Parenting Fail: Cleaning Out The Closets

A couple of weeks ago I was frustrated by all the clothes and toys that Munch had outgrown and the fact that I had yet to set an appointment for Purple Heart to come pick them up. With a steadfast determination I selected my appointment and packed up his room of too small clothes, brand new jeans and shirts (I forgot they were in his closet and had never been worn – please don’t judge me) and toys to donate. I needed to have order in the chaos of his room.

Now, before I go further let me pause and tell you that my son is a stuffed animal hoarder. He truly is. He needs to be on a show. He doesn’t care if there is no room to sleep on his bed. He loves stuffed animals. In the last year he had over 100 stuffed animals and played with maybe 5 consistently. His favorite is this stuffed dog that he got for his second birthday that is still holding on. I’ve washed and sewn up the holes multiple times. It needs to be refilled with stuffing. But, that dog (whom he affectionately named Puppy Thomas) remains firmly on his bed as he sleeps with it while at my house.

As I began to get the toys and clothes bagged up, I left the stuffed animals on his bed alone. He slept with them and they weren’t bothering me, but the rest had to go. I needed to make room. All in all there were 9 bags of clothes, shoes and toys that were put out for the van to pick up that morning.

Munch watched me lug those bags down the stairs and out the front door with nary a question or look. I had to get it together. I was on a mission for some form of organization and Munch didn’t question it.

However, that didn’t last long.

Last night when I was tucking him into bed (yes, I still do that) he asked about the bags of stuffed animals. I felt like a deer caught in headlights. “What about them Munch?” I said. “Well, where is it?” he questioned. I replied “Munch I donated them to Purple Heart a couple of weeks ago. You saw me take the bags outside.” He said “But Mommy, all my stuffed animals were in that bag.” I reminded him that he hadn’t played with any of the animals in the bag in the last 11 months. He said “Mommy, my Alvin and the Chipmunks were in the bag. You got those for me last Christmas.” He started crying.

I didn’t know what to do. I mean I went through the same thing as a kid when my mom started donating my toys behind my back, so I could relate to his 10 year old pain. Had I become my mother? The giver of things without my input or knowledge?

I tried to comfort him and explain that I didn’t look in the bag and that I didn’t know the Chipmunks were in the bags. Truthfully, I should have because isn’t that what parents are supposed to do? Remember to do everything?

Those are his favorite plush animals and he watches Alvin and The Chipmunks on Hulu faithfully. I didn’t know what to say. I felt bad. He hugged his puppy and just cried. He asked “Are you going to give away puppy one day?” “No, I would never give away puppy” I told him. I kissed him good night and told him how much I loved him. He sniffled and muttered “I love you too.”

I felt heartless and did the only thing I thought could make this better. I caved and went on-line to order them again. I remembered ordering those stuffed animals for Christmas 2016. I remembered Munch being so excited to get them because he loved the Chipmunks. I went in search of these particular plush animals. I found them on the Fisher Price website and on Amazon. I ordered them on Amazon because it was free shipping and with my discount I was able to get them sooner and with free shipping. Crisis handled.

I needed a drink. But, I didn’t grab a bottle of Chardonnay. Instead, I went into his room and told him that I’m sorry and that I ordered him Alvin and the Chipmunks again because I knew how much he loved them. I told him it came with Brittany. He smiled and closed his eyes.

All is well in the house tonight. It may not be well tomorrow or the next. But, I am loving the fact that I went from villain to hero in 10 minutes. I guess I’m doing something right?

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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Weekend Coffee Share – 7/23/2016

Hi Loves,

If you and I were having coffee I would tell you that I’m so excited that the weekend is here. Never mind the hour in the day, I would have an extra large cup of iced coffee and offer you one as well. It is so hot here this weekend so we need to stay cool. We would curl up in some cozy chairs and sip this cool beverage in peace.

If you and I were having coffee I would tell you that I finally got some proof that my son passed to the third grade. The school he attended didn’t change my address they just withdrew him from the system. This meant that the school district got his grades returned because they don’t forward grades. They are probably trying to catch boundary jumpers. Ugh! This caused me major frustration. The on-line portal is down for parents until August 23rd so I was stuck.

I emailed the office manager and she and the principal inserted a screen shot of the grades and were trying to get them mailed to me. Look what my Munch did this year. I’m so super proud. Do you know we worked hard on this? He got 6 A’s, 6 B’s and 1 C. That C was in Math and hard fought.

Grades

If you and I were having coffee I would tell you that I’m super proud of my kid and looking forward to some much needed time together. We did a play date earlier and will be heading to the movies later on this afternoon.

If you and I were having coffee I would tell you that I’m adjusting to my new position. I’m learning to delegate, organize and inspire. I sit in a lot of meetings, but I’m not complaining. Just trying to absorb it all. I know that God brought me here for a reason.

If you and I were having coffee I would tell you that we’re deep in the planning of my niece’s graduation party. We’re giving her a trunk party. You know for her college trunk? It’s going to be held next month a couple of weeks before she heads to school. She’s excited. I will definitely post pictures because I adore my princess.

If you and I were having coffee I would tell you that when I returned home from Miami last weekend my car wouldn’t start. I was scared. I was freaking out thinking that the worst. But God! I called emergency roadside and they jumped my car. I took it in to the dealer on Monday and it was nothing more than the battery. You see how the mind plays tricks on you?

If you and I were having coffee I would tell you that I’m still seeing Mr. C. Somewhere between hell and the walking dead that was my dating life I met a wonderful human being. He is so super laid back that when we have a disagreement it catches me off guard. We work through it and he reminds me that he is human. He does get his feelings hurt. I smile. He’s entitled. I know I do. I respect that. We’re already planning our next vacation.

Finally loves, if you and I were having coffee I would tell you that I dream of peace. Peace for this hurting world. We’re suffering so much chaos. I feel an overwhelming sadness for the world. That’s why my prayers have increased. I dream of peace. Peace from chaos. Peace from sadness. Peace from death. Peace from the murders. Peace from the tragedies. Peace from political b.s.

Peace.

This post is part of the #weekendcoffeeshare at Part-time Monster Blog. Join in the fun!

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Parental Privilege: Spanking or Not

I’ve read many posts on whether or not you should spank children. Not just in light of the Adrian Peterson (Minnesota Vikings player), whose case unfolded last week, but in general. My opinion is simple….YOUR CHOICE. I can’t tell a parent how to raise their child or how discipline should be handled in their home. The reason is that I am not in your shoes and I know for a fact that you have to find what works for you and your child. Now, before you start thinking I’m an advocate for child abuse. Let me be clear….I’m not. I don’t condone violence of any kind and especially towards children.

There is a difference and in my opinion, a big difference between child abuse and spanking. Child abuse is defined as:  mistreatment of a child by a parent or guardian, including neglect, beating, and sexual molestation. Spanking is defined as: to strike (a person, usually a child) with the open hand, a slipper,etc., especially on the buttocks, as in punishment. Now that we are all clear on the definitions, I want to reiterate that I don’t condone child abuse or violence in any form. As a parent myself, I think it is imperative that we find forms of discipline that work to mold healthy and productive citizens. However, I hate the argument that because I believe in spanking that I am destroying my child and he will grow up to beat on others. That statement in itself is flawed because I don’t beat my son. I spank him if it is a spankable offense. 

What is a spankable offense? An egregious offense where he knows better or running in traffic. Not much would ever be considered spankable because he’s only six. However, I implore the 3 warning rule in my parenting. This is where I give munch 3 chances to correct the behavior on his own before consequences are handed down. This is not a spankable offense. This means it is timeout in his room with no television, an hour of French work, no Ipad, etc.

As a child growing up, my mom employed the same techniques. Altering the punishment to fit the crime and not spanking out of anger. Did I get whopped with a switch (absolutely! I’m from the south)? Do I do it? No. Do I believe her spanking me has damaged me? No. There were other things that were more harmful than her spanking. But, I never believed that she enjoyed spanking me or my siblings or assumed that her spanking was detrimental to my psychological or emotional health.

I grew up in an era of spank first and talk later. I can’t judge Adrian Peterson on the crime he’s accused of, but I can tell you that it breaks my heart to see the photos of a four year old boy who was whopped with a switch and it left marks. I’m heartbroken. Too much force was used on this child. No four year old child should ever have to endure the feel of a switch. It’s obvious that Adrian is strong, so I question whether or not he could have used his hands instead of a switch. But, he didn’t. So, he has to know that his choice was poor.

Adrian has a right to discipline his son. Society may so no. We want people that spank their children to go to jail. Some punishment should happen, but I ask you about this child (also from Minnesota) that was 9 year’s old that was suspended from school and boarded a flight to Las Vegas, Nevada last year. Apparently, the parents have asked for help with their child and never got it. He had prior trouble because he had stolen a car. A 9 year old stealing a car? Wow!

The parents were told that he was a minor and hadn’t done enough bad things to qualify for the help that they were requesting. The father sobbed as he recounted how he asked the officer to watch him spank his son. The officer said if he saw him hit his son he would be arrested. He sobbed saying that it was a double jeopardy damned if I do damned if I don’t situation. The father said,  “If I whoop my son, I will get locked up. If I keep on letting my son do what he’s doing, I get in trouble.”

I felt the father’s pain and I ask you, what do you do when you know you can’t spank your child and no one is helping you? There are rules to everything in society. How are we taught these rules? What are the consequences of those rules? Even adults make mistakes and don’t learn the rules, but spanking a child to help enforce the rules that you are teaching is acceptable. But, child abuse is not. We may not agree on how to raise our children, but I think we can all agree that we don’t want chaos in our society because no one can follow the rules.

Child Abuse Photos from Peterson case
Child Abuse Photos from Peterson case

September 11th – My Story

It was a warm day. I was a new transplant to NYC having only lived there for the last three months. I was still naive and afraid of the “big city” so I would wake up every day and make my fiance look at me to confirm that he knew what I was wearing when I walked out the door. You know in case, I got kidnapped and murdered on the way to or from work? Naive right?

I was wearing a red light weight sweater and navy blue pants that I had just bought from the mall inside of the north tower of the World Trade Center that weekend. I woke my fiance up to look at my outfit and hurried down the steps of our fifth floor walk up apartment to catch the #6 train downtown to Brooklyn. I was working for a company in Metrotech, downtown Brooklyn, right over the bridge. I walked in the office with a cup of coffee and began to check my messages.

As I began to work, I received a call from a billing agent for one of our health plans about the erroneous billing for terminated members. I was frustrated. We got off the phone and I walked to find my boss to tell him the news. He was walking towards his office as I was approaching him. His head was down with tears in his eyes. I began talking and I stopped and asked “Keith, what’s wrong? Is everything okay?” He said, “No, a plane just hit the World Trade Center.” I asked, “Someone, can’t fly?” He responded, “New York City has a no fly zone. This wasn’t an accident.” He told me to look out the window of the executive conference room.

I walked to the executive conference room and stood there with three other co-workers and saw the north tower on fire. It was just before 9 am and I stood there in shock. Five minutes later I saw the second plane hit. I screamed. People started yelling, “This is not an accident”. I was in shock and said, “I need to call my fiance”. I ran to the phone to try and call my house.

There was no dial tone. I kept pressing the button on the phone by the receptionist’s desk over and over. Trying to get a dial tone. Finally, I heard the dial tone and called home. My fiance answered, “Are you okay?” I responded, “Yeah, I think so. What is this?” He yelled, “I don’t know. Get out of Brooklyn now. Get home.” I responded, “How can I come home?” He responded, “I’m going to call Muhammad to try and get you to his house.” I replied, “Okay, I will try and call you back. I need to call my mom.”

I rushed back to the window to see what was going on. With tears running down my eyes I looked at the TV that someone had cut on in the conference room. Chaos. What was happening? I rushed to my desk to call my mother. I knew she was worried. I couldn’t get a dial tone. I pressed the button on my phone repeatedly praying for a dial tone. I heard the familiar tone and called my mom at work. She didn’t answer the phone. I left a message saying, “Mommy, it’s me. It’s chaos. They’re saying we’re under attack. I’m okay. I am at work. I don’t know how or when I will get home, but I’m safe. It’s hard trying to get a dial tone. But, I love you. I’m okay. Please tell everyone.” I hung up.

I called my sister and my brother-in-law answered. He was asleep. He had just gotten off work two hours prior. He worked overnight. I said, “William, it’s me. Please wake up. Please tell my sister that I’m okay. Please tell her I’m safe.” Sleepily he replied, “Okay.” I hung up. I ran back to the executive conference room and continued to watch with horror the burning towers. I looked at my watch. It was 10 am. Five minutes later, the second tower where I saw the plane hit collapsed. More screams and chaos.

New York City had already been shut down. Flights grounded. This was not happening. This was America. We are the strongest country in the world and we are under attack. I didn’t know about terrorism. It was a foreign concept. Terrorism was crazy militant folks killing kids in Oklahoma not bringing down planes on Wall Street. The fire, the debris, the sounds of sirens. The MTA buses that drove down the streets empty with passengers but filled with armed military men and women with machine guns. The dust, the smoke, the reality.

I will never forget the events that occurred on September 11, 2001. I witnessed history. What was meant to break us, made us stronger and we are survivors. So, say what you will about a country that has it’s faults, but in times of crises we become one family. United. New York taught me that I can overcome anything. You can rebuild. You will survive and you will be stronger because of it.

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Chaos & Comfort for Ferguson

I awoke to find chaos had occurred in a small town called Ferguson, Missouri where a policeman shot and killed an unarmed black teenager. He was 18. Still in his teens. Not able to buy alcohol, but still legal. As tears streamed down my face and I ached for the young man I never met, I said a prayer for peace. Peace in that town. Peace in the family. Peace in the police department. Peace for humanity.

I can’t imagine what that family is going through at this moment. I am saddened to think “what if”. What if it had been my son? What if it had been someone I know? My church school students? My friend’s son? What words of comfort could I offer to help them through this difficult time? What words of comfort could I offer to other parents who raise black boys? I stumbled over the words to write that could offer a semblance of hope in a difficult time. Another young man was murdered and we are left to wonder why? Was he armed? No. It was this picture that broke my heart.

RIP Michael Brown
RIP Michael Brown

I believe in an officer’s right to protect and serve. I believe that in order to do their jobs sometimes they have to make difficult judgement calls in life threatening situations. I believe in safety. But, I also believe that there are bad people out there that want to wage a war against our youth. I believe that bad people work in all fields hidden in society where we are left wondering their true intentions. They wear a mask of anonymity and we always question it when situations like this occur. What is their real motive?

We will never know. Because it seems as though it is open season on our young black men. I am scared. I am scared for my son. I am scared for my beautiful black boys in my church school class. I am scared for the many nameless young men out here who will never grow up and be able to legally buy alcohol, graduate from college, vote or get married. Your life has ended and there is no excuse, but I will pray for peace for you, your family and your community. Violence begets violence and no one should ever think “Kill the Police” is a good idea.

Be patient my loves and know that we have a justice system. Although flawed in some areas, I know that God will have the final say in all that we do. Prayer is essential in this time and I want you to know that I found some words to comfort you in the chaos:

Revelation 21:4 (KJV):
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.