Monday, November 13, 2017

{Kids Style File} To Be Fresh, Fly, and Ten-Years-Old


The other day, Aiden and I were out shopping and I found myself schooling him on how to tell if something is priced too high, what the actual worth of the product is, and how/where he could go to get a better deal. Because: bargain hunting! Duh!

Truth be told, I find myself doing that a lot these days with him -- schooling him on life. Particularly, things in life for when he doesn't have me standing right next to him to answer his questions or bail him out of a potential problem.

I find myself teaching him how to be smart and savvy. I find myself pointing things out that seem sketchy, suspect, a little weird. I find myself teaching him why it's important to exercise self-control, especially when he's riding these NYC trains. I find myself teaching him how to be a cautiously optimistic New Yorker.

Quite frankly, I find myself teaching him how to be independent.





Because homie is ten-years-old now. And although he still believes in the Tooth Fairy, the pre-teen years are upon us and before I know it, he's gonna be independent.

Before I know it, he'll be traveling to and from school on his own instead of having me chaperone him, he's gonna be hanging out with friends instead of having me bring him on a playdate, and he's gonna be learning how to navigate through life.

Before I know it, he'll be weaving in and out of friendships and learning how to find his way and find his people.


I'm not quite ready of all of that yet, but Aiden's excited and ready. I can tell. Plus, he's had years of experience of watching me hustle and grind.

Little by little, I know that I'll be able to foster a little more independence in him and help him become a little more self-aware.


And to think that just two years ago I was right in the thick of fighting like hell to get him to reach him full capacity and just last year we were right in the thick of making appointments with a psychiatrist and coming to terms with our "new normal".

I'm happy to report that these days, things are pretty damn good. *wipes forehead and brushes shoulders off* The kid is crushing it in school, he's really into sports, he has solid friendships and loves to hang out with them, he's learning how to control him impulses and manage his frustrations, and, most of all... he's happy.

He's happy.

My baby is happy.

And fly.

And dope-boy fresh. (Shout-out to Jay-Z.)

What a difference a year makes!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Ten Years In the Game


Aiden turned ten the other day and my mind is blown at the fact that I actually have a ten-year-old. That I've actually been responsible for the growth and development and well-being of another person for ten whole years. That I've actually survived -- and thrived -- at this thing called Motherhood.

Whew!




That kid.

He makes me laugh, smile, think critically, contemplate, cry, go back to the drawing board, think some more, parent the hell out of him, and repeat.

Aiden and I... we've been through some things together. Even though I've been raising him, he's seen me grow up and glow up. He's seen me through many stages and phases. He's seen me through ups and downs, highs and lows. He's seen me fail over and over again, buckle down, grind through, and crawl towards success.

Aiden knows what it's like to watch his mother grind.
Apple picking in NJ 
Disney World
He knows what it's like to wake up at 5am and get dropped off at the babysitter's house because mommy's gotta get to work. Then fall back asleep for an hour or two and get dropped off at school at 8:30am by the babysitter, not your mom. Then get picked up from school by the babysitter and not see your mommy until well into the evening.

Because we've been there.

He knows what it's like to nap under the desk in my office because, even though he was tired from waking up at 5am, we couldn't go home until the work got done.

Because we've been there.



Modeling Uggs at Kids Fashion Week aka PetiteParade

Ballet-ing it up!
Columbia University, my alma mater

He knows what it's like to be displaced and still have to wake up the next morning at 5am to get mommy to work on time and himself to school on time. Because momma don't play that.

And yes... we've been there too.

He's seen me go from a stressed and stretched-too-thin graduate student to a stressed and stretched-too-thin single mom to a broke recent grad to a busy employee. He's seen me figure out how to make it all work in order to become the Vice Principal that I am today.

He's been right in the thick of things when we were a family of three, then a family of two, then a family of three again, and now a family of four. (No, I'm not pregnant -- yes, I'm including HEB in our little family.)

He's seen me struggle financially and borrow from Peter to pay Paul and make a dollar out of fifteen cents. But he's also seen me sacrifice and save and pay for some pretty epic adventures and vacations. From the beaches on the Jersey Shore to museums in Philly to ice skating and sight-seeing in Chi-Town to Puerto Rico to Costa Rica to cruising all over the Caribbean... we've had a crap load of fun. Together.

Philly

NYC

Chicago

Costa Rica
Jersey Shore



Puerto Rico
He's seen me learn -- the hard way -- that I've gotta take care of myself first. Especially if I'm gonna be the kick-ass mom that he deserves.

Speaking of kick-ass, he's seen me advocate for him and cheer him on and fight like hell to get him what he needs to be successful. He's seen me be thoughtful in the parenting game and get him what he needs -- be it counseling, a psychiatric evaluation, participation in sports, or supervised visits with his other parent. One thing Aiden knows for sure is that I will never not fight like hell for him.

Because we've been there.

And I'll always find more fight inside of me when it comes to that little boy.





He's seen me lose my cool and get it back again. He's seen me lose my way, get stuck, get unstuck, and try to find my way back to myself again. Another again.

And yet, raising him has taught me that I don't have to be defined by my worst decisions. I can learn and grow and move forward. Gracefully. I can bow out of toxic situations and toxic relationships. Safely. And gracefully. I can show up for myself and put on my oxygen mask first.. before taking care of him.




Ten years.

Of ups and downs and losses and lessons learned.






Ten years.

We made it. We're making it.

And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

What Progress Feels Like


A few weeks ago, I made the decision that I was going to start showing up for myself in everything that I do.

I came to that conclusion because I was quite literally in the midst of being stretched too thin and having a breakdown. Again. 

I mean, I do so much for other people. For Aiden. For August. For my students. For my teachers. For my family. For HEB. But that whole notion of the strong black woman who does everything for everyone else and goes without? That no longer sits well with me.

Because while I'm doing all these things for other folks, who's doing things for me? Who's making sure that I've eaten, that I'm handling my stress and workload well? Who's making sure that I'm sleeping alright and working out and drinking enough water? Who's making sure that I'm doing well physically and mentally and all that jazz? Who's checking for me?

The answer? Not enough people.

Because I come off as strong and put together and kinda, sorta, maybe, quite alright -- whatever that means -- then folks are going to think that it's okay not to check up on me.

But you know what?

I'm learning to show up for myself. I'm learning to create boundaries and stick to them. Even if it means someone is going to be upset with me. They will deal! I'm learning to have difficult conversations with folks and stick up for myself. Even if it means they will be upset with me.


I'm learning to teach people how to treat me by showing them how I treat myself.

And you know what? It feels damn good, this progress.

I kinda like this version of Alicia.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Fixer Upper, Apartment Style: Boys Room

HEB and I recently officially moved in together after unofficially living together over the past 3-4 years. Which means that the boys and I recently moved. Which means that I've been getting my Fixer-Upper-meets-Property-Brothers-meets-House-Hunters-Renovations on. And it's actually been really fun!

I didn't think I had it in me, but painting, sanding things down, and transforming furniture pieces and different spaces makes me feel very accomplished! Apparently I missed my calling as an Interior Designer.


I used minimal paint for the room since I had these cool peel-and-stick triangles sticker thingys that I wanted to use all over the walls. Also, it's such a quick way to transform a space -- it literally took me 10 minutes to put them up! I still may go back to paint the walls at a later time, but for now... white it is!

Because the room isn't large and the closets practically take up one full wall... and I wanted to keep Aiden's lofted Ikea Kura bed, I decided to paint the bed white. Ya know, to make it seem less bulky and sleek and whatnot. (At least that's what the design expects say to do.)

Here's a picture of what the bed looked like before:


I removed the letters A-I-D-E-N and the toy car, wiped down, sanded, and painted that bad boy with three coats of white paint. (Thank you YouTube and all the design blogs out there for hooking a sistah up!)

I kept some of his storage baskets and toy chest because the kid has mad toys and puzzles and little big boy things. I added a bean bag to his under bed area because he loves to sit and read there... or watch football videos on his iPad... or eat snacks. It's become his little oasis and I think it's so cute.





Then I threw some chalkboard paint up on some of the closet doors, hung up the kids' art work here and there, and voila! The #BROS room was made!






With the wall space and storage space above the closets, it was really fun designing different areas of the room. It all ties together, but they definitely feel like distinct spaces within the space. (Ha! I sound like an Interior Designer already!)




Also, I learned that the key to making spaces shine in pictures is... close ups. Seriously! It's makes a world of difference when showcasing a space.

Filed under: Things no one tells you about decorating and designs and pics and ish. #MindBlown










The big challenge was fitting Aiden's lofted bed and August's crib in the space, which took some navigating and moving things around several times before I settled on this current layout. I totally overestimated how much space the room had when I toured the apartment so next time I'll use measuring tape for things like this.

Another (less big) challenge was hiding the door that connects the boy's room to the master bedroom because I do not want them as extended roommate. Which is why the navy curtain is so important.

A third (more obvious) challenge was the shared space challenge. Space ain't all that full and plentiful in NYC so these bros had to share a room. And I wanted to make the space feel fun enough for a toddler, yet cool enough for a 10-year-old.




Mission accomplished, I think.

What are your thoughts on the space? Also, who wants to come help me paint the entry way hallway, master bedroom, and kitchen?

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...