It started with some drool.
Mr. Social could do no wrong with his big brother when he arrived. He was perfect. No amount of crying or pooping was a problem. Then it happened. He was holding him one day, and some drool got loose. That was the first time we heard him tell Mr. Social not to do something. As he wiped his hand off in slight disgust, I could see that was the beginning of the end of their perfect relationship.
Now that they share a room, there has been a whole lot of times that my Big One has had to tell my little one to stop doing something, not to touch something, or to just leave his stuff alone. Today was no different.
My teen teeters between being a kid and being a teenager. When the little one starts to beg for something, sometimes his teenager shows up, he feels empathetic, and he gives in.
So today, all the kids were trying to impress Grandma with their musical genius. There's no shortage of instruments in our house, so she really did get a full concert. The kids are really competitive, and Mr. Social wasn't content with playing his steel pan for Grandma. He needed more. Long story a little shorter, Mr. Social one broke the Big One's guitar string, trying to play it with his pan sticks. The big one had already told him that he couldn't play it, but he insisted... resorting to begging, then whining. The Big One gave in. Mr. Social apologized through his tears. He had to give up $3 of his own money to fix it, since he wasn't playing it properly. Mr. Social really likes his money, so he was pretty upset.
"It's okay..." said the Big One. It wasn't okay though. Not to me. Probably not to the Big One either. Even though he had pretty much forgiven him even before he apologized, there had to be consequences.
At times Mr. Social would break the Big One's things, we would kind of let it go, because if we went all crazy every time it happened, it would just be a constant one way stream of punishment - especially since it was so rare for the Big One to break something belonging to Mr. Social.
Being a big brother, sometimes, the Big One feels like he can't win. Because of that, every now and then, I deliver that sweet, swift justice on behalf of the Big One. Within 15 minutes, we were on our way to the music store. On the way, I told Mr. Social that he has to treat other people's things even more carefully than he treats his own, and that if he was going to beg the Big One to use his things, he would have to be responsible when he got them. I decided to sit in the car and let them go in the store and handle their business.
"Sorry," whispered Mr. Social on the way home. He really meant it. I could tell because he didn't mean for me to hear it.
"Apology accepted," the Big One whispered back. He meant it. I could tell because he didn't answer back loudly to embarrass him. He answered in the same tone of voice showing that it was something genuine and personal between the two of them.
That ability to apologize and forgive each other, and to treat each other's property with respect will serve them well in their relationship with one another, as well as people they interact with in the future. Now that Mr. Social understands consequences - I spend a lot of time instilling those values.
How do you teach your little ones to respect other people's property? Do you show them how to treat library books, or do you teach them to cover their school books? What is your method? What teachable moments have you used to teach values to your children?Add a comment
Photo Credit: Bruce Douglas
Colorful. When I think of the Caribbean, I think, "colorful". The people are colorful in personality (and sometimes dress), the houses are colorful inside and out (the walls, and the family living withing the walls), and the landscape is colorful with all the bright flowers, plants, and birds. When the boys and I walked into the theater, that was the first word that came to my mind when I saw the stage.
My boys, 7 and 13, were mesmerized throughout the entire performance. I was especially surprised at the 13 year old - he sat forward. He sat back. He smiled. He laughed out loud. He visibly held his breath. He held his own hands. He relaxed. I caught myself looking over at him - with all his reactions, he was part of the show for me. Every day I feel like his childhood is passing away into thin air as he passes me in height, starts to notice the ladies, and his voice deepens. But right then, there he was, next to me... delighted like a kid again by the singing, the dancing, the colors, the jokes, the music... As I looked around, I found that it wasn't just him. Adults and their kids from the youngest toddlers to the tallest teens were wide eyed and smiling.
As you all know, I am a sucker for design, so the first thing I pointed out to the boys was the stage - can you see how special it is?
I don't know how many people noticed the stage during the show, but I noticed immediately - it is a steel pan. And the corrugated brilliantly painted "gyal-van-ize"... genius. What is a Caribbean setting without it? From the tropical plants to the smiling sun (no for real, it smiled), the set, though small, was perfection.
The musical is based on the book by Cedella Marley, which is based on the lyrics to the iconic song by her father, Bob Marley.
SocaMom and Cedella Marley after the show - Thanks for snapping this pic Justice Fergie!
There are few opportunities like this one for you to be able to have a conversation with your children about Caribbean culture in such a fun setting. My kids loved hearing the accents and the familiar music, and I enjoyed that there was even a brief history lesson thrown in there that showed the diversity of the Caribbean.
Africa, India, China, and Spain! Photo Credit: Bruce Douglas
The talk we had on the way home about family loving and supporting one another was spurred by the introduction of Cedella Marley as Bob Marley's daughter by Michael J. Bobbit, the Producing Artistic Director of the Adventure Theatre, and the man responsible for the adaptation of the book for the stage. They were interested in how the music of her father inspired her to write the book. Her husband and children were in attendance to support the performance, as was her brother, Rohan Marley of Marley Coffee.
Photo Credit: The Boy (see more of his real work at DavesCarShow.com)
Here's more about the show from the Adventure Theatre Website: "Ah…yasso nice! Three little birds sing their sweet songs to Ziggy, a very shy child who is happy to see the world from the T.V. in his room. But his tricky friend, Nansi wants him to get out and enjoy the Island of Jamaica. But, Ziggy is afraid of hurricane, mongoose and evil spirits. Their worldly adventure is enlivened by the fantastic songs of renowned Reggae artist, Bob Marley. Roots, Rock, Reggae!"
"Three Little Birds is based on the story by Cedella Marley with music and lyrics by Bob Marley. It was adapted for the stage by Michael J. Bobbitt with additional music & lyrics by John L. Cornelius, II. The production was directed by Nick Olcott and stars S. Lewis Feemster, Ayanna Hardy, David Little, Jobari Parker-Namdar, Brittany Williams, and Tara Yates-Reeves.
Should you see it?
Absolutely! I plan on seeing it again with Baby Girl. I've been taking them to events by the National Symphony Orchestra, and most recently the opera, and she is falling in love with music and theater. With all the singing and dancing - she'll have a ball. If you are a Caribbean mom and would like to go with the rest of us Caribbean Moms in the DC/MD/VA area, join the Meetup Group!
Is it okay for the kids?
Duppy. Photo Credit: Michael Horan
We grown folks know that "Duppy" can be frightening. When I heard it, I'll admit, I tensed up a little - but the way it was presented wasn't scary at all. That being said, I feel like it is appropriate for kids (like it is suggested on their website) 4 and older. The 55 minutes went by VERY quickly, but it still is 55 minutes.
The singing, the acting, the sets, the costumes, all made for a fantastic, must see show - especially for moms of Caribbean kids!
The show runs from March 15, 2013 through April 14th. For more information on ticketing, visit the Adventure Theatre Website. Adventure Theatre is located at 7300 MacArthur Blvd (Glen Echo Park) in Glen Echo, MD - in the DC Metro area.
American Sign Language Interpreted Performance: March 30 at 2:00pm
Sensory Friendly Performance: April 13 at 2:00pm
ATMTC produces several professional productions for children and their families annually. These productions are enhanced by on-line study guides, interactive playbills, book clubs, post-show discussions, "meet-the-artists" events and other outreach/promotional tie-ins. These productions are aimed at integrating drama, literature, language arts and the National & State Fine Arts Standards of Learning into the thrill of seeing a memorable theatrical production.
Disclosure: I was given tickets to the show for myself and my family. For more information on sponsored posts, click on About.Add a comment
My dad and I last summer - the beard is there... all is right in the world.
My first memories of having any sort of bedtime ritual begin around the age of two. Bedtime was bad enough around that age since I shared a room with my brother. At that time anything that had to do with my brother was annoying and bedtime was no exception.
My bedtime was 8:00 - always has been - not because my parents said so, but that was just when my day ended, no matter where I was. So around 7:30, I would get bathed, powdered, and lotioned, put on my night gown, listen to a story, and right after "The End" we would kneel beside my brother's bed. Dad would put his crutches to the side, kneel down between my brother and I, and we would say the Lord's prayer together. By the time we got to "forgive us our tresspasses" my brother would start to snicker. At "lead us not into temptation" he and my dad were in blown giggle. He would get super serious just to say, "and deliver us from Eva..."
"He said deliver us from EEEEVA! He said deliver us from EEEEEVA!" I would scream and jump to my feet pointing and accusing. Each night they did it, I'd be so upset like it was the very first time I'd heard it. I'd calm down, we'd say the last line... kisses on cheeks, hugs, and I get lifted into the crib (I wasn't very tall, so I was in there for a LONG time). Lights go off, night light goes on. I didn't really need it - my crib was right at the door, and usually after prayers my dad would disappear into the bathroom across the hall - door open, light shining into our room.
I thrived on routine. I lived for it. People looked the way they looked, sounded the way they sounded, did what they did, and were not allowed to change - ever.
One night, my dad disappeared into the bathroom and closed the door. I remember standing at the end of the crib in the dark with just the night light. He wasn't supposed to close the door. It was too dark, not at all what I was used to - so I stood and I waited. Waited for dad to open up that bathroom door and let the light into our room. When he opened the door, he must have noticed that I was standing up in the crib, and came over to the doorway. The bathroom light behind him cast a shadow over him, then he took a step into the room where the light of the nightlight illuminated his face.
"You cut your face off! You cut your face off!" I screamed. My brother sat up, and looked at his hairless face, unimpressed, and rolled over. I backed up to the back of the crib - horrified. My daddy had a beard. That was just the way that it was. Facial hair wasn't optional, it WAS his face! My dad laughed, turned off the light in the bathroom, and left me there horrified in the dark. I'm probably not over it. (I am so not over it.)
I have rarely seen my dad without a moustache, and my husband has only shaved his face once since we've been together... at my request. I was curious to see if I could get over my fear of a bald face after such a traumatic introduction it. He looked fine, but I was really glad when his full beard was back in just a couple of days.
This is one of my dad's favorite stories about me.
Do you think any of your childhood routines carried over into your adult life?
This post was inspired by Raising Cubby: A Father and Son's Adventures with Asperger's, Trains, Tractors, and High Explosives by John Elder Robison. Parenting is a challenging job, but what challenges does a parent with Asperger's face? Join From Left to Write on March 12 as we discuss Raising Cubby. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.Add a comment
Six babies. All at the same time.
A world fascinated with multiple births can now focus its attention on the Caribbean for the moment. The first sextuplets born in the Caribbean entered the world at Mount Hope Maternity Hospital on March 4, 2013. It's already in Wikipedia... I think that makes it officially history.
The government has pledged to "co-parent" the babies, which means lending financial support to the family. Since everything comes with a price, I am not sure what else is involved on the part of the parents and the kids, but who knows? Could be commercials, public appearances - you just never know. Everything comes with a price. It very well could be that this is the one thing in life that actually is free. I remember watching a documentary a few years ago about the Dionne quintuplets born 79 years ago in Canada. When I read "co-parents" and "government" it made me think of them.
After four months with their parents, they were made wards of the King under the Dionne Quintuplets Guardianship Act of 1935. The government and their caretakers profited from their celebrity status and a world in awe of multiple births for years.
Approximately 6,000 people per day visited the observation gallery that surrounded the outdoor playground to view the Dionne sisters. Ample parking was provided and almost 3,000,000 people walked through the gallery between 1936 and 1943. Oliva Dionne ran a souvenir shop and a concession store opposite the nursery and the area acquired the name "Quintland". The souvenirs pictured the five sisters. There were autographs and framed photographs, spoons, cups, plates, plaques, candy bars, books, postcards, dolls, and much more at this shop. Oliva Dionne also sold stones from the Dionne farm that were supposed to have some magical power of fertility. Midwives Madame LeGros and Madame LeBelle opened their own souvenir and dining stand. In 1934, the Quintuplets brought in about $1 million, and they attracted in total about $51 million of tourist revenue to Ontario. Quintland became Ontario's biggest tourist attraction of the era, at the time surpassing the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. ~Wikipedia
Let's hope that it doesn't get THAT serious. Since then, thanks to IVF (in-vitro fertilization), multiple births are more common - but still something of a spectacle for onlookers. Large families of multiples have sparked several reality shows, and parents have been able to secure lucrative endorsement deals, magazine covers, interviews, and television specials.
As of now, the parents aren't open to publicity, and no photographs are allowed in order to protect the family's privacy. One of the six babies, three boys, three girls, is breathing on its own.
What do you think financial help from the Trinidad and Tobago government will mean for the sextuplets and their parents? Do you think that with the Internet, reality TV, and social media that they will be able to cash in or not? What do you think that the government could mean by "co-parent"? What decisions do you think they should be able to make for the family if they are contributing financially to the care of the children?Add a comment
April's Essence cover is double fabulous with twin moms, actresses, and fashion icons Tia and Tamera.
Image: Still from behind the scenes video from Essence.com
The power moms talk life, business, and motherhood in the latest issue of Essence.
Image: Still from behind the scenes video from Essence.com
While the two took time apart as actresses to pursue their own acting projects after years of working together on Sister Sister and made for TV movies, they have found success yet again, together, on their reality series Tia and Tamera on the Style Network.
Cover of Essence Magazine - April
To watch behind the scenes video from their cover shoot, visit Essence.com.Add a comment
One of my favorite events is back for 2013! You have two days to enjoy live music, wine tastings, art, food, and craft vendors, family and fun at Linganore Winery! Don't forget to assign a designated driver... ($15 Designated drivers will receive a red wristband and will be unable to taste, consume or purchase wine during the event.)
May 25th and 26th
The admission is $20 per person. $15 Discount is for active military members. ID required. Credit cards are accepted at the gate, and some vendors accept them too, but bring cash just in case.
18 - 20 yr. olds w/adult - $ 15.00, Under 18 w/adult free
Gates open at 10:00 am (get there early for a good spot), festival is from 12 pm to 6 pm.
Don't forget your blanket, chair, tent (up to 10 x 10), and your own food (no grills, generators, or any other cooking things) if you'd like. No outside alcoholic beverages are permitted. Oh, and no pets.
Today's science lesson was about cloud types, and for some reason my little ones just weren't getting it. One of the great things about homeschooling, for me, is that I can change my approach on the fly to match the learning styles of the kids. The second time that I went through the material, I assigned a dance to each cloud type. Anytime I said that cloud type, they would have to break into that dance. Well, they remembered the dance... cloud type, not so much.
Next, I took to Google images to see if I could find a worksheet of some sort that no only summarized the characteristics of the clouds, but also gave me good images - found some, but none that I liked. So, while the kids worked on a worksheet provided by K12, I created some worksheets of my own. The kids loved that I had made them on the fly just for them, and they finally got it. The poems may be a little corny - I didn't have a lot of time to get fancy, but the kids liked it!
These worksheets summarize everything with rhyme, ask three questions, and give the kids a picture that they can keep in their minds.
Download them here:
Let me know what you think! Do you have any interesting ways that you have taught your kids about cloud types?Add a comment
He jumped up and started slapping himself awake and running in place – a hilarious wake up dance from my middle boy, 6 years old at the time. “Is it time, mommy?”
“Yes,” I told him, barely containing my laughter, “you can go on and get dressed.” It was going to be his first day “doing a real business” and he was beyond excited. He and his siblings had spent the night before at the local shopping club picking out the items they planned to sell at the church yard sale. We packed the car with tents, tables, chairs, a chalk board, a cooler, and all the candy, soda, and juice that they had purchased. While other families were on the way to the park or little league games, we were setting up shop for the kids to try their hand at entrepreneurship. All day we sat back in the chairs we had purchased to watch the boys’ soccer games, watching them yell, “Candy! Drinks! Drinks! Candy for sale!” Each person that came up and bought something from the kids put a smile on their faces and confidence in their hearts.
They counted change. They bagged up candy and drinks. They tallied up their monies, and remarked on their best sellers. Their ages, combined, was the age that most people get their first real job, and there they were on a Saturday morning, talking to people, learning about markup and how to present their merchandise for sale. They were learning how the world works, and having a ball in the process.
Could I have been at the salon or relaxing in front of the TV? Probably. But I felt that when my kids asked me if they could have a table at the yard sale, it was a great opportunity - a teachable moment. (click "read more" if you are reading this from the front page or click on the title if you are reading from your email subscription)
Add a comment Read more...
You know how the song goes. "If you don't know me by now, you will never, never, never know me...."
After being together for 10 years, you would THINK that I know all there is to know about my husband, and that he knows everything about me. Not so. You really can be with a person for years and think that there'd be nothing new to discover. Again I say - not so.
Each year, I tend to reveal something about myself to my husband, either in conversation on a long road trip after the kids fall asleep, or when something on TV or on the radio triggers a revelation. Here are some of my favorites that have made him raise his eyebrows, chuckle, belly laugh, or just left him aghast over our past decade together.
1. I am a big Dave Matthews Band fan. The hubby surprised me with concert tickets for my birthday this year... and he not only researched the music, he found a couple that he liked and endured the whole concert which was several hours long, with a headache (no fault of Dave).
2. I never played on a team in high school with another black person - and I was a cheerleader, ran track, played basketball, volleyball, tennis, and soccer.
3. I had a jheri curl.
4. I got my driver's license at 14, and was driving myself to and from school, 45 minutes each way, by 15.
5. My knowledge of doo wop, 60's, 70's, and 80's music is near encyclopedic.
6. I pretty much know the words to EVERY Cosby Show episode. Yup, darn near all of 'em.
7. I got jokes. Lots of 'em.
8. I am scared of slugs, frogs, worms, salamanders, and other wet yet hairless creatures... but not snakes.
9. I have yet to see Roots.
10. I spent time in Singapore and Hong Kong as a kid.
11. Not only am I crafty, but I really like power tools.
12. I went to a Milli Vanilli concert.
13. Star Trek, not Star Wars - is my franchise of choice. The fact that I had a "franchise of choice" was also surprising.
14. I can sleep through just about ANY movie, especially if it is on past 8 pm. That's when my internal clock says its bedtime.
15. I hate alarm clocks.
16. I never really considered that I'd get married or have children. Ever.
17. Even though I had my college boyfriend do all of my typing homework for me, I can type REALLY fast.
18. As a kid, I would rather sit in front of the family Apple II plus and program quizzes and games in BASIC than go outside. I'm still a big ol' nerd.
19. I can cross one eye at a time. He really hates that one.
20. I was really good at clogging (yes, the dance) in the second grade. (Basically... River dancing to country music.)
In the last ten years I have learned so much about my husband, but the most important thing I've found out about him is that he accepts me as I am. Who I was is a huge part of who I am today, and those quirky little things about me that he learns helps him to understand and appreciate the weirdly normal, exceptionally average, seriously funny, maniacally easy going, adventurous recluse and super shy people person that I am.
This post was inspired by mystery thriller novel The Expats: A Novel. Kate Moore sheds happily sheds her old life become a stay at home mom when her husband takes a job in Europe. As she attempts to reinvent herself, she ends up chasing her evasive husband's secrets. Join From Left to Write as we discuss The Expats: A Novel on January 22. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes. Check out the discussion here: http://socamom.com/soca/en/component/content/article/113-featured-stories/794-10-by-10-blogs-i-checked-out-today-january-22-2013-book-club-day-edition
You learn something new about the people in your life that you care about every day. How much do YOU know about your spouse? Do you think there is anything that you could find out about them that would make you rethink your entire relationship? What is the craziest thing that you have found out about a person AFTER you have already fallen for them?Add a comment
"Mommy!" Baby girl squealed from her room.
"Yes, Beans, what's up?" I replied.
"Look what I did!"
I blinked at the clock - 7:33 am.
With a combination of fear and curiosity, I rolled out of the bed, squeezed past my open and overflowing dresser drawers, ducked around the protruding handles of my elliptical turned closet extension, shimmied by the full laundry baskets of clean but not folded clothes, and went out of my bedroom door - not before whacking my pinkie toe on a plastic bin of craft supplies. I limped down the hall to her room.
"Look, Look!" she chirped, barely able to contain her excitement. "See, I put all my lotion - here. All of my lip gloss is - here. I hung up my necklaces - here. And under here - I put aaaaaaaalllllll my dress up stuff!"
"Wow!" I said - trying to sound excited through the sleep stuck in my throat, "This is really amazing!"
Truth is, I was excited. We had gotten our girly girl a powder table for her birthday, and she really loved it. Now, two birthdays later, she was still in love with it, and using it to stay organized. I was always afraid that my kids would mimic what they saw when they witnessed the chaos that was my room, and here was my little one, up early, making sure her personal space was in order. Whoa.
Moms, Dads, Aunt, Uncles, Grandmas and Grandpas - you know - helping a child develop good habits is challenging. Nurturing a child's natural ability can be even harder. My son is a talented soccer player, so helping him out is easy, since soccer is something I love to play. Staying organized is a talent, but it isn't one that my husband have naturally, so we are at a bit of a disadvantage when it comes to raising a little one who shows a knack for it at such a young age.
Order is important in the Caribbean household. Around here, my husband and I, while not terribly organized, do have a talent for planning and project management, so we have come up with five ways to support and encourage our naturally organized child.
1. Ask her what she needs to get her space set up the way that she would like it. A lot of times, you'll find that after you set up your child's room, and it looks perfect, it is dismantled in a matter of hours. What you think is organized, may not match what your child has in mind. We have found that the way that our brain is organized is quite different to hers, so in order for her to feel at peace with her set up in her room, we have to get her input.
2. Provide tools for keeping their space orderly. Buckets, bins, baskets, bags, binders... we have it all, and we make sure that she has a place and a space for everything. Since she is naturally organized, not having a space for something can make her anxious. Between the dollar store and IKEA, she's a much happier kid.
3. Remove obstacles to neatness. For me, it is easier to just divide the clothes up in baskets by owner, and shove them in their rooms until I get to folding and putting away. The boys couldn't care less. For Baby Girl, that is a problem. A basket of unfolded clothes in her room that she spent so much time organizing? Unacceptable. So although I still shove the boys' basket into their room, secretly hoping that they'll fold them and put them away, I fold her clothes and put them in the drawers for her.
4. Give her a job helping to organize other areas of the house. Nurturing and supporting her organization skill is more than just helping her to keep her personal space clean and neat to her satisfaction. I would like for her to extend her talent to contributing to the overall organization of the household and eventually her community at large. I give her small jobs to help out like organizing the lower bookshelves in our homeschooling area, and she loves the idea of taking ownership of a project that affects more people than just herself.
5. Reward her good work. Baby Girl has kept her been keeping her room up on her own for quite a while now. We recognize that for a kid her age, that is pretty impressive. Most kids her age still have mom making their beds and cleaning their rooms - and while I do have to go in and vacuum, put away things she can't reach, and prompt her to check under her bed for toys and socks, for the most part, she has taken ownership of maintaining her personal space. We reward her with a few more minutes of video games, or fifteen minutes tacked on to her bedtime.... both of which make her feel very grown up. She likes feeling grown up.
What is your child naturally good at? How did you find out? What do you do to nurture and support that talent?
There's no denying that order is valued in the Caribbean household. Recognizing and rewarding organization as a "talent" seems to be a very American concept. How do you view the ability to stay organized when it comes to your kids?Add a comment
June is Caribbean American Heritage Month!
|Fri Jun 21 @ 6:30PM - 11:59PM|
2013 Caribbean Heritage Salute to Hollywood & the Arts Gala
|Fri Jun 28 @ 9:00AM - |
4th Annual Caribbean Style & Culture Awards & Fashion Showcase
|Sat Jun 29 @ 3:00PM - 11:59PM|
Annual Dimanche Gras - DC Caribbean Carnival Association
|Sun Jun 30 @ 3:00PM - |
Annual Dimanche Gras - DC Caribbean Carnival Association
|Sun Jul 07 @10:00AM - 09:00PM|
Baltimore International Reggae Jerk Festival
Dowload free activity and coloring sheets!
Looking for a Caribbean Restaurant in your area? Traveling and looking for a taste of home?
The Caribbean Restaurant Guide can help you! Have you been to a Caribbean restaurant that you would recommend to friends, or to people with kids because of a kid's menu, changing station, juice, milk, or gluten-free options? Log in using Facebook or Twitter, add the restaurant, and write a review!
We are adding new restaurants daily, so please follow @socamomdc on Twitter for updates.
Enter your email address for updates in your inbox!
Buy Anancy's Family Reunion for Kindle for $3.99
Get the print edition of Anancy's Family Reunion for $9.99 (Retail price $12.99)
Click on Contact Us for media inquiries.
Happy Caribbean American Heritage Month!
Socamom.com helps Caribbean parents connect their kids to Caribbean Culture!
Join the Socamom community on
Click on Contact to request sponsorship information for the Blogging While Brown Conference in NYC
Click on Contact to request sponsorship information for the Blogher Conference in Chicago
Click on "Contact" to sponsor SocaMom.com at Blogalicious 5