Saturday, March 29, 2008

A Little Hair Experiment

Jayla let me wash her hair today. Now, I know that would not be big news for anyone outside of my little family but, that is HUGE news around here. She HATES getting her hair washed and therefore, rarely consents to letting me do it. And since I'm all about picking my battles, as long as there is nothing growing on her scalp or anything, I generally go fairly long periods of time without washing it.

But, today was a glorious day. We were picking out a dress for her to wear to this weekend's birthday party when she discovered her luggage set in her closet. She pulled it out and started rummaging through everything. She found a travel bottle of shampoo in her toiletry bag and asked if she could have some. I explained that it would require me to wash her hair. And she asked if she could have clean hair. It was AWESOME.

So, I did the old school Saturday afternoon ritual that my mom used to do with me. That meant that Jayla was on the kitchen counter with her head dipped in the sink for the first time in her life. I used to go through that every weekend so it was almost surreal to be on the mama side of that ritual. But, she did great.

And since she was into getting her hair tampered with, I decided to try out a new style. As most of you know Jayla has had the same exact hairstyle everyday since she was like 18 months old - some version of three braided ponytails. Finally, about a month ago I got sick of her looking like that and decided to switch it up a bit. I even played with the idea of doing something that might stay up for a few days as several people in the past few weeks have asked me if we do her hair everyday. Absolutely. My husband or I spend 20 minutes on her hair each morning.

So, I thought I would seize Jayla's willing attitude today and work on a style that has the potential to stay put for more than 4 hours at a time. I just gave her a few large two-strand twists while she was watching High School Musical 2 this afternoon. It started out looking adorable...

She even managed to take a nap and then get ready for today's birthday party with her hair still intact:

During the party, she spent about 30 minutes falling in the grass and waddling around right lady-like in her dress. And here is her hair and sweaty forehead by the end of the party:

Ahhhh...when I first finished her hair, I had so much hope for a lasting style but, I don't think I'm going to get it. We're committed to sending her to church tomorrow with whatever hair she wakes up with but, I have a feeling that it's not going to last through tomorrow. I'll keep ya'll posted though...

Friday, March 28, 2008

Help me out a little, folks...

I really haven't had much to blog about this week. It's been a regular week where the daily routines have gone off without a hitch and now we're at another weekend where we'll be attending yet another birthday party. I like our routines but, they don't make for good blog material. So, at the risk of exposing the fact that only 4 people are actually reading this blog, I'm taking suggestions. Leave a comment with some ideas or questions or something that I can write about next week, please...

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Emotional High

When I posted that picture of Jayla in the bunny visor the other day, I had a weird deja vu-like epiphany. That child looks just like her mother at the age! And rather than bore you today with pictures of me in 1982, I will bore you with a direct quote out of Jayla's mouth this morning:

"Mama makes Jayla happy too!"

I was singing a made up version of You Are My Sunshine and this was her response to the one part that I sang verbatim - "You make me happy..."

Monday, March 24, 2008

Resurrection Weekend Recap

I thought a more timely "what we did this weekend" post would be appropriate this week because who will care what Jayla wore on Easter by tomorrow?

Anyway, much like any other weekend, we made an appearance at a birthday party. Never mind that we literally met this little girl exactly seven days before her party, we were going to be there! And it was a blast because the adults got involved in the bouncy action and may have possibly even kicked some of the little kids off of the equipment so that two adults could race each other through the blow-up obstacle courses. In fact, here I am falling down (for the third time?) off the big wall at the end of the obstacle course:

And here Jayla is on that same wall, possibly doing better than I did:

And just to prove that the whole family really was in on it, here's my husband coming down the slide (while Jayla scrambles to get out of the way):

Moving on to Sunday...we went to church and had lunch and another easter egg hunt at a friend's house afterward. Jayla may just be a pro at looking for plastic eggs now. It was her third hunt in a week's time!

Here she and her friends eagerly anticipate their release into the backyard as they watch the daddies hide the eggs:

During the hunt (notice the look of determination for a egg hunt is now serious business for Jayla!):

Then there was some egg-dying by the mammas:

A little swinging and the kiddos were ready for their afternoon naps (we like wardrobe changes!):

After Jayla's nap, we let her open her Easter gifts from my mother. Her favorite was the bunny visor that she wore for the rest of the night with her high heels and bracelets:

All in all, it was a great weekend...a great Easter holiday. Hope you all were blessed this weekend as well!!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Jayla stayed pretty busy last weekend - between a birthday party, being invited to play at her best friend's house, and participating in the Easter party and Egg Hunt at church. Here's some photos to commemorate the activities.

First, the Cookie Monster cupcake. The birthday boy's mom made cupcakes to resemble Sesame Street characters. There were three different kinds: Cookie Monster, Big Bird, and Elmo. So, I asked Jayla what kind she wanted. Her answer was "Bert". Well, not only was Bert not an option in the list that I gave her, Bert does not have a round head so, he could NEVER be a cupcake, silly girl!!

Later, that same day, Jayla was pouring tea for the girls at her best friend's house.

Then on Sunday, Jayla got to experience her first Easter Egg hunt. The church separated the kids by ages and Jayla was grouped with the 0-2 year olds. Not that she was stepping on the crawling babies in there with her but, she did manage to bag 50% of the eggs for herself before many of the other kids even caught on to the concept. I had to give 5 eggs back so that each kid would actually end up with some eggs. Here she is after we convinced her that she needed to stop so that other kids could have some:

I actually meant to post these pictures earlier in the week - you know, like when last weekend was still current news. But, I was apparently busy doing other things this week. I have no idea what those things were...otherwise, I guess I would have blogged about them.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Self-Awareness and Pre-K

This morning as I was doing Jayla's hair, we were watching the same Disney Channel programming that we watch every single morning. And there's this one little filler that they always play before Little Einsteins comes on. A blue monkey and a red monkey (oooh and aaah, for those of you that are familiar with Playhouse Disney) talk about what colors they are and the red monkey talks about other things that are red. I usually ask Jayla to name something else red as well. She always says, "Rocket (from the Little Einsteins) is red". Since we read an Elmo book yesterday about red things, I asked her to give me something else that is red. I was totally thinking that she would say Elmo or apples or a firetruck. Instead, she said, "Ummmmm....Jayla's not red. Jayla is black." Whoa. I totally was not ready for that one. I am slightly curious as to where she has even heard that terminology because, clearly, she is brown so for her to say she is black, I think someone had to tell her that. I do, however, think it is cool that she is so self-aware. And maybe she was ready for a slightly better MLK explanation.

In other news, I talked to her teacher this morning when I dropped her off. I've been thinking for a while that Jayla is probably ready to move on out of the toddler class. She has been in the same classroom for 14 months. She has learned more than any toddler should ever know and now she is one of the oldest kids in the classroom. Her teacher also agreed that she has mastered everything at that level (the most important things being potty training, using writing utensils, and "good" social and verbal skills). Her teacher said that she is ready to enter the pre-K program rather than move up to the second toddler room. So, I talked to the Director on my way out of the school this morning and she says that she doesn't have any room in the pre-K3 classrooms. She says that they will start to shift the students on June 1. So, I'm not in too much of a hurry as long as she is in pre-K by her third birthday in August. If we're still in a toddler room by then, we'll have to be looking elsewhere. In the meantime, I guess we could obviously just wait where we are in her toddler room or we could probably move to the second toddler room where she's with slightly older kids doing slightly different things until a pre-K space opens up. Decisions, decisions...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Spring Break To-do's

I've been on spring break this week. And just to stay true to myself, I have given myself a fairly long to-do list this week. It's a daunting list but, thanks to fairly easy list items such as "mail the letter", my list is starting to dwindle.

My main goal for today was to take Jayla to the zoo, which I did. We actually had a really good day. We spent the morning at the zoo. Then came home this afternoon, watched a little Noggin, took a nap, and then went out to dinner. She even went to bed a little early, really easily.

Every now and then we have those kind of days where I just tremendously enjoy my child. And she seemingly enjoys spending time with me as well. And to boot, I managed to read two articles for school and make good progress on a literature review. That's more school work than I've accomplished in any one day all week!

So, I looked at my list again this evening. Despite being able to mark "take Jayla to the zoo" off the list, I've got 9 things that I still want to accomplish this week. And most of them are time-consuming, of course. I've got to transcribe an interview that I did a few weeks ago, read a bunch of stuff, and write a bunch of stuff. Maybe I'll think of another letter that I need to mail instead...and it's been a few months since we were at the Children's Museum...

Monday, March 10, 2008

Playing the Daugher Role

Something very, very rare happened this weekend - I spent it with my nuclear family: my mom, my dad, and my sister. Sure, the four of us see each other alot, especially considering my parents live about 7.5 hours away but, usually it's on occasions where we're surrounding by additional people - extended family members, etc.

But, this weekend, my husband was in St. Louis with his family, helping his mother recover from surgery. And my family and I were here in Houston. Now, Jayla was actually here with us too. But, we decided that her inability to admit that she doesn't know something, along with her "I am never wrong about anything" attitude definitely qualifies her to be one of us.

My parents actually came to town because I needed them to babysit Jayla on Saturday while I was in class all day. But, Saturday night, after Jayla went to bed, the four of us had a really sweet time watching a movie together. We probably haven't done that since 1985 (I may not even be exaggerating).

Then yesterday, we spent the day at the rodeo. It really was like the old school family trips. And it's not that we don't take trips every year together, but, my husband is with us on our family trips now. And I have to play the wife role, which directly conflicts with the daughter role. This weekend, I got to play the daughter role again and it was great.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Chocolate-Covered Pretzels With Papa

My husband bought me a new camera for my birthday. A mere 13 days later, I have finally taken the first picture with it:

This is Jayla and my father immediately after returning home from Outback Steakhouse tonight. Constantly stuffing our faces is pretty much what we do around these parts.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

29, going on 63...

Last Saturday night, my husband and I went to a birthday party. A real grown-up party where you had to be 21 to get into the venue, even. And what did I do? I showed people pictures of Jayla. Not just "people" - I showed her pictures to people who did not have children and, therefore, did not care. The next thing you know I'll have one of those bags with the plastic pouches on the outside, as if I have pictures of my grandkids to show-off.

Monday, March 03, 2008

A Hard Question

In the backseat of my car there is a pile of papers and projects that Jayla has done at school over the past few months. For some reason, whenever they are given to me, I never take them out of the car. So, we ride around with them until someone else has to ride in the backseat of my car. At that point, I throw them all away.

Many times when we’re in the car, Jayla will ask for one of her papers to study while we’re in the car. About two weeks ago she did this on the way to school one morning. She’s usually specific about which paper she wants to look at and this particular morning it was a picture of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Now, because I rarely even look at the stuff that they give me at her school, I didn’t realize that they had colored a picture of him on his birthday. Cool, I thought, when I saw it that day.

So, we were sitting at the stoplight that we sit at every morning and usually we talk about the gas station and the Walgreens that are on that corner. Well, this particular morning, she said, “I got a picture of a man”. I replied, “Yes – and his name is Martin Luther King”. She repeated his name back to me. And then it happened…

Jayla wanted to know more about the man whose picture she was holding. And I had my first parenting moment where I wasn’t quite sure what to say. I wanted her to get the impression that he was an important man but, I did not want to get caught up in a discussion about race and inequality. So, I ended up telling her that he was a man that fought so that Jayla could go to her school. She said okay and moved on in her happy little world.

I think that was the best answer that I knew how to give a two-year-old. And I know that there is going to come a day when I will have to explain the history of race relations in this country and how people will automatically assume certain things about her as a person based on her ethnicity…and gender even. I will also teach her that she is not a victim of her demographics. And I will have to tell her how special and unique all people are and teach her to respect and appreciate those differences. And I will have to model that attitude for her.

I will also have to tell her about how her grandmother (my mother) had the highest GPA in her high school graduating class and was not awarded the honor of valedictorian. Instead, the school system did not acknowledge a valedictorian that year – 1972 – the year that the first integrated class graduated from that rural high school in Mississippi. And I will have to tell her about how her grandfather (my father) was expelled from his first attempt at college for being a “radical” and leading race-related protests. And how there is no evidence of him almost completing a degree at that college because his records were burned. And I will have to tell her about Henry Odom, her great-great-great-great grandfather, an escaped slave from North Carolina, who eventually traveled to Mississippi where he purchased the land that my parents currently live on.

And I am sure a lot of hard questions will come out of these conversations. But, it would be irresponsible of me to not tell her about these things. And I know I won’t have all of the perfect answers but, I don’t think the man in the picture did either…and look at the impact he made…