And Then This Happened.

I know I shouldn’t laugh and this really shouldn’t be funny but I have a confession to make.  Both of my children fell off the bed less than 24 hours apart from each other.  And I laughed all three times…I know! I’m a horrible mommy! And don’t worry no child was harmed in the making of this blog.

So, this is how it went down (no pun intended.)

Ever since my 9 month old discovered the joys of crawling a month ago, she’s been so obsessed with crawling to the edge of the bed and looking down.  Of course I would be right there gripping her legs and pulling her back whenever I felt she’d seen enough.  But as the month progressed, she’d only gotten faster as if conspiring to give Flash a run for his title.  I’m a mom, I make mistakes, so this particular day, me and my two little girls were watching a movie for Family Movie Night.  Unfortunately, the attention spans of a 9 month old and 4-year-old are incredibly short.  They like to move around–especially the new crawler.

My four-year old was the first to get off the bed to twirl around, toss a balloon into the air, fall down on purpose, tummy crawl, roll around, speak an unknown language and burst out laughing for no real reason.  Aside from the fact that she is indeed a little…coo-coo she was fighting her sleep with all her might.

Every little sister wants to be like her big sister, right? So, my 9 month old attempted to follow suit but under my close supervision, of course, it was kind of difficult for her. At first.  I handed her the balloon my oldest was playing with to keep her entertained while I quickly put my phone on the charger.  It literally took me all of two seconds and by the time I turned back, my little baby was on the go. She pushed the balloon off the bed and a split second later she went after it with no hesitation. It all happened so quickly, I couldn’t get to her quick enough.

She believed she could fly, but gravity told her that the lie detector determined that was a lie.

I yelped loudly, as did my 4-year old who, just a few moments before had been too wrapped up in a deep conversation with the…wall perhaps, to even notice her sister was about to take a leap.

My youngest landed on her stomach with support from her hands (are her reflexes on point, or what?) Of course the shock of falling scared her and she shed a few tears but once I placed her back on the bed she found something new to play with and all was forgotten.  She was back to her old-laughing-and-happy-self which made me laugh because I was kind of impressed that she had taken the fall so well.

My oldest, on the other hand stepped out of crazy-mode long enough to tell me it wasn’t funny and that her little sister could have hurt herself.  She re-examined her sister (because she didn’t trust that mommy examined her sister well enough–I mean who would trust their mom after laughing, right?) and when she was satisfied with her sister’s state of health, she too, started laughing and went right back to her crazy-zoo.

Now, fast forward to the next day.

Once upon a time I was a “bubble-wrap” mom but then I adopted the ideals of being a little more hands on with my children.  And by hands on I mean I let them make their mistakes and falls so they could experience in real-time what cause and effect is all about.  If you don’t tie your sneakers before taking off in a sprint, you might fall and make the ground bleed or If you run into a wall, the wall might get hurt, you know, stuff like that. So, when my four-year-old decided (without consulting with management first!) it was a good idea to attempt to do a handstand off of the bed while we were watching our morning cartoons I just sat there watching her.  Who knows? She probably would have succeeded. Did you like…taste how much sarcasm that was lathered in?

So, as she was inching off the bed, head first, hands ready to support her weight my youngest and I just sat there silently not knowing what the hell this girl was up to.  I didn’t want to startle her so I opted not to say a word, I just watched. And then it happened.

She supported her weight for all of a .05 seconds then her body went to the right and landed with a thud.  Think of  the second and third phase of doing a cartwheel. That was her.  She popped up and immediately said “WHOA! I’m okay!”

She and I both ended up in a fit of laughter, I promise you I couldn’t breathe but when we finally cooled down I asked her the million-dollar question, “What were you trying to accomplish?” to which she responded “I was trying to do a handstand! But…I don’t know what happened!” Her legs were not long enough for her to successfully pull off that stunt, that’s what happened! I asked her if she was hurt and she told me–through more laughter–that she was fine.

You would think one fall would have been enough for her for the day, but no.  Later on in the day after she argued her case against taking a nap, she miscalculated how close to the edge she was laying and as she was in the midst of rolling her eyes and rolling over so her back would be facing me, she rolled straight off the bed.

Oh, she was mad that mommy was right ,again, about her being sleepy but I guess it’s safe to say that my laughter is contagious because she couldn’t stay mad for long. She also couldn’t stay awake for long, either.

It’s been about a week or so, she hasn’t fallen off the bed again and she hasn’t put up any resistance during nap-time, and the icing on the cake? After all of that falling, my floor didn’t break! (I forgot to mention, but yes, we have carpet)

 

Maybe I’m wrong

It’s hard for me as a parent to see my children in any type of pain, whether it’s pain caused by a small scratch on the knee, pain caused by hurtful words, pain caused by something internal, and especially pain caused at the hands of another person.

Excuse me if I might sound ignorant, but it is within my belief

pexels-photo
photo creds: Pexels.com

that the only two people who are allowed to put their hands on a child are the parents.  After all it’s the parents who brought the child into the world and it’s the parents who are solely responsible for grooming their child so that when they are ready to flee the nest, they would do so gracefully.   With that said, no one and I mean no one is allowed to put their hands on my children.

It is within my motherly nature to protect my children in any way possible now that they are so young and it kills me inside knowing that I wouldn’t be able to protect them from everything harmful in life; I can only teach them how to recogonize and avoid danger from afar and hope for the best.

It kills me inside knowing that there are some very horrible people in this world and I wouldn’t be able to throw an invisibility cloak over my children so that those bad people wouldn’t be able to see them and therefore harm my children; I can only teach them how to defend themselves and hope for the best.

It also kills me inside knowing that if pain is inflicted upon my children by the hands or mouth of another person, as a mother, I cannot react the way I instinctively want to react because I know that my children are watching me and how I behave and react will someday be how they behave and react.  And I wouldn’t want them to one day snap and end up in a world a trouble.  So I have to think, not twice, but four times before I act.  All. Of. The. Time.

Can you imagine how exhasting that is coupled with constant worry and other things mother’s are faced with?

At times I may seem calm as if things don’t bother me or as if I don’t see what’s going on around me, but please know that I am well aware of my surroundings; I’m deaf but I hear everything, I may be looking one way but I see everything. My children are the only reasons why I remain seemingly calm in situations where people would otherwise raise hell.  It’s called self-control and I want my children to have it.

Afterall, children don’t do as they’re told, they do as they see.

Unfortunately, there has been a time where someone, who should have been able to be trusted, put their hands on my daughter.  Though this incident took place months ago, even now it still angers me.  From the night that it happened up until this very moment as I am sitting here typing this out, I’ve replayed the incident over and over again in my head and each time I get even more upset.  I always ask myself why–after all of this time–does that incident still piss me off?

Well, on the night that it happened I was pissed because it was unexpected and the person who put their hands on my child was honestly the last person I would have expected to do so.

Remembering the fear and confusion on my child’s face sent me to a very dark place and it took everything for me to come out of that dark place.

I had just given birth at the time; my youngest was just shy of four weeks old, everything was all happiness and smiles as my family adapted to having a new addition.

On this particular night I called my daughter to my room to let her know that it was bed time.  I was fully prepared for her to put up a fight and whine and complain about how she wasn’t sleepy yet and she wanted a few more minutes of playtime, but to my surprise she did the exact opposite.  Before I could even say my usual “it’s time to clean up and brush your teeth, grab a book so I can read you a bed time story” she beat me to it.  I was thorougly impressed with how much of a big girl she was being that night.  To my announcement that it was bedtime, she simply said, “Okay, I’m going to quickly clean up my toys, then I’ll go brush my teeth and then can you read me a bed time story?” I was damned near moved to tears.  My four year old wasn’t going to give me a hard way to go? That was certainly a first.

However, thirty minutes later when my daughter didn’t report to me that she was finished cleaning up her mess, I didn’t see her go into the bathroom or come into my bedroom and get a book from the book shelf,  I started to think that she fooled me and snagged an extra thirty minutes of playtime.  But as I walked past her bedroom to make my way to the living room with my three week old in tow, I was stopped dead in my tracks.

My usual lively four year old was trembling, rocking side to side, holding her thigh with her face burried in her pillow. A closer look told me she was crying; the side of her face was red. Now, she’s already dark in complexion so if her face turned red that should tell you something.

I simply asked her, “what’s wrong?” and she shot up, eyes wide showing obvious fear. She held her hands to the sides of her face and shook her head quite violently “I’m so sorry, mommy! It was by my accident! I didn’t mean to!” I didn’t even try to hide my confusion as she breathlessly tried to tell me what had happened.  I tried to get her calm down thinking she thought she would be in trouble for falling–because that’s what I thought happened.  I thought she fell and hurt herself or at most fell and broke something in the living room. But by the same token, I didn’t remember hearing a thudding sound so that just added to all of my confusion. With the help of some deep breathing on her part, I was finally able to understand what had transpired.

It’s possible, and I never knew that it was, for someone to see fire and have steam to shoot out of their ears.

Straight from her mouth my daughter told me that she and this person was playing as they always used to and my child playfully tapped the other persons face by way of playful affection. (think of a grandparent caressing their grandchilds face and giving it three taps) Now, to me, I knew this was all done in play because I know my child–I even had her demonstrate on me what she did and it only cemented what I already knew. She’s four and very heavyhanded like her father.

To the other person it may have felt like a purposeful full-force smack to the face but had they have used words instead of retaliation they would have gained the knowledge that it wasn’t meant to come out the way it felt.

However, when the other person was asked to tell their side, they only told what my four year old did to them.  They was mum about what what they did in return.  Which threw up red flags in my mind. Why couldn’t they admit their part? Is this not the first time something like this happened? Has something ever happened while I was asleep or in the shower–two times when my hearing aids aren’t in my ears?

It took me a good fifteen minutes to calm my daughter down enough for her to breathe normally again.  I let my daughter know that I knew she made a mistake and her “hit” wasn’t intended to be interpreted as it ultimately was.   As I would later learn that this person likes to initiate roughhousing but would only stop if something breaks, someone gets hurt physically or someone’s feelings get hurt.  I’ll have you know that this person is old enough–in fact way older than my child and a member of the oposite sex and therefore should have known better than to react the way that they did.

Now, when I think back on that day, I realize that it still pisses me off because I can no longer trust that person and when my trust in someone is broken it upsets me because I start to feel like my judgement in character should have been better.  It makes me feel like I not only endangered myself but worst–I have put my children in danger as well.  All because I thought  a person could be trusted.  It makes me feel like a terrible mother; like I’m not doing a good enough job to protect my children the way I should.  In short, I feel like shit.

I’m no longer wired to be able to forgive, forget and give another chance.  I can only forgive, but you will never be given another chance to mess with my family–especially my kids, ever again.

Naturally, since I became a mother almost five years ago, something in me disallows me to give people more than once chance.  Shockingly the transition from being a person who handed out chances like water to being a person who cuts people off if they so much as move a fraction of an inch in the wrong direction was pretty easy. After becoming a mom, I no longer felt like I needed a lot of people in my life; my main and only focus became the caring and well-being of my family (Husband, children and myself) everyone else could get dropped with the quickness and I cannot and will not apologize for that.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I understand that people are still learning and growing throughout their lifetime but I cannot subject my family to bullshit if I can help it.  They are not test objects to be used at anyone’s disposal in their journey to finding themselves or learning right from wrong.  That’s what your parents/ guardians are for.  And if they failed to teach you what they should have taught you, stay away from my family.

Just to be clear I am not talking about children here.  Children will inevitably make mistakes and over time learn from them.  I am talking about people who are of age.  And by “of age” I mean, people who are legally allowed to drive, legally allowed to smoke, legally allowed to drink, legally allowed to go out clubbing and will legally be placed in the big house instead of Juvenile if they were to ever break the law.

I don’t know, it might just be me.  But me personally, I would never put my hands on another person’s child–and I never have even when I was a teenager, even when I was a child myself (yep, that’s right, I never had a fight before).  Why? Because I’ve always known that other people’s children aren’t mine and I therefore I didn’t and still don’t have the right to put my hands on their child and for the bonus reason…..wait for it, now…..I knew better.  As someone who is clearly no longer a child (and I haven’t felt like a child since I entered High School back in 2005 when I was going on 15 years old) hitting someone younger than me not only seemed cowardice but it also seems predatory in my eyes.

In my eyes, if someone of age thinks that it’s okay to hit a small child, then what else do they think is okay to do to a child? I’ll leave that to your imagination.

Maybe I’m wrong.  But I don’t think that I am.

 

 

 

 

 

Maybe I’m not SuperMom

What we say we would do is not always what we will do when we are in the moment

Everyone–especially parents–talk about how they would react in the presence of danger; how they’ll make a run for it; how they’ll step in front of a bullet to save another person; how they’ll be so brave etc. etc.  But when you’re actually in the presence of danger everything processes differently.  I know this because just a few moments ago I had a scare. If things had turned out differently it would have either resulted in years of therapy or a funeral.

My girls and I are currently visiting our hometown New York City, staying at my grandparent’s house while we are here.  I took my girls to the park for a little bit for some fresh air then decided to go to Burger King to grab a bite before heading back to my grandparent’s house to watch Finding Dory (I got an E-mail from Netflix letting me know they released the movie today!) My oldest and I were both so excited because we’ve been wanting to see that movie for the longest! So we practically skipped over to Burger King.  On the way there I told my four year old, Julyza that we should take the food to go so we can watch the movie and eat at the same time,  she said okay but I could tell she wasn’t all the way down with that–and I was right.  Once we got to the corner of Burger King she said, “Mommy, I think we should sit down and eat in Burger King instead of taking the food to go.”  I was kinda hungry so I thought, sure, why not?

To my surprise the line was pretty long and there was only one lane open but the line was moving smoothly. We ordered, got our food and after debating about whether or not we should sit by the front door, we ultimately decided to sit smack dab in the middle of the establishment. Luckily for us because the seat we chose was right under the overhead speaker so we was able to jam while eating our meal.

Luckily for us because had we chosen to sit by the door I have no idea how tonight would have turned out.  And I’m glad I don’t have to find out.

We finished our meal and we weren’t happy with the fries but life goes on, right? Julyza stood up and threw our trash away in the garbage can that was right behind me.  So as we’re putting our coats on, we’re jamming to a song that I recognized but couldn’t quite remember the name of.  I pulled out my phone getting ready to Shazzam the song and as I’m flipping through my phone looking for the Shazzam app I asked Julyza what the name of the song was because I noticed she was singing along with it.  She opened her mouth to speak but the voice I heard next wasn’t hers.

She spun around at the same time that I looked over her head and needless to say we were both scared by what was happening right before our eyes.

Before I go on, I’ll just have you know that Julyza is very intelligent and she is, to a certain degree, aware of the fact that policemen are not doing their jobs properly these days.  There have been several times in the past where we would see a cop pull someone over or approach someone and she would ask me “are they going to get shot?” As a mother that tears me up inside.  She is only four years old and instead of feeling safe in the presence of a police officer she feels fear.  Fear that someone is going to get shot.  A fear that is quite understandable considering on how things have been going lately where the police are concerned.  So you could understand the fear that we both felt now that we were in a closed space, in close proximity to yet another Black unarmed man potentially being fatally shot.

I couldn’t give into my fear, I had to be in Mommy mode, I had to protect my children.

One minute everything was peaceful and happy; we’re jamming, and then the next minute we see guns drawn and hear yelling.  At first when I saw the guns, nothing registered other than the fact that this whole thing was going on right by the entry/exit way and I panicked.  How was I going to get my children out to safety? Then I got angry because before I realized they were cops I thought they were regular people either robbing Burger King or on a mission to go on a killing spree.

See, the thing about my hearing, I can hear sounds perfectly fine but it sometimes takes me a while to register what’s being said/ what sound I’m hearing.  So at first I heard yelling that pretty much registered as just that–yelling.  But as the seconds ticked by, I quickly realized the two men with hoodies and Yankee jackets (the typical NYC undercover cop outfit) were plainclothes police officers arresting someone in Burger King. Though, from where I was standing I couldn’t directly see who the perpetrator was or where he was, through the reflection in the glass I could see a tall man, in his 40’s or early 50’s with his hands up.  If I wasn’t mistaken he sucked his teeth and shook his head and if my lip reading skills were as on point as I feel they are he said “aw, come on man” before getting on the floor.  At the moment I was too scared thinking the worse that It didn’t hit me until later that that guy was far too calm given the circumstances.

The other patrons, though they rushed in our direction to get away from the commotion, were also calm as hell.  One lady even sat down and got comfortable and took her jacket off.  Her body language spelled out “oh god, not this s*** again” as if this was the most normal thing in the world! Another lady giggled at the first lady and everyone else had their phones out no doubt recording waiting for the worst to happen.  But out of all of these people Julyza and I are the only ones visibly shaken! I mean, if the other kids who were there were scared, they deserved an Oscar because they were calm as hell, whereas Julyza covered her ears as if expecting one of those guns to go off…like she knew the sound of a live gun was loud as f***.  She was prepared.

But there I was,me… mommy, frozen still trying to figure out how I was going to get my kids out of there.  I didn’t want to make any sudden moves for obvious reasons so I couldn’t take my 5 month old out of the stroller and throw the stroller against the window in attempt to gain access to the great outdoors.  Mind you, while all of this is going on I was texting my Husband and best friend letting them know with shaky hands what was going on.  My husband’s Cap-locks told me he was upset and since there are currently several states between us at the moment I’m sure he felt understandably helpless.  My best friend on the other hand evolved from disbelief to survival mode and told me to get the girls into the bathroom.

Ah, Yes! The bathroom! Sounded like a good idea but then it didn’t for some reason because then that would be yet another closed space–a confined one at that.

Just then I noticed that not one, not two, not three but four police cars were pulling up (All of these cops for one person…gee) and patrons started disappearing. Since everyone was so calm, I doubted they escaped to the bathroom, so where the hell did everybody go?

I looked back and saw that there was indeed a back door! In my moment of shock and fear I’d completely forgotten that this Burger King had a back door!

I didn’t waste another second, I got my kids the hell out of there, speed-walked half a block away before stopping to ask if Julyza was okay.  She was quite shaken and I knew she had some questions but from the looks of it she couldn’t quite form the words to ask.  So I told her that I was sorry she had to see that.  Then another idea popped into my head, I could use this moment as a teaching moment.

I have always told Julyza that she should listen to me when I tell her to and not to do certain things or else she’ll grow up and be forced to listen to the police.  I know she understood how serious I was but now that she witnessed how serious it is when you don’t listen/ follow the rules I thought this would be the perfect time repeat what I always tell her.

“Julyza, the only reason those cops would show up and point their guns at that man is because he broke the rules; he didn’t follow the law, he did something he was not supposed to do therefore he needed to be punished.  They are going to take him to Jail and while I don’t know what it was that he did he most likely didn’t listen to the rules and thought he could do whatever he wanted to do.” She looked up at me with sad eyes and nodded to let me know that she understood so I went on,  “So when I tell you to and not to do something it’s for your own good.  Because if you don’t learn to listen to me now you will grow up and be forced to listen to the police.”  She nodded again, this time she looked ready to burst out crying.  I reassured her that everything was going to be okay and we walked to my grandmother’s house in silence.

Once my nerves calmed, I realized how badly I had to pee! With a clear head I replayed everything that happened and it dawned on me that from the beginning of the commotion I was so frightened that I had indeed almost peed on myself but I was so concerned about getting my children to safety I naturally set my bladder’s needs aside and tried to remain focused on the situation at hand.

two blocks later, my mind raced again.  Was I supposed to hang back and give a witness account of what had happened? I mentally kicked myself.  Two years of Studying Criminal Justice, graduating with a Cum Laude degree and everything I’d learned about how the system worked blanked.  I breathed sigh of relief when I finally remembered that I didn’t have to do anything but leave because there were no fatalities to witness–at least not while I was there.  Thank God, because I was no mood to witness death again (another story for another time)

At the end, I think Julyza and I came away from that situation with a few lessons learned. For her, she learned the importance of listening.  For me, I learned to always check for all possible entry-ways and exits (don’t sit near them, though), What we say we would do is not always what we will do when we are in the moment and I’m what I consider a scared-pee’er (you know, those type of people who wet their pants when they are afraid–luckily I didn’t pee, and even if I did, thank you Kotex U)

I want to say that if we ever find ourselves in a situation like that again, or worst, I would be prepared but now I know that no one could ever be prepared for the worst.