Partner Yoga: The Flexibility & Balance of Parenthood

“Look at us, Mommy! Daddy and I are doing partner yoga!” Quinn excitedly told me. I quickly went and got my phone to take a picture because I just couldn’t help myself. As my husband and our seven year old balanced together, it made me think about how flexible we try to be as parents. As a child, I didn’t have much say and just did as my parents told me. Though this parenting technique may work for some, I am finding that the more in tune we are with our daughter, the stronger our bond becomes.

Of course, it’s necessary to have balance, just like with partner yoga. But some of the best decisions we’ve made are from being flexible and open to listening to our daughter rather than automatically discarding her thoughts or telling her to just do what we say with no explanation. I look forward to doing partner yoga with Quinn as well and plan on being there to guide, protect her and to offer balance.

All the best,

Tanya

If Only My Life Was a Game…Relearning and Reteaching Lessons with My Daughter

Within the blink of an eye, I had a pet dog, was the mother of four boys, including a set of twins, with no husband or “baby daddy” to help or build a life together. But, I did start off my adult life with 200K, only paid 100K to attend college with no outstanding debt when I graduated and managed to secure a career as a secret agent shortly thereafter making 100K a year. I even managed to build up a nest egg of nearly three million dollars towards my retirement! This isn’t my actual life, but the game of life I played with my seven year old daughter.

When I was younger, I loved playing “Life,” so I was excited to play it when Quinn received it as a gift for Christmas, but as we played, with the exception of the spinning wheel, it was not totally as I recalled it. We had fun, but the game would definitely skew a child’s views on life expectations. If only everyone had an even playing field and started off as adults with 200K. If only everyone could still earn decent salaries whether they went to college or not? If only everyone could pay for college outright with no outstanding debts? If only, if only, if only!

All the best,

Tanya

On the Third Day of Christmas, My Daughter Gave to Me a Willingness to Accept and Love Me Just as I am!

On the Third Day of Christmas, My Daughter Gave to Me…a willingness to accept and love me…just as I am! I’ve always loved Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, especially his story, and we’ve had him as a Christmas decoration for years now. But this year we had some new editions: the land of misfit toys characters.

Interestingly, my daughter didn’t recall most of these characters, so we rewatched the movie together in hopes that she would like it just as much as I do. I revealed to my seven year old that I identified with Rudolph, Hermey and the Land of Misfits toys because there’s been times, especially when I was younger, that I didn’t feel like I belonged and that I was nothing more than a Misfit.

She came towards me and put her hand on my shoulder to give me a hug and then told me, “Mommy, you’re not a misfit. Even if you felt that way when you were younger, you never were a misfit because you’re perfect just the way you are!” Hearing my seven year old say that melted my heart. I felt like a little girl again yet this time, I felt a healing from her words rather than a brokenness from my own inner thoughts as a child.

Now, when I look at the Land of Misfits characters all lit up in our yard, I think of hope and the benefits of being different and special all thanks to my daughter.

All the best,

Tanya

Politicking and Celebrating the Election Victory with My Daughter!

Excited About the Election Results

As soon as my seven year old’s ten minute break from virtual learning started, she said, “Mommy, I need to check the numbers!”“What numbers?” I asked. To which she responded, “The election numbers of course! We need Biden to win!” I was pleasantly surprised at how involved my daughter became in the election.

I don’t talk a lot about politics with my daughter, but it’s all around us. Quinn made up her mind some time ago on who she was supporting. She emphatically told me that we need Biden to win because Trump is mean and doesn’t like us. As we waited for the votes to decide Pennsylvania, our state, Quinn couldn’t understand why Trump was winning at first. I too was and am concerned with the turnout supporting someone who clearly is negative and mean spirited.

Happy Days!

When the news finally came yesterday, we all cheered. Even many of our neighbors, in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania (who helped secure the win for Biden), specifically Cheltenham Township, came out of their homes to cheer in the streets. We had a great play date where Quinn and her friends even talked a little about the election and how they were very happy. Later on, Quinn asked if Trump had his temper tantrum yet, which made me chuckle because even she’s noticed his childish behavior.

In the evening, Quinn, my husband and I watched and were moved by the speeches of the Vice President-elect, Kamala Harris, and President elect, Joe Biden. Though there’s plenty of work to be done, it was a wonderful way to end our day. Quinn is happy and hopeful, and So am I!

All the best,

Tanya

First Week Back: A Walk to Remember on the Pathway to Getting “Schooled”

A Walk to Remember

Virtual learning is less stressful and far more relaxing, right? Wrong! Well, maybe for some, but for me…the jury is still out. The first week back teaching virtual courses and interacting with students synchronously and asynchronously, helping my second grader through the process and addressing a technical issue or two while tending to our 15 week old puppy and taking him to his first puppy grooming midweek and then class today left me wonder how I’m going to manage to balance it all in the coming weeks.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way. I can only imagine how parents with multiple children who may not be able to work from home are holding up. So with this in mind, I may be feeling a tad exhausted at times, but I’m grateful.

Who knows when, but one day I’ll find myself reminiscing about the moments of us all being home, bonding and working through it all together. There’s so much to learn right now, and I’m trying my best to keep that in mind when I start feeling overwhelmed.

All the best,

Tanya

I’m Game for Building Connections With My Daughter!

Fun with Checkers and Connect Four

Yesterday, my daughter and I played a few rounds of checkers and connect four. Both games were my favorite to play when I was younger. I’d always excitedly say, “Smoke before fire!” There was something about going first that made me feel like I had an extra edge to win the game.

“You didn’t see that jump?” I asked my seven year old as we played checkers. “Aww man, I see it now,” she said as I jumped over her piece and removed it from the board. From that point on, Quinn put on her game face and was ready!

As we continued to play both checkers and connect four, I saw how serious Quinn became. Her lips curled slightly, and she squinted a little as she looked at the board determining her next move. She reminded me of myself.

In thinking about the concept and strategies of both games, a big part of them is keen observation. This made me think about life and how “it” will happen whether we’re paying attention or not. Overlooking one move or piece on the board can cause the entire game change course.

As the Coronavirus lockdown continues, I’m trying my best to be observant and focus on the positive side of life. I must be mindful of my moves not just for me but my daughter too.

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

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

Life Lessons: The Big Monopoly on Fun & Games

The other day, I overheard someone saying that “Monopoly” is one of the worst board games ever. I responded jokingly, “How dare you!? That’s one of my all-time favorite games!” “It’s just too long of a game,” the person replied. I said, “But that’s the whole point. It’s just like life and is all about strategizing.”I used to play Monopoly for hours with my sister and brother. Luckily, my six year old feels the same way as me and can’t get enough of Monopoly Junior. I asked her what she likes about the game, and Quinn said, “I like buying properties and collecting rent, but I have to be smart so that I don’t run out of money paying other people rent.” What great life lesson some adults are still learning!

One time when we were shopping we saw an LOL version, and she asked me how many different Monopoly games are there. After doing a quick search, I was amazed to find out that there are 1,144 different versions! There’s a Fortnite version, Stranger Things, a Pizza version, Cheaters edition, the classic version, and the list goes on and on. Who says video games and electronic devices have the monopoly on fun? Some kids do like good old fashioned board games. It’s a great way to have family time, talk, sharpen those critical thinking skills and to address the importance of not being a sore loser or an overly gloating winner for both the kids and the adults.

All the best,

Tanya

Life’s Not So Dark with the Colorfulness of Children

Even though babies are not born knowing how to see, then only in black, white and gray before eventually seeing in color months later, it’s amazing how they add so much color to the darkest of lives and moments. This occurred to me as I watched my daughter use her rainbow scratch and sketch book we purchased as the Franklin Institute last week. What I love about the book is that it’s not just black pages with rainbow colors underneath, but it gives suggestions and inspirational ideas to bring forth the color.

As a child and even as a young adult, there’s been times when I’ve been swallowed up by darkness, felt depressed, lonely and struggled to find the “color” or rainbow. But now, I try to focus on knowing that the color is always there if I scratch deep enough below the surface.

It also doesn’t hurt that the colorfulness of my little girl fills me with joy and hope whenever I find myself headed towards a dark place. It’s so easy to focus on the darkness coming from people, places and circumstances. But as my six year old told me, “Isn’t it so cool that underneath the black there’s all of these beautiful colors!”

All the best,

Tanya