A Conversation Worth Having: This School Year Will Be Different, Are You Ready?

Going back to school is traditionally a time when our children are excited about wearing their new outfits, new shoes, and rocking their new bookbags. They are overly excited about seeing their old friends from last year, meeting new friends, and meeting their new teacher. Everything about the first day of school screams “FRESH & NEW”!! As parents this is the time of the year where we beam with pride at how much our babies have grown. Yet, we still have a moment of sadness because our kids are getting older and they are no longer those cute little babies they were the year before. On the first day of school we pose our kids in the front yard with their cute little outfits on and take their “obligatory first day of school” picture. Some of y’all are probably exhaling a deep sigh of relief because you know this is your kid’s last year of high school and you are beyond ready for her to go…#nojudgementzone.

Whatever your feelings are about the first day of school or whatever traditions your family has been accustomed to, this school year will be different. This school year our kids will be starting school in their pajamas and/or leggings. Instead of pretty pink notebooks and unicorn bookbags they will have Chromebooks and WIFI’s. From a kindergartner to a senior in high school this will be a lot to understand and surely a lot to process. For me it is hard to process so I can only imagine what a child may think about all of this.

During our last “Sundae Sunday”, Khristian and I talked about how her upcoming school year will possibly look. At the time we didn’t know who her teacher would be; therefore she was still in “summer mode” and didn’t really give me any concrete thoughts about returning back to school. She was pretty nonchalant about it all until her teacher assignment letter came. When the teacher assignment letter came in the mail it became real to her. She ran up to her room and grabbed her yearbook from the past school year to look up her new teacher. She was ecstatic about meeting her new teacher until she remembered that she wouldn’t physically meet her until mid October. At that time I knew by the look on her face we needed to have an impromptu “Sundae Sunday”.

She and I grabbed some leftover Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and discussed her feelings about not physically seeing her friends and meeting her new teacher for approximately 9 weeks into the school year. I listened to her as she processed her thoughts about things being different for her this school year. “Sundae Sunday” is a time where I do more listening rather than talking. She stated that she was excited about going back to school and that she was excited about eventually meeting her new teacher. She mentioned that she did not have any major thoughts about not seeing her friends or meeting new friends for the next 9 weeks. She stated that although she misses school; she is okay with starting back to school virtually. We have enrolled her in a remote learning support program. The program will allow her to maintain her schedule and routine as well as provide her the social interaction that she needs for her overall wellbeing. Sometimes you have you have to do what works for you and your child. Overall, I would say that she appears to be pretty optimistic about the upcoming school year.

Now, trust me I understand that all children are not going to handle this conversation like Khristian. There are some children who are currently experiencing major anxiety behind not starting school within the next few weeks. There are some children who are aware of their personal circumstances and because of that it makes them very uneasy about not returning back to school. There are some children who thrive off having peer social interaction and not being able to go to school can lead to some form of depression for them.

Now parents as you are having this conversation, make sure you are doing more listening than talking. Listening is always the key!! I know that we can be quick to offer a solution to our children’s problems but often times our own anxieties can fuel our children’s anxieties.

So as you are having the back to school conversation with your child, I would encourage you to do the following things:

  1. Remain calm and try not to project your anxieties or fears onto your child.
  2. Review their school schedule and their new routine prior to the 1st day of school.
  3. Try to maintain as much normalcy as you can during this time. Take the obligatory 1st day of school picture!! Wake them up just as excited as you were if they were heading to the bus stop on the 1st day of school.
  4. Encourage them to communicate with their peers during this time.
  5. Always make yourself available if your child needs to talk. Remember less talking and more listening.
  6. Show yourself grace. This is new for everyone, including you. Things are different for everyone and its okay not to have all of the answers.
  7. If your child is not handling the changes very well, I would encourage you to seek out professional assistance.

So as we gear up for the 2020-2021 school year, one thing we can bet on is ourselves. We can bet that we will do whatever we need to do to make sure that our children will have their BEST school year yet!! Despite the changes that may come our way we will always show up for our children and be our best selves in spite of it all. But in the meantime, show yourself some grace mama!! WE GOT THIS!!!!!!

Sundae Sunday’s Favorite Products For The Growing Girl!!

As I conclude this blog series regarding our growing girls and the changes in their body, I will be remised if I did not share some of my favorite things while on this journey through puberty and such. These are a few of our favorite things that have proven to be a healthy benefit for my daughter, my growing girl.

  1. Luxe Fragrance Bar- 100% Shea Butter Soufflé This 100% shea butter is perfect for ALL SKIN TYPES. This product helps to keep Khristian’s skin hydrated and moisturized especially during the winter months. I begin using this product on my son when he was experiencing dry skin on his legs and back. It is very airy and light. This product is highly recommended for people with Eczema. This has become a Mitchell family favorite!! Check out the website at http://www.luxefragrancebar.com!! Use the code “sundae” for 10% off your purchase!!!

2. Lizzie’s All Natural Products-All Natural Deodorant This deodorant is baking soda free, aluminum free, paraben free and non toxic. I purchased the Lemongrass-Bergamot scented deodorant for Khristian and I. It smells so good and citrusy!! It comes in Lavender as well. Moms and daughters can both use this deodorant to smell and feel fresh all day!! Check out the website at http://www.productsbylizzie.com. Use the coupon code “sundaesunday” to receive 10% off your total purchase!!

3. Dove Sensitive Skin Beauty Bar I know that Dove has caught a lot of bad publicity over the years in regards to their marketing and lack of diversity. Yet, I am the first to say that Dove works very well for my daughter and I. Dove is a product that is suitable for daily use on her face and body. The Dove Sensitive Skin Beauty Bar is hypoallergenic and does not dry out her skin. Dove products can be purchased at any big box retailer.

4. The Honey Pot Feminine Wash- Moms, I am recommending this product for us!! Thank Me Later!! The Honey Pot Feminine Wash is a product that I love, love, LOVE!! This vaginal wash formula is 100% all natural and is made with all herbal ingredients. This amazing product can be purchased at Target!!

These are some of my favorite products for my growing girl Khristian. I also threw in one for my moms too….I can’t forget about us!! If you have any products that have worked for your growing girl or products that you are currently using. Please share!!

5 Tips on Having the “Body Talk”

1. Start “The Body Talk” Early– By the time your daughter is 8 years old you should have already had the body talk with them. Don’t wait until your daughter come to you to talk about the changes in her body; or better yet don’t wait until someone tells her that she smells before you purchase her some deodorant. The last thing you want is for one of her friends to talk to her before you do because more than likely they will be wrong. Be open and honest during your conversation because trust me the conversation may feel awkward or embarrassing at times. Although this is a serious topic, laugh and have fun with it!! Remember you don’t have to cover everything in one conversation.

2. Provide Normalcy and Reassurance – Puberty can often leave our girls feeling lonely and insecure. As her breast buds start to appear and her hormones start to shift it can be pretty confusing for a 3rd grader….especially if you are the only girl in your class wearing a training bra. Normalizing her feelings and reassuring her that everyone will experience these changes will assure her that she is “normal” and that she is not alone.

3. Always Make Yourself Available– Sundae Sundays are a good time to talk to your daughter about her body changes; however, you should always make yourself available to talk with your daughter. I would recommend you to initiate the conversation, instead of waiting for her to come to you. More than likely she will not approach you. Take the lead with addressing her feelings about the changes as well as being open and transparent about your feeling related to her growing up…because after all she IS growing up.

4. Don’t Worry About Saying Everything Perfectly- It doesn’t matter if you don’t have all of the answers. The main thing is that she is hearing it from you. Just take a deep breath and do the best you can. If there is something you feel that you cannot answer, contact her doctor or utilize this handy dandy tool called “Google”.

5. Points to Emphasize To Her- There is nothing to be embarrassed about. Everyone goes through puberty. She is perfectly healthy and normal. She can come to you at anytime with questions or concerns regarding her body.

References:

Breech, Lesley. “Puberty in Girls: Conversation Starters for Parents”. https://blog.cincinnatichildrens.org/learning-and-growing/talking-with-girls-about-puberty.

Dowshen, Steven. “Talking To Your Child About Puberty”. https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/talk-about-puberty.html.

HAPPY “NATIONAL ICE CREAM DAY”!!

I bet you didn’t know there was such a thing, did you? Or maybe you did!!! Apparently “National Ice Cream Day” became a national holiday due to President Reagan wanting to commemorate the sweet treat on the third Sunday of July…How sway, who knew?!?! I will say that any day to eat ice cream is a treat within itself.

Khristian and I celebrated the holiday by indulging in a pint of Ben and Jerry’s “Half Baked” ice cream. The “Half Baked” is a mixture of chocolate and vanilla ice cream with gobs of chocolate chip cookie dough and fudge brownies. That ice cream was so good we didn’t even capture a picture. If you are on any kind of diet please disregard, ok.

After a long 7 days of being away Khristian returned home yesterday. She and her brother HJ went to Maryland to visit with their PaPa and Mrs. Katie. Oh, me on the other hand I enjoyed some rest and relaxation with my baby daddy, HA!!! Prior to Khristian leaving she and I had multiple conversations about how to care for herself while she was gone. Conversations such as making sure that she bathed correctly, to making sure she picked up her clothes off of the bathroom floor when she finished showering, to remembering to put deodorant on everyday. In my previous post, I shared that Khristian was in the beginning phase of puberty and how her body was starting to change. Therefore, the last thing I needed was for homegirl to forget to put on her deodorant on a 97 degree day.

Our last “Sundae Sunday” before she left consisted of a run through of what her morning and nightly routine would look like. We actually repeated the same routine morning and night for a week until the day she left. She and I went through the steps of washing and bathing (you HAVE to hit those hot spots ladies), putting on deodorant and lotion, and lastly putting on her clothes. I also reminded her to make sure she grabbed all of her personal items out of the bathroom after she was done. I know much of this sounds remedial but as a young girl at the tender age of 8, personal care and hygiene starts early. I don’t think as mothers we should take for granted that we will always be around for our children. The earlier we can teach them to become self sufficient and independent the better. We also can’t take for granted that they automatically know how to care for themselves and do these things. It takes training and patience to teach our daughters these things.

Tonight, I am so excited that she and I are back at the kitchen table for this week’s “Sundae Sunday”. We caught up on her week in Maryland and how much fun she had with her Papa and Mrs. Katie. As she was going on and on about her week, all I wanted to know was “Did you pick up your clothes off the bathroom floor”? She said “Of course I did because I wasn’t at my house”…all I could do was smile and beam with pride in the inside. that note.

On that note, good night!!

Chocolate Wasted Ice Cream-Let’s Talk…Body Talk (Pt.1)!!

Today our featured ice cream, “Chocolate Wasted” is from a local black owned artisanal creamery located in Winston Salem, NC called “DreamKreams”. This ice cream is designed for chocolate lovers. It is double chocolate ice cream, brownies, and a chocolate sauce. Khristian is the ultimate chocolate lover, so it was a win-win for her. We actually patronized “DreamKreams” twice this week because it was so delicious. Check out “DreamKreams” on all social media outlets. You will not be disappointed…trust me!!

A few weeks ago I took Khristian to the doctor because she was having severe allergies which eventually lead to her being referred to an allergist and placed on allergy shots. As we were closing out with the appointment, the doctor asked Khristian if she had any questions for her. Khristian replied to the doctor “Yes, will I always have hair under my arms?” The doctor answered her and said ” Yes, because you are growing girl and your body is changing”. At this point the doctor explains to me that my baby girl was in the beginning phase of puberty. Yall, it took everything in me not to cry. All I could do was look at the doctor in despair and just stare at her. I knew at that point I needed to talk to my 8 year old daughter about the various changes in her body. I knew before long she will be encountering some changes in her body that her 8 year old brain would not even have the capability of processing.

So here we go…me talking to my 8 year old daughter about the changes that her body will encounter in the next few weeks, months, and years to come. The most important take away from these next few Sundae Sundays is letting her know that we are in this together.

Tonight we started our Sundae Sunday off discussing how good this “Chocolate Wasted” ice cream is…. Yall, ice cream definitely makes the conversations less intense…seriously. I began by asking Khristian if she recalled the conversation that we had with her doctor about the changes taking place in her body. She stated that she did not like the hair growing under her armpits. I confirmed that it was totally normal for her body to grow hair under her armpits and it was due to her body changing. Khristian has been using deodorant for quite some time now, so I reiterated to her that using deodorant and bathing everyday is very important. Khristian told the doctor and I that she did not like to take showers because she does not like to stand up (insert side eye) but that she prefers baths (insert another side eye). So tonight not only are we discussing armpit hair but we are also discussing why its important to stay clean and take showers. BEWARE!! Sundae Sundays can take a hard left sometimes…however, keep in mind that she is only 8 years old; therefore, her statements and questions can sometimes be quite comical but always come from an innocent and jovial place. Approaching this subject makes me a little anxious because I don’t want to say something that could possibly hurt her feelings. Yet, I don’t want her peers to say something to her or about her that could hurt her feelings in the worst way. In the midst of our conversation tonight, she told me that when she was in the 1st grade someone told her that she smelled. Now I know kids will be kids but I literally felt something rise up in my spirit when she said that. I wanted to fight that kid at that moment, but I digress. Khristian never told me that incident happened until tonight (thank God for Sundae Sundays, right?). That specific incident allowed me to reiterate to her that due to the changes in her body it is important for her to use deodorant every single day and to take showers/baths daily. She said that it hurt her feelings when that person said that to her. I put a pin in our body changes conversation and processed with her how it made her feel when that person said that to her. At that moment I put on my listening ears, because my daughter is now talking about something that is important to her and I needed to push my agenda to the side and listen to her.

Our Sundae Sunday started off talking about the changes in her body but later diverted into me listening. Since beginning Sundae Sunday I have come to the realization that sometimes listening is best. Many times our children will gravitate to their peers because they often feel like they are the only ones that will listen to them. My goal was to talk to her about the changes in her body but it quickly switched to something else and truth be told I am really glad that it did. She now knows that if she doesn’t use deodorant her underarms will smell and that she may get picked on…lesson learned!! All I had to do was listen.

To be continued….

Lucky Charms Ice Cream-The Unsung Hero-Happy Father’s Day!!

Happy Father’s Day!! Dads are the unsung heroes of the family. In my opinion, dads do not get the recognition that they deserve. For example, according to the National Retail Federation, the average amount spent on Father’s Day gifts are expected to reach $15.5 billion this weekend, meanwhile a total of $26.6 billion is spent on Mother’s Day weekend. As you can see there’s a big contrast in what we spend on dad versus what we spend on mom. Does that mean we value or love our moms more than our dads? I don’t think so. But there is definitely a difference and a contrast in how we spend our coins on our dads on Father’s Day.

Tonight during our Sundae Sunday, Khristian and I indulged in Lucky Charms ice cream. It wasn’t one that I care to brag about but she ate it like it was the best thing ever…HA!! Tonight, we discussed Father’s Day. I shared with Khristian how blessed she is to have a dad who loves her and is active in her life. My goal tonight was to show her that although our mother-daughter bond is unique, daddy is the backbone of our family. I needed her to understand (which she does, but in case she forgot) that daddy is the leader and the head of our home. He is also the protector of our family. Khristian often tells me that her daddy is the “fun parent” and I am the “hard parent”…I kindly and respectfully disagree, but whatever.

I think sometimes as mothers we can get so wrapped up in caring for the children and taking care of the home that it may appear to our children that we are the “leader” or the “boss” of the home. Yet daddy is working behind the scenes making sure that there is food on the table, gas in the car and that the house is running on all cylinders. Our children sometimes don’t see the sacrifices and hard work that both parents put in to keep them fed, healthy and alive…LOL. Often times our children see their mother running the show at home and their dad working and handling business outside of the home. For some that may be true, but for many the father is the one picking up the slack when the mother is worn slam out at the end of the day. I will go ahead and raise my hand and say I am the mother that is worn slam out at the end of the day.

Talking to Khristian tonight helped me to realize how much she loves and admire her daddy. I am very thankful that she understands the importance of her dad and the active role that he plays in our home. I have come to realize that I must speak highly of her father often in her presence so that she can value the epitome of a good man.

So again, I say dads are the unsung heroes of the family. They deserve to be recognized just as much as we as mothers do. Many of us couldn’t do what we do without them being by our side helping to raise these babies. We must share with our children and especially our daughters the blessing it is to have a father that leads by example by protecting and providing for his family.

How did you celebrate Father’s Day?

Cinnamon Toast Crunch- Virtual Blog Launch

WE DID IT!!! Based off of my smile and Khristian’s wide eyed smile, can you tell we had a successful launch?!?! We ate Edy’s Cinnamon Toast Crunch ice cream while someone else chatted along with us eating Breyer’s Thin Mint ice cream. In the most informal way Khristian and I shared with the mothers and daughters about our blog, our baby “Sundae Sunday”. I shared with the mothers the importance of setting aside intentional time for our girls. You will always hear me say that mother and daughter relationships are very complex. One minute she’s your little bestie and the next minute you are giving her the biggest side eye because she reminds you so much of you…or she’s riding on your last reserve nerve. Those side eye moments will be the moments that sticks out the most if we don’t balance them out with “special” moments. “Sundae Sundays” are our “special” moments. “Sundae Sundays” allow our girls to hold us accountable to ensure that we dedicate time to them without any distractions. Khristian shared that she loves “Sundae Sundays” because she gets to spend time with me. As the oldest of 3 and the only girl “Sundae Sundays” are something that she looks forward to every single week. Its her time to have me all to herself. The mothers stated that many of them have already started to carve out time for their daughters during the week. That made me so HAPPY to hear!!! One mother & daughter calls them their “date night”. Another mama asked for talking prompts!!! Yes mama, I got you girl!! A talking prompts page will be added to the blog this week!!

Last but not least, I have to make sure that my mamas are taking care of themselves. I have to ensure that my “Chocolate Lifestyle” page is highlighting all mothers putting themselves first. Sometimes you have to ask yourself, when was the last time I did something for myself? Was it before we sheltered in place?? Was it last month? Was it last year? We have to stop putting ourselves last because our girls are watching us. They are watching how we treat ourselves amongst everyone else. Last Friday, I went to the hair salon and seriously I left out of the hair salon feeling like a brand new woman. My confidence level was on a thousand…LOL. After working and homeschooling for the last 3 months, I owed myself that hairdo and more….and you do too mama!! Promise me and yourself that you are going to do something for yourself this week. Not the week after, but THIS week!! I confirmed with the mothers at the launch that we owe it to ourselves and our families to adjust our oxygen masks first. Meaning in the midst of being a wife, a mother, and everything else we must take care of ourselves first. Periodt!! Type “Promise” in the comment box if you promise to do something for yourself this week. I am going to follow up with you directly and ask what you did for yourself. We all can use a little accountability.

Thank you all for attending the virtual blog launch for “Sundae Sunday”!! Best wishes to you all as you embark on new memories with your daughters.


Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough-“The Talk”

Tonight we had the “the talk”. Not the boyfriend-girlfriend talk (not yet, thank God), but the talk about what we are experiencing in America right now. The civil unrest between white people and black people. The fear of being a black woman in America. Is her daddy safe when he goes out of the house. Answering the hard questions such as, are all police bad? Or are all white people bad? At the sweet innocent age of 8 years old these are questions and fears that I had to address with my daughter during this week’s Sundae Sunday…all while eating Edy’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream. Yall, ice cream is a great distraction because while you are trying to find the right answer you can just look down in your bowl..LOL

The first question that I knew I had to address with Khristian tonight was, are all police bad. I tackled this question first because I wanted her to understand that if there’s an emergency I NEED for her to call the police. I don’t need her worried or scared that they are going to hurt her or harm someone she loves if she calls them. I explained to Khristian that police officers are sworn to protect and serve her and her community. She should always feel safe and protected when she sees a police officer or if she has to call the police for any reason. I needed Khristian to understand that as a child, police officers are authority figures and we must respect authority figures. We must obey their commands and look them straight in the eyes when we communicate with them. I also advised her that police officers are community helpers. Police officers enforce the law and they also help children and adults who are in trouble. I wanted to drive home to her how important police officers are to our community and why we need them….but on the other hand there are some really bad ones out there. The bad police officers are those who abuse their authority and power.

You know, I could of went in further detail with her about the bad police officers and how black and brown people are treated unfairly by those who abuse their power. But at her age I want her to be able to trust the police. I want her to feel safe calling them or just walking by them and not fearing for her life. In due time we will be able to discuss the bad ones. Right now, I am choosing to teach her how to respect authority and obeying the law.

Raising brown and black children during these times can be so exhausting, wouldn’t you agree? How are you dealing with having “the talk” with your children?

Nevertheless, this Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream is good and every time I bite into one of those cookie dough pieces I sense a peace of calmness in my spirit. I believe that our country will be alright after while. Khristian said she don’t like the cookie dough pieces but she likes the ice cream..

What is “Sundae Sunday”?

“Sundae Sunday” has become a tradition in our home. It has become a Sunday ritual for Khristian and I to sit at the kitchen table every Sunday evening to discuss current events, school, friends, changes in her body, religion, and any other topic that her 8 year old brain can fathom and handle. We try different ice creams every Sunday while we chat. So far our favorite has been the “Edy’s Cinnamon Toast Crunch”. That ice cream is EVERYTHING!! It has specks of the cereal loaded and tossed into the ice cream…cue Justin Beiber’s song “Yummy”!!

In between our Sundae Sundays we are communicating and strengthening our bond throughout the week but on Sundays its just us, Khristian and mommy…no boys (HJ, Kai, and Daddy). It’s just us talking about girl stuff and indulging in some guilt free sweetness.