Here’s to breaking bad habits and sending positive parenting messages!

There are two things in my life that I know without doubt, that I was meant to be a wife to the hubs and a mom to turtle. I often say that I was blessed with the exact child that I was meant to have, we have very similar temperaments and through him I constantly gain a better sense of my strengths and flaws. Over the past month turtle has begun to mature and grow a lot. He has shown a greater sense of self (if at all possible) as well as a greater self control and expression. I find that daily he is using my logic and reasoning on me, which is frustrating and hilarious all at once. This week he had to have blood drawn (one of the few things which has paralyzed me with fear in the past). Turtle knocked it out without a tear or a fight. I find my self in awe, proud, and jealous of his bravery all at the same time.

One way turtle and I greatly differ is our level of activity. Turtle is action driven, his body is constantly in motion, and he often seeks full body movement and impact. I on the other hand could sit in the bed all day watching tv (and have on many an occasion pre turtle). I wouldn’t say that I am necessarily sedentary, but I have established some very sedentary habits. I was initially planning to share an especially frustrating moment during which my sedentary habits impacted my parenting, but now realize that there is an even deeper message at play. As I began typing this I realized that one of the many reasons I am blessed to be the mother to this boy child is to break out of those patterns. I now realize the message I have been sending to turtle has been in service of my own sedentary habits and is contrary to his own internal need for movement and action. As a therapist I know that when we get message from our caregivers (intentionally or otherwise) which are contrary to our own internal drive self doubt can be created. This week turtle has blessed me by tagging along on my 6am(ish) workouts. Through these early morning times I am able to send the message that being active is not just ok it’s important and a worthy use of my time and energy.

So here on the day of mothers, I salute my child for helping me to break out of my habits and be the absolute best version of myself that I possible can be. I am so absolutely humbled and thankful to all of those who have been able to support my journey through words of encouragement and financial contributions. I am one month away from my race and nine days and $320 away from my fundraising goal. That means that I both have met 58% of my fundraising goal and still need everyone’s help.

Please consider giving at http://pages.teamintraining.org/ntx/momsnt14/tifftepp

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Working out, checking off boxes and not letting people count you out!

When you’re a big girl like me people count you out of most things physical and active. Despite you believing in you, it isn’t uncommon to get the “she’s doing what?!?” looks especially when you’re embarking on a challenge that is uncharacteristically physical in nature. I think this has led me to be hesitant in my fundraising for my race.

But after a fit filled night of sleep I woke up, got in a workout, and wanted to make sure I got my fundraising email out. The reality is I chose to do this because I wanted something bigger than me and this is one of the hurdles I will cross along my journey. (If nothing else it will prepare me for the elementary school wrapping paper drives in my future). So here’s to checking off another box on my list.

A little about the weekend. I had my first workout with the other moms Saturday, and while I am super sore I had a blast. I mentioned to the hubs that I gotta get so more new gear, but it was great just being out there. As a walker amongst runners I wasn’t sure what to expect but they were awesome making sure someone stayed with me and kept me motivated. I am working on building time into my weekly craziness in order to work out as well. So things are moving along. I know the key to keeping it up past the race is routine and consistency.

If you don’t already have it the link to my fundraising page is http://pages.teamintraining.org/ntx/momsnt14/tifftepp

Thanks to those who have already given and thanks for all the support!

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Lessons learned in a running store

I have made the decision to take the next few months to invest in my life, health, and self. I have joined a Moms in Training group to prepare for a 10k and raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Upon first hearing about this opportunity, I knew it was something I needed to do for me. While I have been blessed to not have anyone close to me directly impacted by any form of cancer, the fundraising aspect (though the most daunting) is truly just the icing on the proverbial cupcake for me. I needed to join something that was bigger than me, for me to commit to getting up and starting to move. After taking the first step and signing up, I knew I would have to take another leap and replace my beaten up old sneakers.

As a fat kid, clothes shopping has always been a dreaded task. Within days of my engagement I was in the bridal shop trying on dresses. One because my mom was visiting, and two because I wanted to get it over with. I was pleasantly surprised that the process was actually enjoyable and I ended up with a dress that made me feel beautiful. Now as a fat kid shoe shopping has often been my salvation, no matter my size I could often wear any pair of cute shoes I wanted. This began to change 10 years ago when I had a car accident, in which I took on a concrete guardrail. My ankle got caught in the middle of the insurance companies passing the buck, and was never treated properly because nobody wanted to pay for it. These days after some pregnancy expansion, shoes are no longer an expression of my personal style. Shoes and clothes alike are simply my way of complying with societal norms in hopes to be served at local establishments. And in the moments when I do look to increase my wardrobe, I consider the price as much if not more than the message it might send.

While I knew running/walking shoes would be expensive, I reasoned they are a very necessary investment in me. So today the hubs, turtle, and I went to a branch of the local running shop to get me fitted. While the experience was long, arduous, and many times I truly wanted to throw my hands up and say the hell with this, I didn’t and I learned a ton about myself in the process. I learned that my feet did get bigger after I had turtle, I learned that your feet don’t have to hurt, I learned that there are people out there dedicated to making sure you get what’s truly right for you, and I learned that I matter. I have no idea what will come over the next few months as I take this journey, but I am already so thankful for the lessons learned in the most unlikely of places for a fat kid to be… a running store! Here’s to many miles in comfy kicks!

My new kicks!

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Lollipops, Stickers, and Bi-racial Hair

To say I am not a hair person is an understatement. Growing up I had a lot of hair and was super tender headed. I will never forget this lady telling me “oh hush girl you gots too much hair to be tender headed”, as she yanked, pressed, and fried my hair into submission. As I began to think about my future children I not so secretly prayed for a boy, so if nothing else I wouldn’t have to worry about hair.

Well, Turtle’s hair has always been a curious mix of me and the hubs, with tight curls up top, moving into gentle loose waves in the back. Over the past three years I have gone down a path which causes PTSD type flashbacks in this boy mom’s soul. I have come to accept that Turtle hates everything about hair maintenance, possibly more than even I did, and it is my job as his mom to make him confront this feeling repeatedly. Turtle’s first hair cut was done by a dear friend of the family in our own home, though due to scheduling we switched to the local kids hair cutting emporium. Turtle loved kind ms haircut lady up until she pulled out the clippers and immediately after she set them down. All that was in between was filled with screams, tears, and me getting covered in hair. It wasn’t too long before I realized that the extra money spent was not returning enough value for the amount of energy and anguish I was willingly inflicting on my chid. So, I excitedly bought my supplies, watched a couple videos on you tube, and proceeded to energetically butcher cut my child’s hair into submission (thank good ness it grows quickly). With time my skills have improved and thanks to lollipops (one during and one after) turtle doesn’t try to curl into his shell every time he hears the clippers.

When asked whether he would prefer to get his hair cut or combed turtle always chooses the clippers, but me being a glutton for punishment to force him to let his hair grow out during the winter. Having taken away the option of the lesser of the two grooming evils, I am left beating myself up for not taking good care of my child’s hair health (and since the baldness gene is a maternal trait I need no extra guilt). With the approach if the New Year, I decided hair health was important and set out on a quest to devote time to it each day. My mama fail was bribing offering a lollipop at 7am in exchange for brave hair combing (but not a peep was heard)! The hubs then had the bright idea that the incentive of getting to choose one of his new stickers from his favorite movie might be enticing and better for his teeth. Now if you have never been privy to a 3 year old picking out a sticker, let me tell you it’s big business.

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A week into the project, I was feeling good about myself, and then the apocalypse occurred and we were notified about a break out of head lice in the primary community. I about fell out of my chair, just as I had conquered one task, my biggest hair fear strikes. While the internet tells me that Black people can also get lice, this was not my reality growing up. Lice just wasn’t an issue I eve dealt with up close and personal, and the idea that my beautiful biracial boy might have to deal with it scares the beejeezus out of me. So just as we hit our stride with the comb, I was forced to proactively cut off all turtle’s hair to feed my own neurosis. As is the irony of parenthood half step forward, two steps back, and all of the fancy stickers on the bed rail as payment for pitching a fit throughout getting his hair cut. (If he doesn’t have hair the little buggers have nothing to clamp onto right?). Never a dull moment.

Disclaimer: turtle doesn’t have head lice, and if he gets it at this point, we will all be using the hubs razor and shaving cream.

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Wordless Wednesday – Really Universe

Just checked Saturday’s forecast for turtle’s 3rd birthday party!

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Happy Hump Day!

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Wordless Wednesday – Fist Bumps for Mama’s Milk #BBW13

My brown baby boy just learned to fist bump just in time to support Black Breastfeeding Week 2013. He fed from his mama’s breast for 13.5 months, and there are days I think he’d like to go back!

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Learn more about this effort here:
https://www.facebook.com/BlackBreastfeedingWeek

http://mochamanual.com/2013/08/23/nationally-recognized-advocates-launch-first-annual-black-breastfeeding-week-august-26-31-2013/

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Lessons learned from Turtle’s first movie theatre experience

For the past few months I have been talking to my fellow toddler/preschool mamas about taking kids to the movies. Sometime this spring, turtle got into watching DVDs but his range of acceptance has been small. Though as I was hearing more and more about newly turned 3 kids going to the movies, I started wondering when would be our turn. Ignoring the advice to wait until he actually turned 3, I set my sights on the new Planes movie from Disney. (I also chose to disregard the reviews/critics).

To maximize our success, I planned for this weekend, which was the second weekend it was open. This also provided me the opportunity to introduce turtle to Cars a week ahead, which proved to be a huge hit with him, while also showing him the Planes trailer online. Then I purchased the Groupon for Studio Movie Grill (food and swivel chairs for added distraction if necessary). I then got him the Dusty t-shirt and 2 figures (nana showed up with a third figure and book afterwards) from the movie to take with him, and we were ready to go and my excitement and anticipation were through the roof.

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As yesterday morning approached, I struggled to process the source of my intense feelings. As a kid we went to the movies every so often, but not enough for me to feel like that was a childhood tradition I just had tompass down. I suppose one’s first movie theater (or movie earter as turtle calls it) trip is a milestone, but my excitement/anticipation was shocking even to me. I knew that if things ended up being less than stellar I would probably be disappointed, but not sure at who/what. Ultimately turtle is 2 and unpredictable, and it wouldn’t be fair for me to put any of my stuff on him, but I am a mom and sometimes we do silly stuff like blame our kids for our irrational disappointments… On to the earter (that just never gets old)!

Turtle easily made it through the previews and beginning of the movie with no chatting (which is abnormal). The popcorn and having school friend there were huge aids in his being able to focus. Every time Dusty took off on the screen, turtle flew his Dusty figure in the air as well, he also called out the characters by name especially El Chupacabra, who was a favorite for turtle. By the last 30 minutes he had visited the bathroom twice already and was entertained by the red call button more than the movie, so I knew we were losing steam. At the final chase scene he started humming (tell tale sign turtle is done, maxed out, over stimulated, fill in the blank), and then asked to go to the bathroom again. As we walked up the aisle I knew I would be hearing the ending from the hubs, and allowed turtle to take his time in the bathroom (his Dusty figure had to go bowel movement). While in the bathroom, I mentioned that we might be missing the end of the movie to which my ever reasoning child responded, “maybe, it will be a commercial”. Alas there was no commercial, and we fought the exiting traffic as we re-entered the theatre to find the hubs. Turtle excitedly collected his Chug figure and bopped off to the door, completely unfazed by not knowing who won the race.

With that our first movie experience was over and he was eagerly ready for the next one, and truthfully as his mama I couldn’t have been happier. The reality is that being almost three is nothing but a continuing series of new adventures, many of which are lost upon adults. Personally we are blessed to be in the position where we can do everything in our power to make these experiences as exciting and fun as possible, while recognizing they are also somewhat stressful and challenging at times. As a social worker, I know that not all parents are not in the position financially, emotionally or physically to ensure their children’s adventures have an equal balance of fun/excitement and stress/challenge. So as I prepare to put the end on a pretty amazing weekend, I pray for all the parents out there trying to do the best they can with what they’ve got, and all our kids for being so resilient and reminding us that more adventures are still to come, so we don’t have to put so much effort into just one.

Disclaimer: this is in no way a promotion of the Disney Cars or Disney Planes movies or Studio Movie Grill (though I am a fan of theirs). Just comment on how they assisted in facilitating an awesome day out for us.

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