Lessons in Bravery from Two Six Year Olds: Ruby Bridges and My Daughter

On Friday, my daughter’s teacher posted pictures on Class Dojo about what the class is doing in preparation for Black History Month. My eye was immediately drawn to the picture of my six year old and a few of her classmates holding up their papers with the title: I am brave like Ruby Bridges. (Their faces have smiley faces since I did not time to ask permission to post the picture)

What really struck a chord with me is that my daughter, while she’s brave in many ways, doesn’t have the same struggle as Ruby Bridges did as the first African American to integrate an elementary school in the south. According to womenshistory.org, “She walked past crowds screaming vicious slurs at her.” The article goes on to say, “Ruby ate lunch alone and sometimes played with her teacher at recess, but she never missed a day of school that year.” I couldn’t imagine my sweet girl or any child having to endure that level of hatred just based in the color of their skin.

Though times have changed and people’s thoughts have evolved in positive ways, I know racism and discrimination does still exist 60 years later. However, I’m so grateful that my little girl attends a diverse school where she interacts and plays with children of different races, ethnicities, religions, you name it and considers all of her classmates to be her friends.

Sometimes, I’m hesitant to share certain details about our history as African Americans with my daughter because of the tragedies and injustices we’ve endured. So it’s wonderful that she has a teacher who was thoughtful and brave enough to share the story of Ruby Bridges, a child who was just like Quinn and her classmates: six years old, eager to learn and excited about school. 

Let’s all continue to acknowledge the past and how far we’ve all come so that we all may have a positive future, especially  for our children.

All the best,

Tanya

Stop By Quinnie’s Fun House: Learning & Playing with My Daughter

There’s a YouTube channel out there for just about anyone who wants to be entertained, learn something, share a review or to have a platform to express themselves, For the past few years, my six year old has been asking to have her own channel, and after giving it some serious thought and researching, I thought, why not?

I want to try my best to always support my daughter’s aspirations if I can, and this one actually gives us an opportunity to strengthen our bond while I sharpen my video editing and digital design skills. I have a feeling that it will also help my first grader to continue expressing herself verbally and further developing her cognitive and critical thinking skills.

She decided on the name all by herself, “Quinnie’s Fun House.” We’re hoping kids come have fun with her while she plays and learns with dolls and accessories, art, games, learning resources and more. Here’s to a new journey I’m looking forward to taking with my little girl!

All the best,

Tanya

One in the Books: The a First “Snowy Day” of the New Year

Crunch, crunch, crunch…”Look at my footprints in the snow, Mommy! It’s just like The Snowy Day book.” As my six year old continued to walk up the pathway to our house and asked, “Can I put on her snowsuit to come back out to make snow angels just like Peter?” “There’s not enough snow for that, honey, but I’m sure we will have some more snow before winter is over.” Though she was a little disappointed, she was still happy with the footprints she made, and I was happy that she recalled one of the books we both love to read which was actually made into a terrific cartoon movie on Amazon Prime videos. Hoping for enough snow in the future for Quinn to make her snow angel, just like Peter.

All the best,

Tanya

A Class Act App that Hits Close to Home

Last September, I posted about an app my daughter’s school is using: Class Dojo and how wonderful it is. I was so impressed that I even signed up for Class Dojo Beyond: a reward system where my six year old could earn points and rewards to use as a supplement for the star rewards chart we’ve been using since Quinn was a toddler.

For the past few months, we’ve been gradually using Class Dojo Beyond, and so far it’s been terrific. Even though Quinn my six year old enjoys reading, using learning resources and helping out around the house, earning points and rewards keeps her motivated and accountable. It’s been a great way to not only teach basic math but problem solving. She often strategizes and determines if it’s worth using a screen time reward or a reward to stay up a little later on the weekend. Whenever she cashes in points, the next question is, “How many points do I have left?” Without me suggesting it, she told me, “I want to make sure I always have at least 100 points, Mommy.” I think this is quite wise on her part.

We’ve found that Class Dojo Beyond is far more than a point reward system. There’s some fabulous bonus features. One day, I noticed a routines section which enhances the experience. Dinner chats presents random questions to get the conversation going and can certainly be used beyond the dinner table. The questions range from what cartoon character would you be to share a time when you were scared to if you only had one wish, what would it be and why? I love this feature, not simply because of the critical thinking but because of the bonding and sharing component.

If your child’s school uses Class Dojo, and Class Dojo Beyond as an option, it is worth the additional fee. Not only children, but adults can benefit from this resource. It helps instilling those core values that can make a solid and positive person.

All the best,

Tanya

Treasuring Life, Moments & Positivity by Accident with My Daughter

It happened within a few seconds. Yesterday, a car speeding down the highway hit my car and kept going. With my six year old in the back seat, I was shocked, flustered and upset but at the same time grateful, grateful that we were okay and that I was able to handle our car and not lose control. Quinn immediately focused on the positive saying, “Maybe we can catch them. Maybe there’s no major damage.” She even wondered if it was a male or female driver based on how reckless they were. Luckily, we have a dashboard camera, Garmin Speak, (I highly recommend having a dashboard camera) which caught the entire accident along with the driver’s license plate because as residents right outside of Philadelphia coming from Delaware, and I was a bit shaken and really just wanted to get home.

As I contemplated on the drive home, I thought about how our lives could have changed within seconds if the hit was a more serious accident. I thought about how we could have potentially hit another car if we were hit hard enough to be forced into another lane or a car in close proximity.

But rather than focus on the negative or allowing this incident to set the tone for 2020, I’m rejoicing in knowing how important it is to not only treasure life but the moments we have with our loved ones. Though my car has some cosmetic damage, I am so grateful that my daughter and I walked away with no scratches just treasuring life, moments, family and friends as we move forward in 2020.

All the best,

Tanya

Happy to See 2020, a New Year, with My Family, Especially My Little Girl

The crowd was immense, and the noise horns became deafening as we awaited that magical moment: the countdown to the new year. Well, actually, it was the countdown to noon, a kid-friendly celebration at the Franklin Institute to celebrate the ending of one year and beginning of another. My daughter and nieces were excited and ready with their horns as the timer approached zero, and the children and adults alike erupted with cheers, more horn blowing and even a huge nitrous oxide cloud (It is a fun science museum) making its way towards the entire crowd to top off the celebration.

In previous years, we’ve done the countdown til noon at the Please Touch Museum as a family, but what made this year extra special was not just that we were at a different location or that we even got selected to be interviewed for the news, but that last year we were at home still nursing Quinn back to health after she was hospitalized for nearly a week during the Christmas holiday, and yesterday was such a sharp contrast and treat to see that beautiful smile on her face and happiness in her voice as she shared what she hopes the new year will bring.

With this new year, I’m sure many people will reference the 20/20 analogy of 2020 in hopes of “seeing” life more clearly. Though I’m always evolving and learning, I truly am grateful for the vision and growth I’ve experienced as a mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend and just a person. Though she’s only six, I attribute a great deal of my growth to my daughter.

Here’s to family, friends and many blessings in 2020 and the years to come!

All the best,

Tanya

Mesmerizing Moments at the Philadelphia Zoo’s Luminature

The weather was perfect, and the view was absolutely mesmerizing with colors from just about every spectrum in the rainbow. Though my daughter and I, along with my friend and her daughter, were at the Philadelphia Zoo, we were magically transported into a spectacular world of lights reminiscent of scenes from the movie Avatar: Luminature!

Immediately upon entering the gates, I kept stopping every few feet to take pictures and admire the beautiful scenes while the girls were eager to get to the next light display. My six year old said, “You’re walking so slow, Mommy! You never walk that slow!” I couldn’t help myself. The lights had me totally captivated as though I was in a trance. Seeing the lights and displays, hearing the background music and the giggles from the girls and feeling the joy in the atmosphere truly touched my spirit.

It made me think about the power of light and the occasional necessity for darkness. In order to fully enjoy and see the beautiful lights, it needed to be dark. Then we could fully appreciate the illuminated pathways, trees and displays as we navigated through the zoo. Sometimes we may have dark moments in life, but a little light can give us a glimmer hope.

When I look at my daughter, I see her as a beautiful light. She often shines bright, especially when I may be experiencing a dark moment. While admiring the light, any darkness I was experiencing becomes a distant memory.

If you’re looking for a fun, beautifully captivating activity to do and live near Philadelphia, I strongly suggest Luminature which runs through January 5th!

All the best,

Tanya