This Is 11! Celebrating Kingston's 11th Birthday at Dave & Buster's

King's birthday was February 2nd but like I've mentioned before the shortest month of the year is the busiest for my family so I'm just getting around to posting about his special day. 

My oh my how time flies. It feels like yesterday I gave birth to my first child and now he is 11 years old. While birthday parties are always a blast we try to save them for milestone birthdays, but we always celebrate in some form. So this year Kingston wanted to in his words "have some fun at my favorite restaurant" Dave & Buster's. His first request was indoor sky diving but I convinced him to hold out on that one. I may or may not be a lot of bit terrified. No worries I'll be facing my fears soon just for him. 

Our decision to hold off ended up working out for the best because he had a few cousins spontaneously come into town to celebrate with him. They are all older and his sisters are younger so Dave & Buster's was the perfect place to bring everyone of all ages together. Even grandma got to come, even though she was plotting on ways to go with him indoor sky diving without actually sky diving. Dave & Buster's has always been a favorite of Kingston's. I mean who can blame him. What eleven-year-old boy, whose two favorite things include food and gaming wouldn't want to go?  It's the perfect combination. I feel like I mention this all the time but for those of you who are new Kingston is autistic. This played a huge factor in my hesitation in introducing him to this place in the beginning. 
Just the thought of it seems like an overwhelming bundle of over stimulation and panic attack all mixed it one. The loud noises, the crowded atmosphere the blinking lights all seem like an obvious NO. However, when Kingston first laid eyes on the commercial he knew he wanted to experience the fun. 

Being a mom I had to practice what I preach. I am always telling him and everyone around him not to define him or limit him due to autism so off to Dave & Buster's we went. To my surprise, he handled it like a boss. He stayed close and held onto me for comfort, covered his ears to muffle the sounds and took it all in. That was years ago now he's a Dave & Buster's pro. 

Dressed in his birthday outfit he picked out himself, yes yes Kingston actually went to the store and picked out an entire outfit he wanted to wear, he was ready to celebrate. 

*He ate yummy food
* Played some of his favorite games
* Ate cake from his favorite bakery (PUBLIX) 😂  
* Received amazing gifts 
*And most importantly he was showered with love from our amazing family 

I MATTER! What Brown Dolls Represent To This Dope Mom

It's February and while we celebrate the beauty that is our history all year long it's still extremely important for my family to celebrate Black History Month. Not only do we dive into the impact that our people has made throughout history but we also take this time to celebrate the culture. For me personally, this is a time to reinforce self-love and take pride in being unapologetically black.   

I was fortunate enough to be asked to be apart of Rubens Barn discussion on brown dolls. If you haven't heard of them Rubens Barn is a handmade doll company "with a mission to shape a kinder future though soft cuddles of empathy." Feel free to check out their Instagram here

As a melanin mom raising dope melanin kids it has always been extremely important for me to provide them with images that look like them... and their aunts... and uncles, cousins... and friends. It's known that children learn best during play so being able to provide them with a diverse group of dolls that come in all shades, sizes, both male and female only assist me in my mission to raising well rounded, self-loving, accepting children. We live by the motto different is dope which was birthed from my unique journey through motherhood, raising a son with autism and a gifted daughter. For me, it's not about ONLY providing brown dolls but ALSO providing brown dolls. Inclusivity is the key. We want them to look into their sea of toys, books, and movies and spot images that look like them with ease.

I grew up in a time where there was no black princess in mainstream fairy tales, most black characters were shown as the token black friend and brown dolls weren't so easily accessible. This can easily create a distorted self-image in a young child. There may have been one brown doll created out of an entire line and she wasn't guaranteed to be in stock. She only came in one shade of brown and if she had hair it only came in one texture. My parents had to go out of their way to provide me with dolls that looked like me. No matter how difficult the task they were sure to succeed and for that, I am forever grateful. It meant a lot to me as a brown skin little girl growing up in the 90s to feel included. Now, a mom myself I'm so thankful for companies like Rubens Barn. They provide children with beautifully created inclusive dolls making it a lot easier for me than it was for my mother. 

Do you make it a point to provide brown dolls for your little ones? Feel free to share your thoughts on what brown dolls represent to you below.