Consider yourself warned!
A guide for those who think they want children.
Well, it is that time of year. Prom. It’s been a while since I’ve been to a high school prom, and apparently, some things have changed.
Initially, my son didn’t even want to go to his prom. He said, “Why bother, we can just go to the after parties?” I was appalled! Not go to the prom? Are you kidding me? I told him that he had to go. I didn’t want him to be a 50-year-old man regretting his decision not to go to his prom. This is the last big party that he will have as a high school kid. After this, its graduation and entry into the real world. Besides, I’m pretty sure his girlfriend wanted to go to the prom.
So, after speaking with his girlfriend, my son realized that he was going to the prom. Next, came the Promposal. I have to admit. I had no clue what a Promposal was, he had to explain it to me. Now, just in case you are ignorant like me, a Promposal is when the boy makes a big ceremony of asking the girl to the prom. It’s almost like a staged wedding proposal, except its for the prom (side note, I realize there are various other relationships, but since I am speaking of my son, I will use the traditional boy/girl scenario). Apparently, the boy should to be as creative as he can be in setting the stage. Unfortunately for my son’s girlfriend, my son is not very creative. He had one good idea early on, but then they broke up for a brief minute and his Promposal idea didn’t happen. Then, when I asked him about it a few weeks ago, he said that he would just invite her over to our place and do the Promposal there. Dude. I don’t think so. I had to explain to him that I had the feeling that his girlfriend would want him to do something big at school where all her friends could see it. She needs to have something to brag about. Well, prom is this Saturday, and he still hasn’t done his Promposal yet.
Now, I know kids like to stay out all night and party after the Prom, but when I was a teenager, you either spend the night at your friend’s house, your friends spent the night at your house, or everyone went to their own house and you saw them the following Monday. Not this generation. According to my son, he and his friends plan to rent an Airbnb, crash there after the after-prom parties, and all go out to breakfast the next morning. Wow, these kids really know how to live it up! At first, I wasn’t down with him spending the night at an Airbnb. First of all, the Airbnb they rented is in Brooklyn. You can come home and sleep for free. Secondly, I watch the news and can imagine all sorts of things that can go wrong. On the one hand, I had to give him credit. He did tell me about his plans. He could have just not come home until the next afternoon. On the other hand, I know that I have an overactive imagine and am still an overprotective mom. So, I spoke to his father about it. I knew that he would have a more realistic viewpoint. His father reminded me that our son will be 18 this month and will soon be off to college. We have to let him go. Intellectually, I know this. But emotionally, its hard for me to let him go.
So, this Saturday, my son, his friends, and their girlfriends will be going to the prom, hanging out all night, staying in an Airbnb, and then going to breakfast the next morning. I have a feeling that I will not sleep well Saturday night. I may as well start planning which movies I will be watching.
If you have kids approaching their teenage years, get ready. You’ll have to cut the strings soon.
So, now you know, and you can … Consider Yourself Warned!
If you have kids who went to their proms already, how late did you let them stay out?
If you live in New York City, you are bound to have an encounter with a mouse. It doesn’t matter how clean you keep your place, eventually a mouse will find its way in. In my neighborhood, there is a lot of new construction going up. Houses are being torn down and apartment buildings are replacing them. Within a three-block radius of my house, there are currently four new apartment buildings being built. Needless to say, we have had an unwelcomed visitor or two.
Luckily for us, a friend of mine referred me to a great exterminator. He came in late November, did what he needed to do, and we had been mouse free since then. That was, until last week. I was on my way home from work when I received the following text from my son: “Hi mommy, can you come home with mouse traps please? There’s a mouse dying out in the open. I caught it.” I didn’t ask any questions. I just bought the glue mouse traps. Although, as I was walking home from the bodega, I did wonder how hard is it to catch a mouse that’s allegedly dying out in the open? My next thought was, “Where exactly did this mouse choose to die? And why did it have to die in the house? It couldn’t wait until it made it back to its nest?” Then, I thought about how I didn’t want to stumble upon it as I walked into the house. So, I called my son to find out where exactly this mouse was dying. He’s not yet an adult, but he gave me the typical “man” answer, which was basically not an answer to my question. He just told me, “Don’t worry. I’m downstairs.” In my mind, I was thinking, “What the hell does that mean?” So, I asked him again. And I received the same response. Eventually, after restating the question several times, he finally told me that the half dead mouse was downstairs in the living room. Man, I feel sorry for my son’s future wife.
When I get home, my son showed me how he “trapped” the mouse by creating a fence around it with my yoga mat. I was not happy. Now, I have to get a new yoga mat. Anyway, the exterminator must have left some fast-acting poison in his mouse traps because from what I could see from the chair I was standing on, that mouse really was half dead. It wasn’t moving. My son used the mouse trap to pick up the mouse, disposed of it, and I climbed down off the chair. My son was my hero. I gave him a big hug and kiss and told him that I don’t know what I am going to do when he goes off to college. He just smiled and told me that I would have to do it myself. Yeah, I don’t think so.
I know by now you may be wondering what is the point of this story. The point is this, when this kid goes off to college in August, I am going to need someone else to come over and take care of any other mice that find their way into my house! My daughter definitely can’t do it. That girl is terrified of mice. Whenever she sees one, she screams so loud that she scares the poor mouse. Then, she and the mouse have a race to see who can get out of the room the fasted. I’m not exaggerating. That actually happened.
So, if you are like me, squeamish when it comes to mice, and you happen to live in New York City, you either need to have more than one son, get a cat, or have a good neighbor who will help you out.
So, now you know, and you can .... Consider Yourself Warned!
What things do you have your kids do that you don’t like to do?
I attended Spelman College, an historically black, all women college. I loved and cherish my years at Spelman. The friendships I have with my Spelman sisters have lasted a lifetime. I have even developed friendships with Spelman sisters that I didn’t even know in college but have met years after graduating from Spelman. My children know many of my Spelman sisters as their aunts and they have been instrumental in their lives. Tonight, I am traveling with my daughter to Atlanta. She is going to with me to my 30th college reunion. This is a big deal for me as first, I can’t believe that its been 30 years since I graduated from college, and second, I can’t believe that my daughter actually agreed to go with me.
When I mentioned to my daughter that I was thinking about taking her to my reunion, I thought that she would tell me that she didn’t want to be bothered. Instead, she surprised me by saying that she wouldn’t mind going. I later discovered that she really wanted to go because she knew that we would be staying with Aunt Cassie (my Spelman sister) and she wanted to play with her dog (my daughter is an animal lover. I am not). But hey, if that’s what it takes to get her there, I’ll take it
As much as I try to impress upon my daughter that she should attend Spelman, she keeps telling me how she does not want to go there. I guess the apple really doesn’t fall far from the tree. I remember being her age and my mom telling me about her alma mater, Livingstone College. She told me that it was an AME Zion school. Once I heard that, I knew I wasn’t going to apply there. I was probably wrong, but in my imagination, I saw myself being forced to go to church every day. No thank you! The fact that the college was in North Carolina didn’t help either. I was 16. I wanted to go to parties, not church. Anyway, my daughter keeps telling me that she wants to go to a college that is diverse and co-ed. On the one hand, I don’t blame her. She attends an all girls Catholic high school (her choice, not mine), and does not have daily interactions with boys other than her brother. I remember being 16. So, I understand her desire to have a boyfriend and date. But I keep explaining to her that Morehouse College and Clark/Atlanta University are both literally right across the street from Spelman. She can take classes at both of those colleges as well as at Spelman. By attending Spelman, she can have the best of both worlds! But, she doesn’t get it.
So, tonight we will be flying to Atlanta for our Mother/Daughter weekend. I hope and pray that she feels the Spelman love so that she will want to join our sisterhood. I would love to be able to call her my daughter and my Spelman Sister (and hopefully one day, my Soror).
As much as we want to guide our children to do what we think is best for them. All we can do is offer guidance. As one of my classmates reminded me, as hard as it is to do, we have to let go and allow them make their own decisions. Let me tell you, that is sooooooo hard to do.
So, now you know and you can … Consider Yourself Warned!
Did you want your child to attend a particular college? If so, what happened?
If you have a kid applying to college, or know someone who does, then you know that yesterday was decision day. For those of you who don’t know, May 1st is the date high school seniors need to inform the college of their choice that they will be attending, and the deadline for parents to make the down payment to reserve their seat. When I was in high school, this was not a special day. You just quietly made your decision and maybe told a friend or two. Not anymore. For this generation, decision day is a big deal where kids wear the paraphernalia of their future college to announce their decision, and parents post it on social media.
Up until Saturday, we were still not sure which college my son would attend. But, after reviewing his options, it was decided. And the winner is ......... Syracuse University, my son’s first choice of the colleges he was accepted into. So, Saturday night my son pick out a hoodie online. Tuesday, Amazon delivered it. And yesterday, my son proudly wore his Syracuse hoodie to school.
My son is so excited. He hasn’t stopped talking about what he’s going to do once he gets to college: what he will major in, the parties he will attend, the new people he will meet. He’s already received a welcome email which informed him of his move in date. When he told me, I just wanted to cry. The little baby I brought home over 17 years ago, the little baby that I loved, cared for, and nurtured for over 17 years is really getting ready to leave me. As much as that saddens me, I look forward to seeing what this new chapter of his life brings.
Look out world, here comes my son!
So, now you know and you can .... Consider Yourself Warned!
Since I’ve been going through this college process with my son, the recent college admissions scandals really hit home. Now, I’m not in the position to pay people off to ensure that my children get into the college of their choice, but after going through this experience with my son, I can understand why parents were doing this. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that it is the right thing to do, nor am I condoning this bad behavior. All I am saying is, I understand.
The competition these kids face is fierce. My son is a smart kid. He attends a specialized high school in New York City and makes good grades. Yet, he didn’t get into his first-choice college. I can understand that. That college was his reach school. He didn’t get into his second-choice college either. I don’t understand that. That school was well within his reach. Now, he gets to choose between his third-choice schools, which are still good schools. But not the ones that he had his heart set on.
I know that he is disappointed that he didn’t get into some of these schools. I’m disappointed too. I know that life is unfair and that we can’t sugar coat everything for our children. I know that our kids have to learn how to deal with disappointment and rejection. But, the Emotional Mom in me wants to give him everything his heart desires. I would love to spoil him. However, Rational Mom in me knows not to do that as it will only set him up for failure. And, the Financial Mom in me says, “Girl, I don’t think so.”
Once these kids get into college, you need to look at the financial aid package that’s offered. When my son was applying to college, I knew that there were some schools on his list that were not financially doable. But, I encouraged him to apply because hey, you never know what kind of aid package he would get. Two of the schools he got into gave him over $20,000 in scholarships and need based aid. I was happy and relieved. It doesn’t cover all the tuition and fees, but it’s a big help. Now, here’s the reality of all of this, the total tuition/fees of one school is around $73,000 per year. That’s right, per year. The other college’s tuition/fees per year is around $47,000 per year. Bear in mind that tuition will keep on increasing each year. So, after you deduct the $20,000, that leaves roughly $53,000 and $27,000 left to pay. Per year. Guess who gets to figure out how that will get paid? And don’t forget, next year, his younger sister will be applying to college.
Of course, of the two schools, the son wants to go to the more expensive one. How do I tell him that he can’t go? All I can do I show him the numbers. Its all a number game. We knew that from the beginning of this process. This college process sucks.
My son is not alone. I’m sure there are thousands of high school seniors with awesome grade point averages who will not be able to attend their college of choice because they can’t afford to pay the tuition. So many future lawyers, doctors, teachers, entrepreneurs, etc., will not get the opportunity to attend. Yeah, I know that these kids can attend community college and still achieve their goals, but its just not fair (I know, life is not fair).
So, if you have small kids, I suggest that you start investing in a 529 college plan the day after they are born. At least you will have some money to help them out. It will most likely not be enough, but at least it will be something.
So, now you know, and you can … Consider Yourself Warned!
If you’ve already been through the college process, what advise do you have for parents who are now going through this process?
If you read my last blog, you remember that I wrote about all the expenses relating to the whole college application process. If you haven’t read it, go back and read it. It was very informative (if I do say so myself). Since money has been on my mind, this blog is going to look at other costs related to the senior year of high school.
When your kid starts out his/her senior year of high school. The first few weeks, all you can think about is how fast the time flew. You reminisce of when you brought your kid home from the hospital. Your child was so cute. You were so tired. Then, you remember when you first left your kid with the babysitter for the first time and the guilt you felt because you couldn’t afford to stay home full-time. It goes on and on. You reflect on the first day of preschool, the first day of kindergarten, the first day of first grade. Where did the time go? Who knows? All you know is now, this school year, your child is about to graduate from high school and go off to college. You will have one less child in your home.
You’re happy for your child and sad too. This kid is going to soon be off to college. We all look forward to that day, but you can’t believe that it is really going to happen so soon. What happened to that sweet little face that used to look up at you adoringly? I’ll tell you what happened … (s)he grew up! Now, that sweet little face looks down at you and asks for money for everything! Mom, can I have some money for food? (No, there’s food in the house). Mom, can I have money to buy my girlfriend a birthday gift? (No, she’s not my girlfriend. Besides, you didn’t get me a gift for my birthday.) Mom, can I have money? I want to go shopping with my friends (Wait, are you going to buy me something? What no? Never mind then).
You get the point. But during senior year, there will be some expenses that you will just have to suck it up and pay. There are two that I have already dealt with and one that I know will be coming soon. So, let me help you get ready for when you have to deal with this. Trust me, if you have kids, your day will come.
The first expense that took me by surprise was the graduation fee. Seriously, there was a graduation fee. My son’s school had various packets. After consulting with him, he chose the middle tier packet which set me back $275. Yes, $275 for this kid to walk down the aisle. I understand that it costs money to rent the graduation gowns and that someone has to pay to print the diplomas, but come on. Does it really cost that much? Doesn’t the school get a group rate? If not, they should. There are over 900 kids in his class. Someone should pay me to sit through the graduation ceremony! That $275 got my son a yearbook, graduation cap and gown, his major stole (his high school has majors), a diploma case, and includes some unspecified graduation ceremony related expenses. In fairness, the graduation ceremony is tentatively scheduled to be held at Barclay’s Center. I guess that venue isn’t cheap. But, maybe if Barclay donated the space, they could write if off on their corporate taxes? Oh well, all I know is that I paid $275 for this kid to participate in the graduate ceremonies. What was included in the higher package? I’m glad you asked, for $325, you got everything I mentioned above plus a yearbook name plate, a senior t-shirt, a Class of 2019: blanket, duffel bag, travel mug, and charger. I was willing to get my son that package, after all, you only graduate from high school once, but thank God he didn’t want it.
The next expense is the senior picture. I must admit, one of my co-workers forewarned me about this one. But you don’t fully appreciate it until you see it for yourself. A few weeks after my son took his senior pictures, I get an email with a link to view the pictures and to place my order. The picture company is so kind. They had pre-set packages in varying price ranges. I elected to order a la carte. I really don’t need an 18 x 20 picture of my son. I know what he looks like. I have been looking at him for the last 17 years. All I need are a few 5x7s and some wallet-sized pictures to give away. Just know, at these prices, everyone will not be getting a picture. They are pretty much reserved for grandparents and me. Well, I guess I could give his sister a wallet-sized picture.
The last expense I must anticipate (I hope that this will be the last one) is prom. According to my son, those tickets will set me back around $300 (I just checked the school’s website. Single tickets are $235. If he, or rather me, pays for his girlfriend, that’s $470. They may have to go dutch)! I don’t know where this prom is going to be held, but it better be at a fantastic location with a 5-course menu.
So, get ready for senior year. As my son told me at the beginning of the school year, this year is going to cost you money!
So, now you know, and you can … Consider Yourself Warned!
If your kid has already graduated from high school, what types of expenses did you have to pay for?
For those of you who have kids in high school, let me get you ready for senior year. Senior year took me by surprise. Now don’t get me wrong, I knew that my son would be applying for college. After all, I had been taking him on college tours for the last two years. What I didn’t anticipate was all the expenses that came along with applying for college.
Let me tell you, the costs associated with applying to college, so that you can be prepared:
So, if you have kids entering high school, start saving for the college application process now!
Now you know, and you can … Consider Yourself Warned!
If you have already gone through the college application process, what advise do you have for other parents?
When my kids were little, they had to depend on me to do things for them. Let me tell you, it can get so tiring being the main person that kids depend on to do almost everything. I’m not taking anything away from their father, but let’s be real. We all know that kids tend to gravitate to their mothers more than they do to their fathers. The list is endless: Mom, I’m hungry. Mom, I need you to buy me a book for school. Mom, I can’t find (fill in the blank). Mom, I need a gift for the birthday party. Mom, can I have some money. Mom, I need a ride to (fill in the blank). Mom, can you (fill in the blank). Mom. Mom. Mom. I used to hear that day in and day out. Even when they were at their father’s. If they needed or wanted something, they called me.
I couldn’t wait for my kids to become self-sufficient and a little more independent. I welcomed the independence that would come with age. But, now that I have two teenagers, I now realize that there are still some things that only I seem to know how to do. Let me give you some examples:
This list can go on and on and on. But, I think you get my point. No matter how old your kids are, there are certain things that apparently only you can do.
Now you know, and you can …. Consider Yourself Warned
What are some of the things that only you know how to do at your house?
I was on the train last week. It was the rush hour home, so the train was crowded with people who really just wanted to get home so that they can (I imagine) unwind, relax, and possibly spend time with their families. There was his lady on the train riding with her two young children. The youngest was around 2 or 3 years old. That child was a little girl. She was a cute little girl. The kind that makes you say, “Oh, I wish my daughter was that age again. I miss that time of our lives.”, or “Maybe I’ll have just one more.” It is so easy to forget how little kids can behave when you see them with someone else. They look so cute and perfect. You gloss over all the challenges that come with raising toddlers and preschoolers. All you see is the cuteness, the sweetness, and how adorable those little kids appear to be.
Well, as I mentioned, this little girl was adorable. She was standing on the train, swinging her Barbie doll, as if she didn’t have a care in the world. Then, her mother took the Barbie doll away. Now, I understand why she did it, the train was crowded. Mom didn’t want her daughter to hit anyone with the doll. And, let’s be real. This is Brooklyn. If that child had hit someone, only God knows how they would have reacted. So, Mom did what she thought was best, she took away the doll.
When Mom took away that doll, that adorable, sweet, angelic little girl transformed instantaneously into the demon from hell. I know you all may think I’m exaggerating. But believe you me, I am not. This girl started shouting and crying … loudly. This kid started at level 1000. She didn’t work her way up to it like some kids tend to do. This one went right into a full out, let me get everyone’s attention mode.
I felt so bad for this mother. I know she wished that she could just disappear. I have to give Mom credit. She maintained her composure throughout the whole ordeal. I don’t think I would have had the patience she had. She talked to her daughter and explained why she took the doll away. But this kid did not want to hear reason. All she wanted was that doll back. And let me tell you, this kid was hollering so loudly, you would have thought she was getting the beating of her life. Mom didn’t lay one hand on her.
Now normally, I would side with the Mom and stand with her in principle. Mom should not give her daughter back her doll, but this kid would not let up. To her credit, as much as I’m sure me and the rest of the people on this train wanted her to give that doll back, Mom stood fast and held her ground. I understood. She had to take a stand and not give in to her daughter’s behavior. If she did, the only lesson that little girl would have learned was that she could get her way by having temper tantrums. I learned that day that the people who ride the 2 train are very tolerant. No one said anything or complained to Mom about her daughter. Everyone pretty much ignored the whole scene, even though we were a captive audience and had to endure that meltdown for a good 15 minutes (it felt like it was much longer).
Anyway, when you have little kids, get ready for the temper tantrums. They will come at the most inconvenient times.
So, now you know, and you can ….
Consider Yourself Warned.
How would/do you cope with a young child’s temper tantrum?
Earlier this week, my daughter came home from school upset. She told me that one of her white classmates saw her with her hair braided and asked her why didn’t she just wear a wig because it would look better. Can you imagine how my precious Angel must have felt? Her feelings were hurt. I don’t know the motive behind that remark, but I told my daughter that she should have told that girl to mind her own business and go to hell. Knowing that my daughter goes to a Catholic school, that probably wasn’t the best response to that situation. But hey, if she got detention for saying it, I would have been ok with it. Sometimes you just need to say what needs to be said.
My heart hurt that day. Kids can be so cruel, and I really think girls are the worst. They are catty, mean, and just plain bitches. They say things that can really damage other kids’ egos and can potentially ruin their self-images. Unfortunately for my daughter, and any other African-American girl, she is bombarded with images of women with bone straight hair. Of course, those women are considered to be beautiful, the ones the all the boys want. They see it every day in social media, on tv, in videos, and movies. And it really hits home when you see young black boys choosing the “Beckys with the straight hair” (as Beyoncé so eloquently put it). My daughter knows that her hair is fine just the way it is, but that remark still hurt.
Not only is she dealing with the hair comments, but she is skinny. She has always been skinny. Some of her overly developed and not so skinny friends make comments on her weight. Unfortunately, girls have been commenting on her weight since she was little. Once, she came home from summer camp and told me that she had to gain weight because the girls at camp said that she was too skinny. She was around 9 when this happened.
If its not the hair or the weight, its her belief that other girls her age are just prettier. That drives me crazy. I don’t know what she sees in the mirror, but it is surely not the beautiful girl I see every day. I don’t know if she’s comparing herself to other girls in her school, or if she’s comparing herself to the image of “beautiful” girls in the media. Either way, I wish she could see herself the way that I see her. I am hopeful that over time, she will.
So, back to the girl who felt the need to comment on my daughter’s hair. Later on in the week, I asked my daughter about it. She said that the girl is oblivious about the effect that remark had on her. This time, since I was no longer in angry mom mode, I was able to offer better advise. I told her that she may want to have a talk with the girl and explain that what she said was pretty mean (just in case she really thought she was being helpful) and explain that that comment made her feel as if her hair wasn’t good enough. That way, this girl is on notice that she better think twice before saying something again. As far as I’m concerned, if she makes another negative comment about her hair, the perfect reaction is “Go to hell!”. I didn’t tell my daughter that part. But, she knows her mom.
Media images glamorizing a certain look can damage some of these young girls’ self-images. We as parents must be mindful of that and always do what we can to let our daughters know that they are beautiful no matter what kind of hair they have, what their body type is, or what kind of clothes they wear. We need to remind them that beauty is in how they carry themselves, and that smart girls are sexy.
So, now you know, and you can … Consider Yourself Warned!
What advise do you have for teenage girls who don’t see their beauty?
Last week, one of my friends had her first baby. She had a little boy. I envy her. I miss those days when my kids were little. That was a special time. They were so adorable. I was able to smother them with hugs and kisses and no one would complain. They would just smile at me and wave their little arms and legs. After my ex-husband left for work, and I would lay the baby on the bed and just talk to my baby. It was our special time together. To be quite honest, I can’t remember what I did the rest of the day, but I do remember just laying on the bed, talking to my little angel. I hope my friend will have that same experience. Actually, I hope that for all mothers. There is just something special about bonding with your child. For most mothers, the love that you have for your child multiplies exponentially during that time. There is nothing quite like it.
Eventually, the baby will become a toddler and learn to crawl and then walk. I remember when my babies were learning to walk. I would hold those little hands to steady them. The smile on their faces was infectious. But then, they learned to run. Let me tell you, if you’re not in shape when you have a baby, you will get in shape once they learn to run. I don’t know what it is about babies, but once they start running, they don’t stop. And you really must watch them. I mean, really, really watch them. One minute, the two of you are sitting in the living room watching tv. You’re tired. After all, you’ve been running after a toddler all day. You’re sitting on the couch and you think to yourself, “Let me close my eyes for just five seconds.” I am telling you right now, “Don’t do it!!!” But, you won’t take my advice and you close your eyes anyway. Five seconds turns into at least five minutes. When you finally open your eyes, guess what? That baby is gone! When you realize that your toddler is not where he or she should be, there is a sense of panic. Where is he? What did she get into? Did someone take them? Is everything breakable out of their reach? Wait, do I remember where I put the breakable things, or did I give them all away? When that kid is gone, every worse case scenario goes through your mind. And, mind you, you’re at home! So, you go looking for that kid, and eventually you’ll find him. If your lucky, that toddler is playing with the toys in his room. If you’re not lucky, something of yours will be ruined. Its funny how toddlers always seem to know how to find the expensive stuff. Its like they are born with a homing device that guides them to the pretty, shiny, breakable things. Actually, they have two homing devices. The other one guides them to anything that can make a mess … the dirt from the flower pot, the toilet paper, the egg, yogurt, or milk in the fridge. If it can make a mess, they will find it.
So, now you’re mad at yourself for taking a catnap. How dare you? You don’t need to sleep. But you do. You tell yourself, “I know. I can take nap when this baby takes one.” Yeah, good luck with that. First of all, you have to get that baby to take a nap. Nine times out of ten, that child is not ready to go to sleep when you are. You can try laying in bed with him, but I guarantee you that you will fall asleep before your baby does. So, what do you do? You try to tire that kid out. You can try all you like, but at that age, it doesn’t work. I don’t think they ever get tired until they are teenagers. Then, they want to stay in their rooms and sleep, only coming out to use the bathroom and for food.
What’s the point to all this? There is none. Sometimes, it feels good cherishing the memories. Make sure to make lots of memories and take lots of pictures. The time just flies by.
So, now you know, and you can ….
Consider Yourself Warned!
Parents, what are your most cherished memories of your baby/toddler days?
Now, I consider myself to be up with technology. I mean, I use the computer. I have a smart phone, and I know how to look things up on the internet. But, today's kids are so proficient in technology that it amazes me. On any given day, you see will kids as young as 2 playing on their parent's phone or playing on their tablets. These kids know exactly which app to go to and how to manipulate it. It almost seems as if today's kids come out the womb with a degree in computer science and 10 years of work experience. It is scary how they are so advanced.
Recently, I had to buy a new computer. My old one was over 10 years old. It had lived a good life, but it was time to let it go. I decided to do something different. I went and a bought a Mac. I figured hey, since both kids have iPhones, I may as well make this a true iHouse. Besides, I plan on eventually switching over to the iPhone so we can all FaceTime each other when the kids go off to college. I was excited to get the new computer. I couldn't wait to have a computer that is modern and fast.
I have to admit; this Mac is much different from the computer I was used to. The commands seem all wrong to me. But eventually, I got the hang of it. Well, at least I thought I had. Last week, I had to send some files from my iPad (which I won as a door prize at a networking event and have been using to check my email when my son is doing his homework on the computer) to one of my friends. In my mind, all I had to do was upload the files to my Google Drive and share them. Sounds easy, right? Wrong! For some reason, the files would not upload to my Google Drive. No matter what I did, it would not upload. Then, I decided to try to upload it to DropBox. Again, it didn't work. Finally, I had to break down and ask my 16-year-old daughter for help. I was really trying to avoid doing that, but I was in a time crunch, and she was willing to help. My daughter changed some settings on my iPad (I still don't know what she changed) and then transferred the files to the computer via AirDrop. I had never heard of that feature before. I tried to pay attention to what she was doing, but her skinny fingers were moving so fast, swiping here and swiping there, I couldn't keep up! Then. It suddenly hit me. This must be how my mother feels when I show her how to work her computer! I have to admit, it made me feel old. I didn't like that feeling.
The thing that amazes me is that working that computer was second nature to her. She diagnosed the problem and fixed it quickly. If her first plan of action didn't work, she quickly came up with a new plan of action. I was amazed. This experience taught me that I'm as tech savvy as I thought I was, and that I need to get up to speed so that I can keep up with my kids! Otherwise, I won't have a clue what's going on.
If you plan on having kids in this century, you better stay up on technology. If not, you'll be clueless.
So, now you know, and you can just ... Consider Yourself Warned!
For those of you who have kids, or have been around kids, have you ever had a kid explain anything dealing with technology to you? If so, how did it make you feel?
On Christmas Eve, my kids and I went to Applebees with my parents and my younger brother for dinner. At the table across from us, a young mother and her son (who may have been around 3 years old) were getting ready to order. I couldn’t hear what the mother said, and quite frankly, I wasn’t paying too much attention to them. That was, until the little boy said out in a very LOUD voice, “Yeah, she really likes her alcohol!”. I can only imagine the poor mom’s embarrassment. Especially since everyone at my table busted out laughing (there were 6 of us at the table, so you can imagine how loud we were). We didn’t even try to play it off. We probably should have tried to act like we didn’t hear him so that mom could at least save face. But, that thought never even occurred to us.
So, here’s the lesson in that experience… please be careful what you say around kids. They are like sponges. They will soak up everything. And, they are … Always. Paying. Attention. Always. Trust me, that little boy didn’t come up with that statement on his own. He heard someone say it. He just didn’t understand it. If he did, he never would have repeated it.
This holiday season, you may be around family and friends that you don’t like or who may work your last nerve. Be careful what you say. If you don’t want people to know how you really feel, don’t say it around the kids!
There. So now you know.
And you can …. Consider Yourself Warned!
Parents, what have your children repeated in public that embarrassed you?
Well, it started. Last week, my son started hearing back from some of the colleges he applied to for early acceptance. I didn’t even know that the results were out until he sent me a text to let me know that he had gotten in. I felt a little cheated. I imagined that when he got his results, I would be recording it on my cell phone so I could show my co-workers and post it on my Facebook page. Instead, his sister recorded it. Let’s just say you don’t want her filming any of your special moments. After getting these results, my son was happy and relieved. He was happy. I was a little sad. Don’t get me wrong. I really was happy for him, but that text just reminded me that my firstborn will be leaving me in a few months.
Then came the email that my son had been waiting on ... the decision from his first choice school, one of the Ivy League universities. He knew that this was one of his “reach schools”. He knew that there was a strong likelihood that he would not get in. Even so, it didn’t stop him from wanting to go there. It didn’t stop him from hoping that he would get in. It didn’t stop him from daydreaming of being there. His sister and I gather around the computer as he opened the email. He was nervous. He was anxious. I was scared. I wanted him to get accepted because that was his first choice school. But, I was worried of how he would react if he didn’t get in. My daughter and I patiently waited for him to read the email. He read it silently, and then, he told us. He was rejected. He was heartbroken. I was mad! How dare they reject my son! Didn’t they know what a great kid he was? Believe you me, if I could, I would have gone to that college and make them accept my son. But we all know I can’t do that. Well, maybe if I funded that new library wing, or had the right family name.
So, what could I do? All I could do was tell him the truth. I told him that it was the school’s loss, not his. And I told him that this won’t be the last time he would face rejection. It will happen over and over and over again. I told him that how he deals with rejection will define his character. Then, I told him of how I didn’t get into law school the first time I applied, I was wait-listed and never made it off the list. I reapplied the next year and was accepted. I wanted him to understand that I knew exactly how he felt because I had experienced it too. But after a while, I saw the all too familiar glassy, far away look in his eyes. Instead of getting annoyed like I normally do when I see that look, I knew it was time to just leave him alone. He needed his space. The next day, my son bounced back and was ready to start applying to his second set of schools for regular decision. I must admit. I was proud of him. I know that with that attitude, this kid will go far.
As a parent, it seems as if when your children’s heart breaks, your’s does too. But what can you do? As much as we want to protect our children and make the world a perfect place for them, that’s just not possible. There are so many things that you as a parent can’t control. All we can do is remind them that they are loved, that they can do anything, and to teach them how to navigate the not so happy times of life so it won’t seem as if the world is falling apart. Unfortunately, dealing with rejection and disappointment are life skills that children must learn, skills that we as parents have to teach them.
So, now you know and you can .... Consider Yourself Warned!
For you parents out there, how did you help your child deal with rejection and disappointments?
Sometimes as a parent, you want to surprise your child. When my daughter turned 5 years old. I surprised her with a birthday party. It was a princess themed party. I told her friends’ mothers to have their daughters at my apartment at a certain time, and to have them dressed in their princess dresses. I hired a princess for the party and made lots of food. Miraculously, the secret never got out. My daughter was genuinely surprised when she came home from her father’s and saw all her friends. You should have seen the look on her face when her friends yelled, “Surprise!”. She didn’t know what was going on. She was so stunned, she ran to her bedroom. There, she found a new princess dress and crown laid out on her bed. All her excited little friends ran after her, hugged her, and then eagerly helped her into her dress. We all had a great time.
Fast forward 11 years later. That little 5-year-old girl turned 16 this past Tuesday. I asked her repeatedly if she wanted a Sweet 16 party, and she consistently said no. So, I along with one of my friends planned a surprise for her. For months, this kid has been blasting the songs in the musical Hamilton. I swear I have heard that music so much that I should know all the words to every single song. I decided that it would be a nice surprise to take her to see the actual musical. However, when I looked online at the prices, I quickly realized that the price of 2 tickets is way too much for this government worker. I was telling one of my friends that it’s a damn shame that we live in New York and can’t even afford to go to a Broadway show without taking out a small loan, when she mentioned that she had wanted to see Hamilton too. She offered to take buy her own ticket to the show and take my daughter with her. That, sounded good to me. I gave my friend the money for my daughter’s ticket, and she bought them for the day after her birthday, which was perfect since it turned out that she had a half day of school that day. She could go home, change, and do her homework before the 8pm show. We decided not to tell her so that it would be a surprise for her.
We had it all planned out. My daughter would meet me at my office at 4pm. We would go to her brother’s basketball game, get a bite to eat, and then head off to Times Square. I was so excited. I couldn’t wait to see the look on her face when we got to theater. I was surprised that I kept it a secret for so long. Well, I didn’t really keep it a secret. I told a few people, people that I thought I could trust.
So, imagine my surprise when I got home from choir rehearsal Tuesday night, and my daughter says to me, “Mommy, I spoke to XX today” (I’m purposely not telling you who she to. That person may read this blog. I don’t want him/her to feel outed.) “XX asked me how did I like the play. Am I going to see Hamilton?” You know I was pissed, right? I have kept her in the dark for months. Since the beginning of November, my daughter has been asking me what she was getting for her birthday. Here I am, one day away from surprising her, and XX spilled the beans! When I later spoke to XX, he/she told me that she didn’t state the name of the musical. I had to remind him/her that there was only one play my daughter was interested in seeing. She’s a smart girl. She can figure things out.
Needless to say, if you are going to plan anything for your kids as surprise, DON’T TELL ANYONE! Not even the people you think can keep it to themselves. Just keep it between you and the people helping you with the planning, and try to limit that to one person. If you don’t, the surprise will be on you when you find realize that your kid knows what’s going on.
So there. Now you know, and you can … Consider Yourself Warned!
Parents, have you ever planned a surprise for your child only to have it ruined? What was it and what happened?
SassyGirlTye lives with her two wonderful teenagers in Brooklyn, New York. No matter what she says in her posts, she truly loves her children with all her heart.