Thursday, December 30, 2010

Colonics For The Soul

Today's post is inspired by my good friend, Diane. She posted a hilarious statement as her Facebook status earlier today. It read "Here's hoping the year of 2011 has a Colon Cleanse that comes w/ it. No BS allowed!!!!!!" After chuckling out loud for a few seconds, I found myself deep in thought. See...her post (humorous as it is) has a deeper and more fundamental meaning to me. 

Here's the back story...

I stopped making New Year's resolutions a number of years ago because they just didn't work for me.  Add to that the feeling of failure at year's end...  Who needs that?  So instead, I use the end of a year t to reflect on choices that I made throughout the past 12 months, and to evaluate what worked...and what didn't.  A year ago, I vowed that in the new year I would not waste time on things that did not bring me joy.  I realized that I was spread thin, and that I was putting up with circumstances and people that were simply not good for me. So....I gave myself an emotional cleanse.  I vowed to do better about appreciating my time, value, and purpose. 

It seemed awkward at first, but one single event helped to catapult me in the right direction.  On January 12, 2010, CNN reported that a 7.0 magnitude earthquake had all but leveled the island of Haiti...my parents' birthplace   It was a tragedy that horrified the nation, and forever changed me.  I cried for weeks, and even broke down at work on a few occasions.  But...as terrible as this natural disaster was...it did help me to solidify a few things. 

1. True friends are there for you when you need them the most...Not when it's convenient
     for them. 
2. My family is incredibly resilient.
3. No day is promised, so I have to live life so that I have no regrets


After grasping the meaning of these realizations, I began the process of true self-reflection.  It was hard letting go of certain thoughts, behaviors and relationships.  However, sometimes you just need to clear out your emotional colon in order to be a better you.  Just as if I had a medical cleanse, I feel lighter, energized, and healthier.  As a result, I believe I am a better wife, psychologist...and mommy.  

Purging myself of all most things negative is sure to be a challenging and continuous process.  Yet, I look forward to the new year, and am eager to see what's in store for g.  So here's to 2011...with no B.S. ;-)

Happy New Year,

An open and honest blog about what matters most...children and families!!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

My Year In a Nutshell: Baby Teeth & Oprah

Wow! What a year it has been (lol)! It seems like before you know it, we are celebrating the end of one year and ushering in a new one. I have so much to be thankful for in 2010 because I learned a lot about myself and others over the course of the last 12 months.  Yes...there were many highs, and a couple of low moments as well.  Yet, I wouldn't take anything back, or change any decision I made.

So here it is....my list of highs:

1.  Seeing my baby girl giggle with glee when she awoke to find that the Tooth fairy visited her for the first time. (Ist baby tooth finally wiggled to freedom)

2.  Watching my baby boy develop the confidence and swagger that his daddy has.

3.  Being asked to contribute my expertise to countless organizations and media outlets.

4.  Being able to sit in a room with four generations and taking great pictures of my babies and their great-grandmama.

5.  Watching my baby brother walk across a stage to receive his Law school diploma from Harvard.  (I used to change his poopie diapers and rock him to sleep)

6.  Sending in an audition video to Oprah's Own Show competition...and receiving a call from one of her producers a few days later.  Yep, I made the first cut.  He told me that they liked my  look and camera presence.  I had to send him a few extra things, and then proceeded to play the waiting game.  LOL...still waiting Oprah.   Haven't got the call yet...but I still consider this a high;)

My short list of lows:

1.  Losing my husband's grandmother suddenly and unexpectedly.


Sooo, I can honestly say that this was a GOOD year for g.  I hope, trust, and pray that my post next year at this time will also have more highs than lows.  I'm betting on it;)

Happy Holidays & Happy New Year!

Muuuuuuaaaaaaaaahhhh,

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An open and honest blog about what matters most...children and families!!!


Photos of 2010

Friday, December 17, 2010

Books For Kids


Hi Parents,

I wanted to write you a quick note about a product I think you might like to purchase for your kiddos.

STORY TIME FOR ME is a unique literary website designed specifically for toddlers and children in early elementary school, allowing them to read and listen to enjoyable, online interactive picture books. They also offer a one-of-a-kind animated personalized book. My 5-yr-old enjoyed being able to read along with the audio, and the use of highlighted text helped to strengthen her emerging reading skills.

In a day and time when our youngsters are quite savvy on the computer, a website designed to help them read is a wonderful idea.  Click this link (www.storytimeforme.com/2books) to receive two complimentary e-books for your munchkins, and let me know what you think:)

Happy Parenting,




I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. Tomoson Product review & giveaway Disclosure.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Sex, Lies...and Death

Recently, I had the opportunity to interview a dynamic woman by the name of Rae Lewis Thornton on the radio show. Her name was very familiar to me because I remembered seeing her on magazine covers, and on news shows several years ago. I was captivated by her, as she was young, beautiful, and vibrant. Which is why many were so surprised to hear that she has AIDS. "How could it be?" they wondered. Because at the time, H.I.V and AIDS was viewed as a Gay White man's disease."  However, in recent times we have learned that  AIDS is the leading cause of death for Black women aged 25 to 34, and not the "Gay man's disease" that many had made it out to be.
I recalled being inundated with Safe Sex messages in the 80s and 90s. At my undergraduate college, the R.A. kept a small basket of condoms in the ladies room for those who needed them. There were posters, commercials, and discussions about H.I.V. and how it is spread. However, I don't see as much of this anymore. In fact, I polled several of my middle school students, and not one of them could tell me what H.I.V. stood for! Perhaps this lack of awareness is why there is such an increase in the number of infections. African Americans alone account for more then 60% of all reported cases of H.I.V. This is most alarming since African Americans only comprise 13% of the population!

Just in case you didn't know, here is how the virus works:

Two weeks after exposure to H.I.V., some people develop flu-like symptoms (many people do not). After this phase, people experience no symptoms. They look healthy, and there is no obvious physical indication that they are carrying the H.I.V. virus. However, the virus is hard at work destroying the immune system. On average, infected individual begin experiencing physical ailments 8 to 10 years after being exposed. As Rae shared, she lost a considerable amount of weight in a very short period of time. A person's diagnosis is changed to AIDS when their immune system becomes so suppressed that they no longer fight of opportunistic infections. With the help to medications, people are able to survive for longer periods of time. But it is definitely not a glamorous life.

So what can be done about this epidemic? Hmm….. well for starters, it important to talk about it. Nothing can be solved if people refuse to acknowledge what is occurring. Secondly, it is critical that you get tested for H.I.V. if you are sexually active. As Rae indicated, early diagnosis and treatment is key. Lastly, educate your children about the reality of AIDS, and teach them to take ownership of their bodies and their lives. Although sex may be fun….its not worth dying for!

Be safe and Stay Blessed,

Gaetane

I wrote this blog over two years ago. Sadly...it is still relevant. Today is World's AIDS Day, and a time when the nation is reminded of the epidemic that faces us. Nothing is better than knowing your status! Get tested...today and ANY other day:) 

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Your Child and Bullying

Bullying is a VERY relevant issue. Tyler Clementi's inconceivable tragedy placed a spotlight on something that has been an issue for many years. Tragically, countless numbers of teens and adolescents have, reportedly, committed suicide as a result of bullying. It's senseless!

I didn't tell my parents about what I was enduring...and most kids don’t. It's a very personal VLOG, as I share my personal experience. Here are some tips to help parents identify some warning signs that their child may be being bullied. Please watch and share......



Happy Parenting,
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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

My Assailant Wore Pull Ups

So….I have been feeling a little icky lately because of a current bout with strep throat. Maybe that’s why I had to blink a few times to make sure that I was correctly seeing this one headline…"Four Year Old Sued…” What in the [insert any expletive]???? (Please note that I am practicing deep breathing exercises as I write.)

Here’s the back story:
Juliet Breitman and Jacob Kohn, two 4-year-olds, had been riding their bikes up and down a Manhattan sidewalk while their parents supervised. However, they collided into 87-year-old Claire Menagh who subsequently suffered a broken hip. She needed surgery, but unfortunately passed away three months later of unrelated causes. Her estate sued the 4-year-olds and their moms, citing negligence. Although there was a motion to throw the case out, the judge responded children 4 and older are capable of “negligence.”

Seems like is a gross legal misrepresentation of childhood. Any parent can tell you that little children do and say the most nonsensical things. That’s what makes them…well…kids. I could not begin to count how many times I have been bumped into, or had my baby toe squished by little kids in the mall, restaurant, or airport. How many times has a youngster spilled something on your clothes? How often do friends bring their kids to your house and they end up breaking this or that? Now, I in no way want to diminish Ms. Menagh pain and suffering as a result of Juliet and Jacob’s innocent childhood play. I’m just saying we need to draw the line before we start suing people that may or may not be in pull ups.

But since we’re clogging up the legal system with ridiculous claims, I’d like to file some myself.

Here you have it:

1. I’m suing my neighbor across the street for wearing so much Drakkar Noir that I can smell it when I check my mail.

2. I’m suing my co-worker for playing dumb and brand new three times a week.

3. I’m suing the doctor who made me wait 60 minutes before being seen even though I was the first one in line…ooops I mean…THE ONLY PATIENT IN THE BUILDING!!!

4. I’m suing my Chihuahua for wiping her doggy booty on my carpet (sigh).

5. I’m suing all retailers for fueling my addiction and turning me into an out of control and flagrant shoe-a-aholic .


Happy Parenting,

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An open and honest blog about what matters most...children and families!!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Inspiring Foster Kids Through Performance Arts

Hey Atlanta!  Have you heard of Curtains Up, the non-profit performing arts company that mentors at-risk children to become confident and successful performers?  This phenomenal organization's mission is to build character and confidence in foster children through performance arts.   
All of the Curtains Up programs are funded by contributions from families, friends, foundations and businesses. With your support, they can continue to help the dreams come true and for deserving foster kids. Jennifer Salberg, founder of Curtains Up, and her team of Atlanta’s most talented choreographers and vocal coaches have dedicated their talents and time to inspire kids in foster care to beat the odds.


Curtains Up invites the community to see their production of Annie at Onstage Atlanta on November 8 through November 13, 2010. Mary Stewart Sullivan, a child Broadway performer, will star as the title role opposite Salberg who plays Miss Hannigan in this heart-warming story that proves to every child that “the sun will come out tomorrow!”




Adult advance online tickets are $15 with a $1.50 service fee.
Children 12 years and younger online tickets are $10 with a $1.50 service fee.
All tickets are $18 at the door

For tickets and more information please call 404-459-0409 or visit http://www.curtainsupinc.org/
For Calendar Listings:
Monday, November 8th @ 6:30pm
Wednesday, November 10th @ 6:30pm
Saturday, November 13th @ 2:00 and 6:30pm


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Friday, October 22, 2010

What's The Big "Gleeking" Problem

You have to be from Mars if you have not heard of the hit tv show called Glee. It follows a group of teen students in glee club, and each episode features musical performances. This hit show has won numerous awards as well as the hearts of millions of viewers...young and old. 

Enter drama.... A couple of days ago, GQ magazine published a series of provocative pictures of several stars of the show. "So what's the big deal?" you might say.  This is certainly not the first time starlets have posed in next to nothing.  The problems is that these 20-something-year-old actors are portraying underage students on the show, and they posed in "naughty schoolgirl" outfits, or panties and ripped shirts.

The ladies of ABCs The View debated this issue this morning, and boy was it heated!  Barbara and Sherri went back and forth (Babs said that the actors were of age so it's not a big deal, while Sherri stressed how inappropriate it is for kids to see these images).  Of course I am on Team Sherri.  However, I believe that both hosts missed a really...really...really big point. 

The major issue is that GQ is a publication that targets men, and they sexualized  actresses who play high school-aged characters.  The clothing and provocative poses definitely have overtones of child pornography.  There are millions of sick and twisted people out there who do not need any additional help sexualizing children.  Yet, with the click of the shutter, GQ was able to do just that.  There are so many other artistic photos that push the envelop that could have been taken.  Having the star of the show popular with children posing spread eagle in tiny white panties should not have been an option! Sadly, these young actresses allowed themselves to be used by the magazine so that the publication could make a buck....that's the bottom line.

Since I view everything as a teachable moment...I encourage parents of "gleeks" and "nongleeks" to address this issue with their tweens.  Trust me, they'll see the images and hear about it from their peers anyway!  Talk to them about having pride in themselves, and not needing to dress provocatively to be pretty or cool.  Also, please speak to them today about the dangers of predators who prey on young girls and boys, and how they can keep themselves safe. 

 Please watch the clip below and tell me if you're on Team Sherri or Team Barbara:)

Happy Parenting,

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An open and honest blog about what matter most...children and families!!!

SmartKnitKIDS: Seamless Socks For Kids



This week, I received a pair of socks to review. They were not just any old socks! They are seamless socks made by SmartKnitKIDS.  I was eager to receive them so that I could have my 5-year-old try them on because she often complains that the seam in her socks bothers her big toe.

My daughter acted like it was Christmas morning when she opened the package.  More importantly...she did not immediately take her shoes and socks off when she got home from  school after wearing them!  So for us.... SmartKnitKids seamless socks are a winner!  If you have a child who is particularly sensitive to textures, these socks may be the answer you've been waiting for. 

Here's what their website says about the socks:

After several requests for seamless socks from "desperate" parents, SmartKnitKIDS socks were created. Knit the same way a caterpillar spins its cocoon, SmartKnitKIDS socks are started at the toe and worked up toward the ankle. This process insures a 100% seamless sock, so there are no seams to bug ya! A form-fitting design also keeps those annoying lumps and bumps out of the socks.


Since its launch in 2003, SmartKnitKIDS continues to find new markets and grow every year. Super soft material and a seam free design make it the most comfortable kid’s sock on the market.

SmartKnitKIDS come in a color for every personality: white, black, pink, purple, and navy. Ankle, crew and knee-high styles are available up to a youth size 8

Happy Parenting,
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An open and honest blog about what matters most...children and families!!!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Halloween Isn't All Fun and Games

Halloween icon


It's that time of year again when kids and parents are gearing up for Halloween! Your kids have probably already selected their costumes and are looking forward to getting pounds of chocolate. But...Halloween is not all fun and games.

Here's a quick Vlog about 5 crucial safety tips that will help keep your little goblins safe!

 Happy Halloween,

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Monday, October 11, 2010

A Sober Pregnancy

Being pregnant can be really stressful with all the changes your body goes through, and with the constant worrying that the baby will be healthy. So why not take some of the edge off with a few glasses of wine. Heck…it could help dull the back pain you get in the latter months. Sounds crazy you say! Not according to a group of British researchers.

In a recent study, they found that "Light drinking is fine, but heavy and binge drinking should be avoided." (Note to self….avoid binge drinking when pregnant. Oh yeah...and any other time!!!) Reports indicate that “pregnant women who drank one or two units of alcohol a week didn't harm their children. By age 5, children were still doing well -- able to walk straight lines and touch their noses with the tips of their fingers.” I can’t make this stuff up if I tried (sigh). Listen up people (said in my best School Psychologist voice), I encourage you to set the bar higher for your children. Yeah, the kids in the research study were able to touch their noses and walk a straight line…but could they, say…read and comprehend….recite the alphabet…..hmmmmm or ……speak coherently? I’m just saying...

The researchers did appear to play both sides of the discussion because they ultimately indicate that they cannot say for certain that drinking will not harm the unborn fetus. Therefore, they recommend that preggos not consume alcohol while pregnant. So now we’re back at square one (lol).

Ladies, puh-leeze put down the wine glass (and crack pipe). The nine months will fly by before you know it. Though you may crave a nice glass of Ch√Ęteauneuf du Pape, resist that temptation until after the baby is born. Trust me…I work everyday with kids whose moms did not heed this counsel, and for those kids being able to touch their noses would, indeed, be a milestone. You might hear contradictory arguments about this issue. Some will swear that a glass here and there is nothing to get worked up about. But would you really want to chance it? Not this mom!

Happy (Sober) Pregnancy Parenting,

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An open and honest blog about what matters most... children and families!!!

Monday, September 27, 2010

A Fall From Grace: Bishop Eddie Long

I forced myself to wait a few days before airing my thoughts regarding the recent allegations involving Bishop Eddie Long.  Radio stations, newspapers, and credible  news sources have looped the story incessantly...and rightfully so. 

In lawsuits filed this week, three men who were members of the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church claimed that Long had sexual contact with them when they were enrolled in New Birth's ministry for teen boys.  These acts were said to have occurred during trips in the U.S. and abroad, as well as on church property.

What's most interesting to me is that so many people refuse to believe that a "man of God" could engage in inappropriate ways with children (Yes a 17-year-old IS STILL A CHILD), or with adults.  Newsflash...Pastors can be unfaithful, pedophiles, addicted to porn, and drug addicts.  Why...because they are human, and human beings are flawed.  To simply assume that Bishop Long is incapable of doing anything and everything that other mere mortals do is simply insanity.  (Please note that Bishop Long has not been convicted of any crime.  These are allegations....sigh)

Take a look at this CNN clip in which news anchor Don Lemon interviews three teens who attend New Birth.  In the clip, Don shares publicly for the first that he was the victim of a pedophile, and details how similar his experience was to what Long's accusers say happened to them.  It's powerful footage!

 

Again, Bishop Long has not yet had his day in court, and the full details have not yet been disclosed.  However, I think this can serve as a teachable moment to every parent.  When it comes to your children you should trust no one very few people... and still watch like a hawk to make sure that everything is on the up and up.  Whether someone stands in a pulpit or in a dark alley should make no difference to you.

Happy (Preventative) Parenting,

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An open and honest blog about what matters most...children and families!!!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Tribute To Quiet Heroes

Did you know that September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month?   Were you aware that pediatric cancer is reportedly the leading disease killer of children?  CURE Childhood Cancer is an organization that is doing its part to change these staggering statistics.  Founded in 1975, CURE Childhood Cancer is dedicated to conquering childhood cancer through research, education and support of patients and their families. Since its establishment as a grass-roots organization, CURE has focused its efforts on improving the care, quality of life, and survival rate of children with cancer.

Each day this month, CURE is highlighting a different Georgia child's fight with cancer on their website. Also this month, Chris Glavine (wife of Tom Glavine, former Braves’ baseball player) will be hosting "A Tribute to Quiet Heroes" on September 25 to honor the mothers of children with cancer--they deserve a day of pampering! Over the past five years, the event has raised $1 million for pediatric cancer research!  There will also be great auction items like an autographed Justin Bieber guitar and a coaching session for a Little League team in Tom Glavine's backyard infield--that are also open to the public for bidding.

There are many ways to support CURE's mission, either through donations or volunteering.  So visit their website to see what way is best for you...both in September and every other month of the year.

Happy Parenting,

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Python Printable Games



Hi Everyone,

Every now and again I like to review a product to give my readers my honest opinion.  So today's post is dedicated to Python Printable Games I had not heard about this company before a few days ago, but what they offer can definitely  be a great help to planning Halloween/ fall themed parties:)

So this is how it works.... once you purchase the package you get to enjoy an extensive list of activities and games. Whether you are planning a child  or adult themed party this fall, Python Printable Games has an extensive variety of games that you can use to engage and entertain your guests.  My personal fav is the Stephen King Books Trivia Game!  However, there are so many other games and activities from which to choose...whatever the age group.  So if you have a party in the horizon, check out this company to help party plan. 

Happy Parenting,


An open and honest blog about what matters most...children and families!!!
This Product Was a Free Giveaway

Monday, September 20, 2010

Easy Safety Tips For Parents

Whether at the local park or at a packed venue...Here are 5 super easy parenting tips that EVERY parent can use.
























Happy Parenting,

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Highlighted Parent and Writer: Alysia Krasnow Butler

My highlighted parent of the day is Alysia Krasnow Butler. She is a seriously talented writer with an amazing ability to write unpretentiously...openly...and with utmost impact.   The name of her blog is Try Defying Gravity

Not the ordinary mom blog!  In addition to sharing what it's like to be a mom of three young boys, Alysia speaks candidly about her middle son's life with Autism.  Thus, becoming a voice for other parents with a similar story.

Alysia writes...

The lyrics to “Defying Gravity” from the broadway play “Wicked” make me cry every time I hear them. Raising three boys is challenging enough, but when our middle son was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, life became that much more complicated. As his mom, I have to help him and our two other children understand who he is, and that his autism doesn’t have to limit him or us as a family. My goal is to have them all grow up to be amazing people – each in their own special way, to have them “kiss me goodbye and defy gravity”.

Please visit Try Defying Gravity, and make sure to follow her blog.  I promise you will be inspired to be a better mommy!!!

Happy Parenting,


An open and homest blog about what matters most...families and children!!!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Denying Your Child Of A Relationship With Their Father

Most of what I write about on this blog comes from my experiences, both personal or professional. (That is, unless someone in Hollywood does something that irks me makes no sense.)  Today's post comes from a troublesome conversation I had with a student.

She, along with two other girls, came to me one morning because they were arguing about silly girl stuff (ie. she was looking at me; she made fun of my hair; she thinks she's cute....sigh).  After sorting through all the accusations, I gave them each a pass back to class.  When one of the girls started crying I asked her to stay for a one-on-one conversation.  That is when she began sharing with me how stressed she is all the time because of what she is going through at home.  See, money is tight and her mother has been very irritable.  This is something I have heard a lot in the past two years.  But what she shared next simply broke my heart...

I asked her what 3 things she would wish for if she could.  The tears flowed down her beautiful mocha skin, and she uttered (while hyperventilating) that she would do anything to have her parents back together.  She went on to say that she had not seen her father in months even though he lives just a few miles away.  The reason being....since he has not paid child support, her mother has banned him from seeing his kids.  Her almond shaped eyes were swollen with sadness as she told me that her mother puts her father down all the time, and won't even let her call him.

So, you already know that g is ticked off!  I strongly believe that the noncustodial parent should pay child support.  PUH-leeze don't misunderstand my point!  However, that is very much a legal issue.  Meaning, if a parent lapses on their payments...take them to court (DUH)!  Child support and visitation are separate issues.  Sometimes custodial parents feel as if this is an effective way of getting the other parent to pay. It can definitely feel unfair to watch the other parent get to be the fun parent in your child's eyes while he or she continues to avoid financial responsibilities. However, depriving them of a relationship with their child will only hurt the child. 

I wish that I could have videotaped my session with my student to show every mother (or father)who has used their child as a pawn against the other parent.  It's bad enough when fathers shun their children...but it's equally shameful when the other parent puts up road blocks due to child support.  Because the truth of the matter is, 15 years from now my student won't remember that her father didn't pay $498.  Instead, she will remember the horrible things her mother said about the father that she loves so very much.  AND she will remember how her mother laughed and said "That mutha #uck@ needs to pay!" when she asked if she could call her father on his birthday.  SMH....

Happy Parenting,


 
An open and honest blog about what matters most...children and families!!!