Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Kid's Academy Company App Reviews



I was selected by Sverve and Kids Academy Apps to Review the following Learning Apps from Preschoolers:


Learn To Read & Write Kid’ Puzzles 


I kept both my four year old niece and my 6 year old ASD son occupied and happy with this app during a busy day full of errands. Although it was more of a review for the 6 year old, he loved it and who couldn't use help with their handwriting. The four year old got the most “learning” use out of the app a she has just started Pre-K, she loved tracing the letters and both kids loved the dog playing in the maze. The graphics are bright and engaging and it may become a favorite for kids and myself.

Preschool & Kindergarten Learning Kids Games Free For Toddlers and Preschool Children 

This app was more appropriate for my younger nieces and nephews. So I let them go at it. They loved catching the fireflies and tracing the numbers and letters. Since they are just starting out in school, this is a great tool for enrichment. I told them it was homework. They liked the fun look of the game and it kept them busy for a full 20 minutes thats ages for a preschooler!

Kids Puzzles preschool math games for girls and boys ∙ Toddlers learn 123 tracing with paint sparkles draw drill 

All three kids fro 3-6 loved this game, they loved to trace the numbers and get medals! I could actually see the form and shape of their numbers getting better as they kept playing. I thought it wouldn't keep them engaged for long but I was wrong. This one is a keeper!

This is a sponsored post but the opinions are 100% mine (and my kids)

Monday, August 25, 2014

Parental Responsibilities

This post is a plea to white moms. The ones I wave to in the carpool line and serve with on the PTA. The ones I casually chat with at school orientation and in the stands at baseball. The one sitting next to me last week at the playground while we discussed affordable aftercare and food allergies. I know all parents have some parental duty that they hate. Many parents don't like diaper duty, or doctor's visits or PTA meetings. But we do it anyway. Most parents dread that nightmare-inducing birds and bees conversation. These are universal parental concerns that cross all class, race and gender divides. However as much, as I'd like to ignore it, there are certain parental responsibilities that are unique to me as the mother of  black boy.

All though our children live in the same neighborhood, have been classmates all their lives and play videogames and Little League together, they're not the same. Their experiences as they grow into young men will be vastly different. There are lessons we'll both try to teach our sons, but my son will always have an extra set of rules that will apply to him exclusively. While I stand in the playground watching my son play on the swings with yours, I realized in addition to teaching my son his ABC's, how to say please and thank you and how to look both ways before crossing the street, I also have to teach him how not to get killed by yours. Does this sound harsh? Are you shocked? Welcome to the world of black motherhood..

When your son starts venturing out on his own, even to the neighborhood store, I'm sure you'll worry. You'll worry about what if he gets lost, what if he gets hit by a car. I will too. As my son zips up the same school approved hoody sweatshirt they both wear, I'll wonder if his makes him look thuggish or threatening. I'll also wonder if some wanna-be in the neighborhood watch will kill my son as he walks home with his iced tea and candy. And so I'm afraid , and I'll teach him to be afraid. R.I.P Trayvon Martin.

When our boys start dating, we'll be nervous, we'll teach him how to be respectful and be a gentlemen and even to practice safe sex. While I'd love to tell him to feel free to date and to love across all  racial barriers, I'll be afraid that as he goes to shake hands  introduce himself to his white girlfriend's policeman father, he'll shoot him down in the street, while her policewoman mother watches from the car. So I'm afraid and I'll have to teach him to be afraid. R.I.P Jeremy Lake.

When our college bound sons are hanging out with their friends and see police approach, I'm sure although you've taught your son to be respectful of law enforcement as have I. Your son will barely notice the officers. Mine will instinctively feel fear and loathing. So I will teach my son to be respectful, to be afraid, to try to be invisible, because his very existence on any given street can be seen as threat. Unarmed and innocent and hands in the air, he could still lose his life. So I'm very afraid and he will be too. R.I.P Mike Brown.

You might read this and wonder "what can I do?" Or I'm not a racist and neither are my kids so this doesn't apply to me. But it does! There's so much you can do! You can talk to your children about race. Please none of that "everybody is equal" or "everyone should be treated the same" generic bullshit. That means nothing to a child, it means nothing to me either. I mean really talk to your kids.On average black families start talking to their kids about race around age 3, for white families age 13. Even then, they are pacified with generic platitudes of just treat everyone fairly, all the while being bombarded in the media with anti brown/black/gay/Jewish sentiment daily. That one MLK Day play they were in at school in the third grade is not the end if the race discussion.Talk to them about history and racism. Explain to them what discrimination is. Ask them questions about racism they may have seen themselves. Ask them how they feel about racism. Tell them what they can do to stop it. Don't tolerate racism from other relatives, many parents have a tendency to sit in uncomfortable silence at the Thanksgiving table while that one relative makes disparaging racist comments. They tell their children to ignore it, this translates to allow it. Teach your kids to stand up for what's right. Talk to them about Trayvon Martin, Jeremy Lake and Mike Brown. This is YOUR parental responsibility. You, my fellow carpool, PTA, soccer mom, yes you! I'm asking you to share the load, to share the responsibility of keeping my sons safe from yours.







Monday, May 19, 2014

I Just Finished Reading: Dads of Disability




Dads of Disability is a collection of essays, poems and stories by and about Dads and how they cope with being a father to a disabled child. These stories were collected and edited by Gary Dietz, also a father to a disabled child.

Author's Synopsis-

This is not a 'how-to' book or a book of '5-ways to do this' or '10-ways to do that.' Rather, this collection uses a storytelling approach to illuminate the emotional lives of these fathers. Dads of Disability will begin or extend the conversation between and amongst fathers, mothers, extended families, care circles, and individuals with disabilities themselves. This book is for fathers and mothers. For friends and support circles. For care professionals. For teachers. For friends trying to understand their neighbor's challenges. For anyone interested in the variety of the emotional lives of fathers whose children experience a disability. "

Each essay or poem gives an in depth look inside the mind and heart of a dad at various crucial and defining moments in his parenthood journey. These are not just feel good Hallmark stories.  These aren't stories of saints in suits swooping in like Superman saving the day without breaking a sweat. No, these are real dads dealing with real life struggles of parenting a disabled child. And while they do sometimes save the day, the men in these stories don't want to be seen as heroes. They just want to be seen as dads.

Every story is brutally honest, such as the story of the man who admits that he considered running away in a time of weakness and despair, but after contemplating the benefits of own childhood with a present, dependable and steadfast father in his life, has no choice but to reconsider.

One father talks about how reluctant he was to consider his wife's observations that "something was wrong". His struggle to overcome denial and walk into acceptance is a journey any parent of a child with disability can appreciate.

Another dad talks about learning, accepting and respecting his son's limits. He learns the hard way that there's a thin line between encouraging and pushing too hard.

Still another dad talks about the anticipation he felt when learning he was of having a son. He reminisces on how he planned to bond and to share father and son activities with his child. His child's severe disabilities changed all of those well-laid plans. This dad had to learn to adjust, accept and appreciate the kind of relationship he can have with son.

The are also stories by women about the dads of these children. One of my personal favorites was by a wife writing with such admiration for the fix-it dad armed only with his tool kit who manages to make all kinds of adaptations for his physically disabled son so that he can enjoy the same experience as other kids his age, even when it may scare his mom to death!

As the father of a severely disabled teenager, Gary Dietz didn't just collect and edit these essays, he has added his own voice to the stories in this book. His passion about the changing roles of fathers, especially of disabled children inspired this crowd sourced and crowd funded labor of love. Visit Gary's blog here.

There are many sites, blogs, support groups for mothers of special needs children. As a mom of one of those children, I can assure you these are definitely needed. Before reading "Dads of Disability" I never realized that Dad's have their own unique feelings and experiences about parenting special needs children. Their voice also deserves to be heard. Reading these stories prompted me to have conversations in my own house about how our journeys and experiences can differ greatly while parenting the same child. The desire for a deeper dialogue is the greatest gift a book like this can give.

https://images-blogger-opensocial.googleusercontent.com/gadgets/proxy?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwatermarked.cutcaster.com%2Fcutcaster-photo-100821256-American-generals-four-stars.jpg&container=blogger&gadget=a&rewriteMime=image%2F*


Want to Read "Dads of Disability"? Go here.



Sunday, March 30, 2014

Can your marriage be saved?

This is a question that has been asked by many a couple in trouble. I've been asked personally and have even asked the question about my own marriage from time to time. Every marriage goes through tough times. Mundane disagreements aren't a reason to consider divorce. Sow how do you know if your marriage or relationship is entering the danger zone? While there are huge red flags like abuse, addiction, and serial cheating that warrant an intervention, a lawyer, a doctor, or a priest (maybe all three), there are some times when the situation is a bit more subtle. Here are some telltale signs that you should watch for.

  1. You don't talk anymore. I don't just mean you're giving the silent treatment. after an argument. I mean are you talking about your day, your job, friends your feeling. Are you talking about your marriage? Are you sharing your dreams and your fears? Or are you just talking about who forgot to take out the trash and who's turn it is to carpool? A lack of personal intimate exchanges with your spouse could mean big trouble.
  2. You've already "un-coupled" if you have you stopped even trying to spend time together. Do you only come together for the kids and lead separate lives otherwise? Are you making weekend plans without even considering your spouse? Do either of you spend all your free time online or with friends to avoid being with each other. If it feels like a relief to be away from your mate. You have already disengaged from the marriage.
  3. You start keeping a scorecard. You used to give and take freely in your relationship, but now you are playing tit for tat. If you start actively keeping mental notes comparing how much you are contributing and how much your partner isn't, something is amiss.
  4. He can do no right. Are you constantly criticizing him? Or maybe you feel like your every move is being watched and nitpicked? Sometimes its easier to funnel larger issues into negative criticisms of day to day tasks than to address what's really bothering us.
  5. One or both of you is cheating or dancing dangerously close to it. This one is a no-brainer.If you are sleeping with someone else, your marriage is in trouble. Maybe you're having an emotional affair or engaging in an online relationship. All of these these mean trouble for your marriage. I believe you can have a happy marriage after an infidelity but it takes an awesome amount of work on both parts.
  6.  Maybe you're not having sex outside or inside your relationship. When couples lose their physical connection, often times the emotional connection soon follows.
If you find that you are experiencing one or more of these situations in your marriage it's time to take step back and re-evaluate your relationship. While these can be serious relationship quandaries, you aren't beyond help. You can definitely seek out professional help or maybe your pastor, priest or rabbi. However, maybe one (or both) of you aren't comfortable with the idea of a third party in your relationship. This doesn't mean you can't save your own marriage. I did.  And in this upcoming blog series, I'm going to show you how I did it in the hopes that maybe I can help someone else.

Stay tuned for the 1st episode in the Save Your Marriage Series : Reevaluate Your Relationship.....