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/.

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A Shoe Tying Miracle

When Munch was about 6, I instructed his dad to teach him how to tie his shoes. I told him that I would take over the task of teaching him how to read. I couldn’t do both. I was working full-time and a single mom. I had accepted that we were living in two separate homes and we needed to divide and conquer things when it comes to parenting.

Well, Munch never really learned how to tie his shoes. Thankfully he knows how to read. When I asked him why he can’t tie his shoes when his dad said he could, he said “I can’t Mommy, it’s too hard. It never stays tied.” I sighed. I couldn’t believe that my son couldn’t tie his shoes and actually preferred velcro shoes.

Alas was life. I struggled to show him how to tie his shoes. He just wasn’t getting it. It was frustrating. I gave up. I watched him literally destroy brand new tennis shoes because he couldn’t tie his laces and he would walk around stepping on them all day.  Many people tried to help including the summer camp counselor last year. Munch just couldn’t get it.

A friend of mine recommended this book Red Lace, Yellow Lace and told me that it is a God send because he needed it with his son. He said “I couldn’t teach him to tie his shoe to save his life and when I bought this book, he got it.” “Umm, yeah” I said. I had tried everything so I felt that it was hopeless, but the book was cheap so I thought it wouldn’t be a bad investment. I had a niece and nephew who were 4 and 3 who would be learning soon.

I bought the book last week while Munch was with his dad. I’m happy to say that it worked. I love this book. Munch read it and practiced on the laces on the book and then with his own shoes all that night.

Guess what? He’s been tying them right ever since. In one freaking day.  I wish I hadn’t waited so long to get the book. The best part was when Munch said “Mommy, since I read the book, I don’t have any problems tying my shoes. They stay tied all day.” I smiled.

It was a good week. My work is done. He can tie his shoes and he can read. Better late than never.

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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/.

Life’s Not Fair

I had an amazing weekend. Busy, but I got everything I wanted to do done. LOL. You like that right? Everything that I wanted to do. Not everything that I should have done, etc. But, it was perfect.

However, I wanted to tell you what happened when I picked up Munch from after care at school on Friday.  I missed the heck out of that little boy.  It was like my world was set right laying eyes on that beautiful kid of mine. He smiled this big grin and gave me a hug, but I knew something was wrong the minute he hugged me. What’s wrong I asked? “Nothing” he replied. I said, “Munch, I know something is bothering you baby. What is it? What is wrong?” He then told me how he got in trouble today in after care. He said that they were lining up for snack time and a young boy (in kindergarten) yelled out that he wanted to be second in line, but Munch beat him to be second in line. The little boy said to Munch, “Hey, that’s not fair. I wanted to be second.” Munch replied “Life’s not fair”. He said that the little boy was upset and then told the director. Munch said that he didn’t yell at the little boy. He said “I said it matter of fact mommy. I wasn’t mean or yelling” but the director told me that I shouldn’t have said it.

His little eyes were wide with fear. Fear that I would be mad at him. I said “Munch, you did nothing wrong. You were right. Life is not fair and as long as you weren’t mean to him, then you are giving him a dose of reality.” Was I wrong? I don’t think so.

Munch is very sensitive and feels for everyone, but I’m trying to toughen up his exterior to know that not everything will work out for you. You can try your best and still fail and you know what? That’s okay. Life’s not about being fair. Life is about doing the best you can and being a good human being. No one is going to give you anything.

But, could Munch have just given him the spot? Sure, but should he have too? The child wasn’t going to not get a snack. He just wasn’t second in line. I know that some people make think it harsh that I support what he said, but it’s cool. I believe that we should be good people, but we shouldn’t deny ourselves if we choose not too.

I would have been more hurt had the child not gotten a snack and Munch didn’t offer to share his. The reality is that I’m raising a black boy in a “post racial society” where many people think racism is dead. It’s not. He may get pulled over for being black and even though it may not be fair, you need to know how to act. He may be unfairly judged in the classroom or on the streets and it’s not fair, but it is the way it is. I’m teaching him how to survive when life’s not fair, because that’s all you can do.

What are your thoughts?

 

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/.

Letter to My Son

Dear Munch,

Today is Mother’s Day. It’s one of the happiest days of my life. Much like your birthday, I’m reminded that God chose me to be your mom. It is an amazing opportunity and I couldn’t be happier. I thank Him each day for you.

Life is an adventure. I never imagined all the things I’ve been through could have happened, but my life is destined by God. I try to teach you the importance of prayer and faith and how we are called to lay it in the Master’s hands and I hope you remember. Remember that God always hears.

Some days in life will be good and some not so good, but I promise you that I will never stop loving or believing in you. I will always be there for you. If you feel like you need me or want to hear my voice, please call. No matter what. Our bond is unbreakable.

You continue to amaze me each day with your strength and love for yourself and others. You are both kind and sensitive to the needs of others. That’s one of the many things that I love about you. Never stop caring for others. It is your gift.

I watch you grow and adapt to the things that have happened in your life and I am in awe. You take the good and bad and keep on moving. You worry so much about others that I fear that you will be consumed with the problems of others and lack the ability to care for yourself. Please don’t. Remember to save time for you.

You inspire me to continue to strive for greater opportunities that allow me to mother and mentor you in a way I never saw possible. To work in your classroom or volunteer in your school while holding down a full-time job. You make me want to show the world that I am blessed to be able to have it all. And I do…because I have you.

Munch, each day is Mother’s Day for me because I get to say that I’m raising this incredible little boy who feels me with so much joy. I love you more than you could ever imagine and I want you to remember what I tell you “There is no greater bond baby because my heartbeat was the first sound you ever heard.”

Love Mommy

 

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 Rights

One of the things that I refuse to apologize for is how I choose to raise my son. I don’t think anyone starts off trying to be a bad parent (okay, most people don’t). However, for the sake of this argument we will say that many of you are good working people that love your children and you’re trying to do the best that you can in order to raise them to become independent and productive citizens. Do we make mistakes? Absolutely.

No one is perfect. We try things with our children. Some things work. Others need to be modified and some just don’t work. That’s why it requires us to keep working at it. To keep parenting. However, your fundamental right as a parent is that you can choose how to raise your children however you want.

Here are some things that people may question you on:

  • TV/Computer time – Researchers say you should limit the amount of screen time. I think it’s something like 30 minutes a day. Umm, I don’t subscribe to that philosophy. Munch gets about 30 minutes in the morning while he’s eating breakfast to watch his Ipad. He gets additional time after we finish homework and dinner. It is probably an 1.5 hours. So, he gets about 1.5 to 2 hours a day during the week. He watches cartoons only so I’m not concerned about the screen time. We read during homework time each day so he’s not behind. In fact they told us that Munch reads above grade level. Not surprised. His dad and I did so it’s not a big deal. He likes the Ipad, but if he acts up, it is taken away along with television and he truly misses it. No time out or no spanking. We take away what he loves most. Note: Find what works for you.
  • Multiple activities – When he was younger, I put him in activities that I thought he would enjoy. He was a toddler. He didn’t know what he would like. As he grew older, he decided that he hated Tae Kwan Do and didn’t want to do it anymore. So, we stopped. Munch made the decision that the only activities that he would like to do are: swim lessons, guitar lessons and soccer in the Spring. No fall soccer. We let him decide and we tend to stick to the schedule he wants. So, nope I’m not over-scheduling my son. Note:  Let your children lead you with this one.
  • Sleep time – The recommended amount of sleep time for Munch is 10-11 hours. Can I tell you that he never slept that long unless he’s sick and on sleep medication or truly exhausted? That has been a total of 4 times in his 8 years on this Earth. Because I get him home from school around 6:15 pm, he’s eating dinner between 6:45 and 7:00 pm. We then do homework from 7:30 pm to 8:30 – 8:45 pm. We do bath and play time before shutting it down. Munch will get one hour where he’ll watch his TV and sit and draw characters from his Ipad. Lights out at 10pm. He sleeps until 6:45 am. He sleeps between 8 and 9 hours. It depends on him. Note:  As long as he’s not falling asleep in class, he’ll be fine.

My point is this…you do the best that you can. You find what works for your children and you adjust as necessary. Don’t stress yourself that you’re not following the expert’s recommendations. As long as your children are happy, healthy and thriving and you’re doing your best focus on that. Allow your children to lead you into their interests. We’ve got this parenting thing!

supermom-chronicles

 

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/.

I’m A Rockstar – Not!

Munch had his guitar lesson this weekend. To say that it was good would be to lie to you my dear friend. It was awful. I was stressed out with his lack of attention and wanted to scream “F**k it, let’s go!”

But, I didn’t. I sat through the most excruciating 40 minutes of my life. I mean it truly was worse than labor.

Why?

Because my dang Munch acted a monkey fool.  He refused to hold the guitar correctly. He didn’t know how to hold the pick. He seemed so uninterested. It drove me crazy. Never mind the fact that he said he wanted to play the dang guitar.

He slouched in the chair. Refused to follow the instructor and just seemed to give up. But, the worst part of this…he liked the lesson and wants to continue it.

I couldn’t believe it. I was so upset and confused. I asked him “Why Munch? You seemed to not ask questions and just sit there when the instructor talked to you.” He responded, “I didn’t understand what he was asking.” I asked him “Why didn’t you ask him to repeat it or tell him that you didn’t understand?” Guess what my Munch says?

Because I didn’t want to hurt his feelings.

I slapped my forehead and said “What? You didn’t want to hurt his feelings?” He replied “Yes”.  I explained to my budding rock star that he isn’t hurting anyone’s feelings by not asking questions. That is the key to life. Speak up when you don’t know something or you’re confused. Don’t ever just sit there and let them talk over you, especially when I’m paying for it.

I called Mr. C in frustration and he calmed me down. He was with his son who is 17 and plays the trumpet and he asked his son about the guitar. His son said that the guitar is a hard instrument and most children start off with the violin, flute or piccolo. Mr. C said, “See, it’s a hard instrument to learn. Just calm down and ask him does he want to take guitar lessons.”

Now, let me explain. I wasn’t expecting him to be the next Lenny Kravitz or anything. I just wanted him to show interest. I wanted him to be exceptionally astute during the lesson and just really decide if this is something he wanted to do or not. However, that wasn’t the case.

I was livid. I also didn’t know how I felt about the teacher. He was sort of young. In his 30’s. I don’t know if he had enough practice with children (especially those with no prior music experience). He kept calling him kid. He wasn’t really interested in warming up to Munch only showing him what to do.

I don’t know. This whole experience left me feeling weird. I want my son to do it if he wants. Mr. C suggested that I start off with our local parks and recreation and let him take music lessons there first. Mainly because he thinks it will be easier with other kids and less stress. I agreed.

He also suggested since Munch is ambidextrous that we take him to a guitar store and let him see whether or not the left or right guitar works better for him. He has truly calmed me down. I kissed Munch telling him that I love him and we will continue lessons if that is what he wants. He said yes.

That being said, I registered him for guitar classes through my local parks and recreation center and classes are weekly on Monday nights for an hour starting on September 12th. We’ll go to the guitar store in the next couple of weeks and figure out a guitar for him. I may rent it to see if he likes it and to confirm if he wants to play the electric (like he said or the acoustic). I’m optimistic that he’ll enjoy the lessons, or at least I hope so.

I’ll keep you posted.