Children’s Books Black History Month Edition

Here’s a short list and description of some children’s books to read to your kids during black history month.

1. Little Leaders Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison. It’s a book for kids a little older but Sage who is 3 likes looking at the illustrations and I just read her the woman’s name and occupation.

2. Hey Black Child by Useni Eugene Perkins. Such a motivational book for any black child.

3. Dancing in the Wings by Debbie Allen. A dream book for a little girl obsessed with ballets and dancing and dresses. Not to mention so much history in Debbie Allen’s accomplishments.

4. Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty. Cutest illustrations with a big meaning and a funny story. Girls can be scientist. Little black girls can be scientists.

5. Lola at the Library by Anna McQuinn. A book to get your child excited about reading books.

6. A Night Out with Mama by Quvenzhane Wallis. This book would have been published by the author when she was 13 if that’s not a big enough feat to read this book to your children I don’t know what is.

In retrospect I also realized all these books are about AA women (I guess cause I have a daughter) but these are just some books we already had that showed African American representation. What books would you recommend for younger kids to start learning about African American History? Leave some comments for me on what you’re reading to your children this month.

Photos from Hey Black Child.

Photos from Ada Twist, Scientist.

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Sage’s 3rd Birthday Recap

Sage turned 3 last Friday. And I took her to children’s museum in Atlanta. Sage had fallen asleep in the car on the way there so when we first got to the museum she was a little overwhelmed so we went to the water fishing area first because there were less people in that section of the museum she had fun. Kept saying she was catching fish with her daddy. The other exhibits or sections of the museum is the kitchen a building/ball area, a jungle gym, painting station, Daniel the tiger section with houses and mail and stuff and a sand section.

There are also classes you can sign your kid up for but they go fast. We got to the museum later than I wanted to and the spots for the classes were already filled.

Sage wore a dress because that’s usually all she wants to wear anyway and even if we live in Georgia it’s still winter time. And she wanted to wear a crown so yes I was that extra parent for the day. She had a lot of fun there was a reading time of Daniel the tiger at like 2:30 but she didn’t want to sit for it.

The kitchen area is defiantly a Waffle House replica even if it doesn’t say so anywhere. That’s where most of the kids were and there was food everywhere I’m pretty sure it was Sage’s favorite section too. She kept making plates of food for her dad and myself and naming all the food or asking us what something was.

We stayed at the museum until close then went and got food. Sage picked this hot pink icing for cupcakes (which I forgot to get a photo of) she doesn’t really like cake and just ate the icing off a few.

My parents flew in to celebrate Sage’s birthday with her on Saturday and we went to yard house, a candy store downtown and to chuckie cheese. Next year for Sage’s birthday I hope she’ll have some friends from being in school (fingers crossed she starts this August) and I can actually throw her a birthday party.

Here’s some cute photos from her birthday and Saturday when we went to chuckie cheese.

Potty Training

I began potty training Sage over the summer but I’m not going to lie I wasn’t consistent at all. Between work and other things potty-training wasn’t a priority on my list of daily things to do. We transitioned to pull-ups with no fuss. Then started sitting her on the potty to get her used to it. And it kind of became a game for her. She liked sitting on the toilet and saying she had to go potty (even though she wasn’t yet) and she liked feeling a sense of independence and saying “I do it”. She did get really interested in her female parts during this time too and would ask me what things were down there for the first time.This led to print out coloring sheets with labeled body parts.

So, potty training is just an overall learning experience I wasn’t prepared for. My sister suggested (because she did this with my niece) that I should give Sage a reward like candy for using the bathroom in the toilet but I didn’t really like the idea so I never started it. Sage found it enjoyable without the “treat” and is now telling me when she has to go potty on her own without me asking her.

She still wears pull-ups to bed (haven’t figured this one out yet) but during the day she doesn’t (this includes during naps) and she hasn’t had many accidents once she got the hang of it. In the beginning she did have a couple accidents and wet herself while wearing underwear but she fully understands now and can feel the difference between her pull-up and undies- and if she’s wearing undies will say she has to go potty.

We got to this stage of understanding by having talks after she would have accidents me telling her I wasn’t mad at her and reminding her to tell me when she had to go potty. I also just started taking her to the bathroom every hour when she had on undies. This got her in the habit of knowing okay when I feel the urge to go I need to go to the bathroom. Talking and explaining things to Sage repeatedly really helped her to understand and get the concept of using the bathroom.

Getting her to use the bathroom to go poo I knew would be hard I don’t know about other toddlers but Sage would always go to the same spot squat down and poo then tell me she had. But the transition to her using the toilet and pooping really wasn’t that bad.

Every time Sage uses the bathroom in the potty she exclaims “I did it” so it is fun for her she likes knowing she can do something with her body on her own. Still working on the wiping but I’m so proud of my baby. Sage does use a separate like booster toilet seat because she’s dramatic and swears she’ll fall in the toilet without it. So, if you’re having trouble getting your little one to be comfortable sitting on the toilet seat I suggest purchasing a kiddie one.

I’m going to leave some tips that I found helpful and links.

1. You should definitely purchase toddler flushable wipes. These were a game changer because Sage would go through the motions using so much tissue when she didn’t even use the bathroom. Also it helps them be able to wipe themselves more efficiently. I get mine from target they’re the up and up brand and super affordable.

2. Like I said I suggest getting a training seat for an actual toilet but there also are those toddler/baby toilets that could be helpful in the very beginning with just helping your child get used to the act of sitting on a potty. You can also let your child personalize this mini toilet with stickers, paint, etc.

3. Help your child get comfortable with the toilet. So, whatever they need to feel comfortable using the bathroom do it.

4. Kids learn by imitation so having an open door policy is a good start to showing your child how to use the bathroom and correctly wipe. I did this even before potty training because I’m usually the only one home with my daughter and need to be able to keep an eye on her even when nature calls.

5. Let your child pick out their underwear Sage has trolls and poppy and of course that motivated her to want to wear undies instead of her pull-ups. The little things will help your child get used to this change smoothly.

Here’s some links I used while potty training with more tips to help ya potty train your little one.

https://www.babycentre.co.uk/a548953/potty-training-for-girls

https://www.parents.com/toddlers-preschoolers/potty-training/tips/potty-training-tips/

Mom Talk #4

This mom talk might be a little sensitive to some mommas. Because I’m talking about co-parenting this month. I never thought I would identify as a single mom. Sage’s father was there my whole pregnancy and after for 9 months we did live together and try to make things work. There of course was a limbo period where we didn’t know what we were doing but I think we’re almost (knock on wood) in an okay place. I don’t have set rules or regulations for co-parenting I don’t like confrontation and have a hard time asserting myself. I’m learning to ask for what I want. Whether is a night off to hang out with my friends or just a night off for self-care. At first it was hard for me to ask for help with buying things Sage needed or ask for a break but co-parenting does get easier. I know society has conditioned women to believe their place is at home with their kids and sacrifice sacrifice sacrifice but that doesn’t have to be your reality. You can be happy with your child or children and happy alone having a night off (and this is whether you co-parent or have a husband). Never be afraid to ask for what it is you need as a mother to feel your best mentally and emotionally.

Sage is not yet on a set schedule when it comes to co-parenting but I would like her to be (if any of you co-parenting moms or dads have tips on scheduling let me know). I have had issues with accountability sometimes Sage’s father doesn’t do as much as he should and the responsibility usually falls on me to provide financially. As well as being her primary caretaker (which is why identify as a single mom). But he is there for her he’s her dad and really her best friend they have a bond and when he is around it’s like I don’t exist – so I make things work for her.

However, co-parenting is not about the parents and all about the child. Well, it’s a little about the parents because things need to be worked out and parents need to be on the same understanding when it comes to their child’s needs. But other than that it’s about doing what’s best for the child and not taking things personally when things come up (cause they will). Parenting isn’t a perfect system and co-parenting isn’t either. There is a lot of growth that has to happen with both parents for things to work. Separating your personal relationship from your co-parenting relationship with your child’s other parent is key to making this relationship work.

Co-parenting should be consistent similar rules, discipline, and rewards so your child knows what to expect with both parents this also won’t lead to confusion. Never vent to your child about the parent in a co-parenting situation. Stay focused on your child and less worried about what the other parent is or isn’t doing – however if problems do arise setting a meeting time without children present to talk through issues and resolve them will be beneficial to all involved.

Co-parenting is team work. Approach the relationship in a business like manner and keep conversations focused on your child as to not get past feelings mixed up. Always be respectful in dealing with the other parent and communicate effectively. Request for things instead of demanding and making comments about things that you want to happen but aren’t. And realize that with any relationship a co-parenting one requires work and communication to work effectively. If you and the other parent can stay focused on your child things should run smoothly. Also make big decisions together don’t make them in the spur of the moment then later talk to the other parent about it. Being mindful will go along way in keeping the relationship healthy and unstrained.

Your child’s emotional and mental well-being is more important than any petty thing that can come up in a co-parenting relationship just remember this and keep this in mind and co-parenting might at least feel better when things do come up.

Personally, I do my best to only focus on Sage when it comes to co-parenting as long as she is okay and happy I try not to let a lot of things bother me. If you co-parent and you feel overly stressed in an area whether it’s financially, mentally, emotionally or even in your physical body it may be time to communicate this with your co-parenting partner and come up with a plan to get things more relaxed. I know moms feel the need to do a be all things but we don’t have to anymore it’s okay to help and expect help from the person who helped bring your child into this world. Do not be afraid. And co-parenting gets easier and if it doesn’t take legal measures to get what you need for your child and for you.

3 Ways I Manage Stress with a 2 year old

Not going to lie my patience sometimes is at 0 with my daughter. As a single working mom I’m stressed more than I’d like to be. This of course causes me to be less patient with my high strung toddler and tense. Here’s 3 Ways I destress and find a lil selfcare for myself throughout the day.

1. Yoga

And I’m not talking about yoga as an exercise. I’ve learned quite a few poses over the years (when it was an exercise for me) and in the morning I sometimes put on nature or meditation music and just allow myself to sit and flow from pose to pose for however long I feel. Being aware of my breaths. And getting out of my head a little.

2. Showers

I’ve always had this weird gravitational pull to water (I’m not a water sign so this is why I say weird). Water calms me all the way down. And if my daughters particularly intense one day I will either make her take a midday bath or I’ll take one myself for some me time or we’ll take one together if we both need to chill out. For some extra relaxation I sometimes add epsom salt and oils to the bath too.

3. Listening to Music

When my daughter was a newborn I had a record player and one of the ways I’d get her out of a crying fit was to play records. I even had made a playlist called Sage’s Morning on my SoundCloud. Music chills me out cause it again gets me out of my head space. And for Sage she likes to dance so it keeps her occupied even if only for 5 minutes.

What are your tips for keeping cool and calm through the day with your toddlers? (or kids) let me know in the comments!

Sage’s Favorite Books

Hey everyone!

Wanted to highlight some of Sage’s favorite books right now and ill probably do this every so often as I’m always getting her new books and her favorites are always changing. I can tell when a book is her favorite when I tell her to go get a book off the bookshelf and its always the same one. So, here are 3 of her favs at the moment. And at some point ill do a version of this for myself too.

I am Enough by Grace Byers: Sage loves this book and honestly I do too. There’s only about a sentence a page accompanied by beautiful illustrations by Keturah A. Bobo – that show representations of girls from all races. The author also threw some self-love affirmations in this book (I mean look at the title), that I think its a great way to start teaching your kid to love themselves.09bce39c-488d-4d5e-b8d0-4eb6063269d52. Little Pea by Amy Krouse Rosenthal: This cute little book is all about a pea that has to eat candy to grow big and strong. Sage of course likes looking at the illustrations by Jen Corace and naming all the colors of the candy.

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3. I’m not Sleepy! by Jonathan Allen: This cute funny book is all about an owl whose sleepy but won’t admit it. The whole story he’s grouchy and yells at neighbors that he isn’t tired. Sage is a night owl herself and this book is perfect for her. She won’t go to sleep at night no matter how late it is unless I lay her down and turn everything off.

That’s the end of Sage’s favorite books right now. If you don’t have these I recommend buying them for your little one. What are some books your 2 and 3 year olds love? Leave a comment or email me with your favs! I’m always looking for new books for Sage.

Mom Talk #2

Let’s talk about screen-time. This is such a huge topic but I wanted to address it cause its a problem that I have recently began to struggle with my two year old about. She always wants the phone. I know this will change once she starts school but I’m having a hard time keeping her busy now so the phone situation doesn’t come up. At the same time I am trying to brand my blog – and that requires me to be on the phone or on my laptop (like I am now typing this at 12:48pm) she sees all of this. She sees me using my phone and using the laptop and she imitates my behavior. I know I could switch my “work” hours to times she’s not awake, when she takes a nap or when she’s down for the night or get up early before her and knock out everything I think I need to do online. I hate that she sees me using technology so much I’ve tried to implement technology free days on Sunday’s but that didn’t really workout the best as sometimes I’m not with her on Sunday’s because of work. I try to do activities with her to get her away from wanting to watch peppa pig or poppy but as many of you parents know a toddlers mind is always looking for the next shiny new thing – they don’t stay concentrated on one thing for long. And as sad as it is sometimes it just keeps the peace to just give her the phone so I too can take a breather from dealing with meltdowns and demands of a two year old (no judgment here). Sometimes my selfcare is giving her the phone for 25 minutes so I can stretch or read a chapter of a book or anything.
I also know that too much screen-time can have negative effects like with anything too much of something can have repercussions. Lets look at some scientific data of how screen-time effects kids and toddlers. Scientific research – doctors say that kids younger than 18 months shouldn’t have screen- time at all I know this can be impossible with TV’s in homes, tablets and technology becoming increasingly part of our normal day to day function. But its said that since brains are developing the most in the first 2 years and children learn the most from interacting that they need to be interacting and not sitting in front of a screen. Interacting like being in nature, going to parks, being around other kids, being out in the world and learning seeing, hearing, touching things. However, there is “good” and “bad” screen-time. Good screen-time could be facetiming family members, doing games on a tablet with someone so the interaction is still there, watching educational shows. But these studies still say screen-time from 2-3 years of age should be limited to an hour a day which isn’t very long. One thing it specifically warns against is screen-time at bedtime and during meals I myself have a bad habit of eating and watching TV which I have passed on to my daughter already but there’s always time to implement changes this week I am going to make sure I myself and my daughter don’t eat our meals in front of a screen. I challenge any of you to do the same if this is an issue for you or to just be more present and aware of your kids screen-time this week.
I do feel guilty when I give my daughter the phone or sit her down in front of the TV just so I can get things done. In short its hard being a parent and having dreams, other responsibilities, and caring for yourself too. Its hard but its not impossible. I know my daughter likes to paint so I make a point to try and make it an activity we do daily or every other day, she likes doing crafts and going on walks, she’s a texture person – helping me cook or bake or measure out things. Puzzles and playdough things she can get her hands on is good for her. So, there are some activity ideas you can implement with your own kids and if anyone has any other activities they do with their kids that their kids enjoy leave a comment about it. Leave a comment with your own stories and or struggle about children screen-time. I wanna hear! As technology becomes more integrated into our lives I want to know of things we can do to stay in touch with ourselves and our children.
When Sage was a baby baby (what I call pre 2 years lol) I didn’t let her watch much TV or use the phone. To be honest before she was 2 TV didn’t hold her attention for long because she was so curious about the world and her surroundings. I wish that kids youtube had never been introduced to her. I’m not sure how it was. Its not a huge issue she’s getting older and isn’t as interested in her normal day to day surroundings. On outings she’s fine without the phone doesn’t think about it once. If I could backtrack I would. It has definitely been a struggle with her telling her no when she asks for the phone first thing in the morning. I also just want her to use her imagination and have free playtime more and not be distracted by moving things on a screen. I think technology in a way can really make someone anxious – overthink – distracted – the brain isn’t supposed to move a mile a minute there needs to be a balance – relaxation a calmness I think being on the phone for long periods of time can mess this up. I’ve noticed this even with myself. Based on what I’m watching and how much TV or how long I scroll on insta I feel drained and anxious more so than usual. I don’t allow myself time to sit and be still. And I think kids really need that time to get to know themselves and process things naturally.

Much of parenting that I’ve learned is just doing what you feel is best, taking it day by day and trying not to feel doubts or guilt about things you have to do. So, I encourage you if you think your kids use too much technology whether 2 or 7 take it day by day and start limiting your kids usage. I also encourage you (parents) to be more present with your kids to not use your phone while they’re talking to you or while eating dinner but give your kid(s) your undivided attention. It’ll be helpful in the long run.

What are your thoughts on toddler screen-time? Do you think its a hard necessity? Are you strict or loose about how much screen-time you allow you kid(s)? How much technology do you (the parent)use and how does this affect your relationship with your kids?

More information on screen-time:

https://www.babycenter.com/screen-time-babies-toddlers

https://childmind.org/article/value-screen-time-toddlers-preschoolers/

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