Meals on Wheels: Teaching Citizenship 

The Kid has been learning that he is part of a Village as both recipient and giver of help and support. One of the benefits of homeschooling is that we can take advantage of our community’s programs that occur during the school day. Meals on Wheels has been such a beautiful tool to connect us to generations of veterans, experienced and wise people. Today’s volunteer appreciation luncheon also gave The Kid a chance to practice impromptu speaking. He did an amazing job! ​

50 second vacation in a glass

I’ll keep this shawt and sweet. Combine a 4 oz of Master of Mixes Margarita Mixer, 2 oz Agave 99 Tequila Silver with a few heavy shakes of Twangerz Chili Lime Salt. Chill with ice. Enjoy your super fast drink. It’s a quick trip to the tropics in 50 seconds. Thank me lata 

Balance and Bliss in Motherhood 

I’m pretty honest with you all. I want to share a side of motherhood and marriage that I don’t think is often seen or shared. A certain amount of Selfishness is an asset. Motherhood can be a sinkhole that swallows you whole. How many Moms do you know who have a baby then disappear into the role? I’ve almost done it. Shit. Actually, I did it then rescued myself (thank you Jeffrey for being worth the rescue mission) . It took a babyless vacation to remind me of what I was slipping away from- myself. He was almost 3. We dropped that little dude off with someone who I trusted with his life, hopped a flight and blissed out in Jamaica. Ok wait. I cried the first evening, maybe out of guilt or possibly fear of not knowing how to enjoy MYSELF. And then it hit me, being selfish pulls you out of the sinkhole and makes you a better wife, Mom and, most importantly, friend to yourself and “meeter” of your needs. And since then, my life in motherhood, marriage and being me has been beautiful and balanced. This idea that the best Moms sacrifice all of themselves is a lie. Those are the most stressed, unhappy and regretful Moms. (That was almost me) Yes, there is sacrifice but no different than that required to be successful in your marriage or career since all of the above cause lead to a loss of self. Balance can be the elusive thing in most homes. I felt that ping of “what if we never had kids” only during times of imbalance (too much energy going out, none coming in to replenish). I thought that imbalance was required because I was raised by a Mother who often had no choice but to sacrifice all despite what she needed. Now I know that the best thing I can do is be the most present, patient and loving Mom I can be. Then, hit the illest three wheel motion (see below) with my Boo in the driver seat or by myself, with the back of these beautiful babies’ heads in our/my rear view mirror. Lata suckas (I breastfeed). Then go get it in like there’s no tomorrow. For me, it was Motherhood that taught me to prioritize fun and freedom and most of all myself. I agree it’s not for everyone and to thine own self be true. Motherhood was always a goal, it just has to be accomplished at the time I felt was right. And I did it in my own time. It’s always scary to make a human and you’re never fully prepared since they’re a huge variable. I just had to learn how to do it with balance and roll with the punches. I got it now and it’s the sweetest life I can imagine. I can bob and weave with the best of ‘em. I’m up right now getting that balance-candlelit shower with a 90’s RnB sing-a-long. Yep, it (life/parenthood/marriage) has real difficulties but what doesn’t? Hell, putting together an Ikea shelf can make you drink.

The two princes of our hearts: The Kid and The Itty Bitty. 

Milk is going for Round 2!

So nice, we did it twice.

I checked the Chinese Calendars, I ate a diet to make my body more acidic, I did other ridiculous things… and was defeated by genetics and the desires of The Kid for a Baby Brother. When that balloon popped and blue confetti flew out, it slapped me in the face and choked me-literally. I mean ALL THE CONFETTI descended heavily upon my head and, with my eyes closed, I inhaled in an effort to gain the courage to open my eyes. The inhale welcomed blue feathers and confetti into my throat. I coughed for two days. I found blue stuff inside my dress and bra hours after the private gender reveal for The Hubs and me. (Notice how my mouth is closed in the second set of pictures? This was two weeks later at the public gender reveal party.)AF6EB928-9072-478E-AA61-12793CF3BB11

 

( I did a little Roc kick when the cameras were off…you know what I’m talking about! THIS ROC…the fist pump and kick)     Roc_Ella_Joyce_Charles_S_Dutton

It was as if my son to be said, “HA! TAKE THIS MILK!!! I’M ALLLLLL OVER THIS BI$%&!”

I hear you Baby J! We are so excited to have Baby J join the mess that is this loving family. He is the song that the Fat Lady Sings. He is the heavy curtain that drops loudly after the Vaudeville encore. He is the One I already love more than words- and we haven’t technically met.

The reality of it is, there are many reasons I wantED (notice the past tense, Baby J?!) a girl. Yes, I wanted to buy pink and green things. Yes, I wanted to braid hair and style sweet little curls into the perfect ‘do. YES! I wanted to shop for life’s big moments: graduations, proms, a WEDDING! I wanted my amazing husband to let his daughter wrap her tiny fingers around his. I wanted him to hold her hand through all of life’s ups and downs-loving her unconditionally and in the only way that The Hubs does – beautifully and selflessly.

So yes! I wantED a girl! None of which was rooted in not liking little boys. I LOVE my son and the new sweetie too! I already fiercely protect both of them daily. And that’s just it.

In a time where lynchings still happen, racial kidnappings still happen, segregation still happens (legally), and mass incarceration is back on the Legislation table, poorly disguised as a war on crime- having another little Black man to fret over was just overwhelming. I KNOW that daughters bring their own worries too (Sandra Bland, Tanisha Anderson, Yvette Smith-just to name a VERY few). Yet our boys become seen as men as early as age 9. Our Men are seen as threats more readily than neutral.

Studies of deliberately neutral faces (faces showing no emotional facial expressions) find that observers report Black people’s faces to appear angry. One study showed a White face, Black face or other image and at the same time shocked people with a low voltage but uncomfortable electrical shock. This pairing produced a “fear response” whenever the Black face or shock-associated image was shown. The study then showed that Black face or other shock-associated image multiple times WITHOUT the shock in an attempt to get rid of the mental fear that a shock was coming. They found that it was difficult and in some cases impossible to disconnect the physical response of fear of an impending shock from the Black face but not the White face. The study said that perhaps the Black face had an element of natural fear producing similar to the sight of a snake or other natural threat. This natural fear made it harder to disconnect the fear from the face, even after the person was given plenty of time to “know” that no shock was coming. This study was done in the last 20 years and the findings were replicated many times. Furthermore, a 2015 study from NYU found that stress compromised the ability of a person to treat strangers as individuals and instead increased the person’s sensitivity to irrelevant social feedback. So whereas the color of one’s skin might be irrelevant to some, in a stressful situation, all of a sudden race becomes a factor. Given the well-established value of “Blackness”, it’s more than likely to trigger the “natural fear”.

WHEW! You see what happened there? That’s where my mind goes after a lifetime of being Black in America coupled with 6 years of Neuroscience research and reading in graduate school. This is the domino effect I have when I think about how the heavily-armed world sees my sons and male family members. WHO would sign up for double the fear? Apparently me.

So, as I continue to homeschool and enjoy The Kid and wait impatiently on Baby J, I ask that you consider the paragraph above and do you own research. I ask that you think of the joy I felt and how it was tinged with fear that I now have two amazing, beautiful, brilliant little boys who will someday become men. I ask you to celebrate the fullness of my joy with me. And, I ask you to be empathetic of my fears that my little boys might one day be perceived as angry or as a threat and trigger some person in Blue Uniform or person who is licensed to carry. I ask you to consider the singular experience of Black parents who raise their children in America. We do it in constant hope that our children will be given a chance to live freely, make mistakes without street justice, and grow into the beautiful men and women we they are born to be.

So, when people ask me if I wanted a girl, these are all the thoughts that are behind my “yes”. It ain’t pretty. It’s a mess and then some. But it’s the truth and the facts lie scattered all around all of us-no matter your race or economic status.  Walk with me as I go back into having a new human to adore. I’ll be reviewing baby things, asking questions, and sharing how we’re preparing The Kid to be a Big Brother.

Follow me on instagram mamajenhen @milkbrainblog!

 

3D shape exploration 

We used a light table to explore dimensions today. Specifically, we explored the cylinder. We traced the side, top and bottom to discover the 2D shapes that make up this 3D shape. We discussed what dimensions are, looked at examples of 1,2 and 3D shapes then deconstructed and re-constructed a cylinder! After this, we visually deconstructed a pyramid and cuboid. Finally his curiosity led us to a discussion of how to turn our bodies into a 2D object!

Montessori Moments in Homeschooling

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The Red One is learning to use scissors and enjoys creating geometric shapes. Here he is showcasing his rectangle!

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The Kid is excited about Practical Life exercises because he gets to use adult materials that are normally off limits. Here, he is beginning a sewing activity that is aligned with his love for all things outer space.

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The Red One loves animals so we are building our Zoological vocabulary with this Montessori activity. He’s matching the model animals to their picture and written name. By the first iteration of this game, he had already learned the animal “Impala”.

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About an hour and 20 minutes after he began, The Kid completed his Rocketship pillow! You can see his pride!

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The day before, we toured a Mosque with a lovely Muslim gentleman who told the boys all about how the Mosque is used, Arabic calligraphy, and the traditions of Muslim worship. They also learned the many ways that Christianity is similar to tenets of Muslim doctrine found in the Quran. We rounded out this experience with a beautiful Book about Muslim traditions, celebrations and attire. The boys learned new vocabulary and broadened their cultural horizons.

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After an exercise of pattern making, The Red One decided to use the same materials to make his own “snake”! He truly enjoys animals including reptiles.

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This exercise builds dexterity and focus, perfect goals for a 3 year old. “I Never Forget A Face” is a fun, culturally diverse Memory Game that takes you on a trip around the world. You match the faces of children in traditional attire from 24 different nations in the world. We learn to take turns, follow rules, compete and study the faces of children all around the world. This game sparks geography conversations and inquiry every time we play. We used our giant World Wall Map many times to identify the home nations of some of the children.

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Working on multiplication can be abstract at age 5, but not with manipulative a like these. The Kid found multiplication easy to understand with this fun material.

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Questions about multiplication’s parallels in addition sparked an exercise in doubling using addition. We worked our way all the way from doubling numbers in the ones place all the way to doubling numbers in the ten thousands!! No tears and I had to actually tell him to stop! This exercise Reinforced long addition, carrying numbers from place value to place value and was a lot of fun!

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Both fellas are interested in how they can make their mark on the world. One way that we highlight their potential contributions is through order, cleanliness and responsibility. To drive this point home and illustrate Big things Little Hands can do, we talked about and explored recycling. Thanks to Reading Rainbow, we “visited” a recycling plant to look at exactly how old materials are cleaned and repurposed into new, useful products we need everyday.

We played our own recycling game by sorting various pretend items by their composition materials. In short, we played a recycling game!!

 Our new neighbor is excited to have young children back in the neighborhood. Our family has the youngest children on the block. Having tiny neighbors inspired him to decorate his house for Christmas for the first time ever! The Kid wrote him a thank you note to show his appreciation for Mr. B’s thoughtfulness and creativity! We, in turn, got a chance to work on handwriting, spelling and letter formatting!We suited up for the weather and hand-delivered our letter to our kind and newly retired neighbor!