Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Can A Man be A "Good Father" If He's a Batterer?


This is a serious question. And one that I've been asking myself over and over again the past few weeks. Some days, I'm all like, "Well, okay… maybe he can kinda sorta be a good-enough father." Other days, I'm all like, "No. Nope. Negative. Not even a little bit. Sorry, wrong number. I don't think so. N-o-p-e. Nope."

The reason for The Ask?

Aiden's estranged other parent came back into the picture after three years and started stalking and harassing me. Around the same time that I got a restraining order, he asked for visitation rights. Because I am who I am, I asked that the visits be supervised, and they've been having weekly supervised visits with Safe Horizon ever since. 

Now, we're at the next step, which would be unsupervised day visits in the community for a few hours. The step after that will be overnight visits. (And my heart will crumble into a million and one pieces because I won't be able to protect Aiden when he needs it the most.)

I get it. Kids need both parents. I've said this before. Over and over again. I know that having a positive relationship with both parents is ideal. 

But kids also need parents who are good role models for them. They need parents who are selfless and caring and loving and patient and understanding and nurturing. They need parents who are responsible. Especially my baby. (Color me biased. I'm cool with that.) 

They need parents who are financially dependable when circumstances are in their favor. (Let's not even talk about the fact that Aiden's other parent owes over $10,000 in back child support.)

And, know this: This is not about the money because I don't get down like that. I make a good salary, have a thriving side hustle, and, thankfully, I have always been able to provide for Aiden. We're far from rich, but Aiden's enjoyed private school in NYC, enriching summer camps, extracurricular activities, cultural outings and events all over the city, and both domestic and international vacations. 

It's not that I wouldn't want Aiden to have some type of positive relationship with his father. I'd actually prefer it to be that way. But, as time went by, I've come to terms with the kind of person he truly is: a batterer. Who needs help. Who won't stop until he kills someone. Ask me how I know. 


If it were just one incident of physical abuse, maybe — just maybe — I'd be on the side of "Well, okay… maybe he can kinda sorta be a good-enough father."

But it wasn't. 

The very last incident took place in my apartment. That's when he strangled me until I passed out... three times in one night. He was mad at me for getting mad at him for taking money from me without my permission. (In the real world, we call that stealing.)

The time before that took place in my bedroom. That's when he snatched my cellphone away from me while I was in the middle of a conversation and attempted to throw it. He was mad at me for not giving him the attention he wanted.

The time before that took place in my living room. That's when he strangled me until I passed out... twice in one night. He was mad at me for getting mad at him for arguing with two random guys during our date night at a bar. After I woke up, he took my keys and cellphone so that I wouldn't call anyone or try to leave my apartment. (In the real world, we call that holding someone hostage.)

The time before that took place by the foyer in my apartment. He dragged me across the floor. I still have the scar on my shoulder from the rug burn because of it.

The time before that took place in a hotel room while we were out of town celebrating my birthday. He threw me up against the wall and then body slammed me unto the bed. He was mad at me because I wouldn't give him my hard earned money to leave me alone in a hotel room and go to a strip club during my birthday weekend celebration.

The time before that took place in the bedroom. He handcuffed me to Aiden's crib because he was jealous after I received a phone call from a male friend. (He used to be a security guard so the handcuffs were from his job. And yes, Aiden was in the crib at the time.)


If it were just me, maybe — just maybe — I'd be on the side of "Well, okay… maybe he can kinda sorta be a good-enough father." 

But it wasn't. 

In an email exchange between his oldest daughters' mother and me, she mentioned that the day she decided to leave him for good was because he strangled her so hard that he left both his hand prints on her neck… that it was a near-death experience… and she that she was two months pregnant at the time. She said that she endure a lot of physical abuse before leaving. 

In the police report with his oldest son's mother, she mentioned that he tried to suffocate her by putting a plastic bag over her head on one occasion… put glue traps in her hair on another occasion… and took her keys and phone and held her hostage in his apartment (sound familiar?), just to name a few. She also endured a lot of emotional and physical abuse before leaving. 

In a phone conversation with his youngest daughter's mother and me, she mentioned that he physically assaulted her, and, as a result, spent two nights in jail. She also endured a lot of physical, financial, and emotional abuse. But at least she was brave enough to actually report it to the police. 

Yes, I've been in touch with all three of them over the years. Yes, we've talked about the abuse because I needed to attempt to understand the kind of person he truly was. Is. Yes, he has other children with other women. Five or six, to be exact. With four or five different women. 


And spare me the judgement and the "Why do victims stay?" kind of questions. Instead, click this link, let it marinate, ask "Why are folks batterers?", and then get back to me. 

Also, spare me the "Has he ever hit Aiden?" kind of questions because I'm not here for it. Children of batterers can be at just as much risk psychologically, sexually, and even physically after the parents split up as they were when the parents were still together. Matter of fact, many kids experience the most damaging victimization from the abuser at this point. (I obviously took that last point from a research article because I've been consumed with this for the past few weeks.)


I am responsible for what happens to Aiden. 

I am responsible for his well-being. 

I am responsible for shielding him from situations that are dangerous and unsafe. 

With his background, this batterer wouldn't be likely to get a job working with children. Most folks wouldn't even trust him to pet sit for them. Why trust him with the well-being of an actual child instead of holding him accountable and demanding that he gets the help that he actually needs?

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Brit + Co Stylish Moms Round-Up


Exciting news!

Brit+Co put together a list of stylish moms who inspire folks to spice up theirs -- and their children's -- wardrobes. And, although I'm being a teeny bit biased, I must admit, they've put together a pretty kick-ass list. 

Not only does the list include Aiden and yours truly, but also a group of other mom-and-kiddo duos who bring new meaning to the phrase "double-trouble." 



I may or may not have shed a tear when they referred to me as, "an inspirational mama who pulls together mommy-and-son looks that always make us smile. We've got one word for her: Ah-mazing."

Right back at ya, Brit+Co. Right back at ya!

Head on over to their website to check it out!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Importance of Telling the Truth with Netflix


We've reached that age. Aiden's not only telling knock-knock jokes and attempting to pull pranks, but he's also starting to experiment with little white lies.

Oy!

And I'm trying to decipher which one is a "big" deal and which one I could simply chalk up to "that age" or "kids being kids."

Sigh.

We certainly have conversations about it and we'll keep talking about it until he "gets it." Until then, we'll read books and watch movies and TV shows that'll highlight what I'm talking about -- the difference between the truth, a white lie, and a lie lie.

Thankfully, Netflix.com has some good picks that'll help get the message across. That Aiden likes to watch.


Jessie
For some reason, my pre-teen niece has Aiden hooked on this show. (He pretty much worships the ground she walks on so anything she likes is considered "cool" to him.) Jessie tells the story of a Texas-transplant teenager living in NYC as a nanny for a wealthy family of six.

Not only does the show feature funny adventures (just imagine all that can go down with four kids, one nanny, wealth parents, and a 7-foot Asian water monitor lizard as a pet), but a specific episode in season 1, World Wide Web of Lies, focuses on how one little white lie can -- and often will -- lead to other lies. Needless to say, the moral of the episode is this: don't tell lies.



A.N.T. Farm
Another show that the kid is currently into, A.N.T. Farm features a young music prodigy, Chyna Parks, who goes to high school as part of an Advanced Natural Talents (A.N.T.) program. As you can imagine, the "real" high schoolers aren't feeling the fact that Chyna and other participants of the program, Olive and Fletcher, are there. But... they try to make the most of their experience regardless.

Episode 9 of season 3, Pants on Fire, has proven to be a really good show for opening the dialogue with kids about lying versus truth-telling and what lying can potentially do to friendships (ie: ruin trust).

Help a sista out... what are some ways that you speak to your kids about little white lies?!

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

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Milestones



"Mommy, what do you get when you have a snowman and a vampire?"

"I dunno. What?"

"Frostbites. Get it?! Because the snowman gives you frost, and the vampire bites you. Get it?!"

This is where we are right now. In the age of pranks and practical jokes and knock-knock jokes and every other type of joke. It's cute.

Aiden's got a big personality and is always full of love and life and wants to share it with others.

We always focus on big milestones. You know, the ones where our babies learn to walk and talk and start school and all that fun stuff. But, these days, I find myself smiling over other milestones.


Like when Aiden reads books to me. And fluently! Not with those choppy sentences where I feel like pulling my hair out because of how slowly he's reading.

Or when he designs math problems for me (instead of me designing math problems for him) and shows me the step-by-step process to solve them.

Or like when Aiden learns how to ride a two-wheel scooter. Fast. Really fast. Scary fast.

Or like when he sets an agenda for his weekend activities without consulting me. Because he knows what he likes and knows what he's interested in.

Or like when he knows that a certain TV show comes on at a certain times and claims, "I have to watch my show tonight!" Well, alright then.


Or when he shows up at home with love notes in his backpack from girls in his class. Oh, Lawd... I ain't even ready!

Or when he wants to pick out his own school clothes because he knows what he likes and knows what he's in the mood to wear on any given day.

All these milestones leave me feeling bitter-sweet. He's not a baby anymore. He's like... a real person. Happy, healthy, thriving. I could not be more proud of him.


Did I forget anything? What are some of the "other" milestones that we need to celebrate in our babies?!

Monday, April 20, 2015

{Personal Style} Bardot Tops and Midi Dresses



dress: River Island | shoes: Elle | clutch: Aldo Accessories | stacked bracelets: Stella&Dot

"A wedding?! I could handle weddings!"

That's the first thing Aiden said to me when he found out I was traveling to Atlanta for the weekend and he was staying in NYC.

"Oh, I know why I can't come. Because they're gonna be serving drinks that are not for kids there. But they might have water too, right? But I don't really want to drink water that much. I like apple juice."

Yes, Aiden... that's exactly why you couldn't come. #SenseTheSarcasm

gotta love a beautiful wedding cake... and a selfie! 
Over the weekend, HEB and I headed to Atlanta for the wedding of one of his closest friends. Since I'm sorta kinda maybe falling out of love with mini dresses (are you allowed to wear them as often as I was wearing 'em passed the age of 30?!), I decided to think of another assest to highlight (I love my legs, but my shoulders and collarbone are close seconds).

Enter the mega-flattering bardot top.

When I spotted this off-the shoulder coral bodycon midi dress, I had to have. HEB was all like, "Umm... where are you gonna go with that dress." And I was all like, "Umm... I live in NYC, I'll find a place to wear it to, duh!"

And then the wedding gave me the best excuse to rock the dress.

via the River Island website
The dress features an invisible zipper in the back, hugs in all the right places, and is designed with a 1950's/1960's-inspired bardot neckline for a uber-glamorous finish. I paired it with floral peep-toe pumps and a nude clutch, both of which complimented the coral dress perfectly.

We had a fun, flirty time, especially in the photo/video booth...

#NoBehavior
#SophisticatedIgnorance (That's a Kanye reference.)
And I even managed to bring Aiden back a souvenir -- the complimentary cinnamon cookies that Delta Air gives out to passengers. I hyped the cookies up so much that he was SO excited to eat 'em. After eating them, he said, "We have to learn how to make these cookies!" Score! 


Hope you all had a great weekend. Thankfully, Spring has finally sprung so the good weather is here to stay. (Hopefully.) Stay stylish!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

On Perseverance and Looking Forward


When I was six-years-old, my family and I were at a picnic and, for some reason, I signed up for the race for my age group. When the race started, I took off. 

Full speed. 

I was in the lead. But I wanted to see how far away from me the people behind me were.

So I looked back. And I finished the race in second place.  

The next year, when I was seven-years-old, I signed up for the race again. I was a pretty solid runner (for my age) and I was so sure that I was going to win. When the race started, I took off. 

Full speed. Again. 

I was in the lead. Again. But... I wanted to see how far away from me the other people were.

So I looked back. Again. And I finished the race in second place. Again.

When I turned eight-years-old, I signed up for the same race at the same picnic. This time, I had a plan: keep looking forward. When the race started, I took off.

Full speed. 

I was in the lead. Again.

Only this time, I kept looking forward and stayed in the lead.

I finished the race... in first place.


And that was my first life lesson in the beauty of perseverance, grit, and looking forward. 

Stop looking back at the things that are weighing you down or keeping you stagnant. You're so much better than that. You're capable of greatness and can do awesome things if you just keep moving forward. Even if you have slip-ups or setbacks, keep going.

Endure.

And look forward. You'll be amazed at what you can accomplish.

{This post was originally published on April 25, 2013, but the message is timeless.}

Friday, April 10, 2015

Family Fun at LEGOLAND Florida Resort

via LEGOLAND website
Ever since Aiden and I came back from playing tourists in Chicago, we decided that one of our next vacations would be somewhere warm.

Well, he decided. And I concurred.

As Aiden said, "I liked Chicago, but... too cold. Let's go someplace warm next time." So this summer, I'm planning a trip to sunny Florida so we can check out LEGOLAND Florida and the LEGOLAND Florida Resort. (I haven't told Aiden yet because I want him to be so psyched when he finds out!)

I'm particularly excited because there are so many new things to see and do at the interactive theme park where legos come to life and where there are more than 50 rides, attractions, and shows. Not to mention that, as of May 15, 2015, the LEGOLAND Florida Resort will officially be opened for the season for families to enjoy.

We'll be staying at the resort so I'll be happy to report more on that once I experience it first-hand, but I'm most excited that it's just steps from the main entrance of LEGOLAND Florida and guest have exclusive early morning access to the theme park. Score! 

Other things that are pretty exciting?!

  • A disco elevator (I mean... c'mon!)
  • The family pool that overlooks Lake Eloise
  • A themed play area 
  • A family restaurant right on the resort premises
  • WiFi in all the hotel rooms (obviously this is really important)
  • A choice between themed rooms -- Pirate, Adventure, Kingdom, or Friends


And speaking of themed bedrooms... a few weeks ago, Aiden and I were invited to see a mock-up of the hotel rooms at an event here in NYC. Three rooms themes include pirates, adventure, and kingdom fulfilling children's dreams and letting them expand on their creativity and imaginations. Each room is super special with it's own children's area, complete with bunk beds, a trundle bed, their own TV, LEGO models, and a treasure chest. 

Sounds like heaven on Earth for a kid, right? And particularly for my lego-loving boy! 

I can't wait to see the look on Aiden's face when he finds out we're heading to LEGOLAND Florida and staying at LEGOLAND Florida Resort. 

Ready to plan your family vacation? Visit their website for more information. (You're welcome.)

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