Parenting Lesson: I Will Not Chase You

Munch is the best thing that ever happened to me. But, sometimes I really feel like I’m sucking at this parenting thing. Not that I’m mean, but sometimes I have to teach him a lesson and I wonder if my teaching those lessons are having an adverse effect on him.

Last month we were working on homework and then we were going to review his oral presentation. He had to memorize a poem. He chose “A Dream Deferred” by Langston Hughes. It was awesome, but he wasn’t in the mood. When he’s not in the mood to do anything, he pretty much shuts down. He acts like he’s bored and it’s really like time consuming and emotionally draining.

That being said I decided to push forward and chastise and ignore his negative attitude. I wanted to record him saying his poem. He was nonchalant and had no emotion. He was literally just acting like I’m forcing him to plow the field. It was draining. I had enough. I said “I love you Munch, but I’m done. I’m reclaiming my peace and you’re going to bed. Go upstairs and get your shower so you can get in the bed.” He was upset. “What about TV time?” I said “It’s not going to happen. You’ve tried my patience this evening with your behavior so TV is a reward that you don’t deserve this evening.” He cried.

Cried in the shower. Cried when he went to bed and then cried himself to sleep. Even when I tried to tuck him in bed and give him his kiss good night he cried louder and turned away from me. No problem. “I love you and goodnight” was all that I said.

I spoke to Mr. C and he listened and then commented how our parenting styles are different. I know. He’s told me before. I’m used to getting spanked as a child if I cried for no reason, but I left him to cry it out.

The next morning I did what I always do…cook his breakfast, pack his lunch, lay out his clothes and make up his bed. He then comes upstairs and criticizes me for all that I’ve done. “You’re not letting me do anything by myself. My daddy says that I need to do things on my own” he stated in frustration. I smiled sweetly and said “Love, you know what?” I don’t have to fix your breakfast each morning. I can sleep later and you can get up and fix yourself a bowl of cereal. It has always been important for me to send you to school with a hot breakfast each morning, but you want more responsibility so tomorrow, you got it. You can make your own bed and pick out your own clothes and fix your own lunch. I’m fine with it all. Now get dressed please.”

I was peeved. I couldn’t believe this child being defiant and first thing in the morning. I asked God for strength and we exited out the house headed for school. Munch didn’t speak to me at all. Ignored me on the whole car ride. I blasted gospel music to shift my mind and hopefully his too.

We exit and go into the school and as I’m signing him in for Before Care he doesn’t speak to the teachers when they say good morning. He walks away from me and is still ignoring me. I sigh. I said “Good morning” to the teachers, signed him and left. Five minutes later my phone rings and it is the Director of the Before and After Care program. She says how Munch had a breakdown and started crying because I just left.

She said that Munch said “She didn’t kiss me goodbye and she didn’t tell me that she loves me and to have a good day.” She said that they couldn’t console him. She asked could I speak to him. “Yes” I responded. He gets on the phone crying “Mommy, you didn’t tell me you love me. You didn’t kiss me goodbye.” I said “Munch, I realized that you were frustrated when you complained first thing this morning, I realized that you were still angry when you didn’t speak to me in the car ride over. I knew you weren’t over it when you walked away from me and ignored the teachers this morning. I accepted that. I love you so much but I will never chase anyone including you. My love is always given freely but I won’t chase someone to force it on them and this includes you. I love you more than life itself and will always love you. I love you more than you’ll ever know so have a great day.” He said “Okay, I love you too mommy.”  We got off the phone.

This parenting thing is hard. I struggle some days and find peace with my choices on most. But, in the end I’m still a work in progress learning and loving this beautiful boy that I’ve been blessed with.

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Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

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Random Rumblings – 10.12.17

Hey Loves,

Sorry for the silence. So much has been going on. I feel like I’m losing my dang mind on some things. I will update you later in the week.

But, as many of you are aware it is both Breast Cancer Awareness month and Domestic Violence Awareness month. Both are equally important causes that we should know and support. I post more on domestic violence because I am a survivor of abuse and find it important that we stand up for those that are being victimized.

All is well with Mr. C and I. Still happy and in love. Still living our happy black a** life despite some people trying to bring BS to my door. I love that man. Can I just say that? I thank God for sending me a partner that stands with me and for me against those that wish to commit evil.

Munch is doing awesome in school. I was reviewing his grades on-line and it’s all A’s and B’s. He’s adjusting well to 4th grade and went on his first field trip to a science center. I am thankful for his continued growth.

I’ve been in a mood the last week and attended a birthday party honoring my girlfriend a couple of nights ago. It was such the perfect distraction to the drama and I am thankful for my friends. See, God has given me such a support group that I can’t even begin to thank Him for all that I have.

I attended the first PTA meeting last night at school. I signed up for some committees. I think I’m going to try to write a grant to get yoga or a mindfulness instructor teaching the kids at school for a month. The sky’s the limit. I also signed up to be a part of a community advocacy group. Last year, Munch wanted to do a coat drive and PTA couldn’t make it happen. They confirmed to me last night that it will happen this year. What a blessing to be a blessing.

Between chairing the Veteran’s Committee for my sorority and some committees at Munch’s school it’s going to be a busy year, but I’m excited for the opportunity. That’s all for now. I’ll update you later on and I hope you have an amazing day.

 

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Parenting: First Day of School

Yesterday was Munch’s first day back at school. It was an exhausting day because our flight was delayed by 3 hours and we didn’t get in the house until 12:15 a.m. the next morning. Ugh! But, we took it in stride and were thankful that we arrived even after all those hours.

I felt so unprepared. I didn’t get a chance to pack his backpack with all the school supplies before heading out of town. That was a bummer. I grabbed some notebook paper and pencils and shoved them in his bag and thought we’ll do it this evening.

Munch woke up in a bad mood. Can you blame him? He was explaining to me that he didn’t want to go back to the same school because the kids were mean to him. I stopped. I breathed and replied “Munch, we are in a new school year with a new teacher and new classmates. No one can make you feel less than you are. Only you have the power to do so. I want you to have an amazing day because you are blessed. We woke up this morning. You have new clothes and shoes and supplies. You are ready to learn.” He sighed.

We drove to school and he said to me “Mommy, I’m sorry about earlier. I was in a bad mood. I’m going to have a good day.” I smiled and replied “Yep, you are and I can’t wait to hear all about it.” We walked into the building.

He saw a couple of children from his old school. Remember that I told you that there are only two French Immersion schools in the county? That was comforting. They spoke in the hallways. His smile was huge.

We met his teacher who is another male (Yay!) this year. I introduced myself and Munch and told him that I will see him at back to school night next week. I left.

This year there was no huge good-bye and lingering around. I felt better. I felt comforted. We weren’t in a foreign territory anymore. I know some parents, the principal and administrators. I made the school smaller by volunteering and I’ll do the same this year.

Here’s to my awesome and amazingly talented fourth grader. He’s ornery, brilliant and changing every day to look like his mommy. He will have a wonderful time in the 4th grade this year and I’ll be right there to make sure that he does.

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Parenting: Munch’s Art

Munch just finished two weeks at Art Camp last Friday and I couldn’t be more proud. He asked to attend and he learned so much. He learned about different textures, mediums and artists. He had a blast.

I think the best part of the camp experience for me was listening to my son explain his art work. The camp had an art show for the finale and the kids were super excited to showcase their work.

These last two weeks were memorable for him. He was excited and learned a lot. It was definitely worth the investment.

Since he transferred to his new school last September he actually got straight A’s in art all four quarters. This was a change from his last art teacher who I firmly believed pulled grades out her butt. When I questioned his grades changing from a B to A, she had no answer and couldn’t produce graded work that showed a B.

I explained that my son loves to draw and will often spend hours drawing out these great characters. He’s talented. He loves art. She didn’t listen.

Oh well.

Change happened and he’s excelling in his new school so we are blessed. It is as it should be. Art camp was awesome and he was winding down summer on a positive note. Here are some photos of his work.

 

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Knot Now Satan

A couple of days ago it hit me that sometimes I’m unprepared for this single mama stuff. Prime example…how do you tie a tie? This is something that I don’t know how to do or have never done. I didn’t grow up with my dad so I never watched him tie a tie or show my brother how it’s done.

My ex-husband knows how to tie a tie, but what did that have to do with me? I’m a woman. He tried to show me a couple of times, but why would I want to learn? He had two arms and hands. I couldn’t think of any time when I would need to tie a tie.

But, I was wrong. You know when you have to learn how to tie a tie? When you have a son and you’re single. That realization hit me like a ton of bricks. I was a single mother and I had no idea how to tie a tie.

Earlier this week I bought Munch a new shirt. He had a year end performance at after care last night. A beautiful baby blue tie accompanied the crisp white shirt in the package. I carefully took it out the package to iron and hang up to drop off for the performance. That’s when I discovered my mistake….

I had bought a real tie. Not a clip on. Not a zip on. A real tie.

What the hell? It was too late to exchange. Munch loved the color. It was exquisite against his skin. I had to suck it up and learn. “Not today Satan!” I muttered out loud. Knowledge was power and I thought of myself as pretty powerful. Badass in many ways. I had to learn so that I could impress my Munch.

So, I headed to YouTube and found a couple of videos that showed how to tie a tie. Not just any knot. I wanted to do the Windsor Knot. It was beautiful. I loved the look on it. After watching the said video like 3 times (8 if I’m completely honest) I actually got it. I was so proud of myself.

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These are real single parent struggles. When you’re a mom of a boy you need to learn how to tie a tie. There may not be a man around and it could be the eleventh hour, but making sure your young man looks sharp in his shirt and tie will be one for the books.

Munch looked handsome of course in his tie which was tied again by his dad because Munch didn’t know how to adjust it, but it worked out well. I was sitting up front and beaming for his performance. I was amazed that I had tackled something that I swore I would never do. Score one for mama!

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Reblog: Mutterings of a Four Year Old

Here’s another great post about things Munch used to do and say when he was 4. He is still a hilarious kid, probably not as pushy. But, he’s mine.

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It’s been a full three weeks since we took Munch’s binky away.  Can you believe that he hasn’t asked for it at all?  I was so shocked that when I told my mom, she couldn’t believe it.  She had me convinced that Munch would need a “binky patch” similar to a nicotine patch to break his addiction for his binky.  But, thankfully he didn’t.

I attribute this success to the fact that I didn’t succumb to the pressure of other folks (doctors, dentists and people who don’t know my son) by telling me to take it away now.  Munch wasn’t ready.  I prepared this take-away by announcing it on a regular basis, that you’re going to be four and when you’re four, you can’t suck a binky because binky’s are for babies.  I think more than anything, that he finally figured it out and accepted that he was too old for his binky and that he really didn’t need it.

So, since it’s been almost a month since he turned four, I decided to share some of his mutterings, stories and sayings.  Munch has always been a child who knows what he wants, but sometimes it can stress even the most sane parent when he goes on and on.  You will see.  Here are a few of our stories:

When getting Munch ready for bed…

“Mommy, look at my wee-wee.”  I replied, “It’s a penis Munch, not a wee-wee.” He restated, “No, it’s a wee-wee.”  I looked at him and said again “It’s a penis Munch, not a wee-wee.” He said “No, it’s a wee-wee.” Not willing to engage in a back and forth, I asked “What’s wrong with it Munch?”  He replied, “It looks like a brown crayon.”

When learning to share…

“Munch, you need to learn to share your stuff.  Don’t make people ask you for something.  You need to offer to share first.” Munch looked at me and said, “But, Mommy I don’t want to share. It’s mine and why can’t they get their own.”

When asking me where I’m going…

“Mommy, where are you going?” “No where Munch”  I replied. Five minutes pass and he asks, “Mommy, where are you going?” “No where Munch” I replied again. Five more minutes pass and he asks again, “Mommy, where are you going?” Frustrated I respond “No where Munch and you better not ask me again where I’m going or I will leave.” He looks at me and then turns to his dad and asks, “Daddy, where is Mommy going?”

Munch and the gift

Munch is now at the point where he loves how you react to him when he makes something for you.  Well, for Mother’s Day, he painted the most beautiful picture at day care.  I told him  how much I loved the picture and I was going to get it framed.  I told him thank you so much and he started to cry because I loved it so much.

The next day, he went to church school.  They had his class create Mother’s Day cards for their moms.  Munch handed me the card when I came to pick him up.  I smiled and said, “It was the most beautiful card I had ever received and thank you.”  He said, “Mommy, it’s a present for you.  I made a present for you.”  I said, “Thank you love.”  Over the next four days, Munch would repeatedly say, “Mommy, it’s a present for you.  I made a present for you.”  He said it a total of 35 times.  I would reply, “I know sweetheart.  It’s beautiful.  Thank you.”  Well, when he said it for the 36th time, I said, “Munch, I know you made the beautiful card for me.  I love it.  But, if you tell me one more time that you made a present for me, I’m going to scream.”  He looked at me and then turned to his dad and said, “Daddy look!  I made a present for Mommy.”  My husband laughed and said, “Son, it’s beautiful.”

 

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Reblog: Munch Meets Magnolia Street Photography

Another memory about Munch. He was 2 and had his first professional photography session.  She’s still our photographer 6 years later.  Check it out…

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Munch and I had an incredible session today with Erin of Magnolia Street Photography. She lives in Maryland. She was absolutely wonderful. She did a terrific job and I was so impressed with the photos she took of Munch. She made both Munch and I feel relaxed as we went through the session. She is truly a great photographer. Munch gave her a hug and kiss good-bye which is a big deal for a kid who doesn’t like strangers. Here are some of the prints.

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Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Happy 9th Birthday Munch

It was 9 years ago today at 11:34 a.m. that I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. He weighed 5 pounds, 15 ounces and I loved him more than I ever thought possible. I cried tears of joy when I heard him cry for the first time. I made his dad leave me and stay with him. I didn’t want him out of our sight. He was so tiny that I was worried that he would always be small. I was told that he was the perfect weight for a preemie.

I relaxed. I touched his hands. His face. His feet. I was in awe of this beautiful bundle of joy. Two eyes. Two ears. Ten fingers. Ten toes. I counted everything. I studied this little person vowing that I would never let anything happen to him. That I would fiercely protect his spirit and teach him to serve others.

With each passing year it becomes harder to watch him grow up and navigate his own life. I still want that chubby little boy that loved his bottle and binky. That little boy that looked at everything with an inquisitive yet unconcerned stare. This almost pre-teen is my greatest joy and gift.

So, today I celebrate God’s greatest gift to me. I want to let him know…

You are loved more than you could ever know. I wish you nothing but joy and happiness and laughter. I wish you peace and understanding that life sometimes brings challenges and changes, but you will get through it. I wish you lots of hugs and kisses in knowing that there is nothing in this world that could make me happier than being your mommy.

Happy Birthday Munch!

 

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Parenting: Third Grade Blues

Munch is in the third grade and sometimes I feel like I’m struggling to make sure that my son is successful. Not just now but in the future. I’m trying to build a strong foundation with everything, especially math. Munch is a boy. Munch is lazy. Munch decides that he will answer what he feels like when he feels like it. Especially during assessments, quizzes or tests. If he’s not interested, he could care less.

Yep, this year has proven to be a difficult one. Multiple meetings with the teachers, emails and phone calls have all made me have to manage not just my employees but my son’s education and my son’s learning. Some days I think that I can’t do this. That I’m not cut out for this. That something has to give.

I experience the entire gamut of emotions from frustration to depression to joy at him doing something. It’s heartbreaking and hilarious. I just keep telling myself that I can’t give up. That I can’t stop pushing him, encouraging him and creating opportunities for growth. It’s exhausting.

Add to that Spring soccer, his birthday party and swim classes and you will see that I’m trying to keep him well rounded. The only saving grace is that I allow Munch to lead his scheduled activities. We do what he wants to do. He only wants to do soccer in the spring, guitar lessons and swim class. No more he says.

Okay.

However, third grade is tough. Although he’s made honor roll for the last two quarters and is on track to make honor roll this third quarter, it’s a continuous battle to make sure that he stays focused. Focus on school work. Focus on math. I’m constantly reminding him that every concept will build on the next. Reminding him that he knows it. His math grades have been adjusted because our district doesn’t allow children in grades 2-5 to fail math so he gets at least a 60.

Umm, I’m not sure how I feel about that. So, I spend extra time on math homework. Going over the multiplication table, giving extra work to build on what he’s learning in school. “Everything has a purpose Munch” is what I tell him. Sometimes he gets it. Other times he looks at me like I’m wasting his time.

Boys are hard is what I’m told. It doesn’t reassure me. I feel like I’m failing him. I asked him “What do you want to be when you grow up?” He said “A scientist.” I smiled. “Science and math go hand in hand Munch. You need to understand math and its concepts to fully understand and grasp math.”

It’s the third quarter – third grade blues I’m sure, but I can’t give up on him. I’m invested in his future. I’m investing in him. I signed him up for a STEM camp with NSBE this summer. It’s a 3 week camp. Not sure how we’ll get him to and from during the 8:30 am to 3:30 pm hours, but he likes STEM. It’s FREE so it needs to happen.

Sometimes it feels like we’ll never get through it. That my life until he graduates from high school and maybe when he goes to college is all about making sure he’s focused and doing what he’s supposed to do. When will he take the bulls by the horn and want to do it on his own?

He’s been asking to go to a regular school (non French Immersion school). He doesn’t want to continue in French. His grades are great. He just doesn’t want to learn French anymore. He wants to learn in English. Should I listen to him?

 

 

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links:  Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Dating Parents – Part II

This is a continuation from my post Dating Parents – Part I.

After calming down, I said to Munch “Honey, we’re going out tonight with Mr. C and his son and you will be on your best behavior, okay?” That was the end. I wasn’t going to let this little boy run my life. I was the adult. He has to get over it right?

Well, he didn’t. He acted like the biggest baby. He was whiny and wanted to sit in my face and have me hold him (he’s 85 pounds) and kiss him all through dinner. It was excruciating. He then made a comment about Mr. C was lucky that he allowed him to sit next to me. He always sits next to his mommy.

Side bar…he does always sit next to me. It is hilarious. We will go out to dinner and instead of sitting across from me, he wants to sit right next to me. I will always ask “Don’t you want to sit across from me?” He’ll respond “No, I want to sit next to you.”

I had to laugh. I responded “Munch, I told you to sit across from me because I wanted to sit next to Mr. C. He’s not lucky.

We ended dinner and said good-bye. Over the next couple of days Munch started acting like Mr. C was the biggest threat to his world. Anytime I was on the phone with him he had to interrupt. He needed to be heard.

Ugh. It was frustrating as heck.

My mom then kept him during the winter break and when they were out one day he told her how I always shut the door in his face when I’m talking to Mr. C. She then proceeds to tell me how I can’t do that. I told her that he’s not being honest and that I have my bedroom door shut and that when he comes into my room, I make him exit and knock on the door before entering.

I told her that the reason that I do that is because when he spent the night over her other daughter’s house that he didn’t knock on their bedroom door and just opened it. They weren’t presentable and she was mortified. She then asked me why I don’t teach him to knock before entering. I then realized that I needed to do it. So, it’s not because I’m on the phone with Mr. C but I’m trying to teach him manners.

I was exhausted by the gall of my little brown eyed boy. He then told his Nana how his mommy was going to marry Mr. C and then we would have other children and he will be forgotten. My mom said, “Yeah, I told him that wasn’t true. I explained that there is an age limit on having children and I thought you were too old.” I laughed.

I needed to talk to that little boy. I needed to hear what’s going on in his mind. My brother offered to talk to him. To see if he felt like this only because it’s me or does he treat his dad like this.

I couldn’t wait on my brother. He was my son and I wanted to talk to him. I did talk to him. I had him lay on my bed and hugged and kissed him. We just lay there. I was hugging and snuggling my little boy. I then talked to him about Mr. C. I explained that I loved Mr. C. That Mr. C makes mommy happy. That he’s a great man and that he wants to get to know him.

I asked him what’s his concern? He asked “Do you love him more than me mommy?” I looked him in the face and said “No, baby. I could never love anyone more than you. The first sound you ever heard was my heartbeat and we are more connected than anyone.” I began to explain that me loving a man is separate and different than loving a child and that my heart was big enough to love them both.

I asked him “Don’t you want me to be happy like your dad?” He said, “Yeah, but don’t I make you happy?” I told him that of course he does but that doesn’t mean that I should be alone does it. He said “No”.

We hugged and kissed and kept telling him how special he was and that Mr. C would want to spend time alone with him and getting to know him and I would really appreciate it if he allowed him too. I told him that there is no rush, but to know that we are building something special and I needed him to give me the same kind of acceptance that he gives his dad.

I don’t know if it was right or wrong. People tell me that it is because he’s a boy and boy’s are so protective of their mamas. I don’t know if it’s true. Munch and I have always been extremely close and I just want him to get to know and love the man that I love because he is a great man.

What are your thoughts?