Hey Mister! What do YOU do?

So we are country of hustlers. Everyone has a side job, or a cottage industry on Etsy.com, or some sort of freelance project these days. Born out the bad economy, people became creative when it came to making ends meet. I even published a book about NYC hustlers called “Hustle City“…shameless plug…buy it on Amazon….

I am no different though. I have been a college administrator for 20 years now (I know I don’t look that old…right!…right?!?!). I have an established career with respect from my peers.

But that’s not all folks!

I have also established myself as a pretty good photographer, if i do say so myself. I have a healthy clientele and I have published two books while currently working on two more (PS see me if you like to wear bow ties).

So where am I going with all of this?

Today I participated in career fair in my fraternity Brother’s school. Streams of students mulled by my table and asked the same question:

“Hey Mister! What do YOU do?”

And then I had to stop and think: what is going to be interesting to these 4th and 5th graders? Then again, maybe I should be telling them about the career that will inspire them…well which one is that? LOL Lord knows I dare not try to explain having two careers to them! I could see their little eyes start to glaze over at THAT prospect!

Well I chose to tell them about being a photographer and all that went into it. They seemed very interested in the pictures that I showed them and how I created the images. They wanted to know if I took pictures of famous people so I mentioned Chris Brown and Mariah Carey. I lost them, though, when I talked about New Edition and Uncle Charlie!!

I started to wonder: what does Lady C think her daddy does? She knows I’m a photographer and she knows which college I work for, but what does she think I DO there? If asked, which job would she choose?

What do your kids think you do?
You should ask them and
tell me what happens?
I’d love to hear the responses!

cbe45eb1329a0403b836ea54fa3092f3

Our Children Marched Today Because…

Today our family marched with thousands upon thousands of other concerned citizens in New York City to protest against police brutality. We saw other parents walking with their children but by and large it was rare to see young children at the event… which is understandable. During the march, we received accolades and quite a bit of attention for having our children with us. Bringing a five year old and 20 month old to a protest march is an interesting decision…

Here is why we did it:
– we wanted them to experience history while it occurred 
– we wanted to reinforce what Lady C (our five year old) learned about civil rights and civil disobedience in school
– Lady C learns a lot about justice but it is equally important that she learns about INJUSTICE

This was a learning moment and teaching opportunity. For weeks now, we have been trying to think of a way to discuss what is happening in the country and have been at a loss. We’ve read blogs and articles and gathered children’s books that discuss race and civil disobedience. In reality, we were over-thinking it. Once we decided to attend the march we had to confront the issue of discussion. And just spoke from the heart.

We asked Lady C to tell us about what she learned about Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks. She said they wanted people to sit wherever they wanted on a bus. We told her that one of the ways they made their opinions known was by marching with other people who shared their opinions. We told her we wanted to do the same to let the world know that we do not agree with people being treated unfairly. We decided not to delve too much into the particulars of the most recent cases and kept it very general.

We prepped by packing snacks, loading up on clothes to stay warm and Lady C made a sign for the event and sounded out all the words to create the sign.

wpid-20141212_194643.jpg

Lady C and Lady H even marched through the house to rehearse. And… We made sure everyone had an empty bladder before we left the house… Very very important.

When we arrived, Lady C was amazed by the crowd and we asked her how it felt to see so many people gathered to express how they feel. Her response: “happy”.

She joined the chants, held her sign with pride, asked questions and generally was a great sport.

wpid-20141213_152632.jpg

We left the march early and on the way home she continued to chant.

We hope this experience teaches Lady C about social action, using your voice and opens her eyes to the power people have when they come together for a united purpose.

cbe45eb1329a0403b836ea54fa3092f3

Fearless Scaredy Cats!

So we’ve discussed Lady C’s crippling fear of all things creepy crawly (Update: she’s doing much better. Freak outs are to a minimum now). The kid is a afraid of bugs like ants, things that you can squash with a pinky finger. But that’s where it ends. The things that I would expect for her to be afraid of, she is fearless with!

We were in the subway one time and Lady C points out an ever-present member of the vermin population of the underground and says, “Awww look at the cute rat!” Really!!??! Ants freak you out but this brown scurrying, long tailed, scourge of NY travelers doesn’t phase you? (side note: I am typing this through fingers covering my eyes and Lady C sitting on my shoulders. If only we had furniture!) And her sister is the same way by the way!

Lady C and H both love dogs. That’s fine and cute but it’s not just the little lap dogs. It’s every dog and in every size. I took them to the park to fly kites and Lady H makes a beeline to some dogs that she sees:
wpid-20140801_172845.jpgwpid-20140801_173559.jpg
Now I’m a grown man and I can tell that these aren’t small dogs so my protective instinct kicks in. The absolute opposite happens for my two girls! Forget the kite, let’s go pet the dogs!! As they get closer, they start to realize that the dogs aren’t just big dogs, they’re HUGE!!  No matter. There’s PETTING to be done!

wpid-20140801_174119.jpg wpid-20140801_173819.jpg

As you can see these dogs are taller than they are and are curious. I don’t know about you but if I ran into an animal that was taller than I was and looks like it could swallow me, I’d be cautious! Nope! Not these two. They pet them, the dogs licked them, and at one point I think someone asked to ride one (can’t take them nowhere).

Any-Ole_Chocolate-Way, the moral of this story is that kids can be such Scaredy Cats in one instance and be totally fearless in another.

Do you have similar stories or are my children strange (rhetorical question, of course)???

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?