Something You Should Consider Before Having Children

If you ask any parent to give a list of things to consider when thinking about having a child, the lists may sound similar, but will vary. However; there are quite a few that should be at the top of the list. They sound a little something like this:

(1.) Think about your finances: Diapers, formula (if breastmilk doesn’t work for you), daycare, before and after care, clothes, shoes, the type of car you’re driving (Is it big enough for all of you?) food, pull-ups, school, extracurricular activities. They all cost when it comes to your children.

(2.) The pain: This isn’t at the top of my list to say to people, but it is for others. I don’t believe in scaring women with birth stories. Everyone’s experience is different. I do share mine, but I always reassure women about the beauty of it all.

(3.) The risks– For black women, you’re honestly risking your life to give birth in a hospital setting. The healthcare system does not serve black women and babies properly, and the maternal/infant mortality rates are out of this world. It has been a huge concern for decades, but is more recently catching TV time and headlines.

(4.) Sleep deprivation: You legit won’t get any sleep for at least two years. Thats the nice way of putting it. You really don’t get any sleep for the rest of your life. Once children sleep through the night, they do everything in their power to fight naptime and bedtime. When you finally hit the weekend and think you can sleep in, you can’t because of Saturday activities! Not to mention, you’re still trying to do things for yourself in between and have alone time. That usually takes place at night. You find yourself enjoying the peace and quiet that you stay up way too late and now it’s morning again.

(5.) Libido changes: Everyone’s experiences are different, but many will say that the desire for sex dies after having children. Most women say it’s because they are so tired from the baby crying, nursing, working, taking care of home, no longer feeling sexy and more. I’ve unfortunately heard of men no longer desiring their significant other because of her body changes (ie. stretch marks, a larger stomach, weight gain) and not seeing her sexually attractive because they are disgusted from her breastfeeding their child.

This list could go on forever. But let me help you out with one huge, forgotten thing to consider when having a child. It’s potty training. Many will share the various stories they have about their child’s huge blowout (when the poop explodes out of the diaper, up the back, down the legs, etc.), but won’t share the pain, struggle and hard work it takes to potty train their children. Well, I’ll be the first to do it.

I hate it! Potty training my oldest eight years ago was a much easier process than it has been for my newly two-year-old. I tell people all the time. My oldest daughter did nothing to prepare me for her little sister. I feel like she tricked me into thinking I could parent again, without giving me the whole truth! If you’re wondering… yes! I just blamed my daughter for my having another child. LOL She begged my husband and I for a baby sister for four years. She even asked my father at his gravesite! Clearly it was his and I doing, but she played a part. She was (still is) such a good kid, I really thought it would be a breeze this time around. I was so wrong. The potty training experience has only been one part of the torture. But it’s a huge part.

I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve watched my daughter sit peacefully waiting to poop, then all of a sudden she stands up when it’s coming out. Yepp. So now I’m cleaning up poop off the floor, her legs and the pot. I thought I would have to call poison control because I randomly heard a sucking sound and caught her sucking poop off her fingers. What irritated me about that experience the most is that when I yelled “No, stop!” her face was frowned with disgust from the taste. However, she needed a little more to taste in order to confirm that it was nasty. Thankfully, I’d already made it to her before her hand could reach her mouth again.

We are currently in between using a transitional potty training seat and her pot that goes on the floor. She knows how to say, “Mommy, bathroom” or “Mommy, pot-pot,” but chooses to grunt as if she’s already taking a poop. So I find myself almost breaking my neck running to her and taking her to the bathroom. She’s too young to be trusted in there alone. I’ve left her alone on the pot on multiple occasions and learned my lesson each time. Not deliberately, but because I ended up having to pee while she was waiting to poop. When I return from the bathroom, I buss in the room to find her little naked butt on our bed. Thankfully, she hasn’t had poop on her during those moments.

I’ve also noticed that my daughter uses going to the bathroom as a way of escape from her playpen or high chair. In addition, she’s obsessed with washing her hands (not a problem at all until water is all over the sink, floor and her clothes). I still put her on the pot anyway in order to not take any chances. What happens? Endless tears and screams. Snot everywhere, and demands for foods and drinks.

I’ve found myself in a conundrum. I no longer want to pay for pull-ups, but I loathe the moment where I have to wake up in the middle of the night again for this little girl. Making bathroom runs during the night, or having to change her clothes and bedding because she’s had an accident. Having to be on call to wipe your child’s but after every bathroom visit or being traumatized when you realize they’ve used the bathroom and didn’t call you to wipe! Oh and let’s not forget how close you are to a heart attack when the newly potty trained child needs to use the bathroom while you’re driving. In addition,  my oldest has to use the bathroom nonstop (she gets it from me). She specifically finds a way to have to use the bathroom after when our food has finally come when we’re at a restaurant. At this point, I’m convinced frequent bathroom visits from my children will aide in my weight-loss journey. The amount of times that we have to run back and forth to the bathroom. The unfinished meals… Pray for me…

Sincerely,

An “I’m over this sh**”(literally & figuratively)

Queendom Wife and Mother

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Homeschooling Children With a Large Age Gap

We have officially been homeschooling for four months now, and it has been a journey! It’s been mostly good moments, but we have had our share of moments of struggle. Everyone has a day where they just can’t shake a bad mood, but what happens when it’s because of your screaming infant or toddler?

One of my biggest struggles has been finding the balance between properly schooling Taniya while also showing adequate attention to Jayla. If they were closer in age, I’m 100% sure lessons and activities would be easier to teach them together. However, there is a 6-year age gap between the two, so teaching on certain days is a struggle depending on Jayla’s mood.

Prior to her first birthday, our days were a little easier to manage. I would breastfeed her, and then she would nap. She would wake up and spend time in her swing, the activity table, or on my back in the baby carrier. Crawling took place occasionally, but Jayla usually wanted to spend more time being held. Once she discovered how walking allowed her to touch and grab objects, things changed BIG TIME. She became much more vocal for attention, screaming in order to be free and mobile, and simply wanted to be a part of the action. Breastfeeding no longer soothes every cry, and a baby carrier doesn’t always work when you now have a toddler who’s on the move and building her confidence.

Although Jayla still spends time napping, breastfeeding or in the activity seat, I now put the gate in place and let her roam around. Play time is essential. She works with her blocks, dolls, play kitchen items and most of all her big sister. The difference in age has its struggles, but it works in my favor majority of the time. Taniya is a life saver. I spend a lot of time telling her that her sister is okay and to remain focused on our lesson.  The moment we take a break, she jumps out of her seat to play with and teach her sister.

I’ve learned to sit back a little more and allow for them to bond with one another. I watch Taniya practice self-control when she’s mad that Jayla continues to knock her dolls over. I watch Jayla get frustrated when Taniya stops her from getting into something she’s not supposed to. I watch them fight and have a pulling match, and I also watch them run around playing, laughing and hugging each other. When Taniya gets flustered, I simply instruct her on how to teach Jayla. I remind her that over time, Jayla will understand how she’s to play with her. I remember I used to worry about whether their age difference would cause them to have a weak relationship, but I believe homeschooling will actually make them closer. They are able to spend ample time together and experience new things together. The new co-op we’ve joined allows for them both to have the opportunity to play with children their age and give them a little time a part. I know Taniya loves her sister dearly, but social activities with kids her own age is a must! Co-op is only twice a month, but I’ve really connected with the women so play dates are easy to make in between those days.

Honestly, our school days could go much quicker, but I spend a lot of time going back and forth between the two. Explaining a lesson to Taniya, while stopping Jayla from pulling all of the books from the bookshelf. Or reviewing a math problem while Jayla literally screams to the top of her lungs in the background.

I’m still new to homeschooling, but I’m giving myself a pat on the back for being as successful with it as I am. If I’m being honest, I thought I would have given up by now. I didn’t and don’t plan to. I occasionally find myself swaying back and forth between being nervous about homeschooling both Jayla and Taniya as Jayla continues to grow and want to be involved, while also shrugging it off because I know it will all come together. I plan on searching for more resources that allow for Taniya to be more independent in her studies and will also make a schedule/activity curriculum for Jayla. I’ll have two separate spreadsheets for the girls that will provide subjects/activities and resources to use for each.

I believe that if I merge art, music, sign language and reading/writing, it will make learning together more attainable.

Wish me luck!

Homeschooling: The Best Choice for Us

It has been a little over a month since Taniya and I began our homeschooling journey. It was an idea in March, and it became a decision in June. The planning and preparation for our new journey began in July. I pulled several all-nighters because that was the only time I had peace and quiet in order to focus, couldn’t sleep from pure excitement, or from being overwhelmed about the huge change that would be taking place. It was in June when I experienced I love my daughter but… I couldn’t believe I was opting out of the opportunity dealing with only one child at a time by keeping them both at home with me. But it was a decision I grew extremely confident and passionate about.

Since our journey began, I have been observing Taniya’s growth and response to the change. I honestly thought she would be over homeschooling within two weeks of starting, but it’s been the total opposite. She’s so excited to learn, and constantly says “mommy I’m so glad you teach me at home, it’s so much fun!” That’s music to my ears. She even asked if I would be her teacher for college. I quickly said no lol, however I blushed. It felt good to know she was that comfortable in my ability and in our journey to want to stick with me throughout her college schooling as well.

In June, Taniya and I were really struggling bonding and growing together. It was painful because I didn’t imagine experiencing that with my firstborn, or a 6-year-old at that! Since we’ve been homeschooling, there has been a massive shift. I believe Taniya was really missing that one-on-one time with me. There was barely enough time in a day for her and I to truly have our alone time like we were able to do before Jayla was born, or when it was just her and I when my husband was driving over the road. Being at home has allowed her and I to spend countless time with one another and given her the opportunity to spend time with her sister. When she was in public school, she would only witness Jayla sleeping and nursing for the most part.

In addition, Taniya now gets to see and speak to her father whenever  she likes (when he’s not super busy). When she was in school, I would be on the phone with him all day, so there wasn’t a huge void for me. But when she would get home from school, he would be driving or sleeping because he was in a different time zone. I know for a fact that was a strain on my baby girl. She felt that void, not me. Now she is able to experience him more throughout the day. Of course she would rather have him in person, but she loves the time they spend on FaceTime and talking throughout the day. She’s able to see what he does and speak to him for longer periods of time.

Actually, he participates in activities with us and helps me teach lessons. For example, when I taught Taniya about the three branches of government, James was able to participate in the role play activity that I set up. Each of us took turns playing one of the branches and the laws were based on our family set up. You could see the joy on her face. James also helps me to teach Taniya math, science, social studies and history. I honestly try to keep him from teaching math unless I really need his help. He has a different way of teaching and understanding math, so if he teaches her a different method I will be a lost cause. He has free reign in the other subjects.  Family time has taken on a whole new meaning for us. It’s totally virtual when James isn’t home. Having James a part of our day not only gives me a little virtual break with the girls, it also makes him feel involved and not so far away. He doesn’t feel like he’s missing out on everything that is taking place with the girls.

I’ve also noticed that Taniya and Jayla’s relationship has bloomed into the most beautiful thing. Taniya has always loved Jayla, but you could tell she had a few ill feelings when it came to her. She was navigating the feeling of no longer being the only child and all of the attention being on the baby.  It didn’t help that after a long day of separation, when Taniya would finally get home, Jayla would need my attention for breastfeeding on demand. Once Taniya and I got a little time alone when Jayla napped, it seemed like it only lasted for 30 minutes.  Nowadays, Jayla is screaming for her sister’s attention and following her every move. She jumps up at the sound of Taniya’s voice. Taniya has grown into the big sister role and is very protective of Jayla. For example, if Jayla doesn’t stop crying with in 10 seconds, she comes over to look at what I’m doing in order to make her sister feel better lol. She’s so mesmerized by Jayla and tells her she loves her every moment she can. She also does her best to mimic what I teach Jayla.

It is still the beginning stages of our journey, but it was the best decision that my husband and I made for our family.