle of the same set of unfortunate circumstances for 6 months and I am trying really hard to hold on to my faith that God is going to work this out for my good. However, I am starting to feel hopeless. I need help and I feel like when I ask for it no one is there to help me because everyone is used to me making it happen.” I couldn’t bring myself to fake the reply, “I’m fine. Thanks for asking.” So…I said nothing. I thought about the text from time to time. How it was nice that she asked. How I wish I had time to really tell her how I felt. But the days passed and I left it alone.

Then yesterday happened. Ugh. Monday. Things were going wrong. A vendor did not meet a deadline (for the 4th time). I was over budget on an event and needed to scale back. Joey spent too much time in the pack-n-play and mommy guilt was creeping in. Then I got 2 text messages with more pressing “to-do” items. Enough was enough. I texted my husband and asked him to pray for me. He did and he told me to breathe. In my head I was thinking, “Forget breathing, I need some actual help!”

Literally 10 minutes later my phone rang. It was the aforementioned friend. My battery was at 5% and I thought about not answering because surely the phone would die during the conversation. I really didn’t have time to talk anyway.

I answered the phone and my friend said, “How are you? I texted you last week? I am checking on you. How can I help? I am here to help.” WOW. She insisted that there was something she could do to help me and she was right. She came through for me. She did what I needed her to do, she followed up.

Follow up with someone you have been meaning to check on today. You could be the answer to their prayers.

Added bonus my friend also showed me a well timed meme that made me laugh. A well timed meme is golden. No…I am not sharing the meme with you. Get your own meme.

My Favorite Things

Disclaimer: I receive no compensation for the items listed below. I am not that big time yet. When I get there, I will let you know.

Christmas will be here soon. If you are expecting or looking for gifts for a new mom, here is a list of the items I found the most useful. They are listed in no particular order of preference.

favorite-things

  1. Fisher-Price Rock n Play – I used this item more than anything else. Joey loved napping here as a newborn. There is a vibrate option and it is easy to rock with your foot as you sit on the couch.
  2. Fisher-Price Kick n Play – I have many videos of my son kicking this piano and trying to reach for the toys overhead. He still loves this toy but he sits up and plays the piano now!
  3. Back Seat Mirror – I bought more expensive mirrors but this is my favorite because of its adjustability.
  4. Nose Frida – Much less fuss when I used this contraption over the traditional bulb. I recommend purchasing the saline spray as well.
  5. Mommy’s Bliss Gripe Water – Perfect for getting rid of hiccups, which my son had a lot. My aunt hipped me to this.
  6. Muslin Swaddle Blankets – Throw it on the floor for tummy time. Swaddle baby for a nap. Drape over a car seat to keep out the crisp fall air. These blankets are breathable, soft, and versatile.
  7. Halo SleepSack – This was a gift from the hospital. We ended up buying 2 more just like it. Love this thing. When baby can roll over there is an arms free version.
  8. Chicco Keyfit 30 – I bought the Equinox which is discontinued by the manufacturer but you can still get other colors. This carseat is easy peasy to install. Added bonus…
  9. Chicco Jogging Stroller – You can snap your Keyfit carseat into this jogger stroller for a nice walk in the park. It is not recommended that you run with the baby until 6 months.
  10. Summer Infant Booster Seat – We have limited space in our dining room so a high chair was out of the question. This booster seat works perfectly for our space and our boy.
  11. Fisher-Price Jumperoo – Joey loves working out his legs in this Jumperoo. It rotates 360 degrees with interactive toys on all sides.
  12. My favorite diapers are from Honest.com. My second choice Pampers. Third, Luvs. I prefer Parent’s Choice wipes.

 

Happy Shopping. Tell them I sent you.

The Tale of Two Schools

If you check the list of National Blue Ribbon Schools (http://nationalblueribbonschools.ed.gov) you will see the school I taught at last year listed.  blue-ribbon-centralThis is a phenomenal accomplishment but it makes me sad.  Why? Because I went from teaching at a school that was at the bottom of the bottom to teaching at a school that is now a National Blue Ribbon School (and rightfully so because Central is nothing short of amazing).

Juxtaposition this news with the fact that my previous school recently made headlines as well… for high lead levels in drinking water. High lead levels found in drinking fountains

I often think about the kids I left behind. How they deserve a school with a literacy curriculum in place. A school that doesn’t let first year teachers just figure it out standard by standard. What can I do for my babies still in St. Louis Public Schools or the Normandy Schools Collaborative and other failing districts? Right now, I’ve signed up to volunteer and read in early childhood classrooms. I am also working on developing literacy guides for African American themed books. I want to replicate my previous classroom work with literacy, math, and entrepreneurship using The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies at my community school.

Ultimately, I am working toward opening an Early Education Learning Center because an adult or team of adults miserably failed my students who started third grade on a kindergarten reading level. I want to help. At times the burden for change is so great it suffocates me. Then I take a deep breath and I say, “One day, one step, one child at a time.”