5 Things I’ve learned from My 3 Year Old

I have been a stay-at-home mom for almost six months and I must say it has been interesting.  My daughter is three going on sixty.  I like to tell people she’s an old lady stuck in a toddler’s body.  Sometimes, I think she is my grandmother reincarnated. Being home with her 24 hrs a day, I have learned a great deal about how the her mind works. She is very cunning, sneaky, and calculating.  She is also sarcastic and very blunt. So, her is a list of things I’ve learned from her since we’ve been tied to the hip.

1)  What I ate and liked yesterday (or even the week before) is not what I like today. – Yeah, this chick’s appetite changes like the wind.  Sometimes from one day to another or even from one hour to another.  She went from eating spaghetti and peanut butter crackers regularly to hating them overnight.  I’m like really, you were just begging for peanut butter crackers last night and now it’s yuck. This really makes grocery shopping hell.

2)  Don’t let strangers ask her questions because 3yr olds are very blunt.  –  My daughter is very quiet and to herself and doesn’t really do people.  But, every time we go the store an unknowing target approaches and start asking questions and, as I said, my daughter is very blunt and sometimes the answers can come off as mean or hurtful. This can lead to awkward  moments and glares at me. So, I try to limit the questions people ask for their sake and mine.

3)  There is no such thing as privacy or alone time. – Who knew once you had kids you would no longer be able to use the bathroom alone or even go downstairs without being followed.  I didn’t  know I would have two shadows.  IT SUCKS.  Especially when you just want to pee or poop alone.  Like really kid, this is not the time for conversations. I’m trying to concentrate here.

4)  I will watch the same movie or cartoon over and over and over again, because it’s funny (umm no it’s not kid). – I’m all for a good movie or cartoon. Heck I miss Saturday morning cartoons, but these cartoons out now are just blah.  Like really the Bubble Guppies live underwater but light fires and carry umbrellas when it rains. WHY – YOU’RE UNDER WATER?  And if I watch the Minion movie one more time…. (deep breaths, deep breaths)

5)  Don’t ever tell a child you will do or buy something and don’t because they will never forget and will never let you forget. – Kid, sometimes I just agree to the things you say so you will stop asking. I don’t really expect you to remember that two weeks ago mommy said she would buy you a Doc McStuffins’ ambulance and ask did I buy it every time I come in the house.  I also wasn’t prepared for you to ask me  are we going to the beach a thousand times a day.  But as I look back, I know I set myself up for this.

Honestly, being a stay-at-home mom is great.  I get to spend so much time with my little one and travel with her.  We wake up together and go to bed together which makes it easy to keep her on a schedule.  But, there are times when it really tests my patience and I have to remember she is three and this stage will pass.  She’s growing so fast and each day it seems like there is something new.  I know I will look back on this time and wish these moments would have lasted forever (except the not using the bathroom alone).

How We Make Co-Parenting Work

I get so many questions about how I get along with Della’s father or how do we make co-parenting work.  There’s the “Does he have a say in what you do for her” or ” How do can you stand to talk to him” or the “Don’t you hate him now that you are not together”?  People are often surprised by my response.

Yes, he does have a say in her life.  I don’t concern him with the routine day-to-day stuff but for important things, like her health or daycare, I do consult him.  Now, if he has her and has a question, he calls me and asks for advice.  I think  it has more to do with her being a girl and he only raised boys.  No, we don’t hate each other.  We are actually really good friends and we talk all the time and it really helped that we were friends before we had a child together.  We have no intentions of ever getting back together.  He has moved on with his life and is in a relationship with a wonder person and I have moved on with my life.  I actually talk to both him and his wife and there is open communication between all of us.

The most important thing, to him and me, is our daughter knows she is love and wanted.  We make sure she is able to talk to either of us whenever she wants.  She can call her dad, stepmom, or brothers, at anytime, and they will talk to her or video chat with her.  She spends weekends or weekdays, when he’s not working, with her family.

I grew up in a home with both my parents.  They were married for almost 40 years, until my dad passed.  Even though my dad was in the home, my mom was a single parent in raising us. Now, my dad worked everyday and provided a home for us (my mom also worked just as many or more hours), but he wasn’t there for my sister and me, as a dad.  He didn’t show us the love, little kids needed, growing up.  We rarely got hugs or conversations, he didn’t ask us about school, boys, the sports we played, and he never came to one game or awards ceremony. So, as you can image, I went looking for that love in the wrong way and caused myself a lot of pain and heartache.

I never want Della to feel the loneliness and hurt I felt growing up.  I never want her to wish her dad would hold her, play with her, or say something nice to her.  I never want her to feel like she doesn’t matter.  He dad shows her all the things, and more, I wished my dad would have shown me.  Even her brothers are protective of her and they are much older than her.  And yes, she has them wrapped around her finger, and I love it.  Our whole family loves it.  We don’t want her to feel she needs to look to a boy or man, outside her family, to get the love she is missing from her dad.

So, how do we make co-parenting work- we put our daughter’s needs and wants first.  No matter how we feel about each other or if we have disagreements, we always make sure we put her first.

 

Pictures in the Park

It’s been crazy hot, in NC, and Della and I have not spent as much time in the park as usual.  Last Sunday, my little superhero decided she wanted to take pics in the park.  So, she got dressed and to the park we went.  No, it wasn’t raining, but she loves her rain boots and she thought, just maybe, she would find some muddy puddles to jump in…lol  Yes, it was still hot as heck, but anything to see a smile on her little face.

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Just Keep Swimming

Della is back in swim class and I must say, she is doing great for not being in the pool the whole winter and spring.  Since it’s almost 100 degrees, in NC right now, it felt really good to spend some time in the water.  The local pool is closed, so unless we go to the beach, we won’t get in any swimming other than classes.

She’s grown so much between her last year swim pics (the last 3) and this year.

Facing Her Fear of the Big Slide

For some reason, Della decided Sundays are not a good day to sleep in.  Where she got this crazy idea, I have no freakin’ clue.  So, since we were up, I decided to take her out to a mommy and me breakfast at Bob Evans.  I had pancakes and she had broccoli (she’s a cheap date).

We’ve been trying to get to the park all week but it has been HOT the whole week.  I’m talking upper 90s near 100s.  Not a fun time to be at the park. Since we had an early breakfast, Della decided she want to go play on the slides.

Now, we usually go to the kiddie playground not far from the house.  Sunday she decided she wanted to conquer the big slide.  It took her a while to get there.  She slide down all the small slides first.  She even got me to slide a couple of times.  Then, after about 3o minutes, she decided to face her fears.  She climbed the steps, sat down, and held on for dear life.   The first time, I could tell she was scared because she came down in slow motion…lol   She was holding on so tight she could barely slide.  After the initial shock wore off, she got back up and tried it again.  This time it was the real deal.  She came down like a champ.  I was so proud of her.  I don’t think we will be going to the kiddie playground anymore.

 

Each Step is Worth Celebrating

Sometimes, we need to look at life through the eyes of the caterpillar and not the butterfly.

It’s the end of the school year and kids are graduating and moving on to bigger and sometimes scarier things.  This could be transitioning from kindergarten, middle school, or high school.  Or, it could be our littlest ones leaving daycare to join the world of the big kids.

I was talking with the VP, of my department, yesterday, and he was telling me that his daughter is graduating from preschool on Friday.  I asked was he going and he said no because he was busy and her mom would be there.  Now, we talk often about our kids and their accomplishments, so I know how close he is to his daughter.  I told him he should make time to go (preschool is only 15 minutes away).  He said it was only preschool graduation and it didn’t really matter.  I told him, to him it’s only preschool and not a big deal, but to her, it’s a major step into life.  She’s no longer a baby, toddler or preschooler.  Now, she’s a big girl going into new uncharted territory. She’s no longer a caterpillar.

As adults, sometimes, we forget how important these milestones are to kids.  We forget how excited we were to finally go to school, with the big kids, or move on into adulthood. We don’t remember the excitement we felt, seeing our parents and other family cheering us on, at Awards Day or graduation. We have forgotten how proud we were to have those steps acknowledged.

Look at it this way, in your adult life or career, you want your hard work and accomplishments to be acknowledged.  You want to be rewarded for all the dedication and effort you put into a job, project, or advanced degree.  You want others to share those moments with you, because, to you, they are important.  For our kids, it’s the same thing.  They may not be getting paid, but they are getting a promotion and recognition for their hard work and dedication.  Shouldn’t we be there to cheer them on, and hopefully, with a loving and supportive environment, they will become butterflies!

Heart to Heart with my Mom (MiMi)

Della and I are so blessed to  live in the same house with my mom.  It is a big help, to have her here, just to talk or when I need a break.  Sometimes, I think her and Della are more like two old women, who fuss all day, than grandmother and granddaughter (smile).

Now, my mom works full time and plans to retire in a couple of years.  May dad passed, a couple of years ago, so it’s just us girls (me, Della, mom, my sister and her daughter).

Saturday, I was talking to mom about her plans to buy a house, and I was telling her, I don’t think it’s the best idea for our family.  Now, I know, to some, buying a house is the ultimate goal for their family, but I don’t want my mom to spend her retirement years paying for a house, when she could be spending that money on the things she loves.

When we were growing up, my parents had a home and did everything they could to provide for us.  They worked long hours and sacrificed to make sure my sister and I had a good childhood.  I will forever be grateful to them.  They showed us how to achieve our dreams, through hard work and determination.  My sister and I have degrees, make a good living, and are able to provide for our kids.  Now, it is time for her to live her dreams.

It’s not like in my grandparents or great-grandparents’ days, when they barely had anything, worked endless days to provide a home for their kids, and the only thing they had to leave them were a family house and land.  For a black family, growing up in the south, times were hard then.

Times have changed and we have the opportunity to experience more in life.  My mom loves to travel, spend time with her friends, shop and spoil her grand kids. After all the things she has sacrificed, it’s time for her to enjoy life and enjoy her money.  She should not have to think about a mortgage after retirement.

To me, home is with family.  I would rather have the memories of my mom and daughter playing together, planting flowers, or shopping for a new dress.   I would rather have the pictures of us on vacation, at family cookouts, or spending days outside in the yard.   For me, those memories are more valuable than her leaving us a house.