Dancing Is Not Cancelled! Thanks to Debbie Allen Dance Academy!

81178884-6b8a-4572-9c16-b60a92780360My daughter excitedly asked, “When does dance class start again, Mommy?” She was ready in her comfortable workout attire eating for it to get underway. Yesterday, we got the chance of a lifetime to dance with choreographers from Debbie Allen Dance Academy live through Instagram. At first, Quinn was doing it by herself because it was advertised for three to seven year olds, but the dance instructor said, “Mommy’s and daddy’s join in too!” As I was watching from afar in the kitchen, “Quinn yelled out, “You can do it too, Mommy! Let’s dance together!”

Though I had on jeans, not the most comfortable for dancing, I quickly raced into the living room where I had the Instagram live feed mirrored to my TV. In knowing this was a once in a lifetime opportunity, I decided to record us dancing together. We moved, wiggled, giggled and even breathed heavily at times as we tried to keep up with the dance moves of the choreographer. Afterwards, my six year old said, “I think Kenzie (her thirteen year old cousin) could have done that dance too!”

We both struggled a bit trying to keep up with the fast paced African dance routine, but it really was so much fun. Plus it was great exercise too. Yes, now has been quite a trying time. There’s so many limitations on what we can do, so I’m so glad that Debbie Allen and her dance studio put together such a wonderful online event with thousands and thousands of people tuning in together. In times like this that we must remember the Zimbabwe African Proverb If you can walk, you can dance. If you can talk, you can sing. My daughter keeps me moving which in turns keeps my spirits up!

All the best,

Tanya

It Might Seem Like All Fun & Games, But Kids Are More “Clued” in Than We Think!

“It was Scarlet with the lead pipe in the garage,” my daughter asserted. We both love playing games. I especially enjoy how it not only gives us quality time together but improves not just her critical thinking but mine too.

Clue was one of my favorite games to play with my sister when I was younger. While I was eager to introduce it to Quinn, I was a bit apprehensive because of the premise of the game: find out who committed the murder, with what and where? According to the box, it’s for ages eight and up, but after giving it some thought and discussing it with my six year old, we determined that she could handle it without the game being too much for her. Boy, was I right!

Though there were newly added rooms, and I had to relearn some of the basic rules, it took Quinn no time to catch on to the concept of Clue. She strategically went to the different rooms to cross off what places the murder didn’t happen, and paid close attention as her dad and I did the same so that she could rule out suspects.

As I determined what cards were in the clue envelope and eagerly awaited my turn, Quinn solved the crime! I was always amazed at how “clued” in she was. A part of me was pleasantly surprised, but then again, she’s always been good at critical thinking. Some people think children are too young to understand certain concepts or lack basic critical thinking skills, but oftentimes it is us adults who are clueless for doubting or underestimating the abilities of children. Time and time again, Quinn reminds me of how adults can learn so many lessons from children.

All the best,

Tanya

Baking is Love, Especially When They’re Cookies From a Sweet Girl!

“I love baking with you, Mommy! Can we do it more often?” my six year old asked. “I don’t see why not,” I told her. I love baking, especially when I get to do it with my daughter. I get to guide her through the process. We get to talk, laugh and just be in each other’s presence. Also, I just feel the love. On Valentine’s Day, she was eager to bake cookies to give to people she loves and did it from start to finish. She even effortlessly used the cookie press after I demonstrated how to use it. I’m so grateful that displaying love is something that’s effortless for the both of us, not just on Valentine’s Day but everyday.

All the best,

Tanya

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

On Christmas Day, My Daughter Gave to Me…A Mesmerizing Smile and Eyes that lit up the room like a Christmas Tree!

On Christmas Day, My Daughter Gave to Me…A Mesmerizing Smile and Eyes that lit up the room like a Christmas Tree!

My six year old is her mother’s daughter. By 4am she was up, ready and excited to come downstairs to see what she got for Christmas from Santa, her dad and me. She opened the gifts and excitedly said thanked us. Though she repeatedly said, “I’m so happy,” she didn’t have to say a word because the big smile on her face and the way her eyes lit up said it all. Though I’m on just about four hours sleep and a bit tired, her excitement will carry me throughout the rest of the day.

Merry Christmas To You and Your Family!

All the best,

Tanya

On the Eighth Day of Christmas, My Daughter Gave to Me…Fun & Creativity with Elf on the Shelf

On the Eighth Day of Christmas, My Daughter Gave to Me…Fun & Creativity with Elf on the Shelf.

“I didn’t see her anywhere!” my six year old said. “You Don’t,” I inquired from the kitchen as Quinn sat at the dining room table eating her breakfast. Each day, our elf friend from the North Pole checks in only daughter and even leaves occasional messages leading up to Christmas Day. This time, she wanted to dress up as Santa, so she hopped in his jacket hanging on the clothesline garland. With a little coaching, my daughter eventually found her.

For the past few years, she’s just been in different places throughout the house, but this year, with the help of Target, she has a few outfits, a chair, suction boots, a candy cane hook and red and white string for dangling from special locations. These accessories have really helped me to have more fun and to get even more creative. There’s signs to use for counting down the days to Christmas, one for a scavenger hunt and one encouraging Quinn to perform good deeds, which she was eager to do at school.

I wish I had an elf to visit me when I was younger. Quinn has already told me that she’ll miss seeing her elf when it’s time for her to go back to the North Pole. I’ll miss her too. But until that day comes, I’m having a lot of fun with her…and Quinn too 😉

All the best,

Tanya

On the Fifth Day of Christmas, My Daughter Gave to Me…A Feeling of Gratitude for Having a Healthy, Happy Family!

On the Fifth Day of Christmas, My Daughter Gave to Me…A Feeling of Gratitude for Having a Healthy, Happy Family!

Last year on this exact date, my little girl was very ill, so ill that she was hospitalized through Christmas Eve. It’s an experience I never want to endure again, so when she said, “I hope I don’t get sick like last year,” it made me think about how grateful I am for family and friends.

This year, over thirty close family members and friends came together for our annual holiday party, and we all had such a wonderful time playing games, eating food and tasty treats and simply enjoying each other’s company. My six year old had a blast as she navigated the room giggling and having big fun with her cousins.

Yes, it’s nice to get and give gifts, but the gift of health and happiness of me and my family and friends far surpasses anything I could ever receive. I truly am grateful that my daughter is well this year. Sometimes, we all get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life, so I’m so glad my family and friends all took time to celebrate the holidays with us.

All the best,

Tanya