Daddy Problem #4 – The play dates

I’m an involved dad. I don’t babysit my kids. They’re my kids. When they’re with me, they’re with their parent so it’s not babysitting. It’s that mentality that is ever present whenever I leave the house with any one or both of my girls. I will admit though, I am hypersensitive to when people apparently treat me differently when I am the parent present. Sometimes I think people are trying to figure out whether I’m the manny or if that’s actually my kid (gasp! A black father taking his kid out and having a good time! Alert the propaganda machine!).  Anyway, there is situation where I am not imagining things: getting invited to play dates.

Frequently, my mother, mother-in-law or my wife take Lady C to the park, museum, playground, or somewhere with other children.  It is guaranteed that they will be approached by one of the parents of the children that Lady C is playing with to have a follow-up play date. We have had many conversations about the reason that she was in such high “demand” for play dates but that’s a blog for another time. Whatever the reason, Lady C had a very busy social calendar thanks to the playground connections.

It is a different experience when Daddy takes Lady C to the playground!! Well, not on her part. Definitely on mine though. Lady C interacts with as many kids when she is with me as she does when she was with the women but I never receive an invitation to have a subsequent rendezvous. Frankly, no-one even speaks to me on the playground! And it happens everywhere I take the kid.

I’ve wondered if the man in the playground is creepy? Were the women with children afraid to invite Lady C lest they invite a strange man into their home or give their number to one? I never get an invitation from strangers and even got shaded by one of the parents in a program that Lady C was in. She knew me as the person who dropped Lady C off all the time and wanted her to have a play date with her child. She mentioned it and then asked WHO she should talk to to set that up. ME, I replied!! ME!

Women, have you ever approached a father in the park to set up a play date? Am I imagining things? Fathers, have you experienced the same thing? Soon I will have the same occasions with Lady H. Is there any advice to avoid this happening again? Looking forward to your comments.

Adopt a Class, Adopt a Teacher

Photo-02Every year we hear the stories of teachers in our community struggling to keep supplies in the classroom by using their OWN money to purchase items for their students. Each year, we support one of our family members who is a teacher through her online fundraising link. Since we have a blog now, we decided to share the names and addresses of teachers throughout New York city who could use support of others. So – if you are reading this blog and want to help – PLEASE DO. Let’s do some social good together. In a country as prosperous as ours, there should not be a struggle for children to have PENS AND PENCILS!

Pick, a teacher, pick a class, pick a school and support. And don’t hoard the knowledge – share this blog, share this list and let us know when you’ve completed your Social Good in the comments below.

These teachers thank you in advance!

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Teacher name: Nadine Pearson

School: PS 290

Link to Donors Choose Page (click link to donate to this class).

NOTE – HAS RECEIVED DONATIONS *YAY*

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Teacher name: Alison Best-Adams

School: Boys and Girls High School, 1700 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, NY 11213

Drop off information: Drop off materials to the High School on September 2nd from 1 pm to 3 pm

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Teacher name: Juliet Duggins

School: Jordan L. Mott MS 22X, 270 East 167th Street, Bronx, NY 10469

Drop off information:  Mail c/o Juliet Duggins or dropped off between 8 am and 3pm Monday-Friday

Supply requests: 2 inch binders, loose leaf paper, pencils, pens, composition books

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Teacher name: Deirdre O’Bryant

School: C.S. 21, 180 Chauncey Street, Brooklyn, NY 11233

Drop off information: Mail c/o Deirdre O’Bryant

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Teacher name: Aida Crowley

School: C.S. 21, 180 Chauncey Street, Rm 211 Brooklyn, NY 11233

Drop off information: Mail c/o Aida Crowley or drop-off on September 2 all day

Supply Requests: pens, folders, 2 inch binders, sheet protectors, electric sharpener

NOTE: HAS RECEIVED DONATIONS *YAY*

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Teacher name: Maria Lebron

School: C.S. 21, 180 Chauncey Street, Rm 302 Brooklyn, NY 11233

Drop off information: Mail c/o Maria Lebron

Supply Requests: folders pens, crayons, markers, dry erase markers

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Teacher name: Phoebe Eligon-Jones

School: Benjamin Cardozo High School

Link to Donors Choose Page (click link to donate to this class).

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Teacher name: Janelle Rollocks-Flinch

School: TYWLS of Brooklyn, 32 Bushwick Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11206

Drop off information: Mail c/o Janelle Rollocks-Flinch

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Charitable Organization: Bed-Stuy Campaign Against Hunger, 2010 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, NY 11233

Drop off information: Send donations of any and all supplies to the attention of Naomi Hopkins

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Teacher name: Lenise Rogers

School: P.S. 40, 265 Ralph Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11203

Drop off information: Mail c/o Lenise Rogers

Supply Requests: Pencils, composition notebooks, folders

NOTE – HAS RECEIVED DONATIONS *YAY*

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Teacher name: Lisette Caesar

School: Mosaic Prep, 141 East 111th Street, NY, NY 10029

Drop off information: Mail any time – supplies needed all year round

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Principal name: Cynthia Rochez

School: PS 50, 433 East 100th Street, NY, NY 10029

Drop off information: Mail any time – supplies needed all year round

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Teacher name: Shana Alston

School: Providence House (pre-school), 703 Lexington Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11221

Drop off information: Mail any time – supplies needed all year round

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Principal name: Celeste Douglas Wheeler

Drop off information: 125 Stuyvesant Avenue, 2nd Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11221

Supply Requests: Pencils, binders, loose leaf paper, composition notebooks, folders

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Vice Principal name: Cluny Lavache

School Name: Bedford Academy High School, 1119 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11216

Drop off information: Drop off August 26-28 from 11am to 2pm

Supply Requests: loose leaf paper, dry erase markers, pens, pencils, composition notebooks

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Teacher name: Aisha Harrison

School: Academy of Urban Planning, 400 Irving Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11237

Drop off information: Drop off on 9/2 or 9/3 between 8:30 and 3 pm or year round

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Teacher name: Ebony McLean

School: Madiba Prep Middle School, 1010 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11221

Drop off information: Mail c/o Lenise Rogers

Supply Requests: Binders, loose leaf paper, pens (blue and black ink), pencils

He Said She Said: Dealing with Picky Eaters


We have some picky eaters on our hands! Whew! Lady C used to eat anything we gave her and now she only wants a limited list of items that fall within her box. Fortunately it DOES include vegetables and DOES NOT include candy (she actually hates hard candy… weird). Lady H, on the other hand, has never been interested in experimenting and currently only wants meat (of any kind) and broccoli.

When it’s time for dinner The GreenEs have very different philosophies on how to deal with picky eaters. Come see why at He Said She Said.

HE SAID: YOU EAT WHAT I COOK 

I grew up with my grandmother in the Caribbean. I repeat: a Caribbean grandmother. Now I’m old school so she was NEXT LEVEL old world attitude. She grew up in a time where there wasn’t a lot to go around. She and her 5 siblings lived in a 2 bedroom house and had to walk 30 miles to school each day…uphill…both ways…in the snow…in Trinidad! The point is that, even though we were in a far better place financially, Granny still didn’t act like were rich.

As a result, you ate what was on your plate. If you didn’t like it, you didn’t EAT! Period! Stew chicken?  yummmm! Sure! I’ll eat that. Tripe? YUCK! I ate that too or starved!  My grandmother was not making two pots. And she definitely was not adjust HER menu to cater to MY tastes. Now this meant that I ate a lot of great tasting food but I also ate some nasty crap like liver and tripe. And I didn’t die! Or starve. It’s no wonder that I adopted that same philosophy towards feeding children.

When Lady C was younger, she ate everything we put in front of her. Then suddenly she became very choosy about what she would consume. It frustrates me to no end to think about whether there is something that my child will eat in the fridge as opposed to whether there is food period. And her tastes are very different to mine. The child won’t eat shrimp!! I can’t trust anyone who doesn’t eat shrimp who isn’t allergic to it (update: I have since come around to her point of view though. They do look kinda creepy sitting on the plate from a kid’s perspective).  I want her to eat healthy foods so I try to make her eat a wider range of foods but it’s gotten to the point where it’s actually easier to prepare two meals than try to mask or alter the thing I want her to eat. Every now and again I’ll introduce something different (like baked potatoes which met with  opposition, stating “I don’t like potatoes!”. I reminded her that fries were made of potatoes and therefore she stop eating those too. Clean plate) and put my foot down but I don’t do it often. It’s not worth the battle at the end of the day!

SHE SAID: FIND OUT WHAT THEY LIKE TO EAT AND MAKE SURE THEY EAT PLENTY OF IT.

When I was growing up I was a VERY VERY picky eater. Looking back, I don’t know how my family dealt with me! I only wanted to eat what I wanted or I refused to eat at all. Many tactics were used against me by family members….

I was forced to sit at the dinner table …. allllll night long until I finished my plate. (which never worked, I always outlasted the grown ups)

I was put on punishment for not eating my meals. (*shrug* still didn’t eat them)

I was made to eat foods I did not like “Because I said so”.

I even had to watch commercials that showed starving children in other countries and was told to be grateful for the food I had.

NONE of these tactics worked… none… the one thing that worked… PATIENCE.

When I was really little my mom told my pediatrician that I would only eat ice cream… his advice was… MAKE SURE SHE EATS A LOT of it. Now, that’s pretty silly to make a kid only eat ice cream but I think the crux of his statement was – find what she likes and make sure she eats plenty of it. That worked for me.

I only liked string beans so when a plate of brussel sprouts was placed in front of me, I REFUSED to eat it. (Still to this day I’m not a fan even though I’ve had it fried and cooked at some of the best restaurants… nope, don’t like it). I never understood why I just could not have some string beans… I mean, why fight and fuss about it when they are good for you! Just give me my beans! As I got older I grew out of the picky eater stage. Although I still don’t like certain foods, by and large I am very open to trying anything. I love exotic foods and I just needed time to adjust.

For my own children, I’d rather not waste hours arguing over food. So long as it is balanced, they can eat the same thing each night. It does not concern me to have children that love quinoa and couscous and avocado though – that would be nice. I do insist that they at least TRY something once… just try… taste it to see if they like it and that has worked to expand options. But if they try and don’t like it, I move on and don’t insist they finish the plate. So if Lady C wants to eat cut up chicken, pasta noodles and broccoli each night… cool with me… she’ll grow out of it and be having sashimi with me in no time!

Tell us – how does your family deal with picky eaters?

Two Right Handed Parents, One Left Handed Kid

When Lady C was 2 and half years old she started reading independently. At first we thought she was just memorizing books so color us shocked when she started reading book after book without having it read to her first. She is now 5 and can read pretty much anything she puts her hands on and is enjoying chapter books. We don’t say this to impress you because all kids have SOME special skill where they accelerate and then lack in some other area. Our kid is an early reader and our kid’s area of concern is HANDWRITING!

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CAUGHT ‘EM! They put themselves in this position…

So while Lady is reading books left and right (pun intended) including reading to her sister, we noticed that she was not holding writing utensils well… we noticed that she was holding them in her left hand. Neither of us are left handed and it proved to be difficult to show her or teach her the proper grip. Couple that with over use of tablet devices and by the time she was in Pre-K her teacher referred her to the in-school Occupational Therapist. She was assessed and sure enough, the report came back that her hold is weak as compared to her fellow students. I know I know — some of you are probably out there thinking, she’s 5! What’s the big deal? And… that’s what we thought when she was 3 and when she was 4 but we started to get more concerned as the year passed particularly because she did not LIKE writing and drawing.

After hearing that report we have focused more on encouraging her to draw and write as much as possible and found ways to make it fun! Practice makes perfect and handwriting would only improve with practice.

Here are some of the things we are doing:

1) We have Lady C write birthday cards for all of her friend’s birthday parties. ALL. She LOVES this and now she looks forward to drawing and is a pro and writing her “To: and From:” greetings. We (un)fortunately go to a lot of kid parties so this happens often. We also encourage her to write and draw stories because her imagination is wild and she always has a good story in her.

2) We encourage her to write on an easel. Holding a writing instrument upright forces a better grip because of the position of the arm.

3) We actually went back to cursed electronic device and got an App called Wet.Dry.Try but we have her use a stylus instead of her fingers. The app provides a progress report and makes writing fun and a game for kids.

4) And this summer we went a step further, we enrolled her in an occupational therapy gym called SPOTS in Brooklyn. We realized that we were holding her back because of our tough time trying to teach her how to write and in 6 weeks of attending she has come around sooooo much. We are so grateful to her Occupational Therapist, Barbara and we made Barbara a card to thank her as well. Lady C looks forward to occupational therapy and is sad that she will be leaving soon.

So – that’s our story. Our kid is not perfect (ha!). Two right handed parents… one left handed kid!

Any other righties raising lefties??? Any lefties raised by righties???

Let us know some tools you have used to improve handwriting!

Recipe Time: Slow Cooker Cranberry Meatballs

We own CrockPot!

We love CrockPot!

Recently we made good use of a leftover can of jellied cranberry sauce. There is always a can left behind and we never know what to do with it because apparently it is only legal to eat cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving. But we grabbed some for a yummy and easy recipe!

Ingredients:

One package of frozen turkey meatballs
One jar of jellied cranberry sauce
One (12 oz) jar of barbecue sauce
Two table spoons of Honey dijon mustard

Directions:

Toss in the barbecue sauce, mustard and cranberry sauce to coat the bottom of the slow cooker. We chopped up the cranberry sauce and spread it around. Add in the turkey meatballs and coat them with your sauce.

Slow cook on the low setting for 4 to 6 hours. Eat with some rice and grab a veggie (something green(e)) and you are done!

 

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 YOU CAN THANK US LATER BECAUSE THIS IS:

#goodadinamug

translation: #GooderThanAMug

translation: #Delicious

Daddy Problems #45: Two girls, one dad, and a bathroom dilemma

I hang out with my girls without their mother all the time dating all the way back to when there was only ONE girl! Back then I had to figure out how to take Lady C to the bathroom. I figured out the technique for taking her to men’s room and making sure she didn’t touch anything in those disgusting facilities.  However, going to the bathroom myself was a horse of a different color. I am hyper sensitive about my daughters seeing my genitalia. Mom and Lady C take showers together and they have all the same bits and pieces. I wasn’t ready to have a discussion about why daddy has a penis and she and mommy don’t. So going to the bathroom coupled that need for modesty with the need to stay sanitized. Figured out the whole get a stall, turn the kid around, and do your business. Fast forward 3 years and now there are TWO OF THEM! I hadn’t had an occasion to figure out relieving myself yet. Either I have been close to home or just held it until I was around more people. However, I had an incident recently and had to pee with two girls in tow, one of which is the busiest 15 month old EVER! I needed some advice so I went to the modern day oracle: Facebook! The answers were helpful, hilarious, and thought provoking. Observe:

Shima G. You have to use a stall, keep them sequestered, and tell them not to touch anything. When Rhys was small, I would keep her strapped to me while I used it. Now, she knows…she even says, “No toca nada!” (our specific bathroom command) whenever we enter a public restroom.

Whitney PWhat Shima said too. I put the fear of God in mine about touching stuff in the bathroom. My daughter (5) gets it, but my three year old…I turned my back to help my daughter and he was literally rolling on the floor. I wanted to strip him and hose him down right there. Luckily it was relatively clean, but still…*shudders*

Derek F. Brooklyn usually has plenty of savory characters showering in one of the bathroom sinks. Have one of them hold the toddler…wait…..

Vinny J. Step one: Don’t miss.

The comments made me laugh (which didn’t help on a full bladder) and some were helpful. I was going to put Lady H on my shoulder and tell Lady C to turn around in the stall. Luckily, I found a hidden family bathroom in the mall and was able to roll Lady H in her stroller and make sure Lady C was in the corner. The last bit about this experience was some of the unexpected backlash about the fact that women navigate these issues all the time and don’t need to ask for help. I think there is not enough credit given to moms and all of the amazing multitasking superhuman tasks that they perform. However, it’s a dangerous slippery slope when we diminish the efforts of a man trying to be active in their child’s life. There are far less resources for involved fathers than there are for moms. Cut us some slack. Telling us that women can do that with one hand tied behind their back, while jumping double dutch, as you’re booking the family vacation on line, and changing a screaming baby’s diaper. We get it. We’re trying. We’ll never be moms!

Hope you enjoyed my peril. Stay tuned for more Daddy Problems! Next up, the play date!

 

Hayden

Lady C-isms

We just added a new page to the Blog. Our oldest daughter, Lady C, says some crazy stuff sometimes. Most of the time it is not worth an entire post but we just want to share. Check back periodically for new Lady C-isms as they spill out of her mouth!

(Can’t wait until Lady H starts to string sentences together!)

Enjoy — LADY C-ISMS