Summer is my favorite time of year. The days are longer, the fruit is better, and this is the perfect season to make those family memories that will bring about nostalgia for many years to come. Conquering summer with a toddler is a balancing act however. There are very small windows between heat tantrums and nap time tantrums to make outings enjoyable. This toddler friendly summer bucket list takes into account their “lengthy” attention spans, but is also easy on your wallet so in the off chance a mission has to be aborted, it won’t be a budget strain.
I partnered with Wellements to share my thoughts and opinions on how their products have helped me with teething.
Teething is literally the worst thing that babies and parents go through until potty training–which is pretty awful as well. But there are 10 things in particular that really grind my gears as it pertains to teething.
If you didn’t already know, black girls are lit. We are creative, intelligent, magical, and just darn right fabulous from our head to our toes! From our kinky, coily textured hair to the array of chocolate skin tones kissed by only the sun’s rays, black girls are everything to be desired. The crazy thing is, not every black girl knows this about themselves. What they see in the mirror may be contrary to popular belief. Our daughters, granddaughters, sisters, and nieces can sometimes struggle with challenges of self-identity. Self-esteem and knowing their self-worth in a world that was just not made for their benefit is truly difficult.
Building Up Black Girls Matters
To empower someone starts from within. Building up the self-esteem of young black girls happens when we mirror what they already have inside of them. There is so much material being created for our chocolate youth that is hidden in plain site that features them in ways that are courageous, intelligent, and capable of all things. Having two daughters of my own now, I make sure to let them know every chance I get just how amazing they truly are. One of the many ways I do so is by reading books with them that they can relate to on a societal and cultural level.
I don’t recall being presented with reading material that defined characters that represented who I was or what I looked like in order to be comfortable in my own skin. Growing up, I wasn’t around other children that looked like me or shared the same background. I felt ashamed of the texture of my hair and even the curvy shape that my hips and thighs gave me and I desired to be something I could never be.
Flipping the pages of books that described a brown skinned girl that had thick lips and a wide nose like mine would have made me feel like I was not so alone. I would have been able to recognize that my beauty came from the unique features I possessed both inside and out. I could see myself wandering the pages of imaginary adventures of girls like me that were princesses, scientists, presidents, or just another neighborhood girl loving who she was just the way she was.
10 Must-Read Books For Black Girls
What are some of your favorite books that highlight black girls?
My first job as a teen was as a lifeguard and swim instructor. I still have fond memories of working with the summer camps and seeing how much the kids had learned each year. I was also a competitive swimmer growing up and new that my kids would have to love the water like I did. When Mini was born, I had her in the water as soon is it was warm enough to have her in the pool. This baby LOVED the water!
Swim Lessons Or Nah?
I’ve always been hesitant about putting my kids in swim classes. Mini responded so well to being in the water with me for the first 3 years that I wasn’t sure if we needed lessons. I enrolled her in a local swim class and underwhelmed was an understatement. She basically learned nothing and wasn’t challenged. I was discouraged but when Abc came along, things changed. She was one of the kids that latches on to the parent and I knew that had to change. When I was approached by the British Swim School in Atlanta about working together, I was a little hesitant because I didn’t want to waste my time. It hasn’t been a waste of time by any means.
British Swim School
Impressed is definitely an understatement on how I feel after having my kids in classes for a month here.
When enrolling your child in British Swim School, you answer some questions about their abilities to place them into the class that they’ll not only feel comfortable in but will also provide a bit of a challenge. They have super beginner classes that start at Tadpoles and work their way up to Sharks–they even offer Adult and Private classes! After taking the questionnaire, we determined that I had a Young Minow with Abc and a Turtle II with Mini. Each of our classes are 30 minutes long with 25 minutes of focused work and 5 minutes of free play.
At this phase of the game of life I’ve learned that all teachers aren’t created equally. And I’ve also learned that British Swim School does a great job in hiring their teachers. I was a pretty good swim instructor when I was younger so my expectations were high. I was specifically looking for a couple of things here:
- How they interacted with my children at their different comfort levels
- How they challenged them
- How they comforted them when things were difficult
As a “crunchier” mommy, I believe in nurturing kids through difficulties. I think hugs and snuggles are always appropriate with tears along with encouraging words. So do they.
If I gush about my experience, trust that it’s on purpose. The past month my kids have been having an amazing time with British Swim School! The owner, Jeff, sends his own children through the program which is reassuring as a parent. But the growth that I’ve seen in my kids in the water? Amazing. Like I said earlier, Abc was always kind of hesitant in the water with me. She never quite enjoyed the water. Now? A different child. She’s ready to jump in the water, go down the slide and really have independence in the water. I was prepared for her to be more difficult but she got promoted from Young Minow to Minow within 2 weeks.
Mini has flourished as well! While she could swim a lap non-stop since last summer, she’s learned backstroke, how to breathe on her side during freestyle, and has finally stopped looking like she’s drowning when she’s swimming. Her kicking has really changed and made all the difference in her speed. Oh, and she’s learning to dive! Proud mama here! Her teacher even says that she’s ready for a swim team!
I’ve appreciated this incredible learning environment that offers both a bit of a challenge and comfort for my kids. We’re ready for summer!
Interested in getting your kids in the pool? Find out more by visiting www.britishswimschool.com to find the location nearest to you!
This post was sponsored by Lully as part of Influencer Activation for Influence Central.
Imagine just falling asleep after working all day, parenting, loving your child to sleep only to be woken in the middle of the night by shrieks and screams. The first couple of times it happens you’re scared thinking that someone has tried to steal your child but you find them crying, screaming, weeping in their beds but still asleep as night terrors interrupt your quiet home. There’s nothing more disconcerting than being woken up by the inconsolable cries of your child in the middle of the night.
Night Terrors Are Real
Mini and abc are pretty much polar opposites when it comes to sleeping. Mini has slept through the night since 6 months. We also co-slept till she was a year and then I had no issues with transitioning her to her own bed and room. Abc though? My goodness! We follow the same sleep routine along with some prayers that she stays asleep through the night.
Initially I thought it was just her actively rebelling against sleeping in her own bed when she would wake up in the middle of the night crying until I was talking to the hubs about it and he shared that he struggled with night terrors as a kid. Naturally, I’m like “she’s been alive for like 3 weeks–what’s there to be scared of?” After talking to her pediatrician, she told me that night terrors are to be expected with abc because she’s developmentally advanced and probably has an overactive imagination which goes into high drive at night.
After losing more sleep with abc as a toddler than I did when she was an infant I figured we had to do something. It broke my heart having her scream and cry while sleeping in the bed with the hubs and I knowing that no matter how much I rubbed her back, hugged her and sang, it wouldn’t wake her from the terror that was in her dreams.
Lully Sleep Guardian 2
When I received this pod that goes under the bed, I was skeptical. I immediately thought of the fairy tale about the princess that could tell there was a pea under her mattress (because both my girls are princesses ha!). But after a week straight of night terrors and no sleep, I figured there’s nothing to lose since I’d already lost my beloved sleep.
Guys. I have not been awaken by screams in over 2 weeks. Like I don’t even know how to act with all the rest I’ve been getting. No lie, I used to not see the point in going to bed before a certain hour because I would just be woken up shortly thereafter and have to pray for an IV of caffeine the next day. But now? Listen. My sleep is GLORIOUS! Uninterrupted sleep, my baby isn’t waking up shrieking, and the hubs and I are well rested. It doesn’t get any better than this!
How Does It Work?
The Sleep Guardian 2 is a little pod that sends vibrations through the mattress that prevent night terrors from even happening. It’s connected to your phone via Bluetooth and you set it up based on your observations of when your little is waking up. The goal is to have it vibrate prior to the night terror from happening. As the weeks progress, you keep the app updated with parental observations and it continues to tailor how it’s working to what your individual child needs.
Prior to Sleep Guardian 2, the common method to handle night terrors would be to go in and wake your child up before it would happen interrupting the cycle. Now with this nifty tool, we parents get to stay comfy, cozy as our littles sleep happily through the night. It’s a win-win situation for all.
How Do You Know If Your Child Has Night Terrors
I have to be honest, this isn’t an area of expertise for me since I didn’t even think that abc had them. This is what we noticed with abc:
she would go to sleep easily but wake up around the same time screaming and crying but still be asleep
she was inconsolable during these spells
it didn’t happen all the time
The kicker for me was when the hubs said he had them too and the pediatrician later confirmed that it was probably given her development.
If you want to know more about night terrors, check out the information page on Lully which helped me further make sense of this.
Have you ever dealt with night terrors? How did you handle them?
Just when you thought things were getting easier as your baby was finally ready to get off the boob or bottle, they get more complicated. Every brand has three thousand and one that say they’re the best. While they all might be pretty awesome, as moms who don’t own stock in all these companies, we need the best sippy cups that are the most cost-efficient.
What To Look For
No Detachable Flow Control Piece
I don’t even know if this is the right term but it’s a silicone thing that makes it so all the liquid doesn’t come flowing out making a huge mess on your baby. So these are really functional and do a great job but they can get lost and it’s a tiny piece that has to be cleaned. Moment of truth: None of my sippy cups that have these are being used AND I don’t have any clue as of where those attachments are.
Easy To Clean
Have you ever seen those posts about how a mom somehow missed cleaning the underside of a sippy cup and it’s now overgrown with mold and they’re confused. Don’t let this be you. Seriously. Make sure that your sippy cup isn’t complicated with all these flips and such making it more difficult to clean.
5 Best Sippy Cups On The Market
1. NUK Sippy Cups
These are all pretty awesome honestly. Easy to clean, don’t cost an arm and a leg, and don’t have that valve.
2. Nuby Super Easy Grip Cup
3. Munchkin Miracle 360 Cup
5. First Years Take & Toss Spill-Proof Cups
These are under $3 and I love them. Easy to clean, cheap, and if you lose or mess them up, it’s not a big loss.
**Pro-Tip: Try to wash out the cups immediately. Once some juice or milk is left in there, it’s super gross!
You’ll probably notice that I haven’t included anything with straws here. Straws can be a hassle to keep clean and keep track of.
What’s your favorite sippy cup? Did I miss anything?