3B Convo: Brains, Bullies, Bullets

In most areas school has started or will be starting soon. I know most parents are rejoicing, maybe a few tears, but mostly excitement. I know I’m excited. The school routine not only helps me build productive, educated, functioning, great individuals, but it also helps keep my house clean, cut down on laundry, cuts my bills (grocery and electric), I’m grateful for the school routine. As I sat with a slight glow and giggle awaiting the first day of school, a slow dark cloud crept in. This summer was really emotional. I had to talk to my children several times about police brutality, gun violence, having street smarts and book smarts (there’s a difference people). Now in all my excitement I’m about to send them off to a place where I would pray they don’t have to deal with this, but let’s face it, that’s not the world we live in. So, it’s time once again to have some heart to hearts with my kids.
Brains
Every year starts out the same. Good grades, focused, ready and eager to learn, kids are ready to conquer the world in the beginning. About half way through the semester a little minion creeps in and steals some brain cells. Kids seem to lose focus, grades slip, and calls are made home to help intervene. This year this battle ends. Parents we have to be consistent. We start the school year out the same way, eager to be a part of the PTA, meeting and greeting with the teachers and other parents, then something happens and we lose interest. I know that our kids are the ones in school and if you’re like me you have to work, but we can’t allow life to get in the way of our children’s steady progression. The school my child attends offers updates online which I can login and check, most schools are offering this now. It’s not that hard to check up on your child, just take the time you would be on FB, IG, Twitter, Snap Chat or other social media and spend a few moments checking your child’s status. Think about it, there’s 1 teacher to 30+ kids, which means 60+ parents or other guardians, if the teacher has multiple class loads that number can double or triple. If the teacher is making the information available the least we as parents can do is be aware and monitor our own children. If your child knows you are checking up on them, then maybe they will remain focused. Let’s make a promise to ourselves and our children to do better this school year.

Bullies
I’m sure you’ve all seen the anti-bullying message about making sure your child is nice to everyone, you’ve probably even reposted it for others to view. My challenge is forget reposting, bring that vision to life off social media and actually become active to stop bullying. Here are a few action steps: 1. Parents if you are told about your child bullying someone else don’t just think they will grow out of it or they like that person, nip it in the butt. We’ve lost too many babies to bullying in this last year. Take action, PUNISH YOUR CHILD, before the system or someone else does. So what if they are upset that you took their phone away or that they have more chores or if they lose certain PRIVILEGE. Life does not end because mom took the cell phone away. We need to teach our children RIGHTS versus PRIVILEGES. 2. If your child is the victim of bullying. DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT all the steps you take to help resolve the issue. If the other parents or the school won’t take action than involve the authorities. Our children have to know that we have their backs and that it’s okay to stand up for yourself. Too often we ignore the issues until it becomes too late, don’t let too late come. 3. Schools, kids need a safe space to report bullying. Just like the D.A.R.E. program was a campaign to bring awareness to these issues in the past, let’s come up with something that can connect our kids to address these issues like D.A.R.E. did for us in the past. Now, I read a few articles that said D.A.R.E. is still in schools, but I don’t see the kids connecting so schools, administration let’s work with families and authorities to help reignite that fire. If either child, the bully or the victim has deeper issues then please don’t hesitate to seek professional help. I’d personally rather see Seeking Help posters, then any more In Remembrance.

Bullets
Again school is a place you would think exempt from bullets, but it’s not. We have seen time and time again in the news about a kid shooting up a school. This topic always makes me sad, like what are we doing as a society that a child feels okay to go shoot up a school. Here are a few things I think you should share with your child, if heaven forbid, there’s an active shooter at school. 1. DO NOT ENGAGE THE SHOOTER. I don’t care if it’s 20-1, bullets don’t care about you all outnumbering the person. 2. Find a place to hide, most schools have a PA system that will announce it’s safe to come out of hiding, until then remain quiet and hidden. If you still don’t feel safe, check step 3 about only engaging with your parents and wait to hear from them. 3. Turn your cell phone to silent, instead of taking calls, if you can, quietly text. Only text your parents and give them this information, your location, who’s with you, and a description of your clothing (parents although you may want to ask about the shooter’s description in a situation like this details can get distorted your child will be able to give you the information to the 3 questions asked likely with greater detail, allow the authorities to ask the deeper questions). Do not text other students in the building, the reason, in case the shooter has gained access to their phone you don’t want to disclose your location. 4. Follow the instructions of authority figures. Once they have secured the shooter they will check the building for victims and other assailants. Follow their instruction so that they can distinguish who you are. 5. STAY OFF SOCIAL MEDIA! Shooters have social media as well, if you’re updating your status and the shooter happens to be someone you’ve friended, you’ve given them information. The 5 suggestions are what my crew and I came up with, if you are interested in a deeper discussion I suggest you look into ALICE training, https://www.alicetraining.com/ for more tips.
Communication is key in all our relationships, let’s not be afraid to start conversations. What conversation are you having with your children before they return to school? Let’s help each other out.

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Growing Up Too Fast

fancyI knew this day was coming.  In my mind I found every reason to push it back or put it off.  I justified it with, she’s too little, her birthday comes late, she has her whole life to be in school.  In actuality I knew that once school became a reality I would have to admit, yet again, that one of my babies was growing up too fast.  I’m not ready.  Yeah I know you heard this last post but I’m having some moments here, everybody seems to be embarking on bigger adventures and they are ready and eager and I am not.

The hardest part about all of this was telling Miss Sue.  Miss Sue has cared for Anissa since she was 12 weeks old.  She’s more than a daycare provider, she has become a major part of our family.  I’m not just saying that, she really has, she attends family functions, on both sides of the family. Miss Sue is one of the grandmas.  How could I tell her I was snatching “Fancy” (her nickname for Anissa) and placing her in a dark, damp, colorless walls learning institution (okay I’m being dramatic, but you  get my drift). I admit I was a coward about it. I slipped the announcement in while we were discussion soup.  By the way, Anissa will be starting school in September, is that thyme I smell?! She didn’t let it slide and I saw the look of slight disappointment on her face, but we both knew it was coming and now the time had arrived.

So the countdown has begun. In just a few short weeks my youngest will begin her school career.  She is excited!  How can I be sad when I see those eyes get wide with excitement, when she gathers her “school supplies” and when she tells everyone we come in contact with how she can’t wait to go to school.  Her excitement has eased my anxiety.  I know this is a part of her growing up and that the goal is to help her achieve her goals and live her dreams. So you dark, damp educational institutions, open your doors and prepare for my little hotness, Miss Anissa aka Miss Fancy, she’s coming!

Is there anyone else out there with a child attending school for the first time or a child that just transferred to a new school?  How are you and your crew coping with the transition?

It’s Happened…The Dreaded Growth Spurt

Jamiel 1st Day of school

I am all of 5 feet tall, give a 1/2 inch here and there.  My oldest daughter is about the same height and the youngest I can’t imagine will be over 5’4″ at her tallest (I’m giving a lot of inches here, a lot, lol).  My son has always been a mystery to me for a long time he was a short guy around 4’11”.  I always knew he had the potential to be taller, his uncle is around 6’3″.  Never in my wildest dreams did I expect so many inches to creep in at once.  I got relaxed in his shortness, shopping in the kid’s section, catching all the deals.  I was a happier, richer person in the kiddie section.

Go back to Christmas 2015, I picked up a few outfits for him size 16 (kiddie section) decent prices.  I came home satisfied, then it happened, my son walked past and he was flooding (flooding- when your pants are above your ankles and they shouldn’t be, not like capris).  “Son, what size are those pants?” In his squeaky voice “16!'”Damn!  Back to the store I went to move up a size.  This size, size 18 didn’t have a lot of variety.  I was stuck, not quite in man sizes, but clearly not in boys.  I pieced together a few things and VOILA MAGIC, a great Christmas.  Me, being who I am, was not ready to admit my son was growing.  I blamed my laundry skills and the dryer.  Yes the denial was strong in this one.  I’d rather people think I’d shrunk his clothes then to face the reality of this growing man child.  My baby boy couldn’t be getting taller, he couldn’t be growing, I’m not ready.

We get through the school year with our size 18s.  School lets out and we prepare for summer camp.  I hear what sounds like Barry White outside on my front porch.  What grown man is out here talking about being on the dance squad when school starts again.  I peek out the door, there is no grown man, it’s my son.  My son now sounds like Barry White.  When did this happen?! Not only does he sound like Barry White, but those damn 18s have betrayed me.  I’m not ready!

So here I am, getting ready for another school year.  I glance over at the kiddie section, once my happy place, I shed a tear as I head over to the grown man section.  Where did the time go, I just changed his diaper yesterday?!  Am I the only mom this who’s under the growth spurt attack? I hear my son call mom, as I turn the face I use to look down at I am now having to stare up to see.  He’s reading the stress on my face as he BENDS DOWN to give me a hug.  He had to bend down!  I’m not ready, are you?!

Supplies, Supplies, Supplies!

supplies, supplies, suppliesIt’s that time of year again, time to purchase SCHOOL SUPPLIES.  It’s time to gather your coupons, look through sales papers and scout for the best deals.  Before you spend a billion dollars, I’ll give a few tips I use to conquer “The List” and cut the cost.

  1.  If you’re anything like me, you can’t pass up a good school supply deal.  You probably bought extra last year just because you found a good deal and forgot all about the items.  It.s time to treasure hunt.  Look around your home for the extras you purchased previously.  Compare what is on your current list to the items you find, you may see where you are able to save time, money, and energy, looking for these items again.
  2. If you work in an office like I do then I’m sure at some point supplies are inventoried.  Times change, new systems are implemented making some office supplies obsolete.  Before the office decides to pitch them ask if you can go through them.  I know personally in our office we are going paperless which mean the need for binders to store papers has gone down.  Binders can be pretty expensive and if you need 4-5, $$$$.  Most office will be happy to get rid of the stuff to someone in need instead of throwing it out.  Again compare your list and mark off what you were able to collect.  (Note:  Please get permission and make sure this is okay with the people in charge in your office, not verifying equals stealing and I know none of you want to steal.)
  3. Listen out for school supply give-aways.  Your community wants to help, let them.  There are always places, recreation centers, churches, schools having back to school drives.  This not only is an opportunity to maybe pick-up some supplies, but also a change for you to get to know the people in your community.  Mingle, make new friends, and see what you can scratch off your school supply list.
  4. If you have to make actual purchases, get your list and the papers of the stores who claim to have the best deals.  Now this is going to require some effort, but hey every dollar counts.  Compare the prices of the items you need to purchase and find out if those stores honor price matching.  Price matching is when a store you intend to purchase your items from has the item you want but another store has it at a cheaper price.  So say OfficeMax has mechanical pencils for $0.98, but Wal-Mart has them for $0.56, OfficeMax’s price match policy may allow you to get the item at the price that WalMart is offering it for.  Note the item has to be the same brand and type at both stores.  This may seem time-consuming but, hey those coins you save can add up and be used toward something else, like a mini-mom vacation.
  5. And as always reach out to your village.  They are your support system.  Allow them to support you in this area as well.  Whether it’s buying supplies or using some of the other tips I’ve suggested, your village wants to help.

So, there you have it, a few tips to help you get those school supplies your child(ren) need to achieve greatness.  What handy tips do you have for cutting this expense?  Leave them in the comments below.

You Are the HOTTEST MOM!!!

cjRecently I was able to reconnect with this month’s hottest mom. I have to say our friendship didn’t skip a beat. I am nominating her myself as I am proud of the awesome mom she is.  Carlyce Batts-John you are the HOTTEST MOM! I’m pretty sure she wasn’t expecting this. I hope I don’t embarrass her too much with my explanation of this nomination.

WHen I first met Carlyce (CJ), she was/is an awesome mom, her kids are awesome, her husband is awesome, she comes from an awesome family, she however did not own her awesomeness. You see, often other people see our greatness before we do because we can only see our flaws. I saw how great CJ was and couldn’t wait to see the day she saw it for herself and embraced it.

Life and family happens and we weren’t together as much, but never lost touch.  We were able to get together recently and let me tell you, I can see a bold, confident, awesome mom.  She was doing a presentation regarding Young Living (youngliving.com, essential oils), her demeanor was calm as she told us about healing through oils and prayer and how this had worked for her family.  I could see a glow and peace in her I hadn’t seen in the past, it was refreshing. See, we mentor girls and we always tell them about the potential we see in them to do great things, sometimes we forget to see the potential in ourselves.  So to see somebody enjoying their life and helping others enjoys theirs is such a blessing and I saw this in my interaction with CJ.

CJ I’ve always known how dope you are and I’m glad it seems you have now figured it out too.  Congrats, You Are the HOTTEST MOM!

essential oilsIf you are interested in learning more about Young Living Essential Oils let me know in the comments or send me and email, justonehotmom@gmail.com.