The{invisible}Boy

Hey all. So much has been going on over here Ricketts household, just busy busy. Today, our oldest is wrapping up his final day as an elementary school student and heading to middle school[eek]. Yesterday was awards day…our son brought home the 1st place ribbon from his Reading Olympics competition at the end of April and a certificate for band but he was extremely upset… those weren’t enough; he wanted the award he was working hard for the entire year – the Technology Award.

Backstory:

Our son wants to be a video game designer so this year he has spent a lot of time in class and during recess working on a video game he created using Scratch. The tech teacher also enlisted his help with testing new STEM gadgets and tech toys. So a few months ago he thought he was a shoo-in for the tech award but it was given to another student (one that worked on the school’s tv program). Bryce had a conversation with the teacher and she explained that she alternates her awards between tech and tv program each month.

Fast Forward:

Yesterday, he was passed up for the end of year tech award, it was given to the school’s TV program group- our son was frustrated, angry, sad and feeling discouraged. I stared at him as tears were streaming down his cheeks, face red, lip quivering, jaw clenched trying not to sob and fists balled up tight, all I could do was get up and hug him. I consoled him and in that moment I realized our son is

The invisible boy.

You are probably thinking “where is she going with this?” or “how did she come to that from their son not getting an award?” I’ll tell you…

When there is a black kid in a prodominantly white school that kid falls into one of three categories. 1. The athlete (all around popular, outgoing, talented kid, lots of friends, teachers, staff and other parents know and like him), 2. The kid with behavioral issues (aggressive, angry, misbehaving, the stereotypical kid that many assume most black boys are, seen and heard and remembered but in a negative light), and 3. The invisible (not especially outgoing, not loud and boisterous, good student, same group of friends, blends in, doesn’t stand out and is easy to forget). Our son is the latter.

No matter how many times he was in his technology teacher’s classroom helping her and working on his coding and no matter that she talked about him with her other classes…when it came time to point out his hard work and dedication by awarding him in front of a crowd of his peers the teacher simply forgot he existed. In that moment he was invisible– nevermind the fact that he’s in the teacher’s room several times a week or that when he hadn’t been selected for the award before, he built up the courage to go to the teacher and have a conversation(big deal for our shy guy), but again that end goal that he worked so hard on was just out of his reach.

It was tough to see him break down, hard to encourage him when he felt like he was deserving and worked so hard. We teach our kids that hard work pays off but in this moment I had to explain to him that sometimes you can put in the hard work only to be overlooked and have someone else receive reward. But we know and his friends/classmates that have played his game know how hard he worked and they enjoyed what he created. Sometimes we have to take solace in knowing that just because we didn’t receive recognition we still worked hard and created something wonderful >> we are so proud of our son!

I will end on this note a black boy in a prodominantly white school has to work 5 times harder to get the same recognition as a white kid who just attends. He has to make sure he is always ON (on-task, on-point, on-time), he is extra polite, non-threatening and always willing to go the extra mile.

We will encourage him to keep pushing, working hard, never give up, and to know that he isn’t INVISIBLE.

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B days: Am I too strict??

Hey there, so wanted to bounce wp-image-1046492507something off of you all. What would you consider to be too strict in a home when raising children? Every time I lay down the law in our home by making and enforcing rules I ask myself, am I too strict…

Example:

Once school started back up our son isn’t allowed on his devices during the school week, so no iPod apps, no Nintendo DS, or video game console[for the record I think it sounds pretty fair.] The reason that came about was because he’s so engrossed that nothing gets done or he rushes to get things done (i.e. chores and homework) in order to get to his device of choice. It would drive us nuts his homework was sloppy he didn’t check his work, at times he “missed” assignments, his chores were done half-assed (example of that he was supposed to fold and put away his clothes I found them all shoved under his bed-yup I saw red that day). My point is that in my head I’m doing what I think is best for him to be the best he can be without those distractions so he can stay focused…or that’s what I tell myself.

Yesterday I made an exception because it was his birthday. After he completed his homework I handed him his iPhone (just an old phone that isn’t activated but he can get and play apps-we will save phone convo for another post no time soon) but when I tell you he wouldn’t put it down he barely looked up to give the waitress his order (drives me nuts more than anything), then it died “thank God” I said to myself now he can come up for air and join us at his birthday dinner. As soon as we got to the car he charged it and was glued and when we got home somewhere between I can’t take this anymore and I have go be rigid I told him “alright night’s over you have school tomorrow turn over your device and off to bed.”

Then, I go on my iPad and an app is opened it’s one of the games he’s been begging to use my laptop to play, to play with his friends…I have no clue when it was downloaded and when he’s been sneaking on it but I’m fuming a little bit but then I wonder…is it me?..am I too strict? Are these rules unfair? Am I the Fun Police? I always thought I would be the cool mom and sometimes I am but most times I’m the enforcer. But the rules are put in place to keep him focused and because I tried the laxed approach and it just got me a kid glued to the screen, not paying attention to a damn thing, whose response to everything was “oops, I forgot”

So my readers any suggestions? What works in your home? Should I stay my course and if he doesn’t like it tough shit??? I truly don’t want to create an environment where our kids are sneaking all the time.

Threenage Chronicles: going to school

Our threenager went off to preschool this week…

[The] backstory

After what can only be described as an emotional rollercoaster of a summer with this little one I discussed with my husband putting her in school on a part-time basis. Citing that in order for her to be safe and me to stay from behind bars, it would be for the best. Naturally with these things you are to first unlock your phone, open the app that is most frequented[banking app], login and yup you guessed it check the numbers. After careful consideration (none at all) I started my search for part-time preschool programs in our immediate area. I narrowed it down to 4 and after calling then narrowed it down to 2. We went to take a tour of both, spoke with admin, reached out to our village[grandparents] and decided on a nearby academy within the week. I know what you are thinking sheesh she’s decisive (picture behind the scenes me giving a bag lady on the corner $20 and saying just take her and teach her ABCs) I kid…there is no bag lady in the area that I know of. [What my mouth says] I figured it was time for her to branch out and go into a structured environment to work on the things I don’t have the patience to teach as well as socialize and see what’s behind the four walls she lives in. [My inner voice] most importantly GIVE ME A DAMN BREAK!

{The}Day

Hubs decided to go into work late and that just made my whole morning because that meant I could get straight to work, enjoy not having to scramble around, wake a baby and get out the door– beautiful. Our threenager was up and ready. I took the obligatory first day of school picture and video and just like that she was off to school with her daddy.

No tears, no fight, she was ready!!

Too many times I’ve seen and heard horror stories of parents having to take their kids to daycare/preschool and it being horrible separating usually tears, kicking and screaming from either the parent or the child, but not here, nope. So as Crush said “you never really know, but when they know, you know” and I must say it made for a great, effortless, transition from a child who for over 3 years has never been out of my care to being a part-time Pre-K student out of the house 8 hours a week. One can only hope the whole year will go as smoothly but with these threenage tot we just never know.

Beat the Fidget Spinner 

Most parents these days, like me, scratch their head at the idea of this simple “toy” that fascinates our kids and has them asking for more and that has school banning them from the premises. After our son’s friend at school gave him a spinner at the end of the school year I started scanning the interwebs for ideas to make learning fun over the summer and came across…


Where to purchase a spinner?…they are sold at the dollar tree, 5 and below, walmart and of course, amazon. They range from $1 and can go up to around $15 (we came across specialty ones at a store in the boardwalk in Ocean City, NJ)

The math facts worksheet I snagged by googling -addition/subtraction math worksheets- scrolled through images and printed a few of the ones I like best (I sought worksheets that weren’t extremely difficult so they could work almost the same as sight words see and solve quickly.) At first u had him putting pencil to paper and once done erasing but the eraser marks were messy, then I printed several of the same but that was as waste of paper so finally I decided to cover the sheets with contact paper so he can use a dry erase marker on them, wipe clean and use again. (Sometimes I amaze myself!)

Bryce sets the spinner on the table[next to his worksheet], places his index finger in the middle of the spinner to hold in place and with his other hand gives a good spin and starts working the problems… No timer needed the spinner is the timer once it stops pencil[dry erase marker] down. Our son will work the sheet about 4-5 times each time pushing himself to beat the number before. Most times he will set the next number and I will offer encouragement so if he answers 40 math facts I’ll ask “can you get to 50?” Or he will say he is going to 45 this time.
The goal for me was to prevent the summer slide so wanted to make sure learning was happening during the summer months. The plan was to make learning fun and not something he would dread. The results, our son looked forward to using his spinner and competing against himself and we didn’t have to force him or drag him to the table to practice math facts ☆score for the parent team☆

Confession

…I loathe back to school.

Yup, the sheer thought of our son going back to school makes me cringe. When I’m asked what date he goes back to school I feel a little angry and want to say through clenched teeth wp-image--525117589 “I don’t know and don’t care” but instead I say “good question, guess I need to get that info” and their response is usually “how do you not know aren’t you excited” – NO- my excitement level is the same as our kid’s.

I don’t know if it’s the the back to school lists…meet the teacher night…having to have the same convo with our son about being awesome vs being mediocre…or is it that I can’t stand being inundated with emails, fundraisers, added calendar events, drives to school because sloth son missed the bus…I haven’t a clue but don’t like it.

Can anyone relate?

Traveling with Babe(s): Part 2 

We are doing it…we are taking the plunge and traveling as a family of 5 well technically 11 but our Rickettedly Awesome crew will be gracing the friendly skies with our presence!

WE ARE…doing DISNEY!

Back in part 1 of Traveling with Baby we had a tender infant he ate, smiled, pooped and held tight to his favorite stuffed toy…now we have a mobile 9 almost 10 month old who enjoys putting everything in his mouth, pulling any hair he can get a hold of and flinging things as hard and as far as he can <HELP> well thank goodness it’s a straight 2 hour flight and he still loves the milk from tap. But the struggle is what to pack and I can’t lie it arouses a bit of anxiety so here is my list so far…

NECESSITIES

1. Bought a new baby carrier by Brighter Elements with a toddler seat. Now we know I love my k’tan but it doesn’t provide enough comfort for me in the neck and shoulder region so this carrier is a little more for longer wear and also anyone can connect and carry babe, so I can truly be hands-off free!(click product name to go to site)

2. Double stroller (we decided to buy a Kolcraft Cloud Double Umbrella Stroller folds up for easier handling during travel click product name to be taken to the site)

3. Since we can’t bring the highchair we have purchased a Chair Belt Baby Chair Harness– such a nifty invention that I’m sure some wonderful mom (or dad) invented spur of moment with like a shirt or fabric in order to get their little one to sit safely in a chair–well I thank them. This folds right up and fits in the bag and fits almost any chair. (Click product name to be taken to the site)

4. Car seats we have decided that since the airline doesn’t charge us to check carseat we will just bag them and bring them along instead of paying $50-$100 to rent with our rental car.

FOOD and DRINK

3. Trusty breast pump, saver bags and bottles (2)

4. Baby Bullet- everything in me is saying just go buy baby food but that feeling in my gut is saying stick to what you know and hasn’t been recalled- homemade baby food! we are cooking while down there so he will get the same.

Hmm, am I forgetting anything?? Oh yes, I’ve decided to pack a few diapers in the diaper bag and purchase a pack of diapers when we get down there that way we are cutting down on the bulk of having to pack over 60 diapers. Thus leaving more room for clothes. 

 

I’m Back!

I took a little break from blogging not because I had nothing to write about but because I had so much to write about I became overwhelmed with the thought of it. And also, I kept saying to myself that I wanted this to just be a blog about our lives and realizing that my life is all about the kids…well it was a tad bit of a gut punch. No matter how fun, cool and free spirited I am my days encompass taking care of kids and their needs from sun up to sun down. I work from home so there is no separation or break from that reality. Not that I’m complaining but I thought I would have more to offer up. So I will pick up where I left off and toss in some nuggets that let you know that there is still a bad ass super weird chic in this kinda crunchy, kid-loving, baking, minivan driving mom shell.