Immanuel was adamant about holding the present during the nine minute drive to the party and succeeded at pulling 1/3 of the ribbons out of the wrapping, but we made it. I guess that we were less than 30 minutes late.
Working two very part time jobs is far more demanding than working one full time job. Well, maybe the jobs aren't demanding, and it is just that I have crammed my days full of meaningful activities that I will continue once I return to work full time. When I worked, my life was steady and predictable. I had to arrive by 8:30 and at 5:30 I was 15 minutes away from walking out the door. Now there is no set time for me to leave and arrive anywhere, with the exception of picking up children. In the meantime, I have amassed a collection of activities and pursuits that are meaningful to me in a way that working never was.
I envisioned myself wrapping presents a week in advance, and having a box full of personalized gift tags that aren't hastily completed minutes before the party begins. I laugh as I type this, and I am grateful for the chaos, and the first 25 minutes of the party that we missed, because in that time life happened. Something unplanned, something that did not resemble the mundane that would provide me with memories to cherish when my children have long left home.
Maybe it would be easier to purchase ready made gift tags, but I hope that when I am gone those will be the things that my children remember about me.
On Tuesday, February 5, 2019 I began my first day of employment as a 2nd Grade Teacher at the Southwest Campus of Varnett Public School. I submitted a statement of resignation on Wednesday, February 6, 2019. Within the 28 hours that I worked at Varnett Public School, I witnessed a second-grade teacher firmly push a meter stick into the back of a sleeping 2nd grade female student to wake her. I observed a female specialist teacher walk by a male 2nd grade student and pull his ear and tell him to behave. The only reason that I will not list these teachers by name is that I do not know the name of the students who were victims of this cruelty. In addition, I witnessed countless teachers jerk children around, and a female ancillary teacher charge at a table of children while yelling for them to shut up. Teachers constantly belittled children and mocked their emotions. I would find it hard to pinpoint many staff members who did not constantly yell at children throughout the day. Even the Director of the Southwest Campus, Jesse Arp harshly yells and threatens students to command their attention.
None of these practices are appropriate in a school setting, especially not one that serves young children. While the population is somewhat challenging, the children of Varnett Public School still deserve compassion, respect and to be treated with dignity. While I was eager to work as a 2nd Grade Reading Teacher, I was not interested in being a part of an institution that contributes to the problems faced in black and brown communities. As a person who believes that children should receive the same respect extended to an adult, I find the culture of Varnett Public Schools repugnant. What I witnessed, must surely be the result of systemic issues within the organization, as it is not congruent with what I know to be best practices in education. Not once did I hear a teacher praise a child or say something to build up the self-worth. Instead children were openly critiqued in hearing distance and discussed by education professionals who should understand the importance of building up and not tearing down
I find it problematic that elementary age children do not have recess, at least once a day. The students don’t even engage in a proper Physical Education class. PE is held in the classroom due to problems with the outdoor covered area, and the playground. Children who arrive at approximately 7:30PM, and remain until approximately 4:00PM, are expected to remain quiet for most of the day and admonished for normal childhood behavior. Children should have the opportunity to share, discover and learn with their classmates, NOT spend the day in forced silence.
In closing, I would like to suggest that your administration focus more on whole learning and less on mandated test prep. As of 2018 the Southwest Campus of Varnett Public School ranked #834 out of 902 elementary schools in the greater Houston area by Children at Risk. How do you expect your children to bloom and grow when the garden in which they are nurtured is filled with briers, pests and rocky soil?
Pia Mattix Davis
For some reason I thought that I could easily complete 12 Graduate Hours while working full time, managing my household, volunteering and Momming, but something has to give. I don't have much time to blog. I will continue to post Tiny Human Food, and share something that inspires me from time to time. Until then, connect with me on Twitter.
A Positive Parenting Moment
When my oldest son was six my family experienced a difficult financial phase.
One day I was angry about something, I don’t know what, and my beloved son asked for something that I could not provide at that moment.
I don’t remember what I said to him, but even now when I think of that moment I cringe. The pitch of my voice was raised and my tone sharp. Later I apologized to him for my actions, but still today I am consumed by guilt. My husband and I teach our son that self control is important, yet I was unable to control my emotions.
At the core, Positive Parenting is about learning to manage our emotions, so that as parents we can remain calm and rational when assessing our children’s behaviors and actions. It is easy to lash out at our children out of frustration, but is that effective? Does it teach a lesson?
Instead of reprimanding my son that day, I should have stopped, turned to him, and told him plainly, but without too much detail, why he could not have what he wanted. My kind, compassionate son probably would not have cried. He probably would have held my hand and rested his head against my shoulder, and that is why until this day I feel a sense of guilt.
I lashed out, at my greatest treasure because of my own feelings of inadequacy. As mothers, we can’t do this and expect our children to grow into compassionate, caring, individuals who remain graceful in the face of adversity.
That moment will forever linger with me, and serve as a reminder that my responses to my children are not based on their actions and behaviors, but my state of mind.
Are you interested in joining a community of Black Moms who parent without physical violence or punitive punishment? Are you interested and don't know where to begin? Join us at Positive Parenting for Black Moms on Facebook.
This year has been one of tremendous changes, not only in my life, but in the lives of those closest to me.
My husband and I both work full time for homeschool has definitely been an adventure. My son would like to continue homeschooling, while I would like for him to return to the wonderful all boys school that he left May 2017. We will see what happens.
I will admit that I my son’s leaving chorus and deciding to quit playing the violin were initially hard for me to accept. No, I don’t live vicariously through my son, but I have put so much time and effort into volunteering with chorus, and driving him across the city to multiple performances that I felt and feel the void in our lives. I loved the Holiday Season as it truly felt like Christmas and I enjoyed hearing the children sing my favorite Christmas songs.
As for the violin, as a Suzuki Parent, I am just as invested in lessons as my son. I must attend all of his lessons and practice with him. However, the change to cello will be for the best. He will also learn to play drums this year, so that is definitely a plus!
I am enjoying the learning process of the M.Ed program, but my eyes and heart are already focused on applying to PhD programs to begin in 2019.
Yes, there have been many changes, but all have brought something new to my life, and for that I am grateful.
Like many workings moms across the world I am tired and in need of a day without an office or a child. The university is closed from Wednesday-Friday this week so I decided to take off Monday and Tuesday to rest and clean my home. My youngest’s daycare center was open all day Monday and half day Tuesday so that would give me a much needed break.
Whenever I plan to spend a day at home alone, the youngest ALWAYS manages to contract a virus, a fever or both, and this Sunday morning was no exception. Just before daybreak he threw up in my bed and repeated the action 5 more times throughout the morning. Instead of cleaning I spent Monday chasing a child who was mysteriously better, but stuck at home with me thanks to the 24 hours rule.
Maybe, if I am lucky, I will manage to clean at least one room over the Christmas holiday.
My sweet boy in his Nuna Rava frowning because he was denied something he desired.
After downsizing from a Honda Odyssey to a Volvo XC70, our beloved Clek Foonf was no longer suitable for our family. The Clek Foonf is a well-designed seat that borders on being considered a work of modern art, but the massive frame did not allow our entire family to ride in comfort. Unwilling to part with our Foonf, I placed the seat behind the front passenger position. Unfortunately, whenever I happened to ride as a passenger in my vehicle I was unable to relax as the seat was positioned almost completely upright.
Either it was destiny or just a random accident, but I was rear ended two weeks ago and the at fault parties insurance was required to replace our seats. I arrived at Baby’s & Kid’s 1st with cash in hand to purchase two new Clek Foonfs, but left with two Nuna Rava convertible carseats. My emotional attachment to Clek was strong; I felt confident in their ability to protect my son in the event of an accident. Switching to a new manufacturer almost felt like a form of betrayal, but I am also confident in the quality and design of the Nuna Rava and feel as if he is just as safe as before.
Actually I am pleased with the change! We plan to rear face our 21 month old until he exceeds the limits of his seat. Unlike the Foonf which has only 3 recline positions, the Rava has 5 different recline positions for both forward and rear facing positions. Color coded belt paths ensure that busy moms and dads can quickly and easily install the Rava in a snap.
During the summer of 2013 I submitted the required paperwork to enroll our son into a well known Houston organization, but only after conducting what I considered to be a thorough google background search for information pertaining to the director.
My son participated in this organization for 4 consecutive years before he adamantly refused to return at the beginning of the 2017 concert year. Actually, he informed me on the first day of practice that he did not want to attend. My oldest was insistent, so even though I knew that we could be held financially responsible for the entire year I allowed him to make the decision to not return. A week later my son finally confided in me why he refused to return. A phone call to the director, who blustered, fumbled and blamed his way through the conversation, confirmed my son's words.
No, what you are probably thinking did not occur to my son, but a more focused google search returned information that he was named as a perpetrator many years ago. The alleged victim complained to many pastors at a well known Houston church over many years, but his accusations fell on deaf ears.
Without going into additional details, I strongly encourage parents to screen the directors of organizations in which their children are placed or those being considered. Four years ago, if I had added abuse after the first and last name, I would not have enrolled our son into this organization.
Parents, listen to your children. If they aren't happy or comfortable with someone, don't dismiss their feelings or assume that they aren't able to advocate for their own needs.
We were lucky, but our experience could have been easily avoided.
In the past we have spent very few waking hours at home, we were always on the go. Choosing to homeschool this year has given us a little more freedom, so for the first time my eleven year old has a consistent chore. Each afternoon he is responsible for washing both his and his brothers lunch containers. He has forgotten on a few occasions, but generally when I walk into the kitchen in the morning, the containers are ready for me to pack for the day.
When I awoke Monday morning the containers were not washed properly, a film of oil clung to the lid, and food particles to the wall of the basin. This happened again on yesterday and today. I was not upset, but I was annoyed that I would have to wash the containers myself.
In the past I have contemplated waking my oldest for failing to properly complete the task, but I could not will myself to do so. My mother would awaken me in the middle of the night or early in the morning screaming and fussing about my shortcomings and her failure as a parent to due to my leaving a pan on the stove overnight.
As I lifted the lid to wash it, I decided that I would wake my son at 5:15 AM to rewash the lunch containers. If I never pointed out his errors, they would continue. I gently roused him from bed explaining why. I silenced his apologies and informed him that I was not upset, but that I needed to ensure that he knows how to properly carry out the task. We washed the containers together, and he returned to bed less than 15 minutes later.
My only regret about the entire e counter, is that I failed to hug my son and to remind him that I loved him before he returned to bed.
LIfe is what I make of it!
Thanks for reading!