Tuesday, September 29, 2015

On Having Tunnel Vision to Pursue Goals

When I tell ya'll that I was stubbornly and unapologetically focused on starting grad school in order to start making a better life for Aiden and me, I mean it. Wholeheartedly.

Like, I sent in my deposit check to New York University before I received an acceptance letter from Columbia University because I didn't want to miss the NYU deadline while potentially holding out for a Columbia acceptance that could never come. It did come though.

Then, I sent in my deposit check to Columbia before I figured out the daycare, childcare, and/or babysitting situation for Aiden. Because I wasgoing to grad school. And I was going to figure everything else out. Come heck or high water.

I had tunnel vision. Still do! To go get my dreams. To chase after them. With endurance and resilience and grit. And, like I've said before,conquering this is 90% of the battle.

When I tell you that I was stubbornly and unapologetically focused on finishing grad school in order to start my career and start making a better life for Aiden and me, I mean it. Wholeheartedly.

You see, there were times -- many times -- that I had to bring Aiden to class with me because plans for a babysitter fell through. There were times when I had to pull all-nighters to do research and complete reading assignments and write papers because I had to go to class, my part-time job, my internship, or be with Aiden during the day.

You see, there were times -- many times -- when I had to sit Aiden down next to me and give him a shiny toy (or five!) to distract him while I put my head in my books and attempted get some work done.

I had tunnel vision. Still do! And I unapologetically shared that tunnel vision with Aiden. I always say this -- he grinds with me. He works with me. We're in this thing together. We work. Hard. (And we play too. Harder.)

When I tell you that as soon as I decided to leave the toxic relationship and do this single mom thing, I put systems in place to make sure that Aiden (still) gets to experiences all the great things that life has to offer, I mean it. Wholeheartedly.

From cultural events to kid-friendly activities to playing tourists in different countries, states, and cities, to afternoon and weekend extracurricular activities, he's being exposed to many, many different things. Unapologetically.

I had tunnel vision. Still do! To make sure that Aiden can learn how to make lemonade with the lemons that life throws at him. And play the cards that he's been dealt the best way he knows how.

I have tunnel vision. To go get my dreams and fulfill my goals and be the best single mother that I can be. I have tunnel vision. To walk by faith and do the damn thing. Unapologetically.

{This post was originally posted on April 2, 2015. Thank you for supporting Mommy Delicious.}

Friday, September 25, 2015

Calling On The Village

Aiden: Can I have a piece of cake? 
Me: No. You're not getting dessert. You have to have dinner because I need to feed you, but dessert is a treat. One that you didn't earn today. So no. No dessert. 

This was the conversation that I had with Aiden earlier this week. He had a rough day at school. Another rough day at school. And so, in a moment of what-shall-I-do-about-this-issue coupled with complete frustration, I told Aiden that he earned a consequence of no dessert. 


As I said before, Aiden's having a really rough time right now. Everything's new right now. He's got a new parent in his life. A new unsupervised visitation schedule. A new grade. New teachers. New baby on the way... 

The list goes on and on. 

I'm doing everything for him! Everything! How could he act this way?! What am I doing to deserve this?! All of my money is going to his schooling and babysitting and extracurricular activities! All of my time goes to taking him to visit new places and experience new things. All of my energy goes to making sure he's safe and loved and happy! How. Could. He. Do. This. To. Me?!

Yes, that was my thought process that evening. I'm human, forgive me. 

And then it hit me. It's not about me. It's not about what Aiden's doing to me. It's about Aiden's thoughts and feelings about himself and his life. And it's about his coping mechanisms. 

So I had to take a step back. And remind myself that he's feeling pretty powerless right now and trying really hard to get some power back. So I'm trying to help him. 

I'm trying to stay patient. I'm trying to stay positive. I'm trying to find ways to give him options. And to feel empowered. 


I have to admit. It's not easy. It hasn't been easy. At times, it's been downright difficult. And very exhausting. 

"Take things away from him," some people say. "Punish him," other folks say. "Give him a consequence at home," someone else said. "Give him a beating," someone else said. 


I'm trying to explain to folks that I can't fix Aiden's behavior -- or help him fix his behavior -- without helping him understand where the behavior is coming from. That's the underlying issue here. I can take as many things away from him as possible and it still won't fix his behavior because I'm not addressing the actual issue. 

I want to instill character in him. And discipline. And self-control. I want him to be happy and emotionally healthy. I want others to see in him what I see in him -- a loving and caring and sweet boy with lots of potential. I want them to know that he's a pretty good kid. Because he is

So I've been reaching out. And asking the male mentors for help. Because, although I'm a single parent to him, I don't have to parent alone. To me, Aiden's in a crisis. And to me, this is an emergency. One that requires reaching out and praying and asking for help and showing him even more love and affection than I normally would. 

It takes a village, right? 

So I'm calling on that village. Come hell or high-water, we're gonna help Aiden smooth out this rough patch

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Smoothing Out Rough Patches

lunch date at Jacobs Pickles
I'm sitting on the sidelines watching Aiden in his karate class. He's paying close attention, trying to get the moves down, and working. Hard. It's after school on a Tuesday evening and I know he's had a long day at school, but he's still working. Hard. And paying attention. Closely. And not wiggling or fidgeting. For once.

The Sensei is tough. Loving and warm, but tough nonetheless. Very funny. But still tough. The assistant instructors/Senseis are attentive, meticulous, and equally tough. I like them for Aiden. I like this program for him. And thankfully, he seems to like it too. 

Not gonna lie, these past few months have been hard for Aiden. (And hard for me as I try to figure him out during this phase and figure out how to support him.) 

He's having to deal with a lot of changes that's out of his control -- being reintroduced to his other parent, learning that he has a lawyer, meeting said lawyer to talk about his life and thoughts on visiting with his other parent, going on supervised visits with his other parent and eventually having to go on unsupervised visits Friday evenings with his other parent... no matter how much he whines and cries about not wanting to go... 

Oh, and he's also had (has) to watch my belly get bigger and bigger as we get ready for Baby Delicious.

Drop Everything and Read event at his school
School started a few weeks ago and second grade's been tough so far. Not so much academically, although he hates the fact that he has to do a lot more writing than he did in first grade. (The writer in me cringes at the thought of this, but, to each his own, right?) Behaviorally, it's been a challenge for him. 

Aiden's always been the type to negotiate and weigh all his options before making decisions...
But can I do it this way instead? What's gonna happen if I do it this way? Are you gonna get mad? Don't you think it makes more sense if we...? How 'bout I rest for a little while and THEN read my book? But you say we don't watch TV on the weekdays, but when I go to bed, I hear the TV on in the living room... 
He's bound to be a lawyer or CEO or entrepreneur when he grows up. Trust me on this because he's a master negotiator, that kid. 

But he's never downright decided not to follow directions. Not like this anyway. Not this frequently either. In school, he's just saying, "No" when he doesn't want to do something. Or completely shutting down and being unresponsive to his teachers. At home, he's talking back. Constantly. Like, all... the... time. 

And I know it's because he feels powerless and he's trying to find his power in a world that seems confusing and, well, powerless, to him. I know he wants to be able to make decisions for himself. I know he's still trying to work through his feelings and make sense of it all. 

The other day, during a particularly hard afternoon at school, his teacher called me so that I could speak with him over the phone in hopes of soothing him. As I was speaking to him on the phone, he was crying. When I asked him what was wrong, he said, "I'm frustrated and mad and I don't know what's wrong."

My heart ached. Literally. 

I'm trying to help him work through his feelings in a productive way. Without being defiant or destructive or unsafe with his body. I'm his mama bear and cheerleader and coach and I will literally move mountains and make the impossible happen to help him work through this rough phase. 

I've already been conferencing with his School Psychologist and I'm in touch with his teacher several times throughout the day via text or phone call. We're coming up with a plan that'll help him make it through. After school, he's playing basketball and dancing hip-hop and practicing karate. All things that make him happy. On the weekends, we're snuggling up and talking and playing Minecraft and planning adventures. And he loves it. 

We're a team. We've always been a team and I've always had his back. 

I look up from my phone and glance over at Aiden's Sensei who is making his way towards Aiden. Sensei helps Aiden with his form and posture and Aiden quickly corrects his stance. Sensei gives him a pat on the back and Aiden smiles with pride. 

He's gonna be okay. I'm his mother and I'll make damn sure that I help him smooth out this rough patch.

Monday, September 7, 2015

{Personal Style} A Touch of Pink

skinies and tank: Target | pumps: Kohl's | clutch: Aldo | blazer and necklace: H&M

Happy Labor Day!

This weekend, I celebrated the love of two of my sweet (and stylish) friends, D and N at their wedding shower. It was an all-white event, and while I was on the hunt for a white outfit to go along with my baby bump, I decided to break the rules... just a little bit.

In addition to the white skinny jeans and crisp, white (comfortable) tank, I added a bold statement necklace and bright pink blazer. The trendy peep-toe pumps was the perfect finish to the summery-looking outfit. I'm lucky that, at 26 weeks, 3 days, I still feel good enough to be able to wear heals and I'm gonna ride it out for as long as it'll last.

D and N, sorry I broke the rules. Blame it on Baby Delicious.

Hope you all are enjoying your long weekend. Have a great week!

Stay stylish!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Baby Delicious Is A...

Me, being the Perfect Attendance Fairy Princess at work!
Baby Delicious enjoys these good times!

Aiden: She's kicking and moving a lot in there.
Me: Why do you keep calling the baby a "she"?
Aiden: I dunno. I just think it's a girl.
Me: It's not. It's a boy.
Aiden: Oh good... then I don't have to scream. (Refer to this post to get some background.)
Me: I guess not. But... I wouldn't mind having a girl this time.
Aiden: Because you already have a boy, right? And what are you gonna do with another one? Right?

A few hours later...
Aiden: I'm gonna teach him how to play with my DS.
Me: I don't think he'll be quite ready to play with your DS when he's born.
Aiden: Yeah... he'll just sleep and cry.

A few hours later...
Aiden: Mommy, what will you do if you have a fire drill in your school and you forget the baby in his stroller?
Me: Why would I forget my baby? I'll have the baby with me. I'll carry it.
Aiden: You can't carry the baby around the school and go into classrooms with the baby.
Me: Why?
Aiden: It's too distracting!
Me: Aiden... I wouldn't bring my baby to work.
Aiden: Then where would you put it?
Me: In daycare! Or with a babysitter! What'd you think I did with you when you were a baby?!
Aiden: I dunno! I don't remember!

I think I'm in for double the fun with two boys. Can't wait to meet Baby Delicious!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Gearing Up for Back-to-School with Netflix

Summer's quickly winding down and the start of the school year is quickly approaching, if it hasn't done so already. (We welcomed our students back from Summer break two weeks ago, and other schools here in NYC are close behind us.)

But before you have one last hurrah and plan a boat-load of extracurricular after school activities for your littles, let's make sure that their minds are right and ready to go! With the help of Netflix.com, it's easier than ever to stream educational programs that'll help your kids get back into the swing of things. Here are a few faves to add to your back-to-school must watch list:

Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius
When gooey green aliens kidnap all the adults in Retroville, it's up to 11-year-old Jimmy Neutron to figure out a plan to rescue them. Funny, adventurous, and totally badass, this is not only a great way to get this kids geared up for back-to-school, but also a great way to get them to think creatively and outside the box.

How the States Got Their Shapes 
Brian Unger is the host of this clever road documentary series, which blends history, politics, and geography to show how America's states got their borders. It's super fun and educational, and a great show for kids interested in all things geography!

The Magic School Bus
Does this show ever go out of style?! Aiden and I have so many books in this series and we absolutely love them! All of them! The TV show just brings the books to life as wacky Ms. Fizzle takes her class to outer space, under the sea, through an anthill, and inside the human body in educational and fun adventures!

What are you streaming on Netflix to get your kids ready for the back-to-school season?!

{Disclaimer: As a member of the Netflix Stream Team Blogger Ambassador Program, this post is sponsored by Netflix. Thank you for supporting Mommy Delicious.}

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

{Personal Style} Loving on The Little Black Dress

dress and necklace: H&M maternity | shoes: Prabal Gurung for Target | ring: Aldo Accessories 

I've mastered the art of the little black dress, sans the baby bump. But every since Baby Delicious is making my bump more and more apparent, I've been trying to figure out how to rock this thing out in a fashionable way.

I've always loved the little black dress. It's sophisticated and sexy -- what's not to love?! I can were it to work or when I'm hanging out with friends, which is my kind of versatility.

I paired this dress with a few statement pieces for a stylish finish -- a bold necklace, an oversized ring, and colorfully funky heels (one of my favorite pieces in my closet!).

Both the growing bump and I give this dress two thumbs all the way up! Hope you all are having a great week.

Stay Stylish!


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