Archive for the ‘lil j’ Category

Yea, so… Snow White comes in brown at our house. That’s cool too.

This was actually the second princess Lil’ J posed as but I was so excited to show off Merida that I shared those photos first.

Snow White Quote

Lil’ J watched Snow White for the first time just a few months ago. She’s not her favorite princess (she’s actually kind of hard to understand) but she does like the storyline. Anything with a “mean witch” in the tale has her hooked.

Snow White doesn’t have many profound quotes, but I love this line from when she’s meeting and singing to the forest animals she scared with all her crying. “Remember, you’re the one who can fill the world with sunshine.”

It seems like from the get-go this little girl has been filling the world with sunshine, especially my world. I want to help keep her light burning bright and shield it from the crappiness of the world that may dim it. At least for as long as I can.

Brown Snow White

We got this Snow White dress from a neighbor for $10. It’s a little frayed, and still big on her, but a little safety pins and imagination did the trick.

Lil’ J found some ribbon in my craft drawer that we used as a bow, and she ransacked my kitchen for some apples and pulled me outside.

Black Snow White

We were still warming up with this shoot, so we didn’t take many photos, or get too creative but it was still cute watching her pretend to open the cottage door, sleep standing up, be tempted to eat a poison apple… Goodness, she’s something else.

Brown Snow White

She already told me she wants to cook when she’s Tiana, and use a sword as Mulan, so we’ll see what she comes up with next. Until then, here are a couple more photos of my Brown Snow White. And in case you missed the first set, here’s Cinderella (round 1) and Merida.

Black Snow White

Black Snow White

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When I was growing up I loved watching ballerinas dance around in their tutus and tights. They looked so elegant, so graceful.

Like many little girls, my daughter also fell in love with watching ballerinas. She’s been asking me if she could take classes for about a year. Finally, we caved, and signed her up for lessons. She had her first class last week and throughly enjoyed it.

Biracial ballerina

I had plans to buy her dance ware at a kids consignment store but the last-minute sign-up didn’t give me enough time to run down there. I coughed up $22 for tap shoes, and luckily found tights and leotards at Walmart. I also got ballet slippers there but after checking out the other girls shoes, I realized Lil’ J’s are more bed-slipper-like than dance-slipper-like.

During class all the other moms waited in the hallway and watched from the windows. I sat inside the room and took photographs. Apparently you get a “first class pass” to staying in the room and watching your child perform. I took full advantage and busted out my DSLR.

Balance beam

The other half of the class I stood in the hallway and watched with other moms. A couple told me about their favorite teachers, some mentioned the variety of classes their daughters are enrolled in, one bragged about her older daughter’s special talents. For a brief moment I felt like I had stepped into an episode of Dance Moms.

I was an extremely competitive child growing up. I still have waves of a competitive spirit now and then,and occasionally I can feel a tug of it regarding my kids’ skills. I try to stop myself before it can boil over, but sometimes I worry the older my children get, the worse I’ll get.

Ballet class

As I watched my daughter practice in class I felt a shift in my attitude. Instead of watching how she did in comparison to other dancers, I watched the smile on her face grow brighter. The joy in her expressions, the bounce in her jump, and her studious look while her dance teacher taught her a new move.

I have a feeling this is just the first in a series of lessons I’m going to learn about parenting among other parents. I think so long as I continue to feel repulsed every time I watch Dance Moms I’m probably doing ok. The day those ladies start to seem sensible to me is the day I’ve started down a dark road.
"graceful" ballerina

At least five times a day my three-year-old tells me she loves me. She’ll say it genuinely and out of nowhere, and it warms my heart each and every time. But it only took her telling me she DIDN’T love me once, to break my heart into a million pieces.

It was a normal workday. My kids went to the sitter’s house, and I went to my station to film some stories. We’ve been through a few different babysitters lately. Luckily, all of them are close friends of ours, so it hasn’t been dramatic going from one place to another. In fact, Ms. Brittani, their current sitter has been a friend since Lil’ J was a baby. My daughter is best friends with her oldest son, and my son has loved her since birth.

Ms. Brittani is fun, she has the gentlest voice, fun activities planned, pretty straight blond hair (that my daughter loves to point out) and the patience of a saint. We all love her. But I started to wonder if some of us love her a little too much when my daughter said she didn’t want to come home when I picked her up.

The time my daughter told me she didn't love me and a thought-provoking post about mother-daughter relationships from a young age.

Oh, but she was only getting started.

“I have to tell you something,” Lil’ J whispered to me.

“What?” I bent down, excited to hear what her sweet little voice had in store.

“I don’t love you mommy, I love Ms. Burtney.”

I don’t remember exactly what I said to her as I tried to gain composure and gather our things to leave.

She’s only three.

She doesn’t mean it. I told myself.

But it didn’t sting any less.

It’s not like my kids are there 50 hours a week. It’s just a day or two a week, tops. What next, my son starts to call her “Mama?”

“Oh, guess what? [Big T] said Mama today!” Brittani told me.

Fantastic!

On the way home I asked my daughter why she would say that she didn’t love me.

“That really hurts my feelings,” I told her.

“Well, you locked me out of the bathroom and Ms. Burtney doesn’t lock me out,” she professed.

Yea, well she probably doesn’t let you sit and watch her pee either, I thought. Really? That was like one time, is she going to hold this over my head forever?

“Can I watch your phone?” She asked me.

HA! Not after you’ve just written me off.

“No, why would you want to borrow the phone from someone you don’t love?” I know my sense of logic and reasoning was far off base but I was angry.

“I was just kidding, I do love you,” she told me.

Yea, right.

“No you don’t, you’re just saying that because you want to borrow my phone,” I said.

“No, I really DO love you!” She said. “I’m not just saying that.”

“But you said you didn’t,” I pushed.

“I’m sorry mommy, I do love you, I really really do,” she said.

I paused.

“Ok?” she asked as if she were saying: “Are we good now?”

“Ok,” I agreed. We were good.

“So can I borrow your phone now?”

CRUSHED!

Then my husband called and said Snoop got out because I left the garage door open and hopefully we’d find him, yadda yadda yadda. I was not in the mood to hear this. By then I was pulling into the neighborhood and the anger was boiling over and cooling into misery.

“What’s wrong with you?” He asked as he saw the look on my face when I got out of the car. I saw Snoop behind him so either he had found him or he was exaggerating the whole “lost dog” scenario to teach me a lesson.

“NOTHING!” I shouted.

“Just tell me,” he said.

I tried to unbuckle Lil’ J out of her car seat, but I missed a latch and somehow pinched her in the process, sending her into full-on meltdown mode.

“[Little J!]” I shouted again.

“I’ll get her,” my husband told me, sensing I needed a break. “Did everything go ok picking them up?” He asked, probably worried something very serious had happened and my vagueness was not helping.

“Yes, it was fine.” I told him blankly. Then I grabbed our happy son out of his car seat and stormed into my room, accidently bumping his head into the wall as I turned which also sent him into a screaming fit.

Yesterday morning, if you had asked me the last time I’d cried, I wouldn’t have had a clue. I am a big crybaby, but something about having kids has made my emotions rock solid.

So I was a little taken aback by the waterworks that came after this conversation with my daughter. But what else would you expect when you’ve been stabbed in the heart?

Was this the beginning of the mother-daughter friction I’ve read about, which would always push her closer to her daddy, and leave her wanting nothing to do with me? How could she ever say anything like that to me when I’ve done nothing but love her?

I nursed Big T, stroked his curls, and thanked God for sending me a boy as well so if all Hell breaks loose with my mother-daughter relationship, at least I have a son.

My husband came in our room to check in and try to get more information out of me.

“It’s dumb,” I told him, not wanting to say the words out loud.

“Just tell me!” He pleaded.

“[Lil’ J] said she didn’t love me and that she loves Brittani more than me.”

I tried not to look at his reaction, which was probably a suppressed laugh.

“She didn’t mean it,” he told me after a moment. “She’s just a punk kid. Besides, she can’t even say her name right, she can’t love her that much.”

Somehow, he always knows what to say to make me laugh, especially when I’m in tears.

“It’s just cause we’re always playing those games asking her who she loves more,” he added, trying to console me. “She doesn’t even know what she’s talking about.”

He walked away and let me be, then a little while later Lil’ J came in (obviously coached) to apologize and tell me she loves me more than everyone except daddy.

My husband took us out for dinner and dessert outdoors, and my mood quickly lifted.

Texas wildflower bluebonnet field

I still am wondering if it’s true about girls clinging to their daddies more, and boys preferring their mothers. Is this the start of some tragic law of nature? Can I fix it? Am I just overreacting?

Now every time my daughter tells me she loves me—which is still several times a day—My heart doesn’t get the same warm fuzzy melting feeling it did before. Now it aches a little, still sore from the wounds she gave me yesterday. I’m hopeful it’ll heal completely soon, and toughen up a lot because I’ll need some thicker skin before she turns 13.

“What are you grateful for?” I asked my three-year-old one afternoon as we rode home in the car.

“What’s grateful for?” she asked me in return. She’s always practiced good manners and learned how to give thanks in prayer, but I don’t think I had ever asked her that questions specifically before.

So teaching gratitude to kids… Preschoolers even. How’s it done?

Lil’ J will talk my ear off non-stop about anything and everything on her mind. I decided it was time for a basic lesson in gratitude, in a simple and fun way that she’d understand, doing what she does best… Talking it out.

Gratitude-jar_0041-copyGratitude-jar_0036-copyI cut up some strips of construction paper and wrote questions about gratitude. Questions like:

Who are you grateful for?
How can we show others we are thankful?
What dessert are you most thankful for?
Why is it nice to show our gratitude?

And so on. I put them in a mason jar and we played a little “game” asking each other the questions.gratitude jar gameI’ve continued to spend a little time having these types of discussions throughout the day so she can begin to learn what these words mean, and maybe… Learn ways to be more gracious.

We took turns asking each other questions, and her responses were so adorable I decided we should save some of her answers.

There are a gazillion awesome gratitude crafts out there but she can’t write just yet, and I wanted to get her answers in her own voice… Literally. So after dinner, before stories and by her bedside lamp, I recorded her. This may be something I do every year with my kids to see how their responses vary over time.


She’s adorable, no?

And because I know someone will ask, no, I did not make her dress. I bought it from Adelaide’s Boutique. Yes, I’m thankful for them too.

Have you spoken to your kids about gratitude? 

Dear Daughter,

You’re well past the two year mark and I feel it’s time I let you know how I feel about that. At first I delayed this moment because I couldn’t believe another year had passed. As if by delaying this note, it would slow your growth. But of course, it hasn’t in the least.

Over the last several months your personality has flourished, your vocabulary has boomed, and you have blossomed into a little girl I’m so proud to call my own.

One afternoon while we played in your room I told you you make me happy. I didn’t realize it then, but my sharing that with you has really left an impression on your compassionate heart. I’ve noticed now when I hug you a little too long, or tell you how much I love you, you’ll stop and ask “I make mommy happy?” and I say “Yes you do baby!” Happier than you know.

I wasn’t expecting you to understand so much, have so many opinions about so many things and be able to share them with me at such a young age. Like your mommy, you’re into Disney movies, especially the princess flicks. Not only can you request which one you want to watch, you can “name that movie” when we’re listening to Disney music on Pandora. Your memory is astonishing.

Getting you into these clothes is no problem, getting you out is where the hard part comes in. I’ve found a solution is to let you decide what you want to wear to school. It used to be I’d put you in a dress every day because it’s what I wanted. Now, you’re the one picking out your clothes, always choosing to wear the poofiest or longest dress you can find. And when I wear a dress you call it my princess dress. In fact, the other night, instead of calling me mommy, you decided to call me “Princess Mommy” on your own, and you referred to me by that name all night.

Like many toddlers I assume, you’ve become a little negotiator. You’ll throw phrases as us like “No thanks,” “Next time” and “One more please!” at us all the time. Your bedtime routine stretched into a never-ending cycle that always ended in tears, so we have started a new system that not only included a book and prayer as usual, but a vitamin,  song, rocking, a second of back rubbing and three kisses blown to you as I shut the door. When your daddy is home I have him finish up bed time so it doesn’t take as long. He laughs at our routine and says I’m making you OCD.

When it comes to becoming a big sister, I think you’re ready. You love peeking at my belly, giving the baby kisses, and feeling him/her move. When I’m wearing a t-shirt you’ll lift it up and say “open it” or “take it out!” Then I have to tell you that the baby will come out later, and you ask “next time?” yes, um, something like that.  I’m just glad we have at least four more months to enjoy this time with you as our only child.

The holidays have been more enjoyable for me than ever. I’ve been able to describe Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas to you and you get the picture. Halloween definitely made an impression on you, since you still come home ringing the doorbell while yelling “trick or treat!” Thanksgiving was fun for you too but I didn’t make it as big of a deal this year, aside from talking about turkeys, to which you reply “gobble gobble.” And Christmas I just know you’re going to love. From seeing the lights in our house, around town, meeting Santa again and again, and playing with our new nativity set and learning about Jesus. You’re just soaking it all in, and it’s amazing.

As we drove to a store on Black Friday I played some Christmas tunes on the way. Jingle Bells rang through our car, and I turned it up and sang it to you. I wasn’t sure if you had heard it before, or knew it was a Christmas song, but you yelled up to me “Dance mommy!” so I danced and told you to dance as well. In my rearview mirror I saw your head of curls bobbing along to the music when all of a sudden you told me: “Mommy happy!” I smiled and confirmed your guess, then you said: “Mommy happy, and I happy!” I teared up at your little statement because while I hope you’re a happy little girl, that I’m doing things right, nothing beats hearing it straight from your mouth.

You do make me happy sweet child, happier than you know. I’m so happy you’re my daughter.

Love,

Mommy

Dear Daughter,

I can not believe that in less than a month you will be one. I can’t believe it. I really can’t. In fact, yesterday I was looking to sign us up for a class and it asked for your age group and naturally I chose the “0-6 months” group. I can’t believe you are 11 months old. Did I mention I can’t believe it?

Boots from Ebay; Owl hat from Mary Sue

You are becoming my new best friend. I know it may seem weird because you are so small, but you’re my little buddy. I love bringing you around with me, and showing you off. And I love finding activities we can do together.

What we do the most is take pictures. After I get home from work and feed you, it’s like you know it’s time to go outside and take pictures. You’re not as content inside. You are the best little model and I love showing off the outfits I get for you to family and friends on facebook. In no time you may be picked up by Baby Gap. Who knows.

Dress from Lollipop Moon; bow from London Blue Designs

As far as firsts and developments go, you are starting to speak more. You’re like me in that you love to yap away. You can say “dog” which is more like “doh” but sometimes you say “doggie.” You also say “Ka ka” when you see a “kitty cat.” You are picking up more sign language now so I’m trying to teach you things like “berry” “more” “light” and other things, but mostly you say “milk.” If I ever say the word you start signing it. I think it’s your favorite word.

You aren’t walking yet but you walk along furniture, and you’re getting brave and letting go sometimes to test your balance. I’ve been selfish in not wanting you to walk because I want you to stay my little baby, but at least pictures will be even more fun once you start walking… Unless you start running away from me, which you probably will. You laugh and laugh when you stand up for a few seconds. You know you’re growing up and achieving new things.

Tutu from La Bella Creations; Leg warmers from Happy Crawlers; Bow from Chloe and Maude

You have four teeth and more coming in. You love water. I mean LOVE water. We went swimming for the first time this month several times and you never want to get out of the pool. Fittingly, we’re having a pool party for your first birthday in a few weeks. I know you’ll be so happy to be in the water.

Another thing you love are books. You bring them to me when you want me to read to you, and you’ll sit content while I read aloud. Book are definitely still your favorite toy. I’m glad and I hope you keep this hobby and enjoy reading as you grow up.

You love to eat but you are beginning to show interest in certain things. I feel like a horrible mother for letting you consume things like goldfish and pizza crust, but it happens. You love chicken, ham, and your favorite food is berries. I let you try eggs for the first time yesterday and you got sick. I was so sad. You threw up all over me a bunch. But you weren’t upset at all, which was good.

Glasses from Clairs; Bow and tutu from London Blue Designs
One thing you’re starting to show is a crazy mood swing. I think you get it from your daddy. You will make this crazy growling noise (you’ve always made one but this is a deeper noise) you sound like you’re trying to poop and you arch your back. Your daddy and I were so worried thinking you were sick. I handed you a berry to see if you’d stop and sure enough you did. So it’s confirmed. You are pretty much a drama queen. You must get it from your dad. It makes me a little scared to find out what’s ahead.

It’s fun watching you grow and see you try new things and develop a personality. I like seeing me and your daddy in the things you do, and I can’t wait to see what’s next.

Eleven months down. I wish we could wrap this up and start all over because these have been the best, and most exciting 11 months of my life. I had no idea having a child could be this fun. People make it sound so scary and hard. While it can be exhausting at times, it’s better than I ever could have imagined it being. Now as I sit and watch you I wonder when I can start over and you can have a younger sibling to play with, but I also don’t want to rush, and just enjoy this one on one time we get. I stress about the spacing of you and your sibling(s) but keep reminding myself not to worry about it. At least I have you, and everything is going to work out. We are lucky to have each other. And no matter how big you get, in the words of Mariah Carey, you will always be my baby.

I love you,

Mommy

Little Lady,

It’s INSANE you’ve been alive half a year!! What the heck?

People say time flies once you have kids and I’m tellin’ ya they ain’t lying! I can’t believe you’re already six months old. I feel like just last week you were born. Now you babble all of the time. Mostly you yell, sing, scream out of excitement and say “dada” and “daddy.”

You are a little busy bee. Always watching what we’re doing and trying to get involved. You’re on my lap as I write this to you right now just watching the words pop up on the screen. From time to time you’ll try to mimic me and grab the keyboard but luckily, right now you seem to be content with just watching.

You’ve been good at sitting up for a few weeks now. You like to play on the floor with your toys. Last night I saw you lunge forward and scoot up on your knees and I thought you were going to start crawling. Good thing you didn’t though because I was going to the bathroom and you would have crawled right off the bed. I’m not sure I’m ready for you to start moving yet. I know you are going to be getting into EVERYTHING!

You are beginning to get more independent but you are still preferably social. You’d much rather be in a conversation between your daddy and I than playing off on your own, but if we’re not doing much you’re happy playing with your toys.

Forever Bliss Photography

You, as I imagined you would, LOVE food. You’ve tried many different kinds of veggies and you love most of them. You don’t like peas, but your daddy and I don’t either so we understand. You do like sweet potato and squash.

We went to the doctor today and you are 18.6 pounds now and 27 inches long. 90th percentile for weight and height! Getting your shots were not nearly as bad this time. You only cried for a moment, then I nursed you and sang the alphabet song and you were fine. You LOVE that song. I can sing it any time you’re crying and you’ll stop and stare at me. Maybe it’s because I sang it so much when you were in my belly and during diaper changes when you were small.

We’ve also started signing with you. Or I have. Your daddy seems to think it’s silly. You know what it means when I sign “bath” and you get excited and kick your feet, just like you do when I say it.

I started a project I’m going to give to you when you’re older. It’s a book I hope to add something to daily this year. I hope I can keep up with it. So far so good!

It has been so fun watching you grow. I’m happy and sad at the same time. I miss you being small but I love the new things you’re doing.

Thanks for rocking my world!

Love,

Mommy

Motherhood is funny. Just when you think you have a plan set, your child throws you for a loop and it all changes.

I was so paranoid about breastfeeding and pumping enough milk for my daughter while I’m away at work. My pediatrician said at four months old my daughter could start rice cereal, so my goal was to start letting her chow down on her four month birthday.

Then, I started reading some articles and recommendations (from organizations like AAP, and WHO) for babies to wait until they’re six months to start solids. My understanding of this is because your baby’s stomach is fully developed, less likely to develop allergies and ready for solids sometime between 4-6 months but to be safe (and since all babies develop differently), it’s better just to wait until 6 months.

Surprisingly I have been able to keep up with pumping, and my frozen stash hasn’t had to take too much of a hit. So at four months I made a goal to continue exclusively breastfeeding until six months. After all, this is recommended, and it was going so well, why change it up? This became my new BIG HUGE breastfeeding goal. I doubted I’d last three months, much less six. But even if I dried up I’d probably have enough frozen to get us through the last few weeks and by George, I was going to do it if it killed me!

Famous last words.

Around four and a half months my daughter started acting funny around food. Others may call it “showing interest.” I tried to ignore it.

I ignored her reaching for my bowl of oatmeal every morning, and the fact that she’d lean toward me and open her mouth when a spoon came her direction. But one afternoon, when I wasn’t quick enough she grabbed a tater tot off my plate, put it in her mouth and started chewing. In a panic I pulled it out of her mouth and sadly admitted two things. 1. I need to start eating better and 2. She’s probably ready for solids.

To be sure I read a few articles about the signs of being ready.
Older than four months- Check
Sitting up unsupported- A little wobbly but- Check
Able to let us know when she’s full by turning away from a bottle or unlatching- Check
Loss of tongue-thrust-reflex-based on how she momentarily chowed down on the tater tot I’d have to say- Check
Showing interest in food- Double Check

So I had come to the realization that my daughter probably wanted steak and potatoes and was ready for solids. But was I ready to give in to her readiness? I was planning to skip rice cereal all together, and had Christmas as her date set to have her first “meal”. Oh yes, with squash, pictures, music, it would be a big deal. Plus, breastfeeding was going so well, and I wasn’t ready to say she was no longer exclusively breastfed. This was my badge of pride. My “I DID IT” sign I could have in my back pocket the rest of my life, pulling it out on the rare occasion of the awkward question “how long did you breastfeed?” I played out the scenario in my mind. “A year” I’d tell them, and be sure to add in the unnecessary additive “six months exclusively.”

I read more in my baby food book about first foods for babies and decided an organic brown rice cereal would be a good choice if we were going to start early. I want to stay gluten-free with her for a year, and brown rice would be a healthy start. Plus I can mix in breast milk and she’d be familiar with the taste.

I found a brand I liked and was ok with trying, and prepared to loose my exclusive breastfeeding virginity.

I thought it would be a little sad but it wasn’t in the least. Just like I thought, she was ready. She leaned in and opened wide from the start and surprisingly, more of it made it in her mouth then on her bib. After her first few bites she was ready to chow down; so much so, when it was all over, she licked the bowl.

Of course I got it all on video.

Lil’ J loved her yummy rice and milk. The next night she didn’t miss one bite and was mad when it was all gone.

I can’t wait until Christmas when she can have some REAL food. I already have her bib picked out, but I’m not sure which food it will be. Maybe avocado, sweet potato or squash. I’m leaning towards a vegetable and sticking with different veggies a little while before introducing fruit (besides avocado). I’m still torn between baby-led weaning and pureeing, so I may make a soft finger-food version for her to pick up, and a puree version as well and just see which she prefers. I imagine we’ll do a mix of both until she moves all the way to feeding herself.

What was your baby’s first food?

Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget



I'm a part-time journalist, full-time wife and mother striving to make the world a better place and inspiring others to do the same. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day.

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