Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Different Strokes

I was having a conversation with a friend today that reminded me just how different every household/family is. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but it got me to thinking about my own upbringing and what was deemed important and suitable. I started thinking back to when I was growing up and started contemplating if I was doing a good job bringing Deuce up in the same manner.

Now Deuce is only 2, so at this age he's easy to please. But what happens as he gets older? My husband and I had a conversation a while back about if Deuce would be able to have a car when he turned 16. I was against it he said he must! Now that we reside in an area where public transportation is not an option, I realize that a car at 16 will be something he will need. I don't like it, but it's a reality. Maybe by the time he's 16 the public transport system will have expanded but I seriously doubt it. But what about when he reaches 5 or 6? What will I be purchasing for my son at that age? Things are so different now.

Growing up, when Christmas was drawing near, my folks would hand my sister and I the BIG toy book from Toys 'R Us. (Some of you may not be old enough to remember those.) We were told to make a list and to be sure to place what we wanted the most at the top. Come Christmas morning we would receive 3 or 4 things off of our list. We enjoyed our gifts and cherished them. But even now as adults with our own families we still do one thing that was a standard growing up. We read the Christmas story. Mom & Dad never wanted us to forget why we really celebrated that day. Sure it was nice to get the presents, but we really needed to remember the ultimate gift, the birth of Jesus Christ.

I see how people spend and spend at the holidays. It makes me sad when I think about what that family may go without because of the extravagance of one day. What are we teaching our children? What good comes from giving them the grandest of current items? How do you top it? What do they have to look forward too? I remember being called spoiled when I was growing up. I hated it, I so wanted people to understand that I wasn't just "given" anything. That I earned it. Mom & Dad didn't play! We are so blessed to have parents that can/could give us nearly anything. But we're more blessed because they DIDN'T!!

I personally feel that part of the reason so many children have this sense of entitlement is because of what parents give. I'm sorry, but my son will appreciate everything that he's given. He will know that he is blessed and he will understand the value of it all. If he wants $100 shoes, he will have to work for them. Mama ain't no bank!! LOL But I want him to understand "favor," "grace," "blessed," and know how to be "humble!" A child that is handed EVERYTHING will not know how to appreciate ANYTHING!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


So I'm sitting here catching up on one of my guilty pleasures "The Real Housewives of New Jersey." And I'm just ill. This episode revolves around Christmas. I'm sitting here trying to figure out how every other statement is about it being "baby Jesus'" birthday and then you turn around and buy these super extravagant gifts for your young children. In all that was going on not once was there a visit to a church, the Christmas story wasn't read, nothing!

What are the children gaining from this? What happens if the money suddenly goes away? Where is the foundation? I felt a little sad for these little ones. Now Caroline, she was on the right track. She had a special bracelet designed that symbolized each part of her family. All 3 children, she and her hubby now where the matching jewelry. Expensive, yes. But the symbolism and the reasons were pure, loving and focused on the foundation of their family. They will forever cherish those bracelets.

What do you think? Is it right for parents to give these luxurious gifts just because they can? Are children of privilege at a disadvantage?

Friday, July 22, 2011

You're Not Helping

Autism is one of a group of serious developmental problems called autism spectrum disorders (ASD) that appear in early childhood — usually before age 3. Though symptoms and severity vary, all autism disorders affect a child's ability to communicate and interact with others.
Children with autism generally have problems in three crucial areas of development — social interaction, language and behavior. But because autism symptoms vary greatly, two children with the same diagnosis may act quite differently and have strikingly different skills. In most cases, though, severe autism is marked by a complete inability to communicate or interact with other people. (www.mayoclinic.com)

Yesterday I decided to venture out and take Deuce to the indoor bounce house spot. How could I pass up an opportunity to let him just go nuts, only spend $3 AND get to be in the AC? So after his nap I put clean socks on him, picked up my sister and we headed to an afternoon of fun!

Fast forward to Deuce discovering the biggest bounce slide in the building. He was like a little magnet, drawn to it with such force there was no denying him access. As he climbed up that monster another child climbed into the area where the children landed after barrelling down the incredibly large slide. Figuring that he was about 8 I gently coaxed him out of the area. I didn't want him to get knocked out by another child and I didn't want Deuce to get hurt as he came down (the 8 year old wasn't exactly small). Unfortunately my interaction with this child didn't end. He decided to move to the entry area of the slide and proceeded to start jumping. Now he was completely blocking any other child from being able to play. So again, I gently coaxed him into moving. This time he took off running. Now I was ok with this reaction as were the 2 other parents that were watching their children. And then IT happened!

The 8 year old had gone and gotten his mother. She walks up to me and ask me did I tell her son to stop jumping. Knowing that I was completely right I told her yes I did. She then states that he has AUTISM and no one else had a problem with him jumping on the slide. She then wanted to know if he was hurting anyone. I told her that I ask him to move from one spot so that he wouldn't get hurt and from the other because he was preventing the other children from being able to access the slide. She again stated that he was AUTISTIC and then she walked away talking out loud about how dare people tell her son what to do.

Now the other parents who were observing this had looks of disbelief on their faces. One mother simply shook her head as she watched the woman walk away. The father on the other side of me shrugged and went back to watching his daughter. As for me I was furious! This woman had no ideal that I am a teacher and that I deal with autistic children on a daily basis. She just assumed that I had no clue as to what autism was. And while this made me angry, what made me furious was that she had just used her son's autism as an excuse for improper behavior. Not to mention she wasn't even in the area watching what he was doing. Anyone else see something wrong here?

After having a full day to think about what happened this is where my mind is:
I firmly believe that this mom is still in denial. She doesn't have a full understanding of what autism is. If she did, then she would know that autism is not something that you use as an excuse for poor behavior. It is so important that her son is still taught right from wrong. Perhaps she thinks that when people look at her son they will automatically know that he's autistic. Sorry ma'am, your son is autistic, he doesn't have Down's Syndrome. Physically he looks like every other little boy. She's probably over whelmed by what autism does to a family. It really isn't the best practice to not keep a watchful eye over your child when you know that he does things that may interfere with other children's fun.

Perhaps I'm being judgemental. I hope that I'm not appearing to be judging her. A dear friend has an autistic son. Her family had to dig deep within themselves to find peace and understanding. It wasn't an overnight thing. It took time, it took prayer, it took faith. But there was, is, and will always be an expectation of proper behavior in their household. I've been to their home many times, and while their kids do kid things, they have always corrected and redirected them. And this holds true even for their autistic child. See they know that you can't use autism as an excuse for not becoming a decent individual. Now the tactics may have to be changed but the lesson is still taught.

What do you think?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

He does listen (sometimes)!

This is the lovely tote that I just purchased. Normally I wouldn't be so quick to show off a possession but I wanted to share what happened yesterday and it is directly related to this tote.

As a Chit-town girl, born & raised, I have an inbred affinity for Coach bags & purses. I remember when I finally saved up enough money to buy my first one. I headed over to Evergreen Plaza, picked out a cute black purse with a turn clasp and waited not so patiently for them to sear my initials onto the front. When I got home I filled out my registration card and handed it over to my mom so that she could mail it off for me. I couldn't wait to carry that purse to school on Monday! It was my first "grown-up" purchase.

Well since that first black purse, I've managed to save up enough money to purchase a few more (3 to be exact). So when I got the email from my sister saying that the Coach Outlet was having a 3 day online sale up to 70% off, I was super excited! I didn't care that they were discontinued styles. Who cares, it's Coach, they will always be classic! So when the day arrived to log in with the exclusive code, I--DIDN'T! Gasp! I had convinced myself that it just wasn't a wise purchase. But then the 2nd day we were at our coupon group and my sister pulled up the site to show to the other ladies. Then I saw the prices! They really were 70% off! So I thought, maybe I'll take a look when I get home. I--DIDN'T! But on the morning of the 3rd day, I decided to look. And there it was, this lovely extra large tote that would be perfect to carry all my stuff and diaper, wipes, snacks and juice boxes. Not to mention room for my kindle! So after a few minutes of thought I grab a credit card and bought it.

So my lovely tote arrived via Fed Ex yesterday morning. I quickly opened the box and just smiled. It was perfect. Even "Deuce" pointed at it and said "ooh!" Then it hit me, how do I explain this splurge to my hubby? Uh oh, I didn't think about that one. Normally that's the first thing I think of! So there I was hoping he wasn't going to be upset.

So my hubby gets home, early I should add because I had to be downtown at 6, and he's carrying a box. So in an imitation of our son I pointed at the box and say "what that?" And he decides to imitate our son as well and says "MINE!!" It really was quite comical. So he opens his box and pulls out new equipment for his DJing. It was something that he had been speaking of getting for a little while so I wasn't really surprised to see it. But at that moment I thought, hmmm, maybe I should pull out my box. So off to the bedroom I went and got my box. He again imitates our son and says "what that?" To which I replied, "MINE!" and then showed him the bag. And then the surprise comments. Him, "I thought you wanted a black purse?" Me, "I did want a black on black one, but the ones they had were more than I wanted to spend." Him, "it's nice and a good neutral color. How much did it cost me?" I told him and then showed him the tag with the ORIGINAL cost. He shrugs and says, "cool." (insert picture of me with chin on the floor!)

So not only did my hubby not have a "cow" but he acknowledged that he knew I wanted a new black bag and he complimented my alternative selection! We continued to chat a little about it and I discovered that he really does know about the value of a Coach bag. GASP!! He then went back to talking about his equipment purchase.

Amazing, he really does listen (sometimes)!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Missing My Diva

15 years, that's how long I sought it out. It was all around me growing up. Not in an overpowering, domineering way. But more subtle and subdued. I watched other ladies embrace it, wear it, live it. My Mother was one of them. They had that certain way of doing things. They were "Divas!" Not the Divas that girls today admire, but real "Divas." And each of them sparkled and shined in Crimson & Cream.

Yes I am referring to the ladies of Delta Sigma Theta. In the Spring of 2000, I and 9 other ladies crossed the sand into Delta Land! Words could never describe how I felt that day. Now, 6 years later I'm looking for my "Diva."

Now let's not confuse my "Diva" with my love for Delta. Delta is just a part of me. When I talk about my missing "Diva," I'm talking about my zest, my excited, my ME! Sometimes I think my "diva" started slipping away the moment I decided to move to Texas. I didn't know what I was doing. I just knew that I had been accepted to a school that would let me finish my Doctorate without loosing too much time and that over 100 others would be making the move at the same time. Or was it when I agreed to move to New Orleans and sold most of my furniture in preparation. My future hubby was happy but I still was unsure about living there. Perhaps it was when the decision was made to stay in Texas because the future hubby got a job promotion that relocated him to Houston. Sure I was happy about not going to New Orleans but now I had to find a job. I hadn't been looking because I had already secured an opportunity in New Orleans.

Ok, so maybe I'm grasping at straws. But where is my "Diva?" I'm trying to remember the last time I did something for myself. I'm constantly doing for my son, the hubby, my niece, my sister, my job, my organizations. I'm not complaining, I can always not do but I want to do for them. I just keep forgetting to do something just for me! Maybe I should run-a-way for a weekend. I don't know where I would go. I would feel guilty for going without my hubby. What if I picked something child like, then I would miss having my son with me.

Help!!! I really miss my "Diva!" Please, can you help me find her?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

My Addiction

I have an addiction. Isn't that the first step, admitting that you have a problem? Although I don't think it's a "real" problem. How is saving money a problem if you're only buying items that you use?

The picture attached is a glimpse of what's in my linen closet. Everything was bought with a coupon and while on sale! Even the Bath &Body works soaps. I was so excited when I went to Target today and discovered that the Dove for Men products that were already on sale and on my list were actually marked with clearance tags! They even had bonus travel sizes attached to them. Oh how I giggled. That's when I really knew, I'm a money saving addict! 

Now don't get me confused with those extreme couponers! I'm not dumpster diving, buying extra papers, having people save coupons for me or any of those other crazy things that people do. I do have fun with it though! A group of us meet once a week to look over the sale papers and swap the coupons for items we know we won't use. Our host picks a theme and we bring the food & drink that matches. This week the theme is Asian. Yum! Next week we're going to start doing cooking lesson together. It's a really nice reprieve each week from the hustle and bustle of our daily life. 

So yes, I'm addicted! But you know what, my hubby has plenty of his favorite bath items and so do I. Our clothes will be fresh, fresh, fresh. My son can have yogurt as often as he likes. Yep, I think I'll hold on to this addiction.

Monday, June 20, 2011

My Love

This is my "Deuce" on the day he was born. It's hard to believe that it's been almost 2 years since  he arrived. And as we approach his 2nd birthday I can gladly say that he is my greatest love! Sorry hubby, your son has stolen my heart.

Isn't he the most precious thing? Come on, admit it, he was actually a cute baby. Now you know not every baby is cute. You've said it, "how precious," "how wonderful." To that baby that's not so "cute." It's ok. It takes time for our little darlings to recover from the treacherous journey of birth. But my "Deuce," he was a cute baby and is an even cuter toddler. That straight hair is now a crazy mop of curls that's getting harder and harder to maintain. He originally had a very curly afro on top that filled in on the sides after his first cut. Now it's crazy all over. It's been cut a second time but it's time for another one. His Dad and I don't agree on how often his mane needs taming, but fortunately I've been winning. :)

"Deuce" is my comic relief on a daily basis. Adult life is tough! His innocents is just the thing I need on my roughest of days. Watching him entertain himself allows me to feel that their is hope. He comes up with the most intriguing ways to play. As I type this he's playing with the couch pillows and cushions. I'm not sure what his ultimate goal is but he's happy so I am too! Today he consumed 2 yogurts when he rose from his nap. Combined with the one he had for breakfast we're going to be in for one nice diaper at some point. LOL But who am I to tell him he can't have yogurt? He asked for yogurt. It's fat free. It's way healthier than cookies!

Yep, I love my little guy. Even if he is throwing a tantrum at least twice a day on average. But isn't that what toddlers do? At least he knows how to act in public. Random people even tell me so. He's so great in restaurants. You won't see him throwing food on the floor, or screaming for no reason at all. He knows that MaMa don't play that. Yesterday at Daddy's Day Brunch he dropped a piece of fried yucca on the floor. He said, "Ma, oh no!" while pointing at where it lay. What toddler does that? I love it!

I will always do whatever I can to make sure my "Deuce" has what he needs and that when he earns them, the things that he wants. I pray that if we are blessed to expand our family that "Deuce" will love his sibling as much as I love him. I also hope that any future offspring are as great as "Deuce." He is one of a kind. I sometimes wonder how I got so lucky? Well, the "really reality" is that I did!