Sex and the Pre-teen

In this motherhood journey I’m often caught between a rock and a hard place. I’m balancing what I should share with Munch and when. It’s a juggling act. Do I want to take away his innocence early or wait until later? I’m rambling about…the sex talk. I’m wondering, when is the appropriate age to talk about sex with your children?

I have a boy and for all intents and purposes he’s still pretty innocent. He turns off songs with bad words in them or inappropriate subjects. He still watches Disney Jr. and Nick Kids. He just recently started watching The Thundermans on Nickelodeon about a superhero family. I’m wondering if broaching sex now will change him somehow.

My mother never talked about sex with me. I learned at school in the sixth grade with all the other children. Not that I was thinking about sex or anything, but I had started my cycle before then so I had no idea what was happening to me. It was as though the sex talk was somehow taboo.

Children are growing up faster now than when I was a child and I don’t want Munch learning something from the kids at school or in the streets. I want to give him all the information to make informed decisions. I want to teach him how to love and cherish his body and to not treat sex as a rites of passage. It’s your body that is a temple that we should use to honor God.

But, I don’t want to be naïve and think that he may never do it, so I struggle with how much to tell him and when?

My best friend has a son one year older than mine and I asked her had she talked to him about sex? She said no. He’s not mentally ready yet. So, I’m wondering do we wait until our children are mentally ready to have the sex conversation or do we overload them with information now in hopes that they will choose to not engage in sexual activity until marriage?

Yes, Munch knows about his body and boundaries. I’ve made sure that he calls his genitalia by the proper terminology. I’ve explained that a doctor can only examine you with mommy and/or daddy in the room. He is now getting shy and embarrassed when a doctor has to examine his penis during his annual visits. However, is it too soon to have the sex talk?

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 @mskeeinmd.

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Gifts of Gratefulness

I’ve been really going through it lately. Being introspective. Being in prayer. Being observant of the things and people around me.

I’ve had this writer’s block and I didn’t know what to say. This mood. This is a funk that I’m in. It’s been rough. But, in my funk I had an epiphany as to what I should write about…being grateful.

So, that’s what I decided to do. Write about what matters to me. The moments of gratitude that I have that never ever seem to diminish no matter what is going on around me.

One of the things that I’m most grateful for is Munch. He’s amazing. A few weeks ago, we had a packed weekend of activities including a paint night. He had been asking to attend and I was happy to oblige.

But, he’s also a ten year old who still gets upset about things. He acted out when he didn’t like his photo that he was painting and he wanted a whole new canvas. I was fit to be tied at his behavior.

I politely explained that is not how it works and it is supposed to be fun not stressful or perfect. He was not understanding. It made it worse when another parent said “I love your duck”. He replied with tears in his eyes “It’s not a duck it’s a dolphin.” She was awesome because she didn’t miss a beat and said “Oh, it is a dolphin, I’m sorry I couldn’t see because your mom’s arm was in my way.”

I smiled. Just like that. She made my son feel better. Mothers do that right? They sense the uneasiness in a child that may not be their own and they come in and try to soothe their spirit. I smiled and said “Thank you.” He sighed. He was still disappointed.

It was distressing to watch him unravel over a painting. I tried to comfort and talk to him. It wasn’t working. He asked to throw his picture away. I said no.

Later that evening when he was speaking to my mom she asked him how it went. He explained that he threw a tantrum because he was upset over his painting and how I was hurt at his behavior. She asked him what happened. They talked. I think he began to understand.

The next morning he apologized for his behavior. He said he loves me. He hugged and kissed me. I said “Okay”.

I know Munch is still young so he doesn’t understand the gratefulness of spending time alone with Mommy or being appreciative and accepting of his choices, but it didn’t make me love him any less. I was grateful for our one on one time. I was grateful for our mutual love for art. I was grateful for making memories. I was grateful for time.

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 @mskeeinmd.

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/.

Be the Man You Want to See

I was listening to the radio yesterday and the morning show host was talking about how 40% of women are leading single parent homes and how he got into a discussion with a gentleman that said that women can’t teach boys how to be men and that they coddle them. The gentleman said in particular, black women coddle their sons and don’t raise them. Can we have a frank discussion on this issue?

Do I have your attention? Good.

So, let me state the facts. I’m a black mother raising my son on a shared custody agreement. He is being raised 50% of the time in a single parent home. Now, I’m not going to argue logistics because yes my son’s father is in his life, but I’m still single. That means on my time, it is imperative that I cultivate an environment where I am both nurturer and disciplinarian. Where I am leader, mother, teacher, spiritual advisor, nurse, etc. Oh, and if that’s not enough I need to make sure that I’m giving him the best opportunities to be successful.

Seven days at a time. Seven days to make sure that I’m doing all that and then some. I cook breakfast each morning, fix a hearty lunch, review homework and enroll him in engaging and beneficial activities. I take him for Mommy/son dates, pay for field trips, camps and make sure that he’s getting sufficient exercise. Exhausted yet?

But, I don’t complain. I love my Munch and I want him to grow up and be a faithful, dependable, kind man who remembers his faith in God and has great moral character. It’s a lot but I am thankful for this opportunity and I don’t take it lightly. Now, here’s my issue…

Where are all the men?

Many men who make these comments about women not being able to raise a son are not stepping up to help them out. They complain about an issue when in fact they are part of the problem. How is it a woman’s fault when they are doing the best they can under the circumstances? Do you think women want to be single parents? Some do, but many don’t. Where is the man’s responsibility in this picture? How do you know the man in question knows what it means to be a man? Did he have a man who was a good man teaching him to navigate manhood?

I’m exhausted from hearing that women (especially black women) are the main issue with many of society’s problems. We aren’t. We are the backbones and many times bread winner in a two parent home. We get tired. We need help. What are you doing to help? Are you a mentor? Are you volunteering your time to young men without fathers? Are you spending time with your women friend’s male offspring? Showing up at little Timmy’s baseball game or Max’s lacrosse game? What about Jonathan’s spelling bee? Were you there?

My truth

I’ve been separated from my ex for five years. In that five year time, not one of my male friends has EVER stepped up and spent one on one time with Munch. EVER. NEVER EVER. Why not? Why is it that I have some of the most educated, kind hearted and morally correct male friends and they don’t seem to think about standing in and being a role model for Munch? I don’t know. Maybe it’s simply because they don’t think about how I can’t teach a boy how to be a man. Maybe it’s out of sight out of mind. They don’t think about Munch. They see me busting my butt to attend every school meeting, PTA meeting, volunteering in the classroom or on field trips or at the school, paying for tutoring, coordinating play dates, paying for private flute lessons, swim lessons and boxing and think I have it all under control.

I do.

But, my son could always benefit from positive male influence. Be the sane person when his parents are stressing him out. Be the one that shows up and encourages him for his event. Be the man that he calls when he wants to take about things. Be the man that gives him true and direct advice to life’s problems or concerns.

But they don’t. We are invisible. We are invisible to many until Munch grows up and leads a less than desirable life. Then it will be my fault.

I’m not giving up on my son. I know that I’m not alone. I will pour everything that I have and more into helping him navigating boyhood to manhood. I will enroll him in mentoring programs and give him opportunities to have positive male influence.

I am not alone. I am one of many women. I am raising a son. I nurture. I coddle. I discipline. Our children need mentors. Stop complaining and get to work. You know what it takes to be a man. So, be a man and give unselfishly of yourself. You might just see how your presence makes a difference.

 

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/.

Your Shoes are Fake – Continued

In last week’s post I explained how Munch was hurt because this girl at school was telling him his shoes were fake. Sitting in the car listening to my young man hurt about something that I never thought he would have to deal with really punched me in the gut. What do fourth grade children know about name brands or fake stuff? Where do you even buy fake tennis shoes? Who are the parents of these children and what values are we teaching them.

I called a few of my male friends to get their perspective on the situation and what I should I tell Munch. The advice was pretty much consistent because they have sons who went through something similar or they were young men who dealt with this at one point in their lives. They said to tell him to ignore it.

But, one of my friends who was born and raised in Washington, DC said that other areas around the country are not as “up on the latest fashion and tennis shoe styles as the Washington, DC metropolitan area”. He told me to explain to Munch that “if someone comes up to you more concern about the shoes you’re wearing and the clothes on your back more so than the content of your character or who you are then that’s probably someone you should not play with.” Great answer, right?

So, I told Munch exactly what he said and he seemed to take it all in and just listen. But, when he saw my brother the next day and my brother complimented him on his shoes Munch said “But, people are saying my shoes are fake”. My brother told Munch that there is nothing fake about his shoes and he had a pair when he was in the 11th grade. He explained that they are Jordan Trunners and designed for runners. He told Munch “to tell the kids that his shoes are not fake and his uncle owns many pairs of Jordans and that they are real.” Munch seemed to accept that.

It’s funny because in many ways Munch seems to accept what other adults tell him over me because he views me as always loving him and telling him what he wants to hear. My brother made it better for Munch. Although, I wish I could have, I’m thankful that Munch knows that there are men there who will tell him the truth. Ugh, I wonder what 5th grade will be like.

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 @mskeeinmd.

Mom You Lied

This past weekend, Munch and I went out shopping on Saturday for new church clothes. Later that evening Munch came in my room and asked me could he talk to me privately. I said “Sure.” I have to tell you that I was really proud that he closed the door and asked me to talk privately. I eagerly awaited what he had to say.

“Mom, I felt like you lied to me today” he said. I was caught off guard. “About what Munch? Why do you feel like I lied to you today?” He said “About the store earlier. You said it wasn’t going to take long and we waited in line for a long time.” I had to catch myself. I was ready to say something smart, but I’m practicing the behavior that I want him to emulate so I said “Munch, do I work at that store?” He replied “No.” I then asked “How do you define a long time?” He didn’t respond. I continued “I had to wait in the same line and they had every register open. But, I am asking you to remember that God wants us to be patient and what you are exhibiting is your frustration at the fact that we had to wait. Wait in line while picking up clothes for you. Remember that you must have an attitude of gratitude all the time and right now, you’re not being gratuitous. I didn’t lie. You didn’t have a realistic expectation as to the time it would take and neither did I.” I asked him was there anything else and said good night.

I almost lost it. I couldn’t believe that my child was blaming me for the long lines in the store. I didn’t know if I could continue down this positive parenting journey. It was stressful to reign in my emotions and then to try to explain how disappointed that I was without losing my mind. I did it, but sometimes I wonder if I’m even making sense to Munch.

I didn’t lie, but his interpretation of the fact that I said it shouldn’t take long had told his brain that I lied when he had to wait over a certain amount of time. I didn’t know what to do. I was literally making it up as I go along. I thought about it over the next couple of days and expressed to him that we needed to take the time to process what he said and his expectations. I explained that his expectations are his, but he needs to practice reasonableness. I discussed that because he’s in an awkward size in dress clothes that I need him to be present and that I try my best to shop without him, but that may not always be the case. He needs to be prepared that sometimes he will need to be present.

I don’t know if he understands. Talking to other people only increases my anxiety about my choices because they don’t understand what I’m doing on this positive parenting journey. I’m being firm but allowing him to have choices. To openly expresses his feelings, but to level set with him. I pray that I’m not messing him up.

 

 

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/.

 

Daddy

I know it’s Mother’s Day weekend and I’m sharing a post about my daddy, but I had to share this. I was asked to be a part of an incredible project by Dr. K E Garland. Her next book is called Daddy: Reflections of Father-Daughter Relationships and will be released next month (pre-orders are going on now and hard book copies will be available June 2, 2018).  This is an amazing book and I wanted to share my write up for the upcoming release.

Daddy is going to give you insight into the importance of father-daughter relationships. All relationships are important, but I tell you growing up without a dad changed me. In good ways, but definitely some bad and I’m not alone. So, I wanted to share my story.

I’m so excited to be a part of this project. It was therapeutic and I know that you will enjoy the book, so please check out my interview via DADDY CONTRIBUTOR: Tikeetha Thomas

Also, look out for me promoting this awesome book for everyone and think about getting it for Father’s Day as a gift to the many men in your life that are raising daughters.

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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/.

Parenting: Discipline Part I

I told you awhile back that I practice positive parenting. Positive parenting basically means that I embrace positive discipline. That I listen to Munch and don’t physically spank or lay hands on him. Now, this is new age in my family who believes in spare the rod and spoil the child, but I am an advocate for allowing Munch to understand that his choices will have negative or positive consequences, but he needs to understand that.

I treat discipline as a teaching opportunity instead of a physical task of spanking. Pretty much everything becomes about examining the issues, understand why the behavior occurred, making you accountable and still providing love, hugs and kisses. I know this may seem like with craft to some folks, but I don’t believe that you have to go around spanking children to correct their behavior.

Positive parenting tries to strengthen the parent/child bond by creating a more affectionate relationship. This works with Munch. He is a hugger and loves to be hugged, petted (LOL, his words) and encouraged. However, it’s not always easy.

Last Friday night, I got this email from Munch’s teacher:

I wanted to let you both know that Brennan had a problem in English class today. He had a discussion with a classmate about the biography book report. This is my knowledge of the situation. Brennan and the classmate were discussing who they were reading about. When Brennan heard the boy was reading about the life of a white person (students can choose anyone) he told the student he had to read about a black person. The student then called Brennan a racist. The boys both raised their voices and argued. Brennan was yelling I am not a racist. I was teaching, standing in front of the class and immediately raised my voice in order to be heard, and stopped the argument, reprimanded them both and moved Brennan from that table. I reprimanded the boy and we had a mini class discussion about racism. I told them that I was upset with them both for not stopping when I asked. At the end of class I met with the boys. The 1 student said he was at fault, said he should not have said that and admitted to inciting Brennan. Brennan said, right, I was wrong, too. I complimented him for being mature and respectful. But then he immediately told me, I’m being sarcastic, and continued to say he did nothing wrong. I tried to convey the idea that yes, the boy was wrong, but you were rude and disrespectful to me as I was trying to resolve the problem. I felt I had taken the time to discuss and reprimand the boy, in front of the entire class about his name calling. But Brennan was still defiant and defensive about my correction of him. I had a class coming in and no time to continue our discussion. I sent him to class but it was unresolved. I wanted to advise you of the incident. Please let me know if you have any questions.  Mrs. B

Yeah, it was rough. Basically my son told the teacher that he was being sarcastic with his apology as she was complimenting him. Huh? Where does that happen? I was mortified. I really like his teacher. She’s phenomenal and just a good human being. I trust her.

Now the question became how do I approach Munch with this positive parenting? See, I knew that my mom would have smacked my mouth for being disobedient. Positive parenting doesn’t allow for spanking. I needed to teach Munch a lesson. I needed him to see how he was wrong and needed to apologize, but I had to make sure that he understood the rules/expectations of self-control.

Could I do this? Was I ready? The challenges were only going to get bigger. I knew how I handled this would set the precedent for future parenting discipline moments. The key was to teach him, not to break him.

-To Be Continued –

 

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/.

TBT – Bowling Birthday

Hey Everyone,

In my Throwback Thursday moment, I wanted to share that munch’s 4th birthday party was at a bowling alley. We had so much fun. We had lanes for both the adults and children who wanted to bowl. I got smarter that year and hired a photographer because I really didn’t have photos. I was so busy tending to munch and my guests that I didn’t take photos. Best money ever spent.

Here are some photos:

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Happy Halloween!

Eat, drink and be scary. ~Author Unknown

 

Happy Halloween folks! I’m on mommy duty so all my time is spent being with my favorite boy in the world…my munch.  We’re actually going to get his best friend and god brother and head out trick or treating later on tonight. Munch decided that he wanted to be Sonic the Hedgehog again. LOL!

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Enjoy your day loves!

Trick or Treat

Candy candy in the bag
It’s that time of year
Funny clown witchy hag
Another house is near

Popcorn balls and tootsie rolls
A handful is the best
Taken from the biggest bowls
At homes that pass the test

Ding dong ring the bell
Trick or treat is said
And if it does not go so well
Then mark the first word said

Trees draped in toilet paper
Fecal bags on fire
Dressed like an undertaker
The trick was their desire

Midnight comes all bags are full
Time to count the bounty
The night is done we’ve played our role
All throughout the county

Enjoy this yearly fun filled night
Feast upon it’s riches
From the first and final bite
Of Hugs and Hershey Kisses

© Jim Ellis More By Jim Ellis Visit Jim Ellis’s Site

Published on October 2011

Source: http://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/trick-or-treat#ixzz3pE9z5nCL
#FamilyFriendPoems