Jul 10, 2014

Potty Training Success

Madison has mastered the potty! Ok, that’s a bit of an exaggeration but she’s definitely on the way. She’s been doing such a great job keeping her diaper dry and informing her teacher that she needed to go at daycare for the past couple of weeks. She’s been doing so well that last week they asked that we send her in panties only this week. 


 The hubs and I thought they were lying to us about her using it. Seriously, folks!

Every day we’d come home from daycare put her in panties and fill her with fluids. Then you know the routine; ask, ask, ask, offer treat after treat, sit on the potty for forever and nothing happens. Usually RIGHT AFTER she’s been asked for the 100th time and has left the potty for the 50th time she would have an accident because she just couldn’t hold it anymore and going on the potty at home was somehow not her thing. Frustration doesn’t even describe this process!

I wanted to believe that she just wasn’t ready yet but knew that wasn’t the case since she wasn’t having the same problem at daycare. Nonetheless, over the weekend I silently resolved to just give up…again. And just like that, as soon as I decided that I didn’t care anymore (at least for right now) she says “Mommy, I have to go potty”. I of course, figured this would be a false alarm as usual, but she went. She actually went!!!

The screaming and praising and running around the house I did was ridiculous! 

Ice cream was a must so we headed to Cold Stone soon after (with her panties on at that…yeah, we’re brave)! She ends up going to the potty the rest of the day, no accidents. Pampers at night still, of course!  

The next day was Sunday and we had church. Decisions, decisions. "Should we try it?!", I asked. “Yes”, says Mario, “I trust her”! 

What?!? She's not going on a date...but o-kay.  You’d think she heard him though and didn’t want to let him down because she made it through the service, no accidents. She asked to go a few times during the service, of course, which yielded a few false alarms; however, she did go on one of the occasions. The same happened during our outing to the park later that evening!  What an accomplishment!

I’ve said all this to say, she’s got it, and I couldn’t be more excited as it’s been quite the journey. It's like something just clicked for her.  Do I still expect accidents here and there? Of course! She’s still young and it’s still a new process for her but she's definitely got the concept now.  

I'm so, so proud of her, guys, so proud :)!!! 

One milestone down, a lifetime of milestones to go (as we all know teaching/coaching ones child(ren) never really ends)!

Cheers to potty training success,


Jul 5, 2014

Little Black Girls

We only buy brown skinned dolls for Maddie to play with and I love that they are all different shades of brown.  We also don't allow others to buy her dolls of any other color either.

"Baby" as she calls her, is currently her favorite.  She goes wherever she goes (e.g., to daycare, to sleep, shopping, etc.), and she hugs, kisses and calls her pretty.  I so love to watch all this.

I understand that this might seem strange, and to someone outside of the African American race you might feel like I'm setting my daughter up to have issues with other races by only allowing brown skinned dolls in the home; but, I assure you that is not the case.  Please understand that this isn't about how she is to feel about and interact with other races, this is about establishing a sense of self-worth within her as a person of color.

Representation of African American women in media is scarce and oftentimes we're portrayed in a negative way (e.g., "promiscuous", "angry", "bitter", "baby mamas", "uneducated", etc.) further feeding into stereotypes.  Since we can't pretend like the media and the things we are exposed to outside the home don't play a major role in how we view ourselves, self-love MUST start at home for little black girls.

So no matter the tone of her skin (or the texture of her hair), I consistently remind her that she is beautiful. She is talented. She is intelligent. She is worthy. She is loved. And I show her positive images of African American woman doing incredible things, accomplishing much.

I show her that brown girls do ballet, and so many other positive, fulfilling things...


I show her that black girls are more than capable of obtaining higher education (and excelling at it, I might add)...

{My BFFs:  Left to Right - Two Masters Degrees, Engineering Degree (me), Law Degree, Law Degree.}


I explain that long, flowy hair and lighter skin is beautiful, but short, natural hair and darker skin is JUST as beautiful.


I even show her that the media doesn't ALWAYS get it wrong...

I consistently show and tell her that African American woman can be smart, driven, amazing women who can do anything they put their minds to.  She should never feel diminished due to her gender or race, never feel that she is inferior to another, and never use it as an excuse to not strive to reach her full potential.

Ultimately, #blackgirlsrock too and it's my job to make sure she knows it :)!


Jun 29, 2014

Taking Stock

My blog presence has been a bit scarce since I've become a working mom.  August will make a year that I've been back at work and I feel like I've found a work-life balance that works for me and my family; however, blogging just hasn't fit into that equation as much as I'd like.  I've been at this for two years now and plan to keep it up as long as my heart is in it, which it still is, so I imagine that there are seasons of plenty (i.e., full of time and ideas for blogging) and seasons of lack (i.e., no time, no ideas, etc.) just as there are different seasons in real life.

Ultimately, I'm very content in this season of plenty in my life so I'm totally okay with this season of lack in this space.  And just know that when I'm falling behind on posts and responding to comments (so sorry, friends) you can always find me interacting on Instagram or Twitter, so definitely stay in touch that way!


Just to give you a feel of what's what in my life at present...

 Making : Time for blogging, for once :)!

Cooking : Nothing tonight, we've got leftovers. Yes!

Drinking : Lots and lots of water. It's hot this summer.

Reading: CQA Primer, to become a certified quality auditor.

Wanting: Some Cold Stone ice cream.

Looking: At Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

Playing: Mali Is...over and over.

Wasting: The day away, as usual.

Sewing: Nothing. I really need to use my sewing machine.

Wishing: I could reduce my sugar intake.  I just ate eight cookies :(.

Enjoying: This season of my life. #content

Waiting: For the hubs to get home, he's working late tonight.

Liking: Polka dots this season.

Wondering: What new recipes I can try this week.

Loving: My family and friends and the great things that are happening in their lives.

Hoping: We'll get Madison potty trained soon, it's driving me wild.

Marveling: In Madison's comprehension. She's so smart.

Needing: My hair washed by someone else.

Smelling: Laundry. It's laundry day!

Wearing: My pajamas w/ my girl.  We're in for the day.

Following: Some neat people on Twitter that really get me thinking.

Noticing: That Mario is being more and more helpful and I appreciate it.

Knowing: That I must enjoy life instead of rushing through it.

Thinking: A lot about our debt and our plan to get rid of it.

Bookmarking: DIY projects that I REALLY want to do (using Pinterest for the rest).

Opening: Mail. I really, really like receiving mail.

Giggling: At all the clever things that Maddie says.

Feeling: Loved (always)!

Being: Happy,

Post idea from Meet Me at Mike's


Jun 9, 2014

Networking


If you're searching for a job and you're not using LinkedIn regularly then you're missing out on a large network of professionals that could help you make your next career move.

If you were to look back at every job you've ever received can you say that you've gotten every single one on your own merit and qualifications alone?  In my case EVERY single job I've EVER received was due to the fact that I knew someone who could vouch for me and my abilities, and help me get my foot in the door (i.e., an interview).

Please know that this in no way diminishes my engineering background, qualifications, intense work ethic and a desire to do an extraordinary job and exceed expectations. Type-A much!  Basically, I've always excelled at every job I've worked in spite of the way I may have obtained it.

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Founded by Reid Hoffman in 2002, LinkedIn has grown to 225 million members in over 200 countries, making it the world’s largest professional network on the Internet (by comparison, Twitter has more than 500 million registered users, and Facebook has surpassed one billion). Currently available in 20 languages, LinkedIn remains a relevant platform the world over.

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Just for fun, to show you how powerful the whole "it's not what you know but who you know", networking deal is, here is a list of EVERY job I've EVER worked from age 16 to present:

  • Rightway (3 yrs) - Two of my best friends, Mionna and Doroth,y worked there.
  • Ambleside (1 yr) - My best friend's mom, Tracy, worked there.
  • New Student Orientation Counselor at NCSU (2 yrs) - My aunt, Tasha, worked there.
  • Bruegger's Bagels (4 yrs) - I worked w/ the general manager daily as they donated to New Student Orientation.  When the job at NCSU ended he had a job waiting for me at BB.
  • Hospira (4 yrs) - My aunt, Tasha, worked there.
  • Current - A friend that I worked with at Hospira started working for my current employer.  When I was ready to return to the workforce I gave him a call and he put me in touch with the hiring manager.  
After having been out of work for 18 months as a SAHM, I was able to find and start a job after only two weeks of searching all due to networking.  If that doesn't tell you what networking can do, I don't know what can!  And keep in mind that I'm an introvert, folks. Networking scares me! But, I recognize it's power and I recognize that I need to treat my LinkedIn account better than my Facebook account, if you get my drift.

Again, the saying really is true that it's not always what you know, but who you know.  You just have to make sure that when that someone opens the door for you that you have what it takes to walk through it and knock the employers socks off with your talent(s)!

So, update your resume, get your "elevator pitch" together (according to my coworker -- I need to create one) and be sure to use LinkedIn to it's full potential to network, network, network!

You can find me on LinkedIn here:  Nicole Pharr <-- shameless plug

Happy job-hunting,

Photobucket

May 26, 2014

Hair

I'm angry!  I want that to be clear!

My husband and I stayed up past 1am talking for HOURS about oppression (specifically, Eurocentric beauty standards and colourism)!

I cried during that conversation, as I always do whenever we discuss oppression of this type, and I cry now as I write this post thinking about how oppressive we (African Americans) can be among ourselves, not even realizing why we think the way we think and how ignorant we can be in relation to these topics. 

Our main topic of discussion was Madison's hair and how we're constantly asked about it...

Madison's hair has always been, and continues to be, a topic of discussion among family and friends (yes, family and friends), and quite frankly I'm sick of it.  So I'm venting here, because I know that it's an issue that many face and because I plan to point to this rant the next time somebody asks me about her hair so that I don't have to entertain the foolishness topic any more!



Since she was born we've been questioned about her hair, it's shortness, it's texture and whether or not it's "done" (i.e., braided, well maintained, etc.).  I don't even like putting ponytails in her hair at this age but I often feel that I'm "required" to do something to keep the judgement at a minimum!

Myth:  Braids make your hair grow...

It's a fallacy and it annoys me.  Hair grows (on average) 6 inches a year or ½ inch/month.  Braids are not going to change that fact.  They're a protective, low maintenance style that keeps you from having to manipulate the hair often.  However, oftentimes braids are too tight, left in too long or the hair is not washed/moisturized as required when they are in so they tend to cause more harm than good, in most cases. 

Just letting the hair be, washing and moisturizing it (and the scalp) properly is all that is required for it to be healthy.  Please note that I said healthy...not grow.  Healthy hair will equate to growing hair but for goodness sake there is absolutely nothing wrong with short hair, there is nothing wrong with kinky hair, there is nothing wrong with relaxed hair, there is nothing wrong with natural hair.  It's just hair!  
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“Occasionally moms try to do certain styles, such as braids and pigtails, that can actually damage the hair. Hair in young children is more sensitive, and sometimes little ones can get hair loss from hairstyles that pull too tightly or are in place for a long period of time,” says Dr. Muething.


Many disorders can result from manipulation of the hair (such as traction alopecia, in which tight braids or other hair styling can lead to hair loss at the sites of the greatest tension) or treatment with chemicals,” adds Dr. Paller. “Children should have simple styles and avoid excessive manipulation or treatments.” -source


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I'm not saying that effort shouldn't be put in to properly groom a child before leaving the house, so people can take that argument elsewhere; what I'm saying is that children's hair doesn't have to be "in place" for it to be flourishing.  Besides, they are kids.  Madison's hair is usually out of place within an hour of styling because she's a toddler, she bothers it, she plays....she's a child!


I spend time, probably more than I should, affirming how pretty she is from head to toe, inside and out.  I make it a point to point out how pretty I think I am in front of her, how much I like my hair and her hair, how much I love my skin and her skin. I also pray about these things as well because, unfortunately, the world is such a cruel, cruel place and ignorance is real!
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“The way we perceive and indoctrinate our beliefs about beauty is a legacy that gets passed down from family to family,” -Anita Majumdar

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I cringe every time I hear, read about or see jokes about Beyonce's daughter's hair, and how others judge Beyonce for not "doing something to her hair" because I can relate so, so well.  The silliness is infuriating to say the least.  Obviously, Beyonce has the resources to maintain her daughter's hair to the highest degree, based on society's standard of "maintaining hair", but I'm almost certain that with the stylists she has in her camp she probably knows what I know about the manipulation of a toddler's hair.  So, she chooses to let it be and ignores the stupidity nasty comments about her child. A child! *rolls eyes*

I digress!

Ultimately, I implore you to take the time to read up on beauty politicspolitics of respectability and any of the other links I have scattered throughout this post!  They include an overwhelming amount of information but I hope that you take the time to do your own research and pull from multiple sources to draw your own conclusions.  

They say ignorance is bliss.  
I say ignorance is annoying! 
#StayWoke


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