Support for LAist comes from
True LA stories, powered by you
Stay Connected

Share This

Education
What Raising Kids In SoCal Really Looks Like

Nikidda Thomas-Carrillo

A photo of Nikidda holding her son Hunter.
(Nikidda Thomas-Carrillo for LAist)
Our reporting is free for everyone, but it’s not free to make.
LAist only exists with reader support. If you're in a position to give, your donation powers our reporters and keeps us independent.

Nikidda Thomas-Carrillo

South L.A. • Age 38 • Full-time parent and certified personal trainer

Lives with Cesario (husband), Hunter (1), Patricia (mother) and Chris (brother)

Support for LAist comes from

We lived in an RV that's parked in the yard right now ... We lived in there for like five or six years... We still look at it and it just keeps us humble.
— Nikidda Thomas-Carrillo
About Parenting, Unfiltered
  • We gave point-and-shoot film cameras to 12 Southern California parents of young children and invited them to document their lives in the Fall of 2019.

  • Join this group of families, from South Los Angeles to the San Fernando Valley and San Bernardino, as they show us what parenting really looks like, through their eyes.

“I just wanted the security of a home, for one. And I also wanted to just have somewhere where I can, if I want to, put a picture up on the wall, or if I wanted to paint the walls, I can do that. I wanted that freedom of changing the scenery where I'm living … What I wasn't expecting is all the work that needs to be done, the little work. The little holes, little cracks, a little painting, a little plumbing, the floors, the windows ... So even though it's exciting that I can do all these fun things with the house and the yard and the garden. It's a big responsibility.”
Nikidda's mother holds Hunter on a bed.
(Nikidda Thomas-Carrillo for LAist)

“Where my mom was staying, I don't think she was happy where she was staying. So after Hunter was born, I needed to help anyway. So she came and she offered her help ... It's a five-bedroom house, so there's room for everybody.”
Support for LAist comes from
Hunter sits in a baby walker watching Sesame Street.
(Nikidda Thomas-Carrillo for LAist)

“It keeps him entertained for like 20-30 minutes before he starts fussing and he wants something different. So, 30 minutes I gain in a day to do something else ... There's always dishes to do or I can throw a load, wash a load of clothes, but there's always something to do.”
Nikidda and her son at a birthday party.
(Nikidda Thomas-Carrillo for LAist)

“It's been a journey. My husband and I, we got married in 2012 ... and ever since then we've been trying and looking forward to it. And I think five years after that, I started noticing that nothing is happening.

"We tried IUI. And we tried the first one, it didn't take ... And I'm like, Well, if a doctor can't make it happen, oh, it's not gonna happen. But we've been hopeful and we tried again, and it happened."

Every day I see him and I feel it, like, I'm so grateful. I'm so grateful.
Support for LAist comes from

“it's just funny how they take over your space. You know, everything is his right there in arm's reach.

“The backseat is packed as if we're going on a road trip ... I'm going to the store, the grocery store ... You can't just say I'm leaving out in 10 minutes. Honestly, when you have a child you need 30 minutes.

“He's always ready to go. I'm always taking a long time to leave out and then he starts fussing like, 'Are we leaving or not? Let's go.' So he's anxious to get on the road and soon as we start driving he falls asleep.”
Participatory Parent Photo Project:  Nikkida
(Nikidda Thomas-Carrillo for LAist)

“He had a doctor's appointment, and it was time for his shot ... It feels bad. It is. You're a part of them inflicting pain on him for that moment. He trusts me to keep him safe ... I want to take his pain away immediately. But he's a strong boy. He cried for a little bit and then he stopped.”
Participatory Parent Photo Project:  Nikkida
(Nikidda Thomas-Carrillo for LAist)
Support for LAist comes from
Participatory Parent Photo Project:  Nikkida
(Nikidda Thomas-Carrillo for LAist)

“My husband likes to spend time with him when he gets off work. So even if he's eating he'll keep him close … I love seeing them together. I think It's definitely something that I didn't have. And we always talk about we want to give our kids what we didn't have and give them the best.

"My dad and my mom was not together when my mom had me. My dad already left. So I didn't have any kind of relationship with him at all. I don't even think he carried me when I was young.

“They're shocked when they find out that he's my son … My husband is Mexican. So he's from Jalisco, Mexico, and I'm Belizean from Belize City.

"When we are out, my husband and I, we get people looking at us because he's Mexican. So we still get like the eyebrows — one eyebrow up … I'm not surprised that it's been like that. People haven't changed. I don't pay no attention.”

Nikidda's husband and Hunter look at wrenches by a car.
(Nikidda Thomas-Carrillo for LAist)

“My husband, he's a mechanic so when he comes home from work sometimes we have a vehicle here that he's working on … (Hunter) sees his Dad working and he goes straight for his tools to go and pick up his tools and then when he couldn't pick up the tools, then he just wanted his dad to pick him up ... There was a time when he was off for a while, which was good for us because he was able to spend time with us.”
Participatory Parent Photo Project:  Nikkida
(Nikidda Thomas-Carrillo for LAist)

I just wanted to try them and see if they were really gonna grow from seeds. And they really grew! ... I never really got up close to a real one. Until now. Oh my God, it's so reminiscent, you know? You just sit there and you just want to sit there and dream.
Participatory Parent Photo Project:  Nikkida
(Nikidda Thomas-Carrillo for LAist)

“I'm looking forward to all these milestones with him ... I know he's going to grow teeth, I know he's going to walk, but when he actually does it, it's exciting to see … I can't explain the feeling it was just, um, I don't know it's such a good feeling, finding something that you always wanted and you found it, you know, it's something you're looking for.”

Related Stories