Winning

Winning

 

 

I’ve always been pretty competitive. I mean who doesn’t like to win. The older I’ve gotten or I guess I should say the more mature; winning has taken a back seat and most times I just want to finish what I’ve started. I wouldn’t say this out loud, but my 5 year-old daughter is a lot like me. She likes to win. I mean she really likes to win, if you want her to do something, make it a competition and she’s guaranteed to put forth an effort. Problem is, she can’t stand to lose. I mean she despises it. So we work hard with her on explaining sportsmanship and the idea that winning isn’t necessarily everything.

And for the record, no I’m not the parent who loses all the time to make her feel better. If she wants to beat me, she better be prepared to “earn” it. The reality is the world does not guarantee you a win, it says you can play, but to win you’ve got to put in some hard work and dedication. But when my daughter loses she pouts, she repeatedly says “I didn’t win.” Losing creates the feeling of disappointment and no one wants to feel disappointed. But what if we always thought we won? What if, even as adults we always thought we won, even if we didn’t?

My 2-year-old son is amazing. Every morning when I free him from his car seat to go into daycare, he challenges me to a race to the door. I must admit I started this competition out of desperation. He was moving entirely too slow one day, but I didn’t know it would become a part of our daily routine. Now he always lines up at the same crack in the sidewalk and looks at me and proudly announces “on the mark, get set, go.” Then he jogs, a little quicker than a walk but definitely not a full on run. He never leaves me behind when I’m in heels and a short skirt. He never falls. He never rushes when I pass him. He finds his own pace and he jogs. And when he arrives at the door, he always says the exact same thing “I win.”

Usually I can’t help but laugh because he does this in every competition, especially with his sister. She’ll challenge him to something and she’ll try her best and no matter what place he comes in he always says the same thing “ I win.” The other night my husband challenged them both to a race to the top of the stairs to get ready for bath time.

“On the mark, get set, go,” he announced. They were off to the races and running up one step at a time. When my daughter arrived first, she jumped up and down and shouted, “I won, I won. Brother you lose, I won.” By this point he was climbing the last step and grinning from ear to ear and guess what he said? You guessed it “I didn’t lose sissy, I win. I always win.”

Wow, I couldn’t help but smile. His confidence wasn’t broken, he wasn’t sad. He wasn’t crying and he definitely was not disappointed. In his mind he’s always a winner and God Bless him, because as long as he thinks it….it is so.

 

Winning 2

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Sex Tape Trumps Baby

Eva

I pride myself on not watching a whole lot of television and definitely not reality television. To me, it’s always an indication that I have too much time on my hands or I am totally avoiding something I know I need to be doing. With that said, I also pride myself on knowing a little bit about everything, at least enough to engage in conversation at a water cooler.

This week the world is a buzz about the MiMi Faust Sex tape. For those who are unaware, MiMi is a regular on reality show Love and Hip Hop Atlanta. No she’s not a recorded hip hop artist and no she is not an aspiring Hip Hop MC. The father of her toddler daughter is Stevie J, a producer in the industry.

Yes, I know my regular readers, are like is she really talking about a sex tape? Yes and I will tell you why. Eva Jordan, her daughter is around the same age as my 5-year-old daughter and I am horrified that this Chocolate Mother didn’t think about her baby and her legacy or thought so little of it to degrade herself with a sex tape. And to add insult to injury, it’s with a different man, Nikko Smith, who she is not married to.

I am far from a Holy roller and I believe that what two adult people within the confines of their bedroom preferably marriage do, is truly their business. But MiMi was not the victim of a sexual escapade that was mistakenly videotaped and leaked by an ex-lover. This was orchestrated and released by her camp. As I watched the clip, I just kept saying “what about her baby.”

I am legitimately concerned for the welfare of her child and apparently so is Steve J. who is now seeking custody of their daughter. Now, I’m no Stevie J. fan, in fact, I thought his character on the show was despicable. But as a momma I’m having a hard time with this. My daughter idolizes me. She loves her daddy, but she watches and emulates everything I do. She watches me put on make-up, she walks in my shoes, she watches how I interact with people and especially my husband. She asks a ton of questions and she depends on me to teach her how to be. As mothers we have a responsibility beyond our own personal needs and goals. As mothers we don’t get to dwell on the “what about me” or “when do I get to be happy” syndromes. It’s so not about us. And in the words of Eminem “We only get one shot.” I’m really going to need for us to do better.

Oh, and did I mention Ms. Faust is starting a children’s clothing line? Really? What is it going to consist of baby leather strap ups, fishnets and whips and chains? Now for a 40+ single mother, I must admit she looks good, but I couldn’t help but wonder the pain that this 30 seconds, minutes or even days will cause Eva in the long run.

 

Potty Time

Garrett

If it doesn’t make money, it doesn’t make sense or something like that. Well, if that is true I don’t make sense a lot. I never started this blog with the intention of endorsing products or giving advice. Rarely will you hear me provide a “must have” list. And although I won’t get a dime I have got to share with you our family’s newest secret weapon. It’s called the potty watch and I tell you, it’s one of those inventions that you sit back and say….”why didn’t I think of that.”

The potty watch is a miniature timekeeper for toddler wrists, shaped like a potty that counts down pee time and alarms the child with cute little tunes when it’s time to go. If you are toilet training, it’s the best $9.99 you will ever spend. When you think about it, it’s an investment that will save you hundreds of dollars in pull-ups.

Don’t buy it on Amazon; theirs was defective. My husband got ours at Babies R’ Us. Now, he’s a gadget guy and I must say I didn’t have the same enthusiasm he had in his new purchase, until I an entire week went by without any accidents. My son is 32 months…okay, he’s 2 and a half and he has had quite a few successful potty training moments, but I wouldn’t have said he’s potty trained. That is, until the potty watch. In fact, I had just about given up on the idea and thought I’d try again when he turns three. After all, he’s a boy right? No rush. Well, I’ll tell you the rush. A box of pull-ups closes in on $50, you heard me right, $50 bucks. That’s a lot of money to piss away.

Secondly, I was growing increasingly irritated by him chasing me down in the house with a wet diaper in hand that he wanted changed. What nerve. A few minutes late and dollars short, I’d say. Lastly, did I mention a box of pull-ups is close to $50 bucks? It was definitely time to push this milestone along a little bit.

So why does it work? First, he thinks he’s grown up cause he has a “special” watch just for him. Then, it serves as a reminder to go and we make him go each time. Ours is set on every 60 minutes, the maximum setting and it’s amazing that his little bladder has yet to fail its mission. I mean a busy toddler has way too much to think about to remember to go to the bathroom. Plus, it reminds me to tell him to go handle his business.

Now, no product is perfect and you can’t have but so many expectations for $9.99. So don’t expect the toddler watch to keep time, it doesn’t. It’s just a stopwatch. It lets him know how many minutes or seconds until his next potty visit. And don’t expect it to shut off at nap time or bedtime, cause it doesn’t. That means we strategically place it downstairs so it doesn’t wake us up during the night, because the toddler tunes just don’t stop. Yes, that’s a little irritating and I can’t say that I have figured out how to wean the use of the potty watch. I’m just not there yet. I mean will he be in 1st grade with a must have watch that sings London Bridges every hour? I hope not. But for now, we are a full week in with just one accident and dry pull-ups when he wakes up and I’d consider that $9.99 well spent.photo 2

Smell the Flowers, Blow Out the Candle

Happy Day

In the hustle and bustle of this thing called life we get caught up. Sometimes we get caught up doing and forget to just be, live and enjoy the moment. The last few weeks have been a blur to me. I have been working hard to build a business. That means late nights, early mornings and more travel than I anticipated. Luckily, I have an awesome support system and children that will tell me if I am slipping. The other day I picked up my soon to be 5 year-old from school and was busy reading emails as she entered the car. When she got in, she followed, the routine, she strapped herself in, I listened for the click and she started to tell me about her day. But during her story, I checked out. I was trying to respond to a time sensitive matter I had just read in an email. And that’s when I heard it “mommy, I’m trying to talk to you. If I say it’s about a book will you listen?” Ouch, now for those new to the blog, I am a Publisher so books mean a whole lot. But books are not my everything, not even close and here was my daughter exclaiming that I would certainly listen if it had to do with books. Can you say reality check?

That was on a Tuesday, and I was supposed to leave for the third weekend in a row that Friday to go sell books. I never made it, I stayed home with my family and I have no regrets. Now I also have to mention that prior to my daughter’s sharp words my husband had also strongly recommended I slow down. I mean our lives were spiraling out of control, our schedules were conflicting, my house was a mess, my babies were eating way too much take out, I hadn’t been to the gym and the list was growing by the second of things I never wanted to happen while chasing something I felt I needed. And since, I would never talk about you, I will talk about me.

When my husband mentioned his concerns to me I cried. I cried because it all seemed just too much to bear, too many bags to carry through the airport of life. I felt tired just thinking about doing all that needed to be done. I felt defeated. I felt like in winning a business, I was actually losing a family structure I worked hard to create. I felt like I had let down those that meant the most. So when my toddler felt the need to sas me, I was reminded of my priorities and it’s at that moment I knew I needed to stop and smell the flowers and blow out the candle. In other words…breathe.

So I canceled everything on my ever so hectic schedule for Saturday and Sunday and began getting my life back. That meant meditation, organization, prayer and good old family time. We all slept in on Sunday and the weather was great so after breakfast our family went to the park; our now toddler babies rode their bikes and I walked briskly behind them. My husband brought out a t-ball set and we introduced the game and played with our babies until everyone was tired.

I know it seems simple right? It was and it was also necessary. I am proud of my accomplishments in business, but I am more proud of my family. Team Taylor is my priority and my children and husband miss me when I am not there. So, I am grateful for new days serving as new beginnings. I am grateful for allowing my family to check me when I am out of sorts and I am ever so grateful that I listened. Ya’ll know I don’t like to give advice so I will just make a suggestion; stop, smell the flowers and blow out the candle….in other words, just breathe. Live, laugh, and be.

photo 4 Lady M

 

Table for Four

 

Family Eating Lunch Together

For a number of reasons, but mostly ease our children transitioned from high chair to a toddler table smack dab in the middle of the living room in front the television. Since I would never talk about you, I will talk about me. I relished in the idea of being able to eat while my food was somewhat hot. They are learning independence I told myself. They are learning to feed themselves. They are learning how to share their space. I said a whole bunch of things to make it seem right to have them strategically placed in front the boob tube a synonym for idiot box.

Well the older they got the less likely they became to actually sit down and eat their food. Grazers I called them, after prayer they would take a bite, run a little; take a bite and play a little. Dinner became an all night affair and I was frustrated as I watched my hot home cooked meals turn to ice waiting for the mood to hit them to eat. Usually their plates were still full at bath time and bedtime snacks became their dinner.

So a change had to come and it came in the most traditional of senses…it’s amazing what eating at a dinner table did for our family. Okay so I admit that my kitchen table had become a catchall. It caught all the dirty dishes that didn’t make it to the sink. It caught all the coats, all the mail, all the keys…everything but a dinner setting.

Day 1 went something like this:

 “Why we have to eat in here,” Morgan said. “What about my show, I can’t see the T.V.”  We laughed and announced that from now on we were eating at the table for dinner. We explained that it’s important for us to talk to each other and to let our food digest by eating slowly. We followed up with reminders about table manners and having to ask to be excused from the table. And our children looked at us like we had lost our mind.

By the end of the week the conversation went like this:

“I like eating at the table,” Morgan said. “How come?” I asked. “Because we get to talk about each other’s day and tell stories,” she said. “So what do you want to talk about tonight,” her dad asked? “I want you to tell me a story she said. After a short pause my husband said “I have a true story to tell you about someone special that died this week, his name is Nelson Mandela.”

After a five-minute brief explanation of apartheid and Mandela’s life, my daughter interrupted and said “so he was like Martin Luther King.” Not a bad analogy for a 4-year-old hearing about Mandela for the first time. So we explained the differences and moved on to the next conversation, which happened to be about dessert. But I was happy, I was pleased that eating at the kitchen table encouraged our family. It helped us initiate conversation. It helped our children focus on eating and family time instead of looking for the next instant gratification through song, color and images on the “boob” tube.  Welcome, welcome, welcome to the dinner table.

Taylor 2013

I Big Guy

Chocolate Cowboy I

Most are aware that my poor toddler son has gone through about a hundred nicknames from different people and he used to answer to each one. In fact, a few months ago on his 2nd birthday I was proud of myself for putting forth an effort to refrain from calling him Baby G and start calling him Little G. In his short 30 months of living he has been G, Baby G, Gee Gee, BaBa, G-Mac, Little G and Gare Bear to name a few.

For the most part everyone had their own name for him and he was so polite that he just answered to each one in his own way, some times it was a look, some times he’d reply “yes” but last week I had the surprise of my life when I called him Baby G, by accident and he said as clear as day “ I not Baby G, I Big Guy.” When I asked him to repeat what he said he said “I not Baby G, I Big Guy.”

So let me explain where Big Guy came from. My husband has a generic name for all little boys, yup you guessed it “Big Guy”. So apparently, he overheard his dad refer to another toddler boy as Big Guy and made sure to say sternly “I’m Big Guy.” In other words you might need to come up with a new pet name for other folks, but this one…belongs to me.

Now in our house with a diva for a sister that hogs a lot of attention, my son really doesn’t get an opportunity to say too much, so when he asserts himself, we ALL listen. In fact, I’m a little ashamed to say that I didn’t even know he could form his sentences so well. I mean I knew he was on track and could say some words, but “I not Baby G, I Big Guy,” was a surprise to me.

The good thing about him is he has absolutely no problem in redirecting me when I slip. Each time my habitual Baby G comes out, he calmly repeats, “I not Baby G, I big guy.” Never with an attitude, never loud, just very direct and matter of fact. “I not Baby G, I big guy.” So let this serve as a warning to all those that refer to him in any other name, he just ain’t trying to hear it. You can try it and know that he will answer you, but he will politely let you know that he is in fact…yup you guessed it big guy.

2014 will mean a lot of new changes for the Taylor family. We will have additional study time, a new reading curriculum, eat at the kitchen table for dinner and most importantly, we will all refer to Baby G….I mean BaBa, I mean G-Mac, as BIG GUY.

 

 

Hallows Eve

pumpkin

When I was a kid growing up in Upstate, NY I celebrated Halloween. Every year my brother and I would spend days trying to figure out what we would wear and how many pillow cases we would fill with candy. We didn’t have money to buy costumes, so it pretty much depended on what we could find in our parents closet. You know the old school costumes like hobos, clowns, 70s dancers. We had a few years it was too cold to stay out long and then there were years that we probably traveled way too far from home on foot with our housing project friends. I don’t remember my last year trick or treating and I don’t remember if the thrill just wore off or if my mom put a stop to it.  But I do remember in the mid 80s times changed. All of a sudden my mom spent time going through our bags and made sure to discard the open pieces, anything homemade or anything that otherwise looked suspicious.

And that was the beginning of my change in attitude about Halloween. When you know better, you do better right? I mean at least that’s how it’s suppose to be. Now there are a thousand different interpretations of Hallows Eve, some say it’s a devils holiday, some say it has Pagan roots and others believe it derived from a Christianized feast. But all agree that it is a time dedicated to remembering the dead and as for our home, we decided pre-babies that we don’t celebrate Halloween. I mean there a lot of things I USED to do that I no longer believe in. It’s called life, and learning and maturing.

Seems simple enough EXCEPT we live in Greenville, traditionally home to the largest Halloween celebrations east of I-95 in our state. Halloween is a big deal around here. It’s not uncommon to pass several adults in costumes on street corners promoting costume stores, which this year opened around Labor Day. Costumes are EVERYWHERE. I’m not sure how many Halloween images my children see daily this time of year, but I am certain it increases every year.

In the past church fall festivals or allowing my daughter to pass out candy at our home and keep what’s left seemed to work, but this year seems really difficult. Fewer churches are having activities and Halloween Party invites keep coming. At four and half she’s smart, feisty and analytical. She challenges everything and simply saying we don’t celebrate Halloween is not enough.

“Mommy, I’m sad,” she said. “All my friends keep asking me what I’m going to be on Halloween.” I reply “I’m sorry you are sad about that, but we don’t celebrate Halloween and we shouldn’t change our beliefs to fit in with other people. Your friends will still be your friends after Oct. 31st.” For five minutes we go back and forth about this day. It fizzles out because it’s time to pick up her brother from day care, but I know it will come up again….and again….and again.

As a parent, I believe diversity is power. I think having people with different backgrounds and beliefs makes us stronger, in that I wish our society wasn’t so over enthralled with one custom that it makes it virtually impossible for those who feel differently to co-exist. So I’m not sure what the Taylor home will do next year or the year after that or the year after that, but I do know this year, we’re packing up and getting the heck out of dodge, just to avoid the craze.