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Lifestyle Parenting

The Sweetest Embrace….

This is one of those stories that I struggled to share. Actually, this is one of maybe ten stories that I struggled to share. Before I went public with my blog, I thought that this “open book” thing was going to be easy.

Yeah….

I started struggling with my weight when I was in high school. Between being sick and going through puberty, I became disgusted by my body. My hips started spreading, and I had the slightest pudge in my stomach. I hated looking in the mirror. I often wore my middle school wardrobe as motivation for the weight that I wanted to be.

I remember the morning that I was discharged from a hospital stay when I was in the 9th grade. I put my size 11 jeans on. When I stood up, my pants feel to my feet. I thought that I had forgotten to button them. When I pulled my pants back up, I noticed how wide they were in the waist.

I was shocked and excited. I lost weight! Due to the various tests and procedures that I had undergone, I was placed on a strict diet. I just didn’t notice that this diet would have a big impact on my body. I was able to fit my older sister’s size 7 jeans! My clothes from middle school fit like a glove.

Literally…. My breasts were developing, so those shirts were tight in the chest area.

Once I was allowed to return to a normal diet, the pounds came creeping back. In no time, I was back in my size 11 jeans. It was so frustrating!

I started my first homemade “diet” when I was in 11th grade. I ate one Granny Smith apple a day, drank a lot of water, and had 1 hour of exercise a day.

I dropped 30 pounds in a month.

I started wearing my middle school clothes to school again. I knew my shirts were too short, but they clung to me and showed my flat tummy. I just knew I was cute.

I nearly fainted at school a week later. My father was understandably pissed off that he had to come pick me up. He was working second shift, and sleeping during the day. My mother was working first shift and had a lengthy commute from home.

I confessed to my father that I hadn’t been eating. I had never let my parents know about my issues with my body. He yelled at me for a good portion of the ride home:

“You know damn well you’re supposed to eat!”

I felt like I couldn’t talk to my parents about this issue. It was something that haunted me for years. I decided to just let them think I was acting stupid.

I started eating a regular diet and wearing my normal fitting clothes again. It was time for me to accept the fact that I wasn’t going to fulfill my dreams of wearing crop tops and low-rise jeans.

I gained about 60 pounds when I was pregnant with Ariana. It didn’t bother me much because I was able to use pregnancy as an excuse. I had to gain weight for the baby, right? Most of that extra weight went to my breasts, stomach, and face.

After I had Ariana, I began to lose the weight. I credit postpartum depression for that. I remember admiring my flattening stomach while I was in the psychiatric hospital.

After several months, I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight. I was impressed by my ability to be able to keep my weight in check for years. I actually started to accept my curves. The guys loved the curves.

I always craved that attention from guys. I was always jealous of my older sister for getting it. I didn’t know that I was seeking to wrong type of attention. I loved it though. My self-esteem was higher than ever.

Maybe I was never fat to begin with!

I started gaining weight again when Ariana was three. At that time, I was in my first marriage, and I had stopped putting so much into my appearance. I was never into appearances. It just didn’t matter to me. I thought that my husband wouldn’t care because he loved me.

WRONG!

Another damn expectation placed on the woman.

When I was pregnant with Amariyah, the weight started piling on.

My thighs had never rubbed together before. For the first time in my life, the first number on the scale read “2”. I was gutted. I never thought that I would see the day.

After I had Avery, I completely let myself go. I didn’t even want to know what I looked like. I avoided the mirror as much as I could. I didn’t even do my hair in front of a mirror.

I was forced to confront my appearance after seeing a picture of myself from Avery’s first birthday party. It was a very humbling experience. Everyone feels like they look good until that picture is taken.

I’m not talking about a deceptive selfie…..

I reconnected with a grade school classmate on Facebook. It turns out that she had become a nutrition coach. After catching up for a few minutes, she introduced me to the Medifast diet. She gave me her testimony on how it worked for her. I was intrigued.

It was expensive, but I was desperate. My then-husband and I were having trouble paying our bills, but I could tell that he was excited at the idea of me losing weight. At a time when my marriage was quickly deteriorating, I thought that it was the least that I could do to salvage what was left.

The food was nasty. I had to eat five meal replacements a day, plus cook a healthy dinner. I added exercise into my regimen after a month. I was impressed by how fast the pounds were falling off.

I had one cheat day. A friend blessed me with a lunch date at Red Lobster. That endless shrimp was heavenly! Don’t get me started on the Dr. Pepper!

I stepped on the scale a couple of days later. I had gained three pounds. I could tell that my husband was annoyed. I was understanding. We were shelling out a lot of money for me to do this, and I slipped up.

After six months, I lost a total of 70 pounds. I felt fantastic! I graduated from my husband’s clothes to some new, cute clothes that I treated myself with. My husband even acted like he was attracted to me again. That didn’t go unnoticed. As bad as it sounds, I was loving the outside attention that I was getting as well.

After I separated from my then-husband, I gave up the diet. It was more important than ever to solely focus on providing for my babies.

I never entered the official maintenance portion of the diet, but I was able to keep my weight under control with small food portions.

When I started dating Donnie, he knew that I had been struggling with my image. Being the sweetheart that he is, he told me that I didn’t need to diet.

That was easy for him to say. He never saw me at my heaviest weight.

We had both actually just experienced a drastic weight loss. When Donnie and I found out that we were going to have a baby, the weight started creeping back. I craved cantaloupe and Dr. Pepper all of the time.

After I miscarried, I started relying on bad eating habits again. After a a couple of months, I was pregnant with Julian. Again, I put on a lot of weight. Again, I didn’t let it bother me because I needed to put on weight for the baby.

After I gave birth to the twins, I was at the highest weight of my life. Once again, I was forced to confront my appearance.

I took extra pride in doing my hair. My hair is something that I could always count on. Even when my hair was going through different phases of damage(illness related), cuts, and styles, it never let me down. I never had a problem growing my hair. I told myself that as long as my hair was done, the rest of my appearance didn’t matter.

It was nice to have the reassurance of my husband, Donnie, though. He has never made me feel like I am unattractive. He has always loved me. Knowing this made me take some pressure off of myself.

Maybe I don’t need to keep a certain appearance to please a man! The right man! The man who loves me unconditionally!

Sure, people got their fat jokes off at my expense. Good for them. For the first time in my life, I didn’t care because my husband loved every inch of me. My husband helped me love myself. I know that I’m not perfect, but I’m me. What can be better than that?! Certainly I’m not being miserable and cracking jokes on someone else.

Still, I knew I needed to lose weight for health reasons.

I also wanted to look better for me. Why wasn’t I blessed with good genes?! I have seen larger women with great figures:

Titties? Sitting. Ass? Poked. Frame? Hour glass.

Me? The opposite…..

Google told me that I was shaped like a damn apple….

My parents tried to blame my child-rearing for the weight. I mean, food is also good… When I’m depressed, I have an unhealthy relationship with food.

I started a Keto diet when the twins were two years old. I was impressed with the quick weight loss. Unfortunately, my weight loss stalled after losing 25 pounds.

Next, I tried the Atkins diet. It seemed similar to the Keto diet. It was a cute diet, but my weight loss was not cute. I gave up on that quickly. I tried a few more weight loss applications. They just didn’t do the job for me.

I was skeptical about Weight Watchers. This is the oldest diet that I had heard of. I was hesitant because I had to open my purse again. This time, the damage was far less.

I started the program in January of this year. I was actually impressed. You just track and eat in within your point allotment. You don’t have to worry about keeping track of carbs and fat and micros and macros… You know, those pesky numbers that indicate that you are overdoing it….

I think that my favorite part was the lack of food restrictions. I could literally eat what I wanted. The downside was that the portions were extremely small, compared to what I normally would eat. Sometimes I would find myself craving a 17-point Big Mac with only 2 points left.

Huge sigh!

I started losing weight at a normal pace, and I was happy with my results. I was no longer obsessing with the scale. I was obsessing over how amazing my new clothes fit.

One thing that I learned about myself from doing Weight Watchers is that I need to stop putting expectations on myself. I will probably never be tiny again, and that’s okay with me.

Part of the reason why I was failing at these diets is because I only had my eyes on the end result. I didn’t celebrate the small victories. I was only focused on being skinny instead of making realistic goals.

My goal is to be healthy and happy. Salads may make me healthy, but they don’t always make me happy. Oreos may not be healthy, but I will be happy eating them. Thanks WW!

It’s all a work in progress, and I’m still working. I’m not where I want to be, but I’m not at my highest weight anymore. Success!

Unfortunately, I’m human. I fell off of my program during my most recent confrontation with depression. I am currently taking things one day at a time until I am fully able to recommit

I want this story to promote happiness and acceptance.

I want to let you know that you don’t have to fit into a box that was designated by man. Break the norms. Fat doesn’t have to equal unhealthy or unattractive, and skinny doesn’t have to equal sexy or desirable.

Stand confident in you. Love you! You weren’t put on this earth to make people accept you.

Thank you for your support, and feel free leave feedback!

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Lifestyle Uncategorized

THE DREADED ELECTION: Take Two!

While my household slept, I walked to my polling place to submit my vote. It was a cold, November day in 2016. It took me less than two minutes to reach my destination. As usual, I was swarmed by small office candidates. I honestly had no idea who they were. Still, I smiled as I accepted the fliers.

I went to that poll knowing damn well that Donald Trump was not going to win the 2016 election. I normally vote, but I didn’t want to vote in that election. I voted anyway because I knew my mother would ask if i had.

I reluctantly placed my vote for Hilary Clinton. I didn’t really care for Hilary. I just knew that I had to be realistic. Somebody was going to win this election. I just didn’t want it to be Donald Trump.

After I cast my ballot, I walked back home. Everyone was still sleeping, so I laid back down.

My friend came over that afternoon to braid my hair. We talked about an array of subjects, but the election was heavy on our minds and in our hearts. History was about to be made! Whether we cared for Hilary Clinton or not, she was going to be the first woman president. As a woman, I was kind of excited.

I flipped the living room television to CNN. This network was also quite confident in Hilary Clinton’s chances.

As polls closed, the map was starting to look a little funny. I was slightly worried, but no big deal! The margin of error warning was there for a reason.

At around 10:00pm, I watched in horror as the state of Florida turned red. “It’s over!”, I cried to my friend. Tears began to roll down my cheeks. I couldn’t believe what I was witnessing. Hell, even Right-leaning Fox News had Hilary edging by.

I was visibly shaken for the rest of that night. I cried myself to sleep. I was sure that the “Access Hollywood” tape scandal would’ve done him in.

Not. One. Bit. It was so crazy how much bullshit people were willing to overlook. Don’t get me wrong, Mrs. Clinton has a ton of skeletons herself. I guess you could say that everyone was overlooking a lot of bullshit, no matter who they voted for.

Unfortunately, we slept on Donald Trump. We got complacent. I was one of millions who underestimated him. We can cry about “Russia” all we want, but the fact of the matter is that Trump out-strategized Hilary.

We did make history. We elected the first reality star and celebrity elite to the highest office in the land. I thought Republicans hated the celebrity elites….

Throughout his term, I knew that there was no way that Trump would be removed from office. Democrats were so obsessed with finding ways to destroy that man. I knew better. I knew that the only way to get rid of Trump was to beat him. We had to vote.

The impeachment trial was a waste of time and money. I knew damn well that it wouldn’t hold piss water. Yes, Trump will have the stain of impeachment on his record, but the senate refused to remove him. Who didn’t see that coming with a Republican-controlled senate? Is Trump guilty of misconduct(not necessarily election related)?Absolutely! Did that stop him? Nope!

For four years, Trump and his supporters continued to get under the skin of millions of people. I was confused. “If Trump is so great and he is for America, why do his supporters make it seem like his presidency is a punishment for the opposition? Wouldn’t they want him to turn all of the opposition?”.

Every day there was a new lie. There was a new insult. There was a new projection. There was another disgusting story. There was another conspiracy. The truth is, Trump made a few strides during his term. Most of his opposition didn’t notice because his crass nature and petty attitude spoke louder.

When COVID-19 came to the United States, there was a fear. I think it was a valid fear. It was so spreading, and still is spreading like wildfire.

You know that I have ore-existing health conditions, including lung inflammation. I wanted no parts of Rona.

Yes, I understand that the survival rate from Covid-19 is very high. However, I would never chance it. I’m still not confident that I would make it out alive if I became infected. Besides, I have too much to lose.

I hated the way that Donald Trump downplayed the virus. At first, he seemed serious. I even tuned into the task force meetings. It seemed like the more the economy suffered, due to shutdowns, the more Trump kept downplaying the virus.

He put his ego before the country. That point was solidified. As a businessman, Donald Trump is all about the numbers. He spent more than four years eerily obsessed with Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton. Sounds like “derangement syndrome” to me. There was no way that he was going to be outdone.

When Trump and his family became infected with COVID-19, the reception was mixed. A lot of people were excited and a lot of people were send well wishes. Some people thought he deserved to be sick because he constantly disregarded the safety precautions. I don’t play about karma, but I didn’t shed any tears.

The optimism in me thought that if the president healed from COVID-19, he would be humbled and show some redeeming qualities to his opposition. I was wrong. After Trump and his family recovered from the virus, he continued downplay the virus and disregard safety measures.

Even as numbers continue to rise, Trump continues to hold large campaign rallies. Say what you want about Trump, but the man(child) can pull some large crowds. Unfortunately, he doesn’t care that we are in the midst of a pandemic. Once again, putting ego over country.

Don’t get me started on the disgusting conspiracy theories that Trump continues to spread. Apparently, the Democrats are running a covid hoax in order to gain sympathy votes. He claims that “States will open back up on November 4th”. Also, he touts the conspiracy that doctors are making bank by inflating infection numbers.

Everything and everyone is out to get Trump, according to him. It’s always about him. His supporters eat it up. Father save us all!

Donald Trump continues to show that he only works for his supporters. He constantly emboldens them with his various dog whistles. He continues to berate and taunt his opposition. Many of his supporters follow in his direction. It’s almost cult-like.

Here I am four, long, years later. We are approaching another Election Day. We are casting votes for the lesser of the two evils. We are seeing an assortment of intimidation tactics. Social media has become more toxic than ever. Family members are disowning each other. Friendships are breaking up.

I never cut myself off from Trump voters. I never understood their rationale, but i still found some nice people.

After four years, I’m finding it harder to accept Trump voters. Social media really makes you believe that they are all bigoted, racists, and nutty. That’s why I had to step back. I didn’t like the feelings that I had about those voters. A lot of them love that he says the quiet part out loud. Some of them genuinely believe that Trump is the closest thing to Jesus.

I’m annoyed with the Democratic Party. No, I no longer identify as a Democrat. After doing my own research, I came to the conclusion that neither major party hold my best interest. I have since changed my voter registration to reflect “No party affiliation”. I decide to vote based on candidate rather than party.

Anyway, I’m annoyed with the Democrats because they have once again produced a lackluster candidate. I’m sure 50 people ran for the nomination. Not one candidate stood out to me. Here we good again.

Joe Biden does stand out from Donald Trump, though. He’s not a bully. I think that is what people are riding on-that small, but stark difference.

Call me a snowflake all you want to, but I like presidents who are more interested in the country, versus presidents who are obsessed with creating conspiracies and belittling others. I also prefer my president to be meltdown-free on Twitter at 3am. Joe Biden also seems to care about taking Covid-19 seriously.

I didn’t vote for Joe “You ain’t Black” Biden because he’s a well-rounded candidate. Who is? I voted for him for the same reason that I voted for Hilary-I want “Look at my African American” Trump to go. Indeed, I had to overlook a lot of bullshit. The fact of the matter is that one of these two candidates will win this upcoming election.

I’m nervous as Hell, but it gives me hope to see people taking this election seriously. Trump did not lie when he said that he could “stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot someone and not lose any supporters.”. I think this is one of the rare times where he told the truth.

I’m just telling my story. No matter who you are, or who you support, go vote. Make your voice heard. Don’t forget that the Congress seats are just as important! Either way, someone is going to be mad at the end of this. I’m not sure if we will close that gap of division anytime soon, but I’m holding out hope.

A Joe Biden presidency will yield a boring news cycle. I’m not even mad about it one bit.

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Lifestyle Parenting

Parenting Through Depression

That’s exactly what I’m doing now.

Over the past several weeks, I wrote down my thoughts, with full intention of sharing. However, I changed my mind. Writer’s block had set in so badly that hated everything that I typed. Everything just felt mediocre. I’m not saying that I’m a top-notch writer, but I usually like the content that I put out, and I hope you do too.

I’ve been struggling to keep up with everything that matters to me- parenting, my blog, my business….

Depression is something that I have learned to live with. I have some lows and I have a lot of highs. Unfortunately, the lows are not very fun.

For the first couple of months of virtual learning, there was never a problem with me hopping out of bed before my alarm even rang. These days, I find myself struggling to cope with a new day. Everything just seems overwhelming. It’s not the fault of my kids. Depression is no stranger to me. I have dealt with it since I was a teenager.

However, my depression seems new to my kids. I hate that they noticed this time. I’m usually able to hide my episodes of physical and mental illness from them. What’s beautiful is that my kids have been patient. Honestly, they are still hardheaded as Hell, but I could feel their empathy. It just doesn’t feel fair to put them in that position.

Today was the first time in awhile that I actually felt a burst of energy. I don’t know where it came from, but I’m not complaining!

I filled out the mountain of paperwork that I have been avoiding for months. I made some important phone calls. I also cooked a meal from scratch! I know that sounds simple, but it’s really an accomplishment for me these days.

Next on my list? I need to wash my hair. It’s been a hot minute. Not gonna lie. I have been keeping up with the girls’ hair. Normally, when it is time for me to wash my hair, I dread the process, but I go and do it anyway. Doing three heads of hair every other weekend is a job, honestly.

These days, I’ve been keeping my hair in “two fat braids”. That’s what my mom called the hairstyle when I was growing up. It was her go-to hairstyle for my sisters and me when she didn’t feel like doing anything elaborate. It’s safe to say that I need some “Hair surgery”. That is what I say when it’s time to do hair. It’s really a transformation….

I really surprised myself though. I was doing really well during this pandemic. When Donnie was home for two months, I thought it would be such an annoying experience. Look, I love my husband with every breath, but we all know how a significant other can get on your nerves when we spend a lot of time with him or her. I thought I was going to be lie, “Seriously, this is my territory. I’m the stay at home parent. Please go back to work.”. We just didn’t get on each other’s nerves. I showed Donnie the ropes of watching the four walls all day and listening to the kids argue. He was very hands on, which I loved.

We also got to work on our marriage. Nothing major was broken, but you know that you have to perform maintenance to keep the operation going. We actually became closer, and I was very grateful.

Having my husband go back to work was such a crippling experience. He immediately went back to working 60+ hours a week. I really miss having him at home. However, the bills must be paid, and until my kids pay their invoices, I’m not bringing home any bacon for my services.

I acknowledge that I need to get out of the house. Where would I go? I could step outside for some air and nurse my bug bites later. Because of the pandemic, the five recreational activities that were available in town are now gone.

It still pains me that we had to miss out on our annual family beach vacation this year. That one week over the summer is literally Heaven on Earth. The beach is my sanctuary. It’s probably one out of three places that I visit throughout the year.

Right now, I feel crummy. In reality, I will be fine. I always make it through. You will too. The most important thing that you can do for yourself is to move. I don’t mean pop in an exercise tape or go for a 5 mile jog. Start with something small. Every small move is important and significant. Even if all you did was just wake and get dressed, you are going in the right direction.

“I need you, you need me.
We’re all a part of God’s body.
Stand with me, agree with me.
We’re all a part of God’s body.
It is his will, that every need be supplied.
You are important to me, I need you to survive.
You are important to me, I need you to survive.
I pray for you, You pray for me.
I love you, I need you to survive.”

-I Need You To Survive by Hezekiah Walker

Get into it!

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Autism: From the outside looking in. Lifestyle Parenting

TELEVISION SAVED MY LIFE AS A PARENT.

I know I know….

It is absolutely frowned upon to let your children consume too much of the “idiot box”.

As a matter of fact, my parents only kept up to two televisions in the house until I was in high school. I didn’t have a television in my room until I bought one of my own.

The reason why I preferred having a television in my room is because I have always been afraid of the dark. I still am afraid of the dark. A traditional nightlight just doesn’t cut it.

During the first week of Ariana’s life, I had the worst time getting her to fall asleep. It was already terrible enough that she constantly cried. She didn’t have an issue with colic or health, she just cried a lot. At first, I tried to soothe Ariana with a radio. That worked for a few days. Then, I tried the television.

MAGIC!!!!

Did it stop her from crying? NO. Did the television help her got to sleep? YES JESUS! That means mommy could get some sleep. Mind you, I was battling postpartum depression at the time. I needed to sleep.

It wasn’t the fact that I just had the television on. Ariana specifically wanted to watch “The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air” and “The Oprah Winfrey Show”. Homegirl thought she was grown.

This worked out well because these two shows came on back-to-back. DVR was also my friend when I needed access to these shows multiple times a day.

When Ariana graduated to her own room, I put a television in her room. By then, she had enter the world of Dora The Explorer. We love educational programming! No, she wasn’t sitting in her room, watching tv all day. She needed the television for background noise, just like I did.

As I continued to have kids, television became more of a necessity.

Have you ever tried to make phone calls or handle other important business while several little kids were running around? How did that work out? Have you ever needed to tend to one child, but the other one(s) we’re getting into everything?

Sometimes, you just need your children to sit down and shut the Hell up. Putting on a favorite movie or series with some popcorn just does the trick!

I also found tv to be an educational helper for my special needs boys. They all have shorter than normal attention spans, so traditional teaching doesn’t help much. Julian and Joshua are mostly nonverbal, but they can sing nursery rhymes and recognize some colors. Cocomelon and Baby First TV are their favorites.

Avery learned how to read high frequency words from watching YouTube. Although his comprehension is not good, Avery reads well above grade level. Phonics is his thing!

The thing is, it’s not realistic for me to keep all of my children occupied at the same time. Is using the television taking the lazy way out? It might be to you. However, it makes my household run a little bit easier, especially for my ASD babies. I’m not sure if the problem is how much tv time your children have. I think the problem is the kind of content that your kids are consuming.

Categories
Autism: From the outside looking in. Lifestyle Parenting

Our First Week Of Remote Learning!

Let’s just say that there is not enough wine in the world to go through this. It started out as an atrocity, but it’s getting better.

The state that I live in was obviously not prepared for this school year. The last few months of the last school year was also remote learning, but we had old-fashioned packets and pencils. I guess the state thought we would just pick up where we left off.

This school term is all virtual. This means that we are doing everything over the computer. We are saving trees, folks!

I think that everyone involved in this process needs to understand a few things:

1. The teachers are frustrated as well and would rather teach their babies in a classroom. THIS IS NOT THEIR FAULT!

2. Parents have to learn how to use new applications along with their kids. Some kids are being raised by a generation that is not tech-savvy. Parents, you are allowed to be frustrated!

3. Technology is technology. Something is going to malfunction or crash. Some parents have gotten their kids started in the morning with ease, and some are ready to tear their hair out.

I want to say that I am blessed to be in the position that I am in as a stay at home parent. There are parents who either had to quit their jobs, rearrange their schedules, go without sleep, or entrust their children to a babysitter to help with schoolwork.

Honestly, this was supposed to be the school term that made my house empty. I had plans to throw a party all by myself. I had plans to finally finish that mountain of laundry. I had plans to just enjoy the quiet time.

I complain about it, but I have to look at the fact that parents who work outside of the home are stressed beyond belief right now.

I never understood the last minute open house meetings. Why do I get all of my children’s information three days before starts? It makes no sense. Mind you, I already have the school supplies. Shout out to my early preparation in March!

What alarmed me about this year’s open house was finding out that two of my children were going to be attending different schools. The last minute notice…..

My older three children were set to start school on Monday(August 17th), and my youngest three were set to start later. I was ferociously checking emails and apps on Saturday(August 15th) because none of my children had classes. I hadn’t heard from Avery’s new school.

On Monday(August 17th), I logged into my children’s Google Classroom accounts. Amariyah had her classes, but her teacher is missing. She is being taught by the 5th grade teacher. Avery and Ariana were still without classes. I was able to get Amariyah started on her Zoom meetings with slight difficulties.

I proceeded to call my other children’s schools to figure out what was going on. After about 30 attempts, I finally was able to speak with secretaries. They took my messages, but didn’t call me back. Oh lord! According to a secretary, Avery was transferred to the wrong school.

Meanwhile, Amariyah was just breezing through her meetings with her NOTfourthgrade teacher. She is the type of child who likes to take charge. Sometimes it’s great and other times it’s annoying. I’m referring to the way that she talks over everybody because she just has to be first or correct.

I received a call back from a technical support representative for Ariana at 6:00 that evening. I was instructed to keep checking her email because she was no longer using Google Classroom. I checked Ariana’s email and found some links to get her started for the next day. Unfortunately, I still had no word on Avery.

On Tuesday(August 18th), Amariyah and Ariana logged into their classes and email and got started. I checked Avery’s Google Classroom app. There were two classes. Thank God! I was confused because he was still enrolled at the school that I was told was incorrect. I just wanted my baby to get started so I logged him into his zoom meetings.

Avery had a difficult time concentrating during his meetings. This was to be expected for several reasons. I had to sit next to Avery and help him pay attention.

When it came time for Avery to do his assignments, I had to guide him through his work.

The work that he was given didn’t seem to line up with his IEP. I called the school. I spoke to the secretary who was in charge of special education to express my concerns.

This is when I found out that Avery was in a regular classroom with an EC(Exceptional Children) teacher as backup. I was pretty annoyed at this point. The secretary confirmed to me that she had Avery’s IEP, but she said she never read it. She wanted to see what Avery was capable of doing.

Ummm…. isn’t that the point of the IEP?

I was pissed. I emailed Avery’s EC teacher, but she was also pretty dismissive. I miss his old school because I was used to his teacher. I hope that he can return soon.

Whew! I think that next week is when I will introduce my babies into virtual learning. I guess the therapies for Julian and Joshua will also be virtual…. This will be a movie.

Aside from late starts, defective zoom links, missing classes, and missing teachers, the first week went okay. We will continue to pray moving forward. I still have to get my babies on the bandwagon. This will be fun. We just all have to get used to this new normal.

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Lifestyle Parenting

***TRIGGER WARNING*** My Regret: A personal experience with postpartum depression

I am heartbroken as I write this at 2am. I have been sick for the last couple of weeks. I think the symptoms are finally starting to subside. I just knew I was pregnant.

At first, I was nervous at the thought. I already have six children, & a lot of my days can be overwhelming. I am a student & I struggle with depression most days. My older children already help me a lot with certain tasks. As the days went by, I had more & more typical pregnancy symptoms. My breasts had swelled bigger than ever. I had cravings. My sleep pattern was thrown off. The icing on the cake? My period was late. My period was NEVER late, unless I was pregnant.

I prayed about it. I was nervous, but excited at the fact that I could be carrying new life. I hate being pregnant, but for some reason I was really anticipating my husband spoiling me with massages & endless fast food binges again. Yeah…I use pregnancy as an excuse to eat everything in sight.

I contemplated telling my husband before I took a test. I initially decided that I would wait until I got that positive pregnancy test. My period was now two days late, and for some reason, I blurted out “I need a pregnancy test!”. My husband looked taken aback. After the shock wore off, he seemed to be pretty excited at the possibility, especially after I told him my period was late.

Later that evening, my husband bought me a pregnancy test, I went into the bathroom to pee. I knew this drill all too well. I dropped three drops of urine onto the disk and waited impatiently. My stomach dropped as I watched the red dye spread across the disk. It was visibly negative. I didn’t give up hope because I had what I thought was a negative pregnancy test in 2011, but there turned out to be the faintest line when I held it under light. I took the disk apart and looked at the strip under the flashlight of my phone. I was willing myself to see a second line.

As I was gathering myself, my husband opened the bathroom door and inquired anxiously. I was a little nervous to give him the sad news. “It’s negative.”, I said glumly. In a matter of seconds, I saw my husband’s face go from curiosity to sadness. He denied his reaction, but I knew better. I was upset with myself because I didn’t want to clue my husband in until I knew for sure that I was pregnant. I was trying to avoid these reactions.

My period was late for a third day. I scoured Google like a deranged lunatic, trying to renew my hopes. I decided to wait a few more days and test again.

Because I was hardheaded, I took another test. It was also negative. Again, I took the disk apart and started analyzing the strip. I started to wonder if I ovulated later. I was recently involved in a car accident and thought that it threw my cycle off. I thought about the day that my husband and I had sex and I gained some hope. I just knew I was pregnant. My symptoms were stronger than ever. I began to check my cervix every time I went to pee, which was frequently. It was high and there was watery discharge. I was excited because I read several stories on Google that pointed to this as a good sign. I knew damn well that everyone is different. I just needed one story to get my hopes up.

I went through the next day without asking my husband to buy me a pregnancy test. This didn’t stop me from obsessing over Google and looking up just about every scenerio that I could think of in hopes of a positive outcome.

On Sunday morning, I woke up early. I watched a movie with my husband. I then asked my husband to go to the store. I casually asked him to pick up a pregnancy test. My confidence level was through the roof because my period was now five days late. When my husband returned, I took the test into the bathroom nervously. I dropped the usual pee on the test and watched the dye spread across the test like clockwork. I was stunned. It was still negative. At this moment, I was shattered. My husband was adamant about me going to the hospital. I didn’t want to go. I felt it was a waste of time. I wasn’t having an emergency. I had no idea what was going on. I broke down and yelled at the sky “If I’m not pregnant, give me my period!”. I was so devastated and I sounded so ridiculous.

To calm myself, I took a shower and washed my hair. My husband went to pick up dinner and I asked him for another pregnancy test because I was planning on testing again in a few more days.

I finished my shower and hair a couple of hours later. As I was sitting on my bed, I felt a cramp. My heart sunk. It was a familiar cramp. I went to the bathroom and wiped. There was nothing. I was relieved. I stopped myself from pulling my pants up and decided to check my cervix. I pulled my finger out of my vagina and was greeted with a small amount of blood. I furiously grabbed a pad and put it into my underwear. By this time, my husband had returned home. He forgot the test. I told him that my period had started. I could tell that he was sad, but I knew that he was relieved that nothing was wrong with me.

Later on that night, I went to the bathroom. I looked down at my pad, fully expecting to see the obvious. I was shocked. The amount of blood in my pad was the size of a coin. I wiped myself after peeing and saw a little bit more light red blood on the tissue. I had no cramps. I returned to Google and looked up “implantation bleeding”. I was getting my hopes up again, but I didn’t care. I didn’t want to be counted out. I was desperate for hope. Hours passed and I was still monitoring my bleeding. It was more of the same: a small amount on the pad and a little bit more when I wiped. The next morning, I checked my pad. There wasn’t even enough blood on the pad to cover half of a pantyliner. I was still hopeful. As the afternoon approached, the bleeding started to darken. The amount was the same. There were small clots. Back to Google I went. My “pregnancy” symptoms started to fade and I started cramping. At this point, I went into “fuck it” mode. I continued to obsess over Google. My pad was still mostly white throughout the day.

I set myself up. I knew I had driven myself crazy. Despite being very fertile, which was evident by the amount of kids I already had, I knew there was a slim to zero chance that I could be pregnant.

It wasn’t just because I had this late, light, period. I had my tubes tied almost three years ago after a C-section. I had read all of the stories of women who had gone on to conceive after tubal ligation. I just knew it would happen to me. I expected to haven’t tubes tied during an emergency C-section because I was traumatized. Had I had a clear mind, I would have never authorized the procedure. The doctor asked me if I was sure and I didn’t hesitate. I regretted it months later. I felt like a part of me also went through with it to make other people happy. I get judged a lot for having so many kids. I am always told “You don’t need anymore kids.”. I wanted to prove to everyone that i was done. But I wasn’t. Now I sit here with depression two and a half years later, partially because I made a decision mostly based on other people’s emotions. My body is a mess around the time that my period is slated to begin. I always feel pregnant and my cramps are horrendous. I feel like God is taunting me or punishing me for not letting my body react naturally. Does this sound crazy?

I stayed up to let the tears flow and reflect on the “what ifs”. I know my feelings are selfish because there are people who can’t conceive. I love my husband and I am glad that he is so supportive. Some days I feel like it’s not enough. It’s not his fault. Some days I feel like dying. No amount of consoling could cure that feeling. Maybe one day I will get to experience that miracle again.

My Regret.

****08-18-2020****

I wrote this story a few years ago, as I was going through postpartum depression. I was upset about having my tubes tied because I didn’t like the way I felt. I was also upset because my twins were growing up. I missed them as babies.

Early in our relationship, Donnie told me that he dreamed of having 10 kids. Well, I said he could keep that as a dream.

I spent the majority of my 20’s pregnant. It looks odd, looking from the outside, but I always felt like something was missing from me. As long as I was pregnant, I felt that “something”. I felt whole. However, I hated being pregnant. I know, it’s confusing. The pain and the sickness is not fun.

One way that my body has changed since I had my tubes tied is pain. Around my scheduled ovulation period, I have awful nerve pain. It spreads from the top of my shoulders to the tips of my toes. Sometimes it renders me motionless. The same sensation is felt during the first two days of my period. I had never felt this pain before. I have Rheumatoid Arthritis, and I had never felt this pain before.

Another thing that I had to get used to was the frequent “pregnancy scares”. I literally felt like I was pregnant every month, for the first couple of years after I had the twins. I had all of the textbook symptoms and signs. I became obsessed with Google. I knew my body. I knew every time that I was pregnant, except with Ariana(I was young and didn’t know what was happening).

Unfortunately, I didn’t know my new body: My post-tubal ligation body. My new normal definitely made my depression worse, to the point where I actually wanted to actively conceive. I wanted to try for baby number 7, despite my tubes being tied. Donnie had a lot of concerns. First of all, he saw how hard my last pregnancy, labor, and delivery was. Second, we already had a lot of kids, and they are VERY expensive.

Donnie has a habit of trying to make me happy, instead of telling me that I’m making a bad decision. I don’t like that. I have discussed this with him several times. He’s getting better. He agreed that we could try.

Obviously, my dumb ass plan didn’t work. I gave up the idea as I started snapping from my depressive state.

Ask me if I want to have baby number 7. Ask me.

HELL. NO.

With all the love in the world for my kids.

Don’t fight postpartum depression alone. If you experiencing symptoms, such as uncontrollable crying, lack of appetite, thoughts of worthlessness, or frustration (this is not a complete list), please ask for help. Seek out a relative or a trusted friend to help you care for your child.

You can send me an email.

You can also contact the National Postpartum Depression support number for additional resources:

1-800-PPD-MOMS

If you are having thoughts of suicide, PLEASE contact this number:

1-800-273-8255

Having postpartum depression DOES NOT make you a bad parent. Your body just went through a significant shift. Sometimes we just need time to process this emotionally and physically.

God bless.

Categories
Lifestyle Parenting

The Cursing Parent? Let’s Talk About That Sh*t!

First of all, cursing doesn’t make you a bad person at all. Honestly, I don’t even know how these choice words even got their bad stigma. All I know is that when someone hits a pinky toe on the wall corner, their first instinct isn’t to yell, “Oh for heaven’s sake!”. Some people feel embarrassed because they “slipped” and said a curse word. The truth is, it’s natural to drop an F-bomb when one experiences such excruciating pain.

Okay…. so what does it mean when you curse in front of your own children? It means absolutely nothing!

Look, Spongbob Squarepants called curse words “sentence enhancers”. There were no truer words spoken. Nothing drives your point across quite like “Sit your ass down!”. Don’t act like your kids’ behavior doesn’t frustrate you. Don’t you get tired of telling your child the same thing over and over again? Eventually, frustration is going to win.

When I was younger, I never heard my mother say a curse word. My daddy wore that crown. My mother wouldn’t even let her kids tell each other to “shut up”. After raising kids for more than 30 years, my mom has let the sparks fly. It’s refreshing, honestly. I mean, you are made to believe that there is a bed waiting for you in Hell for using these words.

I actually went through a couple of periods of a vocabulary cleansing. It was more of a “spiritual cleansing” in my eyes. At that time, I felt like God wasn’t going to bless me or I was damned to Hell for cursing. Oh brother!

Cursing doesn’t have to have emotion behind it. Let me introduce you to the casual curser. The casual curser has curse words imbedded in their vocabulary. They might even be “doing the most” by using 90% curse words in a simple sentence. Leave those people alone. Have you ever played Mario Kart with your very experienced kids? I rest my case.

Unless you keep your kids locked up and plugged up, they are going to hear cursing from somewhere.

Yes, my kids hear me curse. Yes, one of my kids has repeated a curse word. I took Avery to enroll in pre-kindergarten 4 years ago. I was signing his paperwork when he suddenly let the F-bomb fly repeatedly. I was embarrassed. No, my child shouldn’t have been cursing. The administrator laughed the incident off, but I could tell that she was uncomfortable. I apologized profusely because one thing that I don’t want to do is make someone feel uncomfortable or disrespected. There are people who believe in something so strongly that they will use the “I’ll show you” approach against the opposition. Those people are assholes.

Do I want my kids(at their current ages) cursing to other people? No. Are they doing it in places like school? Most likely. I never uttered any curse words in my parents’ house, as a child. You bet your ass I did at school. The first time I remember cursing was in 3rd grade.

Donnie and I curse often when we have conversations. We aren’t fighting. We just casually throw those bad boys in there. One thing that I love about Donnie is his sensitivity. He also doesn’t like to offend or disrespect people either. There are certain words or phrases that rarely will or never will leave my mouth. Certain words and phrases just bother me. Some of those words are synonyms for a vagina. Whew, girl! No ma’am….

I believe that most of the behaviors that children, who eventually become adults, are learned behaviors. I’d rather my child learn a curse word than to learn hate any day. I’m not sitting around cursing my kids out. If you are worried that your child will be a bad person because of words, you have nothing to worry about.

If you are interested in jewelry, I sell paparazzi jewelry through my business, “Antonia’s Glamsc8pe”. Feed your $5.00 habit at my online store:

https://www.antoniasglamsc8pe.com

Categories
Autism: From the outside looking in. Parenting

Putting A Leash On Your Child?

I said that I would never do that. Of course, my daddy told me Lane we say never”. He was correct.

I remember observing someone walking their child with a leash. I scoffed like a judgmental asshole. It looked absolutely ridiculous. At that time, I didn’t have kids. I said that I would never have my child walking around like some pet.

I stuck to that sentiment as I began having kids. Then, the twins came along. I noticed Joshua’s inability to comprehend. It was always there. I started noticing Julian’s inability shortly after. He had started regressing. Still, when we went out, Donnie and I kept all of the babies in 2 different strollers. It was a lot of work, but we managed.

I purchased three harness leashes in early 2018. I wanted to ditch the strollers during our upcoming beach trip. It just made things easier. I just didn’t want to overload our van with suitcases and strollers.

It was a disaster. First of all, I was embarrassed. I didn’t know what others were thinking as they were staring at me. These were some of the same stares that I gave to other parents before I actually became one. A lot of people don’t understand autism, so it’s easy for them to say “That’s child needs to be whooped”. A lot of people stare. Rarely, I will get sympathy from another understanding parent or caregiver.

Relying on the harnesses was a disaster. That is why the pessimism in me told me to also purchase handcuff leashes. The clips on Joshua’s harness broke. Julian and Joshua had the worst meltdowns whenever we walked somewhere. Jessica actually did a great job with the harness. She did so well that I allowed my other kids to hold the leash while she walked around.

I was definitely missing the strollers. They would be apart of any future trips that we would take.

After going through the appointments, assessments, and therapies, with the boys in 2019, I decided to keep them in strollers. I finally had answers as to why I noticed delays and regressions. Also, it was much easier to tote around heavy strollers than to deal with a bunch of stares and judgment in public. I still used the leases at the ocean though.

As Julian and Joshua grew, it was difficult to find a stroller big enough to accommodate them. They are 4 and 5 years old, at this point. The strollers were either too small or too expensive. I settled on a double jogging stroller. That will probably buy us two years, until we have to come up with another option. I will probably have to buy a wagon.

There was a delay in shipping, so their stroller didn’t arrive in time for our zoo trip, earlier this month. Jessica could walk freely, without being tethered to someone else. That’s as one less stroller that needed to be packed. We still used the double stroller that I bought for Joshua and Jessica when they were born. The boys looked ridiculous in it.

Julian threw a big tantrum when we stopped for lunch. Normally, the boys will cry if the stroller stops moving. They always like to be on the go. I thought that was what was wrong with Julian. Donnie pushed the stroller around, but Julian was still not satisfied. At that point, I concluded that he wanted to be free of the stroller. We weren’t in a store, where he could knock things over. Why not? I pulled a handcuff leash out of the diaper bag and put it around Julian’s wrist. To my disbelief, he did a great job. I still had to tug the leash a few times to get him in the right direction, but Julian did really well. He seemed to really enjoy the walk. True to form, he started crying every time we stopped walking.

Joshua stayed in the stroller. He would have rolled all over the ground instead of walking.

Though I had my apprehensions at first, I don’t regret using a harness or leash for my children. My pride is less significant than their safety. I’m not trying to make a fashion statement, although, I do have some cute colors. Thanks Amazon!

If you are interested in jewelry, I sell paparazzi jewelry through my business, “Antonia’s Glamsc8pe”. Feed your $5.00 habit at my online store:

https://www.antoniasglamsc8pe.com

Categories
Lifestyle Parenting

The Pros And Cons Of Early Preparation

I am an early preparer because I have a large family. I’m talking about packing for a July vacation in May. I’m talking about Christmas shopping in August. My paranoia tells me to “get it done while you have the money” or “pack now because you will have a lower chance of forgetting something”. It has worked out beautifully until now….

COVID-19 turned most people’s lives upside down in March of this year. I discovered on the news that surrounding counties were closing down schools for the last two weeks of March. As soon as I got the call from the district office, I knew. I knew my kids were going to drive me crazy. I delayed the delivery of the news until Donnie came home from work.

The celebrations commenced after I told my kids what the deal was. These kids literally turned on a movie and asked me to make popcorn. I think Amariyah is the only one who genuinely likes schools. Still, she was happy. We all thought it would just be a short break.

FYI, I was not the one who stockpiled tissue, bread and milk during this time.

It was April, and the kids were still out of school. I decided to finish up my school shopping for the next school term. I actually started shopping in November of 2019. I had all of their essentials purchased by February. I always size up because children grow overnight. It just makes sense.

May arrives and the kids are still out of school. The Governor cancels school for the rest of the school term. Again, my kids were delighted. I wasn’t, as I was struggling to help them finish their 500 remote learning packets. I decided to use the old-fashioned pencil and paper because it was the easiest way for me to keep track of progress and make remarks.

What did your kids do during your state’s Stay-At-Home order? My kids ate. They ate and they ate. It wasn’t until late June that I remembered the fortune that I had spent on school clothes. My kids had gotten taller and wider. Despite my genius attempts to size up, I had to face the reality that the clothes probably would fit anymore.

I was correct about some of the clothes. Now I have a big donation box sitting in my room. I was given the option to homeschool my kids for the upcoming school year. In an effort to keep my children safe, I agreed to keep my kids in virtual school. While I get to bless some other children with new clothes and shoes, I don’t have to worry about purchasing anymore school clothes.

I will not let this unfortunate circumstance deter me in the future. I still say that my method works. On to Christmas shopping next month!

If you are interested in jewelry, I sell paparazzi jewelry through my business, “Antonia’s Glamsc8pe”. Feed your $5.00 habit at my online store:

https://www.antoniasglamsc8pe.com

Categories
Lifestyle

My Return To My 100% Natural Hair…..

I say “return” because my hair was natural at one point. Everyone’s hair was or still is….

My mother relaxed my hair for the first time when I was 12. I remember my parents arguing about the issue. My father was against relaxers, but my mother just wanted our hair to be more manageable. I didn’t complain. I hated getting my hair done for hours. I hated the feeling of combs breaking against my scalp because the teeth were caught on a knot. I also longed to shake my hair “like the white girls”. I didn’t know much about my hair texture when I was a child…..

I was excited to get that relaxer. I could show off the true length of my hair, and tuck it behind my ears without resistance.

My first relaxed hairstyle was a roller set. I was pissed off. I wanted straight, flowing, hair. I was pissed off at my mom. I combed my curls out and my hair was frizzy. Now it was my mom’s turn to be pissed.

I started putting in my own relaxers when I turned 18. I put one in every couple of months. I was able to straighten my hair the way I wanted to. That way left me with creases in my hair….

By the time I was 21, I started experimenting with shorter haircuts. I knew that my hair would grow back. I eventually cut back relaxers to once a year. I really missed the volume in my hair. I naturally have thick hair, but with the relaxer, my hair is much thinner and very fragile.

In 2018, I did it. I did the big chop. I had 12 inches of my hair cut off. I was inspired to make this decision after consulting a friend and watch several YouTube videos. I had also just done a chop on Ariana’s hair because she wanted her natural curls back. I didn’t want her to feel alone. I washed my hair and put my husband up to the task of cutting it.

My first impression of my new style was regret. What was I going to do with it? My hair was coiled in the back, but loose and wavy in the front. I figured that Donnie had left some relaxed hair in the front of my head, so I cut another inch. Nope, my natural hair in the front was just loose and wavy.

The positive thing about my natural hair was that I was able to twist my hair in some cute styles. The negative thing was that I shed a lot of hair. I was shedding more hair than I was when I had a relaxer.

I was doing weekly washes and twists. I never put heat in my hair, except when I deep conditioned. It was the same cycle: wash, deep condition, regular condition, detangle, trim, oil, leave-in conditioner, custard, twist. Pairing the products perfectly was rough.

I was burned out after awhile. I had four heads of hair to do in total. Two of those four heads has 4c type hair. I’m not good with doing 4c hair. Having multiple children means that you have to study multiple hair types. This was not for me. I needed to get all of this hair done quickly. With so many kids, I didn’t have the time or patience for my hair.

After a year and a half of completely natural hair, I slapped a relaxer in my hair. There was something about blow drying my hair and then being able to just slap it in a bun. The only thing that I regret is that my hair doesn’t hold moisture as easily as it did when it was natural.

It’s been a year since my relaxer. I think I might hold out a little longer.

I’m not opposed to my natural hair state. I wouldn’t mind trying it again. I just don’t have a lot of time to devote to my hair like I use to. One day I might go back. For now, the once a year relaxer works for me. I get just enough of the benefit of manageability.

If you are interested in jewelry, I sell paparazzi jewelry through my business, “Antonia’s Glamsc8pe”. Feed your $5.00 habit at my online store:

https://www.antoniasglamsc8pe.com