Swimming in the S.E.A. (Part 1)

A couple of weeks ago I received a document from Mam’zelle’s teacher to pick secondary schools as choices for her to be placed after writing the S.E.A. exam (not sure what the S.E.A. exam is? See my previous post here). I took the document home, folded it and put it on my dresser. It has remained there to this day.

I am anxious about this exam and nervous for Mam’zelle to write it. My first Son-son did it already and I was nowhere near as nervous then as I am now and that’s mainly because they are two different children. She is not as excited about schoolwork and does it grudgingly at times. Other times she shoots fireworks from her fingers. I think also because she is a girl and the world works differently for females, that this also influences how I feel. Make no mistake though, other than the (light/heavy) encouragement from me or the hubby, I make it a concerted effort not to display said anxiety. There is no perfection there as sometimes I let it slip but often when I feel it coming on because she can’t remember a particular spelling or mathematical formula, I step away to vent to my husband or I log on to Facebook to commiserate with other parents who feel the same as a result of this dreaded exam.

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Illustration by Shrikrishna-Patkar (www.hindustantimes.com)

I know I’ve reached that part of the S.E.A. ride where it’s pedal to the metal but I’m really praying for this ride to slow down and stop. I can’t imagine having to wait until May so for that alone, I thank God it was moved to March (although it remains high stakes for a shorter period of time). A couple of weeks ago there was a meeting held for the parents of the standard five girls and I was really glad that my feelings were shared even though I didn’t speak to anybody. The taut body language in the room spoke volumes. In all the years I have attended meetings in that school, I have NEVER seen so many parents (especially the dads….kudos!!) turn out for one year group. There was a lot of nervous energy in the room that no amount of ice breakers, talks and presentations could allay. As a matter of fact, after one of the members of staff did her presentation on how placement occurs, the tension rose and I left because I felt like I needed to breathe.

Since then, I have done my part in remaining in close contact with her teacher, making sure she is physically, mentally and spiritually fed and staying abreast of the conversation about S.E.A. on the networks with other parents which can also drive you crazy if you don’t scroll quickly and limit the amount of comments you read. Examples of Math sums, Language exercises and Creative Writing prompts are posted at various times throughout the day from parents who need help and teachers who want to help. It’s as though everyone is trying to make sure that all 14 million possibilities for this exam are considered in all the three subject areas and coupled with questions, concerns and venting about the exam process, it can become very overwhelming.

Mam’zelle is in lessons Monday to Friday and now Saturdays as well. The way I see it, if the help is offered to keep her brain busy then I’m completely ok with that. She enjoys working with her friends and she listens to her teacher sometimes more than me and I am completely ok with that as well. Any sign of burnout is met with shutdown and sleep and thankfully it hasn’t affected her other than the usual tweenage complaints about school. Of course balance is key so while we don’t have the time for her to be as physically active as she used to be, she is still partaking in one extra-curricular activity because you know….life…….

I am taking it day by day and will continue managing my emotions until the end of this S.E.A. nightmare. Hopefully when I finally get around to filling out that placement document, time will have sped up considerably. In the meantime let me organize breakfast on this goodly Saturday morning and ready myself to drop the child to school.

Blessings

TMIDM

The SEA cycle

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image courtesy giphy.com

The Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) exam roller-coaster ride is in full throttle and this year it seems like many more are aboard than ever before. For the benefit of the uninitiated, the SEA is an exam held in Trinidad and Tobago for the sole purpose of placing 10 to 13 year-olds in secondary schools. We don’t have the luxury of an education system where children move seamlessly from one grade to the next. Rather it is preferred to stress children out at this stage with a high stakes exam that society has deemed ‘the-most-important-ever-you-will-write-in-your-life-because-it-determines-your-singular-future’ and we as Trinbagonians hold dear all the emotional and cultural elements involved.

I refer to it as the SEA cycle because EVERY YEAR WITHOUT FAIL, these are the motions that parents, teachers and stakeholders go through (aloud and privately) and by stakeholders I mean the man on the street, people by the bar, cleaners on lunchbreak, people in the salon/barber shop, fass (nosy) neighbours and anybody with a keyboard and a social media account who has had a child or knew a child who wrote the exam.

Now since it is a cycle, naturally I could pick at any point to start but I think I will begin at the September term of standard 5, what was once nine but is now seven months before the exam since starting this year 2019, it was moved from May back to March.

The SEA cycle from September has you:

  1. Praying that the standard five year passes quickly.
  2. Hoping that the child doesn’t need extra textbooks in standard five because right now all they are supposed to be doing are practice tests so parents get to save money (yay!).
  3. Realizing that the extra money is to actually pay for the practice tests and a possible increase in lessons fees (dammit!)
  4. Examining and discussing secondary school choices with the fervour of a gambler studying the Play Whe* booklet.
  5. Going back and forth to pick four schools between teacher, spouse, granny, neighbour, work colleagues, priest, pundit and pastor.
  6. Perusing ALL Facebook comments to understand what the hell people talking about with ‘percentile’ and ‘composite score’.
  7. Finally choosing the four schools and in some unfortunate cases hoping that the child’s work will improve to match.
  8. Stockpiling Express, Newsday and Guardian newspapers and endlessly quarrelling about the mistakes on the answer key.
  9. Posting sums on Facebook for help because you and all don’t even understand what kinda high-falutin’ maths is this?
  10. Silently panicking because the child is ‘still’ scoring in the 80s for end-of-term tests.
  11. Ensuring that Christmas is still merry despite the drama with this exam.
  12. Welcoming the new year with a sole focus on the SEA countdown as a main priority and hardly anything else.
  13. Making sure the curriculum is fully covered by asking the child random process questions in Math, Language Arts and Creative Writing to keep them sharp at the same time,
  14. Running out of steam and letting the teachers do what they get paid to do and at the same time,
  15. Messaging the teacher (at random and sometimes ungodly hours) if they covered this topic, that topic and the third topic because teachers are supposed to be accessible and have patience……….
  16. Running out of practice test booklets as even though some are better than others, all were necessary.
  17. Wondering how involved the child should be for school sports…..because…..SEA…..yet,
  18. Wondering for your own self if to conduct a hermit vibes or a YOLO vibes for Carnival.
  19. Realizing that you have done all you could do and praying for the day of the exam to come and go because this stress is too much.
  20. Being fed-up of practice tests yourself.
  21. Feeling the stress but not showing the stress to the child because if the child senses you are stressed then that will make you more stressed and then you lose your ability to hide the stress properly (mini-cycle).
  22. Seeing the stress in the child anyhow and trying your best to strike a proper balance between ‘try one more question’ and ‘go and sleep, you need rest’.
  23. Googling ‘how to cope with exam anxiety’.
  24. Venting on supportive Facebook groups.
  25. Arguing with Facebook group members who won’t let you vent in peace about SEA because the Judging Amys are always there to serve.
  26. Waiting impatiently for the day of the exam.
  27. Not sleeping the night before the exam but making damn sure that the child sleeps free of nerves.
  28. Not eating the morning of the exam but pretending to and at the same time making sure the child is locked and loaded.
  29. Sending the child off to do the exam with a warm smile and a racing heart.
  30. Scouring Facebook for commentary while the exam is going on because you need more stress.
  31. Seeing people posting about the difficulty of the Math and the Creative Writing and praying again that your child conquered it.
  32. Breathing a sigh of relief when the exam is over and seeing your child look like a child once more but,
  33. Still asking which sum was difficult or if the report was easy or who was crying.
  34. Occasionally looking on social media for ANY mention of the day for results to release.
  35. Feeling the anxiety rise again but loving the graduation preparations that balance it out!
  36. Channeling Doctor Strange and creating all the possible outcomes of the results and your plans A to D of reactions to match.
  37. Realizing that some people are getting close and suddenly checking in because they want to have the front seat to know ‘what school your child pass for?’
  38. Realizing that waiting for results is exponentially worse than waiting for the exam.
  39. Being excited that the child passed for first, second, third or fourth choice.
  40. Not being excited that the child was zoned out and preparing to enact plan E if there is one while keeping it cool and keeping the child encouraged.
  41. Knowing that there are ‘good’ schools and there are ‘bad’ schools.
  42. Knowing that these two are relative to experience but accepting certain realities,
  43. Understanding that this is the way the system is set up which is the first step to knowing how to manoeuvre in it.
  44. Defending the good in ‘bad’ schools and the bad in ‘good’ schools.
  45. Listing a world of experiences in each circumstance to make the relevant justifications.
  46. Arguing about the Concordat^ and why we should have ‘prestige’ schools and how unfair it is’
  47. But knowing that given the chance……..
  48. Gearing up for the money game (registration fees, books, uniforms, private schools, tutors, re-sits)
  49. Gearing up for the next child to go through this all over again and realizing that the SEA is the most effective form of birth control there is, much like trying to get a child into primary school.
  50. Going back to the beginning of the cycle there when your next child is at the end of standard four for another ride on the roller coaster.

These are the main stages on the ups and the downs of SEA and I am quite certain that this list is not exhaustive just as I am certain that some of you may not have passed through all the stages. So in the heat of it while we get all riled up year after year, remember we have to come back down to go around again unless you want to try a different ride because this one so played out…..year…..after…..year. If that is the case remember, EVERYBODY has to get on board to demand a better ride, something new and different that caters to our children and that is less of a harrowing experience for all who are buckled in. 😉

Blessings!

TMIDM

 

*Play Whe is a popular betting game in Trinidad and Tobago. Each number is assigned a character and many people tend to look for signs in dreams and in daily activity to give them an idea what number to play. It is Chinese in origin. More info here: http://www.nlcbplaywhelotto.com/

^The Concordat in its simplest terms is that the Principals of denominational (‘prestige’)  schools are given the right to allocate 20% of its new intake based on religion and other factors. So once you can get your child on that list, you are good to go. Read more about that here: http://moe.gov.tt/portals/0/documents/notices/concordat_60.pdf

 

About Father’s Day…

I have always felt awkward at the concept of celebrating Mother’s and Father’s Day. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the significance of it: taking the time out to recognise the special work done by persons in these roles. However, I suppose in my case, growing up it wasn’t that big of a deal which maybe coloured the way I presently feel about it. I get that it is something special particularly for children, but as fast as you shower me with lovely kisses and carefully curated meals is as fast as I have to complain the next day about the dishes you left for me in the sink to wash!

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So Mother’s Day was not too hyped up but Father’s Day was completely uncomfortable. The latter used to affect me in the sense that I didn’t have that special ‘daddy-daughter’ relationship that I saw friends go on and on about. I mean he fulfilled the basic tasks which I suppose in his way brought himself pride and satisfaction as a father (i.e. things that could come up in a discussion with his friends): “ah hadda drop meh daughters to school”, “ah carry meh daughter to drive”, “ah carry meh daughter to see which part she going and work”. So there was a sense of pride he felt in his doing the things that he felt he did which gave him satisfaction as a father. Once his ego was satisfied, that was it.

As far as I can remember, my father has never wished me happy birthday, he has never given me a hug, he has never genuinely asked me how I was going, or how I was getting along with life, he doesn’t know what I like to eat, he doesn’t know my favourite drink, he has never discussed with me the type of boyfriend I should look for or man I should marry, he has never said I Love You or words to that effect. In other words, he has never met me on my level as a father would towards his daughter. He has done all the things that would outwardly show that he was a father but for the deeper things that would matter as a child, he was most absent.

As I grew older and was able to provide materially for myself, it left him with nothing to do, say or ‘brag’ about. I tried to ensure that he continued his sense of ‘fatherhood’ by letting him to fulfill these tasks which he considers important with his grandchildren. But eventually, I suppose it interrupted his new lifestyle which currently has nothing to do with his family. When he is at home, he is present in body but absent in spirit, so it is as though he does not exist and may continue as such until the day the Lord steps in.

All of this is really to point out that there are fathers are to themselves think they are fulfilling the role: those who are spending money by the hundreds and who buy the latest, who do all the material things that the ego allows but who are failing in actually knowing and loving their children. Thankfully I was able to grow through it, see past it and heal from it and my healing does not need an Iyanla Vanzant ‘Fix my Life’ type sit-down with everybody heaving and bawling about who done right and who done wrong. People are who they are and once we’ve accepted that in some cases, time does not bring change, that’s good for the soul and everybody can move on. It worked for me.

I am able to discern the good fathers. I picked a good one who I married who is first class with the children he fathered and the child he did not. I have friends who are superb in the role and these are men in steady relationships and men who have ‘child mothers’ and are excellent with their own children even in a Trinidadian court system that doesn’t cater for them. I have friends who are in no relationship but will make great fathers when the day comes and those who are passionate uncles and godfathers, appointed or not.

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I salute these men, and all like them. They create balance in a world that sometimes isn’t fair to them. They cancel out the ones like my own father and will continue giving hope to the restoration of a positive worldview of men and fathers in general. Happy Father’s Day to all that deserve it! May you truly get all you richly deserve and more!

Blessings!

TMIDM

I see you

To:

the woman who feels she is never enough,

the woman who feels she does too much,

the woman who plods along to keep it running,

the woman who pauses to breathe before the choke comes,

the woman who decides to say “Fuck It”,

the woman who decides to try for the millionth time,

the woman who practises that smile before unleashing it,

the woman who blots the tears before they roll down,

the woman whose children see the brave face more than the real face,

the woman who decided that #selfcare is a beautiful thing,

the woman who values her solitude,

the woman who values her friendships,

the woman who values herself,

the woman who is the early bird,

the woman who is the night owl,

the woman who anticipates the worst,

the woman who hopes for the best,

the woman whose routine stifles her,

the woman who found her outlet,

the woman who is chastised for going against the norm,

the woman who is fine just being okay,

the woman who makes her decisions and sticks to them,

the woman who is afraid to jump,

the woman whose mind has several tabs open,

the woman who can drain her mind,

the woman who knows what love is and feels it,

the woman who doesn’t feel love and she knows it,

I see you.

TMIDM

 

 

The Strength To Go On

It’s been a while!

I’m not going to detail reasons why or why not as most ‘return-after-a-long-hiatus’ posts tend to do, but it is safe to say that I am alive and extremely grateful for the dawn of a new year. The tail end of 2018 proved very difficult for me in the sense that I lost the balance I always maintain is essential for working mothers to survive. I was closing the year operating on fumes, in a stasis of ‘whatever’ but clawing towards the Christmas vacation period, desperate to power down.

Now that the vacation is over and a new academic term awaits me from tomorrow, in the spirit of this reflective time of year, I have adequately prepared myself to start 2019 in a way that would restore the balance that is critical for me. I don’t think that I am alone in this regard as all over my social media the hashtag #selfcare features prominently (Ladies, how did it get so bad that we needed to hashtag it? You know one of the main rules of social media is that it bears no importance if one does not create a hashtag). I don’t know how it got to this but when I sat and did some mindful meditation of my physical, psychological, professional, emotional, spiritual, personal and professional state, my mental health was rapidly deteriorating and, in some cases, completely deteriorated.

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New Year’s Resolutions are not usually a thing for me. Disappointment tends to lurk in the shadows. However, this year I don’t think I have made resolutions per se, but I have given myself specific activities/’checklist points’ to ensure that my wheel remains evenly divided so I don’t end up frazzled, frustrated and feeling like a shadow of myself, intensely dark and always behind everyone and everything. It’s a work in progress but progress Is key.

I hope this new year brings joy, favour and peace to all of you!

Blessings!

TMIDM

It’s BTS Time!!!

In Trinidad and Tobago the back-to-school countdown has begun! Many parents and guardians are filling out bookstores, shoe stores and fabric stores to make sure that children are prepped and ready to go for the first day of dispatch on  the 3rd of September. The back-to-school rush is the least favourite of ‘rushes’ for me. I hate that particular last-minute feeling so much so that I remember one year I did all my stationery shopping in the supermarket just to avoid the bacchanal. So every year I do my shopping strategically so that I won’t be caught in the middle of people shouting for books at the clerks with booklists flailing about in loooong lines and police ushering in crowds bit-by-bit. Yes…..this happens….

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See? It’s international! Photo taken from South Africa: https://bereamail.co.za/101667/back-to-school-rush-5/

I remember when I was going to school I used to be excited to return. I loved fresh books, bag and lunchkit. I used to loooooove covering my books with brown paper and plastic and I couldn’t wait to use my new stationery…..(one can never have enough stationery. I’m an adult and I still feel that way.) My gremlinz however are not so inclined and for the life of me I cannot understand why. Let me walk that back……I can understand in the sense that I am in no hurry to return to work to return to my own classrooms but come on!!! New pens and notebooks!!! When I do my stationery run for myself next week that’s what will signal to my brain that the new term cometh so they should get inna gear  to inspire me right? Work is a whole different kettle of fish…..

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In spite of the initial gentle probing, I have now insisted that they begin to look sharp. So over the course of the coming days the routine will start back. I have already begun by one simple step.

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Hahahaha! Yes! The dreaded 9 o’clock curfew has returned. The other night I walked past their bedrooms and in the dark their eyes were open like owls in a cave with no way of escaping. Poor things. They eventually fell asleep though. In the day they’ve started back doing school work. Son-son has a mandate to read all of his literature books before school opens and Mam’zelle just started her online revision via pennacool.com which is really tremendous for children in Trinidad and Tobago gearing up for high-stakes exams. I really endorse it! (unsponsored)

Now little Boyo will not see kindergarten until next year but has already mastered oral counting, alphabet, colours and animal sounds through the kind folks who provide daily earworms on YouTube. Until then I am taking the time to ensure that he develops his soft skills as well as activities that involve holding a crayon or using playdoh. There are many internet resources and apps I found but I want to highlight education.com (also unsponsored) because I found that they have a wide range of activities for children from 2 years old right up. Check out the puzzles on the site like these super cute mazes which I figure will help with patience and critical thinking!Screen Shot 2017-11-21 at 12.13.42 PM

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Before you know it, we will be smack at the start of the term so I hope everyone’s rearing to go or at least behind the wheel ready to bounce the starter! If not, think of it this way, the faster you start, the nearer you are to Christmas!

Blessings!

TMIDM

Devoid of Hope?

I have always had this aversion to hospitals, particularly the Mt Hope Medical Science Complex. The stories relayed to me by family and friends were enough to confirm my resolve to never end up there for any kind of medical care that I may need for myself and my family, free as it may be. Granted there are horror stories in all the public hospitals in Trinidad and Tobago but I was so certain in my assessment of Mt. Hope that I had my two elder gremlinz in the Port-of-Spain General Hospital although I lived out of the catchment area. When it was time for #gremlin3, I couldn’t run the same racket again and decided to fork up the umpteen thousand dollars at the St. Augustine Private Hospital. The fear for Mt Hopeless was indeed very real.

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Fastforward to 2017.

In my twelve years of being a mother I ended up at the Mt. Hope Children’s Hospital only once, that was in desperation when the firstborn was verrrrrry young. I did’t stay very long, it was late, the place was packed and I had visions of not being able to be comfortable for hours on end with a sick child on my hands while waiting to be attended to. Beyond that, although there were cuts and scrapes and two buss heads, there was nothing major. Now, I don’t know if i have ever mentioned this before but Boyo (#gremlin3) is a little different from the other two. Mt Hope has seen me twice in the space of one month.

The first occasion was an accident where he took that Five Little Monkeys song pretty literally.

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In an effort to save him from himself, there was a collision, a bit tongue, a bloodbath and a desperate race to Mt Hope. Thankfully the place was empty, the visit was short, the doctor was super nice and his tongue healed in less than a week.

The second episode was this past weekend. Long story short, he awoke with a belly pain that came in waves causing him great discomfort (aka screaming and hyperventilating) and his belly was really hard to the touch. Based on the last visit I was comfortable enough for yet another desperate race to Mt Hope which led to:

  1. Me now knowing exactly where to go, armed with my very own pediatrician who gracefully gave up her Saturday dental appointment. (I love you sis, your teeth are already awesome!) Although I had a good visit the last time, I couldn’t shake the wariness of possible bad luck.
  2. Me learning what the term intussusception is and then bandying it about like said knowledge dropped straight from an episode of Grey’s Anatomy.
  3. Me watching my son get an IV line run for the first time. He needed SIX needles to find a vein!!! I wept like Mary watching her son on the cross.
  4. Me watching my son get an x-ray done for the first time, then watching him fall asleep during an ultrasound. A room with dimmed lights and a specialist with a soothing voice massaging gel on your tummy? I didn’t blame him.
  5. Me getting good news that the intus (yes, I slanged it) couldn’t be seen, watching him feeling better, laughing and yapping and then seeing him collapse in pain and screaming again.
  6. Me hearing the dreaded words: “We’ll have to keep him overnight for observation”

Lemme stick the pin in here.

Never in my life had I ever stayed the night in a hospital other than to birth humans. I started to feel sick because 1) This was Mt Hope and 2) This was Mt Hope. Now, the pediatric doctors and nurses were AMAZING eh, but in my mind, I still felt like I was overstaying my welcome the 6plus hours that I had been there and that my luck would run out. It’s one thing to know you are leaving, it’s another to know that you have to stay. So le husband was dispatched to retrieve the necessities and I was sent with Boyo to another ‘less temporary’ room. To continue with the lessons that I learnt:

  1. There are various sleep positions that can be made in a tattered recliner.
  2. Blankets are CRITICAL! Pashmina scarves do not cut it.
  3. You automatically feel like family with the person to the left and right of you in a ‘we in this struggle together’ kinda way.
  4. Everybody (not including the ACUTAL professionals) feels the need to give unsolicited advice.
  5. You feel like screaming when you hear a child cry because then your child will wake up which means you can’t take that quick nap that you need but then you IMMEDIATELY feel guilty because all the children are in pain and your sleep doesn’t matter.
  6. When you get the all clear to leave, you feel the dual emotion of guilt because you have to leave your ‘bedside mates’ but joy because you can have an actual bath and sleep on an actual bed.

I thank God that the result was no intus and resulting ‘air enema’ or surgery. I still have no idea what was the cause even though the doctor discharging me indicated the virus or early gastroenteritis.  All in all I was happy with the level of care given at the Pediatric Department. The doctors were young, enthusiastic and knowledgeable, nurses were mature and gentle, even with frustrated parents. I would definitely return, Peds isn’t hopeless but I am holding tightly to my reservations for the adult section. I don’t need time to tell to find out the truth on my own.

Blessings

TMIDM.

4 things 2017 taught me

In the usual vein of reflection, anticipation, inspiration and of course celebration, I decided to do a short write up on what lessons the past year served to me.

1. I most certainly CANNOT blog for a living.😄

I never wanted my blog to be a money making venture hence the reason I never looked into securing ad space and by extension never felt the pressure to create content simply to fulfill that purpose. I never write just for writing’s sake, I write when I’m inspired. Interesting moments happen in my life, sometimes mom related, sometimes not.  Of course the flip of that would be that there are no demands on me to write hence the weeks and sometimes months apart from post to post. It’s not that I don’t have anything to write, my draft box is full both on WordPress and in my brain and if needs be sometimes I post snippets on Facebook. I just need to prioritize my time better and add a specific blog time to my weekly schedule if needs be. This is definitely a 2018 improvement step.🤓

2. Half the fun of parenting is figuring out how to navigate children who are vastly different.

Now that Boyo is fully coming into his own at the ripe old age of 18 months, it is interesting to watch him learn and develop, perhaps even more so than my first two gremlinz. He likes to touch stuff, fixes, probes and prods,  focused with the fingertips and laser sharp with his observation as though he must know why things work.  This is opposed to my Mam’zelle who loves singing, dancing, creating things, drawing, has a vivid imagination and telling me what works in clothes and makeup. Son-son is the one into books and facts, information, likes to be the first to know and the first to spread knowledge. Now what happens when these three worlds  collide? That’s the fun (and sometimes admittedly frustrating)  part. 🙃

3. Keep the eyes on the prize

When I look back on 2017 I don’t think I accomplished anything that I had ‘planned’ at the beginning of the year. As a matter of fact it was one wompity womp after the next. Now my go-to motto is to hope for the best and expect the worst but with one deflating disappointment after the next,  it was a struggle to remain positive in spite of it all. However here I am, alive on the 31st probably because I have to  try again, maybe use a different formula and see things in a different light so what is due to me finds no difficulty in finding me.🙏

4. Let selfishness reign….your money….your time….

Reward thyself! You bloody well deserve it dammit! 2017 was the year of getting my makeup stash in an acceptable order and I spent my coins to make sure that I got stuff that EYE wanted (thus dubbing 2018 the year of ah-not-buying-no-more-makeup-unless-absolutely-necessary-but-ah-sure-it-go-be-something-else-taking-my-dollars).🙈 As it relates to my time, I’ve done a pretty decent job of ensuring that my ‘me’ hour or so is carved out of my schedule. I most DEFINITELY could have put in more gym time especially this Christmas was savage on the belly 😩 and as mentioned before, more blogging time. But this remains a staple for me and I encourage all other mothers to do the same. Don’t wonder when you will get time to exercise or write or take a drink or breathe. Find it in your day. I am going to try to maintain my very early morning workouts, my stolen moments eating desserts in my car and my colouring books in my office. 😆

So here’s to 2018! I’m not one to make resolutions, I am only striving to be a better version of myself day after day. I hope you are too! See you on the flip!

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Blessings

TMIDM

My Girl

When I was pregnant in 2008 and told my close friends that I was having a girl, most, if not all, erupted in the “Hm! You will meet your match!” sentiment. I have no idea why. Indeed when Mam’zelle was born there was a different feeling that I got as opposed to when I had my son almost three years prior. My mind churned with all the things I needed her to know about life and living in the world as a girl/woman. I wish I could have just opened up her head and poured all the wisdom and knowledge inside so she could be prepared for what’s out there.

As she grew into her own person, she became very unlike myself in many ways. As a child I was mild-mannered, afraid to rock the boat or break the rules, played quietly with my dolls and could spend hours to a day in a book. She always had a retort, did not like to read, she moved about indignantly when she was upset, was impatient with schoolwork and deliberate when she did stuff to get in trouble. This was unnerving to me and especially infuriating to my mother as my younger sister and I were not like this (and of course naturally, my parenting skills came into question).

I have largely guided my daughter within her own convictions to ensure that even with her personality, she must get the value systems correct even if I have to drill it into her even more so than I had to do with my son. So with things like honesty, compassion and patience, there is greater need for the sitting and the talking. I have long accepted that although it is indeed more work, it is necessary work. I try my utmost not to compare but there are weak moments where as a parent I think the familiar ‘why can’t you behave like your brother/sister?!’ If you are a parent of children with different personalities and you tell me this thought has never crossed your  mind, your pants are on fire.

More and more these days, I look at Mam’zelle and honestly, if  I was worried that seeing our differences would lead to difficulties, recognizing some of our similarities is downright terrifying. She’s nine now and sometimes I see a lot of my childhood/adolescent insecurities in her. Physically my daughter is like me, a thick girl with thick legs and a large posterior which she’s very conscious of, especially as she does swimming and ballet. (In my youth, countless were the times I was told to ‘tuck in the butt!’ while I was at the barre).  She doesn’t like not knowing something even if it’s something she should not know as yet. When she’s doing something she’s unsure of, there’s an anxiety that shadows her face, her palms sweat and her hands shake. She wants to know that everybody around her is happy with her and sometimes loses herself to make sure that this happens. All of these are familiar to me and there are times when I want to tell her DON’T DO THAT!/DON’T FEEL LIKE THAT! but I know deep down that each of us has to grow as we learn, including her.

A couple of years ago she got really sick and at a particular point I was helpless. It was the absolute lowest point of my existence and I desperately cried out to God that if He pulled her through, I would raise her to be a dynamic one and I would fiercely protect her with all my being until He was ready to call her home. I am more protective of her since then and I’m completely OK with that.  I drag her everywhere and let her know about the sacredness of female relationships even in the face of male-female relationships. She knows when she can be vocal and is learning about when she has to dial it back a bit to silence according to the situation. I impress upon her that her existence is vital and her place in the world is secure and even if I am not there to guide her, she must be sensible enough to know how to position herself. Conventional wisdom dictates that you don’t help the butterfly out of the cocoon, the struggle is what makes it strong enough to fly right?

I couldn’t have asked for a better daughter and my mission is to make sure that I take her from a happy, carefree, strong girl to a spirited, compassionate young woman and thankfully, my girl is well on her way.

Bless up

TMIDM

 

Whither the humanity?

humanity

plural humanities

1 :compassionate, sympathetic, or generous behavior or disposition :the quality or state of being humane  (marked by compassion, sympathy, or consideration)

(Merriam Webster Online)

It is becoming increasingly difficult to be a Trinidadian right now because sad to say, I live among people who don’t deserve to live in this country, far less this on this planet as human beings.

With the grand exception of the Christmas into Carnival period which is like our yearly escape from reality/purge of bad vibes/one love fest, during the rest of the months we have seem to become a people without hope, descending into a despicable mentality fueled largely by selfishness, race, tribalism, spite, jealousy and greed. There I’ve said it. Harsh? (Where are the lies though?)

Dominica was an island that was largely green, an Eden of sorts, everywhere green with lush flora and fauna. When Hurricane Maria hit, the pictures that emerged were heart-breaking. Aerial shots showed houses with no roofs, broken trees, flood waters and brown earth. The island is completely ravaged, so much so that it brought the Prime Minister to tears on television.

So cue CARICOM. Already there was a need to pour aid into the island of Barbuda, completely destroyed by Hurricane Irma weeks aback. Now as part of the Community there is need to rally behind Dominica as well. Trinidad’s Prime Minister said that Dominicans with friends and family here are welcome for six months with no hassle, we’re opening our borders to help our brothers in need, as good neighbours ought right?  Well thanks to social media, people’s petticoats started to show. These are actual comments from the keyboard warriors on public fora not to mention the private groups of which I’m a member (there are some HEARTLESS teachers out there, TRUST ME!):

“They will have the same rights as national……This is a political move to gain votes…..”

“Is mother Africa sending any aid to hurricane struck islands? Is she opening her home and her pot?”

“…he should open the door to the refugees in Bangladesh”

“just like how it have homeless an needy ppl here all alyuh who agree should take in one homeless Trini…and again I stress that charity begins at home. There is no reason not to help but don’t leave your own to suffer.”

Sigh, it was difficult to sift through the vitriol but I made it out alive. I will also return my new personal rule of not reading commentary after article posts. My brain cells are depending on me.

Whither the humanity Trinidad and Tobago???? 

Now it is notoriously hard to please a Trini eh but something as basic as this? The people island get mash up!!! No infrastructure, no services, no access to communication, in many cases no homes and bare food and you wanna tell me that if they have friends and family over here, people have a problem with them coming? People’s main concerns are about voter padding, “my child didn’t get into Fatima College so it’s not fair for Dominican children to go to school here” and suppose they will all our food and jobs??? Sipping on that Donald Trump tea? Give me a fucking break?  How difficult is it for people to see this rationale behind the decision??? Let me help you. When the day comes and  Trinidad gets fucked over by a mega-Hurricane or by a Mexico-quake (and remember, Karma is a bitch who likes to say, “hold my champagne”), whoever is the new American president (because, Trump 😒 ) or even the Canadian hottie prime minister could make an announcement, “hear what Trinis, once you have friends or family here in the US or Canada, you’re welcome for six months”. Lie to me and tell me you’re not going!!! I’ll wait!!!!…….

…………………….

……………………

Puh-leeze!

Some of us need to take stock of our lives, and I’m not even talking about our physical lives and our needs. I’m talking about our personal lives, our souls, because there is a cynical rot that it taking over that is affecting our present and will most definitely affect our future and I have Trinidadian children to raise and hopefully Trinidadian grandchildren to spoil! A lot of people don’t get that the core of most of the problems in Trinidad and Tobago stem from ourselves, what we hold personally dear, our value systems, our beliefs and notions about what it means to be a HUMAN Being, what we engender in our families and what we contribute to the society in which we live. Crime, crumbling institutions and systems, low productivity, political nonsense all generate from that. So if we as a nation are made up of individuals who measure along this lack of humanity, we are truly lost.

To all who have the courage to defend what it means to be a Trini, I applaud you. I am doing the same. I am blooming where I am planted, it is a philosophy I will continue to ascribe to and according to my vocation, it is one that I will continue to share with those who are to lead in the future. More individuals need to be doing the same instead of down-crying, blaming and stewing in the morass of ‘inhumanity’! That is the ONLY way that the Trinidad and Tobago that we all dream of can return to existence. Fix it!!

Bless up

TMIDM

P.S. There are many organizations taking donations of items but I’m putting here a list of things specifically requested by the Dominican government.  Every little bit of help will help. Give. What you put out into the universe always returns to you, sometimes doubly.