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Ready to Drive: Global Youth Safety Month

This isn't the way that I planned for this to go. I just knew that when my son turned 16, he would be in a rush to drive, and I would be putting the brakes on any discussions related to him getting behind the wheel.  He knew that I had my permit in South Carolina at 14, and was driving all by my lonesome at 15. I was certain that he would use this information against me to speed the process when it came to getting his driver's license, even if that was back in the stone ages.  I am pretty sure that he thinks that I drove a stone car with my feet like the family in that famous pre-historic cartoon.

DC law allows teens to drive their siblings around, but not unrelated passengers, for a period of time, and the closer he got to 16, the more I looked forward to him getting a license so that he could eventually help us out with getting the kids to all of their activities. He plays soccer, his brother takes karate and runs track, and his sister has ballet lessons.  We have tried to be in 10 places at once, and it rarely, if ever, works out.

As his 16th birthday got closer, he wanted to talk less and less about learning to drive, and more about the different metro routes that could get him where he needed to go. I told him that I had downloaded the driver's manual from the DMV website for him - he was less than enthused.  I couldn't understand it. With a driver's license comes freedom.  I had a talk with him to find out why he wasn't as eager to drive as we expected, and I found out that he was terrified of becoming a teen driver statistic.

Apparently, my son had done some reading, and watched more than a few crash videos on YouTube and had become well aware of the risks to teen drivers, including the following facts:

  • Car crashes are the #1 killer of teens
  • Teens crash most often because they are inexperienced – not because they take more risks behind the wheel.
  • Other teen passengers are one of the biggest distractions for teen drivers. Just one teen passenger raises a teen driver’s fatal crash risk 44 percent. Two passengers doubles fatal crash risk. Three or more quadruples crash risk.
  • Most fatal nighttime crashes involving teen drivers happen between 9 p.m. and midnight
  • More than half of teens killed in car crashes were not restrained by a seatbelt.

Number. One. Killer. Of. Teens. That is all that he needed to know to decide that driving just wasn't for him.  Sure he'd sit in the driver's seat while I went into the grocery store and listen to the radio, but as soon as I approach the car, he's back in the passenger seat with his seatbelt securely fastened.

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Author Profile: Eva Wilson  - Website

Eva the author of Anancy's Family Reunion, and the winner of the 2012 Black Weblog Awards for Best Parenting Blog and Best New Blog. Find her on Twitter at @socamomdc.

[VIDEO] Dance Your Way to a Peaceful Bedtime - Justin Bieber Sorry Parody

I created this parody for my Copyrights class at Howard University School of Law. Photo credit: Eva Greene Wilson

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kmq9fqAnjG8

A long time ago, in a land not that far away, I was a single mom of one adorable little boy. When I tell you he was cute? Laaaahhhhdamercy he was cute. That little face could get me to do just about anything… except budge on that 8:00 bedtime.

Is bedtime like THIS at your house?  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kmq9fqAnjG8

For all my years as a parent, I have stuck to the 8:00 bedtime. The night time routine has changed, but if we can manage it, we do something with all of the kids before lights out. It usually involves some sort of party type behavior... Here are some of my favorite activities that lead to a peaceful goodnight.

1. Think. When the kids were toddlers, we either read bedtime stories or did flash cards while they were in their beds. You would think that turning the lights off and making everything quiet would help them sleep more than being quizzed or asked to make up alternative endings to stories, but after 15 minutes of flashcards at the end of a long day… everybody is KO’d.

2. Laugh. Many nights we turn off the lights and tell “switch stories.” Each person gets 15 words or a certain number of seconds to tell their part of a story, and then it’s the next person’s turn to continue the story. The only rule is that it has to be funny, not gross or scary, only funny. I’ve been told that making people laugh is one of the hardest jobs. Apparently it really is exhausting, and will have the kids out like a light.

3. Dance. That is how we deal with that sudden, curious burst of energy that some kids get before bedtime. We turn on the soca, and challenge them to a dance off. At the end of 20 minutes of laughing at us, jumping and waving, muscles are tired, energy is drained, and they pretty much fall asleep in the second round while waiting for their turn to tear up the dance floor.

    My first born has gone from toddler to teen, and the 8:00 bedtime isn’t really a thing anymore, but he still gets in on the activities. You are never too old to hear your mom read Fox in Socks.

    Update! The video has been featured on...

    Huffington Post: Too-Real Music Video Shows How Kids Attempt To Delay Bedtime

    BabyCenter: 10 y/o delays bedtime in funny Justin Bieber parody

    What to Expect: Justin Bieber Parody Shows Why Kids Are NOT Sorry for Your Bedtime Struggle

    How cool is that?! Thanks so much for sharing the video :)

    Do you dread bedtime? Do you end up giving up on putting the kids to bed just to keep the peace? What are your favorite strategies to make bedtime a breeze? Share your tips in the comments!

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    Author Profile: Eva Wilson  - Website

    Eva the author of Anancy's Family Reunion, and the winner of the 2012 Black Weblog Awards for Best Parenting Blog and Best New Blog. Find her on Twitter at @socamomdc.

    [PODCAST] Talking Work-Life-Family Balance with Kerry of CarryOnFriends.com

    People love to ask me how I do it all... law school, homeschool, wife, mom, blogger, author... Some days I don't even know! I shared all my tips and tricks to maintaining work-life-family balance with Kerry-Ann Reid-Brown of CarryOnFriends.com in this quick podcast. You can check it out over breakfast, lunch, or dinner - in the car - wherever!  Let me know what you think, and check out Kerry-Ann's other podcasts that help you navigate the business world.
    Visit Kerry on Twitter @carryonfriends
    How do you balance it all? Tell us in the coments.
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    Author Profile: Eva Wilson  - Website

    Eva the author of Anancy's Family Reunion, and the winner of the 2012 Black Weblog Awards for Best Parenting Blog and Best New Blog. Find her on Twitter at @socamomdc.

    What Being a First Year Law Student Taught Me about Being a Better Mom (Part II)

    Early bird! Sunrise selfie on the beach in Turks and Caicos.

    Photo Credit: Eva Wilson

    As you probably know, I am a law student who is a wife and a homeschooling mother of three children. I am finishing up my second year, and I am reflecting on all of the things that I have learned thus far.  I have learned some amazing things about the law and how this world works, but I have also learned a great deal about myself and motherhood, and I am excited to share those lessons with you. I shared the first three lessons here, and I am sharing three more today. (This is part two of a three part series. You can read lessons 1-3 in part I here.)

    4. It is a marathon, not a sprint. In law school you can’t just react to things as they come. Assignments are given on the syllabus on the first day of classes for a reason.  It isn’t just to give you a heads up – it is so that you can start early and do the best work that you can do.  In law school, I learned that it is not 3 months of stretching, then a sprint in the last month to the finish line. It is a marathon. Stretch and start running – you know where you are going, so start doing what you have to do to finish the race.  Motherhood is that marathon too.  It seems like a series of tasks that you see coming and just deal with when they come up, but it’s not. It’s not just about preparing your child for individual tests, but making sure they are prepared for life. It’s not just about getting a date night away from the kids with your husband, it is about having a successful marriage.  It’s not just about carving out time to have a tea party, it is letting your daughter know that you will always make time for her, today, and every day.

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    Author Profile: Eva Wilson  - Website

    Eva the author of Anancy's Family Reunion, and the winner of the 2012 Black Weblog Awards for Best Parenting Blog and Best New Blog. Find her on Twitter at @socamomdc.

    What Being a First Year Law Student Taught Me about Being a Better Mom (Part I)

    First day of law school... Photo Credit: D. Wilson

    Some days I am not sure what I was thinking. I decided to start law school as a 38 year old mother of 3. I am finishing up my second year, and I have found that my first year of law school made me a much more efficient mom. Here are three things that I learned as a first year law student that I have been able to apply to my life as a mom.

    1. Show up and participate. At the school that I go to, attendance is mandatory, and sometimes it is a part of your class participation grade.  If you miss more than 25% of your classes, you fail that class. I kept track of my own attendance for each class in a spreadsheet that I kept open on my laptop.

    I was so vigilant. If I was a minute late, I noted that. Each time I answered a question in class, I made a note of that as well, so that when it came time to discuss grades, if things didn’t line up, I could challenge it.

    I was not nearly as present in my every day life as a mom.  If I actually went to 75% of the boys’ games? I would be such a winner.  If I said ‘yes’ to 75% of li'l bit's requests for manicures and pedicures, Lego parties, and baking cupcakes? Golden. But I don’t always show up and participate. Sometimes I am tired.

    Eventually I started asking myself how I could do the same thing I did in school with the kids. The next lessons on the list helped me to figure out how to really be present and participate in activities with my little ones.

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    Author Profile: Eva Wilson  - Website

    Eva the author of Anancy's Family Reunion, and the winner of the 2012 Black Weblog Awards for Best Parenting Blog and Best New Blog. Find her on Twitter at @socamomdc.

    My Saturday Morning vs. Caribbean Saturday Morning

    Last night I had the best time recording a podcast with Kerry of CarryOnFriends.com. We talked about work – life balance, and how being a Caribbean woman impacts the effort to balance it all. You’ll have to wait for the podcast to hear my answers, but one of the things that had us laughing was what Saturday morning means in a Caribbean household. My Saturday mornings may have Caribbean moments, but they are nothing like traditional ones. Is your Saturday morning thoroughly Caribbean, do you have your own weekend routine, or is a combination?

    Caribbean 5 am: Mommy is up – fixing breakfast, having tea, getting ready for the day.

    My 5 am: ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ…………… *goes to pee* …………….ZZZZZZZZZZZ

    Caribbean 6 am: Kids hear mommy start to gather clothes to wash, and hope that it isn’t the signal that they need to get up… even though they know that it is.

    My 6 am: *alarm goes off* “Somebody turn it off! Who set the weekday alarm for a Saturday?!” *STEUPS*

    ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

    Caribbean 6:15 am: Kids should have gotten up when they had the chance. Mom has been up for an hour and a half, first set of laundry is washing, and no one has moved. Mom starts non verbal cues and muttering… *STEUPS*….. “But wha de…” “Dees BLASted chirren…” “ Eh eh…” and so on.

    My 6:15 am: *alarm goes off* “If… You… Don’t… Turn… That… Off. I don’t mean ‘snooze.’ I. MEAN. OFF!!! Doh mek meh tell allyuh again.” *STEUPS*

    Caribbean 6:30 am: One child feels Mommy’s frustration and gets out of the bed and says ‘Good Morning’ to Mommy. This is a smart child. This is Mommy’s favorite for the rest of the day. The one that all other children in the house should aspire to be, but never will be… at least not on THIS Saturday.

    My 6:30 am: I am still staring at the ceiling because the multiple alarms have ruined my chances at a peaceful sleep.

    Caribbean 6:45 am: Mommy has had enough. She is waking everyone up with a shake, flipping the blankets back, and a cuss. The Child of the Day is peacefully eating his or her breakfast at the table, basking in their winning status.

    My 6:45: *stares at ceiling* I start making decisions from the bed. If there is milk in that fridge… they are having cereal. *Checks Twitter to see who else is up and miserable on a Saturday*

    Caribbean 7 am: If the kids haven’t brushed their teeth, washed their faces, changed clothes, and had breakfast by now, this is going to be a long day for everyone. It is time to assign chores, and mommy has already started washing up the dishes from breakfast. For the late risers, ah piece ah bake in a paper towel it is.

    My 7 am: I finally have given up on going back to sleep, so I consider studying for something. I look at the clock and realize that it is 7 am, and I may never get this alone time back, so I head downstairs to watch something from the DVR, have some tea, and eat my English muffin in peace.

    Caribbean 7:30 am: Chores are in full swing. Kids are mopping, dusting, washing walls, vacuuming (or using the sweeper) sweeping, hanging clothes on the line, moving furniture to clean under it, cleaning out school bags, beating rugs on the step, and scrubbing bathroom tiles. Mommy is supervising, picking up things here and there – but eventually sitting to have tea and talk to friends on the phone about how these wotless children don’t do anything.

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    Author Profile: Eva Wilson  - Website

    Eva the author of Anancy's Family Reunion, and the winner of the 2012 Black Weblog Awards for Best Parenting Blog and Best New Blog. Find her on Twitter at @socamomdc.

    Black History Month: What Are Your Moments That Matter? #att28days

    The year my dad was born on the small Caribbean Island of Tobago, American President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Executive Order 8802 desegregated war production plants and established the Fair Employment Practices Committee in the United States. My dad arrived in the United States in 1965, the year Malcolm X was assassinated.  He was in his third year at Howard University when Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated and Washington, and DC was engulfed in fiery riots.  He graduated from Howard University School of Law in May of 1974, and later that year, he began working on writing policy for the newly enacted Employee Retirement Act of 1974 (ERISA).  I was born in Washington, DC on Christmas Eve the next year.

    For Black History Month, AT&T has challenged all of us to investigate moments that matter in Black History. We all know, or should know, the big moments like Althea Gibson’s Grand Slam title, Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, the election of America’s first African American President, Barack Obama, but what are the moments that led up to the historic victories, inventions, and accomplishments in Black History? How does your family history figure into the larger picture that is Black History in America?  As a Caribbean American, I am proud of the accomplishments of Black Americans as well as the contributions to Black History that people of Caribbean descent have made to technology, culture, politics, art, and the law.

    About the Program:

    "Now in its eighth year, AT&T 28 Days is a project close to all of our hearts at AT&T. We're proud to put a special focus on celebrating how African-Americans have impacted our culture and highlighting those we believe will have an impact in the future. Our century-long history of innovation is a story about people from all walks of life and all kinds of backgrounds coming together to improve the human condition. When you look through our Moments that Matter visual album, you will see many images that speak directly to that heritage of diversity at AT&T. But celebrating our history is just part of what 28 Days is about. We also want to shed light on the people, tools and resources within the African-American community supporting constructive change across the globe. To that end, we asked modern-day, black pioneers to share how they navigate through a world moving at the pace of technology and innovation." ~ Jennifer L. Jones, Vice President of Diverse Markets at AT&T Mobility (Read more at http://28days.att.com/about)

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    Author Profile: Eva Wilson  - Website

    Eva the author of Anancy's Family Reunion, and the winner of the 2012 Black Weblog Awards for Best Parenting Blog and Best New Blog. Find her on Twitter at @socamomdc.

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