Transitions in Motherhood| Pre-K

posted on: Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Just like that, it's August. The summer seemed to slowly creep on in, shaking us up with insistent chilly days of jacket wearing and pouring rains. And just like every summer in New York City, we were hit with the heat and looming adventure. Afternoons of exploration souped into nights of movies in the park and ice cream before a proper supper. The kids turn up their cranky on a crowded subway, and we tread on in an happy parental oblivion. Such is summer in the city.

In true fashion, August's arrival means something entirely different. Already, as we try our hardest to be present and in the moment, we are constantly made aware of time's ticking hand. New adventures of a different nature await. A path that's fresh, and yes, scary. A path that in no way I could have imagined we'd be upon so very soon. Her birth feels so close to my heart. Her days as a squishy and wide-eyed newborn, in my young hands, feels like yesterday. 

Our days of summer our winding down. School lists are being made, lunch boxes are being purchased, a letter from her new teacher should arrive to us at any moment. My stomach is in knots, as I try to find a glimpse of baby River before she turns into grade-school River. She's eager to be with her friends and new friends. I'm anxiously trying to find my path as her mother. 

To be frank, pre-k was a choice, a good choice. She's been in pre-school for over two years, and I have seen leaps of growth throughout each year. She's confident in who she is and what she knows. She's aware of the feelings of others and the space that she takes in this world. It's beautiful to watch her. 

I find myself with this insane need to slow down in September. Prior to summer's arrival, the consensus was that I would go back to work full-time in September. Doors opened, opportunities arose, and working full-time in various avenues came about sooner than expected. As I have found my groove in the world of full-time work and motherhood, my fast paced steps want to halt a bit. There are new positions in life that I want to give a go, an active member of her amazing PTA, and a one-on-one mama to Oak, to name a few. 

As sad as I am about the impending transitions, my heart soars a bit knowing that there are new and happy paths for us all. I'm eager to pop in her school to help when necessary, to make food for her class parties, to bake for the fundraiser. I'm eager to bond with Oak in a whole new sense. The first year with him was a haze, as it is for most mothers. It was a time for healing and rebuilding. He has shaped into the sweetest and funniest baby boy I've ever met, and my heart and mind are telling me to take things slow and savor this time with him. River had me for years on her own. Now, it's Oak's time. I want to explore the city with him, and create new memories that belong to just him and I. 

I've always been an advocate for having a huge sense of individuality and self amongst mothering. Equally, I believe in keeping that sense, while answering the knock of slow motherhood. I am thankful for a career that allows me to stop and go, and simply just slow down a notch, as I please. One that allows me to nurture whatever feelings that may arise from time to time.

Here's to new adventures, a career, children, transitions, and a beautiful life!

Supporting Girls In Science| Green Works

posted on: Friday, July 31, 2015

I wasn't the best in science. In reality, I don't think it was because I couldn't be great, I just never felt that my interest in it was truly developed by science teachers. It seemed as if they were only teaching out the book, and not so much teaching us that we could be scientists one day. I didn't know that my natural interest to dive deeper, and knack for moving and changing, and love for always finding answers, wasn't fully developed. As an adult, I think of this often. As a mother, too.

I want to teach my kids to question and wonder and experiment.

It didn't seem as if women were scientist either. I don't recall having a woman science teacher, and I don't recall learning about women in science class in general. As times change, and as more women are demanding that their ideas be heard and recognized in all facets of life, I am honored to teach River that she can be a scientist if she chooses to. I know that it takes not only her teachers, but as her mother, it is my job to nurture here inquisitive and experimental side.

Green Works, a natural and green company, that develops cleaning products is doing all of this and more! Their products are made of plant and mineral based cleaning ingredients. Green Works asked if River and I would take part in a science project developed by AAUW scientist, that incorporate Green Works products. Already moved by the initiative of the company, and the conversation they are requiring us moms to have with our girls, I said yes.

River, along with my help, created jumbo bubbles in the park, and Peter, shot a video of it!

Ladies Night

posted on: Thursday, July 30, 2015

As an adult woman, one thing that I've realized over and over is that my girlfriends are a true extension of my family. I knew this before. Matter of fact, I found this out in my teens, when one of my best friends helped me in a tremendous way.  She was my safe place. And still, almost a decade later, continues to be. She's not the only one. During my birthday, I made an effort to keep count and really acknowledge their presence in my life. The way our souls have been connected for many years, through many things- is beautiful. The indescribable connection with each of them is precious to me. They are the sharers of my dreams, Godmothers to my children, secret keepers, shoulders to cry, constant creative inspirations, celebrators, and loves of my life. 

Even some of my newer relationships, they are true. They're so many layers to our sisterhood. 

I've been working with Izze for a few months now, and I've really enjoyed each project I've produced with them. I feel as though they push me to acknowledge the bits around me, the bits that often don't get displayed on this blog or on social media. They're the ones that tug at my soul. I've enjoyed the opportunity to crack the window on those bits just a tad. The opportunity to be more open in this space. 

Natural Hair Diary| Combing Through

posted on: Wednesday, July 29, 2015

In my younger years, I found comfort in getting my hair combed. It was a ritual in our home. Every Sunday night, my sister and I knew what we had in store. After the house was scrubbed of all the mess that five children brought about, and the laundry was folded and the dinner was cooked early and devoured within minutes, our hair was to be done for the week.

On Sundays, I looked forward to the comb. It meant I would spend hours one on one with my mother, wrapped in-between the comfort of her legs sitting on a pillow, laughing, talking, and anxiously waiting to see what braiding technique she decided to bestow upon my head for the week.

My sister was different. All of my earliest memories of my sister and Sunday's ritual, were a bit traumatic. She was tender headed, and did everything in her power to run away from the comb. I'm sure she would have grown to love whatever nest that weaved in her beautiful head of hair at the time. She avoided it like the plague. Even when my mom used the most gentle hand, and sped through in an astonishing fashion, my sister fought it.

Her fear became a running joke in the family. And now, looking back, I want to bow at the feet of my mother for doing all she did in a day's work. For making me feel like magic and for trying Sunday after Sunday on my sweet sister. True will power.

This post isn't so much about past rituals, as it is about combing, or choosing not to comb your natural hair.

Now that my hair is natural, the times I do comb my hair are of a rare occasion. I often compare the reasoning to that of having dreadlocks. One of the main issues with having permed hair, is the need to comb it through all too often. From it being wrapped to unwrapped, to the fly aways, washing and perming. A lot of seemingly innocent perm rituals require something so small, yet, so big... combing.

Combing, should always be the last resort to untangle hair, and should never be done with any old comb. 

Sounds difficult? See, when you have natural hair, after a while you'll notice that your hair manages much better when tangles are managed with a specialized comb (more on that below), or your hands. Your hair gets acustomed to the motions and environment. If done correctly, natural hair needs no extra pulling and tugging.

If you need reference, lets take locs for instance. If someone chooses to loc their hair, their hair grows incredibly fast. Faster than someone with natural hair, and much faster than someone with permed hair. Dreads require little upkeep, and avoid the comb in it's entirety. Doing this, allows the hair to just stay and grow, rather than end up on the bathroom floor.

When you have natural hair and avoid the comb, the dead hair finds it's way out on it's own. Shedding And the new growth, is kept put and strong. Leaving your hair to it's own devices to grow powerful and fast.

Here's what you should be using when you want to comb your hair:
-Your hands-  The most powerful tools we have in this combing natural hair game are our hands. Rub a little oil on them, and gently detangle your hair with your fingers.
-Denman Brush- Other than my hands, and besides the occasional wide tooth combs for parting (I also recommend using your hands.), I use this brush. It's a cross between a wig brush and comb. It's super gentle, yet study. It's great to use in the shower as well.
- A pick- It isn't necessarily for combing. But I love having my hair look full, even when I just remove my two-strand twist. This one is infused with Argan Oil.

P.S- I use this set for my curly headed kiddos.

Other natural hair tips and tricks, here, here, here, and here. 

Art by Emily De Nicolais for LaTonya Yvette.